Movies in the 1960s…

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Steven Soderbergh just completed a second feature film using an iPhone exclusively. Very cool. This could be a big break for budding filmmakers and continue to flood the world of film / movies with even more.

The Hollywood blockbuster ruled.

Before streaming, film experts reported that there were more films made than there were screens to display them on – that was the late 1980s. Enter streaming and millions of films. The amount and size of flat screens increases and even though 4-walling movies (on theaters) does not begin to cover the volume of film home theater is attempting to meet the challenge.

As a Boomer I remember when cinema was a big deal. The Hollywood blockbuster ruled. There was a theater in a city south of my little town named the CineMart. They had ushers in red uniforms and hats that seated folks. Movies like “The Sound of Music”, Lawrence of Arabia” and Dr. Zhivago” played for a whole month or more.

“You can’t make movies, they only do it in Hollywood.”

Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” played for a whole summer in 1968. Music from the film played before the movie started. There were no short subjects, no previews and no ads – for anything. When the logo of Metro Goldwyn Mayer appeared on the screen the curtain parted as the film played.

There was an Intermission announced across the wide 70 mm screen and for 15 of 20 minutes music from the film played. People stayed until the credits ceased and the house lights came up. Even in my small town we saw Oscar winning shorts before the feature and slews of cartoons – mostly “Looney Tunes”.

That didn’t stop us

Movies were special. And of course there was a catch. My friend Paul and I made movies, mostly very bad movies. When we tried to get classmates to be in our very bad movies they invariably said: “You can’t make movies, they only do it in Hollywood.”

That didn’t stop us. Our High School Art teacher Mrs. Bernarzyk told us about the Fordham’s Young Filmmaker Festival in NYC in February 1968. Our bad movie – The Chase was our ticket in. It was very cool – movies day and night for 3 days. I met these geeky guys from Long Island make 3-D animation Godzilla films with models in their basements. The first YFF was during the first garbage strike in the cold and snow of February.

We saw a pre-screening of Planet of The Apes, cool.

I went home and made films with 3-D (pixilation) animation with chairs, sneakers, laundry baskets, rocks and sometimes with people too.

The last film I made in those days – King Chair that took 3 eight hour days to make was distributed with 2 other shorts and the only project where I made a $45 profit.

…. Later I adapted a James Thurber story – Unicorn in the Garden to a 20-minute plot-boiler of “Alien in the Refrigerator”

A Native American Ritual for Bringing Rain

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This technique uses multiple sensory modalities as part of a visualization tool to bring rain. Of course it can be modified to whatever you are working towards.

Remember that we are beings of Earth, our sacred home.

What you will need:

  • Water enough to wet dry dusty earth (a bucket, canteen, bottles of water)
  • Bare feet
  • A towel (optional)

 

What to do:

  • Find a spot where the dirt is dusty enough to make mud
  • Sanctify the spot in the following ways. Burning white sage and / or setting up a crystalline grid
  • Take off your shoes and socks
  • Pour water on the spot and make mud.
  • Put your bare feet in the mud.

 

The Next Waking Dream Flow:

Feel how the water has made mud against your feet. See a low front/ rain clouds moving in the direction where you thirst for rain. See the rain falling and making mud and quenching the thirst of Earth. Feel the sacredness of rain.

 

Thank Earth for producing the rain (present tense). Bow to the four directions. Remove the crystals, re-sage the area.

 

Walk back to your vehicle or house and use towel.

My Fiction Writing Process

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Long ago, in my late 20s, I found that establishing a rough ending to any fiction story whether it be a novel or short story was necessary to avoid wild uncontrollable tangents.

I don’t believe in writer’s block

After establishing a rough ending, then in the course of the story, most often a novel I have a rush to get to the end.

“Let’s get this over with,” I say to myself.*

“I’m tired of working on this. Let me move on to something else I’m not going to finish… yet.”

When the magical thinking tangent happens

So I write an intelligent action story with plot points, twists etc. I know I’m off base when I start to set up something (a tangent) that’s about to introduce super powers inconsistent with the powers that be and set the story in a different less character intimate magical thinking type thing.

When the magical thinking tangent happens I can usually do one of two things. One: go back into the story and look for a place where the new material can be set up in a way consistent with the story. Or Two: delete the section I’ve just written because it doesn’t fit.

the previous observation could be an analogous tangent

Since I don’t believe in writer’s block, I’ve come to see that blocks are temporary pauses to step back and run scenarios or do something else – like write this process blog piece. (Although in writing the current novel – Extreme Measures book 5 of a nine book Sci-Fi series is in the 4th chapter of non-stop action.) Meditation helps to clear the slate and wait for the story’s consciousness to pop up a way forward.

Find your voice.

Characters and the story that they find themselves in, have a life of their own. This could also be said of our lives through the voice of a Higher Self, an AI observer or God looking in on the course of our story. Or the previous observation could be an analogous tangent.

Writers have their processes. Most teachers of writing impart: “Write. Find your voice. No one can tell you how to become a good writer. It’s work. Keep going.”

I have a friend who is a retired advertising executive / writer who told me my writing process was wrong. I more she spoke about my process the more irritated I became. I finally told her that I was ending the conversation because I didn’t want to argue with her.

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* When I want to write quickly to the ending of the story I may let myself do that and then go back and add the other stuff. However it’s far easier to allow conflict and blocks to character forward movement in the form of the main action and weaving sub-plots during the course of moving towards the end than to go back and add it later. The step-by-step process is enticing and exciting for me. And I have found readers like it too.

My story of the movies…

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newscopythe flow of the stuff in my head…

About the age of 15 or 16 my best friend Paul D. and I got together to make a movie. We wrote a script based on our goofy sense of humor and our favorite movies of Sean Connery as 007. Our character was James Notch 008 and ½ based on the Notch Store on the west side of Cheshire with a 67 page script maybe (it was a long time ago). It was a movie that never got made.

 

“Everybody knows they only make movies in Hollywood,”

classmates told us.

 

Coincidentally the Notch Store was the backdrop for the final scene in a film directed by Paul Newman called Rachel, Rachel in 1968 and was nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture (it didn’t win any Oscars).

I threw myself on the floor and rolled around. I moaned, I whined until she (my mom) agreed.

The next film that Paul and I filmed didn’t have a script. It was just visual ideas I had that I thought would look good strung together. It was a silent color film shot on a Double 8mm film made with a wind-up camera with three twists lenses and had variable shooting speeds. Back in the days of film – sound films were shot at 24 frames per second and silent films at 18 frames per second. Shoot at slower speeds and everyone would speed up. Shoot at faster speeds and slow-motion happens.

I convinced a girl down the street who was a year older than me to be in the film. She was the good guy with a white cowboy hat. I shot that first scene at sunset. The camera was on the ground, which meant I was on the ground too. She ran towards the camera hat on and she brandished the gun (an unloaded Luger my Father had as a souvenir from WWII) and jumped over me. She refused to be in the film after that. I even offered to pay her, but she said no. It was okay to use that footage she told me, mainly because she was in silhouette and no one could see her face.

After that I pleaded with my mom to be in the movie. I threw myself on the floor and rolled around. I moaned, I whined until she agreed. And she did. Phil B my best friend (the trio of nerdy guys – me, Paul and Phil) was the villain, though he looked like an innocent kid.

The Fordham’s Young Filmmakers Festival of 1968 in NYC

It was called: The Chase and it was awful. It was about 40 minutes too long. There were two special effects. My mom shoots at Phil and his black beret whips off his head. I used a fishing pole with some line. We shot all the scenes with my mom with slow film speeds so she looked like a lone Keystone Cop running in long shots that were way too long. And there was a car chase with one long POV (point of view) shot from the car, very boring.

The dying scenes were hilarious because my mom and Phil hammed it up.

Our art teacher suggested we send it to the Fordham’s Young Filmmakers Festival in NYC. We did and the only good thing about the movie was our entry into the festival. It was in 1968 in the winter during the first garbage strike. John Lindsay was major.

I learned so much about films and Paul and I had a good time – away from parents for a whole weekend. We saw a pre-screening of The Planet of The Apes with Charlton Heston.

When I returned I began studying film – Ingmar Bergman, Truffaut, Godard and American Film. I started a film club of watching great films and making small films, though we never got around to watching the great films.

I made one successful short film of 3 minutes made via pixilation or 3D animation (now CGI would be used). It was called King Chair. It made a $45 profit and was shown all over the world. When I asked my mom to be in subsequent movies she agreed if I was never to show her face.

I was thinking about going to go to New York University Film School and was toying with schools focusing on Creative Writing but my Guidance Counselor didn’t have the bravery to tell me that my SAT scores abysmally low. She brought me to the lounge of the other Guidance Counselors for their support in telling me. (Who was supporting me?). They basically said I was too stupid to get a BA and should settle for a BFA in film. I was angry and decided to let go of film school for a BA in English.

Writing pervaded my life.

I got side-tracked into psychology and ended up graduating from one of the top 20 universities in the US with a 3.2 cumulative average. I guess that proved I wasn’t stupid. I got a BA in Psychology with 2 Minors – one in English Literature and the other in Philosophy.

Writing pervaded my life. I tried going back into film in the mid to late 80s. I met Robert Altman who gave me an obscure window into his next film but I was too stupid to get it. (Maybe the guidance counselors were right – I was “too stupid”). His next film was The Player.

I’m still writing and doing my other work that I had surrendered into – as a healer. Being a healer/shaman/astrologer is something I have been doing formally since 1990. I have a fantasy novel that is being readied for publication – The Green Man of Destiny and I have been working on a series of 9 science-fiction novels.

Throughout it all I love stories and I love making-up and writing stories. I only wish I could transfer the images I see in my head to the reader’s head or the film goer, but I love the texture and wobble of words to send the images.

 

A Failed Winter (and Summer) Olympic Sport from the 1950s

Many don’t know that this failed sport went on to become a lifesaving technique.

That’s right. I bet you didn’t know that the Heimlich maneuver was a failed Olympic Sport.

 

Okay the winter version was better for vegans and vegetarians.

 

Skates on.

Swallow a chunk of pork sausage while skating fast down a long runway CHOKING and carrying a chair.

 

Throw yourself on the chair back just below your rib cage at the end of the runway

EJECTING the chunk of sausage over burning hot coals.

 

Whose ever sausage chunk goes the farthest before bursting into flames gets the Gold.

 

Many participants wear helmets and fire retardant suits in case they fall into the hot coals.

And many wear Hiemy Straps to help prevent accidental rib brakes.

 

Voted as TOO DISGUSTING for the Olympics. Also many broke their ribs with the Hiemy Strap and one person did choke to death because the performed the move incorrectly. A summer version was also tried with the same results.

Rant on – Happy New Year

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If you say to me “Happy New Year” does this mean I’m going to be happy all year? If I’m not happy does that mean I can come to you and get a refund, punch your lights out, weep, moan and tear my hair out and you won’t bill me for therapy?

Will this happiness last all year or just a few seconds before midnight on December 31st and a bit afterwards until I pass out from drunkenness? When I wake up with a hangover I won’t feel so happy.

“Have an awful New Year.”

If we play it safe and say “Have an okay New Year” then when it turns out badly I might feel awful, but I might be okay.

If we say “Have an awful New Year,” I might walk away from you because you’re a downer, I might argue with you.

And what’s this about a hangover?

If in 3 months on April 30th I could say “Happy New Year Three Quarters Left” or on June 30th “Happy Half New Year”.

Or looking back as if that’s possible – Happy Old Year.

And what’s this about a hangover? Something is hanging over me, an over hang from a cliff built from drunks about to fall on top of me all with the same face, well not exactly the same, different ages of me when drunk in the past that I don’t remember because I was filled with drink – But I digress.

New Year – hmm. So arbitrary. We made it up. We made up time, we made up years, decades, millenniums, centuries, epochs, seconds, minutes, hours, days weeks, months. So a New Year doesn’t matter. Better to celebrate a new day. Go to sleep and wake-up – that’s a miracle and a new day

Happy New Day.

Happy Day!

Okay Day?

A New Kind of Christmas Prayer

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My mother liked buying Christmas cards all year long. She had huge clear plastic bags of them in the cedar closet and elsewhere in our house.

I told people I was from the future.

In my 20s she invited me to take some to send. I took some, she said take more… So I selected bunches that were all the same painting. I wasn’t much into sending Christmas cards but I took them because my mom wanted me to have some. I think she was overwhelmed with the amount of the cards she had stored up.

Every year for many years I had many of these Christmas cards. It was impossible to send them all to people I knew – maybe I had over 100 cards.

universal wishes

Every since I could remember I longed for a better world as if I had a memory of this world. Perhaps I did remember a different world because I told people I was from the future. I could feel a world and people at peace with themselves, everyone in the community, not just locally but nationally and internationally. And not just with people, but will all the beings of Earth. Often we ascribe life to biological beings only, I saw and I see all beings, rock, water, air and our sun as beings.

There’s something magical about getting mail (snail mail) from yourself especially if you don’t immediately remember that you sent it.

Every year sometime in my 20s I would write a Christmas card to myself with 7 wishes written inside. Four or five were universal wishes and the other two or three were personal. There’s something magical about getting mail (snail mail) from yourself especially if you don’t immediately remember that you sent it.

I began practicing finding a sense of peace within myself

You retrieve it from the post box and look at the envelope. The writing / printing looks familiar. You rip it open and your remember that old mill in winter and your read the wishes. I stopped sending cards when I ran out and I had begun thinking that wishes were melancholy ways to stay stuck – keeping wishes as wishes that would never come true because they postponed the event into a future that didn’t exist.

Create the peace you want in yourself and be it in the world.

I began to visualize using all my senses to what world peace might feel, look, smell and be like. I began practicing finding a sense of peace within myself and finding threads that would connect peace feelings to others.

I invite you to send a snail mail card to yourself of your wishes and then visualize with your thoughts and senses and your emotions what you are creating now. Create the peace you want in yourself and be it in the world.

For an unwind hot non-alcoholic beverage in a mug try: https://psychesweather.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/a-non-alcoholic-hot-toddy-for-sleep/

A Code of Conduct for Men with Women, Children and Other Men

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Or Equality Hugging

Preface

Men are in a position of power in this culture because of their gender and that has been invisible for the most part to them. Women have known about the abuses of men’s power positions for as long as the patriarch is old. It’s becoming more visible now, thankfully and has a long way to go. Men have set many precedents to treat women and others as objects to be subjugated and this has remained acceptable and even hailed as “good” amongst men and some women.

Men who have been victims of sexual crimes such as rape, sexual assault, violations, incest and ritualized sexual abuse as children and feel to be victims / survivors are keenly aware of men’s power than those men acting as perpetrators.

A Possible Code of Conduct

When I was recovering from memories of having been raped as a child I began to create boundaries. Many people men and women make a tacit assumption – it is okay to hug. Amongst my friends and acquaintances I had to stop people from hugging me. I asked them to ask me if was okay to hug me.

Some men employ the bear-hug. This is a clamping down on the hugee to a point where the hugee is crushed by the hugger. Most hugs are unequal. There is a hugger and a hugee. The hugger gives a hug or is the aggressive hugger – even if gentle. The receiver of the hug does just that – receives without choice in the matter. Most hugs are not shared they are given and received. An aggressive hugger can “get-off” sexually on the hug without any seeming impropriety. The best a receiver of a hug may be able to do is the A-Frame Hug. They lean into the giver’s hug with their head and shoulders. Only the very top of their chests may be in contact with the other.

 

The Code of Conduct is Simple

Step One:

“May I give you a hug?”

“Yes.”     Or      “No.”

 

Step Two:

Or you could re-frame the experience:

“May I give you a hug?” Could be met with:

“No, but I will share a hug with you.”

“Same difference,” the hug perpetrator could say.

Response – Walk away

Or they could say: “What does that mean?”

If its said sarcastically its probably best to refuse all together and walk away.

 

In sharing a hug –

Each hugger gives and receives the hug equally.

Explanation and practice required.

 

Am I splitting hairs? Maybe, but I don’t think so…