Anomalisa 2015-5 out of 5 Stars

Art is either something that touches you or not. When you walk through an art gallery, you revel in the beauty or the ugliness of pieces. As I have stated many times before, if art produces any kind of response, it has succeeded. Death of any art form is disregard.

There are two types of people who watch this movie. The first type are the “action flick” types who need explosions and murders in every scene to be entertained. These people will not “get” this movie.

The second type are the thinkers and people that can appreciate art and the skill it takes to create. If you see a piece and know that time and effort and talent went into it, then the finished product deserves more appreciation. These thinkers will see past the “language” (f-bomb) and the absence of action sequences to the amazing artwork being shown.

Here is what I got from the storyline:

A man, caught in a monotonous existence of slight fame, seeks to seize the opportunity of a business trip to break free.

To explain what you need to “see” in this movie, I will start with the cinematography. The camera placement and movement, while being controlled in miniscule amounts, harkens a big budget film. The lighting gives you the old hotel feel and highlights the sets, which, after a few minutes, fade into the background, which is the mark of fantastic design. You don’t question the sets because they look realistic.

With all of those allocades, the summary becomes “extreme realism within a tilt shift perspective.” Wet windows, steam and gritty hotel produce something that could have been filmed live, but it became art because of the replication.

Now, onto the characters. At first, I noticed that a few of the voices sounded similar, but with a different lilt or cadence. I assumed it was because it was possibly a cut that would eventually be overdubbed, but what appeared to be a work in progress was actually part of the storyline. With the cuts on the faces, I marveled at the innovative technique. The skin painting was hyperrealistic and beautifully crafted! Even breathing and body connectivity locomotion was so well done that you get lost at times.

I will have to say that the shower scene was what threw the attention to detail over the edge. Parts of the main character’s anatomy (wink wink) moved, as in reality, fluidly and realistically. People with hypocritical eyes have complained about the “sex” scene, but, there have been far more graphic things in major movies.

I also assumed that the faces would eventually peel off to show the actors underneath, but that didn’t happen. I like the fact that my prediction didn’t come true, and indie movies attract me due to this being the norm.

The Lisa (anomalisa) character was annoying, as was the intent, so you have to give props to the actress who played the part so well. It almost sounded and appeared that the whole movie was filmed with live actors and then they overlayed the stop motion characters and sets.

Upon completion of the film, I immediately went to IMDB (horribly manipulated site) to see the reviews and was met with the two types of people. 10 star reviews and 1 star reviews. That prediction was right. Either you get it or you don’t. During the time spent on the site, I learned that this was a crowd funded movie. That fact made me like it even more. No wonder it didn’t follow the ghastly American film industry’s rules. There is no happy ending, as art reflects life, sometimes you just trudge through the day.

So, all in all, I would give this 5 stars out of 5, for a brilliant art piece.

Peanuts 2015 Movie – Surprisingly Classic – 5 Stars Out Of 5!

I almost did not see this movie because the previews indicated that they ghettoed it up. I decided to give it a chance due to the unique “2/3D” animation and the affinity for the horrible voiceover specials from way back.

So, up-front-it’s not ghetto!!

If you liked any of the specials, you will like this. The animators did not completely translate these characters to 3D, so it looks like a 2D with beautiful dimensional colors.

The story is slow and calm and people under 40 may not be able to sit through this. There are no adult-themed sexual jokes. There are no “booty shaking” songs.

This movie gives you a glimpse into America at it’s finest. A time when love and imagination were the only two things you needed in life. Peanuts Movie 2015 will be a standard on cable family channels forever.

The muted colors are a fantastic change from the primary color explosive cartoons that attempt to entertain those with an extremely short attention span.

Did I say that it wasn’t ghettoed up like the commercials indicated?

There are some great literary jokes like “Leo’s Toy Store/Warren Peas”. Of course, Snoopy’s “Dark and Stormy Night” and Red Baron story lines are in this movie.

This movie has great morals and values. Charlie Brown makes good, unselfish choices. Telephone cords. Dip-type ink pens. Paper. No electronics.

So, for surprising me with maintaining the feeling and traditional look of a classic, along with not adding a ghetto soundtrack, I will actually have to give this movie… 5 stars! What???

Yes. 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Leaving Google Project Fi Cell Service

Goodbye, Project Fi.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to Google’s Project Fi. I was very excited when I first heard about their plans to combine cell providers and seamlessly switch between cell and wifi calling. With baited breath, I signed up and waited for their invitation. It came and I immediately signed up.

Service was ok. Wifi calling was tolerable. Then, over a period of time, it got bad.

I had not been on a limited cell service in a long time and it changed the way I interacted with my phone. I was constantly watching the amount of data, concerned that I would have to pay more if something started downloading a large file. I installed a VPN and one day, it did just that. Since my calls were going over wifi/data, the VPN used 500MB in one 3-hour period. I was livid.

The switching from wifi to cell DATA took too long, timed out web pages and was a pain when the signal was weak. This was what actually made me cancel their service.

After an upgrade to Marshmallow, the service has been very bad. Call quality went straight to hell. Still on limited data. I contacted Google every time I had a gripe, and sometimes they returned the message with doing something on their end that helped for a while. Sometimes they sent me instructions for lollipop, when I had sent them a message stating that I was on Marshmallow.

So, today I switched back to an unlimited provider. Ahhh… Now I can watch youtube while outside without concern.

The are things you must know about transferring over from Google Project Fi to another carrier:

You use the Project Fi app to “cancel” your service before the other carrier can take it. The good thing is that Google explains that they make sure the number is ported over properly. In the app, you manage plan and at the bottom hit the cancel service option. It verifies this, then verifies if you want to switch to another carrier or just want to cancel or want to port it to hangouts.

You don’t have an account number or password UNTILL YOU CANCEL THE SERVICE! So you have to go through this process just to get an account number and password to transfer.

Most people havent heard of Google Fi, so be prepared to educate the new carrier’s employees.

Good luck, Google!

WordPress 4.4 upgrade update redirect loop admin

After upgrading/updating wordpress to 4.4, I could not log into the admin area. It kept giving me a permanent redirect loop. I spent quite a while pouring over possible fixes, and ended up with the following:

In FTP, make sure all the top level files are 644 permission. These are the files directly under the wp-admin folder. This allowed me to log in properly.

Since the front end of the site seemed to be working properly, I had not gone through every page, but later found that any page with a permalink was down.

To fix this, I went into the settings and into permalinks and just saved what was already there. This saving of this setting fixed the front end.

This WordPress 4.4 upgrade/update broke the entire site. Ugh! Hopefully this helps you fix yours!

Filed under Web

XACK’s Projexmas Trees

Every year, I attempt to find a new and exciting Christmas Tree theme. I see some brilliant designs out there, but nothing that soothes my high-tech desires.

So I came up with my own. I call it Xack’s Projexmas Trees. (Pronounced Pro-jecks-mas)

Here’s the concept:

Like pop-up tents and toys, this tree will be made of white nylon and bendable rods that will give it a christmas tree shape. Underneath the tree is a projector poiting upwards. This will project anything on the inside of the tree and make it look fantastic!

From abstract swirls of color to traditional greenery and glass bulbs, you can have a different tree every day! Leave it up all year and it fits into any decor. Use hearts on valentines day, scroll through pictures of loved ones and even use it as a large lamp with any color you can imagine!

The website will feature templates for your own designs and lots of free downloads. People can submit their own creation and offer it for free or for sale.

Here is the first prototype I created:

The crowdfunding campaign is now live on Indiegogo!

Jury Duty West Palm Beach Florida – Peers?

I was called for jury duty at the West Palm Beach Courthouse recently and ran into a snafu. I spoke with my supervisor and they said that they would pay for up to 5 days of jury duty. I read the paper that was delivered to me and it stated that they pay $30/day (after the third day) and $15/day for the first 3 days. This led me to wonder…

The only people able to serve on jury duty for lengthy trials are these types:

1) People who work for companies that will accomodate. Does this exist?
2) Elderly or retired people. Are these your peers?
3) Unemployed.
4) Crackheads who need $30 for their next fix.

I would say the majority of people would fall into the second or third categories. People who are wealthy or high profile would be able to get out of jury duty. Crackheads wouldn’t show up.

I had to check the box that says “not asking for compensation” because my job would pay me something. After the 5 days, my bills would start to suffer, and if the trial dragged on, and no one paid my bills, would I have to declare bankruptcy? Would it be automatic acceptance because I was forced? And why am I forced to serve on the jury? I am sure there are plenty of people who would volunteer. I would not want a juror who was already bitter or who just wanted to get it overwith because their job wouldn’t pay-someone worried about their bills.

I am sure there is another side to this. Maybe they don’t want people to drag a trial out to make money. If you have a job and are forced to be on a jury, they should pay you whatever your wages are at work for days spent there.

Luckily, through all this, I wasn’t even called back to be picked. So, this is not complaining for me, but for the other people in my situation.

The Best Card Manipulation – Le plus Grand Cabaret du Monde – An Ha Lim

Recently, I ran across this video of An Ha Lim on a French cabaret show on youtube:

First, let me explain what you SHOULD be appreciating. It doesn’t matter if you know how this is done. What matters is the skill and showmanship of this piece. An Ha Lim, so far in my viewing of lots of card manipulation on youtube, has been the best. His style is crisp and the “dance” holds your attention.

Watch this for the show, rather than trying to figure it out, and it becomes something beautiful.

After watching so many of these card manipulation videos, I, of course, wanted to be able to do it, myself. I took one card from a deck, and attempted to follow along with a tutorial on youtube for a simple reveal. After a few attempts, my appreciation for this skill increased. This is not a child’s magic trick. So, knowing how this was done, I went back to watching and was blown away at some of this guy’s amazing slight of hand.

This led me to wondering if the guys who could make things “disappear” ever paid for small items. I imagined them in the grocery store with a pack of ribs in hand one second and, with a flash of smoke, the ribs were gone and them walking casually towards the exit door.

They eat well, I assume.

Kickstarter/indiegogo for my new novel “Daytime Ghosts”

The kickstarter campaign ended, so now this is on indiegogo:

Daytime Ghosts by Steven Langston on indiegogo:

I had written the first chapter of “Daytime Ghosts” a while back and filed it away for a future project. Today, I decided to try to get the novel funded via kickstarter. I put the first chapter up to give an idea of what type of Daytime Ghosts would be haunting this book.

Here’s the link to the campaign:

Donate $1 for an ebook copy when it is complete!

MYOSlots – MakeYourOwnSlots – New Indiegogo Campaign!

MYOSlots - MakeYourOwnSlots

MYOSlots – MakeYourOwnSlots

I have been toying around with the idea of a mobile slot game that would allow you to insert your own images as the pictures on the reels. (Just because I would love to play a Spongebob-themed machine!) So, it blossumed into a full-on app design.
Of course, my first thought was to attempt to program this myself, and once I started, I realized that it would be a daunting task that would take me months to put together. So, since I have been on a crowdfunding… “kick”, I thought this might be a good idea to try there. I could then hire someone to build out the design and have enough to advertise.
Today (8/27/2015), I started the indiegogo campaign to get this underway.
MYOSlots on IndiegogoI went ahead and secured and
The shortening of the name has led me to a catchy name, “MYOSlots”, pronounced My-O-Slots.

MYOSlots - MakeYourOwnSlots
MYOSlots Play