Sunday, June 24, 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.

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