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What I’ve Been Doing 13 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 13th, 2012 by Dan

Samurai Champloo DVD Cover

The journey is over. (Photo courtesy Sold Out Activist)

Big TV week for me. A lot of huge episodes and great acting made me a very happy viewer.

Movies

I was supposed to watch Hanna this weekend, but I never got around to it.

TV

Samurai Champloo – Turned out to be a show about transition and the end of things. About an age where Japan was forced to move forward and accept the great wave washing over it. Combining that with hip hop was a great idea. Mugen’s final battle was annoyingly unsatisfying. With Jin and Fuu at least the fight had something to do with the plot. The guys Mugen fought were not plot-relevant at all to anything that happened in the series. Also, everyone took ridiculous amounts of abuse and damage and then just lived to tell the tale?

Glee – What the heck was that? All of the numbers were embarrassing, Ricky Martin was used to pathetic effect, and none of the music was that interesting. When you make your episode focus Latin music, but you only really highlight pop crossover Latin stuff it’s kind of insulting to me in the same way all of that was insulting to Santana.

New Girl – For a show that gets a lot of grief, New Girl has been bringing it the past few weeks. Playing chicken with the proposed three way was hilarious. The show still has nothing for Winston to do

Up All Night – “Everyone hates flan!” Preach.

Justified – Whoa, what an episode. That last scene with Devil and Boyd…wow. Not to mention the stuff with Dickie and Limehouse. Awesome stuff. Can’t wait for more!

Breaking Bad – Everybody’s been talking about how great this show is for three years. Guess what, guys? They’re right. It’s awesome. Only saw the pilot, but it was impressive. Can’t wait to see more. Glad it’s on Netflix Instant.

Grammy Awards – Tuned in for the back half with Tiffany. I’m bummed that I missed all the Rap categories (I was pulling hard for Kanye’s stuff. Looks like he did quite well), but it was a fun show. I hadn’t realized that there were so many performances or I would have watched it in the past. Paul McCartney was pretty great, Nicki Minaj was appropriately bizarre (just rap, Nicki. Your flow is unstoppably awesome), and it was generally a good showing. Adele cleaned up, holy cow.

Music

The Weeknd – Aside from the Grammys, I’ve been listening to The Weeknd like crazy. His stuff is totally awesome and 100% free here. If you’re looking for some red hot R&B, look no further. Particular props to “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” and “D.D.”

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Get a couple pages in here and there during breaks. Such absolute wish fulfillment writing…Bloomqvist is a weenie, but he gets laid like crazy.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – This game is so hilarious and awesome. I spend most cutscenes hitting the Print Screen button to try and cap the ridiculousness. Well-deserved props from the Giant Bomb folks. I’ll probably beat the main campaign this week.

Ghost Trick – Still clever and fun gameplay. I think Min is playing this on his iPad now. He might catch up and beat me!

The Old Republic – Haven’t had a lot of time to work those alts (Min’s been busy), but it’s still fun. The news that Dave might be willing to play soon is awesome and encouraging.

What I’ve Been Doing 6 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 6th, 2012 by Dan

Dan gets ready to blow out his candles

26! (Photo courtesy DJOtaku)

Everything’s all creaky and sore and old, but just because I’m 26 and old doesn’t mean you guys don’t get to find out what I’ve been doing.

Movies

Drive – Finally got around to catching this movie. Min was accurate in calling it more of an art movie than an action movie. Ryan Gosling’s pure rage and “coolness” bordered on psychopathic and I actually sympathized with Albert Brooks’ villain character. This movie is not for the faint of stomach. Lots of brutal violence. Has an 80s ambiance too that’s reinforced by the synth-heavy (and awesome) chillwave soundtrack

Moneyball – David got me this (THANKS DAVID!) and I love it. Started watching it because Min had never seen it and Tiffany needed something to help her fall asleep. Min liked it and it helped Tiffany fall asleep, which is great because otherwise she might have noticed me start to tear up. Sports movies are the best/worst. They really get me.

TV

Homeland – How I managed to put off watching the last three episodes of this season until last week is baffling. This show is the best new thing to come out this year. Great, tense drama. Amazing show.

Samurai Champloo – The last fun episodes before the finale are about as bizarre as television gets. Weird space zombies, bizarre baseball episodes. This show really just throws everything serious out the window before its end. I hope the last three episodes are cool. I’ll miss this show. It’s been a good journey.

Justified – Everyone and everything in this show is so badass and awesome. I love it. Can’t wait to see more gunslinging.

New Girl – The whole Jess/Julia contrast is really interesting. I really like Lizzy Caplan. Hopefully the show doesn’t just get rid of her. The cumrudgeon in her personality contrasts quite nicely with Deschanell.

Glee – If there were ever an artist that could match the awesomeness levels of the Madonna episode, Michael Jackson would be it…except he wasn’t. Meh storytelling combined with odd song selection (“Scream” with Artie as MJ and Mike Chang as Janet? What?) made for a stronger episode than usual, but not up to par with what the King of Pop deserves.

Persona 4: The Animation – I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see these episodes. The hilarity of Yu Narukami and the Persona 4 series is amazing. This show does a great job of capturing the events of P4.

Parks and Recreation – One of my favorite episodes of the season. Oren is always hilarious as were all the weird suitors they chose for Ann. The Ron Swanson runner where he was loving the scavenger hunt was amazing. Perfectly acted by Nick Offerman.

Archer – So many callbacks to other episodes! Archer continues to have an exceptionally strong third season. I was surprised at how great it was.

Up All Night – The starfuckers line was the best of the episode. Show is finding its legs, for sure. I’m happy with it.

Music

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Their new CD, Area 52, is amazing. Check it out if you can. It’s their old stuff, but with a full Cuban orchestra thrown in for good measure. Fun stuff.

Books

Nope

Video Games

The Old Republic – Finding time to play alts with Min has really slowed me down. We are making great raid progress though. On to Hard Modes!

Cave Story + – When I defeat you, Monster X, you will know my wrath. I hate you so much.

Ghost Trick – Getting close to the end and the puzzles are only getting more and more devious. Gotta figure out how to save this dude’s life!

EDIT: Rayman: Origins – Totally forgot that Min and I beat the prestige level. So awesome. Great game.

What I’ve Been Doing 23 Jan 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 23rd, 2012 by Dan

This is a French video game for sure. (Picture courtesy Giant Bomb)

Movies

Evangelion 1.11 – Min has never seen Evangelion all the way through, so I figured the movies would be the best/easiest way to watch them.

Ip Man – I ran into this movie as a “Watch It Again” recommendation on Netflix, so I thought I’d show Min the aggressively pro-Chinese/anti-Japanese parts because I find it funny how blatantly nationalistic this movie is. Also the kung fu is pretty great to watch.

TV

Up All Night – For some reason the runner about Missy being mean to her incredibly good-looking British boyfriend she met off of J-Date is absolutely hilarious. This show is pretty solid. Not amazing, but solid. Good for a few guaranteed laughs.

The League – Finally caught the last three of the season. Allison Williams is hot. WOW! My favorite line, from Kevin to an ex-con: “How were the pick-up basketball games?” “Violent.”

Justified – Strong return. Holy cow that was awesome. The tension in the draw scene was awesome. Best line: “You didn’t have to do that, Ava.” “Of course I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.”

New Girl – “Frankie Munoz’s” was a great, silly joke. LIZZY CAPLAN! Why is she so skinny?! Too skinny. She punched the guy who played Todd in Community! Pretty good episode, but I wish Lizzy Caplan could stay for longer.

Childrens Hospital – Best line: “I would slit my wife’s throat to be with you”. For Malin Åkerman? I think I might too.

Sherlock – Min didn’t catch this when it was on PBS last year so I thought I’d share. Fantastic update of the Sherlock Holmes mythology.

Parks and Recreation – “Bobby Newport” “Bobby NEWport”. Anyway, Paul Rudd was fantastic in his role as a stupid opponent to Leslie’s campaign. I liked the part where he was upset about them smiling after besting him. Great line. The Andy/April stuff was kind of dumb, but I still laughed a bunch at it.

Project Runway: All Stars – Yeah, yeah…Tiffany makes me watch these with her sometimes. They’re not as terrible as other reality shows, so I don’t complain that much. This one had Miss Piggy on it and all the contestants were talking about how awesome it would be to design a dress for her. Um…I’m pretty sure they were paid to say that because it was a pretty ridiculous show concept.

Archer – Burt Reynolds! Pretty good episode. Strong return to form for the show. I like the maintained continuity with Ray and the wheelchair.

Music

Zelda Step – I got a fever. The only cure, more (Legend of Zelda) dubstep.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Still slowly reading it during lunch breaks. Still kind of dry.

Video Games

The Old Republic – Making progress as my Bounty Hunter. He just stole a spaceship for himself! As my Sith Inquisitor I’m making good money playing the Global Trade Network and our guild downed Soa in Eternity Vault on Normal.

Rayman: Origins – Been waiting to have Min over before I played this. Super fun! It reminds me of the fun times playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but in HD. I hope I can get Eric and Danielle over (or go over to their place) to play it. It’s lots of fun and I think they’d like it.

Chrono Trigger DS – I don’t know why I keep forgetting to mention I’m playing this. Beat the bonus boss and got the “new” ending. I might NG+ it to get the other 9 or so…might not. We’ll see.

Ghost Trick – Finally dug this up to give it some more playtime. Still absolutely hilarious, even in Spanish! That’s right, guys, I’m playing this game in Spanish to practice my reading skills. Tons of character, fantastic animation, and great humor.

What I’ve Been Doing 12 Dec 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 12th, 2011 by Dan

Our Idiot Brother Poster

Movies are back! (Photo courtesy adonismens)

My brief movie vacation wasn’t willingly imposed, guys. I was just waiting for Netflix to finally send one of the movies at the top of my queue to me. Let’s see if they can keep this up…

Movies

Our Idiot Brother – Paul Rudd was surprisingly good in this. This movie is not laugh out loud funny, but it’s pretty great in a low key laughs kind of way. Rudd’s three sisters, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, and Elizabeth Banks, all play troubled/damaged women who could all use a little folksy advice from their too trusting, semi-naive brother. It’s better than it sounds plus it features Rashida Jones in dorky glasses playing a lesbian in a relationship with Zooey Deschanel. Pretty good stuff! Only nitpick is that Emily Mortimer’s American accent is a little thin. It wouldn’t make sense for her to be English, but it wasn’t as natural as it could be.

TV

Glee – Sectionals! I like that music gets most of the focus for this episode because that’s the only good part about Glee right now. At least we’re done with all of the storylines going into the Christmas episode and the rest of the season in January/February

New Girl – Would this show be half as funny without Schmidt? Gotta admit, I don’t love the stupid way Jess acts around sex. She’s not coming off as “adorkable” (shoot me for typing that), she’s coming off as idiotic.

Up All Night – Best line: “Ga-goosh? Oh, I’m sorry, is that a penis sound?” It may not be the best show on TV or the funniest, but it’s got solid construction and the principals make me laugh when they interact with each other. Sounds like what you want from a comedy, right?

Community – Great skewering of Glee. I mean, the ridiculous focus on regionals? Brilliant. Mr. Rad? HILARIOUS. The best number of the night for sheer ridiculousness was the Annie regressive sexpot role. Just hilarious.

Parks and Recreation – Great episode, but it was pretty unfocused. Upon second watching I actually dug that about it even more. The marshmallow Ron Swanson was the best.

Persona 4: The Animation – Rise and Teddy persona episodes! Not as hilarious as the camping or Kanji episodes, but still good. I guess next week is the DQ homage dungeon, but I wish they’d slow down a bit and do some more social link stuff.

Childrens Hospital
– Party Down AND the return of Dr. Jewy McJewJew! Why isn’t Lizzy Caplan in more things?

Music

So much stupid dubstep this week! If it didn’t have wobble bass I didn’t want to listen to it for the start of the week. I spent the weekend listening to Janelle Monáe and The Root’s new album, Undun.

Undun is quite good and Amazon was selling it for super cheap. Unfortunately it’s a little on the short side, but it’s still worth the money.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (AKA Men Who Hate Women) – I started this book like a year ago. I pick it up and read a few pages here or there. The Swedish movie was good enough and close enough that I feel like I got the gist of it already, which makes this read a slog because the writing is kind of dull. Dunno if I’ll finish it this year, haha. I’ll definitely see the new movie when it comes out, though.

Video Games

Expect this section to dwindle to OMG THE OLD REPUBLIC! next week because that’ll probably be all I do.

The Binding of Isaac – All I’ve got left to do is beat Sheol game as ??? (and then a few no damage runs that will be near impossible). It’s been a lot of fun and I think this game is spectacular. I don’t think we’ll be getting any more add-ons, but man was it the best $5 I’ve spent in a while.

Civilization V – This game is the most addictive and awesome games out there. I played about 17 hours of it this weekend and I’ve got 40 turns to finish before tomorrow (assuming I get into the early access for TOR tomorrow). Gonna be a long night, folks!

What I’ve Been Doing 5 Dec 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 5th, 2011 by Dan

The Guests at my 15th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Eric! (Photo courtesy djotaku)

It’s my brother’s birthday today so let’s celebrate by telling you everything I’ve been up to this past week. I didn’t say it would be a good celebration, guys.

Movies

No movies again! I want to get The Muppets in soon. Maybe when I go home for Christmas.

TV

Samurai Champloo – Clip episodes (except for the Community one) are tremendously unsatisfying. The show has entered its “serious about our protagonists backstories” phase. I’m cool with it so far so long as I can keep listening to that ending theme, “Shiki no Uta”.

Chrono Trigger Endurance Run – Giant Bomb has made me a very happy man by returning to the ER. So far Ryan and Patrick have made some hilarious errors, but they’re going strong in the future.

Childrens Hospital – Night Shift was a meh episode. The stuff with the porno was pretty funny. The one about Chet was much funnier.

The Walking Dead – Heavy episode, but really good. I liked it. It’s a good thing that Shane is still around.

Homeland – Poor Dan. Witnessing shit is pretty dangerous. Don’t witness shit.

New Girl – Best line of the night: “Even if they sound like a guy made of bells…falling down stairs…that are also made of bells.” How great is Max Greenfield as Schmidt on this show? Did they know he would be the best part of the show when they cast it, because he totally is.

Glee – That was pretty shitty the way Puck told off Quinn. The story this episode was pretty terrible and not too fun. Musical numbers didn’t really make up for it. This show is so uneven.

The Wire – Got one episode in season 1 left. I’d forgotten about a few of the tiny plot points in this first season that get resolved all the way in S4 or S5.

EDIT: Persona 4: The Animation – The school camping trip episode was AWESOME. Love those setpiece moments in the game and they translate well to the anime. Mixing in the Konishi story was smart too. Can’t wait for the true craziness of Rise’s dungeon to start next episode. Teddy’s insanity is coming too, guys!

Music

So much wobble bass!

Books

So little reading!

Video Games

The Binding of Isaac – Almost died on the first level with ???. He’s tough, but I did finally beat It Lives… with him. Started beating Sheol now. Got it done with Isaac, Maggie, and Cain, but things will be getting harder now. Fetus in a Jar and Brimstone are vital for beating Lucifer.

The Old Republic – Got in a few hours in the beta before they closed it down on Monday. My mind is consumed with excitement for my Sith Inquisitor come ~15 Dec. Can’t wait!

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Beat the second temple and moved out to the desert. The time travel thing is suuuuper cool. I love it.

Gears of War 3 – Finally got that four-player achievement. All I was missing was the prologue chapter, but that’s done now!

Civilization V – This game consumes your life. It’s ridiculous. Started a new game yesterday at 2200 and, in what felt like an hour, it was 0240 when I quit this morning. Love this game.

What I’ve Been Doing 21 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 21st, 2011 by Dan

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Link gets his green tunic

The more things change the more things stay the same.

This was a really video game and TV heavy weekend. Two big “Sky” games in Skyrim and Skyward Sword hit and I put in pretty good time with both.

Movies

Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t get one in this week again.

TV

Fringe – My momentum has slowed somewhat on the show thanks to all the new games, but it’s still lots of stupid fun.

Samurai Champloo – Funny episode about westerners being accepted in Japan. They seemed to imply that they might be there already, but are they really? The gay jokes were also a little too much, but the beat boxing was anachronistic and awesome.

Homeland – Suuuuper tense. We’re only in episode 10 and they already showed us who the terrorist is. Where do we go for the last three eps? Will it just turn into 24?

The Walking Dead – Line of the night: “You see eleven condoms, I see eleven minutes of my life I’m never getting back.” I like Maggie and Glenn and Daryl. They’re really killing Andrea with her subplots this season, but I still like her as a character too.

Glee – Mash-ups! This is usually my favorite part of the season. A few notes:

– Singing a love song with your student’s mom is kind of weird.
– “You look skinny like all the crops failed on your family’s farm.” How great is it that 1920s-era Irish jokes are apparently insults in Glee?
– Dodgeball musical number…hilarious. This is what people point at when they say Glee is lame, but I dug it. Too bad they had that anti-dodgeball thing at the end. I didn’t play dodgeball in high school, but I loved it in elementary school. Tons of fun.
– I like the costuming in the Hall & Oates number. Those mustaches!
– Best line from Todd VanDerWerff’s The AV Club recap: “If the next week on is any indication, everybody’s going to learn about how Santana feels hurt by being outed by singing “I Kissed A Girl.” The model of restraint, this show.”
– David especially likes to rib me about liking this show, but that Adele mash-up at the end (not sure how long this Hulu video will stick around, but it’s still here now) was everything great about this show. Killer number mixed in with all the emotions and feelings of the episode (this isn’t even the cut that showed in the episode, that was more intense). Numbers like this are what keeps me coming back to this show even when it’s monumentally stupid like it was in S2.

New Girl – Best lines: “I don’t want to hear, Schmidt, Schmidt, you’re using too much tarragon.” “Oh, I’ve had zero pumpkin ales.” SO MUCH BEST BUY PRODUCT PLACEMENT!

Parks and Rec – I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting the Leslie/Ben relationship subplot to go this way, but it’ll be interesting to see if this does actually cause a scandal. Pretty solid episode since you can’t go wrong having Ron Swanson interact with anyone.

Up All Night – I’m glad this show is getting rewarded with Thursday (even though it comes at the expense of Community, kind of) because it’s the strongest comedy I’ve seen that’s debuted this year. Great laughs with Will Arnett. Even Jennifer Hall got some fantastic laughs this episode.

Community – So they pretty much took the documentary episode from S2 and mixed it with the Jesus meta-contextual video episode from earlier and threw in a little Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse for good measure. Most of it really worked and I love the way that Dan Harmon constantly pokes the shippers in his audience.

The League – Jeff Goldblum was super funny as Ruxin’s hyper-critical father. I like that he took on some of Ruxin’s mannerisms too. That’s good acting.

Persona 4: The Animation – It kind of toes the line between outright offensive and kind of offensive, but anime isn’t well known for its sensitivity to homosexuality. Still, the last two episodes were riotously funny. The show seems to be moving so fast that I’m wondering how it will stretch to 24 episodes, but I guess there are lots of social links to explore.

The Wire – Went back to this to watch some commentaries and I’m loving it yet again. Just ponderous and slow and interesting as it gives you the perspectives of both the MCU and the drug dealers. Great stuff. The “fuck” investigation scene is still one of the best moments in TV history.

Music

Skyward Sword came with an orchestrated retrospective on 25 years of Zelda. That CD is pretty awesome. Get your hands on it by buying a first run copy of Skyward Sword. Don’t come to me crying if you miss it.

Books

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Podcasts and eating in the office killed some of my reading time on my nook, but I’ll probably get some time to finish this weekend with the holiday and all. Still very funny.

Video Games

Skyrim – Sprawling and super involved, but I’m having a real hard time immersing myself in this. It’s just not working for me and my theory is that it’s an uncanny valley issue. Still, I’m enjoying playing it. I found myself fighting vampires last night and that was really cool.

The Binding of Isaac – Up to 9 Mom kills. Just one more and I unlock Sheol, the final dungeon. This $5 game gave me a ton of mileage.

Resident Evil 5 – David and I finally beat the game! Lots of fun, this was. Glad to play it again.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – I was really not expecting to love this game as much as I have. It may be the best Zelda I’ve played since Wind Waker (ok, it’s only the second after WW, but still!). Lots of character and lots of fun. Those were things definitely missing from Twilight Princess and that’s what makes Zelda great.

What I’ve Been Doing 14 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 14th, 2011 by Dan

Watched all of the 7 Minutes in Heaven clips that were out there. So funny! So awkward! So great!

Movies

Sorry, guys. No movies this week.

TV

The Walking Dead – Glenn remains the best thing about this show. Getting the rope around the fat zombie, hooking up with Maggie, and overall being funny and awesome. That part where he tries to be all cool in front of Maggie was hilarious and understated.

Homeland – Terrorists attempting to kill terrorists! It’s exciting. Alcohol makes for very bad decisions. I really hate using polygraphs as a plot point. Don’t we already know that they’re unreliable. Man, this show is so good, though

Up All Night – Line of the week (I watched like three episodes this week): “It’s like hair coming out of hair!” (referring to the birth process. It’s as gross and awesome as you’d think). When Up All Night makes a masturbation joke I laugh. When 2 Broke Girls does it I cringe and feel grossed out. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about which show is better/funnier.

2 Broke Girls – “What you need is a good nine inches” WTF? When this show tries to be edgy and funny I just get grossed out. I’m not bummed out about the fact that my DVR often doesn’t record this.

Fringe – Best line of the week: Referring to an experiment that will blow up a papaya named Mr. Papaya: “This is unpleasant because he is the friendliest of fruits”. Fringe is so schlocky and bad and awesome that I love it. I really dig having something X-Files-y in my life and they’re just now starting to hint about the multiverses. Can’t wait to see the alternate realities!

Glee – Meh. Ok episode, but I don’t really know West Side Story so a lot of the songs didn’t really appeal to me. Better quality than anything in S2 though.

New Girl – Kind of funny how poorly they all hit on Cece, but I really hope the “will they, won’t they” stays firmly in the “won’t they” phase (w.r.t. Nick and Jess).

Community – Great episode. They’ve gotten back to their stride. This was a totally awesome, non-gimmick episode. Good on you, Community.

Parks and Recreation – Model UN stuff was really funny. I could watch Aubrey Plaza in this role all day. April’s role has really grown and I love it

Prime Suspect – Great episode this week with the abusive mom. Chilling! This show is pretty good. I’m liking it a lot for a cop procedural.

Persona 4: The Animation – The Social Link episode was AWESOME. They’ve done a fantastic job of converting the game into the show. A lot of the interface stuff carries over and I’m a real sucker for that.

7 Minutes In Heaven – The clip above is of this show. They’re these brief interviews that are super hilarious and awkward. It’s hard to explain without watching them, but I love it.

Music

Listened to a lot of my old Fall Out Boy tracks. Not the greatest band in the world, but their tunes are so catchy!

Books

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Been learning a lot about how Mindy Kaling came to The Office and how her career path has gone. Pretty funny and still a good read.

Video Games

Dungeon Defenders – Beat the game! Min, Jason, and Lee all helped me do it. Lots of fun.

The Binding of Isaac – I’m up to five mom kills, but the game has gotten much tougher (it specifically tells you it does after five kills). I’ll keep going because this is a fun little game to pop in and out of.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Beat the game. Not as satisfying as U2 mostly because the Chloe/Elena subplot was better in 2, but still a fantastic game. A fine swan song for the series if this was the end. We’ll see what Naughty Dog does in the future.

Batman: Arkham City – Finished most of the sidequests. I suppose a second playthrough will earn me another trophy, but I’m not dying to do it.

Resident Evil 5 – Dave and I beat the Ouroboros boss of Chapter 5-1. We’re closing in on the endgame. I think he’ll like the ending. It’s still plenty of fun to play, except for that boss. I brought a rocket launcher to speed that up. He takes forever, but maybe I’m just doing it wrong, I dunno.

Ico – Got in about an hour of this. Absolutely beautiful game. The way Ico and Yorda interact is neat, if not a little awkwardly animated. The save points with the bench are so sweet and nice. I like this game a lot. It’s fantastic.

Metal Gear Solid 2 HD – Started the HD edition of this game. Dave is mad because I bought this and he got it for me for Christmas. My response: Why are you buying me Christmas presents already? It’s only November! Wait until December, dummy! Thanks for the thought, though. I would have really enjoyed it. I got three dog tags, but I don’t know if I’m gonna try to get the rest. It’s kind of tough and it would take forever.

What I’ve Been Doing 10 October 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 11th, 2011 by Dan

New Camera Tests

Totally unrelated to everything else, but I got a new camera!

Movies

Everything Must Go – Rebecca Hall is superb. I first saw her in The Prestige and I instantly fell in love with her acting. She’s a good understated and expressive actor. Will Ferrell in a drama is pretty neat too. He really shows a lot of range on this and I’d like to see his career move in this direction.

Bridesmaids – Saw it 1.75 times this weekend. I love this movie. Super funny. That screaming match at the bridal shower is so excellent that I stayed at my brother’s house just to watch it last night.

TV

Parks and Recreation – Tammy 1 is scary. Aubrey Plaza is hilarious. Didn’t really love the B- or C-plots of the second episode. Having her in the background reacting to stuff was absolutely hilarious. I hope they continue to use her more. The C-story in the Pawnee Book episode about Ann, Ron, and April was great, but I didn’t love the A-plot of that episode.

2 Broke Girls – Bad sign. The first time I laughed in the first five minutes was when my feed got messed up and the same line looped for a minute straight. It’s just not good. I dunno. This week is its last chance! Tune in next week to read that I stopped watching this show.

Homeland – Claire Danes does a great job here of being obsessive, kind of crazy, and great in a way that’s not the prescient, über-confident employee that the bosses can’t understand. Super cool so far.

Glee – All the frequent jump cuts make it damn near impossible to actually watch the dancing. I see what they were going for in the Mike Chang thing, but it was quasi-clumsy in execution because we have never cared about him as a character before. He’s a junior though, so that’s why we’re seeing him get more screentime. I wish they hadn’t abandoned Bieste’s malapropism tendency

New Girl – Seriously upped their funny game. This week’s episode was quite good. The show gets a stay of execution!

Up All Night – Weaker episode, but still got some hilarious moments like the one where they thought the Native American guy turned into a hawk. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have tons of chemistry and Maya Rudolph is much better at her supporting role than I thought she’d be.

Community – Not my favorite episode, but pretty good. I liked the revelation that they’re the “mean clique”. Their vitriol toward Todd was hilarious too. “Offense taken!”

Music

Losing the Sheen – Who knew Justin McElroy’s wife, Sydnee, was so funny? They’ve got great chemistry and this podcast about two people who hadn’t seen an episode of Two and a Half Men until Charlie Sheen left the show is my favorite new podcast.

Books

REAMDE – I just know that the MMO stuff is gonna get a lot more important soon. I’m super intrigued. Can’t wait until some of the principals start interacting again.

(Comic Books Ahoy!)

Casanova: Avarita – This is why I read comic books. Creative and surreal and interesting. Makes super-effective use of the medium.

X-23 – Another well-drawn and well-written book. I love this story. Maybe I’ll pick up the old trades…

Mystic – Still a pretty generic story, but the well-drawn, Disney aesthetic is pretty cool.

Chew – Man, this book is good. Just brilliant and subversive and sneaky. Super funny.

SI: Heroes for Hire – Meh

Batwing – Don’t think I’m gonna keep reading this. Didn’t really capture my attention this week. I want to support minority characters, but my budget isn’t unlimited

Swamp Thing – Continues to get more intriguing. I love that it’s tying in with Animal Man. Fantastic panel design and great art.

Animal Man – The humanoids all look terrible and weird, but the horror aspects of this book are super cool. I’m down

Moon Knight – I’m still in love with Alex Maleev’s work. The book’s pacing is slow, but I don’t care as long as the art team remains.

Action Comics – A good comic book. That’s kind of a knock. It’s about as good as a conventional book can get (minus the art. Didn’t dig the art) where Casanova…that’s art.

Video Games

The Binding of IsaacI wrote about it a little bit already, but this game is pretty awesome. Good for short bursts of random gameplay. I’ve still not managed to beat it once.

Team Fortress 2 – Still solid. Not a bad way to spend any evening.

Gears of War 3 – Min threw a curveball here and suggested we play on Insane. I thought it would go very poorly, but it didn’t until we got to Act III, which is awesome. Lots of fun.

The Old Republic – NDA-ed!

Mass Effect 2 – Watched Eric play a little and David also started playing too, so I thought I would start my game up again to get my Paragon playthrough fixed. I wish the cover stuff was as well-developed as Gears 3, but Gears is also two years newer.

What I’ve Been Doing 3 Oct 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 3rd, 2011 by Dan

Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles 8 May 2011

The MLB Playoffs continue. While most of my weekend was spent watching baseball, I also got tons of other stuff in.

Movies

Hesher – When I saw the trailer for this Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie I thought it would be a weird character study. I was pretty much right about that, but it’s simultaneously weirder and crasser than you’d think without really being comedic. Hesher is a truly bizarre character, the likes of which I’ve never seen in movies before, but he’s still very interesting. Not worth going out of your way to see, but it’s pretty good.

TV

Parks and Recreation – Haven’t gotten around to the most recent episode yet, but this is a show that is absolutely on its game. First episodes of comedies are typically kind of weak, but I didn’t mind it. This is a show that has matured and found its legs and you should be watching it, no excuses.

Community – I liked the first two episodes of this season a lot more than other people did. While I agree that the high-concept, gimmick episodes are usually pretty great on Community, there should absolutely be room for the low-concept episodes where the actors are relying on character development rather than gimmicks. The Cougerton Abbey and Inspector Spacetime jokes in the first episode were also ridiculously hilarious.

2 Broke Girls – Is it really ok to make jokes about female masturbation at 8:30 on CBS? I mean, the obfuscated one early in the episode was, well, obfuscated, but later on she full-on is all, “I was masturbating.” I don’t have a problem with going blue with jokes, it just doesn’t seem to fit the tone or the time slot. How about this one, “We’ve known each other two days and you’re already asking for backdoor.” I love Kat Dennings, but she mugs for the camera so hard every time she says something smug. This show is definitely not good, but it gets me to laugh at least a little. I’m giving it two more episodes per the “Eric Mesa Four Episode Rule” which states that you cannot truly understand a show without giving it four episodes to really lay itself out.

New Girl – Schmidt slapping Spencer was hilarious in episode two, but I’m not sure I’m in it all the way yet. Zooey Deschanel is absolutely adorable, but the show leans on that a little too hard and it’s getting me kind of tired of her. We’ll see where I fall after two more episodes, but I’m not optimistic at this point.

Archer – The mini-series has been good, but not great. I got tired of the longer plot by the end. Archer is better in one-episode arcs or the more disconnected two- or three-episode arcs they do in the regular season. Still funny, but not my favorite. Now I’ve got to wait for January for more. Danger zone!

Childrens Hospital – Did I perhaps enjoy this episode more because Lake Bell spent most of it naked while Malin Åkerman lusted over her? Ok, I’ll cop to that. The episode was funny, but not to the show’s usual standards. I’m amazed that it got me laugh at some of the jokes they tossed out there this episode. Good stuff, guys.

Up All Night – I’ve seen all the new comedies that I’m interested in and this is the best one. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have a real handle on their characters. I wasn’t expecting to like this at all, but it’s genuinely funny. It’s kind of weird that I love this show about young parents considering that I’m neither married nor do I have a child, but it’s funnier than you think. I like that it’s dealing with getting older and trying to remain hip/cool, haha. I can relate!

Prime Suspect – A remake of a supposedly awesome English show, this was another revelation. I was expecting to find Maria Bello too smug and annoying as a character, but she’s tough without being obnoxious (even though she likes wearing that stupid hat). The storylines/crimes are dark and kind of freaky, but I like that they’re not glamorizing crime. After The Wire I thought I’d never be able to appreciate a cop procedural again, but this one isn’t bad. Really makes me want to go back to The Wire, though.

Glee – “Who doesn’t love the Go-Gos?” “I prefer The Bangles”. I totally hated the first episode until “It’s Not Unusual”, “You Can’t Stop the Beat”, and the line above had all hit the screen. Last season was a disaster, in my eyes. The show totally got off the rails, focused too much on boring storylines and dull characters, but so far we’ve had nary a Rachel/Finn drama moment and I’m totally ok with that. Bringing back Idina Menzel was brilliant and I’m digging where this whole Quin/custody thing might be going, assuming it doesn’t get really stupid. Way to return to form, guys.

Dexter – Showtime aired this thing before Dexter where they were talking about the themes and such and I watched it and I hated that I did because they were talking about how much this season would be about faith, blah blah blah, and that was in my mind all episode where they really hammered home the faith thing way too hard. Your viewers are not stupid, guys. You can be a little more subtle. Decent start to the season, even if I already don’t care about Angel and his sister. Like I really don’t care.

BASEBALL – The Rays win over the Yankees in dramatic, walk-off fashion was part of the greatest baseball day in my life. As far as the playoffs go, the important series are going better than I’d hoped. Rays/Rangers, Phillies/Cardinals, and Yankees/Tigers all have them knotted at one game a piece. I’d like to see Tampa, St. Louis, and Detroit move on, but we’ll see what happens tonight. Milwaukee has really impressed me this postseason and they’ve become my favorite to take the pennant and go for the series. If St. Louis knocks out Philadelphia it’ll be that much easier.

Music

Not much of note to mention here this week as I’ve fallen behind on my music podcasts. I will say that if you like video games and you’re not listening to the Giant Bombcast you’re doing something wrong.

Books

REAMDE – Classic Neal Stephenson, but with a lot more restraint than what you’d expect. I can see so many threads from his older books coming together to form this guy, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s really captured my imagination. It’s funny to me how a lot of books would be done by the 300th page (I’m around 350) and it took to 250 to introduce the book’s main villain. EDIT: Forgot to mention that a lot of the action has been taking place in Iowa and Xiamen, the places where David lives and Min is from, respectively. Good times!

(COMIC BOOKS FOLLOW)

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man – I’m really digging the new Mile Morales character. Bendis and Pichelli are knocking this book out of the park. Can’t wait for next week’s issue.

The Ultimates – Hickman’s take on Ultimate Reed Richards and his villainous Children of Tomorrow is super neat. They took away Thor’s divinity! Crazy stuff.

Ultimate Comics X-Men – Nick Spencer is also blowing this book out of the water. Kitty Pryde as a mutant terrorist is brilliant. Johnny Storm on the X-Men is hilarious. This could be great.

FF – Typically solid and really makes me anticipate each new issue. Good stuff.

Amazing Spider-Man – Not as good as I’d hoped it would be. Takes too much time recapping its tie-ins instead of progressing the plot.

SI: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu – Why did I buy this? Seriously…just kind of boring.

Venom – Excellent writing and story even if I think the resolution between alcoholic father and symbiote addict son was tacked on and forced.

Incorruptible – Weaker than I’d hoped it would be. Still good, but I was hoping for more. I really hope this isn’t becoming an afterthought for Waid because there are interesting stories to be told here.

Video Games

Team Fortress 2 – Apparently Morghan’s playing now. That’s pretty sweet.

Gears of War 3 – So much Horde mode! I still love this game. Epic at its finest.

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