Archive for the Personal Category

15 Years Of Scrobbles

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Lists, Music, Personal on February 10, 2021 by slateman

I started using Last.FM back in 2005 and in the 15+ years since, it’s consistently been part of my music-playing experience. Though numbers from before then are omitted, as are hundreds from the old iPod days, I’ve still clocked in almost 80,000 plays and today I’m sharing my top-10 most-played bands. It’s no surprise that Moonsorrow sits atop the heap – they did just recently become my favorite-band ever! This means the entries go as follows:

Finland – Finland – Sweden – Norway – Finland – Sweden – USA – Finland – Norway – Sweden.

Remarkable. Oh, and Slayer sits comfortably at #11. All my stats can be found here.

Playstation: Top Games 2020

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Personal on February 7, 2021 by slateman

Two items with which to preface this post. First, on my stats page, it says I (*ahem* my kids) played 64 hours of Bugsnax but yet that doesn’t sit in my top-three as shown here. Second – yes – that’s Skyrim as my #1 game of the year. Wow.

I love stats and despite their complete inaccuracy, I don’t care. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla shows about 55 hours on my PS4 and then another 55 on my PS5. Don’t know how Sony tabulates their math, but it’s simply wrong. Ultimately, however, my return to Skyrim was a wondrous affair, as I mentioned several months back. The merger of pandemic lockdown and a somewhat-family-friendly game meant I totally enjoyed diving back in and getting much farther than I did nearly a decade ago. I will admit that the 60fps mod on the PS5 gives me a bit of a tickle to re-return…but for now, my backlog is far too large to do such a thing.

The Elder Scrolls was supplanted by Far Cry 5, a not-so-family-friendly game which was as much fun as its predecessors. I’ll say, I’m fairly certain my leader for 2021 is Immortals: Fenyx Rising. I suppose I could check my PS5 to find out.

Some more final stats: I earned almost 800 trophies, topping 2019’s 536 – though I had 16 platinums that year thanks to the Vita and its shovelware library. Additionally, it claims I played 974 hours compared to 2019’s 351. I have a feeling that last year’s number is a bit shy of the real one – though I did move from Sweden to Italy in 2019.

2020 vs 2019

Disappeared

Posted in Blog, Personal on December 31, 2019 by slateman

I don’t know how many months I went without an update since this blog’s inception. A few, certainly, but definitely not multiple and absolutely not sequential ones. So, what’s happened to make me go almost three months without a word? Indifference.

My move to Italy has really diminished our spirits. The country itself may be beautiful, but where we reside in Napoli, is not. We don’t love it. We often hate it. And I dive into my writing to escape. But even that has an end and that end is approaching.

I’m unsure if 2020 will rejuvenate me or if it will continue the descent into the numbness. But let’s be clear, my life is fucking grand and I have no reason to be this way. I have more than most and maybe I just need a kick in the ass.

Until then, I suppose I should work on my AotY list. Disregard previous bitchfest. It’s probably not warranted.

Another Move – Another Country

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Personal on June 28, 2019 by slateman

It is with a heavy heart that I abandon my beloved Scandinavia. However, I cannot complain as southern Europe awaits and its 45° weather alongside it! These pages have been curiously quiet and will likely remain that way as my entire life is turned upside down for the second time in three years.

Wish me luck – This is an opportunity of a lifetime in an already-tumultuous 2019.

Super Mario Odyssey: Another Gem

Posted in Best / Worst, Games, Personal, Screenshots on May 12, 2019 by slateman

It’s no real secret that I love Mario games. But with new hardware not being as high a priority as it was a decade and a half ago, Mario’s Odyssey adventure would have to wait. Two years later and my son asked for a Switch and the game he wanted was Mario! Well, if we must oblige the 8-year-old! And so, we began.

It’s always a friendly, familiar welcome returning to the Mushroom Kingdom and this game plays remarkably well. The new focus on collecting moons is also a welcome change which keeps your sessions going for as long as you’d like and the itch to get ‘just one more moon’ is one that hearkens back to my early days of gaming. The game looks great, controls wonderfully and is the traditional mix of rigorous challenge and lighthearted romp.

Now that my moon-collecting tally grows towards 600, I’m left with some issues. Races suck; I loathe them. That final stage is just brutal, as it should be, I suppose, and I find my interest waning as the elusive 100% is still some 200 moons away. I’ll have to update my listings with this, though I’ll more than likely just stop playing at some point.

I’m hoping we get another Mario adventure on the platform. Games have become so huge making their offerings quite scant compared to the old days. Three Mario games on the NES? Good times, those were! For now, some of the better screenshots from my adventure. Now to go collect a few more moons!

Diamond Skewb Tutorial + Jaws DEATH

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Guides, Personal, Video on July 8, 2016 by slateman

A pair of recently-uploaded YouTube videos follow. The first is the long-gestating tutorial for the Diamond Skewb. I tried to make this video twice and both times the puzzle exploded on me. That just let pieces everywhere and no inspiration to fix/record a movie. So, I finally got around to it. This is an update to my Skewb & Skewb Diamond Algorithms post from last year.

The second video is just stupidity. This is from when I went to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2003. Mat and I were on the Jaws exhibit and as he rose from the depths, I got my camera right on in there and then…DEATH. Absurd. Don’t watch this, it’s a waste of your life.

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music, Personal with tags on May 4, 2013 by slateman

The Big 4 - Metallica. Slayer. Megadeth. Anthrax.They come and they go. People we don’t know, never met or spoke to, but who inspired or impressed us. Jeff Hanneman, the iconic lead guitarist of Slayer, the best live band I’ve ever seen (9x to be precise), is dead. Why should I care? He hasn’t played in Slayer full-time in two years. I’m not altogether in love with any new album in the past two decades. So…what’s the deal?

I’m bummed. There’s something about this that transcends Peter Steele, Layne Staley, Clive Burr or even Dimebag Darrel (though his was different because of circumstance.) This is because Jeff Hanneman was me. He was all of us. A normal guy, a scrappy metalhead who transcended fandom to become a legend. Is that glorifying a musician in a band whose songs include lyrics about Nazis, Satan and a whole lotta death? Hell yeah, and that is because the music was just that good. Today’s iPod rotation was a healthy dose of SLAYER! And while I don’t listen to the last few records, none are bad. They don’t have any miserable Countdown To Extinction, Black Album, I Hear Black, or Sound Of White Noise in their catalog. This band epitomized just about everything I love about music, about metal. And…to reiterate, they were the best band I’ve ever seen.

And maybe Jeff would’ve never rejoined the band, but it was always there in my mind that it could happen. Now it can’t. I think Gary Holt is one of the best guitarists out there. But he’s no Jeff Hanneman. I’m friggin’ bummed. I don’t know why it’s so bad. I can’t say it’s because he was SLAYER, can I? Would you understand?

Have you ever heard that one person at any show yelling it? 25 minutes before the band starts, during setbreak, during the tailgate. If you’ve heard it, you know…and if that is no more (the source, not the yelling), then it is a sad day indeed. Goddamnit…this sucks.

Guacamelee! Platinum!!!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Borderlands, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments, Personal, Uncharted with tags on April 17, 2013 by slateman

guacamelee!
I grabbed Guacamelee! last week and thoroughly enjoyed playing through it on both my PS3 and PSVita. The game is classic in so many senses. The tight controls, fun combat and spectacular visuals all made this a joy to work through. The fact that it was a Metroidvania game only helped.

Being on vacation, I was able to grab the game and play whenever I had a free moment and the Vita’s suspend option made it perfect. After beating it and 100%ing it, I went on to hard mode. Some of the arenas and bosses were tough (and cheap) but it all felt like small victories. It reminded me of getting my first platinum on Uncharted. While some areas were really tough, all you had to do was beat that one section. Games save after everything nowadays. Though I don’t want to remember that blue water room in UC. Nightmare.

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Anyways, Guacamelee! was a game I had on the horizon for a bit, and after getting another $10 free from PSN (that’s the third time they’ve given me free cash!!!) and a $3 PS+ discount (the best deal in gaming evah!) it was a no-brainer. Cross play only helped. I was uploading my save, playing on the PS3, uploading then playing back on the Vita. Brilliant. Well worth the cash and my seventh platinum!!!!

Speaking of: My other platinums: Uncharted 1-3, Borderlands, The Walking Dead and Resident Evil 5. All were worthy of my time.

And reflection time: We’re at the end of this cycle aren’t we? PS4/720 coming out in a few months. Looking back with a friend recently, this generation has had some *Great* games. I started writing an article on the best games of this generation. Never quite finished though. :)

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What I’m Playing: February Edition

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Personal on February 24, 2013 by slateman

gravityrush-katVacation week has been a bit insane here, really. In fact, they’ve been totally bat-shit crazy, but it’s OK; that’s life. In fact, I’ve had the chance to play some games this week. So, what’s what?

Gravity Rush
PS+ is the bomb, to reiterate the obvious. I grab everything that’s ‘free’ even if I don’t download it. Having beaten Uncharted: Golden Abyss and with zero interest in the arduous task of getting the platinum, I deleted that bad jackson and tossed on Wipeout. I’m not much of a racing fan though, so while it looked phenomenal, I deleted that too. Why not try Gravity Rush!? I’d tested out the demo and didn’t quite like it, really. However, it’s Free! The controls take some getting used to but it’s actually a pretty good game! And, in the process, I got a reminder about how much I love Japanese games. In the old days, I would pore through magazines, translate games and I loved it. The music, the quirky nature of Gravity Rush is wholly Japanese and I love it. Not sure if I’ll beat the game but it’s a fun romp while it’s lasting!

Aliens: Colonial Marines
I don’t need to say much more.

New Super Mario Bros. U
This game is traditional Mario fun. There is nothing like the feeling of running through the stage, full speed, bouncing off of enemies that were precisely placed for that purpose. There’s nothing better than looking at an area with a curious eye only to reveal a hidden coin in an invisible cave. The new Wii U controller is comfortable enough to play this familiar game. The HD visuals are nice, if not somewhat wasted. It’s Mario. It’s a mushroom. Sure, it’s nice to be in HD, but I’m waiting to see the Wii U play something gorgeous. Zelda is my first guess.

It’s the same game I’ve played before but it’s fun. I plan on getting every gold coin and unlocking whatever it is that unlocks. Sadly, after that, I’ll likely avoid the game for a while. As good as these games get, I rarely go back too much. Not like the classic, Super Mario Bros. 3 – probably my favorite game ever. *shrug*

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Stupid Updates A’coming…

Posted in Blog, Personal on February 22, 2013 by slateman

I haven’t updated in a few weeks and with reason. The first is that I’ve had so much cool stuff going on. The second is that I’ve had so much negative shit going on. I’m going to try to roll out some updates right now. Let’s see how this all goes…