It has legitimately been a long week. Not that somehow, magically, this week had like 8 days or something…just that, you know, there’s been some stuff.
I think I’ve found a few more chinks in the shiny armor of my new job. There doesn’t seem to be very strong communication between different levels of this company. I went in on Saturday, only to find out that no one in my department was scheduled to come in that day (how thoughtful of them to tell me). One of my bosses tried to put me to work somewhere out in the warehouse, but my body gave up after not long out there, really. It’s probably about 10 degrees warmer in there than outside, not great air circulation, and I’m just not used to doing repetitive and involved manual labor. Within an hour, I was sweating harder than I can remember in a long time, breathing hard, slightly dizzy, and had the onset of a headache. Normally I’d try to power through it, but I didn’t want to be that guy that passes out at work, so I noped out of that as soon as I finished my pallet.

That was kind of a humbling moment. I know that I’m not in the best of shape, but I didn’t realize how out of shape I really am. I need to do something about this. The worst thing is that I still feel like I’ll need more motivation to get back into some kind of regular workout routine. I thought this might be the catalyst to provoke a change in behavior, but all I really feel like doing are trying to improve my eating drinking habits. I need some help here…like a personal trainer, or a girlfriend, or something. I think what I have here is the gasoline, I just need to find the spark somewhere else.

Bah, enough self loathing. I’ve got some content here for y’all. Firstly, I’ve got another one of my summer movies ready to talk about, just one. Let’s take a quick look.

The Lone Ranger
TLR

It’s not Pirates of the Caribbean…but it’s very very close. There are only a few directors out there whose influence in a movie is so easily recognized, but it’s impossible to watch this flick and not go, “Oh yea, Gore Verbinski did this, didn’t he?” I can also think of Michael Bay, Spike Lee, maybe Christopher Nolan as well…but none have quite the recognizable rhythm that Verbinski does. I don’t know what he’d do at this point without Johnny Depp (he’s been in 5 of the last 6 of his movies). Getting him to team  with Helena Bonham Carter again was just icing on the cake (it’s interesting mentioning that they have appeared on screen together 6 times now, the first 5 times were movies all directed by Tim Burton).

The problem that you run into with reusing actors again and again and again is that you begin to fall into a rut…which can be just fine when your movies are sequels, and more of the same is merited, but I think Verbinski forgot that this wasn’t another Pirates’ sequel.
Johnny Depp said in a number of interviews early on that he really wanted to do true justice to the character of Tonto, and one would think that with his supposed distant Cherokee bloodline, and his adoption by the Comanche Nation in 2012, that this would be a sincere statement. The role however reeks of Jack Sparrow, both in demeanor and sometimes in dialogue. Some of that he couldn’t help, sure, but it was kind of sad to see that promise fall flat.
Armie Hammer‘s portrayal of TLR also felt reminiscent of another Pirate’s character…Will Turner. He started off as such a naive sissy, but slowly grew into his role under the tutelage of Mr. Sparrow…er…Tonto, sorry…same difference. Whether I’m talking about Mr. Turner or TLR, both turn into badasses in their own right at the end of the trilogy/movie.

I just never felt like the characters were who they were supposed to be. Speaking of characters feeling off, what was the deal with old Tonto?

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There was just something about that version of the character that was wildly unsettling. I can’t place my finger on it at all, but maybe if you watch it, you can pick up on what I’m saying.

I also feel like I’m nitpicking here, but their use of the original Lone Ranger music in select places felt extremely hokey to me. This is a Lone Ranger for a new day and age, and the stylization of that kind of music just didn’t fit this film…this version of TLR. I don’t know if they were trying to tie the old together with the new, but it felt so out of place.

With those gripes out of the way, the story was good, the effects fit the style of the film, and the rest of the music felt organic to the theme. Despite everything I just said, this was really a pretty good movie. I just wish Disney or whoever could have made the decision to bring on either Verbinski or Depp…but not both. The bond between actor and director is an important thing, but sometimes being too close can work against a film, and this is all to well an example of that. It’s good, but it could have been so much better.
The Lone Ranger – 6 out of 10

There is one good thing I can say about this movie, on a more personal level. I think it killed my boner for Johnny Depp. After seeing him as Tonto, I’m just not as impressed by him anymore. I  need to find myself a new celebrity crush now, maybe someone a bit more traditional to fawn over. After seeing Pacific Rim again recently, I’m already sold on who’s going to be filling that role for the foreseeable future: Rinko Kikuchi.

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makomori

I’ve fallen in love with this actress. I could watch her all day with a giddy little smile on my face. That’s for a different place though…like Tumblr or whatever. The good news is that I got my buddy Jason to watch the movie as well, and I don’t know if he likes near as much as I do, but it’s up there for him.

Alright guys, I need to switch gears here for a little while. I know that movies are kind of my thing now, but I’ve been laying them out really heavily over the past several posts, and I’ve failed to communicate all the things that have really been going through my head. I want to be more multifaceted than just movies, so I think it’s time for some new content. Here’s my idea…

Nerds of the Future
A look at the future of technology through the eyes of a Nerd

Many of us quite often fantasize or theorize as to what the future holds for the technology that powers our everyday lives, and this is a subject my friends and I can always milk for hours on end. There are so many different categories for the common things that we interact with everyday, that this topic could almost be endless. For the sake of time though, and attention span, let’s keep ourselves restricted down to one category. I say we, because I’d love for this to be something that a number of people weigh in on, and that we can get a good dialogue going in the comments here. I wouldn’t want to lead you into a dark alley without a flashlight though, so I’ll get the ball rolling, and y’all can pile on at the conclusion. Without further ado, let’s have a topic…

Wanted Features in New and Future Cars

Whether you drive, walk, bike, take the bus, or have your roommates/parents take you everywhere, chances are you’ve gotta deal with cars on a daily basis (I feel like this is a “Well Duh!” kind of statement, but if this were a school paper, this is the thesis you’d see). Everyone has their favorite car, and features that they love, but let’s look forward…possibly into the realm of science fiction in some cases and think of some features we would like to see in the vehicles that will hit the showroom floor in coming years and decades.

I feel like the obvious thing that most people would throw out first would be Auto Pilot, or Vehicle Autonomy. I’d say that 90% of cars on the market today have Cruise Control, to give our legs a rest. Giving our full body and minds a break is the extension. There are hundreds of GPS programs on the market in various forms and fashions, and there are numerous cars on the market today that have an array of cameras all around them for parking purposes. There are also a few luxury cars out there that can sense cars stopping in front of you, cars to your side when shifting lanes, even detect drowsy eyes. All that seems to be lacking is an algorithm that combines all various inputs from the car, and sets the car off towards a destination, and another algorithm that can negotiate traffic conditions.
I know that there are companies out there that are beta testing such technologies, and that we are constantly within 5 years of having a functional prototype. I just know that someone has to be working on this.

The second thing that I see most people mentioning is some form of Limited Flight Capability. That…well, flight for the common civilian is something that still scares me to think about. It sounds very cool in theory, but putting a hovercraft within the reach of every Joe Blow that can buy a car is a thought that irks me at this point of the game. Cool, but dangerous.

What about In-Car WiFi Hotspots? Phone’s are capable of creating small hotspots in like a 5-10 foot radius, I feel like this would be a lot more useful in cars, especially on road trips with a few passengers. Think about being able to pull up Netflix on a tablet for kids in the backseat, or get some games going back and forth on various mobile devices. I know that there’s usually some carrier network in most places that we go, but it’s always so slow, and I constantly find myself in need of a WiFi signal, if only for like 5 minutes or so.
While we’re here, what about better Smartphone Compatibility in cars? Most everything now requires bluetooth or a hard link, both of which are limited in their capabilities. With a WiFi hotspot, wouldn’t it be possible to establish a Local Area Network to pass data back and forth. It could work like Apple TV in a sense, you could pull up various forms of media and push it to your car…music, podcasts, videos (if you have the required hardware). I know that bluetooth gets a lot of this done, but I’m thinking a little beyond this too. Maybe you could push pins from maps to GPS devices to easily input destinations. Maybe the car could also push its stats to your phone, like if the tire pressure is getting a little low, or the engine is running a little hot. I think there are far more applications for an in car local area network than I can think of. What kind of stuff do y’all think would be possible?

Maybe that’s thinking a little far outside the box. How many of y’all have ever spilled a drink when cornering or stopping a little too hard? What would y’all think of Gyroscopic Cup Holders? Never spill a drink again due to car momentum. I know I wouldn’t be the only one excited if this were news.

A friend has thought about this prospect with me before, Auto-Tinting Glass. I’ve got these glasses that have Transitions® lenses that darken and lighten depending on the ambient light level at the time. What if our car windows could respond to sunlight and changing weather conditions like that? What if you’re having a really bad hair day or something, and want to manually dial up the window tint to keep people from seeing you? Pretty neat right?
Why stop at tinting? What about a Full Windshield Heads Up Display? Expand all that segmented info that usually fits in a 7 or so inch space behind your steering wheel to occupy your full range of vision…without obstructing your view of the road. All your info could be right in front of you, without being hidden behind several layers of menus.
How about a layer further than that, with force feedback through Haptic Adaptive Interfaces? Have the windshield become a touchscreen that actually gives some tactile feedback when you interact with it. That’s the main issue I have with the touchscreen in my car, I’ve got to take my eyes off the road if I want to change anything because I can’t feel what I’m playing at. Anyone remember the days when texting and driving wasn’t an issue, because since you could feel the buttons you never had to take your eyes off the road?

I’ve got another idea here that’s kind of out of left field, but hear me out. A Cabin Energy Recapture System…a system that takes the kinetic energy of your own movements within the car, and uses them to charge the battery. It sounds kind of useless in a gasoline engine, but we won’t be using fossil fuels forever. Think instead about the potential in electric cars right now. I’ve heard of cars that can recapture the energy expended in braking the car, what about trying to take advantage of all of our constant fidgeting?
And let’s be honest, electric cars have come a long way from…Priuses(Toyota actually says that the plural of Prius is Prii…ha) and the like. Don’t think so? Ever seen a Tesla? Believe me, electric cars have come a long way, and stand to go a lot further.

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I could see this being used for evil quite often, but how about a P.A. System. I see people do this to their cars all the time, but to my knowledge it has never been a standard feature. I’m wondering now if there might be some kind of law against it, as cops use it…but if not, why not try to standardize it, or at least make a more commercialized mod kit.

Lastly, and I know that this is something that most of us have thought about, especially when a little bit ticked-off in traffic, but what about Programmable Signs, visible to other cars. Ever wish you could light up a sign behind you that reads, “Get off my rear!” or a sign in front of you that reads something to the point of, “Nice signal, buddy.” There are plenty more uses for less angry people as well, for instance thanking someone for letting you merge…or how about this, “We’re having a baby!” to let people know that you’re driving frantically trying to get to the hospital. I can see tons of potential uses here.

That’s all I can really think of when it comes to the future of cars. Now, I want to hear what you have to say. What are y’alls thoughts on the future of driving technology. I’m sure there’s plenty that I’m not thinking of that y’all can contribute, and I’d love to hear what y’all think about my suggestions.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Please leave me some love. I promise you that these new topics will work better as a dialogue, all that’s needed are viewers like you!

Alright, my PBS moment is over. I’ll catch y’all next time, and hopefully I’ll see you in the comments section!

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

America Pizza with Bacon, Blue Potatoes, and Alfredo Sauce

America Pizza with Bacon, Blue Potatoes, and Alfredo Sauce

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Comments
  1. Sleen says:

    Some great ideas!

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