What's New

What’s New — March 2018

This past month was so much fun, guys.

For one thing, I am a huge Olympics nerd, so being able to watch the Winter Games in February was awesome. The highlight was probably the USA women’s hockey team winning the gold after 20 years of defeats to Canada. But I also had a blast watching skiing and snowboarding, both freestyle and half-pipe, and of course I loved the figure skating.

For another thing, it was my fiancé’s birthday, and to celebrate his mom came to visit and we went to Disneyland. I grew up going to Disneyland almost every year, since my family is from southern California — so going back there is like going home in a lot of ways, even though the park is definitely keeping up with the times! They are doing some sort of construction right now, but I was able to introduce my fiancé to the Matterhorn ride and go on some favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean. The highlight was staying for the water and lights show, where projections of Disney movies play against shooting water, characters dance around on boats and rafts, Mickey makes many appearances, and a huge dragon breathes real fire onto the lake. It’s crazy. I highly recommend seeing it if it’s playing while you’re there!

Probably my favorite part of the trip to SoCal, though, was visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The last time I was at Universal Studios was, I believe, about two months before they opened it. So sad. This time, even though we only had a few hours to spend there, I shopped for a wand at Ollivanders, went on a little rollercoaster by Hagrid’s hut, bought a huge witch hat cupcake at Honeydukes, tried (frozen) butterbeer… It was magical. Obviously. As a big Harry Potter fan, this place made me feel like I was transported into the books. Everything looks incredible, taking design from the movies and playing the scores so you never forget where you are for a second. Just be warned that the place is mostly gift shops, even if they are Honeydukes and Ollivanders and places you recognize like that — so be prepared to do a lot of shopping (or at least window-shopping).

Here are some pictures from Harry Potter World!

I have also made progress with wedding planning. It’s really fun for me, as I love organizing things, imagining and designing things… but as the time approaches, it definitely feels a little overwhelming sometimes. Keeping track of everything and making sure everything is booked and vendors know what’s going on is a lot. But I’m enjoying it, since you’re only engaged once. =)

Despite how fun February was, I am also really glad that March is here. It will not be March madness for me, because things are finally quieting down so I have time to work out consistently again, read lots, write lots, and play those video games.

I’m still playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. I didn’t get much of a chance to play this month, with company in town and travel, but I’m loving it so much. I can’t get over how much I admire the protagonist, Bayek, or how gorgeous and detailed the ancient Egyptian setting is. The game even came out with a tour mode so you can just go in there, no combat involved, and explore Egypt. It’s such a cool feature, and great idea for educators and ancient Egypt nerds. I would have loved it when I was a kid.

monster hunter characters.jpg
My Monster Hunter characters…

I also just started playing Monster Hunter: World, which I’ll be posting about soon. Stay tuned…

As for reading, I just finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, since the movie based on it has just come out. It reads not so much like a typical science fiction book, but more like a mystery horror with a lot of character development. And that’s what I loved. The book is strange, and so is the protagonist, a woman whose name you don’t learn, who I related to incredibly well. She’s a biologist who craves solitude, who feels more connected to places than things, and who dives into the mystery of an area of land that messes with visitors’ minds not only because she likes to solve such puzzles, but to learn what happened to her husband who went there before her and came back so changed. It’s a really short book — only six hours as an audiobook — and I recommend it if you appreciate sci-fi that is just flat-out weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. I’m seeing the movie next week, and am curious how it compares to the novel as I hear it is quite different.

What are you reading, playing, and watching this month? I’d love to hear what everybody is up to in March. =)

— Ashley

10 thoughts on “What’s New — March 2018”

  1. I just saw Annihilation on a bit of a whim yesterday and found it very fascinating. Admittedly I thought the casting was more compelling than the story — how often do you get an all-female cast for a story like this? — but it was visually and intellectually intriguing. I didn’t even realize it was based on a book until the credits told me so; I’m curious to see how you end up thinking the film stacks up!

    1. That’s true, I love that the team is all women. I’m glad to hear you liked the movie! I can’t wait. It reminds me (the book) of the story Arrival a little bit.

  2. I injured my hand last month, so that kind of derailed my gaming and writing plans. Feeling better now and working on my book again, but still trying to take it easy. Not sure what I’m doing for gaming in the immediate future. Been poking around ESO a bit. I love the new outfit system. My characters look so stylish now.

    Reading-wise, I’m giving one of the Andromeda tie-in novels (Initiation) a try to numb my pain over the lack of DLC. It’s about Cora’s joining the Initiative. Not as deep or character-driven as I expected, but it’s fun. Basically a buddy cop movie starring Cora and SAM.

    For TV, I just got done Altered Carbon (which I reviewed for my blog today), and season four of iZombie just started. That shows gone to some strange places, but I respect that they’re willing to make big changes to the story. Oh, and still watching Lucifer, which remains silly fun.

    1. Sorry to hear you hurt your hand. I’m glad you’re doing better now. I haven’t read the Andromeda books but I love Cora. I really wanted to romance her but that didn’t happen! I’m have to read your review of Altered Carbon too! Such an interesting show, despite its flaws.

      1. I romanced Cora on my second play-through. It’s a little odd in that it’s tonnes of flirting and then not that much relationship stuff, but I did like that you get to really see another side of her. Made her feel a lot more human.

  3. So I’ve been addicted to Into the Breach since it was released this week (turn based strategy by developers of FTL). I’ve sunk more than 20 hours into it already which is huge for me. Really smart, compact and rewarding take on strategy. A beautiful mish-mash of Advance Wars, XCOM, chess and rogue-like elements. As for reading, finished Thief of Time (Discworld series) which was great. Just received La Belle Sauvage (His Dark Materials series) for my birthday which I’m about to get stuck into.

  4. It’s a great venue, I went there last year and your photos have brought back all the memories. Back in 2005 I thought up a ‘Kwidditch’ spoof event to take place on April Fool’s day for the members of the adventure group I used to run. Unfortunately it resulted in an uncomfortable conversation with one of our members, ending in acute social embarrassment. It makes me cringe every time I think about it.

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