VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Shuffle (2015)

Pokémon Shuffle Year: 2015 Rating: E Time Played: ~824 hours Considering how much time I’ve sunk into this game, I should probably give it a review. While on its surface, Pokémon Shuffle is merely a branded version of a “match three” puzzle game, the mechanics it adds to this genre gives the game an amount of strategy that is clearly addicting. As a free-to-play gamer, I haven’t put a single dollar into this game (on either the 3DS or mobile versions). Consequently, it takes a very long time to get anything done in this game, at least when it comes to maxing out the stats on the best Pokémon to use. While the game has finally entered a regular cycle of events and specially available Pokémon, there was a time when I was excited to open up the game on Tuesdays to learn what new Pokémon I could catch/power-up each week. At the very least, with the normalization of events, I know I won’t have...
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MOVIE: Barry Lyndon (1975)

Barry Lyndon Year: 1975 Rating: PG Length: 185 minutes / 3.08 hours As someone who appreciates classic films, perhaps I had my hopes set a little too high for Barry Lyndon (1975). Going in, I already knew the technical challenges director Stanley Kubrick had to overcome to film indoors and by candlelight with no extra lighting. Of course, if that was the main thing I knew about this film before I actually sat down and watched it, that should have told me something about how boring the plot would be. Then again, even a master of cinema like Kubrick can only do so much with mediocre material. I will give some credit where it's due, though. Most of this movie did contribute to the tension of the climax. If certain events hadn't transpired in the way they did, Barry's (Ryan O'Neal) life would have been much different. Then again, the whole "rags to riches" storyline seemed overdone, even for the mid-1970s. And sure, duels can...
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BOOK: White Fragility (2018)

White Fragility Year: 2018 Author: Robin DiAngelo Length: 381 minutes / 6.35 hours With race relations as challenging as they currently are in the United States, a book like White Fragility is required reading for both opponents and allies of racial unity. Racism is a huge problem, and it’s difficult to tackle something this large without first understanding the foundation on which it was built. It can be easy to simply address the problem's symptoms instead of digging out the root and identifying where many secondary and tertiary issues originate. As a straight white male, I was first hesitant to read such a book, but now I think it should be required for all of us straight white males. The only qualm I have with this book is that it almost exclusively addresses the racism toward the black community. While I understand this is the most volatile and pressing facet of racism right now, I would have appreciated a chapter about applying the tools presented in...
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MOVIE: Song of the Sea (2014)

Song of the Sea Year: 2014 Rating: PG Length: 93 minutes / 1.55 hours In perusing Netflix a while ago, I came across Song of the Sea (2014), a nominee for the Best Animated Feature Oscar that had completely gone under my radar. At first glance, this film seemed to be by the same people who had done The Secret of Kells (2009). I appreciated the 2D style of the animation from Kells and looked forward to additional stories that could be told in that style. I was not disappointed in the visuals, but I was confused, perhaps more than I should have been with the plot. Don't get me wrong: the plot is pretty simple. I certainly was able to understand the story of a brother and his mystical mother and sister. Some of the plot points seemed pretty cliche, all things considered. What I had trouble with was some of the Irish folklore that ran throughout this movie. Perhaps it was all part...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Picross (2015)

Pokémon Picross Year: 2015 Rating: E Time Played: ~78 hours I’ve never been much of a fan of picross-type games. Mostly, the user interface for them required the use of a D-pad, which made solving each puzzle a slow endeavor. Additionally, most of the pictures created via these picross puzzles were not that interesting. This was why I was surprised to find that I enjoyed Pokémon Picross so much. Sure, it might be a picross game at its core, but the addition of the Pokémon brand made it much more entertaining to play than any other picross game I’ve come across. Additionally, the 3DS touch screen and stylus made completing puzzles that much easier than using a D-pad. While the Pokémon content and stylus controls were two reasons I ended up completing this game, I admit that it has one annoying flaw: paywalls. Granted, Pokémon Picross is a free-to-play game, but there are a few points early on where you need a certain amount of...
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MOVIE: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Year: 2020 Rating: R Length: 95 minutes / 1.58 hours Over the years, I've found two types of people: those offended by the original Borat (2006) film and those who find it funny. I'm probably in the latter camp, mostly because I can appreciate how politically incorrect comedy can be "safely" created by introducing a cultural/language barrier. 14 years later, and I'm certain that the people who didn't find the original Borat funny won't find the humor in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). As an American, it's amusing to see our foibles pulled out as the butt of the joke in this film, especially after we've made fools of ourselves through the last decade of partisan politics and recent refusal of science and common sense. And while Borat Subsequent Moviefilm still relies on physical and sexual humor that is awkward to watch, there are moments of pure genius...
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