Saturday, February 20, 2010

Would you like a free Oreck Vacuum?

I sure would. That's why I've been entering every Oreck giveaway I can find, because I can't afford to buy one right now. The feature I like best about the Oreck Halo is the UV germ-killing light. Using an Oreck makes your house cleaner AND healthier. This post is part of my attempt to win an Oreck vacuum cleaner. Blogger Mom's Focus on Cyberworld is giving away an Oreck Halo via her blog. Click on the link for your chance to win.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Even a man who is pure in heart....

Tim and I went to see "The Wolfman" with Benicio Del Toro for Valentine's Day. We both love the old Universal Horror films, as does Mr. Del Toro, so despite some mixed reviews, we had high hopes for the film. We were not disappointed. We came right home and watched "The Wolf Man" with Lon Chaney (Tim had also watched it on Saturday night) for comparison's sake.

The new film begins with the poem that is oft-repeated in the original film. I was surprised that they made two changes to the poem, but not the one I expected.

The new poem is Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

The original by screenwriter Curt Siodmak is Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

I'm not sure what the difference is between "pure in heart" and "pure of heart." I gather that "wolfsbane" is the correct name for the plant.

I expected them to change the last line, or rather to use the last line from one of the subsequent Wolf Man movies. Later films used "when the moon is shining bright" and "when the moon is full and bright" rather than the autumn moon reference.

Moving on, there's really just one major change in the basic story from 1941, and that's who the werewolf is who bites Larry Talbot. They could have stuck with Bela the gypsy and been just fine. What they did works fine, but it wasn't necessary.

The acting is excellent and so is the make-up. Rick Baker, famous for his work on "An American Werewolf in London" and a host of other films, did a great job on the transformation, keeping it faithful while also keeping it fresh. Mr. Baker also makes a brief appearance in the film as one of the villagers hunting the werewolf. Some CGI is also used, of course. You can't get away from that these days, and from what I've heard the studio demanded some changes, including more CGI and more gore (which really could have been scaled back without losing any of the intensity of the scenes).

Joe Johnston directed the film. I have always enjoyed his work, and he did a fine job on this film, setting a creepy mood and depicting the horror that Larry Talbot goes through after he is bitten.

I was sad that more people didn't come to see the film today, but we saw it at kind of an off-cinema in town; the Rave probably had more people, but we're made at them right now. Maybe most people don't want gore on Valentine's Day, either. A father and middle school age child was there, and a family with elementary school age children. Of course the youngest child was scared, or at least that's what he kept saying very loudly. At least the mother took him outside a couple of times. I do not understand what people are thinking to bring a small child to a bloody horror movie.

We'll definitely buy the DVD of "The Wolfman" when it comes out, and I sincerely hope that Mrs. Johnston, Baker and Del Toro will do a commentary with all three present in the studio. I think that would be very interesting and enlightening.

Win a Slanket

Brown Couch Events is giving away a Slanket for Two. It's a Valentine's Day giveaway, so hurry on over.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Waiting for Results

For seven years, when I worked as a TV news producer, I didn't really wait for results. Sure, we had the ratings four times a year, but our station did well as a whole, and when I had a newscast for a while, the ratings usually seemed to go up. I never felt like I could take full responsibility for the increase, but I felt good about it. Still, my focus was not on what would give the 'cast strong ratings, it was on reporting the news well, on giving people information they could use, accurately and without bias.

Now, I'm in public relations, a field where I'm constantly waiting for results. You throw a party or put on a show, and it's not just about how well it's done, it's about how many people come, how much money is spent, and what's being said about it. I chose to move into this field, and I enjoy a lot of what I do. Sometimes I feel good about my results, at least until someone tells me that it should have been better.

When I feel badly about the results, I feel that I have let everyone around me down.

So, basically, I've lost the good feeling I had at the end of a newsday, where the work was its own reward, and I think that's affected my mental and physical health.

I can't go back to the news. I didn't think I burned any bridges when I left, but apparently I did. My new career in public relations is the only one I have, for better or worse. All I can do is my best, even if it's not always good enough.

Would you like to check out my current projects?
FPRA Pensacola 2010 Toolbox: PR Power Tools
Pensacola Little Theatre

How does what you do affect your overall well-being?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Don't buy Acer for Customer Service

My Acer Aspire was part of the massive recall for a potentially hazardous wiring problem. The company did not notify me. I contacted them and arranged to ship it back. Despite this not being my fault, they used FedEx Ground, instead of overnight, thus taking my laptop out of service for a week.

The company sent me three pages of generic shipping and repair information that was poorly organized. The company failed to verify my preferred shipping address and sent it to my home instead of my work. I couldn't be home because I was at work. I tried to get the address changed, but the company representative didn't understand the terms of their contract, wasting more valuable time. I couldn't pick it up from FedEx because the nearest Ground distribution center is two hours drive away.

Lucky, FedEx has terrific customer service and was able to get it re-routed to me.

Then I opened the box to find my computer bouncing around in inadequate packaging. They had my original manufacturer's box, but apparently that was too much trouble for them to repack it in and they threw it away. After a number of complaints to corporate management, the sales rep called me back, said I'd simply failed to understand the instructions sent to me, and the laptop was packed loosely and that they intentionally packed it so that it would bounce around.

Two weeks ago, I would have encouraged anyone to buy an Acer computer. It seems to have very good battery life, and I hadn't had any problems with it. Now, I would discourage the purchase of an Acer product, because they don't offer good customer support when things go wrong, even if it's their own shoddy workmanship that caused the problem in the first place.

I re-wrote their repair information sheet for them, too. I wanted them to see how their convoluted instruction sheet could be made simpler. They have not responded, which only reinforces that they really don't care about making things easier for their customers. They just want to blame them when it's their communications strategy that's at fault.

No luck at the movies.

On Sunday, January 31, I tried to go see the new Harrison Ford film, Extraordinary Measures. We got to the box office window at the Rave Pensacola on Bayou only to be told that the projector was having problems and the showing had been cancelled. We saw Sherlock Holmes instead, which we both enjoyed and the fairly full house was surprisingly well-behaved, aside from the young woman who sat beside me and seemed intent on carrying on a conversation with her date throughout the film. She kept it down after I made a snarky comment about it.

On Sunday, February 7, we tried again to see Extraordinary Measures. The Bayou Rave only had one screening, at 11am and we'd missed it, so we went to the other Rave on "W" Street. That location has become quite rundown! We were the only one in the theatre for about 15 minutes. Then an old couple came in. Then with just a couple of minutes to go until the movie theatre, the trouble group came in. Mom, Dad, their pre-schooler, and the grandparents. They were all talking in normal tones of voice, like they were at home, but one had hopes that things would settle down once the movie started. No luck. The child talked constantly, loudly, in a clear high-pitched voice that was impossible to tune out. Mom shushed him frequently, but the child has not been taught at home to be quiet or to behave. Grandma was talking to the child, still in normal tones, as well as repeating everything to Grandpa. So, we left and got our money back.

Why are people so inconsiderate as to bring an undisciplined child to a movie that is clearly over his/her head? Why do they think it's appropriate to speak in normal tones of voice?

I'm really disappointed. I haven't missed a Harrison Ford film in the theatre since the last century (with the exception of Crossing Over which had only limited release). I'll be surprised if it's still around next weekend. Looks like I'll just have to wait for the DVD.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I need a new mattress!

A few years ago, hubby and I decided it was time for new mattresses. We have a queen frame and two twin XL mattresses. We went to a local place, Koala, that makes mattresses. Apparently not very well. We tried some mattresses and told them how firm we wanted them, went back and they weren't firm enough, they told us they'd mis-quoted us but they'd stand by the price. We borrowed a truck and took them home and it wasn't long before we heard one of them crack inside. Of course by then, we couldn't find the paperwork and when we finally did it was just too big a pain to go back. We'll never buy from them again, though.

Now the "new" mattresses are at least seven years old, and they're kind of saggy. They're not comfortable at all. We turn them regularly (top to bottom and back to front), and maybe that has helped prolong the lives, but it's time for them to go now.

I'd love to win a really high quality mattress, like the Sealy Posturepedic® Signature 11-Series innerspring mattress being given away on blogs like Visit the site and enter for your own chance to win, but I'm not going to wish you luck. This is one I need myself!