The Almost Perfect Newsletter – February 2021

Hey team,

How are you living? I hope it’s well. Me? Well, let’s not get into that right now. Wouldn’t wanna spoil the mood. (You can listen to today’s podcast if you really wanna know).

Anyway, here is the February edition of the Almost Perfect newsletter. I’m actually kinda proud of myself that I managed to get it out in the first week of March. A vast improvement over the January newsletter. But let’s not get our hopes up too soon about the March newsletter, there’s no telling what the future holds.

Prepare to get nostalgic with me or to discover some old shit you had no clue even existed as this month recommendations are a blast from the past. Lately, I’ve found myself returning to the classics. While there’s a constant stream of new content coming out every second, in times of turmoil, it’s comforting to retread familiar sights and sounds. Enjoy.

Stay safe/sane,
Bob.

Listen to This:

I was first introduced to All Hail West Texas in my early 20s by a 30-something insurance salesman in my hockey team. That might not sound like the most ringing endorsement, but reader, let me tell you, that dude was an encyclopedia of music. He knew I fancied myself a bit of an aficionado so he decided to educate me by burning a DVD of albums by the likes of Titus Andronicus and The Mountain Goats. 

I’ll be eternally grateful for the hookup as All Hail West Texas is an album I return to multiple times a year. Recorded on a boombox at home alone whilst his wife went to work, John Darnielle created one of the most charming folk releases of all time. It’s a lo-fi masterpiece that’s perfect in its imperfection.

It’s an album about crushed dreams, ruined romances, freedom, love, and hope. It explores universal truths and experiences by peering through the eyes of a handful of lives. It’s wonderful and you should listen to it if you haven’t before. 

Listen to it on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0SSMTJHDokOaKuaLaeSAYd 

Watch This:

While this movie had an absolutely banging soundtrack and an incredible cast, it’s also the best performance Blake Lively has ever given (and arguably Justin Long too).

For those who have never seen it, Accepted follows Bartelby Gaines (Justin Long) and his friends as they accidentally create their own college. While a modern take on this concept would likely get dark and delve into Fyre Festival territory, Accepted instead just has a fuckload of fun with the concept of “What if students ran a school?” aka “The inmates have overrun the asylum”. They even converted a mental health facility into the South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T) as if to hammer that metaphor home. 

While Accepted is full of laughs, it’s a not-so-subtle critique of “higher-learning” and the American education system in particular, although obviously there’s a lot that translates beyond the USA. Lewis Black as the principle is some God tier casting and has been a guiding force in my life ever since I first bunked school to watch this movie. 

I caught it whilst scrolling through DSTV but you should be able to find it for yourself online somewhere. 

Play This:

Age of Empires II Vertical RGB Key Art

Ever since playing Dune 2 as a kid, I have had a love of Real-Time Strategy games. That love means nothing when it comes to actually being any good at them, but I’ve still spent countless hours building and destroying villages, towns, cities, and empires across time and space.

In the early days, it was the Command and Conquer series that really hit home for me, with Red Alert being a firm favourite. Years later, Warcraft 3 would be one of the main reasons I went to LANs. In between those phases though, was Age of Empires, and in particular, Age of Empires 2. 

Age of Empires 2 was the pinnacle of RTS games when it was first released in 1999 but it was lost to time as the genre evolved and eventually gave way to MOBAs like DOTA and League of Legends.

Two decades later, I saw the recently updated Definitive Edition on sale on Steam. While I was sceptical since the Warcraft 3 rerelease was a trashfire, enough reviews online told me it would be worth my while. They were 100% correct. It’s been more than worth my while and my money as this refresh of an over 20-year-old game is both a wonderful hit of nostalgia and a challenging replay. Graphics and various systems have been updated with regular developer support and the game has backing for a highly competitive eSports scene. 

I can’t imagine trying to compete with people who have been playing the game for the last 20 years, but if you want to relive your youth with some updated graphics, you’re gonna lose many hours to AoE2 Definitive Edition. 

Check out the website here: https://www.ageofempires.com/games/aoeiide/

ICYMI:

A close up self portrait of byjono with yellow hair and his hands framing his face

Jonathan Ferreira aka ByJono is a photographer, content creator, and streamer. Jono started his career with a passion for documenting the music scene in his hometown of PE. He has gone on to become one of the most recognisable names in SA music photography. we get into the struggles of trying to make things happen in a small town before bailing for the big city.

https://almostperfect.co.za/almost-perfect-podcast-89-byjono/

Conrad Koch is a comedian and ventriloquist with a background in anthropology. You probably know Chester Missing, one of Conrad’s creations who has come to take on a life of his own in the public eye. What you probably don’t know that Chester has existed in some form or another for over 2 decades. Learn how one starts talking to themselves as a career by clicking the link below. 

https://almostperfect.co.za/almost-perfect-88-conrad-koch/

 If you just can’t get enough of me and wanna hear what it was like growing up in Umbilo, among many other things, Jonathan Brady interviewed me for the first episode of his v/podcast called East Coast Feels: The Creatives Corner. 

https://almostperfect.co.za/interview-on-east-coast-feels-the-creatives-corner/

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