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What I’ve Been Doing 9 Oct. 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 9th, 2012 by Dan

Pitch Perfect -0

I love a capella so there was zero chance I wouldn’t see this (Photo courtesy lissamabcd)

Thanks to the long weekend this is posting a little later than usual. I also jammed a ton of TV in this week thanks to all that extra time.

Movies

The Guard – Irish movie about an Irish policeman who is one of those curmudgeonly old man types. Funny, but ultimately not that substantive. Worth seeing if you’ve got a free afternoon.

Pitch Perfect – I loved most of the music in this movie and I always enjoy Anna Kendrick on the silver screen. Mostly I found myself impressed by how well she inhabited her role. The other two movies I saw her in, Up in the Air and 50/50, had her in a much more professional, trying to be respected role. Here she’s aged back to 18 and everything about her performance reflects that. Good, fun stuff. Go see it.

TV

SNL Weekend Update Thursday – Kind of unnecessary. Barely any politics either.

Up All Night – Not digging the new setup. The new brother character is just not that interesting. I did laugh at the trapeze part in the most recent episode.

Glee – Knocking Tremé is not cool. “Celebrity Skin” not that good. The election episode was so boring. The breakup episode, on the other hand, had a lot more emotion and a lot more going for it. Dug it a lot more.

NTSF::SD:SUV: – The time slide episode was so good that everything afterwards has been a bit disappointing. The SDCC episode was meh as was the Dragon Shumway redux.

Childrens Hospital – Ladies Night! Man, Lake Bell is hot. This show is consistently hilarious/awesome.

Homeland – Danes seemed off early in the episode, but that’s probably intentional since her character is supposed to be off her rocker. Loved the way that Damian Lewis is playing this. As for the plot, this season is shaping up to be very cool. Liked the way they pulled Danes back in and I liked the father/daughter bonding over Islam.

Tremé – The included murder mystery doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show, but everything else is going well. Nice and slow-paced.

Sherlock – That Reichenbach Falls episode was SO GOOD! I wonder if Moriarty is actually dead (Sherlock isn’t!). Hard to see where the next series goes from here, but that was astounding. It didn’t have the same pounding pressure as Moriarty’s time-limits from last series, but it was still quite tense and fun. Loved the part where Moriarty was pretending to be an actor.

Key & Peele – Not as good as the season premiere, but I really enjoyed that dubstep sketch. Also dug the Luther sketch and the concept of the guy who had to follow MLK’s speech was funny, but it wasn’t executed particularly well.

The Mindy Project – You know what? This show is a lot funnier than some critics are giving it credit. Mindy Kaling has a really sneaky sense of appalling humor that really works. I think this is my favorite new show I’ve seen (so far).

Four Weddings – Sometimes your girlfriend watches stuff that you don’t want to.

Giuliana and Bill – See above…The worst part here is that she thinks this show is dumb too! There just wasn’t anything else on worth watching.

Halloween Wars – Another Food network thing. This has got the Cupcake Wars crew, but they’re carving pumpkins and making Halloween scenes. It’s ok.

How I Met Your Mother – Caught the first two episodes of the season. I’m still kind of bummed that Victoria isn’t the mother. She was the original plan if the show had been canceled. I like her.

30 for 30 – “Broke” wasn’t as good as the other documentary I saw, but I still dug it. This series is worth checking out.

The Daily Show – I’m glad that Stewart went and eviscerated Obama for his debate performance because it was shameful. Not a bad week of episodes.

Parks & Recreation – Two words: Lucy Lawless. Please and thank you.

Saturday Night Live – A lot of bad sketches in this episode, but I did like the lesser known Bond girls one. Daniel Craig can do better? Was it the material?

Music

The Pokemon Reorchestrated project is coming out with fully licensed reorchestrations of Pokemon game music. Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me.

Books

After the Quake – Murakami really likes writing about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I really enjoyed “All God’s Children Can Dance”

Video Games

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – I was wrong. There are way more hidden worlds than I realized and they’re pretty fun. Liking this game even more.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy – I technically “beat” the game, but there’s tons more content to enjoy.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter – This series reminds me of Detective Conan. One of the puzzles really stumped me. I’m dumber than I thought I was, haha.

Pokemon White – Wanted to catch the last few legendaries I was dilly-dallying on. Got that done before 2 arrived.

Pokemon White Version 2 – The package here has gotten so much sharper from year to year, but the nearly identical mechanics keeps a lot of people away. I’m playing with a Nuzlocke Challenge: Defeated pokemon must be permanently retired, you can only catch the first pokemon you see in an area, and, one of my rules, you must use pots to heal. Only one pokemon center visit per town. So far I’ve lost a Patrat permanently in my gym battle with Roxie. Tragic stuff.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Just started it this morning. Played two missions. Loving it! Look for a Dan Plays series to start soon.

What I’ve Been Doing 24 Oct 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 24th, 2011 by Dan

The Civil Wars (With Milo Greene) 022

The Civil Wars were absolutely beautiful. What a fantastic show.

Movies

50/50 – What a great movie. It was funny and emotional at all the right times. After seeing it I just wanted to go home and hug my roommate (like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, she got cancer at a young age). I’ve seen her in a grand total of four movies now, but I love Anna Kendrick. She is absolutely adorable and she will go far in this business. So cute!

Solaris – A heady movie about a man who chooses to reject reality for a chance at fixing his mistakes. So muted and quiet and sci-fi without being sci-fi really at all. It’s not gonna blow you away, but it’s remarkably well acted. Potentially could be a stage play if it wasn’t for all the flashbacks.

TV

Homeland – Claire Danes is just perfect at her insecure, crazy, competent role. Morena Baccarin has the most unenviable role. The wife who thought her husband was dead and moved on is not one that audiences attach to. Also she got to take part in the most awkward sex scene ever. I guess I don’t have to keep worrying about this harem subplot (thank god!)

The Walking Dead – I really hate that nonsense with the “He told me…it doesn’t matter what he told me.” plot contrivance. Setting up suspense by explicitly hiding information from the viewers is one of my pet peeves. Hey Merle, a motorcycle in the zombpocalypse is a TERRIBLE IDEA. The premiere was tense and pretty awesome most of the time. I like how it’s going so far, but if they ever kill Glenn…haha.

Music

Eleanor Friedberger – The opener for Wild Flag, she was definitely interesting. All of her songs crescendo to these great endings, but can often sound similar. I fell in love with “Roosevelt Island“, but know that all of her songs aren’t that funky.

Wild Flag – I plan on writing more about both of these concerts, by the way, but these women rocked the stage like they owned it. They were having serious fun up there dancing and playing and almost showing off how great they are at this. I can’t say I love the mix that Black Cat had going (and Mary Timony seemed to agree with me. She kept motioning for adjustments), but it’s never a bad thing to be struck by a wave of sound. Great show, heard some new songs, a lot of fun.

Milo Greene – Super busy on stage as the four frontmen swapped instruments repeatedly during the show. They had some great songs, but their set was so short! The song they closed with was stellar.

The Civil Wars – This concert was…wow. Best show I’ve seen in a long time. More to come later, for sure, but The Civil Wars are a quiet group. It’s just Joy singing (occasionally on piano too) and John Paul on guitar (and also singing) and in moments of silence during the songs you could have heard a mouse sneeze. I heard someone crunching five rows behind me. The audience was rapt and Joy and JP just totally rocked the stage. Just beautiful. I can’t think of a show I enjoyed more this year.

Books

The Last Best League – Coming to a close on this one. I was expecting the team to suddenly turn things around during the summer, but it seems like they might close in last place. Wasn’t expecting that.

Video Games

Batman: Arkham City – Batman’s face isn’t so obscured that he shouldn’t have any expressions. He’s seriously like a robot when he talks. It’s…unnerving. Makes him seem like a sociopath. I might explore it more in this space, but I don’t think the open environment served the game well at all. Arkham City was superior and, while Arkham City was definitely a good game, it’s very far from the best of the year for me and nowhere near as impactful as the previous game.

Gears of War 3 – Shotgun event means…I get killed badly. Not my thing.

Mass Effect 2 – My game was so glitchy yesterday that I quit after making 10 minutes of progress over an hour. Bleh…

Wild Flag Drum Kit

Wild Flag knows how to rock

What I’ve Been Doing 17 Oct 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 17th, 2011 by Dan

Scouts

Those stupid hats everyone makes fun of actually do motivate me to play sometimes.

Movies

Bran Nue Dae – Disappointingly mediocre. I was expecting something interesting from a musical about aboriginal life in Australia, but it just wasn’t there. Uneven pacing, bland characters, and, worst of all, completely forgettable music. That’s the one thing you have to do right in a musical!

TV

How I Met Your Mother – The Jenson episode was great and the roommate episode brought us tantalizingly close to the “Mother”, but I’m catching up on this show by virtue of inertia alone. HIMYM is not a great show, guys. Not anymore.

The League – My favorite kind of crappy show. Can be super hilarious some days and middling other days. It’s a shame that they had to come up with an excuse to not have Nadine Velazquez on the episode. She’s funny and hot.

Homeland – Bizarre opening theme. So weird/surreal/cool. I guess it ties in with Claire Danes’ psychosis. The prince/consort subplot is boring to me, but we’ll see if it bears any fruit.

Prime Suspect – I like the main character, but I don’t love the procedural nature. I’m all about the season long investigations like The Wire. That show really has ruined cop shows for me…

Up All Night – After just watching Bridesmaids practically twice, I was a little tired of the female rivalry thing that Christina Applegate had going on in the class. Still a pretty good show, but this was the weakest episode I’d seen so far.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The writers on this show get so much mileage out of the title cards. So funny even if all of these people are terrible, horrible people. It makes me laugh when they call out Frank for being racist or a jerk, but they’re just as bad all the time.

Parka and Recreation – Not enough April this week! Ann being terrible at being a girl scout was awesome as was the Batman suit, but it wasn’t my favorite episode of this show.

Community – Super dark. Last week’s statement that the study group’s love was weird was right on the money. Seeing that Jeff, who brought them together is kind of bad for the group is really dark. I wonder if this has to do with Dan Harmon’s recent personal problems. This show is going some really heavy places this season.

Better Off Ted – “I think I need to get new breasts. These are covered in sad.” Finished S2 and, hence, the rest of the show. Not too bad. I can see why it was canceled, even though I liked it. Good light entertainment, but it’s not the greatest.

Dexter – This season has been bad so far. The story beats are obvious and too overbearing, even by Dexter standards. I don’t like following the “big bad” around, especially when they’re being annoyingly cryptic and awful. When they said this show would be really changing this season I didn’t think they meant that it would be getting awful. I really hope this season picks back up.

Music

Extra Hot Great – I love this show, but they made me think that maybe watching Footloose might be a good idea this week. Now to somehow suggest it to the girlfriend without letting on that I actually want to see it…

Books

Reamde – Finished the book. Very Stephenson. Brings to the foreground his love of guns, anarchy/distrust of government, MMOs, and his obsession with the way money/gold works. Good read, but not his best work. Anathem was more philosophically interesting and Crytonomicon had better characters.

(EDIT: You’ll note that there’s no talk of comics here. I might be starting a separate project to discuss them elsewhere.)

Video Games

The Binding of Isaac – Finally defeated the first form of Mom, but now I’ve got to get to her heart to slay her. I’m getting better at this game, but I’ve got a ways to go before I can beat the boss.

Mass Effect 2 – Kasumi’s loyalty mission is being annoyingly buggy, so I’m stuck on the final boss and I haven’t felt motivated to tackle it again after two nights of trying and either doing well and having it bug out on me or failing.

Team Fortress 2 – I painted Max’s Severed Head pink and it’s kind of awesome. Been getting a lot of Soldier and Demoman time in, two classes I really didn’t love before this. They’re not so bad, I guess…Had a killer round with Lee as a Heavy/Medic combo. We were unstoppable!

Gears of War 3 – So much Horde mode this weekend! I will unlock the Laugh Track! Just you wait!

EDIT: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Forgot to mention that I started my replay of the Uncharted series to prepare for the third iteration’s release next month. Good game, but the visuals are starting to show their age after all these years. It’s still a pretty game, just not as pretty as Uncharted 2 or 3.

What I’ve Been Doing 10 October 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 11th, 2011 by Dan

New Camera Tests

Totally unrelated to everything else, but I got a new camera!

Movies

Everything Must Go – Rebecca Hall is superb. I first saw her in The Prestige and I instantly fell in love with her acting. She’s a good understated and expressive actor. Will Ferrell in a drama is pretty neat too. He really shows a lot of range on this and I’d like to see his career move in this direction.

Bridesmaids – Saw it 1.75 times this weekend. I love this movie. Super funny. That screaming match at the bridal shower is so excellent that I stayed at my brother’s house just to watch it last night.

TV

Parks and Recreation – Tammy 1 is scary. Aubrey Plaza is hilarious. Didn’t really love the B- or C-plots of the second episode. Having her in the background reacting to stuff was absolutely hilarious. I hope they continue to use her more. The C-story in the Pawnee Book episode about Ann, Ron, and April was great, but I didn’t love the A-plot of that episode.

2 Broke Girls – Bad sign. The first time I laughed in the first five minutes was when my feed got messed up and the same line looped for a minute straight. It’s just not good. I dunno. This week is its last chance! Tune in next week to read that I stopped watching this show.

Homeland – Claire Danes does a great job here of being obsessive, kind of crazy, and great in a way that’s not the prescient, über-confident employee that the bosses can’t understand. Super cool so far.

Glee – All the frequent jump cuts make it damn near impossible to actually watch the dancing. I see what they were going for in the Mike Chang thing, but it was quasi-clumsy in execution because we have never cared about him as a character before. He’s a junior though, so that’s why we’re seeing him get more screentime. I wish they hadn’t abandoned Bieste’s malapropism tendency

New Girl – Seriously upped their funny game. This week’s episode was quite good. The show gets a stay of execution!

Up All Night – Weaker episode, but still got some hilarious moments like the one where they thought the Native American guy turned into a hawk. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have tons of chemistry and Maya Rudolph is much better at her supporting role than I thought she’d be.

Community – Not my favorite episode, but pretty good. I liked the revelation that they’re the “mean clique”. Their vitriol toward Todd was hilarious too. “Offense taken!”

Music

Losing the Sheen – Who knew Justin McElroy’s wife, Sydnee, was so funny? They’ve got great chemistry and this podcast about two people who hadn’t seen an episode of Two and a Half Men until Charlie Sheen left the show is my favorite new podcast.

Books

REAMDE – I just know that the MMO stuff is gonna get a lot more important soon. I’m super intrigued. Can’t wait until some of the principals start interacting again.

(Comic Books Ahoy!)

Casanova: Avarita – This is why I read comic books. Creative and surreal and interesting. Makes super-effective use of the medium.

X-23 – Another well-drawn and well-written book. I love this story. Maybe I’ll pick up the old trades…

Mystic – Still a pretty generic story, but the well-drawn, Disney aesthetic is pretty cool.

Chew – Man, this book is good. Just brilliant and subversive and sneaky. Super funny.

SI: Heroes for Hire – Meh

Batwing – Don’t think I’m gonna keep reading this. Didn’t really capture my attention this week. I want to support minority characters, but my budget isn’t unlimited

Swamp Thing – Continues to get more intriguing. I love that it’s tying in with Animal Man. Fantastic panel design and great art.

Animal Man – The humanoids all look terrible and weird, but the horror aspects of this book are super cool. I’m down

Moon Knight – I’m still in love with Alex Maleev’s work. The book’s pacing is slow, but I don’t care as long as the art team remains.

Action Comics – A good comic book. That’s kind of a knock. It’s about as good as a conventional book can get (minus the art. Didn’t dig the art) where Casanova…that’s art.

Video Games

The Binding of IsaacI wrote about it a little bit already, but this game is pretty awesome. Good for short bursts of random gameplay. I’ve still not managed to beat it once.

Team Fortress 2 – Still solid. Not a bad way to spend any evening.

Gears of War 3 – Min threw a curveball here and suggested we play on Insane. I thought it would go very poorly, but it didn’t until we got to Act III, which is awesome. Lots of fun.

The Old Republic – NDA-ed!

Mass Effect 2 – Watched Eric play a little and David also started playing too, so I thought I would start my game up again to get my Paragon playthrough fixed. I wish the cover stuff was as well-developed as Gears 3, but Gears is also two years newer.

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