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What I’ve Been Doing 14 Jan 2014 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 14th, 2014 by Dan

American Hustle

Heck of a movie! (Picture by Yunus Emre KARTAL)

January continues to go strong this year! Got in a fantastic movie this week along with plenty of good reading. Can’t complain about that at all.

Movies

American Hustle – I hadn’t heard a bad word about this movie and I will say that it did not disappoint. Just phenomenally done. It’s yet another super fun heist movie. I didn’t love the voiceovers that were peppered throughout, but otherwise I’d call it a mostly flawless and fun movie. Go see it before it’s out of theaters!

Babies – While we were watching the Amazing Race, Katie noticed a Botswanan baby and it made her immediately call for a rental of this short documentary. It was definitely cute and, interestingly enough, there’s not a single narrative line of dialogue. They let the universality of humankind and human babies speak for itself.

TV

The Amazing Race – Our trek through season 22 continues. I’m loving watching my teams compete again. Trying to keep a lid on spoilers for Kate is tough, but I think I’m managing well enough.

Justified – I’ve only got about 10 mins left of the final episode of the season left, but I haven’t found the time to finish it. I like the way they resolved the Nicky Augustine moment, but I don’t know if I’m gonna enjoy the way they tie the season up at the end.

Music

Bought me some Paul Simon tickets this morning. Enjoy “Obvious Child”

Books

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die – There have been some dark, tragic moments in this collection along with some neat, life-affirming fun moments of truth. The premise is so neat because everyone dies, right? Should knowing how change anything?

Video Games

Bravely Default (Demo) – On the last boss now and it’s been loads of fun. Turns out that linking with Min gives that character full job abilities that he has.

Civilization V – I’ll probably end up smiting Rome from the map by the time this publishes. Good times and good luck catching up, Dave.

Long Live the Queen – Managed to get into the Old Forest, but I haven’t done too much more here. Gonna get into this more this week, I think.

Left 4 Dead – Kate and I finished all of the L4D campaigns this weekend. I’m glad that she’s really enjoyed it and we’re gonna push right into L4D2 really soon to have even more fun.

The Walking Dead – I somehow managed to end up losing the save file that Katie and I generated, so I pushed through and replicated episode 1 really quickly for the next time I play with Kate. You hear that, Min? Super quick. By the way, the second battery is on the floor of the pharmacy.

What I’ve Been Doing 16 Dec 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 16th, 2013 by Dan

LEFT 4 DEAD

Brilliant game. (Photo by Eddie Shannon)

Thanks to a snowstorm Katie, Min, Lee, and I got to play some Left 4 Dead. I’d forgotten how sharp that game’s design was!

Movies

Nein.

TV

The Amazing Race – I was spot on with my predictions last week. Super fun episode and, surprisingly, Tim and Marie ended up my favorite racers by the end.

The Daily Show – Watched a few eps here and there, but the white/black Santa bit was…HILARIOUS. Definitely watch the opening 10 mins or so of the Evangeline Lilly episode. So hilarious.

Plays of the Month: April – We had to start somewhere. I was hoping for more Marlins/Orioles highlights, but it was still loads of fun. Under 60 days to pitchers and catchers!

Community – Saw a season 5 trailer and decided that I should actually watch the last two episodes of season 4. I didn’t really enjoy the retcon of the way the characters were all related, but at least it was funny enough. The finale was a little silly (it’s all a dream, seriously?), but I like where it sets up the show to go in S5. Plus darkest timeline Annie…wow…

Homeland – I’m baffled by how much critics seem to love the finale of S3. I thought it was kind of safe and convenient and every happy outcome that you’d expect happened. It felt too happy. Plus Carrie is a terrible employee of the CIA and shouldn’t be a station chief. I also would have liked to see the rest of the Brodys and how they reacted to Nick being on tv as a propaganda tool and his execution. Anyway, I found the season to be vastly inferior to the first and normally inferior to the second.

Project Runway: All-Stars – It feels weird that I recognize so many of these designers. As I’ve said before, still a decent show. Plus it teaches me a little more about fashion.

Music

I like Straight No Chaser’s version of the “12 Days of Christmas”

Books

Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value, and Meaning – I finished the Super Mario Bros. section, but I found it to be a little to simplistic. It was covering stuff that I already knew too well. The Advance Wars section is more interesting and I’m appreciating some of the game design stuff I’m learning, but I’m hoping things get more in depth, a la David Sirlin’s writing about game systems.

Video Games

Super Mario 3D World – Just a few mins of this. Really excited to get down with it in Florida.

Rayman Legends – A few levels of this too. I liked the more complicated Murphy wheels.

Left 4 Dead – Kate got her first games in and she loved it. Makes me really happy because I’d talked up how good it was before. I hope she continues to love it and digs part 2 as well.

XCOM: Enemy Within – New game seems to be going better, but I’m losing some good men. I’m hoping for better luck on the council missions, because they’re really tough.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I beat case 3, right? Well case 4 involves…ASTRONAUTS! So cool. I wish I hadn’t seen a spoiler about the culprit, but it’s still been an interesting case so far and I’m a long way from that spoiler.

Rock Band 3 – Busted out this bad boy once again to play with Katie and Min. She dug drumming and I started to recover my strumming abilities. Just gotta start singing too next time. Our new band is awesome

Spelunky – I got cocky about beating David’s score and then…I died. Goddammit…

What I’ve Been Doing 9 Dec 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 9th, 2013 by Dan

Benedict  – 12 Years A Slave

Weird to see Benedict Cumberbatch with a Southern accent (Photo courtesy touchedmuch)

It’s been a surprisingly movie-filled week! I don’t usually talk about the sporting events I watched here, but that was a hell of a Ravens game yesterday, wasn’t it!

Movies

12 Years a Slave – What an intense movie. Extremely well-acted and a brilliant counterpoint to Django Unchained. Where Django took revenge for slavery, 12 Years a Slave makes it a hell of a lot more personal and is that much better for it. The flick is tough to watch sometimes, but it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year (so far).

Little Big League – My favorite of the baseball movies that came out when I was a kid. Holds up remarkably well as an adult. I don’t know if Min liked it as much as Kate and I did, but it’s pretty solid.

Love Actually – I expected it to be good and romantic, but I really didn’t expect the nudity or the swearing. I thought it was tame and PG-13 type stuff, but I think it’s way more interesting this way in that it’s not sanitized or too safe. Good movie!

TV

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Terry’s back in the field! Andre Braugher does deadpan so hilariously, but the popping and locking was even better.

The Mindy Project – Heck of a dance number in the middle of that episode.

The Amazing Race – So the finale for season 23 is on my DVR and I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS! I’m thinking that the Afghanimals might get eliminated and Jason and Amy might win. We’ll see!

Almost Human – I love sci-fi shows. Love ‘em. I dig shows about robots too. This is the perfect match for me. It’s pretty much a police procedural in the future at this point, but that’s cool with me. Robots! With senses of humor!

Homeland – …I dunno. Everyone’s just so unprofessional and irrational in this show. I liked that the episode was an abbreviated retelling of the first two seasons, but I hate so much about this show this season and I really hope Brody either doesn’t make it out of Tehran…or he turns on the US and becomes the big bad for season 4.

Music

I really just love “Hannah Hunt” by Vampire Weekend. I’m sure I’ve posted it here before, but we’re doing it anyway!

Books

Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value, and Meaning – Read the essay on Ico and I’m partway through the Super Mario Bros. one. Nothing groundbreaking yet, but I love reading this kind of stuff about games anyway, so I’m not too bothered by it.

Video Games

Super Mario 3D Land – Played the first level to activate SpotPass, but I’ve been focusing on beating Phoenix Wright first so that I can get to Zelda and finish Pokemon too. So many 3DS games!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – Case 3 is DONE! The culprit was who I thought it was (it was really kind of obvious, actually) and I wish that I hadn’t accidentally ended up spoiling the final culprit for myself, but Case 4 is certainly intriguing so far (astronaut defendant!)

Pokemon Y – Beat Lysandre (almost lost my Min pokemon to a Mega Gyarados. He held on with 3 HP) and I’m in some cave now. Gotta get the gyms and the elite 4 done, but I’m on the home stretch. Did lose my Pidgeotto, Sawyer. Replaced him with a Marowak.

XCOM: Enemy Within – I’m on my eighth save file trying to get it going right. Game 7 was going really well…until I failed the first part of Progeny and Daniel and David died. Then I completely wiped on Slingshot’s first mission, losing Katie, Molly, Lee, and Kunal. Another wipe meant I had to restart. MEC suits kick ass. Can’t wait to get it going again.

What I’ve Been Doing 18 Nov – 04 Dec 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 19th, 2013 by Dan

Stay Hungry With Adam Jones

Hashtag Stay Hungry

Remember that charity thing a million years ago? Here’s the picture we took with Adam Jones. Pretty cool.

Movies

30 for 30: The Band That Wouldn’t Die – I don’t remember if I classified the last 30 for 30 I watched as a movie or not, but for the sake of filling out this section, why not, right? As for the documentary itself, what a neat portrait of football in MD. I would never have realized the depths to which the city loved that old team and how heartbroken they were. Made me really excited to see the band at that Ravens/Jets game I went to.

TV

The Amazing Race – Between current episodes, lunch break episodes, and episodes with Katie, I’ve seen about 20 to 25 episodes of the race between posts. Not regretting a single episode. It really is an addictive bit of television and the only reality competition I can (more than) comfortably stomach.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Best new show of the year, by far. “Terry needs nutrients!” “Where’s the buckle, Santiago?”. Brilliant stuff. Very funny. Why aren’t you watching this? The fireman/police rivalry reminds me of the parks/libraries rivalry in Parks & Recreation

New Girl – “Hey Jason Street” made me laugh so much. If you don’t get it then you haven’t watched enough Friday Night Lights. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I don’t find the inclusion of Coach to be as well handled as Adam Pally’s integration into The Mindy Project. Having both Coach and Winston just makes me feel like the writers don’t know what to do with either of them.

The Mindy Project – It’s quietly one of the funnier shows on television, but it seems that it’s going on hiatus in January. It’s a bummer because of how funny everyone on it is, but the show is kind of all over the place right now and some time off could help. Just don’t get rid of Adam Pally!

How I Met Your Mother – The oddness of separating the cast and squeezing the whole season into a single weekend has produced some ridiculously funny moments, but also some clunky, uninspired episodes. I think it’s ultimately successful, but it’s still been a weird decision.

Parks and Recreation – I like that Leslie got recalled and success isn’t guaranteed for everyone, but it’s been an oddly paced season because NBC keeps releasing episodes in bursts (and then Parks is also headed for hiatus, I think).

Homeland – This season…It’s been a clusterfuck. Just poorly paced and unnecessarily confusing. The twists are sometimes satisfying, but I find it less and less believable that Carrie could possibly work for the CIA. I also find the show’s dedication to the Carrie/Brody romance to be…ill-advised.

Music

How about some silliness? Here’s Dan Deacon’s 50% reduction of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”

Books

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Katie gifted me a Kindle and I immediately picked this up for my first read. I first heard of Junot Diaz when he guest DJ-ed on Alt.Latino and I found him so intriguing that I wanted to read Oscar Wao. Turns out it was a fantastic idea. I may not be Dominican, but the book so beautifully captures life in the diaspora. It felt a lot like parts of my life felt and it was perfectly written. I would recommend it to anyone.

Assassination Vacation – This one was read on the bus rides to and from New York Thanksgiving weekend. I wish that the sections on not-Lincoln were better developed, but the book was a fascinating look at aspects of American politics, presidents, and assassinations that I’d never come across before. Very interesting.

ell Played 1.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning – Read the intro and a few pages of the chapter on Ico, but this appears to be a collection of scholarly essays about video games. It was free and it looks like it’ll be interesting enough to read.

Video Games

Pac-Man CE DX + – I blew through the achievements while waiting for Katie. Still the best Pac-Man game ever made.

Spelunky – I got in a daily challenge like, weeks ago. I. Am. Rusty.

Organ Trail – This is pretty much exactly Oregon Trail, but a zombie mod. Decent, but also…slow

Samurai Showdown – I play this a few minutes here and there to kill time while on my phone. It’s a decent RTS, but the lack of control and bad AI makes it unnecessarily difficult sometimes.

Rayman Legends – Brilliant 2D platforming, as you might expect, with fantastic music to boot. I was pleasantly surprised how much fun Katie, Min, and I had playing this for a bit.

XCOM: Enemy Within – Haven’t really passed the opening few months, but I’m loving the MEC troopers. Loads of fun to use. The game is also paced very differently (much harder!). I should turn off some of the Second Wave options I’ve turned on…

Plants vs. Zombies 2 – Do not like playing this on my phone at all. Would rather play on my desktop.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – Unbelievably perfect music combines with impressive graphics and framerate. I need to put more than an hour in before I can render a judgement, but it will be favorable.

Super Mario 3D World – Perfection. This game is the Mario game you’ve been craving. Tons of fun with multiple people. I can’t wait to try it with Katie. We’ve just got to find the time…

New Super Luigi Bros. – Played this on the gamepad while people were sleeping (Wii U is so cool!). These levels are devious, but actually really good.

Pokemon Y – I saved the world from Yvestal, but now I’ve still got to beat the 8th gym and the Elite Four. Interest is on the rise, but I also realize that I’m not as close to done as I think I am.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – I’m on day 2 of case 3, but there have been enough fun twists and turns that I’ve been really captivated by the case. Can’t wait to see how it ends. I bet Professor Means was the murderer…

What I’ve Been Doing 11 Nov 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 11th, 2013 by Dan

Master of Sex

Clever ad copy for one of the best shows this season. (Photo by Katya Yakubov)

It’s been another awesome week! I got to meet Adam Jones at a tailgate and watch the Ravens win along with…all the stuff below!

Movies

None this week!

TV

The Amazing Race – Katie and I shotgunned the entire tenth season because it had a leg that passed through Madagascar. I think she’s really starting to get into the show, which is great because it’s loads of fun to watch. I’m also working on the fifth season on my own and watching the current season. I’m really liking Nicole and Travis to win the race…

Masters of Sex – The show is pretty slow-moving, but I’m really enjoying the way that it’s setting up its relationships and plotlines so far. Lots of great character work.

How I Met Your Mother – Ask and ye shall receive, I guess. The mother made an appearance, but now I’m gonna complain that she’s not interacting with the present day cast. Soon enough, I’d think!

New Girl – Coach is back! I forgot how he was supposed to be characterized, but it was a little disappointing. Just felt trite and overdone with the whole “guy acting like girlfriends are controlling their friends” thing. His role in Happy Endings was way more interesting. Also who remembered that Winston used to play basketball in Europe?!

The Mindy Project – It’s a bummer that this show probably isn’t gonna survive, because it’s just got so many hilarious lines. They’re usually throaways, but they make me and Katie laugh so hard anyway…

Homeland – Remember how Homeland never lets you get comfortable because it’s always “GO GO GO!”? It’s that again for sure. Did you think we’d have another quiet interrogation episode like last year? Nope. Carrie’s already laying out the long con. It was pretty cool, but they seem to be randomly mismanaging stuff, so people ended up…dead.

Music

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys today because I heard it this morning and I love it.

Books

So close…

Video Games

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – Second case is progressing and I’m getting really close to finishing off the proper verdict. Still fun, if not a little quirky and weird. This case has been pretty convoluted and I’m still not sure where all the details are going to end up.

Pokemon Y – One gym leader left!

Tiny Death Star – F2P gaming at its worst, but it’s fine to set timers and have going on in the background for all the silly Star Wars jokes.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 – I’d rather play this on my PC. It’s not the worst, but it’s still not anywhere near as good…

What I’ve Been Doing 4 Nov 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 4th, 2013 by Dan

Great For Tweezing

Who doesn’t love novelty tweezers?

I’ve gotten really bad at doing these in a timely fashion. Gotta get back up on that horse…

Movies

Under African Skies – Katie’s favorite album is Graceland and we happened upon a track on the 25th anniversary album where Paul Simon explained how the song was constructed. It really got us in the mood to look for some kind of documentary about the album and, lo and behold, this movie exists and it was on Hulu+. The documentary is fascinating, both politically and musically, and definitely well worth seeing.

TV

New Girl – The whole Keaton concept was actually a really funny premise. It’s also a pretty clever way to get Schmidt out of the loft for a few episodes so Damon Wayans, Jr. can return as Coach for a bit. I’m so excited for that storyline, mostly because I miss the superior hangout show, Happy Endings. It’s gonna go one of two ways: Winston will be hilarious and we’ll all love him more for being on this show OR it’s gonna further highlight how little they had for Winston to do all this time and how loose a grasp they have on his character.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Pretty good Halloween episode. After a few “Lone Wolf” Peralta episodes, the show has really been focusing on its (excellent) ensemble. I’ve been really enjoying the way that everyone gels and how the adversarial relationhip they set up in the pilot between Holt and Peralta has mostly turned into a jovial, accepting one.

The Mindy Project – The nude photo exhibit episode was just…hilarious. Having all those photos in the background of the final scenes was hilarious. The MMA episode…less fun. I’m still enjoying Adam Pally on the show, but, man does this show feel stuffed!

How I Met Your Mother – Where’s the mother?! I was kind of hoping she’d appear in more episodes than she has.

Homeland – Did Homeland cheat a little with its plotting this season for the twist? No. I don’t think so. It’s actually reasonablby tight in retrospect. The real question is whether or not that crazy twist is worth leaving us all kind of spinning in the wind for a few episodes or not. Why not let us know that this is the plan from the getgo and let the tension arise from worrying about the plan messing up or the strain that Carrie is actually suffering under?

The Amazing Race – Real bummer to see the beards go. They were an interesting team. I also wish the earlier teams used the U-Turns. Also: don’t switch Detours!

Parenthood – The mayor plotline still feels a little bit like a reach, but I don’t think we’re supposed to think that closely about Parenthood episodes, right?

Archer – Space episodes. Both super funny.

Music

I’m in a Paul Simon mood. Here’s “I Know What I Know”

Books

Hmm…I really gotta get back on this train.

Video Games

Pokemon Y – The Nuzlocke is going well. I’m in the Frost Caverns, but I lost a bunch of dudes, including Katie and Chen.

Civilization V – I might finally get to capture a pirate in the Mesa Bros. game and in the game with David I’m battling for territory with Persia and Rome. I might try and pit Persia against Rome to take a bite out of Roman power…

Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies – I’ve played through the first case and I’m partway through the second. The new mood matrix is a little more interesting to me than the way that they approached Apollo’s power of spotting tics in AA4. Athena’s a pretty cool character and it’s good to have Phoenix back. So far it’s been a lot of fun, but I haven’t met the new prosecutor yet nor have I done extensive investigations. It feels like they hold your hand a little more in the investigation phase, but maybe that’s not a bad thing…

Candy Box 2 – Everything interesting about Candy Box has been turned up to 11 in this game. I’ve been having a blast with how weird and fun it is. Great to just spend a few minutes to maximize my lollipop production.

Hometown Story – This game just feels cheaply and poorly done. It lacks some polish, but I’ve also only really given it a half hour. Maybe it’ll get better with more time, but in a single day’s worth of gameplay Recettear seemed a lot more cohesive and with it.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 – Like the first one, only more advanced and with microtransactions. Would I prefer to play this on my pc? Absolutely. Is it acceptable on the phone? Sure.

What I’ve Been Doing 22 Oct 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 22nd, 2013 by Dan

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I really dig the entire ensemble in this show. Lots of talent. (Photo courtesy michelarouca)

A nice, relaxing weekend led to plenty of tv getting consumed and a great new show find.

Movies

Argo – Katie, Min, and I were looking for something action-y, but not too brainy and this is what we (brilliantly) settled on. The flick still holds up after a year, but I found the embassy storming less traumatic the second time (and also separated from Benghazi and watching the movie with people instead of solo)

TV

How I Met Your Mother – Fully catching up on How I Met Your Mother leaves me in the uncomfortable position of not having a go-to hang out show to watch. Whoops! I finally watched the episode with the mother and she’s really funny/neat-seeming. I hope to see more of her this season, because she hasn’t appeared all that much in the present.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – There was non-insignificant buzz about this being the best show of the new fall slate and they weren’t wrong. It’s got Parks and Recreation fingerprints on it, for sure, but it’s very funny in its own unique way. I like the entire ensemble so far and I’m pretty invested in where this show is going to go as the year progresses.

Parks and Recreation – Is it weird that I’ve found Leslie to be kind of unlikeable for the first part of this season? I know they like to have episodes where she’s wrong sometimes so she’s not a complete Mary Sue character, but her overreaction to Ann leaving was fairly off-putting.

Parenthood – I’m not looking forward to the Pete adultery plot that’s about to start next episode, but this show has been remarkably pleasant so far, even if it is a little too overeager/unrealistic with how neatly things wrap up (if Christina becomes mayor…)

The League – I know this show is way over the top (this episode, particularly) and off-putting, but it’s funny in a throwaway kind of way. I can just half-watch and do other things while the worse than Seinfeld folks do their thing.

Homeland – My level of “OK” with the most recent plot twist will have to do with whether or not they try and convince us that this was all part of the plan the whole time. Carrie has an awful poker face in general, so being told that this was always true doesn’t track with the very-real fear she showed in the asylum. Twists are fun, but only when you play fair with them.

The Amazing Race – Supposedly the second express pass didn’t help in The Amazing Race Canada either, so I’m hoping for a solid 3-3 on the second express pass screwing over Marie. She’s almost cartoonish in how she tries to hold that over people’s heads. Sadly, safe money is on editing misdirection.

New Girl – Didn’t pay enough attention to the jokes in this episode, but Winston sure is getting to be a cartoon, isn’t he?

The Bridge – The killer is revealed(?) Gross violence in this one.

Music

You all know that I love Wild Flag, right? Here’s another Mary Timony joint, Ex Hex. This track, “Hot and Cold” is pretty good.

Books

Would you believe me if I said, “Maybe next week?”

Video Games

Pokemon Y – Just beat the Electric Gym. I wish Lumiose City wasn’t in 3D. It’s too obnoxious to navigate with the way the game handles the camera.

Civilization V – Well…Things move slowly, but I’m still ahead of David in our dual game, but behind him in the Mesa game. I should be making a push soon, especially if I stop getting beat to wonders.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 Sept – 14 Oct 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 14th, 2013 by Dan

IMAG0038

Just adding to my “pictures in front of ballparks with Katie” collection.

Man have I been busy! So much has conspired to keep me from getting this out until now between going to Boston and the government shutdown and all kinds of craziness, but no excuses now! We should be back to our regularly scheduled programming from here on out.

Movies

Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks deserves serious accolade for the way he played this role. It was just perfectly done and the movie itself was tense and nervewracking as things started to fall apart and the outcome (that we honestly already knew) started to become clearer. Worth seeing. It won’t be Best Picture, but maybe Hanks will get something.

Django Unchained – Watched this with Katie to add to our ridiculously tense/heavy movie tally. Still holds up almost a year later. That scene at the dinner table where everyone’s making their moves is so tense and easily the best in the movie.

TV

House of Cards – I can’t even remember when we actually finished this, it was so long ago. The first season kind of stops right in the middle of some interesting storylines, but, on the other hand, this means that the second season will be able to give Peter’s murder room to breathe as the central conflict. I’ve never seen the British House of Cards, but I wonder if the US version is going to let Underwood win or have him be hoisted by his own petard. It was fascinating when he was being assaulted on all sides, but I’m also not sure if not letting him have some victory will feel satisfying for me as a viewer.

New Girl – They went and pulled the trigger on keeping the Nick and Jess thing and it’s turned out to be not that bad at all. So far it’s seemed that the show isn’t in danger of getting boring or losing quality because of it, which is great, but I still think that, despite the increased attention on his character, there’s very little for Winston to do that’s not pathetic or weird or just…odd.

The Mindy Project – Chris Messina is secretly the best thing about this show. He’s got incredible delivery and timing as Danny and his chemistry with Mindy is pretty great. It’s too bad I hear this show is dangerously on the bubble for next year.

Parks and Recreation – I’m several episodes behind, but I didn’t really feel the England episode. It was funny and all, but it felt like setting up the season more than anything else. That’s fine (and it’s still funny), but it just lacked that oomph. Not to mention I think Leslie’s behavior was a little out of character.

Masters of Sex – At first glance this show looks like Shotime T&A exploitation instead of a serious tv show, but man am I impressed with the way that they’ve handled the show. I don’t totally love the way that Lizzy Caplan chose to change her speaking style in the first episode, but the way that she and Michael Sheen relate on screen has this simmering heat to it. It’s just a fascinating show to watch. I read on Jacob Clifton’s TWoP recap that the show has a female showrunner and I think that’s pretty clear by the way the show deals with relationships and sex (ie: maturely and with real depth). Check this one out. It’s good.

Parenthood – After watching the first episode of this season I told Katie that it reminded me of Friday Night Lights. Turns out that it’s got the same showrunner. Parenthood has that same improvised dialog style that allows for much more natural and genuine interaction between the actors. I don’t like the show as much as I liked FNL, but I think it could easily grow on me by a lot. This style of show (ie: filled with verisimilitude) is my bread and butter, although I think the plot about the lady running for office is dumb.

Pushing Daisies – I was looking for something cute like this to watch with Katie and I think it’s just the thing (in small doses) for filling gaps in what we’re watching on a given week.

The League – I only had a chance to catch an episode and a half of this while Katie was busy doing other things, but it’s still just as solid as it’s ever been. At this point this show is what it will be until it’s done. If you like that kind of thing it’ll always work for you.

Homeland – All caught up on this one, actually. I enjoyed the Brody/Carrie-centric third episode, but I’m predisposed to like anything that takes place in Latin America with tons of Spanish in it. Drug addiction stories bore me, but let’s see where they take this Brody stuff. How cool would it be if this was how he quietly exited, stage left? I think this show would have been better if Brody died in S1. The lack of a clear-cut antagonist has made the start of this season feel kind of aimless, mostly because I’m not as taken with either Carrie or Brody. We’ll see where they go, I guess.

How I Met Your Mother – Great for aimless, distracted watching.

The Amazing Race – I’m not sure how these racers compare to all the past seasons, but I do know that this race has felt way harder than the past two seasons already. Flight drama, language stuff, bus difficulty, and tasks that have, in general, seemed more interesting. I bet I sound like an apologist to the diehards who have seen the classic seasons, but I’m really digging it so far. Too bad the NFL guys got eliminated. They were the best and they didn’t deserve to go so soon due to just terrible, snakebit flight luck.

Music

I heard this track on All Songs and I dug it. “Make It Up” by The Blow

Books

Nope. Maybe next week?

Video Games

Civilization V – I’ve been lagging behind on turns, but I’m in the score lead in both games, I think. Dave fell pretty far behind in the 3 Mesa game.

SMT IV – Didn’t manage to finish this before Pokemon came out so we’ll see if I actually finish it any time soon. I think I’m right on the cusp of making my big moral choice, but it’ll be a while.

Candy Box – Silly and weird and oddly addictive, but the impending release of Candy Box 2 on the 24th made me want to hold off on getting too into it.

Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies Demo – It’s nice to have this game series back. I’ve missed it so much while it was gone. The new 3D engine and the new sound samples aren’t the same and that’s a little distracting for now, but I was also encouraged by how weird and interesting the witnesses still seemed to be even though they were 3D models instead of pixel art. We’ll see if they’re able to capture the right aesthetic anyway.

Cookie Clicker – How do I even start talking about Cookie Clicker? Katie randomly came home addicted to this game and I’ve been roped into clicking cookies and buying upgrades and it’s so fun and I can’t stop clicking…:click::click::click::click::click::click::click::click::click:

Pokemon Y – The game I’ve been waiting all year for is finally out. New region, new 3D engine, new system. Holy crap is this everything you’d want a new Pokemon game to be and then some. So much fun. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say as the week progresses, but I’m also doing a Nuzlocke again (and I lost on the first gym).

The Walking Dead – Started playing the first episode with Katie and I had a really good time watching her make decisions. A lot of them were pretty similar to the ones I would make when it came to being compassionate or caring toward other people (and children), but I was also way more secretive about being a convict and I didn’t like to keep silent whenever I had the opportunity to talk. Fascinating stuff and lots of fun. I hope she continues to want to play with me.

What I’ve Been Doing 20 May 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 20th, 2013 by Dan

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The characters don’t actually look this good, but this game is super fun with multiple people.

There was a point this weekend where I thought I was gonna clean to prepare for David and Kendra’s visit this weekend. Then I ended up playing Monaco with David and Min, Borderlands 2 with Yin and Lee, and Dead Space 3 with Dave, not to mention all the Poker Night and Bioshock Infinite I played on my own. Oh well…I’ll get a chance to clean later this week, right?

Movies

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – The release of the new color hardcover version of volume 3 made me want to watch the movie for a third (fourth?) time. This was also the first time Min had seen it after reading the comic. I think it went over a lot better.

TV

The Amazing Race – Watched the season 22 finale that took place in WASHINGTON, D.C.! So cool! I wish that Team Youtube hadn’t been eliminated, but I thought the season was a lot of fun to watch.

Parks and Recreation – Pretty solid finale. Everyone’s got a great cliffhanger for the next season and it was plenty funny. I know many of you read this blog and don’t watch this show. Skip season 1 and start watching this because it’s the best comedy on tv.

The Americans – I’ll admit that not sleeping through part of the episode makes it a little more interesting. Only one episode left to catch up and watch and I’m genuinely excited to see how it ends.

Music

Chance the Rapper’s got a sweet mixtape you can pick up for free at his site. Here’s a solid track from the tape.

Books

Unless you count reading the hardcover Scott Pilgrim (I don’t), then no.

Video Games

Borderlands 2 – Not sure if this would be half as fun without three buddies, but it’s fun to just chill and shoot up baddies, so I’m cool with it.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Been doing daily puzzles during off time. So addictive! I need to finish the previous games…

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine – The “prestige” pickpocket levels have a great narrative twist and are hard enough to make things interesting. I still love having like five hacker things following me around.

Rayman: Legends – Just as good as Origins and almost better with Murfy. Gotta remember to do more daily challenges, but otherwise awesome.

Bioshock Infinite – The debut Dan Plays episode of Infinite posted today and it was recorded in March. It’s been that long since I last played, but I got a solid session in and…I like Elizabeth. A lot. Great addition. Columbia feels equally silly, but the story has a lot more intrigue to it for me than Bioshock vanilla did.

Dead Space 3 – Man, take any game and put co-op in it and I bet it turns out a ton better. Playing this with David for my channel has been a real riot. I can’t wait to get more time in, but I’m most likely gonna have to wait until David gets back to Iowa. Bummer!

What I’ve Been Doing 13 May 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 13th, 2013 by Dan

Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox 11 May 2013

I don’t know about being the most beloved, but it was very nice.

Took an overnight train to Boston to catch a game in Fenway and that was pretty awesome. Check another ballpark off my list!

Movies

Not this week.

TV

The Amazing Race – Almost done with the finale. I was pretty bummed to see Joey and Meghan go, but it’s still been a pretty fun season.

Parks and Recreation – I really enjoyed the putt putt episode. Amy Poehler does a good frustrated even if it all seemed a little incidental and a little overdone. It was pleasant.

Music

FZ: Side F (and Side Z, with a slight helping of E). Decent remix albums of Fez music. Here’s Side Z.

Books

Friday Night Lights Companion: Love, Loss, and Football in Dillon, Texas – Finished out these essays and I rather enjoyed them. Uneven in quality, sometimes, it was still a pretty great little observation of a great show.

Video Games

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Got some time during the train rides to get a little further in the game. I’m at the weird phantom vampire city now and I have no idea where this game is headed.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Bonus puzzles have been stacking up, so I pushed through a few just to pass some time before my train got back to Baltimore because my allergies were killing me.

Poker Night 2 – Still haven’t finished that last unlock. So close! Also have to make it to a million in winnings.

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine – What a neat little narrative. I’m interested in seeing how the epilogue plays out since it looks like competitive multiplayer.

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