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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Opticon is coming & he’s naming May Anti-Auto-DM Month

In Twitter on 30 April, 2011 at 3:52 pm
Opticon

@Opticon the anti-DM superhero

Which is worse: to follow someone and not have them acknowledge your existence or to follow someone and receive an automated reply?

Of course, there is a third option, to have the individual or organization you are following personally recognize and acknowledge you, but that’s only a worst case scenario for the person being followed, so we won’t include that.

At least one Twitter activist, @Opticon_ thinks nothing is better than something. And he thinks most Twitter users agree with him. This self-proclaimed protector of good content has proclaimed May 2011 to be Anti-Auto-DM Month and is spearheading the effort to collect signatures on a petition asking SocialOomph to disable the auto-DM portion of its service.

The effectiveness of auto-DMs is questionable. Most people are smart enough not to click on links from sources they don’t know and even if they did choose to follow someone on Twitter, there is a good chance they don’t actually know that person.  In some cases, followers may even be using auto-DMs as a means of screening their lists, unfollowing anyone they suspect of using auto-DMs, or anyone sending them a link or anyone who doesn’t immediately follow them back.

Jesse Stay, CEO of SocialToo, a rival of SocialOomph, put it this way when the company disabled their auto-DM functionality in 2009:

“Based on my statistics, while a very small percent of you are using auto-DMs for legitimate business reasons (for instance, sending instruction to followers if you are doing an online promotion that included following the Twitter user as part of the promotion),  over one-third of you sending automated DMs have some sort of URL in your message to followers. The remaining majority is just sending simple thank you’s, which while I think they are truly genuine, are now being ignored by most people who receive them.”

That may be true. Certainly, very few people respond to Welcome/thank you DMs which may or may not mean they are ignoring them to begin with. It’s possible they may also feel no response is needed to a simple thank you, which, technically, it isn’t even though politeness might suggest a “you’re welcome” is in order.

It is also difficult to quantify the level of outrage Opticon alleges is associated with auto-DMs. Certainly some people find them annoying. Some may even go to the effort of reporting them to Twitter. But outrage? we’ll have to see how the petition drive goes before we’re quite ready to use that label.

Making SocialOomph’s auto-DM functionality a paid service has cut down the number of automated messages, though possibly not in the intended manner. Now, instead of DM timelines filled with acknowledgement and appreciation for following someone all most of us see is the spam.  Marketers, legitimate or otherwise, have deeper pockets than role-players. Go figure.

And yet there is some truth to the quote Opticon alleges to have lifted from the SocialOomph blog (whose newest entry was in 2010):

Folks, whether you like auto DMs or not, they are going to be around. There is nothing evil about a DM that is sent by automated means on behalf of and on the explicit instruction of a Twitter user.”

A Sad Goodbye

In Uncategorized on 30 April, 2011 at 1:34 pm

The small town of Bon Temps, LA has been in mourning for the past several days. The gray skies and light mist of rain is ironically, suitable as it seems even the weather itself mourns for the loss of Innis Hennigan.

Late on the evening of April 24, his wife, Reanna Hennigan discovered the body of her beloved. Killed at the hands of the demon that has continuously stalked the Hennigan family, one can only wonder how much pain and suffering they must endure before it ends.

Though relatively new to the area, the Hennigans were well liked and quickly became part of the small community of Bon Temps. Their establishment, Mystic Spa  & Fitness Center, has been a popular place for both humans and supernaturals to frequent. With their wide range of services and friendly environment, the success of their establishment as well as the good fortune of discovering they were expecting a child, this loss was both unexpected and shocking to those unfamiliar with the family’s past.

Innis is survived by his wife, Reanna Hennigan, their unborn child, his sisters, Kayleigh Hennigan and Emeline Hennigan, his mother, Fiona Hennigan, as well as an aunt, Breena Hennigan and uncle, Lenus Hennigan, cousins, Levi and Mason Crowley, Anton Gardner  and Nero Hennigan and his wife, Cammi Hennigan. Our condolences go out to this wonderful family in their time of need.

Reanna, though in mourning, released the following quote in regards to the loss of her husband, lover, friend and soul mate:

“‘You’ll get over it…’ It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it’ is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not erased by anyone but death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no one else can fit. Why would I want them to?”

If you wish to convey your condolences, please contact Reanna Hennigan or Mystic Spa & Fitness Center.

Parade Wave

In Uncategorized on 30 April, 2011 at 12:52 pm

A slight hand gesture used to wave for prolonged periods of time (like during a parade)or as a casual non-verbal greeting to friends. With the arm bent at the elbow, the waver turns their wrist back and forth exposing the front and then the back of the hand in a single motion.

TCM Classic Film Fest presents preternatural icons Saturday

In Film, Ghosts on 30 April, 2011 at 9:10 am

Though few in number (only two screenings), the preternatural films showing at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood on Saturday more than make up for the oversight with quality. In fact, they more than merit their inclusion on a day that will see Peter O’Toole finally make his mark on Hollywood’s walk of fame with a hand and footprint ceremony as well as screenings ranging from Gaslight to the original Parent Trap to The Outlaw Josey Wells to Shaft.

What two preternatural films could hold their own and share the same air as Citizen Kane and La Dolce Vita (which we have to thank for the term paparazzi)? Cabin in the Sky is a film few will have heard of. The other is as synonymous with preternatural films and horror as its name The Mummy.

If you haven’t heard of 1943’s Cabin in the Sky you aren’t exactly alone. It was only the fourth film with an entirely African-American cast released by a major Hollywood studio and the segregated conditions of the South at the time limited distribution. Yet this tale of a murdered gambler who is offered a second chance at life thanks to the earnest prayers of his wife has a cast of legendary proportions. Leading lady Lena Horne was the first black woman presented onscreen as a sex symbol (and boy, is she sexy, even today). She plays opposite Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as the gambling husband trying to reform as well as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Did we mention this was a morality play disguised as a musical? The screening begins at Noon at the Chinese Cineplex 3.

The Mummy, in contrast, is one of the best known preternatural films ever made. In 1932 acclaimed Hollywood makeup artist Jack Pierce and horror legend Boris Karloff  introduced a new movie monster to the world. He has never left. Maybe it is the perennial amazement and popularity of the treasures entombed with the boy-pharoh know as King Tut that keeps Imhotep going. Or maybe it was the introduction of such cinematic tools as the dolly and other special effects techniques that are still used today that secure a place in the collective imagination of the audience. Whatever the reason, this is one of the best preternatural films ever made and the first American film from the legendary Karl Freund with some help from screenwriter John Balderston (he had adapted Dracula for the silver screen in 1931). Actor Ron Perlman will be attending the midnight screening of this “poetry of horror” aptly taking place at the Egyptian Theatre.

For more about the classic preternatural films already featured at the 2011 and 2010 TCM check out:

Follow Friday’s roster of preternatural films at TCM’s Classic Film Festival

Preternatural films kick-off Turner Classic Movies Film Festival

Preternatural films at TCM Classic Film Festival (2010)

Echofon for Mac and Firefox now available

In Resources, RP, Tools, Twitter, Web Sites/Online on 29 April, 2011 at 11:52 am

The upgrade of the full line of Echofon applications is complete. Echofon, an UberMedia company, announced the availability of new versions of the popular Twitter client for Macintosh and Firefox users on 28 April, 2011. Upgraded Echofon versions for the iPhone and iPad were released in February. No version of Echofon for Windows apparently exists.

“It has long been a goal of ours to take across multiple platforms the many features we added to our iPhone and iPad versions,” said Kazuho Okui, founder of Echofon. “This cross-platform upgrade has been particularly important to complete, as so many of our users take full advantage of synchronization as the move back and forth between their iPhone, their PC at work and their Mac or iPad at home.”

The upgraded versions allow users to synchronize information between the iPad, iPhone and desktop providing a seamless user experience by “remembering” where users left off reading their Tweets, even when they switch devices. Echofon, noted for its ease of use and elegant design is used by more than 3 million people around the globe on multiple platforms. Unlike other UberMedia products, it was not impacted by Twitter’s recent crack-down on client applications.

Echofon for Firefox

Echofon for Firefox

Echofon for Firefox

The entire Echofon application for Firefox has been redesigned implementing a brand new user interface. Echofon can now be used in a sidebar, a panel or an individual window within the Firefox browser. The new user view features the user timeline (including direct messages/DMs), following and follower lists.  In addition, existing list and search functionality has been expanded. Other enhancements and functionality added to the upgraded Firefox version include:

  • The mute functionality has been expanded to include users, applications and hashtags.
  • Photos can now be previewed inline
  • Support of Firefox 4

Echofon for Firefox is the only version without a paid option.

Echofon for Macintosh

This upgraded version is very similar to what users have on their iPad or iPhone that includes:

  • The ability to easily attach photos to Tweets by dragging and dropping.
  • Easily attach screen captures, iTunes songs as they are playing or a page being viewed in Safari to a Tweet.
  • Implementation of handy indicators showing which Tweets have photos, videos, location, conversation or other information available.

The main drawback of Echofon for most twitter RPers is that it only supports one Twitter identity at a time.

Ghost

In Uncategorized on 29 April, 2011 at 11:27 am

A term meaning you’re leaving. Similar to “outta here.”

Follow Friday’s roster of preternatural films at TCM Clissic Film Festival

In Film, Travel on 29 April, 2011 at 8:35 am

Friday is off to a great start with screenings of several preternatural films at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. There better not be any vampires in the audience (unless they are the sparkly kind or plan to spend the day in the Chinese Multiplex 1) because the preternatural screenings start at 10 a.m. with The Constant Nymph. You’ll have time for a leisurely lunch before The 7th Voyage of Sinbad gets underway at 3:45 p.m. followed by The Little Shop of Horrors  at 7 p.m. Don’t even think of making it an early night or you’ll miss the midnight showing of The Tingler.

Although not widely known, The Constant Nymph is among the best preternatural films even made. Joan Fontaine is the doomed heroine in one of the most alluring love triangles you’ve never heard of. A young romantic with considerable spiritual gifts, Tessa, Fontaine’s character, is caught between Charles Boyer and Alexis Smith in this classic film from 1943. One of the most romantic scenes ever caught on film occurs when Tessa listens to the premiere of a poem written for her by Boyer. The Constant Nymph screening begins at 10 a.m. at the Chinese Multiplex 1.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad brings together the musical genius of Bernhard Hermann and the special effects genius of Ray Harryhausen. Reportedly Hermann’s favorite of the four films the two would work together on, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad , which audiences first discovered in 1958, includes such preternatural stars as a giant cyclops, a two-headed roc, ambulatory skeletons and even a fire-breathing dragon! What more could any preternatural film fan ask for? The 7th Voyage of Sinbad screening begins at 3:45 p.m. at the Chinese Multiplex 3.

What’s more preternatural than a man-eating plant? The Little Shop of Horrors was a surprise hit when it debuted in 1960 this comedy-horror has become a preternatural legend in its own right. The plot is simple, so simple it was allegedly conceived while writer Charles B. Griffith and producer-director Roger Corman were drunk. Essentially,  a shy shop assistant raises a carnivorous plant that eventually consumes his life and shop. The screening for The Little Shop of Horrors begins at 7 p.m. at the Chinese Multiplex 1. As an added bonus for preternatural fans, director Roger Corman will be attending the screening.

There is a long-standing tradition of showing horror films at midnight matinees. Vincent Price stars in The Tingler, a 1959 classic which looks for the source of fear itself. Director William Castle was famous for his movie gimmicks, everything from a flying skeleton (EMERGO!) to ghost viewers (ILLUSION-O!) to wired seats (PERCEPTO!) Tonight’s screening will be just as interactive as Castle intended, being produced by Bruce Goldstein (who will be attending as well). This special screening of The Tingler begins at midnight at the Egyptian Theater.

That’s today’s preternatural film line-up at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles. There are of course, many other films and events taking place from the screening of The Godfather  and Spartacus at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to a look at the best trailers ever made at Club TCM to appearances by screen legends Peter O’Toole, Kirk Douglas, Mickey Rooney and Jane Powell. Stay tuned to the Preternatural Post for more on this weekend’s screening schedule of preternatural films at the TCM Classic Film Festival!

Oh, and just to get you in the mood…here’s one of our favorite songs from the 1986 version of The Little Shop of Horrors (from Robonhigh on YouTube)

Wizard World Comic Con to Fall in Los Angeles

In RP, Shopping, Travel, vox populi on 29 April, 2011 at 7:03 am

“We are ecstatic to come to the rejuvenated downtown area of Los Angeles to celebrate the best of pop-culture — graphic novels, TV, movies, toys, games, genre properties and of course, comic books,” stated Gareb Shamus, President and CEO of Wizard World, Inc. “You can always trust Wizard World to bring the most diverse and robust collection of artists, writers, creators and celebrities anywhere.”

The addition of a Los Angles Comic Con to Wizard World‘s extensive line-up of events for 2011 was announced on 29 April, giving fans and exhibitors less than 5 months to prepare for the Sept. 24-25 event. California hosts the Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con this weekend, 29 April – 1 May.

Among the guests announced for Los Angeles Comic Con, which is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center are guest of honor Mike Deodato Jr. and Clare Kramer. The event will be a rare appearance for Deodato, a Brazilian artist well-known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, Wolverine, X-Men, The Avengers  and Batman.

The final weekend in September had been home to the Big Apple Comic Con, however, that event will be permanently moved to the Spring. In fact, the Spring edition of the Big Apple Comic Con is scheduled for May 21-22 at Penn Plaza Pavilion. As part of the realignment, Wizard World is also rescheduling the planned 2011 Atlanta Comic Con, with dates to be announced.

There is a real need for a Fall event that encompasses all the best that pop-culture has to offer,” said Mike Mathews, Chairman of Wizard World Inc. “We’re listening to our customers and giving them the show they are asking for located in the entertainment mecca.”

Running Wild

In Uncategorized on 28 April, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Only the sound of a bird outside the blocked window causes her to realize she’s been laying awake in the bed. The nightmares had effortlessly turned into conscious thought. She turns her head, ever so slightly to the left, pressing her warm cheek against the pale skin of Matheus. She allows herself a stolen moment to breathe in his scent, relaxing in his arms, for once happy about the quiet darkness of the house.

A smile slowly forms across her lips as she hears the sounds of laughter from farther down the hall. In an instant, she is at the door to the nursery, staring in wonder at the small child who is lost at play with her toys. Most people are awarded years to get used to motherhood. To watch their children grow. Most people…

She closes her eyes briefly, having to once again remind herself she is not a “person.” She never was. She never will be. The fire that flows from her, the nearly toxic blood that runs through her veins, is a living testament to that.

Sliding down to the floor, her back against the wall so as not to interrupt the fantasy world that is emerging in the happy babble of the baby. A ray of the dying sunlight hits the diamond that weighs heavily on her left hand. The glass-like surface ruined by a drop of blood, a tear that dropped last night as a future was discussed. A way to fight the fates.

But she’s been fighting the fates already. Speeding, as usual, past all the roadblocks and stop signs that leapt out at her. She saw no problem when all the lights turned green, never realizing that it would be that much harder to put on the breaks when she saw the road end.

And now the fates were fighting back. She had taken a family, and the fates had taken her sister. She had taken human friendship, and the fates had destroyed it. And now, she had emerged with a daughter, and the fates were rushing to take her back. What would happen if she took Mat’s last name?

Was there only one way to left to fight back? She had a losing hand of cards, but what if she switched to a different game? Throw down the cards and pick up the dice.

The blood on the diamond should have been an omen. But she was taking it as a sign, and hoping fate wasn’t any good at gambling.

Preternatural films kick off the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival

In Film, Ghosts, Travel, vox populi on 28 April, 2011 at 5:07 pm
TCM 2011

Official Poster of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival

The ghosts of films past are coming back to haunt Hollywood this weekend courtesy of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Film Festival. The multi-faceted TCM Classic Film Festival will be packed with celebrities, family members and fans of Hollywood’s history and great movies. More than 70 screenings will take place, along with special introductions, interest tracks, guest appearances, panel discussions, unique events and much more.

Among the first special interest programs to get underway this weekend is the festival’s 100th anniversary salute to composer Bernard Hermann. When the TCM Classic Film Festival open 28 April, 2011, Hermann’s daughter, Dorothy Hermann will be on hand to introduce screenings of two popular preternatural films scored by Hermann. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. (PDT) followed by the 10 p.m. (PDT) screening of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both screenings will be held at: Chinese Multiplex 1, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA, USA.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a wonderful way to kick off any celebration of Hermann’s work because it was reportedly his favorite score. This hauntingly wonderful romance was filmed in 1947 and stars Gene Tierney as the beautiful young widow Lucy Muir and Rex Harrison as the late sea dog Capt. Daniel Gregg. Together they pen his memoir, secure her future and fall in love only to be parted by the fact that, well, he isn’t flesh and blood (shadows not withstanding) and she isn’t a ghost (yet). The studio’s official trailer is available on IMDB, however, we came across the remarkable video (below) from the Ravin’ Maven of Classic Film on YouTube and think it makes an amazing introduction to both the film and Hermann’s score.

Following The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the original sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still from 1951 will be screened. Released less than 5 years after the Roswell UFO incident, The Day the Earth Stood Still chronicles the arrival of the alien Klaatu (played by Michael Rennie who is familiar to TV audiences as The Keeper in Lost in Space and the Sandman in Batman) and his robot Gort (played by Lock Martin). Set to another evocative Hermann score, the pair deliver a dire ultimatum to humanity.

Other films scored by Hermann that being screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival include:

  • The Trouble with Harry which was the first film Hermann scored for legendary director Alfred Hitchcock (12:15 p.m. on 1 May at the Chinese Multiplex 4)
  • The 7th Voyage of Sinbad which was the first of four films combining Hermann’s scores with the special effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen (3:45 p.m. on 29 April at the Chines Multiplex 3)
  • The world premiere of the digital restoration of Taxi Driver, the last film scored by Hermann (4 p.m. on 1 May at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre)
  • The 70th anniversary restoration of the iconic Hermann-scored film Citizen Kane (3:30 p.m. on 30 April at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre)

The TCM Classic Film Festival has a history of screening multiple preternatural films. This year well-known preternatural films like The Mummy and The Little Shop of Horrors join less widely known films such as Cabin in the Sky and The Constant Nymph, among others. Stay tuned for more on the super-natural films being celebrated in Hollywood this weekend!