Last week, Matthew Newman posted a list of his favorite things (cue the Julie Andrews singing!). What a great idea, thought Yours Truly. All of the following are unsolicited endorsements for which I receive absolutely no compensation.
Weekly Shonen Jump: Just as MN recommended a paid Crunchyroll subscription, I’ll put in my endorsement of WSJ’s Monday dose of manga goodness. For a measly $20 per year, you get 48 installments of the best weekly manga such as The Promised Neverland, not to mention a year’s worth of hot monthly series like Boruto. It’s a small price to pay to get professional translations of the latest and greatest, while supporting the manga industry and professionals. Honestly, it’s what keeps me going through the Mondays in the office; and this year, they even released an edition on CHRISTMAS!
Birra Nursia: If you like beer, check Birra Nursia. Brewed by the Benedictine monks of Norcia, Italy, it comes in two varieties: light and dark. The dark is my absolute favorite dark beer of all time. And, oh, remember all those earthquakes that destroyed central Italy last year? Norcia was at the epicenter. The monks’ cathedral and their entire monastery were demolished—except for the brewery. By purchasing from them, you’re supporting their efforts to rebuild.
Smart Home Supplies: These all kind of go together, but I’ll list each one individually. What’s particularly nice is that they’re all compatible with each other.
- Philips Hue Lights: I bought a few of these earlier this year when I realized they would last longer and save more electricity than the standard bulbs I was using (and replacing with alarming frequency). I’ve not had to replace one since, and our electrical bill has dropped. Plus, it’s convenient to be able to control the lights from my phone, or with…
- Google Home: I quickly realized that I wanted other people to be able to easily control our smart lights, so I installed a vanilla Google Home and honestly can’t imagine doing without one now. Need to flip lights on or off across the room (or house) and don’t want to walk to the switch? Just say the word. Want to set the lights to a specific percentage of brightness? Don’t worry about installing dimmer switches. In the mood for some classical music? “Play Baroque music.” Kids have homework questions? Now you don’t have to worry about looking stupid because you don’t remember the answer to a question you were supposed to memorize 27 years ago (not, of course, that that ever happens to me). Google Home also offers recipes, jokes, group games, and seasonal mood settings.
- Nest Thermostat: Nest is, of course, owned by Google, so it plays nicely with Google Home. It’s a flexible and stylish thermostat: It does what it needs to do and looks nice doing so.
Twitch Prime: Came for the loot, stayed for the community. TP comes free with Amazon Prime, and provides a lot of video game perks to members on a regular basis. It’s also a lot of fun to sometimes see what other people are doing with your favorite games.
Closers: Speaking of Twitch Prime, they’re running a promotion on the Korean MMO Closers through the end of the year. (All two days, by this point.) Some of the games I play are a bit more on the cerebral side; Closers provides a nice balance to these by being a straightforward button-masher. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of complexity to this anime-esque game, and after a week I’m still uncovering it; it just de-emphasizes the decision-making part of the brain a bit more in favor of the slaughter-anything-that-moves lobe. Not being a veteran MMO player, I felt the help system a bit sparse and the controls/navigation somewhat unruly at first; but most of it I figured out quite quickly. The only time I truly got stuck, I hopped on their Discord channel and a few minutes later was on my way—kudos for a great support team!
Thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it! I leave you with this timeless image of Maria von Trapp communicating her love of anime to the children: