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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 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 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 28 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 28th, 2011 by Dan

Epic seats!

I wish I had these seats at the Cornell game! (Photo courtesy my friend foreverdigital)

Between Thanksgiving and my quick jaunt up to New York to watch Cornell get robbed of a win by bad officiating, I didn’t have much time to consume media. Here’s what I managed:

Movies

Source Code – Watched the last half hour with Duffy this week. I don’t understand why people don’t like the ending to this movie. It’s the lynchpin that the whole thing rests on and it’s super cool/crazy/awesome.

TV

Homeland – Dick Johnson is laying it on a little thick for a Boehner joke, isn’t it Homeland? WHOA! Brody was/is a spy?!

The Walking Dead – Morning After brand morning after pills are my Plan B brand of choice. Glenn continues to be awesome.

2 Broke Girls – I think the straw that finally broke the camel’s back with this show was an off-color joke about the Kardashian wedding. I’m done here. This show will never have anything to offer me.

Up All Night – The part with Jason Lee trying to match the tone of Will Arnett’s voice was awesome.

Samurai Champloo – I still really love the ending theme to this song. My disc bugged out in the one where Jin tries to save a prostitute. I think Bebop is a much better show at this point, but I am enjoying the ride so far.

The Wire – The game is the game, yo. There is truly no better show in existence. Man, do I love The Wire. At this point the MCU is amping up to start laying down some charges. Love it.

Music

Had a long car trip that was fun, but this week was the week that I discovered that dubstep remixes can be really awesome. Still need to find more than two examples, but I like the ones I’m running into so far.

Books

No real reading time this week.

Video Games

The Binding of Isaac – ??? is really tough to play as. I had a run that would have got me the win (I had The Bible, which makes fighting Mom and It Lives so much easier), but I got iced going for the item on The Depths 2. Just gotta keep at it.

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 7 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 7th, 2011 by Dan

Scott Pilgrim iPhone Wallpaper

Blast from the past week. (Photo courtesy robotspacer)

Movies

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – I didn’t technically watch Scott Pilgrim because I was listening to the director commentary with Bryan Lee O’Malley. Very informative to learn about how autobiographical the story is and about how integrated Edgar Wright’s movie was with the book.

TV

The Walking Dead – Not killing off Shane was the smartest thing this show did. He’s ice cold and his decision last week was awesome.

Samurai Champloo – Finally got around to starting this show. It’s interesting and the music is good, but I find the animation to be a little cheap looking.

The League – I haven’t seen Brie Larson since I saw Scott Pilgrim! This was actually part of why I rewatched Scott Pilgrim. The resolution between Brie’s character and Rafi was unexpected and awesome.

Prime Suspect – Ava from Justified! She’s not bad, but I miss the accent. This show’s not too bad for just hanging out and watching

Homeland – This show is getting so good! I wonder if he actually slipped him the razor blade. Super neat to watch all the twists and turns.

Glee – Not the strongest episode, but, per usual, I like any episode that has a song I love like “Bein’ Green”

Fringe – Back when Lost was on I watched three episodes of this show before Lost started (it was on at 2000 and Lost started at 2100). I watched the first four episodes of the season and I’m hooked! I just want to watch more, but it’s not streaming anywhere for free! So frustrating!

Music

Nothing really new here. Started getting back into Girl Talk

Books

The Last Best League – I swear I’m finishing this during this week. I’m pretty much at the epilogue.

Scott Pilgrim – I know I said no comic books in here, but this is an exception

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – I meant to download a sample of Mindy Kaling’s book, but I accidentally bought it. It’s a woman’s book, but whatever…it’s funny.

Video Games

Batman: Arkham City – Completed my Calendar Man obligation to see him on Halloween. Finished the Catwoman stuff. Might go back to finish more sidequests. Might not.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Seriously great game. about as cinematically perfect as possible. Been avoiding playing in long bursts to stretch out the experience.

Dungeon Defenders – Still playing with Min, Lee, and Min’s friends from Utah. Good fun.

The Binding of Isaac – Beat the game for the second and third times with Cain and Magdalene. Still gotta beat it with Judas, Eve, and ??? and about 5 more times after that.

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