Harmonix Harmony

I find it a bit funny and strange that last week I found myself playing not one, but two games from Harmonix, having terrific play experiences with each. Sure, I’ve enjoyed Rock Band games in the past (especially the Beatles one), but I hadn’t played anything from them in a while, and although it’s a coincidence I found myself playing both DropMix and Amplitude at the same, it’s a happy one.

DropMix is an electronic board/card game the company released a year or two ago. I remember hearing it was fun, but it was a bit of a pricey game, and so I didn’t really think it would be something I’d pick up. For some reason, Amazon in Canada currently has the base game on sale for $20, and that was enough for me to take the plunge, and I’m sure glad I did. I’ve played a bunch of times so far with colleagues at work, and we’ve all had a really fun time with it, with everyone really liking it. There’s actually some fun strategy involved in playing the cards, and the fact that you create live mixes as you play cards — that sound good — just adds such an enjoyable vibe to the play sessions. I won’t lie, I definitely want to pick up more cards for the game (they released extra packs of cards), and so I’m keeping my eye on the price.

For Amplitude, it’s a rhythm game that originally came out on the PS2 — which I never played at the time — and then got a PS4 remake a couple of years ago. It’s free this month through PlayStation Plus, so I gave it a go, and couldn’t stop playing. The music selection is terrific — in that it’s so perfectly suited for the gameplay — and I found myself addicted to the hectic “get in the zone” type of play.

As much as I’m enjoying both of these games right now, I do admit that it’s a bit sad that not only did I not support them when they originally came out, Harmonix isn’t really getting much of my money at this point in time. But hey, I am thankful to finally be playing them, and definitely recommend others do so as well.

Dangerous Liaisons

I’d completely forgotten that Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves were also in this — 1988 really was Thurman’s year (Johnny Be Good, Baron Munchausen). It was interesting to watch this again, even if the story feels so small and petty — which I guess is the point here, that the nobles of the era really were nothing more than what is portrayed here (small and petty). There is the weirdness of having American accents in a period drama, which always feels a bit off, but the quality of the actors is never in doubt. The costumes and sets are beautiful too, and the ending is appropriately cathartic.

Rambo III

Re-watching this, I will say that it wasn’t as enjoyable as I remembered it being. I think First Blood Part II is still quite decent as an 80s actioner, but here we start seeing Rambo make quips, which feels too out-of-character to be enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still fun to be had, with the ridiculous “let’s fight the Russian army” storyline, but this does end up being the weakest film in the series (I liked the 4th Rambo film more). I will say that I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming 5th one. Based on what we’ve seen with the last Rocky movie and the Creed movies, I think Stallone is capable of giving this series a good end. Oh, and that hair, oh my.

License to Drive

Look, I’m not going to try to defend this movie, but I was kinda looking forward to watching it. Come on, the two Coreys, together, in a stupid teen comedy. My biggest surprise was that Heather Graham is the “girl” of the movie, which I’d completely forgotten. Also, this really is Haim’s movie, with Feldman playing a secondary role. It’s not a good movie, but it was fun to dive back into that era of teen comedy, at the “height” of the Coreys.

Reading in 2019

Great, a post about resolutions, just what everyone needs.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the start of a new year is indeed the time to think about resolutions, things you’d like to try doing — or doing better — and for me it’s reading. Don’t get me wrong, I read constantly, but it’s usually limited to magazines, comics, bandes-dessinées, and tons of stuff on the web. I’ve been trying to get my book reading habit back up and running for years now, and it’s a constant struggle.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I lost the habit of reading books — whether fiction or non-fiction — a great many years ago, and even though I’ve started plenty (and I mean plenty), rare is the book that I’ve actually finish. I don’t know if it’s some sort of late blooming attention deficiency or what, but I have such a hard time sticking with books I start, and I don’t like it.

So, and this isn’t the first time I’ve kicked off a new year with this in mind, I’m trying develop a book reading habit, with the goal of getting through at least a couple of books a month — probably one fiction and one non-fiction. I’m including books that I started in the past and never finished, so I think it should be doable.

My current serving is made up of Forever and a Day (a new Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz that is set directly before Casino Royale, and sees Bond becoming a 00 agent ) for which I’m about halfway through now, Significant Zero, a games industry memoir that I started a while back and am now getting back to, and on the educational side, The Product Manager’s Survival Guide — my direct manager is a Product Manager, and so it’s to better understand what she deals with.

At the same time, I’m actively going through all those long reads that I have saved in Pocket, since for so long it’s almost felt like a graveyard — where articles go to die. I’ve been pretty good so far at clearing up things (either reading, filing as a bookmark elsewhere to reference later, or simply deleting).

So here’s to a better year of reading.