James’ 2020 Goals #2 – Early February Update

Hello everyone! Thanks for reading, I updated my goals progress on February 1st and I’m about 13% done with my goals for the year! I shoot for about 10% a month, hoping to finish by the end of October. In order from most to least percent completion we have Lose 100 Pounds, See 100 movies, Complete Games Backlog, Read 10 Books, and last Savings & Debt.

2020 Goals

Goal #1: Lose 100 Pounds – 26.00% Complete

As of around 8am on February 1st, I’ve lost 26 pounds. This is more than I was able to lose in all of 2019, and a huge accomplishment for myself. I was shooting for 10 pounds in January and more than doubled that goal. It’s been relatively simple so far. All I’ve done is cut out sugar and flour. I’m also trying out Intermittent Fasting/OMAD (One Meal a Day). I believe that this lifestyle is perfectly healthy, and that I’m still getting all the nutrient that I’d normally get. I’ve been drinking lots of water, and only water, with the occasional Coke Zero, probably 2-3 times a week. Most of my meals are strictly meats and vegetables, and it’s been fun to experiment with foods that I would normally not have cooked before.

Goal #2: 100 New Movies – 18.00% Complete

I watched 18 movies for the first time in January. I was hoping to get to 20, but I got a little behind. I talked about the first 13 movies on my last post, but I’ve got 5 more to cover today. They’re all in the Movies section down below.

Goal #3: Finish my Game Backlog – 10.29% Complete

This is probably the most daunting goal on this list. I was able to finish 7 games in january, and if I were to finish 7 games every month, I’d finish my backlog by mid-August. I made a point system for my backlogs, items that have been there longer receive a higher “backlog penalty”. It helps me play the oldest games first so that nothing gets left for too long. I only covered 3 games in my last post, so I’ve got 4 more to talk about today. I’m a little over 10% done. In addition to the games in my formal backlog, there’s about 30 games on Gamepass that I’d like to play. However, I’m not counting these against me because I didn’t pay for them. The four most recent games I’ve finished are all in the Games section down below.

Goal #4: Debt & Savings – 4.36% Complete

For my own security, I’m going to be extremely vague about money. As of February 1st, I’ve completed about 4% of my yearly financial goal. January was a sort of trial month, so I’m hoping to be at 15% or even 20% by the end of February.

Goal #5: Reading 10 Books – 8.02% Complete

I’ve finished my first book of the year! Good to Great by Jim Collins was given to me by my boss when I still worked for Chick-fil-A, probably about 4 years ago. I enjoyed it. I think it provided great evidence for what it takes to have a Great company. Even though some of the principles don’t seem to make sense, the data doesn’t lie. For my next book I’ll be reading The Firm by John Grisham. I’ve read about half of The Firm twice. Even though I think that I remember what I’ve read before, I’ll start fresh so that I don’t miss anything. For my yearly reading I’ve read 228 of 3891 total pages (5.86%) but also 1 of 10 books (10.00%), so I averaged them out to 8.02%. This would be a small victory for many, but it’s huge for me. I legitimately cannot remember the last time that I read a book to completion.

Movies

#14 Stuber (2019)

Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is an Uber driver struggling to get good reviews from passengers. Vic (Dave Bautista) is an LAPD detective who is in desperate need of a ride. When Detective Vic uncovers something big, shortly after having eye surgery, he hires Stu to drive him around while he hunts for the drug dealer that killed his partner. I enjoyed Stuber. It didn’t do much that was special, but it entertained me. On the surface it was your typical action movie with Dave Bautista or your typical comedy with Kumail Nanjiani. Yet, over the course of the movie, both main characters took pretty significant arcs. Vic learned how to open up and talk about what he thinks and feels instead of using brute force all the time, and Stu learned about being strong and standing up for yourself. I’d recommend Stuber when you want a fun action movie that doesn’t have much substance to it.

#15 Howard the Duck (1986)

This movie is weird. I’m honestly at a loss for words. One of the characters might be sexually attracted to a duck, which is weird. The story isn’t too bad, but none of the characters reacted to a talking duck in a way that any logical human would respond. They’d get cursed out by a duck and be like, “sorry we don’t allow pets”, or “that’s a neat pet ya got there”. The whole movie is that weird. I probably wouldn’t recommend seeing it unless you know someone that already has it. Even at $5, I don’t think it was worth it.

#16 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

This is a sequel to the 1996 movie Independence Day. After 20 years the aliens are back. It’s once again up to the people of earth to band together and protect their planet. A lot of the movie felt like a repeat of the first movie, but not as good. The combat felt much more flashy, it seemed like they relied a lot on CGI. Will Smith isn’t in the movie, he died sometime between movies. I think that removing Will Smith unbalanced the characters by a lot. In Independence Day Will Smith’s character was largely used to balance out Jeff Goldblum’s character, and his character’s son just couldn’t repeat that effect. Overall, it was entertaining but you’re not missing much if you haven’t seen it.

#17 Pulp Fiction (1994)

I really enjoyed Pulp Fiction. It’s probably the most popular movie on my watchlist. I specifically enjoyed the non-linear storytelling, the larger than life characters, and the way the entire story just falls together. There was one storyline about a fighter that I didn’t particularly care for, but everything else was great. I don’t want to say too much about this movie, I’d much rather you just see it for yourself.

#18 The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant follows Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy as they explore the American frontier in the 1800s. When Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) gets injured in a bear attack, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), and Jim (Will Poulter) are selected to stay behind and care for Leo so the rest of the group can keep moving. John kills Hawk, and tricks jim into leaving Hugh behind. Hugh gathers his strength, and sets out to kill the man who killed his son and left him for dead. I really enjoyed the contrast between Hugh and John. Hugh is portrayed as being loving, sacrificial, and selfless. John is shown to be cold and selfish. Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting is great in The Revenant, I think it’s one of his best performances to date.

Games

#4 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (XBOX One S)

I love Skyrim. It’s been one of my favorite games for a long time. I first played the game in high school on my computer. Then in college, on my roommate’s XBOX 360. Then in October of 2016, just a month or two after I bought my first ever xbox console, Skyrim Special Edition was released. Somehow, I’ve played about 5 different characters, for hundreds of hours, and never finished the main story. Until now. The end of the game was pretty anticlimactic. There were no credits after the last story quest, and I was unsure if I was really done. If you’ve somehow never played Skyrim, I cannot express enough how much I’ve loved this game.

#5 Portal: Still Alive (Gamepass on XBOX One S)

Portal: Still Alive is the XBOX 360 port of the game Portal by Valve. It’s one of the better games I’ve played through Gamepass. I’ve always enjoyed puzzle games and Portal is one of the best. I specifically enjoyed the growing complexity in the levels, the use of physics as a puzzle solving tool, and a conclusion that felt satisfying after working through so many test chambers. Portal is a game that I’ll definitely come back to, and I’ll probably enjoy it just as much every time.

#6 Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (Playstation 4)

This is the first game in the Uncharted series. You take the role of Nathan Drake on a search for treasure. When a violent group of mercenaries are after the same prize, you must sneak, climb, and fight your way to victory. Overall I liked the game, but there were sections of it that felt a bit dated. A lot of the gun combat, a little bit of the cover system, and every chapter with a vehicle felt very clunky. To me, the hide/cover mechanics felt counter intuitive. Not so much as shooting from cover, mainly switching between cover became a little frustrating. Also, there were a couple chapters where you’re riding around on a jetski with a bunch of enemies shooting at you that just weren’t fun. It seemed like the game required a level of precision that the clunky controls wouldn’t allow, and I was even playing a remastered version of the game. I’m glad I played it so that I understand the story going into Uncharted 2, but I don’t see myself playing Drake’s Fortune again.

#7 Mario Tennis Aces (Nintendo Switch)

Mario Tennis Aces is the one of the newest sports game set in the Super Mario universe. An evil tennis racket takes control of Luigi, Waluigi, Wario, and Bowser. It’s up to Mario to use the power of tennis to defeat the evil and save his friends. That sounds ridiculous, but it actually made sense in the context of the game. The game is largely marketed at families and children, but the entire game is shockingly difficult. Even as a regular gamer, I had significant trouble with many of the levels in the story. It’s a fun game, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a leisurely experience. It’s probably the most difficult game I’ve played this year.

Recent Pickups

Inside Man (Blu-Ray)

Bad Boys Double Feature (Blu-Ray)

The Usual Suspects (Blu-Ray)

The Daniel Craig Collection (Blu-Ray)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Blu-Ray)

These averaged out to about $6 per movie. I was pretty happy with that since I’ve never seen 8 of those 9 movies.