Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Bang News

About 14 billion years ago the universe came into existence with the Big Bang. Early in process the universe was too hot for matter to form and the was a fairly uniform “glow”. As the universe expanded it cooled. You can think of compressed gas in a can being released, like spray paint or cooking spray, as the gas expands it cools off. After a while things cooled down so that matter could start forming.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Communication is Tough

I'm sitting here at the keyboard trying to figure out what I'm going to say, while Moonpi my dog paces around my chair attempting to communicate with me. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious what he's trying to tell me. For example, he has a pretty specific noise he makes that says, “I've lost my rawhide under the sofa. Get up and help me get it.” And after lunch, when he thinks it is time for a walk, there's not much chance of misunderstanding what he's trying to say.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Letting Go

As you're reading this some of your fellow Tehachapi area residents are getting ready to put on a show. Actually eight shows. That's right, it's time once again for Tehachapi Community Theatre's Playwrights Festival. Starting March 7th and going through the 16th at the BeeKay Theatre TCT will be doing world premieres of eight 10-minute plays.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Yoda Was Wrong

OK, this might be a bit geekier that I sometimes get, but in one of the Star Wars movies (I think it was The Empire Strikes Back) Yoda tells Luke: “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Which may be true when you're trying to save the galaxy from an evil empire, but in normal everyday life, there can be lots of trying. A person doesn't have to always succeed or fail, trying in and of itself is an accomplishment.

Last year another writer friend started a contest, or maybe a bet, to see which person in the group of writers he knows could get the most rejections. That's right rejections. I didn't win, though I blame part of my loss on poor record keeping. But a rejection, in and of itself, doesn't say too much about the quality and eventual sales of a book, story, play, etc. There are many stories of books rejected by publishers that go on to wide acclaim and sales.

The book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was originally rejected, 140 years later people are still reading it. Agatha Christie had years of rejections before she sold her first book now her books have sold in the billions. And most of us have heard about J.K. Rowling's rejections before she sold her first Harry Potter book.

But rejections are only evidence of one thing. Trying. Before you get rejected you have to try something. They aren't a failure. Dr. Seuss was told his stuff was “too different” for the market. Well we know how that went. He redefined the market. Sometimes the only way to fail is not to try.

Within the last week I've had a poem accepted for publication and another set rejected. And sometime in the next few days I expect another rejection. One magazine rejects my stuff after about six weeks. Of course as soon as I get the rejection I send them a new batch to look over.

I've also recently learned that one of my plays has been selected for the TCT Playwright's Festival. Of the half dozen or so plays I sent out last year, I only had that one success. Sort of. I've also worked with Gary Mazzola on a couple short films (including Moon Rabbit which was finished this last year). And I have no plans to stop sending things out for rejection anytime soon.

And speaking of the Playwright's Festival, there's something you can try for a rejection. Soon there will be an announcement for auditions. And given that there are eight plays there can be a large number of parts open for people of all types. So you have an opportunity to try out for a part. The plays are only ten minutes, so it's not like you have to learn hours of dialog. And it can be a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak. Some of the actors in the ten minute plays just check something off a bucket list, while others catch the bug and go on to do many other plays.

 So keep an eye out for the audition announcement and then ignore the advice of Yoda. Go out and try.

Every Day Is New

OK, so maybe it's the fact that I just recovered from a nasty stomach bug where I couldn't do much except wallow in self-pity, but I feel like I've got a new start on life. Throw in the fact that the New Year is just starting and you generate all kinds of push towards self reflection. (Plus I was just out walking the dog and there's not a lot to think about while he's getting caught up on his canine communications. Sniff, sniff.)

There were a lot of things that I didn't get accomplished this last year. Of course, not everything actually fits into a year schedule. I spent a lot of time on smaller projects which left some of the bigger projects dangling. So this next year is going to be the year of the Big Projects. And since I have several of those I have to recognize that I might not get them all done this next year. But that's OK.

I have books and scripts where the first draft is done and I need to get them on to a second and third. And I might just have too many to be able to get all done in a year. Which I'm going to say is a good thing. I just need a big board on the wall with a list of them all, so when I find myself not sure what to do, I can just pick something off the list.

But then I'll need a second board to add all the new ideas I get, since that won't stop just because I'm working on finishing up the old ones. I think I might actually need a wheelbarrow full of notebooks that I take everywhere with me just so I can keep everything organized. (Perhaps someone could develop a small portable device that a person can carry around that can be used to store and organize data?)

But even as I try to make these big plans for the year, I do need to keep in mind that even if I do try to plan for forever, I need to do my best to live for today. Plans, even the best laid ones, can be changed, whether they've gone astray or not.

 As the “philosophers” Phineas and Ferb are known to say, “let's make today the best day ever.” And despite what you might have read on Facebook, that doesn't place any limits on tomorrow. Oh sure, some days you're going to still end up with a nasty stomach bug or something else unpleasant, but that just gives you an easy starting place to try to make the next day better.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Christmas Story

My memory doesn't seem to function like other peoples. At least, from the way they talk it doesn't. I don't really remember any particular Christmas. All my memories just get all jumbled up together into just one big impression of Christmas.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Early Morning of the Comet

Comet ISON is out in the early morning sky. Back in 2012 when it was discovered, at the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia, the hopes were that it would be a bright and impressive comet. As it has gotten closer expectations have been scaled back. But just recently the brightness increased and it has now become visible to the naked eye.