Low Rent 3D

July 20, 2010

Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Avatar and a multitude of other current movies have embraced the freshly marketed and admittedly re-vamped third dimension of movies. I won’t take away from the technology used in these movies, I liked the way it looked. That said, does anyone remember the awesomeness that was cheap 3D glasses than came on cereal boxes in the early 90s? Those 3D glasses were wonderful, they let you see puzzles on the side of the box and made everything around you look blue and red. Sure they were shamelessly put there to entice children to beg for unnecessarily sugary cereals but nonetheless, wasn’t it fun?

Before 3D came back into fashion for Hollywood going to the cinema was not as complicated nor as expensive as it is now. Using 3D glasses at the theatre for a 3D show forces the price of tickets up. In addition, there seems to be a new rule that all children’s movies require a third dimension. I don’t mean to negate the progress of computer graphics but a generation of children raised on 3D computer drawn cartoons that feature characters moving at painfully quick speeds across choppy scenes will inevitably make classic cartoons even more a part of the past than they already are.

The high tech 3D of the 2000s is undeniably very nifty. Despite this, the cheap, quick and easy 3D of the 80s and 90s deserves a place, even if only for the sake of nostalgia. I won’t lie, I’d ┬ástill buy a box of cereal with 3D glasses….wouldn’t you?

Oregon Trail

January 23, 2010

Travel the Trail!!!

While the 1990s saw the rise and fall of many educational software programs for children such as NFL Math and Spelling Jungle (easily my favorite) one game completely blew the rest out of the water. Admit it, you and your elementary school buddies fought over who got to play Oregon Trail in computer lab oh so long ago. And why wouldn’t you? Oregon Trail was at face value a pretty simple game, the objective was to survive with as many people in your family as possible along the trail and to make it to Oregon Territory. If you played, however, you know that it was SO MUCH MORE.

In order to survive, however, you had to make difficult decisions that were crucial to the health of your family. Should you buy a Conestoga or simply a large wagon? Should you buy a horse? What medicine should you bring? How many sets of utensils and clothing are necessary? And most importantly, what kind of gun and ammunition should you buy? As you traveled down the trail the full repercussions of all of these choices became evident and often resulted in disaster. Admit it, you got scurvy or had to “administer laudanum” (which is essentially opium haha) and fix wagon axles.

Oregon Trail deserves a second look because it was a game that linked actions and repercussions. It was a game with a point, it had depth. It’s popularity amongst children is evidence that children (admittedly I was one) were looking for something more than just a quick thrill, they were looking for a challenge. Once I made it to Oregon and struck a land claim I always felt very accomplished, especially if all of my family survived the journey. Damn those accidental hunting accidents and unfortunate snake bites!

The Titanic Frenzy

January 16, 2010

In light of the Avatar craze I decided to look back at James Cameron’s last pop culture saturating feat, 1997’s Titanic. Sure, the special effects were mad cool for their day but no film since Titanic has had the allure of Titanic. A few reasons that the Titanic frenzy deserves a second look follow.

“I’ve seen it six times in theatres.” “Wow, but I’ve seen it seven times!” Really… why on earth did we all need to see Titanic more than once or generously twice in theatres? I’d like to think it was because as a human collective everyone decided to examine the fragile state of humanity. In reality, we all loved Jack and Rose and most certainly hated Cal. Admit it, you clapped in the theatre the first time you saw Rose spit in Cal’s face and run to Jack. Jack and Rose’s love story made us all pine for a deep love and intimate connection that would compel us to change our name and start our new lives with only memories of the person that inspired us.

Not to be cliche’ but when I think of inspiration and I think of Titanic, one very important person comes to mind. Not James Cameron but CELINE DION. You can love or hate this song. I choose to love it. I love it now and I loved it in elementary school when they would play the song with sound bytes from the movie itself dubbed in on the radio. I danced at my earliest boy/girl dances to this song and believed in all that it said. Today I still think the song deserves attention. It’s my favorite song to sing at karaoke and (youtube it!) the music video for this song is absolutely hilarious.

While Avatar is admittedly an enjoyable movie with special effects that blur reality and fiction the culture surrounding the movie, the hype, the public fawning of it are minimal in comparison to Titanic. My apologies to the Na’vi of Pandora but Jack and Rose will always be king of the world and that is why Titanic deserves a second look.

Dial-Up Internet

September 23, 2009

Dial-Up Internet

dial-up-modem-184221

*GROAN….maybe*
I know, high speed internet makes everything better. At least it seems to. Before you’re so quick to write off the dial-up modems of yesteryear think about a few things:
1. The sound of a dial-up modem is beautiful. When “dial-up modem” is youtubed (yes I verbed that) the sound is kitschy and fun. It makes me smile, I bet it makes you smile as well A long time ago before high speed internet we didn’t know about anything better than dial-up. The internet was new and it was slow. There was nothing better and many, including me, were perfectly content waiting five minutes for each page to load.
2. Also at this time, because the internet was so new everything about it was an adventure. It was fun to get online just to get on, back before facebook, myspace, blogs and youtube. Hmm….I wonder what I did online back then. Regardless and irrelevant, when dial-up was still big the internet seemed like an infallible and fun universe. Today there are great things but the (let’s be honest) perceived innocence of the entire thing was joyous and unfortunately gone.
3. TONS OF SEARCH ENGINES! Google is great, Bing is fine. The thing is we all use the same thing, no variation for anyone. When dial-up internet ruled there were what seemed like a billion search engines. Does anyone remember Lycos, Webcrawler, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves? Maybe these are all still there, I know Yahoo is but to be honest, why?
That’s it, no better reasons to rethink dial-up. I’m honestly not even sure if it needs a hyphen.
I gave it a second look and made a case for it but I’m going to still with high speed.