December 2007


Probably not. I have blogged before about the changing perception of what copyright and intellectual property rights constitute. The lines are blurring, and the stalwarts will be those who wish to keep a very tight grip on the thing that profits them. (Their copyrighted material.) I am of two minds on it–still.

I continue to see the need and the right to copyright your creative work and profit from it. After all MY work is essentially work for hire. I get paid once for designing a book, period. But, if it weren’t for copyrighted material my publisher wouldn’t be able to pay me for that design work. So I have a vested interest, and see the value and logic behind protecting original creative works with a copyright.

Today, I think we’re seeing that overarching umbrella being eroded somewhat. The Hollywood writers strike is about this, and I am not sure how I feel about it anymore. As a creative I want to support the writers, but I see how the perception in the general public shifts to not understanding the union argument. (Don’t flame me! I’m not saying that’s right. That it just is.)

As an aside: Would I like to protect MY contribution to the works with a copyright? Absolutely, but it ain’t very damn likely. THAT is a slippery slope indeed. One could argue that if copyright were extend to designers, then every person that touched it down to the administrative assistant who photocopied the manuscript would want a piece. (No, I don’t equate creative efforts with photocopying—but you see what I am getting at.)Yes, I know that the AIGA, and Grapics Artists Guild argue for rights, but it’s extremely rare to get them, and not worth the effort. We have to charge enough upfront!!!

Transformative works. Fanfic and fanart, people. Is it any less creative because is starts from a predetermined point, with characters already created by someone else? I don’t think the creative endeavor is any less a creative endeavor. While the quality certainly varies significantly, the writers of fanfic certainly take the characters off in their own original directions. Michaelangelo was a fanartist! Isn’t the Sistine ceiling based on a book? And it was for hire. (Though the Church is still cashing in on his work after 500 odd years.)

This is a very interesting development and discussion:
http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2007/12/12/transforming-how-we-think-about-fiction-and-copyright/
And this is the Org.
http://www.transformativeworks.org/
ETA: Let’s Get Transformative. An astute musing on the subject by John Scalzi.
at scalzi.com/whatever
Oh yeah, and this blog? Copyrighted, by me. 😉

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Hank Stuever of The Washington Post bemoaned the trendy Apple user in a December 9 story about the Apple retail experience. “The demi-privacy of it, the clubby feeling–I know that you know that I know that we know and love Macs like nobody else does–is fading away.”

So true.

11/30/06
So I got “The Artful Dodger”, Nick Bantock’s monograph? autobiography? illustrated memoir? Whatever it is…I read it last night. He has a pretty unique body of work and his story is interesting. It is about his work, how it evolved, his lucky breaks, and his method, his though processes. It also reveals what HE says it all means…and that’s maybe a little different than what people get from it. An interesting book. Have you read it?

He and Neil Gaiman should get together on a project. Now THAT would be VERY interesting!

Not familiar with Nick Bantock? Oh c’mon, really? Griffen and Sabine?
Well: http://www.nickbantock.com/Catalog_Nick_Bantock.html
and this is always fun: http://www.nickbantock.com/Games/Sage.html
just try it!

10/17/06
So yesterday morning I woke up from a strange dream. I’d have written it down yesterday, but I was just too busy. Still working on moving.
It was weird enough to have stayed with me, which is unusual in itself as most times when I want to remember my dreams, I can’t.

I was at work somewhere, an office situation that I didn’t recognize as anything from real life, but a typical office. Around me were co workers, all women so far as I can remember. Again, not too unusual. But then someone else came into the room. This was an exceptionally beautiful woman. I knew that she was a supervisor, or someone of higher rank. Another woman said quietly to me, she’s one of THEM.

I was not sure what that meant, but later on somehow the knowledge came to me that this woman was one of the “aliens”. Where these aliens came from I am not sure. But they were not of this world. I learned that they are uncommonly beautiful. They look just like humans, except that they are so exquisitely beautiful it is almost painful to look upon them. I saw only females, but I thought that there must be males too. Though I am not certain about that.

What I found out next revolted, frightened, and intrigued me. I was speaking with one of these women, an alien, and she told me that they have a different “lifecycle” than we earth humans. They live approximately one year in the form of a “human-like” being, perfect in every way. Then a transformation takes place. They turn into something completely horrendous, a monster. This form is something like a cross between an insect, and reptile, with lots of slime thrown in for good measure. I don’t know how long this tranformation takes. But she indicated that it happens and there is nothing that can prevent it. They live in this form for approximately another year. During that time, they feed on the “perfect humnoid forms”, and they do this only at night.

I asked her, how they could feed on their own kind? How would they know they weren’t eating a relative, or a loved one? (I guess, in my dream I thought that when they transformed they couldn’t recognize their friends or family.) She indciated that it wasn’t a problem. Their culture had evolved such that the consumption of any being whether a stranger or your great Aunt Betty, it didn’t matter and in fact it was expected. She said that the aliens thought us earth humans barbaric because we only eat animals, and we don’t even want to know them first.

She also told me that the years spent as the “other” form is how they “pay for” their years as a perfect humanoid. I didn’t get whether or not they reproduced…but I kind of got the idea that they just “recycled” and each time they tranformed they become more and more beautiful. There are no young, and they transform into an adult form. Perhaps the other form is the larval form?

I didn’t see any of the “larval” aliens at the workplace. Maybe they don’t work. I didn’t venture to the lunchroom, I thought it unwise.

End of dream.

10/12/06
A while back on the Fuselage, someone said, “The Island is a Skinner Box.” I thought at the time this is too simplistic. Though perhaps they did have the basis for what’s going on.

For anyone who may not have stayed awake in Psychology class: (from Wikipedia)
Burrhus Frederic “B. F.” Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist and author. He conducted pioneering work on experimental psychology and advocated behaviorism, which seeks to understand behavior as a function of environmental histories of experiencing consequences. He also wrote a number of controversial works in which he proposed the widespread use of psychological behavior modification techniques, primarily operant conditioning, in order to improve society and increase human happiness; and as a form of social engineering.

Now the most obvious example is the Bear Cage food reward contraption that Sawyer is so proud to have solved. But look at the larger picture. If Sawyer, Kate, and Jack were to cooperate together and manipulate their captors, playing them off each other (as the Others are doing to our Losties) they could escape and get the upper hand. The Rube Goldberg food system and all the stations so far, bear a strong resemblance to the “do this, then that, then go here and do this, and back there and do that again, and something will happen to further your aims over here” method of solving puzzles in Myst (or in a Goldberg machine). We have heard that the writers are Myst fans among other things. So it all points to the whole Island set up to be a giant puzzle. A contrived expirement, and so are ALL the people on it. Rats in a maze. Cool. Doesn’t make the story any less interesting, just one explantion for why they are all there.

However, the writers ARE furthering much abused rumor about Skinner. He did not advocate punishment as a form of conditioning. Though he did believe in the possibility of an utopian society brought about by rewarding a certain kind of behavior. The “Skinner Box” reference is from this: A book was written that said Skinner put his own baby daughter in a Skinner Box to raise her, and when she came out she sued her father and committed suicide. She WAS raised in special air conditioned crib-box, but she denies to this day, the suit, and obviously, the suicide. Skinner did use boxes (similar to the bear cage) in his research with animals.

Then there’s this: Skinner is popularly known mainly for his controversial books Walden Two and Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Walden Two describes a visit to an imaginary utopian commune in the 1940s United States, where the productivity and happiness of the citizens is far in advance of that in the outside world due to their practice of scientific social planning and the use of operant conditioning in the raising of children. (The Others took the children “for their own good”)

But: The Church of Scientology often repeats the rumor about Skinner raising his baby in a box. Freedom Magazine and its online incarnation report that Skinner used a Skinner box on his baby, writing under his picture, “B.F. SKINNER created experimental ‘Skinner Boxes’ — small, enclosed containers for animals, with signaling levers and food chutes — even fashioning a ‘baby box’ version to monitor and modify his own infant daughter’s behavior.”[3] The Church of Scientology also has a “Psychiatry and Industry of Death Museum” in Los Angeles, California that repeats the claim about Skinner raising his baby in a Skinner box.[2]

OK. If I find out that the show is written or produced by Scientologists, I may have to stop watching. And encourage others (no pun intended) to stop also.
________

In another line of thought, who didn’t see the Oz references in this last ep? Stay with me here. When Benry brought out the TV, and we see Jack desparately eating up the BoSox game with his eyes. Benry is smiling evilly in the background. Who didn’t feel they had seen that scene before? Why yes. It was Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West looking in the crystal ball. “Aunty Em! Aunty Em!” Benry could be both the Witch and the Great and Powerful Wizard in his duplicitous punish/promise tact. “I can take you HOME Jack.”

And I was trying to place Juliet’s beatific smile at Sawyer…of course, it’s Glenda, the Good Witch of the North. (With a psychotic twist.) And three of them went off to see the Wizard! ha ha. You gotta love the puns. They really enjoy playing with us don’t they?

Now click your heels three times and say, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…”

10/12/06
OK I haven’t seen anyone elses comments yet. So I thought I’d jot a few thoughts…
I love this show!

Benry: “I have lived here my whole life.” But wait, they have cable. Huh?

Ben doesn’t know about the boat. That means he doesn’t know about: Desmond, Penny Widmore, the Widmore corporation… Does he know what Dharma was doing? Are they second gen Dharma? Are they the second team? Were they sent in after the first Dharma team got sick? Were they sent to “vaccinate” the first team (kill them)? Or was it their parents? Since he implies he was born there.

If the first team got sick and they became “feral” are they the whisperers; the mysterious wild people, the ones who really took the children? And are they the ones who weren’t captured and “vaccinated”? Is this group the ones Rousseau (Crazy French Chick) refers to as “the others”? Or are the others Benry’s group? Was Rousseau really a Dharma employee?

Is Juliet weird/creepy or what?

Sun/Jin backstory, meh. I didn’t care really. Sayid, also sort of, nothing…that just didn’t work for me. I expected some action.

Sawyer/Kate. Cute. But, gratuitous. However, I think the storyline could get interesting back at the zoo. ‘specially when Jack turns.

A wild prediction: Jack joins up with Benry’s group, Juliet, Karl, and Alex rebel and help Kate and Sawyer in some kind of escape or sabotage of Benry and his evil plans.
I think we’ll see some very interesting developments in “Otherville” and ultimately there may be a big conflict brewing between the “Losties” the Clean Others, and the Whisperers. Maybe the Whisperers will join up with the Losties… So many possibilities, aint it fun!

Meanwhile we get to see what happened with Locke, and Demond and Eko. A naked Desmond? Woo!

10/9/06
Took some doing, but I finally located a picture of Billy Boyd. (no not that Billy Boyd). He was perennially the silver medalist throughout his skating career. Not for lack of trying, it was just a very competitive time, and he did represent the US 4-5 times at the world championships. He was good, and he was cute too. He’s the one on the left on this podium shot from nationals 1973.


One summer when I was 17 at the nationals, he finally noticed me on the last day, literally at the last minute. I was packing up my stuff from my hotel room, and my dad had the motor revving up waiting to take off across the country. Billy came to my room and hemmed and hawed around for a few minutes, then he kissed me! Holy crap! I almost fainted. I’d been admiring him for three years from afar (really far, as I lived in CA and he lived in Indiana). We got in a few more good smooches until Dad started honking the horn. I gave him my address and hoped he’d write. He didn’t. I knew he had a girlfriend, and she was probably why he didn’t talk to me until the end of the competition, and why he never wrote.

I saw him again two years later at another nationals (my last) but by then we were both already “spoken for”, and life goes on.

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