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|Monday, February 24th, 2014|
Tonight I was one of the estimated fifteen thousand people across Australia holding a silent candlelight vigil
for Reza Barati, the refugee killed in the Manus Island camp.
Two thoughts kept grabbing hold of my mind.
The first was Christopher Isherwood in Berlin, in the days before drawing comparisons to the Nazis was seen as an instant excuse for people to dismiss your point. In two caustic sentences he describes witnessing a book-burning: "Christopher, who was present in the crowd, said 'shame'; but not loudly."
This kept jumping out at me when I felt self-conscious about raising my voice.
The second was just a moment of clarity. My grandparents, on the Blum side, fled religious and political persecution. It was only a quirk of history which meant they fled at the time of open immigration and Ellis Island -- when people actually believed in "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- which meant that I got the life I have enjoyed. If not, if the anti-immigrant xenophobia of 1924 had been a touch stronger a touch earlier... their only way in would likely have been as refugees. A couple of decades later, they could have been the refugees who weren't
let into America while fleeing Hitler.
This is my family.
Australia's mistreatment of asylum seekers is wrong. Given that significantly over 90% of the people who get locked up for months or years in camps like Manus Island are found to be legitimately fleeing persecution, putting them through months or years of security-theater on a guilty-until-proven-innocent basis is wrong. The lack of transparency in the process is wrong. The deliberate stoking of public outrage against "boat people" and "queue jumpers" is wrong. Using the Navy to make it impossible even for people on boats to beg for asylum (which is *ABSOLUTELY LEGAL*) on Australian shores is wrong.
So why have I done so little about it? For so many years, under so many governments?
Oh, I've nodded along with Kate's refugee-action postings. I've made pointed comments on Facebook. I wrote an acerbic authors' note on the subject, at the back of a novel which sold some hundreds of copies, mostly outside Australia. I've said 'shame'. But not loudly.
And it knots my guts that, because of all my other commitments at the moment, I *won't* be able to devote the energy to this issue which I want to right now. Not at this moment. But I want to do *something* before it fades into the background again.
At the vigil, the wax from my candle kept spattering on my hand. The pain faded quickly, but I want to remember it. I want to hold on to the intensity of this feeling long enough to at least write a few letters to people that might matter a bit more.
And as they suggested at the end, I'm saving the candle for the next vigil.
|Friday, February 21st, 2014|
| More Protoverse
For those of you who just scrolled past my previous fundraising pitch for Barry Williams and Rupert Booth's new Protoverse short
... here's the original rave review I wrote for their mid-'90s Protoverse episode "The Five Totally Unrelated Persons", their take on an old Doctor Who classic (and another old classic as well).
Does this sound like juicy goodness to you? Want to see more of Ventricle, the hapless burglar with a taste for heroism? Then pop on over and chip in a fiver!
The single greatest fan video ever made, bar none, has to be "The Five Totally Unrelated Persons... Of Oz".
It's not a straight Who video by any means -- there's a good chunk of Who content, but filtered through all sorts of weird new perspectives. But what makes it so good is that it manages to be both well-plotted and fall-down-laughing funny. Fan video comedies that work are really rare; ones that mix comedy and storytelling successfully are even rarer.
As for the story... you can *tell* it's the product of one of those brilliant late-night fannish bull-sessions. I can almost see the Helical Scan gang waving their arms around excitedly (and a bit groggily), making their points to each other. "Nah, I'm sherioush. Wizhard of Oz, Five Doctorsh. Same shtory. Our heroes go on a quest to the magic castle just so they can get put back where they came from in the firsht place. It'sh archetypic... Archetypal. Even a big floating head at the end... Dickie, thish ish truly *evil* beer."
But it's the fact that they manage to turn this kind of demented inventiveness into a _story_, that actually stands up, which is where Rupert Booth and Barry Williams really shine.
It helps that the Helical Scan folks bring a lot of their own ideas to the table. This could have just been a fanwank crossover, depending entirely on elements other people thought up -- but it's not. It is, at its heart, a Protoverse adventure... a story which refers to elements from other fictional universes, but turns them into something entirely its own.
I'd never heard of the Protoverse before, but this story alone made me an immediate fan. It's a prototype universe, which was never quite ready to be open for business... Rupert, Barry, and Malcolm "Fish" Herron have been producing entirely original surrealist-fantasy TV series set in this universe for about seven years now.
A quick bit of background: the Protoverse is divided into different realities -- each one based around a concept, like Surrealism, Horror, Gameshows, Paranoia, or (apparently) Little Stringy Things. The first Protey series, "The Great Siberian Explosion", followed the adventures of Advent (Malcolm Herron) and Equinox (Rupert Booth) -- two, erm, people from Surrealism who had bizarre adventures while trying to avoid the bureaucratic Beings who wanted them put away. The second series, "No! It Can't Be Done!", is the tale of a rather hapless fellow called Ventricle who got stranded in the reality of Heroism, and is stuck being a hero while trying to find a way out.
And now... Strange forces are at work in the Protoverse. Who is using a strangely familiar piece of temporal manipulation equipment ((C) Terrance Dicks) to kidnap Advent, Equinox, and Ventricle from their timestreams? Why have they dared the ultimate crime -- to reach into Reality, our universe, and abduct a Cyberman straight from "Tomb"? What is this strange reality in which our, um, heroes have found themselves? And why does everyone keep calling Ventricle "Dorothy"?
Stick around. You'll love it. Sure, some of the bits of Protey backstory pass you by on a first viewing, but I loved it nonetheless.
The credit for this has to go to Rupe, Fish, and most especially Barry Williams, who really bring their characters to life. These guys can *act*. They've got comic timing. Their script sparkles, and they give their main characters such a sense of _personality_ that I immediately wanted to see more of their adventures.
And Dickie Knapper as the Cyberman is a *scream*.
Fans of these guys' Timebase Who productions will recognize a bunch of familiar faces. We all know Rupert, and it's great to get to see him in a part which is a lot less *nice* than his Doctor. Fish has had two roles so far, as Harry (the first victim of Tribus) in "Regenesis" and Daniel the Evil Cultist (the one who *can* act) in "Long Shadows". Deborah Reilley (Amaryllis) turns up as a devastatingly slinky Wicked Witch of the Nowth, and Ian Patterson (the wonderfully scene-stealing Shakespeare in "Long Shadows", and the man with the unfortunate hair problems in "Phase Four) plays Dipthong. And don't blink, or you'll miss Selina Lock (Judith from "Long Shadows").
And what really makes "Five Totally Unrelated Persons" shine, in the end, is that it's a fan video *about fandom*. It looks at our urge to produce more stories with our favorite characters (regardless of the limitations of our talent), and skewers it mercilessly. And manages to celebrate it at the same time. This is a story which *knows* us, knows all those embarrassing things we fans do, and loves every minute of them.
Don't miss this story. It's witty and cynical and thoroughly clever, part celebration and part pure evil -- the kind of balance Rupe and Barry strike so well throughout their Protoverse series. I showed it to three dozen people in a packed hotel room last Visions, and we all ended up singing along with the end credits music. They're showing it again at this Visions, and I wish to God I could be there again. It's that kind of video.
|Thursday, February 20th, 2014|
|Prisoners: a Protoverse short film
Some of you may be too young to remember the mid-'90s...
But back in those pre-Youtube days, before everyone and their brother figured they could make a short film... Rupert Booth and Barry Williams and their team made about forty of them. From then through 2003, they basically had their own TV series -- surrealist comedy adventures, witty and dark and *packed* with ideas, distributed on the VHS tape-copying network to a passionate cult of fans. (Including me, Kate, Paul Cornell, and a bunch of other Doctor Who bods.)
And now, they're doing it again!Prisoners (a Protoverse short film)
This series of six short films -- and, with a bit of luck, an eventual feature -- are a relaunch of their Protoverse series, which was such a huge influence on Kate's and my work (our Who novels around that time are peppered with little references). Only now with an extra decade's worth of experience and technical polish. And budget. Which is where this Indiegogo link comes in!
Let me urge every one of you to pop on over and chip in, even if just five pounds or so. These guys have been *huge* influences on me and Kate. Some of you (like Alryssa) may remember us watching one of the Protoverse videos at Visions ("The Five Totally Unrelated Persons...") and ending up singing along to "Daydream Believer" on the end credits. The Protoverse project, like Rupert's pioneering Doctor Who fan films, was inspiring stuff for me -- it's because of this that I ended up writing that Prisoner novel with Rupert and a TV pilot with Baz. I'd love to see this take flight again.
Not least because I'm writing and directing the second one of the new batch! (And yes, mine's already funded -- at least enough to get it in the can.) More on that soon...
|Thursday, December 19th, 2013|
|Farewell, House Of Sticks
Well, we've put down the rental deposit, we're signing the lease after New Year's. Farewell House of Sticks, we're moving to the House of Bricks!
For those who haven't been following the long-running saga -- for years the owner of our tiny little house has been planning to knock it down and build something bigger and square-er than our hobbyist home. Thanks to council delays and so forth, we've had a couple of years of grace, while knowing that the notice could come at any time. The word finally came through while we were in the US... and they said we had until early March to move out, which was more time than we feared.
Just as we were settling in for a long haul of searching for a decent place that allows cats, within walking distance of shopping and transport, etc etc... our real estate agent contacted us about this place.
My first impression was that it was spacious (about twice the size of our little place), but dingy; we were inspecting it before it was cleaned. But today we went back with Kate's dad to kick the tires, and he thought the place was wonderful!
Lots of little caveats and things to sort out, but basically... we're going to time the move for mid-January, right after the latest Big Push at work finishes, and before I do a whole bunch of film-related things before my short film shoots in the latter half of March. (And I have to try to get two *other* film projects, plus "The I Job", out of the way in between... whee!)
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
Coming home from one of those exhausting "vacations". This one included closing out my grandmother's estate, cleaning out the last of my stuff from our basement on orders from my dad, throwing out and replacing familiar pieces of my parents' electronics which had given up the ghost, meeting an old girlfriend for the first time in years and laying some ghosts to rest, and touching base with far too few folks and fans who we haven't seen in years.
And on our way home, we've finally got notice that the owner of the House of Sticks is going to knock it down. We've got to be out by early March.
I'm really not sure whether shedding so much at once is a good thing or a bad one...
On the flipside: Rupert Booth has just started shooting on our new film project (about which more soon). There's a future ahead; it's just that the next few months will be very, very full ones.
|Sunday, October 13th, 2013|
|Evelyn Fisher Rosenberg Kaitz, 1917-2013.
Below is the eulogy for my beloved grandmother (Bubby), Evelyn Kaitz, as written and delivered by Rabbi Mindy Portnoy (with a lovely bit interpolated from my cousin Gerri). It is a wonderful summation of a life thoroughly lived.
And here's Bubby, in the foreground, in characteristic pose. Amidst words, and ideas, and her community.
-----( Read more...Collapse )
But that's not all... on the plane over, in the wee small hours of jetlag, I wrote a little something, which they generously let me read out as well. How could I follow Mindy's awesome portrait of Bubby? Only by adding just a few personal details.
-----( Read more...Collapse )
And there's a little bit more that comes to mind. The speed with which Jewish funerals have to happen means that normally it might not have been possible for me to finish everything I had to do in Australia and make it back to the US in time. But Bubby's aneurysm timed itself, as Mindy said, for right before Simchat Torah
... and since funerals couldn't be conducted on the holiday, or on Shabbat, that gave me and Kate just enough time to make it up over. (We flew in Saturday at 11PM, with the funeral Sunday morning.)
And once we were up there, trying to look after my folks through the shiva
week... we found out that Brian Wilson was playing a concert in town the day after the shiva
week ended. Which we invited my parents to -- and it turned out to be a wonderful, cathartic, healing experience for all of us (especially my mom).
I couldn't help but get the feeling that even there, somehow Bubby was looking after us.
Hugs and kisses, Bubby. You keep warm.
|Friday, October 11th, 2013|
|Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found, Part 2
...and here's the "after" picture.
Nine new episodes, released today to iTunes: "The Enemy of the World" and all but one episode of "The Web of Fear". Plus reconstructed trailers! And there are still rumors of more yet to be returned to the BBC...
A sentence which will be really hard for most of us old-school fans to get our heads around:
Most of season five exists now.
"Woohoo" barely begins to cover it!
|Thursday, October 10th, 2013|
|Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found
Okay, for those of you who don't know the background to the whole finding-missing-episodes-of-Doctor-Who thing (and I'm surprised how many of my friends haven't just absorbed this through osmosis over the years!)... here's the story, and a nice little picture.
This represents which episodes of 1960s Doctor Who are known to exist, as of today.
Why are there so many missing? Because back in the old days, there wasn't a market for archive TV -- especially with the move from black-and-white to color. Once they figured they'd sold all the copies to overseas stations that they were going to sell, the BBC wiped the master tapes.
Pretty much all the B&W episodes which survive come from those film prints made for overseas stations -- carefully tracked down and returned to the Beeb in the eighties. Because seasons 1 and 2 sold to a lot more countries, we got back most of them; season 6 was also fairly lucky. But the later Hartnell and early Troughton runs were ravaged.
In this graphic, the green episodes are the ones which have long been known to survive; aside from the odd stray ones, these were included in the mid-'80s release of Hartnell and Troughton stories to PBS. The blue ones are the occasional episodes which have trickled back since then, over the past twenty-five years or so. The yellow ones have been literally re-animated -- the soundtracks survive (thanks to gonzo fans with tape recorders even back in the day), and the Beeb has used animation to re-create them. The white ones are the holes in history.
This is the "before" picture.
Tune in in a day or two for the "after" one.
|Sunday, September 15th, 2013|
...So, I just directed my first short film in the better part of a decade!
This is a comedy short, about which I hope to talk about a little bit more soon. But in the meantime, some photos behind the cut...( Read more...Collapse )
|Monday, August 19th, 2013|
Kate's back from her writing retreat, which comprised about most of our four-day holiday. Basically, instead of going away somewhere, we got a nice hotel room in the city, I stayed over a couple of nights (and went home to feed the cats on others), and then she just holed up in the room from Sunday to Thursday and beat the middle chunk of her book into shape.
So that way I got the weekend-getaway I'd been promised for my birthday (thanks, Mom and Dad!), Kate got a hell of a lot of good writing done, and I spent the other couple of days getting a hell of a lot of *other* projects done!
Kate's list of realizations from her wonderful head-clearing experience:1. I am not a writer; I write.
2. A "writer" can be compared in status to another writer - someone else with more accomplishments and recognition, themselves past and (imagined) future, and so forth.
3. However, since I write, I only have to sit here typing, rather than worrying about my unfinished projects (by definition, there will always be at least one), whether I am a has-been, envying others' success, etc.
4. Since I am not a writer, I am free to have a life outside writing.
5. Scenes are for moving the plot forward and demonstrating character, not for exposition. Not even in science fiction.
6. Uh, that's it, I think. I'll add anything else if I think of it. Let's see how long I can keep 1-4 in mind.
My list, on the other hand, is just the sheer number of creative things that have happened in the past couple of weeks. Since the beginning of August, I have:
* Run sound on a short film which I co-wrote (It's Only Magic
, with Kyla Ward), which entailed staying out at a bus station past Parramatta till ridiculous o'clock at night.
* Attended the red-carpet premiere of Isobel and the Patissier
, which Kate, my parents and I were extras on (and Gemma Laurelle was the 2nd AD). Three of us got great featured shots, while poor Kate ended up as a tuft of hair...
* Wrote and sent off a short-film script for shooting early next year, which would involve Rupert Booth, Craig Walker, Gemma Laurelle, Kyla Ward, and other familiar faces from The I Job
crew (plus I'm hoping to poach Pete the DOP from "It's Only Magic" to do our lighting, and Tania the sound recordist from "Isobel")
* Did a hell of a lot of work on editing and mixing The I Job
-- now largely apparently-complete, but it'll need a lot of fine-tuning and foley work, plus I'm going to need a pickup session to fix some distorted dialogue! And I'm going to bring in some help on mixing a couple of complicated scenes...
* Did a day's work as an extra on an indie feature, Zoe Misplaced
-- a quirky indie lesbian rom-dram of a sort that makes me positively nostalgic for my college days -- along with Kyla again (and Tania doing the sound)
* Attended a red-carpet showing of The Navigator
, a micro-budget indie feature with Gemma in a co-starring role (great cast, cleverer story than it looks, needs a bit of a tighter edit)
* Discovered that Danger 5
has been renewed for a second series -- one which will apparently do to '80s action shows what the first series did to '60s ones! Looks like I'm gonna be schlepping down to Adelaide for a set report...
* Suddenly got *another* brainwave for a short film, and wrote another whole five-page script, with an aim towards it being a showreel piece for Craig, Kyla, and Gemma, probably to be shot quickly in the next few weeks
* ...and oh yeah, there's a day-job in there too!
Sensing a bit of a theme here? I suddenly realized, I've got a regular group of collaborators now, and we're all egging each other on on our projects... this is the sort of alchemy I haven't had since the days of the Half A Dozen Lemmings! God, how I've missed that. I've spent all these years in a creative marriage with Kate; this is more like creative polyamory, which has a whole other set of satisfactions. :-)
So, in a nutshell: incredibly busy, but deeply satisfied!
|Thursday, August 8th, 2013|
On an even lighter lighter note... Last night we got back from the red-carpet premiere screening of Isobel and the Patissier
, the short film which my folks, Kate and I all got to be extras in!
I'm happy to report that it looks like a million bucks. And that, despite being non-speaking roles, we each got a moment in the spotlight -- Dad and I get a few bars of our musical performances, Mom gets a great close-up shot of her welcoming her "son", Dad gets a lovely edge-of-the-shot reaction to Rene's story about the duckling, and over the lead actor's shoulder you can see me determinedly chatting Kate up. :-)
Only downside is the narrator's pronounced French accent (pronounced "zxnt"), which left me missing about two thirds of what he said -- but the actual actors' French performances were much more followable. However, the film is completely stolen from all of us by a little boy and two dogs!
Overall, it was a lovely experience, and I met a number of people I'd love to work with again. And with a little luck, not only will I get a DVD at some point soon, but copies of the photos of me and Kate on the red carpet, looking distinctly dressed-down next to the professionals. :-)
On a lighter note: Amanda Palmer's musical response to the Daily Mail
's hyperventilating coverage of her wardrobe malfunction at her concert in the Glastonbury festival (complete with plenty of photos and not one mention of her actual performance)...
Sheer brilliance, and shameless in the best possible sense. I only wish we lived in a world where Janet Jackson had taken this approach!
(Mom -- Amanda is Mrs. Neil Gaiman; we've never met her, but technically she qualifies as a friend of a friend...)
Over the years, my parents have, disappointingly, fallen for the idea that "the media" pushes a liberal agenda, rather than a what-sells-papers-and-airtime agenda.
As an antidote to this, allow me to recommend 15 Things Everyone Would Know If There Were A Liberal Media
-- a wonderful little essay about a whole bunch of stories which the main corporate media outlets consistently under-report.
There's stories of general trends in recent years (the increasing concentration of wealth in a few hands; the profound lack
of trickle-down results from tax cuts and in particular the estate tax; the impact of the temp-izing of the workforce).
There's simple statements of fact which don't seem to be widely grasped (US health care costs being the highest in the world, while service levels aren't
the best; the correlation between the Glass-Steagall Act and the stability of the banking system from the Depression through the end of the 20th century; the record number of fillibusters being conducted by the very people railing against a "do-nothing" Congress; the fact that as multinational corporations recover from the GFC, they're hiring overseas while continuing to cut jobs at home).
And there are un-reported matters of corporate influence over the political process: I don't know how many people who stick with Channel 5 News or Amazon's Washington Post have even heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council (which actively drafts legislation on behalf of corporate lobbyists and hands it straight to legislators to enact) or the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (look it up if you haven't).
The list in the article goes on: the visible gerrymandering of a bunch of states in recent years (including Virginia and North Carolina); the continuing use of Nixon's old race-baiting Southern strategy associated with the attempts to slash social programs; environmental effects of the collapse of the bee population (and its possible connection to nicotinoid pesticides).
And, last but not least, there's the consolidation of 90% of old-school media outlets into the hands of just six corporate owners.
You can argue the validity of some of these points listed in this essay... but that overlooks the fundamental statement the essay is making, which is that that sort of argument isn't even happening
in the news sources of millions of people. These issues simply aren't being thrust into the spotlight, with the force that's applied to make a news story out of a single catchy criminal trial.
Simply put, if the mainstream media has a liberal agenda, they must be profoundly crap at bringing it across...
Our newly-single friend Stacey is looking for housemates to share her lovely Chicago condo! If you know anyone who might be interested, pass the following on:
In order to stay on in my condo, I'm looking for roommates in the Chicago area.
Go have a look at my Craigslist post here
with lots of pictures and tons of details about the rooms, the prices, the condo, the neighborhood, and the requirements.
Then please pass it on to anyone you know looking for roommate situations in the Chicago area. I have to find two to be able to afford this place. And as you can see, it's a hard place to leave!
|Thursday, August 1st, 2013|
| Link to an article which details comparative quality of health care in different nations
I don't think my folks, who genuinely seem to believe that the old status quo for US healthcare was the least worst option available, have really seen these sorts of detailed comparisons.
All I can say is, I'm delighted that Australia is top of the world list in "long, healthy, productive lives". And that, despite my wife having chronic physical and mental illnesses, last year we spent more out-of-pocket on healthcare for our cat than for her. :-)
|Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013|
Quick update... "The I Job" is lingering in post-production limbo for a little while longer, because I've just been asked to do rewrites for Rupert Booth on a script which has a good shot at seeing production. Which is... well, a tremendous delight! This is one of those projects that Rupe was just born to do, and so much of the script draft he and Barry handed me just sings.
My contribution is going to be pacing out the massive amounts of exposition, and sharpening the character drama... so, structure and character, my favorite bits to play with. :-)
In one day of actually working on it (as opposed to just giving notes), I've already reworked the first twenty pages (of which I actually had to write about five), and got rave reviews from Rupert; only about 100 more to go...
Quick update... "The I Job" is lingering in post-production limbo for a little while longer, because I've just been asked to do rewrites for Rupert Booth on a script which has a good shot at seeing production. Which is... well, just a delight! This is one of those projects that Rupe was just born to do, and so much of the script draft he and Barry handed me just sings.
My contribution is going to be pacing out the massive amounts of exposition, and sharpening the character drama... so, structure and character, my favorite bits to play with. :-)
I've already reworked the first twenty pages (of which I actually had to write about five); only about 100 more to go...
|Friday, June 28th, 2013|
Apologies to those who've already had the Wendy Davis story to death -- but I want this story preserved on the record, including the attempt to alter the record.
As summarized by Karsten School:
Last night something very important happened down in Texas, something that if you weren't following as it happened, you're probably not going to hear the whole truth about. I was one of the people who was in the right place to watch, and so I'm now going to try to pass on the word as best I can. I'm tagging some of you at the bottom, people who I think should read this. Apologies for anyone who finds this disruptive.
The Texas senate voted yesterday on an bill that essentially would have closed nearly every abortion clinic in the state. To try to counter the bill (which was heavily supported by the Republican majority, senator Wendy Davis attempted a one-woman day-long filibuster, during which time she spoke on the subject while going without food, water, bathroom breaks or being allowed to sit down or even lean on her table for support. She lasted nearly eleven hours before being ruled off topic on a technicality. A second female senator then stepped up and tried to continue the filibuster by asking for salient points to be repeated to her, as she missed part of the session that day to attend her father's funeral.
But here's where things get interesting. With fifteen minutes before the midnight deadline, the lieutenant governor ordered the senate to proceed, and actually had the democrats' microphones cut off. The spectators in the assembly responded by cheering, chanting and generally causing a ruckus, in order to drown out attempts at a vote. The midnight deadline passed without a vote being taken, but the chair held a vote after midnight, as the spectators were forced out of the assembly. During all of this, there was no coverage on MSNBC, CNN or any other major news network, with the only coverage coming from a livestream set up by the Teas Tribune.
At 12:15, the Associated Press ran a story saying the bill had passed, which CBS picked up. This was based on a sole source, which the AP later admitted was a republican senator. Meanwhile in the chambers, the senators stood around, both sides confused if the vote had even happened, if they had even voted on the correct issue. The chair had left with the lieutenant governor without ending the session. The Tribune's feed was cut at 12:20 with 70,000 people watching. CNN at this point was talking about the deliciousness of muffins.
Outside in the halls of the senate building, thousands of people were packed wall to wall, chanting "shame, shame", while thousands more were outside. State police had formed a barricade around the entrance hall, and were making sporadic arrests (50 or so by night's end) and confiscating cameras. In the thick of it was a guy named Christopher Dido, who used his cell phone and a live stream to report on what was happening. He was the only journalist in America who was filming at the senate, with as many as 30,000 people watching the stream at one time, and over 200,000 viewers by night's end. He did this while the state police surrounded the protesters in the building, some of them with nightsticks drawn. The police at this time refused to let through food or water that people tried to send in, instead eating and drinking it themselves. They also barricaded access to vending machines and water fountains within the building, and were said to have blocked off access to the washrooms for at least a period of time. Meanwhile, journalists still inside the chambers tweeted out news updates, which were disseminated and retweeted by people like Matt Fraction, Felicia Day and Will Wheaton, reaching an audience that would otherwise have probably not seen or heard what happened next.
The senate was recalled 90 minutes after its midnight end point, to determine whether or not the vote was valid- behind closed doors with no microphones, and only the Senate's own muted camera. Then something disturbing happened. The senate website carries the official record of the caucus. It listed the vote as happening past midnight, on June 26th. Until suddenly it didn't. The date was quietly manually changed to 6/25, the minutes altered to say the vote happened at 11:59, despite almost 200,000 people watching live who saw differently.
Suddenly twitter and other social media sites blew up with before-and-after screen shots. Inside the closed sessions, the democrats were made aware of the alterations and brought them up- without social media, almost no one would have known, and never in time. Ultimately, based on the fraudulent alterations, the GOP conceded defeat, admitting the vote had taken place at 12:03, and declaring the bill to be dead. When this happened, the AP and CBS said the vote was overturned, never admitting to shoddy journalism. CNN ignored the story until this morning, because muffins take priority.
(ETA: Here's the website image:)
Yesterday, I witnessed women's rights under fire, a crippled legal system that didn't represent its people, a corrupt government body attempting to commit a crime in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses, and the complete failure of the main stream media. I also witnessed a woman performing a nearly superhuman act to do what was right, the power of the people making themselves heard both in person and online, and the extraordinary value of one young man with a cellphone making sure people saw and heard the truth about what was going on.
Anyone reading the papers or watching network news today won't get the full story. Hopefully enough people saw it unfold live, that the lessons from last night won't be forgotten.
I'd just like to emphasize: all this happened *outside* the view of the major media outlets. Only the transparency of having a live-stream of the proceedings allowed the incident to be noticed. You can expect attempts to limit such live broadcasts in the future.
And given that my parents still seem to get most of their political news from Rush Limbaugh, I'm curious whether they've even heard that any of this even happened.
(ETA: Planned Parenthood Action quotes Texas governor Rick Perry on his continuing attempts to pass the abortion-restriction bill in another special session: "The louder the opposition screams, the more we know we're doing something right." Erm, Rick, you really think it's a good idea in this context to say the more she screams "no", it means "yes"?...)
|Tuesday, May 21st, 2013|
Oh my God. I just finally tracked down a book that I read when I was way too young to really understand most of it -- turns out it's The Legacy
by John Coyne, based on a script by Hammer horror legend Jimmy Sangster. I'm gonna have to get ahold of this one again!
(Mom -- this is the book that featured the drowning of Maria Gabrielli -- the woman who dives into the swimming pool in the cursed mansion, and the water itself holds her under
I borrowed this from a couple of my summer-camp counsellors when I was about eight or nine, and devoured it... they did a great job of corrupting my young mind, that little bunch. I still remember getting lifts home in their old Plymouth Duster... but I can't remember their names.
And there's a film, with Roger Daltrey and Charles Grey and Sam Elliott! I never knew! (And there's even an in-joke in Buffy
to it -- Maggie Walsh from series 4 is named after the heroine!)
It's a little piece of my childhood come back to me...
|Friday, May 17th, 2013|
|Isobel and the Patissier
My parents have come down to Sydney to visit us a bunch
of times, over the fifteen-years Kate and I have been married (*keels over from sheer old age*). So they've pretty much run out of ordinary touristy things to do.
This year we took a side trip to Canberra... but it's their second or third trip. They got to tag along through Conflux, for a performance of The I Job
and various panels I was on... just like they did the year we went to New Zealand. So basically, Kate and I are casting about for new and different things to liven up their trip.
So... why not a couple of days as film extras?( Read more...Collapse )( Read more...Collapse )