December 29, 2012

Giving up on the Theater

Today I planned to go see Django Unchained at the local theater at our mall. I got in the long line of cars and started looking for a parking space. There were none. As I circled the lot a couple times I thought about how it was actually kind of nice outside and there were 30 other things I could be doing besides sitting in a theater.

By the second loop I had talked myself out of it. If I drove to the back of the lot I could get a spot, but by the time I walked in and got my ticket the movie would almost be started. I left.

I am finding it difficult to find the time or motivation to go to the theater anymore, and this makes me sad. I'll just wait for it to come out on DVD. It is just easier... and cheaper... and cleaner... and more comfortable. I am one of those people now. The cinema is dying and I am not willing to do anything about it.

December 17, 2012

Cutting the Cable

I've been a subscriber of AT&T's Uverse service for the last 3 years. Back when I signed up, it was an upgrade from Dish Network. It seemed like a good deal at first. We didn't have anything better to do, and we watched a lot of television.

Over the last year we have been watching less and less tv. I turned on the dvr the other day and we had a ton of stuff built up that we had to catch up on. It was starting to feel more like a to-do list than a form of entertainment.

When I looked at our Uverse bill it made me sick. We were paying a lot and not using much of anything the services provided. I decided to cancel. The process was simple. I had our service turned off in a matter of minutes. Instantaneously our dvr was inoperable. All the shows we had built up on there were unwatchable. It was a clean break; a great way to end it.

December 14, 2012

High Frame Rates and The Hobbit

I haven’t been all that excited for The Hobbit to come out, but as we get closer to release date I am starting to. I had totally forgotten that Jackson shot it in 48 frames per second. Regardless of whether the content of this film is any good or not, I am looking forward to seeing how it looks on the big screen.

Here is a good article on /Film that talks about what 48fps really means, and what we can expect to see from it.

➡ High Frame Rate and ‘The Hobbit’ | /Film

December 11, 2012

Narrowing the Scope

A few weeks ago I posted about how this site was going to be more than just a movie blog. I was going to use it for more general purpose blogging. I didn't like it. Pretendcritic has always been about movies and television. It is going to stay that way. No more random technology links.

I have a new web property for that. I am the owner and author of Yes, I bought another domain name and created yet another site. I wanted to try something out on a different back-end platform and this gave me a good opportunity.

Stay tuned to I will still be posting here. I've been writing about movies since the fall of 2008, and I will continue to do so... assuming the world doesn't end in 11 days.

Thanks for reading!

My New Shave

Ever since I started shaving I have not been a fan. My super-sensitive face skin became irritated by every method I tried. Over the years I’ve had every type of disposable razor out there. I’ve used 2, 3, 4, and 5 blades. I’ve had two different electric razors. Foams, gels, lotions, salves… I’ve tried it all. I’ve never been happy with the results.

Over a year ago my best friend told me about the wet shave. Essentially the wet shave is how a guy used to shave his face back in the 40's and 50's. I get an image of a barber lathering up the clients face. It is like that, but without the straight razor. I was eager to try it, but the initial cost is quite high and I ended up talking myself out of it. I was convinced that all these years of technological advancement would undoubtedly outperform a 70 year old shaving method. I forgot about the wet shave and spent the last 12 months dumping more money into Gillette fusion blades.

December 9, 2012

Getting behind on the Internet

I have been extremely busy over the last couple weeks. I finally got a chance to sit down and check my RSS reader yesterday. I was amazed by how much stuff had happened. The Internet never stops. There is no way we can keep up with it.

72 hours of youtube videos are uploaded every minute.

There is no hope. We might as well give up.

It was a very satisfying experience to hit "mark all as read". I was immediately caught up. I missed out on a couple weeks on the Internet, but I will be okay.

December 7, 2012

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas A. Edison

November 30, 2012


The solution to a problem nobody cared about...
"STACK soap's grooved design perfectly fits your previous sliver and merges it together with a new bar. Got a soap sliver? Press it into the groove on a new bar of STACK and they'll become one."
While I admit this is a cool idea, I just can't imagine there are a lot of people who fret over the decision whether to throw out that tiny awkward wafer of soap that is left at the end of the bar. Plus, how many people are even using soap in bar form anymore?

 ➡ STACK Soap
"History is written by the victors."
-Sir Winston Churchill

November 29, 2012

Enterprises buying iPhones

My company is in the midst of completely transitioning away from using Blackberries. I found this article interesting.
While “BlackBerry continues to be the gold standard for security,” said the report, its lack of appeal progress in the consumer and developer market “hinders its viability going forward.”
Just a few weeks ago a coworker’s old Blackberry finally kicked the bucket. He had no interest in getting an iPhone so he planned to just get whatever the new standard Blackberry model was being handed out. He was surprised to find out the company was no longer supporting new blackberries. They were being completely phased out. He got a used BB to tide him over for a couple weeks while he begrudgingly waited for his new iPhone 5. The age of Blackberry is over and the people who are still trying to hang on to it are having it ripped from their fingers, and replaced with a shiny new iPhone.

I don’t know one person that uses an Android device as his company phone, nor do I know if it is even a possibility.

➡Enterprises buying iPhones ‘in droves’ | ZDNet

November 28, 2012

iMessage still stinks

For the last 13 months I have been an iPhone owner. Not coincidentally, over those 13 months I have travelled more than I ever have before in my life. The iPhone has been an invaluable tool for staying connected and finding my way around. However, there has been one thing I would consider as a downgrade over the feature phone that I used to carry... text messaging.

I am not the type of person that sends thousands (or even hundreds) of text messages every month. My 500 txt messages a month plan was serving me fine. I recognize that the iMessage protocol is great for sending messages between iPhone users without deducting from your plan. But messaging between iPhones has consistently given me trouble.

November 27, 2012

Some thoughts on Skyfall

I am not a Bond aficionado. I havn't seen most of the classic Bond films. The Piece Brosnan Bond films from my youth were corny. I didn't have a very good impression of the series. However, Casino Royale got my attention. It was one of the best and most deserved reboots I can think of. Then came Quantum of Solace and I didn't know what to think.

I had no intention of going to the theater to see Skyfall. Then it was universally praised by critics and lauded as the “best Bond film ever”. I couldn't pass up something like that.

November 26, 2012

"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You relize that you control your own destiny."
- Albert Ellis

November 19, 2012

Widening the scope

For the last few years this has been my movie blog. Now it will be just my blog. I always said that pretendcritic could contain anything I felt like writing about, but when it came down to it I didn’t post anything that wasn’t about movies because it felt out of place.

From now on it will be a free for all. I’m definitely still going to write about movies and tv… probably the same amount as I did before. Now there will be a bunch of other stuff thrown in there too.

November 15, 2012

Remodeling the blog

Even though you might not have noticed it, I've been messing with the code behind my blog for months. I'm always moving pixels around. I think I play around with the code more than I actually write. Several months ago I decided to completely redo it in order to take advantage of some of the updates blogger made to the back-end. At the end of the exercise I wanted my blog to look identical to what it did before.

Shortly after spending all that time to re-create the aesthetic, I started to become dissatisfied with that very look. I felt constricted by the borders. The sidebar was ugly. The backgrounds and gradients were unnecessary and distracting. I wanted to make it clean. I wanted it to be pleasing to look at and easy to read. I wanted it to be simple.

November 14, 2012

"Create your own style... let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others."
-Orson Wells

November 11, 2012

A Week With the iPhone 5

I've had my iPhone 5 for a week and because I feel the need to share my thoughts about stuff… here they are. It wasn't a “normal” week as I was traveling for most of it. You usually wouldn't want to test a brand new phone out when you have to depend on it so much, but I felt safe with the iPhone, and it passed with flying colors as expected.

November 3, 2012

Going to Windows 8

When I went to college in 2001 I bought a new computer. It finally died in the summer of 2009 and it was time to buy a new one. I seriously considered getting an iMac, but I wasn't ready to jump off the Windows wagon. I ended up getting a Dell with Windows Vista.

A few months later Windows 7 came out and I upgraded. I have been using it happily for the last 3 years with no major problems. Then in early October my Carbonite backup stopped working. Out of the blue one day it just quit. I had an email chain back and forth with their support department, but finally I just had to call them. I was on the phone with them one evening for over 2.5 hours and it still wasn't working.

October 30, 2012

Guy Fieri Hate

I’ve never really understood all the hate for Guy Fieri. I enjoy Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives as much as the next guy. However, this article in the New York Observer by Joshua David Stein takes it to a whole other level. At some point this essay started feeling a bit preposterous. Maybe it is when he starts relating Fieri’s restaurant to gun control. Either way, it is written really well…
It would be disingenuous to claim that Times Square represents anything but a regurgitation of the American dream, monetized, metastasized, made blindingly bright by light-emitting diodes and shoved back down the gullets of those souls unlucky enough to have mistakenly stumbled into the red zone, or worse, like moths to the incinerating flame, have actively sought it out. To deride Mr. Fieri for opening his restaurant there as if he’d taken a dump in the Louvre is silly…
➡ The Crispy Crimes of Guy Fieri

October 27, 2012

The Raid: Redemption

A couple weeks ago I heard the guys on the slashfilmcast talking about how much they liked The Raid: Redemption. I'd never heard of it, but when I was checking out the bluray selection at the local Redbox I noticed they had it available. I went ahead and got it, and I was not disappointed.

The Raid is an Indonesian film, and the version I got was dubbed. This threw me at first, but eventually I got used to it. Sometimes they used really goofy english voices for the characters which felt really out of place when compared to the brutal fight sequences. By the end of the film I barely noticed the dubbing. In general I would rather read subtitles, but with this film I was glad I could sit back and enjoy the action without having to read the screen.

October 16, 2012

What I've been watching

What have I been watching lately? Football... and a lot of it. Between football and the new television shows I haven't watched many movies. I felt like writing, but there hasn't been anything on its own that seems worthy of writing about. Here is a rundown of a few of the things I've been taking in...

October 1, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite

Even though I already have far too many gadgets I wouldn't mind adding the new Kindle Paperwhite to my collection. I enjoy reading on the e-ink screen Kindle quite a bit, but you need good lighting. I spend all my time in doors with the curtains closed so that is hard to come by. The Paperwhite is here to save the day.

➡ The Verge Paperwhite Review

September 24, 2012

Nit-picking iOS

Everybody seems to be nit-picking Apple lately so I wanted to get in on the action. I have a couple things that bother me about iOS... one old, and one new.

You know how when you double-click the home button on your iPhone and this little tray lifts the icons up on the screen and reveals this dark linen business underneath? Well, I kind of like that... and that has been part of iOS for a while. A couple years ago they added the notification center that you could pull down from the top. I'm a fan of notification center, but the implementation bothers me.

September 22, 2012

America's Cellphone Darling

The iPhone 5 is out! The most surprising thing about this release is how technology media, and the common American consumer, seems to be turning on Apple. A couple years ago when the iPhone 4 came out the big story was about the antenna problems. Consumer Reports gave their first "poor" rating of the iPhone and everybody flipped out. The negative press got way more attention than the positive. I think that set the tone. For the last couple years the big stories about the iPhone have been the ones that are criticizing it. Maybe everybody got sick of hearing how good it was. Maybe everybody is still sick of hearing how good it is.

September 6, 2012

Breaking Bad, the halfway point

I'm still processing that last episode of Breaking Bad. I liked it, but I didn't. There was a lot of excellent sequences. It was a technically impressive finish to the first half of the season. However, it felt weird. I don't know how to describe it. Something didn't feel right about it.

There are a couple reasons why it might have seemed jarring. The first, and most obvious one, is the timeline. It has taken us 4.5 seasons to get through just over a year of Walter's life. In this episode we skipped over 3 months in a music montage. Breaking Bad has always made the viewer see the excruciating details of starting a meth enterprise. We were aware of pretty much everything that Walt was up to. In this past episode he started supplying meth on another continent and we didn't see anything about how it worked. We didn't see them trying to figure out the distribution network or anything. In the past Walter would have demanded to know exactly how it was all going to go down, and we would have been there to see it as well.

August 27, 2012

Evil Mr. White

Up until a couple episodes ago I was still rooting for Walt to "win". He has been the hero of the series from the beginning. Even though he has been cooking drugs, I've always been rooting for him. The past two weeks have completely convinced me that Walt is evil. There is nobody to root for now. I guess I could root for Jessie, but I am not too sure about that either.
The week before last Walt brought up Gray Matter. We hadn't heard about that for a while. When we first learned about Gray Matter back in season 1 it seemed like Walt was the victim. His business partners screwed him. It was his idea that eventually made them tons of money, and he got none of it. When Walt brought it up again I saw the whole situation differently. It is hard to think of Walt as a victim now. Maybe Walt was never that guy we thought we were watching at the beginning. Maybe Walt has always been a ego-maniacal dirtbag. Maybe his partners did force him out of Gray Matter because he was starting to act like an idiot. Maybe if he had stayed with the company it would have never been successful. Maybe his pride would have run it into the ground just like everything else in his life.

August 26, 2012

Apple, should I be excited?

Every year leading up the the new iPhone event I start to get excited. Last year was the most excited I'd been because my contract was up and I was looking to buy a new phone. It would be my first ever iPhone.  For the last 3 years I've got to say I've been let down with the iPhone events. Yes, the device is still amazing, but the improvements have been very iterative. It is tough to get excited for that stuff. There hasn't been anything "new" for a while now. I guess it is easy forget how revolutionary the iPhone 4 was with the form factor and retina display.

August 19, 2012

My Clicky Keyboard

This past week I made a purchase that I had been thinking about for a while. I had continually talked myself out of pulling the trigger, but for the month of August there was a sale on the Das Keyboard , so I decided to go for it. It is a keyboard with the mechanical switches underneath the key so when you type it makes the click-clack sound almost like a typewriter. The switch also gives it a crisp feeling as the key "snaps" down and then up again. It is sort of retro. They used to make the old IBM keyboards with this method. A long time ago they started using a membrane that you depress instead of a mechanical switch. This is much cheaper and allows for thinner keyboards, but it also feels mushy and doesn't provide that satisfying click.

August 9, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises... meh

I watched The Dark Knight Rises almost two weeks ago and I haven't posted anything about it. I wrote something, but it was long and rambling, and more than anything made it seemed like I was nit-picking a movie that I went into planning to dislike. That is not the case, so I won't post that. Everything I didn't like about the movie has been written or talked about with much more insight than I was able to provide.

I really wanted to like TDKR, but I may have gone in expecting a bit too much. I liked The Dark Knight a lot less than the majority of people. I thought this one would be a return to form. Inception restored my confidence in Nolan. I was hoping to love TDKR, but it ended up feeling like a mess to me. There were moments of greatness, but overall it was frustrating.

August 8, 2012

JJ's Revolution

If you are a Breaking Bad fan like me, you probably miss Gustavo Fring this year. Even though he was the "bad guy" he was one of my favorite characters on the show. I got excited when I heard he was starring in a new NBC show this fall. I was even more excited when I discovered it was a JJ Abrams show. I'm not sure why that still carries any weight with me, but for some reason it did. Then I saw the extended preview for the show. My excitement wavered. Then I read a few things on the Internet about the show. My excitement disappeared.

August 3, 2012

They Are Still Making Those Car Movies

This week my wife and daughter are gone. I am living the bachelor life. I had plans to watch a ton of movies this week. I have a huge backlog of films to get through and I was going to knock out at least a couple a day. That hasn't happened. Not even close. I've definitely watched more films than normal, but nowhere near what I planned.

I started my week off with Fast Five. I watched The Fast And The Furious in the theater in high school and I haven't seen any of the films since. I was content to skip Fast Five as well, but there was so much critical praise when it came out there was no way I could do that. I don't care that much about Vinn Diesel or Paul Walker, but I'm a fan of Dwayne Johnson... and he was the best part of the movie by far.

August 1, 2012

Sailor Highace Neo pen

I love pens! Even so, I had never owned, or even used a fountain pen. I was intimidated by them for some reason. Lately my pen collection has been growing quite rapidly. I've discovered the micro-tip gel pens as well as the Retro 51 Tornado. I'm altering ink refills to fit the barrels I prefer. I am getting in deep. Still, I didn't have a fountain pen. I always assumed a fountain pen would give a blotchy inconsistent ink flow. I was sure the liquid ink would bleed through to the other side of the page, which is a deal-breaker for me. I'm sure some fountain pens do those things, but the one I picked is nearly perfect for me.

July 26, 2012

Elementary - Coming This Fall to CBS

This past week I heard CBS is coming out with a new show this fall based on the Sherlock Holmes franchise. I think this is awesome. The Conan Doyle literary classic hasn't been bastardized enough in the recent past. I definitely can't wait to see what new fresh take they are going to have on the characterizations. The best part is that it won't be set in London like every other Sherlock Holmes story we have ever seen. No, this one is going to be in New York. And check this out. Instead of John Watson it is going to be Joan Watson. Yep. A girl. Lucy Liu specifically. So original!

July 22, 2012

The 2012 Tour de France

Today is the last day of this year's tour. I feel like we have known who was going to win for the last 2 weeks. The tour this year was a letdown.

As soon as I started cycling myself I became a fan of watching the sport on television. The pinnacle of the cycling year is always le Tour. It is a month long event that occupies up to 5 hours of coverage every day. That is a large investment of one's time. I have not watched all of it this year... not even close. Most of the time I dvr the race, watch the beginning, then fast-forward to the end. The mountain stages are a little more interesting and I tend to watch more of those. Today it is all over, and I feel like I have pretty much wasted a month.

July 21, 2012

A Sad and Unsure World

Yesterday morning my alarm clock went off blaring the voices of a couple local dj's on the radio. I usually reflexively hit the snooze button and roll over. But something caught my attention right away and I was wide awake. They were recounting the events of the Aurora, CO shooting the night before. Horrible. Disgusting. Unthinkable. Pure evil. My heart goes out to all the people effected. I pray for them to find strength at this extremely painful time.

Jessica Ghawi's story is one of the most touching and tragic. In what would be her final blog post she recounts her experience at the Eaton Center shooting that occurred in Toronto in early June. She was there! She was in the same building building as the shooter last month, and she was in that theater in Colorado Thursday night.

The insane improbability of her being involved in both random acts of violence is mind blowing. Two separate cities in two separate countries, and both times she was at the exact location where some crazy person pulled out a gun and started shooting. I can't even fathom it.

I feel like I need to print out these couple paragraphs from her June blog post and read them every morning as soon as I wake up.
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.

I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.

➡ Jessica Redfield's blog

July 15, 2012

Breaking Bad is Back

A new episode of Breaking Bad is on tonight. For the first time I will be watching it when everybody else does. I didn't start watching the series until a little over a year ago. It was shortly after it was added to the Netflix streaming library. I wasn't even close to being caught up when last season premiered on AMC, but I had the foresight to go ahead and dvr the entire season. It has been several months since we finished season 5 and we have been eagerly awaiting this day ever since.

I'm excited to be able to join the conversation each week but is going to be difficult waiting a whole 7 days between episodes when I've been used to watching 3 or 4 in a sitting. Regarless, I can't wait to see what the gang is up to and how their story plays out in the end. 
➞ AMC: Breaking Bad

July 12, 2012

That teddy bear movie

Ted is one of those movies that looked ridiculous when I first saw the preview, then I was shocked when it got so many positive reviews. I was in the mood for a comedy, and the buzz intrigued me enough to get me out to a matinee. I was a little surprised when a group of kids ranging in age from 6-11 walked into the theater with their mom and sat in front of me. From what I'd heard, Ted was not for the kiddos.

I figured the mom was clueless and thought it was a talking teddy bear movie. When the f-bombs started to fly they would surely leave. Well, they stuck it out the entire way. The smallest boy slept through most of it. The next oldest one, maybe 8, looked confused and sad as we walked out of the theater. The presence of the kids in front of me was on my mind the entire way. It significantly lessened my enjoyment of the film. I knew childhood innocence was being destroyed just a few feet from me, and that depressed me.

July 7, 2012

Is there going to be a SmallPad?

There have been rumors of a smaller screen iPad for a couple years now. All of the sudden the rumors have blown up. It is being reported now like there is definitely going to be a 7(ish) inch iPad announced this fall. I'd be surprised if that were the case, but I could be wrong.

The Kindle fire is due for an update in a few months and Google just announced the Nexus 7. They are both in that 7 inch form factor, and both compelling devices. The Nexus 7 running the newest version of stock android for $200 is interesting for sure. Neither of them are going to compete with the current iPad. They are playing in the e-reader segment that Apple has been content to stay away from thus far. Apple has never been one to release a device as a reaction to a competitor, and I don't think they are going to start.

July 6, 2012

My iOS Text Editor

I've been on a streak of buying new apps. I got an iTunes gift card for father's day and I have put it to good use. One of the things I do most on my iPad is text editing. I already talked about how I use the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard for my writing. The other major ingredient (aside from the iPad itself) is the app you use to get the words down on the page.

I mentioned in that post I used Byword. I've now added Nebulous Notes to my toolbox of text editors. It has more features, but doesn't look quite a pretty as Byword does. Maybe I am just more used to the Byword interface, but I prefer it slightly. Either one is a great option. They both have dropbox syncing so I am switch between them at will and it is seamless. All my files are synced up with both. The main reason I needed another app is that Byword does not do offline file savings. It has to have a dropbox connection to work. Nebulous Notes allows you to save local drafts, which is huge for me. My iPad doesn't have 3g/4g.

July 4, 2012

My New Podcaster

Let me start out by re-iterating that I realize how lame the whole idea of podcast listening sounds. For an outsider it seems like the most boring activity one could engage in.

I just talked about how much I liked using Instacast as my iPhone podcast app of choice. Over the weekend I switched. Now I'm a Downcast guy. Ironically, I am much happier now.

My main requirement for podcasting app is that it has to sync subscriptions and play positions between devices. I use an iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and I want to be able to go from one to another without worrying about where I was at in a podcast. That was the killer feature of Instacast, but it only worked about half of the time for me. I spent more time screwing with it than I if I would just manually skip to the correct position.

July 2, 2012

Ted wins the weekend

I'm not a fan of the acting talents of Mark Wahlberg, and I really don't like teddy bears all that much. Still, I am interested enough in Ted to want to check it out. It opened Friday and won the box office weekend with $54M. Not bad. Most of the buzz I've heard about it has been positive. Still, I am perfectly willing and able to wait for the dvd to come out.
Scott Mendelson wrote on his blog about a positive trend this summer movie season.
This weekend represented a shining example of the two best trends in mainstream moviegoing this year. As I wrote, we've seen a real upswing in both mid-to-low-budget mainstream fare that aren’t especially ‘tentpole-ish’ as well as a huge upswing in the number of R-rated films being released by the major studios. As such, two of the four wide releases this weekend were both R-rated and all four were relatively small-scale and in 2D.
Another positive, they weren't sequels or reboots. Negative, one was a Tyler Perry movie. Somewhat hypocritcally for me, there is no way these movies were going to get me to the theater this weekend. However, I would like to see The Amazing Spiderman, and I hope to be there opening weekend for that little Batman movie that comes out later this month.
➞ Mendelson's Memos

July 1, 2012

The Camera You Have With You

A few months before my daughter was born I got an Olympus micro 4/3 camera and an amazing pancake lens for it. At the time I had an old Nokia phone. I used that camera a ton, and took hundreds of pictures with it every month. Then last October I got the iPhone 4S. My olympus picture count immediately fell off a cliff. Why carry it when I had in iPhone? Now I had crappy iPhone photos in my computer. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone camera is great... for a phone... but looking at the pictures on a full-sized screen next to my Olympus pictures, it wasn't even close. I'm going to follow Marcos lead and start using my "good" camera more.

June 26, 2012

The Apple Podcast App

Apple released its own podcast app today. I was eager to try it out because I wanted something that easily and reliably kept my podcasts in sync between my computer and my iOS devices. I was hoping that would be the killer feature of the Apple in-house solution.

I spent the time adding each of my podcast feeds to the app on my iPhone. I checked iTunes on my computer... nothing. I loaded up the app on the iPad... nothing. I even plugged the iPhone in and synced it to the computer. Nothing. Apparently you have to add the feeds on each device, and then it will keep your play position in sync. I didn't try it, but I read that is how it works. I don't feel like going through and adding each of the feeds 4 separate times so for now this is a no-go for me. I will continue to use Instacast.

June 24, 2012

A New Dock Connector?

Techcrunch has reported that it is confirmed the new iPhone coming this fall will have a new dock connector. I don't feel strongly about the 30 pin connector they use now. I don't love it, but it works. Them changing it was probably inevitable. Are they going to offer an adapter or is my alarm clock and home stereo rendered useless as soon as I upgrade? The adapter doesn't seem like something that would work very well, but if anybody can figure it out it would be Apple. For now we will just have to wait and see.
➞ Techcrunch

June 18, 2012

The Unrepairable Computer

A few years ago I shied away from getting an iMac. One of the main reasons was because it was all one unit, and if anything broke I thought I'd be screwed. I would never be able to upgrade the monitor. I'd never be able to add more hard drives. For the last decade I'd had a big Windows computer that I'd upgraded through the years. I couldn't quite swallow the idea of not being able to repair it if something broke.

Over the last couple years I've realized that I have no interest in spending my time repairing computers. I just want it to work, and if it doesn't, I don't want to have to deal with it. Apple, and all computers in general, have been moving in the direction of custom cases that can no longer be opened. The new Macbook Pro is the least repairable computer ever made.... but who cares? John Gruber made a good point on his site the other day. The average consumer isn't looking to mess around in their computer, and if they can't they are really not going to care.
Daring Fireball

June 17, 2012

Catfish Second Viewing

Last weekend HBO was free and Catfish was on so I decided to go ahead and dvr it. I saw the film when it came out in the theater and was pretty impressed by it. I was curious to see how it held up on a second viewing... and I found out.

Surprisingly it was better the second time around than I thought it would be. I knew nothing about it going in the first time, and that maximized the effect of the film. How would it change now that I knew the ending?

June 16, 2012

New Apple Podcasting App

I'm a big podcast consumer. About a year ago I got sick of always having to sync back to iTunes to get my new podcast episodes. I downloaded Instacast and I never looked back. It has been a much better experience than iTunes was ever able to offer. However, when I am working in my office and want to fire up a podcast on the computer I am kinda stuck. I don't have them in iTunes anymore so my only option is to listen on the iPhone. If Apple were to offer a new solution that solved the syncing issue I will probably be switching back.
➡All Things D

June 11, 2012

Free HBO Weekend

Free HBO weekend was a success even though I didn't realize it was going on until late Saturday evening. It seems to still be available until midnight tonight. That is lucky for me because there were a few films that I missed early Saturday that didn't run again until today. If you missed it altogether you still have a few hours.

I now have a dozen or so movies on my DVR that I have been hoping to see for a while. That should keep me busy for a couple months at the rate I have been watching lately. I'm sure I got a few that I will delete without ever watching.

June 3, 2012

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Case

Iusually don't shill for products, and I don't intend to here. I guess I realize I am in the minority because I use my iPad as my primary writing device. Maybe I want to try to convince others that it can be an enjoyable experience.

I bought the Logitech ultrathin iPay keyboard case last week. I use my iPad along with the Blogsy and Byword  apps to write a lot. I always used the Apple bluetooth wireless keyboard along with the oragami foldable keyboard case. It works okay, but it cumbersome to carry around. I'd wanted a more compact keyboard case, but there didn't seem to be a good option.

June 2, 2012

Sherlock Holmes - The Books

Last Sunday there was no new episode of Sherlock, the excellent BBC series. We won't get to see our dear friends for an entire year. I couldn't take it. I was thinking about how good of a job the show did at representing the literary characters. Then I had an idea. To get me through this rough time I could... READ.

I have a very nice hardback of The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes. I dug it out the other day and started reading. It was amazing. In my mind I was seeing the characters from the show. It was like a whole new episode! Now, I had read all these stories before but it had been so long ago that I didn't remember them. Now that I had the image of Cumberbatch's Sherlock in my head it made them so much better.

May 30, 2012

The Killing Season 2 - Three Episodes Left

I have been dvr'ing episodes of The Killing this year and just this past weekend I caught up to everybody else. I have stuck with The Killing even though it got a lot of hate, and I am glad I did. I was just as mad as everybody else with how season 1 ended. I think we all got the sense that we had wasted a ton of time. I was skeptical going into season 2. I thought for sure we would know who the killer was in the first couple episodes, but I had no clue how they were going to keep the show going after that. I was wronge. We are now coming into the home stretch of season 2 and, guess what, we still don't know who the killer is.

May 25, 2012

Sherlock Series 2

A couple days ago I finished Reichenbach Fall, the third and final episode of series 2 of the BBC show Sherlock. I'm still not sure how to feel about it. It seems like I should have a lot to say, but I don't. It was not what I expected.

I was saddened by the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie that came out a few years ago, and its subsequent sequal. Not because they were bad movies, but because this was the first exposure a lot of kids were getting to the character of Sherlock Holmes. I don't care what you say, the guy in those movies is not Sherlock Holmes. 

May 21, 2012

A slight blog change

Messing with my blog code is one of my favorite things, and I've been doing a lot of it lately. Not writing in my blog or doing anything productive, but making minor changes that are barely even noticeable.

I did make one fairly recognizable change. I used to use some code to auto create post summaries and a thumbnail. On the main page all the posts were equal height and I always thought that uniformity looked nice. I've used it for years. I used it even before blogger had the functionality for page breaks, which was a major driving factor for instituting it in the first place. I've grown tired of it. I'm going to start using the standard jump-link format. It means I have to go back and fix every post I've ever put on on here, but I will work my way through them eventually.

May 12, 2012

The theater going experience

I love watching movies. At some point in my life I loved watching movies in the theater. As a kid it was such a special event. We had a small theater in the town where my Grandma lived. I remember her taking me when I was small. I didn't get to go very often, which made our trips even more special.

The theater has lost the magic that it once held. I am older now, and it doesn't seem like such a special thing to spend way too much money to sit in a dirty seat with a bunch of popcorn crunching strangers.

May 7, 2012

Avengers Discussion on the /Filmcast

A really good discussion on The Avengers from one of my favorite movie podcasting crews. The first part is spoiler free and they give you plenty of warning for when they are going to bust them out. If the /Filmcast isn't in your podcast feed reader, you should add it.

May 6, 2012

Avengers Review on The Deleted Scene

This is a good director-focused review of the film. I agree with everything. The action is very well done. The movie is extremely funny. Tony Stark was great, way better than the dedicated Iron Man films.

I am not all that familiar with Whedon's past work. I obviously know the name, but didn't watch the shows. Clearly the sum of everything else he had done before was a tiny speck compared to what he had the chance to do with The Avengers. He hypothetically could have ruined his career, or at least his chance to ever make a blockbuster again. He didn't. This is what he will be known for, at least for a while.
The Deleted Scene

Thoughts on The Avengers

There have been a ton of reviews written about Joss Whedon's Marvel film that just broke the record for biggest opening weekend. Most of those reviews tend to be really wordy and plot explainy, so I am going to try avoid all that. I'll make it fast.

I've seen both of the Iron Man films. I never saw that Hulk movie, and I have yet to see Thor or Captain America. There are a lot of tie in's, so I probably should have taken the time to view those, but I wanted to see The Avengers opening weekend, so I did. I freaking loved it. It was really good. I'm not a big comic book movie kind of guy, whatever that means. The Avengers was really good... and really funny too.

April 29, 2012

Everything Must Go

everything_must_goWill Ferrell has done several small indie films over his career and Everything Must Go is his latest. Anytime I see him on screen I want to laugh, but this is decidedly not a comedic role. He plays a successful sales executive whose entire world crumbles around him one day. He loses his job, he loses his wife, and heads back to the bottle.

There are a lot of things going on in this movie. I kind of latched onto a couple of them, and it turned out maybe those weren't what the movie was really about. Actually, I'm not sure what the movie was about, or what you were supposed to take away from it.

April 28, 2012

The future of this blog

I don't watch movies anymore. Well. That is a lie. I still watch them, just not very often. I don't have the time to sit and watch 3 to 5 movies a week like I used to. Then when I do watch a movie I definitely don't take the time to write anything about it on this blog. I've also been really bad about keeping up with the movie news. This means I haven't had much to say lately. I'd like to think I'll get back at it at some point, but right now this blog is suffering.

 I still plan to write because I enjoy doing it. I just don't know how often I will posting movie reviews. I've always favored posting long-ish reviews when I watch a film, but I might move towards shorter posts that aren't necessarily a review; rather just some quick thoughts. I don't want this blog to die, but that is the direction things are going. I guess we will see what I come up with.

Thanks for reading.

March 31, 2012

Young Adult Review

Have you heard about the movie Young Adult? You may not have, it seemed to fly under the radar for the most part. I'm not sure why. It stars Charlize Theron and is by the same dude that made Juno and Up In The Air.

It is essentially a story about a crazy person. Not so much crazy as delusional I guess. The plot has its roots in a familiar premise. The pretty girl from high school went out and made it in the big city and now she is returning to her small-town origins. The notable difference in Young Adult is that she actually hasn't made it big. She hasn't even made it out of the state. It is only in her mind that she has done anything with her life.

March 25, 2012

21 Jump Street Review

My wife and I decided it was time for a date night. What better to do on a date than go to a movie. Without a lot to choose from, we decided on 21 Jump Street.

You may not have heard but The Huger Games came out with weekend. There were several reasons why we didn't want to see that. One of which is that I'm currently trying to read the first book. I'm not finding the appeal but I am trying to force myself through it. If I watched the movie theres no way I would finish the book. We were both in the mood for a comedy anyway.

March 13, 2012

All caught up on Breaking Bad

Over a week ago I finished the 4th season of Breaking Bad. My initial reaction was one of amazement at how great they were able to wrap that season up. I've had some time to step back and think about it, and I am still impressed with what they were able to do over the last 3-4 episodes.

From the beginning I've watched all the seasons in bursts of 2 or 3 episodes at a time. I never had to wait week to week. There were times at the beginning of season 4 where the show seemed to spin it's wheels. I didn't notice the effect much because I could blow through it so quickly. If I had to wait a week between each episode for ep. 3-8 I might have gone crazy. The show was never bad, but there was a lot of stuff that felt like "filler." Walt was MIA though much of the first half of the season. I mean, he was on screen, but he didn't seem to be doing anything. I had no clue how they were going to wrap it up, but they did an excellent job.

February 2, 2012

Some initial thoughts on Drive

Drive came out on DVD and bluray this Tuesday. I made sure to reserve a copy of the bluray from my nearest Redbox kiosk so it would be waiting for me to pick up after work. I had tried to remain as ignorant as possible about the film. I knew it had received plenty of critical praise; but that is a toss up as to whether I'll like it or not. I did know not to expect an action movie. The first preview I saw for Drive presented it as a fast paced action thriller. Had I gone in with that expectation I might have been taken off guard.

January 31, 2012

Certified Copy Review

I'd heard about how amazing this film was quite some time ago. I was hoping it would come to Netflix instant, so I was pretty pumped when it finally did. However I didn't watch it right away. I was a little intimidated by it. The subject matter seemed a little heavy, and I don't claim to know much about art. Not to mention a portion of it is subtitled.

I didn't know if I'd like it or not. I started Certified Copy with no intention of finishing it in one sitting. I figured I get it going, get bored, and have to move onto something else. That was not the case. I was so engaged that I watched the entire thing and the time flew by.

January 28, 2012

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Tucker and Dale is one of those films that comes out of nowhere and just blows you away. I had know idea what this movie was about, or what to expect. It sets up like a cheesy horror story you've see 100 times, but you quickly find out it has an original take on the genre. You get to see the story from the perspective of the victims (in this case a group of college kids) as well as the would-be killers.

You quickly find out Tucker and Dale don't have an evil bone in their bodies, but that doesn't mean some college kids aren't going to die in brutal and horrifying ways.

January 19, 2012

The Golden Globes 2012

 I'm a little late posting about the Golden Globes. It has almost been a week. I'm not a big fan of the awards part of the awards shows, however I do like the spectacle and seeing the stars. Ricky Gervais hosted again this year and it was supposed to be SO funny because he is SO controversial and he says whatever the crap he wants. I expected him to be mediocre per usual, and he exceeded my low expectations for hosting/being funny. The overall show was fine. It was long, and we learned that The Artist is probably going to win a bunch of Oscars this year.

January 9, 2012

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol review

There were a lot of things on paper working against this film. It's action star is almost 50 years old. It is the 4th installment of a property that has spanned over 15 years and got out to a rocky start.

It features a director in Brad Bird that has never made a live-action film before. Still, I was looking forward to seein it. I thought 2006's Misson: Impossible III was the best in the series at that point. Even though Bird had never done a live-action film he had a pretty good track record with The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and UP. I wanted to see his take on a blockbuster action flick.