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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Wage theft

There's been a number of articles and stories in the news about wage theft like this one here. Which got me to thinking is this something new or has it been SOP for business and people are finally getting wise? Which made me go down memory lane.
  • My first job was at a Taco Bell in 1969. I worked for a month on the night shift. We closed at 11:00pm and were given 30 minutes to clean up and clock out. I was 16 and made a whopping $.75 an hour. The one perk was that all food and drink was free. A teenage boy allowed to eat all the tacos, burritos and bell beefers (their hamburger, not on the menu now) he wants even if everything on the menu at that time was 25 cents. It more than made up the difference for the then minimum wage of $1.60/hour. The first night manager knew how to get everything cleaned and put away in that time. Mom had to take me to work and wait outside to take me home, but she thought it was good for me to get work experience. Gil left after my first week and Mary was his replacement as night manager. She didn't have a clue and most nights we didn't get out until one in the morning, but we had to clock out at 11:30. One night we didn't get done till 0300. Mom to this day says while she was sitting out there waiting for me that she would rather have paid me to not work there. Working an hour and a half to four hours without getting paid I chalked up to experience and fortunately for some bizarre reason the regular manger fired me after working there three weeks. Mom breathed a sigh of relief. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What a week I had yesterday

Got to the office yesterday to find water streaming down from the vent above the commode and water all over the floor. There is an upside to working at a plumbing company, when one of the plumbers showed up to load his van I drafted him to fix the problem. He found the six gallon hot water heater sprung a leak and turned off the water, took it out and reconnected the water line so we have water, just not hot water. Since we don't cook, shower or wash clothes not a real problem. Why would they put a hot water heater in the attic? I just love mopping up a floor first thing in the morning. Luckily my office and lawyer's office were not damaged. I just had to rearrange everything so he could have access and can't put anything back until he installs the new one, which could be six months from now the way things work around here.
Took some papers to the courthouse, but the parking lot next to it is being used by a filming crew. Most likely Better Call Saul the spin off from Breaking Bad which is set for a February start on AMC. I found a parking space three blocks away, but the south side of Lomas's sidewalk is being rebuilt so I had to walk across the street then down to the courthouse and cross it again. When I made it through security and got to the clerk to drop off and pick up papers I took down a few days earlier I knew the client's name, but not the other party's name and since he's the defendant not the plaintiff I had to walk back to my car call the office to get the name I needed and walk back. It really pisses me off that human being can't take cell phones into the courthouse, but lawyers can. At least I got some exercise, about as good as four par 5's on the golf course just with a lot of carbon monoxide fumes thrown in.
Then I had to pick up a package from another law firm. I stopped and picked up a some hotdogs at a Circle K and back in the office while eating them got mustard all over my shirt. That really makes a good impression on the clients as I greet them at the door.
Did not get one word written on the short story I'm working on to submit to a contest. It's tough trying to get a complete story done in only 2,000 words.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Jerusalem in 3D

Went to a viewing at the Natural History I-Max yesterday of the National Geographic 3D movie on Jerusalem. It was fantastic. To view clips and pictures of the movie click here. It's the best look at the three religious cultures in a really small space. I loved the way in the 3D if felt like you were actually walking through a bazaar or a crowded street. The three young girls you followed as they explained their beliefs and family life helped put a human face on what's happening there.  David Fergusson, one of the producers of the film was present for a Q&A afterwards and was very impressive explaining some of the many problems he faced getting this project done. If it shows up in your area by all means go see it in the 3D. Eventually this film will be done in regular mode for schools and television. I've never been a big fan of 3D, but this one changed my mind.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah, a review

I think this could be titled Noah, The Man Without a Clue.
As a blockbuster movie I think this ranks about even with John Carter. I happen to like both of them. Okay I admit it, I liked Noah as entertainment, as having first class CG (especially when they showed the planet covered in hurricanes), a decent story and morality play. That said here's my take, drum roll if you will...
  • The Watchers are irritating. Come on Transformers in a biblical movie? it's about as bad as the mechanical owl in Clash of the Titans. Deus Ex Machina has to have a purpose and be crucial to the story. These guys are misplaced in time add nothing to the story that couldn't be explained through natural means and are just plain creepy. Hint to script writer and director: fallen angles stay fallen and are called demons. Genesis 6:4 doesn't call the Nephalim fallen angles, they are referred to as son's of God that interbred with women. The Watchers, if the Nephalim is what they represent, would be giants humans not anthropomorphized rocks.
  • Noah never figures anything out on his own. He has a vision, but has to travel to Methuselah for interpretation, and is given a magical seed that when planted grows a whole forest in a matter of seconds. His "failure" (not explaining because it would be a spoiler) gives a good reason for him to drink himself to the point of lying naked on the sand and hints at the Curse of Ham, but it takes his adopted daughter to explain to him why he didn't fail.
  • The constant flashbacks to the serpent and the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil then the silhouette of Cain slaying Able. Once was enough, we got it.
  • The Ark. It ranks up there with the wooden horse in Troy as a realistic construction of that time period. They both broke the mold of all the drawings and pictures of them that the audience is prepared for. It's covered in tar to keep it water tight, nice realistic touch.
  • All the animals hibernating. It answers much speculation over the centuries and I'm sure solved a lot of problems in the story.
  • Jennifer Connelly as Naameh, she should get a role as Russel Crowe's wife more often. She deserves another Oscar.
  • Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah, not much of a stretch from his previous role as Odin, but this time he didn't have to wear an eye patch. He lends credence to any move he's in, I'm biased here.
  • Russel Crowe. I don't think any other actor today could play this role convincingly. He's the master at myopic stoicism.
  • No booming voice of God. They use the creator when speaking of the divine being which may piss off some people, but still gets the point across.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Way We Were, flop or a hit?

One of my wife's and my favorite movies. Recently we watched it again, and afterwards we watched the bonus dvd with an interview on the making of the movie.

Sydney Pollack said something that hit me as a writer. He said they had a viewing of the movie on Friday night and it was a flop. The people hated it. He cut two scenes and on Saturday night it was a hit. They showed the first scene cut and I agreed with it because it didn't advance the story. The second scene he cut was brutal, but necessary to make the movie a hit.
If your familiar with the movie ( and I don't have the patience to write a summary) Hubble and Katie get divorced because Hubble sleeps with his past girlfriend (played by Lois Childs)
That's not the original reason for the divorce. The scene that is cut has Katie being named a communist to the House Un-American activities committee by a former boyfriend played by James Woods. Hubble is the writer of a novel being turned into a movie and he would be blacklisted in Hollywood for being married to a communist. Katie divorces him not because he was unfaithful, but to save his career. It was an act of love, not spite.
Pollack said the audience wasn't ready for that kind of ending. It was a bucket of cold water at the end of romantic movie. Forty years later he's been proven right. It's still a big movie and made lots of money.
As a writer he cut the guts out of what the author was trying to get the audience to feel. This was the theme, the message, what he wrote the whole story for in the first place. He intended that bucket of cold water to wake up a complacent public to how witch hunts like congress did back in the 1940's and the senate of the 1950's destroyed people's lives.
After this movie other movies and TV shows were made on the Hollywood blacklist, but none of them had the impact that this movie would have made, but marketing killed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Print book in hand

I have my first novel back in print. Five copies on hand and more to come. It is still available at amazon.com as an e-book for only .99. Newly revised and updated.
The original version is still available as used book for varying prices.

This is my other book now in print and at amazon.com as an e-book for .99. The first of a trilogy about the impending explosion of Yellowstone.
This tells the tale of the Drake/Eastman dynasty from the 1920's to the 70's
This one's not in print yet, but it is available at amazon.com as an e-book for .99. This is the continuing saga of the Drake/Eastman dynasty getting things ready for when it hits the fan.
Their motto: When it hits the fan you'd better have a plan.

Still working on Fan Plan Countdown it will be out shortly. The third and fourth generation of Drake/Eastman/O'Neals await the day when it hits the fan and the scientific secret police are being prepared to preserve civilization against superstition in the aftermath of the fan.

I'm going to revise Vander's Magic Carpet, Human Sacrifices and a compile a few of my short stories into an anthology. Now I have a printer and I can publish books that sell around ten dollars it will be worth my while to start doing book signings again.

My problem is that while I'm doing all this revising and getting books ready to print it leaves little time to write new stuff and I have got to get busy on the Stephanus, the sequel to Optimus.