Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Studicus Selects 2008

Proudly I present today my favorite memories and things from the year 2008. It's a quasi-annual tradition called "Studicus Selects." I thought I had done this every year since 2005...but apparently, I skipped out on it in 2006. You know, the Colts won the Super Bowl that year...so I was kind of distracted.

You'll find the past "Studicus Selects" at the following links. It's like traveling in a time machine!

Studicus Selects 2007

Studicus Selects 2005

Favorite theater experience: Iron Man. I saw this multiple times at the movie theater and enjoyed it every single time. There's just something so cool and suave about Robert Downey, Junior's smart-aleck Tony Stark that stuck with me. Or maybe it was just the poor fire extinguisher robot that couldn't do anything right. I'll tell you this, though...when those credits rolled and Samuel L. Jackson came out...that was pretty freaking cool.

Best purchase, major lifestyle change category: My wife and I bought a house! Well, okay...it's a condo. It doesn't really matter...it's a great place to live and we have a lot more space for all our stuff. I like it because of the garage and the fact the fridge has an ice/water dispenser. Mrs. Studicus loves it because of the awesome fireplace. It sure is expensive being a homeowner, but it's worth every penny...even when they aren't many pennies left.

Best purchase, cool gadget category: Hey, if we're getting a house, Studicus is getting his space...a place where I can play Xbox, watch sports, crush cans on my head, scratch, and write. In that room sits this year's best cool gadget purchase: my 42" plasma HDTV. Xbox games look great, DVDs look phenomenal, and we have a wide variety of HD channels to watch.

Most unexpected benefit of having an Xbox 360: Despite Microsoft's "kinda-okay" New Xbox Experience, the big M did add nice functionality by partnering with Netflix. If you're a subscriber and you have an Xbox, you can view "Watch Instantly" movies on your TV. This is a great idea, though the selection of movies is limited to older stuff. The TV selection is good, however...I almost feel like I own seasons three and four of "The Office." I just hope the movie selection gets larger and begins to include newer releases. I know those would compete directly with the Video Marketplace, but offering great flicks should be the real focus of the partnership.

Worst book series that spawned a movie to enslave my wife and legions of women and teenage girls across the country: Oh, Twilight, how I loathe thee. I have not read your book, so I won't pass judgment upon the literary merits of the novel or its sequels. However, I will pass judgment on the fanatical groups of girls who've nearly killed new "it" boy Robert Pattinson at various mall appearances. Then there are the YouTube Twilighters who seemed to have brainwashed my poor wife by sending her countless videos of main characters Edward and Bella, most of them set to the song "Iris." Tip to you YouTube Twilighters: if everyone uses "Iris," all your videos will seem the same. Pick something daring. Do something different. Choose "The Touch" by Stan Bush.

Best 'Studicus 1996 predicts this email thing will take off soon' moment of 2008: Hey, Guitar Hero is a lot of fun. After years of virtually ignoring the music game genre, I got into the game pretty big this year. It's Mrs. Studicus' fault...she wanted Guitar Hero for Christmas. I went overboard, getting a couple of wireless guitars plus Guitar Hero II, III, and Aerosmith. It's been a lot of fun. Heck...I even had a blast playing Rock Band at a buddy's house earlier this month. It's proof that you don't have to have any musical talent to have fun at those games. I am proud of the 100% flawless performance I gave for the vocals on "Don't Fear the Reaper."

Easiest snack chip-based time filler game for building your Gamerscore: Doritos Dash of Destruction is free on Xbox Live Arcade. Drive a truck, avoid a T-Rex. Play a T-Rex and smash the trucks. Play "both campaigns" and win a cooperative match for an easy 200 gamer points. You can do this in less than 20 minutes. I'm not kidding.

Best moment in sports: For my money, February is way too far away. So even though Eli Manning's eternal throw to David Tyree should win this category, I'm going somewhere else. EVERYONE will pick that play. Instead, I'll go to a game moment I'll never forget, when Sage Rosenfels got helicoptered and coughed up a game to the Colts. He followed that fumble with another one...and the Colts completed a miraculous comeback that's helped them build momentum for their upcoming playoff run.

Best unexpected perk that just about everyone I know passed up: My father-in-law gave me tickets to see the Colts play the Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium. The problem was finding someone to go with! All my friends were out of town or unavailable. My parents couldn't make it. My uncle's in-laws were in town. One of my friends was on his way to Cleveland. Finally, I found a buddy and his wife actually willing to go with me. I started to wonder if I had an offensive body odor.

Most frustrating game mode in an Xbox game purchased during a charity auction at work: The Kombo Challenge Mode in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is extremely difficult. Unless I can use something other than the Xbox's crappy controller, I'll never finish this mode. Not all of it can be blamed on the controller...anyone can tell you I suck at fighting games. But darn it...I've finished six of Batman's ten Kombos...and am continually frustrated while trying to perform the other four. Screw you, "Pro Moves."

Best pirating of Star Wars phrase as euphemism for 'dinner and a movie': "The Kessel Run." Finding ourselves meeting at the same Steak n' Shake before going to see a movie at the same movie theater, Krildog and I began calling the ritual "The Kessel Run." I must be emphatic about this: the Kessel Run must start at the Steak n' Shake on South East Street and end at the Kerosotes Showplace 16 and IMAX. Without either of these two conditions, it's not a Kessel Run. It's just dinner and a movie.

Best non-use of second blog whose existence probably means I'm committing "blog adultery" on TFT: I've registered icrimsonstreak.blogspot.com. It's supposed to be a blog to help launch a book I've been writing. However, if you've visited the link (poor fool!), you'll notice there's nothing there. The timing isn't right...not yet, not yet.

Most overwatched DVD over the last week that started as a Netflix rental and then made its way into my collection: Loved The Dark Knight in theaters, but didn't get a chance for a second viewing. I was juiced when I got it via Netflix on the first week of release. So juiced, in fact, I watched it four times. Then, when no one got it for me for Christmas, I launched my own one-man quest to find a copy of the movie that started the day after Christmas. Four stores, two days, and one aborted attempt to stand in a huge line at Best Buy later, I finally scored a copy that wasn't the fullscreen version. Somehow, I've turned into a "widescreen" snob. I'm very sorry.

Best discovery involving long-lost anniversary wind chimes from Arizona: My wife bought some lovely turquoise wind chimes while we were in Arizona for our honeymoon in 2006. Somehow, they got put away in a closet at our apartment, never to be seen again. Ah...until that fateful day when we began moving from our apartment to our new house and Mrs. Studicus came across them. She discovered the chimes almost two years after we'd originally bought them.

Best assist, major purchase: Mrs. Studicus and I got a lot of help from our respective parents when it comes to getting our condo. Without their advice and concern, we couldn't have pulled it off.

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