what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for April 2017.

Every hour wounds. The last one kills.

It’s actually a motto that used to be carved into sundials, but the first time I heard (I listen to audiobooks a lot) it was in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production). I’m gonna dare to be different here and start off with I’m looking forward to, which is the debut of American Gods this month on the 30th.

There are a lot of TV’s shows I’m interested in checking out, too many to be honest. For example, The Expanse, an extremely good scifi show based on, from my reddit lurking, some very good books. I’ve watched 5 episodes and I enjoyed every bit of it but to watch it all means I’m missing out on other shows I’m hearing, or reading, good things about. At the moment, I’m watching the very good season 2 of The Last Kingdom on netflix, I’m extremely glad I read the books because I’m enjoying seeing how effectively it’s being adapted.

There was a lackluster trailer for Game of Thrones season 7, that despite it being lackluster did enough to rekindle my interest, the show has massively overtaken GRRM and the Books, and I’m curious to how it’s gonna play out for the show. I will still most definitely read the books, if/when they are released because GRRM packs a lot of detail and layers into his stories, something the show lacks sometimes.

The trailer for IT was amazing, and it is the reason I used an audible credit to pick up the book. I get a lot of enjoyment in seeing how something is adapted, especially from books, into a movie. And I really wanted to check out this book since I started using audible 4 years ago, and that trailer was what got me to pick it up. Can’t wait to listen the book later this month and I’m hyped to watch the first part of the adaptation for the IT movie later this year.

Last month, I finished the Witcher series by listening to the Lady of the Lake. It is an extremely good book with a good story and great characters. Peter Kenny narrated the series very well and gave all the characters a unique voice, which some narrators have problems doing. After listening to the series, I can see why Sapkowski is kinda salty about his story and his characters being usurped by the CD Projekt RED and the Witcher trilogy of games, and by usurped, I mean that most people will see them as they are from the games and not the books. And for some, surpassing the books.

I think The Witcher series, the books, is one of the better finished series out there, with a great individual stories and an even better overall story. The characters are memorable and compelling, with interesting development throughout the series. The narration by Peter Kenny for the audiobooks is quite good and remains consistently good throughout the series. Lady of the Lake is easily my favorite of the series, with the Last Wish and Sword of Destiny being excellent character stories despite being classified as related short stories. I would definitely recommend to anyone wishing to get into the Witcher series, start off with the Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. I hope the english translation for Season of Storms is quick, as I definitely want to listen to more of the Witcher series.

I also finished the audiobook for The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1, it was a worthwhile purchase because I enjoyed the story and there is just something extremely cool about air ships and air ship battles. Personally, I felt like I was listening a Final Fantasy like story, which is good for me because Final Fantasy is something I spent an inordinate amount of time playing and enjoyed. I liked the characters, which is in my opinion, on of Jim Butcher’s strong suits. I found the story compelling and interesting, I found the Air Ship combat parts exceedingly enjoyable.

I am nearly finished the Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton. Wheaton is an excellent narrator and is really adding a lot to an already good and exceptionally compelling story by Scalzi. I was not expecting Collapsing Empire to be this good, the story and characters are great, the world/universe building is also quite good, and I’m loving the dialogue. It’s refreshing, to me at least, that dialogue can be raw and rough in language, yet still be effectively compelling and entertaining. It recalled strong memories and comparisons to the excellent dialogue of Deadwood. In other words, this was an especially fucking good story, with great fucking dialogue, and compelling as fuck characters. If it offended your extremely delicate fucking sensibilities, I am sincerely fucking sorry and I can only hope you managed to survive and fucking grow as a person from this. Some might ask me. why do you casually swear so much and do you have to? I would probably reply with What the fuck are you talking about.

As soon as I’m finished with The Collapsing Empire, I will start on Stephen King’s It. Something that I’m looking forward to for obvious reasons. It was one of the books I wanted to listen to 4 years ago when I started up my subscription to audible but it continually got pushed back due to series like the Dark Tower, The First Law, The Dresden Files, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kingkiller Chronicles, Gentleman Bastards, Old Mans War, Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, The Witcher, The Owner trilogy, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. So now I can finally check it out, and when I do see the movie, I can get my weird and inexplicable enjoyment comparing and judging the adaptation from book to movie.

I still have to finish The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell, which I will probably start after listening to Stephen King’s It. Unless something catches my capricious fancy between now and when my audible credits come in.

As you may have guessed from my last few posts, I have played a lot of Mass Effect Andromeda. 116 hours so far, and started my second playthrough with a new game plus, this time with Scott Ryder. I thought it was a remarkable feature to be able to start a new game plus as the other Ryder twin. Another feature done extremely well by Bioware Montreal. Definitely a good game with some flaws, well worth a purchase.

I’m also playing Diablo again, season 10 just started up and since I skipped out on season 9 due to playing WoW super hard-core I decided check it out. D3 is great for listening to audiobooks or podcasts and is fun to play, at least during seasonal play.

Rogue One is out on bluray on the 4th, and I’m definitely picking it up. It is easily my favorite star wars movie, I have written about it in a previous post, and even though this release is screaming a Double Dip, I want to buy it anyways. I’m hearing it’s light on the special features and has no commentary, which is disappointing but since I love the movie, it’s not a deal breaker for me.

I plan on checking out Assassin’s Creed despite the negative reviews and rants, as there are many movies I’ve enjoyed that were either panned by critics or the general public. Movies like Passengers, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and the Last Witch Hunter, just to name a few. So I do plan on watching Assassin’s Creed and judging for myself it was worth it or not. I usually don’t have any expectations when watching or listening or playing something, and because of that very few things are disappointing to me or is something I don’t enjoy.

 

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for March 2017.

Damn, these months going by so fast.

Anyways, I’m gonna start with gaming because it’s my primary interest and this month, Mass Effect: Andromeda is gonna be released. I caved and ordered it, after watching the gameplay vids. Specifically, the combat and talents video. Can’t wait to play it. Preload starts on the 17th, which makes it as good fucking omen to me, as it’s the same day as my birthday.

At the moment, I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, I’m liking it so far as all the changes have been, for the most part, positive ones. The combat was kinda weird at first, but I liked it after some play time. The combo finishers are a little finicky, as is tool combos, but still it’s decent. The game seems rather short, both storywise and length wise, and it’s filled with a lot of side missions and collectibles that are at best, just barely above meaningless. Still, while the collectibles and side quests were mediocre and some times tedious, I ended up doing them anyways, which makes them sufficient enough to hold my interest. I can finish the game at anytime by doing the short story missions but I like exploring London, I also like that there is a small part of WW2 London to explore. So it was well worth the sub 40$ price I paid for it, I even got all the DLC on a sale for cheap too. The Last Maharaja was rather short and only slightly interesting. Dreadful crimes was a nice contrast the typical gameplay of Assassin’s Creed, I’m a sucker for detective type gameplay, so I ended up liking it a lot. I haven’t got around to the Jack the Ripper stuff yet, so no opinion on that right now but I’m looking forward to it.

I straight up quit playing WoW. For the same reason as most do, are at least a similar reason many do, my/their friends. My reason is that my friends moved away from doing Mythic Plus dungeons, something I enjoyed and was able to keep up Ilvl wise and DPS wise with heroic raiders. But really, no one ever quits and its usually just a matter of time before going back but at the moment I have no desire to play and I haven’t played a single minute in the last 3 weeks. I still have gametime, up until the end of March, but I really don’t seeing myself playing WoW anytime soon.

Onto audiobooks now, I used my 2 audible credits to get The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski (the last book in the Witcher series) and The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, they will be released on the 14th and 21st respectively. I’m looking forward to both, but more excited to listen to the Lady of the Lake as it will complete the series for me and I’ve been waiting over a year for it.

I finished The Story of Your life and others by Ted Chiang and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman last week.

I immensely enjoyed Gaiman’s North Mythology and his extremely good narration. I was already familiar with most of the north myths and gods from the Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series, but I enjoyed the re-telling of the myths and Gaiman’s short introduction to the stories. It was definitely worth pre-ordering and was something I was looking forward to listening to for months now, and it surpassed my expectations. So far all the Neil Gaiman stuff I’ve picked up has been great, and his narration is quite good.

The Story of Your Life and Others, was excellently narrated by Todd McLaren and Abby Craden. However, the short stories were hit and miss for me, although it was more hit than miss. I picked it up to listen to the short story that Arrival was based on and was not disappointed at all, it was a good story with very interesting points to consider. I particularly enjoyed Tower of Babylon, Understand, and Division by Zero, those were especially good and were very intriguing concepts to consider while listening to a compelling story. I thought the last 3 stories were uninteresting and rather boring stories, which were The Evolution of Human Science, Hell Is the Absence of God, Liking What You See: A Documentary, but they did provide some interesting ideas to consider.

I am currently listening to The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1 by Jim Butcher, narrated by Euan Morton. I am about 7 hours in and very much enjoying the story and characters so far. I was hesitant about it and worried that I would not like the this book but I find the story, world, and characters quite compelling. I especially like the ship combat so far. I am only 7 hours into the 21 hour audiobook but I am definitely liking everything so far. The narration is good so far as well, that was my biggest concern so far and I am happy that my initial worry is not an issue.

I still have Lifeblood + Bloodcircle by P.N. Elrod and The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell to listen to but I’m confident I’ll finish them by next month. It’s been nice to just pick up a new series or jump to a new book when ever I like or care to, it’s reaffirmed my desire to listen or read at least 2 books a month again.

I got around to watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as Inferno, this month. I thought Fantastic Beasts was a solid and enjoyable movie but something I’ll probably only ever watch once. Inferno was decent movie as well, it made me want to check out the books even more. I have this thing where if a movie is based on a book, I like to read/listen to the book version and see how well adapted it was. I’ve already read The Da Vinci Code but that is the only book in the series I’ve read. After watching Inferno, I was compelled to add the Langdon books to my audible wishlist.

I also picked up Arrival on bluray, well worth the money to me, as I loved the movie. And having read the short story is was based on, I like it even more. The special features are pretty good, it really shows that Denis Villeneuve has a great eye for talent. I was also intrigued that many of the people he worked with on Sicario also worked on Arrival. Both of which are favorite movies of mine.

I’m picking up Dr. Strange on blu ray this week and I am looking forward to watching it again, I just hope there are some decent special features for it as that is really what makes picking things up on blu ray worth while or not.

Assassin’s Creed is out on the 21st on blu ray this month and it’s something that I may pick up as well.

Star Wars: Rogue One is available on streaming services this month as well, I’m hoping it will be on the canadian version of Netflix. I’ll pick up the blu ray on April 4th for sure.

I binged watched 5 episodes of the Expanse last week, it is an extremely good show and I can’t wait to finish season 1 and then get into season 2 which is current airing now. I will definitely pick up the audiobooks, probably within the next few months.

Like I said at the start of this post, I am extremely looking forward to playing Mass Effect: Andromeda later this month. I am also hoping that John Wick 2 and Logan are released on blu ray quickly as I really want to watch both.

what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2017.

So, another month quickly gone by. I’ve already posted the movies I’ve watched in a post cleverly called “Some Movies I saw last week, part 2” (the first part being like a moth to flame for random spammers to make comment posts for some reason.)

Anyways, gonna start out with movies because I always start off with audiobooks or games, so I finally picked up The Star Wars Complete Saga Bluray edition and the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Bluray, literally years later. I picked up star wars because Rogue Fucking One was good enough to make it my favorite star wars movie, above the original trilogy, well past the prequels (of which I do not hate like most people do), and definitely more than the Force Awakens (although it is pretty good.) I know you are gonna make me rank this shit, so let me do that right now. Save your flustered mouth sounds, or as Ari Shaffir calls it “the sound of white injustice”, until the end of the list.

  1. Star Wars: Rogue One
  2. Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: A New Hope
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  6. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  7. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  8. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Ok, now you can make your flustered sounds and mutter to your screen about how wrong I am.

I picked up picked up The Lord of the Rings Extended edition because it was only 39$, which I thought was a pretty fucking good price and I was tired of watching it in DVD Quality. I also made the conscious decision to pick it because I did not want to wait around to get in 4k or 4k with HDR, both of which are although cool as fuck are crazy niche right now. 4k and HDR are have such little content and so little people have both or even one that it qualifies being categorized as esoteric.

So, with both series, I will be doing a re-watch, starting with Star Wars Original trilogy first, then the Prequels, then the Force Awakens, then into the Lord of the Rings, followed by the Hobbit trilogy that really should have been 2 movies (although still decent, not hating on it.) Also, a leaked time frame for Rogue One bluray release date is around the end of march, which seems pretty fucking early but I sincerely hope it is because I wanna re-watch it so bad right now.

On the audiobook side of things, I am currently listening to P.N Elrod’s very entertaining “Vampire Files.” I was kinda hesitant picking something up completely new and little research done on but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It has everything I like: a decent story, compelling or interesting characters, decent dialogue, and Vampires. Mostly Vampires though, it can’t be just anything with vampires though, it has to be vampires done well or at least interesting (that means no twilight for me, I’m more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel dude.) I liked the story enough in the first one and liked the Jack Fleming character enough to get the next two books in the series.

I also had a Jules Winnfield type moment of clarity, I don’t have to read every book in the series before moving onto the next one. Which is of course what I’ve been doing so far, I read (listened to rather) all but the last book in the Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series (which is pretty good, Uhtred of Bebbanberg is such a good character and it’s refreshing to see a non romanticized or idealized historical take on Christianity.) I have the last book in the series so far, The Flame Bearer, but was craving something different so I jumped into the Vampire Files. From there I had my Jules Winnfield “moment of clarity” about reading or listening to audiobooks in a series. It’s a big change for me because up until now I fucking devoured every series I picked up and read/listened until I finished every book in a series before jumping into something new or different.

This approach is a refreshing change because I was kinda losing interest in keeping up with my 2 books read or 2 audiobooks listened to per month new years resolution I made a couple of years ago, and this sort of renews my interest as I will probably just listen to what I like or please to in the future. The timing on the “moment of clarity” is also fortuitous as Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology” is out on audible next week, I am extremely looking forward to listening to it. It also lets me check out some other stuff I’ve been looking at for a while like from this reddit post from Joe Abercrombie, some other related books or series based on Abercrombie’s recommendations (like Richard Matheson’s  Shadow on the Son or Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles), why am I doing this the long way lemme just link my audible wish list. Out of the all the books in my wish list, I am looking forward to checking out the Expanse the most, it will probably be next series I will jump into.

Gaming wise, I’ve been slacking on my 1 week in or out shit, as I should probably already finished Assassin’s Creed Syndicate by now, but I’ve been gone for a couple of days on a trip this month, being sick the last few days of and currently still a little under the weather. I’ve played about an hour or so of AC: Syndicate and liked it so far, it’s crazy how long it took ubisoft to make a female assassin playable and a main character.

WoW has been taking up the majority of my time, as usual, because the changes in 7.1. I was able to level a Demon Hunter to 110 and get my artifact knowledge up to 25 quickly because of the catch up mechanics and also get an Ilevel of 874 in less than a month or so, which is pretty crazy because my it’s the same Ilevel as my rogue which I have played for months now. My Death Knight is approaching geared levels as well thanks to mythic plus 10’s.

I’m gonna start watching The Expanse season one soonish, as soon as I’m done my re-watches mentioned above, I had to stop at episode 2 because my internet was pretty shitty at the time and could barely stream with out multiple buffering  and quality shifts. My internet is more reliable now and I’m looking forward to continuing with the Expanse.

The Arrival is expected to be released on Feb 14th, and I am extremely looking forward to picking up and re-watching it, I may even pick up the short story it was based on by picking up this from audible.

Some Movies I saw last week, part 2.

So during my trip to Vancouver last week I watched a couple of movies, pretty good ones too.

Star Wars: Rogue One – Great movie, it pays homage to the look, feel and story of the original trilogy but really tell’s its own self contained story that I think surpasses anything and everything that the original trilogy offered. The original trilogy had the problem of relaying the “cost” and ethics/morality of a rebellion, and Rogue One really does capture the heroic freedom fighters type vibe the original trilogy had but also includes the end justify’s the means and at all costs type of personalities that also would be in a rebellion. The people who do the dirty work and get results but still remain likeable/relatable/identifiable as characters. My favorite character of the lot is Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera, it was extremely refreshing to see a Star War’s character in the rebellion that is not a paragon of virtue/morality/ethics, but a militant extremist willing to do anything to get something done. The story was great, and it was satisfying to see an ending like that, one that did not need to be necessarily happy. In the first 5 minutes you get that isn’t going to be a Star Wars movie you would expect, and immediately draws you in with a compelling story and cast of characters.

Dr Strange – A good movie, one the better origin stories done for a marvel cinematic universe character. I had no real expectations for this movie, other that it was gonna probably be decent, funny in parts, with good actors, and witty dialogue, so I was rather still very impressed by it. It had a good story with some very strong actors. Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, and Mads Mikkelsen, all great actors and all put in great performances. Also, the whole white washing controversy with Tilda Swinton which I think is typical social reactionary bullshit, the internet makes such BS issues an echo chamber with a group of people who never consider the why of an issue/topic/idea first before jumping all in on cries of white washing or whatever the social topic de jour is, very similar to the same BS cries of white washing used against Matt Damon in the Great Wall. Kinda went on a rant there but whatever, if you don’t like it, please continue to not like it just fucking think about it. Benadryl Cucumberpatch is great in his role as Steven Strange and I’m interested to see him in other MCU fims.

Passengers – Similar to Dr. Strange, I went in with no real expectations and kinda misled on the premise of the movie by the shitty advertising but came out really liking the movie. I thought it told a good story with some good performances by Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence and Lawrence Fishbourne. A good movie in my opinion as you rarely get a science fiction movie where the conflict is a personal one and done with such a small cast. This is another movie where I don’t agree with critics or people’s general criticism or negative reviews. It most definitely is not a below average movie, I think it’s a good movie and basically I’m right and everyone else is stupid and wrong. You’ll get over my disappointment and judgement of you.

Arrival – This one is an extremely good movie, a scifi movie as well that has an excellent story with a great performance by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. If you haven’t seen it, go fucking watching it. Stop fucking reading this and watch it.

Split – You just read my arrival shit right? Now fucking do the same for Split. The story and characters are extremely well done, James McAvoy is excellent in this movie and Anya Taylor-Joy is also great. Seriously, go fucking watch this movie now. If you are one of the people who doesn’t react at the end, count yourself in the unwashed masses crowd, you philistine.

Live by Night – I was excited to see this movie because I enjoyed the book by Dennis Lehane and the character of Joe Coughlin. While I enjoyed the movie and even liked it, I found it disappointing because a good book was adapted into a just a decent movie. I enjoyed the movie because a majority of my favorite sequences in the book were faithfully adapted and the characters were done well and acted well. Ben Affleck does a good portrayal of Joe Coughlin and also does a good job of directing this movie. The story and characters are well adapted, the visuals are good, and the pacing is good, so over all I think its decent movie that is bordering on being good one.

If I had to pick one favorite of the lot, I’d pick Arrival, followed extremely closely by Rogue One and Split. However, the movie that impressed me the most was Split, followed closely by Rogue One and Dr. Strange.

Really, do yourself a favor if you haven’t watched Arrival or Split yet, go and watch them both ASAP and thank me later.

Suicide Squad.

Another late to the party first impression or take.

Why didn’t people like this movie? I thought it was a great adaptation of the comics and characters that stayed pretty faithful to the source material. It was kinda flimsy with the sorceress and her brother as the enemy but it did provide the framework to tell and sell the story. Every member of the suicide squad was interesting and compelling, excellently and faithfully adapted into characters for film. Deadshot and his daughter was captured pretty well, the great take on the relationship between Harley and the Joker, really showed commitment to the source material while still being adapted well for a movie. I particularly enjoyed El Diablo, as there is massive lack of mexican ethnicity characters in any super hero movie or comic, his character and his backstory was extremely compelling.

The story, while predictable in some parts, I thought was enjoyable. The backstory flashbacks were done very well, in fact the movie started off pretty strongly because of how well they were done. I thought the movie did well to connect the DC universe starting with Batman vs Superman, which I also liked, and did well enough to be “it’s own movie.” Meaning it wasn’t DC’s version of The Avengers or the X-men, or even similar to Nolan’s Batman, Snyder’s Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.

The special features are also pretty good. Although short and not many, it provided some nice background on characters and their gear. I particularly enjoyed the character inspirations and motives part, it gave me more reason to like El Diablo and Waller.

I seriously don’t get why the movie isn’t more popular at all or how anyone would rate it disappointing in any way.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for January 2017.

Totally have check and re-check if I correctly put 2017 as the current year now.

I’ve been listening to the Last Kingdom/Saxon stories the last couple days, really it started immediately after I finished the re-listen to the Dark Tower series just around December 20th. I am nearly finished Death of Kings, and that leaves me The Pagan Lord, Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm, and The Flame Bearer left to listen. Each book is about 10-12 hours in length, and usually narrated well, however, the narrator changes nearly every books and is quite jarring. It looks I’m in for 2 more narrator changes but at least it looks consistent for the last few books.

I’m hoping to finish off the series by 15th or so, earlier the better, so I can listen to The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher and Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod. Both books are something I’m looking forward too as a change from historical fantasy. If Bloodlist is something I like, I will probably use my credits to pick up the following books in the series, as I am hooked into anything decent that involves Vampires and Werewolves.

During the christmas/new years steam sale I picked up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on a pretty good deal. Definitely looking forward to playing that, I really liked Human Revolution aside from the mess up with the boss fights and I hope Mankind Divided has similar gameplay and playstyles.

The next game in my queue is Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, of which I have low expectations and hope it is better storywise than Unity was. I will probably go back to my tried and true 1 week on and 1 week off playing time for games in my queue.

I’m playing The Division again, the changes since 1.1 have been for the good and I like new modes of play. I also got back into WoW and leveled my Demon Hunter to 110. I’m going to leave it to let my artifact knowledge get higher before trying to gear out.

I also picked up a new Monitor, a 2560×1440 resolution monitor with a refresh rate of 144hz, and Headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 990 premium 250 ohm. The headphones are very good, I’m using them primarily for gaming but it’s also good for movies and music/audiobooks. I thought my ROG Xonar Phoebus would have a hard time driving the headphones but I was pleasantly surprised that it drives them just fine. I got DT 990’s for 219$ CAD, which is about 60$ off the normal price, I feel like I got a good deal and some good headphones.

This month I will be watching the rest of The Expanse, I’ve only watched the first episode so far and what I saw I liked. It was impressive enough that I will definitely start picking up the audiobook versions of the book series.

I’m looking forward to my trip to Vancouver and watch some good movies.

This is a smaller post than usual because I’ve already posted some lengthy posts detailing what I’m reading/listening/playing/watching.

Anyways, hope you have a good 2017.