February 2nd 2018. Can’t wait.
“Take what is offered and that must sometimes be enough.”
― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
February 2nd 2018. Can’t wait.
“Take what is offered and that must sometimes be enough.”
― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
Another year gone by. Reminds me of a quote from American Gods “Every hour wounds. The last one kills.”
Anyways, lots of stuff this month and some updates.
Audiobooks first, I just finished Area X – The Southern Reach Trilogy – Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance by Jeff VaderMeer narrated by Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands. I enjoyed the story, narration, characters, and the writing of this trilogy. The story and writing were very good and I enjoyed that some things were left unresolved or unexplained, the only real comparison (and a poor one at that) is the Reapers from Mass Effect that once their purpose and origin were explained and detailed they became way less interesting and compelling. Area X and it’s purpose are way more compelling as a story element being mysterious and having some parts of it unexplained. I admire the decision to not reveal everything as it made for a much more compelling story. The characters are also well done and I enjoyed that they were only referred to as titles, code names, or nick names such as The Director, The Biologist, Control, and Ghost Bird. The narration was also good, with 3 narrators it some times is kinda jumbled and jarring but it served the story and tone of the characters to have separate narration. I can’t wait to see the adaptation, it looks promising.
I have a pretty big backlog of audiobooks to get through, roughly equal to last year, 11 or so: The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Strange Weather by Joe Hill, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Alien: Out of the Shadows, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.
Two more books will be added to that list around christmas, it will most likely be Mass Effect: Initiation, and either Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan, or it could be something on a whim suggested/recommended from r/fantasy or my audible wishlist.
I will probably start the ball rolling with Strange Weather followed by the Metro Trilogy then Sandman Slim or I am Legend.
I picked up a pretty nice DAC/AMP combo, SMSL SD793-II, to drive my DT990 premium 250 ohm headphones , which the DAC/AMP is now connected to my PS4 and PC. I mainly use it for gaming, movies, and music (in that order), for that purpose it is an extremely good set up but I am going to add a few things to it. I decided against a sound bar set up and went with a 2.1 set up instead. I will be connecting the line outs from my SMSL SD793-II to a Micca Origain (simple, not the one with built-in DAC) and a set of speakers that I have handy. I will also add a subwoofer in the next few months to make a 2.1 set up, which I will probably use for music, movies, and the PS4 (in that order.)
I did not go with a USB DAC/AMP because I wanted something that did not need drivers installed and a TOSLink and a coaxial digital would allow me to connect my PC using a toslink to coaxial digital converter and the PS4 using the TOSlink. It is working extremely well for me and was well worth the money.
I picked up some blu rays this week, Atomic Blonde, Valerian, The Dark Tower and Wind River. I have not yet watched every one so far but I did rip and convert them so I can watch them any time on my PC. I’m using MakeMKV and Handbrake, which is very easy to set up. I’m using MakeMKV enough to consider just buying it even though it is currently free while in Beta. It’s easy to use and extremely useful, well worth the money if I do end up buying it.
Gaming this month is basically WoW, the last half of Uncharted 3, and probably (finally really) Rise of the Tomb Raider, as well as Total War: Warhammer. I have about 15 days left in my sub to WoW and I’m at that point where I am thinking of taking a break from it soon, within this month or the next.
WoW is still fun and accessible, especially with the Mythic Plus dungeons. You can be extremely competitive once you get your 4 piece tier set (which can be as low as raid finder gear, or normal) and everything else from Mythic plus.
Only 2 more months left in the year, it’s gone by pretty fast and I already know what the best series I listened to this year is Glen Cook’s Black Company series. The narration, which changes a few times, is very good. The overall story is great. The characters are excellent, and for it me it was my favorite part of the series. Croaker, One-eye, Goblin, Murgen, Raven, Lady, Sleepy and really most of the company are all enjoyable and well written characters. So far, it’s the Black Company best thing I’ve listened to this year, easily surpassing N.K. Jemisin’s well written and very good Broken Earth Trilogy and more enjoyable than Bernard Cornwell’s extremely entertaining and compelling Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series.
This month I’ll be listening to Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X: Southern Reach Trilogy, The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky, and Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters. I am also looking forward to reading the recently announced Mass Effect Book called the Last Ark as it is supposed to resolve the very loose ends of the Quarian ark and I am hoping to at least address, and possibly resolve the Benefactor and the Jien Garson murder story line.
I am also looking forward to picking up and listening to Strange Weather by Joe Hill, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, and I also have Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey to listen to as well which I will probably listen to after the Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky.
I picked up a cool game called Castle Story on Steam for about 20$ CAD, it’s like a lite RTS with minecraft like elements. I like games like this because I can just put on an audiobook or a podcast and play it while it scratches my lite rts/crafting itch.
I am also currently playing Total War: Warhammer and learning to play it, instead of playing it like Civ or SC2. I will probably pick up the sequel when it’s on sale.
On the topic of gaming, I was extremely tempted to pick up Castlevania Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 , and Castlevania Mirror of Fate as they were all on sale during the halloween steam sale for near historic lows. However, I did not pick any of them up as I already have an enormous backlog of games that I am still slowly making my way through. I will possibly pick them up during the new years/christmas sales. At the moment though, I am extremely tempted to pick up Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, you should also add Prey and Dishonored 2 to that as well.
I started playing Doom and I was extremely impressed with how well it runs while looking extremely good because of that I was why I was tempted to pick up the new Wolfenstien game. The game runs extremely well, looks great, the gameplay is very fun, and the soundtrack actually fits the game and environment perfectly. It’s well worth the money and definitely worth picking up when on sale.
I have also, finally, started working my way though the Crysis Trilogy. I’m looking forward to playing Crysis 2 as it is written by Richard K Morgan, author of one of my favorite all time series, The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy.
I think I’ll pick up a couple of PS4 games this christmas, probably Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted 4.
For blurays I am looking to pick up this month are: Atomic Blonde (November 14, 2017), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ( November 21, 2017), The Dark Tower, and Wind River (November 14, 2017.) Dunkirk which is scheduled for release on December 19, 2017 is something I am also looking forward to picking up. It and Bladerunner 2049 do not have release dates but I am definitely looking forward to watching those on Bluray.
I am looking forward to a couple of things in 2018: Altered Carbon on netflix, Red Dead Redemption 2, and The Last of Us 2.
This is pretty disappointing, I bought the deluxe version for 90$ CAD and enjoyed the story, gameplay and exploration but with the thought there would be some kind of single player dlc especially with the the way the benefactor and Jien Garson thing was left unresolved as well as Quarian Arc.
Any future Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, games will be strictly wait for a sale now for me. Which is a real shame because I enjoyed Andromeda a lot and I also liked the novel Nexus Uprising by Jason M Hough and K.C. Alexander, I was really hoping that Andromeda would be the starting point of a new series of games. I’ll probably end up picking up the next novel, Mass Effect: Initiation by N.K. Jemisin, mostly because I’ve liked her writing and storytelling in her Broken Earth Trilogy.
So scratch another developer off my list of buying games at launch. Blizzard, CD Projekt Red, and Bethesda is all that’s left for me now.
3 episodes into season 7 of Game of Thrones, been pretty good so far and it only makes me want to read The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring even more, if GRRM manages to even write and release them that is. The show is good and is a fine adaptation, but it is also very hamfisted and unsubtle. What I mean by that is, a mainstream show like Game of Thrones can only take the straight and direct path of Story Telling and Character Development, in GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire things are complexly intertwined and paced that are on the verge of being convoluted and drawn out. However, in the adaptation to a show, there has to be a clear path from a to b, and a lot of the internal struggles or inner rationalizations have to be explicit and either vocalized or characterized in such a way that there can be no doubts in a characters motivation.
August has a couple of shows on netflix that I want to watch: The Defenders, Glow, and the Mist season 1. I’ve already watched 2 episodes of Glow and liking it a lot already, the cast is pretty good with Marc Maron insanely funny so far.
In my on again/off again World of Warcraft playing, I am back to raiding semi casually. I still prefer mythic plus for gearing as it feels more rewarding and that I have more control of the outcomes. All isn’t great with my on again WoW playing, I pretty much stopped playing the Uncharted Collection and I was near the end of Uncharted 3. I’ll start again but I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the Uncharted Collection because during a steam stale I picked up Dark Souls 3 for a decent price, I’ve already mentioned last month picking up Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (which is released on August 8th), The Long Dark’s season one story mode called “Wintermute” is out on the 1st at 8am PST, and I also picked up another interesting crafting survival game called Light and Dark that is in early access. I picked up Light and Dark because it’s a survival RPG with crafting elements but in a fantasy setting.
I delayed picking up John Wick 2, Kong: Skull Island, and Ghost in the Shell until later in the month. I will also probably pick up Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I’m still on the fence about picking Passengers.
I’ve been listening to the Black Company series the last 2 months, I’m on book 4 at the moment and so far the series has exceeded expectations for me and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. On August 15th, N.K. Jemisin’s 3rd book in the Broken Earth Trilogy called The Stone Sky is out and I’ve already pre-ordered it. If it’s as good as The Fifth Season and Obelisk Gate, I will most likely pre-order Jemisin’s Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation audiobook as well.
There are a couple of movies that are out now or coming soon this month, The Dark Tower and Atomic Blonde, that I want to check out but I will most likely wait for it to come out on Blu ray.
How fucking good was that first season of American Gods? I can’t wait to see how they adapt the House on the Rocks and the Spook Show for season 2.
The adaptation of characters like Laura, Shadow, Anansi, and Mad Sweeney have been great, and I’ve enjoyed the additions and changes to the characters. I’ve particularly enjoyed the arc between the “Dead Wife”, the Leprechaun, and Salim. It was a nice refrain to the Mr. Wednesday and Shadow road trip. The changes to Anansi and Technical boy were also pretty good. Orlando Jones is great as Anansi. Ibis and Jacquel were also very good.
Game of Thrones starts up this month as well and I have dutifully avoided every trailer because I want to go into season 7 without having anything to guess at what is going to happen. It’s unfortunate that the show has over taken the books but the show has been decent so far, there were some definite misses but has had more hits than misses. I haven’t had to jump into any of the short stories or anything ASOIAF related to keep my interest going in the series, I’m genuinely excited to see how it plays out.
Game of Thrones isn’t the best thing on TV anymore, Westworld and American Gods are definite contenders now.
I started listening to the Black Company series by Glen Cook, it has every element I enjoy in a good fantasy series. The narration by Marc Vietor is pretty good. I just finished the first book and starting up the second book, Shadows Linger, this month. I would have bought the third book as well but I decided to pre-order N.K. Jemisin’s final book in the Broken Earth Trilogy, the Stone Sky. I will probably pre-order N.K. Jemisin’s Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation as well.
I have also started a re-listen to the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which will also include The Wise Man’s Fear as well, I forgot how well written and well narrated, Nick Podehl is extremely good, the books are. The Name of the Wind is especially good, however, I found the Wise Man’s Fear has a hard time to get out of the shadow of the first book.
I’ve been working my way through the Uncharted Collection, still only on the first game so far. I’m looking forward the Amy Hennig games of Uncharted 2 and 3.
During Steam Summer sale, I picked up the season pass for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Dark Souls 3. I am extremely tempted to pick up Dishonored 2 for 24.99$ CAD as well as Morrowind GOTY edition, and Oblivion GOTY too which are only 9.99$ CAD but I may just wait to pick those games during the new years sales.
I will probably pick up Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice next month, it looks extremely good and the price is good one at 32.99$ CAD.
I have a number of games I want to start during the summer, which is usually a deadzone for gaming. Metro 2033 Redux (which I’ve played about an hour so far), Metro: The Last Light Redux, Rise of the Tomb Raider (which I will probably start immediately after the Uncharted Collection), Dishonored, and Firewatch. There are other games like Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Bioshock remastered, Bioshock 2 remastered, Bioshock Infinite, and Far cry Primal but those will probably be something I try out later in the year.
The first season of the Long Dark is out in August, and I’m extremely looking forward to playing it, it has been something I’ve been waiting for a couple of years now.
The Defenders series starts up in August, which is something I also want to watch as I’ve enjoyed both seasons of Daredevil and Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones which I thought was extremely good.
I also plan to pick up John Wick 2, Kong: Skull Island, and Ghost in the Shell on blu ray this month.
I’m gonna start with what I’m watching, as these posts usually start with what I’m playing or listening to/reading, and there are a couple of things I’m watching that I like and interested in.
First off, how fucking good was that first episode of American Gods? Definitely a great episode and what an excellent way to start off a series. The casting is very good and we haven’t even gotten to see Media, Sam Blackcrow, Mr. World, Mr. Nancy, or Czernobog yet. Ian McShane is fucking great as Wednesday and that first time you see him hustling the air port lady is such a good way to get a feel for his character. Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney is also excellent, he really encompassed the character from the book and added his own great interpretation of the character. I thought the interplay between Mad Sweeney and Shadow was awesome and I liked that the coin tricks, the Iko Iko song by the Pixie Cups, and the fight was faithfully adapted, and even possibly better than it was in the books. I also thought the changes to Shadow, Rickey Whittle also is very good, were positive and well done. Shadow in the books is a more taciturn and introverted character, as well as a little bland, which doesn’t really translate that well when adapted for a show or movie, it’s easier in a book because we are able to hear the inner monologue and thoughts Shadow has while he experiences the first time the secret world of the Gods. For a TV show, the normally reserved and quiet Shadow would translate to being a moody-ish brooding thousand yard stare, which would be extremely uninteresting. Lowkey Lyesmith bits was also pretty good, the don’t piss off airport bitches story was great. Laura’s funeral scene was also extremely good, and I thought it was done better than it was in the books because it fleshes out the relationships Shadow/Laura/Audrey/Robbie. The scene with Shadow and Audrey was also extremely good, I loved the changes because it made it more believable and I loved the “I am trying to get my dignity back here” scene. The changes to Audrey also made her more sympathetic. The Technical boy confrontation was also pretty good, although I thought it was a little forced because in the book Shadow is supposed to deliver a message/threat to Wednesday. However, the lynching scene was extremely powerful and evocative, so the change from the book made it easier to understand the conflict between the Old gods and the new ones. The Midnight Special outro was great. I am extremely looking forward to watching the rest of the season. The Totem Pole intro was a nice touch, it is a good reminder that North America wasn’t an empty land and sets a good tone for the series. I can’t believe HBO passed on this show.
The Last Kingdom on Netflix is extremely good, each episode has been good and the build up has been great. I am hoping that after this last episode of this season, the wait for series 3 won’t be as long as the one for the 2nd series.
I’m gonna be checking out Hap and Leonard, after the Last Kingdom, because I’ve been thinking about starting the Hap and Leonard books by Joe R. Lansdale and I’ve heard extremely good things about the show from the various subreddits I lurk on.
This month I’ll be listening to the audiobooks for N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest.
I plan to pick up the second book in Jemisin’s Broken Earth series and then starting Glen Cook’s Black Company series. The reason for Black Company is that Eliza Dushku is producing and starring in an adaptation for a TV show. It’s also something I’ve been wanting to check out for at least 2 years now and I also like to check out something when it gets adapted into a show or movie.
I’ve also started a re-listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks, I’m currently on the Goblet of the Fire and I will continue with it after The Fifth Season and Into the Forest.
I picked a PS4 Pro recently and I finally got to play The Last of Us, the Remastered version. I was extremely impressed and immensely enjoyed playing through such a well crafted game with such a good story with very compelling characters. It has a New Game Plus mode that I plan to play through again with. I plan to pick up the Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection next, and possibly Uncharted 4 as well. The Last of Us is every bit as good as I read about it and I was quite impressed with gameplay and story telling, it is a great example of linear story telling. Not all games need choice or a branching story, and I really like a well crafted story. I can’t wait for the extremely well hyped Last of Us 2. I have a list of games that I’m looking forward to checking out on the PS4 Pro, games that are available on the PC are excluded because I pick up those on steam/uplay/origin/GOG instead. So games like Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry Primal, for Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain (or Dark Souls 3) I am not sure if I want to pick up on the PC or PS4.
Here is the list of PS4 games that I’m gonna pick up eventually:
I will probably add to the list but this list a good place to start.
I downloaded the remastered version for Darksiders 1 and 2, I’ll play these eventually but I want to play Dishonored and Rise of the Tomb Raider this month. I’ve been putting off both for long time now and I want to get it through my backlog of games. However, I am also doing an off and on again 2nd playthrough of Mass Effect Andromeda, so it may cut into playing either Dishonored or Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’ll probably just commit to playing through Rise of the Tomb Raider this month though.
I’ve also got back into playing Overwatch, which is still pretty good game but definitely has some match making issues. As the wait time for group queuing, is pretty long with a lot of false starts on games.
Logan comes out on Blu ray this month is being released this month and I’m extremely looking forward to picking it up and watching it.