My Favorite Things 2016: Games

In 2016, I’ve been making an effort to play more games. A few years back, I bought a PS4 I hardly ever use. [1] This year, I bought an iPhone 7 with enough storage to justify carrying games around with me. The following list is comprised of games for either my console or my mobile. Most of these games are new. Several are not, but have been on my “must play” list for some time.

  1. Firewatch (PS4, Campo Santo)
  2. The Last Of Us (Remastered) (PS4, Naughty Dog)
  3. Mini Metro (iOS, Codepoint Ltd.)
  4. Journey (PS4, That Game Company)
  5. Pokémon Go (iOS, Niantic)

As you can see, with the exception of the mobile games, I love a game with a good story. If you have any recommendations for games I should play this year, send me a tweet.

  1. curbsideaudio is my PSN name, but please message me your real name if you send me a request.

My Favorite Things 2016: Television

I didn't watch a whole lot of movies this year. Instead, I watched quite a bit of TV. I finally got the stones to finish the The Newsroom, which is my favorite show. I recently learned about Hardware, an old British sitcom featuring Martin Freeman, that lasted just two seasons, but really registered with me. I've also been watching Malcolm In The Middle as my "no-thought-required" bedtime program. Mae and I finished Lost, watched through Sherlock, and rewatched Friends for what must be the dozenth time. I also caught up on Doctor Who, which remains fantastic, and Star Wars: Rebels which gets better every season. Oh, and how can I forget Silicon Valley? For a third year in a row I've binged that show in a night.

This year also brought a lot of great new TV. These are my favorites.

  1. Horace and Pete (Louis C.K., Independent)
  2. Westworld (HBO)
  3. The Night Of (HBO)
  4. Atlanta (FOX)
  5. Luke Cage (Netflix)

My Favorite Things 2016: Movies

In 2016, I saw more movies in theaters than usual but less in film overall. Mae and I spent a lot of time watching older sagas like Star Wars, Oceans 11-13, Indiana Jones, and the Bourne saga. Otherwise, it's really been more of a TV year for me. These are the movies that came out in 2016 that I enjoyed.

  1. Don't Think Twice ✮✮✮✮✮
  2. Kubo and The Two Strings ✮✮✮✮½
  3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ✮✮✮✮
  4. Sully ✮✮✮✮
  5. Deadpool ✮✮✮✮
  6. Zootopia ✮✮✮✮
  7. Make Happy (Bo Burnham stand-up special) ✮✮✮✮
  8. Secret Life Of Pets ✮✮✮½
  9. Finding Dory ✮✮✮½
  10. Pee-wee's Big Holiday ✮✮✮½

I've been absent on Letterboxd for some time. I want to remedy that in 2017. Recommend me your favorite films of the year on Twitter. You can follow me on Letterboxd here.

My Favorite Things 2016: Music

Despite hosting a podcast revolving almost entirely around movers and shakers in the alternative music industry, I’ve listened to very little new music this year. Of that, an even smaller percentage has stuck. The result is a shorter list than usual.

LPs

  1. Blonde - Frank Ocean
  2. Cardinal - Pinegrove
  3. I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It - The 1975
  4. Malibu - Anderson .Paak
  5. Coloring Book - Change the Rapper
  6. Endless - Frank Ocean
  7. Zoetic - The Rocket Summer
  8. The Colour In Anything - James Blake
  9. Run The Jewels 3 - Run The Jewels
  10. Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight - Travis Scott

EPs

  1. A Place To Rest My Head - King Neptune
  2. II - Young In The City
  3. There’s No One New Around You - Pronoun
  4. Swim Against The Tide - The Japanese House
  5. Singles - nothing,nowhere.

2016: A Year In Review

Within the last month or so, I’ve been hit with a bit of the blues [1]. You know, just the down-in-the-dumpies surrounding just about everything I normally set my mind to. As a result, the podcast and my writing here has been less frequent. I haven’t been creating as much lately and that’s been bumming me out, pulling me deeper into this nasty rut. While stewing in my discontent, it came to mind that 2016 has been, without question, the fastest year of my adult life—full of accomplishments and experiments alike. To break the cycle, I’m listing those out.

Achievement Get: Live Away From Home w/ Mae for 1 Year

In October of 2015, I moved out of my Dad’s house and into an apartment with my girlfriend and dog. That was a big move for a lot of reasons and the experience has been interesting and trying at times, but mostly it’s been a lot of fun. I think having our own space has really helped us grow as partners. I know it certainly has for me individually. While I’m still not hip to the clean sink every night sort of routine adulthood, having an office of my own that’s separate from my bedroom and removed from where I relax has allowed me to create things like never before. It’s also allowed me to collect an embarrassing amount of Star Wars-related merchandise.

Achievement Get: Be In Two Weddings

On another personal note, I was asked to be a groomsman in two of my dearest friend’s weddings. So here’s to them. Thank you, James and Lisa Shotwell for giving Mae and I an excuse to revisit the Western shores of the mitten and join your family (and many of our UTG brethren) in such a beautiful day. Thank you Tyler and Tara Regan for introducing Mae and I to each other in the first place and asking us both to be a part of your special day. Hauling an actual TARDIS to your wedding is high on my list of coolest things I’ve accomplished this year.

Achievement Get: Kill A Blog

2016 marked the end of the start. My humble beginnings in entertainment criticism and web administration began at Under The Gun Review. The site died with little fanfare back in June, but will remain online due to the savvy and generosity of my good friend Terin Stock. It’s still weird to know that UTG will no longer update. I have a lot of great memories tied up in that blog. I met a lot of amazing people and was afforded incredible opportunities as a result of it as well. Still, at least we shut it down knowing we got the damn thing back from SPIN.

Achievement Get: Make Your App Store Debut

In collaboration with artist Chris Fafalios (of Punchline ), I published a sticker pack application for iOS that is available on the App Store. I’m no app developer by any means, but making this happen required some learning and patience. In the end, I’m thrilled that Celebrity Friends exists.

Achievement Get: Do SXSW

Last year I was asked to speak on two panels at SXSW Music in Austin, Texas. Not only were our panels actually picked, but they both went really well! I had a blast meeting friends for the first time, exploring the city, take my first Uber, and watching some of my favorite artists perform multiple times. The experience was unreal.

Digital Distribution & Security: The End Of Music Piracy

Knowing how to securely share your new and unreleased music with industry professionals and journalists alike is one of the most important things you need to know. This panel investigated the best methods for promotional distribution today, and highlighted those that best allow for customization of presentation, as well as digital security (watermarking, takedowns, etc.).

Speakers: James Shotwell - Haulix Jacob Tender - Alternative Press Magazine Jen Appel - Catalyst Publicity Group Joshua Hammond - Another Reybee Production

No Basic Pitches: Publicity By The Journalists

When it comes to the proper pitch, it’s important to remember the audience you are trying to reach out to: PEOPLE. Most successful publicists start off as journalists, and those who don’t can sometimes lack the perspective necessary to provide a successful pitch to a potential writer.

Speakers: Maria Gironas - Substream Magazine Josh Hammond - Another Reybee Production Angela Mastrogiacomo - Muddy Paw PR Jacob Tender - Bottle Cap

Download audio from this session here.

Achievement Get: Break Into The Rap Game

With my “partner in rhyme” and Bantha Fodder Co-Host Mike Comite, I busted out some dope verses as the lovechild of Childish Gambino and Donald Glover’s soon-to-be Star Wars credit, Lando Calrissian. “Rebellious Landino” uses the beat from “Freaks and Geeks” and is the most underappreciated thing I’ve done all year.

Achievement Get: Podcast Like Crazy

I’ve appeared on various podcasts through the past several years, but this is the year I began podcasting on my own. In 2016 I published three shows and appeared on many others.

Here’s a final tally:

Variable Bitrate: 23 Episodes
Bantha Fodder: 16 Episodes
Stranger Things Things: 2 Episodes [2]
As Guest / Co-host: 6 Episodes

That leaves a grand total of 47 podcasts in 52 weeks. Not too shabby. Now, if I learned anything about podcasting this year it’s this:

First, the gear does matter (to me). You can podcast for free with your cell phone if you wanted to, but to make something that sounds right you need the right equipment. I upped my audio production game with a new microphone, interface, and plenty of accessories to record some audio I’m truly proud of.

Second, You have to work very hard to upload consistently. I did the weekly thing for 21 consecutive weeks. I do wish I would have kept it going at that pace, but scheduling gets tough and I couldn’t keep up.

Some stats on upload frequency and episode length:

Bantha Fodder: 1 Episode every 23.64 days with an average length of 1:02:01
Variable Bitrate: 1 Episode every 8.82 days with an average length of 01:25:30

Third, never be afraid to try something new [3]. VBR started out rigid, following a strict formula every time. Loosening that up made the entire process from prep to publish so much easier. Conversations flowed better, more interesting topics sprung out of nowhere, and edits became a lot less tedious. With Bantha Fodder, we played with the format and production of the show constantly and the show as become more goofy and fun than any Star Wars show I’ve ever heard. From this we got our first single and a Christmas special.

Fourth, It’s always easier to be on someone else’s show. Always. I provide part of a conversation and an export of my local audio and the rest happens elsewhere. No mess. I love it and I’m happy to fill in or appear on anyone’s show at any time.

Lastly, always have whiskey handy to lube the conversation.

Achievement Get: Survive

It’s been a good year. As bummed as I’ve been lately, I’m trying to remember that. My work-life has been stressful, which impacts my personal life on more levels than I’m comfortable with, but I’ve got a lot going on the side that makes me happy and proud. I have no idea what I’ll be making in 2017, but I’m eager to find out.


  1. SEE: Seasonal Affective Disorder, undiagnosed.  ↩

  2. SEE: FAIL  ↩

  3. In fact, do something new often.  ↩


Featured Posts from 2016