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Stefan's 2015 Year in Review

December

Macbeth, the movie, was truly awful. I think the actors could have done a good job but the directing was terrible. The dialog was incoherent and I've seen the play four times. They purposely made it very slow which could have worked if they had let the actors do the material. Famous lines were thrown away and great scenes wasted. When Lady Macbeth says “Out, Out damn spot” she is supposed to be in anguish, angrily scrubbing her hands; not laying motionless on the floor with her hands hidden. It was a really horrible experience at the Midtown Art Theater.

Reminder
When you're part of a parade
If you look around you
And there's nobody there
You're not part of the parade


Oni's Nightmare Before Christmas party filled Famous Pub. This was good because they made money and they can keep having Ritual parties. On the downside it was very crowded and most people didn't participate in the theme which detracted from my enjoyment. If people just come to see the freak show then it's really not so much fun. Sadly, Ruined by Success comes to mind. I didn't get many pictures, but I did post a few. (Write me for the entry code).

I suggested making Ritual calendars to Oni. I showed her a few samples I had put together and gave out copies to the people in the calendar. You can discuss that with her if you support the idea. I thought it came out great. I didn't expect it to make much money but as long as we didn't lose money I thought it would be fun.

I upgraded to Windows 10 on my laptop. It took several hours but hasn't changed much. I have some new annoying things but nothing I can't work around. I didn't lose anything and all my programs still work - Glad they finally figured out how to do that.

November

Once again I enjoyed a Popeye's deep fried Cajun turkey for Thanksgiving and it was awesome. The flavor is so good and it's so easy and fast. Of course the best part is enjoying it for days in different ways. Again this year I made it into casseroles and actually froze one for later. A new twist for this year's meal was corn pudding. I tested the recipe earlier this year, since it's the crackpot method and I wanted to make sure of the timing. It was amazing.

I tried to break my leg falling on the stairs but only managed to hurt myself and then watch my toes turn purple. I'm sure it would have been an exciting and expensive trip to the hospital, had I gone, but I didn't want to waste hours and spend $2000 just for some intern to tell me to take aspirin. I had difficulty walking for a week but luckily it was a holiday and I had down time anyway. All better now. I have pictures but they are gross.

I saw Mockingjay Part 2 again it was better the second time. It seemed to flow better. I guess the problem, for me, it that the movie should take place over the course of a year but the editing rushes it and makes it seem like only a month. The speed at which the revolution gets to the capital and Peeta recovers is just too fast. I was also watching more carefully for changes and things I had missed, like how Messalla died. I've compiled a list of things different from the book. While changes often occur when converting book to movie, there were some things that just don't make sense to me.

Where was Delly to help Peeta? Prim made no sense. Would casting one more actor blow the budget?
Why wasn't there a crowd outside Tigress's shop when they exited? They had the extras when Katniss and Gale get to main street.
Why didn't Katniss and Gale wear scarves to cover their faces? It was snowing. Actor's egos maybe?
Why wasn't the suicide pill sewn into the shoulder of the Mockingjay suit? Too expensive for the wardrobe person?
Why didn't Katniss use shears to cut the rose? Shears would break the budget?

If you're going to make changes, they should be for a reason and make sense.

Lloyd Abbot Oestreicher
Oct 17, 1936 - Nov. 19, 2015

My father died. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer this summer but it was the chemotherapy that brought him down. He'd not been well for a while and I think this is a relief for him, though it brings great sadness to us, his family.

A graduate of Harpur College in NY he started out in his father's art gallery, Oestreicher's in Manhattan, before moving on to be a salesman for Xerox, Savin, Saxon, CompuGraphic and later Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) in the early days of computers.

He had a happy and successful life with children and grand children and now gets to join his wife in eternal rest.

Rest in Peace Pappa.

I went to the double feature to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 early and enjoyed it. The movie was disjointed and the pace was off but it was still a good movie. I'm disappointed they made so many needless changes and cut out scenes and characters I'd hoped to see. But that's the problem when you fall in love with a book before seeing the movie. I think Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Dormer did an excellent job. The photography and sets were excellent. The action was very intense in places. I will see it again.

Oni's monthly Ritual party at Famous Pub was awesome. The Day of the Dead theme brought out cool people who dressed up or were painted by Stephanie & Roberto and looked incredible. The music was excellent and Luke's lighting was intense. In that environment, you couldn't NOT have an fantastic night. Deanna Deadly came to party with us and I got some excellent shots of her. Branwyn looked amazing and I got the most unbelievable mirror shots. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

Three skeletons, one blond, one raven and one red haired walked into a bar. Gracie, Sara, & Ivy were too much sexy for one room - There were casualties.

Spectre the latest James Bond was action packed but so ridiculous that I can't say it was great. I'm so tired of the “Going rouge” trope - He's freakin' 007 and saved the world like 10 times! Why don't they listen to him yet? It's preposterous - He's always right, does the right thing and still they tell him to go on holiday every time he exposes a really bad dude. And how are these nanobots powered and tracked? What idiot thought of putting a homing beacon on a spy? That guy should be shot for treason! You know we don't put tracking signals on missiles for exactly that reason. Monica Bellucci was totally wasted in her brief appearance and then having him run off with a child: Well that's just wrong.

Let me just stress how disappointed I am with Supergirl the TV show; She's so wimpy. “Please can I go fight the villain?’ This is totally insulting to women everywhere.

October

I rode over to the Smyrna Jonquil Festival for some food and tunes. It was a beautiful day to be outside.

Luke's Halloween party was really cool. He decorated the yard with an enormous graveyard that was really impressive. The weather cooperated and there was so much happening inside and out. I was having fun and it was really crowded so not too many pictures. Which is alright since I don't have access to the event page anyway.

Once again Ascension the monthly Goth/Industrial Dance party at the Masquerade moved upstairs to Heaven and once again several competing events kept attendance low. I think the biggest problem was the parking: The event downstairs was still going full blast when I arrived at 11:30 and parking was horrible. There were also major concerts and foul weather to spoil the mood. Despite all that, it was a fun night. The music, lights and people were great. I was especially happy to see old friends Ensanguina & James who haven't come out in several years. I didn't get many pictures but I did get enough for a gallery. A few people were dressed so well I had to get multiple shots.
Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).
Someone reminded me that my website and 200 webpages have been up for 20 years now. I was there at the beginning and have survived through several internet upheavals. I thought I would take a moment and celebrate this accomplishment. I lost a big part of my site when Geocities closed but have been fortunate not to loose any data though all the changes. It's been a pain keeping so many pages working and there are still a few bad links that slip by but overall its still working. I regret that I didn't archive my pages for the first few years but back then, memory was an issue and keeping old data was a luxury I didn't have. I wonder how long I will be able to maintain this or will it keep going without me?
It's not often that I blame the director for being disappointed at the movies but here we go. I was excited when I read The Martian by Andy Weir and had been looking forward to the movie for months, The story was very scientific and was lauded as a very accurate, scientifically, of what a mission to Mars would be like. ALL the science in the book was plausible - The movie - not so much. Ridley Scott ruined it! Instead of super NASA adhesive and technical accuracy, Scott has our hero fixing everything with duct tape. It gets much worse but that's not even the biggest failing. The worst part is that he almost ignored the heart of the book - Describing how the world comes together to save Watley not just watch him die. Bad on you Ridley.

September

The Taste of Smyrna was cool. It was a beautiful day to sit outside, listen to music and try some local food. I enjoyed jerk chicken and great cupcakes.

The September Ascension party was fun and I made new friends, who were quite adventurous - wahoo! I got some cool pictures and a few for the motorcycle page too. The new lasers from Dragonfire Events were awesome. I would have enjoyed it better if more people and more of the regulars had attended. I guess it was a busy weekend and other factors kept people away. The music was weird too. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).
It turned out to be a great day for the British Car Fayre in Norcross. Lot's of cars and people turned out for a day of all things British. The DJ played British music all day while the local restaurants tried to make British dishes. I enjoyed the experience and answering people's questions about my auto. I was very disappointed though, that my friends didn't show and there were only four modern Minis. But it was a beautiful day to be outside. Thanks to Hanna and Amy for posing for my picture: You looked wonderful in the Union Jack dresses.

August

The turnout was down for Oni's Zombie party. It started late because of some electrical problems but eventually the music and lights made the night fun. Not many people dressed up and few of my friends attended so my camera didn't come out. C'est la Vie.

Ascension moved upstairs to Heaven again and many people came out for a fun night of dancing. Competing event kept attendance moderate but we still had a good time. I don't have enough pictures for a gallery but I sent out many good shots to friends.

Catfight! played an enjoyable Rockaway Beach Party at the Star Community Bar. The Tiki party opened with the Mouth Breathers' 20 minute version of Smoke on the Water which was awesome. Next, Catfight! did their usual antics and the crowd was very happy. Most people didn't stick around for the El Caminos. There were several people in Tiki-wear and the giant totem center stage was very cool. There was a giant spider too. It was a very terrific night. Pictures are posted.

Some family came to town so we did the tourist thing: After a tour of my office we drove up to Chattanooga to visit the Tenn. Aquarium and eat Lupi's Pizza. Then we went over to Ruby Falls and Rock city which were both very cool. Then we ate at two excellent BBQ places: The Swallow at the Hallow and Sams BBQ1. I think they had fun.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was amazing. The plot twists and action were very exciting; I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

July

Oni's Tiki party was a huge success. Lot's of people filled Famous Pub for a fun time. The lighting was good, the music was good and people really dressed well. There was even a performance complete with volcano. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

Mad Max: Fury Road totally sucked. I mean everything from the costumes to the action to the plot and special effects. It was a total failure of a movie and deserved all the bad reviews it received.

Ant Man was good but kind of messy. After seeing it I read that they changed directors mid-movie and rewrote the script: I actual saw that in the movie because it seemed disjointed. It was good but choppy. I thought the fight with Falcon was inspired but the joke with the train was weak. Overall it was entertaining.

I thought Terminator Genisys was very good. I liked the way they twisted events based on the alteration in the time line from the previous movies. I especially like how they used the same dialog in different ways spoken by different people. I think the critics were mean because they are mad at Arnold for his behavior and because he got old; the movie itself was very good.

July in Hotlanta has been terribly hot - Shocking, I know.

June

Jurassic World was fair. The plot and action was totally predicable and lame. The children in danger trope was horrible. The idea that the park had no real contingency plan for an escaped dangerous dinosaur was horrible. Chris Pratt was the only good thing about this movie, but I was mildly entertained by the silliness.

Ascension moved back to Hell for this month's party. Music by DJ Silkwolf, DJ Lecter and DJ System Fail kept the floor busy all night. Once again the usual crowd was missing, I guess at other events, but there was plenty of fun to be had. I got a few good pictures that I distributed but not enough to post a gallery - Sorry. But it was fun to hang with people and watch Thomas do his painting: He had some great subjects that night.
Ritual's Fairy tales Party at Famous Pub was fun. I'm not sure why so many people signed up and then didn't show; That was really disappointing to me. Everyone seemed to enjoy the performances but there weren't many people dressed up, so I'm not making a gallery. I did send Oni several pictures for her blog.

Pirate day at the Georgia Renaissance Festival wasn't all that I'd hoped. I had fun but wish more friends had attended. There were some cool costumes and I enjoyed a couple of performances. The usual turkey leg and glass of meade made the trip worth it.

My annual day at Lake Lanier photographing the For the Warriors Golf Tournament was great. I love contributing to this event for Wounded Warriors and the people are awesome.

May

I had a good night at Ascension. I hung out with friends and help Khrystina celebrate her birthday. It was really nice to see Lintu again but I'm disappointed there aren't enough pictures for a gallery, sorry.

Ritual: Hospital Horrors was a fun party but I was let down. There was an issue with publicity and the usual crew didn't come out which I found disappointing. While there was a good attendance and several good performances, it really wasn't the same. I tried to take good pictures but just wasn't feeling the love. The gallery is posted. (Write me for the entry code).

I was disappointed by the Fire in the Fourth street festival because there were so few food options. I wasn't interested in the local bars and there were almost no food booths: just lots of alcohol. I walked around a bit to see acts by Imperial OPA and explored the MLK center but didn't stay very long after that.

April

The Inman Park Festival and parade was fun. I enjoyed the food, arts and beautiful weather. The music wasn't memorable.

The April Ascension party moved upstairs to Heaven at Masquerade which definitely threw a twist on everything. It was very cool to have two lovely cakes to celebrate Robin & Luke's birthday. But attendance was off: Maybe heavy rains and wrestling downstairs scared many of the regulars away. I wasn't too excited without the normal cast of characters to play with. It takes a lot of people to fill that space and the dance floor looked desolate most of the night. I took a few pictures but left early because the place was emptying out. The music wasn't very good either. Pictures are posted.
The April Ritual: Gods & Goddesses party was pretty good. I was especially impressed by the appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which I thought was brilliant. I wish we had known in advance she was going to make an appearance as I could have staged a wonderful photo of many followers wearing strainers. She has lovely meatballs too. Oh well, a missed opportunity. Pictures are posted.

We really enjoyed The Taming of the Shrew at The New American Shakespeare Tavern. They really did a good job with making it especially funny and some of the supporting characters were amazing. I also noticed the costumes were much better too. It was memorable

March

Dragonfire Events threw the most amazing Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice in Wonderland party! There were so many people in great costumes I was amazed. Mimi had done some awe inspiring decorations and it was just beautiful. I was especially impressed with Oni's Bread-and-Butterflies. But I think everyone else was in love with the smoking caterpillar. As usual the black lighted rooms encouraged many to dress in neon and there were at least two people: Nikki and Jen that took that idea to the extreme! I know everyone had a great time. Killer pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).
I'm not sure why the turnout for the March Ascension Goth/Industrial Dance party wasn't great. It was the only event that night at the Masquerade so parking was easy. DJ Lecter and DJ 313 did a fine job with the music. I had fun making new friends. I just wish more friends had come out. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

For Saint Patrick's Day I brought in and cooked corned beef and cabbage for my co-workers. We started the crock-pots at 5am and added the cabbage about an hour before lunch. It turned out pretty good. We had a grill available for those who wanted to make reuben sandwiches too.

Ritual: Bad Habits, Oni's Catholic School theme party at Famous Pub was excellent. Lots of people dressed up and danced and really made it a fun night. DJ 313 and DJ System Fail played mostly dance music and the lasers and flashing lights drove the crowd wild. Many of the naughty school girls and boys had to be disciplined by Father Chuck and later, there was a long line of people who wanted to give Paul his birthday spanking. It was very entertaining. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

February

Ascension threw a great 1 Year Anniversary event at Masquerade. So many people showed up and danced it was a really fun night. I had enjoyed hanging with old and new friends but didn't take as many pictures as I wanted; My camera wasn't cooperating in the crazy lighting. But I did get a few excellent shots: Like the one of Luna to the right. I didn't discover she was a model until later; I thought she was just really cute. Once again parking really sucked! Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

The RPI vs. Clarkson Hockey viewing party at TJ's Sports Bar was fun. It was frustrating that twice as many Clarkson fans as RPI alums showed but it was still a good time. At least we didn't lose.

The Echosmith concert was very disappointing. While Echosmith and Colourist were fine the sound system and the audience totally sucked. Apparently the sound people at The Loft are totally incompetent and couldn't figure out how to turn up the vocals and turn down the base: I couldn't hear much of the singers over the heavy bass. But it probably wouldn't have helped because the audience couldn't stop talking. It was a horrible experience. On a more personal note: The bands were pretty amateur and did all the stereotypical things - “It's great to be in city”, “You're the best audience”, etc, It really made me laugh. The DJ actually asked people to tweet during the show and hashtag to win stuff. That made me feel old.
I celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Atlanta Chinese Cultural Center. It was really fun to watch the lion and dragon dances, eat delicious food and socialize with friends. It rained a little but we had a great time.
Oni's Moulin Rouge Valentine's Day Ball was wonderful. The guest band, the Black Sheep Ensemble, played an awesome set, the people were really fun and the outfits were beautiful. Music by DJP John Paul Stout and DJ Seraph Angel kept the crowd entertained late into the morning. I had some difficulty, because another photographer set up some very bright lighting, but overall I'm happy with my pictures: Some people were very gracious. I had a great time. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

Of course there's controversy surrounding the movie opening of 50 Shades of Grey but it was fun to watch and I thought they adapted the book very well. Dakota Johnson did an especially fine job capturing the conflict within her character. Everything else you read in the funny papers is just bunk. The incredible moan that erupted at the end of the movie from the audience was amazing: Talk about an explosive cliff hanger. I'm sure the movie will be ignored by the awards but E.L. James and everyone else involved should be proud of their accomplishment. I hope they celebrate, laughing on the beach in Barbados, with their big royalty checks. $93 million - Wow!

January

Lust and Catfight! were fun to watch at the Star Community Bar. The place was crowded but not too full, which was almost nice. Catfight! was doing a reunion show and was their performance pretty sloppy but few seemed to mind. Lust, on the contrary, played very well was very entertaining in their Egyptian motif but they shed the outfits quickly due to the heat. Red Rocket Deluxe was pretty cool but I didn't stay for Bigfoot. Pictures are posted.

The Great American Motorcycle Show at the North Atlanta Trade Center was okay. They had the usual accessories and stuff but I was disappointed they didn't have the motorcycle trailer I was seeking. Stopped for lunch on old Norcross which was fun.

Ascension drew a larger crowd this time around despite the rain and poor parking. The dance floor was full, most of the night, with new people moving to an unusually more metallic sounding groove. The lighting was a little off and the bar line took a little longer but I think everyone had a great night. I did not take any pictures but there were at least two other photographers around.

The RPI vs Cornell Hockey game viewing party at TJ's Sports Bar was fun. It was disorganized to start and nobody showed until long after the scheduled start which was lame. But in the end we had fun: Even if the actual broadcast was unreliable. RPI won - Bonus!

John Sokol gave an interesting law seminar about personal freedoms and how to avoid conflict with legal authorities. His perspective as an ex policeman was interesting but depressing. The bottom line is that current laws allow the police into our homes under the guise of protecting battered women and children. We're not safe in our own homes and it's getting worse. The talk was held at Newk's Eatery in Druid Hills. The place isn't bad and the food is good but it would have been nice if they'd turned off the music. It was hard to hear sometimes.

Mini of Kennesaw threw their open grand-opening party on January 14th. They brought out several entertainers (Magician, Human statue and Austin Powers), good food & drink and a Beatles tribute band called the Return. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I went. They also had a James Bond theme going on with several models and a Daniel Craig look-a-like available for pictures in a photo booth. I'm sure the pictures will be very funny. While there, I discussed my options for getting a second Mini and looked over a beautiful white Clubman S that could be in my future.

A big shout out and Congratulations to my photographer friend Emily Harris. As part of her post graduate degree she had an art exhibit and DVD release party, called Dispossessed, at the Masquerade. The DVD is a documentary about the underground Heavy-Metal music scene in Atlanta. The pictures looked great and the bands really put on a good show for her. I'm not a metal-head but it was an enjoyable event and fun to run into a handful of friends.

Oni's first Ritual party of the year had a very good turnout. The Level Up Video Game theme brought out a lot of people but unfortunately not many dressed up. There were a few really good outfits but I wasn't really thrilled. But, it's the first of the year and people are still recovering from the holidays and there were a few competing event. My camera and I had a good night. Pictures are posted. (Write me for the entry code).

I had a really fun time at Dragon Fire Event's New Year's After Glow party. The body painters and blacks lights made for amazing visuals and a lot of fun. My photography skills were not up to the challenge but several other photographers were there so I'm sure there are plenty of pictures. The party itself was great fun, though the weather did it's best to dampen everything. Special thanks to Luke for hosting a great night and Taz for providing the backdrop for shenanigans.

VJ Anthony's New Wave New Year's Eve had good music and a large crowd but still managed to screw-up a good thing. It sucked and I left immediately after midnight. The bar service was horrible: I don't blame Jamey; I blame the fact that he was trying to do it solo with so many people. I actually gave-up trying to get drinks. I also blame the many people I know who said they were coming but didn't. Of those that did come, very few people dressed up or were doing anything which made the event lifeless. I didn't bring out the camera and was so bored. The count down and champagne toast were a disaster. My resolution for next year is not to be at Famous Pub.

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Updated 1 Jan 2016
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