Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 9

Last week's card was about taking risks. I've learned that I am very risk adverse. I've been thinking about risk perception. You are much more likely to get cancer if you smoke then if you live near a nuclear power plant. That's a fact but most people think that nuclear power plants are far more dangerous than cigarettes.

When it comes to creative work, most of us think that failure is much worse than it is. And what the hell is fear of success all about? For me “potential” is the scariest word in the English language. All my life I've been told that I have “potential” and I've let it freeze me.

In high school we had to take a test every year that was supposed to tell you what field you should go into. Every year my top three choices were writer, photographer and actress. The order changed from year to year but they were always the top three. Nothing else even came close.

When I was in university I had an English professor who got very mad at me for not letting people read my writing. I walked out of his office feeling that I'd been caught masturbating. I've never forgotten that feeling but I still don't like letting people read my stuff.

Okay. That was as strange thing to say for someone who currently has four blogs and contributes stuff to a bunch of websites. Let me clarify by saying I do not like letting people read my creative writing.

I am very afraid of not living up to my potential.

Many years ago I did a writing program that had 30 students taking all the same classes for a year. Every class was on a different kind of writing. I really liked the creative writing classes best. We had to hand in something every week which would be copied and given out to everyone. At first I hated it but soon I realized there wasn't enough time in class to talk about everyone's work so I could skate by for a few weeks before I had to hear what people thought.

Two things I remember about that year. One of my teachers wrote on one of my stories that I had the best imagination of anyone shes ever known. The other thing happened during the last week of class. A few of my fellow students asked me to autograph their copies of the stories I had written. They were sure that I was going to have a spectacular career and be famous.

I did it but I think it jinxed me. I haven't done anything worthwhile, creative writing wise, since.

This week's card:
Most dimensions of the human experience have been documented in books. And there are lots of them. Most bookstores and libraries have books on creativity as well as biographies of specific artists, numerous collections of artists' work, and more “how to” books than imaginable. There is nothing like reading about your favorite artist's tortured life to put your own trials and anxieties into perspective. And if you don't like the selection that's out there – well, think about writing your own.

Okay. Reading I can do. These two books are now on my reading list: The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life and The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. Do you have any books that inspire you to be creative? Feel free to post them in the comments.

Creativity Resources:

Gizmodo is running a cinemagraph “shooting challenge”. If you don't know what a cineamagraph is ( I didn't) check out the two videos below.

How to make a Cinemagraph with Photoshop and After Effects from Kert Gartner on Vimeo.

Assignment Wired is a challenge run by the photo editors at Wired magazine. Each assignment will help you develop your photo journalism skills.

About the image: A screencap of a game of Risk at Pogo. I was purple.

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through  52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Movie Releases for the Week of June 26, 2011

I'm probably being a cynic, but Transformers: Dark of the Moon director Michael Bay writing letters to projectionist, fans and anyone he thinks may listen sounds like a big publicity push to me. Supposedly he shot his movie with some fancy new 3D stuff and needs the projectors run on their highest setting. That setting burns the bulb out twice as fast. It makes me wonder if Bay has stock in a bulb company.

June 28

Director – Travis Fort
Cast - Patrick Labyorteaux, Julie McCullough

June 29

Director – Cristi Puiu
Cast - Cristi Puiu, Clara Voda, Catrinel Dumitrescu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Valentin Popescu

Director – Michael Bay
Cast – Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson

July 1

Director – Tom Hanks
Cast – Tom Hanks Julia Roberts, George Takei

Love Etc. - Documentary
Director – Jill Andresevic

Director – Thomas Bezucha
Cast – Selena Gomes, Katie Cassidy, Leighton

Director – Nick Tomnay
Cast - David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Nathaniel Parker, Helen Reddy, Megahn Perry

Director – Azazel Jacobs
Cast – John C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, Creed bratton

Friday, June 24, 2011

T.G.I.F. - Under Pressure

Today I'm starting something new. I'm calling it T.G.I.F. or Thank God It's Freddie. I might post a new Queen/Freddie Mercury video every Friday. Then again I may not. I'm just going to see how it goes.

When I was in high school I had two musical obsessions: David Bowie and Queen. As luck would have it they recorded a song together. The song was never performed live by all members of Queen and Bowie. The closest it ever got was at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. Bowie joined the surviving members of Queen and Annie Lennox (doing Freddie's part). You can watch that video on YouTube. I don't care for it. I really don't like hearing Freddie's songs without Freddie's voice.

At some point along the way someone re-mixed the song to put together live performances from Queen and David Bowie.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Geekier Than Thou

The ugly head of geek elitism is rearing its head again. This time the new Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, is accused of "pandering" to the geek crowd or even worse "faking" being a geek. Here's the video that got people's Underoos in a twist this week (the relevant stuff starts at 2:25):

When I heard about the fuss being caused by a beautiful woman proclaiming herself to be a  geek my first thought was why would anyone try to fake being a geek? There are so many ways you can get caught up when you say you're into something that you're really not interested in. If you can't tell a Ferengi from a Denobulan people are going to find out sooner or later. Why would anyone risk the embarrassment? Why would Miss Campanella, who knows that her every word is going to be scrutinized, claim to be a history geek if she wasn't one? You just know some know-it-all is going to ask her for her opinion on what really caused the death of the Duke of Richmond in 1536.

So is a "history buff" a geek? Why not? They aren't any better than comic book geeks or science geeks or band geeks. It's all the same. Each comes from a tremendous love of something. Something that makes them feel a little less lost and a little more connected. Geeks come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, genders and sexual orientations. If you want to get an idea of how all encompassing the geek world can be, check out the board subjects on David Hewlett's dGeek Forum

We geeks need to start celebrating our differences as well as our similarities. We should not be trying to slam the door on people we feel are not as geeky as we are. Infighting is just going to make people feed bad. Or worse, feel betrayed by the community they have developed a connection to. 

I don't know much about the new Miss USA but she seems intelligent and well spoken. She's also decided to get behind the NOH8 campaign for gay marriage rights. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I like her. She can be in my geek club any time.

To end this on a humorous note I'm going to share one of my favorite moments from Stargate SG-1. It makes me happy on a number of levels. There are nerds and geeks everywhere. Even in space.

If you want to read more on the geek kerfluffle, there is a great post by Jill over at Has Boobs, Reads Comics. Another post I like is  When Geeks Become Bullys by Jessica. BTW I found both of these lovely girl geeks in The League of Extraordinary Ladies.

About the image: It was taken by Adam Bouska as part of the NOH8 Campaign. I think you can buy a copy of it on the website. I just wanted to use it because it's ironic that geeks have been "hating on" her this week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 8

I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about being creative this week. In the past three weeks the only time I've gotten more than two hours sleep a night is when I had my migraine last week. I went to the doctor yesterday and got a major sedative which didn't work as well as expected. I've been kind of foggy all day so you'll have to excuse me if this post gets foggy too.

On the subject of what moves me. I love music. If (when) I lose my hearing, music is the thing I will miss most. In the world of classical composers the guy from the beet farm is my boy. I'm not sure why I have always loved Beethoven. Some of my friends adore Mozart. I think he's okay. I always feel that he's saying, "Look what I can do!" with each of his pieces. Beethoven seems to say, "This is how I feel." A much more important statement in my book.

From the very first time I heard it the "Moonlight" Sonata made me cry. Beethoven dedicated the piece to his student Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. Many people think the 31 year old Beethoven was in love with the 17 year old Giulietta.

I've been a long time fan of Gary Oldman and when I heard he was making a movie about Beethoven (Immortal Beloved) I started reading about the composer. The title of the movie refers to a letter written by Beethoven to an unknown woman, his "immortal beloved". 

Me being me, I started thinking about what would happen if his lover really was immortal. What if she was a vampire? What if the Moonlight Sonata was written for his moonlight (vampire) lover?

Somewhere in my box of papers is the first scene of a movie where Beethoven is paying a visit to Joseph Haydn an hour before sunrise. He runs into a beautiful woman. She smiles at him but does not stop...

Then there's another scene that takes place years later when Beethoven has discovered what his lover is and wants her to "turn" him. She refuses telling him he would be deaf for eternity. Beethoven gets angry and sends her away.

The last scene takes place a few years later when Beethoven is dying. The vampire appears at his bedside. He tells her he is ready to die. She takes him in her arms and bites his neck.

Maybe someday I'll actually get around to work on that script again.

Here's this week's card:
Live Dangerously 
Are you a risk taker? Are you comfortable taking action in unpredictable social, emotional or professional situations? Exploring creative projects is certainly a risky endeavor as there is often no way to measure progress or success during the early stages. Becoming comfortable with taking risks in other areas of your life will increase your tolerance for uncertainty, making the pursuit of creative projects a bit more comfortable.

Creativity Resources:

Taking Creative Risks - some suggestions for little "risks" for those wanting to take baby steps.

The Wheel of Creativity - a blog about creativity

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

About the image: a screencap from the film Immortal Beloved staring Gary Oldman as Beethoven.

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through  52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A TV Rant (of sorts)

A few months ago my television died. Personally I think poor old Sammy Sony was heartbroken by a lack of decent viewing options. There just isn't anything on TV that doesn't get over shadowed by sporting events, reality TV and various revolutions.

I don't really miss old Sammy. Most of what I was watching I can find online for free on various network websites. What I can't find I don't seem to miss. I can also get DVDs from the public library for free. I just finished watching The Big Bang Theory Season 1. I'm beginning to wonder why I ever paid an internet bill and a cable bill. Internet one. Television zero.

Now, if the internet companies are allowed to change to user based billing I'll be getting rid of my internet too. After that I guess I'll read a lot more. Until the library starts per book lending fees anyway.

The past couple of months I've been watching all the “season finale” episodes of my shows. You know what? I hate cliffhangers.* They are just a trick to try to make you come back next season to see what happens. If the show isn't good enough to make me want to continue watching it, a cliffhanger is just going to piss me off. Chances are very good that I will not be back. You hear that you people at Flashpoint? Threaten to kill off my favorite character and see what happens... um... There are a kazillion blogs like this one that will tell me how whatever cliffhanger I just have to know about turned out. Internet two. Television zero.

Another thing that happens all too often on television is character attrition. I've got a rule that once half of the original actors are gone from a show so am I. So I said good-bye to CSI last season. I caught a couple of episodes with Mr. Fishburne but I wasn't all that impressed with Dr. Ray. I feel like burning my CSI t-shirt. I don't want to advertise a show I don't watch.


I recently read online that Laurence Fishburne is not returning next season. I've also read the Chris Meloni will not be back to Manhattan SVU. I'm not sure I want to watch SVU without him. I adore Ice-T and Richard Belzer. Mariska Hargitay is a fine actress but it was Meloni's oh so Catholic, ex-Marine, family man, Elliot Stabler, who really brought the show together for me. I'm just glad that this season did not end in a cliffhanger with Stabler in jeopardy. I guess the cat was out of the bag online so there was no point in stringing the audience along with a “will he/won't he”. Internet three. Television zero.

I have a really big problem when shows that have been canceled end with a cliffhanger. Just last night I watched the season finale of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior only to read this morning that CBS canceled it back in May. Now I'll never know if Janeane Garofolo's character survives or not.

I don't get why networks spend all kinds of money to make 13 or so episodes of a show and then cancel it before even half of them have aired. Is it some kind of tax write off? Some of those shows are damn good. Endgame for instance. The ratings system has to change. People are watching television in a different way now. People TIVO or whatever or watch shows online. Those people are not counted. When a show is posted online people from all over the world can watch it. Internet four. Television zero.

I also hate when shows do away with perfectly good characters. Take the show Bones** for instance. I love the books and I'm glad that the show has very little in common with them. They are two separate animals I can enjoy. I'm beginning to think they should make Dr. Brennan's interns wear red shirts. They're getting rid of them at an alarming rate. I never believed that a person as smart as Zack Addy would fall in with a serial killer/conspiracy nut.


A few weeks ago they killed off Vincent Nigel-Murray. They warned us that one character was going to die but Vincent's death pissed me off. It made no sense. He was supposedly “collateral damage.” I guess the bad guy, Jacob Broadsky, has magical powers. We are expected to believe that he would set up a shot at a certain time, through a certain window because he knew Booth would be there at that time.

All this from more than a mile away. Magic. From where he was perched, there is no way Broadsky would even know Booth was in the Jeffersonian let alone that he was in that particular lab. There was also no way of knowing that Booth would answer the phone. Broadsky had no way of knowing where the phone he'd left for Booth was.


It made no sense. Except as a catalyst for sex between Booth and Brennan. Booth felt badly because he told Vincent to answer the phone. Brennan felt badly because she thought Vincent was asking her to let him stay in the lab as he lay there dying. Booth had to protect Brennan at his house. Another thing that made no sense since Broadsky had been to Booth's apartment before. If he'd really wanted to kill Booth he would have waited for him to come home and get him then.

Vincent's death was simply a set up for “guilt sex” between Booth and Brennan. I know that Emily Deschanel is pregnant so they had to write it into the script somehow. I don't think they had to kill of a perfectly good character for Booth to get Brennan preggers.

I have half a mind not to watch when the show comes back. We'll see. I might not be the only one who doesn't go back.

*For the record, I have hated cliffhangers ever since the summer of “Who Shot J.R.?” I had a special t-shirt made and on the front it said, “I don't care who shot J.R.” and on the back it said “I Shot J.R.”

**I was going to write a post about how Bones  jumped the shark a few episodes back with the “Jersey Shore” episode where Brennan supposedly mistakes the reality TV show for a documentary. Embarrassing. I guess that post will have to wait.

About the images: left - a screenscap from Flashpoint featuring Hugh Dillon as Ed Lane. Right top - a screencap from Bones featuring Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan and Eric Milligan as Zack Addy. Right bottom -  a screencap from Bones featuring David Boreanaz as Agent Seeley Booth and Ryan Cartwright as Vincent Nigel-Murray.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Movie Releases for the Week of June 19, 2011

Someone pointed out to me that there are movies being released besides the big blockbusters. So here is all the info I came across this week. If you know of any other please add them in a comment. If you go to see any of these come back and tell me what you thought. 

June 22

PASSIONE: A Musical Adventure
Director - John Turturro
Cast - Fiorello, Massimo Ranieri, Lina Sastri, Peppe Servillo, Peppe Barra

June 24

Director John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
Cast - Owen Wilson, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Eddie Izzard

Director - Jake Kasdan
Cast- Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Eric Stonestreet, John Michael Higgins

A Better Life (limited)
Director - Chris Weitz
Cast - Demián Bichir, Eddie Sotelo, Joaquín Cosio, José Julián, Nancy Lenehan

Director - Michael J. Weithorn
Cast - Jenna Fischer, Chris O'Donnell, Kim Coates, Lesley Ann Warren, Brooke Smith

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (Documenatry/Comedy) (limited)
Director - Rodman Flender
Cast - Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, Jimmy Vivino, Scott Healy, Mike Merritt

General Orders No. 9 (Documentary) (limited)
Director - Robert Persons
Cast - William Davidson

A Love Affair of Sorts (Documentary?) (limited)
Director - David Guy Levi
Cast - Lili Bordan, David Guy Levi

Director - Michel Leclerc
Cast - Jacques Gamblin, Sara Forestier, Zinedine Soualem, Carole Franck. Jacques Boudet

Director - Nick Stringer
Cast - Miranda Richardson, Daniela Braga, Hannelore Elsner

Director - Brian Metcalf
Cast - Elaine Hendrix, Brad Dourif, Mackenzie Rosman, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Hallee Hirsh

Calling All Trekkies

Rod Roddenberry (Gene and Majel's son) is running a new promotion on his site. If you use his Roddenberry Search you'll get tokens that you can use for Star Trek stuff from his store. I made the mistake of looking at what I could get. I found an autographed Dr. Phlox. I want it. I only need 800 more points. Sigh.

You have to sign up but that's free. When you search you get tokens and so do I. So if you're going to search and you don't have a favorite search engine, I'd be grateful if you used the link above and signed up for the Roddenberry search.

I am sitting here wondering how I ever got to this state. I think it's part of my addictive personality. I can get obsessed with things easily. When it comes to collecting, I have to have one of everything. I had a signed Ensign Mayweather and a signed Lt. Reed. I want Phlox!!!!

I suppose it would be less stressful to buy a doll (they occasionally come up on eBay) and have John sign it the next time I see him. It's just that there's something about having a quest that I can't resist.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting Creative – Week 7

3 Muses: Clio, Euterpe and Thalia

‘You owe it to us all to get on with what you’re good at.’ ~W. H. Auden

I've spent the last 36+ hours with a migraine from hell. I was online for about a half an hour yesterday before the nausea forced me to take more meds and go back to bed. It's amazing how much email can pile up if you don't keep up. It's like a monster that grows exponentially. At this point it's not so much “you've got mail” but “the mail's got you!”

Medicating your brain can empty it of all rational thought. I don't recommend it. The last thing I did before the headache struck was watch an episode of Sanctuary. While under the influence, I dreamed that I was in the Sanctuary. I don't remember much about the dream but it involved Henry's werewolf.

When I want to stop my “monkey mind” from driving me crazy or when it gets so loud in my head that I can't do anything, I play games. There I said it. I game. I'm not hard core like the people on The Guild. I play browser games because my computer is so old it can't play anything else. Sometimes I play silly games like Crazy Taxi on Facebook but most time I play “strategy” games like City of Wonder or Call of Gods.

The problem with gaming is that I can get so involved in “not” thinking that I don't have time to do anything else. It's not unheard of for me to play a game for 14 hours. Especially on weekends when I refuse to do any “work”. I can forget to eat when I game. Eventually my stomach hurts and I have to feed it RIGHT NOW. That means I just grab something quick. I don't have time to cook “real food” so I often make a sandwich. Not really a healthy choice.

Luckily I usually get bored of gaming after a couple of months and I look for something else to do. That's usually the best time for me to start a creative project. Fingers crossed that the boredom comes early.

Here's this week's card:
What moves you? 
For some, it's a Mozart concerto. For others, it's a first-grade finger painting, a Zuni fetish, a Tibetan mandala or an uncolorized Ingmar Bergman film. A creative person can always use a ready source of inspiration, (or two, or ten). So keep a ready supply of whatever it is that moves you close at hand and take time to soak up the magic. Close your eyes and let the waves of melody was over you. Imagine yourself as a sis-year-old, fingers coated with poster paint. Better yet, buy yourself some paints and become that six-year-old again. For best results, administer these doses of enticement unsparingly and often.

What moves you? I'm stuck on the word “moves”. Moves me how? Some things move me but not in a good way. I don't do that “tortured artist” crap. Stuff that makes me feel bad just makes me feel bad. It doesn't make me want to create anything. I don't think I'm the only one.

Yeah, I'm just getting picky because I have no idea what moves me any more. Eddie Izzard makes me smile. I don't really get creative after watching him. Oddly enough when I do get within a few yards of him in real life I get the urge to “girlify” myself. The day after I saw his last show I went out and bought a bunch of makeup and two pairs of heels. Makeup I eventually threw out and two pairs of heels I wore for a week and then shoved to the back of my closet. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to go out in search of something that moves me in the right direction.

Creativity Resources:

The Music That Moves You - A Gospel Music Internet Broadcast (Facebook Page)

How To Find What You Are Good At - Basic instructions for finding your "passion" if you don't already know.

Books by Ken Robinson:

Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

The Element

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through  52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Releases for the Week of June 12, 2011

So X-Men: The First Class ended up doing fine last weekend. Not as good as it should have done but oh well. Super 8 is having a good weekend so far. Hopefully I'll make some money on it. 

How are you guys feeling about Green Lantern? Some people can't wait but others are boycotting. I don't know enough about the Green Lantern to stand on either side. It's not on my list of must see movies.

June 17

Green Lantern
Cast – Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
Director – Martin Campbell

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Cast – Jim Carrey, Carla Cugino, Ophelia Lovibond
Director – Mark Waters

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adventures in Star Trek 2011

Today was my trip downtown to the annual Star Trek convention. Because I spent my “con budget” on other things during the year I could only go to one day of the three day con. I picked Saturday because Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were featured. Friday was Conner Trinneer and Dominic Keating. I've seen more of Dominic than I ever needed to (just kidding Dominic!) and I saw Conner at a Stargate con a couple of years ago.

I also had a limited budget for spending at the con itself. I had trouble deciding if I wanted 2 autographs (Nichelle & George) or one photo op (George). Yesterday I learned that Nichelle & George were doing a photo op together but at $79 it was out of my budget. If I had known about it earlier I could have taken money out of somewhere else but by yesterday all that “discretionary” money was gone. Sigh.

I have no idea why I started getting autographs. I guess I just got caught up in it all when I went to a Star Trek con in Vegas (2001). Then a couple of years ago I volunteered at a Stargate con and as a perk I got photo ops with Amanda Tapping and David Nykl (Radek was my favorite character). As a surprise, the volunteer coordinator also got a lot of the actors to sign photos for me so at the end of the weekend I was handed an envelope full. I had decided that I was NOT going to collect Stargate autographs and all of a sudden I was on my way to the store to buy an album to put them in. If you're interested you can see my Stargate and Star Trek related pictures on Facebook.

Anyway, back to today. Sort of. Last night I could not sleep. I finally drifted off around 4 am. Then I had a nightmare and woke up two hours later. The last time I remember looking at the clock was 8:15. My alarm went off at 9 am. I've said it before but I'm one of those people who doesn't function well on less than 8 hours of sleep. When my alarm went of I thought about turning it off and trying to go back to sleep. There would be other cons. Eventually I did drag myself out of bed.

The thing about Star Trek cons is that they're a lot of fun if you know other people there but they're kind of dull if you go alone. I ran into two other conventioneers on the bus (one in a blue TOS dress). Neither of them had been to a con before. I highly doubt either of them were born when TNG was on the air. Sigh.

My first stop was the dealer's room because on the way I'd decided that I wasn't going to get the photo op or autographs. I'm going to spend the money on a “It's Okay to be Takei” t-shirt. So I had a little money I could spend on “stuff.” The dealer's room was a huge disappointment. There were only 4 vendors other than Creation. One of the vendors was Lightspeed. They're the official “artists” for Paramount and others. They have a gorgeous picture of the Enterprise NX-01 crew complete with all the autographs. They only want $2200. They're willing to do lay away with $100 and $100 every month. It's really a nice picture but I could buy a great computer for that price. I thanked the nice man from Lightspeed for his time and went to look at the t-shirts. I guess I had t-shirts on the brain.

I decided to buy a “Property of Utopia Planitia Shipyards” t-shirt (above). I heard the woman behind the table tell another conventioneer that all the shirts were $20 so I had my money ready. She looked me straight in the eye and told me it was $25. I could have complained. I could have put the shirt back. I didn't have the energy to fight and I wanted the shirt so I fished out another $5.

Just one more reason why I hate Creation. I really wish they weren't the only game in town.

I managed to catch part of Richard Arnold's (Gene Roddenberry's assistant) talk. I learned a couple of things:
After Gene Roddenberry died, everyone who worked with him, including Arnold, was fired by Paramount. Arnold threatened to sue and the studio gave him money. They made him agree not to write a book. 
After a visit to J.J. Abram's Star Trek set, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry told Arnold that she was happy that Gene's baby was in good hands again. She passed away a few weeks later and Arnold was asked to speak at her memorial. He was about to repeat what Majel had said when he realized that Rick Berman was in the front row. He ended up say that she was happy the franchise was in good hands.
I'm just glad to have one more person on the anti-Berman side of the fence.

After Arnold they played a video compilation of Uhura then Nichelle Nichols came out. She is incredible. She's well spoken, kind and generous. I would even say she is regal. She told some stories I'd heard before (I saw her in Vegas in 2001 – she had just come from visiting a very ill Jimmy Doohan) but there were others that were just as good. Especially stories about the reaction she got when she walked onto the set of Abram's Star Trek.

After Nichelle I had 3 hours to kill until George Takei took the stage so I went for lunch and a walk around downtown.

I talked to George at a charity event in Vegas but I never saw him on stage for some reason. George is the only person I've ever given the “Vulcan salute” to and I only did it because he did it to me first. Today he came out doing the salute and most of the audience did it back.

I could sit and listen to George's voice all day. That's a good thing because he loves to talk. He'd talked a lot about his upcoming musical Allegiance but also about his new TV show Supah Ninjas.

Someone thanked him for his activism on behalf of the LGBT community and he talked about why he came out to the media in 2005 and how he uses humor to show how ridiculous homophobes are.

He also told a touching story about being asked to give a talk after a showing of Wrath of Khan. He got on stage and told the audience how he felt when he saw the names of all the friends who were involved with the film who are gone now: DeForest Kelley, Jimmy Doohan, Merritt Butrick, Ricardo Montalban and of course Gene & Majel Roddenberry. I think more than a few people in the audience teared up when George spoke of his feelings of loss.

The funniest story of the day has to be how George introduced Jimmy Doohan to sushi. Next time you see him at a con ask him to tell it.

I could go on and on about George because I'm totally in love with him but I'm sure there are lots of con reports all over the interwebs. I debated about asking him if he'd tried one of Vancouver's famous Japadogs but decided against it. Maybe I'll tweet him tomorrow.

After George was finished I came home. Now I'm just waiting for it to get dark enough to sleep and then I'm hitting the hay. To sleep perchance to dream.

Note: Sorry the picture of George is so crappy. Part of it is lack of skill but the rest is because I am not pushy enough to shove other people out of the way so I can get closer. I'm also not so inconsiderate that I will block the view of others. There are some good pics at Star Trek Infinite Space.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 6

I can't believe another week has gone by. Did you get anything done? I didn't. I've been too busy playing various games or reading until 4 am. When I started this project I thought it might force me to get things done. So far it hasn't worked. I think I've underestimated my ability to procrastinate. It seems I can find all kinds of things to do other than what I SHOULD be doing.

I guess that makes me human. Sigh.

I'm typing this listening to Do You Wanna Date My Avatar which is making me think about Call of Gods which is a new game that I've started this week. I've been trying to log on to the game server for the past 3 hours. I've got stuff to do in world. I'm frustrated.

Lest you think I did nothing creative this week, please turn your attention to the picture above. I am very cause oriented. I've been know to tilt at windmills. Endgame is a Canadian television show on Showcase. Well it was. The network has decided to pull the plug after less than 2 months. What kind of show can find it's audience in less than 2 months? Especially when there are hockey playoffs and finale episodes of almost every other show on television. So I've joined the  Save Endgame movement. More than that I've offered to organize/run a chess tournament if people are interested. Somebody please stop me before I volunteer again.

This week's card:
Brain Drain 
Creative expression may seem to spring from the movement of a paintbrush across the artist's canvas or the vibration of the vocal chords through the singer's lips. But the origin of creativity lies much deeper; it's actually the percolation of the unconscious that bubbles up onto the canveas or into the concert hall. To tap into that source, slow down, tune out the static and rest the brain. Go to the local Zen center (or your bedroom closet), mediate for an hour, and not the thought that struggle to the surface. Take a nap and write down what you dream. Or be your own analyst – lie down, close your eyes and just start talking.

I can tell you right now that I am not going to meditate. For an hour? I can't even do it for five minutes. I have something called Monkey Mind. I can't ever block everything out. My life has a soundtrack. If I'm not listening to music or singing you can be sure that I'm hearing music in my head. My dreams have soundtracks.

You'd think that I'd be some awesome musician. Not so much. I hate practicing. I was in the school band in grade school. I played clarinet. Unfortunately I picked up things a lot faster than the other kids and I had to wait for them to catch up. That left me doing the same old same old two thirds of the time. BORING. I quit after a few months.

The hating to practice shows up in other places. I get pissed off at myself if I can't draw something the way I want to right away. I don't want to do it badly a million times until I get to something decent. If I can't draw a perfect circle on the first try I'm not going to try again.

I'm that way with writing too. I never re-write. It shows. I know. I never re-wrote anything in school. Hell I usually started term papers the night before they were due so there was no chance of re-writing. When it comes to fiction, by the time I'm done a story I'm so sick of it that I never want to see it again. There's no way I can turn around and re-write. I know they say that you should put it away for a while and then re-write but if I put it away I won't look at it again for months (years) and when I do look at it again I will, more often than not, decide that it's garbage and toss it out.

Yeah. I know. I have to get over myself. Sigh.

Creativity Resources

25 WAYS TO cultivate creativity every day - Geared towards teachers who want to make their students more creative.

7 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind - Easy exercises to drain your brain.

Cultivating the Creative Mind

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through  52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Monday, June 6, 2011

TV Curse Strikes Again

My TV curse is alive and well. If I like a show from the first episode it is not long for this world. Two seasons tops. Most only get one. The latest casualty of the TV curse is a Canadian show called Endgame . The first season isn't done and Showcase has already decided to pull the plug. It's a shame because it was a half decent show.

Here's how the show's creator, Avrum Jacobson describes Endgame:

Endgame is an original drama series centering on brilliant chess master, Arkady Balagan. Traumatized by the murder of his fiancée, Balagan has become a prisoner in his luxury Vancouver hotel, terrified to step outside. To pay his bill, Balagan starts solving mysteries - using an unlikely band of hotel employees and chess fanatics to do his legwork. Arrogant, brilliant and charismatic, the Russian-born Balagan uses the skills that made him chess champion of the world to solve the crimes that mystify others. He imagines events, interviews the living and the dead, and runs conflicting scenarios - all in his head. And we get to watch right along with him as he solves crimes that baffle the police. In Endgame, we see genius at work. - Source

If some of that sounds familiar, you might be remembering a show called Nero Wolfe. Maury Chaykin starred as a detective who never left his house. All the leg work was done by his assistant, Archie Goodwin who was played by a young Timothy Hutton. In a strange twist of fate, Torrence Coombs, who plays Balagan's assistant Sam Besht, looks a lot like Hutton.

One of the things that excited me about the show was that it had Vancouver standing in for Vancouver. Such a rarity. I was so shocked and pleased that I sent a tweet to the show's star Shawn Doyle to tell him it was brilliant. He retweeted and replied. A lot of people were saying the same thing. The show's cancellation is another blow to the Vancouver film/TV industry. It was bad enough that Stargate Universe got cancelled ending 17 years or so of continuous production and putting a lot of people out of work. We need more good Canadian shows filmed in Canada not less.

I just realized that the show only started on March 14th. They gave it two months! For a mid-season replacement. During hockey playoffs. I can't understand how a screw-fest like Lost Girl rates a second season and Endgame doesn't. Don't get me wrong I like Lost Girl, I'm a sucker for anything Fae, but it's not anywhere near the same quality as Endgame.

There's a Save Endgame petition. Even Shawn's dad signed it - Jerry Doyle signature 811.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Movie Releases for the Week of June 5, 2011

X-Men: The First Class had a less than stellar opening night. $21million compared to X-Men Origins: Wolverine's $34 million. The critics love First Class so maybe there will be some improvement in the numbers over all. My Hollywood Stock Exchange stock for XMEN4 fell 1%. Not good. I've got to pick some winners soon.

June 10

Cast – Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Ron Eldard
Director – J.J. Abrams

Cast – Heather Graham, Jordana Beatty, Jaleel White
Director – John Schultz