My favourite things (may 19th-june 4th)

Hi there! So, it’s been a hot minute since I made one of these posts, huh? Well, here we are, back again–and I thought I’d try my best to hype up some of my favourite things from the past little while. Please check all them out, they are absolutely wonderful!

Khora

Okay, technically the title of this show has a big ol’ accented o in the title, but I’m on my computer and I don’t want to look up the alt code, so please forgive me if you made the show and are reading this.

Khora is a sci-fi podcast based off the Greek myth of the Argonauts, following Princess Medea after she kills her husband Jason. (Yes, I had to look up the myth on Wikipedia to fully appreciate this show. Yes, it was 100% worth it.) I was a huge Greek mythology kid, thanks to the wonders of Rick Riordan books–so listening to this show takes me back to the days when my entire life revolved around whether or not Jason and Piper were going to kiss, it feels very nostalgic.

I love how they interpret the stories, especially Medusa–making her a biproduct of the evil Olympus Corp’s experimentation, able to paralyze people against her will when she feels nervous. (Is this because I project onto her? Absolutely.) Anyway, I would 100% recommend it.

Second Star to the Left

Another super loose retelling–this one is based off Peter Pan, set in a world where humanity has spread amongst the stars, and the colonizing of planets is routine. Scouts like Gwendolyn Hart are sent to scout out empty planets… knowing they will never leave the planet they land on, for the rest of their lives, and won’t even see another human being for five years, when their first settlers arrive.

But Gwen isn’t completely alone–she has her Scoutminder, Bell Summers, to keep her company, and of course her trusty robot companion, Boots. (Writing these posts has made me really good at using the exact same tone a movie trailer would. What has my life come to.)

Because it’s an audio drama, obviously it has buckets of LGBT+ rep, and an evil corporation, what more could you want. I love the sound design on this show, it’s so well done, plus the voice acting is incredible. Bell’s backstory episode has to be my favourite–I was absolutely losing my mind as things unrolled. I can’t wait to see where this show goes, it’s so cool! (And absolutely going to emotionally destroy me, but oh well.)

In Transit

Another space podcast, hooray! In Transit follows the spaceship Eurus, where everything really seems like it’s going fine, until a series of murders takes place–and Alecto McAlpine (a Sentinel, or an elite soldier chosen to guard the ship) is brought out of cryo, in the hopes she’ll be able to get to the bottom of whatever’s going on. But she’s about to uncover a conspiracy far greater than anyone ever could have imagined… dun dun dun…

Anyway, that’s all I can say without spoiling you, but holy shit, this is such a good show! I always say this, but I love the way it’s put together, I love the music, I love the writing–it really knows how to do a good mystery–and most of all, the found family, because I’m absolute trash for that trope. Cairo’s story especially had me more than a little emotional, and anyway now I declare him my comfort character, you can pry him out of my cold, dead hands. This is such a wonderful show, I love it so much, please check it out!

The Night Post

Next, I listened to The Night Post, which has been in my mental to-be-listened-to list for a while, since it sounded super cool. And it absolutely is! It’s set in the super-spooky Gilt City, where the supernatural is kind of just the norm. The three main characters–Val, Clementine, and Milo, all have been selected to work as pigeons for the Night Post, delivering mail by dark. Their job is feared by the wider public, which seems them harbingers of the supernatural. Which, to be fair, they might be. But they’re also… just kind of normal people, amid their high-fatality jobs? It’s a horror podcast, but it’s got lots of heart as well, and the sweetest found family. My favourite character has to be either Milo or Clem–because Milo’s voice sounds like a hug, and I see myself a little in Clem for some reason. The last episode absolutely destroyed me–I have no idea what’s going to happen in season two, and I can’t wait to listen to it, oh my gosh.

Sugar Rush

Ok, this is kind of a fish out of water amid all these super cool indie podcasts, which have touched my soul and/or emotionally destroyed me, but I have this weird obsession with baking shows and I’m going to make it everyone else’s problem. They’re just so nice to watch when I’m sad, and give me this feeling of, like, psuedo-accomplishment, I guess? Anyway, I’ve been kind of obsessed with this one of late.

The idea is, there are four teams of professional bakers, competing against each other and the clock in three rounds where they make cupcakes, confections, and finally a cake. It makes baking feel high-stakes, which I guess I have to give them some credit for. I have a ridiculous amount of fun deciding which team of lovely people to be overly critical of, and which team to root for to the grave, and pretending to know more about baking than I actually do. It’s on Netflix if you want to watch it. 🙂

Whoo! That was a pretty long post, but I’ve just been consuming a ton of media of late, what can I say? Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed. See you soon!

Lots of love,

Lorna

my favourite things (May 5th-15th)

The Beacon (Season Two)

Okay, so I know I’ve already written about this podcast, but Holy. Shit. I just need to talk about this show, okay?! It’s so good! For those of you who don’t know, The Beacon is a fiction podcast about a reluctant group of college-aged superheroes, trying to keep their campus safe from the increasingly strange happenings all around it.

This will have some spoilers below, so if, unlike me, you have enough self-control to listen to the whole podcast to find out what actually happens, just close your eyes and scroll past this. Okay, let’s get into it!

This season was even better than the first, I loved the little mini-episodes in between seasons to keep you updated on what was going on with the characters–it was so much fun. Also, we got to find out some of the characters’ real names! I’ve been trying to guess what they are for ages, so you have no idea the amount of serotonin I got from finding out that Capy’s name is Thea. (I had her pegged as maybe a Katy or a Kate, something along those lines–but Thea fits her perfectly.) Also, the plot is really getting intense, I have no idea what’s going to happen in season three, but I’m very excited to find out.

The whole plot with the wolf cult was super chilling–cults in general are always really interesting to write or read about, and I love how this one was handled.

Also, Lassie/Thalusol (is that how it’s spelled? I have no idea, if you wrote the show and are reading this, please forgive me) was such a fun character. At first, he was just very welcome comic relief, but his arc quickly turned much more deep and as the season went on, he became one of my favourite characters–I still think he’s an asshole, but he’s an interesting asshole, so I can tolerate him.

Anyway, in conclusion this show absolutely destroyed me, and I would highly recommend it.

Wooden Overcoats

Wooden Overcoats follows siblings Rudyard and Antigone Funn, who run a funeral home–which used to be the only one on the tiny island of Piffling Vale, until the effortlessly charming Eric Chapman comes along, and steals almost all of their business, because they’re actually kind of terrible at their jobs.

This has everything I want in a show. It’s so cozy and soothing, and just has a way of bringing a smile to my face In case you couldn’t tell, my sense of humour tends to lean a little dark, so this show’s kind of comedy was right up my alley.

It feels a bit like A Series of Unfortunate Events–a depressing show that still manages to cheer you up despite the vague, sinking knowledge that no matter how set the characters seem to be for a happy ending, something nine times out of ten will go wrong, but you can never predict how exactly–which makes for a weirdly addictive viewing experience. It also just has such a neat, very specific, whimsical small-town aesthetic. I think I could listen to this show a thousand times over and never get bored. I love the theme song and the sound design, and everything about it is just wonderful, and perfectly polished, you can feel the amount of love put into every single episode.

I don’t know if there’s going to be a season four or not, but I really hope there is, because I love these characters so much. Also, the last episode of season three almost made me cry, so be warned.

Heart of Ether

I’ve been looking for a horror podcast to fill the Magnus Archives-shaped void in my heart, and Heart of Ether is the perfect fit. It follows Irene Gray, a newcomer to the town of Daughtler, Washington–told in her voice recordings, addressed to her high school girlfriend, who went missing without explanation four years ago. But something’s not quite right about this town, and monsters lurk below the surface… and that is all I can say without getting into spoilers.

The sound design is so chilling, the voice acting is phenomenal, and I’m excited to see where this story is going, because I can sense something big is going to happen in season two, which will start releasing August 13th, so stay tuned because I will definitely need to gush about it more later on.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

I know I’m probably not the only person who’s talking about this movie–it’s been trending on Netflix for a while. But I watched it, and it sort of made me have a mental breakdown, because I guess I’m just allergic to healthy relationships in media now? Like, I will watch stories about trauma and death and brutal violence and be totally numb to it, but give me a happy ending and I’m questioning all my life decisions and crying on the floor. But. It is a really refreshing, very honest take on the “fun cartoon family adventure” movie genre, that I feel like can be enjoyed by adults and kids.

It follows The Mitchells, a family who were just trying to drive their eldest daughter Katie to college, and definitely never intended to be the last free people during the machinepocalypse. They’re unlikely heroes, about as prepared to save the world as any of us would be, and that’s exactly why this movie is so good. All the characters feel so real, and flawed, and fundamentally human.

I’m a huge sucker for family dynamics–romantic relationships and friendships are great, but there’s nothing more fun to write or watch/read about than a family. You get to see how they all influence and effect each other, work together as a team, how they relate to each other, their individual dynamics, the highs and lows of each of those relationships, and especially if they’ve known each other for a really long time, there’s just so much potential in there. I love thinking about how parents effect children, for better or for worse. So, this movie just ticked all the boxes for me, and if you’re prepared to cry a bit, I would definitely reccomend it.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this week! I hope you check all these wonderful things out, because they’re super cool and they made me happy. Feel free to share any things that you’ve been enjoying of late in the comments, I love hearing from readers. ❤

Lots of love,

Lorna

My favourite things! (April 11-30)

Hey people! So, it’s been a while, but I have finally amassed enough things that I like throughout the month that I could put together another post. So, let’s get into it!

Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

Okay, so I basically grew up with Taylor Swift. Half of the songs on Fearless I can recite by memory–I remember being, like, seven, and watching all her music videos after school on YouTube, back when I could name about three artists total. I didn’t really know other artists existed until sixth grade, so for a while it was just me and my emotional support Taylor Swift albums against the world. (No, I did not come up with that joke, I saw it on Tumblr, but I couldn’t resist.)

I don’t know, her music is just really nostalgic to me, and always makes me feel really safe and happy, and has gotten me through some tough times. As I write this it’s been a little while since this album came out, but whatever, I just needed to gush about it. The re-rerecorded songs are, for the most part, very similar to their original versions, but the vocals feel so much smoother and more mature, as though she’s recalling a nostalgic memory, and getting a chance to re-live my childhood this way was so nice. I’m lowkey getting very emotional about finally getting to listen to “Fifteen” as an actual fifteen year old, rather than a nine-year-old who thought being a teenager was gonna be the coolest thing ever. Also, the bonus tracks are amazing, and it’s a crime against humanity they weren’t released originally.

The Unruly City: Paris, London, and New York in the Age of Revolution

Okay, I don’t know if it shows, but I am such a huge history kid. Social studies is my favourite school topic by far. I think knowing about history is so important, because you definitely do see parallels between the world as it is now, and the world as it was then.

It’s so fascinating to think about all the people who came before you, all the events that shaped the world as we know it. Thinking about that will never cease to amaze me. I think revolutions are fascinating, and the late 1700s-1800s is a period I just keep ending up falling back to in my writing, so I figured it was time to read up a bit on it. I feel like there’s so much about history I don’t know, and would love to study further, so if anyone has any suggestions for good history books about, like, literally anything, let me know.

Anyway, this book follows three different revolutionary periods, interweaving different stories. The prose is so beautifully written, and immersive? I don’t know what it quite is, but it really makes you feel like you’re there. It’s definitely very smart, but doesn’t talk down to the reader, and never feels dry or overly academic/pretentious either. I’m not finished with it yet, but I’m pretty close, and I’m loving it so far.

Shadow and Bone

I originally got into the Grishaverse when I was in seventh grade, on the hunt for literally any fantasy books I hadn’t already read to death, like the little book gremlin I was. I was too young to fully appreciate the scope of these books, and they’ve for sure gotten better after a few years, and I’m sure I’ll appreciate them even more when I’m in my 20s. Anyway, last March I got my friend into them while we were in quarantine, and as a result had an excuse to get more into them myself. We’ve both been super hyped to watch the Netflix show and so I may or may not have spent like four hours binge-watching it this afternoon, after I finished work. I’m only five episodes in as I write this, because it is not healthy for me to binge-watch shows without taking a bit of a break, but so far I’m loving it. It’s faithful to the books, without following them verbatim. It sort of feels like reading AU fanfiction by the author, and I say that in the best way possible–because it reworks the original story in such a way that it’s understandable to someone who’s never read the books, but also creates a totally new experience for someone like me who’s read them many, many times–everyone goes into watching it not knowing what’s going to happen.

Shadow and Bone combines the plots of two different series within the same universe, Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. So we get two narratives, both set within the fantasy world, in which Grisha, gifted with various magical powers, live–exalted in one country, persecuted in the next. There are a bunch of different countries, all with really beautifully fleshed-out cultures, but this show focuses on Ravka, based off of Imperial Russia. The country has been divided into east and west by a sea of darkness called The Fold. One side of the story follows Alina Starkov, a soldier fighting against The Fold, who discovers she’s a Grisha, capable of summoning light and calling back the darkness. And then, on the other hand, we follow The Crows, a gang of criminals set on capturing her for a generous reward. Sadly, some of the original six in the book are off doing other things right now, but we still do get to see them–except for Wylan. I’m a bit salty about that, but I guess I can see why he had to be cut. Anyway, the TLDR is that it’s super well written high fantasy and I love this whole franchise to death.

Also, bonus points for how INCREDIBLE the soundtrack is. It’s been stuck in my head all night, which really says a lot, because normally instrumental songs don’t exactly stick to your memory. As we speak, I’m listening to the album for season one on Spotify–10/10, would recommend for dramatically studying French and trying to force yourself to pay attention and/or writing very bad fight scenes.

Inkwyrm

I listened to the first half of this podcast ages ago, like in… November? but I got distracted, and I never ended up finishing it, sadly. But I was at work so I had nothing else to do but listen to podcasts while I worked–so I ploughed through the rest of this show in, like, a few days, because it’s really addictive and definitely easy to binge-listen to. It’s a workplace comedy, and also a space opera, with loads of LGBT+ rep, all of which are just making this show right up my alley. (Oh, and a central wlw romance! Do NOT get me started on the romance in this show, it’s so good!!)

It follows Mella Sonder, assistant to the editor-in-chief Annie Inkwyrm, of Inkywrm Magazine, an intergalactic fashion publication, and their whole ensemble of coworkers and the antics they get up to. Most of the time it’s fairly lighthearted, but it has some really hard-hitting plotpoints too that, not gonna lie, got me pretty emotional. Also, it’s got found family, what’s not to love.

Speed round: My favourite memories of the week

Meals: Chocolate chip cookies, veggie simosas, sun-dried tomato pasta, tacos my mom made, homemade naan breads which turned our surprisingly well, and these English muffins I had with peanut butter for a late-night writing snack.

Memories: Finishing my biology final, at long last, and getting macarons with my friend to celebrate afterwards at the local bakery, watching Shadow and Bone, gardening out in the yard after sunset on a warm night, finally being able to wear shorts!

I think that’s about it! I will hopefully see you again soon, thanks so much for reading 🙂

Lorna

Some things that have been making me happy!

Wolfwalkers

So admittedly, I saw this movie, like, three months ago, but for the purpose of this post just pretend I watched it last week, I don’t know. Wolfwalkers is set in 1650s Ireland, and follows a little girl named Robyn struggling to find her place in life in Kilkenny, a town that’s been abruptly taken over by Lord Protector. She’s grown up believing the wolves outside their town are terrible monsters that need to be hunted down, but when she meets Mehb, a little girl around her age, and a wolfwalker–human in the day, and wolf at night when her human body sleeps–who makes her rethink everything she thought she knew about the world.

The art style is absolutely gorgeous. Like, holy shit, flawless writing aside, this movie is just so pretty to look at? I’m sure you’ve probably seen clips of the “Running With The Wolves” montage, because it was all over my social media feed a few months ago, but just in case you didn’t, here you go, honestly this alone does a better job hyping up this movie then I ever could.

It was really beautiful, and made me tear up a little bit, and yeah, I would absolutely recommend it.

The Beacon

So, I really love superhero stories done right. Like, when they acknowledge the well-worn tropes of their own genre and twist them, often being really hilariously self-aware… I don’t know, it’s so good, and maybe this is just because the theme of feeling like you have to save the whole world, or having your whole self esteem hinge on being better than other people somehow, or being forced to grow up way too fast–kinda hits a bit close to home for me… but I’m just such trash for them, I don’t know.

The Beacon follows Bee, a college student who realizes she can control fire. It’s like a podcast within a podcast, because the show you hear as the listener exists in-universe, as a show Bee is making to try and reach out and find other people like her with superpowers, who could help her defeat the wolf-lizard who lives in the woods outside her university. It’s smart and self-aware, and to be honest, pretty painfully relatable, with some really interesting themes, and overall just has such a wholesome message? I don’t know, it has a way of always making me feel better. I just finished season one, and I can’t wait to see where this show goes in the future.

The Far Meridian

Another show I haven’t finished, but really liked so I have to talk about it here.

The Far Meridian follows Peri, and agoraphobic young woman whose house has, seemingly randomly, showing up in a different location every day. I’m only on the fourth episode as I write this, so don’t spoil me too much, but oh my gosh, I’m already so in love with this show! The sound design is beautiful, and while I don’t have agoraphobia, I do have anxiety, so I can definitely relate to some of the main characters’ experiences in that department. I really appreciate how the show portrays her, and how getting better is often a very slow and gradual process, and it’s okay to be afraid and take things one step at a time. I feel like it’s probably going to take a dark turn and absolutely emotionally destroy me, because if I were the writer that’s what I’d do, but in the meantime, it’s just a very soothing, whimsical show, and I like it a lot. Oh! The music is absolutely gorgeous, I have to mention that as well!

Alice Isn’t Dead

So, I’m not totally finished with this show, and I actually listened to a lot of the first season last year, in one big sitting after school, got really obsessed with it for a few days… and then randomly stopped. I don’t know, sometimes my brain is just like that. But I still have a bunch of it on my phone, and I ran out of other things to listen to while I was working, so I decided to pick it up again, and now I’m almost finished with season two.

It definitely has a Night Vale-esque feel, since it’s got some of the same people behind it, but it’s also not Night Vale at all. I can definitely imagine them taking place in the same universe of Weird Shit Happening in America.

It follows Keisha, a truck driver chasing her missing wife Alice across America. The deeper she goes, the more messed up she gets in this terrifying, nonsensical conspiracy. At times it’s really sweet–Keisha and her wife have a really beautiful relationship that makes me feel things, at times just strange, and at other times absolutely terrifying, but in a good way. I’d definitely recommend giving it a listen.

Speed round of on media related very nice things I’ve been enjoying of late and feel the need to share with you, dear reader. In no particular order: these fairy lights I ordered a little while ago and have strung up on my walls, this colour changing lightbulb I got, and to complete the funky lighting scheme, this super nifty lamp from IKEA that looks like a big glowing sphere! Macarons from this bakery I’ve been walking to after school, I’ve tried two out of the five flavours they have, once because I was feeling kinda down and wanted to cheer myself up, and once to celebrate finishing my midterm exam! Drinking enough water! Spring flowers! The vague idea that at some point I should make myself a picnic lunch but the amount of preparation and disposable time this requires means it’ll probably take me a while to get up the motivation! This very pretty Penumbra podcast poster I got! Trying to get into nonfiction books!

Feel free to share your happy things in the comments if you want to share, no matter how little or silly they might seem! Hearing from people always makes my day.

Lots of love,

Lorna

Shoutout Saturday (book and podcast recommendations)

Hey guys! So I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself of late, just because I’m on winter break right now–and sometimes when I feel lonely, listening to podcasts helps. (This is gonna sound really sad–but it’s sorta like a one-sided phone call.) Anyway, here are some of my favourites I’ve recently discovered!

Zero Hours

This is one of those podcasts I’ve been meaning to get to for ages, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s a short series of pieces exploring the end of the world, from 1722 to the present, to far, far into the future. It’s definitely not easy listening, or the best thing to put on if you’re already feeling anxious about the state of the world. But if you’re up to it, this show has some of the most brilliant, unique writing and sound design I’ve seen in a long time.

Some episodes explore dystopian societies, and horrifying wastelands, your typical “end of the world” fare. But other episodes explore a much more personal kind of apocalypse–a couple weighing the pros and cons of taking a miracle drug that might ruin their relationship, a bartender considering his options the night before Prohibition goes into effect. It’s definitely not rainbows and sunshine, but despite the grim stories this podcast tells, in the end, I think it’s a show about hope, and shared humanity.

Oh! And, it’s by the same people who made Wolf 359, so some of the voice actors from that star in it, which is super cool, just to get to see the same voices in a totally different context? I don’t know, it’s neat!

A Neon Darkness

So, The Bright Sessions has to be one of my favourite podcasts of all time. I binge-listened to it in, like, a week, because the writing is just so addictive–maybe I’ll write about it more at some point, or relisten. But the basic premise is that the show follows Dr. Bright, a therapist for people with superpowers, and her clients, whose stories all gradually come together. It discusses mental health and trauma in a really refreshing, poignant way, it has found family, and it’s just such a good show. Anyway, it’s over now, but the person who wrote it, Lauren Shippen, is still writing stuff in the universe–there are two spinoff shows out right now, and she’s writing three books about some of the supporting characters who didn’t get a chance to tell their full stories in the podcast.

A Neon Darkness explores the life of Damien, a nineteen-year-old with the power to make other people want (and therefore do) what he wants.

This book kept me up super late into the night, I just couldn’t put it down. In the podcast, I always hated Damien’s guts, and I still do–he does some really awful, inexcusable things. But after reading this book, I can empathize a little bit more with some of his experiences. The way he becomes the villain of his own story, and sabotages himself without even realizing it–I’ve definitely been there.

This book also has phenomenal representation, just like the podcast, which made me so happy–and yeah, you should check it out, and also listen to The Bright Sessions!

Station Arcadia

My friend introduced me to this show. I started listening to it a few days ago, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

Station Arcadia is set in a barren, war-torn dystopian empire from the not-so-distant future. Each episode is a broadcast from our narrator, Kass, as she tells stories of those at the living very edges of society. (I’m only on episode five, but I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be a revolution, and I’m very hyped.) It’s got really good representation, and it’s got that super cool radio show format, which I’m always trash for in podcasts–and I love the mix of a new story every episode, but there’s still an overarching storyline, and of course, as the episodes go on you get to know the narrator. The sound design and music is also really well done, like wow.

I’m almost done casting for my podcast, and halfway through editing the first season, which is super exciting–and I guess it’s just comforting to see another small podcast, doing its thing really well, and putting out super high-quality content? It makes me really happy.

The Lower Light

Right now, this podcast is only on its first few episodes, but it deserves so much more attention!

The Lower Light follows Laurie Caston, a curator for the Lighthouse Museum, as he explores the artefacts and tells you the stories behind him. Each episode has a new stand-alone tale of selkies, or vampires, or other funky creatures, and it’s super cool. Laurie’s voice is so soothing to listen to, he’s pretty much the ideal narrator for a fiction podcast (in my humble opinion). Oh, and it’s got really awesome representation too, which is super cool to see!

The sound design is beautiful, and the writing is just so effortlessly elegant–somehow every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m right there with the characters, and I can just imagine the setting so vividly. Listening to this show is just an absolutely magical experience, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.


Anyway, that’s all I have for you this week! I hope you all are taking care of yourselves, I know the holidays can be a really rough time, especially this year. I’m sending lots of hugs your way. I hope you’re all safe and healthy, and I’ll see you again in the New Year. 🙂

Lots of love,

Lorna