June 20th, 2011

Green

Yesterday was really relaxing! (212.8)

Yes, sorry, I liked "Green Lantern." Like jccohen, I thought it did a good job of a) roughly hitting the character's and universe's basics and b) being fun. If you go, don't leap out of your seat at the beginning of the credits. Have you learned nothing over the years? The movie's not over!

I was kind of amused this morning to read Newsweek's piece Invasion of the Bodybuilders, talking about GL's Ryan Reynolds among other recent examples of mega-muscled screen stars. When I saw the trailers with his absurd physique in the skintight Lantern-created costume, I figured there was some digital magic involved, but no, he really does seem to be a skinny guy with top-heavy muscles piled on.

That's probably in character, though, if Hal Jordan is to be believed as a self-centered test-pilot. No doubt there's significant overlap between the self-centered test-pilot set and the overdone-physique set.

I don't honestly remember enough of the details of Green Lantern's origin to know how well they did, but it was a pretty good story that, from my point of view, held up well. Nothing too complicated, some decent action, and some really nicely done CGI. Of course, this movie wasn't "art," dramatically speaking, but I think it warrants a trip to the cinema to be enjoyed on the big screen. (Maybe would've been worth seeing in 3D, too, but the folks I was going with picked the flat version.)

After the movie, I joined a good friend's birthday party, already in progress, and was pleasantly surprised to see bdouglas there. (I should stop being surprised when he and I discover a new friend in common.) The party was at Stewart Park, and the weather was just stunning and perfect for a late-afternoon and early-evening session alongside the lake. (Photos to come. I know this astonishes you.)

There were fresh pies, a few salads (mine was both vegan and gluten free, though I'm not sure anyone cared), and somewhat quirkily, a couple of take-out containers of Chinese food. Pretty sure I've never seen that at a picnic at the park before! Tasty, though. My homemade iced tea was a hit, especially with the birthday girl. There were lots of cool people there, some of whom I already knew and some I didn't, and it turned out to be a really relaxing way to spend a few hours.

Brandon and I headed downtown for a pint of kombucha (a fizzy, fermented, but non-alcoholic drink), and after we parted, I decided I wasn't quite done with the evening, so I swung by the Nines for some live music and texted a friend to see if she wanted to join me. She did, and we chatted for a couple more hours. I had to get up early this morning, but I think it was worth staying out late anyway.
Panther

In other news...

I knew from the press coverage (some of which I helped with), the demos, and various friends that the Apple TV was a cool gizmo, but I was pretty sure I didn't need one. Between my TiVo, my Mac, and my iPad, I could do all that, right? Netflix streaming, Amazon instant video, YouTube... all set on my TiVo, thanks. I've also been able to convert videos to a form I can copy to the TiVo, using some third-party software, for when I obtain videos by, shall we say, other means.

Well, my parents gave me an Apple TV for my birthday, and let me tell you, I'm hooked. It won't be useful for live TV or the shows my TiVo is recording for me to watch soon after they air, but it's absolutely a better experience for all of the above than TiVo is currently offering. Now, it's not that different for some of the basics, and it's missing some things like the crucial hop-back-a-few-seconds button that TiVo has had since 2000. But, vitally, it has AirPlay.

AirPlay means I don't have to care where the video is that I want to watch. If it's on my iPad, or my Mac, I don't have to copy it to the Apple TV. (In fact, I can't; it has no long-term storage.) If I'm looking at it on my iPad screen, I just tap the AirPlay control on the iPad... and it continues playing on the Apple TV. (If I had two, I could pick which Apple TV.) Or, if I've got videos on the Mac, several feet away from where I'm relaxing, I can use the Apple TV's remote to pull up the video and start playing.

For just $99, this little gizmo deserves a spare HDMI port on just about everyone's TV. I may need another one for the bedroom before long.