Being an adult during the summer can be a bit frustrating. The anticipation for a season of freedom has been replaced with the idea of fitting in fun activities around a full-time job. While having a source of personal income can afford you greater resources to create interesting summer memories and experiences, the lack of free time can put a huge damper on the season. We have to face the facts: those carefree days of childhood summers are long gone. But all is not lost. Laura and I have managed to jam pack this year with visiting family, hosting numerous friends, and traveling the fields and farms around GIMMGP Headquarters. Along the way, each of us have discovered some new favorite things, which we would like to recommend to the blog-reading public at large. Without further ado, here are our Summer Favorites.
Normally, my beer preferences shift with the seasons: as the climate warms up, so must the beer lighten up. Summer ushers in delicious waves of Hefeweizens, golden Pilsners, and crisp shandies. But this year, my good friend Ryan recommended not a light and refreshing ale, but a dark and heavy porter to be savored on balmy nights. From the DuClaw Brewery in Baltimore, MD comes the Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. Named for the expression a first taste should illicit, this rich beer smells and tastes very much like a Reese’s Cup in beverage form. The peanut taste plays second fiddle to the strong chocolate flavor, but neither component overpowers the beer with sweetness. A great dessert for a summer barbecue, this porter is a welcome addition to our cooler.
Some of my fondest summer memories come from buying a fresh stack of video game magazines to read on the long car rides to my grandparents’ homes. My brother and I would pack several issues of Nintendo Power and EGM for these trips, planning our future strategies and drooling over upcoming releases. Unfortunately, the rise of the internet has severely limited print reading options, causing most gaming magazines to go the way of the dinosaur. But there are some bold individuals who have taken matters into their own hands. Scroll is the personal project of freelance games writer Ray Barnholt, who has crafted his love of video games into an excellent magazine. Described on his website as, “video game history uncorked,” Scroll features exhaustively researched and well-written articles along with colorful and impressive layouts. The newest issue covers the My Summer Vacation games, a Japanese series which despite its interesting premise and gorgeous vistas, never made it to American markets. On my own summer travels this year, I brought along several issues of Scroll, which made for great reading both in and out of the car. Be sure to check out Mr. Barnholt’s website, and pick up (or download) a few issues of Scroll while you are there. It is well worth the trip.
During the summer of my sophomore year of college, I found myself with an abundance of free time thanks to a recent break-up. So I did what any respectable nineteen-year old male would do in that situation: I proceeded to binge on video games. Over the course of those three months, I managed to play through 32 different video games, start-to-finish, all in-between a part-time job. It was a way to ignore all the sadness I was feeling at the time, and just focus on a hobby that I loved. I wasn’t concerned with actually taking the time to enjoy and appreciate each game, I just wanted to pass the time in my favorite way. These days, I do not want to indiscriminately play game after game, desperately trying to keep my backlog clear and stay on the cutting edge of the industry. I would prefer to find a great game, chock full of satisfying content, and take the time to savor every moment playing it. Fortunately, there is Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and that fits the bill quite nicely. I have plenty to say about this delightful animal-town-simulation game, but much of that will show up in a later post. For now, rest assured that Animal Crossing has swept through my circle of friends and provided each of us with a little town to cultivate, share, and enjoy for many months to come.
This is a steampunk series written by Gail Carriger that I stumbled across quite by accident. I ended up grabbing all of the audiobooks off of Audible (which I recommend because the narrator is fantastic). I haven’t been so ravenously obsessed with a series in quite some time. The books are all about Victorian era monsters (werewolves, vampires, and ghosts), science, fashion, and smut (at least the first one is really smutty). I have every reason to love this series, so I do.
Legend of Korra
I am quite the fangirl of this amazing show. Book 1 just released to DVD, so now I will force all of my friends to watch it. It’s a bit unseemly actually. I’ve also been re-watching Xena: Warrior Princess which is even worse.
I am very glad to have Chip home from vacation because it means I get to play with the Animal Crossing machine again. The simplicity of this game is so alluring. Procuring money is both easy and fun, I don’t feel any pressure to pay off my loans, and everyone seems to think I’m pretty neat. It generally gives me this wonderful feeling that I’ve got my shit together. Also, I have developed what is probably an unhealthy attachment to Lobo the Wolf. He even loves my bee-stung face.