Normally I don't blog about things like this -- there's almost no point. But here's the deal...
No engine is 100% efficient. Why? Because it takes a certain amount of the energy it produces to simply run itself - all its parts, cams, valves, levers, gears, etc. The goal is always to design an engine which will put most of its energy into doing the work it was designed to do. 70% or 80% is considered pretty good operating efficiency for a piece of machinery.
So in the last few weeks, I've been watching & listening to all the mindless rhetoric spewing forth from our (the U.S.) government's various offices, chambers, and elected representatives. I'm remembering back to the battle against then president Bill Clinton's non-governmental behaviors and the tens of millions of dollars spent in pursuit of him. Or the hunt for WMDs in the Mid East. There are so many more similar instances which I just don't have the energy to type at the moment.
But you know what I mean.
I've been receiving twice-daily email messages from one political party, asking for a $3.00 donation so they can increase the already $400,000 fund to fight against the other political party. For a day. And it occurred to me: I wonder how many hungry children that $400,000 could feed TODAY? Or how many people who can't afford simple basic medical care could be seen by a doctor? TODAY.
I'm getting pretty tired of watching my tax dollars being spent on all this. This is not an engine I would use for anything - its efficiency has to be less than 10% at this point. Heck, I'd even settle for 50% efficiency.
Our "elected" representatives: Just because they're old and big, doesn't make them grownups.
My dad was possibly one of the last gentleman on Earth. Though he didn't invent the phrase, he would often admonish me to, "Respect the people you meet on the way up 'cause you'll be meeting them again on the way down."
I kind of understood, even when I was little. It's really a restatement of the Golden Rule. But it took one stormy evening for me to understand its wider implication.
I was ten or eleven, as I recall, and my mom, dad, and I were coming out of Sardi's restaurant in Manhattan (NYC). We'd had a late supper with friends of my parents. We needed a cab to Grand Central Station and the train home. At the time, Sardi's had a doorman, part of whose job was to wrangle taxis for waiting customers. His role was to make sure one's order of arrival at the curb was maintained.
We emerged into a windy, cold, and sleet-filled night. It was pretty awful and there were several dozen people who got there ahead of us and all of them were waiting for cabs. Cabs were stacked all the way up the block and the doorman was in the process of motioning the next one toward the restaurant.
I didn't grasp the moment until a long time after, but the doorman blocked the next group of people so that I and my parents literally did not miss a beat from the restaurant, to the sidewalk, and then into the next waiting cab.
I couldn't figure out why, though I was glad I didn't even have time to notice the cold.
I found out years later that my dad, in his respect for the "little people," had always remembered that doorman on his birthday with a small gift. He'd sent a note of condolence when the man's wife was hospitalized, and otherwise made him feel like an actual person. And the man, with no real reason to do anything at all, had always paid back my dad with small courtesies like that.
The lesson here is: You may own the fastest car on the planet, but it's going nowhere unless and until someone else builds the road.
Here is another valuable tool for anyone trying to get an idea or a project out there.
If you ever wondered how a Philadelphia restaurant can sell a cheesesteak sandwich for $100.00 and end up outlasting most other restaurants, read this book.
Why are some stories shared and others ignored?
What makes an idea contagious?
Read, read, read...
From the brothers who brought the world Made to Stick comes this treatise on decision making. It's another winner of a book - valuable insights and potential life-changing methodologies.
It also partly explains why bureaucracies are so screwed up.
Anyway, most booksellers have it and it can usually be found in libraries. A good meaty read - as are their other works.
When I was the Exhibit Designer at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA, I had designed a concept that would attempt to explain relative time to visitors. The idea was to show side-by-side identical sets of moving objects where the only differences were in how fast the objects moved. In one case, it would take over a year for the object to move from here to there. At the extreme other end, the objects were moving so fast, they were actually invisible. These were "physical" elements, not images on a monitor. In the middle, the objects moved at various fast and slow speeds, but in ways that were eventually observable - even if you had to come back the next day or an hour later to see the changes.
My point here is that, in my mind, the pivotal element in the Universe is time, not space. And who is to say that our Big Bang isn't someone else's nanosecond pulse of energy in one of their atoms.
I'm working on a new story. Well, it's sort of a blend of a couple of stories - that's the way it works for me sometimes. And it involves a boat. Not just any boat. A boat from two turns of the century ago (like 1902). The one in the drawing above is the one I'm talking about. The drawing was made from a photo of the actual boat and I substituted my 13-year-old character for who I think was probably the current owner photographed sailing her at the time.
So now I'm trying to figure out how to buy this boat -- yes, she's for sale -- and use it in the film I want to make. I owned my first boat when I was eighteen. It was a wood Lightning sailboat, 19' long. This one is 22' long with a full deep keel. The Lightning had a centerboard. The boat above is really a "gentleman's boat." But it's perfect for a thirteen year old who is at a point in his life where he desperately needs an adventure.
And the timing couldn't be worse. The price is good. The boat is owned by her builder who just happens to be a professional boat builder, so she's been properly looked after. Located in Maine. He adapted plans which were for a larger vessel.
But of course there is no money for the film at this point. And certainly not to acquire this boat on a whim.
I read a lot and I usually have a couple dozen books going at any one time. I'll try to share the ones I really like. This one talks about the likelihood that the right-brainers will soon rule the world. So if that's you and you've felt left (sorry, couldn't resist) in the dust by the accountants, lawyers, doctors, and programmers, take heart. Their demise as the operational autocracy draws nigh.
This is me, almost nine, at the Hollywood premier of Cinerama Holiday in November, 1955. I met so many "stars" that night that my head was spinning from it all. I think I ended up temporarily blind from all the camera flashes popping off in my face. Thing of it is, they were just a bunch of folks my mom and dad knew, with first names like Spencer and Walter and Katharine and Claudette and Clark and... well, you get the idea.
And I was basically, "C'mon, I wanna see the film already!"
Not sure how often I'll add to my blog. All the serious bloggers say, "Pick an interval and stick with it." I'm guessing there will be lots of entries at the beginning and then I'll probably settle down to once a week or so. We'll see...
I suppose I should explain why I decided to start this. Well frankly I'm just tired of trying to compete on Facebook with pictures of someone's half-eaten linguini and endless posts of images of cute puppies & kittens. I love puppies & kittens. The keyword here is, "...endless."
So of my nearly 300 "friends" on Facebook -- only about a dozen of who actually ever comment on anything I post there -- I figure if even five like to read what I have to say here, then that's just way better. It really is.
I'm not a one-trick pony. When people hear I'm a screenwriter they almost always think "literary person." Couldn't be further from the truth. I actually hated writing most of my life. Did it just 'cause I had to. The cool thing about writing films and TV series is: You actually don't have to write much. In fact, if you do, it's an epic fail. My entré into the world of writing films came not from literature, but from the visual arts. My background is actually Industrial Design. So I'm a designer, builder, model maker, artist, photographer, inventor, engineer, & scientist as well.
I'm also a former pilot. And I've been sailing for over half a century (yeah, really). I like to cook. I collect maps & charts. Teach. Explore. And a whole lot more.
Back to, "Why?"
If I never do this, no one will remember what I thought, felt, or said. No one. So this is really for me. Centuries from now, someone will unearth the server this is being stored on and read this. Then they'll know.
Meanwhile, maybe I can come up with clever things to add.
I am a screenwriter and a director with a background in design and teaching. But I have opinions about everything.