With today’s 22-8 vote by the NBA to stop the Kings to move to Seattle, I was struck with the fear that the Sonics or NBA will never return to Seattle. It took a number of years for the bad taste that the NBA left after approving the relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City back in 2007. The desire to have a team grew grassroots as support from fans, local government officials, and local ownership started to develop. In comes Chris Hansen, with a lazer like goal to bring back the Sonics to Seattle. Having someone this passionate about bringing a team back was infectious to NBA fans in Seattle. This is the type of owner you want to have when you have water cooler discussions about your favorite sports team. Even with all this momentum growing in Seattle, the vote made it clear. The NBA won’t be returning anytime in the near future.
As someone who would enjoy having the NBA back in Seattle, I am fearful that this groundswell of local support will soon dry up as fans feel betrayed twice now by the NBA. When David Stern talks about 28 years being a factor in keep the Kings in Sacramento, yet the 41 years of the Sonics appeared to have little to no factor back in 2008, you can’t help but feel defeated, slighted, and betrayed.
With concerns about the NBA not being competitive enough with its current 30 teams, discussions of expansion have been very quiet the last couple years and sadly I personally don’t expect the NBA to want to expand until 2020.
As someone who was a huge fan during the Kemp/Payton championship runs in the mid 90′s, it is sad to see the NBA not returning to Seattle and probably not returning for a long time. Maybe by the time I retire I’ll be able to go to Sonics games because it looks like it is going to take that long.
2013 has started and I thought this would be a good time to write down some goals, so next January I can go back and read these and tell myself I have either accomplished something or I need to look into getting some professional help.
Let’s get right to it. I’m lonely. I’m turning 34 this year, and it isn’t getting any easier as I get older. I’d like to actually be in a relationship. I want to make dinner for someone other than myself. I want to see a movie or a show and not feel like I have to drag a friend or go alone. I’d like a companion that I can have a two way conversation with (this is directed to my dog Scout, who keeps me company, but really can’t hold a conversation). Really it would be nice to just be around someone who enjoys my company as much as I enjoy theirs.
With dating being a total bust the last couple years, I’d like to establish some stronger friendships out there. It has been difficult with moving and changing jobs the last couple years. When I was laid off from Sucker Punch, I think the thing that I was disappointed about the most is I just started to feel like I was part of the team and my co-workers were my friends. After that, I hardly see any of them. I have a fair amount of good friends, but I don’t have many if any come over for Thanksgiving friends. It pains me to say, but I get jealous when combing through Facebook and other social media outlets and seeing a group of people having a good ol’ time. I’d like that. Can I get an invite? Perhaps I can make my own. I think I’ll have some more parties or get togethers at my apt, since people seemed to have a good time at my Election Day Party. But back to the point, more friends to do things with would be great, and hopefully they have single female friends.
Working at Zombie Studios has been great. I feel empowered to try things that I really would never be able to try at any other studio. 2013 should be an exciting year with everything we have in the works with continuing to support Blacklight: Retribution, our secret Unreal Engine 4 title, and some other things we have in the works. I’m very excited.
This kinda goes in line with dating. I’m overweight by 10 or 15 pounds, but in the dating scene I might as well be 100 pounds overweight. Most of my weight is in my face, which doesn’t help. When I tell people I am 191 pounds, they don’t believe me. Well I’d really like to be around 170 to 175. I’ve been trying to get there for years, but I’m ready to make some changes. The Zombie Soccer Team helps, and I’m trying to eat better these days. This is something I plan on posting about more frequently here for support.
I’ve been a little too lose with money the last couple years. I try to keep a nice nest egg for emergencies, but sadly that nest egg has shrunk while credit card bills went up. In 2013 I hope to watch my money, make better choices, pay down some of my stupid debt that I gained in my 20′s, and be able to take a vacation or something in 2014. If I’m able to keep everything inline in 2013, I should have my car, one credit card, and tax bill all paid off by next year.
I love living on First Hill. It is great! I’m close to everything! Work is just a short bus ride away. I can walk to concerts or dinner anytime. Scout enjoys barking at all the Seattle University students walking by. But as much as I love living on First Hill, I’d like to own my own place, especially being 34 soon. There are some nice places in Columbia City, which I think are going to sky rocket the next couple years. The proximity to the city and being on Central Link Light Rail makes it ideal for future growth. Scout also would like a yard or some grass to call his own.
Well you can see 2013 should be an important year for me. I am hopeful that it turns into a memorable year and that I’ll be able to tell stories about it to someone other than Scout.
If you know me at all, you know I love music. Going to shows. Meeting people into music. Meeting bands. Making friends. Music is food for my soul. Like any year, I have my favorite albums that stuck with me through the entire year, and here we go!
Mumford & Sons happens to be one of those safe bands that you can listen to anytime of the year and feel good. Their latest album has some really nice songs to listen to including I Will Wait, that stings no matter what type of mood you are in. Also how can you not enjoy a band that plays a banjo as if it were a metal song? Go watch Mumford & Sons play at Red Rocks. While you are at it go watch Big Easy Express, which has Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the lovable Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros tour across the US via train.
I am not a hip hop guy in the slightest, the closest I got was being into the Beastie Boys, and the occasional Sir Mix-a-lot song, but really hip hop is not my scene, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist. The first time I heard Thrift Shop, I feel in love the the saxophone hook and the quick lyrics talking about poppin tags and looking for a come up. It was genius. Besides the comical, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis tackle questionably one of the most touchy subjects in hip hop speaking openly about homosexuality with Same Love. Touching in every way possible. This song is historic. To make this story even more special, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are an independent local guys from right here in Seattle, and The Heist landed at #2 on the Billboard charts and #1 on iTunes when it was released. No major label support. Amazing stuff.
Tough as nails, two piece garage noise band from Nashville? Count me in. I heard Jeff the Brotherhood U Got The Look from MLB The Show, and they happened to be opening for Best Coast. What I witnessed was a fast paced, garage band, with pop tendencies. Everything I love to listen too. Hypnotic Nights released shortly after that show, and it has become my go to album when going to work or on a drive. Almost every song is fun to listen too, especially ode to drinking and weed smoking floating river down river Sixpack. There is just something enjoyable about listening to these guys. Not to mention the guitarist plays with only three strings!
Maturity. That is how I would describe the latest album from Japandroids, Celebration Rock. I love everything from Japandroids. Post Nothing is one of my favorite albums, but as I grow older, my tastes change and sometimes I hope that the bands that I love mature with me. With Celebration Rock, Japandroids did just that. Mature. They have found a perfect mesh of the things I love about their previous albums as well as bring more structure and soul to their songs. Upon listening to The House That Heaven Built, it becomes apparent that Japandroids have grown up.
Deep Sea Diver is kind of a fluke. I have never heard of them until they happened to be on tour with Wild Belle. I decided to listen to their latest album History Speaks, and found a solid album with great guitar work, solid lyrics, and sultry female vocals. Upon seeing them live, I quickly became a fan. Songs like NWO and the upbeat and fun You Go Running, Deep Sea Diver is another local Seattle band worth checking out if they come to your town.
I’m a sucker for female singers, and have a huge soft spot for Best Coast’s first album Crazy for You and their sophomore album The Only Place is pretty darn good. Just something adorable about Bethany Cosentino singing songs about heartbreak and love of California. As someone who grew up on the West Coast, and lived on the East Coast for a bit, her songs resinate with me, especially the first song The Only Place. I mean how can you not love a song with a chorus of “We got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, got the waves. This is the only place for me”. Can’t argue with that.
I love Band of Skulls. Guitars. Guitars. More Guitars! The rock blues trio from England just continues to come out with solid albums. Returning for their second album, Sweet Sour, Band of Skulls continues where they left off with catchy dark blues blues inspired songs like The Devil Takes Care of His Own or the haunting duet Bruises. It is rare to find a band blend harmonies so well, and such strong female vocals on a song like Lies. A total package when it comes to a band, great to see live as well. Also Russell Marsden plays some of the most beautiful guitars ever built!
This was an odd year for gaming for me. I either didn’t have the time or funds to play all the games I would have liked, but the games I actually did play were amazing and probably some of my favorite games of all time. Simplicity was something that has become a common theme in the games I enjoy at home now. While I play a little of everything, when I want to decompress a game has to be fun as I’m not sure when I’ll be able to play it again. Onto the list!
When it comes to driving games, I look for a more casual experience. Something to keep my attention, go fast, pretty graphics, and cool cars. My days of slaving for licenses and grinding to purchase a FWD card for a certain circuit are over. Luck for me Forza Horizon is the perfect mixture of casual fun racing with some of the aspects of the sims I actually enjoy. Microsoft and Playground Games have crafted probably one of the most beautiful driving games ever, and the challenges hover that fine line of frustratingly challenging to thrilling reward. Well done all around.
FTL: Faster Than Light is a simple space simulation that will make you scream at your computer, in a good way. When someone said “FTL, it is Oregon Trail in space!”, I knew I needed to play it, and FTL is exactly that, Oregon Trail in space. The game simple to play, but painfully difficult to master will continue to have you come back for more. The graphics are perfect for the style of game and the soundtrack is solid. Considering it can be picked up for less than $10, it is worth every cent.
Ninjas! Shinobi to Tenchu (which I imported!), I love Ninjas and Mark of the Ninja is the perfect ninja game! Heavy on stealth, but in a way that actually makes it fun. All the powers ninja powers you dreamed of as a kid come to life in this gorgeous 2D game. Klei distinct hand drawn style is beautiful as it is deadly in showing the graphic assassinations as you silently kill your enemies. This is one of those games that makes me excited that MY generation (people who grew up on NES, SNES, Genesis) are making games that they grew up with current technology.
Hotline Miami is pure punishment. In all the right ways. Hotline Miami is choked full of style. From the 2D graphics, the over the top grotesque violence, and amazing soundtrack. Hotline Miami hits everything perfectly. Even with all this the simple yet challenging gameplay will keep you coming back for more. Each mission has carefully crafted encounters that can be controller throwing frustrating to make the reward only that much better.
How do you improve one of the better games the last couple years? By making it bigger, easier, and more fun. Gearbox did exactly that with Borderlands 2. The original Borderlands brought loot reward to the first person shooter, and Borderlands 2 just makes it an even more streamlined and enjoyable experience. The seamless co-op play made it even more enjoyable.
Can video games be art? Well after playing Journey, that debate should be over. Journey is striking in every way possible. Visually it is striking, the soundtrack should be considered for awards outside of gaming, and gameplay is simple yet engrossing. Journey pushes gaming into a new realm of entertainment.
Episodic gaming has been hit and miss since developers started messing with it a couple years ago. Telltale Games have had some good games, but after Jurassic Park, I didn’t have that high of hopes for The Walking Dead. After playing the first episode I couldn’t have been more wrong. Mechanically the gameplay is nothing new, but taking these tried and true mechanics and craft a story that causes you to actually care about the characters in the game is nothing short of amazing. The care taken to develop and evolve the characters shows a level of story telling that is rare in gaming. Add the episodic nature of the story just made finishing each episode that much more enjoyable and painful at the same time.
Well those are my favorites from 2012. There are a couple games missing that are most people’s list such as FarCry 3, X-Com (didn’t have the time to play them), and Dishonored (didn’t like it). I’m very excited for 2013 as it will be a huge year. E3 can’t come soon enough.
I always enjoy seeing Japandroids. Growing up right outside of Vancouver, I’m super happy to see a band that I like come out of the time I lived up there that doesn’t sound like 54/40 or Nickelback.
Well Brian and David rocked my face off again. Their light show was great. Great show as always. Check out the photos.
Since I picked up my iPhone 5 I have been listening to Spotify a whole lot more and my favorite app We Are Hunted came up and I instantly put it on repeat. Keep You by Wild Belle has some of my favorite things.
- Female Singer. Kills me. See Metric, Estero, Poe, Tegan & Sara, Bat for Lashes, Beast Coast, Beth Orton, you get the idea.
- Great beats. Gets you moving with a light reggae feel
- Baritone Saxophone. If it has a saxophone, it already wins.
It is that time of the year again, PAX Prime! Being from Seattle it is great to see such an event in my home town and it is great fun being the local when having tons of friends from out of town coming to visit. One thing I noticed is how majority of people at PAX don’t really venture very far from Washington State Convention Center. With 20,000 people each day going to PAX, many of the places become slammed with long lines, poor service, and poor quality food. Last year I wrote the first Seattleite’s Guide to PAX Prime to help all the visits of Seattle learn about what was just a couple short blocks from the convention center, and there is A LOT of stuff if you are willing to walk just a couple blocks. So let’s get to it!
Nerd Flu! Help Prevent It!
This has to go in every year, but it pains me to say this but sadly gamers aren’t the most hygienic people out there. From odor to just plain old germs. Do yourself a favor and pick up some travel hand sanitizer. Take a shower. Wash your hair. Put on deodorant. This will make it better for yourself and those around you.
Seattle is an awesome city with tons to offer and everyone should just venture out a couple blocks to see some of the things the city has. All of which are just blocks away from the Convention Center. Here are some suggestions on where to go and how to get there.
Did you know that you can ride the bus in downtown Seattle for free until 7 PM! North and South from Belltown to Pioneer Square and east all the way to 7th Ave in most spot, you can ride for free. This makes getting around downtown pretty quick and opens up TONS of places to check out!
I’m always shocked how there is a line of 50 people at the Subway on the 4th floor and at the entrance, but walk a block to Olive & 8th, and it is empty. Seattle has some amazing food in the downtown area and you can probably walk, eat, and walk back in the amount of time it would take to stand in line.
Sweet Iron on 3rd and University is DELICIOUS!! They make waffles! I don’t think I need to say more.
If you are up way too late and are hungry The Hurricane Cafe is a good spot. One of the rare 24 hour restaurants in Downtown Seattle, The Hurricane will fill you up. A total dive, but if you want pancakes, grilled cheese, or a burger at 3:30 Am or 3:30 PM. It will hit the spot.
If you have are needing a sugar shock, then I’d suggest Top Pot Doughnuts, which just happen to open a new place on 3rd and Columbia!
For quick food during PAX just walk down Pike Street a couple blocks down to 4th. You will remove yourself from the huge crowds and there is a Georgio’s Subs, Chipotle,
Qdoba, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Keep going Pike and you will walk into Pike Place Market, which has too many delicious foods to list, but if you do make it down there go to Beecher’s for Mac & Cheese!
Well just as important as food is drinking and Seattle has no shortage of bars within walking distance to PAX!
Six Arms is just a short walk up Pike and is great. Craft beers from McMenamins and some great food, Six Arms is well worth the walk up the hill. I’d also suggest getting the Cajun Tots!
Pinball & Booze? Yes please! Shorty’s in Belltown, while a little bit of a trek, is a staples of PAX. Shorty’s is a Coney Island Pinball Bar, with hot dogs, tall cheap beer in cans, and PINBALL. Hopefully Adams Family is working.
Nitelite is a nice dive on 2nd Ave. Cheap mixed drinks makes it worth the walk to 2nd. Also might be a great place to get away from the PAX crowds.
Sun Liquor Spirits. There is a full service distillery just up the street from PAX. Yes, get drunk on hand crafted booze!
It is kinda gaming related, but Seattle is home to the Seattle Pinball Museum! Yes museum! $10 will get you in the door and then it is free play!
I’ve told you some resturants to eat at, but what about a supermarket? Yeah, I’m really telling you to go to a supermarket. Uwajimaya isn’t your normal supermarket though, it is a huge asian supermarket with everything you can imagine. A full food court with everything you can imagine from pho to burgers, as well as a full book store. Uwajimaya is really easy to get to as well, just a short trip in the tunnel to the International District Station or walk the 10 or so blocks.
Out of batteries? Lose your copy of Halo Reach? Need an iPhone charger? Well you are in luck! Target just opened up a brand new City Target on 2nd and Pike, just a couple blocks from the Washington State Convention Center. This is a great place to grab things that you might have miss or forgot and not get ripped off by FedEx Kinko’s or some other random corner shop.
Football! Baseball! Football!
Sports and PAX might not go together, but I love sports and the weekend of PAX you have Seahawks, Huskies, and Mariners all going on. Seahawks play on Thursday night, so if you are in town early and don’t mind watching pre-season football, it would be worth checking out. Mariners open a three game series with the Los Angles Angels, and the Mariners are hot right now! If there is a King’s Court going on, you should really go! If you like college football the University of Washington Huskies open their season at Century Link Field. All venues just a short walk or bus ride away from the Convention Center!
PAX isn’t the only HUGE event going on that weekend! Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival is going on! Bumbershoot (slang for umbrella) is going into it’s 42nd year. If you want to get away from nerd crowds to music crowds then you should stop by Bumbershoot at the Seattle Center. This year includes Jane’s Addiction, Skrillex, M83, Passion Pit, Keane, Best Coast (Beth is so cute), and tons of other bands, comedians, films, and stuff. Bumbershoot is tons of fun!
Well that gives you lots of places to go see while you are in Seattle! Hopefully everyone has fun and a great weekend!
One of my favorite bands the last couple years has been Wolf Parade. I was heart broken when they decided to take an indefinite hiatus, especially when their last show was in Vancouver and I decided not to go. Well part of Wolf Parade is back with Moonface a new project by Spencer Krug. Krug is somewhat prolific when it comes to the Canadian Music scene being involved in such bands as Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, Fifths of Seven, and Swan Lake. For his second album under the Moonface moniker, Heartbreaking Bravery, Krug partnered with Helsinki based Finnish band Siinai. The results is a mixture of everything you hear in his previous projects with a twist from the partnership with Siinai. Check out Faraway Lightning from the album. Moonface will be playing The Crocodile in September. I expect to see you all there.
I can thank the fine people at Neumo’s for introducing me to Austra. They happen to be coming to Seattle and I clicked the link to listen and it was great. Canada biggest export right now is female electronica music right now with Austra and Grimes. Check it out!