Looking Forward (June 2019 Update) — If It Makes You Happy . . .


It’s time for our thrice-yearly report here at FirewaterCo.

Several years ago, I adopted as my personal philosophy the bit of stolen wisdom that—as the above epigram states—happiness is looking forward to something. (I also stole “Every day is a good day,” a powerful zen koan, from my brother-in-law, who sold mobile homes before he retired. It has become my personal mantra and my normal response to the greeting “How are you?”)

I still love the simplicity of the Looking Forward philosophy, and still believe in its fundamental truth. Pleasant anticipation is an uplifting sensation. In many ways, the anticipation of a thing or an event is even better than the thing, or event, itself. Here at FirewaterCo, where our motto is “Read, Play, Watch” (Jeepers, all these philosophies, koans and mottos . . .), our only product is these blog posts, the majority of which concern my never-ending pursuit of story, above all else, and entertainment. This pursuit is fulfilled through reading books and comics (graphic novels, if you’re nasty), playing video games on my PS4, or watching movies and television series. Lots and lots of television series.

With this plethora of entertainment options, my plans are always full, as is the list of finished series, games and books I have yet to write about. If you’re like me, a full “to do” list makes you happy. If a full list causes you stress and unnecessary frustration, this particular pursuit of happiness is not for you.

Since the February update, I finished reading the following books.

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Bloodletter, by K.W. Jeter
  • Caliban’s War, by James S.A. Corey
  • Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt, by Chuck Wendig
  • Nevermore: a Supernatural novel, by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Saga: Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (comic book)
  • Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (comic book)
  • Flashpoint, by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert (comic book)
  • Identity Crisis, by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales (comic book)

I am currently reading the following:

  • Batman: Knightfall, by Dennis O’Neil (this is the novelization, not the comic book)
  • Mass Effect Andromeda: Annihilation, by Catherynne M. Valente
  • A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin
  • Infinite Crisis, by Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez (comic book)

I expect to be finished with these prior to the next update (with the possible exception of the GRRM, which is huge). As I finish the above, the following books are on-deck:

  • Batman: No Man’s Land, by Greg Rucka (the novelization, not the comic book)
  • Abaddon’s Gate, by James S.A. Corey
  • Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon, by Jeff Mariotte
  • Mass Effect: Discovery, by John Dombrow, Jeremy Barlow and Gabriel Guzman (comic book)
  • Y: The Last Man: Book One, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr. (comic book)

That covers “Read.” Now, on to “Watch.”

Since February, I’ve watched an unusual number of movies. The “Watch” portion of the plan is always slanted heavily towards television. I watched the following:

  • Bad times at the El Royale
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Justice League
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Logan
  • Batman & Bill (documentary)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • The Image Revolution (documentary)

During the next four months, I plan to watch the following movies:

  • Black Panther
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp

I haven’t seen Captain Marvel or Avengers: Endgame yet either, but I doubt I’ll watch them before October. There may be other movies that happen, but I haven’t planned for them.

Something I’ve neglected to include in these Looking Forward updates are the Star Trek movies I’ve been watching for my on-going 15-Minute Federation project. I’ve been watching all of the movies in 15-minute segments each week, while taking copious notes. Even though I’ve been slow to write the posts (I’ve just begun Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan on my website), I’m actually almost finished watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I fully expect to be through Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek: Generations prior to the next update. And, yes, Virginia, I am really watching them in 15-minute segments, once a week. This is total nerd immersion (nerd-mersion?).

Now, moving on to the biggest segment of “Watch”: television series.

Since February, I’ve finished watching the following series:

  • Star Trek: TOS: Season 3 (this completed my watch/rewatch of all Star Trek television series, including the animated one)
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Season 2
  • The Punisher: Season 2 (since cancelled by Netflix)
  • The Santa Clarita Diet: Seasons 1 thru 3 (also cancelled by Netflix)
  • Friends from College: Seasons 1 & 2 (cancelled by Netflix; I’m sensing a theme)
  • The Gifted: Season 2 (mercifully cancelled by FOX)
  • Gotham: Season 5 (ditto)
  • New Girl: Season 7 (final season)
  • The Orville: Season 2
  • American Gods: Season 2
  • Game of Thrones: Season 8 (final season)
  • I’m Sorry: Season 1
  • Supernatural: Seasons 3 thru 6
  • Vikings: Seasons 3 thru 5.1 (just two episodes away from completing Season 5.2)
  • Episodes: Seasons 1 thru 5 (entire series)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Seasons 1 & 2
  • After Life: Season 1
  • The Flash: Season 5
  • Supergirl: Season 4
  • Titans: Season 1
  • Doom Patrol: Season 1

During the next four months, I’m looking forward to watching all or part of the following:

  • iZombie: Season 5 (final season)
  • Lucifer: Seasons 1 thru 4
  • Krypton: Season 2
  • I’m Sorry: Season 2
  • BoJack Horseman: Seasons 4 & 5
  • Legion: Season 3 (final season)
  • Stranger Things: Season 3
  • Veronica Mars: Season ? (this is the reboot: not sure if it’s technically Season 4)
  • Supernatural: Seasons 7 thru 10
  • Preacher: Season 4 (final season)
  • NOS4A2: Season 1
  • Jessica Jones: Season 3 (final season)

There are plenty of other series that I’m looking forward to, but they may not be out before my next update. Westworld: Season 3 and Better Call Saul: Season 5 won’t premiere until 2020.

And now, at last, “Play.”

Since February, I finished playing the following video games:

  • Spider-Man (I earned a platinum trophy, and also finished all of the DLCs: great game)
  • NBA2K 15 (my player-character on myCareer made it into the NBA Hall of Fame)
  • FIFA 18 (finished the story mode)
  • Just Cause 4 (didn’t really finish it: the game just didn’t thrill me)
  • Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (didn’t finish this one either: needed room in storage)
  • Axiom Verge (another storage sacrifice: cool retro game, though)

Games that I’m still playing:

  • NHL 18 (I’ve never been a hockey fan until now: love this game!)
  • World Tennis (not the best tennis game I’ve ever played, but it’s okay)
  • NBA2K 17 (started a new myCareer player: this game has Michael B. Jordan in it!)
  • Need for Speed: Payback (I always keep one racing game going: I like this franchise)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (I’ll be playing this one for a while)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (ditto)
  • Return to Arkham: Arkham Asylum (yes, the same game I played ten years ago on the PS3. And, yes, I still love it)

Because Return to Arkham also includes Arkham City, that game is on-deck to play next, of course. I also repurchased Arkham Knight at GameStop, and am looking forward to playing it again. Spider-Man reminded me, in many ways, of the Arkham series, so I wanted to play them all again. Ah, nostalgia.

I haven’t purchased God of War or Far Cry 5 yet, but there is an outside chance that I may before the next update. In any case, I’m looking forward to playing those games when the price is right.

There are things other than entertainment that I’m looking forward to, of course. Our granddaughter in Wisconsin is getting married in August (last we heard) and we’ll be heading north for that occasion, of course.

My next appointment with the neurosurgeon is in July. I’m already back at work now, restricted to lifting no more than 20 pounds. I’m hoping to get a full release next month. I’m still experiencing some partial paralysis in my legs and feet, and some sciatic nerve pain, but nothing I can’t live with. I’m walking without a cane and I feel 1000% better than I did prior to my back surgery. The difference is nothing short of miraculous.

I also began a new dietary lifestyle after my surgery. Nothing revolutionary, just controlling my calorie intake and increasing the amount of vegetables I eat. I’ve lost 17 pounds so far. But, I’m looking forward to losing a lot more, in a gradual and healthy way. I’m dropping about 1 to 2 pounds a week currently, which seems right. The plan is to get back to my college weight. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I will say this: Boca burgers aren’t exactly meat, but they ain’t bad either.

I’ll file my next update in October.

By the way, is there a better word to describe the frequency of these reports than “thrice-yearly”? How about “quadmonthly”?

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