Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm an Audiophile Or: How the death of my iPod truly made me listen

As I write this, I am currently ripping Pink Floyd's "The Wall" on to my computer. Recently, my music listening habits have changed. You see, my iPod died and that prompted me to think about my current style of listening. I have been wanting to get away from the copy-right protected music of iTunes for a long time now and I have finally got my break. So, I went out and got a Terabyte External hard drive and am now fully returning to CD.

For those of you who don't know (or realize) CD is literally about 10 times better than MP3. With the iPod generation, people are sacrificing quality for quantity and I say no to that. I want the good stuff. CD's aren't copyright protected so when you rip them on to your computer you can play them any where any time with no punishment.

Plus, some bands aren't even on iTunes. Like the Beatles, you can only find on CD. Do you think that's a coincidence? (well it kind of is because the Beatle's record label Apple, is mad that Steve Jobs isn't original when it comes to picking names) MMM STEVE.

Granted, the quality of CD and the size of the files aren't entirely worth it to everyone. People who have iPod nanos and stock headphones are not going to get the full benefit. But people with brand new home theaters will notice the difference. Oh, wait that would be me. But if you are a normal music listener I know you would prefer the best sound quality with no matter what your listening situation is

So now I have gone fully CD with my collection. Soon I am going to get a Zune (the dominant portable media player according to cnet.com) and I will complete the transition from Apple to Windows.

So I say join me. CD sales are dropping drastically. We can buck the trend and show the world that some people do care about quality.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Star Wars Week Finale

The Circle is now complete.

Last night we finished the Star Wars Week. It was a grand success if I may say so myself. We watched Return of the Jedi in full high definition glory. I am very sad that it has to end but now I can feel like I have a life and not feel like a total nerd.

On to the Movie.

I love ROTJ, it's definetly one of my favorites as a Star Wars movie. Although the directing in this film is not as good as Empire, it is much better than the prequels. I always loved the last half hour of this movie and loathed the first half hour. For some reason Jabba's palace is the most boring segment for me ever. But I guess that's personal preference. Return of the Jedi is a great movie to close out the saga. It ends with so much closure I can never see how there could be more films. I don't know why rumors fly of more sequels because they would suck if they did get made. No Vader-No good.

So I wanna give props to Cameron Hodges. Cam made it through the whole week, a marathon is a big deal for Cameron because he has failed so many times before. In honor of his success, Cam was awarded a medal last night, commemorating a momentous week. We all celebrated last night with some pie and ice cream and we closed out the week in style.

I personally had a lot of fun and I hope we can do it again. We may be back in it again next winter but time will tell on that. Until then my Star Wars fans.

May the Force be with you all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Star Wars Day 5

What a beautiful week this has week has turned into

Last night we watched my favorite Star Wars movie, the Empire Strikes Back. I think it's the easiest one to like too. It's full of everything, action, romance, drama, yoda, snow, irvin. Ok that is a bit specific but I'm a fan through and through

On to the movie.

Ok we are talking Empire Strikes Back right? Why do we love it so much? It is the most unresolved film, which is very frustrating. It is one of the darkest Star Wars movies, which I think makes it one of the best. I think what is great is how well Irvin Kershner handled the Han and Leia romance. We can see Star Wars can handle those things, people falling in love. Why wasn't he hired for ATOC? WHY! Another stand out for me is the set design-Think about the planets, exterior and interior, they are all very beautiful and mysterious.

Ryan Johns and I discovered many similarities this film had with ATOC. Luke and Anakin are very similar in their paths, they can't handle haunting visions of loved ones in pain. I don't know why we never saw this before, but now we love it even more. I think I caught a lot more this time around but I just can't remember right now.

Unfortunatly Star Wars week is coming to a close tonight. We're going to be watching Return of the Jedi and I am very excited. I will probably catch more than I did last night. I think that's what the beauty is of this week. Instead of a shotgun day we get a whole week, a whole day for each Star Wars movie, it is really turning out better than I expected. Til next time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Star Wars Day 4

This week is getting better and better.

Last night we got to watch Star Wars. That's what it was originally called. Ok, so we watched Star Wars Episode 4 A New Hope, is that specific enough for you? I loved it, who doesn't?

This week has really given me a chance to connect the films together and I have all this energy now to give to these movies. Revenge of the Sith ended with the Tantive IV and the droids. A New Hope starts with the Tantive IV and the droids. 18 years can't rip away the simplest story connection. The greatest part is I can really see the significance in the prequel trilogy. I truly got a sense of the the classic trilogy's origin. Why certain characters feel one way, where they start out, and where they are going to. This week is doing wonders to my love for Star Wars.

Now on to the movie.

Ryan Johns and I decided that this is the most chill film of the series. To put it best, if you want to take a nap AND watch a Star Wars movie, this is the best one to do it. Not to say that this is the least action packed. I think my favorite chunk of this movie is when the gang gets to the Death Star. That's where the story picks up and the action gets going. The film is overall one of my favorite, but not my all time favorite.

Tonight we are watching my all time favorite. The Empire Strikes Back is arguably the greatest Star Wars film, and why not? It has a great lightsaber duel, great character development and we get to meet Yoda for the first time (depending on your point of view)

So, I can't wait to see everyone tonight. Good Night and Good Luck

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Star Wars Day 3

Wow, Last night was amazing if I may say.

Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith. The best prequel by far, I enjoyed it the most out of all of the prequels easily.

I have finally got the system down to perfection. I replaced my receiver and I got a dedicated Blu-Ray player to get the job done. I think everyone can agree from last night that it was a very enjoyable movie experience.

On to the movie.

ROTS is an action packed movie. From the first second you are pulled into all of the craziness. I remembered when I first saw it in theaters how overwhelming that first shot is. This is the prequel we had been waiting for. Yes there were a few scenes that were still cringe-worthy but a good film none-the-less. I really got a feeling of closure last night. We are smack dab in the middle of the series but I still felt like it had very good end. The prequels are over. The epic story of Anakin, Obi-wan and Padme are over. Now the Story of Luke, Leia and Han are about to begin and I am very excited. All in all last night was a very good one for me and everyone else. We are definetly ready to start the classic trilogy

We have a special treat for the OT by the way. Thanks to Steven Shaw it will be in native High Definition. Trust me guys, it's going to look great.

I have nothing left to say other than how pumped I am for tonight. A New Hope is a classic and tonight we will enjoy it thoroughly. If you want to read more about the Star Wars Week experience jump to Ryan John's blog over at rkjohns.blogspot.com. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Star Wars Day 2

Well, we watched Attack of the Clones last night, and as I expected, it was amazing. We had some fresh faces and a full turnout. I am getting bit nervous, since we just watched the two worst films of the saga and we had all the seats taken with 2 couches, 2 chairs and a few on the floor. It looks like we will have to be creative for the next couple of nights

On to the movie.

I was hoping ATOC would blow me away just as TPM had done the night before. And I can say with confidence I was kinda blown away. I think what people hate about ATOC is the first half. It's really slow, there is pretty much no action, at all. I mean, there is a speeder chase but wouldn't it have been cool if there was a huge assault on Padme's apartment and Obi-wan and Anaking had to singelhandedly defend Padme? Oh well I guess I just dream big. The other problem is that the unfortunate main crux of this movie is the love story between Anakin and Padme. Now, we never really get this in Star Wars. In Empire Strikes Back, we have the sub-plot of Han and Leia, but that isn't as huge plot wise for ATOC. So we have to endure the awkward love story of Anakin and Padme. I do like the plot for Obi-Wan as the Jedi detective, which leads to the good part of the movie. Once Mace Windu gets out his lightsaber, we know the film is finally getting good. (And for a woman at the imax theater, she knew it was going to get good) The last half hour of ATOC is probably one of the best of any of the films. It easily has the best land combat scenes out of all the Star Wars. The lightsaber battles are sub-par but is made up with Yoda vs. Dooku. All in all, I enjoyed myself after I endure the first hour or so.

Thankfully, the image last night looked 10 times better than before. The High Definition transfer of ATOC definetly helped out there. I certainly can't wait until the High Def Original Trilogy coming later this week. We all agreed last night that the sound was superb. The best example of this would be the seismic charges in the battle between Obi-wan and Jango Fett.

All in all I had a lot of fun last night. We even had a surprise visit from Jordan Harris who said he wouldn't be here. Props to Paul Dow and Brittany Bolz for being here 2nd night in a row, they could potentially be the most faithful to the week next to us, the creators, Ryan Johns and I, Ryan Graves. Oh and I can't forget Cameron Hodges who once said he'd rather die than come to this but is somehow faithful to that which is Star Wars. Good job Cam!

That's it for today's post. We'll be watching a very good one tonight, Revenge of the Sith. After tonight we'll be halfway done which is pretty surprising. Until then, may the schwartz be with you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Star Wars Live Blog

As part of Star Wars week that Ryan Johns and I are putting on, I've decided to post a blog, chronicling the event. Last night, we had our first film starting with the obvious choice, The Phantom Menace. We had a really good turn out too. Props to my brother Alex and John for setting up tiered seating for maximum viewing. We had 2 couches and 2 master chairs filled with people, and we could all see and hear perfectly well. Ryan Johns went above and beyond the snacking call and got bags of healthy chips, goldfish, and the always delicious Otter Pops.

Now on to the Movie.

Unfortunatley I've been having problems with my home theater so we had to watch the movie on my Xbox 360 which does not handle DVD playback very well. But the film sounded amazing. Every thump of a battle droid falling to the ground was very clear and you could feel the hum of the lightsaber in your chest. The visual was unfortunatley sub-par but I have fixed this problem with the addition of a upconverting DVD player to my current set-up so the rest of the week will look as good as it sounded.

When we usually watch TPM, us marathoners usually have a general disgust. We usually engorge ourselves with chocolate milk and donuts and we want to die by the time "Annie" screams Yipee!

But for me, this time was different, much different.

I don't know why but I think for the first time since I saw this movie in theaters, I really enjoyed it through and through. From the opening action sequence to the final parade scene, I was enthralled by the movie. It had plenty of action and the story of Anakin Skywalker was very intriguing. For some reason the Pod-Race scene was very exciting as well. It was probably just watching it on my 47 inch tv. The picture was exciting, and the whole race had me on the edge of my seat. Now don't get me wrong I still hate Jar-Jar Binks and Jake Lloyd, but we do have to admit those characters are vital to the story. (With Anakin its obvious, Without Jar-Jar, how would we get the gungans to create a diversion from the battle of Theed?) Without a doubt, I loved The Phantom Menace last night, and it happens to have one of my favorite action sequences of all time (Darth Maul Vs. Obi-Wan)

So there you have it. Tonight we will be watching Attack of the Clones, a film that I believe has way too much criticism for what it is. We'll see. Until next time. May the forc...sorry I can't be that lame...have a good day