Friday, December 25, 2009

Breaking my own rules

I'm calling "special circumstances".,, and Steam are running sales that, frankly are bordering on complete madness. Direct2Drive has compounded this by giving me a $5 credit for free. I'm not sure how, exactly, they're making any money off of some of this stuff, but I'd be a fool to pass it up. I'll post more once I've made my final decisions, but I'm definitely going to take advantage. The games backlog will likely be growing by several titles.

Direct2Drive: Torchlight
Steam: Braid, Red Faction: Guerilla

Suspension Removal: Alpha Centauri

My lovely and sweet wife was kind enough to track me down a copy of Alpha Centauri and its expansion pack for Christmas. Why yes, I am a lucky man. (And she's not even reading this!) I'll set about playing it sometime tomorrow; it's been a very nice, but very tiring Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Elimination: Dune

Cleared: 12/22/2009 at 7:25pm
Verdict: Liked. A lot.

Dune was lent to me by a good friend of mine who prefers not to be written about by name online. I sat on it for a long time while I finished the semester and my wife and I have been watching a disc a night for the last 3 days. It's very, very, very good. (Note that this is the 2000 miniseries, not the 1984 movie.) The characters were interesting, the plot was good, and setting is very cool. (The fashion was very, very odd.) I've never read the books, but this makes me want to give them a shot. All throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking "this all could have been avoided if the emperor had just had the stones to support the good people he installed instead of assuming they were a threat to him, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy." Good stuff.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Replacement Addition: Mutant Chronicles

Replacing Dead Space: Downfall is Mutant Chronicles, another recent sci-fi B movie (though this one isn't animated). We'll see if I fare better with that one.

New Rule: Replacement of Junk

13. If I consume something and decide I don't like it, I'm free to replace it with something immediately.

Elimination: Dead Space: Downfall

Cleared 12/18/2009 at about 10:15 pm
Verdict: did not like enough to finish.

Not much fun. The plot moved really slowly, it wasn't so much scary as just gory and bleak, and none of the characters were at all interesting or sympathetic. I stopped watching about halfway through. Not My Thing.

Addition: Dead Space: Downfall

I've cleared two movies from the backlog, so by the rules I can add one. The addition is going to be Dead Space: Downfall, the anime backstory behind the video game Dead Space. Dead Space itself may wind up in the backlog after I've eliminated some games.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Elimination: Righteous Kill

Cleared: 12/17/2009 at around 11:40 pm
Verdict: Liked enough to finish

Just watched this tonight. I've been chipping at Mirror's Edge and God's Demon in my fleeting minutes of free time lately, but with my finals over, I felt like knocking something off the list and this was available on Netflix.

The movie wasn't spectacular. I've seen a lot of films of the same genre that were a lot better. I saw the twist coming pretty early on, but I'm usually pretty good at that. I'd give it 2.5 stars - neither DeNiro nor Pacino really gave their best performance ever. It was merely okay.

Let the clearing begin!

I've finished my classes for the semester! Huzzah! On with the strangely-organized slacking!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Elimination: The IT Crowd

Cleared: 12/6/2009 at around 4:30pm
Verdict: Liked.

Though I didn't love every individual second, taken as a whole, this was a really fun show to watch.  It was also amazingly short. Each series is only six episodes, and each episode comes in at 23-25 minutes. This means that there was only around 6 and a half hours of content for the whole thing. It was a funny six hours, though. My one biggest disappointment was that beyond the reboot and power strip jokes, there weren't many tech support specific gags in there. Something like the "ten habits of superstitious users" article from TechRepublic might have served the writers well. Still a very entertaining show, though.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Elimination: Pulp Fiction

Cleared: 12/5/2009 at around 2:45pm
Verdict: Liked enough to finish.

Well, I guess it was inevitable that I'd eventually find something by Tarantino that I liked. The black comedy of this movie just worked for me for some reason. This is also an oft-quoted and referenced movie among geeks; now I'll finally get the references. The Wolf character was particularly funny, considering that all he really brought to the situation was common sense and a firm grasp of the obvious (and a scrapyard contact). Not terrible, but not one of my new favorite movies ever, either.

One item down!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unfortunate New Rule, and First Casualty

The install CD for Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is nowhere to be found. This is sad news to me, as it was going to be one of the first things I was going to eliminate from the backlog. Because of this unfortunate turn of events, I'm going to add a new rule.

12. Suspension: if, for whatever reason, an item cannot be consumed, it is not removed from the backlog, but suspended. Suspended items will be noted in the master backlog list. When I clear whatever hurdles prevent me from consuming it, it will be removed from suspended status. Suspended items do not count as being on the backlog at all for the purposes of eliminating things.

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Reason: Cannot locate install media

On a related note, if anybody knows of a trustworthy place where I can purchase a legal copy of this game for a modest price, please let me know.

Credit Balance

A running total of how much "credit" I have with my backlist from eliminations.

PC Games: 2
Fiction books: 1
Nonfiction books: 0
Movies: 2
TV Series:1

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Backlog

Here's the meat of it all: the backlog itself. I'll clean this up, add to and organize it over the next few days or so. As I clear the backlog, I'll strike through the entries and post a little mini-review for each one I clean out. The items have the date added after the names in parentheses.

PC Games:
Alpha Centauri* (12/2/2009)
Beyond Divinity (12/2/2009)
Braid (12/26/2009) Special Circumstances Addition
Company of Heroes (12/2/2009)
Drakensang: The Dark Eye (12/2/2009)
Dwarf Fortress* (12/2/2009)
Fallout Tactics (12/2/2009)
F.E.A.R. (12/2/2009)
Gears of War (12/2/2009)
Jade Empire (12/2/2009)
Jagged Alliance 2 (12/2/2009) Cleared 2/23/2010
Mass Effect 2 (1/26/2010) Cleared 1/30/2010
Mirror's Edge (12/2/2009)
Oni (12/2/2009)
Prey (12/2/2009) Cleared 1/14/2010
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (12/2/2009)
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (12/2/2009)
Red Faction: Guerilla (12/26/2009) Special Circumstances Addition
Silent Storm (12/2/2009)
Silent Storm: Sentinels (12/2/2009)
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl (12/2/2009)
STALKER: Clear Sky (12/2/2009)
Supreme Commander (12/2/2009)
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (12/2/2009)
Torchlight (12/25/2009) Cleared 1/6/2010
UFO: Aftershock (12/2/2009)
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (12/2/2009)
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos (12/2/2009)
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos: Battle March (12/2/2009)
The Witcher (12/2/2009)
World of Goo (12/2/2009)
X-Com: UFO Defense (12/2/2009)
X-Com: Terror from the Deep (12/2/2009)
X-Com: Apocalypse (12/2/2009)

Books (Fiction)
1984 (12/2/2009)
Chronicles of Amber (12/2/2009)
Devil's Rose (12/3/2009)
The Eyes of God (12/2/2009)
Fire Warrior (12/2/2009)
Game of Thrones (Series) (12/2/2009)
Gibraltar Earth (Series) (12/2/2009)
God's Demon (12/2/2009) Cleared 1/3/2010
Gone Tomorrow (12/2/2009)  Cleared 1/7/2010
The Ladies of Grace Adieu (12/2/2009)
The Last Wish (12/3/2009)
Last Shot (12/2/2009)
Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter (12/2/2009)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (12/2/2009)
Neuromancer (12/2/2009)
Night Watch (12/2/2009)
Nothing to Lose (12/2/2009)
The Protector (12/2/2009)
Temple (12/2/2009)

Books (Non-Fiction)
Beyond Band of Brothers (12/2/2009)
Citizen Soldiers (12/2/2009)
Infidel (12/2/2009)
Life After Death: The Evidence (12/2/2009)
The Long Walk (12/2/2009)
The Sociopath Next Door (12/3/2009)
What's so Great About America? (12/2/2009)
What's so Great About Christianity? (12/2/2009)
What Would Google Do? (12/2/2009)

28 Weeks Later (12/2/2009)
Alien (12/2/2009)
Children of Men (12/2/2009)
The Condemned (12/2/2009)
Dead Space: Downfall (12/18/2009) Cleared 12/18/2009
Defiance (12/2/2009)
Dune (12/2/2009) Cleared 12/22/2009
Eden Log (12/2/2009)
Event Horizon (12/2/2009)
Law Abiding Citizen (12/2/2009)
Live Free or Die Hard (12/2/2009)
Mutant Chronicles (12/18/2009)
Pale Rider (12/2/2009)
Pan's Labyrinth (12/2/2009)
Pulp Fiction (12/2/2009) Cleared 12/5/2009
Quantum of Solace (12/2/2009)
Righteous Kill (12/2/2009) Cleared 12/17/2009
RocknRolla (12/2/2009)
Seraphim Falls (12/2/2009)
Smokin' Aces (12/2/2009)
Stardust (12/2/2009)
Street Kings (12/2/2009)
Taking Chance (12/2/2009)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (12/2/2009)

TV Seasons
The IT crowd (12/2/2009) Cleared 12/6/2009
John Adams (12/2/2009)
La Femme Nikita, Season 1 Cleared 3/1/2010
La Femme Nikita, Season 2 Cleared 3/8/2010
La Femme Nikita, Season 3
La Femme Nikita, Season 4
La Femme Nikita, Season 5
The Shield: Season 7 (12/2/2009)

First Post

A while ago, I was talking to a coworker about my "backlog". Everybody has one - you know, the huge list of books you want to read, video games you want to play, movies you want to watch, etc. And if you don't have a backlog - well, kudos. Or something. You're obviously better at this stuff than I am.

Anyway, as I approach the end of a rather grueling semester/season of life, I'm looking forward to having blocks of free time again, and I'd like to maximize that time, so here's how it's going to work: I'm going to attack my backlog.

Some quick rules:

1. For a piece of media to get on the backlog, I have to WANT to consume it. I'm not adding anything out of guilt or obligation. (Though much of the content of the backlog is based on the recommendations of people I trust.) There's tons of classical literature that I haven't read, but unless it actually looks fun to me, I'm not going to try to fit it in.
2. I make no promises or apologies as to the quality, literary worth, ideological stance, etc. of anything in the backlog. This is my list. For the record, I'm politically conservative, a Christian, and a massive geek. The list is full of stuff I feel like consuming. If you want to do this, too, I heartily encourage you to make your own backlog and tell me about it.
3. Everything gets a fair shake, and only gets removed from the backlog under one of two conditions: 1. I finish it or 2. I decide I don't like it after all. The point of this exercise is to maximize my free time and get through stuff I actually enjoy, not to force myself to slog through something that's become a chore. PC Games with an asterisk (*) after their names are open-ended or sim-type games and therefore I can't "finish" them. I can, however, play long enough to get a good sense of them. When I reach that point, I'll call 'em "done."
4. There's no particular timetable for finishing - my backlog is LONG.
5. Once the backlog has been started, to add something to the backlog, I have to remove two other things of the same type first.
6. The backlog may be attacked in any order I choose.
7. The backlog will grow until I feel I've got everything that's truly in it, and then I'll get started.
8. The backlog has 5 sub-backlogs. These are: PC games, fiction books, non-fiction books, movies, and TV seasons.
9. As I remove things from the backlog, I'll post impressions of what I consume.
10. Things I'm required to consume for one reason or another are separate from the backlog and do not count. The backlog is for fun. My college textbooks, for example, do not go under non-fiction.
11. I reserve the right to change these rules and add to or subtract whole categories from them at any time.
12. Suspension: if, for whatever reason, an item cannot be consumed, it is not removed from the backlog, but suspended. Suspended items will be noted in the master backlog list. When I clear whatever hurdles prevent me from consuming it, it will be removed from suspended status. Suspended items do not count as being on the backlog at all for the purposes of eliminating things. ADDED 12/3/2009
13. If I decide I don't like something, I can immediately replace it with something else. ADDED 12/18/2009

One other note: This is stuff I haven't gotten to (or through) yet. If you're wondering why (for instance) Dragon Age: Origins isn't on the PC games backlog, it's because I've played through it already.

I welcome any and all feedback. If this becomes popular enough, I have further plans for this idea.