iTunes

The Best Things in Facebook Are Free (for six months, anyway)

Spotify is a streaming music server that saves your play lists, of any music, not just what you’ve purchased, and you can replay that music from anywhere. Recently, that anywhere has included Facebook
How do you add music on Facebook? When you are logged into Facebook on the front page, in the left column, you’ll find an icon with the words “Music” next to it. It’s located right under “Apps.”
When you click on Music, you’ll be asked to download an application called “Spotify.” After installing it, you will be asked to login with Facebook. Or, you can set up an account on their website, without logging into Facebook.
When you do, you can see what music your friends are listening to; subscribe to their playlists; send recommended songs to friends; and just enjoy free unlimited music to your heart’s content. 
If you don’t want to share your playlists you can turn it off. Within Spotify click on your preferences, then uncheck automatically share my playlists. It appears that its an all or nothing feature.
You can also disconnect Spotify while you’re in the program so that the music you’re listening to doesn’t get played. To do that within Spotify, go to File, to Disconnect from Facebook.
Spotify is free. From what I can tell from this blog post on Spotify, the service will only be free for six months.
Spotify pays for the free music by running ads between every few songs and display ads from within the software. They also charge for subscriptions. In fact, every time you open the app, you are asked if you want to upgrade from the free account.  It says you can upgrade for a monthly fee. Unfortunately,  the form asks for my credit card information before it gives me the price, so I didn’t complete it. Wikipedia lists that the Unlimited Subscription is 4.99 per month and Premium (includes mobile) is 9.99  a month. If you spend a lot on music in iTunes this option might be worth it. I’m just a little concerned that it seems to be luring people in with misinformation. You sign up and get all you’re play lists created, then after six months, you’re told you can only play 10 hours of music. Of course, this may have changed with the Facebook deal. 
I’m sure there will be a huge uproar from the Facebook friends who, just having gotten used to the music part, are suddenly told that they are going to have to pay for the right to listen to music, but not own it. 

“Abandon ship!”
“Hit the brakes!”
“I’d expand my farm before I’d pay that!”

I don’t want to stop people from enjoying their free membership on Spotify. Go ahead and enjoy it for six months. The Software is pretty cool and I’m really enjoying the ability to hear almost about every song I can think of. In fact, I’ve put some songs in that I would have sworn wouldn’t be in there and they were. 
As always, I have a couple of tips. First, when you search for a song or name and it says not found, try a different way to put it in the search bar. For instance, I searched for She said Plan B, and no results appeared. But when I tried Plan B She said, it came up. Other times I put the artist last and it had the same problem. 
Also, I was disappointed when I added the Bob Seger song Turn the Page to my play list, but it turned out that it was only a cover, cause I know that wasn’t Seger, not even close. At least when I tried to play Peace Sells, it was listed correctly as a cover song (as made famous by Megadeath). So, just make sure you listen to the song before adding it to your play list.
Apparently, not many people are using the service yet. I have only one friend among hundreds who has a published playlist. So, if you’d like to share your playlists (as long as its not country) please add me.
Finally, if you find yourself getting attached to your playlists, and have no intension of subscribing at some time, keep a separate note of when you signed up and what’s in your playlists.

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‘Dogtooth’: Disturbing and Thought Provoking. On to ‘Red State’…

Last night I broke down and put in a Netflix DVD that’s been sitting on my desk for months now. I was reminded that it had been sitting there when Twitter became inundated with posts about the break down in the Starz-Netflix contract. The Satellite TV channel had a distribution agreement with Netflix to provide digital access to movies from Sony and Disney through Feb. 28. 2010. But, Starz announced that it will not continue the arrangement and so Tweets were telling everyone they’d “better” go watch all the Starz movies in their Netflix que. 
When I do watch movies, I tend to watch digitally. I only use the DVD feature when a film I really want to watch isn’t available. 
I had read a review about Dogtooth and was intrigued. It was a well-respected film critic and it was the shortest review I’d ever read. It said something like “I’m not telling you NOT to see Dogtooth. I’m NOT telling you TO see it. All that I’m telling you was that it was disturbing.” That was it. Then, when it received the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, I decided to order it.
Now I know what he meant. Whoa. There are few films that I’d say I’d remember all my life. Most of the stuff i watch are chick-flicks so that’s not surprising. I forget the premise days after I’ve watched some of that stuff. 
Disturbing isn’t the half of it. I picked up my remote a number of times to turn it off but I was, I don’t know, mesmerized? Like the lookie-loos who stare at a car accident, I couldn’t look away. And, it had nothing to do with the fact that my Greek is practically nonexistent even though I am married to a Greek. Learning Greek is another item on my To Do Someday list. So, I had to read the subtitles to follow along. 

Greek critic Dimitris Danikas gave the film a rating of eight out of ten (“with enthusiasm”) and characterizes it as “black, surreal, nightmarish.” He believes that Dogtooth is as important for Greek cinema as Theodoros Angelopoulos‘ 1970 film Reconstruction.
The movie’s official website describes Dogtooth as:

A hyper-stylized mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy, Dogtooth is a darkly funny look at three teenagers confined to their parents’ isolated country estate and kept under strict rule and regimen — an inscrutable scenario that suggests a warped experiment in social conditioning and control. Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a “telephone,” an armchair is “the sea”) — until a trusted outsider, brought in to satisfy the son’s libidinal urges, plans the seeds of rebellion by trading VHS tapes for sexual favors. 

Comedy? I wasn’t laughing. It’s haunting. Dogtooth is a movie that will invade your dreams. Most of our beliefs come from our parents. I like to think of myself as a free thinker, questioning everything and am so proud of the fact that my son is exactly the same way. He doesn’t accept anything blindly. 
Once, a teacher was expounding on the merits of Ronald Reagan and he questioned the teacher’s premise. I was so proud of the teacher who, rather than admonishing my son for disrupting his class, gave him a Merit for showing a willingness to learn and called me personally to thank me for raising such an inquisitive kid. He said that very few students actually ask ‘Why?’ 
In Dogtooth, these kids have been brain-washed their whole lives, so it is both astounding and some how natural that one of them asks ‘Why?’ It takes an awful lot to question the very foundation of your existence. Your vocabulary alone rules how you think, what you think and how to think. Dogtooth is thought-provoking.
According to the Twitter trends, the movie Red State looks like it is another thought-provoking movie with a horror-theme twist. In fact, according to Twitter trends, every minute of the last 72 hours someone has tweeted about the Kevin Smith movie. I’m not a horror film nut, but I do love John Goodman. The film also stars Michael Parks,, Melissa Leo and Stephen Root
The trailer for the movie is frightening enough to make me wonder if I really want to see it. Their website describes it as:

Kevin Smith steps his foot into horror territory with this politically tinged fright flick starring Michael Parks (From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse) as a controversial Fred Phelps-ish reverend who brings his own brand of zealotry to a wayward group of teens. Smith directs from his own long-in-development script. 

Some of the tweets:

BrianRector @ThatKevinSmith just got done watching #redstate feel like i see the world in a new light

frozeneyes @ThatKevinSmith just finished #RedState Sir! Fantastic work! Parks is absolutely haunting! Job well done to you, cast, and crew!! It looks like another thought-provoking film.

JaseFox #REDSTATE Goodman’s acting when he recieves his orders in the field. Parks’ monologue speech which dominates the second act of the movie.
numbangel1120 Michael Parks for Best Oscar #REDSTATE

Time to fireup Netflix and see if I can get it. If not, the films available at On Demand and iTunes or you can pre-order the DVD.
NOTE: This is day No. 4 toward keeping my commitment to post once a day. Have you joined yet?
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