Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cool Way To Watch Less TV- Relaxing Background Videos

I began this blog because I watch a lot of TV.  I made a brother blog for the best comedy shows too. However I sometimes feel that too much TV is bad, especially for the eyes and sleep quality. As someone who works online and enjoys games and Facebook on my iPad, starting at a screen all day is surely a bad thing.

Therefore I have been looking for ways to avoid staring at my TV, laptop and iPad so much (I even take my phone in the bathroom with me). Firstly I tried reading books. Unfortunately I just don't have the attention span for this. Instead I have reverted to audiobooks, I have yet to find the perfect way to get audiobooks after trying Youtube and Audible (not impressed with the subscription plan).

Audiobooks are all well and good when driving or going to sleep. Listening to Noam Chomsky, Sam Harris and Joanna Lumley are all awesome for helping you sleep instead of staring at a screen. But in the daytime I have found that my eyes need something to do. So after a bit of a search I found Uscenes relaxing background videos.

These relaxation videos come in 3 formats- as an mp4 video, Mac screensaver and Windows screensaver. I generally use the Mac screensaver most with the sound on low or off. The natural sounds are really relaxing and the sight of a fireplace, aquarium or scene from nature is really calming.

The good thing is that the camera never moves, unlike similar videos and there is no music. It is a simple as can be. This means you are not tempted to stare at the screen. You just let the sound and video create a nice vibe in your room. On a big screen TV the results are much more impressive, although you need to have the right setup (e.g. I use my Apple TV and iTunes). I generally save the TV version for when I have guests over or want to have some quality time with my wife.

The prices are fair in my opinion at $4.99 for all 3 formats of a scene, or $49.99 for their full collection of around 60 videos (as of May 3rd 2015). Check out a new one that I really like below. It sets such a nice vibe in my room, especially when the weather is so dull in the UK at the moment. I used their fireplaces more in winter as they seem to make a room cosy, especially on my big screen TV.

They also provide screenshots of all their videos as HD wallpapers on a separate site. I use a random wallpaper generating app from someone else on my laptop but have been using these wallpapers on my iPad.

Anyway check out the samples clip below which is my favourite video screensavers- a recent paradise beach one which I can't stop watching and hearing in the background when listening to an audiobook or just chatting. As mentioned they also do fish tanks and fireplaces.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Best 2 TV Shows for Men in 2014

Last year saw the debut of two excellent new TV shows for men. Firstly True Detective was the one we have been waiting for since Breaking Bad finished. It had the brooding atmosphere and slow burning feel, with explosive moments and super acting.

The star of True Detective was the Oscar winning Matthew McConaughey. He was helped along by the excellent Woody Harrelson. It was the former who really made the series shine. His character featured depth that we have never seen before in a TV series for men.

Just like Breaking Bad before it, True Detective had boring parts where the scene was being set. Ultimately it was an enthralling tale with an instant classic long take which will go down in TV history when people compare TV to cinema.

The second season will feature completely new characters which I will keep secret in case you don't know. I think it would be better if you just wait and see to avoid any preconceptions. Lets just say it is an interesting pairing.

My rating for the first season of True Detective is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Near perfect TV for guys who like action but also substance.

The other great new TV show in 2014 was Fargo. Based on the wonderful movie made by the Cohen brothers maybe 15 years ago. Fargo wasn't instantly as great because of comparisons to the movie, however if you can put it alone you realize that it is a superb alternate story.

The two actors who starred in Fargo were the always interesting Billy Bob Thornton and British Martin Freeman. However Allison Tolman deserves to be mentioned alongside them. Her icy yet lovely character kept the show down to earth when the other two let it go a little noir or tacky.

My rating for Fargo the TV series is a very solid 4 out of 5 stars. Hopefully they will continue the series. There is plenty more darkness out there in those snowy little towns.

For me it was a battle of two great actors, both given super parts to play. Billy Bob Thornton is one of the most fascinating men in Hollywood and McConaughey is mesmerising. In the end McConaughey takes the prize for the sheer vibes in True Detective. He was also the star of the best movie in 2014 Interstellar.