Virtual Jehovah

Dear friends and readers,

I woke up this morning with an unexpected acceptance/publication, and I am passing the piece onto you.

This story is in a publication I have not been featured in before called “The Library of Rejected Beauty” which publishes stories that have been rejected by other places. This particular story has been rejected 4 times before and I had almost given up on it. Glad I didn’t, perhaps you will be glad to after you read it… or maybe not.

This is a particularly anti-religious story, ironically published the day before Easter, and thus has a more limited reading demographic. But for those limited readers, I hope you enjoy.

“Virtual Jehovah” | Library of Rejected Beauty | 3/31/2018

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Brittle Lung Syndrome

I have for your enjoyment on this first day of spring (not that you’d know it if you live around here with the Nor’easter and all) my first story published this year. Now perhaps some of you might remember earlier this year I had sent out a post with a new publication (Schiesskopf 88)… but, that story was actually published at the tail end of last year and I didn’t notice until a few weeks later. So this story is officially the first of 2018… and what a story it is.

This one is a little heavier, I’ll warn you of that, but it plays to one of the best punch line endings I’ve done yet. I came up with the unusual premise of this story way back in I think 1995, and then wrote it in 2011, and it’s been rejected 8 times since then. also by odd coincidence this story is 4,444 words long and it is my 44th story published. Naturally, I am very glad to see it in its digital print medium after all these years.

I hope you all enjoy:

“Brittle Lung Syndrome or a Healthy Interest in Tobacco” | The Ginger Collect| Issue Five

David and the Secrets of the Gnomes

So here’s something a little more in line with the obscurity symposium, something more obscure for your enjoyment. The Secrets of the Gnomes by Rein Poortvliet and Wil Huygen. It’s written in the form of a travel-log, technically a self-inject fantasy, although the background information on the two writers is scant to non-existent, in fact their names are never actually used in the book, though their image is. The book is full of beautiful warm paintings of gnomes, gnome technology, gnome culture, and landscapes.

The book takes place in Lapland and Siberia in the late winter, which I love anyway. I keep telling my wife we should move there, I’ve actually done a lot of google earthing the Lapland area recently, and to me it seems it’s a cold paradise.

This book is generally plugged as a children’s book, but I don’t think it really is. There are a few images of bear chested Gnome women and at least two images alluding to gnome intercourse. Clearly this is a European children’s book, they really are much more progressive.

There is a whole lot I’d like to say about this book, but it really is something you should experience for yourself, I wouldn’t want to spoil the book, and given the vast amount of paintings, within the book, I really can’t do it justice with words. The book does get stranger the further on you go, and that’s always a good thing.

How much do I like this book? Well, I read it for the first time in the summer of 2016 (a library copy), my wife got me the book for Christmas that year, and since then I’ve read it every winters, and it’s not all that short (though there are a lot of pictures), every time I read it (three times now), there are things that I didn’t notice the last time. In this last reading, the sandman and the arms of morphious, seemed to stand out more than they have in readings past.

You may be wondering how or where I stumbled on this book. When I was a kid there was a barely remembered TV show in nickelodeon called “David the Gnome” or properly “The Adventures of David the Gnome” I only had a minute sliver of memory of this show, but I did remember that I liked it. A few years ago I got a friend of mine to order me the complete series off Amazon, 2 seasons, 26 episodes, on 4 discs.

The only episode I remembered specifically involved David’s niece getting caught in a melting lake, but as it turns out I don’t think this was actually an episode from this series (though I’m not sure what else it could have been from). After watching the series again, many years later, a few of them started to come back, but not that many.

One thing that this show is (or could be) memorable for, is the fact that Tom Bosley does the voice of David, he played Charley (from Charley’s Angles) and also the father from Happy Days. His voice is instantly recognizable. I should point out that the show was actually originally made for Spanish TV (i.e. television in Spain proper), and in the English translated version which I have, there are a lot of instances of characters talking over one another. I thought that it was just a strange anomaly at first, but then when I realized that English was not the show’s native language, perhaps it has to do with the dubbing. I can’t find any confirmation or denial as to whether or not Bosley did the voice in both the English and Spanish versions or just the English, though it appears that the narrator, Christopher Plumber (from “The Sound of Music”), did not narrate the Spanish version.

What I definitely didn’t remember about the show was the general theme, and had I remembered I may have forgone getting the DVD, though that would have ultimately been a mistake. The titular David is and animal doctor, which means that the vast majority of the episodes involve, to one degree or another, an animal suffering. Granted there is only one episode where one of the animals dies, and said death is only briefly metioned, it is still difficult to watch. I am an animal lover and I hate seeing them suffering, even if David cures what ails them. Incidences such as the two bucks getting their horns tangle when they fight over the same doe is light and funny enough, but most of the time the various medical cases are much more serious.

How much do I like this TV show? Well I watch it every year, usually two or three times a year. I would probably put it as my 4th favorite show of all time, and favorite cartoon of all time.

I have not seen the last episode. The first episode opens with David explaining that he and his wife are 399 years old, and that Gnomes live to the age of 400. In the last episode they reach this age, I can’t even make it through the teaser that comes at the end of the next to last episode. Even that episode (the next to last) is difficult to watch, as David give’s his most prized possession to a human doctor friend of his. Given all this maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t “officially” end other kid’s shows with a farewell episode. Even though the typical procedure of pulling the cord on a show when it is no longer “big” may leave the dedicated viewers at the time confused or pissed off, it works to an advantage in later years , by makingthe show seem like it’s gone on forever. As for this two fold review, I think it’s gone one long enough.

Slitzweitz.

Mega DVD Marathon Episode 3 “The B’s”

Back to the Future Trilogy: a very well presented box set with all three movies and a number of special features. Unfortunately one of those special features is a featurette about the making of the movie hosted by Kurt Cameron, so its unwatchable. Unfortunately still none of the features are episodes of the cartoon TV show. But more unfortunate then any of this is that it doesn’t work in the PS2, so I didn’t get to watch it this time around. Too bad, I was looking forward to it, I’ll have to save it for when I get a new DVD player. I did watch the movies 2 years ago on and shortly after Back to the Future day, and I even posted a very long article on the movies on the same day, you can read it here.

Beetle Bailey: the Complete Collection – I don’t know if this is the entire series since it does not say “complete series” so if there are more Beetle Bailey cartoons I don’t know. I think it might be though, because there are some off color jokes that would not fly these days (such as a the man who runs the Chinese restaurant) as you know from the last episode, I already have one side of a DVD full of beetle Bailey cartoons, from my “Animated All Stars” DVD. Most of these episodes are included on the first disk in this set. The second disk is more of the same, a low middle rang cartoon that I won’t likely be going back to all that often, it still good for my collection being a somewhat obscure cartoon. There is a bonus episode that seems to be made a little later on, loaded with references that most kids wouldn’t get (a departure from the normal format), that bonus episode is probably better then the rest of them by a good amount.

Beetlejuice – I must have seen this movie when I was a kid but I don’t quite remember either way. I definitely had a few of the toys, and I still have one of the backers to one, and an unopened action figure hanging on my wall. I remember watching it again in or around 1998 on Comedy Central late at night, spending the night in the office (which I frequently did on the weekends, a very long story that I’m not going to get into here and probably not ever). I watched it again in 2013, and then finally picked it up in probably 2014-15 when I began to collect DVDs heavily again. At this point it is one of my yearly October movies. Needless to say, I like it a lot. It’s not scary but creepy, strange, sad, and funny. It has a great cast: a very young Alec Baldwin, a young Winona Ryder, Jeffery Jones (Who’s is a great actor despite is considerable personal problems, and has been great in all the other films I e seen him is) Glenn Shadix (who was on a very yearly episode of Seinfeld), and the show stopping Michael Keeton as the titular Beetlejuice. I love the scene at the very end where Beetlejuice is waiting in the afterlife next to a headshrinker and his victim (the victim is action figure I have in the box, and from what I can tell it looks to be the most valuable toy in my collection). I don’t usually watch the special features, but here I have to, because it has 3 episodes from the Beetlejuice cartoon, which I’d like to get the complete sears of at some time, but we’ll see when that will happen. A must watch movie in every way.

Big Money Hustlas – Back in high school I was a big ICP fan, this was their first movie, years later there was a western spoof prequel called Big Money Rustlers but I haven’t seen it and likely won’t as I am not a fan of their music anymore, I could go into why, but that’s an article for another time… maybe. Despite this however, this movie remains quite funny, a guilty pleasure in every sense, I laughed many times despite having seen this movie an awful lot (a long time ago), and with every laugh I questioned why I found it funny and told myself I shouldn’t. With all that being said, it’s not a movie I’d recommend to a whole lot of people, there’s a lot of f-words in it, cellulose quality is bad and some of the acting is stiff, outside of a Juggalo not many people will enjoy this one. But I’m not and I still do.

The Birdcage – Like Beetlejuice once said about the exorcist, this movie gets funnier every single time. This is the third time I watched it, the first time watching my own copy which I picked up very recently at a library sale. I made the mistake of turning it on at 1:15 in the morning, thinking I would give it an hour and go to bed, but the movie is damn near impossible to stop watching, and damn near impossible to have on in the background and do something else. The last time I watched it movie was in 2014 shortly after Robin Williams died and the film club (at my behest) scrapped our slated movie to do one of his instead. For years I’ve been saying that “What Dreams May Come” is my favorite Williams movie (not counting Aladdin), but I may have to change that to the Birdcage. My only problem with the movie is they open and close with the same song “We Are Family” which is one of my least favorite songs from the disco era (an era I already have mixed feelings about at best), it makes sense at the end but they should have picked something else for the beginning. Why do I have a feeling that’s going to be the wake up song tomorrow? I should watch this movie every year during pride week along with the other gay movies in my collection. However I only have 2 or 3 others in my collection: rocky (the original and the remake) and Short Shorts which will get to in quite a while.

Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance – for anyone unfamiliar this is a very good very weird movie. 2014 happened to be a really good year in film and this movie took top prize winning best picture at the 87th Academy Awards. I already did a blog post on it so I won’t go into it too much here. This is the second time I’ve watched it, and even though I was playing video games while watching, I got even more out of it. This is a movie that should be watched multiple times to be understood.

The Blare Witch Project – I baught this movie off a friend of mine a long time ago, probably within the first year of owning a DVD player, but I don’t watch it too often, and now it’s not at all. A lot of people give this movie crap, but in all Honesty it is terrifying. Also noted as one of the first “found footage” movies. It’s too scary for me to watch, so I skipped it.

The Bob Cummings Show – This is a dollar store slim case DVD that my dad got me for Christmas a long time ago. He got it for me because (if I remember right) there were a handful of episodes where the titular character would fly/drive his hybrid airplane car (a 1960 Aerocar). Believe it or not I’ve actually seen this car in person at a strange museum in the middle of nowhere. There was a belief at the time that, like the car, aircraft would be commonplace to the American household. This never happened of course and will likely not happen, but the reasons for this are for another time. Unfortunately the Aerocar is featured in the opening segments of “The New Bob Cummings Show” and this DVD is the original. I don’t think that I ever watched this DVD before, but it was open so maybe I had. The show is about a professional photographer who is also a air force pilot (the duality of which didn’t make a whole lot of sense) then again I know virtually nothing about the millitery. The first episode was pretty good. My only complain this is that audio was very bad and difficult to make out what they were saying. This does happen somewhat frequently on these Bargain basement DVDs. Maybe I’ll watch it again when the AC isn’t running to get a better idea of it. From the selection here it seems like Beetle Bailey in live action. Again, the military is not my thing.

Bulworth – this is only the second time I’ve watched this movie, the first time was back in the late 90’s at a friends home theater (the same friend that I bought the Blade Witch Project from). Very political and slightly arty comedy from the mid 90’s. Back when I watched it the first time I enjoyed rap music a lot more, less so nowadays, but this movie does show it as a interesting art form. It’s interesting to see this movie now in the current political climate. The movie also has a small role from Christine Baranski, who’s acting I enjoy an awful lot and I find very attractive and always have. She was also in the Birdcage. I should watch this movie more often, maybe after an election on a yearly or quadrennial basis.

The Brak Show Vol. 1 – This is a very funny show, and the humor has grown on me since I last watched it (which was quite a while ago I’m guessing). The pairing of a 50’s era family sitcom with the intense bombast of the titular character and setting it on some alien plant with myriad alien life forms and robots make for a brilliant show in every way. If you don’t get quickly annoyed with Brak’s voice, there are many golden nuggets of comedy in this show. I really should get the other two volumes and finish off the series. Thinking about it more, after watching the DVD a few days ago, I can’t seem to get a lot of the lines and various Brak songs out of my head, it’s that funny. I’ve always put this show bellow a lot of the other adult swim staples, obvious it’s going to be ranked bellow Sealab 2021 (almost anything is, it’s my fourth favorite show of all time, and don’t worry the others on that list will all be discussed eventually) but I might have to put it higher then Aqua Teen, Robot Chicken and Harvey Birdman.

Burns & Allen Vol 2 – Just like the Bob Cummings show this was a dollar store DVD Xmas gift. Again I don’t know if I ever watched it before. The show was pretty funny, with a lot of jokes based on linguistic inaccuracies (think of the “don’t call me Sheryl” joke from airplane). Despite this show being over 65 years old the jokes are fresh and the situations somewhat relateable. And that’s the end of the B’s. Thanks for sticking with it, if any of you have.

100 Best NES Games – Episode 2

Intro – in episode one I went over the contents of the multicart in question. In this episode we will finally get to some game play. But first let me explain the system. There a lot of games to get through, as I’ve already explained the title is misleading, and unlike other multicarts it is actually under-advertised (in name) as there are 143 games on the cart, all of them original and unique. The plan is to play each game for 15 minutes. Going in that system it will take me just under 36 hours to get through them all. Most of the RPG’s I’m not likely to invest much time in (and I’ll explain why when we get to that), and some other games I may punk out of before the 15 minutes are up. The first batch of 10 in this review are not the alphabetical firsts like the rest will be, but the 10 I am most interested in, and for these games I’ll be spending an hour on each. So without further adu, here they are.

Little Samson – to be completely honest, this is the one and only reason I was interested in getting this multicart. As far as I’m concerned this is a little Samson game with 142 bonus games thrown in. I was actually in the market for a little Samson repro when I stumbled across this cartridge. For those of you that don’t know, this is one of the most valuable licensed games for the NES (clocking in at >1k$ loose), maybe the most valuable next to Stadium Events, and it’s also one of the best on the system. Don’t let the name fool you, this is not a color dreams bible game, it’s a 100% perfect action platformer, you have 4 characters to choose from at any point in the game each with different abilities: the title character who can shoot and climb walls, a dragon who can shoot and fly for a lengthy (though limited) time, a rock monster with a very powerful punch ample health and the ability to walk on spikes without taking damage, and a little mouse that can climb walls and drop bombs. You need certain characters to get through certain spots and the mouse is almost useless because of his 2 bar health meter (at least for me at this point, I’m sure there are savants that can beat the game using primarily the mouse, but I’m not one of them). Anyway in an hour of play (which was hard to put down at that point) I made it all the way to level 4, you got to love unlimited continues (the lack of which is my main problem with video games of this era), plus it has a simple 4 character password save, and if you want to see where I left off after the hour run, plug in 5JSQ. If you don’t want to spend a grand for the game on eBay or Amazon, and don’t want to pick up a multicart, then you can play it on vizzed board. That’s where I first played it.

Kickle cubicle – Really fun puzzle game, which is in my opinion what the NES was best at. I first came across this game on a surprisingly sad Pat the NES Punk video which was inevitably pulled off YouTube because he used a song he didn’t have the rights too. After watching said video I played it on vizzed board and put it high on my wish list (I’ll still pick it up if I find it). The premise is to freeze the bad guys and kick them to make ice bridges to collect all the fruit on the level. In an hour of play I made it to level 4 of Fruit World, which is the second of 6 or 8 worlds. Oddly enough the first boss battle acts as a sort of gate keeper and is at the beginning of the second world and not the end of the first world. I think this is the first time I’ve come across this. If you want to pick up where I left off the Password is: KKKb dKCF have fun.

Contra – Well what can be said about Contra? Widely considered one of the best games on the NES, a prime example of good controls, the archetype for all “good” run and gun shooters. What I think is the most convincing evidence for why it’s so good is the price. The game is very common yet commands a 40$ price tag if you can find it, that’s because it’s the game everyone wants and few are willing to part with (supply and demand). It may be the first game I’ve ever played ever, back in the 80’s in Indonesia, where my friend had mistakenly called it “Rambo” and really this should have been the Rambo game, but what can you do. I played this game a fair amount (before I got this semi-physical copy) on vizzed board when I first got really into retro games in 2014, but never got all that far. This time though, I beat the game in about 40 minutes. Yes of course I was using the 30 lives code. Apparently according to the Ultimate NES Guide Book there is another code for unlimited lives but I could never make it work, but I guess I didn’t need too. The game is very hard (without the code) but I think that if I kept playing it enough I could probably get through it. I also plan on picking it up if I see it anywhere, because the price tag is not too unreasonable and it’s fairly important in my personal video game history. This is one to come back to many many times.

Zombie nation – A very strange game, very strange, probably the weirdest game on the cart, and maybe even the system itself. At heart it’s a bullet hell horizontal shooter, your craft (if you will) is a disembodied head that shoots projectiles from his eyes and mouth. Blowing everything up with in his path. I was getting this game confused with the homoerotic shooter Cho Aniki, but I later realized that they are not related, other than that they are both very strange shooters. Even after playing for an hour I didn’t do very good as it is quite hard: I Almost beat round 1 (level’s are called “rounds”), about half way through round 2 and 3, and barely anything in round 4. It is a good pick up and play if you only have a few minutes to game. But if you play it for a while you’re thumbs will hurt. You better belive I was listening to Kernkraft 400 while I was playing it too.

Ducktales – perhaps it was because my head was filled with scattered thoughts after watching a depressing (but very good) movie, and I seemed to be in kind of a funk, but I did not enjoy this game. In fact I only played this and the following game for 15 minutes each. It almost seems sacrilegious to give this game a negative review, Ian Ferguson (co-host of the CU Podcast along with Pat the NES Punk) rates this as his all-time favorite game, while many others have rated it quite high as well. Given all that it might be fair to give the game another shot at some point with a more focused mind and better overall attitude. I have the remastered version on the Wii U and I like that game an awful lot, but this game, with the limited lives and the goofy controls (press A then down then hold B to do the pogo) really started to piss me off after the third or fourth game over. Maybe, after giving this game an hour or two I can get a handle on it (I remember some frustration in the remastered version, even though those controls are simplified). I will probably still give this game another shot and do a comparative analysis between it and the remastered version at some point, but tonight just simply was not the night to do it.

Skate or die – this game is a little more mixed in opinion than Ducktales, and only receives 3 stars in the Ultimate NES Guide, I personally gave it 2. It suffers from the same problem as World Games. The method of playing all 5 of the different Mini games is not remotely fun or intuitive. I’d have to look up instructions on how to play, but I don’t particularly want to and really shouldn’t have to, this is one of the advantages of modern games over retro games (one of only a few I might add), they will explain how to generally play the game in the first level or two. Being a skateboarder almost 20 years ago, I can easily say that some of things you do in the game are easier to do in real life, this is especially true with the downhill race and the goofy steering controls. I wasn’t expecting Tony Hawk here of course, but it still should have been something better than this.

Casltevania – I never really played these games before, but I’ve heard much about them. A good friend of mine from college was a big fan of the series. This experience I got to say was pretty good. The whip makes for an interesting weapon and there is a variety of secondary weapons to pick up along the way. One down side though is you can’t use other acquired secondary weapons, you’re stuck with whatever until you get a new one or die, and if you’re like me you’ll probably be dyeing a lot. In one hour I was able to make it to level 3. The game is somewhat hard but the (seemingly) unlimited continues make it worth grinding away and learning the patterns to complete. If I gave this game some serious time I think I could probably get through it. The bigger down side is that there is no password save so I would have to play it a lot. Not too soon though, I have too much stuff to get through at this juncture.

Flintstones 2 – It’s a little deceiving, it’s listed on the menu as Flintstones 2, but it’s actually called “The Flintstones: the Surprise at Dinosaur Peak.” Just like Samson (a line form really good song btw) this is one of the Holy Grails of NES collecting, going for close to 900$ loose. It is believed that this game was a Blockbuster exclusive and never available for general perches. Also like Little Samson it’s an outstanding game and single handedly worth the 50$ price tag of this multicart. The game uses Barney and Fred interchangeably with the select button. Barney can climb wires and shoot a week slingshot, Fred has a club and can climb up edges of walls, and they both can duck (kind of) by putting their heads under there collars a la the show. You will need to switch often in order to progress. The game isn’t particularly difficult with unlimited continues. If I gave myself a couple sessions at a couple hours a piece I think I could beat it, and that’s something I may want to try at some point. In this one hour play through I made it to (and almost beat) level 4 (out of 6 or 8 I’m not sure).

Bubble Bobble – I’ve heard good things about this game, and while playing it I did enjoy it, a simple puzzle plat former with a somewhat simple design and cute background music. The one problem I had with the game was that it was very glitchy with partial sprites flickering across the screen especially as the action on the screen became busier. I don’t know why this is, I get the feeling that this has something to do with the cart and not so much the game itself, or maybe even the consul (remember these are all being played on the Retron 2). This is the first game I’ve played where glitches have been noticed and are to the point of making the game significantly more difficult. Truth be told, i’ve sampled other games on this cart besides the 8 listed above, and all of them have worked more or less fine. As for the game itself, as a dragon you go around blowing bubbles, at enemies, then you stomp them so they turn into candy or fruit which you pick up, there’s around 60 stages I believe, each laid out with different platform patterns. I made it to level 17 (by using some king of warp mechanism), and the password obtained is: AABBI. It’s a fun game and my type of game, and if I see it loose I might pick it up if I can figure out the glitch problem.

Tiny Toon Adventure 1 – many years ago I had a Tiny Toon game for the Genesis, and I was hopping that this might be a slimmed down NES version of that game. It is not. this is a mislabeled title, it is not the first Tiny Toon Adventure, it is Tiny Toon Adventure: Cartoon Workshop. The game is not really a game at all but an animation program, and not a great one, it’s asking too much of the system, and it’s a bit hard to understand (though there are certainly harder games to figure out). In the 15 minutes I played this one I made a suggestive video with Babs and Buster.

Scheisskopf 88

Well, evidently I was wrong, I did not have 14 stories published last year, I actually had 15, one I did not know about. I knew it was coming just not that it had already come and went. In fact it was published on the day I sent my last new published piece post saying that I didn’t expect to have any more published in the year (go figure).

This Story “Scheisskopf 88” is my dad’s favorite story of all the ones I’ve written, and I’m sure you’ll understand why after reading it. Enjoy.

“Scheisskopf 88” | Independent Noise | Issue 1.3

The Numbers

So in closing off 2017, here is the raw data of what I’ve accomplished this year:

The Hours

  • Hours Spent Writing: 605
  • Hours Spent Reading: 561
  • Hours Spent Watching Movies: 92
  • Hours Spent Playing Video Games: 447
  • Hours Spent Video Editing: 63
  • Hours Spent Writing Music: 4

The Writings

  • Pieces Published: 14
  • New Pieces Written: 23
  • New Pieces Written (finished): 16
  • Blog Posts Posted: 26

The Books & Stories

  • Books Read: 37
  • Books Read (for the 1st time): 28
  • Books Read (on paper): 5
  • Stories Read: 163

The Movies

  • Movies Watched: 69
  • Movies Watched (for the 1st Time): 44
  • Video’s made: 18

The Collecting

  • Video Games Collected: 23
  • Vinyl Records Collected: 29
  • DVD’s Collected: 40

Explanations

Remember the hours are not 100% accurate, this post was written a few days before the end of the year, and some of the times have been estimated, however i would expect it to be 97% accurate. 

“Pieces” usually refers to either a short story or flash fiction, though it can mean an essay, a poem a novella or even a novel; it does not refer to a blog post. By finished I mean that the piece has been written and edited to the point where I can (and have) shown it to other people.

As for the goals I had set for myself and how these numbers compare with last year.

I actually did much less reading this year, about a hundred hours less in fact. This is mostly because of a large number of nights that I skipped my hour of reading before bed. Some nights because I just wasn’t in the mood, and other night because I actually would write for an hour before going to bed… which brings us to the next segment.

Every year my goal is to do about 2 hours of writing a day, this is a very heavy goal to hit though, this year (perhaps my most productive yet) I was still shy of the goal by roughly 20 minutes a day.

I spent almost no time on music this year, that will change next year… and I don’t have to do very much to do “more” … but I will… don’t worry.

This year I wanted to watch one new movie a week. I fell short of this goal, but came close with 44 new movies. If you count the all movies (both one’s I’ve seen before and ones I haven’t) then I far accessed this goal with 69 movies. I’d like to raise both numbers by a couple points next year, and as for now I see that being a likely scenario.

The only goal I wanted to cut back on was video game playing, and I am proud to say that I did. 447 hours of video game playing may seem like a lot (and it is a lot too of course) but it is still almost a hundred hours less then I played last year. Maybe if I cut back to about 400 hours that would be good, but I don’t want to cut down too much on something I enjoy.

We’ll see what happens next year. Thank you for staying with me through all the ups and downs that 2017 has thrown my way. You know I would do the same for you constant reader. Happy New Year.

Playing and Collecting (2017)

Playing and Collecting

I am a man of only a few hobbies. You can count writing as one of them if you like, but I consider it a craft, and it takes up most of the time (well a lot of the time). My “hobbies” are: Movies (which I’ve already done a lengthy update page on), Video Games, and Collecting. So new to this year of Yearly Updates I have this page consisting of lists of: Video Games Beaten, Video Games Played Heavily, Video Games Collected, DVD’s Collected, and Vinyl Records Collected. For your interest and curiosity.

Video Games Beaten:

  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn
  • Contra (with Konami Code)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (main story)
  • Shovel Knight (Shovel of Hope campaign)
  • Shovel Knight (Specter of Torment campaign)
  • Shovel Knight (Plague of Shadows campaign)
  • Aladdin (Genesis Version)
  • Link’s Crossbow Training (all platinum several times)
  • Golf (NES)
  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 (100% with 7 skaters)
  • Flight iPhone (main mode and 33 of 40 challenges)

Video Games Played Heavily (Not Beaten):

  • Yoshi’s Woolie World
  • 100 Best NES Games (see ongoing review),
  • Toy Blast (on the iPhone)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Hero Mode)
  • Taz Escape from Mars
  • Empires and Puzzles
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • GTA Vice City

Video Games Collected

  • Yoshie’s Woolie World w/ Blue Amibo (Wii U)*
  • 100 Best NES Games (NES)*
  • Story of the Seasons: Trio of Towns (3DS)*
  • Pikmin 3 (WII U)*
  • Nintendoland (Wii U)
  • Battletoads (NES)
  • Back to the Future II&III (NES)
  • Jack Nickols’ Greatest 18 Holes Major Championship Golf (NES)
  • Othello (NES)
  • World Games (NES)
  • Dick Tracy (NES)
  • Incredible Crash Dummies (NES)
  • Three Stooges (NES)
  • Talespine (Genesis)
  • Lion King (SNES)
  • Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (NES)
  • Wheel of Fortune (NES)
  • Backyard Skateboarding (GBA)*
  • Charlott’s Web (GBA)*
  • Hey Pickman (3DS)*
  • Just Dance 2014 (Wii U)
  • Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)*

DVD’s Collected

  • Amelie
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Batman the Movie
  • Beetle Bailey (the Complete Collection)
  • The Birdcage
  • Birdman: or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
  • Bullworth
  • Cheers Seasons 1-6*
  • Dick Tracy (1990)*
  • Ducktales Vol. 1*
  • Batman: The Movie
  • Batman*
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Family Guy: Blue Harvest
  • Farce of the Penguins
  • Fraggle Rock Season 2
  • Frazier Seasons 1-6*
  • Fritz the Cat & the Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  • Goosebups (2015)*
  • The Great Muppet Caper*
  • Heathcliff (the Complete Series)*
  • Heathers*
  • Hitler the Rise of Evil*
  • Icons of Comedy*
  • Immortal Beloved
  • Johnny Test Seasons 1&2
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Office Space
  • Pink Panther – A Pink Christmas
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016)*
  • RoboCop*
  • School House Rock: Earth Songs*
  • Sideways
  • Sour Grapes*
  • South Park Season 3
  • This Is Spinal Tap*
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • The Legend of Prince Valiant Vol. 1*
  • The VVitch*
  • The Legend of Zelda (the Complete Series)* 

Vinyl Collected

  • Benefactor by Romeo Void
  • Deathcrush by Mayhem
  • Face Value by Phil Collins
  • The Flat Earth by Thomas Dolby
  • A Flock of Seagulls (Self titled)
  • Genesis (Self titled)
  • Hello, I Must Be Going by Phil Collins
  • Hi-Infidelity by REO Speedwagon
  • Human’s Lib by Howard Jonas
  • Hunting High and Low by A-Ha
  • The Immaculate Collection the by Madonna*
  • Invisible Touch by Genesis
  • Moving Pictures by Rush*
  • No Jacket Required by Phil Collins
  • Out of the Cellar by Ratt
  • Princess’ Day by Skylark*
  • Reach for the Sky by Ratt
  • Rhythm of Youth by Men Without Hats
  • Secret by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
  • Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go by Soft Cell
  • Transfer Affection by A Flock of Seagulls
  • Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles
  • Sign in Please by Autograph
  • Space Police: Defenders of the Crown by Edguy*
  • We Are the World by USA for Africa
  • What Up Dog by Was (Not Was)
  • Jody Watley (Self titled)
  • Tiger Tiger by Duran Duran
  • R.E.O Speedwagon (Self titled)

* = Sealed Games, Records & DVD’s, all others were used. 

Movies (2017)

New Movies Watched:

(Best to Worst)

  • The VVitch
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Brick
  • Dead Again
  • Double Indemnity
  • The End of the Tour
  • The Toxic Avenger
  • The Ref
  • A Man Called Ove
  • Batman the Movie
  • Grumpy Old Men
  • Run Lola Run
  • Fritz the Cat
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • My Daughter is Missing
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  • Dick Tracy (1945)
  • Conan the Destroyer
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Out of Africa
  • Used Cars
  • Fando Y Lis
  • The Milky Way
  • Clue
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared
  • God’s Gun
  • Bulldog Drummond’s Peril
  • Time Raiders
  • Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge
  • The Pale Face
  • Genesis: A History
  • British Intelligence
  • His Private Secretary
  • Palooka
  • False Pretenses
  • Kuttsukiboshi
  • Sour Grapes
  • Doomed to Die
  • The Front Page
  • The Last of the Wild Horses (MST3K)
  • The Flying Deuces
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Swiss Army Man
  • Cocaine Fiend

Movies Watched (in order):

  • God’s Gun
  • Bulldog Drummond’s Peril
  • Time Raiders
  • Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge
  • The Front Page
  • The Pale Face
  • Grumpy Old Men
  • The Flying Deuces
  • Groundhog Day*
  • What’s Up Tiger Lilly*
  • Airplane*
  • British Intelligence
  • His Private Secretary
  • Palooka
  • False Pretenses
  • Fando Y Lis
  • The Milky Way
  • Dead Again
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • The Last of the Wild Horses (MST3K)
  • Run Lola Run
  • The End of the Tour
  • Harold and Kumar go to White Castle*
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory*
  • Cocaine Fiend
  • Who Framed Rodger Rabbit*
  • What About Bob*
  • 1776*
  • Africa Screams*
  • Airplane*
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters*
  • Beetlejuice*
  • Out of Africa
  • Big Money Hustlas’*
  • The Birdcage*
  • Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance*
  • Fritz the Cat
  • My Daughter is Missing
  • 1776*
  • A Man Called Ove
  • Swiss Army Man
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared
  • The VVitch
  • Waking Ned Devine*
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  • Sour Grapes
  • Christmas Vacation*
  • Batman the Movie
  • Brick
  • Dick Tracy (1945)
  • Beetlejuice*
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory*
  • Ghostbusters*
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail*
  • Ghostbusters II*
  • Double Indemnity
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show*
  • A Clockwork Orange*
  • 2001: A Space Odousy*
  • Clue
  • Conan the Barbarian*
  • Used Cars
  • Conan the Destroyer
  • Doomed to Die
  • Genesis: A History
  • The Ref
  • Enter the Dragon
  • The Toxic Avenger
  • It’s a Wonderful Life*

Readings (2017)

New Books:

(Best to Worst)

  • Hawaii by James Michener
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfell
  • The Short Stories Vol. I by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • A Blueprint for Armageddon by Dan Carlin
  • Last Orders by Harry Turtledove
  • A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
  • The Uncuppling by Meg Wolitzer
  • The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
  • Seinfeldia by Jennifer Armstrong
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  • The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena by R.L. Stine*
  • American Peril by Dan Carlin
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neal DeGrass Tyson
  • Eyewitness Explorer by Rupert Matthews*
  • The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler
  • Knots: Stories by Gunhild Øyehaug*
  • The High Window by Raymond Chandler
  • The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCafferty
  • How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack by Chuck Sambuchino*
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Graham Smith
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Old Books:

  • This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly for Me) by Bruce McCall*
  • The Best of DFW by David Foster Wallace
  • The Secrets of the Gnomes by Rein Poortoliet*
  • The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  • Scary Stories: to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz*
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Stories Read

There are a lot of exclusions in this list. I’ve actually read a total of 156+ non book length fictions this year (Flash Fiction, Short Story, Long Story, Novella), but the list below excludes stories reread, stories I helped work on in one way or another, and stories that were part of larger collections that I read and either finished plan on finishing soon. That boils down to 29 stories remaining (many of which are from the New Yorker… but not all)

  • Tossing and Turning by Calvin Trillin
  • Jimmy’s Fight Song by Rebecca Ellis
  • Mystery Novels Inspired by a Co-Working Space by Zain Khalid
  • Crazy They Call Me by Zadie Smith
  • Ladies Lunch by Lore Segal
  • The Hanging of Mary by Claudia Summers
  • A Small Flame by Yiyun Li
  • Fly Already by Etgar Keret
  • Seinfeld Episodes from the Point of View of the Girlfriends by Blythe Roberson
  • Crossing the River No Name by Will Mackin
  • Show Don’t Tell by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • A Love Story by Samantha Hunt
  • Cell Songs by Shoshana Sumrall Frerking
  • Love and Marriage and Love and Marriage by Nick Gregorio
  • Not So Fast Canada by Bruce McCall
  • Disaster E- by Dean Schtekil
  • Christina the Astonishing (1150-1224) by Kristin Valdes Quade
  • Future Usten Adaptations by Blythe Roberson
  • The Itch by Don DeLillo
  • Everything is So Far From Here by Cristina Henriquez
  • The Purple Swamp Hen by Penelope Lively
  • Abroad by Penelope Lively
  • The Row by Penelope Lively
  • Who Do You Think You Were by Penelope Lively
  • Old as the Hills by Penelope Lively
  • On the Half-Shell by Nick Gregorio
  • The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E. Howard
  • Don’t Even Try Sam by William H. Gass
  • Soliloquy for a Chair by William H. Gass
  • Fangs of Gold by Robert E. Howard

Books Unfinished:

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemsen (terrible)
  • The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively (Ehh)
  • Best American Short Stories 2016 (will finish early next year)
  • Good Grief by Nick Gregorio (will finish next year)
  • The Wise Man’s Fears by Patrick Rothfuss (will finish next year)
  • The Ultimate NES Guide Book by Pat Contri (will finish next year)