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This Looks Really Cool -- Genesis Movie

1 min read

I'd embed the trailer here, but I can't figure out.  if Ken Ham likes it, it should be biblically accurate:

1 - literal 6 day creation
2 - young earth
3 - literal Adam and Eve

I'd go see it.  The Genesis Movie

Remake of the 10 Commandments

1 min read

Moses

This is just crazy.  They are going to remake the 10 Commandments.  I can't imagine what it will be like, but I can tell you one thing:  Christian Bale isn't going to be any better than Heston.  Whenever I read the story of Moses in the Bible, I picture Heston playing Moses.

Image from Superfloop via flickr

American Culture and the Media

3 min read

An Electronic Cigarette

Earlier this week, there was a furore in the media when some actors were "caught" smoking electronic cigarettes at the Golden Globe awards.  Senators have also gotten on board.  Their charge?  Well, it is one we heard many years ago when I was a kid:  things like this glamorize smoking and shouldn't be allowed.  Now, don't lose me here...I'm not going to rail against smoking (but I don't smoke and don't think others should).  This is going to be a "let's think about" type article.

Let's take everyone at face value:  when kids see people smoking (or certain ads, etc...) they want to smoke too.  Have I got the argument correct?  Ok.  Super.  Are you with me?  Again...great.

What happens after school shootings, mall shootings, etc...?  The call is for more gun control.  What happens when people suggest that perhaps the violent movies influence the actions of the shooters?  We get articles talking about how violent movies don't play a role.  But wait.  We're told that seeing people smoking influences kids to smoke...doesn't it stand to reason that if that were true that seeing people shoot up others influences them too?  I'm all confused now.  If it happens one place, why isn't the same thing true in another circumstance.

I think there is more at play here.  I think the truth is somewhere in-between.  And I think that truth reveals a lot about American Culture and the Media.  I think the people pushing to condemn the e-cigarette use but allow violent movies have an agenda.  The fact that they don't like one but don't have a problem with the other shows this.  If we are honest, the truth is somewhere in the middle:  no, seeing violence doesn't make everyone want to shoot up a bunch of people just like seeing people smoke (even fake cigarettes) won't make everyone smoke.  Yes, some people will be influenced to start.  Yes, others won't.  If you are honest, I think you'll agree with me.

So, if that is the case, why push one (banning cigarettes) while wanting to keep another (violent movies)?  I think they have an agenda and that is influencing their positions.  This also shows through in other areas too:  trans-fats, coconut oil, sugary drinks, and others.  All this while pushing for things like legalizing pot, mandating abortion coverage, and others.  Some things are allowed and encouraged while other things are looked to be banned.  And the only reasons is "they" (whoever happens to be in charge at the time) is pushing "their" agenda.

We need to be careful.  The media has, if everyone is honest, it is nothing more than yellow journalism (on both sides).  No one is honest.  The news isn't reported.  The media narrative of the day is reported from certain perspectives instead of the news.  Our country can be great once again; however, we need to be honest.  Honest with each other.  Demand real news from our news...not commentary.

Image from lindsay fox via flickr

Planes -- Review

3 min read

Today (24 Aug 2013) we went to see Planes.  Here's what I thought of it.  But first, one of the trailers I found on youtube:

Here's a link to a local mirror of the trailer, just in case it comes off youtube

Ok.  Now for what I thought.

1. The "race" was an "around the world" type race.  I expected the racing to be air racing around pylons.  That fits the paradigm of a crop-duster getting in.  The around the world race didn't fit the qualifier, either

2. There were some scenes with US Navy "esque" planes.  One thing I really liked was some of the voices were from the actors from Top Gun.  There was even a nod to some classic "Top Gun" or aircraft carrier takeoffs with the backwards looking shot off the bow and roll.  The paint job was even based on the modern day VFA-103 Jolly Rodgers.  I really liked these scenes; however, I didn't like some of the specifics that happened as they wouldn't happen in real-life.

3. I liked the "skipper" being a F4 Corsair.

4. I like Ray's brother being the fuel truck.

5. I didn't like the environmental wacko plug for corn as fuel.

6. I didn't like the Canadian plane being French Canadian.  They should have made the Canadian a non-French Canadian and had a French plane for that part (even if it meant doing away with the Canadian part).

7. The entire cinema laughed when the UK plane did his "I'm British, I don't cry" line.

8. I wish they would have had "cameos" by some of the minor characters from the infield from the cars races (the biggest King fan, etc....)

One last thing I really liked...there was a scene where the Mexican plane steps in to help Dusty.  He makes mention that he's helping Dusty because in the past Americans showed up to help his countrymen and didn't expect anything in return.  I think this is what is missing from the modern-day America.  We don't help the little guy any more.  We don't stand up for what's right.  We make vague threats and don't follow through.  We need to return to being known as the champion of the little guy.

Anyway, back on track....I liked it, overall.  I want to get it on BluRay when it comes out.  It doesn't rank up there with Cars...but it was good.  I'd give it a solid 4 out of 5

Olympus has Fallen

2 min read

White House, Front View

Last night, Cyndi and I went to see Olympus has Fallen.  I'll try not to give too much away; however, if you want to see it you may want to come back after.

First, I thought the action scenes were good.  Realistic.  There.  Cyndi made the comment though that it was more gorry than she had seen in a while.

Second, the plot is relatively realistic:  kidnapping the president.  The setup is fantastic--as in fantasy...would never happen in real life--but after the initial attack, things are ok believable.

Third, you can tell the thing was written by a bunch of liberals and people who had never been around the military.  Two scenes in particular stand out to me:  the president ordering people to give up their codes to activate a secret self-destruct in the nuclear weapons (it wouldn't be followed for multiple reasons) and the head of the Joint Chief's ordering a secret service guy to stand down (he wasn't in the chain of command)

Fourth, the premise was flawed.  Kidnapping the president buys the attacker no bargaining room whatsoever (unless they want the launch codes in the football)  The US Constitution very clearly describes who is president and what happens when the President can't act.  This happens clearly in the movie yet everyone still acts as if the president (the one at the start of the movie) were still THE President.  Sure, they would try to get the President out as he knows TONS about LOTS of secrets...but he can't actually do anything.  He's lost all power at that point.

Fifth, and lastly, when someone brings a knife to a gunfight, use your gun.  Shoot the bad guy...don't simply have a fist-fight with him

3 out of 5.

Image from cpence via flickr

it is because

1 min read

Everyone thinks the US is like the, movies.... Either the wild west or Rambo.

http://m.weeklystandard.com/blogs/kerry-foreign-students-scared-guns-america_716377.html

Nexus 7

1 min read

nexus 7 case (cheep)

When my parents came over, they brought me a Nexus 7 (I wanted the 32 GB + mobile version).  I had it all set up, but the battery life was horrible...and by horrible, I mean really bad.  After doing some reading online, I decided to reset it.  Well, after the reset, and reinstalling all the apps (well, most of them), battery life is much much better.

I also got a keyboard and a case.

I may end up and sell the keyboard if I don't use it (it is really small).  But, so far, I really like it.  It solves all the problems I had with my Kindle Fire (basically, I couldn't get the native gmail app, calendaring, etc...) with only one drawback (I can't download Amazon Instant Movies).  As I use it more over the next few weeks, keep your eyes open for more reviews.

Image from yto via flickr

The Hobbit in 3D

2 min read

The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey

Tonight, Cyndi and I went to see The Hobbit -- An Unexpected Journey in Real 3D.

First, I liked the movie.  It keeps with the Lord of the Rings genre very well.  The special effects were good.  The acting was good.  The landscape shots were outstanding.  I haven't read the Hobbit book in ages so I can't speak for how close it is to the book.  Although, one minor thing Cyndi pointed out:  the scene where Bilbo "finds" the ring in The Hobbit is different than the flashback in whichever the Lord of the Rings movies had it.  In that one, Bilbo found the ring...stumbled onto it, as it were.  In this one, he sees Golum drop it then picks it up.

I didn't care for the 3d.  It was well done in that there were no "made for 3d" effects (like the horse chase scene in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter).  However, everything seemed slightly out of focus.  Here's the problem....in a normal film, your eyes know the camera is doing the focusing.  You will see whatever the director wants in focus.  In 3d, you want to be able to focus on whatever you want.  But, since it is filmed with cameras, you still only see what the camera has in focus in focus.  Does that make sense?

I don't know if I'll ever go see a 3d movie just by choice.  At least not until it improves.

On another note, heres a video from Peter Jackson talking about making the Hobbit in 3d.

Here's an mp4 of the youtube embed for archive purposes.

Appliances

1 min read

Revolving Pleasure

Last night, whist watching one of my new movies (Cyndi got me Jingle All The Way for Christmas) I was mindlessly surfing the internet when I came across a blog written by an American expat living in London.  One of her articles was a link to a Slate.com article on The Superiority of American Appliances.

The title intrigued me so I went to have a look.  The main jist is that American appliances (called white goods in much of the rest of the world) are way easy to use (or have controls labeled in ways that are easy to understand) while European appliances are much harder to figure out.

I don't have any good pictures to illustrate this for you (and flickr wasn't very helpful either) but I think the same thing.  Even here, in English speaking England, controls for appliances are complicated and machines do rather odd things.

Image from gnarls monkey via flickr

WD TV Live Hub

3 min read

WDTVLiveHubAmazon

The last time we came overseas, we saved space by simply ripping DVDs and putting them on a hard drive.  This time, I didn't want to have to either watch the movies on a computer or figure out how to hook the computer up to a TV.  So I went looking for alternatives.

At first, I stumbled across Roku.  I was going to do it just for the online functionality; however, then I saw the Western Digital WD TV Live Hubalt in a store.  In addition to the online functionality, it included a hard drive.  Ahh!  It even has 2 USB ports you can hook other hard drives up to.  My initial thought was to get it and use it for online streaming as well as a backup hub (it comes with a 1 TB hard drive).

After being here and using it for a bit, I thought I would write about it.  The quality is excellent.  I have it hooked up with an HDMI cable and it looks good.  The movies I've put on it...no so good.  Some of them are encoded in a low quality so this isn't the fault of the WD box.  In fact, the one movie I have that is decent quality looks really good.  The remote is simple and easy to figure out.  You can rate your movies and do tons more I haven't figured out yet.

There are two things I don't like about it.  First, it doesn't have wireless built-in.  That isn't a problem in our temporary home now; however, it means that I will have to make sure the ADSL modem is installed close to the TV.  Second, the built-in categories (movies, pictures, etc...) don't seem to actually filter anything.  When I pick movies, I have to browse on the device to where my movies are located.  Either I haven't figured something out or it doesn't do it.

I haven't yet hooked another hard drive up to it.  I think this will be a task for once we move into our permanent house in a few weeks.  Once I do that, I'll update this post with information about that.

I can't speak for things like the Roku or Apple TV, but I would recommend the Western Digital WD TV Live Hubalt to anyone looking for an IPTV solution.  The hard drive is a good bonus and comes in quite handy too.

Full disclosure:  The links in this article are through my Amazon Affiliate account.  if you order the device from that page, I'll get credit and a small kickback from Amazon.