Chronicles of Ryebone
 
 

Singles 2013

As I mentioned in my previous Heavy Rotation post, I started a new job that wasn't really music friendly. That is, I can't really use headphones and playing music through speakers isn't going to happen when some people are in the room (my office is a large, window-less room with three people in it, including my immediate supervisor). So Rdio takes an even bigger hit, and listening to music at home typically involves putting on MP3s (or whatever format they are in - I like to collect FLAC). As this downturn in office listening occurs, an upturn in mobile listening comes out. I've put together a "Singles 2013" playlist on Rdio which is composed of any singles that I've taken an interest in. I think it's a pretty awesome mix, if I do say so myself. It comes on in the car all the time, in the house while I'm doing chores, and whenever I want to listen to some seriously solid songs.

The Hangover Part III

You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

The first iteration in The Hangover series came out but a few years ago, in 2009, and has since spawned two sequels in an absurdly short time. The thing is, it's not absurd anymore. This stuff happens all the time, and it's inevitably going to happen more often with popular, easier (re: cheaper) to produce films such as these. Piecing together a major sci-fi epic or super hero special effects demo reel like The Avengers takes a lot of resources, including logistics and processing time, and least of all (this is perhaps unfair) time spent on a good story.

Melancholia

This one's been sitting in the collection for a little while, mostly due to my system incorrectly reporting the time of the film as clocking in over four hours. Seriously, it was preventing me from watching it for ages. The past few years it's been difficult to commit to anything longer than two hours, let alone four. If I wanted to see something verging on four hours I would finally get around to watching Seven Samurai.

Earlier this year I took a trip across province to see Cale. He gave me some homework a while before the trip that I completely failed: to watch Lars von Trier's Antichrist, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Hesitation is a bit of an understatement when it comes to my reluctance to undertake such a thing, as last year, he tasked me to watch Salò. I did, and I was disturbed. At the same time, my idea of what movies could be - and have been - were widened. When I arrived at his house we immediately began discussing which film to undertake and upon discovering my failure the film was on before I could object.

The Five Dollar Bill

Most lunches are uneventful aside from the event itself, but occasionally we get to see something out of the ordinary, or something extraordinary occurs. Last week was one such event.

We walked into Harvey's - the one relatively downtown - and we were immediately held up by two slow walking individuals in full business suits. I thought about passing them, but decided to let them meander forward to the cash. Even though we only have an hour for lunch I don't like to rush.

The two men were quite tall, and one significantly older than the other. The elder was standing on the right; aside from their suits there was nothing out of the ordinary about them. Well, that is except, being in suits in this part of town at this location at this time of day. Like I said.

Jones Falls Lockstation

A few months back we took a small road trip looking for locks along the Rideau Canal. It wasn't long before we stumbled upon the Jones Falls Lockstation. The road off the highway was inconspicous, and the parking lot modest. There was a small nature trail leading up to the Stone Arch Dam, although we had no idea how long the trail was or if it was going anywhere. 
 
Coming around the bend, the dam appeared most unexpectedly. We were already at the top of the tall dam, looking downward to the base below - densely covered by trees and brush. It was incredibly impressive, and worth the trip alone, but we continued past to the actual locks. If you look at the map below, we came in at marker 12, then advanced our way down to number one. On the way out, we saw our mistake and pledged to visit the main entrance next time.
 

Chromecast

A few months ago Google shook things up a little by releasing the Chromecast upon us. It's a small streaming device that plugs directly into your television's HDMI port, and acts entirely wirelessly. Chromecast was a bit different than other streaming boxes in its simplicity: plug directly into HDMI, no inputs, just a single micro-USB port on it and it has no interface of its own. See, the Chromecast puts itself into a ready state, allowing other devices to send content to it. So anyone on my wireless network could theoretically open their YouTube app on their phone/tablet/computer and start playing it on the big screen. It's a rather simple device, but quite elegant, and at $35 it was exactly what I was looking for.

Riddick

Riddick appears on screen crawling, limping, through a harsh wasteland fraught with alien creatures bent on his destruction. He's able to elude them, one by one until it becomes too much. He rethinks his strategy, slows his heartbeat, and rests in a custom made tomb. Narration kicks in and we're treated to the story of how Riddick got himself into this situation in the first place. People who could take a cue from him: he blames nobody but himself for his misfortune.

Redemption.

Nexus 7

Do you recall when the first iPad came out and your thoughts/feelings on it? It wasn't that long ago - April 2010 in fact - that Jobs and Apple dropped this piece of tech on us. It was met with skepticism in part, probably due to one line of thought that it looked simply like a big iPhone, and that Apple was brash enough to tell how this device was going to fill a hole in our lives that we didn't know was there. It's bold, but in the end they were right of course. The iPad would take the poorly performing tablet market and redefine it, just as they did the portable music device and smart phones in general. But I still scoffed at it a bit: it was easy to do so while working in the tech industry. My coworkers and I didn't see how it fit into the corporate world, and to a degree we are still correct, although the app selection and evolution has made them more business and productivity friendly.

The president of our company wanted one, so we got him one, then the IT department got one as well so we would know how to support them - standard practice. But we never used the thing and it collected dust; that is, until I started taking it home on the weekends. I brought it home during my stint with Fallout 3, and it served as the perfect companion on my in-game journeys. The iPad sat propped up on a pillow next to me, open to a browser with various Fallout wiki articles and guides opened. The size was pretty ideal for that, but I didn't get into the tablet for much else. I thought about getting one, but didn't feel that the price of it was justified. This would continue for a while, especially as more tablets came out, and the tech evolved rapidly. I didn't want to be stuck with old tech or missing key features. You know what I mean.

Kingston Family Funworld

As I was perusing Facebook this morning, I can across a shared article about the local drive in theatre. The headline was not suprising, and it most likely pretty common for the drive-in theatre industry: Support Kingston Family Funworld. You know exactly what's happening: the business is closing, and this is some last ditch effort to rally the community to save the historic (?) site.

Well, upon further reading I discover the issue is a bit more intriguing. Apparently Hollywood is only sending out digital copies of their movies now instead of 35mm prints. This is news to me. I know the movie industry has gone digital, but I didn't realize how prolific it was. I can tell when I'm watching a digital projection - or so I thought. Most of the screens I go to are digital, and it appears that every single one is now. I just assumed that they had the old 35mm projectors sitting beside the new ones; that may not be the case.

R.I.P.D.

It was difficult NOT getting excited for this movie upon initial viewing of the trailer. Jeff Bridges doing a zany accent is reason enough to get intrigued, but throw him into what appears to be another Men in Black movie, and you have my full attention. Granted, it didn't look like the best film ever, but it had a decent concept plus...Jeff Bridges doing a character.

Audiences and critics alike weren't on board though, as the movie definitely tanked at the box office during opening week. That's alright, because we were going to see it anyway. Was it disappointing? Not really: but the movie was capable of so much more. It had a lot of potential and I'm merely disappointed that it didn't take advantage of the framework that it laid down (or ripped off from MiB). Instead, it was a decent and short romp that will soon be forgotten and never heard from again. The terrible box office performance all but guarantees that no sequel will be produced, which is unfortunate as there could be some good story to be told here.

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