Monday, September 16, 2019

Gorst Underground Film Festival 2019

Last weekend, one week ago was the 2nd annual Gorst Underground Film Festival (what I like to call, GUFFest). It was held where it was last year at metal artist Ray Hammar's place, just down and across the street from the WigWam bar and BBQ joint.
Left to right, friend, Ray Hammar, Poppy, Electric Monkey

It was founded and is directed by friend and fellow filmmaker Kelly Wayne Hughes. Kelly's also been on a couple of podcasts about it this past week.
One podcast was from WILDSound, I've entered their contests a few times years ago with several of my screenplays, "Gray and Lover The Hearth Tales Incident" (semi-finalist horror/comedy in the Circus Road Films screenplay contest), and The Teenage Bodyguard (currently under development), and even their First Chapter contest, (The Conqueror Worm) from my book Death of heaven which they liked a lot.

Kelly was also on the Eek Speak podcast this past week. Both were lots of fun and Kelly did really well as he usually does.

This year we had filmmakers, artists, authors, the general public and of course a variety of very well done films and animations. We even had a very famous and local animator/cartoonist, Pat Moriarity. the nicest, coolest and most enjoyable people have been coming and I hope they continue to come as we grew each year.

I'd like to mention one thing, and we've not run into any real issues yet, but I'm sure it's coming and these are just things both festivals and filmmakers should be aware of. From London's Raindance Film Festival: "16 Things Film Festivals Hate About Filmmakers".

Last year's first annual festival was a lot of fun. It was, however, a bit nippy, so for this year we backed it up a bit and held it the first full weekend in September and that worked out great! Overall, this year's festival went even better. Everyone had a great time. You can see some of this on our new YouTube Channel.

Last year we had some very interesting people show up from as far as New York City with Ethan Minsker (creator of the Antagonist Art Movement) and his great little documentary, "Man in Camo". Ethan is one of those forces of nature it's always nice to run into.

You can pick Ethan out in a crowd in his camo business suit. I was a little bit leary of him at first but once I got to hang out with him, learn his history and orientation, you just gotta love the guy. And his documentaries and his books.
GUFFest 2019 program
This year we had some pretty interesting filmmakers show up, mostly out of towners from New York and California but some very interesting, entertaining and even disturbing entries of films and animations. Drag MC Poppy ran the show, with music by Electric Monkey while running the projector was Seattle's Count Spankula (AKA, Spankula the Count, DJ Spanky), along with "Electric Monkey" (AKA, Chainsaw), both once of the band, Dead Vampires.
MC Poppy and Electric Monkey
on a popular Ray Hammar art vehicle
You can see some of my still shots on my Instagram account, just click on the left arrow to go forward in time to see more. The local newspaper, Kitsap Sun, had a reporter write an article in their paper the week before and she showed up for the event.

I'm in the center of the center photo in their digital piece along with author William H. Nelson, and moderator, Stan Wankowski who is also an actor in both my current production, "Gumdrop, a short horror" as well as several Kelly Hughes films and his latest music video, "We're Nothing" by the Italian band, Postvorta.
Kitsap Sun article on the festival
Stavros Stavropoulus and Bryan Paris (up from LA and Joshua Tree, respectively), filmmakers of "The Buttcheek Boys" animation which got a lot of laughs during the viewing, said it succinctly, in that when they arrived: "As we walked in and saw all the stuff outside we were like, 'yes, we belong.'"
The Buttcheek Boys, animation
It was a long day. I got there before it started and left at the end lugging all my camera equipment to the WigWam where we had festival parking. I had shot interviews with the filmmakers and some of the panels going on, all on our YouTube channel.

In fact, I'm still editing and putting up new footage this weekend. Once I'm done, I'll begin editing on my own film project that I'm wrapping up principal photography on. We've been shooting all summer working around people's schedules and finally, we are almost done.

Just a few more scenes with just the main character. I had hoped to submit to this film festival but I'll have to wait until next year. Last year I helped judge the films and this year I judged the screenplays and was the official videographer for the event.

This year we again had... a mermaid.

"Mermaid" Aura Stiers
We did our best to get the filmmakers who showed up from as far as California and New York, on-camera (again, see our YouTube channel). These include, the aforementioned animators of "The Buttcheek Boys", Amber McNeill the writer and producer of "Death & Tacos", animator/cartoonist and co-director Pat Moriarity who had the world premiere of "The Realm Beyond Reason" at our festival(!), Betsy Winslow an actress in "What Happened to Sarah Silver, and Scott J. Ramsey director of the music video "Knave" which is music from the movie, "X".

Night's end, Kelly Hughes, Filmmaker Scott J. Ramsey with friend, and MC Poppy on right
Also, local Seattle filmmaker, Ty Minton-Small for The Big Swing with its lead and local actor Greg Gilmore, who incidentally was in a notorious Kelly Hughes film years ago, La Cage Aux Zombies.

I also filmed the interview that the local Kitsap Sun newspaper shot with festival founder/director, Kelly Hughes and then I turned my camera on journalist Jessica Darland, and then Kelly asked her a few questions, too!

Yesterday we had a small gathering of those who put on this year's GUFFest 2019 at the WigWam in Gorst, just to hang out, have a few beers and go over what happened at the event. And consider how we can make next year's festival just as better than it was from last year's event.

JZ, Pat Moriarity, Buddy and Kelly Wayne Hughes at Wigwam 9/15/2019
We had some interesting banter and may have settled on a new venue in part, for next years' GUFFest 2020. Pat had some interesting and exciting news about today (we both have something to look forward to, actually) but I can't tell you. Maybe later once we know for sure what's going on. Pat's had an interesting career. Check out his website, you'll see things like cartoonist R. Crumb, MAD Magzine, and other interesting things.

So, if you didn't make it last year, and you didn't make it this year, do consider making it NEXT year. Because, who knows what might happen. And that is a big part of what is going on. Be a part of something that is growing and already is a thing in many attendee's minds.

Not to mention...those fish.

What the hell does that mean? Well, you weren't there, were you, and so... you don't know.

So, don't miss out next year!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Best You Can Be

My entire life since I was a child has been dedicated to intellectualism, which I came to realize at some point, had become a dirty word for some reason with some people.

Perhaps because too many people associated with it were complete asses about it. Think Donald Trump, only truly smart and a jerk about it and condescending. Yeah, I could see people hating the educated then. Also associating them with abusive power and money. But in my view, the "educated" aren't intellectuals by nature. Some are some aren't. It's like beliving an ivy league education means you're smart, or a good person. I've met some very stupid "well educated", even ivy league types.

Yet all it is truly is the about same as those who work out at the gym to stay physically in shape, who body build, who find beauty in the human form. And yes, many of them are shallow asses too.

I was working out not just my body, but my brain, my mind. That doesn't mean I knew everything, or that I was the fastest at thinking or whatever. It meant that for me, I tried to make my mind and brain as functional as I could make it in the face of reality and facing reality, and working out issues to their most correct end. We're not seeing a lot of that today because the other side is to do anything to "win" or achieve your goal. Which is corrupt.

I worked hard to have an open my mind, to make it more than it was. To always strive to learn new things, to stretch my comprehension of reality, and the universe. To be pliable in situations that were hard to fathom and out of my experience. Where I might lock up in a situation normally, and through previous effort, wouldn't.

And yet, I've still been in situations where I certainly did lock up. Because I'm human. 

This was never about others or a comparison to others. It never had anything to do with looking down upon others or raising myself above anyone. Or in my being better than anyone or in comparing myself to others.

My Sensei in Karate as a kid told us to compare ourselves against ourselves, not one another. Because we are all different and we may never be as good as some other. And we don't need to be judging ourselves against each other. But against our own best efforts. And not to be judging others. Where one excels in one thing, they may fail in another where you excel. How is that or should that be a judgment call against them, or you, then? 

What I discovered over time, however, was that others took that concept of intellectualism and applied to it what our Sensei told us not to compare others to us. Or that others thought we, or I, was doing exactly that...looking down on them. When all it meant to me really, was that I was trying to be the best I could be, for my benefit and that of any others who could make use of me.

Having grown up from birth with ADHD and having trouble thinking as other did, all I could do was try to fit in, or try to excel to the point that I could appear normal and in that effort, I found I could excel in some, even many things. All the while feeling substandard even in the face of others seeing me as having excelled over others in a group.

That is part of ADHD for many because of always being, or having to be restrained, or shut down, held back. Not going far enough when expected, or going too far and having issues in deciding when what should be. I'm unsure if that is more frustrating for the child or the parents. Having raised such a child now myself, I can see it from both sides and I think it's harder on the child.

But many parents, as in my ex-wife. saw it as being an undue burden on the parent, or at least on her. The damage to a fully grown, mature adult, cannot be as difficult as a maturing mind striving and struggling to become...whatever it is they are supposed to become when frequently they need to "become" who THEY will be and not what is expected of them to be. A form to fill, when perhaps they cannot fill it.

Facts, knowledge, information, all verified, vetted, and peer-reviewed, scientifically proven, all collected as a professional activity, a hobby, and a passion with no intent on using that as a weapon, other than against ignorance and all that is wrong, is to me, intellectualism. Also as in sharpening a knife, sharpening one's mind. That is all it is. And I cannot fathom others who take that as an affront tot heir lack of those efforts in themselves, or in their lack of education, or logical abilities and capabilities. Another's inabilities should not be my responsibility or my fault.

I really and truly don't have a damned clue what has been going on in the world today or how those who are so very anti to all that I found admirable and laudable, came to be in power.

The only thing that seems to explain it falls under the realm of greed and criminal activity. Breaking rules to advance themselves. Skipping steps, push-button mentalities, not doing things right when you see wrong ways to achieve your goals with no consideration for either the future or any others. Or the damage it does to yourself, others, or society at large. Those behaviors set us up for failures in the future as processes and systems have been put in motion incorrectly. By all of us being as informed and correct, and adept at logical and creative solutions, sets us and others, and future generations up to succeed.

It's not all about me, now, at any or all costs. Life is bigger than us. Yet we seem to be creating s society where that has no bearing on reality or ourselves. As long as we win, succeed, or achieve wealth no matter the costs to our environment, our country, fellow citizens or other ways of thinking...within reasonable and humane considerations.

And we have now allowed a GOP and this President in Donald Trump to be in power wishing only to support ignorance and disinformation in order to attain and maintain their power. And at any and all costs...mostly to us. To America. To humanity. And to our Humanity.

They have taken the ball from the old Soviet's KGB and are now running with it.

But to what goal? To what end?

And so much of all this came from that initial hatred or intellectualism. As the Chinese did during their Great Leap Forward where they set their country back by fifty years in slaughtering and imprisoning their intellectuals, their doctors, their professors, their engineers and anyone educated or adept enough to see reality as it is, and not as Mao presented it.

It is apparently an infection humankind may always be susceptible to and one we have got to protect ourselves again, now and always.

And all you have to do is, be the best you can be. Not the most powerful, not the wealthiest, but the best person you can be. Support others doing that. Stop being negative. Try to be positive but in the most positive and production ways for yourself... and for all others.

That is not socialism or communism.

It's just humanity. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Streaming Network News: Quality?

Happy Labor Day holiday weekend! "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." 

America has turned into an anti-labor endeavor of the part of the rich and powerful. We need to consider and reflect on that today, and all that we can do to continue turning that around. A country is not built upon its wealthy and powerful, but upon the engine of its existence...the people.

Some argue Unions, labor concerns, and government caring about its citizens is socialism. Pure socialism is dysfunctional just as pure capitalism is but hybrids work. Like in America, when it's allowed by those in power who tend to fight it tooth and nail. Who tend to call entitlements such things as social security, Medicare, and healthcare for all. While actual entitlements THEY want, for big business, as unquestionably necessary and not to be discussed but simply given, no matter what. Even against all reason and the damage, it does to our government, our citizens and our trust in our leaders, mostly Republicans as the belonging to the party of big business and apparently citizen discare and abuse..

Irish Central argues: Labor Day is an 'Irish holiday,' as the Irish created the union movement

OK. Enjoy...

In 2016 I retired from a career in IT, sold my house of 16 years where my kids grew up most of their lives in and moved to another nearby town of Bremerton. Ironically a town I'd avoided all my life after being put in jail for the afternoon one fine early summer day when I was in 12th grade and visiting my girlfriend who lived in Bremerton and went to Olympic College (yeah, back then in high school, few believed a 12th grader in Tacoma, had a girlfriend in college, in another town, nearby or not...though my close friends did knowing I wouldn't lie).

I was just sitting there waiting for her to stop by for lunch, at a friend's house, with her best girlfriend and ex-boyfriend (older than me and her) who introduced us. when I was 17. I was innocent of anything that day, and they let me go. I've detailed this story elsewhere. In being the only town I was ever tossed into a jail cell in, and because back then Bremerton sucked (it's really nice now) and kind of a rough Navy town, I never wanted to return here after we split up. Until I moved here in 2016 and both myself and my two adult kids found it a pretty nice community ... now.

I was shooting for, as I still am, for a career change, not actual retirement. Like many, my retirement funds aren't what they need to be. But I had enough of a cushion to allow me this attempt into a creative career in writing and filmmaking. A luxury I didn't have while my kids were being raised. As I just noted to a friend who said he was impressed with what I'm doing as he wouldn't try it at this stage in his life...I had really had it with working in IT and it was quit or retire. So I retired and decided I had the ability to go for it. I'm making the best of it so far. In the end, I'll either fail and look stupid, bor succeeded and appear smart and courageous. Time, very soon, will tell.

That meant I needed to change my lifestyle, cut my overhead, and lose some amenities and luxuries. One of those being news and entertainment access. I dropped my DirecTV satellite which I'd had for years and had never wanted Comcast because everyone I knew who had it, complained about it and I'd had no complaints with DirecTV. Besides, for years they refused to run a line out to the community I lived in, which was in the woods. Not far off, only a mile out of town, but if you wanted "cable" you needed a non-cable cable. Or pay for the cable to be strung? Really Comcast?

Once I got moved to Bremerton (from Suquamish, where Chief "Seattle" is buried), I signed up with Comcast. I wanted faster internet speeds and had tired, to be honest, of atmospheric conditions screwing up my viewing times.

One of my favorite shows and one I missed the most, was/is Rachel Maddow. Also Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Which I still can't get.

One of the things I like about Rachel is her cheerful attitude, her understanding of what the hell is going on and her ability to deliver complex issues today through a historical perspective. Essentially educating her viewers.

Something I don'/t see on Fox News, or much of anywhere else. It's what I've liked about some PBS news shows. A deeper, more academic perspective. So I'm going to use her show as a vehicle to exemplify what I'm talking about in this blog for this week.

Let me take this brief aside as I've gotten hammered by various conservatives I know about being in a liberal bubble (while it really is them in a far more corrupted conservative bubble), saying I only watch MSNBC (I don't, only Rachel on there), Or only CNN (I don't, not at all, unless I'm at an airport maybe).

I actually have always gotten my news worldwide, since college, ever since the 60s as a kid watching PBS. I found it fascinating there were other ways of delivering the news, fewer articles and deeper perspectives. Back then I did watch Walter Cronkite, and so on. Those were good days when news was a "loss leader", not for profit, or for entertainment, but real journalism.

I watched broadcast news shows for years and then I did like CNN for a while, in its beginning. But in the past years since college, I've leaned on a wider perspective. How do other nations view us? How accurate is our news? What are they missing? What are they too focused on? And since the last Iraq war, how much are they too closely aligned with our government.

Informed consideration, not political belief.

I do my best to receive and assimilate actuality in reality. I don't see that effort much on the conservative side.

I get my news now from all over. I see someone post something, I research it (if it's interesting) before I share it (mostly). I research down two or three levels while most do one level if even that. I review news from all over the world. I rarely watch American news, not MSM, or faux news as is on Fox News entertainment "news" shows. I review other information from intelligence sources available to citizens. Janes, FBI, even CIA, sources, raw journalists' comments in areas of concern, and so on.

I watch news shows from Japan, Canada, UK, Al Jezeera, and other countries. I do NOT watch Russia Today (or their disingenuous obfuscating moniker, RT), Sputnik or read Pravda (the misnamed Russian State News agency which disingenuously means, "Truth").

So yes, I'm well informed, with a background, education, and history involved in professional levels research, world history, civics, and covert intelligence research. I am, therefore, far better informed than most American citizens. There are obviously others far more informed. But for a citizen, I think I do pretty well to stay level headed and rational with actual facts and information.

Before retiring I had MSNBC and so I had The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS). When I moved/retired, I cut my paid channels down to basic and lost her show. I missed Rachel. But two years, no Rachel.

Then I moved a mile away into a far smaller home, with a much more reasonable monthly rent (yes, dumped having a mortgage and just rent now...I hope to buy another house, but I want to pay it off, with no mortgage as I do now when I buy cars).

I moved as I said, and moved my Comcast cable. A friend, an actor I had used on my audiobooks and now in my filmmaking, mentions Rachel at times, as he has her show at home, and sometimes good-naturedly teases me about my not having her. I got to wanting to figure out how to get Rachel's show back.

I discovered on my LG smart TV something I'd known about but never much bothered with, "Live TV", streaming TV off the internet. MSNBC is in there. So I started messing with it and discovered, Rachel's show was on it!

I started watching streaming TV and discovered some interesting things. Like, the network doesn't much care about the quality of their shows on streaming. It's a bizarre world of broken segments, ads you HAVE to watch (can't scan past or skip as with a DVR), and weird juxtapositions of shows, internally speaking.

I'll say upfront, even though I'm a high-level computer and internet savvy one time professional, I haven't researched this issue and don't know much about the format or issues of networks presenting their shows on the internet. I'm just relating it as a consumer and a viewer. So I'm happy to hear knowledgable explanations for my following complaints.

I couldn't figure out at first what the hell was going on with Rachel's show. And then, they took it off streaming on Live TV. I lost her show again. But, what I realized was, they were running the segments of her show...backwards! It was starting with the last segment of the show first, then go backward until at the end you had the beginning. WTF I mean, really? But before I lost access to her show on streaming, they seemed to be changing it around to be more in proper order. OK, progress. But again, what the hell? I even posted on their website asking, what the hell people?

Anyway, she was gone again. Until...Amazon Prime day. I have a Kindle Fire HD 7" and on Prime day I got a 10" Kindle. I'd also heard about Amazon Fire TV Stick. Cheap, so I got one. And discovered that I could now again access MSNBC and other things. And I had back, Rachel's show!

So I started watching again, though I have to wait until the day after to see the previous day's show. . It seemed the show was better handled on this format which is apparently streaming, but different, more ordered and not just seemingly (to me) so randomly presented. There's a menu system for each show offered.


Again there are the ads I cannot skip as I can automatically now, on my Tivo Bolt DVR. Something I'd been looking forward to for decades. Still, the attention to detail on these shows is frustrating at times. At times, at the end of a segment, they cut it off before the end of the segment.

When the adverts are over, you see that cut off ending, then the brand logo, then the next segment. The commercials, ones you have to watch, or mute as I do as they are so annoying (I mean, animals selling big pharma products? bizarre) and the same commercials again and again, saturation advertising for the dumbest among us. So annoying.

My point? IF they know, and they do know, that we are forced (no ad-skipping capabilities) to watch their adverts, then they are making money off these ads. To be sure. So at least they could do some due diligence regarding the quality of their presentations of their shows.

IF the argument is there's only one tech putting these shows online and they are overworked or something, they're still making money! Give us the quality we're actually "paying" for in watching adverts. We're not just your poor unwashed, we're your customers, your ad viewers, so give us the paid for attention we deserve!

Enough with this sketchy quality nonsense on streaming!

Also, monitor and keep the audio synced up with the video? Just a basic tenet of production, right?

It's time that streaming is given as much attention as cable, paid cable or broadcast TV.

It's time. It's passed time.

You're all professional organizations.

Act like it. Be professional.

Monday, August 26, 2019

2nd Amendment, Delusion Revisited

I certainly prefer art over politics for all the obvious reasons. It seems pretty apparent today, especially looking at our current disaster of a POTUS, his thoroughly misled and confused conservative base and his GOP leaders that there are far more geniuses and visionaries in art than politics and government.

That being said, it occurs to me just now that the 2nd Amendment clearly and prejudicially states, it points out ... "well-regulation", "militia" and "keeping/bearing arms". No kidding, right?

That means using correct and appropriate gun control/ regulations. Well regulated. So, background checks, obviously. Sane gun laws, not stupid anti protection knee jerk conservative disinformation supported by Russian and profiteering groups like NRA and gun manufacturers.

Just because the Russians took the Czech's guns in 1967 really has no bearing on our Constitution. And I have heard that as the reason the 2nd Amendment has to be and mean what some want it to, again and again. Thus we can't have ... gun laws? Seriously? That cannot be an adult's position. Because that would be delusional.

But then, we are Americans and we do have our delusions. Just look at who's president now. And what it takes on a personal psychological basis to still support him. Donald Trump is not a serious consideration for the White House. Never was, isn't now. Never will be.

As such:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Skipping we did not have a standing army or national guard then and we do now for some time, precluding the need for citizens to keep or bear arms...

That Amendment clearly states one important element that is not ever in this form, considered in arguments for or against.

That if citizens outright have that right (which is not clear, honestly), they need regulation and the "orientation" of militia. I am not saying int hat they need to belong TO a militia but that they need by requirement the training and education of a militia. And considering the advancement, since the Amendment was written, it's now a matter of higher education between the various types and powers of today's weaponry.

How that translates today would be, not that any citizens could go out and buy and own a gun, and/or carry one either in plain sight or concealed, it is to be sure first a requirement by the Amendment they be trained or well regulated, or part of a militia and therefore well regulated and trained.

More guns aren't an answer, they are a desire. As with most things, sanity,
intelligence and acting appropriately are the answer.
I am not even seeing a question about that as a requirement for the right to keep and bear arms.

Therefore to acquire, own and bear arms, one should be trained by a priori requirement and justification... and to be sure, we need that all citizens with arms are competent in their use for the situations and environments the citizens would traverse in any potential and reasonable situation.

As of today, that is not the case.

To whit, citizens with arms and no APPROPRIATE training, AND THAT INCLUDES EX or ACTIVE MILITARY who do not just get to own a gun in civilian life as civilian environments are not military to be sure.. as IN A CIVILIAN ENVIRONMENT ... therefore we are at this time for those unregulated citizens, unconstitutional and illegal and those arms should be confiscated, until such time that citizens have acquired the appropriate training, indoctrination and education in each of the firearms they are to own or carry.

There is our right and reason to confiscate all firearms from all citizens who do not have the required training on each and every gun they own.

That alone would end so many mass shootings.

Who should pay for this training?

Well, if it's a Right, the nation, not individuals. That means taxes.

How much would this cost? A lot.

What would it do? Slow down and decrease gun ownership and increase the alignment of owning and using weaponry to an acceptable degree.

Why? Because many gun owners don't want education, just blind allowances to own devices to kill, without responsibility, without knowledge, education, or a cohesive knowledge about them to a degree they required and demand.

And what is demanded in the place of what is needed?

Entertainment. Guns fulfill one major component of gun owners and it's not safety.

It's entertainment and false sense of security against all the wrong things in all the wrong ways.

Our best protection against crime is support and empowerment of all citizens.

Our best protection against a tyrannical government? Education, Health Care, Sanity. Vision. All the things the GOP does nto support.

Face it. Voting Republicans out is our quickest way to a strong America.

And never again allow this kind of crazy into control of Congress and our Courts or the office of the President of the United States.

Have a gun. Just know what you have and how to care for it, use it and store it.

As previously stated, I certainly prefer art over politics for all the obvious reasons. It seems pretty apparent today, especially looking at our current disaster of a POTUS, his thoroughly misled and confused conservative base and his GOP leaders that there are far more geniuses and visionaries in art than politics and government.

Now, back to the people I know and work with who are so much more cohesively sane and informed...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tacoma Mall History, Both Mine and Ours

1966 - One year after the Tacoma Mall opening...

My mother once abandoned me at the Tacoma Mall. I believe I was in sixth grade at the time. To be fair, it was different times, and I kind of deserved it. For the past few mall visits, I'd break off from her, typically when we were with my younger brother as he'd distract her so I could just...vanish. Purposely.

Why? So I could go to the local Mall toy store. To be fair (to me) I always wanted to go there. Sometimes I could, sometimes mom would say, No, we don't have time. And I'd be crushed. And bored nearly to tears in having instead to follow her around (watch your brother) and put up with her looking at ladies clothes (or worse, clothes for us).

Grand entrance Tacoma Mall - 1970s
Finally, she got sick of my disappearing. Probably frightened her the first time it happened, until she eventually just angry with me by the last time. To be fair, one day I was looking for a suit jacket at Penney's and my own son of about five suddenly disappeared. I was freaking out.

Finally in just a few minutes frantically rushing around the clothing department, I found him purposely hiding in one of those circular clothing racks, happy as a clam. But I couldn't help but flashback to that day at the mall in 1967.
Myself and little brother about the time mentioned here
Finally, one-day mom said, If you do that again, I'll leave you and you can walk all the way home!

So, of course, the very next time we went to the mall...I disappeared again. I got my fill of toys, this time without mom ever showing up to get me. So I wandered around in search of them. I went to where they had been heading, the Bon Marche, most likely. But, they weren't there. So I wandered all over the mall until I was getting tired but, still no mom and little brother.

Finally, I was getting worried, myself. So I went outside to a phone booth and called home to tell someone I couldn't find them. I checked my pockets and found a single dime. I always was supposed to carry one for an emergency phone call.

Mom answered.
Of course, mom answered. She didn't really chew me out, just laid out the situation, the past situation, and what this meant to me, today, right then. I promised I wouldn't do it again.
She just said, You said that last time.
I asked, So are you going to come get me?
No, she said. You can take the bus home.
I dug into my pockets. My empty pockets, hoping for a quarter. I told her I had spent my last dime on the phone call. The only dime I'd had.
She just said, Well then, you have two feet, I guess you're walking home.
WALK? Home? I asked dejectedly.
Yes, she responded, all the way.
At that time in my life, I don't think I had walked anywhere alone that far. I was shaken. And I broke. I told her that.
She just said, Then you're walking home. It's not that far. See you when you get here.
And with that...she hung up.

I was stunned. I looked around. Hustle and bustle all around me. Adults, cars, a huge parking lot. I stood there for a while, contemplating. No one was coming. I was alone. I could stay there forever, or I could starting walking and maybe one day, I would arrive back at home. Where the family was. Protection, safety. Food. my toys. But... it's so far! I looked around.

No one I knew was around me. I knew no one inside knew me, or I, them. I was lost. But was I? I knew where I was. I knew how to get home, it was pretty much a straight shot. It seemed so far though. Maybe I should just stay there, live at the mall. That would teach my mom!

But in the end, I walked. Google Maps now shows it's 1.4 miles and a half-hour walk for an adult. Which I wasn't then, so it probably took me about 45 minutes and I'm sure I didn't rush. There's always so much to see.

By the time I got to the 48th street bridge that goes over the I5 freeway (I know I had to stop and watch the traffic rushing below me), it had all turned from a punishment, to an adventure. But then, that was just who I was. Adventure was always all around me and I sought it out at every turn. Much to the consternation and frustration of my mother.

Adventure got me into this mess and adventure was going to get me out.

Eventually, I made it home just fine.

By the time I got there, I was expecting in my best "A Christmas Story" fantasy, a hearty hero's welcome home. But instead, of course, I got home to, Oh, you're back, good, get ready for dinner. No hero's welcome. Just a "Next time, don't wander off."

And I never did again.

Today the Tacoma Mall is 1.4 million square feet of retail space, with approximately 13.5 million annual shopper visits.

Tacoma Mall 1967 grand opening, me with Kirby Grant, "Sky King" of TV fame
I'd had a long relationship with the Tacoma Mall. The Tacoma News Tribune (or, TNT, October 10, 2015) states it was on October 12, 1965, when it opened so I'm unsure what date is what. The detailed photo below is from the News Tribune article where you can enlarge this photo.

I've put a green X on the right where Sky King and the ceremony was held. As I remembered it, they were opening it too soon but wanted to and had to and so had this event. But I believe later there was a much larger four-day event as noted in the article. As the Bon Marche moved in a full year before the official opening, I can only assume this was the opening event we went to. And it wasn't all that big of an event, but big enough.

Go to News Tribune article to expaind
TNT article also states:

"The four-day-long grand opening drew 400,000 people — equal to Pierce County’s entire population at that time.
"The sparkling new mall brought enclosed shopping to Tacoma with 71 stores, 1,500 jobs, 900,000 square feet of sales space and parking for 7,200 cars. Fireworks, singers and dancers provided entertainment during the grand opening.
"Today, the mall has grown to 1.4 million square feet and employs 2,500 to 3,000 people in 150 stores. While malls have faltered and closed across the country, the Tacoma Mall still functions as it did 50 years ago — but with a few role changes.
"Of the original 1965 mall stores, J.C. Penney, Hallmark, Motherhood Maternity, Zales Jewelers and Weisfield’s Jewelers are the last survivors.
"Interstate 5 had opened the month before, and J.C. Penney, among other stores, was preparing for its opening at the mall. Eventually downtown retailer Sears moved. The Bon Marche (now Macy’s) moved from downtown to the mall site in 1964 — a full year before the rest of the mall opened.
As I remember it there was a soft opening and I was there the day it officially opened when there was only one store open and running. I believe there was only the large Bon Marche, and by our opening day even, JC Penny's. Sky King was there, the actor who played that role on TV, Kirby Grant, was famous among many TV-watching kids at that time. Kirby was born in Butte, Montana. My older sister was also born in  Montana.

Tacoma Mall 1967 grand opening, my younger brother with Kirby Grant
My younger brother and I got to sit on his lap on a raised wooden platform in the middle of the east Mall parking lot, situated on the side nearest the freeway. As you may be able to see, our mother wrote on this photo above that "Sky King" died October 1985. Ten years after my younger brother died in June 1975, two weeks prior to his 15th birthday, from liver cancer in what felt like a Lifetime channel, MOW kind of story.

As a kid, I loved the Tacoma Mall. At some point, my step-father, my late little brother's dad, worked at Nalley's during the day. In the afternoon after his warehouse job, he would take a nap, be miserably grumpy if you got in his way, then put on a suit and went to work at the Auto-View Drive-in Theater where he was Assistant Manager. Homer was the manager and his friend. I liked Homer and his kids.

Back in the 40-50s after the war where he was in a military band or something, and I think some kind of clerk, my step-dad had his own orchestra in Philidelphia. Our mother met him after that I believe. I never found out why he stopped leading a band.

I saw a photo once of them. Each member of the 20 or so member band had his own little stand before him with my step-dad's initials on it and him standing proudly before them looking at the photographer with a big smile on his face and holding a conducting baton. It had to be one of his greatest moments.
Yeah, this might have been a FEW years before I first went there
As for the Auto-View Drive-in, my oldest brother had worked there some. Then my older sister worked there in high school and eventually, I worked there, too. In the end more than my siblings, from 9th through 12th grades. I had a lot of experiences there as we had kind of grown-up there through the 1960s.

We were there every Friday, rain or shine, seeing whatever there was. I think the only film we missed seeing there was "I Am Curious, Yellow" because of the hype and marketing about it indicating it was inappropriate for kids.

Wikipedia: "The film includes numerous and frank scenes of nudity and staged sexual intercourse. One particularly controversial scene features Lena kissing her lover's flaccid penis." I saw it as an adult and I can say, it was tamer than many of the films I saw as a kid before the film ratings came into being, with the exception of that one scene or perhaps just one shot.

Tacoma Mall Cinerama
I mention my step-father because there was a time when he got offered to manage the Tacoma Mall Cinerama Theater. The Cinerama was a big deal when it opened in 1974.

Lincoln High School, Tacoma, WA
I graduated in 1973 from Lincoln High School. By that time my step-father had moved with his friend and manager to the newly opened 112th Street Drive-in leaving me as snack bar manager in 12th grade back at the Auto-View where I had worked first in 9th grade when I cleaned up the field, a disgusting back-breaking job even for a kid still fairly low to the ground.

Then in 10th grade moving up and into the snack bar and eventually taking over the managing of it. The drive-in by then was run mostly by kids from Lincoln High School.

Tacoma Mall Cinerama lobby
Tacoma Mall Cinerama thearer

The Cinerama had opened with high expectations. But never showed a Cinerama release. I was with our family at one of the many grand openings of the Seattle Cinerama, ours being for the regional area theater managers and their families. We saw, "Krakatoa, East of Java" which I thought for the time had rather silly SFX. The Seattle Cinerama had a license that was exclusive of a 50-mile radius and since Tacoma is only some 30 miles from it, our Cinerama couldn't get a license.

But the year the Tacoma Cinerama opened my stepfather was offered to manage it. We talked about it as a family. It supposedly had an apartment where we could move into as some theaters, even drive-in theaters, have. The thought of actually living IN a theater was intoxicating to me and my younger brother. But he had just started on his long terminal road through liver cancer and the doctor bills were just starting to pile up.

Mom finally said just shut us down and said, No, we can't afford it.

We all wanted to move (not my sister). But Mom made the final decision as she always did about bills and finances. And she was right as the doctor bills only got bigger and bigger, finally wiping out her inheritance from my grandfather, and then receiving unbelievable help from the American Cancer Society, according to her.
That window by the peak was home for a year after the military
Thanks to my older brother letting me stay there and get my act together.
As an adult, after I got out of the military in 1979. I was staying in my brother's garage off Sheridan and 38th street. I fixed it up to make it livable, put in some insulation and a chimney as it had a wood-burning stove, but it wasn't much.

Though I had some great times there. Sometimes friends would stop by a 2am or so and we'd have a little party and they'd leave and I'd crash and be up in time for nothing, or whatever. Eventually that whatever became college. All I had to do was cut wood for heat for both my brother's house and my loft, that he'd bring home from his construction jobs.

Mostly trees they had to cut down and I'd chainsaw and split wood for my rent. It was an arrangement that worked for us both. Plus, his wife at the time was pregnant with twins I helped out after they were born. And they needed the help! I wasn't the only one. They always seem to have friends over and it was quite an experience.

One day he talked me into going to college as I had Vietnam war VA benefits and so, I did. In 1980 I started working at Tower Posters off 38th street and attending Ft. Steilacoom Community College (now, Pierce College).

One day I discovered a field on the other side of I5 from the Mall had a special kind of mushroom that made my days very entertaining over the course of that year or so. How did I find that out? I'd been an amateur mycologist for years. They called to me.

That leads into some very interesting stories including one about my girlfriend and I the night we saw the film that I think was playing for the first time (Superman) at the Tacoma Mall Cinerama and well, I've detailed that adventure in a blog article elsewhen.

Eventually a year later some construction going on and it seemed to upset the environment as construction tends to do, and the shroom extravaganza sadly died off.

When I think back about the Tacoma Mall, a wealth of memories and situations floods into my mind. Some very good times. We met Dick Balch the notorious crazed (but very nice) car dealer there. Eating lunch and giant Crab or Shrimp Louies at Johnny's Dock at the Mall. Lunch at the Bon Marche restaurant. Visiting Nordstrom's with my sister when I was in jr high and being around many attractive young women who all had more money than we did.

I went back recently. I had worked after I got out of the service, and later after college, at Tower Posters on 38th st, the original location, and Tower Records, and Tower Video (then moved to Tower Video in Seattle on Mercer).

We still see one another from time to time, those Tower employees. I'm still friends with some of them. One, two really, part of a little group in my Tacoma Records supervisor in tapes, and later Video manager and eventual Seattle video manager and roommate, and our other friend.

Here's a photo from one of our reunion days I took on Instagram. You can visit my account on there to see these, the shots below I took of the Tacoma Mall that day and of other local places, and if you head toward the today on my Instagram account, you'll see production stills from the short horror film I'm making. "Gumdrop, a short horror", is a prequel, based upon a short story I published years ago (Gumdrop City, a fiction horror story based on a true crime).
Tacoma Mall Red Robin Tacoma Tower employees reunion 2018
That manager friend and I talked about getting together, at our old hang out, the Tacoma Mall Red Robin where Tower employees hung out after work sometimes. And before work, sometimes. That threesome turned into a bigger event and many old friends and employees showed up. I got there early just so I could revisit places I lived nearby, that house I had to walk to from the Mall at 12, and I walked through today's Tacoma Mall.

Today's Tacoma Mall grand entrance
It's changed a lot. So many more businesses in that area.

Tacoma Mall Food Court intersection
The mall once nearly dead, was alive, and vibrant and had many shoppers and people just hanging out, eating or whatever. it was a culture shock for me. But it wasn't sad, not at all. And then I ended it with that visit to Red Robin and some old friends.

Rolland from Steelzilla
One of our friends, Rolland at Steelzilla plasma cut us some Tower related metal plaque momentoes that were pretty awesome and mine's hanging here in my house. We had another meeting some months later and we got some more of those cool cut-outs.

Tower Tacoma March 31, 2019 Red Robin Reunion
All he asked was we take a photo with our gifts and post them. And we did, to our Facebook Tower Records group. Here's mine from our last meet up. Being they were Grammy's (for those who worked at Records) and Oscars (for those who worked at Video) I thought I'd throw on a tux for my photo.

Terrifying, I know, but I had a blast
Which was quite a bit different from my first gift the previous meetup:

From our first reunion

And yes, we're a motley lot. Always were. I myself for one look much different than I did my first days working at Tower Posters in Tacoma. I've gone through some changes in my looks, to be sure.

Thanks so much, Time and... Life.

Myself at Tower Posters Tacoma 1980
WWU 1982, hey, my girlfriend staged this one

Me with a very nice Teri Weigel, Tower Video,
Mercer St. Store Seattle, WA April 1986
Auditions headshot 1989
A few years later after I graduated from Western Washington University and moved from Tacoma and then to Seattle's Tower Video store on Mercer St. and into some more very interesting experiences. I worked with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam. I lost some friends back then to AIDS.

And yes, my looks changed a bit. So has the Tacoma Mall's looks through its never-ending series of contractions and expansions and evolutions and facelifts.

So to sum this all up, yes...the Tacoma Mall and I, have had a vastly deep and long-lasting relationship. Our looks have changed. Our friends have changed. And life continues on.

And that my friends, is really about all I can say about it...thanks for sharing this journey into my past and that of Tacoma's famous Mall.

Cheers! Slainte!

Monday, August 12, 2019

America's Dezinformatsiya and компрометирующий

I've been avoiding political blog postings for a bit but now it's time to revisit that. I'm busy working on my re-draft of The Teenage Bodyguard with a Hollywood producer and I'm approaching the end of principal photography on my project from one of my previously published short stories ("Gumdrop City"), titled, "Gumdrop, a short horror". You can see shots on my Instagram account of some production stills from the set.

Okay, first for a little background.

Beginning in the early 80s when I was at Western Washington University, I began to notice some odd things. I was doing a lot of research in the University Library toward my psychology degree. One day I was talking to someone and they pointed a certain book out to me. They said I could find it in the library where I was spending massive amounts of time.

WWU Library
There were days when I got out of class, went to the library and was there until closing and went home and continued studying with my girlfriend who lived with me. We were a team. We amazed even our departmental advisor. We studied together, were in some of the same classes and could finish one another's thoughts to a dazzling degree.

WWU campus in Bellingham, WA
This was noticed one day by said professor who was himself one of our top professors in psychology nationwide. We were focusing in our studies on the theoretical of phenomenology and of processes and systems. This professor one day tested us in front of the class and we proved ourselves valid and highly functional. My point being, we were advancing faster together than most students and were told we were at the very top of our class, even across the nation.

One day I got into that book. I looked up a corporation on my and who actually owned it and fell down a kind of corporate rabbit hole that led to some very interesting and disturbing connections. I traced who owned that corporation, and who owned that one and in the end, I was stunned by who owned that primary umbrella corporation. Then I checked others. The more I checked the fewer I found. And the more disturbing connections popped up.

Meaning that many corporations were owned by a few, or one entity and some foreign corporations, leading to other questions. Now, many do know about that. Many would say, "Yeah, sure, so what?"

But it was about more than that. It was beyond disturbing to at times, frightening. But I dropped it, as it would have taken all my time and I had little time as it was to get my studies done, my papers written and turned in. But I kept an eye on things over the years, over the decades. And what I was seeing became ever more and more concerning...bringing us up to, today.

Over that next year or so I continued to look into it on the side as I had time. When doing my research I would stumble upon something, spend fifteen minutes going down that rabbit hole then go back to my primary effort for classes toward my whatever article I was preparing toward my psych degree.

My best effort in psychology may have been a paper I delivered in my final year on schizophrenia and synesthesia, about how one might help the study of the other. When I delivered it in my senior seminar on abnormal psychology it stunned both my class of eight and our prof. There was not a lot on synesthesia back then.

It is now available today to everyone, all these many years later, as an ebook and an audiobook. Of course, it doesn't have the same punch or import today as it once did in 1984 but the concept of using one toward another is and it has been my most downloaded ebook for years.

Years before that after graduating high school in 1973 I was planning a career in espionage (I eventually entered the USAF and at the end of my first term was accepted into the OSI), I had started studying the Soviets, KGB tactics, and the history and nomenclature and tactics of espionage.

Back in the early 1970s I read a book by a general who pretty much ran the Vietnam war. I believe it was Gen. William Joseph Westmoreland. A very respected general who went down his own rabbit hole and because of rather a laughing stock.

In reading his book and looking into his contentions I discovered not his veracity but my first conspiracy theory. I believe it was published by a small publisher who published such books and I can now, not find a copy or reference to that book anywhere. Which is telling.

However, rather than many would do in looking deeper and deeper into HIS conspiracy, perhaps allowing cognitive bias to enter the picture, I instead began studying what conspiracies and the theories themselves actually were.

I found most of them are nonsense. But I discovered the dynamics of conspiracy theory and those it affects and did my best from then on to avoid that nonsense but to do actual research and adhere to research methodology and reality itself. That has put me against a lot of people over my lifetime who believe in utter nonsense. And it has gotten only worse in recent times and since the advent of the internet to the general public and the world.

There is a way to research these conspiracies. Something most conspiracy theorists fail to follow and thus, fall down their own sad rabbit holes. The advent of the internet has merely exacerbated that syndrome.

I've used due diligence to avoid that myself and also in being a university-trained researcher and not some armchair nutcase political quarterback and have done well having debunked many conspiracy theories rather quickly. Which always amazed me how others do not see the obvious but continued instead on along their dark paths utterly wasting their time. QAnon is a recent addition to the white noise of conspiracy theories.

QAnon terminology
I began telling people what I knew about what I had found regarding corporations. My older brother still remembers me after college telling him to stop looking at what he had been and at countreisa and start watching what multinational corporations were doing.

I then began to notice a convergence of Soviet/KGB tactics and corporate actions. In the 1990s I began to notice the Republican party stepping over the line of spin and politics and enter the shady realms of social engineering in KGB style tactics which they have continued and multiplied against the American people, to this day and in that direction. Because these tacts are effective.

With great reticence I watched Putin become the leader of Russia in 1999 and worried openly to others about it ever since. He has maintained power against all reality and odds, greatly to the detriment of not just the Russian people, but all of America and western democracy.

After 9/11 the GOP fell down its own rabbit hole as if a gift handed to them and aided by their leaders and others, as in the NRA and as in Russia. This is not a conspiracy. It's facts, it's public knowledge and it's actions compiled together as we get a picture of the forest for the trees and not really missing anything in the process.

Many refuse to believe any of this because it is so open and obvious and so they believe, it simply cannot be. But the best covert actions are held in public view. From one of my great authorial heroes:

"The best place to hide is in plain sight. – Edgar Allan Poe, in The Purloined Letter"

Another favorite of mine and I have his books too, is the British magician who helped in the WWII effort as his father and grandfather before him had done in their wars, Jasper Maskelyne. The Fischer book, "The War Magician" is a good read, but factually errs fairly often apparently.

I mention all this because "magic", camouflage and covert ops are best done in the open leading to an innate disbelief in what they are actually doing. So what? Well, we now have a president doing all this in plain sight and his supporters cannot believe the contentions against him. Some quite well proven by now. We have multinational corporations doing this. and we have the Russian cyber machine doing this to destroy confidence in America regarding our culture and elections.

Russian intelligence and their organized crime connections, always a branch of the Soviet and then the Russian government and now along with the internet, have allowed for fairly cheap, enhanced covert operations... from afar.

The GOP and the Russians began to converge now many years ago. When I say "Russians" I mean, their government in Putin, his Oligarchs, the Russian mafia interests, Russian intelligence services, and yes...multinational corporations.

Because they are all in this together, apart. And that is what makes all this very difficult to "see" or believe. Or to counteract. While our intelligence services know of it all, or much of it, laws and leadership deny too much of it all and little and at times nothing, gets done to counter it. Though we are catching up...finally.

Still, it is criminal activities like this in America that led to our need to create the RICO laws. And so now too we need new laws and processes to cover this kind of multinational anti-American activity.

It is very likely that in many cases, the Russians, the GOP, and corporations were working apart, separately, just on similar agendas but for perhaps, very different reasons. Though it matters little when the damages done are so very much the same.

One does not avoid someone like the Russians when using their tactics. As eventually, you will find yourself in bed with them. Even if you never talk together. It wouldn't be unusual for those types to rationalize their behaviors as "absolutely not", Russian, or in the Russian interset. Or the old Soviet interests. But that is indeed the mindset of criminals, and bad people everywhere in thinking they are good while doing bad all along.

Then Trump arrives on the scene as POTUS and... now we've come full circle.

This is by no means a conspiracy theory. Some just want you to believe that. It's not a Hollywood spy movie. It is not just grand gestures by a James Bond/Ian Fleming style "worldwide evil" organization.

In many cases it is individuals, it is faint actions nudging things in a certain direction for varied reasons. Not coordinated, rather just an agenda and an ideology. It is essentially, greed. And in some cases in as Putin, hatred, of western democracy and a loss of Russian stature. It is desire. For money, for power, for position. For Nationalistic pursuites. For racist pursuits. For the worst of us, not the best, but in believing in ones' own tribe that it is the best. That is the White Supremacist's belief after all.

"Terrorism: Ideology w/out grievances doesn't resonate & grievances w/out ideology are not acted upon. Indeed, there be 2 sides to this coin." - Mubin Shaikh

Ideology without grievances is very little, just as grievances without ideology are nothing. But together, as we've seen through Donald Trump, they are a powerful force toward putting a minority against the majority and then against all odds, to see themselves in positions of power.

It is how fascism and such have always things worked. It is how they are working today.

This is our New Reality. Forged by the GOP. With help from American multinational corporations, or at least those in control of such entities. And it is something our friendly-nation friends like the UK, France, Germany, and others have actually warned us of! Repeatedly. While many of our own, mostly conservatives leaders have denied again and again and again.

Our own people in intelligence, who do not deal in FAKE NEWS, but rather raw intelligence and solidified information, know much of all this.

There is indeed FAKE NEWS, but it is merely real news that some like Trump simply do not like as it uncovers their actions so often hidden right there before us in plain site. There is disinformation (dezinformatsiya) and compromising information (компрометирующий), and there is more going on than most of us aware of all this, are even aware of. But it will all, ore mostly, come out, eventually. It always does. 

Our own intelligence agencies have tried to inform us, but they are constrained by the nature of their jobs and by those in power who do not wish to be exposed, in restraining them. Those such as Donald Trump, to be sure. And such as we've now been seeing, in Mitch McConnel, Senate Majority Leader. Sadly.

To be fair, McConnell and many Republicans today were off on the wrong foot from day one in their platform, their confused and misled conservative agenda, their mistaken ideology. Yet, it's odd how closely aligned it is or has become, with the Russians.

Not (most of) the Russian people, but Putin and those of his, in power. Those who refuse to give the Russian people a free and fair society. And like us, they want one. Those people in power claim they are what we aren't and aren't the crazed Americans with their racism.

Because Putin, just like Trump now, fears to leave power to then be available for prosecution. Putin has been winning, but Trump is in America and we do yet still have a chance at bringing him down for any criminal activities he has been involved in, or is still involved in.

Again, this is not a conspiracy. The information is mostly out here for us all to see. We just have to, if not want to see it, allow ourselves to see it. Before it's too late. And it may already be. Just as with climate change that has been sped up through human mechanized actions since the 19th century.

We are all seeing it plain as day while it is to far for too many as it somehow means it's all not real. To them it's just diatribe, partisan smear campaigns. And yet, these things are still happening, the intelligence agencies continue to accrue this information as we strive to bring it to light through Congressional action, if not now through legal judicial means and impeachment.

All while Mitch McConnell does what he can to avoid that. Why? Because he is in this for himself, for Trump, for Russia, Putin? Or for America?

And now we have new issues to be concerned with as one leaked executive order indicates that it would let US Government control our social media. As the article indicates:

"Trump wants to do something most Twitter users could only dream about: enlisting the federal government to make sure his posts get more engagement."


So, now what do we do? We end this regime and replace it with an American one. A fully American one.

And that includes what is going on with the NRA. As well as the GOP. We should obviously keep an eye on the DNC. But to be fair, they are already headed in a very American direction of inclusivity and diversity. They always have been more so than the GOP in recent decades for that matter.

America is here, still.

We just have to continue to fight for her. And for US all.