I can be terse. Once, in flight school, I was laconic.
As of today, we've crossed the threshold of no return on moving to a house a mile from our lovely apartment. Giving our notice was surreal, because our favorite curmudgeon passed ... [ See the rest at Brainwaves of Sken ]

(That's right, I'm moving on from Livejournal. Almost no one posts directly here. I use google reader to keep track of many indie blogs. LJ has outlived its usefulness and its relevancy. I can be found on the google+s and at ofsken.com. I may find a way to automate posting here, or I may end up shutting it down, since I exported all my posts successfully. Cheers!)
This is in response to a post on a mailing list where someone said (to no one in specific, unbidden) for everyone to lighten up about movie flaws, because movies are just entertainment.
As a video editor, I am both more and less concerned about major flaws in movies.

I am less concerned, I think, because I have painful personal experience with how complicated and difficult it is to get everything right, and it is so much worse when you have so many people and it costs hundreds of thousands to reshoot a continuity problem. And worse, of course, is that before anything is edited, the movie is shot with a full story in mind. Then producers get their fingers in and what's left on the cutting room floor (as it were) are the tendons - not delicious, but vital for holding things together. Sometimes the Director's job comes down to just wrestling competing interests into a finished product before it gets axed.

I am -more- concerned because it is an art form I believe in, and it is just as much entertainment as a painting or a fine musical piece is. It embarrasses me when someone makes a Dances With Blue Wolves (3D!), because the director and writer don't have any historical perspective, the story they're trying to tell has been done over and over (and better), and they basically threw a shitload of money to create a piece of gilded crap. It's definitely beautiful, absolutely! But I might as well be watching a high-definition screensaver. It embarrasses me, as a story teller, to see that get greenlit. Did he even realize that he was producing the same bullshit "white man saves the helpless savages and becomes a better native than the natives" that we've been telling for a hundred years?

Of course, it was greenlit because we'll buy anything sensational, and everyone knows it. As consumers, we don't really care. I'm sure you could find at least a half-dozen movies (and probably plenty more) in my library that are just as bad.

I don't expect light fare to be anything more than light fare - but I want to see the same damned integrity to what they're doing that I see in, at minimum, Spaceballs. I mean, really, at least Mel Brooks does his research.
There's something fascinating about the recent blogger authenticity dramatics. Who would think that a straight man would spend years developing a blog as a gay woman in order to "cover the issues from that perspective"?

One (the Gay Girl in Syria) seems to be a fiction writer, and the other (creator of LezGetReal, a news blog from a lesbian perspective) was a retired guy from the military whose closest friends are a lesbian couple, and he was outraged about how they were treated under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

We've all known, of course, that the internet has an anonymizing factor. And many of us have known that people can change who they are for minor reasons, like participating in a hookup or romance website, or changing who we are for a bulletin board.

But these are prominent social personas a la Ender's Game (without the philosophical misdirection). These are people who, more or less, dedicated their time online, even made a second career, out of blogging not just for a community that they cannot innately be a part of, but as if they were. The guy said he was the father of his persona, who was deaf, so he could interpret for her on phone interviews. He sent a copy of an ID, forged or photoshopped. Clearly, effort was spent to build up the persona.

I respect the feelings of betrayal by those who felt like they'd come to know these individuals, He lied about who he is, and lying is a betrayal. I see how it could affect people deeply, on a personal level. And I DO think it was counterproductive, causing suspicion and division amongst the group he was trying to forward, and perhaps making people outside of that group take it less seriously.

But sociologically, does it matter so much today? The creator of LezGetReal, from what I have read, covered issues of the day from the perspective of a lesbian. Other lesbian bloggers have said that the posts were timely and useful. Some have said that they "knew" something wasn't right and that they were "unusually aggressive", but how much of that is (deserved, let's keep in mind) sour grapes after-the-fact? Obviously lesbians have their aggressive contingency, just like straight males (and everyone else), is that stereotyping just to make themselves feel better about being hoodwinked? I don't care who you are, unless you have a super-secret handshake, you just can't say for certainty that you'd know if someone was pretending to be someone they're not.

Ultimately, an article about this asked, is the conclusion that you should trust no one online? I say yes, if what someone says they are is a priority to you, you should stick to people you can verify, like people you know in person, because right now nearly anyone can create an ID to fax, anyone can find or make 'authentic' photos, anyone can sit down and fashion a personality, for good or ill, online. Just like that sexy 20-something guy you've been chatting up could be a middle-aged man trying to recapture his youth, that bubbly young sex blogger could be an older woman who thinks she will get more hits if she appears to be a hip younger girl.

And a blog pursuing the rights and reactions of women who like other women will, surprise, get more attention when it appears to be written by a woman. It's not a psychosis, even if it is unethical.

I think we all take for granted that people are exactly who they say they are an awful lot in real life. Reporters report the truthful news, even if they work for a company known to distort and deceive. Salesmen are just there to help you out, even if they'll make more money by convincing you to buy something with more markup. Political commercials say they represent a grassroots upswell from the common man, when they're paid for by extremist fringe groups.

At the same time, stepping out of the specific situation, I do believe that people need to spend more time genuinely putting themselves in the shoes of other people. What would it really be like to live, every day, without a home to go to? How does it actually feel to be rejected by the government for protection when someone says, "You're a fag, I won't rent to you" or "We don't give marriage licenses to lezzbozzz like you" or "You can't see your lover of 40 years on their dying day because we won't acknowledge your family."

I would never say that he 'groks' being gay - he was probably never harassed about his sexuality in his life, the entire american culture promotes his personal way of life, etc. But, shady method and all, at least this guy here seemed to care about (the issues of) people that weren't exactly like himself to try and make a difference.

Sticking with the lesbian community just as an example, group authenticity is such a tangle. Are you a lesbian if you were born a man, transition to female in full faith that you are female inside, and are attracted to women? Are you authentically lesbian if you are femme and easily 'pass'? Are you a lesbian if you only date women, but have sex with both genders? Or if you will have romantic relationships with anyone, but only have sex with women?

Most lesbians I know would say "yes" to each of those with or without some reservation, but there are plenty inside that community that think it is a betrayal and false if you are interested in men (or if you were a man). Similar comparisons can be made for many groups. When I was going to goth clubs, we rejected the kids who loved Marilyn Manson and the rave kids, because they weren't "authentic" enough for us, but we are not the arbiters of who can identify with our cultural group. We don't get to "decide" what is and is not steampunk, to pick a niche; we make up our own minds, and everyone else does, too.

I don't have a conclusion here. This is just a trend we will increasingly have to cope with as people, earnestly or deceptively, choose to be whoever they want to be online.
Rooting out corruption and fraud was in their own self-interest. In the event of financial wrongdoing, they insisted, they would do their civic duty and protect the markets. But in late 2006, well before many of the other players on Wall Street realized what was going on, the top dogs at Goldman — including the aforementioned Viniar — started to fear they were sitting on a time bomb of billions in toxic assets. Yet instead of sounding the alarm, the very first thing Goldman did was tell no one. And the second thing it did was figure out a way to make money on the knowledge by screwing its own clients.

THIS is what worries me. We live in a world in which, more and more, we are expecting our own industries to self-regulate because it is in their supposed best interest to do so.

The reality is that corruption and fraud has proven to be so incredibly lucrative, and the punishment for fraud so completely nonexistent that it's almost the fiscal duty of executives in major corporations to participate in fucking over everyone down the line, from their investors to their clients, and ultimately the system at large.

And we, as Americans, won't do anything about it. We trust our American companies even when they screw us, just like we trust our politicians even as they take away rights that we've taken for granted for hundreds of years. We trust that they are really doing it for our best interest.

We need to be skeptical. We need to ask questions, to follow up, to assume the worst and protect ourselves. That is why we have "tangles" of regulation - because without it, a company knows that so much more money can be made screwing over their employees, their retired employees, and everyone else that a few hundred thousand in legal costs is nothing in comparison. Totally worth it.

If you think I'm being a little extreme, I encourage you to read the article. Think about how our state and our country continues to push for less and less regulation, and where that has gotten us so far.

This is just as depressing, to me, as hearing our governor talk about how slashing medicaid by 2/3rds won't magically cause people to stop receiving treatment. As if that money would ever come out of anyone's pocket but the consumer - consumers who have, by definition, no money to give. Just as depressing as our federal legislators declaring as a whole that there is no such thing as global warming (or severe climate change, if you will). Not even a matter of man-made or not, that it outright doesn't exist, decades of science notwithstanding.

The reason our government is supposed to be divided from religious and commercial ventures is because their motivation is supposed to be to protect their constituency. I don't think it works that way anymore, especially when someone can be in a top position in the FCC, pushing strongly against the regulation or restriction of a merger that will ruin competition in the cable marketplace, and then four months later leave to become a lobbyist for that company (Comcast).

Sorry to be a little ranty, but this stuff genuinely keeps me up at night. Our laws aren't protecting us, our politicians are impotent and ineffective, if not outright corrupt, and any hard-nosed journalism that is left after the gutting and massive consolidation of the industry is too busy looking outward at three wars to give a damn about what is happening here.

I don't know if there's anywhere to turn to anymore, except to tuck in and protect your own... and that makes me part of the problem.
Thanks so much to the awesome contestants and audience for Geek Family Feud at this last Penguicon!

Also, we owe a thank you to Trevor Jagoda, next year's Con chair, for giving us the 5 free memberships we used as our grand prize!

We're getting an early start on the next GFF by asking YOU to help us with questions!

If you think of yourself as a geek (of any flavor), please chip in a question or two at our survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B2GXXJN
First - I have completely missed all posts everywhere for the past week and a half. I have been entirely engrossed in my trip to the NAB conference in Vegas, which is finally done, hooray!

The whole weekend was pretty intense - an incredible number of people at that convention, all walks of life, all adult ages. You can't tell the difference between a college student on a free exhibition badge and a young director looking to spend a few hundred grand on his next project.

The first two days of training were solely to prep me for the Apple Pro - Final Cut Pro Level One certification exam. I passed! It's kind of a big deal to me, particularly since three of my new friends in class did not pass, and the instructor says pass rate at conferences is 40%.

We celebrated the end of that training by going to a grungy little british pub, where I had the blandest indian food I've ever eaten - which is probably appropriate, come to think of it. Beers all around, and hilarity ensued!

I walked and walked and walked, usually carrying my training books, notebook, and a metric tonne of brochures and free pens. Seriously, pens and lanyards were everywhere, and virtually no other loot to be had this year.

My next three days were ALSO spent training, but class-by-class, and maaaan, my brain filled up by the last day. I learned so much, not just about editing but about workflow and about thinking of the big picture. I'm grateful to have been allowed to go - it's one of the cool things my job has afforded me.

I was there for the Final Cut Pro User Group Supermeet, which is essentially at 1500-person-strong party with a ton of vendors giving discounts and freebies. This year the vendors were kept to the entrance because Apple took over the entire show (a first), and used it as a sneak preview of the next version of the editing program. They're dropping the price about 60% to $300, which is a pretty incredible thing. It won't be out until June, but it is exciting enough that I would consider buying a new editing system just to work with it some more at home.

The flight there was pretty funny, with a cute lesbian flight attendant who did magic tricks like she was passing out food. ;) She made my ring disappear momentarily, but don't worry, I was still married!

Coming back, I picked up tangerine penguin gummies for consolation prizes for Geek Family Feud at Penguicon, hehe. Lucy picked me up from my redeye flight and took care of me for the day, which was honestly super awesome.

Anyway, I have a lot to think about re: editing and work, and I have a ton to do before Penguicon arrives. I'm just really glad that I didn't convince the bosses, fly out and study my ass off for nothing!

Oh, and what the certification means is that I can use an apple logo (with the appropriate text) on my business cards and any web sites or resumes I might have. Woohoo!
The thing I love about science is that it does NOT try to tell you the "truth". Hundreds of thousands of people over the last few hundred years have studied the world, asking questions, coming to conclusions, and having those conclusions challenged not just by peers but through future generations.

The fact that the Theory of Evolution is called a theory doesn't make it more suspect than something else - it is an honest assertion that describes what we have learned through studying the world, SUBJECT TO CHANGE through other tests and experiments, or even through a change in perspective that more perfectly encompasses those results.

The biggest PR problem that Science has is that people keep comparing it to Faith, as if it were impossible for me to do my own experiments, my own studying of our physical world, and come to my own conclusions based on my own eyes and ears.

Just because I choose to trust vetted, argued-over conclusions by scientists as the best answers we have RIGHT NOW with the facts AT HAND does not equate my understanding of science with faith. Because faith implies truth, and science is not about what is true, only about what we think is true.
It seems to me that energy- and energy aquisition-related mishaps and disasters are happening more and more frequently lately.

Maybe it's a purely subjective thing, but I don't like it.

Neither my wife nor I are apocalyptically minded, but it does make us feel awfully vulnerable. We're both hoping to someday have a home that is more or less self-reliant, and that seems to be easier and easier to do every month.

Last night, I read the first short story in Metatropolis (this one by Jay Lake). It brings out the idea that as we reduce the massive costs of creating technology and 'doing business', it helps not just the people who create massive corporations, but individuals and small groups of people who can work together to make things that were unbelievable twenty or even ten years ago.

I'm glad to be an occasional part of the hackerspace community, where people get together, share knowledge and tools, and work together to create amazing things for all of us. I wonder if and when hackerspaces-as-such will make their way into future fiction. 'course, Doctorow's Makers is pretty close to that, but not quite what I want to see.
After our fun weekend in Columbus (walking in the sun without a coat, board games, pizza from scratch with friends, late-night conversations and a hot tub!) I popped in the game Dragon Age II to get a little further.

I've discovered a peculiar bug that happened in two different places where, with a single button press, I could (if I wanted) gather unlimited experience and gold.

Since then I've shut down, so I don't know if it will be the same when I start it back up, but it was just super strange. I am amazed that something so obvious and easy would be broken like that, and that it hasn't been corrected via update yet.

It is very difficult not to take advantage of that bug, heh. I had fun getting a couple of extra levels, but I felt like any more than that and I would spoil the game for myself by removing any challenge.
New Martha Bakery From The Great Bookmove

I picked up a dozen paczki's for Lucy this morning from ham-town, because she was about to commit the crime of the century and get them from a gas station. I may have taken a paczki tax in the process... ;)

The old polish ladies behind the counter were pretty funny; they started off a little dour, but I softened them up with my charm. :) I now have a lovely sealed container of a dozen paczkis for m'love, and coworkers circling like sharks for the extras.

This weekend was our great book shuffle, where we finally consolidated and alphabetized our library (or most of it anyway), and set out a box of duplicates and no-longer-wants for other people to pick through. We can't find Harry Potter 5, though, wonder where that wandered off to...

Fiction only From The Great Bookmove

Our place looks so much better with that whole area organized! I forgot to keep separate the books we bought recently, though, so I might have to hunt through the books to figure out which ones I wanted to read...

Sci-Fi and Fantasy pile From The Great Bookmove

... which means I'll find a bunch of books I wanted to read from before ...

Sci-Fi and Fantasy sorting - no more H and S authors, please! From The Great Bookmove

... I really don't see a downside here. In a crazy unintentional coincidence, nearly all of our favorite authors ended up in the center column bookshelf.

Our completed Sci-Fi and Fantasy bookshelf From The Great Bookmove
This is not going to be entertaining for anyone. ;)

FCP Cert Class Day 1

FCP Cert Class Day 2 (and test)

  • 9-10:15 -- Titling with Apple Motion: Mastering Text Animation (or show floor visit)
  • 11:45-1 -- What is Final Cut Server?
  • 2-3:15 -- Increasing Efficiency in Final Cut Pro OR The Replicator: Apple Motion's Best Kept Secret OR Creating a 3D World in After Effects - Part 1
  • 3:30-4:45 -- Third Party Plugins for Final Cut Studio
  • 5-6:15 -- Media Management in Final Cut Studio OR Strategies of a Successful Motion Graphic Designer

  • 10-1 -- In-Depth: Mastering the Final Cut Studio Workflow OR Advanced Tracking, Stabilizing, and Rotoscoping Techniques in After Effects
  • 2-3:15 -- When Time is Of the Essence: Motion Graphics on a Deadline OR From Storyboard to Final Delivery in Adobe Production Premium
  • 3:30-4:45 -- Creating Motion Templates for Final Cut Pro OR Combining Effects Creatively in Adobe After Effects
  • 5-6:15 -- Creating Custom Backgrounds

  • 10-1 -- In-Depth: Secondary Correction and Grade Management for Apple Color OR In-Depth: Advanced Lighting Techniques for Video Pros
  • 2-3:15 -- Designing Title Sequences OR Securing & Storing Tapeless Production Media (or visit show floor)
  • 3:30-4:45 -- Archiving Media From Tapeless Video Production OR Nesting and other Time Saving FX Techniques OR The Law of Copyright: Basic Principles to Advanced Practice ORRRR Work Faster in Photoshop: Get More Done with Automation and Scripting
  • 5-6:15 -- Speeding up Your Edit: Advanced Editing Techniques OR HDSLR for Run and Gun Productions (if I need a freakin' break)
A very proud and hard-working friend of mine has been suffering from an unknown, undiagnosable illness (along with chronic fibromyalgia and serious GI issues). She has been mighty the past few years, running FeliciTea hardcore, but she is in such pain and so swamped with medical bills that her business is almost certain to disappear.

I don't often "send out the signal" or whatever, partly because I usually feel conflicted about them, partly because I do not want my friends and family to be inundated with requests for help and the possible guilt involved there.

What I will say is that this person who hasn't asked anything from anyone before has been reduced to begging in order to make it through the next two weeks. I intend to donate because I could probably do with one less night of eating out in order to help someone I know personally, who is trying their hardest, to survive. If you're interested, please read her blog entry where she asks for help, and help if you wish to do so.
If any of you linux gurus think you can help me patch the kernal on my dd-wrt router to recognize NTFS hard drives, please let me know. I'll totally feed you. :D
So I'm feeling like a big of a geek demi-god after last night's escapades, involving helping Lucy get her computer working and installing the open source DD-WRT firmware on my old Linksys router for better work as a hub.

I wouldn't feel so mighty about it if it weren't for the WRT wiki, which says at every step, "YOU WILL BRICK YOUR ROUTER. DON'T BE FOOLISH!" I was not, as it appears, as foolish as that. So I am shocked to say that all of our "permanently" emplaced technology can now use a wired cable! In the gaming sense, I'm occasionally getting a latency (stop rolling your eyes, Melanie, I'm almost done!) of 90ms ... which is three times as fast as before I replaced the router. Who knew they made such a difference?

Meanwhile, to cement my geekishness, as I walked to the office through the mounds of melting snow, I couldn't help but think of Super Metroid, which I miss playing. None of the console Metroid games since SM have been as good.
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