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MiB Staff Picks - March 20, 2020


TV: There are two types of people in this world: those who watch comedies to cheer themselves up and those who watch tense, bleak thrillers. I've been watching Occupied on Netflix, whose third season just came out in January. Set in an alt-present day Norway where the government turns off oil production and Russia takes over the country to turn it back on. It's smart and nerve-wracking and eerily plausible. If you're looking for something to distract you by making you feel scared about the future for totally un-virus related reasons, this is as good as they come. 

Music: A renaissance madrigal to destroy you and then put you back together again: when I'm cresting that wave of pandemic despair, Miserere Mei, Deus is my surfboard. It is an auditory masterpiece of grief, anxiety, stoic acceptance, and the resilience of hope.
When I'm ready to feel good again, this cover of Taylor Swift's Lover by Niall Horan and Fletcher has been bringing me a lot of joy. 

A game for when the walls feel like they're closing in on you: This game got my friends and I through AP Chemistry back in the day. It gives you a random Google streetview image from somewhere in the world and you have to guess where it is on the map. Had totally forgotten about it until this week, when borders started closing left and right. It makes the world feel accessible again. Also it's super addictive. 

JW - Every night before my wife and I go to sleep, we watch Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" on the CNN app. Shot beautifully, scored deftly and character-driven (both by the host and those he meets), this is what I consider the gold standard of non-scripted television. It would've been easy to make the show all fine dining and exotic locales, but Bourdain drills down to the soul of the place. I would love to pick the producer's brain and find out how they created these masterpieces. And in a reality where we are shuttered in, this feels like virtual travel. Kind of. Listening to Brian Fallon's new songs. Reading "The Guns of August," by Barbara W. Tuchman, which is like tackling a massive Italian meal. Dense but rewarding. And "Mo' Meta Blues," by Questlove, who knows the lyrics, arrangements and story behind every song ever written.  


Books - currently re-reading a few collections of stories. "Here in Berlin" by Christina Garcia which features a few of my all time favorites. "Men Without Women" by Haruki Murakami. "Her Body and Other Parties" which I picked up because I saw three people reading it on the subway in the course of one day. So far, so good.

Movies - I also re-watched Ruben Östlund's films Force Majeure and The Square. Brilliantly made, dry, dark, absurdist comedies that have lines in them which I quote often. They will make life feel a little less serious for two and a half hours each.

Music - Working my way slowly through Knxwledge's encyclopedic bandcamp collection of mixtapes. I am nowhere near the middle of these, let alone the end. 

NickHypercharge Unboxed, a great tower defense video game that you can play with your friends online or at home on the couch. It's like a hybrid between Toy Story and Small Soldiers. It's a fun and colorful game that brings back a lot of childhood memories.

Jordan - In the absence of football, I've taken up my old habit of enjoying the RLCS (Rocket League Championship Series). I'm an avid Rocket League player and I can honestly say that playing the game is the closest I've ever felt to playing football without actually playing football (barring the fact that I am playing virtually and with a remote control car). Esports have been slightly disrupted as there are no more live events, but The RLCS is mostly played online and has adapted to have their playoffs held online as well. The community is amazing and always welcoming and if you're looking for something to scratch that itch that a lack of Premier League football has left you with, this might just be what you've been looking for. All scheduled matches listed HERE. You can watch HERE. All past streams and matches uploaded HERE.