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Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. (Picture courtesy Rich Ford)
I got to share my favorite episode of Doctor Who with Min today. I’d forgotten how eerie and excellent that episode was. I mean, I literally shouted out loud in fear when one of the angels popped into view. Freaky stuff. Love that ep.
Not this week.
Breaking Bad – I don’t know why I had such a long gap before where I wasn’t watching this, but these past few episodes have been brilliant. Walter White is absolutely fascinating in his almost impotent villainy. I love how addicted he is to power and how much pride he has. Just brilliant stuff.
The Amazing Race – Up to the finale on the current season and that’s been pretty exciting. I’m glad the twins didn’t get eliminated as they’re the funniest. On the S1 DVDs things are getting interesting. Team Guido is hilariously evil. It’s awesome.
Parks and Recreation – Episodes revolving around Jerry are usually pretty awesome and this one did not disappoint. Tammy 2′s ridiculous brand of evil sluttiness was gross AND hilarious. Not an easy bar to hit.
The Mindy Project – It seems like every week I’m saying, “The net critics don’t like this, but I find it funny.” Copy-paste that here.
New Girl – Another one that all the internet hated, but I thought was hilarious. The bathtub crashing through the ceiling and the Remy three-way callbacks? Brilliant.
Doctor Who – Started Min off with “Blink”, but then I took him back to “Rose” to show a more typical episode. It’s still mostly introducing stuff, but I think his interest in piqued.
Happy Endings – Man did Rob Corddry get away with saying some filthy things on network tv. Also the Penny thing was fairly predictable from her. Alex continues to be hilarious as always.
Glee – A week where I didn’t want to just turn off the show for being aggressively stupid? Wow! That first Rachel number was stunningly good.
The League – Odd pacing and dropping of plot points make me think that there are big things afoot for the finale. Totally dug the lucha libre bit.
Childrens Hospital – Madonna episode: meh. Chief episode: better.
NTSF:SD:SUV:: – I don’t think they did enough with the found footage conceit, but Alphonse’s creepy Christmas song was amazing.
Saturday Night Live – I didn’t get past weekend update, but Jamie Foxx was doing his thing ok. He seemed less comfortable that I thought he’d be considering how good he is in other stuff. Maybe live isn’t his thing?
Just go listen to more Frank Ocean. Channel Orange is Awesome.
A Confederacy of Dunces – At around the 100 page mark. I feel like I’ve met all the principals and now it’s time to see where this farce is headed.
The Revolution was Televised – Finished the chapters on The Sopranos and The Wire and I’m working on Deadwood. This tv backstory stuff is fascinating and I’m really digging all the analysis.
Sleeping Dogs – I like Wei Shen and I like the undercover cop conceit. It remains to be seen how deep the story gets and if it’ll allow for character depth or go the GTA IV route where, regardless of how serious the main guy claims to be, every one else is a cartoon.
The Old Republic – Just got Vette, but we sadly haven’t had much interaction at all. Seems like a dropped ball so far, but, then again, my character has only just gotten license to head to Dromund Kaas.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – A power issue (perhaps related to SLI-ing my cards) caused save file corruption on my main game. I might have to restart and that’s heartbreaking. We’ll see if the forums come through for me or not.
FTL – I’m getting much better at this game, but I still haven’t gotten the hang of Mantis B. Racking up wins with other ships though.
If you haven’t seen The Wire, this obviously spoils the 100 best lines from the show. Those of you who have, this right here is pure gold.
Seann William Scott is so innocently dumb in this movie, but it's actually quite good. (Picture courtesy nxusco)
Guys, Goon was really good. More later, but you should check it out. This week was a real scattershot weekend as I tried to play a bunch of games I didn’t give much time to before.
Martha Marcy May Marlene – The cult in the movie is an interesting contrast to the fundamentalist Christian society in Higher Ground and the hippie commune of Wanderlust. This movie really ratchets up the tension of not knowing what’s real and what’s not. Ideally they would have made Patrick a scarier presence, but the movie is still on pretty solid ground with what it accomplishes. Congrats on the fantastic part, Elizabeth Olsen. Keep it up!
Goon – This is a mostly sweet movie about a guy who had no place in life other than to fight on the ice. It’s done pretty well and it’s funny and it’ll definitely win you over. Alison Pill, who played Kim Pine in Scott Pilgrim, is great as a Canadian hockey girl and Seann William Scott is endearing. The violence of hockey and hockey fights is really the thing that might put you off the movie. It gets pretty brutal if you don’t like it.
Mad Men – Last week’s premiere was amazing and I totally loved it. Can’t wait to see yesterday’s episode tonight!
Breaking Bad – Finished the first season. The six episode arc they had to work with never went anywhere with any definitive statement, but I think they’re playing the long game for all the seasons. Doesn’t mean that it was bad, just that I’m used to a more dramatic season arc. The progression of Walter White from teacher to meth cooker has definitely been interesting as is the seething anger that lurks beneath hsi outside personality.
Happy Endings – A great tribute to all the sitcom tropes of old. Some really good jokes in there that helped keep it from being too hack-y (like it was when the episode started). Elisha Cuthbert’s Ellen was hilarious.
New Girl – I liked the episode, but I’m rather chilly on New Girl at the moment. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.
Justified – Another table setter. The final two episodes of this season are going to be bananas. I’d like for Limehouse to continue to be a force in S4, but we’ll see if he survives the next two eps first.
Community – It’s entirely possible that this episode contained the first “boner” joke I’ve laughed at since I was 13. The Subway corpo-humanoid is the highlight of the ep. Also a highlight: “Put it in a letter, Jane Austen!”. Alison Brie is so awesome.
Up All Night – This show is kind of meh to me too. At least it’s enjoyable meh. I’d rather watch New Girl because Zooey Deschanel is cute, but this is the better show.
The Wire – Finally finished S1 and the commentary of S1. Can’t wait to get moving through S2 because S3 is amazing. I love the attention to detail in The Wire and the devastating verisimilitude of it all.
“Heaven” is one of the best tracks on the Persona 4 soundtrack, but it’s also pretty awesome to listen to any time. Don’t believe me?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I’ve got like 10 pages left. So tired of this book.
Ghost Trick – Weird ending to this game. Just plot twist upon plot twist. Still one of the better story games I’ve ever played and excellent practice for my Spanish.
Devil Survivor 2 – Still haven’t caught the entire breadth of this story, but I do dig it. Interested in seeing where it goes, but my major play time will probably come when Min and I go to Vegas (he’ll probably sleep through the flight)
Mass Effect 2 – Slowly tearing through this a few missions at a time. For some reason I can’t stomach playing it for long periods of time. I think it’s because ME3 is clearly better and they’re so similar.
Poker Night at the Inventory – Put in a few mins to get some achievements and just play some poker. Still fun.
Jamestown – Was feeling like finally putting some time into the weird quasi-historical/quasi-sci-fi version of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Fighting the Spanish conquistadors and the Martians is weird, but fun. I like all the different ship types.
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1 – I played and beat this many moons ago, but I wanted to play ep. 2 and that required playing this. Decent RPG and pretty funny still.
Sine Mora – Tried it out on XBL. I might pick it up when I finish a few other games. Seems interesting.
Pac-Man CE DX – Um…best game on my Xbox. Period. This game is so good I had to force msyelf to stop to play…
Galaga Legions DX – I was tired of only having like two achievements in this so I went and got to 11/12. Might not get the last one (more annoying than tough), but I’ll probably cave and just do it. Not as good as Pac-Man at all, but still fun.
Shadow Complex – Cave Story + made me think the same thing this game does: Why don’t game companies make more Metroidvania-style games? They’re really addictive and fun. Weird. Also weird: Nolan North in a half-tuck role that’s NOT NATHAN DRAKE! I think the shooting is a little awkward with the right stick because they added the whole 3D aspect to it, but otherwise fun.
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.
No movies again! I want to get The Muppets in soon. Maybe when I go home for Christmas.
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!
So much wobble bass!
So little reading!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
No real reading time this week.
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.
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.
Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t get one in this week again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those stupid hats everyone makes fun of actually do motivate me to play sometimes.
Bran Nue Dae – Disappointingly mediocre. I was expecting something interesting from a musical about aboriginal life in Australia, but it just wasn’t there. Uneven pacing, bland characters, and, worst of all, completely forgettable music. That’s the one thing you have to do right in a musical!
How I Met Your Mother – The Jenson episode was great and the roommate episode brought us tantalizingly close to the “Mother”, but I’m catching up on this show by virtue of inertia alone. HIMYM is not a great show, guys. Not anymore.
The League – My favorite kind of crappy show. Can be super hilarious some days and middling other days. It’s a shame that they had to come up with an excuse to not have Nadine Velazquez on the episode. She’s funny and hot.
Homeland – Bizarre opening theme. So weird/surreal/cool. I guess it ties in with Claire Danes’ psychosis. The prince/consort subplot is boring to me, but we’ll see if it bears any fruit.
Prime Suspect – I like the main character, but I don’t love the procedural nature. I’m all about the season long investigations like The Wire. That show really has ruined cop shows for me…
Up All Night – After just watching Bridesmaids practically twice, I was a little tired of the female rivalry thing that Christina Applegate had going on in the class. Still a pretty good show, but this was the weakest episode I’d seen so far.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The writers on this show get so much mileage out of the title cards. So funny even if all of these people are terrible, horrible people. It makes me laugh when they call out Frank for being racist or a jerk, but they’re just as bad all the time.
Parka and Recreation – Not enough April this week! Ann being terrible at being a girl scout was awesome as was the Batman suit, but it wasn’t my favorite episode of this show.
Community – Super dark. Last week’s statement that the study group’s love was weird was right on the money. Seeing that Jeff, who brought them together is kind of bad for the group is really dark. I wonder if this has to do with Dan Harmon’s recent personal problems. This show is going some really heavy places this season.
Better Off Ted – “I think I need to get new breasts. These are covered in sad.” Finished S2 and, hence, the rest of the show. Not too bad. I can see why it was canceled, even though I liked it. Good light entertainment, but it’s not the greatest.
Dexter – This season has been bad so far. The story beats are obvious and too overbearing, even by Dexter standards. I don’t like following the “big bad” around, especially when they’re being annoyingly cryptic and awful. When they said this show would be really changing this season I didn’t think they meant that it would be getting awful. I really hope this season picks back up.
Extra Hot Great – I love this show, but they made me think that maybe watching Footloose might be a good idea this week. Now to somehow suggest it to the girlfriend without letting on that I actually want to see it…
Reamde – Finished the book. Very Stephenson. Brings to the foreground his love of guns, anarchy/distrust of government, MMOs, and his obsession with the way money/gold works. Good read, but not his best work. Anathem was more philosophically interesting and Crytonomicon had better characters.
(EDIT: You’ll note that there’s no talk of comics here. I might be starting a separate project to discuss them elsewhere.)
The Binding of Isaac – Finally defeated the first form of Mom, but now I’ve got to get to her heart to slay her. I’m getting better at this game, but I’ve got a ways to go before I can beat the boss.
Mass Effect 2 – Kasumi’s loyalty mission is being annoyingly buggy, so I’m stuck on the final boss and I haven’t felt motivated to tackle it again after two nights of trying and either doing well and having it bug out on me or failing.
Team Fortress 2 – I painted Max’s Severed Head pink and it’s kind of awesome. Been getting a lot of Soldier and Demoman time in, two classes I really didn’t love before this. They’re not so bad, I guess…Had a killer round with Lee as a Heavy/Medic combo. We were unstoppable!
Gears of War 3 – So much Horde mode this weekend! I will unlock the Laugh Track! Just you wait!
EDIT: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Forgot to mention that I started my replay of the Uncharted series to prepare for the third iteration’s release next month. Good game, but the visuals are starting to show their age after all these years. It’s still a pretty game, just not as pretty as Uncharted 2 or 3.
The MLB Playoffs continue. While most of my weekend was spent watching baseball, I also got tons of other stuff in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Music joins WIBD!
Well, “music” of a sort. I have a last.fm thing that is linked to my tumblr that you can use to see what I’ve been listening to, artist-wise. No, unless a new awesome album comes out, the point of this is to talk about audio programming I’ve been listening to.
Morning Glory – This one came off the girlfriend’s Netflix queue. I had some interest in seeing it myself, but I didn’t realize just how much of a chicklit movie it was. It’s not actually based on a chicklit book, but I still got that vibe. Really didn’t do it for me. Also: full bangs are terrible.
Weeds – My favorite part about this show is how it gets Nancy into these ridiculously complicated and difficult situations so I can watch her try to extricate herself from them. Hard to imagine something worse than what she just got involved in!
The Hour – I haven’t finished the first episode, but a few thoughts. 1. The BBC tends to have a house style that makes everything look kind of same-y. I don’t really appreciate that. All the comedies have the same “look” and all the dramas have a different, but similar “look”. 2. Idris Elba and Dominic West are so entwined with The Wire in my head that it blows my mind every time I hear their native English accents. 3. America has its share of class-based struggles with rich and poor, but I feel like England still has it a lot worse with where you went to school and nobility.
Retro Game Master – This week’s game was a golf RPG, Battle Golfer Yui. The best part of the show was how the computer kept losing by making bad shots and giving up. Definitely one of the funnier episodes to date.
All Songs Considered – As a response to the “Songs That Make You Cry” episode from not long ago, All Songs came back with “Songs That Make You Feel Good“. I’m not done yet, but the episode has had a great Stones song along with that catchy whistle tune by Peter Bjorn and John and Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over”. They should rename the episode “Songs That Make You Speed” because all of these are so fun and happy that it made me worry about tickets.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Read the beginning while waiting for my replacement car window. Seems cool. I like Melquiades and I can vaguely see some of the connections between this and Mother 3.
Collected Stories – Finished that other short story. It was an interesting look at an identical twin whose brother died. He felt like he was choking on the smell of formaldehyde and mused as to whether his dead brother was dragging him toward death too or he was dragging him toward life. Kind of interesting. We’ll see if the rest of Márquez’ stories are as obsessed with death.
Ultimate Fallout – (the rest of these are comics) The mini-series ended with this issue. Set up some neat plot points to go from in the future. I like how much Fallout is differentiating itself from the 616 continuity. Can’t wait for the new stuff to start this week.
Spider-Girl – Very action-y with not a lot of substance, but that’s cool with me. It was fun. Good to see female characters around.
Venom – Supposed to be really good, but it was just kind of meh to me.
Daredevil – My favorite book of the week. Good art, fantastic writing, and great attention to detail. You should check this book out.
Dragon Age 2 – I think I’m somewhere in the 50-60 hour range with this game now. I was not expecting it to be this good. The decision to scale it down and focus it on a single family and city was pretty brilliant. It allows for a more character driven story. There’s also a nice benefit to making it about a different character in that I get to meet old guys from the past games and talk about my old char. Mass Effect is slightly different in that you play the same guy and they’re reacting to you. If they continue the series past 3 and Shepard isn’t the hero I hope they still keep some of the ME chars around.
Team Fortress 2 – I had one of my favorite rounds of TF2 yesterday when both my brothers and Lee were in a game with me. This game is just fantastic. Really great stuff.
Left 4 Dead 2 – Played a half hour with Dave until his net connection crapped out. Maybe we’ll finish the Dark Carnival tonight.
A performance from Tremé
Tomorrow night’s the All-Star Game, but my coverage might be a little different than usual. I plan on watching it with friends, so there may not be a liveblog, but I will cover it in the morning. In the meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been up to.
Rx Bandits – Saw the Bandits down at the 9:30 Club on Saturday for their farewell tour. I don’t think anything will match the unparalleled emotion I felt at Five Iron Frenzy’s “Winners Never Quit” tour back in 2003, but it was a special show. They’re not writing off being a studio band, but that may have been the last time I’ll ever see the Bandits and they did not disappoint. Great show. The tour t-shirt puts me up to 5 RxB t-shirts. I think I’ve reached excessive there.
Carancho - Ricardo Darín’s strong showing in El secreto de sus ojos attracted me to this movie. In it, Darín plays a carancho (translates to vulture), or an ambulance chaser, who scams victims out of their settlements. The story is a little uneven, but it’s clear to me that Darín is ridiculously talented and I love seeing him in anything. Gotta track down more of his films.
Tremé – Finally got around to watching the season 2 finale. Good stuff. It’s neat to see the differences between Tremé and The Wire. David Simon is clearly not compelled to make this show more watchable by limiting the live music or giving it a more structured plot, but that’s ok sometimes. It’s nice to see the different storylines just play out because, hey, that’s life. Good to also see the Vietnamese shrimp boats as a preparation for an eventual Gulf Oil Spill storyline.
Dead Like Me – As a fan of Pushing Daisies, I was not surprised to learn that this was a Bryan Fuller show. The same little quirks were apparent in the early episodes and although he left the show rather early in its run, his DNA runs through it. I gotta wonder about Fuller’s preoccupation with death and women with masculine nicknames…Anyway, it’s a pretty solid show that my girlfriend is watching and I hop in for an episode or two wherever she is. The premise, that the main characters are grim reapers who collect souls that are about to die, is pretty neat and I dig the characters. I also like that it was a Showtime show, so the writers are free to let the characters talk like real people.
Mad Men – Last weekend I just blew through S3 and S4. This is a fantastic show. I do love it when a show finds itself continually evolving so it’s neat to see how far the characters have come since S1. It was a little troubling in the 4th season to see Don struggling, but I’m excited to see what S5 brings in 2012. This is seriously one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages. Very good.
Chew – New issue (#19) came out last week. Toni appears in this one and she’s rapidly grown on me as one of my favorite characters. The latest issue sets up a lot of neat plot points that I’m excited to see born out and also reveals some interesting secrets about the Chu family. Definitely the best so far in the new arc.
S.H.I.E.L.D. – My love affair with Jonathan Hickman’s work has not abated yet. His examination of the secret history of an organization that a lot of Marvel fans kind of take for granted is very interesting. Could have interesting implications for the greater Marvel universe, but it also ties in very nicely with Hickman’s work in FF. Gotta wonder if Hickman has some serious father issues, because it’s yet another book of his thematically dealing with fathers and sons, but this time with a fate vs. free will wrinkle.
Fantastic Four/FF – More Hickman, more awesomeness. I finally got around to reading Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four and I was seriously impressed. I mean, we’re talking a breadth of narrative that’s still bearing fruit in his current issues of FF. FF is one of my most anticipated books every month. I can’t wait to see what The War of the Four Cities will bring and whether or not the issues with the Council of Reeds (first introduced at the start of Hickman’s run back in 2009) will be resolved in this arc.
Ultimate Fantastic Four – Still cool, but man does it pale in comparison to the work being done on FF. Almost done with it, so I’ll continue for now.
Torchlight – Picked this guy up for $2 or so in the Steam summer sale. and it was well worth the purchasing price. Definitely scratching my Diablo itch with some seriously addictive game mechanics. Playing as the pet class and loving all the summons, but on Very Hard the final dungeons are proving challenging. I’m afraid to try it hardcore next, but the challenge is calling me (for those who don’t know, hardcore mode means that death is permanent for a character. THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE!)
Left 4 Dead – David finally built himself a new computer allowing him to play all the sweet games of the past that we couldn’t play before. We played No Mercy last night and it was a real blast from the past. I can’t wait for him to see the ways the game has evolved in L4D2! I’m sure he’ll find it just as awesome as I do.
inFamous – Beat it on very hard on the good track. Considering an evil run for trophies, but, truth be told, this game is middling, at best, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to motivate myself to play it again with more interesting options on hand.
StarCraft 2 – Played a couple of quick rounds with Dave and one of his friends. Still solid, but I’m not always in the mood.