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Hallenbeck77 Blog

Too Lazy to Come Up With Something Remotely Witty.

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Damn, it's been over six months since I bothered to make a half-assed effort to update this thing...I'm gonna have to try to get back into properly making blog posts.

To anyone who's interested, I'm down for GTA Online for the 360 this weekend if you are.

Talk to you soon...

Facing An Uncertain Future

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What's goin on, people.

Right now I'm typing this because I just need to do something to keep myself from losing the few shreds of sanity I have left from typing and sending multiple resumes to different places in the hopes of landing a new job.  The company I work for  had a contract to work with the goverment for a set amount of time.  Right now, time is about up for me; I received an estimated time of departure for me which will be before the month is out.  I've known that I was leaving, but I haven't had a exact deadline until today.  I've been posting resumes in the meantime, but it's less than encouraging when places take their time to call you back--or don't even call you at all.

It's frustrating when anyone loses their job in this day and age, but it stings more when you lose it through no fault of your own.  It'd be one thing to be canned because you fvcked up at your job--at least you have a rational reason to blame yourself and feel like a failure.  But somehow, I still feel like I failed, and it's my fault.  It's irrational, nonsesical and just plain stupid.  And I can't help it at all.

For the past month or so I've been waking up every day wondering how are you're gonna make ends meet, and it's starting to take its toll on me physically.  Lack of appetite and lack of sleep is a sonuvab!tch, believe me.  I'm grateful to have some money stashed away, and the infinite love, understanding, and support of my wife.  Without her I be in a huge world of misery.

I wish I had a point with this blog post, but I don't.  All I can say is that if you got someone to love waiting for you when you go home tonight--be it a significant other, a friend, a pet, anything--consider yourselves among the lucky...it's more than what some people have.

Back to work for me...at least for a little while longer, anyway.  Talk to you soon.

Blu-Ray Review: Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume 2

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After about two delays, a destroyed hard drive, an entire rewrite from memory, it's finally ready to be posted. Feel free to check out my take on Vol.1 for those who missed it. Heres my review of Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume Two, courtesy of Warner Home Video.

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The Feature:

For almost 80 years, Looney Tunes have been entertaining audiences the world over with their hilarious antics and memorable characters. As part of the second volume in their ongoing Platinum Collection series, Warner Bros. has released 50 additional cartoon shorts, 10 of which have never before released for home video--uncut, uncensored, and digitally re-mastered specifically for Blu-Ray.

Disc 1 is a Best of collection, featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky, Pig and others:

  1. A Wild Hare (1st official Bugs Bunny cartoon, Elmer Fudd, 1940)
  2. Buckaroo Bugs (Bugs Bunny, 1944)
  3. Long-Haired Hare (Bugs, 1949)
  4. Ali Baba Bunny (Bugs and Daffy, 1957)
  5. Show Biz Bugs (Bugs and Daffy, 1957)
  6. The Wise Quacking Duck (Daffy, 1943)
  7. What Makes Daffy Duck? (Daffy and Elmer, 1948)*
  8. Book Revue (Daffy, 1946)
  9. Deduce, You Say (Daffy and Porky Pig, 1956)
  10. Porky in Wackyland (Porky, 1938)
  11. You Ought to Be in Pictures (Porky and Daffy, 1940)
  12. Porky inEgypt (Porky, 1938)
  13. Back Alley Oproar (Sylvester and Elmer (1948)
  14. Little Red Rodent Hood (Sylvester, 1952)
  15. Canned Feud (Sylvester, 1951)
  16. Gift Wrapped (Tweety, Granny and Sylvester, 1952)
  17. Birdy and the Beast (Tweety, 1944)*
  18. Home, Tweet Home (Tweety and Sylvester, 1950)*
  19. Going! Going! Gosh! (Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, (1952)
  20. Zipping Along (Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, 1953)
  21. Scent-Imental Romeo (Pepe LePew, 1949)
  22. The Foghorn Leghorn (Foghorn, Henry Hawk, Barnyard Dawg, 1951)
  23. The High and the Flighty (Foghorn, Barnyard Dawg, Daffy, 1956)*
  24. Tabasco Road(Speedy Gonzales, 1957)
  25. Mexicali Schmoes (Speedy, 1959)

Disc 2 contains shorts featuring memorable supporting characters, such as Beaky Buzzard, Nasty Canasta, Cecil Turtle, and A. Flea, as well as The Rabbit Season Trilogy featuring Bugs, Daffy and Elmer. Theres also a collection featuring classic Hollywood actors, and one-shot characters:

  1. 1.Wabbit Trouble (Bugs and Elmer, 1941)
  2. Rabbit Fire (Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, 1951)
  3. Rabbit Seasoning (Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, 1952)
  4. Duck, Rabbit, Duck! (Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, 1953)
  5. Drip-Along Daffy (Daffy, Porky, Nasty Canasta, 1951)
  6. My Little Buckaroo (Daffy, Porky, Nasty Canasta, 1954)
  7. Barbary CoastBunny (Bugs, Nasty Canasta, 1956)
  8. Tortoise Beats Hare (Bugs, Cecil Turtle, 1941)
  9. Tortoise Wins By a Hare (Bugs, Cecil Turtle, 1943)
  10. Rabbit Transit (Bugs, Cecil Turtle, 1947)
  11. Porky's Hare Hunt (Porky, 1938)*
  12. Hare-Um Scare-Um (1939)*
  13. Prest-O Change-O (1939)*
  14. Elmer's Candid Camera (Elmer, 1940)
  15. Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (Bugs, Beaky Buzzard, 1942)
  16. The Bashful Buzzard (Beaky, 1945)
  17. The Lion's Busy (Beaky, 1950)*
  18. Strife with Father (Beaky, 1950)*
  19. An Itch in Time (A. Flea, Elmer, 1943)
  20. A Horsefly Fleas (A. Flea, 1947)*
  21. HollywoodSteps Out (1941)
  22. Page Miss Glory (1936)
  23. Rocket-Bye Baby (1956)
  24. Russian Rhapsody (1944)
  25. Dough Ray Me-Ow (1948)

* Notes cartoons that have never been released on DVD.

I dont think I need to sell readers on the old school Looney Tunes cartoons. These are characters and shorts that are practically etched into the fabric of American animation and pop culture. In fact, its difficult to find someone who isnt familiar with them in one form or another. Rather, most people want to know, Is this set worth my hard earned money? Allow me to answer that for you.

First off, I have to let you know that like last year's set, most of the shorts featured have been released in earlier box sets as part of Warner's discontinued Spotlight Collection, and I know some people may not want to pay again for something they might already own. However, the picture quality in these cleaned up sets are amazing, especially considering they were re-mastered in the older sets as well. Colors are bright and dark hues are inky, like they should be. Theres dust spots on some cartoons, but thats a result from the source material and not from the re-mastering process; it help retains its natural look.

Some of these shorts--particulary some of the black and white ones--almost look like they might have been made recently. In You Ought To Be in Pictures, theres a mix of animation and live action that still holds up very well to this day. Its hard to believe it was made over 70 years ago.

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Another reason this may warrant a purchase is because the selections are great and varied, offering something for everyone for fans of all of the characters. My particular favorites are the ones featuring Bugs and Cecil Turtle, being that they're one of the few shorts that has Bugs getting the short end of the stick. Theres something about him seeing him being made the fool that just makes it that much funnier. Even if youre not a fan of a particular character, theres such variety in the set that youre bound to find at least ONE cartoon you might enjoy.

Sounds

Looney Tunes Platinum Collection vol. 2 is presented in 2 dolby digital 1.0 mono tracks, one of English, the other Spanish. They sound perfectly fine to untrained ears like mine, but audiophiles may be disappointed. There are also English and French subtitles.

Visuals

All of the shorts are presented in a full frame aspect. Ive touched on them earlier in the review, but once again they look even better than the previous DVD versions. Even if you own the older sets, they may well be worth the upgrade.

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Extras

This is once again where the collection shines and makes it worth the money.

37 of the sets 50 cartoons contain commentary tracks by various animation directors, and historians, some of which contain audio interviews with the original creators. There are also some isolated musical and sound effects tracks on certain cartoons as well. Disc 1 contains three extra featurettes, while disc two contains five.

Disc 3 is where the bulk of the extras are. Theres a featurette that focuses on Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger, one on director Friz Freling, as well as an episode ToonHeads, the Cartoon Network series that focuses on rarely seen cartoons.

Theres also two documentaries that focus on the life and career of animation director Tex Avery. Even better, theres also 11 cartoons he's directed from where he went to rival studio MGM. Featuring Droopy, Screwball Squirell, the Wolf and Red Hot Riding Hood, all of these cartoons are shown completely uncensored. However, they haven't been remastered, but theyre still watchable.

Still not enough? There are also at least 16 more rarely seen cartoons that are included as well. The amount of extras are staggering, and itll take some time to get through them all.

Please note there are two things that must be known about this set:

I just want to reiterate that a lot of these shorts were released in previous sets in Warner's now discontinued Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD series. The visuals in this set are vastly superior and improved, but I rather have people not get upset for buying a set full of cartoons they may have owned previously.

The other thing is that this set is also available on standard DVD as a two disc set, however the third disc full of bonuses IS A BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE, meaning youll miss out on a lot if you purchase the standard version. I'd go with the Blu-Ray version if you can. Its not that expensive, the set retails for about $40, but you can get it for about $30 in Wal-mart and other stores, as well as on Amazon.

Final Word

This is a great set for both casual and die-hard fans alike. The amount of cartoons, bonus material and a reasonable price point makes it worth picking up. For those who may have the older sets, I would still recommend this as a purchase being that the improved picture quality and decent price are very hard to pass up. I cant wait to see what theyll do for volume 3.

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Final Score: 8.5 out of 10


Review will be up tomorrow--just with no screenshots.

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Nothing too important here, just that my delayedreview(being that my hard drive died and I had to rewrite the whole thing from my slowly fading memory) will be posted tomorrow morning with no personal screengrabs. I might get pics from other sites, but I'm not too certain about it, it feels like cheating or plagarism if I do so.

At any rate, it'll definitely be up tomorrow--maybe tonight, depending on how soon I get home from work today.

Later...

Motherf***in' lousy-ass external hard drive--damn thing wiped my review!!!

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I'm seething at this point.

I had my review all set, and good to post yesterday--wouldv'e done it Monday as scheduled, but I wound up working late. I went to upload it from an old hand-me-down external hard drive I got from a friend. I went to open the file, and suddenly the light on the drive flickered, dimmed and died out. Went to re-click on it...no response. My drive is now a paperweight.

Well, actually...it's now a subject of conversation on my desk, with the discussion usually beginning with how I managed to embed the sharp end of a claw hammer directly into it in a fit of rage, center mass. It's just as well, it was on its last legs anyway, and it was for the best that I put it out of my misery. Sucks that I now have to re-write it from memory, which I'm currently in the process of doing now. Look for it this weekend.

Damn technology.

*sigh*

I'm actually making progress on a review! Who knew?!

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I've had a lot of difficulty in finding the time--and motivation--to actually write anything for the blog lately, but between work, Borderlands 2, real life and everything else in between, I've actually hit the halfway point in writing my latest Blu-Ray review. After I complete the writing portion, I'll do some screengrabs and if things go well, I'm on track to have it up by Monday, if not this weekend.

Nothing much else to add...God, I lead a boring life, huh?

Talk again soon!

New Blu-Ray Review Coming Soon!!!

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Because I'm too lazy to readjust the picture at the moment, it's Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume Two.

I just picked it up today, and I'm currently watching this as I type. It looks to be a stacked set with 8 hrs. of bonus stuff alone, so it'll be coming within the next week or so. And for those who missed my take on Volume 1, here's something to tide you over in the meantime.

Th-th-th-that's all for now, folks! Talk to you soon!

For paradise, It's been really hard to go outside lately

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This hazy scene before you is what the sunset from my balcony looked like this past Monday due to Vog. For those who don't know, it's a form of air pollution that's common due to the sulfur dioxide that's emitted from the Kilauea Volcano from the Big Island. It comes and goes every now and again but the trade winds usually keep it at bay. However, the winds haven't been blowing lately, and it's been like this since last Friday--making a lot of people miserable, myself included. It's been uncomfortably humid, and it's been playing havoc on those with respiratory problems. Even those who don't have them have been finding it a bit harder to breathe.

Hopefully, it SHOULD clear up by the end of the week. I hope so...I'm tired of feeling grimey every time I go outside.

I know...not the best blog post I've made but they all can't be gems, you know.

Careful--The Cabin In The Woods Blu-Ray Has A Cover FULL Of Spoilers!

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Yesterday, Lionsgate has released the surprisingly great horror movie The Cabin in the Woods on DVD and Blu-Ray (It'll probably get lost on the racks due to the Indiana Jones Blu-Ray box set was just released as well). It's an excellent movie, and I'll go through the bonus features soon. However, my gripe with this is toward the studio's marketing department. The case itself features the original movie poster design show below (Which has a nice design,) which in itself doesn't spoil anything.

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The cardboard slipcase that holds it however, is a different story.

It's one of those that has a lenticular picture attached. You know, those plastic things that feature another picture when you tilt it at a certain angle. What it features is a pic that reveals a major plot element of the movie. Even worse, the description on the back of the box give away even more of the story.

Marketing a movie for home release with spoilers on the cover seems a bit counterproductive, but that's just me. Not a big deal for me being I seen this in theaters, but for those who haven't seen this movie yet, it robs them of the joy of seeing this without a clue of what lays ahead--which is the way you need to see it. This is what it SHOULD say:

A group of friends decide to spend a fun weekend in an old cabin.

They'll soon wish they didn't.

You THINK you know what's gonna happen. Think again.


That's all you need to know without going into spoiler territory. Well, that and in a genre that's full of tired sequels, unnecessary remakes and no originality, this is a welcome breath of fresh air. Check it out if you can. And toss the slipcover out!

Tips for someone using a camera phone? (besides use a REAL damn Camera)

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About a month ago I upgraded my old Droid X to a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone and I'm happy with my purchase. I want to take some pics to email home back to the family on the mainland; however my photography skills are--for lack of a better term--crappy. I know it's only a phone with a camera built in and what I'm going to take isn't gonna wind up on the cover of Life magazine anytime soon, but is there any tips, tricks, etc to get the most out of them? The last I wanna do is just point-and-shoot and hope for the best.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!