Movie Review: Assassin’s Creed

Back before my husband and I became parents, we had all the time in the world to play video games (him) and watch movies/T.V. (me), but now its a rare occasion, and typically only when it is paid for such as gift cards for his games or friends lending us movies to watch, etc. Makes us sound cheap, but it’s just not what we choose to spend money on anymore. Every now and then we get to combine our interests and spend time doing what we both like.

Assassin’s Creed was supposed to be that perfect mix. It wasn’t.assassin_s_creed_movie_poster_2016_by_fincher7-dad26yg

IMDb: Through Abstergo a company that creates a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the memories of his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha (Aguilar Of Nerha), in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins and Templars, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

My Rating: 4.5/10

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***Read More »

Black Sails and The Walking Dead

I’m not sure what got into these writers, but all the sudden both shows have taken a turn toward amazing dialogue​. I’m jumping right in here, so consider this your warning now.

The greatest highlight in the entire Pre-Series Finale of Black Sails was Madi’s conversation with the Governor. My mouth was literally on the floor as she spelled it out for him that he was the reason Eleanor died. The dude looks like he is on the brink of losing his mind, and I literally thought he was going to go nuts right then and there. I wouldn’t have blamed him for an outburst because she literally just twisted a knife in his back that had already been making its way through his chest. It was almost poetic the way she built to the moment where she plunged the dagger into his heart. Man, I was amped during that entire exchange! Not to mention the fact that she said exactly what Flint has been saying all along to Silver. The war was about far more than her and him. 

Then there was a beautiful piece by the old sailor pirate who had long past his prime, but was brought on to help Jack find Skeleton Island. He gave an incredible monologue about his time as pirate, it coming to an end and feeling like a faint memory, but the sea’scall was always there. It was outstanding and sent chills up my spine for it’s perfection and realization that all things must come to an end. Talk about gold!

Now for The Walking Dead. Sasha’s lines were still basic, but at least her scenes had meaning! It was more than just filler moments, and who are we kidding, Negan is the man! I believe this scene was exactly taken from the comics minus the fact that it was Sasha, but it’s transfer to see such basic human right being preserved in a time of chaos, again minus the knife to the neck of the would be abuser.

That about summed up the episode for me because besides getting more guns, that was about all that happened. Oh, and Dwayne showed up in Alexandria. And the Hilltop exposed the jackass in the suit for what he really was: scared peon.

Next Sunday will be no contest for me though as to which extended episode I will be watching as it is aired. Black Sails all day! I can’t see how they are going to end it in such a way that it prequels Treasure Island, but if the Series Finale is anything like this pre-finale, I know I won’t be disappointed. The Walking Dead is just going to have to wait!

Dreams of Pirates

Remember my dear,

As the time draws near,

To look to the horizon,

Farther than what you can set your eyes on

And whisper me a prayer

Of a gentle breeze in my hair

And a life full of adventure,

Even though I wish not to venture

Any further from home

Than my mind already roams.

Remember my love,

As the night taints the dove,

No matter how dark or how frail,

My admiration for you will never fail

Or falter under the weight of the stars

Because as I think of you, I have only these bars

Of magic and dreams

Far greater than they seem

To keep me warm as I travel,

Ever destined to unravel,

Except when I think of you.

Watching too many darn pirate shows. Better than reading about the Great Depression I guess. My dreams to that end are becoming a bit destitute. Although, the one last night was very intriguing, and I actually remembered most of it! Possible storyline, definitely book worthy material, but alas, my current project has hit over 80k words, and I still don’t think it’ll be finished before the end of the summer. We’ll see. Maybe throw in a pirate novel should I dream of any interesting ideas. When is bedtime again?

How to Handle Bad Reviews

Have you ever tried something that just didn’t go the way you had hoped and turned into a bad experience? Sometimes we can ignore them, others we feel propelled to let others know about our horrible encounters. We all come across these events in our lives not matter the person, place, or thing of focus. Bad customer service; blast them on social media. Malfunctioning product; unpleasant reviews on company website. Read a lackluster novel; ream the author out on GoodReads.bad-reviews-online-yelp

There is no easy way to handle harsh reviews, but I have come up with a few steps to help my fellow providers of any product or service to come out stronger after such abuse. Before we begin, I want to be clear that there is a very real difference between constructive criticism and plain rude comments. Constructive criticism is exactly that, a positive offering from a consumer to help strengthen the seller’s position within any market. Malicious reviews do not fall in this category, and sometimes can be a little hard to swallow. This is where my focus will fall because constructive criticism is part of everyday life, so we should be acclimated to these types of comments whereas verbal lashings for most are a bit further and farther in between.

*Disclaimer: I am an author, so this will be geared more towards my colleagues, but all suppliers are welcomed to cite whatever piece they find valuable from this post.

1. Read the comments with an open mind.

Do not attempt to read reviews or listen to customers with a turbulent or distracted mind. Whatever is going on in another part of your life, whatever has previously upset you either work related or otherwise, forget about it for all of the amount time it is going to take you to complete this process before reading/hearing any sort of cruel negative feedback. Clear your mind, steel it if you are new to this process, and continue to the next step.

2. Don’t take it personal.

Remember the first step. Read the comments with an open mind and don’t take it personal. I of all people know that this is hard to do especially when a reviewer is literally dragging your name through the mud, but we have to remember that to them whatever product or service they were provided with did not meet expectations and therefore has let them down. This can be heightened dramatically as the cost to the consumer is higher. No matter what the reviewer has said, don’t take it personally, and continue on.

3. Find the constructive pieces.

Unless the customer is literally just throwing profanities and cursing your very existence, during these times of frustration, we all just want our voices heard. Again, if the reviewer is just lamenting that you occupy space on this planet, it is best just to ignore it and/or advise them to provide feedback at such a time that it can contain constructive points. If the consumer is frustrated, but still explaining why pertaining to the product, then there is hope for something constructive and possibly a lesson to be learned. It may be hard to sieve through some of the not so helpful points, but again, remember our previous steps and focus on what can be helpful advice.

4. Do not respond.

This may be equally hard to do, but specifically to my fellow authors, do not respond! Unless you are on the phone or in person with the disgruntled customer, do not respond. List out the constructive points as you read the statements with an open mind. Even if you think you have the end-all-be-all comeback, do not respond. This is about learning to find what is helpful to better yourself in the future.

Revert to the previous step if you are face to face with an unhappy consumer: advise them to provide feedback at such a time that it can contain constructive points, and if it does contain such points, acknowledge them, but do not offer excuses or explanations. Just listen and give their concerns merit. Do not take anything said to you to heart. Remember, it isn’t personal. They just want to be heard.

5. Remember that you are not perfect.

No one on this planet is perfect. We all perform the same mundane tasks every day between bathroom usage and clothing rituals. You will never make everyone happy no matter the product or service you provide, but we can at least continue to understand that there is always room for growth and use these scenarios to our advantage. If a reviewer says that your story lacks dialog, try to add more in your next. If a customer states that your product brakes too easily at this certain piece, evaluate their concern and strive to make it better. We can take these moments of criticism and strive to make ourselves. Not perfect, but better.

6. Grow.

We are all human, and life is a continuous saga of learning lessons. Be the bigger person, and better yourself from the experience. Take what you can from each lesson, and let the rest go. (Not to sound too “Frozen”-y.) Everything we do, we can get better with practice and determination. Never give up, just accept this new challenge and rise above it.

My husband will look at me at times and ask how I can stand to see some ill-intended comments. My answer is always that I take them and choose to grow from them. I refuse to let it get me down because then what does that accomplish. We all have too choose to be better, to strive for more, and with each new project, that is exactly what I do. In a way, I guess I am breaking one of my own rules with this post, but to all who have provided feedback on any of my works, I thank you for helping me reach for higher heights, and I will always strive for greater.

Let me know of any tips that I may have left out, or different ways you may cope with such comments. If you just need a listening ear, I am here for that also!

Black Sails Season 4 Episode 6

black-sails-tv-series-on-starz-cancelled-no-season-fiveI’m not OK with this series, either, only for entirely separate reasons than my feelings for The Walking Dead. Black Sails is slowly pushing me away as the finale nears, and I am so desperately trying to hang on! There were so many moments in this episode that I literally yelled at the TV, startling my husband, that this is not how the ending of this show should go! I had a completely different vision for the ending of this show, and this is not it! I’m hoping as the show approaches the series finale that everything will start to fall into place to at least resemble something along the lines of what I had anticipated, something that sort of looks like the preface to Treasure Island, because right now, I don’t see it.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***Read More »

Black Sails Episode 404

Let’s do this! black-sails-tv-series-on-starz-cancelled-no-season-five

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***

There is something really wrong and off about what is going on in the most recent episodes since Jack and crew’s capture. I just don’t understand how they can be so resolved to being the Governor’s prisoners. It just seemed like their surrender was too easy, too simple. There has to be a greater plan!

Well, after this episode, I am having a very hard time believing in my own theory. The Governor has Blackbeard’s Man O’War Queen Anne’s Revenge and more than half of the crew was slaughtered in the belly of the Governor’s ship as Jack slowly picked each member to fight until death. This storyline is really irritating me at how basic it is. If there really is no greater plan than to die and/or be turned over to the English in the New World, then I have no faith for the last episode of this series or just the overall story ending as a whole.

John is really playing up his part as Long John Silver and throwing his weight around, but as always, Flint one up’s him. Flint giving himself over, promising Eleanor the Urca cash, is another silly decision. How the heck does it tie in with Treasure Island? If it is to be a true origin story to Treasure Island, then Flint won’t be giving her the prize, but as we have seen in Blackbeard’s death, Black Sails isn’t totally true to the epic novel. I just can’t understand why he would make this promise to Eleanor without having a slip knot in the tie.

There was a scene of an absolute grotesque beating. I don’t do well with torture. This beating was because the Underhill plantation had been taken by Billy’s crew and to show the other slaves what would happen should they rise up. Well, that kind of backfired because they did just that. Led by Julis (I believe his name is), slaves are now rising against the British, but also against the pirates with the sole mission to take Nassau for themselves. Why bring in a new foe this late in the game?

The exchange between Eleanor and Max after she is traded for twenty pirates is odd to me. Eleanor asks Max where they would have gone had she said yes when they had been together. I can’t help, but think that Eleanor is somehow regretting or weighing her options for escaping Nassau or taking it back from the pirates. The only thing that really throws a wrench in my theory is that she’s pregnant! I really don’t understand why they would throw this in the mix. It makes no sense unless her mindset is changing to survival mode for her child rather than desire to control Nassau which might be happening with this character since she made the deal with Flint.

I can’t say that I am particularly happy with how this season is playing out especially since there seems to be no real direction or plan deeper than controlling Nassau. In past episodes, it just seemed that so much more was at play between the crews and the strong-willed captains. Now it just seems so generic. I’m hoping I’m wrong and there is more that I am not seeing going on. On to the next!

 

Movie Review: Arrival

mv5bmtexmzu0odcxndheqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mde1oti4mzay-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_Hubs and I have been playing catch up on our movie watching. The Arrival movie was not one that I was particularly interested in, but hubby wanted to see it. Jeremy Renner is in it, so I figured I’d take one for the team.

IMdB: When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team – led by expert linguist Louise Banks – is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

The above descripition is way more dramatic than I actually think the movie was, and I’m really not sure what chance they are referring to. Silly, IMdB. It could have been a decent movie, but it was ruined for me.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***

Read More »

Black Sails – Episode 403

I’m just going to jump right on in here and give you the lowdown on the third episode of this season.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***

This episode was fantastic and gruesome and fast-paced all in one exhilarating hour worth of pirate drama. I liked this episode, but it almost seemed like they crammed as much as they could into it.

Max and the general guy that I didn’t even care to remember the name of because he was such an ass get into a verbal battle where he insists on her delivering her informants or else be charged with treason and death. Max blows him off and further fortifies why I love her character so much. Loyal and strong no matter the price!

The Governor lays a trap for Blackbeard, Jack, and Anne and overtakes them. He then tortures Blackbeard until finally putting a bullet in his head. What a minute here! Captain Edward Teach, Blackbeard, the man, myth and legend does not die by the hands of England in Nassau or anywhere near it! He is in Treasure Island, for pete’s sake! How could they possibly kill him off?! The entire time he was captured and being drug beneath the ship I was waiting for something to happen, a plan to unfold, but nothing happened! Blackbeard died! How?! It was so rushed and glanced over, they hardly gave him the due camera time for a dignified death! Don’t get the wrong, the torture scene turned my stomach, but even that seemed rushed.

Then we get to the battle in Nassau, and again, so rushed! The general jerk dude didn’t listen to Elenaor when she gave him very clear advice. John Silver and Flint walk into the hanging square and wreck the place. At first it looks like no one has their back, but then people join behind them, even Billy shows up! Billy is obviously there because he supports John, but this will be interesting to see how the dynamic between him and Flint plays out. Finally, Hands slots the generals throat and the episode ends as the fighting resumes on the streets.

Overall, it was a great episode, but again too much too fast! That one battle int eh streets should have been played out way longer than it was. Even Blackbeard’s final moments Gould have been granted longer time than five minutes! Silly writers. I just hope it means they are gearing up for the finally episodes. Going to miss this show.

Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon

If you have never heard of Deepwater Horizon, then my friend, you live under a rock and/or are a vampire. If it’s the latter then I’m glad we’re friends. It was a strange coincidence that my husband and I watched this literally the same week I had a discussion board assignment on the tragedy. There was obvious dramatization to some of it and inaccuracies, but overall I really think this movie was very well done.

mv5botezndu0otgxm15bml5banbnxkftztgwnja0odm2ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_IMdB: In April 2010, there is no oil exploration operation in the Gulf of Mexico to compare with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig with its size or sheer depth of its drilling. However, the project for the BP oil company is beset with technical difficulties to the point where the general operational supervisor, Jimmy Harrell, and his Chief Electrical Engineer, Mike Williams, are concerned potentially dangerous trouble is brewing. Unfortunately, visiting BP executives, frustrated by the project’s long delays, order curtailed site inspections and slanted system tests to make up for lost time even as Harrell, Williams and his team helplessly protest for the sake of proper safety. On April 20, the workers’ fears are realized in the worst possible way when the rig’s various structural and system flaws spark a catastrophic cascade of failures that would create a massive blowout and explosion that threatens them all, even as it also begins the worst environmental disaster in US history.

I’m not going to claim any spoilers because as a proclaimed above, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy has been deemed the worst environmental disaster in US history, so you can pretty much guess what happens in the movie. If you can’t, here’s some light reading for you: 100 Days of the BP Spill. I absolutely loved this timeline as it was part of the reading for my discussion board in my Social Responsibility in Business class.

Mark Wahlberg had a great performance in this movie, but let’s be honest, when does he not perform well. I wonder if he spent any time with the man he was casted to play, but if you watched the CSPAN coverage of the Senate hearings on this tragedy, you heard his story already. Mike Williams stood before a selected committee and recounted the night of April 20, 2010 when Deepwater Horizon exploded and 11 people were lost at sea. This courageous man did everything he could to help his fellow shipmates, but this incident could have been completely avoided had BP not been so greedy.

I was a little wary that this movie was going to be a big political circus, but it was honestly just the retelling of a man’s story with a bit of Hollywood dramatization thrown in. It will make you mad, I promise you that, but not for the wrong reasons. The families that have been torn apart by this tragedy, my heart goes out to them still, even seven years later.

It was a great movie to watch, but the idea that these people had to actually go through something like this is crazy to me. It was 2010! How can something like this still happen? I’ve read where they tightened the regulations on the blowout valve to hopefully avoid another tragedy like Deepwater Horizon. Any engineers out there that can create an even better failsafe? I challenge you!