Thursday, December 29, 2016

one last test before 2017

Blogger still doesn't have access to the webcam for VLOGGING, which IMO is redonkulous. So I have to find a way to access the webcam separately and try it again...

...well, that looks like the video I just shot. Now to figure out how to adjust the settings, because what the hell is Windows 10 thinking with its 15 frames per second? This thing looks like crap, don't you agree?

Monday, December 26, 2016

What's that? ANOTHER review? Day-um, grrl!

Yes, yes, kids, I DO have another review for ya. But first, another vlog attempt:

razzle-frazzle... even "converted" from the 936MB .MOV file to mp4, it's still too big by 32MB! DAMMIT!!!!!!

Yesterday being Christmas Day meant not much to do for us here in ol' NoHo (North Hollywood is TOO MUCH to ever say again, so I shan't), so luckily for us, when I RSVP'd for my screening of Fences, there was a link to also RSVP for Arrival. No Q&A's for either film meant seeing them in actual theaters instead of screening rooms, which meant the possibility of concessions (and trailers!) at both. Sadly, I opted for no concessions during Fences (I really think popcorn may have improved my "take" on the film). And yesterday, we had just finished the wonderful crockpot pork roast "Christmas Dinner" Stephen had made, so neither of us needed popcorn.

Arrival When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor, Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the alien passengers inside.: is a great popcorn movie, though, so if you get a chance to see it on a big screen, be sure to opt in for concessions. Oh, what the hell. If you wait for it to come to your big screen tv, you should definitely pop some yourself, for your viewing pleasure.

It's not just a great popcorn movie though. It's a great film. It's definitely sci-fi, but present day and Here On Earth. It could be viewed as an "alien invasion" flick, but it isn't necessarily only that. It also embodies other genres, and I really don't want to say too much, because spoilers, but I want you to know that both Stephen and I loved it, and in our books, it is Highly Recommended. A thinker, if you will, that also hits your emotional buttons. We laughed, we cried, it became a part of us. Or something like that. See it. You won't be disappointed.


The only screener we've yet received in the mail is Manchester by the Sea. I reviewed it already, big thumbs up. We're just waiting for the US Postal Service to get back "up and running", which, honestly, may not actually happen for another week. You might get a Christmas card from me before then! Ha!

How was your "big" holiday? Was it "small" enough for you to go to the movies, like we did? Did you give/receive anything "perfect"? Do you have enough joy? I think I have enough to share, so let me know if you need a little "joy infusion". See ya next year, probably!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Y'all keep falling down on your job!

my rank changes weekly, based on number of web "hits"
Wait, what? You didn't know that it was YOUR JOB to keep my IMDb rank "up"? Haven't I told you? WHAT? You didn't read my little blurb over there -----> and see that I NEED you to make my IMDb page your browser startup?

Okay, fine. So do it now, and I'll forgive you forever. ;)

Can you say "frustrated"? I knew ya could!

I have a dream. I dream of VLOGging, in addition to (rather than instead of) BLOGging., the host of this page, used to have a way to RECORD video and then embed them in the posts; not that that ever actually worked for me, but still. I recorded a handful of test videos, attempted to embed them, and they never really did. Also, I never could seem to find where those videos ended up being "filed" on my hard drive.

However, even that option no longer exists. If I want to take a snapshot, the website recognizes my webcam:
but not VIDEO
When I click on the video link, the webcam option just isn't even there. Why not? It's the same webcam!

But here's the "other" thing about my webcam. The laptop recognizes that the hardware exists, and it says the drivers are up-to-date, even though the drivers are USB drivers, and not necessarily for a piece of equipment that is not "plug-n-play". The system has no software installed to just Turn On the damn webcam! So I went to HP's support pages to find the right drivers, and it recommended I install something called YouCam.

I have been Googling and Googling every way I know to ask the "why doesn't my webcam record video" question, and I've gotten a lot of "download YouCam" answers, as well as uninstalling the drivers for my webcam and restarting the computer (which I've done) and running hard drive diagnostics (which I've done), and even YouTube videos for installing and using VLC Media Player (which I've done) and YouCam (which I've done).

Every time, and I mean Every Fucking Time I've tried to use YouCam, it crashes in video mode. It takes still photos, but whoopdishit? I can take still photos right here! If I skip the video camera "record" button and try to check the system settings, it crashes. There are a bazillion fun filters I can apply to my photos or videos, but again, whoopdishit if I can't actually create videos?

So I tried to use VLC. It worked! ...except that the resulting video looks and sounds like ass, because when I tried to adjust the settings, it reverted back to "default", and it wouldn't let me set my preferences as defaults. I'm not going to link it here, even though I probably can. #SorryNotSorry

(This is where I did, in fact, attempt to upload that POS video; #FAIL)

So I think, tomorrow, in the daylight, while I'm not working on set, I shall take the laptop apart again. I shall blow out any dust that may have accumulated, and I shall Check All The Connections. It's very possible that none of the answer pages have figured out that maybe my hardware is hanging by one or two prongs of its connector chip, and so the software sees it there but is unable to properly communicate with it, and that is the reason for all of the #Fails. I hope that is the ultimate fix.

...on a side note, speaking of "fixes", I had turned off all my Windows Updates ages ago, and now, in thinking it might possibly be an update or something, I've been attempting to "check" for updates. Every Time I turn this sucker on to "fix" my webcam issues, I "check" for updates. It runs those checks for a coupla hours at a time before I just close the whole operation. No updates get found. That ain't right. Not a single Windows Update for my computer that hasn't been updated since "never".

*****A review!*****

Fences An African-American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.: Okay, so really, what that little blurb means is "slice of life". I already saw and hated a "slice of life" movie this awards season, Paterson (not MBTS). This particular "slice of life" stars Denzel and Viola and a handful of others, and it ended up being my second-least-favorite of the movies I've seen this awards season. Probably because Denzel's character is irredeemable, and when we jump forward in the final act to his funeral, we don't care that he's dead. We're not even happy that he's dead. He just is, and we don't care.

Not that Denzel didn't portray this irredeemable character well. He's not a villain; he's just flawed to the nth degree, and never grows or improves at all, and by the time he's gone, you might feel a little relief on behalf of the others, but it's more like ... meh. Viola, on the other hand, should receive an award for still being intelligible with snot running down her face, because that was some serious snot that she took her sweet time getting around to wiping away.

I never read or saw the play. Maybe that's my error. I just didn't care for this "slice of life", and I was ready for it to be over almost an hour before it was (yes, I actually checked my phone). If I had walked out, I'da been unable to review it for you, so be grateful I suffered through it, so you won't have to.

*****Things I learned today*****
  • Screenings at the Arclight in Hollywood are accessible by subway, even on Sunday, as long as you're not out too late.
  • My SAG card does not get me on the subway.
  • Even Denzel and Viola can co-star in a movie that wasn't worth my time (at least I didn't drive into Hollyweird!)
  • No one on the internet knows why I'm unable to vlog.
  • No one in my real life knows why I'm unable to vlog.
  • Rachel is sending me something (probably a card, I would think); she verified that she'd already updated my new address in her files.
  • I'm really succeeding in procrastination this season, what with not yet having updated Rachel's new address in my files, nor having purchased the nieces/nephews gifts, nor having purchased cards to send (and I really kinda wanna get all of this done, ya know, before next weekend).
  • I re-remembered my Christmas socks! (that was the subject of my test video, which worked but ended up being for shit and waaaaaaaay too big to upload here)
So whaddya got for me? Any news? Any insights? Any updates? Any movies I still haven't reviewed that you're hoping I will? Any links to your Amazon wishlists? Feel free to comment, kids!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I should probably catch you up, huh?

So. I've been attending screenings, as you know. They've started to slow to a crawl, now that the SAG Awards (TM) {or is that (R)?} have posted their nominees for this season. I received an invite for Fences yesterday, but I was still on set, so that wasn't happening. That is both a #Blessing and a #NotSoMuch. I received another invite for Lion today, but the "reception" afterward (not a Q&A) was with the kid who played the 5-year-old (and spoke no English during filming; he's probably 7 by now and has a larger English vocabulary than I do!), and with the composer of the film. It's a bit chilly (59ยบ?) and rainy out this evening, and I know our return to LA meant saying "Yes" to more things, but c'mon. I'm in my loungewear. I got Cocoa occasionally snuggling up to me. And, well, I did already see that film. I'd have seriously considered a Q&A with Dev Patel, but I dunno what I'd say to Sunny.

Ennyhoo, here are some reviews for ya:

Hell or High Water A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.: reminded me, overall, in its tone, of No Country For Old Men (I honestly started to type "Old Country for No Men"; does that say anything about how I felt about it?). Not as violent, of course, but slow, visually epic, with good performances of characters you don't really care about. Only Recommended if you loved the other one. For the rest of us, it'll wait for your tv at home, however it is you choose to consume movies at home.

However, the screening was ah-may-zing. The theater, once I found its parking lot, was severely impressive. It was, unfortunately, called "iPic". {I say "unfortunately" because I am personally very anti-"i", as I think I may have hinted at previously.} There was validated valet parking (I drive a stick shift; I like to park it myself); dark wood interiors; stairs, escalators, and probably elevators; at least one bar (yes, the kind where they serve alcohol), and inside the theater, all of the seats were paired, with a shared table with a silent "call" button for your waiter. Everything but alcohol was 100% comped for the screening, and, oh, yeah... the seats reclined. My guest and I sat there in our recliners eating hors d'oeuvres and LOBSTER ROLLS and apple pie a la mode, drinking strawberry rhubarb lemonade and sparkling Vios water (or whatever the hell that high-end brand was). Totally made it worth seeing a slow Neo-Western about a coupla dudes robbing banks and the federal agents tryin'ta track 'em down!

If you find yourself in LA, hankering to see a film in an awesome space, the iPic theater on Wilshire is Highly Recommended (although probably also incredibly pricey). Otherwise, stay home and do it all on the comfort of your own couch.

Hacksaw Ridge WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.: I was warned aforehand that this flick is very visually violent. It's a war pic; I get it. There was a chick sitting next to me at the screening who'd seen it multiple times and said it was her fave of the season. She then proceeded to fall asleep. lightly snoring, through all of the exposition, only to awaken in time for the gory, bloody violence. I am not a history buff. I think I've said so before. I don't "love" war movies. Mel and Andrew and Vince and Luke were at the Q&A after the screening, and they tried to sell us on the "women love this film because it's not a war picture, it's a love story" idea. Bullshit. It's a fucking war movie. I don't care that the lead character, played quite convincingly by Andrew Garfield, is a Conscientious Objector who enlists as a combat medic with the plan to not even carry a gun but to save lives (and does so), just because he loves his new wife and this Great Country so much. It's still a fucking war movie, not a love story. Honestly, it felt like Forrest Gump in Vietnam, only real. Hell, for all I know, this is the dude Forrest's Vietnam Hero was based on. Only fictional.

Regarding the Q&A afterwards, Mel was really twitchy (he would not stop combing his beard or twirling his moustache with his left hand, while holding his mic with the right, often effectively covering his mouth whilst both petting the mouth hair and speaking). Andrew and Vince and Luke had a beautiful Mutual Admiration Society meeting, and they often sang Mel's praises, too. The performances IN the film were all very believable. There was A LOT of humor throughout. And no one said a word at the Q&A about "Naked Man" or how many scenes he had to shoot, naked, or how many days it took to get all of those scenes "in the can" before he was finally allowed to wear a stitch of clothing again. Dude was CUT, y'all. And very nekkid. For a very long time. And no indication in the Q&A about him or his ... junk. Just "it's a love story". :/

My recommendation? Only if you love a "love story" that's disguised as a bloody, gory, violent war movie, OR if you happen to love any of the actors playing the real people in this story. Yes, it's based on a real guy's experiences. Otherwise, again, this is a wait for it to reach your own television.

BOTH of these movies are being Very Highly Received, so maybe my opinion doesn't count for squat. I don't care. It's my opinion, and this is my blog. You want reviews from critics who get paid to critique? This is not the place. You wanna hear what one background actress/Script Supervisor/occasional PA/frequent non-industry bookkeeper thinks about a thing? Hey hey! You found me! :)

A Very Murray Christmas : Okay, so we saw this in the Netflix or other streaming queue, and said, what the hell? How weird can it get? Let's watch it until it becomes unwatchable.

We watched the whole thing, but I only advise you to do the same IF your initial instinct in turning on anything Bill Murray is "what the hell? How weird can it get? Let's watch it until it becomes unwatchable" Because THIS THING is really weird. NOT that it's not funny. Oh, it is. We found ourselves laughing out loud, primarily over the absurdity of it all. Honestly, Bill is a talented guy who has made himself a representation-free recluse. The producers and directors and casting folks who have roles in mind for him deal with him directly, but not without some seriously super-spy-level shenanigans going on first to get his attention. He only works on projects that somehow speak to him. He's not in it for the fame or riches or glory anymore. He has reached that level of success that he set for himself. "I'm only gonna work if I wanna; I'm only gonna do meaningful shit anymore; I'm not payin' anybody any commissions; I am my Own Man." You GO, Bill. #Respect

So this particular thing feels a bit autobiographical, but definitely in an absurd mode. So if you love Bill Murray like I love Bill Murray, and you're in the mood for some weird shit that you can laugh at (or with, possibly?), then yeah, Watch This Thing.

In other news, I'm really hoping to get vlogging figured out by 2017. I'm not planning to completely abandon the written word, but I think the video format oughta be fun, right? I have just sent Daddy an email, so my personal Tech Support in India is On The Case (or will be, when he wakes up tomorrow and looks at his email. He's not on any timeclock; one cannot assume what boundaries are in place, or set any, when one is utilizing free assistance, DUH).

Happy December, Y'all! I'm feelin' pretty good, of late! How 'bout YOU?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This is a test

Full of FAIL, is what it is. A test full of FAIL. I discovered that the Twitter phone app allows me to tweet in video (today), and I thought, since I was having so much difficulty getting my laptop webcam to shoot and store VIDEO blogs (a.k.a. "vlogs"), that I would try to do it from my phone.

Nopester, not happnin.

Dammit. #ThisSuxBigTime