Nintendo E3

I have been keeping up with all of the Nintendo news from E3 and it has me excited about some games that will be coming out soon.

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons – This looks like a fun game that I (and many others) can get lost in. Animal Crossing has a very calming effect on me. I’m not alone here, according to this Reddit thread. This comes out on March 20, 2020 so I have some time to get through the Games I have before diving into it.
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – My first reaction to this was “Uh oh, I guess I need to go back and spend some time with BOTW!” I haven’t put any serious time into the first one. I love it, it’s just that I haven’t had time to play it the way that I really want to play it. Not yet.
  • Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening – I like what they have done with this remake, from the art and design to the 2d game play that I’m so used to with Zelda games. I also love the elements and characters from other Nintendo properties/Games that have made their way into this. It just looks fun.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – I’m intrigued with this one. It’s mainly because of my love for The Dark Crystal as a child. I was really never partial to “tactical strategy games” though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to get into it and, as such, I’m not so sure I’ll buy it. But, intrigued!
  • Pokémon Sword/Shield – I’ll most likely end up picking one of these up. I like the Dreadnaw Pokémon design.
  • Contra Anniversary Collection – My brothers and I loved played Contra, growing up. It’s just a fun “shoot everything” type of game. This was a nice surprise (just released) so I’ll probably be downloading this soon.
  • Metroid Prime 4 – No mention of this during E3 but it still is my most anticipated game for the Switch. Until it’s released, there will be plenty of other games (above) to keep me occupied.

Update June 13: Just watched the gameplay video for Hollow Knight: Silksong. It looks great! Love the sidescrolling genre so much. I’m adding this to the list of games to pickup when it’s released.

WNT vs Thailand… 13 goals!?!

I was so excited to watch the game, the team’s first of the tournament. It felt like forever between the Women’s World Cup opening day and today. I can’t imagine what it felt like for the players and coaches having to wait to play their first match. Imagine the pent up energy and emotion they all had as athletes who have dreamed of playing in the World Cup for their entire careers.

And as you may have heard by now, the team unleashed it all! The final scoreline will tell you that the Women’s USA Team scored 13 goals while the Women’s Thai team scored zero. In the soccer world, that’s a lot. So much, in fact, that it broke records and is the highest number of goals scored by any World Cup team, men or women.

If you didn’t watch the game, you missed much more than the scoreline. The team played really well. They attacked the entire time. Thailand barely made it to their attacking side of the field, the entire match. Yes, Thailand was overmatched (and we all knew this going in). Yes, that played into the result but, it also had to do with the World’s number 1 ranked team (USA) playing like, well, the World’s number 1 ranked team.

I believe that Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl summed it best “… I’m also not a professional soccer player, and I don’t feel comfortable policing the natural emotional reaction of someone who has just done something that may be the pinnacle of her career: Scoring in a World Cup.”

As others have mentioned, the controversy should have less to do with the scoreline and more to do with the players’ celebrations. In which case I still stand with the players. This is a lifetime dream, a lifetime achievement.

There is much more to this argument. More layers, namely the divide between the soccer programs in countries like the USA versus the ones in Thailand (for example). In my opinion, Thailand played very well for Thailand. Especially considering that they were PLAYING THE NUMBER 1 RANKED TEAM IN THE WORLD! The Thai team got to the World Cup. They’re good enough to get there. They earned it. And now they’ll continue to build and develop.

I feel the same watching the South Korea team. They’re not doing too well in the tournament. But they have what it takes; we know this because they got to the tournament in the first place. Growth and success is build on failures (losses).

#fifawwc

I’m excited for this year’s World Cup. The US Women’s team is one of the most talented pool to exist, and it shows with the depth that each position has. Not to mention that many of the players can play multiple positions.

I’m excited because this is an international event where players, individuals, from all walks of life, all cultures, classes, backgrounds, etc… that are all working towards the same goal. And this is a rare sight in this current political and global climate. I think Greg sums this up in a very good way on his blog.

Five things for the week

Canopy

1. Vegetables

There is a simmering movement towards eating more plant-based foods and we are not exempt from this. I love meat but, lately I find myself craving more vegetable-heavy plates and recipes. I’m not sure what has started this. As a result, I find myself learning new recipes and cooking methods. Though, I still will most likely lean on grilling as my preferred cooking method, especially during the Summer.

2. Habits

I wrote a list of three habits that I want to stop. I then wrote a list of three habits that I would like to replace them with. This coming week, I will focus on ceasing one and starting its replacement. I think trying to tackle all three simultaneously will be too tough.

3. Read

I found out Nazi money is behind my favorite coffee. Should I keep drinking it?Large corporations built by Nazis, who own and operate multiple brands, including a bagel chain. What a world.

Too Many People Want to TravelThough I don’t travel nearly as much as I did a few years ago, I would notice how disrespectful we travelers were to the places we were guests at. I can’t imagine how much worse the more touristy areas are. I can’t imagine a shipload of people pouring out into the streets of a small coastal town. That sounds like a nightmare to me.

‘Great Successor’ book excerpt: Kim Jong Un’s gilded boyhood of chefs, travel and lessons on ruthless ruleI may buy this book. I have some “tempered curiosity” about his life, wondering how much of this is real. The excerpt worked, though. Curiosity is piqued.

4. Watched

Captain Marvel We finally got around to seeing this. My superhero movie fatigue is still pretty strong. Sure, this had some fun moments but, all said and done, it was like the others. Same story and plot arch that these comic book movies have.

United Shades of America S4, E5 – The Real DC. I really wish that during my time there, I had spent more time getting to know “the real DC”. I had moments and experiences that I stumbled into but, not nearly enough to be memorable. Just enough to know that what we think DC to be is really not what it is. I loved this episode, peeling back some of those layers.

5. Listened

Criminal, “Jessica and the Bunny Ranch” I found this fascinating if only to remind myself that there is a whole world of things out there that 1) I don’t think about all the time and 2) that I don’t ever see myself being involved in, ever. Yet it’s out there and it’s happening. It has its own set of rules, etiquette, cultural issues and norms, and more.

Day 58 – AeroGarden

Every morning we play a game to see how many new tomatoes we can spot growing. All six tomato plants have tomatoes on them. And they just keep appearing everywhere!

I had to raise the light hood again. You can see that the plants on the right are growing straight up. The middle and left side are still branching out horizontally and need the most pruning.

It’s really fun to watch this all happen.

The Gaming Grandma

I recently watched this documentary on Shirley Curry. This is the purest, sweetest, most genuine thing I will watch this week.

Turns out that she has been quite the phenomenon for a while. And after watching the documentary, and then a few of her videos, I can see why. I can see the draw. I can see the uniqueness that she brings as a gamer. And I love that she uses SkyRim to tell stories.

I also got slightly teary-eyed when I learned that she will have a NPC, based on her, included in Elder Scrolls 6.

Don’t write off elderly people. Just… don’t.

Five Things for the Week

1. Health

Around Wednesday afternoon I started feeling… “off”. It wasn’t until later that I realized I was running a fever. That was also when the coughing fits started to happen. This lasted until Friday afternoon, where even the occasional coughing fit still snuck its way in.

I used two sick days for work (Thursday and Friday). I tried; there was just no way I could get anything done. I didn’t have the ability to focus nor think about anything for any extended amount of time.

2. Perception vs Reality

Of course I didn’t do anything directly to cause me getting sick. It happens to all of us. But this week had me thinking and evaluating: am I really taking care of myself the way that I think I am taking care of myself?

Careful there, I think I just crossed over into OverThink land.

I have certainly improved my self care. I know that I still have a ways to go before I got to where I envisioned. But am I as far along as I believe myself to be?

The blame for this doubt (and over think) is because I didn’t set clear, measurable goals along the way. So I don’t have a measure to tell me whether I am right or wrong, on track or not, succeeding or failing.

Must remedy this soon.

3. Read

The WNBA’s male practice squads lose to women all the time — and enjoy it This was an interesting read and my immediate and most prominent reaction to it is simply “that sounds like a fun job!”

The Billboard This speaks to the power of art, and what art can mean for not ony the artists but for our society. When I see/read/hear about cases like this, I try to remain impartial. I wasn’t there, we don’t have all of the facts other than what was reported on. And though I tend to believe the victims, I always temper it with the reality that I just don’t know all sides.

Simon Liu Isn’t A Sex Offender. But He’s Still on the Registry For Life Our system is messed up. Even some judges, like the one in this article, agree. So, why aren’t we changing it and making things right? And why does change, to do the right thing, take so long?

4. Watched

Always Be My Maybe Another feel good movie for me, mainly because I love seeing Asian representation. I love seeing the increase in opportunities for those who haven’t had them before. I’m also a Randall Park fan, and it was good to see him in a leading role for a feature film. Funny and sweet and loved the Asian foods showcased as well.

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal Damn, she’s good. I was so happy to see that she had a Netflix special. Hilarious. She has been a longtime favorite comic of mine.

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters I saw these movies come up in my suggestions (on Netflix). I heard mixed things about them but, in my excitement for the upcoming Godzilla movie (and because I was laid up, sick most of the week), I decided to check them out. The first one was promising, setting up some good potential story lines and introducing the characters (though most are clichéd and/or forgettable). Overall animation was good, though.

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle I knew, going in, that these movies wanted to focus more on human stories rather than Godzilla and “monster fights” so, I figured that there wouldn’t be a lot of action scenes. But, I think that is what made these disappointing. When you use Godzilla as a character, you have to focus on that character. Show action. Show Godzilla action. This movie, for me, is where the anime, story, characters, etc. got so clichéd that it became boring to me.

Godzilla: The Planet Eater The third of the trilogy, surely the climax and ending would be all worth it, right? Halfway through the movie I was highly irritated by the over-explaining, over-narrating of the dialog. It became so repetitive and so tedious I started to wonder if the English scripts where just photocopied and collated in the wrong order, with multiple copies of the same pages. So irritated that I almost turned it off but, saw it through with the optimism that a Ghidorah vs. Godzilla battle would make up for it. Wrong.

5. Listened

Rilo Kiley, Japanese Breakfast, Rammstein, and Blackpink made up the majority of my music listening, this week.

“I felt like I fit in, but definitely did not.”

“When I went back twenty-five years later, I was faced with something almost alien to me; it felt right, but it didn’t; I felt like I fit in, but definitely did not.”

~ Noah Cho

I read the above in a Catapult article where Noah Cho writes about a conversation between he and Michelle Zauner. It struck a chord with me.

This is how I felt during my first visit back to Korea, in January of 2013. I was fortunate, that year, being able to visit the country twice. The first time was for work, the second time, that June, as part of the 2013 Journey class.

January was hard because I didn’t know what to expect. I had travelled before but, this was the first time it would be Korea. My birthplace. My first time back since I was 18 months old. Even more difficult was that I had a job to do, and that came with a schedule to adhere to along with a “bubble” of people that I would always be with.

So while I, of course, was trying to take everything in, I was constantly distracted with the task at hand. In hindsight, it was an emotionally confusing couple of weeks where I was being pulled into different directions, constantly.

The June trip was much more pleasurable and gave me more time to understand and process, while at the same time introduced me to far more of the country than I went in expecting. So much so that even now, in 2019 (six years later), I’m still processing what I saw, felt, and learned.

Bring on the Stranger Things

I’m so looking forward to this. I love this series almost as much as I love Freaks and Geeks (and, if you know me, that’s saying something). It’s the combination of nostalgia, coming of age, group of awkward friends, and science fiction that just hits all of the right notes for me. It also doesn’t hurt that the characters are not only well-written but perfectly (in my opinion) cast.

Also, I need to get crackin’ on that Lego set

Five things for the week

1. Family

My brother in law spent the three day weekend with us, and we made it a fun weekend. Other than making sure every meal was good, we went to Topgolf, did some reminiscing in my wife and his old neighborhood (they grew up around here), wandered around downtown, and spent some time catching up. All in all a fun weekend.

2. Creating

I carried my camera with me all weekend. I got some shots I was happy with but, this was more about getting back into the habit of carrying that camera bag around with me without being self-conscious about it nor seeing it as a burden (ugh, something to carry). I used the XT-1 and the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 lens. I loved the flexibility of the zoom as we wandered through the city.

For Memorial Day, we stayed around the house and relaxed (where we caught up and just talked). I grilled a feast (above), including Santa Maria-style tri-tip, bbq spare ribs, garlic bread, ranch beans and coleslaw. It was so, so good.

3. Read

Something Is Changing in the Way People Eat at Home I’ve been increasing our efforts to reverse this trend, at least in our household. I want to be at 80% meals made at home and eaten at our table, and 20% going out and being more social. My wife and I both grew up in families where every dinner was at a table with everyone there. It’s just so odd how quickly we got away from doing that in our adult lives.

Why Walking is the Key to Being More Productive I have mentioned needing to build walking into my daily routine before. I still haven’t managed to get to a point where I can say I am doing it regularly, even after reading all of the different studies and essays and articles showing how much this benefits an individual.

4. Watched

The Lonely island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers ExperienceIt’s fun, and silly, and had some fun cameos, and made me laugh. Isn’t this really all that matters?

5. Listened

A lot of Japanese Breakfast came through the headphones and speakers, this week. It’s just really good music and songwriting. I created a playlist exclusively for them after watching Michelle Zauner, Maangchi, and Sarah Lee in this video, from Munchies.

I tried to listen to the Apple Music curated “Focus” playlists while working. They’re okay for background music and I didn’t really find myself distracted, which is good. I think that I need to use them in moderation; too much trance and electronica-type music for too long sometimes gives me a headache.

3 whole days!

If Taylor Swift’s curated playlist, on Apple Music, tells me anything, it’s that she and I do not share the same taste in music.

I’m headed into the three day weekend having met all of my deadlines on both the work and the school fronts. This means, there is not excuse for me not to enjoy this time off. My brother in law is spending the weekend with us so, it gives us a good opportunity to play tourist and enjoy the area.

With nothing hanging over me. It feels good. Stress free. Clearing the road for a very enjoyable three day weekend.

Songs are getting shorter?

Something that I have noticed, over the years, is that songs seem to be getting shorter. It’s almost at a point where, for me, if a song is over 3:30 then I feel like it’s going on for too long. This is crazy considering most of my favorite songs (mostly classic rock) are between 4 and 8 minutes long, and I have no issues with them whatsoever.

Is my attention span shorter (well, yes)? Am I just noticing something that really isn’t even a “thing”? Turns out, it’s somewhat true. Songs are getting shorter, and for a reason. Thanks, streaming services!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with short songs. If they tell the story the writer/performer wants, and they are enjoyable to you, go an enjoy them. The same goes for longer songs.

I just found the shortening of song tracks, fascinating.

King of the Monsters

Godzilla (2014).

I was pleasantly surprised by this version. The 1998 abomination left a really bad taste in my mouth for any USA, big-studio remakes of Godzilla. I think it was Bryan Cranston’s performance that made me realize, early on, that this movie would be different. Very different. And I wasn’t disappointed. It’s actually one of my favorite iterations of Godzilla.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

So, after seeing trailers for this one, I have very high hopes. The cinematography (at least in the trailers) looks amazing. There are some great actors in this too so, I’m just really really hopeful.

Another set to the queue

2287 Pieces…

I added a 5th set the the queue of Lego sets that I need to put together. I try to only indulge in the sets that really interest me; the ones that really look like they’re going to be released just once and will be hard to find down the line.

When I saw this Stranger Things set, I purchased the morning it was released. It arrived today. The box is huge! It looks really cool, with a lot of details throughout. I love how they handled the upside down with the real world, creating a set that you could flip over.

Now, I just need to find some more time to get through,

  1. Saturn V
  2. Wall-E
  3. Volkswagon T1 Camper Van
  4. Voltron, and
  5. The Upside Down (Stranger Things)

Five things for the week

Mid morning naps

1. Series Finales

I have been getting increasingly frustrated with the way The Big Bang Theory has been written for the past few seasons. It just stopped being funny and felt like the storylines were flat. Like no one was making an effort. This last season has been increasingly irritating because I kept expecting big things to happen being that it was the last season but, no… still flat.

Though, I will say, the series finale did end in a way that was fitting for the series. It was fun to watch that.

Now, here’s hoping that Game of Thrones, with tonight’s series finale, salvages something from the past few seasons…

2. Work-Life balance

Adjust your perspective to see and understand things differently. If you don’t like what you see, what you learn, then make changes to what you can make changes to. My main thing? I need to get away from the feeling that I have to be working all the time. It’s a feeling that I just can’t shake. Even when I’m caught up with everything and have plenty of time to complete tasks, I feel hurried and stressed and feeling that I need to sit down and do it all. I feel guilty that I have free time. That’s not right.

3. Read

Aguacero, by Patricia Engel – Wow. I love a good short story. This is a STELLAR short story.

Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S. This is clearly evident anytime you travel to any modern city outside of the USA. There are cities and countries that are truly innovating and placing priorities on moving people around their city, without prioritizing automobiles. It’s mind boggling how far behind our transit systems in, say New York City or DC compared to those in Seoul or London. I was more recently surprised by how efficient Austria was with their trains, buses, and street cars. We need to do more.

My ULTIMATE real world REVIEW of the FUJIFILM FUJINON 23mm f2This blog post, by Aiden Morgan, made me laugh at a time when I least expected (especially due to the post title) and at a time when I really appreciated the laugh.

4. Watched

In addition to the series finales mentioned above,

Jailbirds, s1Most of my enjoyment from watching this came from knowing that 1) this was taking pace in my city, and 2) I have driven by the “tower” a few times a week since we moved here. There really wasn’t any character that I “followed” or found myself sympathizing with. I was fascinated with the use of the toilets for “fishing” and as “phones”. I had to turn away from some of those scenes, though. Somewhat disgusting. Also, so much drama everywhere. Everyone is messy!

Lucifer, s4 My wife was so happy that Netflix picked this show up (after it’s cancellation from network tv) but, with reservations. I paid attention to ~75% of it while she watched and can honestly say, I find it tedious.

5. Listened

KCRW Good Food, May 18th Roy Choi is doing some good, really needed things. Pay attention. And Bill Esparza’s Taqueando sounds like something that I need to go to.

Back to FUNdamentals

The first time that I remember “being a photographer” was on a trip to Alaska, with my grandparents, when I was 12 years old. I had a simple point and shoot (film) camera with me while we drove from Anchorage to Denali (and took a bus tour through a bit of Denali National park) to Fairbanks, and then back to Anchorage via Delta Junction and Paxson.

This was after spending the first week of that trip with my cousins in McGrath, a town only accessible by plane. The entire experience was incredible and life-changing.

I remember, with that point and shoot, that all I wanted to do was roam, see everything we could, and photograph everything I could. And yeah, the Alaskan landscape will do that to you.

That school year, my Freshman year of high school, I enrolled in a Photography class as an elective. I learned to roll, develop, and print my own film. I learned photography basics about exposure and composition and storytelling for photojournalism.

my Pentax ME Super

I also “borrowed” my grandpa’s Pentax ME Super (SLR) which didn’t leave my side/bag throughout the rest of high school. I still have it, 25+ years later.

I’m currently rereading two books: 1) Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and, 2.) On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide, by David Hurn. They’re two of my favorite photography books and I believe they’ll help ground me with this hobby.

I want to get my mindset back to that Alaska trip, and back to how I worked in that photography class. I want to focus on fundamentals and get really good with them. And I just want to get out there and photograph without worry, without self-consciousness, and with passion.

Current streak: 2

My wife and I are really excited to see how many dinners we can cook at home, in a row, this week. My goal is to get us through Friday with a dinner out on Saturday. We shall see…

Sunday’s dinner was a (cast iron) pan fried NY steak, a steamed artichoke with lemon butter, and some roasted asparagus. I really wanted to be sure we used up the veggies in our refrigerator. I picked up a pretty decent 16oz steak direct from the butcher counter for us to share and it ended up being the perfect amount.

Monday’s dinner (above) was grilled corn, black bean, and cheese enchiladas. Originally I was planning on making just plain cheese enchiladas but, last minute, decided to “southwest” them up a little. I cut the corn from the cob right after grilling. It was perfectly charred yet still nice and sweet. It made for a great addition to the enchiladas. I briefly thought about adding some green chiles too but, I think I was distracted by a phone call or something because I forgot all about it (and didn’t remember again until we were eating them).

So far, two dinners. And so far, both have been very very good.

Five Things for the Week

1. Photography

I bought and then returned a Fujifilm XE-3. I thought that the rangefinder-style layout combined with the ability to change lenses, would make for a great everyday carry camera. But, soon after opening the box and setting it up, I realized that wasn’t the case. It’s a great camera, and one that I wouldn’t mind having in my collection. But it’s not on that I want to carry all the time. I prefer the SLR-style cameras, like the Fujifilm XT-1 (that I currently have) and the recently released X-T30, which is smaller and somewhat inviting to me because of the smaller factor.

For now, I am going to stick with the XT-1 as my main and make some further investments into the lens ranges that I want. This will give me more time to just get used to carrying a proper camera around with me; perhaps even force me out to go photograph something specifically (not by happenstance).

2. Houseplants

Right now my success rate, for my indoor plants, is “average”. I think I’m losing my orchid due to watering (either too much or not enough, I’m still trying to figure that out). I over-pruned my AeroGarden tomatoes (will post picture update soon) but, they seem to be recovering perfectly fine. Another leafy houseplant is doing okay though, I still worry about the amount of light it’s (not) getting.

I hesitate to get more for now but, i also understand that since I’m new to this, it’s all really a learning experience. The lemon tree (outside) is doing well. It was full of blossoms a few weeks ago but the wind knocked most of them off over this past week.

3. Read

Science’s Newest Miracle Drug is Free This article points to a very big “duh” and something that we should all take more seriously. Just being outside, in my backyard, improves my mood. We’re not meant to be cooped up.

The rise of fear-based social media like Nextdoor, Citizen, and now Amazon’s Neighbors Fear begets fear. If all you read is bad, you start to believe all is bad. There are some really cool things in my Nextdoor feed, from food drives to students getting tutoring from each other. But the bad posts (complaining about really dumb stuff, posting of fake car break ins and burglaries, etc) always have me second guessing why I use that app.

Olivia Laing: ‘I was hooked and my drug was Twitter’I recently realized, and admitted out loud, that checking Twitter puts me in a bad mood. I divided my timeline into two accounts, one public and one private. The public one so that I could follow a wide variety of people and feeds to respond, the private one being more “intimate” with people I really wanted to keep up with. It helped but, I still hate opening the app and started reducing my use there.

4. Watched

Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta I stumbled on this series (forgot how) and was drawn in with some of the stories he is telling abut the people in the places that he visits. I don’t want to oversimplify any of it (it’s all really good food for thought) but, it seems that humans, no matter where they are and what circumstances they’re in, find ways to evolve both physically and mentally to achieve happiness and health.

The United Shades of America I like W. Kamau Bell’s perspective on the topic he brings out, and I like that the topics themselves are both topical but not always at the forefront of our news cycles. This week I caught up on Season 4’s episodes, with great appreciation for his most recent on the Hmong Americans.

Game of Thrones, s.8, ep.5 – Clegane Bowl, good. Rest, meh. I know they’re trying to wrap up as much as they can before the end of the season/series but, everything is far too rushed, with too many character arcs being cut short and/or not making any sense. A very disappointing season.

Wine CountryArgh! I wish this was better than it was. Especially with the acting talent that they had. There were definitely moments when I thought it would break wide open and become really funny and really good but, this was so subdued and bland. Disappointing but, I want this group to keep making content.

5. Listened

Nothing significant to report here. This week, when I had time, was filled with my usual news podcasts and Apple Music playlists.