Best of 2015 : Year of the Setting Stones


10 years I’ve been doing this. Quite the experience. This year (2016) feels special. Something about it has a special-ness to it. Maybe it’s because we’re getting a football team. Maybe it’s because it’s 10 years of living in LA this year. There’s an air of excitement to it. When I first moved to LA, I had all the aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. In fact, the first few years felt like it was all inevitable. I was playing film festivals, I got a manager, I even managed to play Sundance (a life long dream). Then I found out about HIV and things just sort of spiraled. It took a lot out of me. It made me re-evaluate what I wanted. I second guessed my abilities. I burned bridges with people who cared. I made a relationship more important than it needed to be and in so many ways undercut it. From 2008 until a few years ago, I lost myself in the temporary. In the “now”. In instant pleasures. In the past few years, I’ve slowly recovered from that. I’ve ordered my life and gotten comfortable in this city and this year, this year feels special. 

Since 2006, I’ve been outlining what that year meant and here’s a quick look:

2006 Big Change
2007 Foundations & Beginnings
2008 Recovery
2009 Endings
2010 Big Leap
2011 Stall
2012 Happy Laziness
2013 Productivity
2014 Changing Perspective

& this year — Setting Stones. This year was a year I felt I have everything I could want except the whole reason I came out here. I came to Los Angeles to make films. To create. In the last few years that desire evolved to board gaming. I think back on my life and realize that my attraction to movies was the idea of presentation. The idea of creating — adventure and surprise. A great board game is that sort of experience. I don’t like performance. Doing things on the fly. Doing things live. But instead creating things in isolation or collaboration that’s then presented as a whole to an audience. Films. Games. These things fit that.

So why Setting Stones? This year, I went to GenCon. It was… eye opening. I visited a world I wanted to be a part of. Games have always been a part of my life and it was exciting to see that people have made it more than just a hobby. People could create and design an experience. It felt — obtainable. Or at least I could see a path with the right project. And so I started to design a board game. Unsuccessfully at the moment, but learning the process. The procedure of game theory. The intricacies of game mechanics. Cooperation vs Competition. Logic. It was a puzzle.

I also felt more reflexive in 2015. It was the first year I felt… older. Before then, even when I turned 30, I always still felt a guy just out of college. Going into 2016, it’ll be 10 years since I’ve graduated. It was the first year I would look at my face and wonder what makes it look older. Why do I look older? I thought about aging. Not about dying or death, just… being older. This wasn’t a depressing, sobering thought but a reflexive one.

In any case, I felt all the other pieces of my life are set. I’m happy. I’m comfortable with the way things are and now, I can focus on the things that are not satisfying. I like work, but I’d love to create for a living. And so on. 

With all that said, entertainment wise, there wasn’t anything that REALLY stood out this year, beyond Star Wars. I really dove into the myth & lore of that place far far away. Starting in about August, I watched the prequels, watched the surprisingly amazing Clone Wars series, Read some Star Wars novels (new Canon) good and bad, and obviously all the new stuff. It was a fun and engaging experience. 

The entertainment universe definitely loves to create worlds now. Entertainment is all about Franchise and World Building. And, I’m totally into that. Another world I got into was Mistborn — and look forward to continuing that into 2016. 

Things I’m also looking forward to in 2016? Going to London to see the new Harry Potter play and Star Wars Celebration. Going to GenCon for a 2nd year with a very close to finished game.

And seeing my new Nephew on his first birthday. 

So, without further ado, my Best Of Lists & (being a 10 year anniversary) my favorite films of the past 10 years (2006-2015). 

Movies - Popcorn (2015)

  1. Star Wars: Force Awakens
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Inside Out
  4. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  5. The Visit
  6. Jurassic World
  7. Spy
  8. Trainwreck

This year was not so exciting for big popcorn films and in all was pretty disappointing (beyond some highlights).

Movies - Popcorn (2006-2015)

  1. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part I (2010)
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
  3. Star Wars: Force Awakens (2015)
  4. Wall E (2008)
  5. Dark Knight (2008)
  6. Casino Royale (2006)
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  8. Prometheus (2012)
  9. Gravity (2013)
  10. Attack the Block (2011)

Movies - Cinema (2015)

  1. Sicario
  2. Steve Jobs
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Hateful Eight
  5. What We Do in the Shadows
  6. It Follows
  7. Anomalisa
  8. Revenant
  9. Big Short
  10. Beasts of No Nation

Movies - Cinema (2006-2015)

  1. Zodiac (2007)
  2. Tree of Life (2011)
  3. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  4. Into the Wild (2007)
  5. Drive (2011)
  6. There Will be Blood (2007)
  7. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  8. Birdman (2014)
  9. Little Children (2006)
  10. Social Network (2010)

Television (2015)

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Getting On
  3. The Americans
  4. Mad Men
  5. Hannibal
  6. Veep
  7. You’re the Worst
  8. Master of None
  9. House of Cards
  10. Halt & Catch Fire
  11. Mr. Robot
  12. Broad City
  13. Man Seeking Woman
  14. Walking Dead
  15. Daredevil
  16. Last Man on Earth
  17. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  18. Better Call Saul
  19. Man in the High Castle
  20. Star Wars Rebels

Honorable Mention: The Jinx, Good Wife, Scream Queens

Television (2006-2015)

  1. Sopranos
  2. Mad Men
  3. Lost
  4. Getting On
  5. Breaking Bad
  6. Battlestar Galattica
  7. Good Wife
  8. Louie
  9. Legend of Korra
  10. Comeback
  11. Leftovers
  12. Community
  13. Walking Dead
  14. Homeland
  15. Veep
  16. You’re the Worst
  17. Boardwalk Empire
  18. True Blood
  19. Archer
  20. House of Cards

Video Games (2015)

  1. Fallout 4
  2. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
  3. Until Dawn
  4. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  5. Life is Strange
  6. Minecraft (again!)
  7. Pneuma: Breath of Life

Video Games (2006 - 2015)

  1. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
  2. Bioshock (2007)
  3. Uncharted 2 (2007)
  4. Mass Effect (2007-2012)
  5. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
  6. Limbo (2010)
  7. Minecraft (2009)
  8. Journey (2012)
  9. Walking Dead Telltale Game (2012)
  10. Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)

*Portal, Borderlands, & Batman: Arkham City are Honorable Mentions

Table Top Games (2015)

  1. D&D 5e
  2. Twilight Imperium
  3. Stockpile
  4. Mysterium
  5. Codenames

Music - Albums (2015)

  1. Bob Moses' DAYS GONE BY
  2. Tame Impala’s CURRENTS
  3. A$AP Rocky’s AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
  5. Alabama Shakes’ SOUND & COLOR
  6. Kendrick Lamar’s TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY
  9. Sufjan Stevens’ CARRIE & LOWELL
  10. Ryan Adams’ 1989

Music - Albums (2006-2015)

  1. Beach House’s TEEN DREAMS (2010)
  2. LCD Soundsystem's SOUND OF SILVER (2007)
  3. Kanye West’s 808 & HEARTBREAKS (2008)
  4. Vampire Weekend’s MODERN VAMPIRES IN THE CITY (2013)
  5. Bottom of the Hudson’s FANTASTIC HAWKE (2007)
  6. Chvrches’ BONES OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE (2013)
  7. Arcade Fire’s REFLEKTORS (2013)
  8. Radiohead’s IN RAINBOWS (2007)
  9. Peter, Bjorn, & John’s LIVING THINGS (2009)
  10. Bob Moses’ DAYS GONE BY (2015)

Music - Singles (2015)

  1. “Let It Happen” by Tame Impala
  2. "Tearing Me Up" by Bob Moses
  3. "Opus" by Eric Prydz
  4. “Don’t Want to Fight No More” by Alabama Shakes
  5. “Feel the Lightning” by Dan Deacon
  6. “All of Me Wants All of You” by Sufjan Stevens
  7. “I Can’t Feel My Face” by Weeknd
  8. “Teenage Talk” St. Vincent
  9. “Ruins” by The Mary Onettes
  10. “Freedom” by Pharrell
  11. “Dreams” by Beck
  12. “Cream on Chrome” Ratatat
  13. “TV Set” Spoon
  14. “In Films” by Chromatics
  15. “Frail” by Crystal Castles

Music - Singles (2006-2015)

  1. “Sailing by Night” by Department of Eagles (2008)
  2. "Let it Happen” by Tame Impala (2015)
  3. "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem (2007)
  4. “Magic” by Ladyhawke (2009)
  5. “10 Mile Stereo” by Beach House (2010)
  6. “Another Love (Zwette Edit)” by Tom Odell (2013)
  7. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele (2011)
  8. “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes (2009)
  9. “Tether” by Chvrches (2013)
  10. “Futile Devices” by Sufjan Stevens (2010)

Books I Read (2015)

  1. Mistborn: Well of Ascension
  2. Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
  3. Star Wars: Tarkin
  4. Star Wars: Aftermath
  5. Star Wars: New Dawn

Books I’ve Read (2006-2015)

  1. The Harry Potter Series
  2. The Mistborn Series
  3. A Song of Ice & Fire Series
  4. Ready Player One
  5. Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
  6. Age of Miracles
  7. Star Wars: Tarkin
  8. Hunger Games Series
  9. Gone Girl

Top Stuff That Happened in 2015 (Chronological Order)

  1. Jody & Shane's Wedding
  2. The Freedom Music Video Shoot
  3. GenCon
  4. D&D
  5. An Autumn of Star Wars
  6. Escape Rooms
  7. Game Haus
  8. Twilight Imperium Win!
  9. Birthday Spy Party

News News

  1. Charlie Hebdo Shooting in Paris
  2. ISIS & Yemen
  3. Gay Marriage Legal
  4. Apple Watch
  5. Start of the 2016 Presidential Election
  6. Nepal Earthquake
  7. Baltimore Riots
  8. El Nino
  9. Caitlin Jenner
  10. Greece’s Economy
  11. European Migrant Troubles
  12. Paris Attack
  13. Santa Barbara Attack
  14. Trump Trump & More Trump

Hopes Goals from 2015?

  1. Play Test My Game & Go to GenCon — these things, kind of happened. I learned a lot and I know this year, will be the year I make it happen.
  2. Keep Healthy — I plateaued, nothing special. 
  3. Read More Novels — I actually got better at reading, but not necessarily MORE
  4. Get a Dog — not yet

5 Questions to Ask Myself on January 2017

  1. Did you write more on this blog?
  2. Did you get your screenplays out there? Did you enter contests? Did you get Representation?
  3. Did you get closer to your game?
  4. Did you lose that weight… FINALLY?!
  5. Are you happy?

This year, I’d like to thank Austin, my little nephew. I’d like to thank GenCon for giving me a new outlook. I’d like to thank all my friends for coming to all my little parties & games. I’d like to thank Eric for putting together that Birthday Scavenger Hunt. I’d like to thank Nathan for giving me all that work. I’d like to thank Apple for putting real money into Music Videos. I’d like to thank my Mom & Sister. I’d like to thank George Lucas for Star Wars. I’d like to thank Nina for being so damn amazing at getting tickets when they’re practically impossible to get. I’d like to thank the universe for making all the things happen.