Metaphysical Mayhem in “Coherence”

I saw a messing-with-your-mind movie over the weekend called Coherence. It’s a no-special-effects SF movie that convincingly presents a what-if scenario that’s so simple but out there, if you buy into it, it’ll take you for a ride. I was intrigued to the very last scene.

It’s not unlike Another Earth, Perfect Sense and The One I Love. I love these kinds of movies, ordinary reality but with a little wrinkle.

How to Play MP3s at a Consistent Volume

I use a free media player known as VLC for playing music in the background when I have people over for poker and games and other junk. Winamp (which I haven’t needed to update for years) used to be my go-to audio player, and it still is when I want to listen to individual albums or a few select songs. But when I want to play music at a consistent volume so I don’t have to adjust the volume for quiet and loud songs, I use VLC because it comes with a built in compressor that does the job well enough for background music. Here’s how I do it. Click the images for a more detailed view if necessary.

Step 1:  Under "Tools," select "Effects and Filters."
Step 1: Under “Tools,” select “Effects and Filters.”
Step 2: Select the "Compressor" tab and check inside the "Enable" box.
Step 2: Select the “Compressor” tab and check inside the “Enable” box.
Step 3: Check inside the "Write changes to config" box and adjust to desired settings. I use approxiately the following values, which are pretty rough but probably won't matter for music playing in the background: 0.0 / 399.99 ms / 300.0 ms / -11.0 db / 3.0 :1 / 2.5 db  / 17 db.
Step 3: Check inside the “Write changes to config” box and adjust to desired settings. I use approxiately the following values, which are pretty rough but probably won’t matter for music playing in the background: 0.0 / 399.99 ms / 300.0 ms / -11.0 db / 3.0 : 1 / 2.5 db / 17 db.

Update #1: I’ve been experimenting, messing with the settings to see which ones work best. I’m using these settings now. The compression is less noticeable but the volume is still fairly smooth: 0.0 / 399.99 ms / 300.0 ms / -20 db / 20.0 : 1 / 1.0 db / 12 db. I also set the default volume to 70% and turned off the enabling stretch-time audio, whatever that is.

Step 4: Under "Tools," select "Preferences."
Step 4: Under “Tools,” select “Preferences.”
Step 5: Click the "Audio" tab and check the "Always reset audio start level to" box. Then slide it over something between 75% and 85%.
Step 5: Click the “Audio” tab and check the “Always reset audio start level to” box. Then slide it over something between 75% and 85%. Also, make sure “Normalized” is NOT selected.
Step 6: At the bottom of the same window, under "Show settings," select "All."
Step 6: At the bottom of the same window, under “Show settings,” select “All.”
Step 7: Under "Audio" and then "Filters," select "Compressor."
Step 7: Under “Audio” and then “Filters,” select “Compressor.”
Step 8: Click "Save." All the settings can be tweeked before saving as well.
Step 8: Click “Save.” All the settings can be tweeked before saving as well.
Set 9: Close VLC. The next time it opens, the compressor settings show kick in by default.
Set 9: Close VLC. The next time it opens, the compressor settings should kick in by default.

Some people would file this under “How to normalized MP3 playback.” It’s not normalizing, but the normalizing function on VLC ain’t the greatest. This method isn’t the greatest either, but it’ll get the job done in a pinch. It works with anything played through VLC. WAV files, FLAC files, whatever. It’s also works with video playback. So if you want to play movies without having to adjust the volume during the loud and quiet scenes, a variation of this procedure should do it. (VLC works on Macs and other operating systems.)

This is all sacrilege to audiophiles. But most people don’t know any difference and don’t really care.

Master of None is a good TV show

I watched the first 10-episode season of Master of None on Netflix. I enjoyed it and laughed at most of it. If Seinfeld was set in 2015 and Jerry was of East Indian descent, this would be the show.

The main character is a socially well-adjusted, likeable guy with admirable ethics and a good sense of humour. Much more set in the real world than Seinfeld, but just as funny. Also, it’s not episodic. Although each episode stands well on its own, there’s such an arc to the 10 episode season that the final episode is kind of great.

“Terminator Genisys” Puts The Nail in the Coffin of The Terminator Movies

I saw Terminator Genisys and boy does it suck. All the actors are miscast except Arnold who plays an old, aging terminator exceptionally well. He’s the most engaging character on the screen! How’d that happen? The terminators aren’t frightening. The action feels like a video game. And it’s all so completely dumb and convoluted, there’s no point trying to make sense of it. To see Arnold as a wrinkled, grey-haired terminator made me wish they’d focused on his story. Let’s watch a terminator grow old. That might have been something.

Anyone who enjoyed the first two Terminator movies is better off forgetting all the other ones exist.