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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 24 Sept 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 25th, 2013 by Dan

Katie and I Invading The Trop

We were so excited for Katie’s first trip to the Trop. Unfortunately, the game didn’t cooperate…

Katie and I had a nice little vacation down in Tampa. Beach time, pool time, Cuban food, and baseball. Why did I come home again?

Movies

We came close to watching one, but, alas, not last week.

TV

House of Cards – Not totally loving the Underhill/Zoe Barnes romance still. It doesn’t quite make sense considering that it feels like he’s brought surprisingly little to the table compared to Barnes of late.

65th Emmy Awards – Some surprising winners this year! Who knew Jeff Daniels could take it over Bryan Cranston or John Hamm. I sure didn’t expect it! NPH did nice work hosting, but I wish the eulogies had montages associated with them. The House of Cards joke in the intro was HILARIOUS.

Music

How about a classic today? Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen”

Books

World War Z – Very close to finishing it and starting a new book. Just gotta finish that last chapter.

Video Games

Civilization V – Slowed down my turn playing by a bunch when I went down to Florida because my dad’s internet wasn’t working like he was thinking it was (at least not on my laptop). I’ll be picking it back up over the rest of this week.

Shin Megami Tensei IV – Slow-moving. Got stuck against Xi Wangmu for like four or five attempts.

What I’ve Been Doing 9 and 16 Sept 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 16th, 2013 by Dan

First Ravens and NFL Game!

M&T is almost oppressively purple and it’s kind of awesome. So glad that Katie brought me to this game.

Went to my first professional football game with Katie this past Sunday and it was awesome. I wish the Ravens would have dominated by more, but it was really fun to see them

Movies

Star Trek: Into Darkness – Watched this with Katie and Min last week. I won’t lie to you guys, we were a little tipsy when we were watching, but everything about this movie felt rushed and unearned. It’s almost like they were trying to get away with a lot via nostalgia shorthand. All flash and no powder, but Benedict Cumberbatch was loads of fun in the movie.

The World’s End – I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since I heard that Pegg, Frost, and Wright were reuniting to end the Cornetto trilogy. I was worried it would be more of a horror movie, but it was actually kind of delightful and not that scary. Very cleverly written with an interesting take on the “growing up and maturing” thing that we see in a lot of American comedies nowadays. Worth seeing.

TV

Sherlock – I loved watching this with Katie, but I’m bummed that we’re now fully caught up. Series 3 will come soon enough!

House of Cards – I’m not sure how the Frank and Zoe plot is going to progress, but I will say that I’m not really down with it yet. Other than that, I’m interested in seeing how bad things are gonna get for Russo after he compromised his values to appease Frank.

Music

This one comes courtesy of Katie who played a cover version (followed by the much better actual version) of T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa, and Lily Allen’s “5 O’clock”. Good stuff.

Books

Don’t think I read in these two weeks, much to my dismay.

Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV – Finally finished up at Shinjuku for now. I wish there was a better way to get around the world map to make things easier to get to.

Civilization V – Made some really dumb moves in the game with David, but I think I’ve mostly recovered from the setback. The game with Eric is moving fairly slowly, but we’re coming along.

Spelunky – Only a few mins of this. Always a pleasure.

What I’ve Been Doing 3 Sept 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 3rd, 2013 by Dan

New Yankee Stadium

The picture’s from the opening year, but I was definitely there this weekend.

Movies

No, but this week, probably!

TV

Sherlock – The Chinese banker episode is so bad, comparatively speaking…

Breaking Bad – Only watched a few mins in the morning while waiting for Katie.

House of Cards – I’m not a fan of the “narration” at all, but a political revenge thriller does sound kind of awesome.

Music

Camila Moreno has this voice that’s smoky and nice. This song is apparently far from her usual political message, but it’s very good nonetheless.

Books

World War Z – Getting close to done on this re-reading. Good times. The book is so good.

Video Games

SMT IV – Had to use a FAQ to figure out where to go, but I finally figured it out.

Civilization V – The Mesa game is moving along, but I haven’t had a real chance to play over the holiday weekend.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – In really quick to have townspeople ask what happened to me. Just not much time to play.

Rogue Legacy – Moving through the forest now that I’ve conquered the first boss. Still loads of fun for me.

Spelunky – I can’t remember if it was this week, but I came so close to beating Yama. Next time!

What I’ve Been Doing 26 Aug 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 26th, 2013 by Dan

010

Everyone’s favorite, most important book.

Not a lot of new stuff going on this week. I kind of hung out, made LP footage, and hung out with Katie at ballgames. Good week.

Movies

For Richer or Poorer – Katie and Kara chose to watch this 1997 Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley. It’s as terrible as you’d think it is.

TV

Orange is the New Black – Finished the season. This show was super good. Well worth checking out on Netflix. Well realized, well acted. Very good show. Can’t wait for the next season.

The Bridge – Still don’t really care for the Sonya Cross character. Ah well. Still interesting.

Veep – Season 2 ended on a much higher note. Still funny. Wondering where it’s gonna go next year. Feels weird for such success in an Iannucci show.

Music

“Pobre Corazon” by Esteman! It’s a little ska-y, but good.

Books

World War Z – A classic. Not much more to say. Just a great read.

Video Games

Civilization V – The Mesa games are both progressing. I founded a Pantheon in one. Gotta keep the faith points growing so I can found a religion.

Spelunky – Had my best run ever end on a stupid mistake. So mad about that.

Counterstrike: Global Offensive – A seriously fun game. Had a lot of fun, but I haven’t had any of the new gun drops yet.

Rogue Legacy – First boss is dead and I’m enjoying pushing through the forest. Lots of fun and I like the magic spells a bunch.

SMT IV – Didn’t make a whole lot of progress here and I’m a little lost, but I’m still making good progress. Feels old school because of how not directed it is.

Sims 3 – Katie made a family and I kind of played/helped. Not much more than that.

What I’ve Been Doing 21 Aug 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 21st, 2013 by Dan

009

I spend every day horrified at the knowledge that this book exists.

Whoa, whoops! I’m late again!

Movies

Nope!

TV

Breaking Bad – The cold war between Walter and Skyler is tough to watch. I haven’t had much time to really progress, but I’m intrigued by the way this season is gonna end.

Orange is the New Black – This show remains really awesome. Just excellent acting and stories. Worth checking out.

Music

“Young Fathers” by Typhoon. It’s pretty cool

Books

World War Z – Still pretty good.

Video Games

Civilization V – Our Civ games are moving along rather nicely. I wish Eric had Brave New World too because the game we’re playing with him doesn’t have the fun tourism stuff.

Spelunky – Daily Challenges have reinvigorated my love for this game. I live to beat Lee’s score each day.

Rogue Legacy – Still haven’t beaten the first boss, but I’ve unlocked a lot of neat classes. Gotta upgrade some more, I think.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Lost a lot of steam on this game when they stopped selling Nintendo items to sell fireworks.

Pikmin 3 – Found Louie. I really want to see where this game goes. It’s so much fun.

Shin Megami Tensei IV – I wish I had more time to just sit down and play JRPGs. Hopefully I can make some progress and start moving toward the Law, Chaos, or Neutral paths.

What I’ve Been Doing 12 Aug 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 12th, 2013 by Dan

One Piece Cosplay

This picture is from an old Otakon, but the cosplayers were out in full force this weekend yet again.

With Katie away for the weekend I took full advantage of my video game availability. Like, super full advantage.

Movies

Elysium – Katie didn’t really want to see this one, so Min and I went to see it solo. Her impressions from the trailer were right (and I should have realized that good blockbusters don’t come out in August). It’s just overloaded with “purpose”, but without the requisite seriousness. The movie is just not good enough for the gravity it’s seeking to have. Not enough robot explosions either. Can’t win them all, I guess. Should have watched Pacific Rim again instead

TV

The Newsroom – A patronizingly simplistic episode about “Africa” (as if it were a country and not a continent) may mean I won’t have to watch this show any more. Phew…

Childrens Hospital – And just like that they handwave away the death of “Blake Downs”/”Cutter Spindell”. Hilariously done. I like that they’re in Japan now instead of Brazil, which is where their hospital definitely was.

NTSF:SD:SUV:: – Adding Karen Gillan to the show seems to have been an awesome choice. Other reviewers don’t agree with me, but her character’s hilarious sociopathy is…well…hilarious.

Breaking Bad – Just in time to miss the half-season premiere, I started watching the preceding half-season. Walt is terrifying, yo.

Futurama – Boy is this show’s brand of humor mild compared to modern animation. Good enough to fall asleep to, I guess.

Music

Not feeling it this week

Books

Didn’t happen this week

Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV – The Tokyo map is a little confusing to manage, but it’s also kind of par for the course for SMT games. The plot continues to deepen, but very slowly.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – I missed another fireworks festival!

Pikmin 3 – Almost didn’t get this one, but I’m so glad I did. Everything about it is so charming and fun. The localized writing is top notch and the game mechanics are a real joy to experience.

Spelunky – Daily challenges, man. That mode is great. Now that Lee’s got the game too I have someone to score attack against as well. Loving it on PC.

The Last of Us – Beat it. Saw the controversial ending. In the end I think the writing was top notch. About on par with a B+ movie. The mechanics were a little repetitive and not as fun as they could have been. Plus, will someone please let me stop moving ladders and transporting Ellie on pallets?

Rogue Legacy – Controls floatier and less precise/tight than I would have guessed, but addictive and fun. Every time I lose a guy I want to just barrel right back in. I only hate it when I don’t have enough money to actually buy any upgrades.

Papers, Please – Exploring the mundanity of bureaucracy one day at a time. It’s actually a very neat game that’s worth checking out. Got one of the twelve endings. It wasn’t a good one.

Cart Life – Couldn’t get into it within like 15 mins because it started me at 4AM and I couldn’t remember where I was supposed to go for a permit.

Analogue: A Hate Story – Finished the *Hyun-ae ending. Another well-written Christine Love joint.

Donkey Kong 94 – Just a few levels here and there.

EDIT: FORGOT TO ADD…

Dead Space 3 – Dave and I finally beat this guy. Tune in like a year from now to see us complain about all the game’s failings during the ending credits, haha.

Civilization V – Started a multiplayer game with the brothers. Let’s see if we actually finish it.

What I’ve Been Doing 5 Aug 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 5th, 2013 by Dan

o-ORANGE-IS-THE-NEW-BLACK-facebook

The awesome cast of Orange is the New Black (Photo by missmegsblogcontent)

Lots of talk on the internets about how Orange is the New Black was a fantastic show not worth missing. After checking it out, I’ve got to say everyone’s really right.

Movies

Nope, but probably this week!

TV

The Bridge – Demian Bichir is doing fine, fine work on this show, but the serial killer stuff seems fairly fantastical and he’s almost omnipotent in his power.

Orange is the New Black – Netflix seems to have finally found its killer show. Extremely high quality and an intriguing watch. Definitely check it out.

Music

I’m not sure I actually like Regina Spektor’s new(ish) single (too much rock, not enough piano), but it’s worth hearing

Books

Not this week.

Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV – Got a bunch more time in this weekend while rendering episodes for my channel. Getting better. The battles are, without a doubt, rather tough, and the story’s gotten intriguing as I’ve left the first area. Not sure if it’ll continue to be awesome, but we’ll see.

EarthBound – Finally booted up Shigesato Itoi’s SNES epic to play the intro while Min watched this weekend and it still totally holds up. Just super sharp dialogue and an endearing level of charm.

Rayman Legends – Super quick challenge levels this week. Min and I need to unlock Awesomeness lvl 2.

Spelunky – Played the XBLA version one last time before I signed off forever thanks to the release of the PC version. Didn’t get past the jungle due to some dumb play. It’s really easy to fall out of practice with Spelunky.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – I really thought I’d be able to bring fruit home with me from the dream suite. Kind of lame that you can’t.

The Last of Us – They try and pretend all the time that you can pick how you want to approach encounters. Stealth or fighting, etc. It sounds good in theory, but instead they have all these required confrontations. The latest one involved two bloaters, two clickers, and two runners and it was just a pain. Kind of disappointing…

Pikmin 3 – These games are so charming and SO fun. I love Pikmin games. Clever writing/localization and a fun combat mechanic makes for the first real reason to turn on my Wii U in a long time.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 July 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 30th, 2013 by Dan

Safeco Field with Katie

Back from Seattle!

One long, but very fun jetlag-filled week has come to an end and it’s time to summarize my pop culture consumption (hint: it’s not that much).

Movies

Negative.

TV

The Newsroom – There was a moment in this week’s episode where Olivia Munn’s character was led to an office by the wrist by a man that I thought they were going to let pass without comment. It was still gross and terrible, but at least they said something. Also the Jim on the Romney bus storyline is just the worst, guys. Seriously. This show is really self-righteous and not very good at all.

Music

I listened to pop all weekend. Just nonstop. I guess we can all listen to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk here.

Books

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseabll Team From Worst to First – the funniest thing about the last chapter is how wrong Jonah Keri was about the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011 despite acquiring Crawford and Gonzalez. Not a bad read, but the real issue I had with it is that it has almost zero substance to it. Sure, it says a lot of things about how the team did this and that, but I guess I was expecting something a little more research paper-y where it would, you know, show exactly what changed and how with qualitative proof. Still not too bad.

Video Games

SMT IV – One of the better JRPGs I’ve played in recent years. Still brutally hard and still fun.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – New resident: Dierdre. I guessed that she would be a deer and I was right.

Evoland – A long joke/gimmick so far. I’m still somewhat digging it, but it’s not as deep as it could be (or I’d like it to be).

Thomas Was Alone – The most charming game about geometric shapes you’ll ever play. Clever, but ultimately not all that challenging.

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

Shin Megami Tensei IV Limited Edition

The Limited Edition (read: first printing) comes with so much cool stuff! (Photo by SwatWolf)

SMT IV is pretty good, you guys. It’s hard as hell, but it’s funny about it.

Movies

Not this week.

TV

The Bridge – I’m really tired of the “woman with mental disorder” (or man) trope in tv right now. I’d be more interested in Sonya if she wasn’t on the spectrum. Marco is way more interesting to me.

The Newsroom – Nope. Aaron Sorkin is still not for me. Between all the mansplaining and the self-righteous lectures I can only tolerate this show, even thought it has sharp, sometimes funny writing in lots of places.

Sherlock – Watched “A Study in Pink” with Katie. So much fun. I think she was really into it too since she didn’t fall asleep like she thought she would.

Archer – Watched the train episode again. It’s funny, but I still think “Skytanic” is way better.

Music

How about “Adios” by Natalia Clavier

Books

Not this week, but probably next.

Video Games

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Beau beat me in the bug-off. WTF! Also added a second floor to my house. No big deal, guys. Took a bath on turnips this week too…

Donkey Kong ’94 – Still loads of fun.

Shin Megami Tensei IV – I wish I had more time to play this (probably this week), but it’s just as hard as you’ve heard. I was getting dominated in the first dungeon until I realized that I could flee the dungeon and heal as I level grind. Tough, but awesome.

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