With no particular order or structure, these are random things I’ve been enjoying lately
In case you missed the detail I buried at the tail end of my last update, I’ve been part of the team at Deku Deals for about two weeks now. It’s great! Working with Michael is a joy, and it’s a delight to work on a product I love and use every day. As I get more up to speed I’m sure I’ll have more to say about my experience there.
Couch co-op games used to be a regular feature in the Parker household but no more - too often they demand excessive time, focus, or ability. So Escape Academy is a delightful return to form for my wife and I to play together.
The idea is simple - you and a partner run through increasingly fantastical and expansive escape rooms. The “rooms” are clever without being obscure, the controls are incredibly approachable, and the art style is bright and colorful. It’s perfect for us - we’re obsessed. It’s ideal for sporadic 20-30 minute gaming sessions too.
I can be a pop book snob, turning up my nose when a book is extended into a long-running series or adapted into a television show. Slow Horses is both, so I had to hear about this book a stupid number of times to get over myself and read it.
I am obsessed, now anxious that there are only eight books in the series. I have to parcel these out carefully lest I spend too much of my lifetime without another Slough House book to read.
I don’t care about spies and I’ve never been able to finish a Le Carre book (a major character flaw, I know). However, Mick Herron made me forget I don’t like spy novels through his delight in language and his touch with characters. Each chapter revels in a different subset of oddball spies who despise each other and themselves in equal parts. Funny, exciting, and surprisingly relatable.
We cook asparagus all the time. I’ve tried a number of techniques but I always come back to roasting them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Everything else just gets in the way.
So I was recently surprised to love this dish so much. Lemon and shallot I understand, but does asparagus really need cheese? YES – and roasted red peppers and za’atar. Absolutely delicious and something I’d happily serve to company, the highest praise I can give a recipe.
Will it replace simply roasting them, one of the all-time great recipes? I have no idea but it will definitely be in our regular rotation.
I only stumbled into this book about Magellan’s circumnavigation because of a strangely named achievement in Civilization 6 that I achieved by accident. Then I read a brief summary of his expedition and thought “no way, that’s crazy” and had to learn more.
THIS WAS WILD. Five boats set out on this journey; only one makes it, with only about 18 of the 270 original sailors surviving. None of the captains–including Magellan–survived the circumnavigation.
I loved this book. The author peppers the story with historical context and does a reasonable job of balancing the remarkable achievement of Magellan & his crew against their horrible actions. You can see why some celebrate his accomplishments and others celebrate his final end.
One of the better histories I’ve read in awhile.
a few things I’ve recently enjoyed, with caveats
The movie “C’mon C’mon” overstayed its welcome but what great performances from the two leads. I have been sleeping on Joaquin Phoenix – I need to go back and check out what else he’s been up to.
Like most Games Workshop properties, Mordheim: City of the Damned is both deeply interesting and deeply flawed. I love evolving my little haggard war band through the campaign. Tactical encounters have occasionally brilliant details like the risk of bringing your best equipment - enemies will routinely loot your KO’d squadmates if they fall in battle, so caution is warranted.
However, battles are often anticlimactic and poorly designed with an AI that doesn’t know how the game works. I doubt I’ll finish it but I suppose I got my $4 worth?
I finally watched “Top Gun: Maverick” and mostly didn’t get the hype, but it was still worth it for the scene with Val Kilmer. It was inherently dramatic considering the struggle it was for him to even act, but lifted by two fantastic performances. More differently abled folks in movies, please!
Also there was a Danger Zone and they definitely took a highway to it to do Danger Zone stuff, I guess.