Checkpoint: Phantom of the Opera 2018 Edition

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Canada Day 2018 is upon us. This is the first year that I will be spending portions of it in different cities. I’m currently in Toronto but will be heading back home on the big day.

We headed into Toronto earlier for my first ever theatre musical experience. Cameron Mackintosh’s take of Phantom of the Opera was an amazing spectacle. But despite the fact that I never saw a theatre musical like this, I knew this was a production that was meant to woo newcomers and modern simpletons like myself. It was a mesmerizing experience filled with elaborate stage transitions, loud music, and over the top acting. I felt the production communicated the tone and setting more than the actors which is fine for folks like myself but I can certainly see why veterans of the musical would prefer that the actors and actresses were the highlights. 

I didn’t come away discussing the drama that unfolded. I came away praising the set pieces, the production, the organized chaos, and wondering how they pulled off such a show. The people involved were captivating but I wasn’t drawn into to any of their performances like I was with the production itself.

We paid just over $110 per ticket and I thought it was well worth the price of admission. Now I’m wondering how i can transition to another theatre experience without being immediately disappointed by it. I want a fun auditory and visual experience but I also know it’s not fair to expect all musicals to be like this. 

Checkpoint: Canada Day 2017 Edition

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I watched this year’s Canada Day fireworks from my workplace with my girlfriend and her parents yesterday. It was my first time meeting them and I thought it went very well. I was incredibly comfortable around them and at times I felt like I was communicating with my own mother. My girlfriend wasn’t as relaxed as I was though. I may have been comfortable during in the moment but after the fact? A fair bit of anxiety kicked in — how did I really do? Girlfriend said it went fine and we’re all meeting up again for dinner tonight so there’s that.

I finally finished Firewatch. As someone who is just kicking off a serious relationship I see it as a mirror of morals and what I believe unconditional love means. It also lays out the question of what an emotional affair means to people. Can you fall for someone who you’ve only known through voice or — in the modern day context — chat? I thought it was very effective at conveying its story but I felt the game’s engine was being held together by duct tape.

Checkpoint: Top of the Game Edition

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The UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and FC Barcelona was a great one. I was predicting a Barcelona win but I didn’t know if Juventus were going to make a match out of it. Were Barcelona’s front three going to run circles around Juventus’ defense? Would Juventus’ midfield maintain order? Thankfully Juve stepped up and made a game of it; even going down 1-0 early on didn’t dampen their spirits. It was a very enjoyable final and more so because I’m actually familiar with the teams. I actually accidentally stumbled across the Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich a couple years ago. I watched it but didn’t have any vested interest in the sport at the time.

An hour after the Champions League final, the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Edmonton and I watched Canada take on China. It was an awful game. Both teams were making mistakes left and right, the Chinese were parking their defense and Canada had no answer. The only way Canada eked out a win was when China’s defense gifted them that silly foul in the penalty box.

I never watched the women’s game before. I’ve watched men’s lower division play in the form of NASL and MLS which was different compared to the top european leagues but the game remained intact. I didn’t expect a quick pace or a lot of physicality between players but I was expecting crisp decisive passes. The Canada vs China game showed glimpses high level play but it didn’t fill me with the desire to watch more. When the most confident looking players on the field were the goal keepers, it doesn’t make for attractive game.

Despite the terrible match, I didn’t give up on it on the Women’s World Cup and decided to watch the Netherlands take on New Zealand. That was a solid match which showcased what I was expecting. By default, I should be rooting for Canada but I think I’m going to back the Orange Lionesses.

I’m looking forward to seeing the top ranked German squad in action later today. They’re pitted against the lowest ranked team in the competition this year, the Ivory Coast. So this should be something.

I’m still playing The Witcher 3 and FIFA 15. I don’t see that changing next week.

Savestate: New Retail Exits XL

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New Nintendo 3DS XL

I’ll likely pick up a New Nintendo 3DS XL but not for $229.99. I’ll wait for it to hit the $179.99 price point or something. I’m not going to migrate to the new one because I’m going to pass the “old” Nintendo 3DS XL to my brother.

Do I even need it? Probably not. I don’t even have a Nintendo 3DS game of interest on the horizon.

There’s a bit of controversy behind this “New” Nintendo 3DS XL. First, only the XL version is coming to North America. I’m guessing the regular sized ones weren’t selling as well as the XL — or — the profit margin for the 3DS XL is higher than the regular size one. Who knows? Second, that $229.99 New Nintendo 3DS XL will not include a power adapter which is bonkers in this market. Nintendo have been omitting the power adapter for other regions like Europe and Japan but kept it North Americans consumers happy by including it. Now we’re just like the rest of the world.

I’m a fan of the XL size so, the lack of regular size didn’t phase me. The power adapter omission was also a non-issue for me because, like Nintendo insinuated, I have extra power adapters since I own an old 3DS XL and a Nintendo DSi.

If I were to hazard a guess, I believe I’ll get one at my preferred price point by the end of 2015.

Sony Store & Target Exiting Canada

I’m disappointed by the departure of Target. It barely got off the ground and now it’s already leaving. I was hoping Target would end up being a viable competitor to Walmart but with a compelling online presence. But I guess losing $2.1 billion since day one isn’t a recipe for success. Then again, opening 100+ stores in 22 months may have been a tad aggressive on their part. It’s a real shame that they’re departing Canada. A real shame.

Sony also announced they’re leaving the retail market in Canada but I don’t think anyone would miss their presence. It was never a hot bed for deals.

 

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