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5G flip phones

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life Mar 21 2019 · 33 views
technology, smart phones and 1 more...
:kaukau: I said that I would wait until the next Big Thing before upgrading everything of mine wholesale to the Apple ecosystem. After asking a lot of people at Best Buy, I've decided that the thing I'll wait for will be the eventual 6G network. So basically, it will probably be around 2030 when I upgrade to Apple.

Also, I discovered that while 2G and 3G are being phased out of service in the next year or two, there are some 4G (and inevitably, 5G) flip phones. That's right, my father can still hold on to his dear Fliposaurus! And then I can wait until the 2030's before I get him a flagship smartphone. I want to put this off for as long as possible because a) nostalgia, I love those dinosaurs, too, and b) I want to contrast between generational technology upgrades to be as dramatic and surreal as possible. Hopefully it doesn't send him into shock.

In the meantime, my next upgrade will probably be the Galaxy Note 10 or 11, which I'll use for educational purposes until it dies on me. After that, I wouldn't mind going for the majority of the 2020's on a flip phone. It wouldn't have as many tools, but its shape and build is ideal to fit in my back pocket when I'm welding. Plus, there's something cool about being the stubborn person from yestergeneration refusing to conform.



Once you go Mac...

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life Mar 14 2019 · 54 views
iPhone, Mac, Apple, 90s
:kaukau: You never go back. At least, that's what I hear. Honestly, if I went Mac, I probably wouldn't go back, either. It isn't because it's so much better than everything else, because I actually never liked the interface of Macs. At least they have changed their mouses from those ugly early 2000's which thought that it was a good idea to be featureless.

Still, fewer viruses are written for them. Once you get to a certain age, you become a single-issue voter when it comes to which computer gets your vote. Interface is completely irrelevant if your computer doesn't have the best security on the market.

That, plus if you buy one thing from Apple, you're strongly incentivised to make all of your other products Apple in order to make everything compatible.

Anyway, I'm going to stick with my regular PC for another five years. I spent over two thousand dollars on it, and I want to get all my money's worth before replacing it. If I can make my computer last at least eight years, preferably over ten, then I'm happy. When it finally gives up the ghost, then I'll upgrade to whatever the most advanced Mac laptop is by then. Which means that I'm likely to spend $10,000 on the laptop alone. And then I'll probably want whatever flagship iPhone is on the market, which I'd imagine will be amazing in 2025 or so. They'll probably be out with Bluetooth 7 by then, too.

Honestly, I get pretty confused by those people who upgrade their phone with every new model. Are the incremental improvements worth $1,000? I only just upgraded to a smartphone for the first time less than half a year ago. That's right; just a few months ago, I was using a dinosaur phone. Imagine the contrast when I upgraded to a used 2017 smartphone. That phone was worth $100 when it was first released, but compared to my flip phone it was a $1,000 upgrade. It has quite a few new features. And sure, some of the new phones have even more features, but how many of those are worth an extra $1,000? Because I'm not going to pay that money for a phone whose features I mostly already have. I'm basically buying my current phone, plus something else that may be tacked on to that. Until such a time that I do upgrade, I'm keeping an Excel sheet of all of the new technologies and estimating a dollar value for the usefulness of each. I'd like to quantify exactly how much better my eventual replacement phone will be compared to my current one.

Anyway, that's part of how I look at things.

Also, the Galaxy Note 9 isn't a piece of junk. There's still quite a bit of latency with its S Pen. Apparently people think it's perfect, and I'm looking at it like it's a piece of tech in its early stages of development. It's a cool idea, though. I can imagine buying my father something from the Galaxy Note series in a few years. He likes the idea of getting a Ring, but they're made for people who use contemporary phones, and he still uses a dinosaur phone. I figure that maybe the only way he'll upgrade is when his Fliposaurus rex goes extinct and a smart phone is his only choice. He hates them, much like me, but he might like something with a built-in stylus. So yeah, when he's forced to transition give up on the 90's (it will be painful for both of us, because I haven't fully given up on the 90's, either), I think I'll help him get a Galaxy Note 13 or whatever is out by then. Some people are saying that the smartphone will be dead by 2025, and if a couple of years out from that these rumors are looking increasingly plausible, then I'll probably hold off even longer. If he's going to upgrade, he may as well get the best possible upgrade to make it worth it.

Also, sometime in the 2020's is when I'm going to be the age he was when he had me, and from then on we'll both be closer in age than we are apart, and we'll be members of a couple of older generations spectating the developments of a newer generation who are native inhabitants of this millennia.



Captain Marvel Review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Reviews, Movies Mar 11 2019 · 66 views
Captain Marvel, Marvel, MCU and 2 more...
:kaukau: First of all, I need to address other reviews about this movie. It's apparent that there are reviewers that are highly vested in promoting either a positive or negative opinion on this movie. Everyone wants people to share their opinion, and apparently it's divisive. My understanding of this is that the lead actress, Brie Larson, said things in the name of feminism that were deemed as hostile, but I have intentionally not paid any attention to this drama. As far as I am concerned, I only judge her on her acting career, because that's all I see of her.

With that having been said, what was the movie like? What would make you want to see it or not see it? Who is this movie for, and who is it not for?

First of all, anyone who loves Stan Lee should see this movie. Marvel Studios constantly makes it difficult for me anoint one in particular as the best. For a while there I thought that it was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but they keep on getting better.

Second, there are feminist themes, evoked about twice, both with regard to the Air Force. The setting justifies this, since Carol Danvers faced some discrimination in the Air Force during the 80's. Go back and watch a movie like G.I. Jane and you'll see that the feminist topics in this movie are a good fit for the times. The most feminist thing that the movie did, and the only thing that might be remotely overreaching, was changing an established character from the comic books from a man to a woman. Some people are going to be fine with that, others won't, and I think that it ultimately depends on how attached you were to that character from the comics.

Third, there was surprisingly little 90's nostalgia. On one hand, I'm very nostalgic about the 90's and was disappointed. On the other hand, exploiting decades' nostalgia is pretty gimmicky, so it could be a good thing that they didn't harp it to the same extent that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies did. The best 90's stuff in the movie actually wasn't the overt references to popular culture, but the things that I subconsciously picked up on, such as the make of the cars, the technology, and even the architecture. These details created an ambient sense that I was watching a 90's film, because I remember what 90's technology feels like.

But let's get to the real questions that people are asking. Was the main character any good? Well, it's complicated. The trailers didn't do this movie justice, since they chose all of the most monotone moments of line delivery to represent this character. She does have some humor and charm. However, I don't think that she's quite as magnetic as some of the other Marvel leading characters, and I'm not fully invested in her as I would have liked. I'm not entirely sure if this is the fault of the director or the actress, and I feel conflicted saying this because I've seen Brie Larson in a few other things, and she's definitely a talented actress. There was something missing. I've seen a couple of reviews saying that she's now officially the most charming person in the MCU and that Tony Stark can step aside; these reviews are clearly pushing an agenda. At the end of the day, her performance isn't burned into my memory quite like Josh Brolin's Thanos was, or perhaps to make a more apples-to-apples comparison, Melissa Benoist's Kara Danvers. I've had some time to think about it, and I think that the one element that was missing was vulnerability, at least in the performance. It was also somewhat there in the directing, particularly during a big moment in the movie when Carol Danvers realizes who she is, and why she's going to "end" the war instead of "fight" it. It was a moment that should have played strongly on the character's internal conflict, and while it was there in writing, the directors breezed through the scene too easily. As I said, her greatest moment of self-revelation should have had some vulnerability and made our hearts break for the character.

That isn't to say that the character is unlikable. She does have a decent story arc, good writing, and isn't a Mary Sue, as some people were speculating. She does earn her powers, does go through growth, does have complexity, have interesting relationships, and she isn't wantonly over-powered. I'm actually surprised at how nerfed her powers were, given the hype I was hearing from some that she's the most powerful person in the MCU, and the MCU's version of Superman. Based off of what I've seen in this movie, she's about as powerful as Thor, but not as powerful as Doctor Strange and Thanos, and definitely not the MCU's Superman.

I go on all of this at such length because, in context, this film is under heavy scrutiny over whether or not the character is a Mary Sue. Ultimately, my verdict is that she isn't, not the way she's written. I don't foresee there being too many Youtube videos criticizing this movie's in the same way that Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi was. However, if you thought that you might have a problem with Brie Larson herself, then you just might walk out from viewing this with it unchanged.

The highlight of this movie is 90's Samuel L. Jackson. He's easily the best part, and looking at other reviews, people are consistently coming to this same conclusion. You don't notice the de-aging in the slightest. People have also been saying that the cat from the trailers also stole the show, and the breakout star, but I don't necessarily agree. As nice as the cat was, I don't really think that it's one of the best parts of the film. For me, that was Stan Lee, although I already said that. To name something other than him and Samuel Jackson, I did like Ben Mendelsohn.

Overall, it was a standard Marvel movie. In my personal estimation, a little bit better than the trailers. There's a chance that you might think that it's the best one to date. Everyone seems to say that about the most recent Marvel movie. They said it about Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War., back to back. I don't see it that way. To me, this is closer to Ant Man and the Wasp, which is just fine. Perhaps the only area in which that is a problem is that the end-credits scene from Avengers: Infinity War hyped this up so much as being something as groundbreaking as Thanos, and this film was meant to build up to be a real game-changer for Avengers: Endgame, but I didn't necessarily find that it has the gravitas for that. I also don't know how invested I am in this character over others that will be appearing in Endgame. With that in mind, don't watch this because of the next Avengers movie, but rather to enjoy the adventure of this story on its own merits. It stands on its own quite well.

Wait...isn't she technically the "First Avenger?" At least by name? Or if we're going to say that Captain America was the first on the basis that he was around before her, would then Thor technically be the first Avenger?



Alita: Battle Angel Review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Reviews, Movies Mar 11 2019 · 31 views
Alita, James Cameron, Anime
:kaukau: I watched this mainly because it was produced by James Cameron, and I was curious to see if his perfectionist fingerprints were all over it. They indeed were. I know that this was directed by Robert Rodriguez, but it was definitely a joint effort. You can see Cameron's contributions in how meticulously the engineering of the world is conceived, how meticulously the action scenes are constructed. They're all unique, easy to follow, and visually distinct from each other. They don't become the same after a while, and you can watch more or less any part of this movie and say, "That was the best part," which reminds me of T2: Judgment Day. Also, you can see Cameron's involvement in the way that the film is paced, because even though this movie is packed, it also takes its time to build up the story and move through the various plot points. Cameron always pushed to have his stories more drawn out.

The only downside in this is that by the time the movie was near its end, I thought that it would go on for another hour. It felt like this was going to be a genuinely lengthy epic with three hours of buildup to the climax. As it turns out, it was almost exactly two hours, and it ended on a terrible cliffhanger. It did not give me the emotional resolution that I was looking for. I was pretty disappointed that the film ultimately didn't bring us to the Big Picture conflict that defined the setting, and instead it I watched the first two acts of a movie before being cut off from the juicy third act.

Otherwise, every moment of the film, in the moment, is pretty good. I'm never bored with the characters, the visuals, the worldbuilding, the action, and the conflict at any point. That's all pretty good. Alita was definitely a great character, as many people have been saying. Again, the only real problem is that it ends so abruptly. I strongly believe that this should have been a three-hour movie. It had the feel for one. Hopefully there will be a sequel, but I would have preferred a standalone movie that ran extra on time, since that would have been more epic and cinematic.



Netflix at the Oscars

Posted by Jean Valjean , Mar 04 2019 · 105 views

:kaukau: Some controversy has been raised on this subject, courtesy of my idol Steven Spielberg. He's a big believer in the power of the Big Screen, and that the Oscars celebrates the culture of the Big Screen every year. It isn't necessarily a celebration of all movies across all mediums. After all, movies that are made for television win their awards at the Emmy's.

So how does Netflix fit into this? Netflix movies have budgets, and major directors and actors attached, and they aim for a cinematic experience. In terms of quality, they seek to be indistinguishable from a movie released on the Big Screen. They do not flow like movies made on television at all. So do films initially released on Netflix have a place at the Oscars?

My sentiments align with Spielberg's. He has made things for screens of all sizes. He also loves video games. The guy is aware of the various different mediums of entertainment, I agree that each medium should have its own separate awards ceremony. People are telling him to get with the times and acknowledge that Netflix movies are not inferior to theatrical movies, but I actually think that he's ahead of his time, as he always has been.

Here's how I see it: online streaming services should have their own award ceremony for their medium. They have reached the point where they have become distinctive enough as a medium that they cannot be categorized as TV or Big Screen, and they are mainstream enough to deserve their own ceremony. Think about it: there's not just Netflix, but Hulu, Youtube, Amazon, and more. Disney is coming out with its own pretty soon. You can bet that in the next decade, new entrepreneurs will pop up. If you try and lump this in with the Oscars, you're essentially denying that this is its own unique and upcoming thing with its own distinct identity. You're trying to define it in terms of the past and in terms of its visionary future.

Streaming isn't like TV, because it often doesn't rely on commercial breaks. It isn't like the Big Screen, not just because of the different sensory experience but because it creates an entirely different kind of communal experience. It's just so different. It can create magic just as much as TV and the Big Screen, but it's its own kind of magic.

If I may, when such an awards ceremony becomes mainstream, I propose that they be called the Fonso's..

EDIT: Guys, I take that back. Such an awards ceremony should be called the PEWDIE AWARDS. Also, make sure to never, ever subscribe to Youtube channels run by large corporations and record label companies. Losers who live in their mothers' basements, unite! WE SHALL BE REPRESENTED!



The Actual Best Picture 2018

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies Feb 27 2019 · 98 views

:kaukau: To be honest? Probably Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I expected good animation. I wasn't expecting something that was great in every conceivable way. It was some real movie magic.

Otherwise, here were some of the other movies that were among the best of the year but were not nominated for Best Picture. A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, The Mule, Ready Player One, 12 Strong, First Man, The 15:17 to Paris, and Game Night. I highly recommend all of these.

Lemme see...yeah, and now the MCU has its first Oscar wins. Costuming makes sense, and I can't complain in clear conscience because I always root for movies like that to win this ward. Way to go, Academy. Continue to give the Best Costume Design category to superhero and fantasy films. They're literally designed for that category.

...but it kind of makes me mad that it won Best Original Score. And to think, John Williams never won for his Superman score, nor Danny Elfman for Batman, nor Hans Zimmer for any of the Dark Knight movies, just to put that in perspective. C'Mon. You know what had the best score? Of the ones that I've heart, either Into the Spider-Verse or First Man. Though I haven't listened to it, it's highly likely that Mary Poppins Returns had, if nothing else, a great score. Why they don't consistently give this award to musicals escapes me.



Pre-Oscar Thoughts

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Events, Movies Feb 24 2019 · 86 views

:kaukau: Alfonso Cuarón is, in my opinion, one of the greatest directors of all time. He's basically up there with Spielberg and (when he's on a roll) James Cameron. So I'm absolutely rooting for him to win Best Picture and Best Director. And also Best Cinematography, because his movies have consistently had some of the best cinematography I've ever seen. I'm also a sucker for black and white. Furthermore, he's more talented than Alejandro González Iñárritu, and deserves as many Oscars as him at the very least. I also think that it's kind of cool that we've had the Best Director award go to a Mexican four times this decade, and I just want to go with the trend. If Cuarón wins again, then officially half of this decade belongs to Mexican directors. Furthermore, I think that it's about time that we have the first foreign-language film to win the Best Picture award. It should have been La Vita è Bella, back in 1997, but Titanic came outthat year, so what can you do? If anyone's going to take home that historic first, it might as well be my man Cuarón.

So what else is there...

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for Best Animated Film. That was really good, probably the best comic book movie of all of 2018, and that's saying something.

And I hope that Black Panther literally comes home with nothing. I like the MCU, but I also won't hide my DC bias. Someone once pointed out on this blog that Suicide Squad has more Oscars than the entire MCU combined, which I thought was hilarious, and I hope that it stays that way. Black Panther was still good, though, and I hope that the sequel makes even more money and blows my mind away.

I hope that Lady Ga Ga wins Best Actress. Call it the Cher effect. Also, she gave a good Super Bowl halftime show that one time, an we still owe her our ongoing thanks. Show her you care, Academy.

Couldn't care less about Best Actor. They all look awesome and I don't know who to root for. But if I'm going to bring in fanboy bias and sentimentality, Rami Malek, because I'm a huge fan of Freddy Mercury.

I like Sam Rockwell, and he did a great job as George W. Bush. Although as a runner-up, I think it would be hilarious if Ben Solo won Best Supporting Actor (the guy deserves some compensation for all the hate he gets playing the Darth Vader fanboy in Star Wars).

The sound categories should go to Bohemian Rhapsody, because Queen. Queen is all you need.

And Best Documentary Short Subject should go to End Game. It'll be the closest the MCU will ever get to winning an Oscar.



Mushy Valentine's Letter

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Feb 16 2019 · 45 views
Valentines Day, Rickroll and 3 more...
Mushy Valentine's Letter :kaukau: There are over twenty different songs quoted in this. And so, so many inside jokes. Names have been edited out, but otherwise, I hope you're entertained by this little glimpse into my life. This was incredibly fun to write.

Also, to put that first line in context, I send gold earrings with the letter. It's a little more extravagant than last year, when I sent a paper flower, but last year's letter was a bit more...more than this one. Among other things, I quoted the most awkward, on-the-nose passage in all of Song of Solomon. That's another inside joke.



Super Bowl LIII

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Events Feb 04 2019 · 71 views
Super Bowl, Patriots, Rams and 2 more...
:kaukau: I arrived to the Super Bowl party late and only saw the last half of the fourth period. Fortunately, that was the only part worth watching anyway. Otherwise, I wasn't particularly motivated to watch this game, since I didn't have a horse in the fight and didn't care to win. Vikings are my homeboys.

With that being said, the results of this Bowl made me feel strangely...patriotic.



Men Go Their Own Way?

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom Jan 31 2019 · 109 views
Feminism, MGTOW, male insecurity and 2 more...
:kaukau: For the last few years, I've had a certain perception of masculinity. Just before I sat down to write something, I noticed that someone had carved into the public desk I was using a rather rude way of saying, "Earn lots of money and get girls." This struck me as peculiar. Since when was a man's masculinity dependent upon picking up girls? Why should men obsessed with masculine things find so much value in mingling with some"thing" so fundamentally opposed to their masculine pursuits?

Sometimes a video pops up on my feed on Youtube by a pickup artist or dating coach. Some of them are sleazier than others, and I give credit to the ones who I don't find outright chauvinistic. However, it strikes me as curious that so many men are insecure about their ability to attract members of the opposite sex. After a while, it becomes rather toxic and unattractive, especially when all other subjects of interest to them mirror their own masculine nature.

It would be different if a man wanted to start a relationship and if his concern wasn't ultimately selfish. But so long as you're going to be selfish and only care about living the high life, I'd imagine that having girls would be a drag. They would surely hold such men back from their natural wont, and obsessing over them makes a man look rather feminine himself. Okay, I suppose that it socially validates you, and that validation might get you other things that you want, but in a life of purely material pursuit, I don't see the appeal of attaining women in and of itself.

About a year ago, I discovered insecure men of a different stripe on Youtube when I stumbled upon the hashtag MGTOW. It was on a video where a woman described herself as a classical feminist but not a contemporary feminist. You'd think that she would gain a lot of support from the many men who are reactionaries to today's feminism, but those reactionaries disliked her, too, because they knew that she would only marry a man who could be a breadwinner, and they deemed this against their economic interests and offensive to their demographic. Hence, MGTOW, "Men Go Their Own Way."

In some ways, I have more respect for people who insist that men go their own way than men who just want to treat women as a luxury item. Both groups are looking for lives of luxury, and both want those luxuries to share their masculine personality. At least one of those groups knows that one such "luxury" doesn't march in step with their masculinity.

Really, though, both of these outlooks are ridiculous. Men, don't focus on whether or not you have girls. It shouldn't matter. You should look after your own holistic health, and share that health with others when it's appropriate to do so. You can never rid yourself of your insecurities, but you can control them instead of letting them control you. Act mature. Live a while, and you'll get even more mature. If you're pursuing women for your own validation and gratification, you aren't going to be happy. This feeds into your insecurity, and it gives you an incorrect and juvenile perspective on your masculinity. There is absolutely nothing emasculating about being single without escorts.

One day, your outlook will change, if you let it. I know it sounds cliche, but you end up finding things when you aren't looking. When that day comes, the question will no longer be "What can or can't women do for you?" but "What can you do for others?" You'll have a servant's heart. You give to others because you care, not because you're showing off. You'll appreciate how humility doesn't emasculate you; it makes you a truer man than anything else you pursued before.



Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: People literally don't have names in my family
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, Quarter Hungarian, Eighth Swedish, Sixteenth German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, drawing
Political Caucus: Iowa Republicans
Religion: Christian
Language: Iowegian

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