My biggest problem with trying to write more is that I really need something to write about. I have a really had time just writing about my day like a lot of other bloggers do; partly because I don’t want everything I do on record (I have a journal for that anyway) but mainly because most of my days just aren’t that interesting.
However I recently had an idea which has turned out to be pretty gold: I’ve started reviewing terrible movies. Watch for a new weekly feature on Awesome Friday where I rip a bad movie to shreds. I’m calling it Matt Watches Bad Movies.
And just to start at the bottom of the barrel my first review is of Twilight. Here’s an excerpt:
I honestly don’t even know where to start. You all know the plot by now, assuming you’ve been within 100 feet of a teenaged girl within the last 5 years you must do. Sad depressed girl moves from the desert to the Pacific Northwest because of a skin condition she has that prevents her from getting a tan despite living in the desert. Sad depressed girl meets a sparkly vampire. Sad depressed girl decides she’ll give up everything for the sparkly vampire, up to and including her mortal life.
And another vampire wants to eat her, and a really lame fight happens. That’s pretty much all you need to know. It’s certainly all I remember. No, seriously, I literally just watched this movie and that’s about all I can remember other than “Hey, is that Anna Kendrick?” which wasn’t so much in the movie as it was something I said when I saw Anna Kendrick in the movie.
The beauty of this idea is that I watch bad movies all the time so I’ll have plenty of content in the queue at any given time. Hell, Twilights 2, 3 and 4 are ready to go right now!
Reviews will be every Sunday, so if you have any suggestions bad movies you’ve seen (or bad movies you don’t want to see) that I can subject myself to please fire away in the comments either here or there.
Here ends the shameless self promotion.
Simon and I both wrote reviews of Skyfall, the new James Bond film. Here’s an excerpt:
..[T]that’s what makes the film great. Balance. A balance of ideas from the old school of Bond with the new school of Bond storytelling rooted in a world that’s more grounded in reality. Sam Mendes has done a brilliant job bringing this world to the screen and making sure that Craig, Dench and Bardem all play their characters with complexity and layers, never straying too far into anger, sadness or mania as they each deal with their pasts. He also proves himself one of the best action directors currently working today, a slightly strange thought when you consider this is the guy who usually brings us more thoughtful character pieces like American Beauty, Jarhead and Away We Go. The script is brilliant, providing just enough fan service to put a smile on your face but not so much that it falls into the trap of camp so many other Bond films have.
The first thing you notice when you pick it up is how light it is. It’s a strange feeling, because it looks bigger (taller) but it’s actually smaller (thinner, lighter) than my iPhone 4. It almost doesn’t feel real. I always liked the heft of the iPhone 4, it feels substantial and real. This feels like almost nothing in your hand for the first day or two, like a mockup or a toy. After those first days are over though the iPhone 4 starts to feel like a brick. Unwieldily even. How did I ever like using something that’s so damned heavy?
Also strange is how much more, for lack of a better word, magical the iPhone 5 feels. It doesn’t have the ridges around the outside where the antenna protrudes on the iPhone 4, and as a result it feels like one solid piece. Almost as if at the factory they put the ingredients together in a tub, mix them together, roll them out and then just slice off new iPhone 5s like you would cookies from cookie dough or pieces of a jelly roll.
Mmm, jelly roll. Note to self, find granny’s recipe for jelly roll.
So yes, long story short, the iPhone 5 feels amazing in the hand. Yes, it’s taller and I can see some people having issues with that, but I have big hands so, as the kids say these days, ain’t no thang.
Note to self #2, never say that again.
It’s true that the overall design of the thing hasn’t changed that much. The volume, hold and lock buttons are all in the same place. It’s still a rectangular screen with a small round button underneath. This is something that I think is a good thing though. No, scratch that, it’s a fucking great thing. There have been many people all over the web bitching and moaning about how the iPhone 5 isn’t a revolutionary new design, that they didn’t take any big risks with the look and feel of it. You know what though? Those guys are all idiots. I’m upgrading so I don’t want something different, I want something like what I had but better, and that’s exactly what this phone is.
There is one thing that has taken some getting used to which is the headphone connector being on the bottom of the phone rather than the top. This is by no means a complaint though, i can tell you after this first weeks use that it’s much better places on the bottom than the top. It was annoying to always have the cable strung down over the front or behind the phone and inevitably the phone ended up upside down in my pocket a lot of the time, limiting the length of the cable by a good couple of inches. Relocating the connector to the bottom solves both of these problems.
And yes, I know it’s been this way on the iPods for a while but I don’t have an iPod so it’s new to me.
The other major new addition is of course the lightening port replacing the dock connector. I’m actually good with this change as the new connector is smaller and easier to connect which is really all I care about. I don’t have a lot of accessories that use the dock connector (or to rephrase slightly, I don’t have any) so it’s not breaking any compatibility. Now I’m just waiting for a company to come out with a ten foot long lightening cable so I can enjoy the same freedom I do with my iPad. Apple’s cables have always been too short. Couldn’t tell you why they do that, but I can tell you that i still have and use the 3 foot cable that came with my iPod mini back in the day because it’s longer than the cables that came with my iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 or iPad.
The new screen size, for me, is great. I’m going to say this right now: I fucking hate using folders in iOS. I mean, I use them (see the screenshot below), but I hate them. Things have a habit of disappearing into them never to be seen or used again. I try to only put things in them that will give me alerts to combat this but it’s kind of a losing battle. Because of this I’ve always wanted to have more items on my home screen and now I have them. Which is excellent.
I’m not going to talk much about apps here because a) I use a lot of apps and b) let’s be honest, not all that much has changed from running the same OS on my old phone. What I will say is that apps which have been updated to take advantage of the full screen are brilliant to look at and apps that haven’t are also brilliant to look at. The OS adds black bars to non-updated apps and they blend into the bezel for me. I don’t even notice that I might have to move my thumb a few millimetres more in most apps. Games with touch controls are another story, my thumbs naturally slide to the outside of the screen so I’m much worse at SuperCrate Box on my iPhone than I am on my iPad for example.
Note to self #3, I’m pretty terrible at super crate box, don’t give them the impression that I might be ok at it.
Since we’re on the subject of the screen it’s also worth pointing out that colours do seem to pop more as well. Photos are brighter and clearer, as are videos, and videos don’t letterbox anymore which is a nice bonus.
Speaking of photos, holy shit the camera is amazing on this thing. Granted the lens on my iPhone 4 is scratched to all hell but beyond that the app is more responsive and the panorama feature is pretty spectacular. The camera also does quite a bit better in low light as advertised which is a welcome update since the iPhone 4 did about as well trying to capture something in low light as a British person trying to understand baseball (I kid Simon, I kid).
So conclusion, I like the iPhone 5. It’s a great upgrade over the 4. It’s probably not for everyone, but it is just right for me.
There’s a palpable energy in the air. Fans are excited, a constant din of discussion and cheering and jeering goes on in the background. The smells of the place, wafting aromas of hotdogs, cheap beer, popcorn and people sweating in the evening sun. The noises as well, above the fans you can hear the organ playing, whatever presentation is on the jumbotron and, above all and even from the cheap seats, you can hear the game. The crack of the bat, the players calling dibs on fly outs.
If there is an energy in the air for most the game, the place becomes positively electrified when the Yankees do something amazing. They’re the Yankees so this happens a lot.
Hiroki Kuroda struck out Albert Pujols looking on his first at bat and the crowd went nuts.
In the bottom of the third Teixeira homered to left bringing in Jeter and giving the Yankees a one run lead, and the crowd went nuts.
Through the top of the 8th the Angels managed to score 4 more runs to gain a 5 - 2 lead and the crowd grew restless but you could tell that they never lost hope. These are the Yankees, after all.
Bottom of the 8th. Jeter doubles. Granderson walks to first. Teixeira takes the plate again and the fans are rapt. He swings, you can hear the impact as he sends the ball over the left field wall to tie the game. The crowd goes fucking crazy. Everyone, all 49,000 people, are on their feet. It’s a tie game and there’s still no outs.
Rodriguez and Cano both hit to outs. Swisher walks and is replaced by Wise. Wise steals second and the crowd is on their feet again. Jepson walks Ibanez on purpose, then Martin hits a single to the right and Wise rounds third and makes it home. The crowd, I swear to god, is cheering through the next play (which ends the inning).
The Yankees hold the 9th inning and win 6 to 5.
I have a great many friends who tell me they don’t really get baseball. They tell me it’s boring. They tell me it’s like grass growing. I ask them why they are talking about golf, and then just go on my merry way. I learned a long time ago that baseball can’t really be explained; you have to experience it and you can;’t experience it on TV. You have to go to a game wanting to know what all the fuss is about. You have to smell the smells, hear the sounds, and get caught up in what is one of the two greatest games on earth.
Baseball is filled with moments. It doesn’t flow like hockey or football (not NFL, football. You kick a ball in football, you don’t carry it). It doesn’t have so many interruptions as american football (this is the one where they carry it).
There can be long stretches of moments that are pretty uneventful, it’s true, but it’s the 8th inning home run to tie the game that makes baseball special. It’s the walk off home run to win game 6 of the world series that makes baseball special. It’s the moments that you are on the edge of your seat waiting for the entire game that make baseball special.
I’ve taken my good friend Simon to a few games here. There was one in particular where the home team Canadians were behind going into the 7th inning. He was bored. He’s been to a bunch of games but is still working on understanding the game (forgive him, he’s British), but in this game the Canadians came from behind to win by one run with a scored of, if memory served, 8 to 7. I asked him what he thought about the game afterwards and his response was “I still don’t really get what was happening, but I was on the edge of my seat for the last three innings!”
It’s the moments that get you on your feet. That get you high fiving people you don’t even know. That get your heart pumping.
So if you think it’s boring, you should probably get to a real game. Hopefully I’ll see you there.
- Full Play by Play for the game in question @ ESPN.com
- Video scan around of Yankee Stadium before the game started:
I keep meaning to write something here but it keeps not happening. Meantime, here’s some more shameless self promotion. Episode 32 of Awesome Friday, in which we discuss our top ten games from the 6th generation.
Episode 28 is now live! This week we talk about two movies we want to see (Ted and Looper), one movie we have seen (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), games we’re playing (Civ 5 and Virtua Fighter), and about Radical Games being shuttered and a reaction to the game industry’s current directions.