You know, I get it. We're in a fucking depression, only we aren't supposed to acknowledge it (Two news stories on the same day: Unemployment up 10%, jobless numbers down 30% - I can't make this shit up). But, BUT. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for the shenanigans going on with the big box corporations.
Let me start again. This month, Disney is releasing 4 highly anticipated Blu-ray titles: Ponyo, The Princess And The Frog, Toy Story, and Toy Story 2. As per usual, each movie has a discount coupon, good for only 5 days, which when accompanied by a decent in-store deal, will allow you to purchase said Blu-rays for WAY below MSRP. In addition, Toy Story 1 and 2 will have extra $5 off coupons attached to their Blu-ray slipcases (Bringing the total to $20 if you purchase both). Sounds good, right? Heh, wait until I'm done.
Ponyo released on 3/2, and no surprise, Wal-mart had the lowest in-store price. However, Best Buy was THE place to go, because they had a special sale: Buy one Studio Ghibli film and get another one for $10. Once someone discovered that this applied to 2 copies of Ponyo, the rush was on. Unfortunately, only 1 out of every 20 or so BB stores would even take the coupons at all, and when corporate got wind that details on how to get 2 "new release" Blu-rays for $20 were being posted on slickdeals, they sent out memos to store managers to block the sales.
Wal-mart, despite accepting the coupons, had their own way of shutting people down: Ponyo was limited to one store per 25 mile radius, was unavailable to purchase online, and not eligible for site-to-store. Oh, and the store I went to only got 2 copies. As soon as the coupon went dead, every store received a full shipment.
The Princess And The Frog is next on the release schedule. So far, it looks like Toys R Us will be the best place to go (If you pre-ordered), however, there is already a problem: TRU had a pre-order deal for Toy Story 1 and 2 - If you pre-ordered BOTH Blu-rays, you were entitled to $15 off any other Disney Blu-ray. There was some confusion as to how it would work, with some people being told that they had to use it TODAY, others being told that they would receive their discount when the picked up the Toy Story Blu's, and still others that were told that they could use it anytime between now and 3/30. Apparently TRU corporate foresaw some people coming back to get $15 off PATF, which didn't set right with them. So out comes another memo, and another company turns on its customers. Anyone who pre-ordered Toy Story and neglected to use their $15 off will NOT get a discount. Also, the stores are actively refusing to give a refund for the pre-order.
As if all of this wasn't bad enough, I'm hearing now that stores are planning to remove the $5 off coupons from the Toy Story 1 and 2 boxes before stocking them.
Yes, times are tough, but now is not the time for corporations to become predatory against the one thing keeping them alive. The people who frequent dvdtalk, bluray.com, and slickdeals aren't out to rip anyone off, they're just trying to get the best price possible, but I guess when seen through they eyes of the greedy corporations, they are public enemy #1.
I assume that someone will leave a comment mentioning Amazon or some other online retailer. They are of no help in this matter - Not only will they not honor the Disney coupons, they won't price match, and their prices are actually higher than brick-and-mortar stores this time around.
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Ok, so last week I posted about the Magnavox Blu-ray player that I picked up from Wal-mart. This was leftover stock from their Black Friday sale that I had been watching, and decided to pull the trigger. I did my homework on the thing, and most people seemed to have no real problems with it, they just called it a very "Basic" player. I mean let's face it: For $75, I wasn't expecting much.
So Wednesday, I finally got around to unboxing the thing and hooking it up....
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By the way, the Samsung is great. it takes 4 seconds to load a Blu-ray, and 40 seconds after I inserted the disc, I was watching TDK's bank scene. So far everything is working perfectly. Lots of added bonuses: None of the places offering it for sale mention that in addition to Netflix and Pandora, the 1590 also streams from Blockbuster Online and Youtube. All those */***** reviews on Amazon just prove my point about idiots and electronics not mixing.
I saw something today that really unsettled me. I was walking through Sam's Club when I noticed a TV in the corner that was playing "The Princess Bride" Blu-ray. It was a 240Hz LCD, and someone had turned the image processor to high. The result of this transformed a movie that I am familiar with into something resembling a 90's rerun of "As The World Turns". The way Peter Faulk looked when he turned to Fred Savage made my stomach flip over, and it seemed like the longer I watched, the sicker I felt. As I walked away, I just couldn't shake off the Uncanny Valley Effect, and I began to wonder exactly what it had been that made me feel so awful and creeped out.
I have personally been following the effect that Motion Interpolation and 3D comb filters in 120Hz, simulated 240Hz, and True 240Hz HDTV's have been having on home video (Especially on Blu-rays) and broadcast HD for a while now. The general consensus is that most people are completely turned off by the effect, while some have embraced it completely. I won't get into the technical details here, but if you want to do some reading, google "Soap Opera Effect" and "240Hz CNET".
But just what is it that affects us? Cinephiles will say that it ruins the director's vision of how they intended for people to view their films. HDTV enthusiasts will say that we're "Just used to seeing crap", so our brains automatically reject the better image. Most of everyone else will try to come up with an answer of their own, but fail. I, however, think I have it:
Imagination. When we watch a film in true 24fps, this tiny little switch gets flipped in our brains. It “distorts” our reality ever so slightly, telling us that what we are seeing is a “story”. When we watch "reality" television, however, the "Home Video" frame rates (50/60fps, interlaced), which is much closer to the way we perceive reality, has the opposite effect: Our brain tells us that what we are seeing is “real life”.
You can compare it to listening to someone telling you what happened using a specific tone of voice, hand gestures etc. versus actually seeing the same event unfold with your very own eyes.
We want feature films to be “stories”. We do NOT want them to look “real”, even if they deal with stories based upon real events. We want them to be “larger than life”, because we seek for morals, universal truths, dramatic conclusions, a window into perfection.
We want our news coverage, game shows, sports, and interviews to be “real life”, because otherwise we would feel disconnected from reality (Trust me, I know this one: We have a local station that does their 11:00 news in film).
When you throw filters and motion correction circuitry into the mix, our poor brain's imagination feels confused, mixed up, and frazzled. Given time, I think that we may become used to it, because for all of its faults, the technology really IS better than what we had before. But until then, I think most people, myself included, will watch films with the enhancements turned OFF.
So tonight, after leaving the funeral home, I stopped at Wal-mart to pick up the very last leftover Blu-ray player from Black Friday. I've had my eye on it for a while now, and since I needed one for the bedroom, I decided $75 was a pretty good deal.
After I got home, I decided to browse the website and read up on the 1-star reviews and negative FAQs for the player. This guy was telling people in the FAQ section not to buy the Blu-ray player because it "upscales to 1080P" -_-;.
I always get a kick out of seeing inbred fucktards who have no idea how to work simple electronic appliances go online and spew forth a torrent of curses and abuse directed at anyone or anything associated with the manufacturers. 9/10, their problems are their own fault (Fucking up firmware updates, not understanding the terminology), but they feel like someone besides them should take the blame, so they trash the product. Even though I have been tempted to try and educate them, I have thus far resisted, because if it's one thing I have learned, you can not teach people about electronics. Why? Because they have already made up their mind that they know everything, when in fact, they really know nothing.
Here is a list of some of my favorite myths about current home entertainment toys:
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I could go on, but I'm trying to stay away from the technical stuff that would go *WHOOSH!* right over your heads. Well, I hope someone will read this and learn from it. At the very least, you'll be ready to correct those pushy sales people the next time you visit Best Buy or HH Gregg.
This is a formal request for help from the Anime community
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So, if any of you think you have what it takes, by all means, volunteer. I won't be starting until mid-Spring, so no rush. Thank you.
So this year is looking like THE year to own a Blu-ray player (A REAL ONE, NOT A PS3). There are so many things on the Official 2010 Release Schedule that I want, I had to go and make a list so I could keep track of everything.
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Next post: "Why Your PS3 FUCKING SUCKS As A Blu-Ray Player"
*Does the "Dubya Show Dodge" and runs*
So, mom tells me today that, FINALLY our fat, obnoxious neighbor is moving away. Better late than never, I guess.
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So, hopefully they will be gone by end of February, and for the first time ever, WE WILL HAVE NO NEIGHBORS!!!! Finally, we will own the road, providing that the house never gets sold or rented (And really, that will be the war we will end up losing). My dreams of having my own gated community are that much closer.
This will probably be the single longest thing I will ever post to my journal (With the exception of my "Hai I've been gone for a year and a half" post).
As most of you should know, One of the things that I like to do the most is watch movies. I don't fancy myself a film critic (I'll leave that up to my friend David), but I like to think that, as with most things me, I have a pretty impeccable taste in films.
So tonight, I decided to sort through my rather large catalog and begin documenting exactly what I have. It's a handy thing to have, as it keeps me from having to pull down one of the binders and risk having an avalanche or a damned collapse (Shelves are stuffed full). While I was in the middle of typing it up, I started thinking "Maybe I should post this". Not a decision to be made lightly. It takes balls of stainless steel to open up your personal taste in something like movies or music to critique. Most people would scramble around, trying to hide the more embarrassing items, and maybe in the end fudge the list a bit so it looks like their tastes are "normal" or "Average". But, as lying is something that I have vowed never to do, there is absolutely no way that I would try to hide anything.
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So, is anyone else brave enough to throw caution to the wind and post your collection, turds and all?
This isn't going to be my typical post. I've been thinking about this one for a while now, and I believe I can discuss it now without fearing that people will get the wrong idea and come after me.
...Hell, who am I kidding? Release the hounds.
So, I have been fascinated as of late with the increasing generation gap, and the constant refusal of the Baby Boomers to pass the hat to Generation X/Y.
While I am sure that there are much better examples of this, the two I am going to cite will certainly serve to make my point.
#1 - Brett Favre and the disasterous play-off game of 1/24/10:
Whether you are a fan of football or not, I am sure most of you who will read this heard about/saw highlights from the game that should have been. Coming off his terrific 2007 season, Brett Favre retired on what was a pretty high note. BUT, somewhere in his brain, a switch just wouldn't turn off (Maybe he saw that ridiculous commercial with Dennis Hopper where Baby Boomers take credit for the entire universe xD). So Favre decided he needed one more season.
He contacted the Packers, who told him to go fly a kite, so Favre went on Fox News and whined. Eventually, he got what he wanted, and was signed by the Jets. He did pretty good, until he injured his arm in the 11th game of the 2008 season. Despite knowing he was hurt, the Jets allowed Favre to play, which cost them any chance of a playoff berth. At the end of the season, Favre was officially retired (Again).
But would he stay retired? NO!!! Favre went out, got a risky surgery (To complete the tear in his proximal biceps tendon and release his arm for throwing without pain), and signed up with the Vikings. Despite being wishy-washy all season, Favre managed to lead the Vikes to the NFC championship game against the New Orleans Aints.
RIGHT THERE is where it should have ended, but no, Favre got to play the entire game, despite his many mistakes (Including a repeat of the infamous "Brett Favre Pick"). Throughout the game, fans and commentators alike often wondered aloud why Tarvaris Jackson wasn't allowed to take over and attempt to salvage the game. But alas, the "Baby Boomer" refused to stand down to the "Generation Y"er, and now the team that represents one of the most disgusting places on Earth is going to the Superbowl.
#2 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Forced Retirement:
Yeah, I know I shouldn't dredge this crap up again, but nobody, and I MEAN NOBODY can successfully argue that Harrison Ford SHOULD NOT have come back for Indy IV. Granted, even at 68 years old, he looks a fuck of a lot better than Mel Gibson does at 54 in "Edge of Darkness" (Especially his teeth), but that's not even the point. No, the real reason I bring this up has to do with the ending to Indy IV.
Now let's be honest: Nobody wants Shia Lebouf to be the next Indiana Jones. Hell, his role in Indy IV was as much of a slap to the face as any of us old-timers need to be reminded that they just don't make action stars like the used to. WITH. THAT. SAID., I must have been the only person who took exception to the scene during Indy's wedding where a gust of wind blows THE HAT to Mutt's feet. He bends, picks it up, smiles, and attempts to put it on, only to have Indy SNATCH it back and put it on his own head. RIGHT THERE, that speaks VOLUMES about the point that I am trying to make - A combined statement from Ford, Spielberg, and Lucas. Honestly, when the only significant thing you've managed to do in years is rehash films you made in your glory days, or worse, continually edit the same films you made in your glory days to fucking death and BEYOND, I think it's time to pass the hat.
#3 - The Whole "Tonight Show" Fiasco:
I've already written about this, so I won't repeat anything here.
After seeing the evidence, I think most people have to agree: It doesn't just SEEM like the "Baby Boomers" are trying to say that the next generation is incompetent, THEY REALLY ARE.
I'll be the first one to admit, over the past 25 years, the Boomers have trusted us Xers with some pretty big decisions that have turned out to be a mistake, but does anything really justify gripping the reigns until someone has to pry them from your cold, dead hands?
There you have it. The questions that I pose are: "When does it become time for someone to just fucking retire already and trust in the next person to steer the ship?", "What do you think the impact on society will be if we ever reach a point where the old timers refuse to step down until they enter the grave?", and "What is going to happen if they start refusing to pass on knowledge to the next generation?"
Be completely open and honest (Even if your replies are just hostility towards me).
Late night TV has always been pretty cutthroat, but now that seems to be taking a literal turn.
Rumors have been floating around for months that NBC was having issues with The Jay Leno Show and The Tonight Show, but for some reason today it all seems to have reached a head.
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I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
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