Joseph Hallenbeck


January 12, 2017

2016 Cultural Review

Filed under: Journal — Joseph @ 1:01 pm

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A quick run down of all the films, shows, books and games watched, read and played over the last year.

Film & Shows

This was the year of film. Starting in the FEMA trailer in Clifton, the big screen TV that came with the new house. We had every excuse to watch movies. We are running low on Hitchcock and Price films at this point. There are so many of them (over 30 in total!) that I can’t give time for each. Instead, I’ll just break each down to a letter grade.

Not mentioned, but started Steven Universe, FMA: Brotherhood, The Guild, Amanchu, Dark Mirror and Flip Flappers.

Q1

  • Moment A
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens B+
  • A Boy & His Dog A
  • Dogma B
  • Limmey B
  • The Revenant D
  • The Life of Pi B+
  • Theatre of Blood C
  • The Wrong Man C
  • Erased (Anime Series) C

Q2

  • The Hills Have Eyes D
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass C
  • Iron Man D
  • Big Fish C
  • Kiznaiver (Anime Series) D
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Anime Series) A-

Q3

  • One Punch Man (Anime Series) B
  • Suicide Squad D
  • The Haunting C
  • The Edge of Tomorrow B-
  • The Enemy of the State B
  • The Conversation A
  • Night of the Hunter D
  • Crimson Peak A-
  • Central Intelligence D
  • Now You See Me 2 D

Q4

  • The Babadook B+
  • From Beyond the Grave C
  • The Asylum C
  • Stir of Echoes C
  • Scott Pilgrim vs The World C+
  • John Wick C+
  • I Am Big Bird B-
  • 13 Assassins B-
  • A Space Oddyssey A-
  • War Dogs C+
  • Rear Window B
  • Shadow & Fog A-
  • Chinatown A

Books

Not mentioned, but started Queen Emerladas, Galaxy Express 999, Peopleware, Ryuko, The English Calendar, and half a dozen Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine volumes.

The Martian

Saw the film, decided to read the book. The book is very detailed, and very slow. I think it worked better as a film, as the book was very much written for people who would want to geek out over the science in it.

Table Titans

Read the backlog of Scott Kurt’z other comic. Glad that I waited for something of an archive to build up. The comic can be slow reading as a daily but the backlog helps hook me in.

Get A Grip

Another business narrative for those who like to imagine that they’re executives in the book and not just another drone trapped in whatever political mechanations middle management has in store for them. Okay, I’m being overly cynical but I would like to see more business books written from the perspective of running teams for the middle manager or line man and how to handle the demands that stem from both above and below. It seems like a cheap cop-out to write your book about C-level executives who appear to be free to steer their business willy-nilly.

Showa

An amazing historical record of pre-war Japan and an important read in light of our current political times. It is fascinating to watch how a progressive forward thinking government can be erroded and transformed into the fascist war machine just a few decades later.

Democracy Incorporated

I really like Steve Wolin’s idea of managed democracy. There are some good ideas in this book. However, I struggled to get over Steve’s apologetics for the Democractic party. It would reason that the Democrats are as much a part of managed democracy as the Republicans and share just as much of the blame for our failures. Elevating them up as the true will of the demos seems wishful thinking.

The Life Changing Tidying Up

People kept talking up this book, and I’ve been struggling this last year to really minimize my life. This would have been better as a pamphlet. There were a handful of useful tips, but they were all lost in the flood of prose.

Solanin

This is the fourth or fifth time through Solanin. At this point, I’ve read it at quiet a few different points in my life. As an unemployed post-collegiate student. As a young man starting hist first relationship. And now as a young man having been in a steady relationship for five years. It’s a rare book that continues to speak to you each time.

Stand Still Stay Quiet

Well written, absolutely beautiful modern take on a lot of Scandinavian lore. A zombie story, with monsterous trolls, ghosts of the dead, and a ravaged Europe. A lot of fun, although I’m begining to get the feeling that the characters have plot armor. The early story really built up the trolls as being nearly undefeatable. Scourging entire military operations. Laying waste to cities. Yet, our rag-tag team takes them out like to much butter.

Alive Grove

Jacques should stick with coffee shop banter. I just can’t take his style or characters seriously. Love QC though.

The Go Programming Language

One of my long standing complaints with language books is that so many of them are written for the absolute novice. The first section goes through different variable types. Basic boolean logic. Maybe by the later half of the book can we get into the meat of how to use the language to get things done. The Go Programming Language is excellently written not for that novice. Rather, it’s written for the experianced programmer trying to get started and productive with Go fast. In this respect The Go Programming Language succeeds amazingly.

Otherworld Barbara

A really good brain teasing science fiction text. Another volume that I simply had to read in a single night.

Games

Not mentioned, but started Pillars of Eternity, Borderlands II, Too the Moon, and some time on Graal Online and Eve Online.

Firewatch

Wow. It has been a long time since a game hooked me to the point where I stayed up until dawn just to see how it ended. The story, characters, atmosphere. The 80s era camping gear of my childhood drawing in that sense of western camping nostolgia. I’ve lived up at Black Rock. The game captures the feeling and remoteness of Wyoming.

Undertale

There were so many people on Facebook and Twitter that kept recommending this game to me. It took me three tries to actually get into the game. Each time I stopped right around where the skeletons appeared. The game play in Undertale is really simplistic, too simplistic. But after a slow start, it gains some momentum. It’s enough to get me to the end of the game, but not good enough that I would bother playing through it over again to get all of the endings.

Torchlight II

Torchlight II starts out very slowly, but becomes extremely fun in the late game once the characters have access to their full arsenol of spells. Unfortunately, this also seems to be the point in which game breaking bugs start to appear. We had enitre unplayable nights because of players not being able to join games or the AI simply bugging out and refusing to interact with us. For a game that’s been out for years, I would have hoped these issues would have been fixed by now.

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