Another JCC talent shout-out! I joked that after the cruise I was going to just go get everything by any artist whose last name sounded like "grey", because in addition to Jean Grae, there were two really cool singer/songwriters: Brian Gray and his remarkably precocious teenage daughter Zoe Gray.

I heard two songs by Brian: one that made me laugh, and one that made me cry, right there, on the deck of a cruise ship. It stabs me right in one of my biggest fears and twists the knife in a way that hurts but is also inspiring.

Laughing: "Man Crush" http://briangray.bandcamp.com/track/man-crush

Crying: "Just a Dream" http://briangray.bandcamp.com/track/just-a-dream

Then at open mic Zoe got up and did one of the best teenage nerd anthems I've heard, "Castaways":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbDYz0u_KO0

You can hear more of her stuff at https://zoegray.bandcamp.com/
M and I have been playing BioWare games together as one of our preferred "ugh, we has no brains tonight" activities for almost as long as we've been dating, and it's been a lot of fun. True they're not two-player games per se, but the stories and character interactions tend to be just interesting enough, and the combat just monotonous enough, that we just periodically hand the controller back and forth, and debate every quest and dialogue option. The fact that we've done this for four longass games (Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Awakenings, Mass Effect, and now Dragon Age II) without murdering one another is, I think, one of the strongest signs about our relationship. :)

That said, we've been thinking of branching out (he says, shortly after ordering a copy of Mass Effect II), so I thought I'd ask for some recs.

I've been thinking about what I look for in a game, and the list I've reached for myself (and I think it's similar for M) is something like...

Game ramblings ahoy! )

Soooo... yeah. I guess what I'm saying is: So far, BioWare has come the closest to having the formula right for me, but I'd kind of like to branch out. Any suggestions (needs to be available for the 360)? Games I've been considering include Arkham Asylum (not usually one for beat-em-ups, but the demo was interesting, and made M and I both nostalgic for playing Tenchu back in the day), Skyrim (really, this should be a no-brainer, but I tend to like to wait for games to come down in price, and Oblivion never grabbed me that much), and some other random RPGs that seem to have at least gotten OK reviews, like Kingdoms of Amalur, Two Worlds II, etc.

Whatchathink?

Edit Oh, also totally open to recs for actual co-op games. We've been enjoying Schizoid a lot, though it sometimes takes more brain than we have available in the evenings, and I feel like we should be enjoying Trine 2 more than we have. Probably worth another chance, that one.
Though it's not without it's problems, I'm becoming a bit really into this show called Mongrels.

It seems to be some kind of joint venture between the BBC and Hulu, where it plays exclusively. In other words, it's an original show with an actual budget developed for online-only distribution. That in its self is pretty nifty IMO, but when you add to this the fact the main characters are all British animal puppets, resulting in a weird sort of Fraggle Rock meets Family Guy thing (I haven't seen Meet the Feebles, but I suspect there's a valid comparison in there too), I really have no choice but to watch it.

Unfortunately the Family Guy comparison cuts both ways. The show is clever and self-aware, and even has original musical numbers, but it also crosses the line for me at least once an episode with something I find distasteful (oddly, so far it seems to have a penchant for ableism more than anything else). That said, I've enjoyed the imagination of the show, as well as the excellent puppetry and voice acting, enough to keep watching and have a net-positive impression with that caveat.

First episode is here. I've only watched the first three so far, and I feel like the show hits its stride a bit more with each one.

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