Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

One of my Christmas gifts was a copy of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a movie of which the following are true:

  1. I heard a lot of good things about it.
  2. I wanted to see it but didn’t because I don’t get out much.
  3. A lot of people I know who are similar to me really enjoyed it.
  4. I am a nerd.

All right, so the fourth one is really true about me, but I think you can see where this is going. Having not read the books on which the movie is based, and currently being stuck on the fifth stage of the game that is not really based on the movie but is actually based on the books, I can say that I really, really enjoyed it.

Watching it was a bit of a “birthday eve” treat, and Amanda and I grabbed some dinner and sat down to watch it. She was a bit confused, and I will be the first person to admit that it moves really quickly and can be a bit hard to follow in some places. I would say not to let that prevent you from watching it. If you are remotely close to my age (which will be 31 tomorrow), you really should watch this movie—especially if you grew up with the second wave of video games like I did (meaning the NES and what followed).

The premise is simple. Scott Pilgrim is in love with Ramona Flowers. But first, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. (He does not know this right away.)

The execution of the movie elevates it to a certain level of awesome. It has a certain style that is part action film, part comic book, and part video game all rolled into one. It jump cuts from scene to scene, sometimes in mid-conversation. The narrative plays with your expectations: are these real events? Are they fantasy? Is Scott Pilgrim supposed to be a “real” person, or a character in a video game? Scenes move from reality to fantasy with reckless abandon.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter in any way more than that it’s entertaining and tells a fun and enjoyable story that doesn’t need reality to work. If you like video games or even have a passing familiarity with them, it relies on their various idioms and tropes to get its point across and delight you. The setpieces are what they need to be, the action is surprisingly well done, the soundtrack is right on the money, and the actors pull everything off just the way you need them to.

I know that it’s a self-contained story, won’t have a sequel, and was a gamble for Universal to back. Unfortunately, it seems not too many people went out to see a movie about life in Toronto (but who can blame them, really).

But it is worthy of your attention, and in my opinion is one of my Movies You Should See.

Curling League Week One

Last month, I participated in a Learn to Curl session and one pick-up game at the U.S. Ice Sports Complex here in the Metro East area. After each session, I found myself in a quite a bit of pain for the next few days as curling uses a few muscle groups most people don’t normally exercise. However, above all, it was ridiculously fun and I had a great time learning how it works.

The curling there is a product of the St. Louis Curling Club, which is a relatively new venture here in the St. Louis area—and one I fully support.

Upon hearing that they were going to offer a short (four-week) league this winter, I decided that it would be a good idea to sign up, meet some people, have some friendly competition, and get some exercise. (You can see the current league schedule here if you’re interested.)

I was placed on a team with three other guys, none of whom had played a full end of curling yet, so by default I was skipping, which I’d hoped to avoid both because I wanted the exercise of playing earlier in the rink and because I was hoping there would be someone on the team with more experience than myself. They were pretty nice guys and had a good sense of humor about things, which was good to see. As far as I know, we had a great time.

We unfortunately lost our first match 7-4, including an end where the other team stole two from us. I think I just need more practice; as skip, I should have been able to stop that steal, but I had a hard time with draw weight as the ice became much faster through the evening. In the pickup game last month, I had a lot of trouble with hogged stones. By the end of the night, I felt like I’d been able to dial in some heavier weight and the last two deliveries of the last end we played ended up being heavy weight takeouts that resulted in a three-ender to close out the night.

One guy in the bleachers even applauded the second-last shot. That felt kind of awesome.

So far, it’s been nice and I’m happy I signed up for it. The only problem I have with the league is that there’s no practice ice for participants; if we want to practice on non-league nights, we have to pay $15 to do a pick-up game on Friday night. Personally, I think if we’re forking over $160 to play in a five-week league (with one bye week), I don’t think it’s too much to ask for one or two nights during the week where we can have some curling ice and just practice making shots. That’s a lot of money to pay for not a lot of time on the ice to get better at the sport.

I also haven’t had the muscle pain this week that I’ve had in previous weeks. This time, I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and light cardio about for about 10 minutes starting 30 minutes before game time, and I adjusted my diet to include some protein very soon after I was done playing and also the next day. I probably would be in some pain if I’d been sweeping more often, as my core muscles still hurt a bit, but this time I felt a lot better and I wasn’t as beat after we were done (we managed to get in seven ends).

Here’s to next week.

My 2010 Year in Review

Some of my colleagues here at WordPress.com thought it would be a great idea to send out some nifty emails to many of our users with a summary of their blog’s activity over all of 2010. With a click of a button in that email, you can post it to your site as well. What follows is mine:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2010. That’s about 17 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 12 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 354 posts. There were 103 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 834mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 31st with 163 views. The most popular post that day was Adding a Custom Sharing Service to Sharedaddy.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.org, en.forums.wordpress.com, twitter.com, facebook.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ryan markel, ethan mars, sharedaddy, twenty ten left sidebar, and twenty ten custom css.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Adding a Custom Sharing Service to Sharedaddy August 2010
7 comments and 12 Likes on WordPress.com

2

Adding Specific Sharing Services to Sharedaddy August 2010
10 comments and 6 Likes on WordPress.com

3

Flipping the Sidebar in Twenty Ten with Custom CSS July 2010
3 comments

4

Books for Sale October 2010

5

I’ve Gone Automattic January 2010
6 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

New Year, New Gravatar

It’s been almost half a year since I’ve updated my Gravatar. So to help keep things fresh, and because my wife took a rather nice picture (or three) of me last night when our family played some Creationary (more on that in another post), I pulled that picture and have placed it as my new Gravatar.

If you don’t already know what Gravatar is and how to use it, you should head over there and check it out! Gravatars are used all over the Internet and everywhere on WordPress.com to give you a visual identity.

Configuring a Gravatar will make it appear on this site and on all WordPress.com sites when you comment, on the WordPress.com forums, and when you click the Like button beneath each of my posts.

So this is the new me that’s going to be staring out at you from your monitor when you read something I write—including now slightly curly hair and my partially-formed beard.

2011: The Year of the Backlog

Happy New Year!

As you can see from my current game library, I have a rather large backlog of games that I really need to get to at some point in my life. So, combined with the whole “New Year’s resolution” thing, and with the new project we’re running here at WordPress.com for posting to your WordPress.com site on a daily basis, I’ve decided that in 2011 I will make a serious effort to not only complete new games I purchase, but also to clear games that have been piling up without resolution.

The “Pile of Shame,” if you will.

As I like the idea of WordPress.com as a collaborative medium, I want to make this somewhat interactive. So, here are the “rules,” which are of course completely subject to change:

  • I get to finish the game currently on my plate first, which is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
  • I will interrupt the backlog occasionally for new releases of note, the first being Dead Space 2 at the end of this month.
  • As the credits roll in one game, I’ll put a poll up here to decide the next one in the list. I’ll choose the games in the poll based on my inclinations at the time and maybe some random selection.
  • If you purchase me a game from my Amazon wishlist, I will immediately bump it to the front of the queue.
  • I will not always write about games on this site, as occasionally I need to take a day away from my thumb exercises. In that case, I’ll write about whatever I want.

Don’t always expect professional-quality writing; sometimes getting a post per day in means that you can’t take a ton of time to edit or to come up with the right words. You can expect prolific writing and honest opinions, though.

As always, comments and pingbacks on anything I write are appreciated as I go along. Help me get through my backlog and I’ll pay you back with some opinions, some reactions, and some reviews of the games in my collection throughout 2011.