Archive for September, 2009

Pandorum Raises Two Questions

These are my questions:

1. Will I ever get back the nearly two hours I wasted watching this dreck?

2. Will I ever get back the $8.50 I spent to see this?

Hmmmmmm,

Sadly, at this time it seems the answers to 1 + 2 above seem to be No, and No.

Perhaps I can find something positive in my mistake if I prevent others from making that same mistake.

Like I’m trying to do here (hint, hint).

September 30, 2009 at 5:04 am 2 comments

4 Easy Steps To A Single Payer System

What will it take to get the people of the U.S.A. a single payer medical insurance plan that covers everyone for every medical situation, pre-existing or not?

It’s a very simple solution composed of a few very simple answers, yet one that will take some major work.

1. Put an immediate end to lobbyists. No more campaign donations*, trips, vacation homes, lap dances, meals, drinks, limo rides, or what has been going on in the national and local level of politics. This also means no private visits to an elected officials home, office, hotel room, or anyone getting anything for seeing our decision makers that isn’t open and transparent.

2. The creation of a government run by people that were elected by people, not corporations or vested interests. No campaign donations over $100.00 will be allowed* from an individual or from a company. When you run for an office the government pays for your normal election expenses, and if you win you’re in office.

3. Term limits. For the president, 6 years and then they’re out and back to making a living somewhere else doing actual work, with no possible return to a public office* or influence peddling (see #1 above) permitted. Similar limits to be defined later for Senators, Congress People, Governors, state and local officials as well.

4. Ethics. If you’re in violation (ex: Google Gale Norton and Shell Oil) of the trust of the American people* who put you  in office, you’re banned from holding any public office ever again or aiding or abetting anyone who does. And jail time is not off the table for you or your co-conspirators.

When the above are in place and politicians actually serve the people, and aren’t occupied* with getting elected / re-elected, at that point we will have a fully insured population as do most of the non-third world countries on the planet.

* The present system is full of people who placed getting elected as their first priority, getting re-elected as their second priority, and then in their spare time, time allowing, they get around to dealing with the needs of their constituents.

And a note to those who choose to believe the Fox Echo Chamber lies as presented by the Wicked Bitch Witch of the North, Death Panels already exist and every single day make decisions on who will live and die, they’re usually known as INSURANCE COMPANIES.

N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed. 

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below, I don’t choose them and (sadly) I don’t make a penny off any of them.

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.  

September 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Learning How The Percentage Rules

A few days ago I put an item for auction on eBay that ended up selling for about $125.00. After paying a “listing fee” of about $4.50 to post the auction, and then paying a few more dollars as a percentage of the “final sales price”, eBay’s wholly owned subsidiary known as “Paypal” which eBay coerces you to use to protect you, took out yet another bite for a few more dollars out of the amount that was to be paid to me by the auction’s winner.

eBay cash

Are you with me so far?

Here’s where the “add insult to injury” part starts:

“Your Request is Being Processed”

“Your request to withdraw funds to your bank account by electronic funds transfer has been received and is in process.”

“It usually takes 3-4 business days to transfer funds from your PayPal account to your bank account, depending on your bank’s policies.”

Perhaps someone, somewhere could explain to me exactly what constitutes a computer’s “business days”?.

I always have felt that if computers don’t get overtime or have days off (or health insurance either), and since they are working 24/7 grinding out the electrons, then on which planet is it that a wire transfer of funds will take at least 4 “business” days? And trust me that even though they say that it “usually takes 3-4 business days”, it’s never going to be 3 days or less, the “usually” part is just there for laughs. Their laughs.

I selected to have the money transferred to my account on September 15th, and a few seconds later I received an email confirming the transfer with these words:

“We estimate that these funds will be deposited in your bank account by Sep. 19, 2009.”

Out of which ass did they pull that “estimate”, and why was there to be an added delay?

So, WTF?

The obvious answer is that they rake in some serious big money in interest from the money held by their bank on the float of those funds every day, which is to say that every day my money is kept in their account earning interest, and combined with the millions that they make each day on all of these transactions, it’s in their (sorry) interest to stall the process and keep that money in play. 

And please note that the woman shown below….meg_whitman_….. is the same one that ran eBay, a one time great place to visit and do things, directly into the ground. She now wants to prove that she’s perfect for the roll of being the final Terminator, i.e., being elected to be the next governor of California.

I can hardly wait, but I think I’ll be watching from Nevada…

So, in closing I recommend you pay a visit to:

Screwpaypal_logo_x501_gif

N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed. 

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below, I don’t choose them and (sadly) I don’t make a penny off any of them.

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.  

September 16, 2009 at 1:23 am 2 comments

When You Change The Name, You Change The Game

It’s interesting to see how quick the dynamic of a situation can change once you change the name of one of the participants, one way to frame the issue for debate. Witness the big blowup going on over healthcare being made available for everyone as a right, not just a privilege for a privileged few.

Exactly who are the “conservatives” protecting from what they call rampant socialism?

The right calls them “Private Insurance Companies” and say that the single payer or public option plans will ruin them, drive them out of business as they can’t compete against the government.

vampire

However, if you change  the name of the private insurance companies from UnitedHealth Group, Wellpoint, CIGNA Corp, Aetna, Humana, Health Net, Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Oxford Health Plans, Kaiser Permanente, PacifiCare Systems, WellChoice, etc. to a more relevant one, such as “Blood Sucking Vampires”, perhaps it gets a bit harder to defend them.

Since I’m not looking to get into a hassle with WordPress over obscenity rulings, I’ll just tell you that the name that I call the whole stinking lot of them can be abbreviated toC-sucking bastards. Terse, sure, but for me it sets the correct tone and covers all the bases.

I suppose one could argue that the reason there aren’t more large private police (well, other than “Blackwater”) or local Fire Departments is that they couldn’t compete with the government, and as much as it pisses off the shouters at town halls nationwide, you have to say the same for Social Security or the Veterans Hospitals across the nation.

In the search by the pin heads on the right for ways to marginalize President Obama by making him look weak or wrong, those haters on the right will stop at nothing to find some way to make him or any of his programs fail at anything, anywhere, even if it means the slow painful death, or other grief put upon many of their fellow Americans, hence this fight against health care.

So, I’ve taken to calling them out, asking them where they  heard that crap. When I’m somewhere and some moron says how bad things have become since Obama got into office, I ask them to imagine that they’re out in the middle of the ocean dog paddling like mad just to keep afloat, and someone hands them an anchor to hold on to like Bush left for us to deal with.

bush picks a good one

Bush in search of a new deal.

And you say……….?

September 10, 2009 at 11:18 pm 1 comment

For The Image Conscious

Understand that by “Image Conscious”, I meant that this blog today is dedicated to those who love the idea of the visual “image”, be it on video or film, to the extent that their lives are now focused on working behind or in front of the lens in one way or another on movies, films, videos, cartoons, cgi crap, anime, whatever.

Anyway, here are some guidelines, warnings, and other maybe relevant things as well.

1. Understand that deferred pay means you’ll actually never see a penny of payment for your time spent or (if you provided it) equipment you’ve brought to the set. In over 25 years of working on films, videos, t.v. shows I’ve never met anyone that ever actually got paid a deferment, which doesn’t mean that it’s never happened, it’s just never happened with anyone I’ve worked with.

2. Understand that a payment in the form of “copy, credit, and meals” is most likely illegal, as it almost always violates minimum wage laws, as well as promising things that may or may not ever get delivered. i.e.

a. Credits on IMDB, which are never really guaranteed, and could even be deleted after the fact.

b. Domino’s pizza or MickieD’s crap are not really meals.

c. The chances of you getting a copy of the floater project closely approaches “never going to happen”.

3. Understand well the “carrot and stick” concept as it often shows up, i.e. “work with me on this one, I’ve got a big show coming up in the near future and I will make up for your dedication to us”. Well, be assured that if that producer / company somehow does ever make a big project with a real budget at some later date, they will then hire big people and pay them really big salaries. Adding insult to injury, if it’s a really, really much bigger budget project, you will never even be allowed to get close to their set, because you knew them when they were mere piss-ant weasels.

3a. Understand also that the very mention of there being important contacts (who they never actually name so you can vet them) for your future if you’ll work free/cheap is bullshit in its purest form, since the chance that any important person would be involved in such a turd is about the same as Sarah Palin speaking in complete sentences. Yes, it could happen, but I suggest you find a comfortable place to sit as it may be a while.

4. Understand that “An Intern Position” legally means a specific legally defined agreement between an employer and your school, wherein you will receive credit. Be aware that the term “intern” is thrown around a lot by people that see it as a chance to get people to do work and then not have to pay them.

a. You may receive that school credit, but you will never get to work with this company again (see “3″ above).

5. Understand that “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow” always will take precedence over a film school diploma or the recommendation of your friends or family when it comes to a production position being filled.

6. Understand that no matter how rosy a picture the producer has described the upcoming project to be, you’re actually not curing cancer or solving world hunger, and you’re mostly likely just making a piece of crap that no one outside the director’s immediate family or other investors will ever see.

7. Understand that the term “Producer” is meaningless, as it’s very often given to people that couldn’t produce a shadow on a sunny day if their lives depended on it. When these producers say that there’s no money in the budget, ask them what kind of moron could have made up and approved a budget like this and then given a green light to this floater.  If you’ll ask them why they couldn’t produce the money to do their show correctly, the chance to see the look on their faces is priceless.

8. Understand that when you feel like you’re getting screwed (see “5″ above), you’re probably correct. If you want to go ahead and do the project anyway, you could ask them to at least kiss you first, or buy you flowers when it’s done.

9. Understand that any project touted as having an “award winning”, “very well connected”, or “up and coming ********”  (writer, director, producer, star, craft service person, key grip…. whatever) really means they have on their staff “a semi-nobody” who perhaps used #5 above, or is at best a burnout from some local tv show.

10. Understand that when a producer says they want someone “bright, hard working, creative, blah blah blah, and who owns their own equipment”, everything that preceded “who owns…..” is meaningless. They only want someone with their own equipment so they don’t have to pay the rental, delivery charges, or insurance for it.

11. Understand that, especially when it’s a posting looking for a sound mixer, their request to “see” a demo reel is a demonstration that the asker has no idea what they’re doing. There’s no way they could know who did the work they’re listening to, much less which show it’s from, if it was true location sound, or it’s the product of massive post production ADR or sweetening.

12. Note their grammar! A posting that’s (other than a typo or two) full of errors in spelling, punctuation, context, etc… should be a warning that you’re going to be  dealing with people that don’t know about due diligence in preparation. For a laugh, ask them what their original language was and compliment them on their progress in learning english.

13.  Also note that  any mention that their project will be submitted to film festivals is not really a bragging point, as tons of them do this each week and seldom receive more than a nice note thanking them for their submission, but no thanks. And those that do get admitted to the “Greater Ypsilanti Film Festival” will find that they are in the running against works of art such as “Elevator Girls In Bondage” or “Is It My Breath?”, and will usually end up losing to one of those two.

They exist! Relating to  Items 2, 3, 3a, 9, 10, and 11 above,  here are several actual quotes related to the above from postings on craigslist, mandy and others. All of the statements below were found with less than a 3 minute search, and all of them help to demonstrate the principles of those warning signs mentioned above. See if you can name the warning……..

“Join our fun and enjoyable crew while we shoot a 6 minute scene in one location.”

“No experience necessary, but desired.”

“Feature shot on Red needs to hire an editor on a deffered payment basis.”

“Editor will recieve compensation when film recieves compensation.”  (Hint: i before e, and we’re never going to pay u)

“We recently completed another short film that is being submitted to festivals, we plan to do the same with this one.”

“We are trying to build a strong and reliable crew to work with us on future projects.”

“No pay, meals and copy of series provided.” (Hint #12 might help in trying to parse that self canceling sentence)

“Learn techniques and gain knowledge from our long working Director of Photographer with industry credits.” (By “long working”, are you talking about the jerk taking endless hours to light a set?)

“Meet and network with industry professionals and TV writers, ALL while helping us making this script come alive.”

“The rate is low, only $100 per day as most of our budget is going to film, processing and telecine.” (N.B. #7)

Little experience or a strong passion to learn would be great!

Students welcome!! Working with highly experienced DP and Production team.

“I am very confident with my script but I need a strong, ambitious, hard working, awesome team of aspiring professional filmmakers with positive attitudes to help me bring the script to life” (Hmmm, I guess CPR is off the table?)

“…… but this has huge potential to turn much more work down the road.”

“The film is being shot on the RED one in LA over 6 days, all crew positions are unpaid, however agreed expenses will be covered, you will be fed properly and part of an extremely experienced team with extensive international work and track records, the film is also notably being supported by Mainframe (VFX) in the UK and Echolab (sound Design) in Ireland.”   (Wow! They’re shooting on the RED? Well, BFD!)

This weeks best pics (from Mandy.com and Craigslist.org)!!!

“No pay but can put project on CV and possible pay for next project once this is completed.”

and

“Despite the low budget, applicants must have a minimum of 5 years experience and 20 features under their belts”. (and applicants should have their names imprinted on the back of their belts so we’ll know who we have bent over a barrel).

Saving the best, which hits almost every note,  for last (10-5-09):

“We have a very limited budget for this video so we’re looking for a small, intimate crew, that are young, enthusiastic and don’t mind working long hours for two days for limited pay! It will be a great shoot, a lot of fun with hugely creative people and a good way to continue making contacts.”

O.K., all of the above are actual quotes, and there’s really a lot more where these ones came from. Feel free to send in a comment and mention your own, and I’ll add them during the next few weeks, with or without giving you credits, copies, or a meal.

September 2, 2009 at 11:30 pm 6 comments

Locusts, You Say? Well, Bring ‘Em On…

After all of these years of living in Southern California and dealing with the fires that are sweeping our area, it comes to mind that as residents of this land of milk and honeys (not to be confused with milk and honey), we’ve become numb to all of the plagues that over the years we have had to abide with, i.e.: fires, floods, career ending strikes, earthquakes, poverty, riots, foreclosures, you name it. Even an asshole governor who was elected because he’s a “name”.

Hindenburg

Somehow, this one missed California

Yet any given day we can easily see that the results of our Chamber Of Commerce’s “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” advertising campaign means that California continues to draw them in, those who keep looking for the streets they heard were paved with gold and jobs that will get them that home in Beverly Hills with an ocean view.

mansion

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, we await the soon to arrive torrential rains of winter, which will bring on the mud slides of the recently burned out mountains, resulting in flooding of the flatlands, which will drive even more people out of their homes and into sleeping in their cars or under freeway bridges.

homeless

I’d like to go further with this, but there are issues of greater import, like was Bill O’Reilly actually born in Ireland? Can he prove he wasn’t?

Billy O'

Is Bill O’Really in possession of his own valid U.S. birth certificate? If so, why hasn’t he shown it yet? Why does William James “Bill” O’Reilly, Jr.  hate America so much?

nothin'

You’ve got questions, I’ve got lots of time…….

N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed. 

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below, I don’t choose them and (sadly) I don’t make a penny off any of them.

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.  

September 1, 2009 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment


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