Thursday, September 30, 2010

The copyright termination time bomb in 2011

Termination Deadline for 1978 Grants Just Around the Corner

"The copyright termination time bomb is ticking away. Starting in 2011 the publishing and entertainment industries will be looking at the possibility thousands of negotiations with copyright owners seeking to recapture their rights. Some call it "contract bumping." This powerful "re-valuation mechanism" found in the Copyright Act allows authors (and their heirs) to terminate contracts 35-years after the contract date. The termination right trumps written agreements -- even agreements which state they are in perpetuity. Also known as “termination” or “recapture” rights, the deadline for sending termination notices for 1978 grants will begin to expire in 2011.

"The impending economic dislocation will manifest itself in the loss of evergreen or backlist titles, as authors, or their heirs, exercise their right to terminate publishing agreements and recapture their copyrights. What is a threat to mainstream book publishers, is otherwise an opportunity for a cheaper, more flexible kind of book publishing. With the ability to recapture rights, access to indie distributors and print on demand technology, authors (and their heirs) will have to decide how much faith they should place in their existing publisher relationships. My guess is that "life of copyright" grants will soon become the exception, not the rule. This article explains why."


"The clock is ticking. On January 1, 2013, provided timely Termination Notices were sent (and recorded with the Copyright Office) grants made on January 1, 1978 will terminate. As a copyright owner, or copyright owner's heir, you must be vigilant. Failure to exercise these rights, or exercise them in a timely manner, can be fatal. And, if you delay filing your claim, you can be time-barred by the statute of limitations."

Check out the full blog article on Lloyd J. Jassin's Law Blog.

Songs of my childhood - the 60s & 70s

When I think back to when I was a kid, my senior year in High School (or thereabouts), or even a few years after that, basically, the 60s and 70s; I think of several things. Like, my girlfriend, who went to another High School, which was a far nicer, cooler, more interesting, and less dangerous crowd.

When I hear songs from back then a few make me think of those fair times.

The Beatles, Seattle August 25, 1966
  • The Beatles - who I saw with my sister in 1966 Their song set list
  • Ian Whitcomb (my first music album, traded a found High School ring to Tom Owens, singer for my brother's band The Barons; when he found out the deal, he was pretty upset with Tom for ripping off his little brother, but Tom, as Tom always was, smooth talked his way out of it)
  • Three Dog Night (who I saw with my HS gf, one of them anyway, actually the most important one
  • Donovan - who I saw years later with my first wife at the Paramount in Seattle.
  • Elton John - Honky Chateau (Cat name Hercules, Teenage Suicide, Honky Cat, etc.; Yellow Brick Road ("The things I could do with another man" what did Bernie Taupin mean by that? I asked a guy in my high school who was raving about the double album, I said I loved it too, but, what the heck? He just looked at me weird that I was blowing his "high" and he walked off and I stopped asking people and never got an answer till I heard Elton got married and quickly divorced, then came out gay which surprised no one); Mad Man Across the water.
  • Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman; Catch Bull at 4
  • Seals and Crofts
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  • Chicago
  • Black Sabbath
  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  • Pink Floyd
  • Led Zepplin
  • Jethro Tull
  • The Beatles - who I saw with my sister in 1966 Their song set list
  •  Arlo Guthrie - who years later I saw twice in two successive years at the Spokane Opera House
  • The Teaset - Ma Belle Ami

Then there were my 60's divergences like:

Glenn Gould - Bach Piano Fugues - I haven't been able to find this listed anywhere.
Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor by Bach and other organ pieces
Walter (now Wendy) Carlos and the Well Tempered Synthesizer and Switched on Bach
Morton Subotnik's The Wild Bull (synthesizer)

I was lucky, in the 60s, my older brother left me his albums and went traveling cross country on his Triumph motorcycle. He had been a guitar player in a band he started and so had some musical inclinations, aside from playing trumpet in marching band in High School (and being voted "Dreamboat of the year" by the local Rainbow Girls).

And so I learned about some really great bands and albums I never would have heard about from my friends. Such as:

The Band's Music from Big Pink
Frank Zappa and the Mother's of Invention
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Ravi Shankar - Tablas and Rasas
Sandy Bull
Super Session - Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills
The Rolling Stones – 12 x 5
The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request 2000 Light Years From Home
The Kinks
Jimi Hendrix
The Byrds
Grateful Dead - who I eventually saw in Seattle at the Arena
The Grassroots - Let's Live For Today
Buffalo Springfield
Bob Dylan
Simon and Garfunkel
Jefferson Airplane
The Turtles
The Animals
Steppenwolf - Saw John Kay at the Seattle Colosseum

And about forty other albums. Its interesting that I used to know all these albums as they impacted my life since childhood, and now, today, I try to remember them, yet I hardly can.

Know what I mean?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seasonal Affect Disorder and tanning beds

I was wondering recently what tanning beds could do for our lack of sunlight, being I live in the Pacific Northwest and our amount of sunlight, well, it leaves much to be desired. This summer in particular, sunlight as been at a premium (this summer sucked). Its not that I have SAD, but I wondered what affect if any, was really prevalent in using a tanning bed as a replacement for the sunlight that we have been missing this year. I particularly liked this article from Health Guidance web site:

People suffering from seasonal affective disorder report feeling better after a visit at the tanning salon for a tanning bed session.

With the arrival of the cold season, besides cold-driven nuisance, some persons experience drawbacks regarding the general state, lack of energy and depression of unknown origin. It was scientifically ascertained that the lack of light favors the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, a hormone inducing sleep. That is why, during the cold seasons when days are shorter and the sunlight is scarce, we often feel sleepy or drowsy. Also, even during spring and summer, if the tendency is to keep most of the time indoors at home or at the office, the effect may be similar, though not as severe.

Well, if drowsiness were the only impact generated by season changes, things would be easier to solve (with a little coffee maybe!). The problem is that melatonin secretion is synchronized with the production of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is involved in several physiological processes such as temperature, blood-pressure regulation and in neuropsychological functions such as appetite, memory and mood. The two do not work together at the same time. When melatonin is secreted, serotonin production is inhibited. Lack of serotonin causes disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and reflects its effects on mood also, triggering depression in some persons.

Melatonin is active at night and serotonin is active in the daytime. Also, there is the age factor that contributes to the balance of the two chemicals: the secretion of melatonin decreases with age. There has been established that the link between serotonin and melatonin along with their dependence on the body clock may explain the depression experienced by the people suffering from the disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder - SAD. Depression, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, stress, headaches are some of the symptoms that may appear when we suffer from SAD.

The problem is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight. It has been scientifically proven that sunlight favors increase in serotonin levels and favors vitamin D accumulation. Besides having anti-osteoporotic, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antipsoriatic, antioxidant properties, vitamin D is also a mood-modulator.

UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That is why persons who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being. However, it is common knowledge that the effects of the UV exposure are not always the most desirable ones. If going to tanning salons becomes a habit, then recurrent, prolonged UV exposure may result in consequences such as premature skin aging and eventually skin cancer.

Light therapy represents a way to treat SAD. Light operates on the body in two ways: through skin impact or by entering your eyes. Only UV light has effects on the skin, while the light that has effects by entering your eyes needs not be UV, it just has to be bright. Its energizing effect comes from the fact that it stimulates the production of serotonin. The simplest way to get enough bright light is to spend an hour a day or more outdoors, where the light levels range from 1,000 to 50,000 lux or more, compared to room lighting, which is about 50-200 lux.

If your schedule or the weather does not permit it, an alternative is to purchase a light therapy device. For optimum effects, the light source either has to be very bright - 5,000 lux or more - or it has to be in a particular spectrum - around 460 nanometers, which is in the blue range. According to new research, blue range light will provide benefits even if at a dimmer level. Most companies producing light bulbs make full spectrum lights that may successfully replace sunlight.

Yet, there are side effects that bright artificial light may induce, namely it may interfere with sleep (especially when exposure is made in the evening hours) or even trigger in some people a mania - condition called bipolar disorder (known as manic depression).

The safest remains the natural outdoor light, on condition that UV protection is used.

Have a pint in Dublin and a pint is Guinness

"Actually, I'm a drinker with writing problems." - Brendan Behan

"In Dublin, you're never more than twenty paces from a Pub." - old Dublin saying.

I am half Irish and have always felt a strong tendency toward that side of my self. Once I have some extra fundings, I'm going to Ireland to finally have myself a pulled fresh pint of Guinness.

There is a strong literary tie in Ireland between pubs and literature and poetry.
This may be due to a not infrequent situation finding publishers, printers and pubs all being housed in the same building; as well as book sales taking place at or near these pubs. Almost all the Dublin pubs have some connection to famous literary types of the past with their photos or drawings residing now in these establishments.

Look for grand music, tasty pub grub (the food, which has gotten better and better over the years with the revolution in culinary popularity), and obviously, the drink.

The Brazen Head Pub
Must see, its the oldest Pub in Dublin at one time tallest building there.
Dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head is Ireland's oldest pub. When you consider that licensing laws only came into effect in 1635, this pub has been serving alcohol before official licensing laws were even enacted. A short walk from Christchurch Cathedral and The Guinness Brewery, The Brazen Head is well worth a visit for both its historic value and reputation as one of Dublin's best Irish music venues.

John Mulligen's Pub
No food, wine and ale, but John F Kennedy and James Joyce used to drink there. The perfect pint of Guinness is achieved by pulling a pint of Guinness 3/4 full and let sit, then the rest and let sit. Originally John Mulligen had banned all chairs because when real men drink they do it standing up.

John Kavanagh's Pub (The Gravedigger's Bar)
Just outside a famous cemetery with now 1.5 million buried.
The gravediggers, not being allowed in the bar, would knock on the wall and the owner, knowing who and what they drank by that knocking, would retrieve them a pint, take it outside and pass it through the rods of the fence in the Cemetery adjacent to the pub. During WWII, there was a shortage of glass, so the gravediggers would take an earthenware jam jar, and get a dink at the pub and so from that pub came the known phrase, "going for a jar".

The Palace Bar
This is within the Temple Bar area, once a Viking settlement, it is another worthy establishment to visit.

The Palace has had strong connections with writers and journalists for many a decade. Its unspoiled frosted glass and mahogany are impressive enough but the special feature is the famous sky-lighted snug, which is really more of a back room.

Many would cite The Palace as their favorite Dublin pub

The Dublin's Writer's Museum
Definitely a place to visit both before and after visiting the local pubs.

ONeill's Pub
With its several bars has good food and excellent pints of Guinness and others.
Located in the historic heart of Dublin, just minutes from Trinity College and Grafton Street, is O'Neill's pub, the perfect place for a quiet pint or the lively welcome this city is famous for. You'll always be sure of a friendly welcome here. O’Neill’s has existed as a licensed premises for 300 years and is renowned for its ageless character, numerous alcoves, snugs, nooks and crannies.

Doheny & Nesbitt's Pub (D&N)
Famous for those public servants who talk politics and such

The Long Haul Pub
Women not allowed drinking in pubs, there was once a long hall surrounding the bar where they could be served, up until about 1951. Not your standard pub with the declaration of independence and some blurry b/w-pictures hanging on the walls, but a refined and polished example of an Victorian pub in the middle of Dublin.

Jameson's Irish Whiskey
The Old Jameson Distillery has a lovely tour and sampling after.

John Kehoe Pub
Kehoe's also sold groceries so it was called a "Spirit Grocery". They still have womens' cubicles where ladies could drink their sherry, sometimes, a whiskey, but not respectable to have a pint of Guinness, though sometimes they might have a smaller glass.

The bar is decorated in the style of an old Dublin pub, with stylish wood fittings, a very narrow bar and an intimate snug at the front and a bigger snug at the back. When the owner John Kehoe died a few years ago, the bar was sold for 2.3 million punts. The new owners opened up the musty interior upstairs where Kehoe used to live, with a bar and a little parlor with comfortable seating.

Thomas Davis, Poet and Politician said, "No enemy speaks lightly of Irish music. No friend need fear to boast of it."

The Stag's Head Pub
Built in 1770, overhauled in 1895, rich red warmly colored panelings. It was the late Frank McCourt's favorite pub in his Trinity College days.

Though a tavern has existed on this site since the 1780’s, this premises first attained great fame in the 1830’s as ‘John Bull’s Albion Hotel and Tavern’. This was one of the most sought after premises of the age in close proximity to ‘Dublin’s Theatreland’ and the fashionable stores of Dame Street and College Green. A popular music hall business was developed on the site, a trend continued by proprietors Alica and Henry Murphy during the 1840’s. William Wormington succeeded them here in the 1860’s and James Kennedy took the reins in the 1880’s.

Toner's Pub
Another Spirit Grocer pub. It feels very much like a rural pub from ages ago.

Situated on Baggot Street at the corner of Roger’s Lane which is named after the first owner Andrew Rogers in 1818. The pub is currently named after James Toner who the was licensee in 1923. He developed the pub as a bar and grocery shop. Toner’s is one of Dublin’s oldest and most famous traditional pubs.

The interior contributes much to a lively and friendly atmosphere. Old stock drawers still remain behind the bar with some wares displayed in glass cases to the left and right of the door. The decor and flagged floor will take you back in time.

Frequented throughout time by some of Ireland’s literary greats, including Kavanagh and Yeats. It is rumored that Toner’s was the only pub that W.B. Yeats drank in. He was known to sip a sherry and leave.

McDaids Harry Street Pub
Was once the local Morgue, explains its high ceilings.
McDaid's played a part in Dublin's literary history as the local of playwright and novelist, Brendan Behan. McDaid's became the center of a new generation of writers in the 1940s and 1950s who met in pubs in reaction to the quaint lives of older Irish writers. McDaid's has a distinctive Victorian exterior and when you step inside you find an old style bar with a high ceiling and a smattering of chairs and tables. The dimly lit bar has all the atmosphere of a classic Irish boozer, a secretive shrine to the art of convivial conversation and the latest gossip.

The Old Stand Pub
If you ask any Dubliner to name some of the heritage of Dublin's great pubs, one name which you will undoubtedly hear is "The Old Stand" on Exchequer Street, at the junction of St.Andrew Street. The name "Old Stand" gives us a clue to its closest sporting identity - the game of rugby; in fact the name was derived from a now demolished rugby stand at Lansdowne Road.

Neary's Pub
In 1916, a rebel stronghold. A hangout for theatre people, as well as writers. Sophisticated atmosphere, luxurious, comfortable.
Unspoiled Edwardian pub off Grafton Street has been in the present ownership for over half a century and is is popular at all times of day

O'Donoghue's Pub
In 1934 Paddy and Maureen O’Donoghue began running the bar It was during this time the Pub is became famous for the nightly traditional Irish music sessions and was where the popular and famous Irish folk group, the Dubliners formed their band. Many other notable Irish musicians from The Fureys to, Seamus Ennis, Joe Heaney have played at O’Donoghue’s and their photographs line the walls from top to bottom.

Now, I want a pint myself....

Information taken from various sources, many the pub's own web site and from "The Historic Pubs of Ireland", hosted by Frank McCourt who wrote "Angela's Ashes", the book that won several awards, including the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award (Biography) and the 1997 Boeke Prize.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ever Mysterious Tartar

I was wondering about this today, so I looked it up. Just what is tartar sauce and where did that word, "tartar" come from? I liked the explanation I found so much that I'm reposting it here:

"Okay, let's talk tartar. Or tartare. Or both. Steak tartare, as it is known today in its French appellation, was not always the, uh, gourmet meal of raw minced beefsteak mixed with egg and seasoning that it is now. As we can see in "Panetti's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things," this dish has its origin as a culinary practice popular in medieval times among warring Mongolian and Turkic tribes known as Tartars.

These violent fellows derived their name from the infernal abyss of Greek mythology, Tartarus. Their meal was low-quality, tough meat from Asian cattle grazing on the Russian steppe, shredded to make it more palatable and digestible. It was introduced into Germany sometime around the dawn of the 14th century, where it was prepared either raw or cooked. In fact, you get bonus points of you can guess what folks in the seaport town of Hamburg started calling it.

Tartar sauce, or as the French refer to it, sauce tartare, consists of mayonnaise, mustard, chives, chopped gherkins, and tarragon, according to C. Owen's "Choice Cooking," circa 1889. In French, it is loosely translated as 'rough,' as the Tartars were considered rough, violent, and savage. It is commonly served with fish. Yum yum.

Taken from the Straight Dope web site: "Staff Reports are written by the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board, Cecil's online auxiliary. Though the SDSAB does its best, these columns are edited by Ed Zotti, not Cecil, so accuracywise you'd better keep your fingers crossed. "

Richard Bach quotes

This morning, a friend posted this on Facebook, she was quoting Richard Bach who wrote, among other books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a great story and fun movie and very good audio story told by the late British actor, Richard Harris:

‎"Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't." - Richard Bach

Great quote. He always has great quotes. But, I had to respond:

You're quoting a seagull?
You didn't think Bach wrote that story did you? The one about the bird?

He got that from a seagull that landed on his window sill one morning. Ripped the poor bird off completely, he did. In point of fact, the birds name was Jack, not Jonathan.

Dick told me all this, during one of his drunken debaucheries. He's very good at debauchering, you know. One of his favorite sayings, he'll call up on a Friday night and say,

"Hey, want to go do some smokin', drinkin' and debauchin' tonight?"

Do NOT go to a dance club with the man. Though he does look good for his age.

But, he always has a Flock of Seagulls following him around looking vindictive; and oh, the hair!

Monday, September 27, 2010

William James

In many ways, this is one of my most important Blog articles. If more people were to read this particular blog item, their lives and those of most of the world, would suddenly take a leap through time of enhanced living. At very least, if authors paid attention to this, especially, religious authors, their writing would do more good to more people than any religious tome preceding them.

William James, distrusted systems. One action, is a system, a simple system. Once it joins with another action/system, it triples in its complications; or more, but it doesn't just double in implications. Once it joins with a third system....

Trusting systems is all of useful, productive... and yet dangerous.

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a medical doctor. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism. He was the brother of novelist Henry James and of diarist Alice James.

"James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godson William James Sidis, as well as Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud.

"During his Harvard years, James joined in philosophical discussions with Charles Peirce, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Chauncey Wright that evolved into a lively group known as The Metaphysical Club in 1872. Louis Menand speculates that the Club provided a foundation for American intellectual thought for decades to come." [Wikipedia]

Below I have included some quotes of James, that I think are particularly interesting and useful, particularly in the endeavor of writing, not to mention, in scientific thought. They are in no particular order, as I will allow you that gracious and humbling activity within your own mind.

"Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results."

"A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain."

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

"A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him."

"Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune."

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."

"Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action."

"The 'I think' which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the 'I breathe' which actually does accompany them."

"The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one."

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook."

"The essence of genius is to know what to overlook."

"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought
over another."

"The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck."

"The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds."

"There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self."

"There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision."

"These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact."

"We don't laugh because we're happy - we're happy because we laugh."

"Those thoughts are truth which guide us to beneficial interaction with sensible particulars as they occur, whether they copy these in advance or not."
[exactly what the Hell does this mean?]

"To be conscious means not simply to be, but to be reported, known, to have awareness of one's being added to that being."

"To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal."

"Truth is what works."
[I believe by this, he means not simply that anything that works, is Truth. Rather that between two concepts, where one is faulty but supported by organized thought, and one is not faulty, then the one that is not faulty, the one that actually, "works", between those two, is the more reasonable choice, and thereby, Truth. As example, in the endeavor between religious or magical thought and scientific thought, when one points out what works, where it is "real" and verifiable, then it simply makes a better systemic choice than one that doesn't work as well (or at all), although it is based upon "faith", emotion, mythic beliefs, popular thought, or determined egoistic interpretation.]

"If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system."
[I believe that many of our modern society today, are living on another planet than the one I currently reside upon.]

‎"An act has no ethical quality whatever unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible."

"Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not."
[I wish I had read this years ago]

"We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood."

"We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be."

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice."

"Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude."

"Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings."

Quotes from Brainy Quotes

Should I follow my head? Or my heart?

I've often considered, should one follow one's head or one's heart?

I've been saying for decades that I follow my heart but use my head as a guide. I always thought that was so clever, and useful.

But honestly, it hasn't worked out that well in many ways.

On the other hand, I'd only know if I could compare how things would have been otherwise, maybe they'd have been worse? Perhaps if I had followed my head, and used my heart as the guide, things would be better.

But again, perhaps, they'd be worse?

On the third hand, perhaps you can see from this posting, what the problem is. :)

On the fourth hand, I could just be making this all up. Maybe the problem is I need someone with two extra hands.

Perhaps, THAT is the problem.
Or, maybe there IS no problem.

Maybe this is just one of my psycho characters talking here....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

"Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I may not forget you."
--William Arthur Ward

Friday, September 24, 2010

Learning the craft - writing, film, etc.

Lately, I've been watching YouTube videos.

I started out of people sending me the most hilarious stuff. The humor lead to music, the music to individual players, that to how to videos, mostly blues guitar work. That lead to running into some documentary type footage, mostly raw footage of famous people from my past. That lead to actual documentary footage. Mostly in this case, of one shots of famous people being interviewed. Like the AFI documents.

This started with my watching all the videos I could find on speculative fiction writer, Harlan Ellison. He was a hero of mind as a child, reading his works, seeing things he'd worked on in TV shows.

That lead more recently to my discovering a set of Rod Serling videos, his talking to students. ROD SERLING!

This week, I discovered the AFI videos of Mike Douglas, Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, William Shatner. I watched these because they were immediately available. But I plan to look into others now.

Just go to YouTube and type whomever you like, in the search field, then search through the available videos on them. Look for those that have parts, 1, 2, 3, etc.

This are fascinating video documents. They give a history of Hollywood, or writing, or whatever you are interested in basically.

We need to learn constantly. If you want to be a writer, a filmmaker, whatever, you need to learn on your own. School is good, its great; on the job work, is greater; but you always have to take it upon yourself to continue your studies, where ever you can find them. On the internet, in a book, on TV, in a coffeeshop. Anywhere. Everywhere.

My grandmother once told me to always surround yourself with intelligent, notable people and you will become notable yourself, in one away or another, depending on what it is you want out of life. This has always been good advice to me, and I pass it on to you. Whatever you want to be, find those people, and "Be" with them, as much as is reasonable (don't be a stalker).

So if you find yourself watching silly, or entertaining videos on YouTube, try educating yourself a little. Track down some videos of your own heroes. You might learn something useful.

Seattle Benefits From Growth In Global Health

With all the Health Care issues floating around the country, and the world, its nice to hear something positive. I worked at a large health insurance company for years. Hearing all this the past few years has been uplifting and depressing. Uplifting because, we need health care reform in the US. Depressing because I've seen many people lose their jobs to cost cutting efforts. But I've been lucky that all my life, I have had, or chosen to have, jobs that allowed me to remain after most people have been let go.

Still its nice to hear something going well, locally.

"The latest growth industry and job-machine in Seattle is the field of global health. Non-profit groups are fueling a mini building-boom downtown, and they're hiring. The Gates Foundation presence is a major reason. But some locals are hand-wringing that it's unseemly to even call it an industry when local jobs are based on Third World despair." -- NPR

Listen to the article (below). As for the statement above, I think regardless, if there are people benefiting health-wise, is there really downside here?

NPR article

Sirius XM Satelite Radio stock finally making headway

Sirius and XM radio was the golden child for a while a few years ago. An 18 month delay in the Government giving their blessing to a merger between the two caused the stock to plummet, it was one of the longest waits in history for this sanction to be given. That makes one wonder, just what was going on behind the scenes there. Who was the hold up. Essentially, it was one person on the judicatory board. Something, seemed very strange there. This delay nearly killed the company in this new area.

But the strength of their technology, and the love some people have for this format, has not only kept them afloat, but they are making a comeback, regardless of any attempts to keep them down. There is also the possibility that they will branch out into other technologies in before unforeseen areas, leading to them being a market leader, or the only market leader in an area perhaps not yet understood or realized. Keep your eyes open.

This stock, went from over $5 a share to last year's nineteen cents a share. It is just now at $1.18 a share.

"SIRI ended second quarter 2010 with a record-high 19,527,448 subscribers, an increase of more than 1.1 million subscribers compared to the end of second quarter 2009. Net subscriber additions of 583,249 in the second quarter of 2010 improved significantly from a net loss of 185,999 subscribers in the second quarter of 2009."

To read the entire report visit:

Tom Waits - early talk show videos

I've made no secret anywhere that I am a big Tom Waits fan.

Here is a unique perspective on him, from an interview he did in Australia in 1979 and some others.


part 1
part 2

Several years later on the same show.

The Mike Douglas show (1976) performing, Eggs and Sausages

With Martin Mull and Fred Willard on Norman Lear's, Fernwood Tonight (1977) performing, "The Piano has been drinking"

Tom on Letterman doing Swordfish Trombone's (1983) Frank's Wild Years

I'll end with an interesting web site talking about Tom's works,
. Not the best reviews, not the worst, but with some interesting comments, nonetheless.

Let's not forget

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Extending The Law Of War - Cyberspace

For some years, I was involved in a group in Seattle that pulled both computer security experts together with National and International Law Enforcement. We got together quarterly to talk about computer security and computer related crime. We had regular attendees by top security people from many top companies and Seattle has some top companies related to computers.

We also regularly had the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, NSA, Military, local police, Canadian Law Enforcement, Australian and others. Universities, especially, the University of Washington computer department has been involved. Government officials included briefings from the President's Committee for the Infrastructure, NSA, and so on. It was a dynamic, fascinating group lead by a dynamic, fascinating guy. Richard Clark, among other well known individuals, attended and spoke. This may sound like a group to some to make one paranoid. But I assure you, this group has been a good and necessary thing and much good, more, than otherwise, has come from it.

One day, during a meeting that typically lasts for the first half of the day, several suits stood up and apologized as they had to leave, since the Vice President (of the US) was arriving in Seattle and they had to go join the Secret Service detail in protecting him. That next day, I had the opportunity to shake the Vice President's hand as I was walking off the Ferry to Seattle (and nearly got jumped by the Secret service; don't, reach to your inside pocket as you approach the President, or Vice President, even if its just to put away a paperback book you are reading; and yes, I later realized just how stupid that was).

This group still goes on, and much has been done due to the existence of this group over the years, to help with the concepts in the US and abroad related to cybercrime and cyberwarefare. For instance, they helped set up a computer crime lab in Seattle, which became a model for others.

One of the things we discussed and worked to consider and apply direction to was in the area of cyberwarfare. Back when it was first brought up in the late 90s, it was little thought of by the government and the FBI had no real computer forensic department. So its good that this has gone international and thus, the NPR article today on an international treaty related to cyberattack is in the works. From the NPR article today:

"It may come as a surprise to some war victims, but there actually is a body of international law that establishes when and how nations can legally engage in armed conflict.

"Thanks to various treaties, the United Nations Charter, and the Hague and Geneva Conventions, we are able to draw official distinctions between victims and aggressors, and we have guidelines that, when honored, provide some protection to civilians. Professional militaries train with the rules of war in mind, recognizing that abiding by them works to their benefit as much as to the enemy's.

"A direct attack on a civilian infrastructure that caused damage, even loss of life of civilians, would, I think, be a war crime," Ryan says." - NPR

It would seem that its now internationally being considered that if and when, cyberespionage, turns into cyberattack, it is to be considered an act of war, and under certain circumstances, against international treaty. And that, is a good thing to agree upon.

NPR article on cyberwarfare and international law

A couple of other interesting articles:

US Appoints first CyberWarfare General

new Defense Department cyber command (2009). Interesting here to me, was that the Air Force announced that its cyber command, the 24th Air Force, would be based at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, according to Defense Systems. I was stationed there the last half of the 70s. That is a great base for this to be, well, based at.

U.S. cyberwarfare command Better late than never"

Kelly Mcgillis

Okay, so, color me surprised.

I enjoyed Top Gun when it came out. Saw it with my roommate, Mark. We saw it on a special night when our girlfriends weren't around. I remember it reminded me of when I saw American Graffiti. As we left the parking lot in our cars, people were peeling out, taking off with gusto. I guess, they had a "need for speed."

We enjoyed the film at the time. Though we could have done without the volley ball scene, though it was a stroke of genius if we had needed to bring dates.

She seduced Tom Cruise in 1986 on Top Gun, but now Kelly McGillis has finally found her own Top Gun. But, its a woman. No. I didn't see that one coming. I certainly wish her the best, however, its just that it was a bit of a surprise, her film history all considered. Then again, I haven't seen her in much since Top Gun.

New York Times reports the actress wed her longtime girlfriend Melanie Leis in a civil union on Wednesday in New Jersey.

So, congratulations to Kelly and the best of luck to her and her mate.

Read more:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The common cold?

The common cold. This is a topic relevant to all of us as we move into the Fall season. Every year in the US, 100 million times a year, people visit doctors about this malady.
Jennifer Ackerman has a new book on the topic and was interviewed by Fresh Air, NPR.

There are close to 200 virus' that cause the common cold. Rhino virus being the most common. This begins about seventeen days after kids start school in the new school season. Then they bring it home, it goes to work and all over from there. The body makes a bunch of inflammatory agents that give us the symptoms of a cold.

Colds are not caused by cold, but by viruses. There was a suggestion however, that come from Jack Waltney who studied the cold for forty years: when your cold starts, take two, single ingredient drugs every twelve hours, until the symptoms are clear: non steroidal, like ibuprofen; then, antihistamine, like first gen., ones as in benadryl, or Chlor-Trimeton(not clariton or the newer drugs). It helps relieve build up of nasal fluid which can give you a secondary infection. Salt gargle is also good and helps you to feel better while you heal.

Have a happy, healthy cold season! A few things to consider:

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
  • Vitamin C is good but typically most if you work in very cold environments, or are an extreme athlete; take 200 mg.s of C and you can cut your cold in incidences by half.
  • Zinc lozenges, nope, can even kill your sense of smell.
  • Echenesia, maybe, maybe not, but typically you find little or none in a brand.
  • Airborne branded homeo pathic product created by a teacher; however, it doesn't appear to work better than taking vitamins, maybe, the vitamin C in it helps some, but its overpriced if that's the case.
  • Chicken soup, well, there were some anti-inflammatory actions in the lab.

NPR Article

Something weird?

I spoke with a friend from my past today. We hadn't talked in a couple of years so we spoke for over an hour until his phone battery was giving out. During that call, he had pointed out that back when we had worked together at Seattle's Mercer Street, Tower Video store, after Jeff Ament had left to eventually help found superband, Pearl Jam, he knew a guy who had said he was starting a video company.

Now, years later, this company is not only doing well, its serving up some of the lost classics of the last decades back to the 1930's. If you are interested in Americana, especially the exploitation films, you definitely have to check these guys out.

From the web site:

"In 1990 (roughly), we started Something Weird Video with the idea of releasing films that had never been on video. In my mind, the last great genre to be scavenged were the exploitation/sexploitation films of the 30's through the 70's. After looking into this further, I realized that there were nearly 2,000 movies out there yet to be discovered."

So, if you're curious, check it out:
Something Weird Video

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lady Gaga for congress?

I haven't known what to say about Lady Gaga. But her music, pop though it may be, is infectious, I admit. I watched a bunch of videos of her online yesterday, trying to form an opinion and I have to say, I'm impressed with her. She is talented, and she's earned her way. She is far more talented than I had realized. Just listen to her piano.

Lady Gaga appeared at a Monday rally in Portland, Maine to speak out against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevents openly gay people serving in the U.S. military. “I’m here because ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ is wrong, it’s unjust and fundamentally it is against all that we stand for as Americans,” she said during her 20-minute speech. []

She said in her Portland, Maine speech today, that she is gay. News to me and it doesn't matter in the least. She said she thinks that the "don't ask don't tell" rule is backward. Like so much of our laws and government, she is correct. She saod she would like to propose a new law, that the soldier who has a problem with a gay person, who's effectiveness in the field is compromised because they hate gays, who are uncomfortable with gays in gernal, should simply, Go Home. Not to mention, what, are they living in a cave somewhere?

Gaga has a point, our fighting soldiers, are tough bastards. They shouldn't be bothered by, females in the field, by gays in the field; and if they are, they should toughen up some more. She has a point, when she asks, who are our soldiers fighting for. All of us? Or just some of us?

Lady Gaga can state her position far more fluidly than I can here, so watch the video and see what you think. She said she wrote it herself. I don't doubt it. After all, she's NOT running for government. If nothing else, I have to respect her attitude. Not to mention, I fully agree with her.

Watch it yourself:

Lady Gaga's speech from the #4for14k rally to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" today in Portland, Maine.

The Corporate Line

I received an email today, from a Vice President at a certain corporation, decrying the benefits of working from home, in order for the company to "go green" (that is, cut costs, even at the expense of the employee).

Now don't get me wrong, I have wanted to work remotely for a decade or two. I was a prime advocate of it even when it was against my best interests to speak out about it. I supplied any and all, information, web sites, whatever I could come up with in the way of solid data indicating why it should be done, or allowed, by corporations.

In the past, have even published articles in computer magazines on topics like how employers should allow internet usage and how they should handle it. But then, I once (back in the 80s) thought that all information should be free, and the internet should remain free. For the most part, its worked out, not too bad, different than how I originally conceived it, although, we still have issues that we really do need to stay on top of. Like internet bandwidth. If we're not careful, networks, cable and phone companies, are going to screw the public and make them pay for it on top of it all.

But back to the current issue....

I have to tell you,
aside from the quite obvious fact that I fully agree with this corporate email
(and then some),
after all these years of my having said these same exact things
(and much more to support my contentions)
and having then been told by management
(though a bit less in recent years)
that I was either crazy or living in a dream world
(or both),
its really more than a little strange, for me to now see this way of thinking being touted as
the “party line” and the “corporate point of view”.

Its also kind of fun to read between the lines,
[“Let’s not forget another real and practical factor: traffic”]
where it is now the company who is trying to convince the employees that
this is, “a good thing” and people should try to get behind it all.

OMG, that is just too funny, really!
[Hey! Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad its finally been visualized on a real level of understanding]

So…I’m going to take this moment to finally declare, after having led the charge for so long, once and for all, its:


Carpe Diem!

Next Blog today at Noon: "Lady Gaga for Congress?"

Monday, September 20, 2010

One night in 1975 at a UW Frat house

It was 1975, with winter approaching.

I had found a couple of guys from High School. I no longer remember where I ran into them. But they had told me, they were in fraternity (who shall remain anonymous) at the UW.

We were drinking and we were finding we were friends. Throughout High School, as I remember it, people saw me as a likable guy, but not much of a brain, maybe a lower class type of guy. Yes, my parents had struggled. But I don't know, I was on the fringe, in one way or another, of just about every clique int he school. Everybody knew me or had an opinion about me, it would seem.

That night, when I ran into these guys, they talked me into two things. Taking my SATs at the UW, and pledging at the fraternity, if I got accepted. I wonder what has happened to them over the years? I really have to wonder, what would have happened to me, had I joined in with them?

Well, at least, I tried.

It sounded, fabulous: every Frat had a sister Sorority. What a deal. Look it up. But aside from the girls, the guys helped you graduate, pass tests, and so on. That was a selling point, to a not great student. I had graduated High School, but it wasn't with straight A's.

So, I decided to go. I was out of High School, working at United/Reliance Insurance, in Tacoma. When I started, they were United Insurance. But then they got bought up by Reliance Insurance of Philadelphia (now in liquidation). Employees were horrified that we were being absorbed, and I've had bad experiences with that kind of thing ever since.

But I could see my life going no where at the time. So I considered what my friends were telling me. It was funny and strange, because as I remember it, I was friendly with these two guys, but had never really seen them as my "friends"; though I had always liked them. Now, that we were out of HS, we were apparently, friends. Cool.

Anyway, they set it up for me. I was to go to the University of Washington (UW), that December. I could stay at the Frat. No one would be there, except a few, but I was welcomed to come, sleep over night, then take the SATs the next day. If they were good, if I had the money (if my parents had the money), then I was in. As they were both legacies (they both had older brothers who had been in the fraternity and had graduated several years before); well, basically, I was in.

The date came to be. I drove up in my car, taking a couple of days off in the middle of the cold season. I remember walking through the "U district", the part of Settle nearest to the University. I drove up, excited, found the frat, pulled in, parked. I walked up to the door of this massive house on "frat row". This was a big house. I went in. No one around. So, I walked around. I checked out the kitchen, huge. Finally, I ran into someone who questioned who I was and what I was doing there. I explained, he recognized the names and I was in, and accepted and he gave me a tour.

There was of course, the huge kitchen, there was the living room, there was the party room, a front room with a kind of stage area. They had their own band. Enough of the members were musicians that they actually had the only professional, nine piece band that played local bars and other frats for parties and money. But any time they wanted a party, they had their own professional level party band.

There was the "tap" room, where it was basically a small bar where they could tap a keg and serve free beer to the fraternity brothers, regardless of age. There was the "rec" room, where they had a couple of pool tables, a Foosball table, and several vending machines; one of which, was a pop machine, that dispensed only beer, for twenty-five cents. A quarter, a beer. No validation of age. I was in heaven. In the basement, there was a full sized swimming pool. I was amazed. Blown away. I so wanted to join! I still have photos I took of the frat that day.

He finally left me after having explained that, that night, when I wanted to sleep, I only had to hit the rooms central to the house, above the main floor, where there were multiple bunk beds in each of several of these rooms. There were two frat brothers to a room but no one slept in their rooms, they slept in the common sleeping rooms; mostly they studied and entertained, in their individual rooms.

So that night, I got a bunk. That was where I was, when around 7:30PM, someone entered the room looking for someone; there were maybe, ten bunk beds in the room, with maybe one or two others present. The guy that came in, saw me, didn't recognize me, and asked me if I was the one visiting, that he had been told about. I answered in the affirmative.

He said, "Welcome. I'm the Frat Treasurer. Would you like to join me and the President (of the frat) in his room, for a while?" I was beside myself. Of course! So, he said, "Follow me." We walked around until finally, we entered a corner room on the northeast side. I was introduced to the President of the Frat. He said that few were there over the holiday, but they were the only officers still there with no reason to go home. I thought, "How sad." But how cool they were here. We sat on the rug in the small room with the lights low.

Then they said, would you like to smoke? Anxious to please, I said, "oh sure." They put on Simon and Garfunkel's album, "Bridge over Troubled Water". They lit a joint. We sat there, smoking, listening to this classic album and... smoking. I cannot think of a more classic moment for that time period than this. We sat up late and talked and smoked and listened to albums.

I do not remember any other albums and maybe there were no others as I didn't spend a lot of time with them. I cut it short. I felt...inadequate, in their presence. And after all I had to take my SATs the next morning. But I was impressed at their acceptance; especially of me, someone who had so been on the fringe all through school.

The next day, I took my SATs. In a big auditorium. Many other kids. I don't know where they came from. Maybe they were like me. All spending marvelous nights at fraternities and sororities. Stunned at their good luck and impressive experiences.

After the test, I walked back to the Frat house. I wondered through and then, got in my car and drove off. So then, I finally, reluctantly, drove away.

I do now, remember that when I got there, someone told me I had to move my car out of the driveway, to find a legal place for it on the street. Parking, always, there, is at a premium.

When I got back to my parents' house, I begged them to send me to the UW. I had moved out before this, but then back in, due to a nightmare Jewish lady landlord who complained whenever I tiptoed through my living-room, and thus, was thundering over her living-room ceiling. She would also go through my things when I wasn't home. Just a tad illegal.

About the UW, my mother had told me, no luck. Sorry. We simply do not have any money to send you to a university and certainly not, some Fraternity.

I was crushed. But then a week or so later, I received my SAT results. I certainly wasn't the highest rated tested. Actually, I didn't do too bad, just not so hot on math. The official notification said, I also was lacking a year of foreign language and a half a year of science, like biology.

So, someone told me to petition back saying, I would take these classes on the side somehow. They responded saying, sorry, but no. We are turning down students now, with all the required classes, and, they are 4.0 students from all over the world. Which, I was not. A 4.0 student, that is.

I tried Tacoma Community College for a quarter, dropped out, because I thought I was failing and I was moving to Phoenix with my brother. I found I was acing my criminal evidence for police class and my sociology class. Oh well.

So, that ended my experience at going to University, until I graduated from the school of USAF in my twenties. That proved to me, that one way or another, I could make it through post high school studies.

Eventually I joined the Air Force. Four years of that nightmare, and I got out. A year of wandering and I started back at community college. Then, not knowing what to do next, but following my super smart girlfriend, I applied at all universities in Washington state (only the State universities, as I knew I could afford the private ones, and the same was true for her). First however, I actually drove to all the State Universities. I checked out their campuses.

In the end, I did fall in love with Bellingham's, Western Washington University. Beautiful campus, lovely region, and a different kind of Psychology department than the biggest campus, the UW, had. We weren't counting rats in cages, we were studying human relations to the Universe. Strangely enough, they accepted me. They weren't the only ones, but for the second time in my life, the UW turned me down.

And so, I got my degree in the end, from "Western". And I'm very happy with it and what I learned there. Regardless, of the fact that as it turns out, I later ended up working for the UW for seven and a half years. I finally got to take some classes there too, as I was an employee. So finally they did, let me in.

Summing up, my moments at the UW Frat, was quite the incredible experience. To have been in the Frat, partying with the Frat Treas., and the Pres., listening to Simon & Garfunkle; it captured the essence of that era so well: memories, never to be forgotten.

Don't you think?

From Kids in the Hall, it’s Scott Thompson's pod cast

From my all time favorite comedy team, "Kids in the Hall", its Scott Thompson ("Tavie") with his podcast site.

Among other characters, Scott always played the flamboyantly gay, Buddy Cole, hilarious and lovable, who was always so caustic and so right so many times in his monologues on the Kids in the Hall show. I loved that show at the time because it was so much better than Saturday Night Live during that time, and both were produced by Loren Michaels.

Scott and producer Jeff Goodes talk to the caustic Malene Arpe, author of the Stargazing Column and Blog at The Toronto Star.

Do be aware though, Scott has been gay for quite some time, and is unabashedly open about it, in his beliefs and with his vocabulary. I find nothing he says as offensive, but some may, so just be aware, have an open mind, and laugh were appropriate (or even not).


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."
-- Aristotle

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where's Mike Rainey?

I graduated from Western Washington University in 1984.

Before the 1983-84 school year, maybe, as I attended, it was the summer session. Anyway, I was chosen for a small, special screenwriting class of eight people. I was the oddball, as I was a Psych major, they were all theater majors, actors, dancers, playwrights. Mike Rainey, Dave Scabina, Sean, Tami, my best guesses at their names from what I could remember.

I had been looking for them ever since. Not like I hired detectives, but when I'd think about it, I'd try to find them and never found who I thought might be them. How I could have missed them, I have no idea.

Since the internet has been available, I've been trying to find those guys or girls. I couldn't remember their names for years; I can't even remember everyone in the group; were there two girls? Seems like it, but I can't really remember (geez, that's pretty sad).

A couple of years ago, I found a few names (that I mentioned above). I searched on WWU website. Nothing. I've searched the internet, nothing. Just this minute, I thought, type in Mike Rainey Western Washington University.


I got a hit! I couldn't believe it at first.
Below, is the article.

But now, I'm a little stunned. Because I just read that Dave, had died, of AIDS. I really hate that damn thing, I've lost too many friends and cool people to it.

I'm putting this article here, so I can reference it later. I'd really like to find any of them; they were such a talented group. But I was most friends with Mike, Dave and Chris. They were sad when I graduated, before them. It broke up the team.

We had such a blast together that year, along with our instructor, Bob Schelonka. I've wanted to find them for years, to see if we could do something together art wise; but it was apparently not to be. Now Dave is gone. I don't know where Mike is. We created some fun scripts that year, we laughed hard, had a great time. I remember working on a script with I think, Dave and Chris, I can't now remember, sitting on my apartment living room floor in "Happy Valley", till my girlfriend Monica, finally threw everyone out.

Chris and I did the "Popsicle Death" script. Actually, Bob said, everyone write down a paragraph for a story. Okay, now shift it left to the person next to you. Now, take that paragraph and write a short script for next class (in two days). So I wrote what came to be the notorious, Popsicle Death, script. I'm currently putting it into a screenplay I'm writing, tentatively titled, "HearthTales" (soon to be at a theater near you!). So these guys had an impact upon my entire life really. Monica is no longer around my life, nor my two wives that came after her. But that class will be with me forever and the work from that class may still one day end up on screen.

Well, anyway, here's to that class(!) and the amazing things at least some of us, did after we graduated. Oh, and if you wonder at the difference between the spelling of "Theatre" and "Theater", as any drama major knows, real acting happens in a "Theatre", you go to see a movie at a "Theater". :)

For the first time ever on this blog, an image....

The “founding fathers” of Annex Theatre.
From left: Dave Skubinna, Micha Rice, Garrett Bennett,
Mike Rainey, Brian Finney, and John Lawler. (circa 1988)

[As an addendum, I think I may have actually (Finally) found Mike. On Facebook of all places. Even though, I've looked there for him many times. Geez. I "friended" him, and he accepted so I think its him, but no word from him yet. He probably accepted and then either was also stunned by my appearance out of no where, or he had to run errands, go to work, who knows. So I'm anxiously waiting to hear from him.]

Mike was at the Sacred Fools Theater, in L.A., for a while.

And so, here's the article that started all this, yesterday....


Annex Theatre turns “legal”
[Annex Theatre website]
Veteran fringe theatre faces challenges of young adulthood
[From: SGN article]

It’s unlikely the founders of Seattle’s Annex Theatre envisioned their scrappy little “fringe company” surviving into its third decade of operation. Frustrated by the lack of opportunity in the Seattle theatre scene in the mid 1980’s, they were simply looking to feed their creative impulses, and banded together more out of mutual self interest, than with any intent to create a cultural legacy.

Yet, that’s exactly what Annex’s “founding five”: Bainbridge High School grads Garrett Bennett, Micha Rice, John Lawler, and Dave Skubinna, along with Skubinna’s fellow Western Washington University Drama alum, Mike Rainey, created when they put on their first production, a pastiche of short plays titled “Midnight Snack”, at Bainbridge Performing Arts Storefront Theatre in 1986.

Now, more than 20 years later, their “little theatre that could” has amassed a body of artistic achievement that puts even Seattle’s major professional houses to shame: nearly 400 productions, including countless world, West Coast and regional premieres; working associations with some of the country’s most innovative playwrights, including Erik Ehn, Glen Berger, Naomi Iizuka, Jeffrey Jones, and Anne Washburn; and most importantly, the development of a sort of “graduate school” environment for a whole host of writers, actors, directors, designers, musicians, and scenic artists, an impressive number of whom have gone onto successful careers not only at the region’s more established theatre companies, but who include among their ranks nationally, even internationally recognized artists such as: Academy Award-nominee Paul Giamatti, L.A. Drama Critics Award-winner Jillian Armanante, former Empty Space Theatre Artistic Director Allison Narver, Seattle Town Hall Executive Director Wier Harmon, solo performer Lauren Weedman, and local playwright/composer Chris Jeffries, to name a few.

Much of Annex’s success lies in its flexibility and responsiveness to the needs and ambitions of its members. Built on a consensus-driven, “collective” management model, all the company’s members have a voice in selecting its management staff and artistic production. Not surprisingly, all of Annex’s founders have moved on (Skubinna succumbed to AIDS in 1994), but what is surprising is the relative ease with which it has continued to reinvent itself, through the tenures of six artistic directors, the participation of hundreds of individual artists, and despite vacating its long-time venue on Fourth Avenue, followed by four years of itinerancy, before finally achieving a soft-landing at Capitol Hill’s CHAC in 2005.

As it approaches its 21st birthday, however, Annex shows little sign of slumping into a complacent, self-satisfied middle-age. A new home brings an invigorating sense of purpose, along with a new generation of ambitious young artists who have been attracted by both the company’s history and reputation, as well as by the promise of future glory.

Art is always a risky business. And yet, while there are no guarantees, Annex Theatre seems to have found a formula for success that has elevated it to the level of a true cultural icon. The “little theatre that could” has proven it can, with polish and panache. And with hard work, savvy programming, and just a little bit of luck, Annex should be around for another 10, even 20 years, providing a creative outlet for young, talented artists who will continue to uphold its mission of “creating bold new work in an environment of improbability, resourcefulness and risk.”
The Annex - Production History
Courtesy of Annex Theatre (2007)

A Psychologist in the Theatre Department

At noon today, I'll talk about my search for my friends from screenwriting class at Western Washington University, from the early 80s. I've been looking for these people ever since. After college I went through a rough period, the most difficult in my life. When I started "paying attention" again, everyone had graduated and were out in the world and I never could find them. But this, is about how I met that group of seven (eight, if you include our instructor, Bob).

In my third year of college, I realized I had more credits than I needed. Because the VA was paying for college, I went summer quarters too. I was in the Air Force, went in Viet Nam Era, what they now call, for some reason, Post Viet Nam Era; but either way, I got full Viet Nam Era benefits. So, I decided with all those extra credits, I could go for a second major (I was a Psych Major). I thought maybe, writing, or Lit, but decided I would just get a Minor in Creative Writing. What the Hell. And so it is that officially, I have a Bachelor of Arts and Letters in Psychology, Awareness and Reasoning Division, and a Minor in Creative Writing.

My first class toward my Minor, was Fiction Writing. I wrote three short stories that quarter. We were each to write two. They we voted on two people to write an extra story each for Finals Day, as this class had no final. I was voted along with another person, a talented female writer. Mostly we had "house wife" types (They weren't married, it was more of an attitude), females writing bad romantic stories that made you want to leap from the window. But, everyone was very nice and it was a fun, if stressful (when it was your time), class.

We would have to write a story, submit it in copies. Then everyone got one and had to read it the night before class when it was your turn. That day, you'd read your story in class, then everyone would critique it, finally the Professor would and we went to the next person. You got the notes from everyone. My first story, was Andrew, about a boy who witnessed his parents death in a car accident and he became autistic. From there it got weird. I'm currently putting that story into an anthology of horror stories.

The class loved it. The Prof. hated it. For my second story, I told my girlfriend, Monica, whom I lived with (Monie, for short, Mon eee, not money, her mom was Monica, so she wasn't, just to keep them separate in conversations), that I was going to write a story the Prof. would love. So I did. Sarah, was the story, about an old woman with Alzheimer's. He was charmed. I had won him over. Then came time for the two extra stories on Final's Day. I was surprised and pleased I was one of those chosen. I had my grade by that time, so I told Monie, I was going to write a story that would spin his (The Prof.'s) head off. And I did.

He said, "I just don't know what to make of you, or your writings. You'll either do very well, or not very well at all." But he told me, that I didn't use dialog that well, or practically, at all, and so, he was sending me to the Theatre department for work in playwriting, because that, was all dialog and I would learn something. And so, I ended up in the Theatre Department.

And so...I showed up at the PAC at WWU campus with great anxiety and trepidation. We met in a small stage area downstairs. A few days into the class, I was there early, waiting in the main offices hallway, where the Professors have their offices. It was a busy day. There were students all over. I was standing there, watching some very strange happenings. I had to go to the rest room, so I headed in there, not a little concerned about what I might run into in there.

Sure enough, there was a guy at the mirror, talking to himself very passionately. I assumed he was practicing a speech, or some dialog or something. I went about my business, then back into the hallway. I sat on a bench. Another guy was there, as it turned out, it was Chris, whom I got to know well over that next year. We sat there, taking everything in. There were maybe ten students up and down the hall, doing their lines, reading their lines, whatever.

Then one guy, on my left, near the end of the hall, started saying: "I will take my power glove, and I will kill you." And he aimed it down the hallway. No one paid him any attention, except, one guy at the far end of the hallway who, reacted with his own fear and trepidation. The guy by me, aimed his fist at the guy down the hall and made sound effects as if he were shooting a power beam. I had to look at the other guy, as did Chris sitting next to me. The guy at the end of the hallway, reacted as if a power beam had indeed hit him, he flew up against the wall, in obvious pain, and started slipping down, muttering in pain and obvious dismay.

Chris turned and looked at me. We had spoken before and he knew I was from the Psych department, there to get a minor in writing. He smiled and said:

"So. We're pretty much the types you study about over in the Psych department, aren't we."

Not knowing what to say, and not really wanting to be rude, I said:

"Pretty much. But, I think, I like it!" Chris smiled. It was at that moment, that I felt a part of this department. My cousin Sheryl, had been into theatre in High School and her friends were great fun, though a little intimidating as they tended to be extroverts to my more introverted nature (which I've since kind of gotten over, mostly).

Eventually, my playwriting class turned into a special, year long screenwriting class I was chosen for, along with Chris who was sitting next to me, Mike who was shooting off his power glove, and the guy at the other end of the hallway. I'll talk about that at the noon blog today. All I can say, was that at that moment, sitting there with Chris, I was starting to wish I had been a theatre major.

Except, as was later exhibited in the playwriting class, I was a horrible actor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Middle East - Seriously, WTF?!

I was just listening to a piece on NPR about the Middle East.

What the Hell is wrong with these people and how can you not, if you lived there, if you were part of that culture, not want to go around killing those who are killing their own people. And don't give me that argument that then you are just like them. No kidding. Policy is all well and good, but once people start killing innocent people, its time to do and stop talking. Obviously, full frontal attacks have worked only so well.

Back in 2007, two hours west of Bagdad, in the Sunni dominated province west of Anbar, where a group of Sunni fighters called "The Awakening" along side the "surge" helped end heavy fighting in the province. But since then, security has deteriorated.

A man had his 21 year old son was killed by a bomb planted outside his parents' home and he has had to teach his wife how to use a AK-47. He says she has no choice but to defend herself.

I would, if I lived there, have to seriously consider, and probably would do it, join with others of a like mind, in a kind of French Underground. To seek out these killers, join their groups possibly, find who they were, and indiscriminately kill each and everyone of them that I could get to.

Secretly. Quietly, and having them run into as many "accidents" as possible.

Hearing about people killing people, angers me. Hearing people are killing their own people, esp., when they are too stupid or ignorant to even see these are their own people, really makes me mad.

What the Hell is wrong with these people?

I see it as a kind of mental illness that needs to be eradicated just like a band of rabid dogs. Regardless of their "religion", they have to think of their people, get their head out of (their ass) the fantasy clouds of religion, stop thinking about arcane, cartoon concepts, and start thinking about PEOPLE. People are those in front of them. Real people. Someone really needs to put this entire religious issue in its place. IF and WHEN religion leads to killing, its over. All bets should be called off.

Its obvious that people whose lives have sucked so much, have had to find beliefs so far detatched from reality, that some day we would undoubtedly have to have this situation.

I really think if I had lived there, all of my life, was a part of that culture, I would most likely start, or join, an underground movement, dedicated to going around killing ANY one who killed any of MY people. Its got to stop. And playing around, pussy footing around it, isn't going to stop it any time soon.

I'm just saying....

Wire in the Blood, one of my new favorite shows

As some of you may know, I recently caved in and joined Netflix. I've been delving into TV shows from my past and recent (Danger Man, The (original) Avengers (with Honor Blackman); more recent, Arrested Development, Better off Ted). One of those I've checked out, having never really heard about before, is, British thriller TV show, "Wire in the Blood." I've always been a fan of Medium, with Patricia Arquette, who I first noticed in my favorite movie (with Christian Slater), True Romance. "Wire" isn't Medium, but on the order, and more in the real world, so to speak. But its thoroughly entertaining and engrossing.

From IMDB, anonymous comment:
"The title "Wire in the Blood" is a phrase that comes from T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets": "The trilling wire in the blood / sings below inveterate scars / appeasing long-forgotten wars." As for the meaning, in an interview Robson Green said the phrase was taken to mean a genetic kink, something impure and unusual in the blood, that leads to the kind of psychosis Dr. Tony Hill might deal with. Series writer Val McDermid says: "Who knows what Eliot really meant by that line? Robson's explanation is as good as any. For myself, I've always taken it to be a metaphor for the thrill of adrenaline surging through the bloodstream. But we'll never know for sure".

Check it out, its just a great show.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Conquering Life - completion & perserverace

When I look back on my life, I realize there are a few things that I had done, consciously, and different from what many of my friends were doing when I was younger. When I now look back on these things, I realize how much they had helped me over the years. I was lucky enough that an older person passed this information on to me, making the suggestion that I follow this advice and it would serve me well.

Make a committed effort in life to be something - Don't just go through life haphazardly. Think what you are going to do; even if in a general sense. Don't just live life from day to day with never a care about tomorrow. Though that's okay, just don't think ahead at all; at very least, have a general understanding and agreement with yourself that you want this, or that, or plan on...SOME thing. Otherwise, ten years pass and nothing has changed. Then twenty years pass and suddenly, you are retiring and you have, nothing.

When you start something, complete it & do a good job - if you start, say, a collection of DVDs of all the episodes of a series, complete it. Make it a "thing" that you will eventually have all the episodes. Otherwise, you will end up with a series of DVDs, with none of them a full set of anything. This is the same in life. If you start something, try to finish it. If you start a book, don't start it unless you plan to finish it, and even if you don't like it, finish it. Perhaps read faster, read a minute here and a couple there; push through it, but finish it. If you build a habit in life like that, you will have more knowledge, more of a sense of completion, more of other people's respect for you. It will come back to do good things for you in life.

When you do something, choose the hardest way possible to get it done - in that way, you will learn the most you can from an effort. This is mostly important when you are young. As you pass into your 20's and 30's it becomes less important in my opinion. But let's say you are studying math. Learn the hardest way to do it. You will find that you get fast at it. You understand it better than those taking the easiest route. Later on, you may find that you are doing things related to that, faster and with more understanding than anyone around you. You are also building brainpower and mind muscle and flexibility. These are things that are incredible useful, time saving, powerful, and make people thinking highly of you. Also, when you need to take shortcuts, you will fly through them.

If you want something, then WANT it - everything in life I ever wanted, I believe I received within a few years. But it was the things I really wanted to my core, that I just said, I'm going to get this. I tried to work toward it, kept it in the back and sometimes the front of my mind. I was open and honest about it. Networking helps. Sometimes just telling people you want something, gets you that thing. Being good and helpful, makes people want to see you have what you want more often than not. Hanging with the right people helps. If you want to be a writer, don't hang out with a bunch of urban camper heroin addicts, though that can be fodder for the writer's block later on.

I even tested it this thoery. I picked a few things in my life that were kind of foolish to want, but were nothing any young man may decide to want to experience and sure enough, within a couple of years, I found myself sitting there in the situation I knew I could never achieve. When I think back on it, it happened time and time again. When I think of the things I didn't get, I realize, I hadn't wanted them all that bad, and sure enough, I didn't get them.

I also think its possible that the older you get, the longer it takes and the more reasonable you may have to be on these things, but still, nearly anything is possible. It does help though, to be reasonable with life, and life will be reasonable with you. If you want to be King of the Universe, well, it may take longer than you have years to be alive. If you want to be master of an ant hill, perhaps you should set your goals a bit higher.

These are only a few of these things. But if you take these up and run with them, you will start to recognize other things like this. By following these things, your life with go more smoothly and you will get farther, faster.

At first, doing things this way was time consuming, difficult, frustrating, but I took it as a challenge, because I decided I respected the person that told me about this, decided they were a good example to follow and that helped me keep this up when I was tired, bored, and didn't want to go any further down that path. But after a while, I stopped noticing I was doing things in these ways and got to not only enjoy them, but they became second nature to me.

After decades of this, I found I didn't really need to do things this way any longer, because I had advanced enough in life that it was no longer really necessary. But if and when I might have to do things in the harder ways, it wasn't such a struggle and I was better able to do it, than many around me.

A little effort in the beginning of things, can often save you a lot later on.

Heaven by way of Chocolate - International Chocolate Day 9/13

International Chocolate Day. It was on the 13th. Monday.

Explains what happened to that day for me. I've had better days, I tell you. And I completely missed it. That is a day one can Celebrate, live the life!

But no, no living the life for me this International Chocolate Day. I promise, next year, I won't forget.

Dying For Chocolate blog.

Of all the bad things in life we need to "never forgot" (Never forget the alamo! 9/11, etc., etc.); here's one we can simply enjoy not to forget.

Now I need to go get some chocolate....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cuba Government to fire 500,000 workers

"In an effort to pare state payrolls, Cuba has announced it will layoff 500,000 workers over the next year. Cuban leader Raul Castro last month warned layoffs would be coming and said Cuba would expand private enterprise."

What a bunch of fools this government has been. I applaud them for finally taking action, but why didn't they do this over past years to ease the burden instead of living a lie for so long? I'm sorry but it really annoys me, when governments, who are chartered, one way or another, to take care of their people, pull crap like this leaving the people in the lurch and saying only, "Oh, sorry guys."

Listen to the full article, in the article.

3 Stephen King films & a TV series, from "The Dark Tower" books?


[from Rich Goellnitz page on Facebook]

Universal announced today that it has acquired the rights to produce three films and an NBC series based on the seven novels, short stories and comic books from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of the TV show, which will be written by Akiva Goldsman (The Da Vinci Code).

“I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world,” said King, in a statement. “Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for the The Dark Tower series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in The Dark Tower that fans have come to love."

More than 30 million copies of The Dark Tower have been sold in 40 countries.

After the series of seven books was completed, a prequel of comic books based on one of the characters was also published.

“The worlds of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series are richly detailed, inter-locking and deeply connected,” said Goldsman in a statement. “By telling this story across media platforms and over multiple hours—and with a view to telling it completely—we have our best chance of translating Roland’s quest to reach The Dark Tower onto screen. We are proceeding with tremendous excitement, fidelity to the source material and, quite frankly, no small amount of awe at this opportunity.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

The beauty within, over the beauty without? Nonesense.

Have you ever heard about how its the "inner beauty" that is most important?

Ridiculous. A load of nonsense (thought I was going to say "crap" didn't you?).

So, should one should not pay any attention to the physical? It sounds so politically correct, so, "higher level", doesn't it?

I fully disagree. The beauty "inside" is absolutely necessary, no question about it. But what people lose sight of, is that the physical is just as important. In fact, equally so I would argue. I wouldn't, in fact, date a woman who was beautiful outside, but ugly inside. Kind of goes without saying really. But the argument that pits outer beauty against inner beauty, kind of misses the point.

Who is it that usually puts that argument out there anyway? No, you tell me. You see, my point here, is not to fall into that trap, at all. There is no inner vs outer beauty argument, nor is there one about who argues these points. You decide.

I'll give you an example: my ex-wife. Yes, she was quite beautiful, generally accepted. One time, when we were pissed off at each other, she walked through the room all annoyed, and I knew I just couldn't stay mad at her much longer; and a lot of that was her looks.

I realized then that her looks, did in fact, accelerate my coming back around, dissolving my "attitude", there was simply no arguing it. This is the point that those who argue the beauty paradigm, would say, "If that is how you think, then you must be shallow." Guess what? I am not a shallow person, at all. Again, a generally accepted thing (by others, I'm saying).

That day, I had thought about my ex who I was with before her, who really wasn't as attractive, and I realized that the same simply wasn't so true with her. I had always had attractive girlfriends, "Significant Others". I finally believed I shouldn't look at the physical, which was when I met the ex before the ex, that I just mentioned. What I found was that it was much harder with her for me to let my anger go, when we had an argument. I realized then that the physical does indeed count for "something".

I've always rated a potential mate on a scale of sorts. Say 10 because it has the most baggage associated with it. Looks, intellect, heart, maybe a few other things, it all has to add up to as near 10 as possible. Its not something I consciously thought about, just something I realized I was doing somehow.

For instance, I've come to believe that keeping one's weight down in a relationship is really important, so is attitude. The weight issue is obviously less important with some more than others. But, when your spouse/mate goes after someone else in the middle of your relationship, face it, something is broken, typically both have given up on considerations about being attractive, giving respect.

Some come up with the lazy rationalization that, "we're married, I no longer have to worry about my looks." Or, "I'm bitter (about something or everything) so I don't have to worry about my looks. He (she) had better love me no matter how bad I look." This is especially insidious; because, it indicates the relationship is about to be over. Then possibly years later, it ends in a very bad situation.

Never, ever, think that you can let your looks go. Never, ever, think that you do not have to respect your mate. Never, start thinking that you do not have to give your mate privacy, consideration, personal time.

Ask yourself, why does someone start looking at others when they are in a committed relationship. Its because you are now looking less "attractive" than any one else. So they start looking around. Yes, some people are just a low life. In that case, this is good, eventually they will slip up, you'll get hurt, the relationship is over and you can go on to hopefully not choose another loser. But I like to think that most people are basically good decent people.

So, keep the weight off, use whatever you have to your advantage. Now, considering you are attractive to them to begin with, you have the weight that they TRULY find attractive. And don't be fooled by the "white" lies of, "Oh, honey, you are the perfect weight, what ever that is." Because typically, its a "love" lie. They love you and become unintentionally co-dependent to you, to allow you to let yourself slip. They don't realize that by saying what you want to hear, you are signing your relationship's death warrant.

Try to look good, not suddenly five years into a relationship, because that indicates you are having an affair. But always regularly (and it doesn't have to be daily), wear attractive, sometimes, trendy, clothing. Get a hair cut, women, use makeup, but not excessively so, because that is a completely other trap ("more is better", totally, not true). Makeup should enhance what you have, not cover it up.

Now, all this said, forget for a minute about the physical. Because, what is really, really, important? Is respect. And personal space. I can speak best to how wives have been, so I'll use those examples. When a guy is sitting, relaxing after work, even if he is staring at the wall, consider, that he IS, doing something. Call it, decompressing, if you like. When he walks in the door coming home from work, do not, hit him with a bunch of chores. Allow him the personal time he would have if he lived alone.

How do you decide this, how to gauge it all? Look at it this way, after you move in with him, after you are married, continue, no mater what, to look at the relationship, as if you are still living apart, and dating. That, is the key.

Sometimes in our relationships, we get so involved, so dependent on one another, that we rely on them, we let them become so a part of us, that we lose one another in the relationship.

And that, is the beginning of the end. Complacency. Co-dependency. Expectation. Relying too much on the other, not taking up the slack yourself. Being responsible for one self. And so it goes.

Once you think, "Oh, finally, I can relax and just be me again," you have lost.

I've always said that in a relationship, the other person should be there to enhance your life, to make your life easier by their being there, not harder; but, that goes both ways and you are not there to make them enhance it, they have to do it.

And that is where many relationships end up.

"You are not doing enough for me, so I will make you." Why? Because, you are trying to keep the relationship together. You mean well, really, but you try to run their half of things for them. And how do they react? They resent it. Of course they do, why wouldn't they?

At that point, you have a rapidly evolving downward spiral leading to bitterness, anger, resentment. Why? Because what you are doing indicates a lack of respect. Doesn't it.

Other factors in relationships are how adaptable people are, which is what makes Humans both great, and diminished. So things have to be shook up from time to time, in order to keep things from being ordinary, which is a killer to a vital, lively relationship. Humdrum, is a death toll. Also, the general disparity in the complexity of males and females.

There are many theories as to why this is, but it is. And this differs between partners. Find this, work with it, not against it. This also goes into sexuality, an area that scares the Hell out of many people. But its a part of us. You can't ignore parts of who we are, its far better to face it and deal with it. I have found with myself and others, you have to be open, honest, and heartfelt with your partner and things always work out better in the end. What people don't see is that if doing this ends a relationship, good. It needed to be ended then.

So, just to be clear from all of what I was trying to say here, inner vs outer? No such thing. There is no versus, its a compilation. When you are in a relationship, you need EVERY tool possible to keep that "shark" (as Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall related), moving through the life giving water of that relationship; otherwise, no movement, no life...and it dies. So to discount something you have as an asset, is foolish.

Now, is physical also important in a relationship?

You tell me.

Submitted Dark of kNight adaptation to Wildsound competition

So, I noticed a post from Petra on Facebook about the Wildsound screenplay competition in Toronto.

And so I submitted the screenplay I adapted from TL Mitchell's novel, Dark Of kNight. Then, I read today somewhere, that submitting adaptations to competitions isn't such a great idea as you cannot be judged on your full effort since it is after all, an adaptation of someone else's work.

Oooookay. Well, should be interesting nonetheless to see what comes of it. I'm always happy to make it better, but more interested in just getting it marketed at this point.

Time will tell....

Bruce Campbell on "The Evil Dead" remake...possibilities


[from Rich Goellnitz page on Facebook]

Its a given that every single person who talks to Bruce Campbell has to ask him about a potential Evil Dead remake and as huge fans we are going to report on it, even if its non news. Bruce Campbell has once again confirmed that he and Sam Raimi are game to do a remake but if and when ... is still a crap shoot.

He told RabidDoll: "None of us have said no," he said. "I think Sam is always tweaking with the idea. He's joked with a couple of concepts. He has threatened to do it multiple times. He'll put a false statement out just to torment people. We joke that when he's got one eye left and I'm in the old actors' home, that's when we'll do it. But we both have day jobs now. The 'Evil Dead' movies, you really have to lock up about two years of your life for each 'Evil Dead' movie and we don't really have the time right now. Sam says that he will gladly get back on that track, but right now he's on that A-picture train and he's getting a lot more creative freedoms afforded to him with his success. I don't know that he needs to right now. And I'm kinda busy with the No. 1 show on cable. I don't think about it a lot because I'm busy doing other stuff."

The last updates we had on Evil Dead had Sean William Scott playing a young ASH which was quickly debunked and since then its been a complete on again, off again of its happening ... its not happening. Last word we got from Sam Raimi was his brother was tinkering with a script for it.