Monday, January 1, 2024

My Steam Recap 2023


Another gaming year is in the books, and I spent a good portion of it on my Steam Deck. In 2022 I played 11 games on Steam, and that jumped to 31 this year. More and more games are getting verified on the Steam Deck as well, including some all-time classics. In fact, Half-Life was probably my favorite Steam Deck experience this year. 

November 19th was the 25th anniversary of Half-Life, one of the most beloved (and important) games of all time. Valve marked the occasion with a new update for the game, which included making it Steam Deck verified, which means it plays well on Valve’s gaming handheld. They also made it free on the 19th, which prompted me to download it for my Steam Deck and revisit the game for the first time in years. It also provided a great opportunity to correct the fact that I had never actually finished the game.

My Half-Life experience really began with Half-Life 2, when it came out for the Xbox 360 in 2007 as part of the amazing Orange Box collection. I was completely blown away by that game, as well as its two episodic expansions. As far as the original Half-Life, I had played through the opening chapter a couple times, but my lack of skill with mouse and keyboard controls kept me from truly getting hooked on the game. 

Well, I fell down the rabbit hole with Half-Life over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, and played through it completely. I could not put it down. Just as with Half-Life 2, the combination of atmosphere and storytelling created a world I could not pull myself away from. Even the clunky platforming and the frustration of the final level and boss battle did nothing to tarnish my overall appreciation for how great Half-Life is. I already want to start a new playthrough, but I think I’m going to play through Half-Life 2 and Episodes 1 and 2 again first.

If you haven’t played Half-Life and you want to learn more about the game's development, Valve also released a great documentary to mark the anniversary, and it's well worth a watch.

My other favorite from my Steam Deck experiences this year was Strange Horticulture. This cozy, cultish puzzle game is perfect on Valve's handheld.

I'm looking forward to logging a lot more time with the Steam Deck in 2024, especially since I keep buying more games every time Valve has one of their seasonal Steam sales.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Favorites of 2023 | Movies

This movie-viewing year ends on a sad note for me, as the theater I have been going to for the past 25 years closed down just a few weeks ago. Almost every movie I've gone to see or have taken my kids to for two decades were watched in that theater. Huge bummer.

BUT, I got to see some great movies in that theater this year, including all three of my favorite movies of the year. Without further ado:

When I went to see Thanksgiving, I knew it would be my last movie in that theater, and it felt right. Horror movies are made for the theater, and I'm glad I got to see so many at my local theater over the years. Great memories!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Favorites of 2023 | Albums

It's the last few days of the year, and I like many others are reflecting on some of my favorite things from this past year. Being on multiple music podcasts means I listen to a lot of albums over the course of a year, and narrowing things down to just a few favorites is not possible. So, I'm going with my fifteen favorite albums of the year:

Overkill: Scorched

Creeper: Sanguivore

Dethklok: Dethalbum IV

Extreme: Six

Night Demon: outsider

Nita Strauss: Call of the Void

Metallica: 72 Seasons

Avenged Sevenfold: Life is But a Dream...

Winger: Seven

Baroness: Stone

KK's Priest: The Sinner Rides Again

The Hives: The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons

Mutoid Man: Mutants

Haunt: Golden Arm

In Flames: Foregone

These are not in any sort of ranked order, though if we do a Power Chords episode about our favorites, I'll have to narrow down a list of 10. I'm pretty sure that Overkill, Dethklok, and Creeper would be the top three for me, though. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Thrash It Out Podcast | Volume 7--Track 1: Battle Beast

We are back with a brand new volume of Thrash It Out! To kick things off, Antony and I are diving into a super fun album from 2022, Circus of Doom from Battle Beast.

Get more episodes at!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

TL;DR | Creeper’s Sanguivore Might be the Most Fun Album of the Year

This album came out of nowhere for me. Creeper have been around since 2014, but this is the first album I've caught from them, and I absolutely adore it. Not only does it have some excellent rock, metal, and punk elements, but it brings the theatrical flair I really love. The whole album is a vampire love story, and feels like Type O Negative + Meatloaf + Ghost + Billy Idol + My Chemical Romance. A campy blast from start to finish.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Convos With Creative People | Volume 2--Episode 4: Prepping for NaNoWriMo


Happy Friday the 13th to all who celebrate! Jolene Haley and I are back with a CWCP episode about prepping for National Novel Writing Month ( We talk about how you can use the rest of this month to get ready for the 50k-word challenge. Even though we focus on NaNo, you can apply most of what we talk about to any large creative project you might be preparing for.

For the horror fans out there, we also talk about the scary movies we’ve been watching, and give some recommendations for movies you can spend the rest of October enjoying.

Thanks for listening! Next month we’ll be back to our regular format and will have a guest joining us, so stay tuned!

J & B