Archive for November, 2016

Diablo III: Beat Diablo

Posted in Artwork, Blog, Games on November 27, 2016 by slateman

wallpaper031-1920x1080I started playing Diablo III back in 2014 but never really got motivated once Act 1 ended. I was hooked and then just lost interest. However, the local library here in Gothenburg has a decent collection of games and so with Reaper Of Souls on the PS4, I figured I’d try again. This game is great!

A friend of mine hates it, citing other, superior titles. However, I’ve no real experience outside of Torchlight and Torchlight II and I’m having fun! After battling through the first four acts and defeating Diablo, I was treated to the intro to the DLC expansion. BRUTAL! I’m totally digging this! I’ve upped the difficulty again and I fear I may have to drop it back, but for now, this is a spectacular game! With no broadband at home, I’m still waiting to get the patches that have come since. I’d love to get the art books for both the base game and for RoS. This is right up my alley.

Einherjer: Dragons Of The North XX

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on November 25, 2016 by slateman

dotn-xxHow is it at all possible the Viking-metal genre is as old as it is? Back in ’96, American metal had all but turned belly up. And throughout Europe, a new wave of awesomeness had already arisen. The first song I heard by 2014’s Album Of The Year winners was the infamous Firestarter Compilation. This brought to American shores a plethora of Euro-awesomeness including Satyricon, Emperor, Opeth, Borknagar, Old Man’s Child, Katatonia, Arcturus, Ophthalamia (*takes breath*) and more. I loved Einherjer but my first purchase after that would be Odin Owns Ye All and I was utterly disappointed. Almost as soon as I got into the band, I lost interest. I was left with an incredible three-song EP and Dragons Of The North. It’s one of those things though…as the sheer quantity of music coming from Norway and Sweden was so outrageous, it was easy not to appreciate just how incredible it was.

And so here we are, somehow 20 years down the line and while this re-recorded version is by no means necessary (the original is perfect), it’s fun. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Furthering the band’s philosophy taken from Av Oss, For Oss, they likely did this for themselves first and foremost. The record is as spectacular as it was then, perhaps I can appreciate it more now at 40 than I did at 20. (Well, I got it at 22, to be honest).

This won’t win AotY (that’s clearly going to Moonsorrow), but I’m psyched to be listening to it more than I have in well over a decade. This album fucking rocks.

TV Schedule: Autumn

Posted in Blog on November 14, 2016 by slateman

Living abroad has a plethora of positives. I’m loving it on so many levels. But it is challenging on others and keeping up with TV has been one of them. Things don’t air the same times here, obviously, as spoilers would ruin America and you know they can’t have that. So, here’s just a quick schedule of the shows I watch, for my own purposes!

Mon: Kevin Can Wait (Season 1)
Tue: This Is Us (Season 1)
Wed: Vikings (Season 4)
Thu: How To Get Away With Murder (Season 3)
Sat: Star Wars Rebels (Season 3)
Sun: The Walking Dead (Season 7)
Sun: Westworld (Season 1)

Stranger Things: So 80s. So Awesome!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Movies, Reviews on November 14, 2016 by slateman

stranger-thingsAfter hearing positive things, I asked around. My wife isn’t into sci-fi very much and I feared it would be too sci-fi-ey for her. Well, after six episodes in two nights, we are on the verge of finishing up season one, just three days after starting it.

The show is rooted in the 80s and everything feels like home. The setting, the decor of the houses, the camaraderie of the boys, it’s all 80s. It’s all like it was when I was a kid. And when the creepypasta happens, it’s classic! The silly tropes we allow past our radar are all there. Nowadays we have to explain everything in such detail. Back then…not so much. “Didn’t his mother notice he didn’t come home last night?” Sure, we could worry about it or we could just let it happen and enjoy it. It’s refreshing!

I’m so psyched to watch the final two episodes but it all happened so fast. It’s odd consuming entertainment in this fashion. While many broadcast shows still have the weekly schedule, watching an entire season in four days has its drawbacks. Do these shows impact us as much, considering we don’t have to wait seven days to reveal what happened to our favorite characters? It’s a double-edged sword but I’ll tell you, very little can stop me from finishing this ode to my youth this very evening. Then the dreaded wait until the next season comes! See how long it takes us to devour those episodes!!!

Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun – Not Bad!

Posted in Blog, Reviews, Tolkien on November 6, 2016 by slateman

tolkien_aotrou_itrounI’ve read all of the recent publications of the now-deceased-for-43-years author. And while I buy each and every one, that isn’t to say I enjoy them all. I actually found Beowulf nigh unreadable and The Fall Of Arthur a chore to read. The latter was only made easier by my experience with the tales. So, another entry into what formed Tolkien’s brilliant legendarium will be consumed, whether I like it or not. However, while the $25 purchase was read entirely on a Sunday morning, I found this one a likable and highly-readable lay. Much like his poems in The Lays Of Beleriand (of which, clearly, The Lay Of Leithian is the greatest, more on this below), this is a fun read which took me back to my first time reading Tolkien’s work. In fact, it’s possibly superior to the rather generic, “Such power, strength like a tower” portions which plagued some of his other lays. The Lay Of Aotrou And Itroun, steeped in British and Celtic folklore was a colorful read, albeit brief, and one which I would return to (unlike The Fall Of Arthur). I should also add that his take on Kullervo last year was likely my favorite of the recent releases.

Next year will mark 44 years since my beloved author’s death, but fear not, yet another entry into my library will inevitably be purchased. The Tale of Beren and Lúthien shall sit upon my shelf, next to this lovely copy of Aotrou And Itroun. While this tale has been told, both in my most-revered novel, The Silmarillion but also in the aforementioned The Lay Of Leithian. I suspect nothing new will be presented here, nor will it feature an overhauled made-for-novelization form like The Children Of Húrin did a decade before it. But return I must, to perhaps the most epic tale of Tolkien’s canon: The story of Beren the One-Handed and his nightingale Tinúviel. Just tell me where to place my money. And then tell me what Tolkien releases for the 45th anniversary of his death.