Tag Archives: Live Free or Pride Hard

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Digital

15 Jul

The Kindle was my Gateway Drug

It seems there is a schism in the book world of those that are vehemently against eBooks books and all they stand for, and those who love them. I have gone from one side of the argument being a fierce advocate of physical media to being a fierce advocate of all things digital. Here is my journey.

My love for digital really started in July of 2010 with the announcement of the third generation of kindles. Before this announcement the kindles were selling for $259 which put it only in the hands of the most passionate of readers and early adopters of technology. The third generation of kindles introduced a new Wi-Fi only kindle for a reasonable price of $139, which while still a decent sum of money, was now low enough for me to buy it knowing that it might not be for me. When the third generation kindle was released in September of 2010 I was one of the first in line (and by in line I mean waiting by the post box as they delivered it) to get one. I mark the purchase of my kindle as the keystone moment of my foray into the digital world.

I’ll continue discussing my digital come to Jesus moment in full, but I think I need to be a little clearer about my past experience with digital media. I am a millennial which means I have grown up with the rise of computer technology. I have been an active part all the way from DOS and Windows 3.1 to the rise of the internet and smartphones of today. Not only have I grown up with computer technology but I have been an early adopter of technology for as long as I could remember. I had an MP3 player before the iPod even existed, a digital camera when they only held as many pictures as film, and a home computer before they were common place. So it isn’t that I have been resisting digital technology but I was waiting for it to catch up with what I thought it should be. I have had a vision of how I thought digital content should work and it took a long time before the technology caught up to its potential.

Not only did I have an MP3 player before the iPod but I was an early adopter of the iPod itself. When I graduated high school I immediately knew what a big deal the iPod would be and bought one when they used to cost $500. And while I loved my IPod and not only filled it to its once impossibly large 15 gigabytes of space but soon found myself out of space and limited by that once large 15 gigs. But even as my music library became larger and larger it was only from ripping cd’s I owned and never actually from buying that music from iTunes. Digital content in its earliest form was set up for instant gratification one time buying of that material. You only got to download it once and it was basically only useful on that device. I wanted my digital media to be an extensive library that I would have for years to come and didn’t feel comfortable spending the money on the MP3’s knowing that I was only a hard drive failure away from losing it all. Not only that but MP3’s from iTunes were DRM protected and only worked with apple devices, so while it was great for my iPod at the time I was going to be stuck in the apple ecosystem forever. iTunes MP3’s were also often much more expensive to buy entire albums than to buy the CD from best buy or used from half priced books. And I won’t pretend these weren’t the Wild West days of napster which while wonderful also trained an entire generation what it felt like to get any song at any time for free. Let’s also not forget that even today not all artists are on iTunes, and while it’s gotten a lot better from where it started it still can’t be the replacement for all your music needs. iTunes was a good start but and the technology wasn’t there. So while I was very much onboard with digital music I still bought physical CD’s of everything.

So back to my kindle, on that fateful September day my kindle was delivered and things were never the same. I had all ways been a reader but around the time my kindle arrived I had been in a reading slump. I had vowed to never read another book after the last Harry Potter had come out in 2007 and as of 2010 I had kept true to that vow. So when I got my kindle part of me wasn’t even sure if I would even use it at all. I figured spending 140 dollars would guilt me into at least reading some and would hopefully kick start my interest in reading again. Which to my surprise, it did! Not only was I reading again but I was reading all most every single day and I couldn’t be more pleased with my little kindle. I really enjoy my kindle for reading books but I also loved the other features like picking up where I left off from it to my phone, highlighting, and taking notes. I was also traveling a lot at the time and having this huge library of books all in one device was amazing. I had been carrying a shit ton of stuff in my carry on and was able to get rid of most of it and replace it with my kindle. Not to mention a 2 week to 1 month battery life which was not only unheard of but completely got rid of the worry on the thing dying on me mid book.

So somewhere along the way of me just enjoying books on my kindle I had a fundamental shift in how I thought about digital media. As any kindle owner will tell you it’s so easy to buy books that it doesn’t take long to start spending a lot of money on books. Somewhere between my 15th and 100th book I had reached a point of no returned. I was to the point where I had spent about as much on content for my kindle as I had for my kindle itself which was a good time for me to stop and take inventory. It had reached the point where it was no longer disposal money I was putting into this kindle book ecosystem and if suddenly amazon went bankrupt tomorrow I would lose a significant amount of money/merchandise. So I basically had to decide where or not to take the plunge and decide if I had enough faith in amazon and what they were doing to trust them in handling this giant library of digital media for me and basically hope they don’t go out of business or give up on the kindle. We all have to make that choice at some point or another when we buy into some sort of digital media or digital ecosystem. We have to decide if the technology and convenience of using this technology now is worth the risk that it could be gone in the future. I had essentially decided that I was getting enough enjoyment and product for my money now to risk that someday this library I build may not be available. It’s a pessimistic but realistic look at this new world of digital media. While companies like amazon and apple have been thriving now all have been winners. If you had bought into an HP Touchsmart you would have been shit out of luck two months later when they gave up on the system.

The real game changer I think (besides me deciding it was worth the risk) actually came down to my CD collection. It’s easy to say to yourself if I buy this book or CD physically than that’s it, unlike digitally I will have it forever and never have to worry about buying it again. But in reality there can be just as many risks that this physical book or CD I bought today may be just as useless tomorrow. It’s obvious when you think about vinyl records or cassette tapes that as technology changes your once usefully copy of Ace of Base is now just a nice big coaster. Sure you can still play vinyl records today but how often do you really? You may hold out as long as you can but at some point that giant collection of records just becomes useless. We can hope that this copy of Star Wars will be the last we will ever buy but in reality we are going to just keep buying it time and again when the format we watch movies changes. But even besides changes in technology physical media just isn’t as evergreen as we like to think. My massive CD collection is slowly starting to get destroyed due to CD rot. Some of my CD’s literally have holes in them and will no longer play. Apparently it’s normal, CD’s aren’t meant to last forever, they can start breaking down anywhere from 10-30 years. Books are the same way, while they can last hundreds or years if taken care of correctly they can also start drying out, rotting, or get silverfish. No matter how safe we feel physical media is it really isn’t. Once I started seeing my CD’s getting eaten away I was a lot less nervous of going digital than I had been ever before. If even my CD’s aren’t going to last forever I mine as well go to digital which at least won’t take up so much damn room in my house.

Another game changer for me is being younger I have been moving every 1-2 years to various apartments, dorms, houses. Which means that during every move I wind up carrying box after box of heavy ass books from place to place, some of which I have never read but have moved at least 5 times. After my last move I decided to have one book shelf of space and that’s it. If I add a new book to the shelf something else has to be sold or given away but I will no longer collect things I hope I may be interested in later, every book now has to count and be there for a reason. Digital books is not only nice to have when traveling but it frees up so much space. Books are a pain in the ass, they take up a ton of space and I am one that rarely ever re-read books, but I like to know the option is there. I may never actually read that 1,000 page copy of Le Misérables on my kindle but I like the fact that I could and I don’t have to move it from house to house while I decide.

Here are the key ways the kindle changed the way I felt about digital media:

  • The Kindle was Priced Low: I can’t stress this enough. Had the newer Kindle been the same $259 price tag that the Kindle 2 was I would have never bought one. Being $139 it was low enough for me to buy it on a whim knowing that if I didn’t like reading on this new format that I wouldn’t be at a huge loss. Not only that but after spending $259 on the device and then $10 per eBook it would take 52 books before you started saving money if you were assuming physical books cost $15 dollars each.
  • The Cloud: My kindle was my first experience in using the cloud and things haven’t been the same since. I like the fact that I can download, delete, and re-download a book as many times as my heart desires. I’ve gone through 3 phones now and a series of different computers and tablets and its great knowing that no matter what new device I get I can still re-download those books I have bought.
  • Taking Notes: I love taking notes and highlighting in my kindle books. I know most people don’t use this feature but when reading the Game of Thrones series or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books it was great highlight all the clues that lead to be big reveals later on. My game of thrones books are my own personal notebook keeping track of what’s going on and it shows up whether I use my kindle, iPad, computer, or website to look at these books. It’s fantastic and I am completely jealous of college kids who get to use this technology to take notes in textbooks today.
  • Buy Once Read Anywhere: This has been the philosophy of amazon and kindle from the start and it’s incredibly effective. Unlike the early days of iTunes all my eBook purchases from amazon are saved in the cloud and can be sent to any kindle device or app as many times as I want. This was huge for me, amazon has been smart on this front and put their app on every phone and tablet possible. This gave me a peace of mind that even though I am buying a book from amazon if I decide to go android or apple in the future I would still be able to access all of that media.
  • Lower Priced Books: It’s not all ways the case but in general eBooks cost less than actual books. List price of hardbacks goes anywhere from 15 to 40 dollars sometimes, and while you generally don’t pay the full price at Barnes and Nobel you generally have to pay a lot more than 10 dollars for the eBook. Also fuck you Barnes and Nobel. I never know what the price of anything at the store is, it’s generally not the list price but who knows. The website prices are different than the in store prices so the only way to know the actual price is to go to the store itself and have them ring it up.
  • eBooks Don’t Smell: This isn’t a real reason but I really just hate when people say thing don’t want to give up physical books cause they like the smell of books.

Final Thought

The real key to my conversion and adoption of digital books, music, movies, and now comics has been the fact that no matter how future proof we think it is digital or physical, nothing lasts forever. Books can be destroyed in a flood or hurricane, can yellow and become brittle, or rot and get silverfish. Music and movies can get left behind due to new tech and suddenly unplayable on modern devices. Digital media can suffer from similar fates due to technology or the provider companies shifting focus or going out of business. There are a lot of reasons people are against going digital and security and longevity of the medium can be one of the most problematic. But the reality is that nothing we own is that safe and no matter how much we might think that is this the last copy of Pride and Prejudice we are ever going to buy, it’s probably not.

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PSA: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies News

5 May

Lily CollinsWhat I think most people (my self included) had thought was stuck in the phantom zone known as development hell the movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s master piece Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has risen from the ashes like a mighty phoenix.  Lily Collins has been set to play the part of Elizabeth Bennett.  You may remember Lily Collins from her role as Snow White in 2012’s Mirror Mirror or as Sandra Bullocks’ daughter in the Blind Side.  She is also set to play Clary Fray in the much anticipated film adaption of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.  The movie is set to be directed by Burr Steers who was the Director of 2009’s 17 Again and 2010’s Charlie St. Cloud.  Read more at the link below to the article at Variety, along with lots of puns about zombies and the movie raising from the dead.

Original Article

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice!

29 Jan

Pride and Prejudice just turned 200! yay! In honor NPR posted this delightful cartoon which might be the quickest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that I have been able to check off the list. Link

A Very Pride Hard Christmas Featuring Die Hard (1988)

3 Jan

die hardWhat better way to celebrate the season than to watch the greatest Christmas film of all time?  Some might say that It’s a Wonderful Life, A Miracle on 34th Street, or Elf is the greatest Christmas movie of all time, and those people would be wrong.  Die Hard is the greatest Christmas film of all time.  Case closed.  That being said, I had never actually seen Die Hard all the way through, so this is my thoughts about the film having never seen it before.

Drinking Game

We weren’t going to watch this sober now were we?  Here are the rules I came up with for Die Hard.

Drink

  • Every time they mention Christmas!
  • Whenever we see John’s feet or we are reminded that he is barefoot.
  • Every time a henchmen is killed.
  • Every time that John switches out the clip on his gun or takes out a clip of his gun to check the bullets.
  • A drink for each time a level of security on the safe is broken.
  • Every time that Deputy Robinson shoots down Carl Winslow’s ideas or advice.
  • Every time there is an explosion.
  • Every time that we get a cutaway to Argyle in the Limousine.

Chug

  • Someone says “Yippie Kia-Yay Motherfucker”
  • Hans Gruber Dies

Pour One Out

  • Every time a hostage is killed.
  • Whenever John McClane is shot.

Thoughts and Opinions

Again I have never seen this movie so over all it was a great time, pretty much everything you would want from an action movie with lots of 90’s hair.  I thought the pacing of information on the terrorists plans was done well.  We got little tid bits along the way which was nice and left a lot of misdirection so you never knew for sure what they were up to.  Too often we get all the information in some monologue all at once or it’s some crazy unbelievable twist at the very end.  Die Hard did a good job of keeping the plan complex enough that they had a getaway plan but not so complex that it was off the wall crazy.  Alan Rickman makes a great villain, it’s no wonder he would later go one to play Snape, he’s just too easy to hate.

My favorite part is how the cops and FBI were beyond incompetent.  I get that its better if the lone guy inside doesn’t have the cops on his side but wow.  They didn’t even believe it was a real hostage situation for way too long.  At one point Carl Winslow’s boss is convinced John McClane is the only terrorist and that the body that fell out of the building was a suicide jumper.  This is after Carl Winslow’s car has been decimated by machine gun fire and moments later the cops are fire on from every angle with guns and rocket launchers.  After which Carl Winslow’s boss doesn’t then say “oh shit we are in real trouble” he just keeps on believing that it is a couple guys and will blow over.  The FBI then come in to take over and plan on using attack helicopters to kill the terrorists.  They then say out loud that they will probably lose 20-25% of the hostages which “they can live with”!

Some observations were:

  • John McClane totally is carrying his gun on the air plane; this is definitely a pre-9/11 film.
  • Definitely a pre-cell phone film, once the landlines are cut no one is able to reach the police.
  • McClane recovers from his feet getting cut up pretty quickly.
  • Carl Winslow got off with no consequence for accidentally shooting a 13 year old kid.

Interesting Trivia from IMDB

  • This was Alan Rickman’s feature film debut.
  • The German that the terrorists speak is sometimes grammatically incorrect and meaningless. In the German version of the film, the terrorists are not from Germany but from “Europe”.
  • The scene where McClane falls down a shaft was a mistake by the stuntman, who was supposed to grab the first vent, as it originally was planned. He slipped and continued to fall, but the shot was used anyway; it was edited together with one where McClane grabs the next vent down as he falls.
  • On-screen body count: 22.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

19 Dec

pride and prejudice 2005 cover Director – Joe Wright
Elizabeth BennetKeira Knightley
Mr. Darcy – Matthew Macfadyen

Introduction

My goal is to be as thorough as possible when watching these adaptations so I watch the movie twice, once just watching and once with the director’s commentary.   I also watched all of the extras on the Bluray Disc version of the movie and cross referenced the DVD to make sure I didn’t miss any.  So I will split this up into three parts, the film itself, the director’s commentary, and the extras.

The Pride and Prejudice (2005) Drinking Game

When we watched the movie we decided to make a drinking game out of it.  In order to remember when to drink we had to cut down some of them but here were our original rules.

Drink for the following:

  • Mrs. Bennet mentions anything about her nerves.
  • You want to punch Lydia in the face.
  • Anything Lady Catherine says anything that causes you to audibly yell “Bitch”.
  • Any time someone curtseys (a drink for each person, so if all five Bennet sisters curtsey that’s five drinks).
  • Mr. Collins mentions Lady Catherine.
  • Any time any character plays a piano.
  • A proposal of marriage occurs.
  • Any time a character is reading a book.
  • Anytime you see a fuck ton of ribbons.
  • You see a loose animal inside the Bennet Home.

Pour one out:

  • When Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins.

Feature film

This is the only version of Pride and Prejudice I will have seen prior to starting all this blog business.  I was working at a movie theater at the time it came out which means I could see any film for free.  So I think I might have seen this movie at least 5 times in the theater when it came out.  So in other words I am pretty familiar with it.  This is the first time I have seen it though since reading the book so I was able to take in any differences and read in between the lines on a few of the scenes.

The film is great.  I think all the actors and actresses did an amazing job and embodied their characters very well.  From the awkwardness of Mary and Mr. Collins to the casting of Knightley and Macfadyen as Elizabeth or Darcy everyone was top notch.  Pride & Prejudice purest prefer Colin Firth as Darcy, from the 1990’s miniseries (which I haven’t seen) so we’ll have to compare when we get there.  In particular Judi Dench was fucking nails as Lady Catherine de Bourg.  When I imagine in my mind of Lady Catherine the image of Judi Dench is automatic, she just owns that part.  The only other actress that I think does as good of a job as playing an evil bitch lady is Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.  Both women own their parts so much that you get a physically angry when you see them on screen.  I really liked Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet as well as Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet.

The cinematography is also great in this film.  I think Joe Wright does a wonderful job on some of the outdoor scenes, you really get a sense of scale and contrast when they shoot the outside shots.  So much of the movie takes place indoors its good to see how grand all these places really are.  I also really enjoyed the ball room scenes where it is this chaotic jumble and you get to see several perspectives of characters at the same time.  The movie is a solid two hours long but I feel like it moves at a pretty good pace.  You feel the effect of time as some of the characters deal with feelings but it keeps the momentum of the film moving.

Comparing to the book the film shorten a lot of what happened in order to have it all fit in a two hour film.  In the book when they travel it’s all ways for a few weeks at a time.  You don’t quite get the impression of that in the film.  They never give specifics on the passage of time so for all we know the film takes place over a couple of weeks or years.  I don’t really care that they shortened some of the trips.  Honestly Elizabeth’s stay at Rosings in the book felt like it lasted forever and I think the movie did a great job of distilling its essence in a few scenes.  The only criticism I have of the film deal with the whole Wickham incident.  I don’t think they could have cut out his relationship to Darcy since it is the catalyst that brings Elizabeth and Darcy together, however I don’t feel they did a good job of explaining his and Darcy’s relationship.  They just say in the movie he was engaged to Darcy’s sister and broke it off leaving her heart broken when in the book he had boarder line kidnaped her and was on the verge of eloping.  It all just comes across as muddled and you don’t get the full effect of Darcy and Wickham’s hate.  To me this lessened the impact of the rain scene where Darcy proposes and Elizabeth rejects him.  The Wickham situation was her biggest basis of hating him.  It’s still a great scene and they do a great job of acting during it but if you have only seen the film I could see it being confusing of why she’s so mad at him.  There were some other changes here and there in the film but over I think they were generally made for time and that it didn’t really affect the core of the story.

Favorite Scenes:

  • One not in the book scene I loved was the hangover scene after the ball at Netherfield.  You know that people must have been getting shitfaced even in 18th century so it’s great to see even proper ladies feeling the morning after effect.
  • I really like the outdoor scene when Elizabeth is walking to Netherfield.  The lighting is just gorgeous and looks amazing on bluray.
  • I really like the super long fork things the servants use to place food on the table.
  • The ending scene with the whole “Mrs. Darcy” part is great.
  • All most every scene with Mary
  • Every scene with Mr. Collins
  • The scene with Mr. Bennet as Elizabeth is convincing him to let her marry Mr. Darcy.

IMDB Trivia (All this information comes from the trivia section of IMDB)

I love the trivia parts of IMDB.  If you have never looked at this stuff before I suggest it.

  • At the beginning of the movie, Elizabeth is shown reading a novel titled “First Impressions” – this was Jane Austen’s original title of her novel before she altered it to “Pride and Prejudice”. Additionally the text of the visible pages is readable when paused; it is the last chapter of Pride and Prejudice, with names changed.
  • Georgiana Darcy did her own piano playing in the film.
  • Rosamund Pike was Joe Wright’s first choice for the role of Jane. She turned down the role of Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for this film.
  • Keira Knightley was preparing for her role in Domino while she was filming this, and had already cut her hair. She had to wear a wig during the last few weeks of filming and long sleeves to hide her muscles.
  • The actresses who make up the Bennett family (Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, and Carey Mulligan went to the Bennett house location, in Kent, before the crew, and played Sardines (similar to Hide and Seek in America) in order to get better acquainted with the house and each other before filming began. (That game again!!! Its in everything!)

Directors Commentary

The director’s commentary was so-so.  Since it’s only the director the commentary is mostly about how this was short or how conditions were filming on this day.  If you are super into Pride and Prejudice then you might enjoy it but otherwise I wouldn’t really bother.

Fun Facts learned during the commentary:

  • The blackbird is representative of Elizabeth and when we hear one on screen it’s only during scenes involving Elizabeth.
  • My favorite shot of Elizabeth walking to Netherfield was CGI.
  • During the ball scene we learn that there is no toilet for ladies at a ball.  If a lady had to go to the bathroom they would just go home for the night.  Guys on the other hand would sneak out to take a leak in the woods.  Which knowing that would making getting drunk at the ball difficult knowing you had to hold it in afterward the rest of the night.
  • The director had Mary play her part as being in love with Mr. Collins.  This was a cool perspective of Mary who would actually probably have gotten along really well with Mr. Collins.  You only see it in her expressions but it’s a nice little add in there.
  • This was first film for both Carey Mulligan (Kitty) and Talulah Riley (Mary).

These seem like cool tidbits but trust me, just read the trivia section of IMDB, it’s not worth watching the whole directors commentary.

Extras

I’m watching the Bluray/DVD combo version of the film so I assume the separate Bluray and DVD versions of the film are these same versions.

Conversations With The Cast

  • Same as at the ball behind the scenes on DVD version, it just has a bunch of interviews of the cast and some behind the scenes

Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time

  • Talks about Bridget jones and bride and prejudice
  • Discussed how Jane Austen only wrote about her own observation of society and class.  This again helps to explain how the lower classes are non-existent.
  • You can visit Jane Austen’s home in England.
  • The prince regent requested she dedicated Emma to him.  I thought this part was really interesting, I mean how arrogant does a person have to be to demand someone dedicate a book after them.

A Bennett Family Portrait

  • Mostly cut from scenes on the other behind the scenes featurettes, no new information.

Pride & Prejudice: HBO First Look

  • Mostly cut from the behind the scenes interviews that we see in other featurettes.
  • They mentioned how the cast visited the set/home of the Bennet family which was an existing house in England.  They came before the camera crews set up so they got to see it in its natural state.  While there they played a game called “sardines”, I’ve never heard of it but it’s mentioned in like 4 separate featurettes and in the directors commentary as well. It must be a British thing.

The Politics of 18th Century Dating

  • Kind of lame, just talks about how dancing was important to dating.

The Stately Homes of Pride and Prejudice

  • You get to look at all the houses from the movie, yay!

Pride Hard Stage Show?

17 Dec

Pride Hard Play

Since twitter is all the buzz with the kids I was planning on snagging a separate twitter handle dedicated only for Pride Hard material.  Naturally the first that would come to mind is @pridehard but alas it was all ready taken.  For shits and giggles I decided to check out what what was actually on the @pridehard hashtag and low and behold it is actually Pride and Prejudice Related!

This is the description:

“Rob Lloyd & Kelsey Gade recreate the action masterpiece DIE HARD in the style of Jane Austen’s timeless tome PRIDE & PREJUDICE”.

Awesomeness! Too bad it looks like this takes place in Australia but if they ever come state side you can count me in.  If i was going to lose the twitter handle @pridehard to anyone i’m glad its these guys.

Neglect

13 Dec

I’ve been seriously neglecting my obligations to review Pride Material. Like Mr. Darcy vowing his love to Elizabeth I vow to my faithful subjects that I will have a new post next week discussing the 2005 Pride and Prejudice Film

XOXO

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