The Making Of “The Shape Of Water”

Eliot and I had the good fortune of watching the “The Shape Of Water” at the Coral Gables Art Cinema Wednesday night. We are members and we love the vibe there. The founder and the artistic director of the theater usually introduce the movies with creative background stories.

We had a special bonus Wednesday night. The theater arranged for an after-movie interview with the screenwriter Vanessa Taylor via Skype. Taylor wrote the movie with director/producer Guillermo del Toro.

The interview turned out to be very interesting for anyone who loves movies, is interested in the making of, or wants to get into the business. Taylor’s candor spoke volumes about how movies are made and how much of the work is as routine as most of our jobs.

I taped the interview but not very well. I was sitting in the back of the theater and was blocked by rows of people in front of me. Then the Skype froze and we only had audio. I did the best I could. It’s the content that counts. I had a half hour’s worth but YouTube would only record 15 minutes worth.

The video should be seen by everyone who wants to get into the business. There are lessons to be learned.

The Shape of Water is a 2017 American fantasy drama film[4][3] directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian creature.

Paranoia “Likes” Syndrome

Steve and Lois

We thought it wouldn’t happen. We felt we were successful and confidant enough to handle the competition. We promised ourselves we would never get caught up in the social media groupie lifestyle.

We did. Steve Greenberg is a monthly Today Show contributor, and TV personality on 20-plus morning news shows around the country. I am, (Lois Whitman-Hess) the co-owner of HWH PR, and author of DigiDame.

The two of us often commiserate that we don’t get enough “likes” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to show the rest of the world that we matter. We are both proud of our accomplishments, but not with the number of likes we get. We know we are not alone. Millions of people feel the same way.

We decided to explore this topic on Lying on the Beach, our podcast. After listening, please share your thoughts with us. We are looking for a rationalization as to why we are so addicted to social media.

Click here to hear our podcast.

Star Shower

If you want to jazz up your party, or any festive environment, I just discovered a very inexpensive solution that will put everyone in a celebration mood.

It’s called the Star Shower Slide Show and it projects all kinds of colors and shapes on the walls inside and outside of your house. You can even control the speed of the movement.

All you have to do is choose a slide, insert it into the unit, and watch your surroundings turn into a complete fantasyland. This is prefect for both young and old. Everyone loves a magical environment. This is a true party booster.

• Easy to use

• Water-resistant casing

• 12 holiday slides

• 3 speeds: slow, fast, and freeze

• Indoor base to use Slide Show™ inside

• Safe in snow and rain

• Replaces holiday décor for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, July 4th, and Halloween

• Covers up to 3200 square feet

• Bright LED Lights

• Includes Star Shower® Slide Show™ (with 12 full-color slides, extra-long outdoors stake, indoor base, and Lifetime Guarantee)

The Star Shower is sold in all kinds of variety stores across the country for approximately $29.85.

CarWink Is A New Way To Communicate In Your Car

Every time we go for a drive, I am more and more convinced that half the people on the road should have their driving licenses revoked. I used to think the worse drivers were on Miami highways. Now I see the same insane driving moves in New York and Los Angeles.

I wish I could make citizen arrests. Someone has to do something. I know I have no power, but where are the traffic cops when cars are swaying in and out of lanes, and cutting cars off at high speeds. I want to let them know what a danger they are on the road.

Now there is a way for vehicles to talk to each other. Install CarWink on your windshield. Controlled by a companion app, this gadget has developed a wide variety of emojis for your windshield that can be seen by other cars when they pass you. CarWink if you want to say thank you, let those behind you know that there is an accident ahead, tell others they are driving too fast or getting too close.

Watch the video to see how it works. Don’t get angry, get CarWink the next time you are on the road.

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Remember This Name, “Magic Leap”

Everyone thinks Florida is a place where people go to retire. That image is about to change forever. A company named Magic Leap, located in Plantation, FL, just announced that its new mixed reality headset is ready for public consumption. The company promises that they have reinvented the way people will interact with computers and reality.

Magic Leap says it will take augmented reality to a whole new level. Wikipedia explains augmented reality as a “live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated real-world sensory input such as sound, video, and graphics.” Watch the above video or click on the link below to see augmented reality in action.

Magic Leap gained notoriety in the tech industry because it managed to raise over $1.9 billion from investors such as Google and Alibaba. This was particular remarkable considering very few people in the industry ever saw the product as it was being developed.

Magic Leap’s augmented reality headset has been kept a secret for at least two years. Industry folks began to think the whole thing was a hoax but not any longer. Rony Abovitz is the CEO and creator of the AR company. The headset device is referred to as Lightwear and is attached to a pocket-sized computer called the Lightpack. Together, they inject life-like moving people, robots, spaceships into a person’s view of the real world

Southern Florida will never be the same. With a little effort, it will become the next Silicon Valley.

Here’s another chance to see Magic Leap in action.

This Scale Doesn’t Tell You How Much You Weigh

One of the reasons why I don’t lose weight is because I constantly weigh myself. Some people weigh themselves once a week, I weigh myself a few times in a 24-hour period. If I lose a pound during the day, I eat more at dinner thinking I can afford the extra calories.

I know it makes no sense. I am probably better off not knowing my weight and worrying so much about it. At least I wouldn’t be eating all the time. A few days ago, I heard about a scale that doesn’t tell you how much you weigh. The scale, called Shapa, records your weight but doesn’t give you the number.

The philosophy behind no numbers is that this type of scale encourages you to lose weight. Instead of numbers, you get a color. Blue and green mean you’re losing weight, gray means you need to cut back your food intake.

Shapa works with an app. Every time you step on the scale, the app records your weight. The app also tells you when to step on the scale, and gives you goals. The artificial intelligence (AI) gives you smart tips, “Eat something green with every meal,” or “Eat dinner earlier.” AI customizes everything for you once the scale gets to know you better.

Let’s hope this scale works.

Shapa is about $100, with an $8.00 subscription plan.

I Never Take Dead People Off My Email List

Sorry, I refuse to take anyone who passed on off my email list. I just have to keep them on. If they stay on, then I feel they are not really gone. I also feel my email list keeps them important. Taking them off would be a betrayal. It’s one of the few places in the world where they will constantly be remembered.

Some of the deceased have been on my list for 20 plus years. Unfortunately, a few recently got added. This is the time of year where I see their names a lot because I am emailing Chanukah and Christmas cards. I have to be very careful not to send them a card. I worry each year that I accidentally did. I cringe that someone in their family will receive my card and think I am nuts. Anything is possible.

It takes me better than 10 hours to email out all the names I have marked. The beauty of email is that I can pick thousands of names. I usually do. It’s the time of year that I want to reach to everyone I ever had a conversation with. This year we came up with a unique card. It’s Eliot’s creation. The reviews so far have been positively wonderful.

We loved so many of the holiday cards that we decided to send them all. Wishing you good health, peace and happiness

Photo by Eliot Hess

Headline Stress Disorder

Before we get started on today’s topic, I wanted to show PBS fans what a Viking ocean cruise liner looks like. Viking is a major sponsor of Masterpiece on PBS. Many of us have either seen Viking’s river cruise boats in their TV or print ads, or have taken a trip on one. Now I get to show you one of their bigger ships as it passed underneath my Miami condo window last night. I quickly grabbed my smartphone, and took a video for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

I couldn’t stop staring at a headline from NBC News the other day. It said, “What is headline stress disorder and do you have it?” I couldn’t believe those words. I was who that headline was talking about. I am obsessed with the news. I keep checking my iPhone several times an hour looking for the next astonishing situation that is happening in the United States.

It could be #metoo, North Korea, fires, Russia, fake news, Net Neutrality, Roy Moore, or ISIS. Should I go on? Nah, you get my drift. There is so much to keep up with. Most of my friends are addicted too, checking their smartphones around the clock for news alerts. The digital world has trained us to expect new news all the time.

NBC said a recent study by the American Psychological Association found that “two-thirds of Americans are stressed out over the future of the country, and the constant consumption of news cycle was pinned as a major contributor.” Therapists are now calling our new condition, “headline stress disorder. ”

NBC is worried that many of us are getting more and more out-of-control. The TV network claims we are creating a very upsetting environment for ourselves. Therefore, they have asked the therapists to help cure us.

This is their cure. I am willing to try a few, but not all. For deeper explanations, click here.

1. SET FIRM TIME LIMITS — AND USE AN ACTUAL TIMER

2. WAIT A WHILE TO CONSUME NEWS AFTER A DISASTER

3. MAKE AN EFFORT TO GET GOOD NEWS, TOO

4. PICK UP A PAPER, NOT FACEBOOK — YOU’LL GET A BETTER BALANCE

5. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO

6. NO NEWS BEFORE BED

7. START THE DAY WITH AN UPLIFTING PODCAST

8. IF YOU NEED TO, DELETE SOCIAL MEDIA APPS FROM YOUR PHONE

9. CUT OFF COMPLETELY (BUT HAVE A FRIEND TO INFORM YOU)

10. HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE AND DON’T ‘CATASTROPHIZE’

If you are an obsessed news junkies like me, make sure you read the entire NBC story.

Tech Onboard

The Carnival Vista arriving in the Port of Miami today in the early morning hours.

One of the many advantages of living in Miami is that you hear a lot about the cruise industry. You always meet someone who works for one of the cruise lines, or the “Miami Herald” has a news story about some development.

The other day there was a story in the Herald about the technological advancements in cruising. I wanted to write about it because so many DigiDame readers cruise all over the world. The changes that will be incorporated over the next five years will be astonishing.

One big attraction for guests is that new “smart” technology will help eliminate long lines and waiting time. This will be accomplished by facial recognition and geo-location. Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MSC Cruises are leading the way.

Other advances are using your smart phones for hotel keys, wearable, customized mini discs that will track your whereabouts for personalized service, interactive screens in staterooms, and RFID tags on luggage to track delivery times to cabins.

For more good news read the Miami Herald.

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I’m In Good Company, Age-Wise

When I saw these slides on Facebook, I knew I had to share them with you. Thank you, the Today Show, for recognizing these great, senior women.

A good friend, Gary Arlen, a Washington DC tech writer, took the time to add information about Net Neutrality. Thank you Gary. you are always the educator.