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Favorite music of 2010

Below is a list of some of my favorite music from 2010, not necessarily in order. I focused on music that came out in 2010, but included a couple songs released in 2009 that I discovered in 2010.

TOP ALBUMS

  1. Oddblood,” Yeasayer (2010) — e.g.: “Ambling Alp”
  2. Gorilla Manor,” Local Natives (2010) — e.g.: “Camera Talk”
  3. Go,” Jonsi (2010) — e.g.: “Tornado”
  4. Broken Bells,” Broken Bells (2010) — e.g.: “Trap Doors”
  5. Body Talk,” Robyn (2010) — e.g.: “Indestructible”
  6. Tron Legacy” [Soundtrack], Daft Punk (2010) — e.g.: “Tron Legacy (End Titles)”
  7. Plastic Beach,” Gorillaz (2010) — e.g.: “Rhinestone Eyes”
  8. Green Grow the Rushes,” John Vanderslice (2010) — e.g.: “Thule Fog”
  9. The Courage of Others,” Midlake (2010) — e.g.: “Rulers, Ruling All Things”
  10. The Winter of Mixed Drinks,” Frightened Rabbit (2010) — e.g.: “Nothing Like You”

(Honorable mention – albums)

NOTABLE SONGS

  1. For the Summer,” Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs (2010)
  2. I Want To Go To Marz,” John Grant (2010)
  3. Fool’s Day,” Blur (2010)
  4. The Book of Love,” Peter Gabriel (2010)
  5. Flume,” Peter Gabriel (2010)
  6. Animal,” Neon Trees (2010)
  7. The Wild Hunt,” The Tallest Man on Earth (2010)
  8. So This Is Goodbye (Pink Ganter Remix),” William Fitzsimmons (2010)
  9. Sweet Disposition,” The Temper Trap (2009)
  10. Sleepyhead,” Passion Pit (Dec. 2009)
  11. Fallin’ & Flyin’,” Jeff Bridges (2010)
  12. Boyfriend,” Best Coast (2010)
  13. Real Love,” Delorean (2010)
  14. Tighten Up,” The Black Keys (2010)
  15. Sick of You,” Cake (2010)

(Honorable mention – songs)

PAX ’10

I left work in the late afternoon on Thursday to board my flight to Seattle… it wasn’t a direct flight. Since I used frequent flier miles for travel on a holiday weekend, I had a couple of connections. I was off to Chicago, then Phoenix, and finally Seattle. As luck would have it, a storm rolled into the Chicago area right as my flight was to leave, so I was delayed a couple of hours. I missed the last flight from Phoenix to Seattle so had to spend the night and fly out the next morning. I also didn’t have a change of clothes because I checked a big suitcase in order to transport my 360 with me as well as bring swag back from PAX. I finally arrived at my hotel in Seattle at 11:30 on Friday. I ordered room service for a quick lunch so that it could arrive just as I had finished a quick shower and getting on a fresh set of clothes. I was able to get to the convention center just slightly after noon… not too bad considering the circumstances.

DTJAAAAM and Kinect

I had pre-loaded my desired schedule in a Google calendar and also download a couple different convention apps (Expo Junkie and later upon recommendation of a fellow gamer, theConventionist) and I didn’t have anything immediate to get to, so I checked out the show floor. One of the first folks I ran into was DTJaaaam playing Kinect Dance Central (don’t worry, I wont post the video of you… though you were killing it to Lady Gaga).

Lines were not bad on Friday, so I played several games. I was happy to play Bangai-O HD, I didn’t even know that game was coming out! I really loved the Dreamcast version and was slightly disappointed with the puzzle-like nature of the DS “spirits” version. The games I’m most excited about weren’t really surprises, but I enjoyed seeing them represented; Torchlight 2, Reach, and the next EVE Online expansion.

That reminds me, CCP unveiled a new trailer for EVE at PAX on Friday! The EVE players started gathering around the CCP booth at about 2:30 in anticipation of the 3:00 unveiling. As we huddled around, the small-talk from among pilots was really interesting,

“Where do you live?”

“Oh, me? I live in ‘The North’, in Deklin, how about yourself?”

“I live in a class 4 wormhole right now. But my corporation isn’t big enough to hold it so I’m sure I’ll be moving soon.”

Another player chimes in, “I live in Pure Blind, not far from Deklin. I’m part of the Northern Coalition”.

It was just really fun to see these like-minded EVE pilots discuss their happenings and whereabouts in context of the game without any prompting whatsoever 🙂



That night was the 1up party, and I had a place in line for ScrtAznMann (who was braving the convention with a hurt foot!). We both had a blast, it was fun to see a lot of the personalities and our fellow bloggers there.



I was keeping an eye out for Area 5 guys as well, and was happy when I ran into Cesar at the party that night. (Photo taken by Patrick Klepek)





A nice thing about PAX is that the official schedule doesn’t start until 10:00 AM. So even though I was out until nearly 2:00 AM each night, I was still able to have time for a nice sit-down breakfast. It was a little bit of a walk, but the Dahlia Lounge is my favorite breakfast spot in Seattle. I had the eggs, fried mashed potatoes, and bacon and they make an awesome latte there. It gave me the perfect start each day!

One of my favorite thing to do is pop in on the panels hosted by my favorite podcasts. I was sure to hit Retronauts, Weekend Confirmed, and the Totally Rad Show.



Wednesday night was the official Gamers with Jobs meet-up at Rock Bottom. That was a lot of fun meeting so many guys I had only known from “the internet”. After dinner, a group of us decided to go to the board game free-play area and we checked-out “Battlestar Galactica” (at PAX you can borrow board games to try them out with the exchange of your drivers license) and we played that until the place was closing down. It is a really fun game, I purchased my own copy the very next morning.

On Sunday I made my way through the show floor again, spent time in the console free-play area (a huge room with every console imaginable and just about every game you can think of, available to borrow and play), and made sure there wasn’t anything else I had missed. That night I re-joined the awesome Gamers with Jobs folks for an un-official meet-up at Jonman’s home. There were card & board games, Rock Band, and a live podcast from the kitchen table! Another late night but so worth figuring out the bus schedules and getting out to his place. I really respect the guys at GWJ and we had such a blast!

I have to say, I feel like I experienced PAX much better this year. Most of the fun really starts after the convention schedule, when the exhibit floor is closed down and there are so many parties, concerts, and open opportunities to play board games and “same couch” multi-player games in the free-play areas. I met a lot of great people, and was saddened when it had to come to an end. Although I do have to admit I’m exhausted! I’m not normally a “party ’til 2AM” type of guy!

15 albums that will stick with you

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends ( including me, because I’m interested in seeing what albums you choose). (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note — upper right hand side.)

 

01 – Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

02 – The Wall – Pink Floyd

03 – Great Divide – Semisonic

04 – Leisure – Blur

05 – OK Computer – Radiohead

06 – Undertow – Tool

07 – Hunky Dory – David Bowie

08 – Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan

09 – Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia – Dandy Warhols

10 – Voodoo – D’Angelo

11 – Grace – Jeff Buckley

12 – Stephen Malkmus – Stephen Malkmus

13 – Dirt – Alice in Chains

14 – Automatic for the People – R.E.M.

15Your Arsenal – Morrissey

 

Too many coming to mind. More contenders:

00 – Evidence Blues Sampler (The Third) – Various Artists

00 – The Bends – Radiohead

00 – In It For The Money – Supergrass

00 – Stereo Type A – Cibo Matto

00 – Whip-SmartLiz Phair

00Superunknown – Soundgarden

00White Blood Cells – The White Stripes

00 – Chocolate and Cheese – Ween

00Disintegration – The Cure

00 Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

00Metallica (Black Album) – Metallica

00 – Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin

00 – Fumbling Towards Ecstacy – Sarah McLachlan

00 – Life Begins At 40 Million – The Bogmen

Geek Bachelor Party :-)

This weekend was very full! My Nephew was married this Saturday, our rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and bachelor party were on Friday. Since I was his best man, I hosted the bachelor party. You should know we are a pretty conservative bunch, so instead of what might have popped to the top of your mind, we had an Xbox 360 LAN party!

 

 

I borrowed televisions, projectors, consoles, games and controllers, from other people until I had enough for 8 comfortably. Technically we could have supported the full 16 players locally by enabling more split-screens. As is, we had at most 2 people on a display, and a few had a display all to themselves.

Congratulations Ethan and Nicole!

iPad and OS 4.0

Arguably the biggest thing in gaming this week was the iPad launch. No, I didn’t purchase one, I do think it would be wise to wait for the 2nd generation. Apple will probably add some feature (like a camera), but even in the worst case scenario where the next version includes some insignificant change, then the original will be cheaper! So either way, I’m waiting for now.

So I’ve been living vicariously through others as they get their gaming on with the new device. The first thing I noticed was the Twitter phenomenon. Maybe it is just the circle of people I follow, but this was the first time I’ve witnessed an entire product launch unfold from pre-launch lineup, un-boxing, new user experiences, impromptu peer user groups, troubleshooting, and recommendations all springing forth in real time as the product became available to the masses. It was incredible to see all sorts of people posting pics, describing which applications they like best, collaborating about charging and wi-fi problems, it was really incredible to witness the power of Twitter.

RyanThe latest CO-OP show brought new concerns to the table. As the hosts expounded on how wonderful the device is and demoed some very cool games (that I admit, made me a bit envious), I kept noticing how poorly ergonomic playing games on the device looked. Watching them play all hunched over gave me a sympathy neck-ache of my own. Maybe placing the device on a table would help a little, but I’m just not sure how much that would help. I would love to see a mock-up of those single-colored iPod ads with a silhouette of a guy hunched over playing on his iPad! If you have the talent, let’s see it! 🙂

The excitement only built as the details of the new iPhone OS 4.0 were announced. Now we’ll get a lot of overdue features (like multi-tasking) but also the equivalent of XBOX Live for the iPhone/iPod/iPad games! Achievements, Leaderboards, Friend Lists, Matchmaking, all will be a part of the platform, YAY! I think the combination of this, and the new iAd platform unveiled is really going to take marketshare from the Facebook gaming scene as well as make a pretty tough road for Nintendos 3DS… friend codes anyone?

If the rumors are true, and a new iPhone is to be launched this summer, I’m likely to upgrade to that and continue holding off on the iPad. But as I spend this evening playing through a $5 copy of ESPGALUDA II (normally an $80 import!) on my 3GS I can’t help but maintain my enthusiasm for the Apple platform!

Caught a cold, finished Mass Effect 2

This week I caught a cold, and pretty much just worked and slept all week until today; I was finally feeling well enough to play some games! When I woke up, I positioned myself on the couch and fired up my save game for Mass Effect 2. I just lay on the couch playing all day and finished the story at dinner time. It was fantastic! I found all my party members, gained all of their loyalty, got to “know” Miranda, and everyone survived the mission! The game was really great. Everything was an improvement over the first game, though the difficulty was low on the ‘normal’ setting… so I think I should replay on a higher difficulty setting and I’ll also make some Renegade choices instead of being 100% Paragon next time.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up ‘Splosion Man when it was on sale, but I hadn’t played it until today. It’s a lot of fun, I could see getting addicted to trying speed runs in this game. My nephews really like playing the multi-player, so I’ll have to give that a shot too.

Supreme Commander 2 comes out on March 2nd! There is a demo available on Steam right now if you want to give it a try. I’m reserving judgement until I get to play skirmish and multi-player. Many people don’t like the changes seen in the demo, but it is limited to 2 campaign missions (not a strong suit for SupCom).

I started watching Caprica on Hulu this week. I’m a huge fan of the Battlestar Galactica series that recently ended, and this spin off could be interesting. So far it’s just “okay”, but I’ll try and give it a full season to develop.

Great!

  • Working late. Can’t watch Olympics. — Stink.
  • Julie IMs me updates as she watches. — Great!
  • Finally done with work. — Great!
  • Start the car. Nickelback blares on the radio. — Blech.
  • Get home to find German chocolate cake waiting. — Great!
  • Bindi won’t stop barking at me (keeping me from cake). — Blergh.
  • Back to cake. Also find thermos of hot tea Julie left for me. — Great!
  • Tomorrow: Schedule recall work on my Carolla. — Eh, not too terrible.
  • Tomorrow: Let’s do it again (but minus the Nickelback this time, eh?) — Great!

Upgrade Complete

Today I completed my PC upgrade! The last of my parts came in on Wednesday, but it took me a couple of days working on it in the evenings to pull everything together.

My new Rig another angle of my rig

Once I had everything powered up, it took a while to load all of the drivers, flash the BIOS and it really reminded me why I moved away from PC gaming so many years ago. If it it hadn’t been for EVE Online I would have been content staying on the 360 and PS3 🙂

Here is a progression of my original single monitor in EVE Online, when I added the second, and finally today’s 3 displays!

Original 1 monitor

 

2 monitors

 

I placed more pictures into a photo stream (including the unboxing, build progress, the desktop and gameplay) photos in this Flickr slide show of the new build. I’m all set for the long weekend!

Loot drop 2009

Game Stuff:

  • New Super Mario Bros Wii
    4-players really is a blast, I’m enjoying it much more than Super Mario Galaxy last year.
  • Uncharted 2
    This game is gorgeous and the voice acting is really good, I’m only 5 chapters in right now.
  • Phantasy Star 0
    My sister is thinking about picking this up also after she saw that the characters were cute and that mags made a return. When she heard that there was no Hunter’s License required, that was just icing on top!
  • PS3 Dual Triggers
    Since adding these to my controller, I’ve added 4 more gold medals to my WipEout HD Fury career track that were previously bronze medals. They feel great!

Books:

Other:

I was blessed again this year with a lot of great gifts from friends and family! This must have been a huge year for the video game industry; I know of new PS3, Wii, and 360 households throughout my social network. I can’t think of many families that don’t have a modern system, and that is really unusual I think. 

My brother gifted the entire family with a German boardgame, as is his tradition. This year it was Le Havre, made by the same folks that made Agricola. It has a great balance to it:

  • There is nothing random providing benefit to other players, all random elements are available to all of the players.
  • The resource consumables are repopulated in a much easier-to-track manner by being populated systematically each user turn.
  • There are many strategic options for obtaining the most points by game end, and a lot of flexibility for using resources or cash.
  • The game will move itself along with pre-sorted card decks making it very difficult to block player strategies or stall the game.

It took us about 3 hours to play the first 4-player game. Now that we have it down though, I would expect the game time to be cut in half. I won the first game with 160 points, my brother had 136, Dad was at 120 and my sister-in-law was somewhere near 90.

15 years of Playstation

I saw via various twitter and blog posts that today marks the 15-year anniversary of the Playstation! Interestingly, I’ve been married nearly the same amount of time. March of 1995 I was married, and within the first weeks of marriage, importing the Playstation from Japan.

While engaged, my then-fiancé and I were big fans of Cybersled in the arcades. She probably just liked blowing me up in a futuristic tank, or maybe she played because she won so often, but I know we had a great time! I remember reading in the pages of EGM about the Playstation, seeing the controller and identifying that it would map so easily to Cybersled. Later on, I learned that Cybersled would be among the initial launch titles. Then another feature really piqued my interest…  the Playstation would support linking 2 systems together for head-to-head play! As you can imagine my thoughts were running away like crazy. I was basically picturing the same arcade experience my fiancé and I enjoyed, in our future living room!

So when I should have been saving money up for a down payment on a house or something practical, I spent $806 on an import Playstation, an extra controller, Cybersled and Toshinden. Obviously I knew what was going to make this marriage work: countless hours of my wife blowing me up in a futuristic tank! Laugh if you want, but my wisdom in this has led to 15 years of happily-ever-after.

Eventually I did get a US Playstation as well. My brother and I looked for every system link game we could get our hands on. Colony Wars, Bushido Blade, Armored Core and Wipeout were our most frequently played. We would bring two TVs together and link up our Playstations and have LAN parties before such a gathering had a name (at least in our neck of the woods it was unheard of). I never did have that system link experience with Cybersled though. It turns out that the home version wasn’t as good as the arcade version, and really, the arcade version wasn’t that great to begin with.

So there it is. The unlikely system seller that caused me to import, the life-timing that couldn’t have been more wrong for me to buy, and my greatest memories came from the little-known system link capabilities.