BULLYING

I was contacted recently by Laura Pearson of Edutude.net.  She wanted to write an article for my blog regarding cyberbullying.  I’ve been looking at this issue for several years and wanted to hear more.  I noticed the article had several great resources for anyone wanting to learn more about bullying and it’s 21st century variant cyberbullying.  I was once harassed online by an actor that I worked with many years ago.  It was disturbing even though I doubt anyone saw the absurd comments.  I can only imagine what it’s like for teenagers who are bullied publicly when those who see it share it within the victim’s own social community, particularly when that community is made up of youths who are native enough to believe the rumors.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t have to imagine it because I was bullied only five or six years ago.  The only difference is that the slander was conducted in person at the workplace.  As an adult, I was bullied at work and the problem became pretty severe.  I ended up getting fired because the bullying made me popular with everyone.  Firing me was easier than replacing all the bullies and those who supported the bullies.  I can say from experience, that once and influencer labels you as “the other”, everyone else follows suit; Monkey see, Monkey do.

“I need to call an ambulance….where’s my phone?….I don’t know…..where am I?…I’m next to that one school on that one road……What’s the name of the road?…..I know this road…..why can’t I remember the name?……Fuck!  What the hell is happening to me!?”, I wondered as my entire body started to seize…

In defense of some of the younger, less rational “adults”, they were new to the organization and probably didn’t realize what was going on because, of the three main bullies, two of them were very adept at manipulating relationships in the same way that you see contestants on reality TV shows manipulating each other, using different tactics in order to create biases against others.  The do this to create a “team” that will gang up on and eliminate the person that is their strongest competitor (there’s a lot of lying and deception involved).  In my case, these bullies leveraged the naiveté of interns and other young adults to work their deception.  The third bully at the corporation was the operations manager and his main device used for bullying was the micro-insult in public (Laura’s article discusses some of the signs of bullying such as micro-assaults, micro-insults, and micro-invalidations).  Then there were situations where loyal employees at the company (loyal to the people with power, i.e. the operations director), were enlisted to set me up for failure.  This happened several times, resulting in a justification for my termination.  If this was not enough, I was loudly accosted, physically threatened, and cornered in my small closet sized workspace by three camera operators.  In spite of the fact that there were many witnesses to this, the operations managers swept it under the rug.

After termination, I was rehired by a subcontractor that operated in a different space.  But this was not enough to prevent the effects of anxiety related physical health problems that had begun as a result of the work conflicts.  Just a few days after my termination,  I was driving down a remote road in south Austin when my body started to tingle.  My breathing was irregular and my joints started to lose mobility.  I had never had an anxiety attack before so I freaked out and swerved the car over to the side of the road, practically falling out of the car after fumbling to open the door.  I crawled a few feet from the car and on my hands and knees tried desperately to think….”I need to call an ambulance….where’s my phone?….I don’t know…..where am I?…I’m next to that one school on that one road……What’s the name of the road?…..I know this road…..why can’t I remember the name?……Fuck!  What the hell is happening to me!?”, I wondered as my entire body started to seize up.  Fortunately for me, while remote, the section of road was next to a middle school and since it was daytime, people were driving by.  They pulled over as a passing school coach saw me and ran over.  They called the ambulance.  It turns out that hyperventilation had caused Carbon Dioxide build up in my blood.  The breathing problems became a daily affliction.  The problem was that stress had caused me to subconsciously change my breathing rate which, under normal circumstances, is automatically controlled by the brain.  My breathing rate was very low, so low that some nights, as I was falling asleep, I would stop breathing altogether.  I would then wake up gasping for air, feeling suffocated.

Within a year, one of the bullies (the one that lead the charge towards emotional harassment & cornering me in my workspace), was fired from the previous company and came to work for the same subcontractor that had rehired me.  I was worried about this situation but it was the only employment option at the time and the employer was aware of the previous assault.  One day the conflict sparked back up because the bully did not like the way I was managing a process (I was properly doing my job).  This time he physically assaulted me.  I was under a lot of stress during the attack and my anxiety level went through the roof, but since getting run off the road by the first anxiety attack, I’d gotten therapy and done some research on how to handle the breathing problems that were still a regular affliction.  With the daily practice of an assortment of meditation breathing exercises and regular physical exercise including running on a treadmill twice a week, my breathing had stabilized (it would take 3 to 4 years to get to the point where I would no longer need the meditation exercises, although I still run twice a week).  Fortunately, I was now stronger, able to stand my ground and I kept my wits about me while under attack.  We jawed at each other for ten or twenty seconds and then he backed off.  I then barked my defense at him and told him that he had no right to decide what was appropriate methods for managing the job since he’s not my supervisor.  He yelled “whatever dude, whooooooooooo!”, left the work area, got in his car and drove off;  it was pretty gangster.  This time I filed a police report on the incident and a complaint with the city prosecutors office.  The prosecutor’s office was difficult because they would not accept the complaint without the address of the violent offender.  I had to pay a private investigator to get that information.  If I had been attacked by an unknown assailant, the prosecutors would have rejected my complaint.  The prosecutor decided to file charges but the defendant skipped out on the hearing date.  A new hearing date was set but the defendant had a lawyer who talked the prosecutors out of it some how.  They dropped the charges.  Apparently it’s now legal to assault people in Austin, Texas thanks to the prosecutor’s office assisting violent offenders (Hows that, for a world class city).  Thank God I’ve moved on and my current work environment is much more professional than the last two.

That’s my bully story.  Bullying is an enigmatic social problem and I thank Laura for writing this article with all these great links to information for parents regarding teens and cyberbullying.  Hopefully, soon we’ll have better laws against this sort of thing, but in the meantime, education is a good defense.  Currently, a good defense is the best offense in my neck of the woods.  After reading Laura’s article, leave comments if you have a story about a situation where you’ve been bullied.

-Blake


 

A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying

Cyberbullied

Photo by Pixabay

It’s a fear every parent has. Your child comes home from school hiccuping with sobs after getting pushed around in the bathroom, mocked in the hallways or shoved in the cafeteria. Bullying is a sad reality that we all have faced, but this generation has a whole new battlefield — the Internet.

Cyberbullying is a kind of youth violence that can damage a young person’s sense of self-worth by using technology, like cell phones, social media and the Internet, to harass another person.

It’s not uncommon for kids and teens to be a little secretive with parents, especially when bullying is involved. Your youth or teen won’t come home with a black eye, so it’s easy to miss the cyberbullying signs. However, studies show that 1 in 3 youth are cyberbullied, with cellphones being the most common method.

Cyberbullying is serious; it can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. As a parent, how do you handle cyberbullying when during your childhood the Internet was only alive in science fiction movies? How can you protect your child from bullies in school and online?

First, know what cyberbullying looks like so you can monitor your child’s technology. Cyberbullying can be:

  • Sending hateful or harassing texts, private messages or emails
  • Spreading rumors on social media or through text messages
  • Posting hurtful comments on social media sites, smartphone social apps or web pages
  • Breaking into a person’s account and pretending to be them to send damaging messages to others
  • Impersonating someone else online to hurt another person
  • Taking insulting pictures of a person and sharing them with others
  • “Sexting,” or sharing sexually explicit pictures or messages about a person

 

As a parent, you’ll need to talk openly with your child so you can find a balance between monitoring their technology to see the signs of abuse and respecting their privacy. When youth and teens face bullying, they can become withdrawn, and even turn to substances like drugs or alcohol for comfort.

Youth and teens often attack each other through microaggressions, subtle jabs that have a massive and dangerous impact on our physical, mental and emotional health. You can see cyberbullying occurring through:

  • Microassaults: An intentional, often public, put-down of another person because of their ethnicity, gender, orientation or other factor. They are often not explicitly directed at a specific person, but told about some of their qualities. For example, if someone is cyberbullying an African American teen, they might text them racist jokes or post racist photos to their social media accounts.
  • Microinsults: Insulting a person with insensitive comments that passive aggressively mock them and are often hidden in backhanded compliments. For instance, someone cyberbullying an overweight teen might comment publically on a social media photo that a particular outfit makes them look thin for their size.
  • Microinvalidations: Negating or invalidating someone’s feelings, experiences and perspectives. In cyberbullying, for example, a white teen could tell an African American teen to not be so sensitive about race, or make comments like “But YOU weren’t a slave.”

One major way to discourage laws against cyberbullying and help youth and teen work through the emotional trauma of these issues is to encourage them to speak up. If your teen knows someone is being bullied, encourage them to report it to their principal or guidance counselor. If they see someone being bullied, post nice, positive comments to their social media pages. Make a rule that you’re monitoring your child’s technology to see not only if they’re being bullies, but also if they are bullying others. Finally, if your child is being cyberbullies, encourage them to take screenshots and save the messages to report the bully to the authorities. Though laws against cyberbullying still have a long way to go, reporting these issues can help everyone get the help they need.

Author: Laura Pearson (Edutude.net)


 

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Network Neutrality: The New FCC & the Republicans


After Reading this Article please go to this Petition and send the letter.  I’ve done it and sent my concerns to the FCC as well as my local senators.


hovlandWilcox

My main textbook for “Advertising in Society”. Check out Chapter 2 and for a history of our “Transition to the Market System”.

As a UT Austin communications alumnus, I’ve been following the development of the internet superhighway since 1996.  I’ve never worried too much about it until recently because everything was going in a mostly positive direction.  Also, there were bigger things to worry about such as how to make a living in the TV/Film industry after the collapse of the independent film market, and then came the issue of health care.  But with the recent nomination and confirmation of republican favorite Ajit Pai, as FCC chairman, it’s time to worry.

Why?  Because Pai has long been critical of regulation of the telecommunications market.  He’s a “free market proponent” who favors a “light touch regulatory framework” for the telecom industry, which sounds like a good thing, seeing as how our western society is based on free market principles.  But these are just labels and nothing more.  21st century Americans are, on average, fairly sophisticated and most realize that labels are often misleading.

For a quick primer on the issue, watch this PBS News Hour interview with Chairman Pai from April of this year.  (It’s only about 7 minutes)

Chairman Pai’s main argument for deregulation is that the technology companies established in the 1990’s prospered because of the “light touch regulatory framework” that existed at the time.  In other words, he’s saying we need to return to the framework that existed prior to the adoption of the new network neutrality rules.  I’m not a fan of Ajit Pai and the republican path of broadband development in America.  I think Pai’s statement is blatant misrepresentation.  While individual sentences in his statements contain “Historical Truth”, the context is not adequate.  Without a full context, it’s impossible to see that the overall argument falls down.  If you look at his argument as a narrative, with a more complete understanding of the context of his case study, you can easily see the massive holes.  With narratives, our brains automatically fill in the gaps with inaccurate assumptions to derive meaning from stories that neglect to provide needed information.  It has been said, “The most effective lie is a half-truth”, and with this half-truth we’re encouraged to meander in the wrong direction, ending up with the wrong interpretation of reality.  To put it another way, the story lacks “Narrative Truth”.  The theory behind our western social system revolves around Truth, an ideal that is the means to the ends of rationality (rationality means fully educated on a subject).  Information is the key to truth and rationality but here as is often the case with politicians and bureaucrats is that the information Pai gives in the PBS interview is accurate but not adequate.  The historical information is accurate but without context, it’s not adequate for a rational discussion.  I think politicians bank on exploiting our lack of access to information and they don’t have to try very hard because without adequate and accurate information we can’t use our natural ability to reason as we listen and try to separate fact from fiction (See “Advertising in Society” A: Hovland & Wilcox for the history on the conscept of rational mankind).

…the ideas that were of fundamental importance in justifying the new economic order were the notions that……man possessed reason and conscience, that men were born equal and endowed with certain fundamental rights – life, liberty, and property.

  • Hovland & Wilcox pg 18

(BTW – The vernacular “Man” came from the 1400’s so “Man” = “Adult People”).

In a social system that rests on the “Rationality of Mankind” it’s necessary to have both adequate AND accurate information.  Not either/or.  Both conditions must be met.  So, in order to mislead someone, all you have to do is leave out one of the conditions.  The hopeful deregulators give us only a snapshot of a small corner of the big picture and we’re likely to miss-understand the full scope of the problem and can’t really gauge the effectiveness of their proposed plan.  Those are the sciencey broad strokes.  Here’s how they work in this case.  The FCC rhetoric is intended to convince that deregulation will help citizens.  This argument is misleading because its case study occurs at a point in time when the internet based information industry was an emerging market.  At the time, it had not even been significantly monetized.

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I remember the era well because I bought my first computer at the dell outlet store on research blvd. in 1996 for about 1,200 bucks when I started communications school at UT Austin.  Our professors encouraged us to participate in the social media platforms (dial-up modem) and I became enamored by the possibilities as I sat at my desk (A.K.A upside down cardboard box) in the living room of my first apartment.  During this time period that Mr. Pai holds high as the most relevant case study for deregulation, the information industry was in its primitive stage.  Why does that matter?  I’m glad you asked.

Very brief history lesson.  In the mid 1970’s we officially moved into the “Information Age.” This took over from the “Industrial Age” which started one hundred years earlier in the 1870’s.  Hello consumerism.  The unplanned and unexpected consequences of consumerism was, the firms that were first to adopt the new technology were able to make a ton of money, grow their operation quickly and this created economies of scale.  These economies of scale, in turn, erected barriers to entry making it impossible for the little guy to compete.  Competition was eliminated.  What was it that market system theory always said was required above all else to maintain social balance? …….According to Hovland and Wilcox, it was “atomism” (a.k.a competition); the very thing that died at the dawn of the industrial age.  Fast forward 100 years.  The same thing happened as we transitioned into the information age which was enabled by the rise of computers.   Little guys like Jobs, Gates, and Dell got in before the existing mega companies could create barriers to entry.  After that, the internet became monetized and the same thing happened again when the little dot com guys got in before giant companies could create the platforms that we now use for social media and streaming audio/video content.  Last example: It happened many decades earlier in the film industry of the 1920’s when “The Majors”, who were the first to create distribution networks, made mad-cash, funding growth that created barriers to entry, securing their seat at the film industry oligopoly table.

(That’s four case studies that reliably predict the telecom majors will take action to create barriers for their competition given the opportunity.  That, right there, presents the overwhelming evidence of market failure” that chairman Pai claims that he needs in order to preemptively regulate the market).

So, the point is this:

Who cares if the 90’s had a “light touch regulatory framework”.  There were no barriers to entry.  That situation has changed.  The market has moved from its primitive stage into a fairly well developed stage which means that without regulation, today’s market will not respond the same way as it did in the 90’s.

Without regulation, the broadband market will follow every other post-industrial revolution, natural market in the U.S.; the structure will turn oligopolistic creating barriers to entry.  If you look at the history of the relationship between buyers and sellers that goes back 500 years to England (advertising school), you’ll see that certain elements of the system design did not exactly pan out.  Society had to figure out a way to deal with the ensuing conflict and it chose to do so, initially through common law, and later (in the U.S.) through federal regulation and statutory civil law.  As a result, there is much precedent for regulating sellers to ensure the balance that would have been provided had the entire system not failed.  The purpose of reasonable regulation is to restore balance by off-setting the market power situation that occurred as a result of the loss of atomism in the market.  Net Neutrality will accomplish this balance restoration.  Many Americans currently depend on this social balance (myself included) for our prosperity.

System failure is the key…forget individual market integrity.  Check the history books Mr. Pai and you’ll find your overwhelming evidence.

Don’t misunderstand.  I’m a firm believer in the market system.  I think it’s brilliant.  The problem is that when we lost atomism, we lost the mechanism that ensures opportunity and prosperity for all in a natural market (natural market = no regulation).  What the republicans are suggesting, via the new FCC, is that we should return to laissez-faire.  Here’s a little-known fact from advertising school: laissez-faire is NOT a tenet of the market system.  It was a battle cry used by those who railed against the oppressive totalitarian government that controlled society in the middle ages.  That’s prior to the advent of the market system which emerged out of the principles of classical liberalism.  In 2017, in the U.S., we don’t have a totalitarian government.  We have a democratic government with representatives at every level.  The closest thing to a totalitarian regime that we have in this country is a cadre of individuals that comprise the decision-making bodies of the oligopolies. They actively manipulate society with their sights dead-set on the bottom line of a balance sheet.  Mr. Pai and the republicans claim that Network Neutrality hampers the free market.  On the contrary, it is in the interest of a free market that millions of Americans have asked Mr. Pai and the FCC to uphold their duty, continue to intercede in this precarious state of affairs, and prevent such totalitarian regimes from gaining a foothold.

The government is responsible for doing what it can to maintain balance in our society.  Isn’t this one of the primary functions of governments in the west?  In America this means to restoring balance so that all Americans have the opportunity to build prosperity.

Net Neutrality is about power to the people.

The alternative is power to the machines.  Once they get it…they don’t ever give it up.

 


Here’s the petition link. Please sign it.  The FCC is not required to follow public opinion but the petition also goes to our state senators who do work for us.

LINK: battleforthenet.com


 

 

 

 

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Coffee Update: 07/03/2017

 Bloggin

Coffee Break

Pull up a chair and hang for a while.  I’ve been meaning to give you an update on my wrongful foreclosure situation.  My prospects for saving my house and studio have  fallen pretty far on the probability scale.  The lawyers that I hired were not loyal to me as a client in several ways (Two different law firms).   A couple years ago, I started to tell the story of what happened and it’s hard for some people to grasp because it’s fairly convoluted.  I guess that’s why lawyers are willing to risk their careers and reputations by tanking their own clients.  Since I had all the records needed to craft the details into a narrative, I started a blog and finished the first chapter which covers the first year of the loan modification application and shows how the banks were misleading consumers hampering our ability to make rational decisions during the crisis.  I can’t hold out more than about a 5% chance the story will bring about any positive results because the legal world is so complicated, but there could be an easy way to move the ball forward and I just can’t see it because I don’t have the legal training or experience to recognize it.  At any rate, even if I don’t ever get my do-over on the summary judgement hearing (which was totally botched!), at least I have a story to tell. The more I talk to those close to the banking industry, the more I’ve heard different perspectives on what happened.  This will be useful in writing a teleplay that could show the most realistic account of the crisis from the perspective of people who were hurt by the crash, homeowners, institutional investors, as well as the employees of banks and investment firms who lost their careers and were not so fortunate to walk away with millions.  Possibly it could even show how those who did walk away with millions by following bad leaders actually were hurt the most.  I’ve conducted a few interviews but need more people to talk to in each of these categories before I can continue.

If you know someone with a perspective that would help to give this story the objective voice that it deserves and who might want to help a writer get a handle on this subject, encourage them to drop me a line.

If you know a consumer protection lawyer who can review these details, please pass along this link.  It’s only about 9 or 10 posts.  I’ve spent a lot of time condensing an entire year’s worth of data down into an easily digestible log.

Lastly, I want to say that if you think it’s unusual for attorneys to do what I claim they’ve done, then, all due respect, I don’t think you’re paying close attention.  Just watch this Netflix series, Making a Murderer.  Prosecutorial misconduct and other types of misconduct by legal professionals (like ineffective council or Malpractice) is widespread and easy to get away with.  That was made plain in this documentary.  It’s a really good TV series.  If you haven’t seen it…. you should go watch it right now.

 

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Coffee Update: 06/26/2017

WP Blog pic.jpg

The NBA season just ended with the Warriors winning it all (as was predicted).  The Spurs had a real shot this year but two major injuries in game 1 of the western conference finals made the matchup no real contest.  There’s always next year.  I’ve been invited back for my fourth season working with the NBA and I’m looking forward to it as usual.

I’ve decided to move on from the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition.  I was reading for AFF the last two years.  It was a great opportunity to read competitive scripts and write coverage.   The AFF screenplay/teleplay competition is top 10 in the U.S. so I’m proud to have that on my resume and want to thank Fred Miller for helping me get my foot in the door, also Barbara Morgan and Matt Dy for giving me a shot.  The reason that I’ve decide to move on is because I’m not a “professional” writer and don’t need to focus all my energy on writing.  My background is in production for both TV and Film.  As a filmmaker, I did writing, directing and producing.  The writing component to film school is there to give directors a foothold on the craft, enough to be able to generate a story that we want to tell.  The other various crafts such as photography, acting, lighting, sound work and picture editing go along with it and they really help train a director in multiple disciplines so that we can work with the specialists that take ownership in each area.  I’ve got a lot of respect for writers…it’s a very challenging craft.

The discipline that I’m weakest on right now is acting.  Study helps directors to communicate with actors.  It helps writers to craft scenes and characters that actors want to play.  Having this experience is a boon to productions since attracting top talent helps to mitigate the risk in an already high-risk field.  Traditional stats show that, three out of every ten films fail at the box office, so it’s important to have a well packaged production with a quality script, a knowledgeable director and experienced actors attached when going into the fundraising phase.

I’ve done some extras acting over the last couple years and being back on a set got my blood going.  I’ve discovered through that experience as well as the classes, that I like acting more than I expected.  My solid foundation in the study of filmmaking has made this an easy transition.  Who knows, I might actually become good in front of the camera…..but if not it will definitely make me a better director.  At any rate, I’m going to see where it leads.  Fortunately, the film industry in Austin is strong enough to provide the experienced teachers and advisors needed to succeed in this industry, be it from behind the camera or in front.  For my next scene that we film in class, I’m playing the agent/manager for a teenage rock star who is starting to have a melt-down due to the pressure of celebrity.  I have to give her a pep talk and relate my own experience as a major league, star pitcher who went through his own melt down ruining a promising career.  I actually did have a little bit of a baseball career melt down but that was in high school when I washed out because I didn’t have the resources needed to do it right.  I can relate to this character.  Wish me luck!

 

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Coffee Update: 06/19/17

Blog pic 2

If we were having coffee right now

I’d tell you about John Pointer and the other folks at The Live Music Capital Foundation and the 2 1/2 years that we worked together creating a video production workflow.  We made some awesome videos out of unique live music shows, and did so on a low budget which is always a challenge.  And thanks to Stephen Kinney and The Front Porch staff for the faith they placed in me to help them develop the look for Unplugged on The Front Porch.  I’m also happy to know that I have new relationships with great people in Austin that I’ll continue to work with when possible.  Congratulations to John on his project “Yesterday Was Weird”, a book about the day his dog Benny died.  His crowd funding campaign was fully funded in something like 12 hours.  As I plan my own crowd funding campaign, I’m figuring out how much work is involved in order to do it right.  Stephen and I have been working on laying down some good footage for his non-profit, The Front Porch.  I’m not sure what that project will turn into but I like being there because the subject is one that I’ve been trying to figure out since college and also because it’s cutting edge and challenging.  Also, thanks to Patricia Boyce for hooking me up with an experienced crowd funding consultant to help me plan my first campaign.

I’m doing some crowd building leading up to a crowd funding campaign.  Funding and distributing a film takes marketing.  I thought my Advertising degree would come in handy here but the environment has changed so much, I now realize that I need some advice so I can find out what sources of knowledge are out there.  I thought that my relationships with college professors were in good standing but one of them has not returned my email.  The other has moved on from UT and must have changed her name.  Google turned up nothing and the advertising school office was pretty rude when I asked about contact information.  You know, I am an alumni and this was my professor for two years, including an independent work study class where I started an advertising program at TSTV the student TV station, not to mention, she also invited me to be in her intensive sequence (the media sequence), without even having to test out for it.  If anyone has pull with UT people and can get contact info for Dr. Elizabeth Tucker, that would be very helpful as I move forward with my festival plan for the film.  There are so many advertising tools out there offered by the social media platforms but without the proper knowledge of how they work and how to convert my organizational goals into media goals using these new tools, I could end up throwing good money after bad.  This is a phenomenal opportunity for independent producers that did not exist in the early 2000’s.  In those days, you had to be working for an advertising agency and have professional media planning experience to execute a real media plan.

If we were having coffee right now

I’d tell you that I want to produce a web series.  My idea is to cover events around town and document the Central Texas experience, then add other themes, see what viewers want and adjust from there.  It would investigate the question “What does weird mean to you”.

What does "weird" mean to you?

A post shared by Blake Naleid (@b_lakeandsnoop) on

Each show would have a different guest and would bounce between coverage of the event and driving around town improvising the conversations.  It’s a low budget production and I have all the equipment but I can’t do it alone.  I’ll need at least one production specialist to help on production day and an editor to help cut the story (this is a real editing job, not just a button pusher).  I expect that the event shoots would be 2 hours max and the car shoots a couple hours with an hour or two of setup/breakdown.  I’d also like to bring in a Producer and a Writer to round out the idea team.  I’m interested in feedback from viewers to so that I can find out if this sounds interesting.  There’s lots of cool stuff going on in Austin to keep the show fresh and interesting.  I’ve already shot footage for a couple episodes and done lots of editing so have a pretty good handle on what’s needed including series elements and some running plot lines to weave in with the fresh content that is unique for each new episode. Comments???  Anyone want to help create a TV show?

That’s it,

Blake

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Coffee Update June 12th 2017 – Crowd Funding Levels the Playing Field

 

The Land

“Deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, a suspected murderer escapes a manhunt staged by his longtime rival, the Sheriff, by taking refuge on the land where he learned to hunt as a child with his estranged friend who uncovers evidence that he might be the villain they’re looking for after all”

If we were having coffee right now I’d tell you

The film, is moving along at a good pace, but I’m not rushing it because the new indie film climate involves DIY marketing which calls for a lot of prep work leading up to a festival run.  Now that the film negative is back from the lab, I’m planning for the rest of the post work.  I’ll share the budget through a crowdfunding campaign that will raise the money needed to finish the post production work.  When I started, crowdfunding was not even a thing so I can not put into words what a phenomenal opportunity this is.

Last week I talked about the importance of crowd funding to the national film market in general.  Now I want to talk about how crowdfunding helps to even the playing field for independents:

Making movies is a risky, expensive endeavor and always has been.  The only exception to this in history was during the studio system of the 1940’s and 50’s when the majors (Hollywood studios) cornered the exhibition and distribution markets creating a group of monopolies.  That allowed them to remove all the risk which decreased the quality of the product.  The resulting decline in quality of the movies is no surprise because according to the market system tenets, No competition = No consumer choice and that throws the system out of balance.  The federal government threatened to break that up using anti-trust legislation so the majors acquiesced and divested themselves of their theatre chains.  Since then, the statistics show that 7 out of 10 films fail at the box office, so, were back where we started.  Film production is a risky endeavor for anyone and the goal is always to be profitable, however if the film has a strong theme, then the product has value to society even if it loses money.  And that goes for both Studio or indie productions.

Here’s a difference.  When borrowing money for production, the studios have always used sophisticated finance products tied to their business (not the private individual), but when I finished production, I had $15,000.00 worth of personal credit card bills to pay off.  After that, I spent another several thousand out of pocket for post work.  It was in the neighborhood of 20k overall which I paid off over a long period of time by working a regular job.  That total is not including the “In-Kind” column of the budget which adds another 20k in food, transportation, labor, and equipment rental costs, some of which were donated by family members, classmates and some that was received as part of the film school tuition.  If the studios lose money, then its the business that takes the direct hit, not the individual producer or director because they still get paid.  If I fail, then I take the hit which is obviously not a sustainable model for independent film production.  Now that we have crowdfunding, the risk can be spread among many fans and supporters.  And, even if the film loses money, the supporters of the campaign still get the rewards that they were promised through the kickstarter or indiegogo campaign.

This is just a quick and dirty list but here’s what has yet to be done.

  1. Lab Expense –
    1. Telecine – 2k 4:4:4 DCI Print
    2. Color Correction
    3. Digital Dust busting   
  2. Sound – Score & Sound Design
    1. Composer
    2. Sound effects editor
    3. Final Sound Mix & Master
  3. VFX: Visual Effects artist
    1. Object removal/replacement
    2. Particle creation & animation
    3. Digital Dust Busting
  4. Producers/Consultants:
    1. Indiegogo
    2. M&D producer
  5. Graphic Designer
    1. Film Titles
    2. Post Cards…maybe posters

After hiring a consultant, it looks like Indiegogo is going to be our best bet.  The campaign will raise the money needed to get to the festival entry stage.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more information on the movie and the Indiegogo campaign.


RELATED POSTS

June 5th Post – Crowdfunding Develops Talent

 

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Coffee Update June 5th – Crowd Funding Develops Talent

One of my regular coffee shops just changed hands and I’m trying out the old location under new management for the first time.  As I organize my thoughts and update my plans for “The Land”, my brain is running on all cylinders, fueled by a pretty solid Americano.

The Land“Deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, a suspected murderer escapes a manhunt staged by his longtime rival, the Sheriff, by taking refuge on the land where he learned to hunt as a child with his estranged friend who uncovers evidence that he might be the villain they’re  looking for after all”

If we were having coffee right now I’d tell you

I’m working on my budget for an Idiegogo campaign but before I get to that I want to talk about the phenomenal opportunity of crowd funding.

Crowd Funding

This new resource is a huge development that all independent artists should be using.  I don’t want to get too academic here, but I have something to say about the subject and this is a blog so here it goes…

Why is crowd funding a big deal? It works in a natural way to bring balance back into a market that has become oligopolistic over the last 100 years.  Atomism is the thing that ensures natural balance in a market based society.  Without it, the only way to achieve balance is through regulation (a nasty word in the business community) and that means conflict.  Balance, whether achieved naturally through consumer driven adjustments in the market or artificially through regulation means that barriers exist that prevent a small group of people from controlling most of the power which, in the absence of corporate conscience, incentivizes them to rob others of their opportunity for prosperity.  At that point, prosperity is no longer a principle but a privilege enjoyed by a small group of insiders.  Prosperity for all is an ideal that is never fully achieved but America has taken the concept farther than any other nation in the history of the world.  Plain & Simple: It’s who we are and what we do.  The truth is that we are an idealistic nation and this ideal has always been the top priority in Western Society.  It sets us apart from the totalitarian ones.  Thank You UT Austin Advertising school for teaching me the history of the Western social system: The Market System.  And thank you to the multi-national banks (particularly Wells Fargo, America’s Servicing Company, and Deutche bank) for being so greedy, thereby forcing me to re-learn the history, this time through real world experience.  Why am I thanking greedy oligopolies for kicking my ass?  Because, now I understand how it’s possible for the American market, district courts, and federal regulators to fail so badly that the banks are allowed to rob middle class Americans of the prosperity that we had worked so hard to build.  Meanwhile blue-collar criminals spend decades in jail for crimes far less destructive, on a good day.  On a bad day, they spend decades in jail for a crime they never committed.  After learning about these things both in academia and in life, I can say that the best way to solve this problem of market manipulation is a return to atomism.  In simple terms that means more competition which increases choice for consumers.  Crowd Funding evens the odds for those who have a great idea but don’t fit into some cookie cutter pattern constructed by self-serving corporations.  Aside from giving consumers more choice, it also gives artists an outlet.

Don’t get me wrong.  The pursuit of self-interest isn’t bad itself as long as the pursuit is not conducted wantonly.  But when there’s no atomism, then most of the marketable ideas out there never see the light of day.  It’s important for an artist to recognize when the conventional decision makers at the majors don’t want what you’re selling.  Either, you have to change what you’re selling to match what they’re buying (because, they have the money) or you have to figure out a way get money directly from the fans instead of letting it filter through the majors.  Then you have to produce, sell, and distribute the art yourself.  It’s said that talent is not born.  It’s created from an inner drive bolstered by coaching and practice.  Talent can happen anywhere at any time.  Many of us had the instruction early in our careers which got us this far and now crowd funding gives us the ability to practice and put art out there to be evaluated and commented on, developing our talent.  And the cycle continues.

Crowd Funding Develops Talent.

 

 

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Mom Power (The Way of The Mom) Mother’s Day Trilogy: Episode 3 (continued)

Mother’s Day Trilogy: Episode 1

Mother’s Day Trilogy: Episode 2

Mother’s Day Trilogy: Episode 3 – Part I

Now that I’ve covered the why, it’s time for the what?  What is “Mom Power” and “The Way”?  Mom power, in a nutshell, is girl power times ten.  When a girl gets to be a Mom, there’s some undocumented physiological change that amplifies her girl power, super-charges her intuition and her ability to control others with her mind, (like a real world Jedi); Example #1) The Look,  Example #2) The Voice.  This basic level of the art is very powerful stuff, but it’s not always enough to control the most unruly children.  So Moms of sons are more likely to need the training and guidance of The Way and it’s corresponding secret society, The Sect.

I was talking to a friend, explaining my theories on how it all works.  Since this is a mystical art, not a science, I can’t say that I know for a fact that my version of reality is fully accurate but I know what I’ve seen and I can tell you it’s real.  I was giving my friend some background on this story, evidence that I have which mostly revolves around my experience being raised by my mom.  His opinion was that it’s all very interesting but in his experience, not all moms use their “intuition” the way mine did.  In the words of his dad, my friend’s mom was insecure.  He wondered if maybe not all women have The Power.  I think that’s wrong.  I believe that The Power can be affected by a woman’s background and become controlled by learned behavior but the power itself comes from genes.  It’s a combination of nature and nurture.  The Power must somehow grow with physiological development of the body in the absence of testosterone or the Y chromosome.  The power is then honed through tradition learned from a woman’s own mother in her youth.  Doesn’t sound too different than what most people would call “intuition”.  I think “intuition” is a cover, but I concede the concept is a version of the truth which is considered “real” to most because it’s palatable, even for traditionalists.  I think my friend’s mom was just as capable in using her Power but sometimes chose not to.  Or maybe, without anyone knowing, did use it whenever needed just like mine, but in a way that was much more discreet.  And who’s to say which is right or wrong?  There’s also the possibility that both I and my father were more trouble than he and his, and if so, then my Mom was forced to be more liberal in her application relative to the average Mom.  This is central to the story; rules are great and all, but they’re often arbitrary because many things are relative.  Though women all have The Power, every mom is unique and they all face unique circumstances.

My friend subscribes to the alternative wisdom of post-modernism which is a way of looking at the world, the newest thought paradigm for the middle class (and usually the least popular because it’s often the least comfortable), though it’s been ubiquitous in academia since the 1920’s.  Since I knew that he’s bought into the alternative, I’ve kept him updated with my story and he’s starting to become a believer in The Way, or at least in the subject as an interesting subject for dialogue.  After reading my last post, he agreed with my statements about the effects of a male dominated society which is like a puzzle with a large missing piece.  But, where we differed in perspective was regarding the women’s lib movement and its impact after taking a large segment of the female population out of the home and putting them into decision making positions out in the work place.  It was his suggestion that if The Power, does exist and if I’m right about its connection with a deeper truth, then possibly It will restore balance by motivating our female leaders to push for change in their roles outside of the home.  I know that he’s not alone in holding out hope that The Power will manifest itself in this way.  I don’t discount this as a possibility.  On the contrary, I acknowledge that, like men, women have an inner voice that calls them to use their unique gifts in a certain way.  I don’t think traditional roles or their alternative counterparts are, in and of themselves, right or wrong, but the new work environment is different and therefore will have certain effects that we can only predict with much conjecture.  I also like this perspective in that it’s another voice entering into the conversation which is what this whole story is meant to spark up in the first place.  Possibly the The Power can survive in the workplace, but either way you slice it, it’s definitely alternative and therefore will do one of two things; historically these things are typical when an alternative way starts to impinge on tradition.  1) Clash with tradition when the working Moms refuse to drink the Kool-Aid creating violence, or… 2) The other Way…”The Way of The World” will bend them into submission just like it has done with the men.  Notice I’m giving men a break here.  I don’t think the problem has to do with the nature of us males but of people in general.  It’s just that males, traditionally, are in control.  Hopefully work Moms will be able to resist the urge to go with the flow by insisting on the inclusion of their unique perspective in the decision making process despite it’s clash with tradition, and maybe they’ll succeed, but I doubt this is enough to restore balance; it’s a huge job and those that benefit from the status quo have a lot to lose.  And because tradition never disappears without a messy fight, I think the full blown Mom power is going to be the weapon of choice.  But that’s my perspective because of my background.  I’m sure that in a dialog, other voices will have better arguments for the workplace Mom but it’s not my area of knowledge.  Having been raised by a stay-at-home mom, that’s what I know and I’ve seen evidence of their higher purpose.  I think that if my mom were here today, she would agree.  I remember, one day after I had graduated from high school, I was hanging out with my sister who got distraught when she recalled a conversation that she’d had with our mom.  She felt that Mom had discouraged her from going to college saying, “You don’t have to go to college.  It isn’t for everyone”.  My sister was near tears and interpreted this statement with the subtext “Those with a college degree are “better” than those without” and you aren’t good enough to get one of those.  This was a mis-interpretation driven by society and a scientific (modernist) mindset…..think about it.  Why would a woman who had never gone to college hold this idea to be true.  The answer is that she wouldn’t!  She knew things!

Although The Power is present in all women, it doesn’t really emerge until they give birth.  Within the first year, the girl power is amplified times 10.  This power is often enough to discipline kids (and comes in handy with husbands too).  However, some women find that they need to study The Way in order to learn how to focus the energy and increase its power.  Unruly kids will feel the power from The Look or The Voice just like other kids but they don’t respond because their own instincts are too strong for the basic level of Mom Power to overcome.  I’m not sure how they go about study, but I assume that there’s a trip to some remote undisclosed location once or twice a year for the purpose of studying with a master; a Sifu Mom (probably why summer camps are so popular.  Get the kids out of the house for a week and you have the perfect opportunity to make the trip and get back in time to pick them up while they think that Mom has been at home relaxing the entire time).  The goal of the trip is to study, a new more powerful weapon and over time this weapon must be mastered.  Since I’ve only witnessed the use of one weapon by one Mom, I can’t be sure that there are multiple weapons to choose from but I assume that would be the case as with any martial art.  The weapon of choice in our household was the Mom zapper (A.K.A, the tickle Taser).  Through concentration exercises (similar to a Jedi learning to use the force) the student learns to focus the energy of the Power to a spot the size of a finger tip.  Normally the energy radiates out in all directions, which is why everyone in the room can feel the tension when a mom uses The Voice to discipline her child.  But with the Mom Zapper, ALL of the energy is gathered, funneled through the hand and radiated out of the forefinger and the thumb which jacks up The Power an extra 10x (that’s 100 times more potent than Girl Power!).  I can tell you from experience that it makes you stop in your tracks.  You know how when someone tickles you, your entire body feels the sensation and that’s enough to make you recoil and start throwing elbows in every direction?  Well, imagine if that sensation were amped up times 10 and then concentrated in a spot on your body about a half inch in diameter.  That’s the Mom Zapper Tickle Taser.

I know, I know.  My theory sounds ridiculous by now.  Why would any Mom use a weapon like that on her child as a tool for discipline?  Don’t click off the page just yet because that is a really good question.  The answer is that she wouldn’t, at least not at full power and not very often.  See…the way my mom used it was at a level just powerful enough to get my undivided attention forcing me to get the point and it was combined with the look and voice so that the energy from the voice was felt just before getting zapped.  It’s negative reinforcement like Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning.  If Mom thought it was time for a zap, she’d wait until I got really out of line and then give me the voice.  If I didn’t mind her, and she was within striking distance, I’d get one more warning as she reached over and put her zapping fingers on either side of the soft area just above the collar bone, between the shoulder and the neck.  If I kept it up, she’d apply a slight amount of pressure and concentrate (you could see it in her face).  Once she mastered her power, it only took about a half second to spool up and pull the trigger, causing me to crumple (In hindsight, I remember that I was usually sitting down when getting zapped).  That’s how it went down in practice.  Here’s how it works in theory: The voice precedes the zap and over time the zap is no longer necessary because the conditioning has taken effect and now the response to the stimulus of The Voice is the same with the unruly child as with those who naturally respond without the conditioning.  It’s pure genius, because the conditioning happens when the kid is very young, definitely before the teenage years, when the mind is still fairly under-developed.  This helps to hide the power because the kid has no idea that it’s not physically possible for somebody to pinch you and bring you to your knees.  By the time your mind reaches the level of development where you start to question things, the conditioning phase of The Way is over and has been forgotten…usually.

I’ve run out of space and still haven’t told about how I know all this.  But, I have gotten through the full explanation of the Power and its purpose which should be enough to digest for now.  After having some time to consider this complicated theory, it will be easier to understand the time that the power was used outside of normal parameters agreed to by the members of the Sect.  Also, it’s one AM on Sunday morning and I’m running out of steam.  For now, I’ll end by adding one last fact about me and my mom.  I was kind of a mama’s boy since I was her only son.  Maybe that’s part of the reason I figured all this stuff out, being the object of many protective efforts, doled out in a very matriarchal way.  Most people don’t realize that East Texas is a matriarchal society.  Since it’s largely conservative people assume that it’s male dominated.  Well, it’s not.  Women there are extremely independent and my mom was no exception.  She was indeed a master of The Way and with only one deviation (the event that gave rise to this entire story) she practiced extraordinary care and discretion in its use.  Though she’s not here anymore and there are some decisions she made that I still don’t understand, I can still wish her a Happy Mother’s day.

And Happy Mother’s Day to all the other Moms out there.  Thanks for all you do and keep fighting the good fight.  World peace hangs in the balance.

To Be Continued……

 

 

 

 

 

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Mom Power (The Way of The Mom) Mother’s Day Trilogy: Episode 3

With the first two posts in this series, I start slow (if this is your first look at the story, I suggest you go back and read the first two episodes using the links below).  The purpose; ease you into information that many will consider fluff or conspiracy theory.  And maybe it is.  Maybe I’m crazy or some kind of neurotic, wanna be story teller with nothing better to do than make up ridiculous conspiracies.  Sure, that’s a possibility.  I mean this is Austin and we do have 20 years worth of Alex Jones under our belt.  However, it’s undeniable that Mom’s do have a “way”.  We all know that but we don’t ever give it any deeper thought, assuming that it’s some kind of inexplicable intuition; a product of, maybe, some collective feminine consciousness.  And to a degree it is, but by this point in the story, I have already invited the skeptical reader to consider the possibility that there is something more organized, more concrete, more tangible at work.  In the first story, my own mom’s premonition predicts the impending disaster that would not come for several months.  In the second, we get a little deeper into the way, with another real world example of Mom Power in action with both a premonition and the use of mind control to steer the family clear of impending calamity, avoiding unnecessary drama.  Now that you’ve had a chance to consider these events and, most likely, recall specific situations in your own lives where you’ve witnessed similar use of this, so called, “women’s intuition”, I think you’re adequately prepared to find out the truth.  It’s unconventional but the truth often is, especially truths that involve the mystical arts.  This story is the truth about an ancient order, the existence of which we’ve all been fooled into completely ignoring.  (Hand wipes in front of your face….”These are not the Moms you are looking for”).

When I first got to Austin as a college student, my friends and I went down to 6th street just about every weekend, but these days I save my drinking for Church.  The difference between pub church and a traditional Christian church (aside from the beer and wine) is that they take perspective and dialogue very seriously (at my traditional Baptist church, they claim the same but it’s often just lip service).  This particular Sunday, the guest speaker focused on the subject of transcendence.  He brought to the conversation quotes from various authors and poets who, throughout history experienced some form of transcendence and wrote about it.  The concept is an experience, or process of moving beyond a focus on the self and feeling connected with something bigger.  With all the science and technology in today’s world, it’s hard to find people who have transcended themselves and I doubt that there’s any kind of fool proof formula for finding the path through the thick underbrush of 21st century pop culture.  However, if there were a way of life that brought any human being closer to discovery, it would be that of the Mom. The Bible says to honor your parents.  Even the non-religious would agree that you have to appreciate the Mom.  Otherwise we would be a society of irreverence, and if Greek tragedy taught us anything, irreverence has been the downfall of many a powerful man.  Moms give 99.9% of themselves to their family.  They sacrifice much to experience the joy of raising ungrateful children in a selfish world.

Not all Mom’s are homemakers but ours was, and as such she enjoyed the blessing and bore the curse.  The blessing is, the experience comes stock with a crystal clear lens, unfiltered by consumerism and politics, for a singular perspective.  The curse is, the perspective is alternative, purpose built (arguably) to impinge on a world defined by convention.  Since convention controls our society, those who don’t drink the Kool-Aid find that the road can and will get more difficult.  This homemaker sect of Moms are a unique social resource because their station in life allows them to become experts in this alternative way of seeing.  They don’t get caught up in the rat race, the deadlines, and the wall street mentality where progress and prosperity are gauged by a number at the end of a quarterly balance sheet.  This frees them up to focus on the important things in life, learn it well and then pass along these important lessons to us in the short 18 years of our youth; lessons in the form of experiences that will shape our subconscious in a way that helps us grow into happy, healthy, adults guided by an internal voice that illuminates the difference between right and wrong, provides encouragement when reality presents a challenge, and ups the stakes, forcing us to risk the prosperity that we’ve worked so long and hard for.  The risk is in using every opportunity to do what’s right in spite of being unpopular; our own leap towards transcendence.  It’s a hard job for the Sect, but success means that we stay true to our Mom worthy values; values that can be traced back to the dawn of the modern free world.  Failure, on the other hand, means….well, I’d rather not speculate.  One such value that we’ve lost in the information age is, “Prosper? Yes!….but not by the deception of another”.  Historically, in a western society defined by the concept of “rational man”, to prosper by deception is to cause Harm“.  Logically, it’s not very debatable, but unfortunately, the transcendent egalitarianism that made the market system revolutionary has given way to a selfishness that slowly morphed our society into its current state where the upper class is growing and the middle class is shrinking.  To re-create that ideal world free of the wanton pursuit of self interest is a monumental task that has not been accomplished by either presidents or pastors; not even Superman himself.  Enter the Mom, an unlikely superhero.  She’s not the first hero in the west to hail from regular society, unblessed with super-human powers; no gene mutation catalyzed by the absorption of the radioactive energy of a foreign sun, no venom from a contaminated insect or exposure to random contaminants in a freak science lab explosion.  However, “The Way of The Mom” and its power possibly explain the existence of the only race of superheroes whose powers, though not superhuman, are likely supernatural and capable of bringing the most egotistical super-men of society into check.  Powers…the origins of which…we can only speculate.

Being a guy, I’m not supposed to have this information.  The secret of Mom Power is one that has been carefully guarded for God only knows how long.  It’s a mystical art and like all mystical arts, the power is coveted by unscrupulous manipulators the world over.  If it falls into the wrong hands, it would surely wreak havoc on humanity.  Not because the bad guys would acquire a weapon that makes them stronger (this is what all villains, in their infinite greed and stupidity, always think), but because the universal untraceable source of Mom power, like that of the Lost Arc in the first Indiana Jones movie, is not a manifestation of the dark side but one of light.  Those foreign to “The Way”, those without reverence for the light who dare attempt to wield its powers are destined to destroy themselves…and us in the process.

I know what you’re thinking:

First, “How did you come by the knowledge when every other individual in the universe un-initiated into the Sect of the Mom, who has experienced their mystical power, is unaware of its existence?” Because, in what some would call a lapse of judgement by a sect member, I saw it and felt it at an age when my rational mind could no longer ignore certain realities.  To the second half of the question, I say that all mystical arts are easy to obscure in a collective consciousness that still clings to the scientific mindset of the 20th century industrial age.  For most people reared in the age of science, If something cannot be proven by a positivistic, scientific formula, then that thing is not real.  This is the nature of the smoke and mirrors used by the practitioners of “The Way” to keep secrets of the utmost importance as they engage an unruly male dominated society on their quest to subvert the ill effects of an over-reliance on testosterone and scientific theory, by the insinuation of conscience back into the fabric of our wayward social institutions.  In short, science is used to obscure the thing that will one day, hopefully, eradicate the pandemic of the scientific, modernistic thought paradigm that has, over the last 500 years, overrun the western mind like an invasive species of super-weed choking out our natural ability to relate to and understand a deeper truth.  Ironic?  On the surface it would seem so, however this is the brilliance of nature at work.  If the Sect of the Mom is successful, then society will break through the barrier that obfuscates transcendence and this will create a sense of reverence in society at all levels. True, a return to reverence by force will shine a bright spotlight on the secret arts leaving them secret no longer, however the resulting social balance will also render them obsolete at which point they will fade into obscurity; the powers lying dormant only to resurface in the fantastical plots of mythical storytellers, until the next era of brokenness emerges, defined and defiled by the hubris of empire (and if history is any indication, it surely will).

Second, “If the information is so secret and potentially damaging, then why are you revealing it to the world?” While Mom’s are the best example of reverent souls, they are also human.  In the same way that women have proven themselves capable of doing anything a man can do, as well or better, there’s a flip side to that coin.  They have the same capacity for ignoring their inner voice and causing harm.  In an era where the women’s lib movement has culminated in a mass exodus from the profession of “Mom”, many new moms spend a significant amount of time as professional bankers, lawyers, accountants and ______ (fill in the blank…ad infinitum.) which takes away time from the Mom perspective.  I speculate that this restructuring of roles has to dilute the Power by weakening mastery of the craft due to infrequent practice which now makes women succeptible to one other traditionally male characteristic; in laymen’s terms…dumbassery.  Women know this better than anyone so I’m not telling anyone anything new.  They are aware of the risks of the information age which necessitates monitoring the behavior of their members and doling out appropriate consequences for breaking the rules.  When rules are broken by a member of the sect (as in the case of my story), it’s necessary to bring details to light so as to show that the transgression is necessary and other moms would have done the same.  So, to preserve the legacy of my mom as one of the masters, loyal to The Way, I need to explain the events that transpired on the day that I became painfully aware that there was indeed, something bigger than me in the universe.  The secret of how I came to this shocking revelation is the core of the story for which you’ve logged in to discover for yourself.  As for the danger of my disclosures, I point out that we now live in the post-modern world where technology is everywhere.  Documenting the various phenomena of the universe is easier now than ever before.  Regular citizens carry sound recorders and movie cameras around in their pockets, communications companies record and archive everything we say or see electronically, and government espionage is so common, it’s become everyday news.  We’ve gotten to the point where it’s impossible for secrets to exist and this puts the power of the way in jeopardy regardless of my actions.  The tech cannot be un-invented.  Post-modern society is what it is.  Therefore, the logical solution is that Moms should simply be more discreet when using their power, however you’ll soon see it’s not that simple because the thing that draws Moms to The Way, is the same instinct that brings about its use, a 6th sense that fires when stimulated and cannot be scheduled due to the unpredictability of the behavior of the child for whose benefit the power is employed (particularly in the case of boys).  Note also that, as with the ongoing mission of any comic book Superhero, discretion is always needed when saving the day and like the comic book superhero, here it is observed by the Sect of the Mom……usually.  But as we see with fictional superheroes, discretion is of no use if it hampers action.  In the west, we’ve lost the propriety that once governed our social leaders in the form of conscience.  In these dire circumstances where we’re plagued by a great social imbalance, evidenced by global events such as proliferation of natural disasters, terrorism and financial crisis,  propriety must dictate priority.  The mission of the Mom is to restore propriety.  Otherwise the world becomes so corrupted that the day is no longer worth saving.  This means taking a risk with discretion and since the news will get out regardless, I think it better to lead in the process thereby increasing control over interpretation.  And if all else fails, we can always hire out-of-work spin doctors who will be desperate to pay the bills after the collapse of the political science industry that results from the social harmony that ensues after the transition to the post-post-modern era.

Third, “if you’re not supposed to know the secret, how can I trust that your account is authentic”? For the reasons listed above, I predict that you won’t.  Given the amount of garbage on the internet, if you found this webpage and took the time to read through this account, you are probably either a member of the Sect of the Mom or an out of work stoner that has way too much time on his hands.  Either way, I seriously doubt that anyone else will ever believe that any of this is real.  For those who buy into it: #1) Moms already believe, which touches on another point about purpose.  Moms around the world will be nervous with the news that this story has been released to the public, will log on to verify its accuracy and become upset.  They will all meet to discuss what to do about the problem and in the heat of a much overdue dialogue come to realize that it’s a strange new world where new rules and methodologies are desperately needed.  And for the small percentage of stoners who read to the end of this entire account, you are the crazy conspiracy theorists that will work alongside the spin doctors to hide any ill effects of this disclosure.  For the rest, you won’t ever see this paragraph because your mental state reduces your attention span by 50% of us normals, so you’ve already lost interest and flipped over to the pizza delivery app.  Also, these days most stoners are millennials which reduces attention span down another 50%, which means ninety-eight percent of you never logged on because you’re all waiting for the You Tube video to come out (which it never will…See how nature works things out?)

That’s the Why.  Now how about the What.  What is Mom Power & The Way and The Sect?  I’ve been working overtime to crank out this story in only 7 days so you can find out.  Tune in Mother’s day to learn the secret!

………………………………. To Be Continued (05/14/17)

 

 

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Uncle Tom Goes to The Line (Mom Saves the Day). Mother’s Day Trilogy 2017: Episode 2

My mom put in a hard 18 years of parenting before I became an adult (in Texas that’s 17 according to the justice system).  I don’t discount the work and stress my dad endured but in a traditional conservative family with a stay-at-home mom, the mom does most of the child rearing while the dad brings home the bacon (and the discipline.  One of the Mom-isms that I remember the most from the early days is “just wait until your dad gets home!).  I don’t have kids but I have to guess that by the time the young-uns get close to the end of their high school career, the highly contagious disease of senioritis spreads from the parented to the parentor pretty quick.

After I graduated high school, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to be.  In my youth I decided on fighter jet pilot and it was time to make that happen (if it was meant to be).  My home town has two colleges.  One is a UT branch campus and the other is a Junior College with a student population of over 10,000 (which is pretty large for Ju-Co), a Greek system, dormitories, and even an athletics program with football and basketball teams.  I took my first class the year I turned 18 and started thinking about what four year college I wanted to apply to.  Yup, I said, “college”…singular.  That’s not a typo…I was of the mindset that I would just pick one institution and go there, not because I was a great student, but more because I wasn’t putting a whole lot of thought into the logistics of setting up my future.  Like I said…I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to be much less a plan for how to get there, wherever there was.  As you probably guessed, I wasn’t stressing out over it too much either; not my style.  My mom, knowing that I love airplanes, suggests that I consider Louisiana State University because they had a flight training program where you could also study an academic discipline as a backup (she was very faithful in the way that she lived and raised her kids but she was also big on backup plans).  If I take her advice, I could go straight out of college into the air force as an officer.  That’s a bad-ass career path for anyone raised to take risk, which the Naleid kids were.

My family was middle class and fairly modest in the way we spent money.  I was fortunate that I had parents to house and feed me, an adequate level of wealth to provide all of the basic needs that could be bought, and a high quality junior college nearby where I could knock out some course credits at a leisurely pace.  What we didn’t have though was nice cars.  Our driveway was  accustomed to old Suburbans, station wagons and pickup trucks.  My friends had cool sports cars when they turned 16, Camaros and Mustangs, a Supra, a 300ZX and a 240SX.  Not brand new but way newer than my 1979 GMC Heavy Half pick ’em up truck.  So when I turned 19, I really wanted a nice new car.  I was working at the Lobster Shack as a server because the country club didn’t have any openings when I got bored with the bus boy job.  Those positions were highly coveted and the club servers had all been there for years, if not decades.  The Shack was a better deal anyways because 1) there were more people my own age which made it fun, and 2) it’s good to move on after a few years to keep things fresh.  Working 20 hours per week during the school year and 40 during the summers, I had saved up $9K which paid for more than half of a brand new mustang.  I almost got the limited GTS model which was only $2k more, a steal for young men 25 and up, but for a 19 year old male, the insurance premium was just too high because of the V8, so I settled on the base model.

Soon after I bought the car, I heard that my dad’s brother was planning a trip to Texas from the mid-west.  He and my dad are really big into hunting and Texas is a great place for that.  A couple years earlier, my dad had joined the No Skill Deer Club in West Texas just north of the Hill Country which had lots and lots of big bucks with 10 point and up sized racks, making it easy to come home a hero with a nice trophy, regardless of your experience level…hence the name.  Uncle Tom would arrive in the evening and the next day, they’d begin the trek out to the brush country of Concho County in Dad’s, late model 4×4 pickup.  Since I had work that day, I wouldn’t be around when they got back from the airport.  Working in food service at that age is cool because people generally get along well, hang out together, throw parties, socialize and just have lots of fun.  In general, I also got along well with my managers because they were pretty cool for older people and I had a good reputation for selling lots of add-ons (drinks and appetizers) which is something that the company tracked and held contests on a regular basis to boost sales.  But when I first started, there were two managers that no one got along with because they had a terroristic attitude which put everybody on edge.  They had a habit of randomly yelling at employees, so somebody drew up a petition that we all signed and they got transferred to a different town.  After that everything was cool…until one Friday…when some stuff went down.

In high school, my friends and I had a party place down on the river.  It was an old ghost town that had been an industrial hotbed back when the shipping industry was controlled by actual ships traveling up and down the Sabine.  The hey day of our party phase was senior year, but the occasional get-together continued after that, and this particular Friday the party was on.  Yup, our teenage hangouts involved drinking (for better or for worse, that happens).  Smith county was “dry” which means that no alcohol could be sold inside county lines except at private clubs like restaurants and dance halls.  The next county over was “wet” so grownups and teenagers with fake id’s drove to the county line to re-stock the liquor cabinet or prep for the weekend festivities.  This is a tradition that we called “Goin’ to The Line”.  Once you crossed the line, there were beer and liquor stores as far as the eye could see.  This was the local industry for most Texas wet counties that bordered the dry ones.  Other than the booze business, neighboring cities didn’t really have anything else going on, economically.  The staple of the teenage party is the beer keg and sometimes we tapped two different brews simultaneously.  The party on this day however was a smaller one, so a keg was not needed.  We kept it simple and went with ordinary canned beer.  Maybe simple is not the right word because everybody wanted something different which means going to the line was a huge pain.  You had to put in your individual order with the guy with the fake id, get him the money, then figure out a way to get your stuff if you weren’t going to the same party, and you can forget about getting back change.  I planned on meeting up with our guy and the rest of the crew after work that night and had put in my order early in the week, so by Friday it had all been taken care of.  I appear in the kitchen in my black slacks and white long sleeve dress shirt and black bow tie.  Mom reminds me that Dad is picking Uncle Tom up from the airport (My work shirts were always freshly ironed and smelled like a fresh spring day, courtesy of non-other than…Mom.  My work friends who had already left the nest thought this was funny.  But, I looked forward to the jokes because, thanks to mom, I had my own unique thing in the group).  As I bail out the back door, Mom reminds that, despite the weekend, I needed to stop in later to say hello to Uncle Tom since they’re leaving for West Texas the following afternoon.  “Cool. Later”, I said.  The detour meant I wouldn’t get to the party until at least midnight but, no biggie because there was a cabin, so we had a place to crash for the night; no need to drive anywhere.

When I got to work, the business was starting to stack up like a typical Friday night.  Only two hours in, we were slammed.  Not long after all sections filled up, our manager ran into the service area from the dining room having a conniption fit.  He was yelling and wanted to know who had table 19.  I said it was mine and “what’s the problem?”.  I was confused because I had just brought out the couple’s food in a timely manner.  Apparently, the hostess had forgotten to give them silverware and I was in the weeds so hadn’t noticed that they didn’t have it, plus I used my boiler plate question for all my tables when I dropped off their order, “Can, I get you anything else?”.  Without looking at me, they had curtly replied “No”.  The manager accosted me as they believed that they were being discriminated against because of their race and, ordered me to “go out there and kiss some b____ Ass”.   I objected saying, “But, I didn’t notice about the silverware.  I didn’t do anything wrong”.  He got even madder and threatened me with termination.  I was offended so refused his irreverent demands.  Then, he says, “You’re going home!”.  I say, “Ok, Good!”.  He yells, “That’s it, you’re terminated.”  I’m like, “Fine, whatever”.  He goes, “right now!”.  I finish with, “I’m outta here”, drop my bank on the counter throw my apron on the ground and walk out.  It’s only 7PM so it’s not even dark yet.

Awesome!  It’s Friday.  I ain’t got no job.  I ain’t got nuthin’ to do….I’m fixin to paaaarrrrtaaay.  I call up my guy and tell him, “hey man I got off early let’s meet up so I can get my stuff”.  I roll over to the south east side in the stang, pick up my case of beer and throw it in the trunk.  Then I re-direct towards home with my system thumpin’ so I can change out of the monkey suit and head out early for a proper Friday night.  When I get to the house, I hit the remote and I pull into the garage.  I had a pretty decent system in my car with dual 10″s in the trunk running off a 250 watt, bridged, Alpine amp (according to my dad, my neighbors always knew when I was rollin’ up).  I was allowed to keep the car in the garage which was strange because my mom was a notorious pack rat.  Ever since I can remember, the garage was for storage.  Cars never went in there.  This was Mom’s territory and nobody, not even my dad, tried to plant their flag there.  When I got the new mustang, for the first time in my life, she cleared out half of the garage.  I didn’t even ask, she just did it.  It goes to show that there are a lot of things previously ruled impossible that moms will do if they decide to.  As I pull in to the tune of some hip hop or alternative rock (alternative can thump too) the door to the house opens, my parents and Uncle Tom are there ready to greet me with big grins on their face, no doubt laughing because they had just predicted my arrival hearing the bass getting louder and louder.  Of course it was the sound of the garage door that verified it was indeed my mom’s favorite son making an appearance (the favorite son comment was a “Mom-ism” that she used on a regular basis, in jest, because in reality I was her only son.  The joke was doubly clever because of the second context allowing another play on words.  When a local boy made it big, usually in sports, he would get the nick-name, “Tyler’s Favorite Son”, like Mom’s former John Tyler high school classmate, Texas Longhorn and Houston Oilers running back, the notorious Earl Campbell, A.K.A. “The Tyler Rose”.  I never made it that big, so was never given the honor however, in her own words, Mom dubbed me “My Favorite Son”. 

I’ve said it before.  My dad was horribly O.C.D.  This was because his dad had been the head of a corporate accounting department and whatever gene gave Grandpa Naleid his numbers skills, it was passed on to my dad.  Avoiding a career in business and neglecting the genetic urge to balance numbers caused the gene to mutate into a compulsive disorder manifested as a fixation on small details that no normal human being would ever notice, much less bring up in conversation.  As I get out of the car, my dad says, “here he is. Speak of the devil!”.  Everybody’s all smiles.  I greet my uncle in my thick Texas accent, “Hey Uncle Tom, long time no see…blah, blah, blah”.  In his unmistakable, thick Midwestern accent, he greets me with, Yeah…heyyy, blah, blah, blah, or whatever.  My dad immediately starts in on, “here’s the new stang I was telling you about!”  My Uncle comments on how nice it is and no sooner than he gets the last word out (Dad’s disorder had chosen my mustang’s trunk as the object of its latest obsession…the same trunk that had just received a 24 pack payload courtesy of a fresh run to The Line).  Dad pipes up, “You gotta see this trunk!  Blake, pop the trunk so Tom can see!”  Mom is hanging back in the doorway to the house leaning against the door jamb smirking and rolling her eyes.  This change in subject catches me totally by surprise because I’m prepared to play the game “Why are you not at work”, not “What’s in the Trunk?”.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so eager to collect my party favors before I actually needed them.  My parents were not really “cool” parents and alcohol was forbidden.  My mom’s dad had been a drinker and I was raised in the big Baptist church so, they were pretty strict about that.  I wasn’t shaken though, so with my poker face on I just hemmed and hawed a little in a subtle yet confident play to deflect the request. “Naaahhhhhhhh.  He doesn’t want to see the trunk”, I respond.  Everyone is still smiling.  Dad’s like, “No, no…really…show him the trunk”.  (Turns to Uncle Tom) “You’re not going to believe how small it is!”.  And I’m like, “Ahhh….Naaaaaah.  It’s not that small” (smile real big, shrug shoulders).  The Mom power has started to kick in and she starts to sense that something’s up.  She tries to interject in a low voice, “Biiiiill”.  Uncle Tom is starting to get a little uncomfortable but plays along.  Dad isn’t listening.  He persists,”Come on…..pop the trunk!  It’s soooooo smaaaaall”.  I shrug my shoulders a second time with a smile big enough to keep pace with the brothers Naleid and skillfully reprise my objection with the axiom, “Mmmmm….Naaaaah.  You seen one trunk, you’ve seen ’em all”.  By now the smiles on our faces couldn’t get any bigger and Uncle Tom is starting to squirm.  I can see my mom now, standing up straight with her arms crossed.  She has the look on her face which means that the voice is soon to follow.  I know what she’s thinking….”The kid is 19.  When he crossed the stage in cap and gown, the Mom role went to part time.  Whatever he’s got in that trunk….I don’t even want to know”.  With partially clenched teeth, the Mom voice issues a decisive warning.  “Bill”, she says.  “He doesn’t……. want to show him…… the trunk“.  Dad hemmed and hawed a little and then acquiesced,  disappointed that he missed an opportunity to show off the eighth wonder of the OCD world.  It makes me ponder what kind of stuff little Bill showed off to little Tom when they were kids.

Now that the game of “What’s in the Trunk?” has been set aside for the time being, we retire to the living room and chat for a spell.  I then excuse myself, change clothes and head out to the party not caring one way or the other if get my job back.  Within a few days, the GM calls asking if we could talk.  I went down to the Shack and the GM informs me that the hot head manager had not handled the situation well and had been fired.  I can’t remember what excuse I gave my parents about why I wasn’t scheduled to work for so long, but whatever it was they bought it (not just that time but the other two times I got fired from the Shack plus the one time I got fired from the country club only to return to work two weeks later).  I was enjoying my time off but I had a sweet ride to pay for, so within 7 days I was back in action, selling the hell out of the add-ons…. and no one was the wiser.

So, in the end, I got to partake of a proper party night, Dad and Uncle Tom made it out of Smith county and on to the deer lease, the women got a long break from our mananigans (man shenanigans) and a good time was had by all.  Sweeeeeet.

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