Mann vs. Machine – What I’ve Been Doing 21 Aug 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 20th, 2012 by Dan

Big video game week for me while simultaneously being a terrible week for tv that I would normally watch. Since I did most of my watching at Tiffany’s…well…I think you can guess what kind of tv I was subjected to.


Jeff, Who Lives At Home – It’s my first Duplass brothers film and I kind of dug it. Not amazing by any stretch, but a breezy, fun way to spend about 77 minutes. It’s one of those coincidence/fate type of films, but it’s got such a pure heart about the whole thing that it just feels right. Like the Kevin basketball game stuff, I mean, that was just beautiful as Jason Segel and Evan Ross connected on a level that was beyond words. They were a team unit and they dominated that game, which made the betrayal that much more heartbreaking. Ed Helms did a fantastic job as an asshole, but I gotta admit that the Susan Sarandon parts fell flat for me. Just not that interesting at all.


Friends – Killed some time watching old Friends episodes. “How old?” you ask. We’re talking S1, Rachel meets that Italian guy who she dates for a while old. Pre-Ross and Rachel make out in the rain old. That old. The show still has its charm, but it’s weird to see them in a state where they don’t all know exactly who they are yet.

Fashion Police – Guys, straight talk express here. Ryan Lochte was on Fashion Police this week. That guy is the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen. I just wanted to laugh every time he opened his dumb mouth, but not because he was funny, no, because I was amazed that a person could come off so poorly on television.

Pretty Little Liars – This show is about some person who murders these girls’ friends? I don’t really understand what’s going on here. It’s like Veronica Mars a bit, but with a larger group of Veronicas who are all rich and impossibly good looking. They’re all in high school, I guess, but one of them lives with her boyfriend in an apartment? I dunno. I don’t really get it. It was ok, but I’m not about to break out the box set or anything.

Breaking Bad – The show got a little slow when they were unable to cook, but now that they’re moving product again and we’ve got the promise of having to introduce some muscle to the operation…I’m digging it, man. I love how cold and unconcerned Walter acts toward Jesse. Dude is a total asshole to him. Also loved how fucked up the meth heads who robbed Skinny Pete looked. Hey, guys, that’s the true face of meth. It’s not pretty.

Top Chef Masters – Felt proud of myself for properly guessing that Lorena was Venezuelan. Other than that…it’s just not as exciting to see professional chefs do their professions for charity. The stakes are too low.

Drop Dead Diva – This show is still pretty ridiculous with its take on the law, not to mention that I’m constantly distracted by how much not-Judy Greer looks like Judy Greer to me. Highlight of the episode HAS to be Chef Ben-Israel who was delightfully bizarre, per usual.


I guess I didn’t do much music listening this week, but…BUT I had Alex Cuba’s “En Armonia” stuck in my head all weekend. Here’s a performance at Stubb’s. The conversation is kind of annoying (and there is some clipping), but it’s still a fantastic song.


Does the color reprint of Scott Pilgrim count?

Video Games

Persona 4 Arena – I do really like the way that the story mode works and is progressing, but I’m more annoyed with the way that they’re all “To be continued…” until you unlock certain stories. I’m almost there though, guys. Just a little longer and I’ll start clearing stories like crazy. The fighting game itself is pretty tough, but the story is great.

Spelunky – Not as much time this week as I should have played, but I’ve been rushing too much and not making it as far as I should. Still haven’t beaten it from the mines because I’m focusing on the City of Gold too much.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Had a rather unfortunate mishap where I accidentally saved after getting an alert on my save file. It’s my fault for only having one save file. Now I’ve got plenty to revert to and I’m back to Act II in about the same position. I’ll keep pushing forward on this trophy mode for an hour or so each night.

The Old Republic – Mini-event that was kind of “meh”, but still net me a bowcaster. Just release HK already, guys.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – The beta opened up to everyone who pre-ordered on Tuesday. Pretty solid game. Guess what, guys? It’s CS. The addition of the gun game mode is pretty nice, I dig that, but the meat and potatoes remains bomb planting/defusal and hostage taking/rescuing. Love it. Best pure shooter out there.

Team Fortress 2 – Most fun shooter probably goes to TF2 though. Mann vs. Machine…it’s tough, but it’s also really cool to have a completely different paradigm and completely new goals to work toward. If your team composition/teammates are kind of terrible, well this is gonna be a giant ball of aggravation and stress, but it’s otherwise lots of fun. I just want to play Scout all match though. Let me do that, please!

Driver: San Francisco – Only played like 20 mins of this. Not too bad, but man do those muscle cars have terrible understeer. Or is it oversteer? Guys, I don’t know anything about cars or driving.

What I’ve Been Doing 19 Mar 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 19th, 2012 by Dan

They are a group of six friends evenly split among men and women. Haven't seen this formula before! (Photo courtesy

I’ll get into it more later, but despite it being pretty standard fare for a sitcom, Happy Endings is actually hilarious and kind of awesome. I blew through season 1 this weekend (half on Netflix, then I bought the entire season on DVD).

Just catching any TV is impressive considering that I haven’t watched a second of it since Mass Effect 3 came out. Now that I’ve beaten that I had a chance to catch up on all the TV I’d missed.


The Descendants – Picked up the movie at Best Buy this weekend too. Great flick. I think Tiffany liked it despite its Oscar film plot meanderings.


Community – Oh god, so glad it’s back! So glad! This week’s episode was pretty solid work for Community. Everyone showed up and was great. Even the Britta stuff was hilarious. I loved that she was a wizard with domestic stuff and wedding planning. Then of course she Brittas the entire thing by getting too drunk with Jeff.

Archer – Space! Pretty excellent episode of Archer. Can’t wait for the finale next week

New Girl – “Did you just Fredo kiss me?” The singing part was kind of “eh”. “Are those cannons on your back”. After watching a lot of Happy Endings later on in the weekend, I think that New Girl is a less good version of that. Bummer. Still, it’s coming into its own and I dig it. Max Greenfield’s Schmidt is hilarious.

Parks and Recreation – The Ron stuff was great. I guess I’m pretty tired of the Ann and Tom stuff too.

Bob’s Burgers – Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman are HILARIOUS! Footloose warehouse dancing is great! “No more lick foot”. “If guys had uteruses they’d be called duderuses” Great episode.

Justified – The show knows how to make things seem real bad. “I found the gun.” “Did you touch it?” “What am I, an asshole?” I think Winona’s great! Is she gone for good? Good to see Ava returning to prominence. I like her too. Boyd’s got a real firebrand preacher streak and that’s always fun to see. This season is about to get more real quick and I love it!

Up All Night – Maya Rudolph is great. Spitting the scotch back out was pretty hilarious. The stinger with “gift” and “seed” was the best part. I kept wanting to use that as a line, but it’s so gross.

Happy Endings – Not too bad. Wow. Extra Hot Great turned me on to this show and I spent all weekend watching as much of it as I could. I thought it was pretty hilarious. It’s got a modern Friends vibe, but with the jokes pace of a Community, 30 Rock, or Arrested Development. Just BAM! BAM! BAM! Jokes, jokes, jokes. I really enjoyed it. If you know me I hope you don’t mind me making you watch it.


Just listen to more Rhythm Heaven music, guys!


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Ok, Martin Vanger is dead already. Why does this book still have like 100 pages left?!

Video Games

Mass Effect 3 – Finally finished this sci-fi epic and…I loved it. Naysayers out there will tell you that the ending is terrible. They’re kind of right, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t fantastic.

Ghost Trick – This is another one like Dragon Tattoo that I’m getting closer and closer to beating and I just need to put time in to finish.

Mass Effect 2 – Coming back to this after 3 is rough. Combat is slower, the engine is not optimized for PC, it’s trying too hard to be edgy…Still good, but I like 3 and 1 better.

Derivative Art, Japanese Rock, and the Coming Rock Revolution [You Can Quote Me On That]
May 21st, 2009 by Dan

From Tim Rogers’ article on Japanese music and Sambo Master (so good, but long!):

I told Sanyon, “Art is poison. The ‘art’ of the past — the words of the past set down for future generations to remember — was it not made or chosen with the best judgment, can only hinder the freedom of the future.”

“That’s a very Western philosophy.”

“No. It’s The Tale of Genji. Murasaki Shikibu. The world’s first novel. From your country — 998 AD.”


“If I write a novel, for example, about a girl in a religious community who is ostracized when she’s discovered to be an adultress, no matter how much I focus on the woman’s pining over the wonderful cookies at the weekly church bake sale, and no matter how clever I make the cookie motif — a metaphor for what, I don’t know — I can’t publish it without drawing comparisons to The Scarlet Letter.”

“I don’t know what that is.”

“It’s a book. Famous American literature. Anyway. Furthermore — if I were to, say, show The Scarlet Letter to a publishing company editor who had never read it, he’d look at it for ten minutes before telling me it was utter trash. Too long, too gloomy, paragraphs too big, too thick, setting details not fleshed out enough, needs too many footnotes, too prose-y.”

“Aha. You’re saying the judges aren’t competent, is what you’re saying.”

“No. I’m saying that some of the shit we regard as gospel is actually . . . not.”

Sanyon snapped his fingers, and pointed at me. His mouth opened, then closed.

“I’m not sure I follow you.”

I shook my head. “I’m not sure I follow myself, sometimes. Anyway, what I’m saying is that it’s probable — highly possible that a lot of the punk-rock music people like you and me listen to now would still exist, in some way, shape or form, if Ramones had never existed.”

“I’m not sure about that.”

“I’m only mostly sure, myself. All I . . . know is that it feels criminally wrong to believe that only one man can ever hold the power to change the world. It’s like this — I believe in something we’ll call an ‘aesthetic god.’ I also believe in music theory, though that’s for another day. The ‘aesthetic god’ applies to, well, it’s a belief that certain things look and/or sound pleasing. Good sights, good sounds. Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Friends’ hairstyle; the computerized shine on Britney Spears’ voice. With popular music all you’re doing is throwing things at a wall, and seeing what sticks. Well, I don’t know. I guess that’s how it was in the beginning. Now people — they know what sticks and what doesn’t. This is because there are little . . . laws in aesthetics. Some kind of a supreme presence.

“Yet, see — here’s what I believe. There are infinite avenues to pleasant sights and sounds. Infinite ways of playing a guitar. It’s just that Kurt Cobain comes in and plays these four chords in this order and everybody gets hooked up on it. Art isn’t a ‘poison’ in that it rots and kills; it’s a poison in that it slows down and hinders. Our eyes and ears are attracted to shiny sights and sounds, and we dare not look away. That’s how Murasaki Shikibu would probably put it if she were around today. I take it she’d agree with me when I say (and you know old Japanese poetry was my major in college) that we stand, now, at an era where the ignorant are set to inherit the earth. When a guy who comes across a guitar for the first time in his life and sits down and plays it for an hour until he ‘discovers’ power chords, yeah, he’s got a chance of doing something great. He can change the world.”

Sanyon shook his head. “That sounds like some religious bullshit, man. A rock and roll messiah or some shit.” He shrugged. “It’s not like things — the current rock and roll situation — are so bad. People listen to music on the train. People get paid to make the music. As long as the CDs sell copies — hey. I may be just a kid — people like it that way — and my grasp of the whole industry dynamic might be one-dimensional, though at least I feel like I understand it. Japan treats its musicians right, at least when it comes to securing them a future. And that’s what it’s about for me. A person-to-person basis. Not changing the fucking world. I feel sorry for the bastard who ends up having to do that.”

I wagged my finger. “He won’t even know he’s doing it, is the thing. He’ll just be another guy like you, maybe a kid, thinking he’s just having fun. Then he realizes what he’s doing, and he either rises to it or he blows the fuck up. If he rises to it, then he’s suddenly a hero to people. That’s how it happens. You kids overthink things sometimes, even more than I do, and I’m the one doing all of the talking. See — hell. It’s like . . . shit. I don’t know. What I mean to say is — go back to the Scarlet Letter analogy. The fact that there’s so much literature backed-up in the historical pipeline pisses a lot of writers off. They know that they can’t write such-and-such a novel without being compared to so-and-so. The same goes for music. This makes writers and musicians a bunch of ironic assholes. That’s the problem here, is irony. People get all bitter and jaded before they’re even twenty years old. They turn into a bunch of cocks. I was reading an old interview with The Pixies in this little book of rock interviews my friend had. I think the interview was from 1989 or some shit, and yeah, it was like — I kept thinking what an asshole Frank Black sounded like. He sounded like a total fuckhole. It’s like — this way he’s talking, his opinions, this is exactly the shit I hated on kids who thought they were rockers in high school. I totally understood a whole bunch of shit. They got it . . . from the music. I mean, nothing against The Pixies or anything.”

Sanyon shrugged. “They’re alright.”

“Alright. Yeah, they’re alright. They’re alright.”

“Anyway, man, like — like I said. I’m just having fun. That’s all. I’m not the hero in a comic book about punk-rockers in Tokyo. I’m not collecting all the fucking Pokemon. I’m just singing in a band — hell, I can’t even sing as well as Ito, and that fucker’s playing the guitar now — though I guess I have the personality. I can be on television. I can play the little Japanese television game. Perfect. They’ll like me. [Sanyons manager and ex-Blue Hearts bassist Junnosuke Kawaguchi] says we’ll be fine. People will like our style, and all that. That’s what’s important.”

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