Chronicles of Ryebone
 
 

Mix 2008 I

Do any of you remember mix tapes? Or even mix CDs? It feels a generation ago that any of us were making these compilations. With the advent of the iPod and deluge of MP3 players afterward, the compilation CD was rendered obsolete and a memory of old tech.

There's a problem though, in that many of our cars don't have connections for digital music players. Sure, mostly all of them do now, but you go back a few years and they all lack that AUX jack that makes it all come together. Instead, we're stuck with a single disc CD player and the radio. My car is a 2008 model and has that AUX jack so I don't have much of an excuse to pop in a CD anymore, aside from that fact that it is infinitely more convenient than getting the cable and everything plugged in (especially while driving - a big no no) and navigating the interface to start playing something. With a CD, I pull it out of the visor storage area and pop it in, the music is playing immediately. So there is much to be said for the CD mix these days, although I recognize I am in the minority here.

Pacific Rim

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that demands that the group gets together and make it into an actual event. It can be difficult these days to the point where we barely try to get everyone on board to see one movie at a specific time, and it seems to work out now that once or twice a year, we make it happen. Last summer, Looper was the movie that got us all out. This year, Pacific Rim.

And unlike Looper, we all walked away excited and happy with the movie. Was there any doubt though? Really? Right from the initial teaser trailers, we were all hooked: giant robots fighting giant monsters. That type of movie - in my opinion - has been long overdue for quite some time. Growing up, I watched a lot of Godzilla movies with my dad, so I'm partial to the giant monster thing. Sprinkle in some robots and you have a film that taps directly into all of our childhoods favourite memories. We gobbled it up.

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go is a film that is destined to slip under the radar of everyone, and it certainly did on mine. Asing its praises, but is more subtle in its accolades, than I take notice. And I grab it. Unfortunately that's only one step of the process, as having the movie and actually sitting down to watch it is another issue altogether. I was browsing my collection last night and saw the film there, and wondered: what is this? The brief description coined it as a science fiction film, which immediately grabs my attention. This, with a combination of some of the actors in it (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield) and the fact that I at one point added it to my collection, was reason enough to hit play.

I was confused during the first act, but intrigued. The film opens with a few lines of text stating that in the 1950s, a medical breakthrough has allowed the human life expectancy to surpass 100 years. We start the film in the '60s, following a group of children in a school that seems a bit different than your typical school. They are encouraged to produce art, more than other subjects, and they seem to be isolated. Scary stories of what happens to children when they go beyond the fence keep everyone inside and guessing, almost living in a bit of fear if it wasn't for the fact that every child seems pretty happy. We're introduced to these stories through the addition of a new teacher to the schools ranks, who after a short time tells the students what their purpose is in life. She tells them to live their lives to the fullest with this knowledge, and is promptly fired from the school.

Heavy Rotation - July 2013

Rdio has taken a bit of a backseat to life these days; with a change in jobs I don't have as many opportunities to put in headphones and set my mind on a task. My fear is that my music listening will fall way behind, so I'm actively trying to keep a few albums open, and Rdio playing a shuffled artist station whenever I can.

So far so good, but I've definitely hit a snag, in that I just keep listening to a few albums that I discovered just a few months ago. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as its telling of the quality of these albums, right?

I was asked recently what I've been listening to, and this post has been sitting in draft for a while. So here you go, my top four albums this past month!

Xbox One

A memorable moment in my gaming career has been watching the live unvieling of the XBox 360 on television with my friend. We had worked ourselves up into an excitement that neither of us have seen before, and there is no doubt that the viral marketing and hype that Microsoft put out there was to blame. The event came and went, and a few short months after launch, we both picked up 360s.

For the past seven years, we have enjoyed them immensely, but our gaming interests and habits have changed a bit, his more than my own (re: bachelor lifestyle). The rumour mill started up and we were looking at the announcement of new systems coming up pretty soon, and I found myself quite excited. May 2013 couldn't come soon enough, and when the day came, I was relatively glued to my monitor at work, watching the presentation and refreshing the live blog at the same time.

Disappointment.

World War Z

The Empire Theatre that opened recently in my home town is a bit of an enigma, or perhaps it's a bit of a theatre wrapped in disappointment. There is a ten screen Cineplex that has been around for a decade or so, that serves its purpose. However, my friends and I have gotten used to the AMC (now another Empire) loaded with twenty four (24!) screens. When the Empire was announced, we surely expected another spectacle like that, but what we got instead was another ten screens inside a dull gray on top of gray building. The seating is somewhat uncomfortable (why must all seats recline?) and there was no points program similar to SCENE from Cineplex. In all, there is little reason to go across town to the brand new theatre.

Since we weren't going to the Empire very often, we decided to enter all their contests, in the hopes of scoring free tickets (or any other prize). Somebody has to win, right? Then it finally happened: he called me a few days ago to let me know that he had won advance screening tickets to World War Z. It is probably the first time that either of have won anything, and it proved that people do actually win at these things. For a lifetime it felt like a potential scam.

The House of the Devil

If you're into eighties style horror films, then you need to check this film out. I wasn't entirely sure myself, but I also wasn't entirely sure this was in the eighties style. My co-worker told me to take a look whenever I had the chance, and as it turns out, the moon was in the right phase and I was able to do just that. And I was seriously impressed.

It can take a lot for me - sometimes - to watch a horror film by myself, so I reverted to my horror movie bunker: a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon on the couch, tablet in hand to distract me from the scary moments.

But I didn't need the second screen.

Something about the film grabbed me from the beginning. Perhaps it's the way the movie was shot. According to IMDB it was filmed in 16mm, just like many horror movies of the past. To say it felt retro may be an understatement. I really couldn't figure out throughout the film if this was a modern film made up to look old or it really was just an old film. I never did consult my tablet throughout to find out: I didn't want the mystery to be ruined, nor did it matter. The film grabbed me.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

There was some hesitation before playing Brotherhood. One day, I took the plunge. And I'm not sure I came up for air again until two weeks later.

Hesitation because Assassin's Creed II was one of the best games I've played in quite some time. It improved upon the first in every way imaginable, and surpassed my expectations greatly. So fantastic, in fact, that I was only a few "sequences" into the game when I bought nearly all available downloadable content. Now, my memory is hazy but I think the main DLC was composed of a few sequences between the main game: for instance, the game may have went from 12 to 16, where the DLC was composed of 13, 14 and 15. Those downloaded sequences weren't quite up to par with the rest of the game, but it didn't sully my experience. I played all that I could.

Oblivion

Going to see Oblivion the other week was a real treat. In a summer movie season that promises to be sci-fi heavy, Oblivion acted as the starting point, and if it's any indication of what's to come, this is will be a summer of sci-fi to remember.

Initially, I had a glimmer of hope that the title Oblivion was referring to the fourth installment of The Elder Scroll series; a game in which I devoted over a hundred hours and would serve as a proper introduction into the next generation of game consoles (which is now the current, soon to be eclipsed generation) on the Xbox 360. But alas, it was not the same one; however, it was science fiction.

Batman: Arkham City

It looks from my initial write-up of Arkham Asylum that I was quick to get the post out there, without talking about the game that much. And what else is there to say? I've recommended it to friends over the years without much description aside from the simple command: just play it. Because that's what I did, and fell in love, so I figured others should do the same thing. And it seems they have enjoyed it, although not to the extent that I did (which was perhaps too much), but only in terms of wanting to stay in the Asylum to do as many challenges and to find ALL the Riddler's clues. Sometimes, the gaming stars align in such a way that you can do those things, and others, they simply pass by one another without much notice. Upon completion in Arkham City, I felt absolutely zero need to go around collecting all the Riddler's trophies and puzzles, and even less about doing all the challenges.

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