Reading – A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson
Immediately, this story filled me with a sense of adventure. Writer and nature lover, Bill Bryson sets off to walk the 2,100 mile long Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine with his friend Stephen Katz. With a dry irony that comes from spending too many years in England, surrounded by colourful people and unlikely scenarios, it’s an entertaining and educational piece of travel writing that will have you itching to go out and see more of your own country. I myself instantly searched for a trail that ran from Cape Reinga to Bluff in New Zealand. And found one. Next time I have a spare couple of months I might even attempt it! After all, if a couple of overweight, middle age men can, so can I.
Watching – Song of the Sea
A beautifully animated story based on a Celtic myth of the selkie, a creature that lives on the land as a human, and in the sea as a white seal. When Sairose discovers a shell flute that had belonged to her mother, it becomes a connection to a magical world. When she and her older brother Ben are forced to live with their granny in the city, Ben has to step up as an older brother and help his sister complete a quest she’s destined to perform.
An outstandingly beautiful film with nuanced characters, holding on tightly to its mythical roots and Irish culture. Aired at the Toronto Film Festival in the kids program, it’s a story enjoyable for all ages. It was nominated for an academy award but lost out to Big Hero 6. Tough break.
Playing – Bravely Default (3DS)
The story follows Tiz and Agnes as they try to revive the temple crystals and hopefully save the world. Winding through the country’s politics, and running from the scheming and murderous Duchy of Eternia, saving the world isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The gameplay is that of a typical JRPG, but solid and enjoyable. Square Enix bring back the turn-based battles of Final Fantasy X, coupled with acquiring job asterisks, much like the dress spheres of Final Fantasy X2. But with less magical-girl costume changes. You level up your character and the jobs separately, enabling fun combinations to suit any play style. It’s easy to pick up and go, and deep enough to give the hardcore players something to sink their teeth into. It’s good to train up a number of jobs to combine different ability combinations.
Currently up to Chapter 3. It’s been awhile since I’ve played a JRPG and I forgot how much grinding is required. Recently picked up the pirate asterisks. Need to decide who to train with it, because I want the excuse to yell YARR whenever I beat a boss.