Pixar Movies Worst to First

A while back I wrote about finding some rankings of Disney movies to help me figure out which movies I should consider buying through the Disney Movie Club. I have a lot of Disney movies after enrolling three times and getting 9 movies each time, plus I have picked up a few more using Disney Movie Rewards and other sources. I am not ready to rank the 56 Disney animated features, but how about the 17 Pixar features? (now 18 with Cars 3) I recently watched The Good Dinosaur from 2015 so now the only Pixar movie I haven’t seen is Cars 2 which is widely disparaged and a sequel to one of my least favorite Pixar movies, so I will just put it at the bottom. Also, I have been keeping movie reviews since 1998, so I have reviews of every Pixar movie I have seen except the original Toy Story which came out in 1995. I have a hard time being consistent in my grading scale and I realize I probably give too many B’s and B+’s, so I have tried to give more A’s lately (still haven’t given a A+, maybe following the leads of nuns who wouldn’t give a 100 because only Jesus is perfect). So I wondered if my grades would hold up or not. Also you always worry you will just misread a movie, but in general I’m am sticking with my original grades. Even so, to do a ranking I need to figure out which A- is better than the other A-‘s. So here is a run through, then at the end I will do a little analysis of my grades compared to the Rotten Tomatoes and MetaCritic scores. The letter grades below link to my review of the movie. I have all of the movies in blue on Blu-ray except Finding Nemo which I have on DVD only. Continue reading

Shopping for a Surround System

After getting a new Ultra High Definition TV and now a UHD Blu-ray player, the last component of the system that needs upgrading is the sound. After playing with the new UHD player, even with older Blu-ray disks, it will not output the sound correctly to the old receiver. My receiver doesn’t have HDMI inputs like the newer ones do. Instead you could either connect RCA cables for a 5.1 surround setup or a Toslink cable, a fiber optic cable that carries the music converted to a red light. That always seemed like the best, but actually Toslink can’t carry 8 individual channels of audio that a 7.1 system might require. With the old player Toslink worked fine with 7.1, but the two back speakers were the same channel. With the new player the best it seems I can do is the back speakers play out of the front, but the side speakers are okay (in the player settings I have to send a DTS bitstream, otherwise everything comes out the front). Continue reading

Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

I recently got a new Ultra HD TV. Even though I don’t have any sources in UHD (or 4K, but 4K is actually a little wider than UHD; a UHD picture has 4 times as many pixels as HD), I am enjoying having a modern TV and the picture is really great. Of course there is always the desire to supply that UHD content that the TV is capable of. I can stream UHD content from YouTube, and Netflix offers some UHD content (though I’m not a member right now). Even the HD Blu-rays I have look great on the TV and the extra pixels of UHD are barely visible and maybe not visible. One problem with my current Blu-ray player is often the sound doesn’t sync correctly with the video. The only way to fix it seems to be to turn the Blu-ray player off and then on again and hope that it gets close enough this time (this is fairly time consuming to shut down the player, boot it up again, and then start the disk to get to the main menu). Also, Blu-ray players now can all connect to the internet though mine does not. That isn’t a big deal because my TV can connect to the internet too, but some Blu-ray disks have features that require internet access. So I’ve been thinking about getting a new Blu-ray player and for about $180 I could get a UHD Blu-ray player. UHD is still pretty new and they have tweaked it since it came out with HDR 10 which gives better backlight depth. Then Frys had a sale . . .
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Silica Gel

I have several plastic containers I use to hold flashlight parts. To keep the parts from rusting, I wanted to keep some silica gel in the containers to keep humidity down. At first I would get the ones included with shoes or pills, but then decided to just order some bigger 10 gram packages online. I numbered each of 10 pouches and put one in each of maybe 7 containers with a few left over. One of the leftover pouches I left out on my desk. The other two I kept in their original heavy duty ziplock envelope and put that in one of the plastic containers. I figured after a year, I could weigh the 10-gram pouches on my digital scale and see how well they were working, and maybe recharge them by baking them in an oven.

This weekend it had been a year. Most of the pouches now weighed about 13 grams, so they had absorbed about 30% of their weight in water. The ones in the envelope were around 12 grams, so they still picked up humidity. The one that was left out all year was also about 13 grams. So I think 30% is the maximum they can effectively absorb. I put the pouches in the oven for a couple of hours at 220 degrees and they all returned down to or just below their original weights, so the baking really worked and the pouches should be good as new (also they did not catch on fire or melt!). I probably need to weigh the pouches again every few months to see how long it takes them to get up to 13 grams when they essentially stop working. So I will use this entry to track results in the future.