Looking Back At 2019

Pause

Here we are at the end of the year and even a decade. As always, it’s a good time to pause our games and shows and look back to reflect on things. It’s also time to do the other side of that coin by looking forward. And I hope I don’t overstuff it with the links!


Rewind

With the dust still settling from the Christmas rush, I thought I’d skim the past 12 months from a geeky or nerdy perspective. How did 2019 shape up with respect to movies, shows, games, and what about sci-fi and tech stuff? I admit I’m not the most qualified for this; it’s just my two cents. I’ll also throw in a few of my own personal highlights and lowlights.

January

With an eye towards fitness and fun, I re-joined my Karate class and quickly tested up to my next belt. I tried to attend classes twice a week all year long. Overall, I’ve benefited greatly from it. I’m no Bruce Lee, but I can touch my toes, and I feel less guilty when I eat extra calories, so not too shabby! Also, I broke a board using a knife-hand technique and got punched in the ribs so well that I had to get X-rays to make sure they were not cracked!

February

Cal Newport launched his new book on Digital Minimalism, just as the angst or weariness towards Facebook and social media reached its zenith in our culture.

Also, we played a lot of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 2DS.

March

We had the surprising 20 year anniversary of The Matrix movie being released. It still shocks me that it’s been so long since that ground-breaking film debuted! Time has flown! Whoa!

April

I deleted my Facebook account. Again!

Avengers End Game hit the big screen, closing the first Marvel epic mega saga thing-a-ma-bobber. Did I mention it was epic?

May

This month, I finally watched Captain Marvel. I liked it! My fave stuff was the 90’s nostalgia: dial-up internet, Nirvana, Blockbuster Video, stuff like that. For the record, I really miss video stores! Having it all on my phone is just not the same.

June

Apple held their annual developer’s conference where the keynote showcased all the new and cool stuff they plan to put on the market. iOS13 and iPadOS looked promising. So far, though, they’ve turned out lackluster and buggy. But the iPhone 11, especially the new camera system, looks fantastic. I’m thinking I’ll stick with iPhone and not switch to Android.

July

Space! Sci-Fi for real! It was the big 50th anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the moon! On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander touched down, and on July 21, mankind first set foot upon the lunar surface. It is still amazing today!

August

I switched from using an iPad as my primary computer to a Chromebook. And I’m still loving it!

September

Nintendo released the new Switch Lite hardware, a handheld-only version of the popular Switch. I think it is doing well in sales and will extend the current generation of Nintendo’s console(s).

October

My wife and I enjoyed 80’s nostalgia and a bunch of weirdness as we discovered Stranger Things on Netflix. Looking forward to more of that next Summer with a new season.

Also, I rejoined Facebook. Again! Good-grief!

November

My blog posting took a big nosedive as I devoted all my writing time to authoring a fiction novella for NaNoWriMo 2019. I didn’t finish, but it was a good try. I learned from the experience. And I’ve been trying to get my blogging back up to speed ever since!

December

The Force was with us (one last time?) in The Rise of Skywalker. NO SPOILERS. I liked it overall. I’d say more, but I shouldn’t do that yet.

I surprised my family at Christmas this year with a Nintendo Switch for all to share! We play Nintendo.

For my annual Reading Challenge on Goodreads, I failed! I aimed for 13 books. I’ve read 9 and two-halves. So far.

Overall

Throughout the past year in my house, there’s been a lot of Nintendo, Pokemon, Lego, and Star Wars. We have five (5) sons, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. Also, this year I tried Apple Music and Spotify music subscription services and decided to stick with Spotify. I love having all the songs!


Fast Forward

So what about the coming year? The movies Wonder Woman 1984 and Ghost Busters Afterlife are two on top of my to-watch list. I’m also looking forward to the next season of Stranger Things.

Nintendo could release Breath of the Wild 2, the next Zelda game, but I think that won’t come until 2021. But Animal Crossing: New Horizons debuts in March! So does Final Fantasy VII Remake!!

Starting in February, with pre-release promos as early as this Friday, Pokemon Sword and Shield TCG comes out! A whole new series of cards!

Last December, I was able to upgrade from iPhone 6 to iPhone 7, which is still working great. Maybe at the end of 2020 I can upgrade again.

Anyways, there’s lots of fun stuff to anticipate, more than I can handle! I need the fun stuff to help offset the hard and heavy stuff of life that will always be around. I can overthink things and take things too seriously, so letting the pendulum swing the other way can bring some balance at times.

Lastly, I’ll mention anxiety, which is no fun at all! In 2017, I struggled big-time with major anxiety and panic attacks… Things slowly improved over time. And in 2019, things really changed for the better. I reduced my sugar intake at the end of 2018 and began more fitness in 2019. I think these were major factors contributing to my overall progress out of acute anxiety. Food for thought!


I hope your 2019 was good overall. What are your highlights? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

From Flickr To Forever

Fading Flicker

I wonder, have you heard the recent news about Flickr? You’ve heard of Flickr right? The awesome photo sharing site before photo sharing sites were common, before social media was really a thing? In fact, two years ago, I asked “Is Flickr Still A Thing?” I wanted it to be; I found it mostly was. But my use of it never really resurged. Now the latest news has tugged on me to reconsider Flickr.


Fotos Forever

An email arrived to my inbox this past week. Read for yourself here. Basically, Flickr is operating at a loss, which is not sustainable. Thus, Flickr’s existence is in peril. It needs more people to sign up for Pro (paid) accounts in order to remain operational. It’s math. And it’s business. I get it.

This news roused my fond memories of Flickr, a good site that still serves many well. My honest reaction was thinking that I should and want to quickly sign up for a Pro account, even if I hardly use it, just to help keep Flickr alive. It’s something I’m considering, so I might do just that. But first, I plan to look into Flickr again, the site, and re-evaluate how I might use it more these days. In fact, I already reinstalled the Flickr app on my phone!


Flickr’s Future

My valuable time is limited. Flickr requires a little investment of my time if I use it, and that, I think, is the real issue here. A Pro account costs only a little bit of money each month – less, in fact, than what I pay each month for Netflix or Spotify. The cost of money is less a barrier than is the cost of time.

And with amazing “free” photo services like Google Photos, how can Flickr compete? That answer is in the features it has which other sites lack: an enthusiastic photography community! It’s not just pictures, it’s people! Flickr is about photography and the community which loves it. But therein is the other issue. When it comes to a community online, that’s where social media took over, along with its photo sharing experiences.

So, can Flickr survive? And if so, will it? Those are tough questions. I could do my part and sign up for a Pro account and become somewhat active there again. But would that be enough? And then, would I eventually need to say good-bye to Flickr? I would hope not.

We’ll see.


Do you still love Flickr? Would you reconsider using it? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for your time!

Pokemon Replay

Bug Bite

The Pokemon bug bit me again. Yeah, must have been a Bug-type Pokemon. Of course. Actually, it was Heatran, a Fire-type. I had re-tweaked my Darkness deck for a while. But now I’m building a new battle deck based on Fire. There will be many burned Pokemon. Just sayin’.


New Moves

So the Cosmic Eclipse expansion was released in November; my family and I had some great pulls! It is the last expansion before the new base series for TCG comes out: Sword and Shield. And speaking of, the newest mainline Pokemon video games already hit stores in November too, which really stirred the Pokemon pot!

There are brand new never-before-seen-or-caught Pokemon in the new Galar region! So even if you had caught’em all, well, now you’ve got more work to do. Get crackin’! And since my family had our Christmas early this year, we are!

I have been playing Pokemon Sword, my first ever Pokemon video game. It’s fun! And it’s helping me learn more about the Pokemon and Trainers in the card game, in which I’m enjoying a resurgence.

I’ve had fun learning and trying things with my first major battle deck based on Dark Pokemon. It had good mechanics with my main strategy (Weavile GX Ability). I guess I got tired of it though. But I recently had a jolt of the fun of finding new cards and putting together a new strategy with a new battle deck. So I’ve been eyeing several fiery Pokemon.

I started looking at Fire abilities and was stoked! But things took a twist. As I was building up ideas for a Fire deck, I crossed paths with my Zygarde Fighting Pokemon and a fellow TCG player on Facebook. One thing led to another, and now, for the first time, I have an Expanded battle deck! I had been locked in my mind to play only Standard cards in rotation, but now I have…expanded.

The cool thing about my new deck, which utilizes all my Zygarde Pokemon, is that besides being Expanded, it is for fun! And it’s easier to play against young kids who sometimes have weak decks. It’s really about having fun and trying new things with Pokemon TCG. Meanwhile, I continue to build my new no-holds-barred Fire deck to bring the heat to battle!


Fighting With Fire

So what’s next? For my Fighting deck, I must start practicing it, finding its weaknesses, and tweaking it. I played in the recent League Challenge tournament and did okay. My new Zygarde deck took some beating, but I got a few lucky first wins. It was fun and I learned stuff, so either way!

Also, I’ve ordered some cards for my Fire deck, but I have more to order at a later date. So I’ll play my Fighting deck more while working on the Fire one. And starting in February, the brand new base set of Sword and Shield Pokemon will go on sale, and oh boy! There are all new types of cards, so there will be new strategies to try!


Do you play Pokemon? Or any other card game? Are you strategy challenged like me? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Final Fantasy Forever

Fantasy Fan

I’m a bit of a Nintendo geek. Once when I was a kid, I bought my first role-playing game: Final Fantasy III for Super Nintendo. At first, I didn’t get it at all. But once I did, I was hooked!


Fantastic Fantasies

Many of my free hours went into an immersive game with a huge cast of characters and a compelling story. The genre and the series became one of my favorites.

Over the years, I played more Final Fantasy games, which were on the Playstation. But when Final Fantasy X came out, I missed it because I never owned a PS2 console to play it on. And I think I missed a really good game in the series. That was around 2001.

Skip ahead to 2019. I learned this year that my most favorite series entry, Final Fantasy VII, is being remastered for the PS4! The game looks fantastic! But I will miss out again if I don’t buy the console. So I was tempted…

Weeks later, I walked into Gamestop and saw something I didn’t know existed. It was Final Fantasy X, remade in HD, for the Nintendo Switch! Whoa, wait a minute. I don’t have a Switch. Here’s another Final Fantasy game, one I already missed, re-made better than ever, on yet another console I don’t own.

What do I do? Buy a PS4 to play the upcoming awesome FFVII remaster? Or buy a Switch to play the already released FFX HD remake (which, by the way, happens to also include a second game, FFX-2 HD)? Or do I simply miss out on both since I don’t have either console?


Future Fantasy

How does this situation finally end? Well, I can tell you that the Nintendo Switch has a lot more going for it than just FFX HD. It’s Nintendo! My whole family plays Nintendo. We also play Pokémon, and there happens to be two new mainstream Pokémon games on the Switch.

Christmas is just around the corner.


Do you like Final Fantasy? Nintendo? What’s on your wish-list? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Tickets To Star Wars

I can hardly believe it. I bought tickets for the newest Star Wars movie. Episode IX. The Rise of Skywalker. Is this really happening?

As part of my family’s Christmas celebration/holiday time, we decided to include the 7 of us going to watch The Rise of Skywalker.

So I busted out the Fandango app and reserved seats at our local Cinemark. Plus, it’s on the super big fancy movie screen with extra whammy-kablammy cinema sauce!

And there you have it. Somehow I managed to find 7 seats in a row for my family to see Star Wars on opening day! It’s a matinee viewing, and it should prove to be a fun family event, kicking off my holiday vacation time.

As for the movie itself, I don’t know what to expect. Yeah, I think it will be great! But I have many questions, wondering how JJ Abrams has wrapped up the huge Skywalker saga. I think it has something to do with The Force and bringing balance to it. But how does Kylo Ren turn out? How epic will this thing be?

We should find out in a few days!!


Do you plan to see the newest Star Wars? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!