Mobile games are not usually my thing. As a fan of video games, I’m used to setting aside time to devote to console gaming, immersing myself in other worlds with a controller in hand. Playing a game on my phone feels a little too breezy to me — not always immersive enough, and usually just a way to mentally check out of wherever I am for five minutes at a time. While I’ve played my fair share of great mobile games — Lara Croft Go being a favorite! — they’re not something I normally seek out.
But I kept seeing reviews pop up on some of my favorite gaming sites about the mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, by Jam City As a Harry Potter nerd, I had to check this out. And I’m so glad I did!
Last month I made it my mission to focus on my writing and my health, and that’s what I did. To the point of not really blogging all month. Sorry I’ve been so absent! It was helpful to have a brief hiatus from blogging just because sometimes when I sit down to write my novel, I’ll end up blogging instead. That’s still writing, right? But I needed to not have that as an option, and it worked out well. I’ve made tons of progress on my novel this month and am really enjoying the story as it unfolds (even though it’s still a total mess of a first draft). But now it’s May, and I’ve missed this blog, and I have a lot to say so expect some posts soon. =)
In other news, last month I ran every weekend and prepared for a 10K at the end of the month. It’s one of my favorite runs, as it takes you over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. While I just barely made it — I didn’t actually run the full 6-mile distance until the day of the race — I am really happy that I finished the thing and made a decent time, too. I’ll be continuing to run every weekend this summer to prepare for another 10K later in the year, when I want to beat my time.
April was also the month of the God of War launch, which was a big deal at work as well as in my household! I’ve been playing it since (almost two weeks now?), and while I feel I’ve made a lot of progress, from what I hear from others who raced through the game or are just devoting more time to it, I still have quite a ways to go. This is going to be a long, heavy game, which is great. If you haven’t played it, the storytelling, the dynamics between Kratos and his son, and the graphics are incredible. I’m really curious to see more of these mythical realms, and explore the Norse mythology that’s woven into every setting.
I also started playing a mobile game that I’m obsessed with now, called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Check out how cool it is! You can create your own character, attend Hogwarts starting in your first year, go to classes, talk to professors, make friends… It’s awesome. I actually read a review of it on Polygon a week or so ago, which is what piqued my interest — and now I’m seeing it everywhere. If you like RPGs and Harry Potter, I highly recommend.
Now that May is here, I’ll be continuing God of War, running, and writing my book. I started reading Jacqueline Carey’s fantasy novel Kushiel’s Dart, which is perfection as an audiobook. This month is also Mother’s Day, so I’ll be celebrating that with my mom. And of course the following weekend is the royal wedding. My family are Anglophiles, and I used to live in London, so at some point we became obsessed interested in the Windsors and are now extremely excited to pull an all-nighter watching the wedding together!
In other news, I get to taste wedding cakes this month. =)
I’d love to hear what everybody else is up to in May!
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!
One of many performances
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.
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. =)
Science fiction and fantasy have some of the best foods and beverages in fiction. I’m not just talking about Star Trek’s weird obsession with root beet — which is my favorite soda, by the way — but about the array of fictional dishes and drinks. Some days, I feel like the main reason to travel to a sci-fi/fantasy world is the eating. Here are the top five edibles I like to feast my mind upon:
5. Skyrim’s Sweet Roll
The people of Skyrim take their sweet rolls very seriously. Sweet roll theft is running rampant across the land, and everybody knows when somebody’s stolen one of your sweet rolls. That kind of thing just shows on your face, you know? The sweet roll is surprisingly handy in combat situations, because it restores a decent amount of health – at least as far as Skyrim foods go. It’s also decorative, so…