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What I’ve Been Doing 16 Jan 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 17th, 2012 by Dan

Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation Lino Block Print

Ron Effing Swanson (Picture courtesy andyrama)

Parks and Recreation is back, everyone! Ron Swanson approves.

Movies

Paul – I’d heard very conflicting things about this movie. My feelings on it remain conflicted. I like Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Kristen Wiig, but this movie, while good, was not the best showcase of their various talents. I don’t regret watching it, but I’d say it’s pretty middling.

TV

Parks and Recreation – I love this show and I’m so glad it’s back! It’s bittersweet to get Parks back, but not Community, but I’ll take what I can get. I love the running gags about calzones and every scene with Aubrey Plaza. So great. This show is amazing. Skip season 1 and start watching it!

How I Met Your Mother – Finished season 6! Netflix is awesome. I wish they did more/better things with Cobie Smulders, but the season was decent, overall. The show did some interesting things with the season, but nothing as standout as in the first two or so. I didn’t hate Zoey as much as other people seemed to, but that’s just me. Now I need to catch up on this year’s season!

Samurai Champloo – Caught a few more episodes. I’m all set up for the last four. Been a good run so far. Not as good as Bebop, but still enjoyable.

Music

While working on Fukubukuro posts I discovered that Five Iron Frenzy got back together! If you like the band, they’ve got a new song on their site.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Slow and steady…

Video Games

The Old Republic – Got into the big raid instance. Lots of fun taking on the boss and figuring out strategies. There was supposed to be a new flashpoint today, but the patch was delayed. Excited to start leveling up alts now!

What I’ve Been Doing 28 Dec 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 28th, 2011 by Dan

Albino Wookie!

Stay calm everyone, but the Bounty Hunter class quest deals with an albino wookiee!

This is suuuper delayed, but I’ve been traveling and enjoying the holidays and recovering from sickness and that all takes time, you know?

Movies

Bridesmaids – Viewing number 4ish. I love the flip out scene where Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph have it out. Great scene.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US) – My favorite game to play while watching this movie is to count how many walkouts from people who didn’t realize there would be violent rape scenes in the movie. I was a huge fan of the remake’s casting. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig did fantastic jobs in their roles. Some people prefer the original Swedish, but I think these actors have more sizzle. Also, Rooney Mara’s got a fantastic body. Just sayin, guys.

TV

Mad Men – Watched the first episode again with my parents, Dave, and Kendra. Guess what, Dave, you’re wrong. We are all born alone and we do all die alone. Don and Rachel’s interactions were so amazing in season 1. I don’t think any other person challenges Don in the same way the rest of the series. It’s quite interesting to watch it again.

How I Met Your Mother – So great to just be able to pull this up and watch it anytime I need to with Netflix now. I definitely like pulling one up right before bed.

Music

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like Christmas music? I don’t like Christmas music, guys. Thank god I’m not home anymore, I almost strangled someone.

Books

1Q84 – Got about two chapters into this bulky Murakami epic. Seems very intriguing. The part about the literary prize stuff especially makes me wonder where the story is going. Could be lots of fun.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Turned out to be a light, but funny read. Ultimately it’s a women’s book, but I found it to be appropriately funny and fun.

Video Games

Chrono Trigger DS – Inspired by the Giant Bomb Endurance Run, I revisited CTDS on my plane ride home. Lots of fun, but it’s weird to see the name changes and translation changes. Good stuff.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Man, the class quests continue to be awesome! Turns out that Darth Zash wasn’t trying to kill me, per se. She only wanted to take over my body with her spirit. Then Khem Val went and interfered and, whoops, now they both inhabit his body. It’s pretty awesome.

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:

Trem̩ РSeason 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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