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Madelyn Holthouse
April 21, 2021
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Dutch Blitz Review

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whowhatwhycast
April 21, 2021
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ubarose
April 19, 2021
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Moonrakers - Grant's Game Recs

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Matt Thrower
April 19, 2021
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oliverkinne
April 16, 2021
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Fort Board Game Review

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DukeofChutney
April 15, 2021
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Abstraction: GO

Analysis
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Msample
April 15, 2021
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Review of Bayonets & Tomahawks

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whowhatwhycast
April 14, 2021
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Shellhead
April 13, 2021
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thegiantbrain
April 13, 2021
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Episode 69 - Bullet Time

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oliverkinne
April 13, 2021
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adamr
April 13, 2021
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Venice - Punchboard Reviews

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Matt Thrower
April 12, 2021
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Play Matt: Elric, Ranked

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GrantLyon
April 12, 2021
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oliverkinne
April 09, 2021
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What TV SHOWS are you watching?

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08 Apr 2021 10:37 #321782 by RobertB
Now in Westworld season 2. There's a little mystery box in it, but on the whole it's pretty good.
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08 Apr 2021 10:57 #321783 by Shellhead
I am gradually working my way through the first season of The Rockford Files. Jim Rockford is a private investigator who is always just scraping by in life, using a beachside trailer as both his office and his home. His best friend is his elderly dad Rocky. Jim has a good heart, a dry wit, and a keen eye for detail. He is warm and cheerful, but also wary and cynical. The show is somewhat formulaic, with nearly every episode featuring someone getting tailed, a car chase, a brief scuffle, the police hassling Jim, and an interesting female character who is either the client, a suspect, or a witness. It all works well because James Garner has this breezy charisma that totally carries the show even through some occasional plot holes.

At the same time, I am re-reading Altered Carbon, the first book of Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs trilogy which was turned into a Netflix show. The contrast is interesting. Both detectives are operating in a major city in California, but in settings separated by a few centuries. And yet there are similarities that can be traced back to Raymond Chandler and his detective Philip Marlowe. For obvious reasons, Altered Carbon is more focused than an episodic tv show from the '70s. The shadows are darker and the stakes are higher, but there is still the cynical humor and focus on details. Takeshi and Jim both cope with shady clients and unfriendly cops, and they won't let either stop their quest for the truth.

The worst part about watching The Rockford Files, both now and when it originally aired, is the commercials. Madison Avenue wasn't as polished in the '70s, so those commercials were often annoying. But the Roku commercials are surprisingly lacking in variety. To make matters worse, the perplexing and ongoing fame of the Kardashian clan has led many modern women into unfortunate plastic surgery, especially the injection of lip fillers. So I am forced to watch the same Aldi and Buick Envision commercials multiple times per episode, and both ads feature women with the trout pout of lip fillers. In fact, the Buick ad has the same women showing up simultaneously in four different outfits, so it's overwhelming. The Aldi commercial is ironic to me, because it features both a pair of normal people and two other people who are suppose to be glamorous fantasy versions of them. But the normal woman actually looks nice compared to her glamorous counterpart with hideous lip fillers. Which might be clever, except that isn't the point of the commercial so it's just distracting and bad.

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08 Apr 2021 11:24 #321784 by hotseatgames
Finished season 1 of Unforgotten, enjoying it quite a bit. I started season 2, which appears to be following the same formula.

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08 Apr 2021 11:56 #321787 by RobertB
Shellhead's Roku mention of seeing the same three shitty commercials above made me think of ESPN+. You can add that to Disney+ for $2/month. We added it because I thought it would give us access to ESPN. Oops. But you do get a lot of stuff, pretty much all of it being stuff I don't watch. As in, it's a damn shame I don't follow soccer, because I could watch every Bundesliga game. If you're a fan, I'd recommend it.

What we stumbled into was NCAA Women's Volleyball. My daughter played in club and high school. She loved the game but wasn't quite good enough to take it to the college level. My wife and I watched a lot of games when she played, and watching it on ESPN+ let us reminisce. ESPN+ broadcasts games from the smallest Division 1 schools. An example would be SIU Evansville vs. Belmont. Sometimes the video quality is good, sometimes it's straight from the Perseverance lander. Sometimes we're watching awesome play, and sometimes we're reminded of that 13U team that lost almost every match.

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08 Apr 2021 12:22 #321788 by Jackwraith

RobertB wrote: But you do get a lot of stuff, pretty much all of it being stuff I don't watch. As in, it's a damn shame I don't follow soccer, because I could watch every Bundesliga game. If you're a fan, I'd recommend it.


Yes. If you're a soccer/football fan, for $5/month, you not only get the Bundesliga, but also Serie A, the English Championship, and the English, German, and Italian cup games (League Cup and FA Cup, DFB-Pokal, and Coppa Italia, respectively.) It's easily the best streaming bargain out there, if you enjoy the sport. Plus, there's all the other stuff that RobertB mentions, including sports you never see on ESPN's regular outlets, as well as their documentaries (30 for 30, etc.) and other presentations that aren't live sports.
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08 Apr 2021 15:22 #321800 by RobertB
Yeah, I keep trying to talk myself into watching soccer. It'd be a perfect spectator sport - it's going on somewhere, all the time. There are a blue million leagues to chose from. Promotion/relegation is the awesomest concept ever, and would cure team owners (looking at you, MLB) of that shit where they use their team as a cash cow. Come in last, and your team isn't in Pittsburgh anymore, it's in Grand Rapids. It just doesn't click for me.

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08 Apr 2021 15:43 #321801 by Shellhead
As each year goes by, I care less and less about professional sports. But even when I was sort of sports fan, I was unable to appreciate soccer. Some team sports have a very defined structure that makes it easy to follow the progress of the game at any given moment. Football is great, because the teams visibly move up and down the field as the team with possession makes progress. Baseball is broken up into halves of innings, and again each time a new batter steps up to the plate. But other sports, like hockey, basketball, and soccer, are more dynamic from moment to moment, requiring constant attention and the ability to interpret the chaos of the moment. Basketball at least involves frequent scoring to sustain a sense of action. Hockey is tough to follow because the puck is harder for the viewer to track, but at least there are the fights and all the routine impacts. Soccer, on the other hand, is lots and lots of running with very little scoring, so I just never found it interesting.

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08 Apr 2021 16:07 #321802 by Jackwraith
Pro/rel is certainly one of the draws, since it does make owners have to actually try, rather than just sitting on the cash cow of their franchise (see: Detroit Lions.)

As for the appeal, I think it definitely improves with knowledge. A lot of Americans look at soccer in that vein: much running, little scoring. But there aren't many team sports where you can look at just a couple minutes of action and understand not only what both sides are trying to do, but how they're both trying to counter what the other is trying to do. It's quite strategic in that respect. It also has the highest variance (i.e. the ability for lesser teams to beat more talented/moneyed ones) of any major sport. Despite the top clubs usually remaining the top clubs in the big European leagues, the chance for a bottom-dweller to beat one of the top clubs on any given day is exponentially higher than in most major sports, which does provide some excitement, even if you're a fan of the team that's supposed to win.

And one side benefit is that the clock never stops. No "one hour of game time turns into three-and-a-half hours of actual time" because of game stoppages and commercials. Every match is two hours or less. For those of us who value our time and don't want to spend 2/3 of it watching ads or having to leave the room to avoid them or actually spending as much time on our phones to avoid them while ostensibly "watching the game", that's a godsend. I've been a Liverpool supporter since I was a kid, but I've watched enough soccer, in general, over the years to basically be alienated from most US live sports, simply because I can't stand sitting there wasting so much time and not actually watching my team play.
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08 Apr 2021 16:36 #321804 by RobertB
What I've heard about hockey is that one live game and you'll be hooked. They must be talking about NHL hockey, because I've been to ECHL games, and am still addiction-free. The games were fun to attend, but didn't lead me to crave more hockey.

"Fun to attend" meant that every game I went to had at least one fight in the stands. I had a guy spill a beer down my back one time from the fallout from the fight behind me two rows up. The most memorable incident was an intermission stunt gone wrong. The "Domino's Pizza Guy!" would run around the rink and frisbee throw pizza boxes into the stands. The pizza boxes contained coupons for free Domino's Pizza (yeah, it's Domino's, it sucks, but it's free). So one time Dominos Pizza Guy comes out, and got about 10 feet before these guys in the front row surround him and start yanking pizza boxes out of his arms. DPG flings the pizza boxes he has left into the crowd all at once and runs for his life, like a little kid at the beach that got swarmed by seagulls. The next time, DPG had a security guard escort.

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08 Apr 2021 16:50 #321805 by Shellhead
I've never watched NHL live, but I've seen just about every other level possible except for Olympic. It's just about mandatory in Minnesota to watch some hockey. The most memorable time was watching the Shreveport Mudbugs versus some Russian farm team. The Russians seemed to be highly skilled teenagers, but a majority of the Shreveport team was actually aging goons from Quebec. The Quebecois enforcers seemed to be big fans of the Hanson Brothers, and at one point, one of them checked a Russian into the boards so hard that a big sheet of goon-proof glass was shattered. Took close to a half hour before they replaced that glass, giving everybody time to drink more beer.

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08 Apr 2021 18:25 #321811 by Not Sure
Jack said everything I would say about watching soccer as an American. There's a taste to it (and some games are just boring, because the teams are making it that way). But it's something that (aside from Cup finals) you know exactly how much time you're putting into, and there's always something happening on the field.

I will add that hockey is probably my favorite thing to watch live, even more than soccer. We have a local ECHL team that I don't get out to see much anymore (even pre-Covid), but there's a definite skill/fan/vibe difference with NHL games. There's a huge drop-off to watching on TV, such that I basically won't bother.

Similarly, I have no interest at all in baseball, but watching a game in a ballpark is a pretty good afternoon.
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08 Apr 2021 19:24 - 08 Apr 2021 19:25 #321814 by mtagge
Still going to town with Discovery+. When I do my 5K walk on the treadmill in the early morning hours I'm watching old episodes of Mythbusters. The only reason I stick with that is because there are tons of episodes and I don't think my kids will miss out on it compared to the other stuff we watch together.

In the evening when we manage to sit down for an hour it depends on whose turn it is. Since there are no commercials we can normally get a 42 minute episode and a 22 minute episode of something. One boy likes to pick Dirty Jobs and America Fact or Fiction a show that goes over all those America stories and is giving them a good sense of cultural history. I've been known to decide it's time to brush my teeth during some segments of Dirty jobs. The other boy has been picking a Civil War series that focuses on specific individuals. My wife and I have been picking some of the survival stuff like Last Man Out where Ed Stafford does a race with another survival expert over 10 days through some tough terrain. We took one of the recommendations and are now doing Bushcraft Build-off which has two teams of three given a specific area and they have less than seven days to build a specific thing (shelter, boat, etc.). The host is great and really has a soft way of telling people where they messed up. For the half hour show I'll still pick Good Eats/Good Eats reloaded or a new one Outrageous Acts of Psychology where they are pranking people.

After the kids go to bed, when I can stay up I've run through the Amazon series Invincible. Only a few episodes so far, done by Kirkman of Walking Dead fame. It's got a Superman figure and his son whose powers just awakened. A little brutal at times. At the end of the first episode
Warning: Spoiler!
Last edit: 08 Apr 2021 19:25 by mtagge.

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08 Apr 2021 20:20 #321818 by DarthJoJo

RobertB wrote: What I've heard about hockey is that one live game and you'll be hooked. They must be talking about NHL hockey, because I've been to ECHL games, and am still addiction-free. The games were fun to attend, but didn't lead me to crave more hockey.

One of my top five live sports experiences was a WHL match. I was working at an in-patient program for teenage addicts, and someone donated their box seat for a night out for the boys. Most of them were lower-class, city kids. I don't think any of them had seen a game or even knew what a puck was, but they warmed up pretty quick, around the third fight by the start of the second period. The goalies even dropped gloves with about three minutes left in the third. Good times.
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08 Apr 2021 21:42 #321822 by Shellhead
My parents were living in Texas when the Minnesota North Stars were bought and sent down to Dallas to become the Dallas Stars. My dad sent me a newspaper clipping from the Dallas-Fort Worth area that consisted of a reporter getting reactions from local sports fans. My favorite quote was, "Oh yeah, Texans are gonna love hockey. It's got passin' and everything." I told my dad that Texans will like hockey because of the fights.

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08 Apr 2021 22:21 #321823 by charlest
It's funny to me that fighting is still regarded as such a big part of hockey. You hardly see fights in the NHL now.
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