Emotional Feedback — The Astonishing Live

As anyone who has ever read anything here or met me in real life can attest, I’m a giant Rush fan, both literally and figuratively. As such, an admiration for prog metal gods Dream Theater seems only to be a natural progression (NPI). Their latest album, this year’s The Astonishing is their second concept album, and their first double concept album, and on top of both of those, it’s essentially a two-hour love letter to 2112. So I love it. And seeing them perform it live is even more awesome.

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Straining the Limits of Machine and Man – Titanfall 2

2014’s Titanfall got a lot of things right, as far as I’m concerned. The gameplay was fast, nuanced, and well-balanced, the level design was decent, and the action itself was varied and enticing enough to bring me back time and again. Unfortunately, it didn’t have this effect on many, and the multiplayer game became nearly barren withing a few months of release. That said, Titanfall still managed to retain enough of a following to warrant a sequel, and I sure am glad it did. Titanfall 2 improves on essentially every aspect of the original by speeding up the gameplay even more, making traversal more instinctive, improving the campaign tenfold, deepening the customization, and, most importantly, adding a grappling hook.

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Top 10 Underrated Rush Songs

On this, the anniversary of this blog’s inception, it seemed fitting to go back to one of the primary reasons I started it in the first place — I like writing about weird stuff. This time around, I’m gonna be taking a look at the ten Rush songs I think don’t get enough time in the, er, Limelight, if you’ll pardon the pun. For whatever reason, these ten songs never got much notice from the general populace (being Rush songs), or even from Rush fans, at least from what I’ve noticed. Obviously, it’s a highly subjective list, and what I consider to be underrated may be considered by another Rush fan to be given exactly what it deserves. Nonetheless, let’s kick off this anniversary celebration with song number ten …

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My 10 Favorite Sitcoms of All Time

In my Twitter bio I describe myself as a “sitcom fetishist,” which is perhaps a bit of a misnomer considering I don’t derive pleasures of that nature from watching sitcoms (though perhaps Kelsey Grammer’s voice could be considered close), but it is most certainly an art from that I think has fallen to the wayside far too much. This isn’t to say sitcoms aren’t still around — they certainly are — but I feel that today’s sitcoms are somewhat unable to capture the magic that some of my favorites have through the years.

So, this list will be comprised of my 10 favorite sitcoms of all time, not the ones that I’m calling the greatest sitcoms of all time, since if I were to do such a list someone would probably expect classics like Seinfeld or Friends, neither of which I think are very good (sorry). Additionally, this list will only be comprised of straight-up sitcoms, which means comedy shows I love like Rick and Morty or Monty Python’s Flying Circus that aren’t strictly sitcoms won’t be counted. I’ll also only be counting shows of which I’ve seen every episode, for fairness’s sake. So great classics like M*A*S*H or Taxi, which would most likely be here, will be absent since I haven’t seen them in their entirety, and recent hits that are still ongoing, like The Middle, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or Always Sunny, will be absent as well.

With all those rules you’d think it’d be difficult to come up with 10, but in fact I still had difficulty paring this list down to a solid 10. That said, you can rest assured that because of this, these are the 10 sitcoms I consider to be the cream of the crop, and some of the best comedic entertainment available. So, without further ado, my top 10 favorite sitcoms of all time.

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R20 – Caress of Steel

Moving on down the line, we have my #15 ranked Rush album, their second album from 1975, Caress of Steel. Their third album, and the second to feature Neil Peart on drums and lyrics, Caress is about as Rush as Rush ever got. It’s very proggy, very high-concept, and very, very strange. With only five songs, and the first to feature a sidelong epic in The Fountain of Lamneth, Caress of Steel simultaneously paved the way for their future success and nearly destroyed them as a band by being their most commercially disappointing record to date. The subsequent tour was deemed the “Down the Tubes” tour, as they expected a quick demise following the low record sales. That said, Caress of Steel has good parts, and while most of it is a bit verbose or pretentious, it’s still worth an occasional listen.

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Astral Nights, Galactic Days — No Man’s Sky

Hype is kind of an awful thing, when you think about it. It basically ensures that every game, or at least every major one, is going to be a disappointment to some degree, especially in the age of Twitter and the like spawning armies of keyboard warriors ready to crap all over everything you love. I think No Man’s Sky is a game that’s suffered greatly from being overhyped. There’s really no way it could’ve ever lived up to the sky-high expectations laid out for it by E3 and other press conferences and videos that came out pre-release. And, naturally, it doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t by a long shot. It’s not a great game. Honestly, it might not even be a good game. But you know what? That’s okay.

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R20- Test for Echo

Hey! Been a while. But enough about that, let’s get down to brass tacks — a discussion of my number 16 ranked Rush album, 1996’s Test for Echo.

Test for Echo is widely called Rush’s worst album, and while I don’t think that’s a fair analysis (obviously there’s three others I’d put behind it), it’s not too hard to see where people are coming from. Like Presto and Roll the Bones before it, T4E suffers greatly from bad mastering, and while it never gets nearly as thin-sounding or just plain bad as Presto does, it definitely noticeably detracts from the overall quality of the album. With that said, let’s get into the thick of things.

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Why The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter Wins the Internet

As any Sonic fan can tell you, having that title isn’t always the most fun thing. In fact, lately, it’s been kind of the opposite of fun. On the internet, especially in gaming circles, Sonic seems to be the butt of more and more jokes, and the performance and quality of his past few games make it fairly clear why. However, the thing about Sonic fans (and Rush fans, come to think of it) is that we’re loyal to a fault.

A true Sonic fan continues to buy and play the games even when they’ve become pretty disappointing, hoping for that one-in-a-million Sonic Adventure 2 or Generations that gives us enough faith to keep holding on for another five, ten years. Whenever there’s rumors of a new game, we tell ourselves not to get too hopeful, but we can’t help ourselves. We just want so badly for him to be good again.

Usually, when game companies aren’t doing so well in the eyes of the community at large, they enter a stage of denial. Perhaps they’ll insist that we’re simply not enjoying their media the right way, or that we’re missing the point. Peter Molyneux comes to mind as a pretty bad offender here, but no one’s really completely innocent of this.

Enter the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account (or at least its recent management).

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WASD Mechanical Keyboard Review

I’ve been using the same keyboard for almost four years by this point, so it’s become sort of like a comfortable pair of old shoes. I got my Logitech G19 back in the summer of 2012, and it was pretty much the first component I acquired of the gaming rig I have now. It’s been good to me, but like all good things do, it was reaching its end. The keys were spongey and getting spongier, strokes were unresponsive and sometimes failing to be registered, and the built-in LCD computer screen, while a fun novelty, has had basically no support by any games, and any of the games in which it’d actually be useful (such as Starcraft 2) don’t allow for its support. So, the time had come to get a new keyboard. I did a bit of research and decided on the WASD mechanical keyboard, mostly because it’s the one used by PC Gamer’s Large Pixel Collider. And it’s just as good as I had hoped it would be.

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R20- Hold Your Fire

There are a few Rush albums like Snakes and Arrows with one or two really superb songs and a bunch more that are just okay. It makes sense. In fact, with most bands I find that to be the case with all of their albums. Few artists, at least in my opinion, can release  as many albums full of solid gold like Rush can (Journey, Styx, and Huey Lewis come to mind as rock bands with a few albums full of awesome, though). So, they can’t all be winners. Hold Your Fire has two fantastic songs on it. A few of them are good. The rest? Eh.

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