Here's what we're reading, watching, playing, and listening to this week

How we're spending our leisure time. Everyone has a bit of quiet downtime once in a while. Whether you're sitting quietly at home or trying to relax on a plane or just giving your busy mind and hands a break, it's important to relax. A good way to do that is to read a book, listen to some music or watch a movie or show. See what's caught our attention for the week of January 27th. Daniel Bader I didn't expect to enjoy American Vandal as much as I did. I was one of the millions of people entertained, shocked, and ultimately disappointed by the first season of Serial, the podcast that introduced so many people to podcasts; and I screamed at the television along with everyone else during Netflix's own Making a Murderer. American Vandal is a spoof of the American true crime genre, but it's also about teenagers and high school, and is written about as well as many classic series with a similar milieu. The beauty of American Vandal is that you can relax because it's fiction, but it's a story so well-told, with such impeccable production values, that when you momentarily stop thinking about its fakeness, you begin to appreciate its emotional truth. That the premise is so absurd — a high school senior is expelled because he ostensibly drew 27 penises on faculty cars in just over eight minutes — plays into the real consequences of such a prank, and by the end of the eight-part show, the initial crime matters much less than the people caught up in its wake. Marc Lagace This American Life is the podcast that hooked me on podcasts in general. It's NPR's crown jewel hosted as always by the incomparable Ira Glass with a back catalogue spanning over two decades. Earlier this month, This American Life relaunched its website alongside a redesigned app that I've been all over. I already own the iOS version of the app, but with my Apple days behind me the timing could not have been more perfect to get the Android version — not only can you download unlimited episodes for offline listening, it also lets you filtered search results by contributor, year, or topic. With 600 episodes to discover and rediscover, that's a ton of content that'll be keeping my ears busy. Get the This American Life app for $2.99. Speaking of great content, I'm always on the hunt for new interesting YouTube creators to subscribe to. Lately, I've been binging through the vids by austinmcconnell. I'm a big fan of a well-crafted video essay, and after first clicking through on a thumbnail from Austin's series on Really Weird STAR WARS stories, I had to scope out the rest of his channel. Most recently, he put out a video in response to the recent changes to the YouTube Partnership Program by highlighting five cool YouTube channels with under 1000 subscribers which set me off down a bunch of other fascinating YouTube holes. Joe Maring Fall Out Boy released their latest album, Mania, this week, and I've unfortunately had a tough time listening to the whole thing. Young And Menace is admittedly catchy and probably one of my favorites of the 10 total songs, but everything else just sounds kind of meh. I'll try to give it a second chance this coming week, or I'll just go back and listen to Folie à Duex. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this past week was once again filled with me roaming around in Hyrule stumbling across shrines, korok seeds, and so much more. I usually have a hard time getting invested in large, open-world games, so I'm surprised to still be enjoying myself with Breath of the Wild as much as I am 50+ hours of gameplay later. I'll try to refrain from mentioning this week after week, but just know that a lot of my upcoming spare time will be spent glued to my Switch. Tom Westrick I'm cheating a bit on my submission this week. Last week I mentioned listening to First Aid Kit's latest album, Ruins, one time through since it was just released last Friday. I listened to it much more in the week since, and this is easily my favorite album released in the last two years. I can connect to the each of the songs to a different point in my life — Fireworks reminds me of summer nights in high school, while It's a Shame makes me think of a time in my life where I didn't care for romantic relationships. Definitely give the album at least one listen through. In other news, I've been playing a bit of Star Wars Battlefront II with my nephew while my brother and his fiance are at the gym each night. I haven't bothered with the campaign, but the 1-v-1 competitive multiplayer is fun enough. On a related note, my nephew and I played Halo 3 together one night, and I was asked why I didn't need to open any loot boxes. Part of me died after hearing that sentence. Your turn What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments! Update, January 27, 2018: This is a weekly series where we tell you what we're into, so check back every Friday or Saturday!

date: Sat, 27 Jan 2018 15:00:00 +0000