Things about which I have become unexpectedly enthusiastic:
Typing of the Dead: Though a lifelong and perhaps intractable hunt-and-peck typist, I occasionally resolve to teach myself touch-typing once and for all; it was during one of these misguided bouts of self-improvement that I picked up The Typing of the Dead. I don’t know what idiot at Take2 Interactive thought that combining an ultra-violent zombie-killing bloodfest with an “edutainment” typing tutorial was a good idea, but I hope he was well-compensated because this is pretty much the best stupid game ever. It’s exactly the same as the popular House of the Dead shoot-em-up, but you enter the infested residence armed with a keyboard instead of a pistol and blow the monsters into gibblets by typing the words and phrases flashed on the screen. So dumb, but I can’t stop playing.
Bitter:Sweet: I can’t listen to The Mating Game, the first single from Bitter:Sweet’s debut album, and not wish I were wearing a tuxedo, sipping a martini, and carrying a Walther PPK in a shoulder holster. And that song is no abberation, the whole album is steeped in that frosty, lounge sound (listen to “Dirty Laundry” if you need further proof). Something incredible will have to come out in the next four months to prevent this from being my favorite album of the year. And hey, Seattlites: they’re coming to Bumbershoot.
Pandora Internet Radio: Here’s how Pandora works. You tell it an artist or song you like; it pulls tracks with similar styles from its database, adds them to your playlist, and streams the feed to you as a customized radio station. I’d dabbled with Pandora a few times in the past but never really saw the point: why not just listen to a radio station you enjoy instead of building one from scratch? But then I plugged the aforementioned Bitter:Sweet in there and discovered a host of similar bands. It’s more of a super-sophisticated recommendation engine than a radio station, but I’ve found an astounding amount of great music using it. If you decide to register, you check out my dy Mix.
Chow Mein: Did I somehow never eat chow mein my first 34 years of life? It was like a revelation when I had it a few months ago, and I’ve been shoveling it into my maw non-stop ever since.
The Best of Youth: Netflix was insistent in suggesting The Best of Youth, putting a shooting star aside the title and giving it permanent slot atop my recommendation page. I was skeptical: you see my five star ratings for “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Barton Fink” and think I’m going to enjoy a six-hour Italian soap opera? I eventually ordered the film just to get Netflix to shut up about it, and, oh my, it’s sublime. Covering over 40 years in the life of a single family, this is one of the most robust and rewarding DVDs I’ve watched in a spell.