Tag Archives: videogames

2016: The Highs & The Other Stuff

Larry asked me yesterday what my favorite movie of the year was, which led me to thinking about other highlights, and of course, lowlights, throughout the year.  So, with no particular order in mind:

Favorite Movie:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La La Land, by a lot.

Other Notables:

  • Arrival
  • Star Trek: Beyond
  • Rogue One
  • Zootopia
  • 10 Cloverfield Ln
  • Secret Life of Pets
  • Moana

Disappointments:

  • Jason Bourne – UGH
  • Girl on the Train – bored ugh
  • Independence Day: Resurgence – just…why?

Favorite Song:

I love this damn song.  From the first time I heard it while eating breakfast to even now, still love it.

Other notables:

  • Cake by the Ocean, by DNCE
  • Make Me Like You, by Gwen Stefani
  • Hold Up, by Beyonce
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling, by Justin Timberlake
  • The Riddle of the Model, from the Sing Street soundtrack
  • We Know the Way, from the Moana soundtrack
  • Another Day of Sun, from the La La Land soundtrack

Favorite TV:

Obviously, Jeopardy! gets a nod.

  • Game of Thrones; the last episode where Cersei goes and makes her move?  Woah.
  • Westworld:  Wasn’t sure if I was going to like the show, but yeah, definitely liked the show.  Just have to wait 2 more years for more.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:  Everyone should be watching this hilarious, musical show.  Rachel Bloom is mesmerizing, and all the attractive men she has cast in the show opposite her is brilliant, as it keeps us tuned in!  White Josh and Greg 4eva.
  • Broad City:  In it’s 3rd season, it’s still fucking great.
  • $100,000 Pyramid & Match Game:  ABC brought these back over the summer and they were fucking great.  Time to consider my next game show move!

Not so good?

  • Scandal:  We are in the hate-watch zone.  Get your shit together.
  • You’re the Worst:  I don’t know, we couldn’t get past the 1st episode of the new season, and so, maybe we’re done with it.
  • American Horror Story:  Not sure if it’s bad yet, but it really was all over the place this season.  Sometimes it was good, but a lot of times, not?  I liked last season’s Hotel.  Maybe next season will be good.

Fun Video Games I Played:

There’s plenty in this list.

  • The Witcher 3:  Hot damn, this game is amazing and gets you involved immediately and doesn’t let go.  And it’s freaking huge.  I still am not sure how far along I am and I’ve played a LOT.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider:  So glad that the Tomb Raider franchise has been brought back successfully.  It’s so damn fun too, and they’re telling great stories while providing a wonderful action experience.
  • Prison Architect:  I totally got obsessed with this game for a while.  So well done.
  • XCOM 2:  A really hard game that I couldn’t stop playing.  I did finish it, surprisingly.
  • Flame in the Flood:  Another of these random games I got obsessed with for a good while as it was such a relaxing game play rhythm.
  • Uncharted 4:  I just finished this one and man, what a beautiful and fun game.

Disappointment:

  • Fallout 4:  I really really really wanted to love this game.  And I played it a while, hoping it would get me.  But nope.  They have too much around settlement creation and management and let the story be incidental.  I want to have the option to take the story slow if necessary, but not like this.  Kind of a bummer.
  • King’s Quest:  Once it was clear that you couldn’t easily restart and were stuck with decisions, plus the game gave very limited guidance, I kind of lost interest.  There are 3 more chapters to play through and I’m not sure I ever will?

Life Stuff Highlights!

Okay, I guess I should talk about some of the things I liked about 2016.

  • Larry & I got married!  There may have been a lot of stress and a not insignificant amount of money spent, but damn, the event and surrounding days were so worth it.  The weather was perfect, the venue was perfect, the wedding and reception were perfect, seeing all the family and friends was perfect….it was just amazing.
  • Honeymoon in Europe!  This trip was much needed and a welcome return to traveling somewhere outside of the country with beautiful surroundings to soak up and lots of food and wine to savor.  Would go back in a heartbeat if we could.
  • We got a new niece, Rachel, in July of this year.  It’s a wonderful addition to Alyssa & Jon’s family and of course to all of ours.  It was also nice to be back east for that little bit of time too.
  • Hollywood Bowl is always fun, as is going to the theater and seeing some shows.  Seeing Beautiful and Cabaret were definite highlights, as was the various shows we saw at the Bowl, including Diana Ross and the Sound of Music.  Also glad mom was able to join us for many of these!
  • Being on Jeopardy was certainly a wonderful adventure and something I can always remember.  I’ve also been able to meet and be part of a very select group of individuals, those who have also been on Jeopardy.  It’s quite an honor.

The negatives:

  • Certainly not happy with how the election turned out.  I’ll cross fingers and toes that perhaps I’m wrong about my fears.  Based on a certain Twitter feed though, I’m fairly convinced the incoming man on Jan 20th is frightfully immature, unfit, and unprepared for the job.  Buckle up your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
  • Work, well, it’s certainly something right now.   Here’s hoping for a more productive and illuminating 2017 in that realm.
  • Turning 40.  Eh, I guess it’s not the end of the world, certainly.  But kind of a bummer, nonetheless.  And to have that one-two punch with that and the election made November 2016 one of the shittier Novembers I can remember!
  • A lot of these actors and musicians and artists and entertainers dying….I think I’m reaching that age where a lot of the people I did grow up with seeing out there are reaching that age.  But some?  Some are way too young.

Honestly, I just want to not be afraid of what the future holds, whether it’s for myself, Larry, family and friends, the country, etc.   I want to be an active participant in making things better, whether that’s my personal happiness, or if I can, be an advocate for making things better on a larger scale.  I don’t want to be afraid of making a change just because it’s a scary thing to do.  Life’s a one-time thing, so why not make it what I want it to be, and not just grin and bear whatever comes my way.  So yeah, that’s kind of where my head is at when it comes to a mindset for 2017.  Call it a resolution, call it a philosophy, but yeah, 2017, here I come.  Here we all come.

I’m making a cake for 2017 New Year’s Eve.  Larry & I are staying in again, as previous NYE outings have kind of gone to shit.  Last year we stayed in, and it was great.  Doing it again, and happy about that as it’s raining this evening.  Fuck that noise.

A Fascinating LEGO Death Star Video

Someone put together the official LEGO Death Star construction kit and made a simply fantastic time-lapse video of it – what’s kind of cool is it’s not like a blocky-transition video, everything is very smooth.  Plus, as each room gets completed, a demonstration of what the room does as well as corresponding audio cues from the movies can be heard.  SO. COOL.

Still working on the next pictures post from Europe.  I got distracted this weekend by wanting to get out of the house….and also playing Anno 1404 like it was crack.  That game is a fun combination of city-building and renaissance themes much the same way Tropico 4 was….which means it’s eminently playable and addicting.  We also went out and saw The Girl on the Train and it was absolute garbage.  Okay, “absolute” is too strong a word, but it was such a waste of time and money.  Talk about a bad way of telling a story.  Recommendation:  PASS.   And then of course we had the second presidential debate yesterday evening and jesus, what a shit show.  It’s clear Donald Trump knows how to play to his base but once you get past the 90s-based attacks and listen to his word salad, it is just shocking he became the nominee for the GOP.  I’m still happily voting for Hillary Clinton and I love that he said we’d be getting a 3rd Obama term with her!  I WISH!

Sunday in November

I’m so behind yet again on posting, but I think I’m no longer the guy who can post nearly daily, unless if it involves Big Brother.

Freakin’ Inside Out

INSIDE-OUT-8-1940x1092We watched Inside Out again today, this time on Blu-Ray at home.  It’s so so so so so so so good.  Even knowing the story beats that are to come, you can’t help but get overwhelmed by the emotions of the story and the characters.  Bing Bong kills your emotions every time.  Every time.

Finishing Sleeping Dogs

7995-This game is just so good.  I can’t get over how good the story was and the gameplay was so well-done and the environment of Hong Kong was extremely immersive.  I’m curious how close to the real city that it is – I wonder if it’s more of an amalgam of things like when Grand Theft Auto V does Los Santos, a “version” of Los Angeles that is pretty close but ignores quite a bit of the non-glamorous parts of the city.  Anyway, I ended up finishing the game this morning, but noticed that there’s some additional game modes.  It’s actually additional single-player content, one called “Nightmare on North Point” which gets supernatural and involves ghosts of all the Triad you killed and zombies they raise.  Goofy, but again, really well done.  And a nod to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, which is pretty awesome.  I finished that this afternoon too, and started up another mode called “Year of the Snake” but I’m realizing I need to calm down on this game a little bit.  Well, actually I want to finish it up so that it clears my plate completely for…..

Fallout 4

2884112-fallout4_e3_cityvista_1434323956Oh man, it begins.  Fallout 3 came out seemingly so long ago, and it feels like a lifetime ago as it came out when I was in West New York in 2008.  Crazy long ago.  Anyway, the game looks beautiful and is compelling so far, with a story set in Boston 200 years after the bombs drop. I haven’t made it there yet, as I’ve been getting acclimated to the new game systems and just exploring the upper northwest corner where you start.  You can craft and mod your weapons and armor with junk from everywhere, so you collect tons of shit to make better things.  You can also use that junk to update and create settlements – not sure what the purpose is except to be a good guy, but it’s still addicting.  And man, I have not even gotten into the real world yet of the game, I know.  Give it time….  And oh yeah, you get a German Shepherd canine companion almost immediately who is pretty bad ass.  Great great fun so far and I know plenty lies ahead.

More From a Monday

So this weekend was pretty fun as Mom’s birthday was on Saturday night and we took her to Benihana’s!  Needless to say, I probably ate more than I should have, but it was totally worth it.  Double fried rice is never a bad thing.  So happy birthday, Mom!!!  We love you!

1-DSCN2055On Friday night, a great big group of us ol’ NBC folks, past and present obviously, got together and celebrated Nicki & Carey’s 29th birthdays.  Carey is pictured above in the middle while I didn’t get any pictures of Nicki, seemingly.  Hmmm.  Possibly because I drank quite a healthy amount?

mdn-IMG_7422Tomorrow is finally the day!  It doesn’t seem like forever ago when I bought the tickets, but apparently it was!  Tomorrow night (a school night!) we’ll be headed to the Forum for some fun and what looks to be my chance to FINALLY hear Madonna sing “Material Girl” in concert!!!! FINALLY!

280235I’ve been addicted to this videogame, Sleeping Dogs, for the last two weeks or so.  It’s effectively a Grand Theft Auto for the Hong Kong area and the Chinese Triad, so while it sounds derivative, it helps that the game does it very well and is ridiculously entertaining.  Also, I recently updated my graphics card and the visuals are just amazing.  Anyway, I need to wrap this game up as two biggies are on their way, Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

newwebsiteFinally, Larry & I just created a new website that will be grand central station for any and all wedding information for the amazing day coming in April 2016.  It’s creatively titled www.hobieandlarry.com and it is not in it’s final form just yet, but we’ve at least got the site up and running.  Can you believe that domain wasn’t taken?  Much appreciation goes towards FatCow.com, my web host, for having a nearly effortless set of tools to buy the domain and then install WordPress on it.  Super easy.  Soon enough now, you should be able to see the piece of art that Larry is creating for our Save the Date cards.  It’s awesome.

Monday Musings on a Hot October

A miscellaneous look at the things that I’m thinking about:

This video is everything to me today.  The latest Entertainment Weekly had a reunion issue with the cast of Felicity, Misery, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and lastly, Muriel’s Wedding.  It’s hard to believe this movie is 21 years old.  Anyway, this scene in the movie is the exact moment when I unabashedly started my love affair with ABBA.  The moment when they hit the chorus for the second time?  BLISS.  I’m honestly thinking Larry & I could reenact this dance at our wedding.

Wedding Talk!  Ha, well, the events of last month definitely knocked planning for the wedding out of the priority queue.  But we’re finally getting in gear again and hoping that maybe a date and/or location will be decided soon.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Or we’ll just go to Vegas and call it a day.  Who knows?

And then this videogame, Transformers Devastation, shows up and gets decent reviews and I’m suddenly transported back to watching the Transformers as a child of the 80’s and I’m thinking, “I MUST have this videogame – it’s literally the style of the cartoon but you’re playing a game.”  Why don’t I have this yet???  Old-school Megatron and Starscream?  Shockwave?  Devastator???  Bumblebee and Optimus Prime??? I’m dying.  Dying!

Larry Update:  I won’t go into toooo many details here since if Larry wanted to publicize shit, he’d publicize it.  But basically, the amount of recovery he’s done since getting pancreatitis back in mid-September is amazing.  He’s on a no-drinking program right now and for the next few months (hopefully that will be lightened up at that point); I’m basically following his lead on that too, as I’d rather not drink if it’s by myself, both not to make him feel bad as well as it’s no fun drinking alone.  But I’m not 100% on that, but I have been able to make a bottle of wine last nearly a week by just drinking one glass at dinner.  Impressive, eh?  I figure with this mindset, I’ll probably lose weight.   Go figure.

Exercise:  I went running for the first time in a while.  Plus, it was this morning before work.  With the way work looks to be going for me, longer days are likely and motivation to work afterwards will be NIL.  I’m glad to get back on the treadmill but it was exhausting.  But here I am sorta self-satisfied at being done for the day!  Here comes my beachbody!  😉

Pillows:  I had a ROUGH night of sleeping one night last week.  I think I was feeling meh anyway, but I think that I ended up getting both of the crappy pillows after the housekeeper had remade the bed.  I slept for shit and knew that the crappy pillows were a heavy factor in that.  Off I went to Macy’s and they were having a sale on getting the 2nd pillow for $1.  I got some fantastic Serta pillows and man, my sleeping has been fantastic. Fantastic!  I forgot how important it is to have a good pillow.

prisonarchitectI had bought Prison Architect off Steam when it was still Early Access as it had an interesting premise and was like a Tycoon game for Prison.  Fun!  But after playing the one “tutorial” level and then just handed off to the Sandbox mode, I was lost.  It was compelling to play, but I constantly just kept getting it wrong.  So I went off to play some Assassin’s Creed or something.  But the “final” version of the game was released last week and it included a new Campaign mode.  This is the mode I was looking for.  You’re given guidance as to what all the features do and put in situations that actually test you to use them.  Now I’m hooked.  It’s so compelling, although like the review above mentions, you kind of lose track of the fact that your little beings here are representing incarcerated prisoners.  You just want to win!! Win win win!

Larry and I went back to the TCL Chinese Theater this past weekend to catch The Walk while it was still in IMAX 3D. What an experience.  If you don’t watch the video above or haven’t heard of what it’s about, it tells the fucking insane true story of a French high wire artist who managed to pull off the feat of stringing a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and walk back and forth across it.  It involved quite a bit of determination and guile and the first 2/3ds of the film are about the work getting to that point. If you’ve seen Man on Wire, the actual documentary of the event, this is kind of familiar territory.  Man, even that documentary was thrilling, honestly.  But the real draw of The Walk is all about being up top of the Towers.  I am no fan of heights – especially when still connected to the ground and the thought of falling from that height is present – and even though my mind knew this was a movie, the way that the director, Robert Zemeckis, constructed the shots of being up on top of the Twin Towers was both exhilarating and nauseating.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome as Phillipe, and the special effects are absolutely spectacular.  The ending of the movie is very moving too, as it just silently looks at the wonder of the Twin Towers from the Statue of Liberty, then fades to black.  I highly recommend it – what a great season for movies this is turning out to be so far!?  First The Martian and now The Walk!

Work?  Work is good.  I’m having to do a bit of hustle to make sure I keep up.   I’m not entirely sure I have an accurate assessment of how I feel about work at this point, but I am not willing to say one way or the other just yet until at least a year has passed. Then maybe we’ll talk.

I’m kind of interested in the Chevy Volt.  I know, I know, I just got my damn beautiful red Mazda 3….but still.  Probably just need to let that go for a little.  No need to change at this point.

Oh yeah, I got the new Rock Band 4 – still just as fun as it was when it was Rock Band 3.  But now I can play it on the PS4.  I guess it helps I really just like these games!