What is ‘WHY?!’? Where and When Can I Listen? How is This Possible?!

Tags

WhywSponsorship2.png

I’m betting that there are entire tens of you out there wondering why I haven’t been regular in my Buck Rogers updates.  To that small band of beautiful weirdos, I offer my sincere apologies.   I’ve committed to a project that took priority.

Several weeks ago, I met with the good people behind SCI FI SATURDAY, a Harrisburg-based pop culture event hosted by the local 2nd & Charles at the Harrisburg Mall on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018.  This is a fun, free event open to all audiences set in a huge store packed with books, comics, vinyl, toys, collectibles, and other cool stuff.  There will be guests there like bestselling author Greg Cox, Internet’s own Captain Kyle, and others.  I will be there as will my lovely wife, Dame Dahlia.

One of the things to come out of that meeting with the event’s sponsors was the idea of promoting the show with a podcast. Happy to help, I agreed to talk to some of the guests in advance, not just about the event, but about their connections to pop culture, their art, and their work.

While planning this, I realized something very important:  I have so many friends who are FAR more interesting and accomplished than I.  LOTS.  And I have always wanted to sit down with them to just talk about things, how they decided to become an artist or why they went down their particular path in this life.  They have the kind of stories that aspiring artists need to hear because they have dealt with the things we struggle with daily when balancing “real life” with our dreams of creating good art.

So I put together a list.   I stopped at 157 names. 

“WHY?” is a conversation based on the question “Why the hell do we do what we do?  Are we insane?  Are we stupid?  Are we the chosen few?”

Okay, that was more than a question. 

I hold a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing.  I also hold a fat promissory note to the US Department of the Treasury as a result.  “WHY?!”

See the theme there?

“WHY?!” will be a series of conversations with writers, artists, designers, filmmakers, producers, craftspeople, photographers, and other people at different stages of a career with different perspectives.  It will be a diverse group representing different races, faiths, generations, heights, politics, experience, ice cream preference, and favorite shade of sunset. We are all united by the struggle that we face making good art.

“WHY?!” will be a conversation, modeled on the Con Suites and Green Rooms or various conventions, where people just relax, let down their guards and talk honestly about their craft and their lives.  It won’t be about gossip and won’t promise a 12-step plan for your success.  It’s just talk between people who happen to be on a very long, lonely mission toward something in life.

Archivos-logo-web-trans-color

I am PROUD to say that our conversations will be sponsored by ARCHIVOS, the online story development and presentation tool that allows you to document and explore your story worlds.  If you’re a storyteller and have a complex fantasy world, or you’ve got a number of different stories and characters to keep track of, ARCHIVOS helps you index, connect, and explore all your story elements.

I have a subscription and there is no way I could keep track of everything in The Winston Casey Chronicles without it.   It is a fantastic visual interface that allows you to keep track of your own work, but also collaborate with others on stories, role-playing adventures, and more.

ARCHIVOS is helping us out this first season by supporting our “‘Why?’ Storytelling Confab” event where every guest of the show will introduce a new story element to the board.  At the end of the series, we’ll invite listeners to pitch a story based on all the elements we’ve collected.  A prize of some kind will be offered to the winner.

We’re still working that out.

“WHY?!” will be available to download and stream for free from our host at Podbean as well as through iTunes, Spotify, and other fine podcatching services.  Our guest list and schedule will be posted soon.

 

Advertisements

“I’m The [Internal] Customer, and The [Internal] Customer…”

…needs to chill the hell out.

I want to talk a bit about something that’s been on my mind a while. It’s off base, so pass on through until you see something about me stepping on a rake or some other self-deprecating post.

Let’s talk about the corporate-born concept of “internal” and “external” customers. It’s an idea that suggests that we are customers of one another in business. I need great service from you and I expect great service in return. When it is lacking, we work together to find a solution. We have external customers and the great service typically moves in the opposite direction of the money.  In other words, if you run the register, your “external customer” gets to have its ass kissed.  Them’s the rules and most of us know it.

“Internal customer” means everyone you work with – and its well-intended concept removes that cash register concept and suggests that we are all service oriented and deserving of respect, professionalism, and especially our best efforts. In retail, we have our suppliers, the truckers, our help desks, people who we begin to demean and disrespect when our personal expectations are not met.  Yeah, expressing frustration and dissatisfaction is just being human, but it cannot become the role you play in business.

That’s just being a dick. Continue reading

The Lucasian Orthodoxy Strikes Back

cropped-cover107.png

From the “Remake The Last Jedi” website:

This is a campaign to provide Disney an opportunity to course correct with the Star Wars franchise.  The fans are completely divided and the core goal of Star Wars has been abandoned [This goal is…?].  The goal is to not make one half of the fandom happy over the other, it is to make a film that the fandom in general as a whole enjoys.  [That’s the goal of any movie.  Not all movies succeed. WHY did this fail, in your estimation? THIS IS YOUR THESIS, Padawan!]

The hero archetype’s [sic] of the original films is [are] what made these [them] so great, [.] i[I]t made characters that everyone could relate to regardless of their background and beliefs.  No longer having this core element along with [and] poor storytelling, has [have] made the franchise divisive and in disarray.  [“in disarray,” Gracie?]

The producers behind this [campaign] have pledged to cover the budget [What’s the budget?  Is there a script?], but you can pledge an amount to have your voice heard.  [What’s wrong with a petition?] You DO NOT have to put financial or personal information in, just an email address and a pledge. [So this is a hollow exercise?  Money isn’t changing hands? I’ll pledge a jillion drachmahrs!]

Seriously.

Some people raise money to fight cancer.  Others may choose to combat homelessness or campaign for a good politician.

Then there’s this bullshit.

With language on par with a scam email, this web site offers little in the way of explanation beyond, “It is bad, and we want it done over our way.”  They don’t explain what needs to change. They don’t.

There’s a bullshit video that I hoped would explain what they want to do, but it’s just a capture of the final scene in The Force Awakens where Rey (“cleverly” masked by a shitty Rian Johnson picture), hands a script (not a lightsaber!) off to Luke (made up to look like that guy responsible for the prequels.)  And then a list of bullshit “reward” levels for donors in the unlikely event Disney agrees to this bullshit.  These “rewards” range from a free ticket to the movie (for $10) to an invitation to the premiere (for $10,000).

No specific vision.  No ideas or concepts.  Just a slow, over-long, bad joke made to look like a Kickstarter video.

The top of the page is some high school kid’s word salad over what makes a good story.  The mission statement reprinted (and edited slightly) above are no more informative or literate.  It says nothing about how the films should be made, just that Rian Johnson didn’t do it.

And if the video and the text of the web site are a showcase for the kind of movie they plan to make, it will be – as one writer called it – “The Room: In Space”.

And somehow this thing caught the attention of pop culture media.

There’s no mention of the masterminds behind this.  There’s no work about what kind of movie this might be.  There’s no actually financial commitment from fans.  As of this post, $322 MILLION has been “pledged” in a non-binding Google survey collecting email addresses (I just donated $10,000 as a fictional character and Captain Spaulding is looking forward to ALL the rewards, including an invitation to the premiere).

This isn’t a story. It is bullshit.  It isn’t even evil bullshit.  It is the kind of lazy, directionless bullshit that says in ten thousand words, “I didn’t like the last movie and a lot of people agree with me.”

 

I say this not to promote hate for this group or contempt for the media.  But we are entering an age where news illuminates only two thirds of our world – the absolutely astonishing and the incredibly stupid.  Sometimes we mix them up.  But the average, the noble, the admirable qualities that represent the banal spectrum of “dog bites man” are, in the modern world, becoming more important when all we see is “Man fucks dead dog” and “Celebrity buys a new dog” stories.

So a couple of dudebros put up a web site reflecting the growing generational and social divide in fandom over a 40 year old film franchise.  So what?  They aren’t actually taking the money.  They will never get Disney’s approval.  They will never make their movie.  Shit, these jagoffs can’t even describe the KIND of movie they want to make.  They just successfully gathered thousands of email addresses for some marketing campaign yet to be launched.  And pop culture media helped by legitimizing them.

That wasn’t how you thought this article would go, is it?

The Big Buck Rogers Rewatch: The Return of the Fighting 69th!

32609258362_ab9c44c20b_b

“The Return of the Fighting 69th”

Directed by Philip Leacock
Written by
David Bennett Carren, (characters created by) Robert C. Dille
Season 1, Episode 8 (Episode 6 in original run)
Original Air Date: October 25, 1979


Sizzle Reel


Assemble All Pilots on the Flight Deck


This week’s stellar guests:

Once again, Buck Rogers plays in the future while paying tribute to the past with a constellation of classic guest stars…

Major Noah Cooper …. Peter Graves
Roxanne Trent …. Elizabeth Allen
Commander Corliss …. Robert Quarry
Sgt. “Big Red” MacMurthy …. Woody Strode
Corporal M.K. Schultz …. Eddie Firestone
Lt. Harriet Twain …. K.T. Stevens
Eli Twain …. Dan Sturkie
Cadet Westlake …. Robert Hardy
Cadet Clayton …. Duncan McKenzie
Alicia …. Katherine Wiberg
War Technician …. Clifford Turknett

Go for Launch!


Note to the two regular readers and that person who stumbled across it looking for Erin Gray-themed erotica:  Sorry this is so late.  Life happened.  It seems I have contracted advanced syphilitic dementia as a result of an enthusiastic handshake from the President of the United States.  Then I had to go back and remind myself what the hell this episode was about.  In my memory it had blended together with the movie AIRPLANE! and LifeAlert commercials.  So here is my recap of the next episode.

Late middle-aged nightclub act Corliss and Roxanne have turned terrorist and live on an asteroid.  Like most Buck Rogers villains so far, there is a personal score to settle. Last week it was Frank Gorshin’s anti-Riddler after Dr. Huer.  This week, Corliss & Roxanne have it out for Wilma who, if you listen to these idiots, literally set both of them on fire. Roxanne lost the use of her hands and now has an Ash Williams gauntlet.  Corliss has a lumpy face with bionic implants. Continue reading

The Cult of Saint George & Its Crusade Against Women

A modest suggestion for those who believe Disney is championing diversity in Star Wars for ideological reasons:

I’m talking about those of you who believe that there is some nefarious feminist agenda or enforced diversity conspiracy at the heart of the Star Wars franchise.  And I want to focus on those of you who feel it is acceptable to harass or threaten actors, producers, or fans because of your beliefs.  However, if you are one of those people who sincerely believe that harassment and threats will change how these movies are produced, I think you’re too far gone to get this so just move along.

Move along.

Here is a more logical reason that Disney and other film companies are engaging in and embracing diversity in their IPs.

Hang on to your jockstraps, boys.

  1. Women have money.  
  2. Women have nerdly interests.  
  3. Women spend money on things their nerdly interests.
  4. People of color have money.  
  5. People of color have nerdly interests.  
  6. People of color spend money on their nerdly interests.
  7. And they like Star Wars.  They like Disney movies. They like Marvel movies. They like Pixar.
  8. And their money is as green as yours.

Does that sound cynical?  I’m asking because most of you seem like you know cynicism pretty well.

Do you think Disney didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein’s open secret of abuses?  Or Bill Cosby? Do you think they run a factory of child stars because they want every kid to achieve his or her dream of childhood stardom?

Yeah, no.  

While the end result is refreshingly progressive, it wouldn’t happen if that end result wasn’t profitable.  It’s not like Disney is forcing people to buy products. They know the market has changed and are responding to it.

Let me say that again.  

Disney is not driving social change.  

It is responding to changes in the marketplace.

So, you may be right that Disney is taking the brand in a different direction than you’d like but – sunflowers – the market is completely different than 1977 or 1983 or 1999 or 2005.

It isn’t so profitable telling stories or selling toys just for boys.  The proof is in the numbers.

But let’s talk about the 1,200-pound bantha in the room, kids.

Star Wars is a brand built around merchandising and is a highly profitable IP in that regard.  The brand is so tangled up in your childhood nostalgia that you don’t notice.  In fact, you forgive and forget every stupid creative choice and revision made to the films because it is too important to lose.

It is populist space opera that has its place, but was designed to sell you stuffed Ewok toys and plastic spaceships and little effigies of your heroes because Saint George knew you would buy them and make him incredibly, ridiculously wealthy.

He knew you would buy the Special Edition films. He knew you would get over the changes to the Holy Trilogy and buy tickets to the prequels that were SO bad in SO many ways because it was Star Wars.  You forgave everything Saint George did to alter the memories of your precious childhood.

Oh sure, you bitched about it, and it made you feel like a free-thinking fan.  But did you leave the Church of Saint George over it?  No.  Because your need for the love those films inspired in you overwhelms your sense of self or perhaps all sense.  And if you ever sent or shared a hateful message to a working actor over a fucking movie role, I suggest you have more issues than just a lack of sense.

The pod races.  The shitty dialogue.  The clunky stories.  The revisionist effects and sequences.  The plot holes.  This is not classic cinema.  George Lucas wanted to make Flash Gordon, couldn’t get the rights and decided, “Fuck it, I’ll make my own cultural phenomenon and keep all the licensing rights!”

And you forgave because you couldn’t walk away from the trough.  Except.  Now it is different.  Now, you have an excuse to bitch even louder because Saint George is out and the Evil Mouse House is in charge with their dastardly social engineering plots and enthusiasm for writing icky girls with cooties and DARE TO GIVE THEM POWER!

Suddenly, after six films, cartoon series, books, and abominable television series, Kathleen Kennedy is the devil, girl power is ruining life, a black hero is superfluous, and Star Wars is off the rails.

Get the hell over yourself.  

Come on.  You didn’t scream about Luke ending his story like a punk, but somehow Rose Tico is terrible?  Poe Dameron disobeying a direct order and commencing a battle that killed hundreds, wasting valuable military assets is okay…but Vice Admiral Holdo was too much for you?  Do you even listen to yourselves when you issue a “Call to Arms” over a piece of pop culture entertainment?  In terms of our world today, it is pathetic a thing to make your mission, but even in the realm of entertainment criticism, it is still profoundly silly.

It is a movie.  Actors put themselves out there every day to be judged by the public.  Producers and artists do their best in a bureaucratic and market-driven profession to please every last mouth-breather looking to have their belly tickled.  They work long hours on set, they do long junkets to promote their movies, dance like monkeys on talk shows for your amusement, and all they ask is you give them a fair review. That’s the job.

That professionalism should nullify anyone’s armchair tantrum or gesture of hate.  But, no.  You all had to go dark and embrace your hate.  There is no world, no life, no circumstance where that makes you better or stronger than those who actually got off the bench to make the things you enjoy.

Yes, even if it sucks. 

The problem with Star Wars is not diversity.  The problem with Star Wars is that you have voluntarily surrendered yourself to a brand that has only wanted one thing since 1977 – your money.  It sold you on characters and situations that were just as much tied to merchandise as Transformers or GI Joe.

You think you’re leading some holy crusade to preserve the purity of something that was never pure; a piece of entertainment desired to amuse and distract you from the challenges of real life.  It was never meant as modern mythology as its stories had already been told in other, better films and books. Star Wars is a part of your childhood and your life.  You’ve shared the movies with your friends, your, family, and your kids. But if it moves you to enjoy taunting people or threatening them because of what it is becoming then you are the one with a very big problem.

I implore you to reconsider your life choices rather than distract yourself with corporate conspiracy theories

Something in your life went wrong, so wrong that you have replaced part of your life with a movie intended to sell you toys.

That is a sad, sad reality.

Because you’ve been duped.

Want to escape the pattern?  I have your answer.  You just need to know about the secret Star Wars chase figure hidden somewhere on the Dark Web and issued as one of every 25,000 Star Wars figures: Episode IX’s big villain called “D’oh Egress.”

 

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 15

Tags

, ,

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bn6yq-91a4ca

The fate of Hidden Harbor is revealed!
 
Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Ulrich, Brion Humphrey as Dooley, Rish Outfield as Baxter, Pat Krane as Dutch, Alex White as Greenstreet, Chris Lester as Major Klink, John Lincoln as General Stosky, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.