Saturday, September 24, 2016

Magnificent Seven - Movie Review

I have just spent an evening at the movies. I have to be honest in saying that I was not looking forward to seeing "Magnificent Seven". Mainly because it is a remake and having recently suffered through the remake of "Ben Hur" this was looking to me like it would be one remake too amny.
Cinema poster for the magnificent seven released September 23 2016
'Magnificent Seven' Movie Poster IMDB

Having said that, I will now say that I was wrong. I really enjoyed this movie. The action has moved from the original classic from a small Mexican town to a town supposedly three days ride from Sacramento, I am guessing California unless you know of another Sacramento. Well I know California can be hot and desert, but this hot desert is not three days horse ride from Sacramento. This  place is serious desert. But allowing for that. The story somewhat follows the classics line. A small town threatened by a thug, who causes the towns people to look for safety  by hiring  a band of gunfighters, this time led by Denzel Washington as Sam Chisum.

This movie does have a huge body count. Mainly due to the bad guys falling right and left. Plus there are long action scenes at the end where the villain tries to force entry to the town.

I was sad that the cinema where I watched this movie had no audio description available, for some reason it was down, and they didn't bother to tell me. So my wife had to return to her old role as audio commentator for me.

Throughout the movie there are little tips of the Stetson to the 1960's classic. Often the soundtrack will almost trip into the familiar strains of the original movies soundtrack and the audience is finally rewarded as the end credits begin to roll with Elmer Bernstein's original title score. A nice touch.

The characters in this version are a little less well developed than in the original. They are not so much gunfighters facing a world that no longer wants their kind. In this movie we learn one or two of the characters back stories from their conversations but most are little more than bodies on the screen.

Where this movie loses on depth of story it makes up with bangs, and there are lots of loud bangs in this movie.

I enjoyed it, it was fun, it was loud and I came out  fully satisfied with my evenings entertainment.

See The Magnificent Seven (1960) on amazon streaming service.

Listen to Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven Film Score

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Three Wishes Answered

In April 2014,  I wrote a post called Three Wishes. In that post I imagined that I had "Three Wishes", one to have a supply of Cumberland Sausage, the second to show people how I see, and third to be able to draw.
Wish number 1 granted, I made my own Cumberland sausage
Wish 1: Cumberland Sausage

Well within a few weeks of putting that post up online, my first wish came true. If you can't go to the store and buy ready made Cumberland sausage, you can buy pork, sausage skins, spices and if you have access to a sausage making machine and willing helpers, in that case my wife's parents you can make as much Cumberland Sausage as you like. The outcome of that wish was blogged in May 2014 in the post  How To Make Cumberland Sausage.

That was fun but one wish out of three? That is just silly, I could have made the decision to make the sausages at any time couldn't I. Maybe just putting it in writing allowed my wife to see how much I missed food from home.

Well let's just say Wish Number One was granted.

Wish number 2: Letting people know how I see. I am going to be very broad with this one. Some people who have followed my blog for some time might have an idea of what I actually see. For those here for the first time, my left eye has barely any light perception, I can see a dim shadow of a hand move in front of a light. For the right I have no central vision, a grey fog fades from the left by
In the TV studio besides a camera, headset on head with the set in view through the camera viewfinder.
Becoming a TV Producer,
my nose to the right where I do have some peripheral vision. But here I would also add, I don't see myself as incapacitated, incapable of productive effort nor do I accept that I should retire to never set foot outside my front door again. That is just not me.

So which way is this going? I cannot show you my visual world, you might be visually impaired yourself, so what purpose would you knowing what I see be? You may just not have a large screen, maybe just a cell phone to look at this blog on in that case you don't have enough viewing screen to see what I see.

So here we will take the second idea of seeing. Seeing blind and visually impaired people as capable individuals who can contribute.

Well in joining CMAC, the television collaborative, producing 'Blindside Fresno' supporting others work. There I feel that I am allowing people to see things my way, and people have commented that their perception of blindness is changed because of my perseverance.

Something that I am pleased about. And shall we say Wish number two has come true? I will say so.

OK, so two wishes, fulfilled in a sort of way. But Three. Even blindness and low vision could not make me a expert drawer.
Using the prisma app I converted a photo of Leif my guide dog into a reasonable drawing.
After processing through Prisma app I have a drawing

Well no, I cannot draw very well, I can draw the occasional cartoon face, I used to be able to draw birds , trees and flowers pretty well. But I was always a better photographer. So we'll take photographs yes? I can do that, there is often enough contrast on my cell phone screen to allow me with the help of Siri to get a good picture. Photograph means to draw with light doesn't it

Then a few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast on my phone in which they talked about an app  called 'Prisma'. The app is available for both IOS and Android devices I believe. I downloaded it and even with poor vision, I can choose a photo, press the selected artistic style, ranging from comic book to detailed pencil sketches, even artists like Van Gogh or Piet Mondrian are included. In moments my selected photograph can be a wonderful sketch.

The thing is I now see these wishes come true. Maybe not in an intended way, no I can't buy the sausages at the store, no people don't see exactly what I see through my eyes, but they do see my attitude to my vision loss and so an app on my phone means I can now draw anything better than I ever could.

I am happy.

So do you have three wishes? Leave a a wish list in the comments below.

They say writing down wishes can make them come true. It worked for me.



Do you have a Wish List?  Amazon has a wishlist just for you.

See what people are wishing for today:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blindside Fresno: Interview With Olivia Ostergaard Author

The third program of 'Blindside Fresno' has just aired on local TV here in Fresno so I am free to release the episode to my YouTube channel.

The program is an interview with Olivia Ostergaard, a local author here in Fresno. She talks about her life, born premature she was placed in an incubator after birth and lost her sight due to complications of the procedures that were set in place to keep premature babies alive at that time.

She has recently written a book about her experiences obtaining a guide dog. In the book, "Looking at the Unseen: My Guide Dog Journey', Olivia describes her first stumbling moves to obtaining a dog. Unsuccesful twice and at the third attempt finding the perfect dog, Fenway, a black Labrador Retriever.

You may purchase the book "Looking at the Unseen: My Guide Dog Journey"  from any good bookstore or it is available in both paperback and on Kindle from amazon or by clicking on the link image below.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Blindside Fresno Program 3 Scheduled to Broadcast

I am pleased to say program three of 'Blindside Fresno' is scheduled to broadcast shortly.

We see Yvonne Schwemmer, voice over actress, in the recording booth headphones on head, reading from Olivia Ostergaard's book "Looking at the Unseen.
Yvonne Schwemmer Working in the Voice Over Booth during Recording

The first airing of the program, "Blindside Fresno: An Interview with Olivia Ostergaard' will be September 13 at 8:00pm PDT.

The program is an interview with author Olivia Ostergaard, and she talks about her life with low vision and how she came to write her book, "Looking at the Unseen". The book tells of her story  and how she came to work with her guide dog, named Fenway, a black labrador retriever.

A small portion of the book was read by voice over actress, Yvonne Schwemmer, , we can see Yvonne in the photograph above working in the voice-over  sound booth at CMAC.

You can watch the program by following this link, Blindside Fresno: Interview with Olivia Ostergaard, Author At your local time  equvalent to 8:00pm  Pacific Daylight Time  Then follow the links on the CMAC website to watch.

Alternatively, this program will be available to watch on my Youtube channel sometime Wednesday September 14. I will post a link to that as soon as the program is available.

The book is available on and all good booksellers. It is available both in paperback and amazon Kindle.

'Blindside Fresno' Gets a Website

Well Sunday was a long day in the Elliott household. I had hoped to watch some football, the first
Title image from my television series, Blindside Fresno
Blindside Fresno Logo
Sunday of the season after all. But then my itchy fingers got to me. Sitting beside a TV was not going to work, so up I got, went to my computer and decided to buy a website for 'Blindside Fresno.'

It seems that everyone today has a website, except me that is. Yes I blog here, but I never had a whole website to myself, owned domain etc.

Setting up the website was pretty easy at first, I bought a domain, then created hosting with Hostgator.

Having done all of that, I tried to log in to create my website. Arrrggggh, then the frustration hit as my browser refused to let me find my website. I didn't realise that it takes several hours for a website to actually set uup before the promised "You'll be posting in minutes" actually happen.

But anyway, after a chat with technical support, thanks Ali at Host Gator, things went well and a full ten hours after first creating the website, a couple of posts were up and I turned my attention to starting to link back to it to help it proliferate a little more in the search engines.

Take a look at the new website and if you like it then share it to your friends and followers.