TOP 10 PLEASURES OF 2017
I’m really happy we’re putting together this little extra top 10 list. The end of any year is a time for reflection, and I often will focus on the negatives in my life, as I’m sure a lot of others do too. But I do believe it’s worth taking time to just focus on some things that made you happy in the past 12 months, and to appreciate them, even if it’s the smallest things like having good television, or bigger things like your family. Take a moment. Enjoy this fun article.
- Dylan Blight
Dylan asked everyone to pick their top five pleasures and assigned each into a category, such as family or friendship. We then voted as we did with each top 10 this year until we had the most popular pleasures of the Explosion Network.
PAX Australia was the first convention the Explosion Network attended with the intention of putting out content. I really wanted to prove we could work hard and release timely videos from this con, and I was proud of the work we did. It was a follow-up to the great experience at RTX where I met a lot of people for the first time, and here got to catch-up again, plus meet some more people. It was also a great weekend to hang out with some of my favourite people, after having not seen them for a while.
PAX was one hell of an experience. Whether it was sitting in on interesting and funny panels, playing indie and AAA games or just hanging out with friends, it was an incredible weekend.
9.) KINDA FUNNY LIVE 3
2017 has been a tumultuous year for me. Coming off the back of a roller coaster 2016, I thought things would be smooth sailing for '17, but boy, was I wrong. Pretty much straight from the outset, 2017 picked up right where 2016 left off, among other things, taking people from my life that I held dear. After RTX Sydney, I sort of decided I wouldn't attend Kinda Funny Live 3 in San Francisco. I just couldn't make it work. Trying to figure out the financial logistics of taking my girlfriend and my son with me to the US was just impossible. Then I thought "Fuck it, life's too short to not do the things you want to do." With the blessing of my partner Sally, I made the trip to SF solo -- well, sort of. I had the absolute pleasure of sharing this trip with my Explosion Network brothers Jono and Tom. Funnily enough, Kinda Funny Live 3 wasn't the highlight of the trip -- it was meeting all the Kinda Funny family and having beers with people I've known for years but never met. Eating wings with Greg Miller. Watching Heel Kick. Seeing the joy in Jono's face when he was finally able to give people his book. Exploring the Las Vegas strip and sleeping in a filthy motel after a crazy night out with an old friend. This was the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad I made the decision to go.
For me, Kinda Funny Live was a whole bunch of 2017 pleasures rolled into one - friendship, travel, food, content creation, Explosion Network, online media, gaming, personal goals, and even life-achievements. That's a little vague, I know, but we did a whole podcast about it if you want to know more (check the link next to our photo)!
Like they say about pizza, "When it's great it's great, but when it's bad, it's still pretty damn good."
Nick Kroll's Big Mouth has given me my new favourite fictional character, Maurice the Hormone Monster. After watching the first few episodes of the show, I said to myself, "Maurice is my spirit animal." He made me feel young again. The crass humour I would use as a teen was there, and no matter how inappropriate the joke, it was always delivered with that gruff voice and impeccable timing. And that was the best thing about Maurice: his timing. He always showed up at the perfect time, and would always leave me wanting more. This character brought me so much joy that Big Mouth season two is easily my most anticipated piece of unreleased media. Whether he was skull fucking Garrison Keillor's decapitated head or telling Nick to send a dick pic, Maurice nailed every scene he was in and I need more!
The simple fact that half of the shows on our best of 2017 Top 10 TV shows lists were made by Netflix should be reason enough for it to be on this list. The streaming service is pretty much a necessity at this point.
6.) EXTRA LIFE
Extra Life is an awesome blur to me, mostly due to the alcohol consumption. In hindsight, it's crazy that it all came together so well, which is mostly down to the technical work Ciaran and Dylan put in. The fact we raised so much money for charity is still mindboggling to me.
Months of preparations, several hours of driving back and forth from the airport, many, many cables and an odd list of challenges were just some of the things that formed the Explosion Network’s 24-hour charity stream. Honestly, I did not truly know how long 24 hours was, and I remember feeling so proud of what we had achieved, only to realise there were still 16 hours remaining in the stream. I am so happy and thankful for the support from our families, friends and complete strangers that now make up the Explosion Network community. We raised far more money than I thought was possible for a growing channel. For the seven of us at Jack’s house, we saw some crazy things -- ie, nipple piercings, karate kicks and balloon fears -- all doing something that I did not think was possible. But no matter what happened, we still raised a sizeable amount of money for a very deserving cause. I cannot wait to see what next year brings us.
Extra Life to me is an overly proud experience showing what the Explosion Network can achieve, raising more than $1000 for charity. The experience itself was stressful for me personally and very tiring, in a similar way you feel dead after running a marathon and never want to do it again, but then decide to try beating your best time.
5.) CONTENT CREATION
2017 was the year I rediscovered my love for creating online content. I'm fortunate to have a new job that allows me to dive into photography, filming and video editing, while the combination of Explosion Network and my interview podcast Puttin' In Work allowed me to be part of more than 100 different episodes of 10 different pods with creative people all over the world.
I was an avid video creator in my high school days. My activity died off slowly and I barely did anything much in the past few years, apart from writing stuff on my own website. But starting my own VLOG in December last year ignited a fire through the first few months of the year, and then slowly as the Explosion Network expanded into different directions, my creative outlet has once again been at work constantly. There is stuff I want to do that I simply don’t have time for, and I consider that a great thing. I’m having fun creating again, thanks to 2017.
4.) STAR WARS
Porgs! The cute little critters introduced in The Last Jedi have become one of my favourite things of the year. I adored them from the moment a design shot leaked online, and when I finally saw one in the trailer -- adorable! It’s become a bit of a joke, but porgs (they're called a murder in a group) were genuinely something that made me really happy this year. I also loved the Star Wars novels and comics released, Rebels season four and Battlefront 2, along with The Last Jedi, of course. Oh, and our eight-week podcast, Alderaan Explosion!
I started 2017 in a much different place than I finished. Somehow during RTX Sydney, my life managed to get six cling-ons. Some of my favourite memories of the year came from the six friends that I would end up talking to every day for the rest of the year and create an explosive network with. For one week, I got to live with two of those people and in many ways, it was hell... just kidding. I will look back on that week fondly with memories of Dylan’s welcome to Shepparton, the live podcast recordings, their realisation that my family gives me as much shit as they do, and being woken up when someone (Dylan) got lost on his morning run. 2017 could have been a down point, but because of Dylan, Ashley, Nicholas, Jono, Jack and Thomas, I have many memories to show that life can be truly fantastic with the right people in it. I could spend thousands of words explaining every moment that makes me smile from this year, but I will finish this with one last point: you can meet best friends in the weirdest of places, be that an airport, comic-book shop, pub or convention -- take every chance because you never know what spoiler penguins will come of it.
Pre-2017 I would have considered my friendship circle really small. But this year my friendship group has grown substantially. People I talk to daily now are people I had never met until 2017, including my best friend. To say 2017 changed my friendships drastically would be an understatement -- it changed in life-altering ways. You should listen to the Pleasure Explosion episode we did on friendship!
2017 is a year that I've made some lifelong friendships, all spurring from the catalyst of RTX Sydney. It was at this event I met my fellow Explosion Networkers and hit it off, culminating in this article, on this site containing all the amazing content that only this unique friendship can provide.
I cannot remember a time when I've gone so far down the rabbit hole of a game than Escape From Tarkov. It's become an obsession. This Russian-developed first-person shooter has everything I've been looking for in a game, and it's still in closed beta. It has gun-porn, incredible realistic ballistics, weapon handling, and a medical system. There is nothing like the tension and thrill of taking your hard-earned gear into a "raid" not knowing if you're going to lose it all, and the relief and satisfaction of making it out alive with other players' hard-earned gear.
Several times this year I had moments where I was like “This is why I love playing games.” More than once I was reminded why the art form can take me through different emotions, challenge me, fill me with joy, or just be silly fun. I loved that. Talking about games weekly on Platinum Explosion has also kept me on my toes, in a good way.
1.) THE EXPLOSION NETWORK
To put it bluntly, the Explosion Network is the best thing I'm doing with my life at the moment. Not sure if that's a positive or a sad statement on the state of my existence...
In February, after we all met at RTX Sydney, the idea of a podcast was a fun way for us to hang out weekly. In March it evolved, and each month after evolved more and more. Now it’s a weekly job for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.