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Xaviersx Blog

TV: Repost of About.com comment re StarGate Universe cancellation

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Repost of my comment left on an About.com article on the cancellation of Stargate Universe. It speaks more to my thoughts on the network, but is relative to the cancellation's mindset.

"I wrote on my blog elsewhere that if I hold one thing as true is that SyFy isn't. It isn't true to the hopes and potential of being a SciFi network, and in rebranding itself SyFy, and it's decision on what to air and what to axe, proves it to be a me-too network, sister of a failing or flailing network (NBC), and worth dropping from whatever subscription package hosting it. I once dreamed of the SciFi channel being a treasure trove of past, current, and developing series and movies both great and small, but what they aspired to isn't what I initially signed up for. Each year, they excite a little but disappoint so much more. I'll miss Stargate U, it was fresh in the franchise and too soon axed, and no cooking or wrestling shows will be sci fi enough to replace it or forgive the network. . . . Can a network be folded . . . ?"

Music - Taylor Swift & Kanye West (MTV VMAs) - 092009

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Just a short post to say, I am sorry that Taylor Swift's moment (big moment) was hijacked and ruined by Kanye West's comments and behavior during her acceptance speech. There is a time and a place for expressing your opinion of your friend's merits when they don't win an award, but not by taking the stage and the moment of the winner of that award. It shows little class and little respect, and utterly destroys the joy and momentum for the winner. I'm just glad that during the course of the awards show, Beyonce was able and willing to make up for Kanye's actions by providing Swift an opportunity to return and have her moment.

Kanye, yet another nail in the coffin for my attention to your antics and music.

Taylor Swift, keep making music and getting your moments.

Beyonce, thanks for being the classy person not enough people give you credit, and for also being an award winner.

Blog Posting - General Apology

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Just a quick post, for the few that may read my rantings.

I am not apologizing for the things that I've posted (what I've written I feel to be true), I'm just sorry that it's given the impression that I'm a negative person since what I've felt strongly about posting involves (usually) something that either upsets me or saddens me.

That being said, I find it personally funny that I tend to not rate things poorly (at least television and entertainer wise), but nail business practices of the networks or business.

Maybe when I become more comfortable with the blogging process, I'll take the time for more cheerful or positive topics to write about. They exist, . . . I know they do, . . . other people talk about them so they're out there somewhere . . ;)

TV - Opinion - Sci Fi Channel name change to SyFy

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For my personal archive, this is from my posting to:

Blog Spotlight: Sci Fi Channel Creator Says SyFy Name Change is Dumb

"It's dumb to me, because I don't feel that the name change will bring any quality to what feels to be a stale network, who's focus has been shifting from quality science fiction television and movies, and becoming more of a me too network with reality shows that aren't of the genre and poorly crafted made for SciFi movies. If Sci Fi Channel had announced a round table of top talent writers and directors, focusing the money away from copycat creature movies, and would become home to other networks quality but canceled series (ie 4400, Journeyman, Surface, etc), then I could be excited. Where is the vision for legacy, not just trademark and marketing. I've no inclination right now to buy a SyFy t-shirt at the SyFy online store . . and I don't wonder why."

TV - Observations - My Viewing Thoughts 04222009

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It seems lately that I'm growing further apart from my television viewing joy. Maybe it's having so many entertainment options at hand; gaming consoles, multipurpose pc, Netflix account, volleyball, horticulture, magazines, just laying back and thinking, but less and less desire to watch TV. More importantly, less desire to watch my favorite or possible favorite shows either get canceled due to panicky networks or become mired in trying to appeal to a larger audience to keep same said networks from becoming panicky and in turn, losing their vision, selling it out to ad sponsors. Maybe it's boredom. I'm old enough to have seen enough TV to be picky and bored with the same old same ole.

I've got dvr scheduled shows piling up into a backlog of Fringe, Dollhouse, Chuck, and more. I'll look over My Recordings for hourly diversions, but I don't feel the fire to delve into a marathon, nor a moment of any. I want to, but not really. Or maybe I don't want to, but not really. I recently forced myself into 3 hours of Chuck and enjoyed it. I knew I would, but it was just getting started that was part of the problem. My must see TV, which has been reduced to Lost and Heroes (so long Battlestar) are the only programs I must see right at broadcast. They still engage my sense of wonder, curiosity in the creative process, and joy in the results (Heroes less and less over the seasons).

Has DVR viewing (TV at my leisure), ruined me. It use to be, if you didn't see your shows when they originally aired, you would be very hard pressed to see a missed episode and for a long time afterwards. Taping (vhs or DVD) was a hassle in keeping up with the scheduled / manual duty and the media itself. Now, with the DVR, I often just get up when I please, take my time in doing other things, and rewind as necessary when viewing live or pre recorded. It's changed me, … for the better and also for the worst.

Such is life.

Movies - Review (Non Spoiler) - The Mist

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In my opinion, it was a surprisingly good movie.

What I found engaging in the film was the unfolding nature of people trapped in such veiled peril; what is the mist, where did it originate, what can we do and not do to stay safe from or escape from the mist and its mounting horrors. The cycling through the states of people's / group's mindset, the disbelief in the possibilities, the initial reactions of stubborn pride and ignorance which in any benign circumstance would seem rational and intelligent course of action, followed by how people /groups break down into making rash decisions, indecision, falling into panic, fear, betrayal, rallying around religion, seeking answers if not help, and finding faith or insanity, this survival at all cost and sacrifice interplaying throughout.

I found the main characters to be well fleshed out and believable. I grew either desperately hopefully for those I attached to or felt great anger at other characters, and at the end of the movie, I had to revisit some of my thoughts on who was wrong or right, and by what degree, since much was not revealed in how all fared.

What I did find fault with was in its ending. It's pacing and resolutions seemed forced, thus not effectively conveying elements that would lead to the concluding events. But those are creative editing issues, not acting or basic storyline, and purely opinion on my part. I found myself immediately wanting to see the extra features and needing to relive the last moments to gain perspective, which I rarely do with movies. For a movie inspired by a Stephen King novella (and I have problems with most Stephen King related movies being sub par in my opinion), I was pleasantly surprised with how well I received it, mildly disturbed by the overall impression left, and satisfied in this B+ "monster" movie.

TV - Show Cancellations - I don't have to like it, and I can say so

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It's very true, television shows get canceled and most without what the core audience would consider a proper ending ( the last chapter and sentence as in a book). Of the last few years, it seems that even if networks ordered a full season's run: had it filmed and in the can for broadcast, they've been jittery about ad revenue, Nielsen ratings, and production costs to the point of killing off a show mid season, if not much earlier. Then to turn around and dump something else into it's place with the same jitters and knee jerk reactions, or worse yet, another reality show to numb and dumb the masses. Junk bond tactics to me.

I'm all for networks making business decisions to keep business going, but some of these decisions border on panic, not thought, and quick fix, not long term stability and legacy. So yes, I am angered about a rash of my favorite programs getting canceled and I shared my views in the TV.com forums and posts, due to my investment of time and mind-share. We all have an opinion and a right to our own, even those people who post not so much that they hated a show, but as much for hating on the people who are fans of said shows. It's all cool, you're shows are subject to similar winds of fate, and I may hate or not care about your shows as much as you do mine, but I will not slam you for having your opinion, just slam you for slamming mine. As for TV executives, . . . after the last writers' strike, I learned to deal without new TV with great ease, . . . video games, Internet, older TV shows on DVD rental, the great outdoors, relationships, sports, . . . you see where I'm going with this. It's never been easier for me to not care and withhold from networks my time and mind-share, because I don't feel a real investment from networks to invest in the communities that are created around their 'properties'. It'll bite you, just a fair warning. What will be network TV's bailout?

Gaming - Used Games, Don't Blame the Player, Blame the Game

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Every so often, there is a commentary or news articles about how bad the used game market is to the gaming industry or on how publishers/developers are looking for ways to curtail the used game market by creating new distribution models that rely on original buyer lock-in (so you can't borrow from/lend and/or sell to another because they won't be able to use or fully use the purchased media, i.e. DVD or Cd's).

I won't delve too deep into this fight on levels of whether it's a company right or a consumer wrong, just want to say to the gaming industry; either leave the used market alone or become a helpful partner in the before and after market.

I'm sure that a number of people buying games are like myself, thrifty and cautious. We're not often trying to purchase games at their initial release or at their initial pricing. I'm decidedly last gen for a reason, to enter a developed and ample market with no wait and plenty of remedies. Sometimes it's because we believe that the cost is too high for either an unproven contender or too high for our gameplay style (few opportunities or hours to play), or that the pricing model itself is over inflated for the entertainment value (like having a single player games played offline that probably has a more amped up multi player feature or online multiplayer but the buyer is a single/offline player at heart).

As a buyer of used or even old, never sold games, I often want to purchase titles that have a thoroughly reviewed history, proper patched software and enhancements, and on PC, those mods from the modding community that enhance and/or transform titles. If I'm buying a used game, the original owner paid that initial price, that media (DVD or CDs has earned its cash). If the original owner has derived his or her pleasure or hate from the game, why shouldn't they be able to sell/transfer it to another buyer without the disdain or prohibitions of the publisher/developer? Why should the 2nd, 3rd, etc etc buyer have to pay anything more than what the last owner was willing to sell it for or the retailer who bought it and is reselling it for, just because the IP owner is not in the revenue stream? As long as no one claims to have created the property, and the next buyer has a market to buy new or used freely available, what legal harm has this used market caused? If anything, a smart publisher shouldn't choke the system with inflated and prolonged pricing, but work with it by reducing the retail cost on a loose timetable or closely tied to its popularity to expand its audience while still gaining revenue, even becoming a reseller of used games or working with game retailers on the used market.

Just my ramblings for now on something I heard podcasted.

Gaming - Hardware Headaches - Xbox360

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I'll be the 1st to admit, I'm not following the news and data of the Xbox360 and its hardware evolution, but I follow technology well enough to recognize a number of things. Now more than ever the 360 puzzles me with some areas of weakness and/or concern brought on by sturdily rising competition with 1. the consumer hit in the Nintendo Wii and it's lower expense but higher demand, and 2. the future forward blu-ray console PS3 from Sony and its rebound in sales. Something for MS to ponder IMO, if only they would:
1st. Harddrive sizes in retail outmatch the meager offerings in any Xbox sku and that the price point for a 360 harddrive alone is more expensive per gigabyte than any modern consumer grade harddrive. It seems inane to me in this day and age to hamstring a system with a design that does not allow some consumer upgrade when using technology that is readily and easily upgraded in other consumer devices. MP3 players for one example have for the most part moved away from sealing off key components, such as drives and batteries. Though they may not make it easy for upgrade, rarely do they system lock devices from recognizing higher capacities or utilizing replacement batteries. Why should Microsoft continue it's tight design and system controls over the harddrive? Would it not benefit them to be more permissive, like their competitor, and not hinder the number of consumers willing to perform a upgrade of their drives or even utilize capacities more inline with retail offerings? Would it not renew interest in the console to be able to purchase from a retailer drives that are standard dimensions and of any capacity; such as 500GB, 750GB or even 1TB and plug and play? It would certainly cultivate an environment for storing more content (game caches, movie/TV purchases/rentals, user music and pictures, etc etc), which supposedly would increase online spending. If the marketplace is a keen point of MS's interest, and given the supposed lifespan of the console design before the next generation, why not allow it to be as robust as it can be and not limp along in the face of small and nimble competition or large but evolving competition?

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2nd. Another drive issue is in not utilizing BluRay in a timely fashion. If this is the current physical gateway to hi-def movies aimed to take advantage of hi-def TVs, and a boon for game developers to add copious amounts of content and gaming code beyond the limitations of the DVD spec, how long can MS hold out on offering a sku that includes said BluRay? At what point does not having it make the console a less attractive sales item? MS seems to be playing a waiting game, maybe to reach a point where the addition would not increase their units perceived price closer to or over the PS3's. Maybe, as some have assumed, MS might take the failure of HD-DVD personally and does not what to lend credence to the competitions camp or be last one to the dance. Maybe their banking on broadband downloads to be the answer back, or the next great storage invention to supplant BluRay before it's foothold is deep. Maybe seems risky.
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3rd. With competitors jumping into the online gaming, networking and services pool with Microsoft, and shaking things up with their price models and offerings, how long before Microsoft has to consider adding more perks to their paid Live membership service or lowering the price point to appear to be as good of a value? Can Xbox compete with free network membership from Sony's PSN? Can MS afford to do so in this economic climate, or more likely, can they afford not to do one or more of these things? This one seems to come down to perceptions, server/service quality, the online experience with friends and strangers, consumer goods for free, at reasonable prices, at unreasonable prices, who's got the most bang for the buck. Maybe MS will have to do what Sony does to match price points. If they don't, will add perks/services/goods counter the competition?
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Those are just a few prickly questions that make me hesitant when looking at an Xbox bundle for sale. If not for the majority of my gaming collection being Xbox compatible, the current offering would not be nearly temping enough to keep me from purchasing a different system, be it PS3 or a gaming PC (I see little value in my owning a Wii). If MS wants to continue to grow marketshare, I'd believe they'd have to address at least two of these three things in the near future or watch their gains level off or erode.


Oh well, maybe the Dreamcast 2 will shake up everybody. ;)

5-14-2009

Afterword:

What I now think would benefit Microsoft's 360 console is something that Microsoft would probably be deathly afraid to do, a modular console. If I had input into the direction of the console design, I would have it that the unit would be more plug and play modular like notebooks/laptops. And I'd open the device up to allowing the consumer to self replace/upgrade the hardware, such as harddrive, microchips, and optical drive. So in my sku, I could buy the largest available capacity 2.5 harddrive to supplant the original, I could eject and replace the optical drive with per say a blu-ray upgrade, the chipset could be stackable or swappable so that the capabilities of the box could improve without a new edition marketed with just a few tweaks of design and mentality over at the Xbox offices/factories. Though not everybody would do it, it would be possible to many and extend the lifespan and enjoyment of the unit. Consumers could consume more downloads, play faster and better, and the competition would be met on level ground renewing the decision making process in regards to those shopping 'next gen' specs.

Entertainment - Celebs born in the same year as myself - 1971

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I'll be adding some of my favorite persons, celebrities or not, to this list of persons born in the same year as myself: 1971

Starting off in no particular order, with their claim to fame as I remember them, and for now:

  • Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg): September 30, 1971
  • Shannen Doherty (Heathers, 90210, Charmed) April 12, 1971
  • Erykah Badu (R&B Jazz Hip Hop singer songwriter) February 26, 1971
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World, The Nutty Professor, Set It Off) September 18, 1971
  • Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes (R&B group TLC) May 27, 1971
  • Mary J Blige (R&B Hip Hop singer songwriter producer actor) born January 11, 1971
  • Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (Singer) April 16, 1971
  • Renée O'Connor (Xena) February 15, 1971
  • Jessica Collins (Tru Calling, Everwood, Beverly Hill 90120) April 1, 1971
  • Christine Taylor (Brady Bunch Movie, The Wedding Singer, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) July 30, 1971

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  • David Tennant (Doctor Who, Harry Potter) April 18, 1971
  • Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars) March 31, 1971
  • Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can't Lose, StarGate SG1) November 5, 1971
  • Daniel Goddard (BeastMaster) August 28, 1971
  • James Callis (Battlestar Galactica, Bridget Jones movies) June 04, 1971
  • Snoop Dogg (Rapper, actor, producer) born October 20, 1971
  • Dorian Gregory (Charmed) January 26, 1971
  • Eric Mabius (Cruel Intentions, Resident Evil, Ugly Betty) April 22, 1971
  • Jared Leto (My So-Called Life, American Psycho, Alexander) December 26, 1971
  • Jeffery Gordon (Nascar racer) August 4, 1971
  • Joel McHale (The Soup) November 20, 1971
  • David Arquette (Scream Trilogy, Never Been Kissed, Eight Legged Freaks )September 8, 1971
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