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Jason Panella

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Everything posted by Jason Panella

  1. So the show had three seasons on SyFy before being canceled. Amazon Prime picked it up (Bezos is a fan) soon after. The fourth season—the first for Prime—premiered last month. It's good. I recently rewatched the prior seasons. They're also good, but suffer from the "we're on TV, let's kill time with new subplots!" problem that shows up with lots of adaptations. The fourth season? Doesn't have this problem. We also have a standout performance from Wes Chatham, who plays the interesting character of Amos Burton. I really can't think of another character like him currently on TV.
  2. McCallany is giving my favorite performance of the show. I 100% about the authenticity of the role (he reminds me of some of my friends' parents), and some of the choices Tench makes in the second season in regards to his family are simultaneously understandable and heartbreaking (like, I don't think I would know what to do with his situation if I were in his shoes).
  3. Thanks, Ken and Andrew. I think things are improving (slowly) on the health front, but slowly is better than not at all. And yes, D&D is definitely experiencing a revival. It's weird, seeing kids who would've picked on me in middle school for liking RPGs are now playing D&D and recruiting their friends to play. Game conventions, even small regional ones, are packed with new players. The scene is shifting demographically, too, which I love—many more women, LGBTQ+ folks, people of color. I sometimes wonder if or when the bubble will burst, but as of now, it's been fun riding the wave a bit.
  4. Reading through these posts has been fascinating. I kind of forced myself to like Achilles Heel when it was released, but deep down I wasn't as into it. I was bummed about Bazan's apparant "slide" away from his faith, and I wasn't into the music that much. Fast forward 15 years and this is the Pedro album I come back to the most (and, maybe, resonate with the most?). I've always been a music-first kind of guy, and I have to admit that I've become a big TW Walsh fan. His work on this album is boss.
  5. I believe that Penhall is acting as showrunner while Fincher is executive producing (and director, in some cases). Season 2 had some nice work by Andrew Dominick, a presence I've missed on the big screen. The show was filmed primarily where I live, so I have a hard time watching it and not thinking, "Oh, hey, that's my old workplace," or "Gee, Atlanta looks a lot like Ambridge." Still, I like the show. A lot, I think, though I sometimes have a hard time juxtaposing "like a lot" and "serial killers." As someone pointed out on Twitter, one thing that enthralls me about the show is that so much time seems to focus on people listening. I like that. Aside from a few weird choices, though, I think I liked season 2 a bit more than the first.
  6. Hi all. I don't post there that often these days, but I wanted to share something I'm excited about. I've been quite busy the past year or two. This is partially for a not-awesome reason—my wife is chronically ill. But much of it is cool. A friend and I pitched a proposal for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure to the official organized play program and had it accepted. We wrote the adventure last year, and it debuted at a Pittsburgh-area convention in March. It's now for sale online here: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/285292/CCCCOS01-The-Only-Way-To-Be-Sure It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. It had a very warm reception with the people who played it, and it's become a best seller since it went up for sale in August. I pitched another idea and had it accepted as well, and I'm deep in the writing process. This next adventure will be out next year.
  7. Keep in mind that this is a Living Card Game, with (as of now) over 50 expansions. They want you to buy more stuff, including more Core Sets. And, as someone who owns most of those expansions, it's very much a deckbuilder. Certain "types" of decks have different strategies, but that's stuff that's not really evident in the core set or its encounters. The rules in the core set are trash (FFG recently released a completely new version that has much, much better rules, from what I've seen), and the game is more of lifestyle choice than one-and-done deckbuilder. If you just want a single game box to play on occasion, Legendary is probably the better choice. But--looking at the whole expanse of what's been released for both games--the amount of diversity in quests, cards, and options in the whole of LotR blows Legendary out of the water. Oh, and I should add—I think Legendary is a really good game (especially the Encounters version of the system), but the nuance of LotR, which really starts becoming clear with the third big-box expansion and its connected quests--is right up my gaming alley. EDITED: Also, the game does have a tableau-building aspect—you're playing cards that (hopefully) stay on the table for a bit—but deckbuilding is a huge focus. If you're just playing with the Core Set, you're probably not seeing this; there are barely enough cards in the Core Set to make a "real" deck (at 50 player cards), let alone a good one. Once you begin adding more cards to the card pool, card draw and deck fishing become more and more important.
  8. They have Patchwork? I need to check their collection out more often.
  9. Really thorough look at these games, Ken. Thanks. I'm interested in Betrayal Legacy. Betrayal at House on the Hill is a really flawed game, but it's still goofy fun. The Legacy version is, from what I've read, a soft reboot and refinement of the existing rules, which can only be a good thing.
  10. Which season are you playing? I played season 1 on its release—it wasn't my favorite game, but it was hands down the best board gaming experience of my life. I've heard raves about season 2, but don't have a consistent enough gaming group to play it just yet.
  11. My wife and I bought the super-special Blu-ray version on deep discount not long after one of her many surgeries a few years ago, and we plowed through the trilogy as she recovered. I think Fellowship still holds up as a genuinely good movie (with major flaws). The other two? Ugh. All of the criticism here for the past few pages is accurate, I believe. It's interesting how bulletproof the movies are in fantasy geek culture, too (outside of Tolkien fans, that is). Last year, I made a comment while playing D&D with my regular group about how hokey and goofily gratuitous the Helm's Deep / Battle of the Hornburg section of the Two Towers film was, and I immediately got pushback from everyone else. Tolkien's version was too boring and short, they said. Ooooooookay.
  12. Perhaps I'm missing something, but the linked article doesn't seem to be written by Chaon (or mention him).
  13. I've been listening to Omnibus regularly, and it's jumped to the top of my "favorites" list. From the website: I think what makes this a tad different from other "wow, crazy history/facts!"-type shows (which the How Stuff Works network seems to thrive on) is the hosts. Ken and John are Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, and John Roderick, the frontman of the band The Long Winters. They've been friends for a long time, and their banter is wonderful. If you're looking for an episode to start with, I'd recommend the one detailing the history of Milli Vanilli.
  14. I played Sagrada at Origins this past year and absolutely loved it. I'm thinking of asking for it for Christmas.
  15. As Justin predicted, Netflix opted to give the show a 2-hour finale. I broke my A&F hiatus just to report this! I grew to love this show, warts and all. And man, there were a lot of warts. The show was able to reach emotional highs so often, though, that I fell for it hard.
  16. Jason Panella

    2016 lists

    My favorites of 2016. Tweaked slightly from the version I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago: 1. Pinegrove — Cardinal 2. Mitski — Puberty 2 3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — Skeleton Tree 4. David Bowie — Blackstar 5. Adam Torres — Pearls to Swine 6. Eric Bachmann — Eric Bachmann 7. Miranda Lambert — The Weight of These Wings 8. Kevin Devine — Instigator 9. Sleep Experiments — Passages 10. Lucy Dacus — No Burden 11. Starflyer 59 — Slow 12. Tortoise — The Catastrophist 13. Anohni — HOPELESSNESS 14. Sturgill Simpson — A Sailor’s Guide to Earth 15. A Tribe Called Quest — We got it from Here….Thank You 4 Your service 16. Frank Ocean — Blonde 17. Teenage Fanclub — Here 18. Chance the Rapper — Coloring Book 19. Jeff Parker — The New Breed 20. Lydia Loveless — Real 21. John K. Samson — Winter Wheat 22. Paul Simon — Stranger To Stranger 23. Leonard Cohen — You Want It Darker. 24. Vince Gill — Down To My Last Bad Habit 25. Cass McCombs — Mangy Love 26. Brad Mehldau Trio — Blues and Ballads 27. Angel Olsen — My Woman 28. Nada Surf — You Know Who You Are 29. Wussy — Forever Sounds 30. PUP — The Dream is Over Favorite EPs: Adam Remnant — When I Was a Boy EP Mint Mile — The Bliss Point EP Honorable mentions: Mary Halvorson Octet — Away With You Solange — A Seat At the Table Mick Harvey — Delirium Tremens Drive-by Truckers — American Band Mogwai — Atomic Deftones — Gore Shearwater — Jet Plane and Oxbow De La Soul — and the Anonymous Nobody…. Neko Case, Laura Veirs, k.d. lang — case/veirs/lang
  17. Jason Panella

    Home Alone

    I return to A&F just to defend Home Alone 2. Objectively, it's not a good movie, let alone a great one. And having a general idea of what you like and don't like, Peter, I'm sure you'd loathe this one as well. But man, do I love this movie. I've watched it at least yearly since the mid-'90s, sometimes more than four times in a season. It's a carbon copy of the first Home Alone, maybe with some more weird cruelty in it, but I adore it. I love the jokes, I love the pacing, and I love how it treats NYC. I love Brenda Flicker in it. I love how it makes fun of Florida, a state I generally loathe. I love how it takes the traps from the first time and shoots them into the stratosphere (I mean, Marv and Harry would've been dead this time around before the even entered Uncle Peter's house). I've used so many lines from this movie in day-to-day conversation that I've basically become a walking HA2 quote generator. I think it has a few genuine moments in it, but I really won't try to argue for them. Is it better or worst than Die Hard 2? Good question. That said, I'm also of the mind that Die Hard 2 is one of the worst sequels of all time, so I might not be the right person to ask.
  18. Doing my quarterly pop-in to A&F to update this thread. Film festival reviews so far are mostly positive. Lots of reviews are noting how funny the film is.
  19. We rarely play with the expansions, and with the two-player, we've NEVER made it past age 8 before someone won with achievements.
  20. This is (sometimes) my favorite game. Or, it's the one I get to the table the most often. Yes, there's definitely some luck, but it's rare for the game to actually make it to the age 10 cards that are overly luck-based. I found the game plays much better as a 2- or 3-player game than with 4, too.
  21. There was a time when I thought commenting on *everything* would make me part of the crowd. :-)
  22. The music section is one the few I look at when I occasionally pop in, Joel, and what brought me to A&F to begin with back in the day. I've always valued the weird little gems that would pop up there that weren't the usual Over the Rhine/Lucinda Williams/whatever roots stuff (not that those are bad). In a lot of ways, the music forum was how I discovered many favorites in the late '00s.
  23. I basically bowed out of A&F a year ago, though I've popped in here and there since. Since everyone is doing lists... I agree that a lot of my casual conversations or friendly banter have moved to social media. Thems the facts. Like others have noted, I was single when I first started posting. Now I've married, have a time-consuming job, and I commit my little free time to other hobbies in lieu of movie-watching (D&D, board games, cooking). I never see films in the theater these days (just don't have the time to drive to and from Pittsburgh for the limited release ones, nor the money). To be blunt—I've always felt like an outsider here. Which isn't a problem, per se, but you can only spend so much time trying to fit in before realizing it's not going to work. My interests have strayed more and more toward the niche since I joined in 2006, and my initial enthusiasm for whatever droopy arthouse was the go-to A&F pick of the year has shifted toward weird junk that gets no traction on the forum. Which is fine! (And I still like plenty of droopy arthouse movies.) I just learned to not even try. Seeing personality clashes on the forum over the years has bummed me out. And I direct this at myself—a decent number of the posters here drive me crazy, which is probably one of those "it's me, not you" kind of things. Keeping a distance has been healthy for me, though, and it's been I'd like to keep it that way. I love A&F and what it's meant over the years, but it's been better for me in the long run to keep some distance. I'll still pop in to check on game-related posts or see if there's anything that jumps out in the music or TV forums, but that's probably it. But hey, say hi on Facebook or Twitter!
  24. Wanted to pop back in this thread to say that, for the first time ever, I'm running a game of D&D. Every few months, I get together with some friends from college and play board games. Someone mentioned making the theme of this get-together "dungeon crawls," so I offered to DM D&D, since no one (outside of me) had any experience with tabletop RPGs. So, I'm preparing things. I have a good intro adventure to run, and I'm borrowing various vinyl maps off of friends and gathering index cards and markers. I also made pregenerated characters that fit lots of the classic fantasy archetypes: elf wizard, human fighter, and so on. I'm surprisingly nervous, but also really excited.
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