Those of you with a keen memory and basic mathematical sense might be wondering just what is going on since it was only a day or two ago that I was celebrating passing the 3k mark. I didn't end up finding some superduper code or exploit, but did decide to try something that people around me have been raving for for years now. I signed up for a free trial at Netflix.
My feelings about Netflix are generally pretty positive and it's no slight against the company that it's taken me this long to give them a whirl. It just never seemed like the right fit for me in the past. For one, I am a bittorrent user with a lot of very good and reliable sites. I can pretty much just pirate whatever I was looking for an it would almost always be faster than waiting for a disk to arrive by mail. It's also a fact of life that I tend to run hot and cold on any service like this and I could see me running through disks galore in the beginning but just a few weeks in, holding the same dvd of Babylon 5 and not mailing it back for the next six months, all the while paying a monthly fee. While the hot/cold part is still a concern, Netflix now offers an all-streaming package which allows you to ditch the disks and the mailing completely. From what I'm able to see, the selection is by no means as extensive as what they have available on disk, but there is still a crazy amount of content for $7.99 a month.
For a while now, Swagbucks has been running a promotion through one of its special offer sites where those who have never signed up for Netflix before could get a 30 day free trial and 1000 Swagbucks to boot. I spent at least a week debating whether or not to go through with it. Even though it was a free trial, I wasn't sure that I really wanted to bother with it and only just decided to pull the trigger last night. All in all, I'm pretty impressed so far. As I've mentioned before, I haven't gone out to a movie in around 2-3 years now and even though I have the tools at hand to pirate whatever I might want to us, I don't really keep up with what's available. Even those films which I hear about and am interested in often fail to stoke enough motivation to go and snag a copy. The ability to stream a film through Netflix and then either watch the rest or dump it at a click of the mouse is pretty spiffy.
So far I spent a chunk of last night watching Joss Whedon's Motion Comic version of Astonishing X-men and a chunk of the morning watching Up by Pixar. The former was pretty interesting. While I've never been a fan of comic books in general, the video motion version manages to distill it down to something action-packed and exciting. While I can barely begin to keep up with the ridiculously intricate storylines and entangled character backstories, there are times I like to spent a couple hours on wikipedia just wikiwalking my way through the comic book pages. It's like a version of soap operas for teenage boys. Despite not knowing the full implications of who's who and what's what, it's still fun to watch people blast another with eye-beams and the like.
I was even more impressed with Up. That first 10 minute vignette was absolute genius and could have been a short film in and of itself. You almost didn't need the rest of the film as far as I was concerned. It was just beautiful all around. The producers really scored a huge casting coup by getting Ed Asner to play the role of Fredrickson. His voice was absolutely perfect for the job, hitting just the right note of grumpy old man with a good heart. I'll admit I'm a little disappointed they went with the abandoned-by-father angle and tossed in liar to boot, but I can see why it was necessary for Fredrickson's character to slide into the role at the end. All in all, it was pretty stellar and certainly better than a lot of what I've seen lately.
I'm still browsing around Netflix's streaming catalog to find something to watch next, but there are a lot of holes patched with dvd-only options. I'm not sure in the end that I'll stick with it and pay the $7.99 monthly fee, but the trial has been more than worthwhile so far and that's even before you tack on the 1000 swagbucks that came with it.
Oh, and as a reminder, they're still having that new member 80 point bonus through at least monday. To sign up you just have to click here and enter the code 'MemorialDay' when you register for your account. It's like getting a dollar head start on an Amazon gift cert so there's no reason not to give it a whirl.