Archive for the Entertainment tag


Life without DVR

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Living without a DVR this summer has been moderatly difficult. It’s a good test to see if it’s possible because while I can’t ditch cable (sports!) it might be possible to ditch the DVR, which would save $10 or $15 each month. It’s also a good time to ease into such a transition as there aren’t as many shows on during the summer. Still, there are some important ones. I haven’t ranked my favorite shows in a while but Breaking Bad is #1, Curb Your Enthusiasm is somewhere in the top 5, and Louie and True Blood are must sees as well.

I’ve survived the summer using Hulu, HBO Go, channel sites, and iTunes in case of emergency. For the most part I can watch most of what I want. It gets to be a pain having to go to a bunch of different places and keep track of what I’ve watched. Only Hulu has a decent queue system, HBO has a watchlist but it doesn’t seem to update quickly or remove things I’ve watched. Some of the channel sites are pretty awful. Actually, all except Hulu and HBO are pretty awful.

Not all shows are online. It’s frustrating how even some networks pick and choose what is available. What makes even less sense are the shows that they decide to put on, but not for a month after it originally airs. Tosh.0 and The Car Show are the ones airing now, and I’m pretty sure Real World was like that on Hulu as well. The Real World makes some sense because it was available on the MTV site. MTV makes their own money from streaming it for a month and then makes it available to a wider audience to make a few more bucks. The others aren’t available on their channel’s site (Car Show’s site just embeds the Hulu player).

Ok, it’s helpful that the shows are available eventually, but what are they trying to accomplish with this delay? I can think of two types of Hulu users:

Catching up with Hulu – People don’t see the start of a show or miss a few episodes. Hulu is great to get back on top of a show and then start watching again on TV. I’m assuming the top goal of the network is to get people to watch a show on TV. Delaying posting for a month means you never have the option to go back to TV until the next season starts.

Online Viewer – Maybe some people just live online and watch everything online. They are fine waiting the month, because they don’t really know any better. But there is no reason to make them wait. All that’s being done is splitting these people off from the people who are up to date. This kills off talking about the show.

The other option is iTunes but paying $2-$3/episode to catch up or buying a seson pass that costs more than the DVDs will cost (and don’t give you the DVDs) is not something I’m willing to do. The only show I bought on iTunes this summer is The Soup. It wasn’t available for streaming and I thought $6 for 8 episodes was a very fair price.

I don’t know how to solve this exactly. The Hulu Plus model should open up more options of how this can be handled by having their free and paying users. How about this method. Just post every show the next day. For the free viewers only leave the show up for a week or two. Then everyone is on the same page. No reason to have a large catalog of more than one or two episodes. The network obviously doesn’t care about the catch-up audience. Paying customers can get more of the old shows. Even a day or two window that only paying customers can access is valid. The rule the network needs to follow is that everyone should be able to watch the last episode before a new one airs on TV.

For me, I’m just going to put these shows in my Hulu queue and then forget about them until a new episode shows up. I won’t be able to talk about them with people who watched them live or the week they aired. I won’t share clips from something like Tosh.0 because they will be stale by a month.

One more thing I need to menion are ads. I’m ok with the 30-60 second ads. However, TBS has started 3 minute commercial breaks on Conan. I’m watching on my computer. A 3 minute break and I start browsing and forget what I’m watching. I’ll mute it and play something else and then forget I was watching until the show is half over. Now when I watch Conan I just watch one segment.

Instead of trying to figure out how to ditch the DVR, I’m trying to figure out how to ditch Hulu Plus. The DVR is so much easier to deal with than this online mess of varying rights. When I get back home, I’m swtiching to Tivo, which will hopefully get my season passes in order (something Comcast couldn’t handle very well). Still, not having Daily Show and Colbert on a non-Tivo TV (using my blu-ray player) or my iPad will be difficult.


Wait, What? Stick Horse Edition

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Wait, What? is by far the best segment on Norm’s Sports Show. I like that now they don’t introduce the segment so you figure it out while watching. I’m not even looking for it. When you hear these stories it’s so obvious that you just say it to yourself.


Mixtapes – Hope is for People

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Not sure this is peppy enough for the summer soundtrack. But just listen. It’s so familiar and catchy. A few seconds in, it sounds like you’ve heard it a thousand times before.



I Really Want To Like Lady Gaga

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I think the first Lady Gaga song I heard was Just Dance. I’m usually not a fan of pop like that, since so much of it is the exact same regurgitated stuff in a different package, I figured she would be no exception.

Then I noticed a lot of people, who wouldn’t normally be into that sorta thing really liking her.

Then I saw this video of what happened when she had a soundboard failure and gained a whole new level of respect for her. One of the things that drives me nuts about popular music these days is it has completely lost the ‘show must go on’ attitude, I need not mention all the lip singing scandals in recent years.  When they tried to pull her off the stage she said, “I promised them a 30 minute set, and I’m not stopping.” That is awesome, more artists should follow her example. It’s good to see a popular artist that really understands this.

Then I saw this video of a performance before she became Lady Gaga. You can’t ignore that talent. She knows how to play and man she can sing. That video knocked me over. In a same respect this is a more recent video  with an acoustic performance of Poker Face.

And most recent was this video with Elton John at the Grammy awards. It’s fantastic and I can’t in any fair mind call it anything else.

The evidence of her talent is overwhelming, you just can’t ignore it. But I can’t get into her normal pop style. It’s just not the kinda thing that sounds good to me. I feel like she isn’t playing what’s right for her… but I guess she wouldn’t get the audiences she does if she did anything else.

I guess I’ll remain a fan of her side stuff, because it is fantastic.


Random Thoughts On All the 2009 Awards

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Avatar? I don’t really know what to say about all the awards it’s been handed, other then I guess you really can buy awards. I did enjoy Avatar, and it really was the most technically impressive movie I have ever seen… So give it best director, or best CGI, or best visual design. Not best motion picture. Certainly not when there are movies like The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, and Up In The Air, which were all exceedingly superior overall. Hell I would have a hard time picking the best out of that lot, but to even put Avatar in the same ballpark as those is criminal.

The Critics Choice awards had it right. They gave Avatar best action movie, best cinematography (although I don’t totally agree wit this, but I’ll survive), best art direction, best editing, best visual effects, and best sound. those were exactly the things that were great about Avatar, but those were the only things that were great about Avatar.

Okay, enough about Avatar.

So, when I first read about The Lovely Bones I was pretty stoked. I was excited to see Peter Jackson and his writing team step away from their usual fare of epics, and go into something smaller. The movie itself was a bit of a disappointment, but I can understand why Stanley Tucci is getting all the attention for it. Hell, if I hadn’t known he was in it, I never would have guessed. He did a great job at transforming into the character. Whenever he spoke it seemed a bit forced, but a majority of his part was without dialogue.

Tarantino has gotten completely shafted this year. He must be used to that by now.

I think one of the biggest surprises from 2009 would have to be Mo’Nique’s role in Precious, the awards seem to agree. I’ve never been a fan of hers, probably because she has only been in in awful movies. It’s clear now that given real content she’s a rock star. I hope she lands more quality stuff in the future.

Up in the Air was probably my favorite movie of 2009, It wasn’t just great at a few elements that make up film (I’m glaring at you Avatar), but everything was balanced beautifully. I’m glad it’s getting all it’s nominations, but I can understand why it’s being beaten out. Anna Kendrick was especially fantastic, and I hope she doesn’t get typecasted with her role in the Twilight Saga. After Up in the Air that would be a serious shame.

In my opinion Christoph Waltz had the most impressive performance of 2009. His part in Inglorious Basterds was legendary in a role that Tarantino thought was impossible to cast. I’m so glad he’s getting the attention he deserves. It’s a shame that it has taken this long for him to be seriously discovered.

I think Pixar is going to implode the first time another animated movie beats out one of their flicks. It should be alright though, because that probably will never happen.

Oscar nominations were just announced. Usually if you pay attention to award shows leading up to the Oscars you can make a pretty good guess at what will be nominated, and usually you can guess pretty accurately what will win. I’m glad that District 9 got a nomination for best picture, but it doesn’t need to win. I also hope Tarantino gets more from the Oscars then what he has gotten from the other awards. If Avatar wins best picture at the Oscars I’ll probably have a seizure.

List of nominees

…I guess you have to hand it to Cameron, he knows what the world wants… I guess… I’m not bitter at all I swear.


Five Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen, But Really Should

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Whether it’s just poorly marketed, or just a small indie flick, there are some movies that for whatever reason just don’t get seen as widespread as they should. It drives me nuts when a great movie slips through the cracks. There are a lot of great movies that people just haven’t seen, or haven’t even heard of. Here are just five of the first that came to mind, in no particular order.

Moon (2009)

This was writer/director Duncan Jones’s first major film, and a very ambitious one. It saw mild international success with little in the states. It’s likened to Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it stands on it’s own. It’s difficult to make a movie like this and have it be original, I basically felt I knew what to expect getting into it. I was thrown for a loop when I found out the plot was not to be expected. Sam Rockwell was given a roll that really would be difficult for any actor to pull off, and did it in a way that really lets the audience buy into it. This is important because his role gets very surreal and at points it would be easy to loose the audience. Moon is a great movie, and it is a shame that it saw as little success as it did. In 15 years I see it being one of the huge cult science fiction classics. Maybe it is just a little before it’s time.



Last Name Ever. First Name Greatest.

Mike, Music No Comment

I don’t think I’ve ever been more hooked on Sirius Hits 1 than I am right now. It’s a combination of being down on the new Alt Nation songs and a whole bunch of Hits 1 songs getting stuck in my head. Just look at my recent music posts, that’s not like me. Anyway here’s Drake. Forever mein. Ever mein. Ever mein. (I wasn’t really sure how to spell it like he says it.)

Drake – Forever (Ft. Kanye West,Lil Wayne & Eminem)

Amazon: Song Album


Magic Johnson talks Michael Jackson on Kimmel

Mike, TV No Comment

I realize this is two clips from the same show but this one shocked me. Magic Johnson was friends with Michael Jackson and he talks about how much fun they’d have in hotels on tour and playing with fireworks at his house. Now this still makes Michael Jackson sound crazy. But hearing Magic say it makes him sound like he was just a big kid. What I don’t understand is why they aren’t sending Magic out to talk about Michael rather than the Jacksons? I’d say people would see him as slightly more credible.


Kimmel Talks Tiger at Barbershop

Mike, TV No Comment

If they announced that Kimmel’s show was going to be in the barbershop every night, I think I’d change my entire life around to watch it live instead of on DVR.


I can put you in a trance the way I dance

Mike, Music No Comment

I’m not even sure where it came from but in the middle of the day today I got this Eminem song in my head. I haven’t even heard he song very much. The last time I heard it was probably last week. I don’t even really know the words. By the end of the day I remembered the song getting stuck in my head but I couldn’t even remember the beat. Odd.

Eminem – Taking My Ball

Stupid Human Tricks

Mike, TV No Comment

If I see any sort of Stupid Tricks on Letterman, I’m likely to share. Here we go 2 out of 3 on, let’s say the trick experience. I don’t know how they didn’t close with the pogo stick/violin. The keg flip wasn’t anything special but I enjoyed Dave’s interaction with the kid.