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Take Two: Comedy-Musical Available in Print!

Take Two: Who Directs Your Life – the wild and crazy musical-comedy is finally coming to print.

In this scene, Aubrey (middle right) is getting ready to lose her job as she will shortly lose control and attack her former fiance Humphries (middle left).  Rebecca (LEFT) and Beth (RITE) are the two stereo speakers who provide the soundtrack to Aubrey’s life.

Photo by J. Steffan

Location:  Wawasan Open University Theater, 2010Photo by J. Steffan

Computers – Worst Financial Investment Ever

I bought my first computer in June 1995.  It was a Toshiba laptop – MONOCHROME – several inches thick.  It cost me $1600 and ran Windows 3.1.  I could have upgraded to a color screen for another $200, but I couldn’t imagine why I would ever need color when all I would ever need a computer for was dial-up email and light & easy documents.  I sold it two years later for $200, so basically I spent $700 a year for the capability of having dial-up Internet.  What a great investment!

I replaced that clunker with a new Toshiba (with color) top-of-the-line model.  It ran Windows 98, had an amazing 300 MB hard drive, and the other specs basically knocked the socks off of every tech friend I had.  It was an amazing machine.  It should have been for the $2500 I paid for it.  Within the first couple months of purchasing it, the screen went blank.  It had a warranty, but I was living in Vietnam where there were no warranty centers.  So I had to fly to Bangkok, drop it off at a warranty center and wait for it to be fixed.  My flight and accommodations in Bangkok cost me about $500.  After I got it fixed, I worked that one hard and it served us well for about 5 years until it officially turned itself into “clunker” status as well.  I sold it at a garage sale in 2006 for $20.

I bought a top of the line Dell desktop in the fall of 2004 that cost me $1500.  It had a sweet LCD display, two DVD drives, a massive 60GB harddrive, firewire, Windows XP – all the bells and whistles.  Within a month, the whole thing didn’t work.  Luckily it was still under warranty and a guy showed up and replaced basically every important part of the CPU.  That machine lasted us 6 years until I finally gave it away to a charity.

I bought a new laptop in summer 2005 – a Gateway – for around $1000.  It seemed really cheap compared to my last one, but had amazing features like a 40 GB hard-drive and it ran Windows XP.  About three years in, the internal connection to the power cord broke.  Of course, no warranty.  I had someone rip it apart and attempt to solder through the problem.  It worked for another two weeks and then died permanently.  It’s still sitting in my closet.

I bought a Dell Netbook in 2009 for about $350.  Everybody loved it at first, but now all my kids complain that it’s two slow and it just sits there.

I bought an all-in-one Dell touch-screen desktop for about $1200 in January 2011.  It’s still a nice machine.  It’s got a very fast processor that can crank out anything including heavy video editing, 1 TB hard-drive and some other very cool features.  We shall see how long it will last.

Luckily, my work provides me with a laptop now which is upgraded every two years, so I don’t plan on buying another personal one for a while.  I did, however, purchase 2 iPADs for our family – each one at $500.

So for my entire life, I have given these tech companies over $9200.  What do I currently have to show for it?

A net financial loss of $8980.

One broken laptop.

A Netbook nobody uses.

Two functioning iPADs which the kids (mostly) use for games.

One desktop that we use for homework and playing music.

Hmmmm.  I don’t know.  Are computers the worst financial investment ever?

Thoughts anyone?

Fake News – Absolute Location

The United Nations has decreed today that absolute location must now be used in all verbal and written directions worldwide in order for the younger generation to become more science savvy.

Charles Wong Edge of the UN space and science commission said, “The people of the world have long been using Relative Location, that is defining one place in relation to another place, for millennia further exasperating science scores when understood on a space-time continuum in conjunction with projected learning of aliens, if they exist.”

Mr. Mark Sasse, Head of the Geography Department of Dalat School completely supports this measure.  “I’ve been pushing for this for years,” said Sasse.  “We’ve become lazy in giving directions.  We’ve been telling people for years that our school is in Penang, on the cape of Tanjung Bungah beside Paradise Hotel.   Well, what if people don’t know where Penang is?  We’ve been leaning on other people’s location for long enough.  It’s time we learn where we live.”

A spokesperson for Dalat school said that in all future correspondence, they will no longer refer to Dalat as being in Penang or Tanjung Bungah.  In all future correspondence both verbal and written, Dalat employees will give their location as follows:  5 28’ 57.77’’N, 100, 17’33.01’’.

It is unclear how other world bodies plan to respond to this binding degree.  Hans Hans of the EU Science & Economic Commission said that, in general, his governing body supports the absolute location movement; however, his commission was unable to move forward on implementation because after giving his members the absolute location of their next meeting, only two people showed up thereby lacking quorum.

SOPA & the Publishing Industry

You’ve probably noticed all the hype about SOPA on the Internet these days.  SOPA is an Internet anti-piracy bill that the US House of Representatives is toying with.  It seems that everyone has been throwing around their opinions of the bill.  You may have noticed that Wikipedia blocked their English language site today in protest.  I found the following article interesting coming from the perspective of the publishing industry.  What do you think?

Fake News

I enjoy reading the fake news sites at times, and a while back I even toyed with the idea of making one of my own.  Here’s a silly one I wrote about Al Gore. 

Al Gore visited Penang on Monday giving a TED talk at WOU on the dangers of global warming. During his talk, he asked if anyone in attendance could remember a time when the temperature in Penang dipped below 22 degrees (72 F).  Shockingly, his point was underscored emphatically when no one at all volunteered a response.  Gore replied, “This long sustained hot weather of Penang underscores the seriousness of global warming.“  Gore is next off to Jakarta which has also had a long string of warm weather.

(Note: Before the talk, Gore voiced his great displeasure in the fact that Ted Turner was actually not in attendance.  Supposedly, the organizers were trying to fly Ted Knight from the Mary Tyler Moore show to Jakarta to meet him for the next talk.)

The Hearts Have It

Write what’s on your heart – that’s what the folks said in our first mwsasse extremely mini-poll.  It makes sense.  Writing is a very personal endeavor and the muse will take you where it will.  For example, I’m currently writing my second novel, and I really don’t know where it is going; I also really don’t know if others will like it or not, but I’m having a blast putting it together and discovering the writing road as I go.  It is certainly destination unknown.

But I must say, there is something to be said for writing for an audience.  Let me use a  Media Literacy example to hopefully make a point.  Let’s say you a movie producer and a soft drink company contacts you and says, ‘Hey, if you put our logo in your movie easily seen three times, we’ll give you $200,000.’  Do you sell out?  Do you stay faithful to the script, to the piece of art, or do you look at in a practical matter and realize that you need to make some money or you will never produce again.  A quick look at movies today will show you how many producers have ‘sold out’ for the corporate dollar.  Does that diminish the work of art?  Possibly.  We could argue the pros and cons if you like. But let me bring it back around to writing.

Let’s say you are a writer and you would like to burn the midnight oil weaving your stories as a profession.  Would you be willing to accept major re-writes and edits on your first novel to get it published?  Would you do it even if you feel that it compromised the message that you wanted to convey?   Or would you self-publish (more on that later) and stay true to your story in hopes that you can travel the difficult road of self-promotion?

It’s a tough call. But I believe it is safe to assume that once you are published by a ‘traditional’ publisher that it can only get easier.  Wouldn’t it be smart to crack the door open any way possible?

Hmmm.  So am I arguing for ‘Write what’s on your heat, then edit it to cater to your audience’?

I guess I am – even though that’s not the way I voted.

Thoughts anyone?