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What I’ve Been Doing 10 Sept 2012 {FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 10th, 2012 by Dan

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오빤 강남 스타일! (Photo courtesy Music Star22)

This week was ridiculous, guys. I mean, so much K-Pop and so much Jazz! It’s like highs and lows here. Add in some fantastic TV shows and ninjas and you’ve got my media week.

Movies

Sleepwalk With Me – Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass’ first joint movie project was a resounding success. It’s pretty much an adaptation of his stage show, but, as Min pointed out, we’ve seen this performed two or three times and it still feels really fresh. An excellent freshman effort. Catch it if it hasn’t left your city.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Looking for something to watch that she hadn’t seen, we settled on this. Man, I’d forgotten how fun this movie is. Just brisk and exciting. Ends one time too many, but otherwise great.

The Incredibles – Had this on the tube and it caught Tiffany’s imagination. Pulled out the blu-ray and watched it for maybe the third time ever. Guys, this movie is pretty awesome, even if it has weird message issues. I mean, being special is good, right? I get that, but why make a villain out of the guy who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps to make something out of himself? Buddy is misunderstood (and evil).

TV

Breaking Bad – HOLY COW! I’ve been forcing myself to slow down my consumption of these episodes because it’s just been SO GREAT. Season 3 really brought it together and taught me why everyone thinks this show is awesome. So masterful!

Kids on the Slope – What a charming, touching, musically amazing show that was. It’s only 12 episodes long, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome and it’s interesting the whole way through. You should check this anime out. It’s on CrunchyRoll right now for free.

The Daily Show – DNC time! The segments weren’t as biting (and the acceptance one was a remixed version of the RNC platform one), but they still had some good zingers for the DNC, such as the platform change vote.

NTSF:SD:SUV – Only my second episode of this madness, but the Time Angels stuff was hilarious. Sharp writing on this episode for the fake backdoor pilot.

Childrens Hospital – I love the “behind the scenes” episodes of this show. Too bad I missed the first half, but I’m sure I’ll catch it on reruns soon.

Pretty Little Liars – GUYS…this show is bonkers. It’s insane. Thank god I have Jacob Clifton’s recaps to read and laugh about. The show’s not bad, but man is it trashy and hilarious in all the right ways.

Fashion Police – Joan Rivers makes vagina jokes! No real complaints here. I can deal with this by now.

Cupcake Wars – So many strained Star Wars references. So many weird ingredients.

Music

“Gangnam Style” is AMAZING. How did I miss this when it came out?!

Super catchy and super ridiculous/bizarre/awesome. Psy is incredible in this video.

Like I said above, I spent a lot of this week listening to Jazz too. Here’s the best segment from Kids on the Slope:

That medley is just fantastic. Such a brilliant scene.

Books

I promise I’ll get back to reading soon!

Video Games

Driver: San Francisco – Evading the cops sucks. Couldn’t get it quite right, but I dug some of the driving. I’ll have to give it a little more time.

Spelunky – Started trying to speedrun for the 8 minute achievement after I got the Casanova one. Made it to the caves once, but it’s hard to just blow through these levels.

Mark of the Ninja – The Giant Bomb guys talked this game up like it was awesome. It is lots of fun. I like how clear all the stealth stuff is, but I wish it were a little easier to stun/not kill some of the guards. I feel like some puzzles very early in the game require you to kill or set off an alarm and that’s a bummer.

Sleepwalk With Me (THE MOVIE!) [FB/ER]
Jul 12th, 2012 by Dan

If you’re like me or if you’re a member of my family, you’ve probably seen Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me tour. It was pretty great. Dude is seriously funny. Now it’s being turned into a movie and, I gotta say, I’m all in.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 April 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Apr 30th, 2012 by Dan

Gomez

Gomez: The Hero of Fez (Picture courtesy Titolian)

I did a lot more with this week than I thought I would have time for considering how much I played The Old Republic and how late I was getting home for a lot of the week. Fez gets special mention at the top of this article for completely immersing me in its world. Everything from its ambient, minimalist soundtrack to the weird artifacts, perplexing language, and dense, unspoiled mystery has me super intrigued.

Movies

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I swear that I’m gonna stop tagging this someday soon. Tiffany hadn’t seen the US version and it was in Redbox, so we picked it up. I was struggling to stay awake at the end (it was one of those weeks), but it’s still a pretty solid movie. That stuff after Martin dies has always been way too long.

Shame – You know you’ve messed up if your movie about a sex addict living in NY is boring. It just wasn’t the daring, risque movie that I thought it would be. I did rather enjoy Carey Mulligan’s haunting “New York, New York”, but it was a little long. Watch it if you’ve got nothing to do/you can find it for cheap/free.

Like Crazy – Watching the trailer for this made me think I would hate the leads and I definitely did. They’ve got this youthful, lovey-dovey, can’t be separated from each other for five minutes thing that drives me crazy. Doesn’t help the plot that it all hinges on one stupid decision that anyone could have prevented. I also had a real tough time understanding why Anton Yelchin would rather be with Felicity Jones over Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, come on…JENNIFER LAWRENCE.

TV

Mad Men – Last week’s episode was very interesting and very artistic and I came away from the Ginsberg/Peggy scene just in love with the show all over again. Can’t wait to watch last night’s offering.

Veep – Guys, this show is hilarious. Best comedy pilot I’ve seen in a while. Just clever and subtle and sharp. They really capture the office/government job vibe.

Girls – The entire internet has an opinion about Girls so I felt like I needed to watch it. The first episode frustrated me with Hannah’s spoiled dependence on her parents, but had enough wickedly funny moments that I was on board. The second had lots of hilariously bad sex. I mean, the line about why doggie style isn’t always degrading, “What if I want to feel like I’ve got udders?” was pretty brilliant delivered. Mike Birbiglia’s job interview scene was great too. The whole thing with the non-PC conversations and the complete 180 on the offer was so good. I’m on board for now.

Kids on the Slope – Shinichirō Watanabe and Yoko Kanno’s latest collaboration is not quite as stylized as Cowboy Bebop, but it’s got the same strong Jazz roots. Worth watching for the music alone, as are most of Watanabe’s shows. I want to find that title track. It starts with this slow marching beat and then it just turns into this great piece. Love it.

Parks and Recreation – Getting tired of the election storyline, but the show is still selling it. Chris Pratt’s live action movies were hilarious and Aubrey Plaza continues to be a delight.

Community – Pitch perfect Law & Order spoof. The back half of this season continues to impress.

New Girl – I want to love this show a lot more than I do. It’s just so mediocre when it’s not funny. Happy Endings has deeper swings (funnier and more terrible) and I just dig that show way more than New Girl…

Music

“Sakamichi no Melody” by YUKI:

It’s not gonna blow you away, but I love the way it flows and changes. When it picks up in that middle section…how can you resist not tapping your toes?

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – Only a couple pages into this story about a baseball player who was also a spy. We’ll see how it is.

Video Games

The Old Republic – Min and I got our alts going now. My Trooper story has been interesting and I’m glad I’m playing it instead of a Consular.

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP – Finished the first movement/section/track. Have yet to go back in and start putting serious time. Very stylish and cool.

The Walking Dead – Captures the spirit of the comic and zombie apocalypse WAY better than the tv show does. Love it.

Saints Row: The Third – Played a little co-op with Lee. This game is so hilarious. I’m thinking of switching my character to zombie voice.

Fez – Really fantastic game. I can’t stress enough how immersive it is in its sparseness. I can’t wait until I start to understand the puzzles and mysteries more. Gonna try to limit my exposure to the internet since they’ve mostly solved everything. I know I’ll need their help eventually, but for now I’m on my own.

October: Sleepwalk With WTF [Fukubukuro]
Jan 11th, 2011 by Dan

One day Mike Birbiglia woke up and decided that he was going to fundamentally change his comedy and make it more personal.

Who am I kidding? The guy was already shifting in that direction before his one-man show, “Sleepwalk With Me”, debuted off-Broadway. Before things got personal, he was already sharing his “Secret Public Journal” with all his fans and devotees. I can’t pretend to understand the motivations behind his transition away from a straight joke comic to what he is today, but I’m so glad it happened.

If you’re not familiar, Mike Birbiglia’s comedy nowadays resembles therapy more than the typical stand-up routine. Conditioned by writing “Sleepwalk With Me”, his sets now have narrative arcs to them. Events at the start inform and influence stories he tells later and, all the while, we’re learning exactly what makes Mike tick.

I don’t know when I became such a voyeur into the personal and creative lives of the artists I dig, but my love for Birbigs’ shift in direction ties in rather intimately with the discovery of Marc Maron’s twice-weekly podcast, WTF. These interview sessions aren’t like your typical talk-show/radio appearances, filled with publicist-guided talks and guided agendas. No, these are personal conversations between Maron and his guest.

It’s hard to claim any cohesiveness between episodes other than the fact that Marc Maron probably has had beef with each of his guests at some point in his career. Other than that, their discussions meander from healthcare legislation to drug addiction, personal histories, and, yes, the very nature of standup itself.

The standup conversations are the ones I find most interesting as they address the intricacies and etiquette of the business. Maron has covered creative processes, writing, having writers, joke theft, life on the road, broad vs. alternative comedy, and even breaking into the business. This is where my voyeurism steps in again. I love hearing about the way that these great minds conceive and come to the jokes I love.

Beyond that I find myself loving the highly personal shows where Maron doesn’t hold back. The two-part interview with Carlos Mencia was brilliant in its examination of just why Mencie is among the most hated figures in comedy. Learning that his first inclination toward comedy was more or less plagiarized was so illuminating into the man. Seeing him slightly unravel under the pressure of the podcast and start incoherently threatening his enemies was fascinating.

Is it weird that I love glimpses into the highly personal subjects that make these comedians tick? Learning about Mike Birbiglia’s adolescence or his adult relationships, even through his own lens, sheds a lot of light on where his jokes come from. It shows me why he is who he is and why he acts the way he does. Maybe I should have been a psychologist?

Mike Birbiglia Yeah!

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