Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 25, 2007
Not writing about ...

I'm going to write another post about my adventures this weekend in Lord of the Rings Online. But besides that I did other things, where for various reasons I can't or don't want to write about in too much detail. But with a blog being also some sort of diary, I thought I'd at least mention them.

I spent quite some time this weekend playing the secret beta I'm in. I'm having fun, and I even started writing a preview / beta impressions article about it. Only I can't post that article before the NDA is lifted, and I haven't got the slightest clue when that will be. I respect NDAs, and on the beta boards I read the story of people having been banned for trying to sell their beta accounts on EBay, and I think that is justified. So I'll have to wait until the company lifts the radio silence. I'm hardly impartial in that issue, but I do think that game companies could invite bloggers to send in their beta reviews and after vetting them allow them to post them before the NDA is lifted.

I also spent several hours watching American TV series on DVD, the third season of The Shield and the second season of The West Wing. I now watched three seasons of The Shield, and I'm still not sure whether I like it. :) The anti-heroes which make the cast of the show make for compelling viewing, without evoking much sympathy. Watching the show on DVD is relatively expensive, as each season only has 13 episodes, and the "complete season" boxes are actually often more expensive than those with more episodes. The West Wing in comparison was a bargain: I bought the complete second, third, and fourth season all together for just 100 Euros. I really like that one, it is both funny and interesting, and is probably a more realistic fictional account of how politics are really made than many a newspaper article.

I buy a lot of DVDs in the US every time I visit. Others, especially the British TV series, I buy from The problem in both cases is that I can't always get DVDs with subtitles. Subtitles are rather helpful if English isn't your native language, especially when the characters involved have heavy accents or speak some sort of slang. American DVDs sometimes have the special "closed captioning" subtitles, but European TVs and DVD players don't come with a decoder for those. UK DVDs unfortunately very often come with no subtitles at all. Are there no deaf people in the UK? Buying DVDs locally here in Belgium has the disadvantage of often getting you boxes in Dutch or English, my second season of The West Wing actually says "La Maison Blanche" on the cover. And here we often get DVDs later, or not at all. But apparently there is a special market for DVDs for non English speaking countries, and the DVDs often have more than one spoken language, and nearly always a large selection of subtitle languages, not only Dutch and English here, but also exotic stuff like Swedish or Hebrew. Not that I'd be interested in Swedish subtitles, but I could imagine the Swedes are.

While I'm enjoying watching DVDs, I'm not going to start to comment on the episodes. Nobody would be interested in my comments on the second season of The West Wing, seeing how that was originally broadcast 7 years ago. Watching TV on DVD enables you to avoid having to wait a week for the next episode, or to miss episodes. But currently broadcast TV makes for better conversation at the water cooler, or even in blogs. There are a lot of TV blogs around, this isn't going to become one of it.
It's called Closed Captioning, just for information.
About the "Secret beta" and it's NDA....

Can't wait to know the title of such beta. But I respect NDA decisions and I'll wait ^_^
Beside that.. Tobold, please keep those writings and keep writing impressions and comments/previews about it. Will be very interesting to read them once NDA will be lifted.
It's called Closed Captioning, just for information.

Thanks for the correction, I added the "d" at the end of "closed".
"Nobody would be interested in my comments on the second season of The West Wing"

Well, actually, as a fellow West Wing addict (re-watching the entire series at the moment), I would. But I agree it's not a good idea for your blog - brand dilution and all that.
about dvd's i'm so very frustated about it. in my naive moment i decided to buy Indiana Jones Trilogy via reading it has subtitles in dutch so i was happy. when i got it, only 1 and 3 had subtitles, not 2. i mean, why?????

it's bad enough dvd is divided in regions, but i expect a region2 dvd has all the european subtitles.

same with lotr part2, bought in the uk. there is no difference at all, except, again, no proper subtitles.
Perhaps there is a computer player you can get that will show the close captioning? I think all DVDs in the US have it, I think it's a law. I may be mistaken.

I enjoyed the 1st two seasons of West Wing, the third is where it started getting too soap-opera-ey for me. I think I stopped watching around then.

The Shield, though, I still watch. The Shield, Deadwood, and Rome are my favorite dramas, with Curb Your Enthusiasm my favorite comedy. All of those except the Shield I have to watch on dvd.
The Shield is favorite show. In my opinion, you might be better off buying an American DVD player, this way you can use the CC options on the DVDs, as listening to dubbed over voices takes away from the actors screen presence, reducing some of the factors that add quality to the show.
How do you get around the region coding of the DVDs? Do you have a Region Free/All Player?
Amazon, of all places, had instructions on how to turn my DVD player region free. On the PS2 I use a program called DVD RegionX to make it region free.

Agreed on the dubbing, I always watch the series in the original English, I just would like to have written subtitles under it in case I don't understand something. Some street slang in The Shield is rather hard to understand for a foreigner like me.
I can assure you, my gf and I (both native speakers) have to repeat scenes at times because we don't understand the slang.

The Shield is one of the best shows on TV at the moment, but it does induce a lot of stress and is not for the faint-hearted.
"exotic stuff like Swedish"...haha exotic, Sweden isn't that far from Belgium!
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