Vindication

Not that I had gotten much push back on it, but I am now vindicated on my choice for a blu-ray player.

When I was looking into blu-ray players one of my prime concerns was compatibility. There was already Blu-ray 1.0 and 1.1, and 2.0, the basic discs would work in any machine, but some special features would only work if you have the latest version of the blu-ray playing software. Because of that I selected the Playstation 3 as my blu-ray player. Its internet connectivity allowed it to update its firmware as the needs arose and keep up to date on playing blu-rays. I have been quite happy with its performance and not regretted buying it for a moment.

Today the specs were released for something I knew was coming, Blu-ray 3D; 3-D movies with full 1080p quality from you home TV.  Sony a prime backer of blu-ray is going to have a firmware update for the Playstation 3 to show the 3-d Blu-rays.

No hardware upgrade for me.

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Is The US Doomed?

Way back in the 1980’s I first conceived of my fictional character, Seth Jackson, and the universe he inhabits. Seth is an American who has risen through the ranks of the European Star Forces to command a starship. In this universe, Nationalism has not faded away as is so often the case in science-fiction and the Unites States is no longer a dominate power-player.

Part of the themes I wanted to play with back then were the ideas that America without money and without dominance would find itself nearly friendless and alone on the international stage and that Americans would be scorned in general. To get to that situation I had to work out how America might fall by the wayside and become a second rate power.

I looked at two forces that concerned me for the future of my country.

First – the growing sense of political correctness in our culture along with its twin evil, collective rights, and second the out of control spending by a government that didn’t seem to understand that every bill must eventually be paid off. Extrapolating those trends outwards and without and restriction in their growth gave me the future I needed foe the stories I wanted to write. This was not me trying to play prophet, but merely playing with ideas.

Politically in the 1980 I did fear is the liberal faction of our political culture retained control for too long in our government. I didn’t see that faction as putting the breaks on either of those two trends. I myself am much more of a libertarian-conservative. Leave people alone unless that are actively violating the rights of others. I had hopes that the conservative movement in the Unites States, which called for sensible fiscal spending might someday exact that sort of control.

In 1994 the conservatives took power in the legislature, while the liberals retained the executive. For a brief period we seemed to have found a return to intelligent fiscal planning.

By 2000 the conservative took all the executive and were firmly in control of the purse and the spending. They quickly exposed themselves as hypocrites and liars in matters of spending. Our debt ballooned and no spending bill was ever vetoed while the conservative controlled both the legislature and the executive.

Now it is the of 2009 and the liberals have returned to power across the government and spending is on the rise. The Conservatives — who until recently informed us that deficit spending doesn’t matter — are now making noises about being concerned about our spending. Sadly it is the exact same politicians who spent madly when they held the checkbook, so they are no better than a prostitute lecturing us on chastity.

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Irritation and Temptations

So this blog post was going to be about why I was angry with Turner Classic Movies and their proposed 1st annual Classic Film Festival.

Saturday Morning I awoke with plans of grabbing a couple of checks that needed depositing and walking to my bank to perform said deposit. That plan fell through when I saw that there was a downpour of rain going on and walking anywhere would result in a through soaking that could only be matched by Washington D.C.

So with my sweetie-wife off doing overtime at her job, I sat down and flipped through the channels on the television. I stopped at TCM — Turner Classic Movies —  there was one of those short subjects playing about Claude Raines so I watched that and then the commercials for up coming movies. ( I really like that TCM uses the original trailers to promote the movies they show.) Then the devil stepped up and had an offering.

TCM is hosting the first annual Classic Hollywood Movie Festival. They  started running down the lists of movies to be shown and I got more and more interested. My interest needle pegged when they said that they would be premiering the lost print of Metropolis. Oh my, I really wanted to see that! (I admit an interest in seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen again.)

Then the host – I am certain — revealed that the festival was going to take place in Hollywood, Florida. Damn it man! That’s not Hollywood, not movie Hollywood by any means at all. I was bummed. (I said as much to my ex later that day when I called to wish her a happy Birthday.)

So tonight i sat down to blog about and of course that meant digging up the link to the festival. Surprise, it’s in Hollywood California like it is supposed to be. It’s four days of panels, events, and classic movies projected onto big screens. Man, for a film nut like me this is just great.

Except a cheap 4 day pass current runs $399.00, and that’s going up by a $100 soon. Le Sigh

I have the money. It would be like a really expensive SF con, nut I can’t justify it. There are individual screenings and I may attend one of those.

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Sunday Night Movie: Sleepy Hollow

sleepy_hollow_xl_02--film-A My blogging has been very sparse of late and I do apologize for that. Between Christmas, familial illnesses, and my own illness — creeping crud caught at LosCon — it has been a  rough couple of weeks. I’m going to try to do better for everyone here and I appreciate your patience.

So last night I watched Sleep Hollow (1999), Director Tim Burton’s take of the classic story by Washington Irving. Starring Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, Cristina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel and a superb  cast of English actors supporting out the film. Christopher Walken appears briefly, and mutely, as the Headless Horseman with most of the Headless bit performed by Ray Park.

While the core concept is taken from Washington Irving’s short story, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, what Burton has placed on the screen is an updated Hammer Horror film. The cast is English and speak in their native English accents — or affect one in the case of the American actors — and the culture surrounding the characters is clearly British. The nature of the courts, manner of the gentry and so on all make this film feel much more at home in some isolated area of the Britain than in up-state New York at the turn of the 18th Century.

That aside this is a wonderful film, if you like the classic look and feel of Hammer Horror. there is a delightful mix of supernatural and the mundane. Ichabod is a police inspector anxious to prove that modern scientific methods are the only way to detect and prove the guilty. he doesn’t believe in ghost and spirits. Naturally the Headless Horseman is a bit of a shook to his theory that the murders in the Sleep Hollow are the results of a culprit of flesh and blood.

The resolution of these two opposing ideas is one of harmonious balance. Ichabod can both be right and be wrong and in such we see that truth and appearance are rarely the same thing. A theme that is built upon and one that unfolds nicely in the movie.

If you have not seen this film, it is worth a look.

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Life is stressful

Sorry about the life posting and blogging here of late. There has been a lot going on in my life and it has been sucking up time and energy and emotional fortitude.

Overtime at work is a factor but the largest issues is that my sweetie-wife’s mum is sick and in the hospital again. My sweetie has driven out to be with her mum. We’re hoping for the best but it is stressful and sleep has been lost.

It’s impacted not only my blogging but my writing as well.

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A general post

Sorry there is no Sunday Night Movie this week, life got in the way and I simply couldn’t find the time for my weekly film. (Damn shame as I really love watching movies, but life isn’t always skittles and beer.)

Life’s been hectic lately and a bit stressful. It didn’t help today that San Diego got pounded by storms. Record breaking rainfall meant that our highways were locked and crashes were more plentiful than a politician’s lies.

I hope to have more to say tomorrow.

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An Early Christmas

So I spent today setting up my christmas present from my sweetie-wife.
My wife and id usually do not engage in trying to figure out the perfect gift for each other and instead buy gifts from each other’s wish lists.
A few months ago I had commented in the $99 walmart special audio system I owned couldn’t keep up with the high end data and audio coming off the PS# when it played blu-rays. My sweetie-wife offered to buy em a new sound system for Christmas. I did the research, found an affordable system that met my needs, and gave her the information.
This week Fry’s had it on sale for a very good price so my sweetie bought it and I set it up today.
It is a Sony STR Dh 700. I am very happy with the sound I am getting out of this system. (I also had two speakers that some former owner of the condo left behind when he moved out.)

The most frustrating aspect of the set-up was the speaker connections for the front speakers. I had never seen anything like these and my sweetie-wife and I puzzled over it for a few moments before figuring out how to connect the wires in.

Then I allowed the systems to self balance itself. (It has a very nice auto-diagnostic routine to figure out where the speakers are and how to balance them.) After that I went through each component of our entertainment system and made sure all the outputs were the highest quality.

Man this sounds great. I put in blu-rays and got blown away by the quality, but even older DVD with mono soundtracks – like Destination Moon — sounded great.

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Sick

So either from my sweetie-wife or from the convention I have caught a cold/flu of sometype. I made it to work today, but had to cut it short by an hour.
I feel like someone has sandblasted my throat.

Lovely.

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