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What I’ve Been Doing 11 Feb 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 12th, 2013 by Dan

Dan's Birthday Party At Bandito's

Birthday happy hour last week (Photo by Eric)

Another year, another birthday. I continue to get older and, oddly enough, wiser.

Movies

In the Loop – I’m a big fan of Iannucci’s work and this movie doesn’t disappoint. Well, except for the fact that its ending is depressing and mostly based on real life. That part’s a huge bummer.

TV

The Thick of It – Oh man, the part where Hugh used Glen’s developmentally challenged son in a story to get out of trouble…wow…

Mythbusters – It sure takes a long, roundabout way to get to a point, but the baseball myths were all super cool to see proved/disproved. Can’t believe they left the humidity one only at plausible. I thought that was fairly definitive.

30 Rock – Not a bad finale, actually. I loved the way they wrapped everything up with Jack and Liz. Good show. I should watch the intermediate seasons that I missed.

Parks and Recreation – The in-show calzone joke thing is perhaps the most amazing thing to ever be put into a sitcom.

Justified – No one on tv is cooler than Raylan Givens. I really liked the one where he had to deal with Lindsay’s husband. This show kind of makes me want to live in Kentucky.

Community – I don’t think the show is as strong without Harmon…at least not so long as they’re gonna keep trying to ape his style. Community Babies was a particularly strained attempt to hit his level of meta.

The Mindy Project – Mindy is still pretty much the same person as my roommate. I find this show a lot funnier than the critical consensus.

New Girl – Speaking of funny shows and shows I haven’t praised nearly enough, New Girl has finally made me realize how incredible it is. It’s just been firing on every cylinder this year. Totally loved the awkward backwards moonwalk. I need to work that into my repetoire.

Archer – Still don’t really care for Ron Cadillac at all. Funny episode nonetheless.

Grammys – I’m sorry, but Frank Ocean >> Mumford & Sons.

Music

I’m not kidding…Listen to Frank Ocean

Books

Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball – I really love the Steve Bartman chapter. My favorite part of the book each year that I read it.

Video Games

Spelunky – I actually had me some good runs go horribly bad. Allowing the scepter of Anubis to kill you was a real jerk move, Derek Yu.

Fire Emblem: Awakening – I wasn’t expecting to get this until everyone was talking about how great it was. Know what? It’s fantastic. Addictive and fun and tough to stomach losing units, but still worth playing. Didn’t know you’d be able to customize your main character, but I love that about this game too.

Moving Day – What I’ve Been Doing 28 May 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 29th, 2012 by Dan

uhaul on labor day.

So sick of these trucks, but I've got my own move to think about soon... (Photo courtesy jojothree)

Every joint and muscle in my body is stiff, but I least I put in a nice, hard, honest day’s work, right? …RIGHT?!

Movies

Not this week. Sorry, folks.

TV

Community – Who knows what the post-Dan Harmon era of Community will bring, but I thoroughly enjoyed his last season. A lot of experimentation and ambitious stories and episodes. I still love Community and I can’t wait to see it come back in the fall.

Glee – Skipped like three episodes and watched the finale with Tiffany. I hope we see less of the current seniors, but, then again, the rest of the cast is pretty nondescript/boring. Decent songs on the finale, but nothing mind blowing.

Mad Men – I can’t believe I let Diablo delay my Mad Men experience. The past two episodes (not counting the most current) were all fantastic and so great to watch. I really love this show. Too bad it’s almost done for the season!

Girls – This show is actually getting better and better as it progresses, which is quite the compliment since it started off so strong already. I’m quite fond of it.

Veep – Still my favorite comedy on television right now. Just amazingly hilarious.

Music

Hannibal Buress – Got his standup album from last week, Animal Furnace. Dude is funny. Go check his stuff out.

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – I love the concept of a gentle giant-type ballplayer. The fact that he was such an intellectual is astounding.

Video Games

Diablo III – What else were you expecting? Still playing and still digging D3, especially when I have my brother or another friend to join in. Lost my first Hardcore character this weekend. May you rest in peace, Min the Barbarian.

What I’ve Been Doing 21 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 21st, 2011 by Dan

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Link gets his green tunic

The more things change the more things stay the same.

This was a really video game and TV heavy weekend. Two big “Sky” games in Skyrim and Skyward Sword hit and I put in pretty good time with both.

Movies

Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t get one in this week again.

TV

Fringe – My momentum has slowed somewhat on the show thanks to all the new games, but it’s still lots of stupid fun.

Samurai Champloo – Funny episode about westerners being accepted in Japan. They seemed to imply that they might be there already, but are they really? The gay jokes were also a little too much, but the beat boxing was anachronistic and awesome.

Homeland – Suuuuper tense. We’re only in episode 10 and they already showed us who the terrorist is. Where do we go for the last three eps? Will it just turn into 24?

The Walking Dead – Line of the night: “You see eleven condoms, I see eleven minutes of my life I’m never getting back.” I like Maggie and Glenn and Daryl. They’re really killing Andrea with her subplots this season, but I still like her as a character too.

Glee – Mash-ups! This is usually my favorite part of the season. A few notes:

– Singing a love song with your student’s mom is kind of weird.
– “You look skinny like all the crops failed on your family’s farm.” How great is it that 1920s-era Irish jokes are apparently insults in Glee?
– Dodgeball musical number…hilarious. This is what people point at when they say Glee is lame, but I dug it. Too bad they had that anti-dodgeball thing at the end. I didn’t play dodgeball in high school, but I loved it in elementary school. Tons of fun.
– I like the costuming in the Hall & Oates number. Those mustaches!
– Best line from Todd VanDerWerff’s The AV Club recap: “If the next week on is any indication, everybody’s going to learn about how Santana feels hurt by being outed by singing “I Kissed A Girl.” The model of restraint, this show.”
– David especially likes to rib me about liking this show, but that Adele mash-up at the end (not sure how long this Hulu video will stick around, but it’s still here now) was everything great about this show. Killer number mixed in with all the emotions and feelings of the episode (this isn’t even the cut that showed in the episode, that was more intense). Numbers like this are what keeps me coming back to this show even when it’s monumentally stupid like it was in S2.

New Girl – Best lines: “I don’t want to hear, Schmidt, Schmidt, you’re using too much tarragon.” “Oh, I’ve had zero pumpkin ales.” SO MUCH BEST BUY PRODUCT PLACEMENT!

Parks and Rec – I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting the Leslie/Ben relationship subplot to go this way, but it’ll be interesting to see if this does actually cause a scandal. Pretty solid episode since you can’t go wrong having Ron Swanson interact with anyone.

Up All Night – I’m glad this show is getting rewarded with Thursday (even though it comes at the expense of Community, kind of) because it’s the strongest comedy I’ve seen that’s debuted this year. Great laughs with Will Arnett. Even Jennifer Hall got some fantastic laughs this episode.

Community - So they pretty much took the documentary episode from S2 and mixed it with the Jesus meta-contextual video episode from earlier and threw in a little Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse for good measure. Most of it really worked and I love the way that Dan Harmon constantly pokes the shippers in his audience.

The League – Jeff Goldblum was super funny as Ruxin’s hyper-critical father. I like that he took on some of Ruxin’s mannerisms too. That’s good acting.

Persona 4: The Animation – It kind of toes the line between outright offensive and kind of offensive, but anime isn’t well known for its sensitivity to homosexuality. Still, the last two episodes were riotously funny. The show seems to be moving so fast that I’m wondering how it will stretch to 24 episodes, but I guess there are lots of social links to explore.

The Wire – Went back to this to watch some commentaries and I’m loving it yet again. Just ponderous and slow and interesting as it gives you the perspectives of both the MCU and the drug dealers. Great stuff. The “fuck” investigation scene is still one of the best moments in TV history.

Music

Skyward Sword came with an orchestrated retrospective on 25 years of Zelda. That CD is pretty awesome. Get your hands on it by buying a first run copy of Skyward Sword. Don’t come to me crying if you miss it.

Books

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Podcasts and eating in the office killed some of my reading time on my nook, but I’ll probably get some time to finish this weekend with the holiday and all. Still very funny.

Video Games

Skyrim – Sprawling and super involved, but I’m having a real hard time immersing myself in this. It’s just not working for me and my theory is that it’s an uncanny valley issue. Still, I’m enjoying playing it. I found myself fighting vampires last night and that was really cool.

The Binding of Isaac – Up to 9 Mom kills. Just one more and I unlock Sheol, the final dungeon. This $5 game gave me a ton of mileage.

Resident Evil 5 – David and I finally beat the game! Lots of fun, this was. Glad to play it again.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – I was really not expecting to love this game as much as I have. It may be the best Zelda I’ve played since Wind Waker (ok, it’s only the second after WW, but still!). Lots of character and lots of fun. Those were things definitely missing from Twilight Princess and that’s what makes Zelda great.

What I’ve Been Playing/Watching/Reading [GO/IB/FB/BT]
Jun 1st, 2011 by Dan

Totoro(rororo)

Here’s another breakdown of the media I’ve been consuming:

Video Games:

I haven’t talked about these for a long while, so I’m just gonna go over recent history, post-robbery.

L.A. Noire – Just beat it last night. I think that the game premise shows a lot of potential, but the true masterpiece will be any game that piggybacks off of this one. Why did they feel the need to open world this? It only creates dissonance between the character as portrayed and the character they want him to be. Also: interrogations are neat, but very tough.

StarCraft, Mass Effect, and Portal (all part 2) – Been meaning to fix some choices that my Paragon Shepard made in ME2 before ME3, so I was getting some of that done. Portal 2 multiplayer with Eric was lots of fun. Now I can’t wait for the new “test” this summer. I hope they’re a lot harder. Played SC2 with Min and Simon. We did alright as long as I wasn’t goofing off trying to Hellion rush the enemy. Turns out those flamethrower cars don’t have AA. Fancy that.

Movies:

Bridesmaids – Super hilarious. Kristen Wiig is one of my favorite comedic actors and it’s great to see her find success. I hope this means good things for female-led comedies (no more Heigl, please! (unless she’s in an Apatow movie)). Worth watching.

My Neighbor Totoro – How did I get to be 25 without seeing this movie? The landmark Studio Ghibli feature was heartwarming and fun and just awesome. A sincere movie that is hard not to love.

Love and Other Drugs – I constantly recommend films to friends, but I don’t often watch their recs if I know they’re not gonna be very good. Since that’s kind of hypocritical of me I took this recommendation despite knowing in advance that the movie wasn’t very good. Guess what, it isn’t, but I also knew it had a lot of Anne Hathaway’s boobs in it, so I guess I win anyway.

Animal Kingdom – Australian gangster film. Well done, but not quite as interesting as I was hoping it would be. Gotta love the accents, but creepy uncles are always weird…and creepy.

TV:

Tremé – Season 2 started and I fell about six weeks behind. Watched the first episode last night. I still love these characters, but without the urgency of post-Katrina I have even less of an idea of what the characters are doing now. I kind of like it a little more, but that may just be familiarity. The show also continues to impress with its strong music.

The Office – I’m about two episodes in and Ricky Gervais is proving to be the absolute worst boss possible. Micheal Scott has nothing on how cringeworthy Gervais’ David Brent is. Martin Freeman’s Tim is also meaner than Jim in the US The Office, but I think I like his early character more. I’m interested in seeing this through, it’s only about six hours, after all, and I like succinct series.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The opposite of succinct. Don’t think I’ve mentioned that I started watching this show at all. I’m about four episodes into season 2. S1 was pretty good, but we’ve advanced much further in television since then. It’s so very 90s and I think that Joss Whedon is a better writer now than he was then. S2 opened with an unbearable episode with Buffy being super emo, but it moved on to be as enjoyable as S1. I’m not 100% on board with this show like other people might be, but it’s been solid.

Mad Men – I’m 2/3 of the way through the first season and I’m really enjoying it. So far I’ve been most impressed by the superb acting. Don Draper and the rest of the cast are all so nuanced and interesting that I can’t help but silence the annoyance at the period-appropriate mistreatment of women and the job-appropriate philandering. Fantastic show so far.

Parks and Recreation – What a stellar third season. I wish NBC hadn’t given us two straight weeks of two episodes because then I’d still have P&R for a little bit longer. This is, without a doubt, the finest comedy on television right now. I can’t wait until it’s on Netflix Instant so that I can watch it with Min and Tiffany (that’s right, watch it two more times!).

Community – A season of ups and downs ends on some solid up episodes. Throw in the promise of a reduced role for Chevy Chase (thank you Dan Harmon, he was getting old) and I’m pretty hyped for this show (not as hyped as I am for S4 of Parks and Rec).

Glee – What a weak season. No, seriously, it was super weak. The magic and fire of season 1 has been lost, no doubt thanks to how successful this show has been. Risks are gone, the music is much more poppy and less classic/Broadway, and the writers keep pushing the angsty relationships of the characters to the forefront as if anyone cares. Guess what, Ryan Murphy, we don’t care about Finn and Rachel! We really don’t. Every time I want to quit this show they manage to do one number that keeps me hooked, but this season hasn’t made me want to buy any recordings. Original songs? No thanks. What was up with the finale? Where was the spectacle? There were barely any numbers in it! I’ll probably watch next year, but you’re on notice, Glee.

Books:

The Hunger Games – Think Koshun Takami’s Battle Royale, but Young Adult. Dystopian future with annual deathmatches between 24 teenagers. Brutal, but with a heart. The series is being built up to be the next big thing and I think it’s worth it. A quick, snappy read with enough violence in it to hide the fact that it’s kind of a book for girls. Fight your sexism on this and give it a try. You might enjoy it.

The Last Best League – A book about the Cape Cod baseball league as the last real talent pool before kids start their professional career. I’m a little biased against New England and their overenthusiastic love of themselves and everything they do, so I don’t get into the flowery fellating of the region. Still, I like a good non-fiction baseball drama. Still early in it, should be interesting.

A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel lived up to the hype I’d seen. The book is not an easy read, every chapter is from a new perspective, with different styles (including one that is a powerpoint printout) and different characters (they all tie into one person, in particular, but some have characters who are never mentioned again), but it’s an interesting look at the way time changes everyone and everything and the way that the world itself is changing as we hurdle onward in time. Definitely a good book.

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