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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Yesterday, the Internet kind of broke when Lucasfilm released the new trailer for the upcoming film, The Last Jedi. With little surprise, the internet did what it does best after that: Watched it obsessively and critiqued/gleaned every nuanced second of it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

After watching this movie in theaters three times, I think I can finally articulate my thoughts on the new installment with something approaching objectivity:  The movie is fucking awesome.  It absolutely crushed records, it explained away many of the complaints people had about the trailer (e.g. black stormtrooper, the crossguard of Kylo Ren's lightsaber), and it restored the faith of the anti-prequel crowd.  It, quite frankly, was an immensely enjoyable movie going experience that was only amplified by the hype and expectations that I had because of its universe.

It's not without it's problems though: For all of the originality and complexity of Kylo Ren, and all the mystery of Rey, The Force Awakens simply falls flat on the actual plot itself.  Which is absolutely surprising because the characters - aside from a few minor annoyances, looking at you Captain Phasma - absolutely drove the movie.  Which, if you look back at all six movies objectively, is completely opposite of every single movie:  The acting was abysmal and the characters were difficult to empathize with.

This saga of Star Wars, led by this new generation of actors, seems to flip that problem on its head:  Retell the old, unoriginal stories, with new and relateable actors. While the actors capture the hearts of the viewers, it's up to the writers of Episode IIX to come up with a new story arc, one that captures our imaginations and minds.  The ground work is set, and J.J. Abrams has instilled new life into an old franchise, but fans will be eagerly waiting to see if a new universe can be built atop the ashes of hundreds of fan-fiction novels.

Star Wars: An Abridged History

Star Wars: An Abridged History

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters this week, it'll be a helpful reminder to know about where we are in the Extended Universe.  I'll be covering canon, non-canon but legitimate, and retconned material that's simply too good to ignore in a brief synopsis of Star Wars history.

It's worth noting that since we don't yet know the plot of The Force Awakens I can't accurately portray events beyond the destruction of the Death Star, so I'll only be covering three eras of Star Wars history:  The Old Republic, The Rise of the Empire, and The Rebellion.  Each of these eras have a date associated with them annotated in BBY or ABY, which stand for Before (or After) theBattle of Yavin.  Within these eras, I've outlined the books, games, movies, and animated series in chronological order; however, there is a significant amount of overlap in some areas of the franchise, so the order may not be precise.

So, without further adieu, let's get you spun up on Star Wars history so you can fully enjoy the face melting awesomeness that awaits us next week!

Three Common Problems (And Solutions) for Plex

Three Common Problems (And Solutions) for Plex

If you're an active reader of my blog, you've probably heard about Plex Media Server (often abbreviated to PMS), and know that you can drop it on an unRAID network server.  Unfortunately, while it runs smoothly about 99% of the time, there are a few bugs that can bring your media streaming experience to a halt.  Three, in particular, seem to be pretty common among Plex enthusiasts.

Cable Cutting

You've probably heard a lot about Netflix and Hulu; Roku and Chromecast; cable cutting or using the Internet to get your TV, but are you really using these solutions to their fullest extent?  Do you actually save any money in the long term? Is it feasible for you?  I use Netflix to stream archived movies and episodic television shows, Hulu to stream day-old content, and Plex to stream local content, and web content that is otherwise unavailable (e.g. How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory).  Once it's all set up, the process is actually pretty simple: I pull the app up on Roku or smartphone and get ready to stream my local content or binge watch my favorite Netflix show.  But that doesn't really help you find out what works for you, does it?

Assuming your cable costs are average ($60/mo), then a pay-off date for your cable-cutting system will be fairly easy to figure out.  The graph below outlines two types of cable cutters, your Basic Cable Cutters which will be served by Option One below, and your Advanced Cable Cutters which are served by Option Two below.  We'll get into what the options mean in the next section, but for now take a look at the graph.

Operating Costs (Running Totals)

As you can see, the red line (Cable) costs grow by $60 every month, whereas the Cable Cutter options only grow by $16 every month (Hulu and Netflix), but start $300 or $700 higher than Cable due to the cost of buying your own equipment.