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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

March in Review

Happy Friday folks! It's now officially spring (not that the weather always wants to agree with this statement mind you) and we're already snowballing our way into the fourth month of the year - it's honestly flying by so fast. March was a busy ol' month for me for so many reasons and even over here on NB, I have had a lot of activity and some changes in posts etc that I'm really pleased with and intend to carry on into the rest of this year.

The Personal
Well I guess the first thing I need to address - y'know, that big fat elephant in the corner - is the fact that March was my birth month and I turned the ripe old age of 26. Twenty six. I know. It sounds so old but to be honest, I don't see age as a negative and can't quite get my head around those who really fear it. To commemorate the day, I published a post all about what I would say to myself 1O years ago if I had the opportunity. I always think it's important to look back on life and laugh - there's no point in regretting things that you can no longer change or worse still, get caught up in that regret when in fact you can still change the outcome of something. So this post wasn't particularly deep and meaningful, but it covered some advice that I wish I could give to my younger naive self. For my birthday, I spent the majority of the day at work (which is going *great* by the way - I'm really enjoying it and feel like I've finally found a role that's *me*) before going out for dinner with Matthew in the evening. We popped to Brasserie Blanc for a 3 course meal purely because I love their pistachio souffle and I wish I had a better reason behind why I chose Brasserie Blanc for my birthday meal but, I would be lying.

Other than my birthday happening, March was just a "get your head down and get on with it" kind of month. I've been taking in my new role in my new job and also working out finances for weddings and mortgages (I know, I am as disgusted with this transition into adulthood as you lot are). The weather has been crazy over this last month and I'm pleased to see it looks like it's finally getting sunnier and the days are getting longer so I'm looking forward to planning many more outings in April to make up for the cack weather March brought us.

I'm probably lying about this, but I can only recall watching one movie during March and that was Gods of Egypt. This film has a lot of famous faces in it including Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) amongst others so the cast looked pretty promising - note I said the cast looked promising, stay with me, it goes down hill from here! As the title suggests, Gods of Egypt is about just that. It follows a few of the Egyptian gods through a pretty weak storyline line. It also involves a roguish human character who is like Aladdin in many ways and he somehow gets involved with the gods. Now, I don't really want to say more than that because I would be telling you all of the main plot however what I will say is that if you usually like movies like 3OO or Clash of Titans etc. you might like this. Proceed with caution though if you are someone who loves ancient Egyptian religion and you know a lot about Egyptian archaeology or history because as a qualified archaeologist, I really struggled to look beyond the many inaccuracies this movie had which meant I couldn't really enjoy the film. If you like fantasy action films though, you will probably enjoy this enough to make it worth the watch. Not the best thing I've seen though!

For TV in March, Matt & I watched anime a lot and our two main loves have been Death Note and Sinbad. I'm pretty sure I don't really need to talk about Death Note because everyone knows what it is, but the anime is fantastic if you like what I would call traditional, kind of dark anime. Death Note is basically about various gods of death who have notebooks that names can be added to and those individuals named will die. One of the gods drops his book into the human world and well, shit happens. It's a great anime, there's a reason people have raved about it for years, and please watch this rather than the whitewashed Netflix live action movie version. The other anime we've enjoyed is Sinbad; a Netflix original series. It is about the folkloric character Sinbad but very fantasy based and magical rather than him being a pirate. He is a young teen who is travelling around the world, recruiting various people to his cause as he tackles dungeon-style quests. These quests he goes on results in him gaining a power as a reward for defeating whatever monster or thing he has to overcome in the task. It's very similar to many Japanese team RPG games in the whole dungeon -> boss fight -> bounty/treasure storyline, just it's in TV show format so I'm all about that when I'm genuinely too lazy to play a game (it happens trust me).

Okay I'm not even going to lie, Twenty One Pilots have well and truly taken over my life over this past month. Their Vessel and Blurryface albums have been on pretty much on repeat for me this month and I'm not entirely sure why. I just seem to have fallen in love with certain songs all over again and I've fallen harder for them than when I originally heard them. A couple of ultra faves at the moment are House of Gold, Car Radio, Ride, and Lane Boy. As for new music, there's been an eclectic selection for me during March. The first one I need to talk about is a new discovery for me which is Nadia Reid. As a girl who loves Chelsea Wolfe, I think I might have found the Chelsea Wolfe equivalent but calm, more acoustic, and less dark and grimy. Her voice is absolutely beautiful and makes the hairs on my arms stand up on ends but her newest album, Preservation, is an all-round great album - there's not one song on it that I don't like! My favourite track so far is definitely Richard, though.

Now for a super old favourite - Depeche Mode released Spirit and it's alright. I feel so dirty saying it's just okay because Depeche Mode are an absolute classic band and one my favourites but the album really is just alright. Nothing will ever top their "old stuff" for me but Spirit still is clearly Depeche Mode and sounds like them, it just doesn't grab my attention quite as good as their stuff from the 80s manages to still do. Another kind of disappointment for me this month was the release of VOIDS by Minus the Bear. Minus the Bear are another band that usually get an A+ rating for me but this album just hasn't hit it for me. I find a lot of the songs repetitive in a noticeable way (that's never good) and it just isn't what I expected from them. It's almost too pop-y so I'm not a huge fan. I am going to give it a bit more of a listen in case it's a grower, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope unfortunately! Some good stuff though? Future Islands have finally released something new. Just two tracks, Ran and Cave, I've got high expectations for whatever album they drop next. Both songs are great and typically their style but I definitely prefer Ran as it's more catchy and makes me want to dance.

A favourite band of mine, Mastodon, released Emperor of Sand this month too and I am well happy with it. It's very Mastodon and sounds much more like "old Mastodon" instead of "radio friendly" Once More Around the Sun album Mastodon. It's very zig-zaggy with it's riffs and reminds me of some strange mix of Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots (both of which are two other bands I love so this isn't necessarily a complaint), but it is easy listening so if you want something super heavy, this isn't going to be it. But nevertheless, I don't think they've sold out in anyway and I'm looking forward to playing it a little more.

Another thing I should mention here is that at the start of March, I was bloody distraught to find out that after 26 years of making some of my most favourite music, HIM announced they are soon to be parting ways and are doing a farewell tour in December. I was like hot shit the day the tickets went on sale and was in ticket queues on several websites on several devices whilst at work at 9am to make sure I got some. £230 later (I know, I'm still reeling) I have two tickets and will be seeing my beloved Ville Valo in December in Camden. I'm pretty sure the site I used ripped me off and overcharged the living daylights out of me but I mean, they've been one of my favourite bands since I was 10, I couldn't turn down this one last chance to see them live now could I?

Video Games
Guess what? Mass Effect Andromeda dropped in March. I've literally never been off it - whenever I have a spare hour or two (and when I can successfully peel Matthew off it) I have been beavering away at it and I've got to be honest, I'm really enjoying it. I was so worried about it coming out and it not being what I expected or wanted but that fear instantly dissolved as soon as I started playing it. Unlike when Bioware released Dragon Age Inquisition, I don't feel like Andromeda has been a massive jump in play style or story etc. compared to the original Mass Effect trilogy. Now of course it's not following the same group of characters from the original trilogy so that has changed, however the game style itself is pretty similar to the old ones and I personally like that. I've seen a lot of people complaining that the graphics aren't good enough and that its buggy which to be fair, the graphics haven't really improved since the trilogy and there is a lot of bugs but those are being ironed out with patches. I always believe that if the graphics are acceptable that is good enough if the game's storyline hooks you in enough that it doesn't matter what the graphics are like - you love it anyway (e.g. Final Fantasy VII). The combat system is much more fast paced and chaotic now which initially I thought was fantastic but I have a couple of reservations about it now. I won't go into too much detail as I plan to do a full in-depth review of my opinions on this game, but I honestly think if you are a Mass Effect fan, you are bound to like this game as it has stayed very true to the old ME games just it's on a much larger/more open world scale.

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