All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Les Misérables: My Movie Review

A few days ago I went to see the movie Les Misérables, going into it having no idea of what it was about, but being familiar with some of the music in it. Yesterday at lunch someone asked me if I liked it, and I responded “I don’t know”.

Les-mis

Just to get this out of the way, I’m not mentioning the names of any characters because, truthfully, I only remember the name of one of them, Cosette, and I’m not in the mood to go looking them all up. So go with me here as I give a synopsis, then opinion, about this film.

The title stands for “the miserable ones”, and man, did that turn out to be true. About 25 minutes in I leaned over to a young lady I consider as my niece and said “Wow, this is depressing”. Her response was “it gets worse”. As I stated earlier I knew it was a musical, and the only other musical I’ve paid money to go see was Phantom of the Opera, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also didn’t know what the story was about before I went, though I knew all the music.

Overall this is the tale of a guy who’s finally released from a penal detention in France after 20 years because he stole a loaf of bread to feed his family, makes it on his own until he’s eventually rich. He tries to save a woman that was fired from his factory but she still dies and vows to take care of her child whom she’d left with some sleazy people. He turns himself in when another guy is arrested as him because he’d broken probation 8 years earlier, but runs to find and take care of the girl.

He hides with her about 9 years or so until a bunch of consequences find him hiding once again from Crowe, her falling in love with a young guy she just met, the young guy in the middle of trying to help start another French Revolution, the older guy saving him from being killed so he can get healthy and hook up with the young girl who’s been his daughter for all these years, goes away so his daughter will never know what he did, and then the young guy he saved learns he was saved by the older guy (he never knew), tells the daughter about it on their wedding day (along with the older guy’s background, which he never divulged to her), and they rush to the convent (I never knew men could be in a convent) where the older guy’s character is dying, dies and meets up with all the other people in the movie who died; whew!

The older guy is played by Hugh Jackman of Wolverine fame, and he actually goes through about 20 years of aging or so in the movie. He’s a credible singer, a Broadway guy, and he has the major part in this flick. The guy who gives him the “I’ll be watching you” speech is played by Russell Crowe. My wife would say he’s a “talking singer”, and I’ll go with that assessment. He had to be there because of his acting more than his singing, but truthfully I wasn’t overly impressed with his acting in this one. Actually, I’d never seen him in anything else that I could think of, and maybe this is why.

Anne Hathaway plays the woman who was fired from Jackman’s factory, and then whose life went into a major spiral, selling everything, having her hair cut, and becoming a prostitute. I knew the song “I Dreamed A Dream” pretty well, or so I thought, but seeing it performed in this movie the way they did it… this woman wins Best Supporting Actress, hands down! I have a much deeper appreciation for what this song was about.

The comic relief in the movie was handled by Helena Bonham Carter of Harry Potter and many other movies fame and Sacha Baron Cohen of Barat fame; he was unrecognizable to me and I only knew it was him when the credits came up. I hated them immensely, which probably means they did a good job.

Two people played Cosette, one as a young girl, then as an older girl Amanda Siegfried. Her singing was passable but nothing outstanding. Someone who I felt was really outstanding was Samantha Barks, whom I didn’t know but it turns out she’s also a Broadway star in her own right, and hot as well, even though she wasn’t supposed to be.

The guy who played the young man who Cosette falls in love with… don’t care, and that’s a shame. Truthfully, the student revolutionary piece kind of threw me off from the rest of the story, and the only part that actually made me care was when this young boy was killed by the French army on purpose; that was pretty cold.

One last thing before I move on. Crowe’s character, Mr. Law and Order, decides near the end to let Jackman’s character get a pass while he’s trying to save the young guy because Jackman had let his own life go when he could have killed him. Crowe’s character sees this as a flaw in himself and he jumps off a bridge to kill himself. What I didn’t expect was that they actually showed the body hitting the ground, half on the ground and half in water; I wasn’t prepared for that in this type of movie, and I have to admit I didn’t like it.

Overall review? There was a lot going on yet they kept it all together pretty well. I could have done without the revolution part but without it we’d have lost this one great song and I guess a purpose for Jackman to go try to save this kid. I wasn’t ever sure I cared about anyone in the movie until Jackman’s character was about to die. I almost cried, though I didn’t, but a lot of other people did; sniffles were everywhere, and I couldn’t blame any of them. It’s hard to say I enjoyed such a depressing movie but it did touch me. Since this isn’t normally the type of movie overall that I’d even watch, I’m not quite sure how to process it.

It touched me in a couple of places on an emotional level; I’ll own up to that. I liked the music but didn’t like what the director did. The shot the music “live” rather than in a studio, and to do it many of the music scenes were closeups, and I kept wishing they’d pull the camera back as that made me uncomfortable.

I’ll say this then. If you like musicals definitely go see this. If you like to cry, give it a shot. If you like happy endings, this ain’t it. This isn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t hear a single person saying as we were walking out “that was fantastic”. I think we were all too depressed. 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2015 Mitch Mitchell

The Last Post Of 2012 Is About…

Last year on December 31st I put out an article titled The Last Post Of 2011 Is About… and in that post I talked about comments and commenters and thanked them in general for commenting on this blog over the first four years. This time around I decided to figure out what the biggest topic of the year was that I wrote about, and it’s not going to be on blogging itself because, well, that’s what I already know I talk about most of the time. After some introspection and research it looks like the biggest thing to talk about is…

Flickr Meet #3 - Nottingham
Craig Marston via Compfight

Marketing and promoting on social media. I tied a lot of it in with blogging, but overall it was mainly about social media. Why was this such a big deal?

Because social media isn’t going away, never. There were some naysayers earlier in the year saying that social media was going to fail and that people should think more about traditional ways of marketing, to which I wrote this post saying that waiting for social media to fail was a stupid move. It might not look exactly like it does right now but it’s not going anywhere folks. We need to get comfortable talking about it and interacting with it.

At the same time, things are already changing. Facebook is getting in the way of what those who have liked our business pages are seeing, which led to a business comparison between Facebook and Google Plus. There’s no doubt that both of these are players, though for different reasons, and even LinkedIn will be an important piece of social media marketing with all the changes they’re started to make.

The reality is that many of the ideas that were very good just 2 years ago don’t seem to work as well now. There’s so much competition, so many options, and so little time. We also have less patience that we used to, and I’ll own up to that one. I work on 5 blogs and the top social media sites, and I also have a couple lesser known sites that I’m on, testing to see if they’ll give me anything to work with here and there and then talking about it, as I did with Social Buzz Club, which turned out to be a failure for me.

Just like most of you, I need to concentrate more on what will work for me as I move into 2013. This year was a better year for me than the last two, but not close to what I want or where I thought I’d be, both online and offline. After all, I have a dream to reach by September, and so far things are moving way too slowly in getting there.

Social media was the big conversation in 2012, and I think it will continue to be a big deal as we move into 2013. What do you think about it all? And are you ready to have a happy new year, regardless?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

12 Things “I’m Just Sharing” Addressed In 2012

A couple of weeks ago on 12/12/12 I wrote a post titled 12 Things For 12/12/12. That one was more a post about stuff I believed in, more of an opinion piece. This one is something quite different.

Grandfather and Me

I decided to do a post on things this blog addressed in 2012. This particular post is #199 on the year, and since we all know I’ll have at least 2 more posts, if not 3 more, by 12/31, it’s easy to say that I’ve written more than 200 posts this year, which is actually down for me and yet has made for a more comfortable blogging year, especially since I added 2 more blogs last year.

I talk about multiple topics in the video, and to get you to watch the video I’m not going to necessarily tell you what all those topics were. However, I did have these 12 titles and links that I briefly mentioned in some fashion, which is what the video was based on. So I’m going to give those links beneath the video. It’s about 20 minutes long; I was shooting for 10 minutes but there’s no timer! I did it using Google+ Live Hangout, which means anyone could have been watching, except I started it around 12:45 or so in the morning, so I doubt anyone saw it live, and that’s just fine. Hey, at least I know Brian will watch it, though I mentioned Sheryl, Ileane, and Holly. 🙂

 

 

And now, the links:
 
Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves

Post 1,300 And On Friday To Boot

Black Web Friday

5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

Social Media And Your Familial Obligations

11 Lessons Learned From 11 Years In Business

Blogging Tips – Will People Like Your Blog?

Dream It And It Will Come

100 Things About Me

Don’t Lie About Your Health

I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

Google Authorship – Pretty Cool
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012-2015 Mitch Mitchell

5 More Examples of Legitimate Looking Spam

Last February I wrote a post titled Bad Coments/Spam The Same where I highlighted six different types of comments that show up and I felt were spam of some type. After that, Adrienne Smith and I had further conversations about what we felt was spam related, and at the time I thought her beliefs were a little tough. Upon reflection, I think she’s got it spot on.

Spam wall
freezelight via Compfight

Here’s the deal. Sure, all of us want visitors and we want people to comment on our blogs. But we have to be ready to face the fact that not everyone who’s commenting on our blogs cares anything about what we’ve just written about. As a matter of fact, I’ve been a bit tougher on some comments lately, and I’ve noticed that only one person has complained about their post not showing up, and it was easy to address.

I figured it was time to address this topic once more because, well, spam just doesn’t go away, and yet there are so many blogs I’m visiting where I know it’s spam, but the blog owner doesn’t. This could be you or someone you know; let’s find out with these 5 looks:

1. Does the comment actually address the post in question? I wrote a recent post comparing Google+ to Facebook and got a few comments that told me what either G+ or Facebook were. Frankly, I already knew what they were, everyone else already knew what they were, thus this was spam. I know, it was someone paid to leave a comment on blogs obviously, but that’s just human spam; gone!

2. Is there any punctuation in the comment, or any real grammar. By this, I mean there’s no capitalization, no punctuation between obviously different sentences, and usually the comment is 2 or 3 sentences with no real start or end. Often this type of comment only addresses the first paragraph of a post so it looks legit, but it’s not because not all first paragraphs are what a post is about; you other writers know what I’m talking about.

3. Almost the exact same comment in the same style from different IP addresses, but the comments come in at the same time. Now, I’ve seen this type of thing often, and it’s problematic because every once in awhile the comments aren’t bad. But you have to call it out, as I did earlier this year when I wrote a guy who was doing that, linking to two different websites, but when I checked it out they were the same website with one being a redirect. He apologized for doing it and admitted he was paid to post comments on other blogs, but hadn’t paid much attention to where he was doing it obviously.

4. There is punctuation but no spacing. Come on, who really writes like that? What I did initially was visit the websites linking in to see if those websites were written in that style; they weren’t. That tells me that whomever is commenting could care less about what they’ve written on my blog because they didn’t give me the courtesy they probably expect in their own space. Once again, gone!

5. Too many people seem to keep missing this, which is right about the comment space:

“This blog doesn’t accept keyword names, and the comment will be deleted if a real first name isn’t put on first. Also, if your name has 3 words or more in it, the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; just so you know.”

Sometimes, if the comment isn’t all that strong, I just leave it in the spam filter and delete it. Now, some of you who keep ignoring it know who you are, and if you’ve seen your comments on the blog posts you know you’ve left something pretty good. Otherwise, the way I see it if the comment isn’t great, and the comment policy was ignored, then that was someone not even trying to add to the conversation so, sorry, it didn’t exist.

Okay, those are the 5 points I wanted to make. However, I mentioned something where I said one person complained. Actually, he wrote me because his comment didn’t show and he wondered what he might have been doing wrong. In a post I wrote in September talking about spam settings, I mentioned how if I got more than 3 spam comments from a particular IP address that I went into Settings/Discussion and reduced the filter to just the first 2 numbers rather than all 4. Well, my friend got caught up in that one, which told me his hosting company has a lot of spammers coming from there, but there’s nothing I can do about that. So I went in and altered that IP so that his comments would not be sent to spam any longer. First and only time that’s happened, but at least it worked.

There you go. How many of you will own up to seeing this on your blog and not thinking about it being spam? Will you remove it, or at least remove any further incidences of it, or do you see a comment as a comment?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012-2017 Mitch Mitchell

In Love With Instagram!

Back in June I wrote a post introducing Instagram for Android, which had just come out after being available for iPhone for years. I talked about the technical aspects of it in that post, as well as giving a link to my own Instagram page, which was very new.

instagram shots

I have to say that at this juncture I’m absolutely in love with this program. I can’t believe I’ve only had it six months; I’m ecstatic. Why? What do I do with it?

The first thing is being able to share photos immediately after taking them. Sometimes I wait until I get home, but it was so much fun being able to share some pictures with people when I was in Florida at a convention in October. I don’t fancy myself a photographer, but I do try to find some things that I think would make a good shot to take pictures of. True, there are some limitations to a smartphone’s camera, and the iPhone’s camera is better than my own. Still, the pictures are good enough for most people and easy to get online whenever I’m in the mood.

The second thing is being able to pop in a location from time to time. Truthfully, most of the time I have location tracking turned off on my phone because, well, I just don’t feel like being tracked. And yet, there are places you go to where you don’t mind allowing the image to tell everyone exactly where you are. For instance, often when I’m at the casino I’ll turn it on so people can see which part of the casino I’m in when I’m sharing a picture. If I’m in Rochester visiting my mother sometimes I turn it on as well.

The third thing I like about it, especially when using the smartphone, is being able to see pictures that people I’m following are putting up. It’s amazing how many people have a great eye and what interests them. What I’m really amazed at is how females have totally figured out how to take great pictures of themselves; I haven’t gotten that one down yet. I always miss the button, and when I find the button I’ve moved the camera and look ridiculous. People keep telling me I look mad in pictures I eventually get of myself; that’s funny.

The last thing I love about it is when I can go into the random area and just see pictures like the one above. You usually get 18 pictures at a time, where you see 12 and you can scroll down to see the rest. If you see a picture you like you can give it some love, even if you’re not following that person. And if you decide to check into that person further and see more that you like, you can subscribe to that channel, which I recently did with Daily Puppy; love puppies. 🙂 I actually kill 10 minutes at a time looking at pictures at random times; it’s a great time killer and, strangely enough, I’ve just discovered that some of the pictures I end up liking show up on my Facebook page, where others can like then; freaky!

Frankly, the only thing that’s made me mad is this little battle between Instagram, nee Facebook, and Twitter, and oddly enough it’s not affecting me because the programs I use on both my computer and my smartphone still give me what I’m used to seeing. Right now, other than the sudoku program I downloaded, it’s what I’m using to kill a lot of my time when I Feel like getting away from the computer for awhile.

And then…

IMAG0265

This is why sometimes writing posts in advance can kick you in the behind, because something could happen that makes me have to edit them. A couple of days after I wrote this Instagram came out with a directive saying they had the right to sell and market your photos without your knowledge and without paying you; well, that stinks. It goes into effect on January 16th, and if you’re not down with that you can download your photos and delete your account and you’ll be totally free from it all.

And then… The co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, came out with his own statement saying there are no plans to sell your photos less than 24 hours after the other statement. He said it was a misinterpretation based on a horribly written policy change… yeah, right…

What’s my plan? At this juncture I still love it, but I will change what I upload to it slightly. There are few pictures there that I’m worried about, and if I can delete just those few then I’m good. In general I upload pictures of things I see when I’m out, and if I write about those things and use them in a blog post I’m using the original image anyway. So anything else… go for it. With the billions and billions of images that are on that site, I’m doubting that, other than family or me, I’d even know if anyone wanted to use a picture I took. And with the quality… they’d have to be desperate. 🙂

By the way, over there to the right is a badge that links to my Instagram account if you’d like to check it out.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell