The new rise of physical editions

There are a few TV shows and movies that are part of our all time classics. Among them, you can find Star Trek, Stargate and Twin Peaks. You can watch some of these on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks.

With the rise of these streaming services, we’ve seen the amount of TV shows increase exponentially but, out of the hundreds of these new shows, how many are really good and, more importantly, how many would you re-watch?

Now, it is probably a matter of taste, but none of these shows come close to the quality of the shows from the 90s. The scenarios are too far fetched, the dialogues are too long and often put me to sleep instead of contributing to the plot. Do you ever see a Casa de Papel become as iconic as X-Files or Twin Peaks, which still have their own conventions nowadays.

We don’t make classics anymore, simply because there are too many shows and the good ones are lost in a sea of mediocrity.

Something else that bothers me is that, even if your favorite show is on Netflix, it doesn’t mean that it will stay there. On a regular basis, streaming services prune their catalog to make place for the new shows and, one day, Star Trek may very well be removed. What a catastrophe it would be, knowing that it is the show of our Sunday eves for nearly 15 years.

That’s why we’ve decided to purchase a Blu-ray player. We bought the Sony UBP-X800M2. We can now rebuild our collection of classics in a format that should last for a very long time. Cherry on the cake, the reader up scales old TV shows to our wide screen format. I am not an expert but the quality is amazing and, going back to Netflix, I am now bothered by the 2 large black borders in non up scaled shows.

The first TV show that we added to our collection is Stargate SG-1. Yesterday, while using a portal to Stormwind, I found something that reminded me of it in the mage tower…

TLDR: Streaming services may delete your favorite shows, they do not up scale and modern days TV shows are mediocre at best. 90s TV shows are awesome and deserve a physical editions. Someone at Blizzard is fan of Stargate.


Luschek

This morning, while doing the dish, I realised that I didn’t mention my favourite character from Orange is the New Black. Instead of adding a paragraph by the end of my previous post, I thought that this modern-day hero deserves a post of his own.

If you haven’t seen the TV show, let me tell you who Luschek is and why I love him so much… First, you have to know that most of my heroes are underachievers like Ferris Bueller and Parker Lewis. That’s maybe because I never targeted the shiny first place, the top of the podium, it’s by far too much spotlight and too much pressure. I’m more of a “Let me sit at the back of the classroom and wake me up when it’s over” kind of person.

In that very specific category, you have Joel Luschek. He’s a jail guard at Litchfield and he doesn’t care too much about anything else but himself. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone but he’s not gonna invest himself more than just what he has to.

He is constantly broke and needs no convincing to start smuggling in phones or drugs to round up the end of the month. When he finally manages to make some extra cash, instead of fixing his financial situation, he prefers to buy himself a pair of Back to the Future Nike and nothing less than a DeLorean. (image source: Reddit)

That’s why, as a tribute, I added the quote “What would Luschek do?” to the list of the random descriptions of my blog.


A R’lyeh Great Easter

In the summer of ’94, I started hanging out with some school mates that apparently were into roleplaying. One day, a bunch of us had planned to hang out in the attic room of my best friends’ old house, where they surprised me with a campaign of Call of Cthulhu. I had never heard about H.P. Lovecraft and his universe before, but since that day I’m a huge fan.

When the movie “Color out of Space” came out, Chris and I wanted to keep it for a special occasion. This Easter holiday, I thought it would be a great idea to make it a Cthulhu inspired day.

We first opened a good bottle of wine and enjoyed the beautiful weather on our balcony. It was a great moment, and Chris even got a little sunburn.

After that we crashed in the couch, and started watching “Color out of Space”. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect of the movie, I was too afraid to watch the trailer and get disappointed. Never have I been this wrong, the movie was stunning! It was so great, I don’t even know where to begin. The direction and cinematography were meticulous, alongside with a screenplay written as it should be in honour of the work of Lovecraft.

The casting was perfect, no one can portray a man taken over by insanity like Nicolas Cage does. The man is craziness incarnate, just too bad for his overacting which grows tiresome at times. Also, props for the witchy elements which they made look darker than I initially expected. I actually love all about this movie, it was surreal, disturbing, visually pleasing, and the horrific creatures were beyond grotesque.

All I can say at this point is that I can’t wait to watch this movie again. A perfect tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. Just one question though: what’s up with the alpacas? I know they’re funny, but of all animals, alpacas?

To finish the day in beauty, we watched the H.P Lovecraft documentary “Fear of the Unknown” during the dinnertime. It’s a 1 hour and 29 minutes documentary on Youtube where writer Neil Gaiman, filmmaker John Carpenter and others discuss the life and legacy of Lovecraft. When I saw the time stamp of 2007, I was baffled that it took me 13 years before even hearing about this documentary. Nevertheless, it was highly interesting, and perfect to end this Lovecraftian Easter.


Orange is my new black

A few years ago, when I was on burnout for 5 months and our apartment was destroyed and we had to sleep on the broken concrete in the freezing winter without heating and people in my family were dying, a few things kept me from completely losing my mind, one of them was Orange is the new black.

When Inge got sick with what was probably Covid-19 for 3 creepy weeks of isolation and fear of contamination, the show we watched nearly every day was Orange.

So, I don’t know why we always turned to OITNB in those moments, especially for the two horror fans that we are, but these girls have been an awesome source of entertainment for us in 2 of our most not-so-funny-moments.

The thing that I love the most about TV shows is character development and Orange is incredible at doing that. After 7 seasons, we really had the feeling to have been living with the girls, sharing their stories, so much that, when the show was over, we both got super emotional (even space marines have feelings, y’know). You know which other TV show had us super emotional by the end? Star Trek Voyager, which also casted Kate Mulgrew… Coincidence?

I enjoyed practically everything in the show, but what I found amazing was the retrospectives of the girls’ lives before jail, especially the episode about young Red in Russia, which ended with this super awesome song by Mumiy Troll:

Another thing that I loved about the show is that, even if it’s filled with humour, it doesn’t always ends well, it even gets sometimes really unfair, sad and dark.

The final credits gave me the blues, not because of the story, but because it really felt like a farewell and I already miss them. Who will cheer us when everything goes wrong now?

So, I’ll conclude with the wise words of Nicky Nichols: “Everything is a dildo, if you’re brave enough”.


Corsair RGB

When I built my PC, I wanted a water cooler, so the airflow inside the tower wouldn’t be obstructed by a huge PCU heatsink.

For my peace of mind, if there’s a water cooler inside of my tower, I need to see it so I’m sure that it isn’t leaking. So, I purchased a windowed tower.

Since a few component were RGB by default, I purchased a few more, so I could create a nice colour scheme.

Among these parts were two Corsair 12” RGB fans which I was planning to use as back and top exhausts. I was very surprised to see that they were not lighting up. That’s because I had to connect them to a RGB Hub and a RGB Node Pro, which were not provided.

I wish that I had knew that before purchasing the fans separately, because these devices aren’t provided in single fan packs, you have to purchase a two fans pack or purchase, for the exact same price, the devices separately.

So, you have only two options:

  • 2 x RGB fans + RGB Hub + RGB Node Pro (+/- 140,00 eur.);
  • A pack of two RGB fans which includes everything (+/- 80 eur.).

I wish that I had knew all this before purchasing my fans and, above all, I wish that the hub and the node were merged into a single device. Actually, I found out that there is such a device, the Node Core. Unfortunately, it isn’t sold separately and I couldn’t find any pack that includes it in Europe.

I gave up and I purchased an extra 2 fans pack (I now have a few spare RGB fans, yay) and I installed the Hub and the Node Pro. It was very easy thanks to the great cable management in the back of the NZXT tower. The control of the colours is entirely done through Corsair iCue and I enjoy the result. I am now living in pure RGB bliss.


We Summon the Darkness

The movie isn’t bad but it could have been so much better if it wouldn’t have turned into another comedy slasher film.

Spoilers ahead!

Worst cliches used in this movie:

  • Having the prisoners escape as just as they are left alone is so unsurprising, it’s sad;
  • One of the three girls had cold feet from the start, how couldn’t the two others notice?
  • Using a spray and a lighter under a door… Really?
  • Of all the years I’ve spent being surrounded by metal heads, I’ve never seen anyone acting as retarded as the dudes from this movie.

It had potential but the story line or the lack thereof makes it a disappointment.

We watched it until the end though, probably because of Maddie Hasson as a sexy goth girl (the other two looked like Elle models wearing leather jackets).

Extra points for using a grass trimmer as a weapon and the brief appearance of Johnny Knoxville.


The Hunt

During the movie, Crystal (Betty Gilpin) tells Don the story of the turtle and the rabbit, but, in her version, the loser rabbit kills the turtle and his family in their home and eats their food, proud of his revenge. Isn’t it exactly what Crystal does in the movie?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t enjoy The Hunt much, until Betty Gilpin appears and saves the entire movie. She’s atypical and badass and she manages to get my sympathy enough to make me wanna see her survive.

I already liked her in Elementary and I hope to see her again in other movies.


Three Weeks

These last 3 weeks have been some of the strangest weeks of my life. It all started on a Tuesday, I woke up having flu like symptoms, with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, I had to contact my doctor. He decided that I was infected and had to stay in quarantine until I was fully recovered. We are three weeks later now, and I finally start feeling better, and better each day.

When I look back at the last 3 weeks, everything seems like a blur, some moments were lucid, others have become blank spaces in my memory due to the fever. During the moments that I was lucid, a lot has been going on in my mind though. It has been quite a long time that I needed to rethink my life, and so I did. Between my soul searching and dreaming about tropical destinations, I’ve watched a lot of TV-shows and movies. But more about those later since I tend to make a blog post of most of the things I watch.

This pandemic is until now the biggest world crisis that I’ve ever lived through, and it’s about the weirdest time to be alive. A world wide quarantine situation that forces the people to stay inside with only essential shops like supermarkets and pharmacies that may remain opened, social distancing, and the police fining the people that don’t respect the measures. You can’t go outside without a valid reason, and if you do you need to wear a mask and gloves.

While some people are completely negligent, others are in panic. I have to admit that, at this point, I stopped reading too much about it because I don’t want to live in panic either. We just deal with it, and ration our supplies as much as possible even though some things are hard to come by in these times such as medication, toilet paper, soap, masks, gloves,…

Last week I bought a sewing machine so I can make masks myself. It was quite the thing to setup since I never used such a machine before, but I managed to make one mask with old sheets and ribbons from old PJ-pants. It doesn’t look like much, but at least we have a mask for when Chris needs to do the shopping on Tuesday. That’s the one thing that scares the living hell out of me, that something would happen to my better half.

On the bright side of all this is that I learned to use a sewing machine, and our planet seems to recover thanks to the lockdown. The air is so much fresher, and it’s the first time since I live in Brussels that the sky looks blue without the blurry effect of the smog. It makes me think so much about the global warming and pollution, and how everyone can make a big difference with little effort. I wonder what the world will look like after all this, are things going to change for real or are people just going to pick back up from where they’ve left? Only time can tell!

For me personally, a lot has changed during this pandemic, and all in a positive direction. Meanwhile let’s try to stay safe so we can live and tell the tale.


The swings on the playground don’t even fit me anymore

I was 17 years-old when Smells like Teen Spirit came out. I had friends who were also into grunge music, we were spending all of our time together and we were going twice (sometimes even three times) a week to a bar that was filled with other grunge people, most of whom were playing in bands. We had goatees, we were wearing t-shirts of bands and flannel shirts and we were living around grunge music. We didn’t give a damn about much, all that mattered to us was to get drunk on loud music and to give the world the middle finger.

We were meeting new people all the time, at concerts, at bars, at parties, everywhere there was beer and music. My friends even bought a van and we were coming back from music festivals with more people than we came with.

Eventually, everything started to change… The essence of being grunge was to be alternative and, when everything started to turn commercial, most people moved on… Some of us got jobs, other moved on to electro music, the world changed again and, just as it came, the grunge era disappeared.

Even if alternative music still exists, the new sound is different. It’s hard to explain, but something simple and pure that belonged to that time is gone. The 90s had their very own soul, something that can’t ever be reproduced.

Inge, who’s from another part of Belgium, has lived the same experience. More than two decades later, we still both prefer our grunge playlist than the new alternative music.

I wanted to write a post about Star Trek: Picard, but I realized that my feelings toward the franchise are very close to my feelings towards music. That’s why I just rained my teenage nostalgia over you.

Before going any further, let me get this straight: TNG, Voyager and DS9 are the only real Star Trek to me. Some will agree, some will stop reading my blog, but that’s my ST world and no argument will change that.

Voyager controls are more “Star Trek”

Those three shows were simple, each episode was a little adventure in itself. It wasn’t overloaded with CGI or modern tricks to make the experience more futuristic. A simple crew, with an incredible alchemy, living simple adventures in space, that’s what Star Trek is and will always be to me.

Just as with grunge music, the world of Star Trek has lost its simplicity and, with it, all that made it a show that I could watch every Sunday evening until my last day.

Picard is a good science-fiction show but, even if I was very happy to see Seven of Nine, Riker and Troy back, it isn’t Star Trek to me.

I could continue my analogy but I think that you get my point. Modern days have brought many good things, but complicated scenarios in TV, sophisticated sounds in music and CGI overload in cinema came at the cost of simplicity. And, to me, it seems that we’ve lost more than we’ve won.


20 Years Ago

On the first of April 2000, I started working at my office. I had spent 2 years searching for a job in my hometown, without success. When I finally applied for jobs in Brussels, my employer (not sure I can disclose) contacted me for a one year contract. 20 years later, I still sit on the same chair.

The office has changed a lot in twenty years. At that time, people (me included) could still smoke while working. What a chocking sight it must be for nowadays folks to see a full ashtray beside the keyboard. By then, it was totally normal. There was only one computer for the entire office, no internet connection and no home-working. We had drinks every Friday afternoon and we were spending our lunchtimes at the pub next door.

A drink at the office, 17 years ago.

I spent my first salary on a colour printer and the first picture I printed was a picture of Björk. Only three months later, I was moving to my first place, which was more of a studio than an apartment, but I loved it. I lived there alone for two years, I was playing a lot of Counter-Strike and drinking a lot of beer.

The world has also changed much. Everybody has a smartphone now, when I started working I was the only one of my office to own a cel phone, a Nokia 5110. I was still renting movies on VHS, video clubs have long been replaced by streaming services. Not everyone had internet at home, now it has become a necessity.

In 20 years, I got married to my soulmate , I quit smoking and I almost don’t drink anymore. However, even if the world around me has changed a lot, I haven’t changed much. PC gaming is still my thing, I still watch a lot of TV and I’m still more interested by Reddit’s most popular posts than by the news (which I still don’t watch).

It feels like yesterday that I entered my office for the first time, nervous and dressed with the suit I had bought for the university exams. The song I was the most listening to was Bouga – Belsunce Breakdown and my head was filled clichés from Matrix. While I realised that I am not Neo (I swear), my head is still filled with the same cyber-dreams as it was before.

I wonder what the next 20 years will be filled with. By then, I’ll probably be getting close to retirement, if such there’s still such a thing and if the world still exists…