Folks, we're already almost one month into the new year, and already I can smell a complete turnaround. Many of you probably didn't have a good year in 2010, and I can tell you that neither did I. I lost a job, quit a different job, dropped out of College, and had a friendship that meant a great deal to me end painfully. Through this morass of misery and depression, I was far too wrapped up in the failures of my crumbling social life to take any solace in any of the things that actually bring me joy, like video games, books or music. Suffice to say, I can't think of many things I liked about 2010.
Now, I'm not one to put much stock in the whole "New Year, Clean Slate" philosophy that comes with the whole making resolutions thing but I figured if there was one thing I could resolve to do, is to not have as shit a fucking year as I had in 2010. So I made my resolution as small and as manageable as possible: read more books, watch more movies, play more games and listen to more new music than I have in years past. Surprisingly, the experience has opened me up to more than just books, music and movies.
The month of January alone has hatched upon me such a plethora of treasure that you might excuse me in declaring 2011 the greatest year in Human evolution to date. The amount of great stuff I've discovered this month has me frothing in anticipation of what's to come in the following 11 months, But until then, I've got these nuggets to tide me over:
My Little Pony toys at McDonalds!
If you have yet to see Lauren Faust's (of Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends fame) colorful, hilarious take on the My Little Pony universe, you should definitely check your skepticism at the door and do so. It is without a doubt one of the best cartoons to debut last year, and this year to celebrate McDonalds has included limited edition My Little Pony toys in all their happy meals, featuring all your favorite ponies whose names I'm not at all embarrassed to know: Cherilee, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, Celestia, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle are here to brighten up your day and make your Happy Meal truly happy!
Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate!
Soulless is the first novel in Gail Carriger's awesome Parasol Protectorate series, which combines the genres of Steampunk/Alternate History, Supernatural Fantasy, and Victorian Era Romance. Sound too good to be true? It's the really dealie. Let's read the blurb on the back of the book to find out more:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go form there? For bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? WIll her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Sound like something you might be interested in? Make sure you get caught up before the next book in the series, Heartless, releases later this year.
The Bulletstorm demo!
The Bulletstorm demo is short that it's almost frustrating in a sexual sense.It literally packs only so much action in five-or-so minutes of gameplay that it doesn't leave you wanting more so much as it leaves you desperate for it. But still, I enjoyed our brief time together. The game is frantic, fun, funny and colorful (to put it lightly) and I can't wait to get my hands on the full version. You've hooked me, Bulletstorm, now reel me in.
Special Edition, collectible, and totally awesome, I am addicted to these little guys and I am not afraid to admit it. Lego Minifigures were exclusive to Japan for a time as gatchapon toys but made their debut in the states last year just in time for Christmas and series 3 is out now, which I have been all about. I'm on a fevered quest to collect series 3 in its entirety and so far I have the Fisherman, the Racecar Driver and The Baseball player. Over notables include a Zombie, a masked wrestler (both series 1), a mime (series 2) and a guy in a gorilla suit (series 3).
Tuesday has become my favorite day, and that is because Tuesday is new music day! The month of January has seen a slew of great new releases and I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you:
Following the sprawling musical epic that was The Hazards of Love
, The Decemberists retreated to rural Oregon to record The King is Dead
, a more subdued, down-home Americana-inspired album. A fantastic, fascinating record that showcases Decemberists' Frontman Colin Meloy at the height of his song-writing powers. If there is any resemblance to R.E.M. on this record, know that it is purely intentional, as The Decemberists invited R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck to record a few tracks with them
Here's an album that I bought simply because all the media outlets told me to, and I was not led astray. Kiss Each Other Clean
is by far the best Iron and Wine record I've ever heard, and everything from Sam Beam's impressive vocals and fierce biblical imagery coupled with amazing instrumentation on tracks like Rabbit Will Run
tell me this album is going to be huge in 2011.
It might surprise you to know that many of the people who form The Aquabats--everyone's favorite Crime-fighting rock band!--also had a hand in creating Yo Gabba Gabba
. It might become more apparent after listening to Hi-Five Soup!
, the groups most kid-friendly album to date. Not that I'm complaining, because this album is more rock-tastic fun than any album with "adult" sensibilities could ever hope to be. This is pop rock music as it should be: fun, accessible, sincere and unafraid to embrace its goofy side.
I almost hesitate to include this album, since it's been available in Europe since November of last year, but it only hit stateside in January so it counts, dammit! If you've a hankering for the halcyon days of Ozzy Osbourne-helmed Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard hears your pleas and offers you Black Masses
, Doom metal at its buzziest and blackest. So much pot was smoked during the recording of this record that listening to it might give you a contact high and cause you to start hallucinating bats. This is the way metal should be.
So I hope you find something you liked, because I know I did, and I know now to keep looking.