Curtain Call is a new series of articles on Backlog Adventures taking a look at the finales of the most popular shows of the last twenty years. In addition to asking if a finale works as a conclusion to the series, we’ll be looking at the mystique and emotional manipulation that comes along with the concept of a series finale, and if the finale in question ultimately serves the greater good of its show’s legacy. Continue reading
The super secret hidden quest in ‘World of Warcraft’ is an exercise in insanity, patience
There’s a classic cognitive psychological study involving a patient, a button, and a reward. The point of the trial is to leave the patient alone in the room with the button, to test how long they’ll go without hitting the switch. The test is a window into the ability — and in some cases, inability — to handle delayed gratification.
Similar trials with monkeys and dogs exist, showing that even the animal kingdom only has so much patience. Continue reading
Unemployment, games journalism, and World of Warcraft
I’ve cried two days in a row.
Call it stress, repressed nerves, or too much time to think, but I think at this point I can say that I’m not handling my post-Ohio life and current unemployment all too well. Continue reading
On leaving Ohio, The Blade, and — as usual — video games
Tired, dripping with sweat, and feeling somewhat vacuous, three thoughts entered my mind as Kyle, Rachel, and myself shut the storage container door. Continue reading
‘Disney Infinity’ was my happy place
I never had the typical family vacation growing up. Where most families went to theme parks, historical sites, or tourist attractions, mine went to remote locations like the North Carolina hills and towns deep in the heart of Mississippi.
I don’t fault my parents. Having two kids that are five years apart in age must be hard. That said, every trip and tour I took as a kid centered around what mom and dad wanted to do.
I spent a lot of time at NASCAR tracks, ski resorts, and beach towns. I never told them, but the only thing I ever wanted was to go to Disney World. Continue reading
Daniel Bryan’s retirement and the recent NFL concussion stories intersect in a way that leaves me feeling like a hypocrite
After months of speculation and a stream of glib, defensive sarcasm on part of WWE fans, we all have to finally admit that Daniel Bryan has retired from professional wrestling.
There’s a finality to that reality that wrestling fans simply aren’t used to. Such closure is uncomfortable, a squirming feeling that comes from an inability to tune in next week and see what happens next.
As fans wrestling fans we’re trained from the beginning to expect a payoff to come later. There’s always next week. A new episode of RAW. A new cycle to begin; a never-ending parade of emotion, fisticuffs, and twenty minute promos.
Perhaps that is why so many people were insistent that Bryan’s retirement had to be a story line. After all, everything else has been up for grabs as story material, even the “death” of Vince McMahon.
Alas, the show is over and the American Dragon has left the spotlight for the last time. Continue reading
Winning Your Oscar Pool in Three Easy Steps
Friend of the site and all around great person Claire McBroom has graced Backlog with her presence, bringing you, dear reader, surefire steps to winning your Oscar pool. Personally, I plan on picking ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ for everything. I think it is a sound strategy. – Will
A few years ago, some of my most pop culture-obsessed friends and I started a yearly Oscar pool. None of us are professional entertainment or show biz types, and the stakes are low, but the thrill of the win is an incomparable high.
I should know — I’ve won more pools than any of my friends. I’m not bragging, this is just a statistical fact.
Ok, maybe I am bragging. It feels great. Continue reading
iAm Indie has been crying… A lot
It started for me with Cobain. For a lot of people, it started long before that. The list is long, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Buddy Holly, Freddie Mercury… And there are so many more.
But, for me, it started with Kurt.
I was six at the time and didn’t really understand what had happened, but I knew that particular sound was dead. It wouldn’t be until a few years later that I would come to understand grunge and “the Seattle scene”. It was probably a few years after that before I understood suicide, but right away I understood that there would be no more Nirvana.
After Kurt, for me, came Shannon Hoon. Blind Melon had been unique and refreshing. It was unbelievable to me that there would never be more. Then came the deaths of John Denver and Michael Hutchence in the span of a month.
I wouldn’t even learn who Jeff Buckley was until long after his death.
It had become common for me to see members of my favorite bands pass away by the time Bobby Sheehan from Blues Traveler passed away in 1999. By the early 2000’s I was into my own musical career and, such as it was at that point, my own road to ruin.
In 2004 my writing partner passed away. We were 16 and 17 at the time. It was at this point in my life I developed the method I still use to this day when it comes to the deaths of great artists.
By the time we lost Jeff Healey in 2008 I had become a master at dealing with the sadness you experience when a person who means the world to you and influences you heavily leaves this earth.
I like to let the work speak to me, and speak for itself before I move forward.
Ill never forget the day Ronnie James Dio died.
I was in a hotel room in Virginia Beach, devastated. I had never met Dio and had never really been all that influenced by his brand of metal, but was devastated.
I remember blasting Gypsy on the way to my gig that night. I remember thinking how much that music meant to music on the whole. I had decided earlier in the day that we would play his version of Dream On and Welcome to my Nightmare.
That night, I decided not play those versions after all. His music needed to speak to me in whatever way that meant, but it needed — without my comment — to speak to others in whatever way that meant for them.
The last two months have been hard for me. It started with the death of a man as close to God as there was on this mortal plane, Allen Toussaint. Toussaint was the person who through everything kept jazz safe in New Orleans. He was the person who knew “how it was supposed to swing” or at least that’s how it was once posed to me. To give you an idea who Allen Toussaint was, “Trombone Shorty” Troy Andrews who is the most famous New Orleans musician with Toussaint gone, played the second line and The Neville Brothers were pallbearers.
After Toussaint, I didn’t think I could be more devastated but I was wrong.
To paraphrase a radio friend of mine, it was like living the moment that you always knew was coming but prayed never would. On Dec. 3rd 2015 Scott Weiland died. We all knew about Scott’s history with drugs and alcohol but his death was shocking none the less. The voice of a generation was gone.
Then the unthinkable, unimaginable, and unfathomable happened. I was convinced Lemmy would outlast all of us. Despite his history of hard drinking and hard living I thought maybe even death was scared of Lemmy.
Then I woke up Monday morning. I’ve never been a David Bowie fan, as it were. I like his music and I certainly wouldn’t turn it off, but I was never really a fan.
Or so I thought.
As it turns out I owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Bowie. Bowie was the first and maybe the only musician to change his style and persona like they change Doctors on Doctor Who. He didn’t care about the zeitgeist. He wrote what he wanted and played what he wanted. He was a musical chameleon and he made it cool to just do what you wanted.
Everyone I’ve listed and everyone I haven’t have one thing in common: They all made it cool to be who you were. To wave the flag for whatever it was that made you tick. It means a lot to me to be able to say that all of these great artists have influenced me.
I want to leave you with two thoughts. The first is from Pete Townsend of The Who.
“Look at my life! Look at my generation! How did that work?! Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, the list is fucking endless! They’re dead. My life is full of dead people. My friends are dead. My friends! They may be your fucking icons but they’re my fucking friends! They’re dead…”
The second is my own:
“Immortality is not a function of living forever. Living forever is impossible. Immortality is possible. Immortality is a function of memory. As long as someone remembers you, thinks about you, loves you, then you are immortal.”
I cannot wait to see the band in the afterlife. Its going to be amazing. Thank you one and all. My you find eternal rest. You are immortal.
2016’s top 10 albums of 2015
New Backlog contributor Noah Lamprecht has graced us with more 2015 lists. Thanks go to him, and enjoy.
You’ve read all the lists at this point.
All. The. Lists.
Games, music, movies, TV shows, books… Whatever. Anymore we don’t know how to process the end of one year and the start of another without making a list of everything we did or didn’t enjoy.
And that’s fine. Continue reading