What we’re watching
Joshua Lee (@creativeperhaps), General Sections Editor
My partner has been under the weather as of late, so instead of going to parks and vinyl record shops, I’ve been force-feeding her old childhood movies of mine.
One such film is “The Terminator,” James Cameron’s seminal 1984 action thriller that pulled him out of poverty and into the limelight. In it, the eponymous killing machine (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time from a robotic dystopian future to eliminate Sarah Connor. Connor, the mother of a future resistance leader, is protected by Kyle Reese, a human soldier sent back by the resistance.
Everyone knows the premise of the film, or so I thought. My partner had not only never seen the film, but had no idea what it was about. It was interesting to view the film from her perspective, which helped me appreciate the pacing, exposition, and action of it even more.
I think that “The Terminator” is a classic, made only quirkier with age, but my partner had her own opinions. She thought that, while the concept was interesting, the film itself was a bit slow and there wasn’t a lot of worldbuilding. She also criticized the characters, going so far as to remark, “[Schwarzenegger’s] only job was to look sexy and be evil.”
To each their own, right? Here’s hoping “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” does it for her.
What we’re listening to
Julie Emory (@JulieEmory2), writer
I try to manage the noise of everyday life by browsing Spotify until I can find something to channel my feelings until I’m ready to face the world again. Whether it could be categorized as meditative or a coping mechanism for general social anxiety, music has always played a large part in my private life, giving me the strength to face the challenges of a day-to-day routine.
I never stick to one genre and like to explore a bit of everything depending on my mood. Soft rhythms like Tinsley’s “In Bloom” and GHOST DATA’s “Sorry, I’m Just Tired” help set the mood for a quiet walk through Ravenna, whereas Anna Pest’s “Love is Destructive” and almost anything from Greg Puciato (he’s phenomenal in everything from electronic to metal) manage to give me the energy coffee can’t before work.
Of these artists, I would easily place Astrophysics among my most-played, with their recent single, “Trouble Making Friends,” perfectly conveying the struggles of shy introverts seeking to break out of their shell and make meaningful connections — set to a glitchy, techno beat that speeds up further into the song. I also find music is a good outlet for others suffering from trauma. Astrophysics’s “Traumacore” pairs the deceptively upbeat rhythm of city pop with distortion later in the song which, against the vocals, conveys all the feelings I kept locked away without letting them surface in public. I hope by sharing a very small taste of what I use to escape, I can give that catharsis to someone else.
What we’re reading
Huma Ali (@humabali), writer
I recently had a thought that reading might be good for me, so after buckling my seatbelt on a two-hour flight to Reno, I found myself scrolling through the Summer Scares list on the Libby reading app. Picking W.W. Jacobs’ 1902 classic short story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” I underestimated the ruthless horror packed into those 28 pages.
When a dinner guest brings an unsightly mummified monkey’s paw with a spell to grant three wishes to his home, Mr. White cannot seem to comprehend the warnings against its use. The artifact is creepy and brings discomfort, and it is procured by the White family even after being thrown into their fireplace.
Mr. White, taking no notice of the cautions of his guest, makes a condemning wish. Dark and frightening consequences follow that leave his family and mental state forever changed.
Jacobs leaves readers with the idea that playing with fate is a dangerous matter, and the length of the piece makes for a truly resonant and gripping read.
What we’re up to
Kat Rios (@gatoespacia), writer
I’ve recently got back into playing Stardew Valley. It’s a little like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing in that it’s a relaxed, pastoral role-playing game. My friend sent the game, along with a few other PS4 games, as a Christmas gift a few years back when I got my first-ever console.
At the start of the game, the player inherits a farm from their dying grandfather and joins the small town of Stardew Valley as a new farmer. Players have the option to customize their avatar and choose what type of farm they inherit, each with its own pros and cons. For example, mine is a beach farm. It’s large and has great resources, but it’s not ideal for crop farming.
Stardew Valley has an entire Wiki. It’s easy to minimize the game screen and look up what I need to upgrade my farmhouse and construct buildings for my farm animals. I also added mods last year for game aesthetics and game cheats, and I’m thinking of reinstalling it since I really suck at fishing in the game.
The game provides mental relief from deadlines and anxieties. It’s easy to be immersed in the world-building of doing quests for NPCs, farm work, mining, and foraging.
I never expected to enjoy Stardew Valley as much as I do, and I also bought the Steam and mobile versions of the game. I’ve been playing it on my computer, having clocked in almost 24 hours of gameplay since the start of July. It’s nice to fall in love with a game again.
Reach General Section Editor Joshua Lee and writers Julie Emory, Huma Ali, and Kat Rios at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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