Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In with 2015

And I'm back from an extended holiday hiatus. Actually that's a lie as something would have been posted probably a week ago if not for an incredible urge to hibernate at all hours of the day. It'll come as no surprise if I pass out for a second (yes, second time) while working on this entry.

So what have I been up to lately. Most likely the same things as most of you out there. I've been slowly wrapping up leftovers from the previous year and doing prep work for this shiny new one. While I've known people to struggle with January due to it's nightmarish temperatures and long nights, I see it as the perfect project month. The time that was made for catching up on the pile of books next to your bed or sorting out that mess you call a storage room. Not to mention making plans for everything you hope to accomplish in the months to come. Also been waiting not so patiently for the results of last weeks job interview.

Since we're in the transfer period I figured why not go over the lists. What lists you ask? Why the obsessive notes I keep on every movie, game, book, tv show, purchase, and some accomplishments I make within a year. This has been a thing for a few years now with each one usually having an extra special list. For instance last year I tried to count how many times I took a shit. Couldn't keep accurate records but the estimation is terrifying to say the least. This year I have the much more innocent and mentally sound activity of counting the number of walks. Let's take a look at the numbers shall we?
I ended up watching 164 movies that were new (to me at least). That's around my average as I think the previous year was about 170some. I should note that I also sometimes count movies I've previously “kinda seen.” Ya know the ones I'm talking about. Maybe it was on TV once while you did chores so you didn't actually watch it until now.

Always try to find important older flicks that I've yet to watch. You tend to get some strange experiences as you wonder how one movie ever become important while something much better got more of a meh reaction. For instance, why is The Maltese Falcon a big deal? That was bad, I mean really bad. And the whole nudge nudge wink wink about the villains being gay doesn't really work out so well nowadays. On the Upside, Day of the Dead finally got me into liking more George Romero flicks. For years I've (foolishly) avoided most of them due to my general disdain for Night of the Living Dead and The Crazies. And yes you read that, a horror fanatic who hates Night of the Living Dead, still do in fact. Still truly enjoyed Day of the Dead which led to checking out more of the mans work than ever before......and most of it was good. Not so much with Monkey Shines though.

As for the fresh crop of flicks made for 2014....well, a lot of em fucking sucked donkey balls. So far I have yet to find one I feel confident in calling my favorite of the year. Sure I really liked some of them. Captain America was sweet, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was wicked, and man it was great to see Godzilla back in action. I suppose my issue is that I expected those all to be good and they were. There's very rarely that element of surprise where you watch something and it just wows you out of the blue. I've got a list of leftovers to work my through as I continue to look for the best. Anyone got any suggestions for me?
I read far less than usual last year. Only about two dozen books....well one was a short story, but it was a thick and wordy one so just let it count. Not sure if there's any particular reason for that though I'd like to blame it ever so slightly on my novel work. Looking through the list, my slowest months for reading were the months when I was most involved with my own writing. There's a cliché that a good writer needs to read a lot, which really just means they need immense amounts of free time and very few other interests.

Out of everything I did read, the two that stand out most are Flatland by Edwin Abot and Feast (AKA Ritual) by Graham Masterton. I've been a slowly growing Masterson fan since I first saw The Manitou of which his book was much better and significantly more gory. While this one had a weak story and a lame ending, the overall theme of an auto-cannibalism cult made for some of the grossest shit I've ever read. Naturally it was tons of fun. Flatland on the other hand was something that actually made you feel smart just by reading it. The strange combination of gemometry, social commentary, and religious subtext makes for something incredibly unique. It's free on kindle as well so you should totally get it ASAP. Then you can tell your friends you're reading a book where the main character is a literal square.

2015 is already off to a fine start in this camp, think I'm on my fourth book of the year already. By this point it's a necessity as I've a surplus of goofball titles to wrap up and distribute to thrift stores and the like. Plus I'm on a crusade to catch up on missing volumes of Blade of the Immortal in anticipation of the last one finally coming out! Don't be surprised if you find at least one entry on the subject.

I finished more seasons of television last year than any I've ever listed before, a big plump 20 (maybe that's where the book time disappeared). It would have been less than previous years (and nothing will ever beat my biblical childhood binges) but there's a big spike thanks to a summer cram session of Trailer Park Boys and Bates Motel.

This year should be a bit more balanced as I'll likely need a breather after a packed spring line-up of around a dozen shows. Haven't had a season that plump since before I went to college. Bless you CW for your vast offering of genre shows featuring pretty people with pretty problems.

Games were also in shorter supply last year with only 9 played to completion. Almost made it to ten but laziness toppled my urge to finish Lords of Shadow. I was very happy to finally get around to playing Kirby's Epic Yarn. That thing's just smiles pressed onto a disc. Also spent plenty of time on the high seas thanks to both Assassin's Creed Black Flag and Rogue. Not to mention I nabbed Liberation HD during the holiday sales. I guess what I'm saying is a lot of my gaming hours were spent hiding in bushes.

Without a doubt my big game from Last year was Lightning Returns. There's a certain popularity to mocking Final Fantasy these days but I can't help but pity those fools who miss out on great gaming experiences just cause what? They need to feel superior to it or something? As someone who spends tons of time with the franchise I'll admit to flaws and failings, but this was one of the most unique RPGs I've played in some time. While the pacing was a tad off and the story could be stunted by the free-roaming nature of the game, few stories have a wrap-up this grand. Seriously, this is one of the top game endings I've ever witnessed for both a single title and a series. I love the depiction of god as something not truly god or evil, but so separate from us that it lacks understanding. I should honestly do an article on the XIII trilogy sometime though I doubt it'll net me many readers. Maybe make it part of a feature whenever XV decides to show up.

Never got around to covering my Christmas presents. It was a fairly small haul this year though not lacking in quality items. It's one of those years where a lot of it transformed into something else. A check became a vehicle payment. Gift card beget Cowboy Bebop on blu-ray. A nice boardgame that had almost zero chance of being played was altered to a gift card which subsequently became another boardgame that will get plenty of play time. One thing that didn't change at all was the Vincent Price collection on blu-ray. Outstanding item by the way. Of course while shopping for the family I also nabbed a couple items for myself. Frankly I find it a nice touch to get a gift for oneself. If only to claim that little greedy beast within. Also got a damn fine game through my secret Santa with more on the way (I sense an update). When all was said and done, my stash looked something like this.
Wow; still awake. I'd like to say that I'll make it through the rest of the day but let's be honest. I'll probably be facedown in a pool of droll with the next forty minutes. So far 2015 is off to a pretty good start. I've got a lot of work to do, but don't you good readers worry, cosmicsparky is gonna keep on trucking. I hope to make the site a lil bigger, a lil better, and bring you all some good updates on a more stable basis. For now though, I gotta take some pics for this piece and get it posted. Best luck in the new year everybody!

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