What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2019.

Last month I listened to: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Lost World by Michael Crichton, War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell. Out the 3, I enjoyed War of the Wolf the most because at the time I was also watching the incredibly good season 3 of the Last Kingdom, the series that it is adapted from. Jurassic Park and the Lost World were interesting and entertaining enough though, Scott Brick narrates the story pretty well and the story, as well as the characters, were good and done well. I always like to check out the movies, or TV series, and the books that they were adapted from. I like to find what was adapted well, what one did better than the other, and how well the movie, or tv series, is done. With Jurrassic Park and the Lost World, I found the story a lot more interesting in the books, I enjoyed the more in-depth rants of Ian Malcolm, and the kinda scummy nature of John Hammond. In the Movie, the characters are done better and are more memorable. For example, Hammond is different from the books in a pretty big way because he isn’t as scummy or exploitative. In the books Dr. Sattler and Grant are not in a relationship and it created an interesting dynamic with the rest of the characters, Grant does not dislike kids, and the lawyer does try his best to be the hero. The Jurassic Park is an iconic movie and over all I enjoyed the movie more than the book. However, Jurassic Park the book was enjoyable and well worth picking up or checking out.

I like to check out the books that a movie or tv show is adapted from because it allows me to check out something I would not normally read or listen to. Personally, I don’t enjoy Young Adult fiction that much and I would probably have never checked out The Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games trilogy because I watched the movies already but I actually enjoyed the books and it was interesting to me to find out what the book or movie did better or worse, or what was more compelling.

This month I plan on listening to Myke Cole’s Armored Saint and Queen of the Thorns, Good Omens Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell, and Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney. I also picked up Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars (during an audible sale) that I may listen to the month as well.

I am also currently playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PS4, which is extremely good so far and very fun to play. Red Dead Redemption was my favorite all time game, only nudged out of that spot when the Witcher 3 was released, and so far RDR2 is an extremely worthy prequel/sequel.

Anthem really lost some hype from me after watching Seagull play it on Twitch and his youtube video, but Bioware still can turn it around. However, the launch feels rushed for the PC anyways and the PC port seems very half assed. I rarely pre-order games anymore and I find it to be a worthwhile practice.

Conversely, The Division 2 remains in the hype territory and looks extremely good, I hope my internet gets fixed soon because I really wanna play The Division 2 at launch. Also a game I did not pre-order, and I will wait until release to buy.

I watched some movies last month as well: Polar, Soldado: Sicario 2, and Bird Box. Polar and Sicario 2 were enjoyable and Bird Box was interesting to watch. I though Polar was done well and that it was adapted from a graphic novel and it definitely captured that kinda feel to me, its pacing and style were all over the place but overall I enjoyed it and hope netflix continues with good movies like this because if they keep raising subscription fees to a point where I feel it’s not worth it, I am definitely gonna unsub. However, at the moment Netflix is a great value to me because of Altered Carbon, the Last Kingdom, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and others.

 

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American Gods Season 2 teaser trailer.

Can’t wait to see it, especially after all the drama with direction and writing. Season 1 was extremely good, and I know going into season 2 it will be different but I wanna see how it all plays out.

“I know it’s crooked, but it’s the only game in town.”

― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for June 2018.

I’m back to playing through FFXV, mostly because I’m not playing WoW. I’m slowly making my way through main quest and doing A LOT of side quests and hunts. I kinda went way too far in doing side stuff, I think I’m way over level’ed and geared. It’s fun and I really shouldn’t have stopped playing it. After I finish it, I plan to play Rise of the Tomb Raider next. Although, games like Wolfenstein: The New Order, Subnautica, Total War: Warhammer, Dishonored, Far Cry: Primal, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are tempting to jump into. I still have the Crysis Trilogy, Bioshock (1,2, Infinite), Furi, Firewatch, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, I could probably play any of those games but Rise of the Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored are games I wanna play because they have sequels coming out soon or already out.

I’m also playing and watching a lot of Overwatch. To be honest, it’s more watching than playing but its close. The Overwatch League is pretty fun to watch and follow, I enjoy watching the Seoul Dynasty, LA Gladiators, Dallas Fuel, and the San Francisco Shock play. I kinda wish the OWL played on the same patch as the live servers but the current team compositions and dominant strategy are a lot more interesting than the older Dive Comps/Strats.

I am also watching the 3rd season of Hannibal on netflix. It’s pretty fucking good. I decided to check it out because how much I enjoyed American Gods season 1. I still have a season 2 of Jessica Jones, season 2 of Stranger Things to watch as well as Hap and Leonard.

I have a bunch of audiobooks to listen to coming up:

  • In the Tall Grass by Joe Hill and Stephen King, narrated by Stephen Lang.
  • A Study in Emerald by, as well as narrated by, Neil Gaiman.
  • Season of Storms by Andrej Sapkowski, narrated by Peter Kenney.
  • The Perdition Score by Richard Kadrey, narrated by Macleod Andrews. Book 8.
  • The Kill Society by Richard Kadrey, narrated by Macleod Andrews. Book 9.

Currently listening to Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, book 7), and re-listening to Best Served Cold.

I am looking forward to more info and gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield V, Last of Us 2, The Division 2, and Metro: Exodus.

Fallout 76, was recently announced and teased, and the rumors are that it will be either a fortnite battle royale clone, a survival online RPG, or an MMO in the style of The Elder Scrolls: Online. I kinda hope its more a standalone game like New Vegas was and that it isn’t some shitty half assed fortnite clone.

 

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for May 2018.

This post is gonna be a little more WoW specific than usual.

The Beta has been out for a bit now but I’ve been waiting for some changes to some of my classes I am considering to play in Battle for Azeroth, namely: Death Knight, Demon Hunter, Rogue, Warrior. The beta was recently updated and had some huge talent and ability changes for Death Knights. Before this update, I was seriously considering rerolling a new main for Battle for Azeroth because Death Knights were going to be more or less the same as they have been for the last few expansions and because none (zero, zilch, nada) of the Allied Races can be Death Knights, however, the recent update and changes/tweaks to the class is compelling enough to keep it as my main. It should be noted that I prefer playing DPS but I enjoy having the ability to tank dungeons, mythics, and mythic plus.

Check out this talent tree for Unholy and Blood.

For Unholy, Clawing Shadows on the level 56 tier is insane, it’s my go to talent for AOE with Death and Decay/Defile as well as single target that gives me an ability to attack from mid range other than spamming Death Coil. On the level 57 tier, I went with Pestilent Pustules because it’s more in-line with my play style, bursting festering wounds with clawing shadows and Apocalypse (now a baseline talent for Unholy!), however, Soul Reaper is an option as well for more of a Single Target. On the level 58 tier, all 3 option are pretty good, again I went with something more in-line with my play style, Bursting Sores but Ebon Fever is more fire and forget with consistent damage and Unholy Blight (ITS BACK!) gives a pretty nice AoE damage on a short 1 minute cooldown. I could easily go with any of those 3 talents, but I’d probably go with Bursting Sores for aoe/cleave and Unholy Blight if I needed on demand AoE. On the level 60 tier, I always go with Asphyxiate because stuns are overpowered and Stuns in general are being nerfed to fewer classes and specs in Battle for Azeroth. On the level 75 tier, My choice is always Wraith Walk because Death Knight mobility really, really sucks but the other choices on that tier have some use cases as well. On the level 90 tier, it seems this tier is the main AoE damage talents, I really don’t know what to go with here because Defile does not offer the mastery bonus anymore, Corpse Explosion really only can be used with Army of the Dead (now on a 8minute CD) and Apocalypse (which has a CD of 1.5minutes) and that means very limited usage, or very changed Epidemic talent (which will probably be the go to talent because you can use your runic power on AoE.) On the level 100 tier, the choice seems to be between Unholy Frenzy (now a 1.25 minute CD that grants 20% haste and causing auto-attacks to apply festering wounds) or Summon Gargoyle (RIP Valkyr.) I like the Gargoyle as a DPS CD and chose that for now but I still need to try out Unholy Frenzy in leveling, dungeons, and mythic plus. The preferred stats still looks like it’s gonna be haste and mastery.

I am enjoying the changes/tweaks to Unholy on the beta and I will probably main a DK in BFA. It feels like you can build an effective single target build with clawing shadows, soul reaper, ebon fever, defile, and unholy frenzy. So the class has options, instead of being what it is right now on live.

Blood is changed alot as well, with many talents being either adapted legendary gear effects or artifact abilities. Interesting changes and it’s decent enough for me to be able to continue as Unholy and Blood spec in BFA.

For Demon Hunters, this is what spec I am for Havoc and the one I’m looking at trying out for Vengeance.

For Havoc, it has a had an interesting re-work and tweaks, the loss of fury of the Illidari is pretty big but some of the talents address that. I like Blind Fury and Immolation Aura generating fury, as well as their aoe and damage. Fel Barrage is pretty good where it is on the level 102 tier. I still need to see how well the spec performs, but it looks promising so far. Mastery looks like the go to stat, which is always a plus.

For Rogues, I am currently Assassination because the mastery has been updated to include bleeds, which is good for the spec. This is another case of current leggos being rolled into talents but the (re)addition of Blindside is cool, marked for death is in a great spot, leeching poison being usable as a 3rd poison is great, and the level 100 tier talents all seem to address the specs lack of AoE.

Outlaw is an interesting spec as well, but since it’s so proc based and random.

On live, I leveled up a Lightforged Draenei Warrior. It took about a week to get to 930 ilvl, and another week to get to be able to do 1.2million DPS single target which is pretty good. I got the 2 leggos I was hoping for (Archavons Heavy Hands and Ayalas Stone Heart) in a 2 and 1/2 week period, which is great. Arms spec is fun and I’m enjoying it. On the beta, it seems like warriors are due for another pass (because protection spec is pretty bad right now, I’m not sure about fury) but arms seems decent so far, the change in mastery is pretty huge but seems ok so far.

On other gaming related stuff, my WoW activities kinda halted my progress in FFXV, but I will for sure get back into when all the beta changes stop rolling out as we get closer to launch for BfA. I also got into playing the Division as well, it’s pretty fun still and all the changes really give you a lot to do. I wanna see what the Division 2 will look and play like when it’s announced and shown later this year.

Audiobooks this month, I continue with the Sandman Slim series because it’s compelling enough to keep me reading, I like the characters, the stories, the dialogue is decent, and I really like the lore of it. I have The Getaway God (book 6) and Killing Pretty (book 7) to read this month and will finish the series later this month. I plan to listen to the last 2 books as soon as I get my credits because in June 2 books I have pre-ordered come out, Brief Cases by Jim Butcher (release date is 06-05-18 ) and Before the Storm by Christie Golden (release date is 06-12-18.)

So a bit of a recap and review here: I enjoyed Devil said Bang, the story was interesting, the transition of Stark being Lucifer to back to being Sandman Slim was pretty good, overall it was a pretty good book. I liked the futility of hell aspect and how everyone is just looking to die in some meaningful way even it is futile and fatalistic. Kill City blues was ok, I felt that it being good and enjoyable for the first 3/4 build up expectations and excitement that kinda fell flat on its face at the end, over all I still liked it but felt that there was a huge missed opportunity between the conflict between Aelita and Stark as well as Medea Bava and Stark. Still though, I enjoyed it because of the characters and the story was still enjoyable despite of my expectations and missed opportunities.

On what I’m watching at the moment, Westworld season 2 is pretty good. I still think it is better than Game of Thrones, I still like both and will watch both but at the moment Westworld is a more compelling show.

On Netflix, I am currently watching Jessica Jones season 2, when I’m not watching the Overwatch League or playing WoW on live or the beta so I’m only on episode 2 so far. I also added Lost in Space to my list to check out later due to recommendations from friends and what I’ve read on reddit, I will probably check it out after Jessica Jones and Stranger Things season 2.

For Blu Rays, I am thoroughly enjoying the special features of The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi blu ray is the best example of why I get blu rays, excellent movie, great featurettes and an extremely good documentary like making of with/about the director Rian Johnson and Mark Hamil.

Things I’m looking forward too: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher next month, finishing FFXV later this month (so far it’s a very good game with fun combat), and watching the rest of Jessica Jones season 2.

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

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.

This is a super late Edit here:

Looking forward to It, Dunkirk, and Blade Runner 2049 releases on blu ray this month and next month.

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

The Black Company books are probably the best series I’ve listened to this year. I was gonna just stick to my 2 audible credits platinum plan this month but I just couldn’t wait to finish the series, so I bought 3 extra credits and got the last 3 books in the series. I am currently on book 8, She is the Darkness, and it has extremely good narration and an excellent story. I have Water Sleeps (book 9) and Soldiers Live (book 10) to listen to this month, and that finish off the excellent Black Company Series.

There was an audible sale on the first books in a series and I was able to pick up Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey for about 6$ CAD, this was a series I have been planning on listening to for quite a while now so I decided to take advantage of the deal. I also used one of my 5 credits I had to pick up Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin, Mac Walters. I picked up Initiation based solely on 2 things, the first Mass Effect: Andromeda book by Jason M Hough and K.C. Alexander was very good and the Broken Earth Trilogy by Jemisin was superb.

Audible Canada is a thing now and I was extremely tempted to switch over but a couple of things made me stay with Audible.com instead.

  1. You cannot get a 2 credit per month plan.
  2. There is no way to buy extra credits.
  3. You only have access to Audible Canada Daily Deals, so there is no 2 for 1 credit sales, whispersync, or first book in the series sales.

However, Audible Canada only costs 14.95$ CAD per month and has excellent customer service, making it hard to pass on. Currently I pay 22.95$ USD (29$ CAD at the current exchange rate) for a platinum 2 credits per month plan and buying 3 extra credits for 34.41$ USD (43.40$ CAD, can get as high as 50+$ CAD depending on the exchange rate), so even at 1 credit per month the savings is pretty huge but I am not willing to give up 2 credits per month yet, or not having access to sales or 3 extra credits per month.

I am not sure which books or series to get next month after the Black Company. If Sandman Slim is decent, that will probably be the series I jump into next. However, I like to switch things up after reading a long fantasy series like the Black Company with something like Sci-fi or horror. That may mean I might pick the The Metro series or something else with supernatural elements.

I still have a backlog of audiobooks to finish off as well: Watership Down, Invisible Man, The Hobbit, The Last of the Mohicans.

I’ll get around to those when I’m able, usually when I’ve blown through a series and have nothing else to listen to in-between credits.

I’m still playing a fair amount of WoW but cut my time down to play other games in my backlog. I mentioned last month I picked up Superhot on a sale and it was extremely fun to play and well worth the 20$ I payed for it. I also have the Crysis trilogy to playthrough and I moved those games to my SSD to ensure I will play them. I only really got into the Crysis series because Richard K Morgan wrote the story for Crysis 2. I have the first season of The Long Dark to playthrough, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Farcry Primal, Farcry Blood Dragon, Splintercell Blacklist, and the Metro Redux games.

I also picked up Total War: Warhammer for 20$ and getting the hang of playing it. it is fun to play and I am getting the hang of playing it the way it’s supposed to be played. I was falling into the trap of playing it like other RTS games like Civilization and Starcraft, and I was just getting destroyed.

Last month I mentioned I picked up John Wick 2, Guardians of Galaxy vol 2, Ghost in the Shell, and Wonder Woman. My favorite out of the bunch is easily John Wick 2, it was a well put together movie with a great world and characters, the special features were also extremely good. I thought GotG and Wonder Woman to be overrated but still enjoyable decent movies. Ghost in the Shell is something that grew on me over time, I was too hung up on it not being an adaptation of the seminal anime but after watching the special features it grew on me because a lot of thought went into creating a new tale with borrowed elements from the manga, anime, and tv series.

I have been looking to pick up a general use soundbar for my PC and PS4 and currently deciding on the Sony HT-CT790 or the Sony HT-CT800. I will mainly be using to listen to movies, game on with the PS4, and streaming audio when I am not using Headphones. The difference between the to 2 is that the 800 has HDR. Both have 4k and hdmi passthru, 2 hdmi inputs, 1 toslink input, bluetooth streaming. The 790 is about 150$ cheaper and the one I’ll probably choose because there is not a lot of HDR content out there right now.

I am extremely looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2 next year. I got a PS4 Pro for that because I know Rockstar will fuck over the PC market by either not bring the game to PC EVER or not do it for years.

Check out the great trailer.

 

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

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.