Archive | November, 2012

Why Iphones Are One of the Most Irritating Advances in Technology

25 Nov

Riding the train is a normal part of my weekly routine. It has been this way for years, starting with my freshman year of college, and hasn’t shown any signs of ebbing. As such, I have long found myself tucking away my ipod for crochet hooks, and my books for people watching. (Mainly for paranoia’s sake, as news of weirder and worse happenings pop up more frequently in the news and I don’t want to be caught off gaurd.) Yet, what I notice more and more often as I glance around the crowds of faces on the T, is down turned faces with slightly unfocused eyes and ever-scrolling fingers. The ever-popular Iphone used to be hard to come by, reserved for people who had that sort of money to spend and felt the need to impress their peers. Now, it’s everywhere–and everyone seems to have it. (Most recently both of my parents have adopted one of their own little monstrosities.)

At first, I went along with the idea that they were cool. I mean, what could be so bad about a phone combined with massive internet capability and a music player? A lot, apparently. As more people obtained these irritating phones, I found more people on the train would blast music from them (usually irritatingly bad rap music saturated with curses that make you uncomfortable, especially if there are children or elderly women nearby.) and would forgo their provided ear buds. It makes me furious. It’s rude and inconsiderate of their fellow passengers. But this is not my only qualm with these annoying gadgets.

I miss normal conversations with people. Before the infestation of the Iphone, I could go out to dinner with a group of close friends, or a loved one and have real conversations. Intelligent conversations. Now, I long for those days as the Iphone invades the tables. More often than not, conversations lack significant eye contact as whoever you are at the table with fiddles with their phone; texting or forever scrolling through their memes or random photos they have taken of themselves or their food in the past week. They are distracted–and when you cease talking, a horrible awkward silence in which you can only hear the sound of their skin against the phone screen fills the air. (Or more upsetting, is when during this break in conversation, the iphone owner suddenly laughs at something on their phone–and it is the only interest they have shown in anything all evening.) If the silence goes on for too long, that Iphone person will lean across the table to you to show you whatever it is they are looking at on their phone, as it is clearly more interesting than–whatever it was you had just been talking about by yourself.

No one listens anymore. No one really talks or communicates. And no one gives their full attention to anything. Sometimes, I feel I could be on fire beside someone with an iphone, and they would only stop to take a photo of me to add to their creepy scrolling collection.

 

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Disney Doesn’t “Wreck-it” with Wreck-It Ralph

10 Nov

After the more recent disappointments of The Borrower Arrietty and Brave, I was somewhat wary to see Disney’s most recent animated film, Wreck-it Ralph.

The advertisements looked promising, giving me a small hope that this would be the film that once more redeemed Disney’s animated films in my eyes, but I reminded myself that the ads for Brave and Arrietty had looked gorgeous too. So when my boyfriend and I finally made it down to the theater this week, I held my breath as the lights dimmed.

To my great relief, Disney had pulled it off. (Possible Spoiler alert!)

Wreck-it Ralph opens with a pixilated Steam-boat Willie, and then the lead character, Ralph begins to narrate over a close up of what appears to be an old arcade game, complete with 8-bit music, where we see Ralph living his day-to-day.

Ralph is the bad guy–but as all the ads point out (and  out of Street Fighter Zangeef’s mouth)–he isn’t a bad guy. It’s easy to feel badly for Ralph, a character who is programmed to be the villain of his game, wrecking an apartment for the hero, Felix, to fix; however, even after the arcade closes and the characters are allowed to be themselves, Ralph is still rejected by his fellow game characters and lives a lonely life in the dump.

The story takes place on the 30th anniversary of Wreck-it Ralph’s game, Fix-it Felix JR, with Ralph attending what appears to be an Alcoholic’s Anonymous style meeting of game villains where he admits that he wishes he knew what it felt like to be the hero. Here Disney playfully injects bad guys from games as familiar as Bowser from Super Mario, Zangeef from Street Fighter, A Pac man Ghost, and Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog along with characters the younger generation may recognize. (I couldn’t figure them out myself.) Ralph also admits that he doesn’t want to be the bad guy any more–but the group of baddies laugh it off and encourage him to take it, “one game at a time.” and not to “go turbo”.

After returning from his meeting, Ralph realizes that the other characters in his game are celebrating their 30 year anniversary with a party and, a little hurt his invitation never arrived, promptly makes an appearance there. The hero in his game, Felix, is a sweet and utterly loveable little man with a magic hammer is urged by his fellow characters to “get rid” of Ralph. Too nice to tell Ralph to hit the bricks, Felix invites Ralph in for cake instead, where Ralph is egged on by some of the other characters and ultimately he ruins the party. Ralph insists to the disbelieving group that he could earn metals just as easily as the hero, Felix, and is challenged by another character that if he gets a metal he live with them in the apartment instead of in the dump.

Urged on by the idea of living with the other game characters, Ralph embarks on a journey to obtain his own hero metal.

The audience travels with Ralph on his journey to be a hero and to be treated fairly through various games as Ralph “game jumps” to a very Halo-esq game called, Hero’s Duty, a one person shooter where he is faced with massive Bug-monsters that become whatever they eat. With absolutely no finesse, Ralph manages to steal a metal, but in doing so, also launches himself (literally) into another game as he struggles with a Bug that has clung to him in a stolen escape pod. They crash land in a game called, Sugar Rush, which is sort of like a candy-land racing game, where the Bug sinks and disappears in frosting. Here Ralph encounters a little girl called, Vanelope Schweet, who promptly steals his hero metal, thinking it’s a coin.

It turns out that Vanelope is in her own string of trouble,  and like Ralph, facing  isolation from her fellow game characters. The other characters claim Vanelope is a glitch that can’t be allowed to race with the other characters (or compete in the reindeer games!) and feeling badly for the girl, Ralph promises to help her.

Meanwhile, In Ralph’s game, the Arcade is open for business again and Ralph is a no show. Gamers who play notice the missing villain and bring it to the manager’s attention thinking the game is broken. Felix and the other characters finally realize that Ralph is missing and Felix promises to “fix-it” and sets off to find Ralph before the plug on their game is pulled. Felix and the female captain from Hero’s Duty team up, Felix searching for Ralph and the captain seeking out the Bug that escaped her game with Ralph.

Wreck-it Ralph is a movie about not making judgements–but even the villain of this film may surprise you. I think it may have been a first for me since I was young that I didn’t immediately know who the villain was and I loved the surprise. (I won’t spoil it for you.) The film is full of jokes that all ages can enjoy between the obvious “duty” jokes to the more adult themed (over the kids heads) jokes, this film is one I would consider seeing in theaters again.  Disney managed to pull it out of the bag for me on this one. The graphics are smooth and gorgeous and even the music is helplessly catchy. It gets a five our of five cupcakes from the Restless Writer scale.