Posts tagged #journal

Nic's ID Journal - #1 - Nov 7, 2013 - TV shows

Here it is, the first installment in my Inner Dorkdom journal. Prepare to be amazed. Or marginally distracted from boredom.

Much like with Josh, my aim here is simply to share with the four of you the things I'm currently enjoying from the world of dorkiness. These days, with a wonderful wife, inquisitive energetic two-and-a-half-year old, and a full-time job, free time is harder to come by than it used to be. But even so, I've managed to squeeze some dorkiness into my days.

Today's journal is going to, just because it happens to, focus mainly on TV shows that I've been enjoying. Some newer, some older.

The Neighbors: This is a sci-fi comedy on ABC, currently in its second season. Perhaps you've heard of it. Probably you haven't. And that's a shame. The premise is that a group of aliens from the planet Zabvron have been on Earth for 10 years, living in a gated community in New Jersey. In fact, until last year, the entire community consisted of nothing but Zabvronians. That is, until the Weavers (husband, wife, and three children) moved in. Next door to the community's leader, Larry Bird (all Zabvronians have taken the names of famous athletes), and his family, no less. The Weaver children learn their neighbors' secret in the pilot, and the parents follow suit shortly thereafter. The show often, but not always, explores the Zabvronians learning Earth ways from the Weavers who, for the most part, have become good friends.

I remember seeing commercials for the show before it premiered and thinking it was something I should check out. But life got in the way and almost the entire first season went by without be ever seeing anything more than a snippet of an episode. I do remember hearing that the show was awful. And then, a month or so later, hearing that it was getting better. ABC even highlighted this in their marketing campaign for the show.

Fast forward to sometime this summer, when I caught the replay of the season finale. I was somewhat lost on the subtleties of who the charters were, what their dynamic was, etc. But it still hooked me. The writing was clever, with some self-referential and even leaning on the fourth wall humor (the episode involved Larry's father coming to take the Zabvronians home, only to have Larry refuse to go, saying he's learned so much from the Weavers that "I feel like I just need another six, or maybe seven seasons – I mean, years – to figure it all out"). The acting was entertaining (especially Larry Bird, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Dick Butkis). And it guest starred George Takei (who did in fact get to say, "Oh my") and Mark Hamill.

When the second season premiered I made sure to DVR it. The premier proved that the first season finale hadn't been a fluke. I made sure to save the episode and told Liz she needed to watch it. A few days later we were talking to someone about shows we watch. In the list she mentioned The Neighbors. I asked her if she'd watched the episode. She had, and really enjoyed it. So now we have two Friday night ABC shows we enjoy together (the other being Tim Allen's Last Man Standing).

Castle: This muder-mystery dramedy is in its fifth season, and, although boasting some genre vets on its staff (i.e., Ron Moore, occasional director Jonathan Frakes, recurring actress Penny Johnson "Cassidy Yates" Jerald, with guest actors like Robert "The Doctor" Picardo, Tim "Tuvok" Russ, and Michael Dorn--you know who he is), isn't really a genre show.

Or is it?

Potential Spoilers

The premise of Castle is that novelist Richard Castle, played wonderfully by Nathan Fillion (hey, he counts as a genre vet, too, huh), works with a team of NYPD homicide detectives in order to do research and get inspiration for his crime novels. Over the years, the show has had our band of heroes face murder mysteries involving zombies, ghosts, etc. At least, at first glance. However, much like in Scooby-Doo, it always turns out the paranormal/supernatural/sci-fi element isn't what it first seems to be. This is always disappointing to Castle, who, unlike lead detective Kate Beckett, wants to believe in the unbelievable.

So whenever a genre-themed mystery comes up, it always goes the same. Castle loves the case, and spends most of the episode trying to convince the others that the supernatural explanation is the correct one, while Beckett is the champion of reason and mundane explanations. Not that I'm complaining by saying it always goes the same. Truth is, in a series where I've literally enjoyed every episode, these are always among my favorites.

Well, recently there was an episode where a woman was killed, and a man who at first seemed to be the killer is apprehended when he, like a moron, returns to the scene of the crime. During his interrogation by the police he claims innocence (they all do). He says that he was trying to protect her, because, wait for it, he's from the future. Castle declares this is his new favorite case ever. The suspect gives a brief summary of future history, which Castle eats up, and then explains that because this woman has been killed it has set up a chain of events that apparently will result in the deaths of billions. The killer must be found.

I won't go into details. But suffice it to say, although the episode more-or-less follows the standard trajectory for these stories, a careful viewer notices some deviations. Usually Castle's paranormal theories have some convoluted twists and jumps in logic (aside from the obvious "the paranormal is real" bit), whereas Beckett's are always more plausible and adhere better to the facts. But not this time. Though both plausible sounding, this time the facts better seem to fit the paranormal explanation. It's nothing overwhelming. And, indeed, when it seems like the scales tip in Castle's favor, something else happens to move them back the other direction.

But then there's the last scene in the station with Beckett. Again, I don't want to spoil anything. Watch the episode yourself. As for me, I don't know. I just don't see how that can be explained away as coincidental.

But then, that suggests that in the world of Castle time-travel might be real. Which would make Castle a genre show. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that, even though I love genre shows, and part of me thinks this development is pretty stinking cool.

Anyway, if you're not watching Castle, you should be.

Star Trek Voyager: The other day I was looking up something on YouTube. Off to the side in the suggestion column were some Star Trek videos. Usual stuff: compilations of Data being awesome, montages of Worf's suggestions being shot down by everyone on the bridge, that sort of thing. But there was also one from Voyager: "Janeway emotional at first contact with Starfleet Command." I watched it. Turns out it was from one of the episodes with Barclay in it. And it was a good clip. If only I could watch the whole episode, it might be fun, I thought. Wait, I have Netflix. So I pulled up Netflix and watched that episode, which also had Deanna Troi in it. And then I watched the other Voyager episodes with Barclay (except the series finale). I enjoyed those too.

So, I decided to start watching Voyager from the beginning. I've only gotten through the premier and second episode so far. Both of those I was already familiar with, since I watched Voyager regularly when it first came on.

We'll see how it goes.

Oh, and speaking of Voyager, here's a fun game to play. Look up the main characters from the show on either Wikipedia or Memory Alpha (the largest Trek wiki), and then look up how those actors look now. I'm not trying to be mean-spirited to anyone. That having been said, some of them are jaw-dropping surprising.


Recently I watched an episode of the Monsters vs. Aliens TV series on Nickelodeon. I've never seen the film, and have only seen one episode. But the one I saw was good.

Same goes for Rabbids Invasion, although there's no film it's based on, just video games, and I've played a few of those (including the quite enjoyable Rabbids Go Home on Wii).

Star Trek Online is gearing up for its 8th "season" which will involve activities within a Dyson Sphere (that's not the ball on the Dyson vacuum). That in and of itself is pretty cool. But here's the really fun part. The introductory episode includes an appearance from Ambassador Worf, sporting both the likeness and voice of Michael Dorn himself.

I posted this on our Facebook page. But I though I'd link it here, too. This is a video I stumbled upon, wherein someone has taken "An Ideal of Hope," the trailer music from Man of Steel, and subtly mixed in some of John Williams' classic Superman themes. The sound quality could be better (I think the mixer was working from just the trailer's audio track with the dialogue filtered out), but man, it's a great glimpse at what might have been.

And, in light of it, it makes me want to reiterate what I've said before. Much of the music that exists in Man of Steel isn't total garbage, even if stylistically it isn't my favorite type of sound (I'm more of an orchestral guy myself). It's just, for my tastes, not distinctive enough. It works on a basic emotional level. But not on a more complex thematic level.

In other words, Mr. Zimmer was off to a decent start. He had the accompaniment. He just forgot to write the melodies. As commenter MisterJJMoreno said, "even just the slightest hint of the grandeur that is John Williams score would have given the movie that extra push that it needed to really connect with audiences. this is very well done, hopefully the next movie will set the tone right, musically speaking of course." I couldn't agree more.

In fact, it's inspired me to try and recreate the remix at a higher quality, while also throwing in a couple of remixing ideas of my own. I'll keep you posted.

Alright, I think that's all I have for now. Time to go play some LEGO Marvel Superheroes on the Wii U.

I remain,

 - Nic

Posted on November 7, 2013 .

Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 10

1. HD for last-gen games?
Go on and do yourself a favor and download a Playstation 2 emulator. I've recently been replaying Final Fantasy XII and I can honestly say that one of the low points of the series (in my opinion) is now a more pleasurable experience because of PCXE2. The once (again, in my opinion) horrid graphics of one of the last major PS2 titles are much more palatable at a higher resolution, due mainly to the various plugins available for the emulator.

I'm not condoning the use of a pirated copy of FFXII, as PCXE2 will play titles directly off of the original game DVD. So if you have some old PS2 games (and a powerful enough PC rig) and you want to see what those games look like in HD quality, download the emulator and give it a look. You won't be disappointed.

2. Selling your soul to the devil... all for a videogame.
In my last post, I talked about the fact that I would probably be reviewing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. To someone like Nic, this may come as something of a shock since I've been staunchly against paying a monthly fee for a game.

My opinions on charging players to play a game is a whole other story for a whole other article.

But I figured... what the heck? (censored Back To The Future quote)

The pricing schemes for FFXIV are kind of ridiculous, but I won't be playing the game forever. I'm planning on paying the minimal fee so I can see if I like it or not. Plus, you get a month free when you start the game, so that should be plenty of time to check the game out and give it a trial run.

When The Elder Scrolls Online releases, however, I may just have to suck it up and pay for it full-tilt. Those are games I can get into for a long period of time, so I'll probably be just a tiny bit more justified in the month-to-month fee... right?

3. People need to leave Ben Affleck alone.
Seriously, what did this guy do to garner all this hate over him playing Batman? I think it's a great choice and he's a great actor. I've never seen a movie with him in it that I didn't like. Or at least, I've never seen a movie of his that I thought was terrible.

Yes, I saw Gigli, Phantoms and Daredevil. I personally like Daredevil, and Phantoms (in which he was da bomb, yo) and Gigli certainly weren't the best movies I've ever seen, but they weren't nearly as bad as jerks on the internet make them out to be. And even if one thinks that those movies are bad, exactly how much do they really believe that Affleck was the cause? He didn't write those films, or direct them, he just starred.

So I guess because Ben Affleck, a good actor, decides to take a few acting gigs in movies that people deem terrible means that we should crucify him for playing Batman? Really? The internet really needs to take a minute and think about the logic they use to come to a conclusion sometimes.

Just as a side note: I also think Ben Affleck should play Eddie Dean in The Dark Tower films if they ever get made.That's the guy I've always pictured since I read the character in The Drawing of the Three. Hate me, internet.


Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 8 (E3 2013 Impressions)

Time for another episode of the journal. So what have I been digging on lately? To be honest, not much. Since I’m on a break from school, I’ve been working full-time and that’s kind of taken up the majority of my days. There are a few things, however, and I can use this format (as well as an episode of The Inner Dorkdom podcast that we’ll be recording soon) as a way to relay my thoughts on some of the recent E3 news.

I didn’t watch the E3 conference this year, but I read most of the articles ‘round the internet about it. From what I’m reading, Sony clearly “won” this time.
Just how did they win? By completely standing up for the consumer, as opposed to Microsoft which seems to be very “anti” that mentality.

(Note: After writing this article, I went back and watched the archived conferences. Unfortunately, my following opinions and concerns have not changed.)

Let’s give a little backstory:

Back in May, Microsoft revealed the Xbox One, their newest console. This comes as a little delayed from Sony’s earlier reveal of the Playstation 4. As I said in an earlier article, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Sony’s initial conference that showed the world their new console, but I thought it was just “ok.” That being said, myself and many other videogame fans were completely floored (and not in a good way) by the ridiculous restrictions which were being proposed by Microsoft.

Honestly, I don’t know what they were thinking. A console that has to be connected to the internet to function?

Get out of here.

To be fair, Microsoft later stated that the Xbox One would not have to be constantly connected to the internet, but WOULD have to be connected at least once every 24 hours. This, in my opinion, is still quite unacceptable. I live in a quasi-rural area, so my internet connection is neither fast, nor the most stable. Because of that, an Xbox One would be extremely problematic for me. For example: Nearly every time it rains, I lose my internet connection. So if the weather happens to be bad for a couple of days, I just wouldn’t be able to play… At all. Not even single-player games that shouldn’t have to connect to the internet in the first place would be playable for me if the weather was bad.
“Metal Gear Solid V? If it’s raining for a few days, forget about it.” That’s basically what Microsoft is telling me.
That’s just terrible design. There’s no reason that a game console should ever have to be connected to the internet, at any time, to function.

Back to this year’s E3:

None of gamers’ concerns were alleviated at Microsoft’s second showing. All the restrictions and requirements were still in place: Required internet connection, no used games (unless the developer permits it by offering codes for a flat-rate), a really big push (though subliminal) for Windows 8, and an “always on” version of their Kinect technology. All these things were still around and I (and every other gamer) was being told that they were all “good things” and that I just “didn’t know I wanted them yet.”

Not to get too political here, but that sounds a lot like our government and the ridiculous policies they’ve tried to push in recent years.

The Playstation 4, however, has absolutely none of these unwanted features. Even in their E3 presentation, they made it a point to directly fire shots at Microsoft by pointing this out to gamers. Every shot was met with thundering applause, or so I read.
If I were there, I would have been in the crowd applauding right along with everyone else.

It would seem that this “console war” might be won by the following 2 things: Features and exclusives. Unlike previous console generations, hardware capability has been taken completely out of the equation. This time around, both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 have nearly identical specs under their respective hoods, so most games will be the same aesthetically.  Since that’s the case, one has to look at the two console’s features first.

In both systems, the features are, just like the hardware, nearly identical. You have uploadable content like the new video sharing and social media integration. You also have real-time video streaming on both, with Sony using Ustream and Microsoft using Twitch. Then there are the normal features like Netflix, Hulu, HBO-Go, Amazon, web browsing, etc.  With all these features in mind, exclusives have to be more of a factor.

I’ll readily admit, the Xbox One has more, interesting looking, exclusive titles so far than the Playstation 4. D4, Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, Halo 5, Killer Instinct, Quantum Break, and Sunset Drive are all exclusive to Microsoft.

Killer Instinct is kind of an interesting one.

A sequel to a series that’s been dead since the late 90’s, KI has been something that fighting game enthusiasts have waited for a long time. When the new game was announced as an Xbox One exclusive, the fighting game community went absolutely nuts. I saw several forum and Twitter posts saying that they were now sold on the new Microsoft console. Clearly this is an overreaction, since they seemed to forget about the crazy restrictions they had been complaining about only a few hours before the game’s announcement. Finally, the realizations of complicated tournament play (needing to have the console bought and downloaded for every console at every station at the tournament venue and a constant internet connection) began to rear their ugly heads and doubt began to set in. This doubt became even more substantiated when it was announced that Killer Instinct would be a “day-one download” title which would be “free-to-play.” Only one character (Jago) would be available until the player bought the rest of the characters. When gamers went into an uproar, Microsoft and the game’s developers quickly changed their rather poor wording, saying that KI would basically be a “demo” on day-one and the player would buy the full version of the game if they wanted to at a later time.

Why not just call it a “demo” in the first place? Come on, Microsoft. Get yourselves together.

The Playstation 4 doesn’t boast the larger number of exclusives that the Xbox One does. Drive Club, The Order: 1886, Gran Turismo 6, Infamous: Second Son, and Killzone 4, were the only ones that I could find. So does this mean that Sony’s in trouble? I say no. As I told a friend of mine, there’s only ONE company that can sustain a console on its exclusives, and that’s Nintendo, but that’s because their exclusives are mostly first-party titles that have been around since 1984. On the Xbox One, the only two exclusives that are “blockbuster” titles are Forza and Halo. Dead Rising 3 will be a good seller, as will the 2 new IP’s, Quantum Break and Sunset Drive, but these exclusives won’t be the “system sellers” that a game like Final Fantasy VII was for the original Playstation back in 1997.
Is Halo a system seller? In a sense, yes, but the people who are fans of that game were fans back on the original Xbox with Halo and Halo 2. These fans carried over into the 360 era, but very few jumped on board with Halo 3 or 4. I’m not trying to discount the power of the Halo franchise, I’m just trying to point out that like many exclusives, save for Nintendo’s, Halo is a niche title. The same can be said about Uncharted or God of War for the Playstation. It would be much different if something with the general power of a franchise like Final Fantasy, a third-party franchise, were going exclusive to either Playstation 4 or Xbox One, since that series carries much more clout than games that have ALWAYS been exclusive to one platform or the other.

So maybe exclusives WON’T win the war. Then what will?

If it weren’t for Microsoft’s crazy new policies, I would say that the race would be pretty neck-and-neck. Before hearing about the Xbox’s new, weird way of doing things, that’s exactly how I figured it would be. The simple fact is, gamers and everyday people generally don’t like to be told what to do when attempting to enjoy themselves while playing a videogame. This much is abundantly clear given the recent backlash to the Xbox One.

Perhaps the largest critical backlash from both the gaming press and gamers themselves came shortly after the Xbox presentation at E3. Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, was interviewed by and asked about some of the backlash towards the new console, particularly the constant internet connectivity issue. He was quoted as saying, “Fortunately, we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity; it’s called Xbox 360.”
This quote and arrogant, yet not surprising, attitude from a big-wig at Microsoft sent gamers into a frenzy. People that had recently supported the Xbox One 100% decided to drop their preorders and go the way of the Playstation. They were basically being told that if you couldn’t connect to the internet, you would be stuck with an outdated console which would probably lose support within the next 3 years and that Microsoft wasn’t going to back down from their outrageous requirements for the Xbox One. I, like all those angered gamers, thought that this was terrible marketing and customer relations. Again, it’s not surprising coming from Microsoft, as they’ve had this kind of mentality since they entered the world in 1975. World domination has always been their top priority, but it’s finally catching up to them.

With all that being said, I don’t mean to skip over Nintendo, but the simple fact is that they didn’t really have that much to show. What they did show was awesome, but nothing uber-exciting, or anything we didn’t already know was coming. I honestly think that it’s become the case that Nintendo is just… well…A NINTENDO company. I really don’t think they’re that interested in grabbing gamers of all types, and more focused on making consoles that play Nintendo-franchise games. Really, I’m fine with this. It’s not the greatest marketing attitude to have, but let’s be serious here: Nintendo franchises are powerful. The people who want those games are going to buy whatever console Nintendo builds in order to play them. If that’s what Nintendo is content in doing, then more power to them.  Personally, I would rather see Nintendo embrace all of gaming and build a console which would compete with the likes of Sony and Microsoft, but (to use a cliché that I hardly ever use) it is what it is. I own a Wii U and I’m excited for Super Mario 3D World and the new Legend of Zelda game that’s in the works. Plus, the 3DS is the greatest handheld every created (and currently has some of the best games on any device), so I can’t really complain. I’ve got my Wii U to play Nintendo stuff and I’ll have a PS4 and PC to play everything else.

*Post-E3 and Aftermath Edit*

As mentioned in the note above, I’ve since watched both Sony and Microsoft’s respective E3 presentations. Pretty much everything I read was accurate and was portrayed just as well in a written form as it was while watching the events unfold visually. In other words, my opinions remain the same. Microsoft chose to stay away from such topics as being connected online and outrageous DRM policies. Instead, they decided to infer to gamers that their system was “so good” that these things wouldn’t / shouldn’t matter. However, according to gamers, these things DO matter. 

Since the presentations ended, fans and the independent gaming press have shown their absolute disdain for Microsoft’s poor choices. I point specifically to internet gaming personality, Angry Joe and his recent interview with “Major Nelson” (Larry Hyrb), Microsoft’s Director of Programming for Xbox Live, as a prime example.
In the interview, Joe asks Hyrb some very difficult questions from his fans which put the Microsoft rep into a clearly uncomfortable and quite defensive position. The questions are simple and to-the-point and deal with gamers’ various concerns, such as the required online and DRM.

Joe tries extremely hard (until he’s discouraged by the Microsoft PR lady standing off-camera to move along) to not let Hyrb slide with his dodgy answers, but ultimately has to cut the interview short. This is due in part to the fact that Hyrb is about to partake in a “live event” on the showroom floor and, from what the rest of Joe’s video suggests, the angry PR lady who dislikes his questions.

Joe never comes off as antagonistic or that he’s looking for a debate, but instead as a concerned gamer. The fact that “Major Nelson” didn’t really want to answer his questions and the PR lady didn’t want them asked in the first place, seems like a confirmation of the attitude Microsoft seems to have at this point: “This is the future. Either get with it, or keep playing your Xbox 360 which will probably lose support roughly 3 years into the new generation of consoles. Even though all you gamers out there say you don’t want this stuff, we know what’s best for you.”

My response:
Sorry, Microsoft, I’LL decide what’s best for me. I don’t need you to tell me what I want. Also, stop dodging questions. You know everyone is angry with you over the decisions you’ve made, make moves to correct it instead of trying to shove it down people’s throats.

While playing Injustice online recently (on Xbox 360, mind you), I was talking with a friend of mine, an avid Xbox supporter, about these concerns. As we were talking, I noticed that every time I talk about these things, I may come off as though I’m a “Microsoft hater.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I happen to not like a lot of their business decisions (something which I’ve felt for almost 20 years), but I don’t like to see anyone “fail.” Truthfully, all of my concerns about the Xbox One boil down to one HUGE concern that I think is shared by 90% of gamers, but they don’t know how to voice it without sounding like raging “fanboys:” We don’t want these things to become console standards.

If Microsoft continues to be the same dominant force in the console market as they were with the Xbox 360, then it’s a given that the generation of consoles post-Xbox One and PS4 will be forced to adopt the same policies. The reason there is a severe outcry right now is because we’re all trying to voice the same thing: We don’t want this. From anyone. Ever.

That about wraps it up for this episode of Josh’s Inner Dorkdom Journal. Sorry that it was such a long read, but hopefully you’ll get something useful out of it and take these things into consideration before you purchase your next gaming console later this year. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with a review of the game I’m currently playing: Naughty Dog’s, The Last of Us!

Trying to be an optimist in an overcrowded and slowly dying videogame world, I am,


Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 7

Haven’t done one of these in a while! So to take a little break from the recent Star Trek related articles, I figured I’d once again share some of the things I’ve been digging on lately.

1. Arrow
Have you guys seen this show?! I’ve recently had a strong re-interest in the DC Universe due to the release of Injustice: Gods Among Us. I can honestly say that this is one of the best (if not the best) superhero shows I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked Green Arrow (I love archer characters and folks in hoods), but this show offers a much more realistic take on the character, much like the Nolan Batman films. It’s tonally based on Mike Grell’s run on the Green Arrow comic starting with, The Long Bow Hunters, with elements of the Green Arrow: Year One arc thrown in for good measure. Wednesday night was the season finale of the CW network show, and man was it awesome! I highly recommend checking this out at some point. The series starts a little slow, but by around the third episode, it really starts gaining momentum. You can either wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray release, or do yourself a favor and watch them now on Amazon Instant Video for $1.99 per episode. It’s worth it! Arrow normally airs on The CW Wednesday nights at 7pm (Central) and will start its second season this fall.

2. The New 52
Speaking of the DC Universe… I’ve started reading a lot of the DC reboot comics under the “New 52” banner. I started with Flashpoint, then moved on to the trade version of The Justice League (both volumes), Justice League Dark (One of the most awesome comics I’ve ever read, in my opinion), and then to Green Arrow. Other than the second volume of Green Arrow which was extremely weak, these comics have been nothing but pure awesome! Oddly enough since I’m a huge Batman fan, I haven’t read any of the New 52 stuff involving Batman characters (other than JL). I plan to rather soon, though. If you have a KindeFire, or any other tablet (heck, a smartphone will do) and don’t care about collecting actual paper (the digital versions are a little cheaper, too), pick ‘em up and have yourself a read of these “funny books.”

3. Defiance
The Sci-Fi Channel (ugh… ok… ‘Syfy’) has never been the greatest place to go when it comes to original programming. Most of the shows and movies are extremely low budget and don’t offer much in the way of good content. Defiance, however, is a welcome exception to the rule. The videogame crossover/concurrently-running show actually has some potential. Reminds me a bit of Firefly in some ways and mixed with a little Eureka (another decent Syfy show). It’s only in its first few episodes, but so far so good. Defiance airs Monday nights on Syfy.

4. Game of Thrones
Man, I wish I had HBO! When I went to the Mortal Kombat tournament in Atlanta, GA last year, I saw an episode of this show in the hotel room… I had no idea what was going on (it was in the middle of the season), but I thought it was great! I’ve always been a fan of medieval fantasy stuff, so Game of Thrones was right up my alley. Once the Blu-Ray of the first season was released, I had to get it. Blown away. I really like compelling television and GOT has it in spades. Political intrigue, sword fighting, brutality, awesome characters and a pretty high budget for TV… It’s all there. In a way, it’s kind of like a live-action version of Skyrim or Dark Souls. It’s hardcore, medieval fantasy. A few months ago, I bought the second season and it continued to impress. The third season is about to wrap up on HBO, but the home video release won’t happen till around September or October. I believe it airs on Sunday nights on, you guessed it… HBO - A channel I do not have, nor will I pay for because of only two shows (True Blood is awesome, too). Keep in mind, though: This show is only for mature audiences. Viewer discretion is highly advised. It’s definitely not for the kiddies.

5. The Office
I have a bad habit of getting into TV shows waaaaaaay too late. Most of the time, the show has already been off the air a couple of years before I actually get around to it (i.e. Jericho, Buffy, Angel, Quantum Leap, Firefly, etc.). Unfortunately, by the time I got into The Office, the ninth and final season was just about to start up. Thank goodness for Hulu. Turns out they have the entire ninth season available and Netflix has seasons 1-8. The show is one that you definitely have to watch from the beginning. I remember seeing sporadic episodes here and there and thinking, “Man, this is dumb.” Started from the beginning, however, you get to know those characters and feel for them pretty early on. That’s what I really like about the show: As hilarious as it is, it really has a lot of heart. The series finale airs tonight on NBC.

6. How I Met Your Mother
Another show with a bit of a twist on the normal sitcom formula. This one has a long running continuity and mythology based around Ted’s (the main character) story of how he met his children’s mother. I got into this one around the sixth season, so not extremely late. The eighth season finale aired Monday night and after eight years, fans finally got to see “the mother.” This was a humongous reveal that will have a pretty big impact on the series as it moves into its ninth and final season. There have been some comments from the show’s producers that the entire next season will take place over the course of Barney and Robin’s wedding and that all of the main characters will meet “the mother” before Ted. In a way, that sounds really cool, but on the other hand, if this is the final season, I would really like to actually see Ted’s relationship with his future wife and how that leads him to marriage. I really hope the series doesn’t end with the two of them saying hello to each other and that’s it. How I Met Your Mother airs Monday nights on CBS and will begin its (likely) final season this fall.
That wraps up another episode. Hopefully, with classes over for the semester and a summer of freedom (except for work), I’ll be able to post more episodes.


Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal: Episode 6

Not a whole lot happened this week/weekend, but I’ll give a little rundown of what did.

I bought a Kindle Fire HD. After having a normal Kindle 3G Keyboard for a while and getting some time with both my sister’s and Todd’s, I decided to go through with an upgrade. So far, I really dig it. The main thing I like is the fact that my Amazon account is completely tied to everything on the Kindle. Now, I can read my books, watch movies, download apps and buy nearly everything my heart desires all from 1 portable device. Sure, I had my laptop, but my laptop is quite big. Rather than go with portability, I went with functionality, so the laptop is only good if you wanna lug a briefcase around all the time. Also, Todd sold me on Amazon Prime. That’s the Amazon who has accepted the Matrix of Leadership, put it into its chest and commands the Autobot legion.
Or, it’s an $80 per year service in which you get free, 2-day shipping on nearly everything from I just started back to school and bought my textbooks from there. Since I get free shipping on all those books (totaling nearly $300), Prime has already paid for itself. Quite a deal, really.

Saw Texas Chainsaw this weekend (Saw Texas Chainsaw? Weird wording). T’was a bloody mess… and not in a good, horror sort of way. This movie should be avoided unless you REALLY have to see every film starring the villainous Leatherface. The movie claims to be a true sequel to the Tobe Hooper directed, original film of the 70s, but it doesn’t really feel like it. The setup for the movie (the family from the 1 st film are confronted by the police following the events of said film) is okay, but I remember when another director (Rob Zombie) did the same sort of thing, only he pulled it off waaaaaaaaay better (The Devil’s Rejects).

In short: The movie’s not scary, nor does it offer the same kind of look into the disturbed, deranged criminal mind as the original did so well over 30 years ago. Instead, it just comes off as another lackluster movie made to cash in on the whole 3D thing.

That’s about all I’ve got for now, but I’ve got a few article ideas I’m working on. Speaking of which: I know last week I promised an article titled, “What IS Core Gaming?,” but I’m just not ready to put it out yet. It’s done, but it’s in a very rough form and needs a lot of polishing. In the meantime, I’ll release a couple of other articles, hopefully, over the next few days.

Posted on January 16, 2013 .

Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 5

This past week, I was still digging on the Assassin's Creed. Thanks to Todd, I got a look at the AC Encyclopedia 2.0 before mine arrives later this week. Man, that thing’s awesome! Just the fact that Ubisoft cares enough about the AC franchise to release an in-depth book on its mythology is great.

Also, I began reading Assassin's Creed: Forsaken, a pseudo-novelization of AC III from the perspective of Haytham Kenway. Quite an interesting book. I would suggest it to any fan of the series in order to get the backstory on an already great character. Speaking of books…

Thinking about buying a Kindle Fire HD. Was going to buy one last night, but some stuff is messed up with my Amazon account and my current Kindle. Gonna have to do some calling tonight in order to get it straightened out.

Over the weekend, I started watching Freaks & Geeks on Netflix for the first time. I can definitely see why it developed a cult following so quickly, and why people were outraged when it was cancelled. In a way, it’s kind of a more modernized (even though it takes place in the early 80s) version of The Wonder Years. Gotta say, I’m loving it so far.

One last thing: I’m glad to see Nic moving over into PC gaming, or at least moving into “core” gaming in general. There are a lot of franchises that I think (and he would agree) he’s missed out on over the years. I say that as an introduction to my article for tomorrow: What IS “Core” Gaming?
Posted on January 7, 2013 .