Audible’s monthly subscription price is stupid

Audible is a company under Amazon that produces and sells spoken-word entertainment, specifically, unabridged audio versions of books. Why read a book when you can listen to a book?

This method of reading comes in handy when you’re driving somewhere or doing some type of manual labor. I also like to listen to a good book while going to sleep. I put my earbuds in and set the sleep timer to 30 minutes. The following day, I go back to my audio book and rewind it back 25 minutes or so to find the exact spot I left off.

I’ve tried setting the timer to a shorter timeframe, but I’m almost always still awake when the book shuts off. There’s just something special about the 30-minute sleep setting. It puts me out like an injection of Propofol.

The problem with Audible is the pricing. You’re expected to keep up a monthly subscription that provides one credit a month. Each book you buy costs one credit. A monthly subscription costs $14.95. That means every book you buy through Audible is $14.95.

I canceled my Audible membership a few months ago. When I originally joined Audible, I received three credits. This allowed me to add a number of books. I needed time to catch up and listen to all the books I acquired.

I still have a few books I haven’t listened to. The problem is Fields of Fire, the fifth book in the military science fiction Frontlines series by Marko Kloos just came out. I love this series. If I wanted to buy the audio version of the book without any Audible credits, it was going to cost $10.49. If I wanted to renew my Audible subscription, it was going to cost $14.95, the price of one audible credit.

Why would anyone choose to renew their Audible subscription over just buying the audio book?

It gets worse. If I buy the Kindle version of the book, it’s only $4.99. If I do that, I can add the Audible version for only $3.99 extra. For less than nine bucks, I would get the Kindle version and the Audible version. Plus, the two formats would sync with each other. I could read the Kindle version on my iPad and then later switch to the Audible version. It would auto sync to where I left off on my iPad.

So that’s what I did, I purchased the Kindle version with the Audible version add-on. Why would anyone do anything different? With the current pricing system, I don’t see myself ever renewing my monthly subscription with Audible. Even though my subscription has lapsed, I still have full access to the app and the books I’ve acquired. I can even add audio books I get through other means to the Audible app.

Amazon should lower the price of an Audible subscription. The current price makes no sense.

Who’s who in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 15. It tells the story of a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star. These are the same plans uploaded into R2-D2 by Princes Leia in the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope. When I was a kid, it was simply called Star Wars.

In anticipation of seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I’m reading the Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. The book serves as a prequel to the movie. To properly experience the book, I wanted to familiarize myself with the central characters in the movie. When I read a book, I usually imagine and lock in what a character looks like pretty quickly. I wanted to make sure that if a character appears in the book, I don’t imagine them looking different than the actors who play them.

Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the main characters in the movie and who they’re being played by.

Jyn Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
The main character in the movie. Estranged daughter of Galen Erso. A streetwise delinquent with mad fighting skills. Played by Felicity Jones.

Cassian Andor

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer tasked with keeping Jyn Erso in check. Played by Diego Luna.

Galen Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A brilliant scientist and estranged father of Galen Erso. Played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Orson Krennic

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
Director of the Advanced Weapons Research Division of the Imperial military. Responsible for the security of the Death Star project. Commands a squad of Death Troopers. Played by Ben Mendelsohn

Saw Gerrera

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Seen as an ultimate rebel who often pushes the envelope of what is considered moral and just by Alliance leadership. Played by Forest Whitaker.

K-2SO

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

A reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance. Voiced by Alan Tudyk.

Chirrut Imwe

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Blind warrior monk. Very spiritual. Not a Jedi, but he believes in their ways. Played by Donnie Yen.

Baze Malbus

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Devoted protector to Chirrut Imwe. Not spiritual. Believes in the power of a good blaster over that of a hokey religion. Played by Jiang Wen.

Bodhi Rook

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Abrasive and hot-headed, but a skilled pilot. Played by Riz Ahmed.

Death Troopers

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

The elite variant of the Galactic Empire’s stormtrooper. By “elite,” I’m assuming that means they can actually hit what they shoot at. They wear black armor and look super cool.

The ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ Limited Collector’s Edition

I ordered Halo 5: Guardians’ Limited Collector’s Edition from Amazon a few days ago. It originally sold for $249.99. I got it for $65.99. That’s only a few bucks more than the standard edition.

It comes with the following:

  • Full game digital download code
  • Commemorative Statue of the Master Chief and Spartan Locke by TriForce
  • Warzone REQ Bundle (14 Premium Requisition packs)
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach (Animated Series)
  • Guardian model by Metal Earth
  • Uniquely-designed Spartan themed SteelBook
  • Spartan Locke’s Classified Orders
  • Dossiers on Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris
  • Xbox Live Gold 14-day Trial

Even though it comes with a fancy SteelBook, it doesn’t come with a physical disc. I actually like that. I don’t like physical discs because I tend to lose them.

What I didn’t realize when I bought this was how massively huge the statue was. For some reason, I just assumed it was on the same scale as the tiny McFarlane Toys Halo action figures. It’s not. It’s massive.

The 'Halo 5: Guardians' Limited Collector's Edition - Bent Corner

This is a photo of the statue. I put a bottle of Coke next to it to better show how ginormous it is. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with it. It’s far too big to sit on one of the shelves I have in my home office. For now, I have it sitting on the giant box it came in.

I’ve always enjoyed Halo. I’ve just never been any good at it. The same could be said for most first-person shooters. Not that I necessarily enjoy them, that I’m just not very good at them. I enjoy Halo so much that I can totally suck at it, but still have fun playing it.

Scarlet Johansson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures released the first image from the upcoming movie Ghost in the Shell. It’s a live-action version of the popular anime of the same name. The image shows Scarlet Johansson in the starring role of cyborg Major Kusanagi.

In the anime, Major Kusanagi is Japanese. Scarlet Johansson is not Japanese. Some people are bothered by this fact.

The director on the film is Rupert Sanders. He’s the hack who directed Snow White and the Huntsman, a truly awful movie. It featured Kristen Stewart in the title role and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. The movie didn’t work for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most glaring issues in the film was the casting. Snow White is the most beautiful woman in all the land. This gets her in all sorts of trouble with the Evil Queen, who used to be the most beautiful woman in all the land.

In what universe is Kristen Stewart more beautiful than Charlize Theron?

Kristen Stewart always has a look on her face like she just smelled Adam Carolla’s socks after some vigorous unicycling. Charlize Theron looks like Charlize Theron. At no time in the film was Kristen Stewart made to look more attractive or Charlize Theron made to look less attractive. We know Charlize Theron can be made less attractive.

It turned out Rupert Sanders was fornicating with Kristen Stewart during production of the film, so his judgment was probably… clouded.

Getting back to Scarlet Johansson playing Major Kusanagi. I don’t care that she’s not Asian. To me, it’s not a big deal. When the live-action movie based on Attack on Titan was released with an all Asian cast, I don’t remember anyone complaining. In the anime version, the characters, all except one, are western.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan

I don’t think this movie should even be made. The original anime is a classic. Not everything needs a movie version. In fact, most things don’t.

I want to meet the person who would buy this

Anovos, a company that produces high-end science fiction and fantasy movie related prop replicas, is promoting its upcoming Captain Phasma 1:1 scale helmet prop. It’s made from fiberglass (not metal) and it will cost a whopping $799.99.

It will not be available until late this year, but you can pre-order one now from Entertainment Earth.

I am curious about the person who would buy something like this. What do they do for a living that would allow them to drop eight hundred bucks on a fake metal helmet from a Star Wars movie? Do they own their own home? What type of car do they drive? How much debt do they have? Have they ever been late on an electric bill?

Don’t get me wrong. I like Star Wars. I especially liked the latest movie from the franchise. I also liked the character of Captain Phasma. I thought she looked pretty bad-ass in her metal stormtrooper get-up. When I first saw this replica helmet, I thought it would be something nice to have. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a replica stormtrooper helmet. Not a flimsy toy helmet, but something indistinguishable from the real thing. This Captain Phasma helmet appealed to me.

I then saw the price.

I can afford the helmet, but I wouldn’t even think of spending that much money on something that would only sit on the shelf, look awesome, and collect dust.

Knowing the Star Wars collecting community like I think I do, I am sure some people will buy this expensive prop even though they are not yet in a station in life that would make buying something like this economically feasible.

I have seen people spend thousands of dollars on nerd-centric collectible, yet they live with their parents even though they were making enough money that they could afford to live on their own. I used to work with a guy who was 30-years-old, lived with his mother, and would spend hundreds of dollars each month on original comic book art. Art he would place in special binders and keep in his closet. At least that is what he told me.

Years ago I used to frequent a Usenet message board dedicated to collecting Hot Wheels. An active member on the board posted a plea for financial help. He had a large electric bill that he could not pay and was facing the prospect of having his electric cut off. He asked the rest of the group for money to let him keep his lights on. Of course he had children and he made sure to mention them in his appeal for free money.

I did not give him any money, but lots of people did.

About two weeks later, this same person asked on the same Usenet message board if anyone had some specific Treasure Hunts Hot Wheels for sale, cars in the $30 dollar range.

People began to question how he could ask people to pay his electric bill and then later, buy $30 Hot Wheels. I didn’t chime in because I didn’t give him any free money. Plus, I assumed from the beginning he was going to do this. I remember finding the whole thing to be highly entertaining.

It is fine to collect things, but just make sure you can afford the things you collect. Make sure you are not taking money that you should be spending on necessities and blowing it on crap you do not need.

What is with all the Kylo Ren merchandise?

I finally got around to seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend. I enjoyed it. In fact, as I write this, I believe it’s the best Star Wars movie ever made.

I may change my mind about that after I allow more time to pass and I have more time to place things in proper context. It is better than those horrible prequel movies.

The one thing I do not understand about the Star Wars: The Force Awakens has nothing to do with the movie itself, but has to do with the marketing of the movie. Who decided to make Kylo Ren such a focal point of the merchandise?

Kylo Ren is a terrible, awful person. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but let me just say that because of what he did in the movie, Kylo Ren is my most hated character from the entire Star Wars universe, and that includes George the Lucas.

Kylo Ren is worse than the Stormtroopers who murdered Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru. Kylo Ren is worse than the Death Star crewmembers who destroyed Alderaan.

Kylo Ren is worse than any of them.

Why then would I want a t-shirt with the image of Kylo Ren on it? Why would I want a Star Wars calendar where three of the months feature a photo of Kylo Ren? Why would I want a Kylo Ren Funko Pop! figure?

KyloRenFunko

To be honest, if I saw someone walking around wearing a Kylo Ren t-shirt, a part of me would want to punch them in the throat.

So no, I do not want any Kylo Ren merch because I watched the movie. I not only got choked up in the theater when Kylo Ren did what he did, I almost get choked up even now just thinking about it.