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

One Piece Cosplay

This picture is from an old Otakon, but the cosplayers were out in full force this weekend yet again.

With Katie away for the weekend I took full advantage of my video game availability. Like, super full advantage.

Movies

Elysium – Katie didn’t really want to see this one, so Min and I went to see it solo. Her impressions from the trailer were right (and I should have realized that good blockbusters don’t come out in August). It’s just overloaded with “purpose”, but without the requisite seriousness. The movie is just not good enough for the gravity it’s seeking to have. Not enough robot explosions either. Can’t win them all, I guess. Should have watched Pacific Rim again instead

TV

The Newsroom – A patronizingly simplistic episode about “Africa” (as if it were a country and not a continent) may mean I won’t have to watch this show any more. Phew…

Childrens Hospital – And just like that they handwave away the death of “Blake Downs”/”Cutter Spindell”. Hilariously done. I like that they’re in Japan now instead of Brazil, which is where their hospital definitely was.

NTSF:SD:SUV:: – Adding Karen Gillan to the show seems to have been an awesome choice. Other reviewers don’t agree with me, but her character’s hilarious sociopathy is…well…hilarious.

Breaking Bad – Just in time to miss the half-season premiere, I started watching the preceding half-season. Walt is terrifying, yo.

Futurama – Boy is this show’s brand of humor mild compared to modern animation. Good enough to fall asleep to, I guess.

Music

Not feeling it this week

Books

Didn’t happen this week

Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV – The Tokyo map is a little confusing to manage, but it’s also kind of par for the course for SMT games. The plot continues to deepen, but very slowly.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – I missed another fireworks festival!

Pikmin 3 – Almost didn’t get this one, but I’m so glad I did. Everything about it is so charming and fun. The localized writing is top notch and the game mechanics are a real joy to experience.

Spelunky – Daily challenges, man. That mode is great. Now that Lee’s got the game too I have someone to score attack against as well. Loving it on PC.

The Last of Us – Beat it. Saw the controversial ending. In the end I think the writing was top notch. About on par with a B+ movie. The mechanics were a little repetitive and not as fun as they could have been. Plus, will someone please let me stop moving ladders and transporting Ellie on pallets?

Rogue Legacy – Controls floatier and less precise/tight than I would have guessed, but addictive and fun. Every time I lose a guy I want to just barrel right back in. I only hate it when I don’t have enough money to actually buy any upgrades.

Papers, Please – Exploring the mundanity of bureaucracy one day at a time. It’s actually a very neat game that’s worth checking out. Got one of the twelve endings. It wasn’t a good one.

Cart Life – Couldn’t get into it within like 15 mins because it started me at 4AM and I couldn’t remember where I was supposed to go for a permit.

Analogue: A Hate Story – Finished the *Hyun-ae ending. Another well-written Christine Love joint.

Donkey Kong 94 – Just a few levels here and there.

EDIT: FORGOT TO ADD…

Dead Space 3 – Dave and I finally beat this guy. Tune in like a year from now to see us complain about all the game’s failings during the ending credits, haha.

Civilization V – Started a multiplayer game with the brothers. Let’s see if we actually finish it.

Burlesque – What I’ve Been Doing 16 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 16th, 2012 by Dan

peepshow_donnie01-web

When you go to a burlesque show you pretty much expect dudes with mustaches like this. Maybe knives too. (Photo by tmronin)

The Peepshow (not the NV one, but a different traveling troupe) was in Harrisburg this weekend and Tiffany and I were super thankful to have something to do around York. Seriously, guys. It’s kind of boring up there. Knife throwing, sword swallowing, nail pounding, and, naturally, burlesque dancing were on the menu. It was lots of fun. I think it was their last show of the summer, but if you see that they’re coming to a venue near you, definitely check it out.

Movies

The Amazing Spider-Man – I don’t understand why everyone’s so mad about this movie. Ok, so it’s a reboot ten years after the last one, but who cares? Garfield and Stone are both orders of magnitude better than Maguire and Dunst as is Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. It’s a fun movie and I hope they make more of them.

TV

MLB All-Star Game – The National League blew out the AL by getting to Verlander early. It was a pretty sweet game, but I couldn’t get a proper feed the way I wanted so it was the first one I’ve listened to and not watched in like three years

Louie – This show is so impressive. Check it out.

Futurama – The Richard Nixon presidential run is a perfect example of a Futurama episode that bores me to tears. Nixon is such a safe target for “satire”…I dunno, the whole episode was pretty lukewarm, but I did chuckle when Nixon was a giant robot monster destroying everything.

Fashion Police – It’s kind of cute how much Tiffany loves to watch this and gets bummed if she misses it. I can’t complain.

Music

Boston is awesome, guys. Enough said.

Books

1Q84 – I’m really worried that Murakami let Aomame pull the trigger. I’m deep in suspense wondering if she actually did it. On the other hand, I understand why Murakami might feel like that character has served her purpose.

Video Games

Spelunky – Remains perfect, but my schedule this week has really kept me from playing all that much. Gotta keep at it!

Penny Arcade Ep3 – Sharp writing and sharper combat still. Got my second set of class pins and they’re really creative. I mean, I can be a Dinosorceror. That’s a class that transforms into a dinosaur!

I’ve Had Enough for a Lifetime – What I’ve Been Doing 2 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 2nd, 2012 by Dan

I wish I could make up the fact that I’ve seen two episodes of this show. (Photo courtesy Screened.com)

As you may have figured out from the picture, weekends with Tiffany are a little different for my media experience. I like to think of it as a way to broaden my tastes and attitudes, but it’s also kind of tough to deal with some of these shows without laughing at how terrible they are.

Movies

Snow White and the Huntsman – Speaking of stuff I wouldn’t normally go to see…Look, this movie isn’t terrible, per se, it’s just…overlong. Like really long. It’s technically only 127 minutes, but it’s a long 127 minutes of watching K-Stew kind of pull it off. At least Chris Hemsworth has plenty of charisma. There were lots of lingering shots or just plain odd directorial choices, but I’m glad they trimmed it to what it was already. Also kind of weird that all of the dwarves were played by non-dwarves digitally put onto dwarven bodies. At least that allowed us to get Nick Frost smarming about, but I bet the dwarven union wasn’t happy.

TV

Futurama – Nothing says biting, relevant social commentary like an Ally McBeal parody, right? Right?! At least the criticisms lobbed at TV were less dated. Did enjoy the visual homage to Star Wars though. Beyond that, the Slurm episode was tremendously good. The show’s definitely on the uptick for me.

Louie – Season 2 hit Netflix, which is awesome. Didn’t get to finish the first episode because the power went out, but I’m glad it’s there and I’ll be checking it out for sure.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – Best thing on the show: the stuffed porkchops. They took porkchops and, get this, they stuffed them with sausage. So much pig! So delicious looking.

Fashion Police – I think I’m starting to get the hang of this. Joan Rivers makes an inappropriate joke and everyone laughs at the wicked barb. Then they talk about a starlet’s dress. It could be worse, I guess.

The Client List – Not one, but two Lifetime shows this week. In this one Jennifer Love Hewitt lives in Texas and her husband abandoned her and her two kids. What’s a mom to do?! Work in a massage parlor called “The Rub” (not lying, that’s the name) and just do her best. Except her deadbeat husband showed up out of the blue and the cops are on to her…This show is just so melodramatic it’s hilarious. The deadbeat husband, he suggests they put peanut butter on the sandwiches his daughter made and it’s like he shot one of the kids. Why? She’s allergic to peanut butter. The way the music and their expressions changed…THAT made the whole thing worth it.

The Next Food Network Star – This is just like The Voice, but with cooking. Not terribly interesting to me because they were focusing more on being on-air personalities than on food this episode.

Cupcake Wars – All of the house, Tiffany’s roommate and his boyfriend, included, watched an episode where they were making cupcakes for the USO. I love when the show feels the need to subtitle Florian’s French accent.

Drop Dead Diva – I guess this is a show about a model who died and reincarnated into a larger woman’s body, but you wouldn’t know it from this 4th season episode. I mean, this show seems like it left its premise behind years ago (or maybe this is just an isolated episode?). The episode was kind of lawyer show-lite. I mean, it was like your typical network law show, but less good.

Music

Eric started checking out his last.fm milestones and he reminded me that I used to listen to The Zutons a lot. They were my first listens on the service and I hadn’t listened to them in a while. Guys, they’re good. At least I think so.

Books

1Q84 – Continues to be wildly interesting. I mean, this is good reading. Lots of suspense as Aomame prepares to assassinate Leader while Tengo is hiding out with Fuka-Eri.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom – Look, this isn’t a bad book by any means. It’s just not for me. I admit I went into it with a lot of prejudice, but it does suffer from being over-technical, which I attribute to its author being a technical writer. Doctorow is a little more enamored with the interfaces and technology than he is with the character and action of his story. It’s a story driven more by nostalgia and rejection of technology than character action. Maybe I’m being nitpicky…I dunno. It’s worth a read since it’s so short, but it’s not gonna win any literary awards.

Video Games

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise – Didn’t get to play as much of this as I wanted to because I was so tired this week. Still enjoying it, just gotta put more time in.

Mass Effect 3 – Did you guys realize how well written this game is? I started playing again to get to the new endings, but man does the game put you a far way back. Not to mention that I’m not confident about my readiness level. Want to play more this week, but Spelunky’s coming, so we’ll see.

The Binding of Isaac – Beat another challenge. Love this game. Got like three challenges to go (and they’re toughies).

Travis Touchdown – What I’ve Been Doing 25 June 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 25th, 2012 by Dan

Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes

No More Heroes is good for some easy cosplay. Travis Touchdown is pretty awesome (Photo by Elliot Trinidad)

Last week felt super long! Thank god it’s all over. At least I enjoyed myself plenty. Week two of the swimming experiment continued as well, reminding me of how woefully out of shape I am. Glad to have seen Kai again too. It’s a bummer that she no longer has work/business in Baltimore.

Movies

Prometheus – I went to see this with Ian last Monday. Despite what some critics might tell you, it’s not aggressively terrible. I think that my lack of prior Alien knowledge is what allows me to enjoy the movie so much. I came in with zero preconceptions and zero expectation and I left having seen the coolest surgical procedure ever and a pretty sweet squid vs. Engineer fight. This is not an A+, high-caliber piece of cinema, but it’s a fun summer film. Oh, before I forget, Michael Fassbender as David was INCREDIBLE.

Rampart – Woody Harrelson plays a dirty cop who is all kinds of damaged. The movie kind of starts in the middle and ends in the middle, but it was interesting, if not fragmented. I think most of you guys wouldn’t really dig it.

TV

Futurama – I’ll admit that the fat robot in the Mars University episode was pretty funny. I’m enjoying pushing through this show a few episodes at a time. I hope to get some more in this week.

The Thick of It – Watched the entire first series (I mean, it’s only three episodes. British television, everybody!). The first episode wasn’t particularly funny at all. It was just a lot of meanness and snarkiness, although it’s situationally hilarious in retrospect. In fact, it’s making me smile quite broadly. This show, in case you didn’t know, was Armando Iannucci’s show about English politics that precedes Veep (although it seems that they’re making a new series for 2012). It’s biting and it’s downright mean most of the time (meaner than Veep), but it’s still quite funny, especially past the first episode.

Music

You can get “Black Sheep” by Metric off of the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack, but if you want the Brie Larson version I recommend searching for it on last.fm where they have a downloadable 128 kbps one you can get. Great song.

Here’s another good Metric song:

Books

1Q84 – I’m in so hard for this book. It has gotten so good. I finally know how Tengo and Aomame relate to each other, but I’m not even 1/3 of the way done with this epic. So far the Little People are the scariest thing I’ve ever heard of. I think Aomame is gonna end up infiltrating Sakigake and maybe Tengo is gonna have to save her and Fuka-Eri. We’ll see.

Video Games

Diablo III – Inferno…yay? As you might expect I’m more interested in playing new or unfinished games so I haven’t logged into D3 in a while. I’ll get more time in this week during Marlins games (unless I end up reading between innings instead).

Civilization V – The Gods and Kings expansion pack came out and I’m really enjoying it. The new Faith system is neat and I enjoyed founding Buddhism, but I have yet to see how it will impact the whole game so far. Haven’t put too much time into it (sometimes I try and rest my arms when I get home since being on the computer all day makes my shoulders hurt), but I expect to win as the Siam empire!

No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise – There’s so much going on in this game that it’s hard to pick out just one thing. It seems that Suda51 is intentionally satirizing the video game fan and his pathetic existence in Travis. He has a lust for blood, is an otaku (he is mocked for this), and he endlessly and pathetically lusts over women. Most of the other assassins are similarly psychopaths and the game pretty heavily breaks the fourth wall. For what you’d think would be a mindless game, this has some hidden depth that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

“Did I fall asleep?” – What I’ve Been Doing 18 June 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 18th, 2012 by Dan

Alpha looks seriously creepy there. Wow. (Photo courtesy ComicVine)

In a weekend full of grief over some terrible Marlins losses thanks to anemic offenses I finally got around to finishing Dollhouse…

Movies

Indie Game: The Movie – Steam’s first movie! I didn’t kickstart it, but I was more than happy to support it post-release. It’s not super informative if you don’t already know a bunch about indie video games, but it’s entertaining to see three artists at three stages of their careers and the minds and personalities that go with each. It makes me really crave postmortem analysis of Fez as well.

TV

Dollhouse – I think it’s safe to say that this is Joss Whedon’s weakest show (although I haven’t seen Angel yet…). Most of the complaints were with Eliza Dushku not being up to the part, but I think she eventually grew into the part. The second season was full of a lot of melodrama and, as Min noted, felt very rushed, but I think that Joss had enough time to put a perfect little bow on the series and wrap up all the loose plot threads rather nicely. I’d much rather recommend that people watch The Wire, but if you’re looking for something second tier to enjoy and you’ve already seen Firefly, you could do worse.

Patton Oswalt: No Reason to Complain – Comedy pairs perfectly with Diablo or another similarly mindless game. This isn’t Oswalt’s funniest work, but I enjoyed it alright.

Louis C.K.: Hilarious – Man, Louis C.K. is funny! I don’t know why I’ve never seen his standup before, but you should catch this before it leaves Instant on 1 July. I loved the bits about how unappreciative Americans are. Good stuff.

Futurama – I’ve only seen like six episodes of this show. Everyone seems to love it. I’m checking out the first season. Saw the garbage ball one and the one where Bender gets hooked on electricity. Had some funny moments, but not hilarious ones. I liked the musical bits in hell and seeing the Beastie Boys was bittersweet.

Music

Guys…the video to Girls’ Generation’s new single, “Paparazzi” came out. The stealth conversion of the site to a K-Pop repository continues.

Books

1Q84 – How long has it been since I last read this book? Holy cow! Got a bunch of chapters in. One of the characters has realized that something might be up, but I don’t know how Aomame is gonna tie in with Tengo’s story. I’m intrigued, but I’m frustrated by my usual pet peeve of men writing women like they feel like women think. I mean, I can’t confirm that Murakami is being inaccurate with his portrayal of Aomame’s thoughts, but it doesn’t quite feel right to me. Then again, what the heck do I know about how women think/act?

Video Games

Diablo III – I’m in Inferno! Now I’ve just gotta beat Diablo again. Lost another Hardcore Min. Rest in peace Min the Demon Hunter. Your deeds will be forever remembered.

The Binding of Isaac – Great time killer. Gotta make more progress, but these challenges are tougher than I realized they’d be.

Poker Night at the Inventory – Trying desperately to get the four-of-a-kind or straight flush achievements, the odds of which are 72,192.33 : 1 and 4,164 : 1, respectively. Got a lot of poker ahead of me…at least Texas Hold ‘em has softer odds.

No More Heroes: Paradise – The recent release of Lollipop Chainsaw reminded me that I’ve got a Suda51 backlog that needs clearing. Lotta character and personality to this game. I like Travis Touchdown and I like the fighting for now, but I don’t love the busywork nature of it all. I’ll survive the part time jobs and assassination missions mostly by thinking about the statements that Suda is trying to make, but I have a much harder time dealing with the temperamental motorcycle and overlarge overworld.

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