Month: April 2013

The Jaded Optimist

Man of Steel poster

It has been a while since my brain has short circuited from cognitive palpitations.
But, I must confess, the new Superman film has me shaking with unreserved excitement.

I have just seen the latest Trailer:

I know that a trailer is never always a positive or truthful compendium of a films worth.
There have been numerous time in which I have been excited for a film; by virtue of its trailer. Only to have my excitement and optimism dashed against the sun bleached rocks of reality.

I remember seeing the trailer for Aeon Flux. Then Rushing to the theatre to see it when it was released. You cannot imaging the pain in my soul when it was revealed to me; the trailer was composed of the only interesting scenes in the movie.

So while I am aware I should be cautiously excited. I have thrown caution to the winds. Like a virgin seeing a pudendum for the first time.

Why am I so excited?

I will be the first to admit that I have not followed directors to influence which movies I watch. However, of late, I find this method to be increasingly successful.

One of the main reasons I am interested in this film is due to Christopher Nolan; the director of “The Dark Knight” trilogy. I found his interpretation of that universe to be incredibly character driven. While he isn’t the director of “Man of Steel” (he is the producer). Any influence he has on a film is better than none (not to discount the director of course).

Already “Man of Steel” is shaping up to be more than: “over powered hero wows world, saves the day and barely messes up his designer coiffure. While turning back time should anything go wrong,or anything to prevent him from sleeping with his love interest”.

Clark seems to be more human. I realise the irony of the statement. However, previous iterations of superman had Clark being “alien Buddha”. He never lied – don’t quote me on this- always did the right thing, always willing to help, etc. While this demonstrates all the admirable traits we want in a hero. It makes for a flat and boring character. So I am hoping things have changed for the better on this score.

One other main reason why I am so intrigued. Is due to the fact that… – and wait for it- there is no Kryptonite in the film. I have always found it a tad contrived how someone as powerful as Superman, can be rendered useless by a piece of rock no larger than a penny. Obviously, had it been needed in large quantities; I would not mind. Moreover, Kryptonite is supposed to be a “rare” mineral. Seeing as it is not from Earth. Would have travelled from so far away, that not much of it should be on Earth in the first place. Yet, every dog – Lex – and his uncle seems to pick up Kyrptonite; like your adolescent son picks up rocks to throw at anything that moves.

I think it is also important to mention. That I am also excited that Superman no longer wears his bright crimson underwear …on the outside of his outfit. The redesign of the suit- that bears a similar resemblance to the material use for the suit for “Amazing Spider-man – no longer has superman wearing is underclothes on the outside. It may seem like a trivial thing.

However, that suit needed to have a redesign ages ago. A grown man should know the order of dressing himself (especially when he is a highly visible social persona). Imagine you child’s new obsession being superman. Then demanding to wear brightly coloured underwear over their jeans to replicate his image?

Man of Steel is to be released sometime in June. Out of all the super hero movies to be released this year. I am cautiously optimistic that Man of Steel will be the best among them.
Hopefully, you all have a interest in seeing it in the theatres.
Ciao! ( I am tempted to quote Reborn on this)

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When customer services ceases to matter…box

I wanted to start this post with the denotative meaning of the term customer service. However, I soon realised that had I done so, I would be bogged down in a mire of semantic explanations. This is mainly due to the fact that, Customer service and Customer service with a superlative modifier are not the same thing.

To be succinct: I believe customer service is providing support for your customers in relation to a product that they purchased from you. Good customer service is when you tailor your support and product in such a way to increase customer satisfaction on a large-scale, while simultaneously not padding your costs for services that should have been free with one purchase.

The new console cycle is upon us. Nintendo – like they have done since the N64 – have once again gimped themselves. For the sake of brevity, I will not go further than to say: They have once again released a console that while “innovative” seems to once again be lacking in graphical fidelity ( power) and unique experiences: A unit tailored for the casual gamer. (opinion)

Sony, unlike their last foray into the new console era, seems to have gone back to their PS2 roots: Really great and unique gaming experiences that are only accessible on their console. As well as striving to make a gamer dedicated console that is also at a good price. As opposed to their $600 (Six Hundred) base price for the PS3 last console cycle.

On the other hand Microsoft/ MS/ (XBOX) has done a complete 360. Herein lies my emotional dissonance. Like they have done with windows 8, Hotmail and Skype. MS has been forcing their customers to adopt unwelcome changes. They are free to do this of course, it IS there services. I can just choose not to use or buy them. However, MS has gone stir crazy with this “connectivity” trend. I do not wish to merge my MSN and Skype contacts and I do not wish to use Outlook over Hotmail. And now, the Créme de la créme if you were to purchase the new Xbox, whatever its name is Durango or Xbox 720. You will have to be always online.

I do not know about any of you. But I like to be in control of my gaming experiences. The new Xbox will pause/stop whatever game or app you have running currently should you be disconnected from the internet for three (3) minutes.

Lets look at this logically. If you want to play single player games and be offline, you will not be able to do so. If you want to be able to play any games if you do not have, cannot afford, or do not have current access to the internet. that $200-300 piece of GAMING technology you bought to play games; now becomes an expensive and large paper weight.

Think about it? You buy a Disk or Digital software that gives access to said game, you also have to purchase said console to access the data. Only to be thwarted by the fact that you do not wish to connect to internet. You have no CHOICE. No internet? No gaming on the new Xbox. Touché Microsoft, touché.

What is worse, MS is saying: If you don’t like it. Suck it up and deal with it. That is not good customer service.
Here is the post made about said topic on IGN.com in response to a twitter response from a MS rep: Ign.com

If you do not wish to go to IGN  then here are some images.

twitter post

dealwithit

Source: IGN

 

Well Ladies and Gents. Microsoft clearly has the customers interest at heart. I  understand it’s a business, I understand it’s about money,  I also understand it’s their product/ device and – as such – they can do whatever they please. However, I do not support companies with bad customer service. Nor do I support companies that seek to take away my choices or control how or when I use something I bought from them.

I certainly won’t be getting a Xbox or whatever they choose to call it this time: Netbox? TvBox? Connectivitybox? Alway online suck it up and deal with it box? You decide

Putting back Muse in Music

Music is a unique thing. There are times I listen to songs in different languages and enjoy it, despite not having a clue what is being said. But whatever WAS being said…I know I like HOW it was said.

Life_Sucks__Music_Doesnt__by_AustinE31891

Let me bring you deeper (pause), deeper into my love affair with music.

I think there are various ways in which we all enjoy music. I do not always listening to a song for profound lyrical content or socially aware lyrics. There are times when all you need or want; is a musically cathartic moment. Whether it is to ease your mood or  for fun. It matters not.  I will attempt to identify four ways in relation to a level of depth. In which music can be enjoyed.

The first level is actually shallow and lacking in any (significant) depth. Not surprising, seeing as it IS the FIRST level.
On this level of musical enjoyment, the thing you enjoy most is the beat. The symphonic arrangement of individual instruments such that it evokes movement. Or in lay terms: It makes you feel the need to dance.

This is the level where most “club music” lives. However, the enjoyment here is short-lived. After listening to songs at this level for a week – two weeks at most – you would have been tried and awaiting something new. Example:

I have no clue what they are singing about, even had I been able to sit at the PC with a cup of Earl Grey and my Oxford Dictionary. I might not be able to decipher what they are rapping about. However, on a very base, visceral level, I do enjoy listening to it.

The second level, is where the talent of the artists comes into play. Not to suggest that on the first level the artists aren’t talented. However, It is here, that you enjoy HOW something is being vocalised and not really WHAT is being vocalised.

It is at this level, that the artist needs to be able to sing/ Rap in such a way as to denote clarity. It might be shocking to note that artists at the first level need not be “limited” by this “constraint”. The overall vibe the instruments provides covers all that you will need. However, what is most important at this level, is the cadence. The particularly lilting nuances the singer creates. Case in point:

The Third level is the level at which people attribute “depth” to a song. As if to say, without this, music ceases to be enjoyable. I will admit that it is an important aspect of great music. But not necessary for enjoyable music. This is a important distinction. To  clarify: a song with depth, is generally a song that is more socially aware and less about silly or material things ( To give a very limited and brief example).

It is on this level – if you’re astute, you can see where this is going – that you are more concerned with WHAT is being said and not HOW it is being said. Nor are you concerned with how good of an instrumental arrangement the song possesses.  Not that you do not care about the HOW, it is just not as important as the WHAT. Significantly,  music on this level –  more often than not –  possess a balanced arrangement of vocals (without adjustments) and instrumentation. Essentially, enjoying music on this level means you are more into the artists lyrical content. The perfect example: 

The fourth level, and the last, is more abstract and subjective. More so than the previous. On this level you enjoy music that you can empathises with. Music that has meaning to you based on your social environs,  specific moments or specific people in your life. Basically, anything that has to do with the significance you place on the music. As opposed to the ACTUAL meaning the song was meant to have.  I do not think I have to say it, however, this level is more a combination of elements in levels one through three. The Pièce de résistance:

Now you know there is a difference between good music and enjoyable music. Enjoyable music need not be good and good music need not be enjoyable.

Which one of these levels (or level) do you listen music at? And what song is most symbolic of that level for you?