2012: A Year of Extremes

Excuse me while I blow the dust off this blog like an old N64 cartridge. Speaking of which, let me go on an IMMEDIATE tangent: My friend was over the other night and said his mom was planning on throwing out some of his old videogames (NES, Sega Saturn, N64 etc.), to which me and my roommate FREAKED OUT and told him to make sure she did no such thing. I regretted trading in my N64, original GameBoy, and assorted games for basically one and half original Xbox games almost immediately after I did so. Not only because I didn’t think I would ever want to play them again (What I would give to play Banjo Kazooie, GoldenEye, Diddy Kong Racing, any of the San Francisco Rush games, or Perfect Dark right now…) but also because I could have gotten a thousand times more for them on eBay versus the pittance I got from GameStop when I originally sold them. We assured him that if he didn’t want to keep them, we would gladly take them off his hands, or if he did want to keep them he could probably make a good chunk of change selling all that old school gamer swag on eBay. So here’s a lesson for all you cash strapped kiddies out there: If you’re desperate for the new Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Dance Dance Revolution, or whatever you’re all playing nowadays, sell a kidney but don’t sell your classic games to GameStop for a fraction of what they’re worth. Throw those gaming treasures on eBay > ??? > profit. You can thank me later.

It’s been a casual five months since my last blog post and clearly that “post every other week” thing didn’t work out so well. Like I hypothesized in August, the last thing I want to do after staring at two computer screens all day is come home and stare at my laptop screen for another hour or two. Pretty much all I want to do when I get home from work is drink, sleep, play videogames, or go to the gym. Oh and remember that blog post where I was super excited about getting Fallout 3 for $10? I just finished it and it’s DLC on Sunday…76 in-game hours later. Oh the problems of being a videogame completionist… Now onto Batman: Arkham Asylum, Fallout: New Vegas, Halo 4, & Black Ops II…eventually. Not a lot of time for videogames now that I’m (sort of) a grown up.

Anyway… Now that 2012 has come and gone, I figured I should sort of wrap up how ridiculous of a year it has been for me. I’ve gone from being more broke than I’ve ever been, to having more money than I’ve ever known in my life, to buried under a pile of student debt from which I may never recover; from being so depressed that I didn’t even want to leave my apartment, to being happier than I’ve ever been in my life; and from working as an Economic Development & GIS Consultant and attending graduate school for City & Regional Planning to working as a Social Media Manager and Consultant. I bought…well, financed…my (realistic) dream car, a 2004 Infiniti G35, moved into a new apartment with two of my pals, posted back up in the gym for the first time in a year and a half (EAT BIG TO GET BIG), started going to grown up bars, and thanks to Don Draper and Roger Sterling graduated from boxed wine, Captain Morgan, and Four Lokos, to scotch, bourbon, and martinis. 2012 was a year of self improvement and refinement, and all in all my life is considerably better than it was a year ago. But although I’m thankful, I’m certainly not complacent.

“The only thing worse than not getting what you want is someone else getting it.”
– Roger Sterling, Mad Men

Exactly six months ago today, when I started at my current position, I was thrilled at the opportunity to build my company’s social media presence from scratch. I developed our accounts, I collaborate with our graphic designer on our branding, manage our social advertising, campaigns and engagement strategy. Very few social media managers have full reign over their company’s accounts. But being a one man social media team at a company where few, if anyone else even knows what Twitter is can be pretty lonely, and the environment can be creatively stifling. Without saying too much about my company, let’s just say the industry is very slow to embrace new technology and media. I feel like I haven’t even begun to tap my potential as a Social Media/Community/Account Manager, and my New Year’s Resolution is to move into a role that will both challenge me and help me learn from the people around me. I know this term is played out, but hustle is the word of the year for 2013. I’ve also had the fortunate opportunity to gather a few social media consulting clients, and if I find out the agency route isn’t for me, a small business social media consulting venture might be another possible career path.

Oh and wow 2012 was an unreal year for movies. And since I love ranking things, let me rank the ones I saw:

1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Skyfall
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. Lincoln
5. The Dark Knight Rises
6. Silver Linings Playbook
7. Looper
8. Django Unchained
9. Argo
10. The Avengers
11. Taken 2
12. Cloud Atlas
13. The Grey
14. Total Recall

Any year where a Christopher Nolan Batman movie is released and it isn’t my favorite movie means it must have been an outrageous year for movies. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom might have been Wes Anderson’s best offering yet, and after Silver Linings Playbook I now have a full blown celebrity crush on Jennifer Lawrence (ugh and Bradley Cooper).

I also think I went to more professional sporting events in one year than I’ve ever been to as well. In 2012 I attended a Yankees – Tigers game, Jets – Panthers pre-season game, the U.S. Open, and an Eagles – Panthers game. Hopefully I’ll have the means to attend even more in 2013, but only time will tell.

Hey…you know, this felt kind of good to blog again, but maybe that’s the scotch talking? Anyway, I’ll try to do at least a post a month going forward to keep you all on your toes. Oh, and Kevin Youkilis is dead to me.

The Coug abides.

Power to the Players

Full disclosure: I’m a huge nerd. I used to be really ashamed of it in middle school & high school, and pretended I didn’t play videogames all the time and wait in line for the midnight release of Star Wars: Episode III. Then I cut my hair, got contacts, started socializing and going to the gym, and I realized that I could still be a nerd and have a life at the same time. It was quite the epiphany. In fact, I even realized that plenty of fine ladies are just as nerdy as I was (and some even play videogames too!). Now I proudly proclaim my love for videogames, movie & videogame soundtracks, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Batman without fear of persecution. Yeah, I paid $25 to watch nine hours of Christopher Nolan Batman perfection for The Dark Knight Rises premiere. What of it? In fact, my recent Star Wars: The Old Republic guild leadership probably helped me get a bunch of social media interviews. Say what you will Ogre…

There are still some aspects of my nerditude that I’m a little sheepish about putting out there. Not that I read Star Wars fan fiction or run a Star Wars: The Old Republic guild called The Nerf Herders or anything. Psh…who does that? Anyyyyyway, I went on another totally hetero lunch date with my pal Kenny today. This time at Quiznos, my old stomping grounds (Toastmaster, Quiznos University Class of 2005).  He had a luxurious one hour lunch break so we hit up GameStop afterwards to nerd out for a little bit. I’ve had a long list of videogames on my “to play” and “still to finish” lists. I still have to finish Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, The Ballad of Gay Tony GTA:IV DLC, Forza III, Halo 3: ODST (still never finished the campaign), The Force Unleashed and the first Mass Effect. He also reminded me that Tribes: Ascend, a sequel in one of my favorite PC series, Starsiege, was now completely free to play on Steam. So I’m also in the process of downloading that.

My issue is that I’m both a completionist and an Xbox 360 achievement hound, so starting a new game is a huge undertaking. For instance, I try to beat every Rockstar game to 100%, which I’ve been able to do with GTA: Vice City and Red Dead Redemption (one of the greatest games I have ever played). When I first heard that BioWare (makers of my favorite Star Wars games, Knights of the Old Republic I & II) was starting a new RPG series called Mass Effect, I was super excited and I made sure it was one of my first 360 purchases. However, I was so compelled to finish everything and get every achievement that the game started to really drag as I got bogged down exploring every planet for new missions. Because of that I never ended up finishing it, but from what I heard they really stripped down and refocused in Mass Effect 2.

There are also a bunch of games on my to play list. Halo Anniversary, The Force Unleashed II, L.A. Noire, Max Payne 3, SkyrimAssassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood, Revelations and eventually AC3 when it comes out later this year. I loved the first Assassin’s Creed and even as a completionist, the open world was manageable enough to finish most of the game and it’s achievements. Needless to say I’m ready to jump into the rest of that series head first. Every time I see commercials for AC3 I typically stare wide-eyed, mouth open, with drool dripping from the corner. However the one game on the top of my “to play” list has been Fallout 3, an open world FPS RPG which won Game of the Year in 2008. From what I’ve heard it’s right up my alley, but I just haven’t had the time to undertake such an epic game, plus my life had been pretty much been dictated by SWTOR until recently.

The best thing about GameStop is their huge collection of used games, and since most 360 games are $60 when they’re first released, buying pre-owned is a great deal. After browsing through the used games bin I came across Fallout 3 for $10, which obviously I jumped at. But then, after checking out I saw that they buy used Apple products. Since I’ve had my barely functioning, 30 GB iPod click wheel sitting in my car’s center console for two years I figured why not get some cash for it. After determining that it actually turned on, the kid said he could give me $26 store credit for it, which I wished I knew before I bought Fallout 3. But he said he could easily refund the money to my debit card and apply the credit. He also said that he had the Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition complete with all DLC, new for $20. I couldn’t turn that down, so I applied the store credit and still have $6 left over. Considering buying a Batman shirt to wear to TDKR premiere. Clearly the best use of the remaining store credit. Either way, this was quite a fortuitous visit to GameStop. Power to the players indeed.

Now I’ve heard some rumors about the next generation Xbox, which right now is still called Xbox 720 (not really a fan of that name but I guess the ad wizards at Microsoft know better than me), and that they might include a means to block players from using pre-owned games. This would really kill companies like Gamefly and doom Blockbuster’s videogame rentals (which has to be the only reason anyone would still visit a Blockbuster). Plus, it would take away one of the most redeeming factors of GameStop, trade-ins and buying used games. If Microsoft actually does that with the 720, today’s wonderful experience could never happen for their next gen console. Maybe Microsoft plans to corner the market on used games, and only allow for games to be rented through Xbox Live, which would be really smart for them, but also a total dick move. And since I know that a lot of Microsoft bigwigs clearly read this blog on the reg, I have a message for them: Come on bro, don’t be like that. Also your Microsoft Points system is awful. Get rid of it.

Anywho, I’m about to mow the lawn then rip into Fallout 3 like an eight year old on Christmas morning. Coug out.