Mandalorian

Ok Disney. I have bought into your Disney+ and so far am really happy with it. At first I wasn’t thrilled that the new series, “The Mandalorian”, didn’t have all the episodes readily available to marathon through. But then I realized that what you’ve done is sparked “water cooler talk” amongst everyone.

It took until last weekend for me to really notice. I hadn’t seen the third episode yet, but numerous coworkers, friends, and the Internet in general were discussing it. Not too shabby for a new streaming service. The buzz generated for this series is quite strong.

After finally watching the third episode, I can see why. “The Mandalorian” is far exceeding my expectations. It is not like any other Star Wars film or show. It is written, directed, and filmed in its own way that the pace of each episode is rhythmic and flows precisely. With Disney+ only releasing one episode per week- my anticipation level of each one grows. It has caused me to discuss the show far more than simply mentioning it in conversation.

In a time of instant gratification and marathon watching, going back to waiting for weekly episodes has made me appreciate the show more. As I wait and scroll through the available movies and shows, my kids have got me enjoying another series with guilty pleasure:

Don’t tell anyone…

Disney Plus Equals Life

Yesterday Disney+ was released. And if you watch any form of entertainment on a screen of some sort, you must’ve heard about it. So I’m not going to go into great detail about what it all includes, because that information is everywhere on the interwebs! Instead I’m just going to share what my family and I watched as our first few shows.

I paid for a full year up front for $89.99. It was an obvious choice because there is so much content that The Mouse owns that we won’t be able to watch it all in 365 days. After installing the app on our PS4, the first thing we did was set up individual profiles. Then we went searching.

We settled on a couple of Pixar Shorts called “Bao” followed by “La Luna” -which we hadn’t all seen before. So far so good, but we didn’t want to begin marathoning through any new series of shows. We did stop next on “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” and were pleasantly surprised and dumbfounded by it. Consider it a sort of documentary on stuff. In this case- sneakers.

Naturally we watched the cartoon that started the journey of the Disney Franchise back in 1928- “Steamboat Willie“. It’s a neat reminder to see how far that little black and white mouse has come. Not only that, but it also shows how far animation has come and how it was pioneered almost a century ago.

We have our sets of future shows already searched out. The Sneaker Who Wore Tennis Shoes from 1969 is top on my wife’s list. While High School Musical is our daughter’s choice. My son and I are stoked to begin The Mandalorian in a few days. But there is so much content, we don’t really know where to start.

What are you planning on watching on Disney+?

Streaming Music

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to adapt and stream music. Or rather, pay for streaming music. Even though we have radio waves freely out there to use. Plus those radio stations have apps that are free to use. (CBC Music is a personal favorite). But which paid service do I want to try?

At home, I have used Kodi to play music throughout the house. This finds free streaming radio stations and has a ton of options. I have loved this so far. But I want some music on the go.

In our cars, we have used SiriusXM. Mostly for the free trial or the cheap 6 month package. But I have found the songs seem to be repetitive over an 11 hour loop. So this service is no longer a choice that I wish to spend money on.

Our oldest daughter uses the “Free” version of Spotify. Which is okay. But it has limitations and advertisements. I’m not sure if I want to pay for this service even though it is one of the largest out there.

Having been an avid iPhone user, there is always Apple Music. I *had* our music library on iTunes and shared it on our devices. Our hard drive bit the dust and whatever songs I have on my iPhone is about it. Plus the occasional album or song my kids have wanted. I’m sad that our 500 cds that I painstakingly transferred to digital are gone.

Since we succumbed to Amazon Prime just before Christmas, this seems the most likely choice at the moment to use. We are enjoying the Prime Video streaming that is included with subscription, so that’s been worth it alone. My wife also received a Kindle for Christmas and is looking forward to reading books that are also included in the Prime membership. Why not just give in and try their streaming music option? So today, I downloaded the app for our iPhones and will be spending some time browsing it.

What service do you use? Are you happy with it? Should we just stick to fm radio and old cds? Maybe we should keep the record player warmed up… I know our fourteen year old is loving that option at the moment.

Lacking Television

We haven't had cable tv for years. It came to a point where there were too many channels and not enough quality programming. The cost was getting higher and the frustration of trying to enjoy it was too. So we cut the cord.

At first it was tough. But it became easier to just download shows and binge watch. Then came Netflix! (Love that service.) Binge through five seasons of Star Trek:TNG in one sitting? Why not?! Then I discovered Kodi and streaming anything we could find. Of course there are drawbacks to it. But it only costs the price of internet service. Which really is the way to go.


Tonight I used an app called "Modbro". I was hoping to stream Sharknado 5. Because, why not? Alas, I was late in turning it on because I don't adhere to the set norms! So I decided to catch the end of last week's episode of Rick and Morty before this week's episode started. After the episode was done, I tried to channel surf like a normal person. And it sucked.

Usually we watch tv when we are out on vacation. The tv in the hotel room goes on as a way to zone out at the end of a long road trip. Some bad tv is watched. But tonight, even the kids told me to just turn it off so they could watch Netflix instead.


We have been a household of tv show watchers without watching network television. It seems strange. But it works for us. Not glued to the tube. A bit of freedom and the urge to watch tv isn't always there. I don't need to set an alarm to switch on a channel. Even getting schwifty can be done when I want.

J-Pop

I’ve always loved anime as can be read here: Akira. We’ve introduced it to our children since they were young.  There are certain storylines that I have really enjoyed.  I even debate “Subbed” vs “Dubbed” with people depending on the show (Subtitles whenever possible in my opinion).

Yesterday was a rainy day, so in the morning I played around with my android box and Kodi.  For those that don’t know, Kodi is a program that allows streaming of videos and music from around the world.  I was able to self-teach myself how to navigate it through my iPhone via an app.  It didn’t take long to set up and learn.  As I was browsing the music stations, I discovered Vocaloid Radio.  Essentially it was electronic dance music sung in Japanese.  After playing some J-Pop music through the house, my two youngest children came to me and asked to build their models they purchased last month at one of the conventions we were at.

Group selfie time

 


It seems that hearing the anime music inspired them to want to build their Gundam model bears.  I find it fascinating that music can bring forth ideas of where the music is from.  Japanese J-Pop brought my children thoughts of anime, mech robots and sushi.  If I played classical chamber music (personal favorite btw) throughout my home, it brings me thoughts of elegance and royalty.  If I play techno or disco, I am brought back to the nightclubs of my youth.

Music strikes emotional responses in everyone.  It’s one of the universal languages that everyone understands.  I don’t speak Japanese, Korean, German, French or any other language for that matter.  But I love listening to music, both modern and traditional, from around the world.  It brings me to these places without leaving the comfort of my home.

Today, I enjoyed some 80’s party mix radio and Depeche Mode radio.  I plan on exploring more radio stations throughout the summer.  First, I’m going to install some more speakers in my backyard so that I can enjoy gardening at the same time.

Until then, I’m off to discover some K-Pop, Reggae and Bossonva.

TV Watching

Like most people my age, TV has been a regular part of life since being born.  However, how we watch TV has evolved and is still evolving.

 

Program your own TV.

Picking up the remote and flipping channels has become a thing of the past.  Everything is “On Demand”.  Netflix paved the way for people to marathon through TV shows.  Watching 4-5 episodes (or more) of a show in one sitting is becoming the norm.

Back when I could barely afford cable TV, I enjoyed downloading TV shows on my computer.  YouTube had just started, so I found myself spending hours on my computer watching two minute clips at a time, wasting away the wee hours of the night. I discovered many channels that created a “one hit wonder” (can we say Numa Numa– holy crap that’s ten years ago!)  Now, you get only a few seconds to become an Internet Celebrity. (Damn Daniel).

I still stay up way past my bedtime, watching a screen or two until 3am.  I am often watching some sort of streaming video service.  I enjoy being able to watch TV shows on my time, not the time slot that we used to have to wait for.  I’ve also started to cut out shows that don’t grab my interest.  I don’t see the point of watching a series just because everyone else is.  Or, if a series has suddenly “Jumped The Shark”, I quit watching.

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to try out different Virtual Reality devices.  On one of the devices I watched a short film that was created by some former Pixar animators.  Wearing the goggles, the viewer is immersed in a new environment.  There was full 360° viewing capability.  When you focused on the main character, the story moved forward.  If you looked around to check out the environment you were in, the story would suspend and wait until your focus returned.  If you followed the main sequence of events, the movie went fairly quickly.  I love technological advances and this blew me away.  Something unique has been created and could be the future of video watching.

Stay tuned…