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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!

Spelunked – What I’ve Been Doing 9 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 3rd, 2012 by Dan

The cutest game to ever make you want to murder your entire family (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)

Spelunky finally arrived last week and it was GLORIOUS! So good, as a matter of fact, that I managed to rack up 21 hours in it while taking a day off to go to Pennsylvania to celebrate the 4th. Spelunky is razor sharp, guys. Razor sharp.

Movies

21 Jump Street – I can’t think of another trailer in recent history that has inspired more ambivalence upon the people I know, but I was secretly amused by it. It turns out that it’s because it’s an amusing movie. It’s not as funny as The Other Guys, but it’s got a similar vibe. Plus it’s got almost every comedic actor working today in bit parts all over. It’s funny, but I wouldn’t spend more than $5 to see it. Oh, also, Dave Franco is like a little James Franco clone. It’s so weird!

Goon – Watched this again with Min since it was on Instant. The major reason this movie works is because it doesn’t make fun of Doug for being a oaf. He’s lovable and he means well and he just wants a place to belong. It’s really quite touching, just very, very violent.

TV

Louie – I’m honestly shocked that something as surreal and arty as this show can be is on FX and is doing as well as it is. I don’t know how the man on the street feels about Louie, but I know that I’m constantly impressed by its reach. Great show. That speech to Pamela in episode 6 was beautiful.

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine – Speaking of arty shows, how crazy is the opening theme to this one? I mean, it’s called “New Wuthering Heights”, for Christ’s sake! I wonder how much of the look of the show is based on budget, but that’s actually the show’s strongest point. It doesn’t look like anything else on tv and it’s certainly more mature than most of the other anime I’ve ever seen. Fujiko is an interesting character, but, seriously, there’s not a single episode without her topless (nor can there be! She’s nude for the entire opening song).

Music

Heard a track by The Oneups this morning. Reminded me that they’re pretty good (if you like vidya game music)

Books

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami has never met a plot that didn’t need metaphysical, sometimes bizarre sex to advance it. Not a problem, more something to mark on your Murakami checklist. I do wonder what this means for Tengo and I worry about Aomame. Will she make it through the narrative or will Murakami use her to further motivate Tengo? What is Tengo now? Is he going to be cursed like Leader was?

Video Games

The Walking Dead – If Spelunky didn’t also come out this week I’d be drooling over this to everyone. Telltale has really figured things out and they’re knocking it out of the park with each episode. Pick it up now!

The Binding of Isaac – Came so close to knocking out the penultimate challenge. I’ll get you soon, BoI. I’ll get you…

Penny Arcade Ep 1 – Finished off a replay of this to prep for Ep3. The game has decent writing, but I think it’s less funny than the other Hothead episode (that or it’s less fresh for me?). Still, easy-ish S-Rank.

Spelunky – Gaming perfection, guys. Perfection! What Spelunky has that very few modern games do is fearlessness. Derek Yu is so confident that his game is good and that it makes sense that he refuses to put in handhold-y player incentives to coddle and usher along gamers. No, you lose “everything” when you mess up and die…everything but the knowledge that you obtained on the previous run. You’d be surprised how much you learn from each death and how things behave. Obstacles that seemed tough to deal with for me are trivial now. I’m starting to see two or three reactions ahead (chess style) of everything I do. Death only comes when I’m careless. Spelunky is hard and it wants you to move quickly, which also makes it harder, but getting that knowledge allows you to just fly confidently

Skullgirls – I picked this up to check out a sweet fighting game and support Min’s cousin msh. The first thing we did, I kid you not, was watch the credits to look for her name. Congratulations on the game credit, msh. It’s a fine game with fine art and I think it’s super cool that you worked on it. Now if only they could put the move lists, you know, in the game proper…That would be nice. I’m glad they got an official tournament at Evo this year, but I hope they’re a bigger part of the tournament next year. It’s a sharp game.

Jamestown – Hadn’t tried this game multiplayer until this past weekend with Min. Lots of fun, but the final boss is so hard!

Penny Arcade Ep. 2 – Funnier than Ep. 1 and a little more creative in its puzzles and areas too. Didn’t dig the final boss/puzzle, but it was fine. Really pumped me up to keep going with Episode 3 even though it was midnight on Sunday.

Penny Arcade Ep. 3 – Had to play this on Insane, did you, Dan? Ugh….SO HARD! I fought the Crabomancer like 20 times, but I finally beat him. Finished playing at 2AM. Whoops! This game has razor sharp RPG mechanics that I LOVE and even sharper writing than the previous two episodes since they’re not leaning on the art or voice acting as much as they could before. Loving it so far, just wish there were steam achievements.

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).

“Bummer/Blueberries” [IB]
Sep 13th, 2011 by Dan

Louie - Louis C.K. - 2010

I forgot to mention in my WIBD article that Min and I watched the second episode of the second season of Louie, “Bummer/Blueberries”. It was an episode that centered on death and sex, in that order, but both also dealt with relationships and how utterly bizarre they can be.

Season 1 of Louie was often funny, sometimes hilarious, and altogether just kind of bizarre and interesting and S2 continues that trend (that spanking scene? HILARIOUS! Also disturbing, but hilarious too). I rather liked the episode and I’ve got the rest of the season on my DVR (sans the premiere, for some reason). I’ll have to get to those as soon as I can.

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