Welcome to Brain Sprinkles, a weekly blog I’m starting in an effort to not only showcase and document my own interests in certain entertainment categories like music, TV shows, video games, and so on; but to spread the creative love a little bit and maybe pique the interest of someone out there, too.
Each Saturday, I’ll list and add snippets of thoughts to a group of things I’ve been interested in over the past week, each one being another person or persons’ creative product. I may add categories as I go along, and some weeks categories may be missing entirely, but my hope is to be engaging in something new by the time each Saturday rolls around.
Note: The name of this blog is subject to change (I’m sure “Brain Sprinkles” is terrible).
Creativity is one of the most important things a human being can express. It’s good for our brains, our hearts, and our souls. It allows people to explore themselves and others in a deep way, something introspection and discussion can’t always do. When consuming others’ creative works, you’re getting a piece of who they are as a person, whether they wanted or intended that or not.
Creativity allows us to function as a society. We’re not merely surviving—we’re living, hour to hour and day to day. How we spend our time digesting others’ creative works—whether that’s a movie, a novel, or a collection of poems—is important to how we grow as people and a community of human beings. I hope reading about the creative content I enjoy (or don’t) gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to make something great and uniquely your own. At the very least maybe you’ll discover something new you might be interested in.
Sword Art Online
SAO is chock-full of action, pretty colors and effects, sexual tension, and fan service, and I’m loving it. The story follows a boy named Kirito and his adventures in a virtual reality MMO where the players are trapped inside and death in the game means death in real life. He meets people (mainly women who can’t stop falling in love with him), beats up baddies, and tries desperately to beat the game to send the trapped players back to the real world. The premise is unique and fun, and the anime doesn’t really waste any time (I hate filler episodes). By the second arc at around episode 15, the story takes an unexpected turn. Best of all is that this anime doesn’t censor itself or shy away from mature, morbid topics.
After falling in love with Telltale Games’ adoption of the Fables universe, The Wolf Among Us, I knew I had to check out the source material. Fables is a comic written by Bill Willingham that’s supposedly going to reach its conclusion in 2015 at issue 150, 13 years after the first issue was published. For those who don’t know, the premise is that all the fairy tales we know and love from our childhoods are actually real and living among regular humans (called “mundies” by the fables) in a New York neighborhood, and each one of them is just as raunchy, sinful, and corrupt as regular humans can be. The story follows the sheriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf, and his adventures trying to keep the peace between the ever-violent fables in his town. I’m only a couple dozen books into the whole thing, but each issue is colorful, well-written, and surprising. The idea alone makes this a series worth checking out.
This movie rattled me to my core. Her is a movie about a man in the near future who dates an incredibly lifelike artificial intelligence. Throughout the film the two fall in love, but while they’re together, the man can’t touch or even see his “girlfriend” because, well, she’s a program. Their love for each other is based entirely on personality and conversation (and “phone” sex, if you can call it that), which made it seem pure and authentic. As weird as it sounds, one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire movie is when the man and the AI have “sex” for the first time, thanks to the powerful and moving soundtrack by Arcade Fire. I related to this movie because my girlfriend and I dated long-distance for the first three years of our relationship. I somehow connected to the struggles the film’s couple went through, and the combination of brilliant acting, amazing camera work and filmography, and somber music really touched me. It’s strange, because the most genuine love story I’ve ever seen on film happens between a human and a computer, which really speaks volumes about modern relationships and humanity itself. I can’t recommend it enough.
Bombay Bicycle Club
This band has quickly climbed its way up to be one of my favorite groups in recent memory. They’re an indie rock band from London with four albums, each one distinct and unique in style. Flaws features acoustic sounds while their latest album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, has more electronic tones. They have plenty of tracks that are simply stellar, and I honestly can’t think of one song of theirs I dislike or would even skip when listening to their albums. If you’re interested, check out How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, Shuffle, and Luna.
A coworker recommended this musician to me. I’m not huge on pop, but I do like some groups that could be classified as indie pop such as Florence and the Machine, so I gave her a shot. It’s basically what I expected: good—not great—acoustic and folkish stuff with a pop twist. It wasn’t until her third album I realized this was the same woman who sings Be OK in all those commercials. Definitely not her best song. I recommend the album Human Again and songs like Keep Breathing, Fire, and The Chain.
I downloaded dream pop band Mazzy Star’s discography after hearing two songs from them in other media that I loved (Into Dust in a Gears of War trailer and Look on Down from the Bridge in an episode of Rick and Morty). I thought they had to be great if my favorite video games and shows used them. I was wrong. Turns out those are the only two songs I cared about. All four of their albums are somber and slow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but these guys were kind of a one-hit (or, more accurately, a two-hit) wonder for me. Disappointing.
The Head and the Heart
This indie folk band only has two albums out, but if you like acoustic stuff, this is where you get it. I haven’t had time to really process the albums (I’ve listened to them less than twice each), but what I’ve heard is great. Give Down in the Valley and Sounds Like Hallelujah a listen.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I’m halfway through the second Harry Potter book after never having read them as a child, and really, I don’t get it. Sure, I’m 23 and over a decade older than the target audience J. K. Rowling wrote these books for, but still. The prose is poorly written half the time, and the story itself is boring to me. I never feel like Harry or his friends are in any danger, nor do I feel much of an emotional bond to them. Harry could be killed off and the story could focus on Snape and it wouldn’t make a difference to me. Still, I’m going to finish the series just because of my compulsive need to complete what I start. Hopefully the series gets better.
Watch Dogs is basically Grand Theft Auto 5, only not as good in nearly every department and centered around a real-time hacking gimmick. Don’t get me wrong: Watch Dogs is fun, and I plan on not only beating and 100 percenting it, but the world feels less authentic than other open world games I’ve played. In fact, the entire open world genre is becoming stale to me; nowadays I prefer linear and story-focused games over sandbox action. There’s plenty to do in Watch Dogs (I’m only 50 percent through the game after spending over two weeks with it), and the seamless transition from single- to multiplayer is impressive, but I can’t help feeling like Watch Dogs is only good is most respects, not great.