James’ 2020 Goals #3 – Mid-February Update

Hello Everyone! It’s been an average couple of weeks for me. I’ve made some good progress on a couple of my goals, and I’ve gotten a little stuck on others. Fortunately I haven’t moved backwards one any of my goals!

2020 Goals

Goal #1: Lose 100 Pounds

I’ve felt a little stuck since the beginning of February. I ended January at 324 pounds, and its taken me 2 whole weeks to drop just another 4 pounds to 320. I know that what I’m doing is beneficial, but it’s hard to stay motivated when it feels like I’ve stopped making progress.

Goal #2: 100 New Movies

I’ve seen 5 new movies since my last post! One of which was my first time going to a theater in 2020. I feel like I’m watching movies much faster than anticipated, and it’s possible that my goal of 100 movies was too low.

Goal #3: Finish my Game Backlog

I only finished 3 games since my last post, 2 of which weren’t counting against my backlog because they’re from XBOX Gamepass. Regardless, my thoughts on all three are down below.

Goal #4: Debt & Savings

No real progress, I usually move money around at the end of the month.

Goal #5: Reading 10 Books

I finished The Firm by John Grisham! I enjoyed it, it really kept me engaged to the very end. I also read Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck, but I’m not counting it as one of my 10 books because it’s pretty short and it wasn’t one of the 10 books that I selected at the beginning of the year. I’d recommend both of these books, they’re both fairly simple to read and understand. In Of Mice & Men I really enjoyed that Steinbeck leaves a lot up for interpretation. The main thing that he conveys is dialogue. I think that reading the book a second time and understanding a lot of the foreshadowing helped me to gain insight into the different characters, especially George. My next book is probably going to be Blood Sweat & Pixels by Jason Schreier.

Movies

#19-20 Bad Boys & Bad Boys II

Bad Boys was released in 1995, Bad Boys 2 was released in 2003. In Bad Boys (1995) Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) are detectives in Los Angeles investigating drug activities in the area. It was a fun movie with a 90’s sitcom feeling. It’s an all around fun action movie. The sequel, Bad Boys II, was slightly delayed and released in 2003. It contained all the fun of the first movie with all the action cranked up a little higher. I’m glad I watched both of these movies, they were definitely worth the $12 for the double feature at Best Buy.

#21 Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey, recently renamed Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is set in the cinematic DC Comics Universe. Following the events of Suicide Squad, The Joker and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) break up, but this time it’s for good. When Harley is no longer under Joker’s protection, she learns that there’s quite a few people that don’t like her. She makes a deal with Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) that will restore her immunity in the crime community. I didn’t have high hopes for the movie going into it, but I enjoyed it for what it was. I liked that a lot of fun DC characters were thrown in and not given a huge role. I especially liked Ewan McGregor as Black Mask, I’ve never really seen him as a primary villain and it was a nice change of pace for me. Birds of Prey probably isn’t for everyone, but if you think you’d like it, or even if you typically enjoy fast paced mcguffin movies, I’d recommend checking it out.

#22 The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects is about a group of men who commit a crime under the influence of the mysterious Keyser Soze. The story is told as flashbacks from Roger Kint, while being questioned by police. This movie kept me engaged the entire time, and then ended with a twist that I truly didn’t see coming. I think it’s worth checking out, I found it in the $5 bin at Best Buy.

#23 Bad Boys for Life

Bad Boys for Life is the most recent installment in the Bad Boys series. It was released a staggering 17 years after Bad Boys II. I had very low hopes for this movie. Typically I’m not a fan of delayed sequels, and this really subverted expectations for me. They didn’t rely on the same old jokes, but instead they added to the franchise in a meaningful way. If you’ve enjoyed the first two movies, this one is a must-watch.

Games

#8 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Playstation 4)

The sequel to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007) continues to follow Nathan Drake as he is once again after treasure. I had quite a few issues with the first game, and almost none with this one. I was playing a remastered version of the game on PS4, part of the Nathan Drake Collection, and it controlled beautifully. I fully understand why people say this is the best in the series. The entire game, story, and presentation felt much more polished than the first game, and many of the likable characters returned. I didn’t go for the platinum because of the difficulty trophies, but later I might come back to it and give it a shot. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with it, much more than the first game. I have very high hopes for the series moving forward.

#9 Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (XBOX Gamepass)

I really didn’t know what this game was going into it. I saw the bafflingly beautiful trailer for Hellblade II, running on XBOX Series X, and decided to give it a shot. I loved every design and every decision that they implemented. I played it on my XBOX One S, through Gamepass, for free*. I played with headphones, which I also highly recommend. I’ve never been big on combat games that require strategy, I’ve always used more of hack-and-slash or brute-force method. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed Hellblade if I had not already played Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order. The game wants you to experiment, while also wanting you to play it safe. There’s no real tutorial, it simply tells you, “if you die too many times you’ll lose all your progress”. That being said, the fact that they don’t teach you anything made me feel so much more triumphant when I would win a fight, as if I learned and won by my own ability. There’s a really solid balance of puzzles and combat, and I never found myself getting tired of combat or longing for more action. There’s absolutely no HUD or objective markers, there’s only the voices. The voices are in your head, they guide you, they insult you, they mislead you, but ultimately they want you to win, after all they’re a part of you. The voices can be overwhelming, but they really add to the immersion of the game. It’s design to feel like Senua has Schizophrenia, and it works. You can’t always trust the voices, but often they can help you a little bit. There were times that there were multiple different voices saying various lines, from all different directions, and it was really quite impressive from an audio design perspective. Lastly, the lore markers were quite interesting, and I enjoyed collecting them. I’ve always been captivated by mythological stories and I found myself a little bummed when I would miss one. To recap, I really enjoyed Hellblade, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

#10 Ori & the Blind Forest (XBOX Gamepass)

This is another Microsoft IP that I’ve been sleeping on for a while. You play as Ori, and it’s your responsibility to restore the Forest to it’s proper state by collecting three magical items. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into with this one and I ended up having a lot of fun with it. I really liked that you gradually gain more abilities, allowing you to access more areas. Also, the game is much more difficult than I’d assumed it would be. I died literally hundreds of times, but I still really enjoyed the game. I liked that the map was very simple to navigate, it made hunting for upgrades or revisiting areas much more enjoyable. I loved my time with this one, I’m hyped for the sequel coming out next month. It’ll definitely be a day-one download for me.

Thanks for Reading!

XBOX Live: TheRealMrSoler

PlayStation Network: TheRealMrSoler

Twitter: James_Soler

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