Much to catch up on

I have been such a terrible blogger. There has been so much I’ve watched and wanted to comment on since the last review I posted but I never seem to find the time to sit down and write something. That being said, I’m getting back into writing so it’s my goal to post at least one review per week.

As you may have noticed, I just recently posted a review for The Perfect Host so I thought it would only be fitting to review Hard Candy next, so be on the lookout next week for the review of what I consider to be a companion movie to The Perfect Host.

It’s been a while

I have been what can only be described as incredibly busy and overall just needing time away from stuff I have to do on the computer. I’m not going too much into detail, but suffice it to say it’s been a pretty long and involved year. But recently a lot of great games have been coming out and I’ve watched some pretty good movies. I’ve been pimping them on Facebook, but there’s only so much you can write there and, in all reality, most of the people I know there aren’t as enthusiastic about games or movies as I am. So I want to get back into writing about the stuff I like for people who could use the information. I can’t promise posts every day (I’m still pretty busy and will be for a while), but I’ve definitely got some good stuff in mind. So be on the lookout for reviews of movies like Mongol and Charlie Bartlett and games like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Borderlands.

Twilight I Thought This Book Was About Vampires…?

“As she gazed into his perfect honey colored eyes, she was overwhelmed with giddiness at the sight of his perfection, and swooned when he smiled the perfect crooked (does that really work?) perfect smile of perfection like a Greek God who could never hope to be as handsome and perfect as the work of perfection himself that was Edward…”

Basically, I’ve summarized 90% of the book for you.  (Quick, someone hand me a thesauraus.  I’ve got to look up synonyms for perfection!)

I had no idea what Twilight was about, other than a nod at vampires, but at the time I had just come off the Harry Potter hype train, and loathing as I did waiting for sequels I figured I’d give this series a look when more of the books were out.  The Twilight series hype continued to grow, with nearly everyone around me swearing to its authenticity as the greatest series of all time.

I still planned to give it a look, but paused after going over a review on my friend’s blog.  After conferring with a second friend who’d read the entire series (because the Twilight fans SWORE the books continued getting better), I felt little to no motivation to read this book.  Hey, romance novels just aren’t my thing.

But with fellow women and girls around becoming fans a plenty, I felt if I were going to be able to have an opinion I’d have to delve in.  So, I began reading Twilight.

I was surprised!  Well, at first…

Here was this character Bella.  A typical teenage girl with family troubles and teenage girl insecurities.  She’s interesting, the view she presents is interesting, and although I know what’s coming I hope that we don’t arc away from the current Bella.  Then came the dreaded “descriptions.”  Those who’ve read know what I’m referring to.  The gushing descriptions (see above for an example) that occupy 90% of the rest of the book.

*VERY BIG SIGH*

And so a perfectly reasonable an interesting character becomes a crazed obsessive “swimfan” type girl, and the cheesiness factor is laid on thick.

So if I knew exactly what was coming, why bother reading in the first place?

To be honest, the take Stephanie Meyer has on vampires, albeit unresearched and a little too Superman without kryptonite, is interesting.  I found myself the most involved when I heard Edward’s origins and his families origins.  In fact, publish a book without gushing affections about Dr. Cullen and Edward’s adventures pre-Bella and I think you might have a very compelling novel.  This may be out of Meyer’s capability to do (aka where would the story be without the gushing affections?)

Something that is incredibly disturbing is the way their relationship works, which most readers have tended to shrug off to being a vampire.

But probably 70% of my reason for reading the book (the 30% being to have an informed opinion–which wouldn’t have been enough drive alone) was to bring to you a comic series I’ve affectionately named “The Mid-Afternoon Chronicles.”  I’m by no means a professional when it comes to comics, and some of you may not get it if you haven’t read at least the first book, but it amuses me and hopefully it will do the same for you.

This is merely a character concept of our ‘heroes,’ but I promise a new comic is coming soon and hopefully weekly.

Ok, seriously!  What is this 'crooked smile?'

Ok, seriously! What is this 'crooked smile?'

TV Geeks Unite (at Kirby Plaza)

I thought we’d try playing a game, although I’m not certain how many of you out there are willing to play, but I’ll initiate it anyways.  It’s called:

THE KIRBY PLAZA EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!!

You know, Kirby Plaza from Heroes.  This plaza:

heroes_finale

Well, it is a real place (though not named Kirby) and it does exist and you can visit it… just not in NYC.  I always assumed it was a set or something, but I was watching Remington Steele the other day and as they were doing an establishing shot of a bank and I quickly paused as the geeky fangirl inside of me shouted, “Hey!  That’s Kirby Plaza!”

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So the challenge is to all two of you readers out there (okay, maybe there’s three of you) is to post pics in response of when you’ve seen Kirby Plaza elsewhere.  Maybe Heroes and Remington Steele are the only two places, but I’m inclined to think anything long-term filmed in L.A. might have it in their show somewhere.  I guess we’ll see.  The challenge is on.  (I think I’ll try MacGyver next).

Pushing Daisies Cancelled??!!?

It’s not like this was unexpected, but HONESTLY ABC what are you thinking???  Pushing Daisies has got to be one of the most original and refreshing shows out there.  The “Oh, Oh, Oh… It’s Magic” episode was one of the more brilliant ones aired as of yet, but rather than give Daisies the proper time to grow its fanbase, they’ve decided to give it the axe.

So what can you do, aside from crying and posting on the ABC forums how much you hate them a million times?  Organized effort is better (see Jericho and CBS), and there’s a website organizing the fans.  Click on the picture below to find where you can sign a petition to keep it on the air, how to complain to ABC, and how to tell WB that they should simply move Daisies to a better network. The e-mails don’t take you very long, and if all the fans work together someone’s got to take notice.  Maybe we won’t get it back on ABC, but a new network continuing our show is better than complete cancellation.

Do your best fellow Daisies fan, and let’s not let this show die, at least not without a big fight!

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Netflix on the Mac? Hooray!

netflixonmac1Is it really true?  Can we really watch instantly–a service we’ve been paying for since its inception?  The answer is YES!  I found out the news late yesterday, which apparently occurred on Halloween, but hey, there were other things on our minds (like an election, or something).

Now the question on all you lovely Mac users’ minds is, ok, so how do I do it?  Well, officially it is in its beta testing stage, so you have to opt-in and errors may occur.  This is also only for Intel-based Macs, so if you’re PowerPC, you’re out.  Thusfar I haven’t really encountered any more than on a PC.  In case you didn’t catch that link the first time, opt-in here.

And welcome to 12,000 or so movies (some of them not working the greatest in beta), about 30% of them something you might want to watch, though with Starz Play a little better variety than before.  (I recently watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3–not that that’s saying much about selection still.  Ok, I was just glad it was “free” I mean since I’m in it for the DVD rental.  Anyways…)

So enjoy!

Oh, and one more thing.  This is all possible due to Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Wait.  Microsoft is making it easier for me to watch my Netflix on my Mac instantly?  Shouldn’t Apple have taken care of that for me?  Yes, they should have, shouldn’t they?  (You can still thank Apple for the delay and send them no thanks for the problem actually getting solved.  Apparently they’re so confident we’d rather rent on iTunes they blatantly refused to offer Netflix any sort of help.  Not even a clue.  *sigh*  Oh well, the prices of a great operating system I suppose).  Netflix’s blog gives more details.

Hulu and Online Viewing: Way of the Future

Some of you may not know of the Hulu.com and I pity you, though some of you may not know how to do more than check your e-mail, so it’s understandable (and amazing that you’re here reading this if that’s true).  So, what is Hulu.com?

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Quite possibly the greatest online viewing site of all time (and it’s legit too).  Sure, you have to watch maybe 30 second ads every now and again, but hey, you’re not stealing and it’s at your convenience.  Why is Hulu so great?  Well, let’s take a look at the options.

youtube_logo3-croppedYouTube: Well, the quality is often not great, and finding your fav TV show is tough and usually in parts, since youtube is not sponsored by the networks.  Hulu is and in better quality.

divx_logoDownloading Divx: Well, aside from it being participating in pirating, it takes time and HD space.  The quality factor is good, waiting isn’t.  Plus if you only have internet access to a public computer, its likely you won’t be able to watch.

Network Sites: This is actually a decent (and often required) option, now that online viewing is the way of the future.  All the major networks are in on it now, even the lil CW.  So, from worst to best, the network sites.

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PROS: You don’t have to try and find a version of it somewhere on the internet.  The player is so, so.

CONS: The player is so, so.  All you can do is go full screen (which isn’t true full screen, more of a kind of bigger option) or watch it in its lil window.  Post time, at least for Smallville, is sluggish.  Other networks have it up for you the morning after, the CW when they get to it, but at least before the next episode.  Also, they’re among the first to take old episodes down (meaning older eps from the current season).  You’d think for being a “struggling” network they’d jump on the digital bandwagon quicker.  No CC.  No Hulu.

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cbslogo

PROS: They’ve got good quality and HD options.  Plus you can chat as you watch (I think they’re the only one offering that option), and discuss the show with other fans.  I don’t watch many CBS shows, so not sure about the posting time.

CONS: If you don’t want to watch it full screen, there are no size options.  And much like the CW, small it has to be in the site’s window, and with lighter colors around it (you’ll see why that’s less good with the next networks).  No CC.  No Hulu.

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PROS: Like CBS, they have a standard and HD option.  They also have a sort of pop out video player, which is less distracting than the CW/CBS options, and it dims out the background while you’re watching.  CC available. Posting time is decent, usually next day late morning, sometimes later…

CONS: You’ve got to download stuffs to get the player to work, though it’s only a one-time thing.  The ads are short, but you have to click to continue, which is obnoxious if you’re watching on your PC hooked up to your TV.  Lastly, and this is a small thing, but the video will occasionally start off in youtube-ish quality until the pixels align with the stars–or for whatever reason become clearer.  No Hulu.

Overall, though, a pretty good player.

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fox_logo

PROS: An actual dim lights option, all though the background isn’t all that distracting.  Boasts only HD viewing.  Looks like CC is planned for the future, but not available yet (at least not for Fringe).  Posting has been early to late mornings most of the time.  Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I’d like to adjust the size, instead of just small and full screen.  I occasionally have lag troubles with the player, but it’s not often.

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nbc-logo

If there were no Hulu, I’d look to NBC to lead the digital future.  They’ve been on the ball with getting their content online, both on their site and elsewhere.  I think the majority of clips I watch online are NBC related (well, SNL).  Not only do they have a good player, they also let Hulu show most (if not all) of their content, and they’ve let Netflix Instaview post Heroes: Season Three.  I think NBC is the company that’s getting it.  Give the people what they want and they’ll keep coming back to you.  As for the player:

PROS: Gives you a few sizes options as well as full screen.  Background isn’t distracting.  It’s easy to find episodes.  They post in the early a.m. and as I recall before everyone jumped on the digital bandwagon, was among the first to have quality streaming.  You can even select chapters of episodes (although I suppose you can just click on the buttons on the timeline, the thought is nice, like a DVD). Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I suppose the inability to pop-out, and that the player has occasionally been finicky, but all in all a good player.  No CC.

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netflix01Netflix was a toss up for me to include in the list.  It is streaming some shows (Heroes, Jericho) along with the season now, and has probably been one of the biggest proponents of online viewing, yet its variety is still somewhat lacking.  I’m hoping their player will continue to improve (whatever happened to the player they expo’d in 2007 with all its sweet features), but as it stands they aren’t the favored place to watch recent clips.  Still, I’m in it for the DVDs, so bonus online content is just that: a bonus.

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Again, why is Hulu.com so great?

You’ve got SD and 480p options (at least 720p would be nice), dim lights, sharing, embedding, and my favorite, the pop-out.  I may want to catch up on my favorite shows while doing other things on my computer, and I like having a resizable window at my disposal.  Related clips are easy to find, you can rate and comment on episodes, and you’ve got sorting options (popular, recently added, etc.)

And I’ve really just been discussing TV.  They’ve got a library of movies, older TV shows, and tons of video clips.  Want to watch an SNL clip in better quality than youtube?  Well, thank NBC and Hulu, because now you can.  So while I’m grateful to these networks for making decent players, I like the Hulu standard best of them all.  Plus, it’s the most user friendly.  (No extra software, at least if you keep up your flash player).

Of course, Hulu wouldn’t be Hulu without those networks and companies that support it.  So another thanks again to NBC for getting what this new generation of viewers wants and giving it to us.  Check out Hulu.com now, you’re bound to love it!