Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Did This Year

2014 is about to come to a close and I'll admit, this is one of the first New Year's in a while where I DON'T feel like a pathetic pile of shit. I think it'd because the year overall was pretty lousy what with all the death and awfulness in the world and everything.

But this year I've learned to reflect on just how good I have it. Despite all that awfulness, I've had a pretty damn good year. I know I haven't detailed much of it here (and I'm making the umpteenth promise to fix that for the next year), but I should share just all the good things I did in 2014.

Since its December, I should post what I got for Christmas.

Amiibos! Yes, over the past week I added 5 more Amiibo to my growing collection, bringing the total to 10. Above you see Yoshi, Kirby, the Wii Fit Trainer, Little Mac, and Luigi. They join Diddy Kong, Marth, Mario, Link and the Animal Crossing Villager. Captain Falcon and Pit (Kid Icarus) are currently in transit.

I don't think anyone saw the demand for these things skyrocketing coming, as any Amiibo that aren't Nintendo staples like Mario, Link, Peach, Pikachu, etc. are next to impossible to find. You can blame low production numbers and slow shipping rates for most of that. Hell, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager and Marth are considered the "Holy Trinity" due to being shortpacked at day 1. I just had the amazing foresight to get Villaget and Marth on launch day after learning they were gonna be rare. My buddy Steve picked up the Trainer a few weeks back with two others through some godforsaken Wal-Mart miracle. 

I'm not going for "gotta catch em all" for these things so I wasn't that interested in her initially (or Diddy Kong for that matter), but dammit I rode the hype train for them and I'm feeling very full of myself that I have them now and you most likely don't.

DVDs! Yes, my Christmas staples are all here: the latest Simpsons, Parks & Rec and Community seasons. This list has been getting shorter since Archer isn't out yet and Futurama ended last year.  The three on the top of the stack were generously gifted from my friend Goobian, thanks so much for being awesome! (Although getting the Animaniacs & Looney Tunes sets out of sequence is irritating my OCD, I appreciate the gesture all the same)

I also got gift cards (iTunes, Nintendo eShop, Panera, Subway), the latest Hess Truck (which is awesome), the traditional 25 $1 scratch off lotto tickets I get on Christmas Day (won $19!), and a Roth IRA. I keep being told that future financial planning is a fine gift, so I'll go with that.

I went to Vegas in March! I meant to write that up back when I actually did the trip, but I just wasn't up for it, I guess. I scratched a few things off the old bucket list while I was there, though. Going to Vegas itself was a big one, as was experiencing a different time zone for the first time. That one was weird, when it was time for dinner there, it was already 8pm back here. Of course, once I got used to it, I had to go home and readjust. Such is life.

I climbed to the top of the Stratosphere, the highest point in Vegas. 

Me looking at the view from the top. A panorama of most of the Las Vegas area on such a lovely day (nary a cloud the entire time I was there) is a sight that I totally recommend. Did I mention that there's rides on the top, too? Yep, and I got to ride them.

This is Big Shot, a launch tower that shoots you to technically 1,000 feet off the ground. The view I had from that point is incredible, I could see for miles. and it's a view that I swear I will never see again. I like thrill rides and all, but the feeling that I was going to be launched into the stratosphere and thinking for a split second that nothing was going to stop me is only worth doing once. My heart couldn't justify going on reride just for the view.

Here we see "X-Scream," a calm little spinner ride that's enjoyable when you try to forget that you're hundreds of feet in the air. It goes off the side of the building.

This was the aptly titled "Insanity," a teeter-totter-like coaster ride that convinces you that you're going to be shoved off of the tower. I rode in the back because there was no way in hell I'd sit with an unobstructed view straight down. Seriously, look how tiny those houses look.

What was interesting was that someone's brochure for the tower fell out of their pocket and I watched it fall all the way to the ground. Luckily it was just paper and not anything injury-worthy.

I got to eat at a buffet, which Vegas is considered the Mecca to that method of dining. Sadly, I only was able to go to the Paris buffet and the breakfast buffet (seen above) was far better than the dinner one. I'll have to wait to go to the one in Cesar's, which is considered one of the best (and quite pricey).

I also tried each of the "Cokes Around The World" at the World of Coca-Cola store. Sixteen sodas all hailing from different corners of the world, each drink a mystery to its flavor until you drink it. Like carbonated Russian Roulette. My favorite was the one you see above, Fanta Kolita from Costa Rica. It tasted like that bubblegum toothpaste that the dentist gives you, trust me when I say that it was totally amazing.

This one is the infamous Beverly from Italy. This is what I wrote about it: 

"They warn you about this one. There are people coming around the tables with cameras telling you to try it. You see others around you drink it. And then you try it for yourself, you think you'll be ready for what comes next.

No matter what you think, your body will not be ready for this. It looks like seltzer water, but it's not. This is something Italians just sip on to cleanse their palate, it's just meant to be the most bitter thing you'll ever taste. This stuff nearly ruined my my entire day, the taste will take hours to leave your tongue, and it will not want to stay in your body for very long. Pick an orifice, you'll want it to come out of it as quickly as possible.

In short, you must try this at least once in your life."

And yet I couldn't stop drinking it. I had the runs for the rest of the day, I pretty much took the Las Vegas Bathroom Tour. Cosmopolitan, New York New York and Margaritaville's were my favorites.

I got to see the Bellagio Water Show, from pretty much all angles and lighting. It helps that I was staying at Bally's, which was right across the street.

Just a good pic of the Paris that I took.

I wanted to go to my first In & Out, but since I didn't have a car and that it was waaaay over there, I was forced to wait for another time.

Oh yeah, I gotta tell you about the swanky room I stayed in. When I got to Bally's, I was told by the nice receptionist that I was given a complimentary upgrade to a suite. I thought that meant that my room was going to have a fridge in it. Ooh, boy was I wrong. I got the fridge but so much more.

Thus is what I saw when I walk in. Fuck a hotel room, this was a mini apartment! There was a little bar area to the right, a dining area to the left and its own living room.

The fucking bathroom was the size of a regular hotel room! Yes, that's a hot tub in the middle, and the shower/sauna was behind it.

The bed was way too big for my purposes, but oh so comfy.

Checking out was the hardest thing I had to do that trip. That place was wasted on a shlub like me, but I know that I was damn lucky to have it.

I also rode in a limo for most of the trip, thanks to a aunt that had lots of comps from gambling her life away.

One day I'll show you the rest of the highlights of that trip. But now, other things.

I went to the end of the world, as detailed in this entry.

I also went to NYCC, seen in this entry. But I also got one awesome pic:

Me with the cast of the Thrilling Adventure Hour! You might recognize some familiar faces: John Hodgman, Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Jonathan Coulton, Marc Evan Jackson (Brookyn Nine Nine), Scott Adsit (30 Rock, Baymax of Big Hero 6), and Janet Varney (Korra). With everyone else, that was at least $250 worth of comedy for one $20 picture. I was with them for about a minute but that was by far the friendliest swarm I've ever encountered.

I got to watch 90% of the Every Simpsons Ever marathon! The best twelve days of my life! That other 10% was due to work, sleep, and being out of the house for most of Day 2. Hell, I convinced some Simpsons crewmembers that I never even slept at all! That's how dedicated I am.

Got to see the Oddball Comedy Festival at Jones Beach! Lots of great comedy in ove place! (you can see blurry Louis CK above) 

Got to take my pic with two doctors at LI Who Con! That was a fun weekend, I even got to catch the finale with a room full of Whovians, which was followed by an hour of that same room discussing what the hell we just watched.

Got a WiiU! Sure it's mostly a $200 Mario Kart and Smash Bros machine, but I love it.

So that was my 2014, hope yours as equally as awesome. I'll see you all in 2015!