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Archive for January, 2013

Upon reflection, yesterday was a pretty good day. Notwithstanding that I have felt like crap for over a week, yesterday was therapeutic.

After taking my daughter to work, I tided up around the house in anticipation of a musical afternoon. The boys came over and we rehearsed for about four hours in preparation for our gig coming up in a couple of weeks. It was the usual suspects as well as our friend Kyle, who plays a mean fiddle and mandolin. My throat feels like it is lined with sandpaper but being able to play with such good musicians makes everything seem good. Kyle, in particular, rounds out our sound with his bluegrass and country experiences. It is such a pleasure to be able play and get more out of each song than we had before – every time we run through a song, some other opportunity presents itself and we get better. Salon.com ran an article this week on how music positively affects blood pressure and one’s mental state. I can’t vouch for the blood pressure, but playing always puts me in a better mood.

I was just about to go and pick up my daughter from her work, when my number two son dropped in. He was over to watch some hockey and catch up on family business. Ian (#2) and Andrew (#3) settled in for a game of Trivial Pursuit on the computer and roped me in for a game later in the evening. It was fun. I really enjoy the company of my kids – not a steady diet mind you – but it is great to share some time with them. I am still Dad, but there is a nice relaxed feel to getting together. They are smart, funny, respectful, well-spoken and I am proud of all of them. There were no formal activities – just a good day with good people. Can’t ask much more than that.

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Consumerism

Gizmodo today had an article about a refridgerator introduced at CES by Samsung that not only keeps food cold, but has an LCD screen, baby monitor and Ever Note. Creating a demand where there isn’t any.

samsung-t9000

Franken Fridge

When I was in the States this summer, I stopped at a Wal-Mart to pick up a few things and ran across a display for Hanes underwear that featured – and this was on the packaging in big letters – NO MORE LABEL! Yes, they were marketing the fact they had dispensed with the label on the waistband. The label had been replaced with an iron-on sticker on the actual fabric. So, being the avid consumer, I bought a package – they were cheap – and sure enough, there was no label. Instead, the sticker was so indistinguishable on the fabric that every morning I now have to search for the front of my shorts when I getting dressed. Progress!

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In a theatre!

And in 3-D!

A friend and I went to see the Hobbit last week. This was a relatively rare experience for me. The last movie I saw was the Amazing Spider Man when I went back to Ontario last summer (my niece and nephew chose). I had yet to see a film in 3-D as well.

As a big fan of the Tolkien since my high school days, I really wanted to see the Hobbit as it was meant to be seen (i.e. in a theatre). So, did I like it?

It was good – not great. I think Peter Jackson had a bit of a problem with trying to tell this story. As a prequel, you want the story to have the look and feel of the Lord of the Rings, but you also want to have something else to set it apart from the earlier film. I think the Hobbit achieved the look and feel of Jackson’s Middle Earth, but the familiar environment took away some of the wonder I felt when seeing the Lord of the Rings for the first time. Still, I was entertained.

The film was about 45 minutes too long. Having re-read the Hobbit over the Christmas holidays, I had a pretty good sense of the story. The fight scenes at times seemed far too long. The swooping and diving camera shots were familiar from the LOTR and were used a couple of times too many for my liking.

The 3-D was not over the top as I had been warned. I think I only winced once as something flew out of the screen. And the 48 fps issue didn’t seem to be that big a deal as well. I enjoyed the 3-D experience but I could also see how it could be overused to distraction.

I did like Martin Freeman as Bilbo. And the scene where Bilbo meets Gollum was really well done. I think that was the most interesting scene in the entire film. It is quite amazing to see the range of emotions that are conveyed through the digital character as Andy Serkis is able to pull off. And I have a soft spot for the Eagles …

So, I liked the Hobbit. It didn’t have the effect that seeing LOTR had on me, but it was entertaining and I will go to the next ones (even if there isn’t nine hours of story in the book).

And thank you Robyn … that was fun.

A postscript – A couple of years ago, I invested in musician’s earplugs. They weren’t cheap ($160), but they are custom fit and take out 15 db from the ambient noise. When playing with a drummer, they really help. I decided to take them to the film and was glad I did. It was loud. In 20 to 30 years, we are going to have a deaf society!

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