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The Dark Knight Rises! – What I’ve Been Doing 30 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 30th, 2012 by Dan

LEGO Batman (Photo by DigitalSphereFilms)

SWEAR TO ME!

Smaller audience and better preparation allowed Min and I to finally see The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. Along the way we decided that we were going to become professional blackjack players*. Can’t wait to start my new career!

Movies

Man on the Moon – I pretty much associate this movie with Eric because I remember him renting it or going to see it in the theaters or something. Odd that this sticks out in my head, but it does. I haven’t seen enough footage of the real Andy Kaufman to know if Carrey does a good job emulating him, but it seemed not like Carrey and I dug that. Decent movie.

The Dark Knight Rises – It’s hard to live up to the best superhero movie ever, but TDKR makes a strong effort. It’s a different kind of movie, for sure, and its perhaps too sprawling for its own good, but it’s a good ending to the trilogy. Worth seeing, even if the Bane voice is just so stupid. Honestly, it’s dumber than Bale’s Batman voice.

TV

The League – Turned this on to have something on in the background forgetting that I hadn’t seen the first two episodes of the second season. It’s a pretty dumb show, but it makes me laugh pretty consistently so I’d recommend it.

Breaking Bad – The polar opposite of The League. I definitely enjoy the show, but I’ve yet to see the true greatness that makes fans froth at the mouth for this show. Highlight of S2 so far has been Tuco’s uncle. Great old man character and the bell dings were chilling and kind of awesome. Great to see the affection for his insane nephew from the otherwise senile-seeming old man.

Music

Go check out the Humble Music Bundle. Bunch of albums for like $8.

Books

1Q84 – Was not expecting the Aomame pregnancy. This book is in full on mystery mode to me. I have no idea where anything is going.

Video Games

Greed Corp – Played a game with Eric. Like the risk/reward that permeates the game, but don’t love most of the mechanics. Maybe I’d come to appreciate it with more rounds? Not sure.

Puzzle Agent – What a delightful little game! Had lots of fun just blowing through the puzzles and laughing at all the weird characters of this tiny town. Might pick up the sequel when I finish with a few more games.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion – Played a big, multi-star map with Min that went really well. I enjoy the deliberate pace of this game and I also love just sending huge fleets of doom to crush my enemies.

Spelunky – I came so close to making it to the City of Gold, guys. I promise it exists! I PROMISE! I’ll make it there some day…

Saints Row: The Third – Played a little of the alien movie xpack. Fun. Had a game-crashing bug keep me from finishing it, but I’ll get around to it.

The Old Republic – David started a free trial and I’ve been having a blast playing with him. It even inspired me to level up my Bounty Hunter some. I’m playing a totally cocky, darkside-leaning Jedi Knight and I think it’s very interesting to see how NPCs lightly chastise me. Hopefully they start to genuinely fear Cornell Threepwood by the end of his story. That’s an intimidating name, right?

May Payne 3 – Gritty. The shooting bits are tough too and the checkpointing can leave you in a bad way with no painkillers to help. I’m stuck in a particularly brutal firefight right now. I dig the weird presentation bits, but I need to give the game more time.

BIT.TRIP.RUNNER – I was having fun with this until I hit 1-14 and replayed that level for damn near an hour. Then the boss was annoying too. Not a terrible rhythm-ish game, but starting over from the beginning every time is a little brutal.

Sonic Generations – It’s pretty much the same thing with every modern Sonic game. You play the first level and you think, hey, this isn’t so bad! Then the Sonic Team starts introducing more terrible ideas in each subsequent level. By level three I realize that Sonic truly is a dead franchise.

*Not actually true

Sold Out – What I’ve Been Doing 23 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 23rd, 2012 by Dan

No tickets available for today

“Hey Dan, are you still gonna buy tickets in advance?”
“Naw, that won’t be necessary” (Photo by Wonderful Malaysia & Veelzijdig Maleisie)

I was supposed to see The Dark Knight Rises with Min. We were pretty excited about it too, but I was a real dummy and I didn’t get tickets days in advance. Whoops. Maybe this week.

Movies

The Dark Knight Rises

TV

Breaking Bad – This show came back this week, but I’m still in season 2. All of the praise being heaped upon it reminded me that I should be watching, so I’ve started pushing through again.

The Bachelorette – I…ugh…:sigh:…Listen, I love spending time with Tiffany, but sometimes it’s tough. Guys, guess what? Emily picked Jef. Yes, he spells his name with one ‘f’. If I write more words about this my brain might explode.

Books

1Q84 – Things are starting to heat up. Oddly enough that’s with both of the principals kind of locked into their locations. I might finish this week, but we’ll see.

Music

Usher’s “Climax” is a great song.

Video Games

Penny Arcade Ep 3 – Got to the bank, but things got super tough. Took a break.

Tropico 4 – Steam sale started and I got my hands on this as soon as I could. I love island management and the soundtrack is pretty sweet.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion – Still the best 4X game I’ve ever played thanks to the time pressure of the RTS mechanics. Would love to play more multiplayer games with Min.

The Binding of Isaac – One more challenge left and it’s the hardest one. After that then it’s time to beat the game with all the characters again. Not looking forward to the ??? completion.

Spelunky – Keep getting frustratingly close to the City of Gold and then mucking it up. I’ll get it soon. Then I’ll make it to hell!

What I’ve Been Doing 2 April 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 26th, 2012 by Dan

Goon

Seann William Scott is so innocently dumb in this movie, but it's actually quite good. (Picture courtesy nxusco)

Guys, Goon was really good. More later, but you should check it out. This week was a real scattershot weekend as I tried to play a bunch of games I didn’t give much time to before.

Movies

Martha Marcy May Marlene – The cult in the movie is an interesting contrast to the fundamentalist Christian society in Higher Ground and the hippie commune of Wanderlust. This movie really ratchets up the tension of not knowing what’s real and what’s not. Ideally they would have made Patrick a scarier presence, but the movie is still on pretty solid ground with what it accomplishes. Congrats on the fantastic part, Elizabeth Olsen. Keep it up!

Goon – This is a mostly sweet movie about a guy who had no place in life other than to fight on the ice. It’s done pretty well and it’s funny and it’ll definitely win you over. Alison Pill, who played Kim Pine in Scott Pilgrim, is great as a Canadian hockey girl and Seann William Scott is endearing. The violence of hockey and hockey fights is really the thing that might put you off the movie. It gets pretty brutal if you don’t like it.

TV

Mad Men – Last week’s premiere was amazing and I totally loved it. Can’t wait to see yesterday’s episode tonight!

Breaking Bad – Finished the first season. The six episode arc they had to work with never went anywhere with any definitive statement, but I think they’re playing the long game for all the seasons. Doesn’t mean that it was bad, just that I’m used to a more dramatic season arc. The progression of Walter White from teacher to meth cooker has definitely been interesting as is the seething anger that lurks beneath hsi outside personality.

Happy Endings – A great tribute to all the sitcom tropes of old. Some really good jokes in there that helped keep it from being too hack-y (like it was when the episode started). Elisha Cuthbert’s Ellen was hilarious.

New Girl – I liked the episode, but I’m rather chilly on New Girl at the moment. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.

Justified – Another table setter. The final two episodes of this season are going to be bananas. I’d like for Limehouse to continue to be a force in S4, but we’ll see if he survives the next two eps first.

Community – It’s entirely possible that this episode contained the first “boner” joke I’ve laughed at since I was 13. The Subway corpo-humanoid is the highlight of the ep. Also a highlight: “Put it in a letter, Jane Austen!”. Alison Brie is so awesome.

Up All Night – This show is kind of meh to me too. At least it’s enjoyable meh. I’d rather watch New Girl because Zooey Deschanel is cute, but this is the better show.

The Wire – Finally finished S1 and the commentary of S1. Can’t wait to get moving through S2 because S3 is amazing. I love the attention to detail in The Wire and the devastating verisimilitude of it all.

Music

“Heaven” is one of the best tracks on the Persona 4 soundtrack, but it’s also pretty awesome to listen to any time. Don’t believe me?

Books

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I’ve got like 10 pages left. So tired of this book.

Video Games

Ghost Trick – Weird ending to this game. Just plot twist upon plot twist. Still one of the better story games I’ve ever played and excellent practice for my Spanish.

Devil Survivor 2 – Still haven’t caught the entire breadth of this story, but I do dig it. Interested in seeing where it goes, but my major play time will probably come when Min and I go to Vegas (he’ll probably sleep through the flight)

Mass Effect 2 – Slowly tearing through this a few missions at a time. For some reason I can’t stomach playing it for long periods of time. I think it’s because ME3 is clearly better and they’re so similar.

Poker Night at the Inventory – Put in a few mins to get some achievements and just play some poker. Still fun.

Jamestown – Was feeling like finally putting some time into the weird quasi-historical/quasi-sci-fi version of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Fighting the Spanish conquistadors and the Martians is weird, but fun. I like all the different ship types.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1 – I played and beat this many moons ago, but I wanted to play ep. 2 and that required playing this. Decent RPG and pretty funny still.

Sine Mora – Tried it out on XBL. I might pick it up when I finish a few other games. Seems interesting.

Pac-Man CE DX – Um…best game on my Xbox. Period. This game is so good I had to force msyelf to stop to play…

Galaga Legions DX – I was tired of only having like two achievements in this so I went and got to 11/12. Might not get the last one (more annoying than tough), but I’ll probably cave and just do it. Not as good as Pac-Man at all, but still fun.

Shadow Complex – Cave Story + made me think the same thing this game does: Why don’t game companies make more Metroidvania-style games? They’re really addictive and fun. Weird. Also weird: Nolan North in a half-tuck role that’s NOT NATHAN DRAKE! I think the shooting is a little awkward with the right stick because they added the whole 3D aspect to it, but otherwise fun.

What I’ve Been Doing 21 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 20th, 2012 by Dan

Rhythm Heaven Fever screen 12

I appreciate Min's patience playing RHF with me all weekend. We did get some great laughs out of it, particularly during this game, Ringside. (Photo courtesy Wiiloveit.com Images)

Guess what, guys? I like Rhythm Heaven Fever. It’s totally the best thing out there. I only wish I had more restraint so that I wouldn’t be done with it already!

Movies

Hanna – A violent, modern fairy tale. Hanna was a really interesting movie that I thought had to be directed by a continental European. I give myself partial credit since the director was British. A lot of neat imagery and very stylized storytelling.

TV

The Walking Dead – I’m a little behind the curve (I always am with TWD since it airs on Sunday and I usually don’t watch it until Monday or Tuesday, but that scene in “Nebraska” in the bar with the two other survivors was chilling and awesome. Best scene the show has done yet.

Portlandia – Only saw the Mixology episode, but it was pretty funny. The best bit was the way that Fred and Andy Sandberg interacted. I also dug the diner scene.

New Girl – “Why do you have so many condoms?!” Pretty funny episode of New Girl. It still feels like a real work in progress as they try and iron out all the kinks and get it to a consistent place.

Parks and Recreation – Adam Scott gets this week’s Dan Mesa Award for Acting Excellence for all the background reaction shots every time a cop passed by. Great acting.

Archer – I was really excited for this episode, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It didn’t really pick up until the second half when the rest of the cast showed up. The fake accents were hilarious.

Life’s Too Short – Oh god, that Liam Neeson bit was brilliant. On the flipside, I’m not sure how I feel about Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant writing alternate versions of themselves, but only when they’re praising themselves. The whole “Why can Ricky do it?” thing was the only eye-rolling part of the episode. Otherwise I like them as openly hating Warwick Davis. Great debut, Min and I were rolling with laughter.

Persona 4: The Animation – Speaking of rolling with laughter, how about that Nanako and Dojima episode where she claimed he didn’t love her? Nanako is one of the saddest/most tragic characters in Persona history, and that’s saying something. The next episode about the Cultural Fair was super hilarious. I think they go to the Amagi inn next week, so we should have even more laughs.

Breaking Bad – For some reason the pro/con list about whether to murder a man was hilarious to me. Despite the comedy/drama line, I think it’s fair to compare this to Weeds. It’s interesting how Weeds never dealt with the decision to become a drug dealer at all. Breaking Bad is (almost) agonizingly slow at deciding whether or not Walter wants to cook meth. I mean, it’s being very interesting about it, so I can’t complain too much. It made sense for a man with a death wish to try and make some cash that way, but now that he’s supposed to start treatment…will the money be enough to motivate him? (Of course it will)

Music

I spent this week listening to The Weeknd again. You should too.

EDIT: Oh, I also watched the Grammys. They were cool.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – I’m starting to worry that this is going to become a prominent tag on my cloud if I don’t finish it soon. It’s picking up in pace, so I’m reading it a little faster.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – Beat it. What a wild and awesome game. Loads of good times. I heartily recommend it to everyone.

Rhythm Heaven Fever – AH! SO AWESOME! AHHHHH! Seriously though, this game is amazing. The games are all much better than the DS ones, somehow, and the music is generally pretty solid too. I was surprised how much I liked the book cheerleaders one. When that gets complicated it’s fun. Gotta go back and master the tap dancers too, I like those guys and I like when they shoot confetti.

The Old Republic – Been a while, but I got to log back in for my alt and to raid. Min and I are being held back by the lack of a legacy system announcement. We really need to know since we have so many alts!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – There will be a first impressions post later, but I do actually like it even though it has a bad case of the anime bullshits.

What I’ve Been Doing 13 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 13th, 2012 by Dan

Samurai Champloo DVD Cover

The journey is over. (Photo courtesy Sold Out Activist)

Big TV week for me. A lot of huge episodes and great acting made me a very happy viewer.

Movies

I was supposed to watch Hanna this weekend, but I never got around to it.

TV

Samurai Champloo – Turned out to be a show about transition and the end of things. About an age where Japan was forced to move forward and accept the great wave washing over it. Combining that with hip hop was a great idea. Mugen’s final battle was annoyingly unsatisfying. With Jin and Fuu at least the fight had something to do with the plot. The guys Mugen fought were not plot-relevant at all to anything that happened in the series. Also, everyone took ridiculous amounts of abuse and damage and then just lived to tell the tale?

Glee – What the heck was that? All of the numbers were embarrassing, Ricky Martin was used to pathetic effect, and none of the music was that interesting. When you make your episode focus Latin music, but you only really highlight pop crossover Latin stuff it’s kind of insulting to me in the same way all of that was insulting to Santana.

New Girl – For a show that gets a lot of grief, New Girl has been bringing it the past few weeks. Playing chicken with the proposed three way was hilarious. The show still has nothing for Winston to do

Up All Night – “Everyone hates flan!” Preach.

Justified – Whoa, what an episode. That last scene with Devil and Boyd…wow. Not to mention the stuff with Dickie and Limehouse. Awesome stuff. Can’t wait for more!

Breaking Bad – Everybody’s been talking about how great this show is for three years. Guess what, guys? They’re right. It’s awesome. Only saw the pilot, but it was impressive. Can’t wait to see more. Glad it’s on Netflix Instant.

Grammy Awards – Tuned in for the back half with Tiffany. I’m bummed that I missed all the Rap categories (I was pulling hard for Kanye’s stuff. Looks like he did quite well), but it was a fun show. I hadn’t realized that there were so many performances or I would have watched it in the past. Paul McCartney was pretty great, Nicki Minaj was appropriately bizarre (just rap, Nicki. Your flow is unstoppably awesome), and it was generally a good showing. Adele cleaned up, holy cow.

Music

The Weeknd – Aside from the Grammys, I’ve been listening to The Weeknd like crazy. His stuff is totally awesome and 100% free here. If you’re looking for some red hot R&B, look no further. Particular props to “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” and “D.D.”

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Get a couple pages in here and there during breaks. Such absolute wish fulfillment writing…Bloomqvist is a weenie, but he gets laid like crazy.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – This game is so hilarious and awesome. I spend most cutscenes hitting the Print Screen button to try and cap the ridiculousness. Well-deserved props from the Giant Bomb folks. I’ll probably beat the main campaign this week.

Ghost Trick – Still clever and fun gameplay. I think Min is playing this on his iPad now. He might catch up and beat me!

The Old Republic – Haven’t had a lot of time to work those alts (Min’s been busy), but it’s still fun. The news that Dave might be willing to play soon is awesome and encouraging.

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