Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sadly Missing A.J.

My local Family Video film expert, A.J. (see his picture to the right) has left town for a lucrative position in Cadillac Michigan. You will be missed big time my friend, but it will be a good move for you. And you can bet that whenever I find myself in Cadillac I will be looking for your truck!

Nanowrimo is happening again. Beginning tonight at midnight. I just opened a Blog for my main character. This will double as the beginning of my book. I'm having fun with this. My characters usually take on a life of their own, but rarely do they start that way. Tessa Gates is a fully grown character with a life of her own already. More on that later. Her Blog address is now in the links file on the right.

As a protest against the removal of my dear friend A.J. I have joined Netflix. I've been thinking about it for a long time now but when I heard A.J. was leaving I decided to look more closely. It's the best thing I've done. I still have access to new movies on DVD sent to me through the mail at the rate of about 2 per week (which is the average I was getting at FV) but also I get unlimited downloads of movies, documentaries, and films that have been on Starz. I filled my instant queue with dozens of films that I can just peruse at my leisure. My mailing queue I'm trying to limit to about 40. Which will take about 6 months to complete. But no biggy. I've been watching as many movies as I wish daily, almost too many, since I have been practically living in my arm chair over the past few weeks since I got it.

I managed to watch several documentaries that have been featured at our film festival over the past few years including "The Cove" about the systematic destruction of Dolphins in one place in Japan and how stupid it is, because it's not done for any real reason. Their meat is too high in Mercury to be eaten safely, they do not harm the environment or the food source of humans, and this practice promotes the industry that makes Dolphins into captive entertainers.


Another Doc I watched was an inspirational doc called "Paperclips". A group of Middle School children, started this project with the help of their teacher/mentors to help them understand diversity in a rural Appalachian Tennessee town. They couldn't understand what the Nazi's had done because they couldn't imagine what six million was. So they began to collect paper clips. There was a social reason why they chose paperclips that was significant to the time and peoples of Europe. The children did Internet research concerning this. They began a letter writing campaign asking for paperclips and eventually the project grew and expanded exponentially. After Four years of this project they had collected more than 28 million paperclips. This project put these small town kids in contact with the greater world and taught them to treat others the way they would want to be treated. The end of the project is a German cattle car that was purchased for them by people who believed in their project and they refurbished this car to house their paperclips. It has become a physical monument to the lives lost in concentration camps during the forties. They decided to include Eleven million paperclips to commemorate all the lives lost, not just the Jews, but the Gypsies, the Homosexuals, the Catholics and Jehovah Witnesses, and political prisoners who all died in the camps at that time. A must see for a good cry!

Someone in line at the film festival last year thought that the best film they had seen this year was a Doc called, "The Most Dangerous Man in America" which is about Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in the sixties, which proved in essence that every president of the United States, as a pre-requisite for the job, it seems, is a liar! This documentary shows conclusively that beginning with Harry Truman and continuing on through to the leaders at the time, lies that had been told to the American Public by their elected leaders. The pentagon papers are the reason we no longer trust our government and also the reason we assume our leaders are all keeping things from us.

All of these films are worthy of being seen, but I'd also like to tell you about a few other films that are more entertaining.

If you have a chance, pick up "Departures" a film from Japan. "Castaway on the Moon" a Korean film that is not on DVD as yet, but soon will be (I hope) and "Kontrol" an Eastern European film about a man who feels his life is at a dead end, but eventually finds reason to live in the struggle between good and evil, this allegorical film is a must see in my book and is available on Netflix for a download.

Have fun and go see a good film this week, OK?

Cindy K-K haunting in her arm chair crocheting a new afghan.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

TC Film Festival

Here is the outdoor "theater" in the Traverse City open space, right next to the water. It's THEE best single place to watch a movie, and I spent three nights there last week, watching great films like Twister, Help, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We do a little bit of tailgating before the film and the following is Sharon's genius idea on how to keep popcorn fresh and tasty!

video

As you can see I couldn't stop laughing. Anyway, I also saw plenty of indoor films as well, and still have two more to go to tonight yet.

My favorite one so far is a very low budget film made by some film students in Austin Texas called, "The Happy Poet". Ask me sometime what the poem in the film is about. It's called Chasm, and is one of the funniest moments in a very very funny film. When the library gets it in be sure to go check it out! I'm praying nightly that it finds a distributor, because it's truly great. It's about a guy who has a lot of bills who thinks it might be a good idea to open a hotdog stand that only sells health food. He sells vegetarian food and at first people don't get it but then it starts to catch on. He runs into problems because he doesn't really know anything about business and eventually he finds he has to "sell out" and start serving hotdogs because they are cheap and he can't afford anything else. It ends well though. I love a happy ending where the main character is an English major! It gives me hope!

I also attended a film school session on Screenwriting, and got some helpful pointers about how to re-write my screenplay. Do you know that every time another person becomes interested in your screenplay you get more money? They hire you to do a re-write of your original, tweaking it here and there. Sometimes they even ask you to do something to it that you approve of! But each time it goes to a new producer, director, studio, gets sold, or traded or researched, you get to talk with someone new and re-write the whole thing, for more money. Of course the object that all screenwriters go for is to get their plays produced, but a writer can make a living just re-writing their old scripts endlessly. I was so excited just listening to this man speak, that I wanted to go home right away and start re-writing my screenplay. His name is Jim Bernstein, and he wrote the script for "Renaissance Man" staring Danny DeVito.

He told some great stories about his experiences on the set with Penny Marshall. He also gave a lot of great advice on Story, Character, Theme, Dialog and action. He showed film clips that demonstrated examples of all these things, incorporating how you need to end the first act to drive into the second and how to end the second act with the character not really knowing what he is going to do, and how he has to figure it out on the screen in front of the audience.

The example he showed for this was the scene in Rocky where he goes to the arena the night before the fight and the promoter tells him that he's going to give everyone a heck of a show. He is devastated and goes back to Adrienne and tells her that he can't win. He doesn't know what to do, so we watch him figure it out, and he says the great line about how if he gets to that final bell and he's still standing he'll know for the first time in his life that he's not just another bum from the neighborhood.

Jim said that if we can learn how to do that, we will be successful screenwriters.

I'm really glad I went to that class on the first day, because I still had the entire week to keep asking the major questions he taught us about. The question, "What does this character want?" Because every script in the universe can be boiled down to this sequence. Someone wants something really bad, and he is having trouble getting it, and in the end he either does get it, or he doesn't. That's it! So I went to all the films thinking, "OK, what does this guy want?"

The Happy Poet--The main character wanted to make money by selling health food from a hotdog cart.

Solitary Man--The Micheal Douglas Character wanted to deny the fact that he was dying any way he could, and ended up destroying his whole life.

A Brand New Life--The Little girl wanted to be loved by her parents and to stop losing the people that she loved.

The infidel--Man finds out he is adopted, and his birth father is a different religion than he was brought up. He wants to know who he is, and to see his birth father.

Me and Orson Welles--Young man (Zak Ephrem) wants to live the life of an actor in the Mercury Theater under the tutelage of the great Welles.

The Concert--Former Director of the Bolshoi orchestra wants to heal himself of a past failure by stealing an opportunity to perform again in Paris.

I'll tell you about the other films I saw some other time. Like I said, I still have two more to see and I also saw two documentaries. Not very dangerous ones though. One, called "His and Hers", was about women in Ireland and their thoughts about the most important men in their lives, their fathers, their husbands, and their sons. This is a doc that is going to stick with me for many years.

The other one I saw was called "Reel Injun" and it depicted the roll of Native Americans in film. How white people in red face portrayed Indians in the early days of film and how Dances with Wolves changed all that. I'm not doing the topic justice here because there were so many good points made about how now Indians are beginning to make films from the inside. Whereas Dances with Wolves, and the Last of the Mohicans were told from the white POV, now more and more Indian film makers are starting to make movies from their own insider POV. They profiled one film which I am going to look up while I'm here at the library. And I will report on that later.

So for now, it's still me Haunting Dubiously in the Film Festival!
Cindy K-K

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Mola!

Many of you know that I love Molas. I believe they are the most beautiful form of needle art that exists and one that coincidentally I have never tried. A friend of mine, Nancy Crow brought this one in for me to see.

And what's great is that this tag was with it that tells a bit about Molas and where they come from.

Here is a detail of this wonderful piece of art. Notice the tiny little dots of color that are appliqued on top of the background, and also the decorative stitching and the little tiny zig zags that are reverse appliqued. This is a magnificent example.

Aside from this I also wanted to let my faithful readers to know that even though I don't post as often as I should (and this trend is bound to continue for the future), I will not be gone for long.

The film festival is coming up and I am sure that I won't be able to keep myself from sharing my opinions on the films I have tickets for. I went and bought 11 tickets mostly to Independent movies across the world, but I also have a couple of documentaries on my agenda.

Speaking of which, HBO has been showing a very dangerous doc called "Gasland" which is also being shown at our film festival. I sat down and watched it last night and it got my blood boiling. I want to write my congressmen now to make sure he knows that I want him to always oppose deregulation in any form. It has become fairly clear to me that anytime someone is striving to rid themselves of regulations it's because they think they can make more money without those checks and balances and usually end up hurting people in the process. It also made me want to check out alternative ways of heating my house in the winter. Definitely I'm going to get rid of the "clean burning" Natural Gas! I know better! That phrase definitely smacks of advertising propaganda!

I have also plotted another book in my mind. This is not a great habit to be in. I spend a lot of brain time on this and I can't possibly keep up with it in reality and get all these ideas down on paper.

I do have progress to report on this front. I finished the Nick and Sarah novel, the working title of it has been changed to "Crossroads" which is the name of the quilt pattern that Sarah and Katie use to make Nick's quilt. It's also very descriptive of both Sarah and Nick's lives. They are both at crossroads in their own lives.

The book has been sent to my dear friend Clover McKinley who is editing it. She's a professional editor at Village Press and I'm feeling very fortunate to have her. She's going to get a really nice acknowledgement in the front of my book!!!! LOL! I need to keep making statements like that to remind myself that publication is a forgone conclusion. Someday someone is going to see that I'm a prolific writer and they will want to make money off my writing and at that point, I too will start making money off it and be encouraged to quit all my other money grubbing pursuits in favor of sitting in front of this computer all day!

So those of you who actually talk to God on a regular basis, maybe you could put in a good word for this lofty goal of mine in passing! I would certainly appreciate it.

That's it for now. I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer, and are doing the things you all love as well.

Haunting the Festivals,
Cindy K-K

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is anyone wondering about my writing career?

Besides me that is?

I have once again put my writing career on hold while I got a paying job. This sucks because I now have things that I could try to sell.

So here is an update and a challenge!

Every year at the time of the Oscars I say one thing, it's now kind of a tradition. My family makes Oscar night into a real event. We get dressed up, (I have a t-shirt that says "Vera Wang" on it, so I can honestly say I am wearing Vera Wang! LOL!) I make pulled pork sandwiches because Joan Crawford once said that the best place to watch the Oscars was in bed with a sandwich. We log on to Oscar.com and print out the ballots, one for each of us, to use as a score card. We try to win the trivia contest on the website and we talk about the current events that we've heard about that concern the program and who may or may not win. We have had an IN lately in the Documentary category because of our local film festival. All of the films in that category except one were at our festival. We try to second guess the Academy on who will win in each category as we watch.

Which brings me to my point. (and I do have one!)

Every year I say, "Next year I won't have to print out the ballot from the website, I'll have a real one and I'll have to send it in to Price Waterhouse to be tabulated!" My family looks at me and smile indulgently.

So what is stopping me? I wrote a screenplay last year during Script Frenzy. That contest is coming up again next month. It occurs to me that I have done nothing with the first script so why am I thinking about writing another?

Meanwhile, another Nanowrimo has come and gone and I am nearly finished with the book that I wrote during that contest last November.

Not only that but I have another novel that is totally finished already and just needs to be printed out and sent. I plan to do this every time I buy a new black ink cartridge for my printer.

As you faithful blog readers know I also have several more ideas that I want to explore which I have enumerated to you all in the past. to those I need to add another that I've been working on daily whenever I am in the car during the long drives to my job and back. I have been able to discipline my mind into going directly to my story line every time I get into the car for a drive longer than 15 minutes. As a result I have plotted out in my mind a story about a girl and her werewolf! (Again I blame Sookie Stackhouse and to this I might add Bella for refusing her own werewolf.)

So, am I to just tell myself these stories endlessly and then die not having shared them?

No I say! So here comes the challenge!

I Challenge myself, before the end of this year to find myself an agent and be on my way to publication of some sort.

I will begin by writing a great query letter and sending it out to one agency. Everyday that I don't have to work I will endeavor to spend an hour on this project. I will continue to go through the entire book of agents and agencies until someone agrees to take me on.

Furthermore I am determined to finish the Nick and Sara Novel and get it to an editor. I have parts of it edited already. But it still need to have the finishing touches put on it. I will start querying it as soon as I get it done.

Since today is one of those days that I don't work, I will start right now. Before the day is through I will write the query for "A Haunting at Mackinaw" and maybe another for the screenplay, "The Ghost of Dixboro" and send them out to Agents.

There's the plan! Keep me honest you guys! I'm counting on you!
Cindy K-K

Monday, February 01, 2010

Molas~!

As most of you know, I love hand work of every kind. I came across this Mola a while ago at a yard sale. I bought it for $5. I recognized it as a piece of unique hand work. But it wasn't until I read about them at our last retreat that I began to understand the full meaning behind these intensely rich pieces of folk art. Here for your perusal is a collection of Molas shared with us at that retreat. They are made in South America, mostly in Guatemala. They are appliqued using only bright solid colored fabrics. They use both onset and inset applique or reverse applique to create the layered effects. They are often embellished with embroidery stitch, mostly the stem stitch or the back stitch, but also the seed stitch and the running stitch is used frequently. Embroidery is used to clearly define the facial features and other details such as teeth, claws, beaks, eyes, etc. This one is the same pattern as above, possibly depicting a llama or horse. You can see the difference in workmanship between the two. It is possible that the second one is unfinished or possibly done as by a younger girl practicing her stitches.
A lizard? Because of the colorful scales and the shape of the claws? this piece is unfinished because of the lack of background features.
This is a very finely made specimen, and depicts many different beasts, often with human looking appendages suggesting possibly that they are depictions of mythological creatures or creatures that have a specific divine quality.
Mostly they depict birds and animals but this one very unique orange and green piece has human figures pictured in. The humans seem to be dressed in their Sunday best, women in fluffy dresses and men wearing big hats! And they seem to be dancing!
Once the main figure has been stitched in, slits are made in the background fabric and colorful patches are layered underneath. The slits are then turned back and stitched into place making these horizontal and vertical lines in the background. This is what makes it a Mola. In this depiction of the birds, the background is filled in with spirals. Every inch of the picture is covered with stitching on the finest Molas.
I'm certain that if I were more familiar with South American birds I would probably be able to identify these just by their depiction alone.

This one seems atypical because it doesn't seem to depict a central figure, but just a geometric pattern. But again, it's considered a Mola because if it's use of every inch of space stitched into place.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Haunts since New Years!

Hey look what got finished on New Years Day at about 8 pm! This project took twenty years in the making, but now it is off the list! I'm doing well on the new blog. I haven't let a single day go by without finishing something. Sometimes it's a block, sometimes it's a twenty year old Hand Pieced and quilted quilt! Yeah!

New Years eve we went downtown to the State theater and watched Grease with some friends. the movie got out at 11:45 pm and we walked outside to the dropping of the cherry! It was fun to be in that crowd. I was kind of glad we had been in the theater because we were all warm. Of course when we got out to the crowd there were so many people there that we didn't get cold at all! It was fun!

Take a look at the other Blog (link to the right) to see what I've been doing.

In other news, we are now in the process of packing up the old store to move into the new one. I just cleaned out the store room and got the front counter cleaned out and packed up, but it beat the heck out of me. Moving is very hard work. So if any of you readers out there want to do a good deed, we could use some help moving things tomorrow, Monday! If you ask nicely she might give you a discount on something if you help. Worth a shot!

We will be open again later this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, at the new store. It's very neat in there. Lots more storage and bigger area saved for classes. We will still be carrying Miche Bags, and we will be introducing several new lines of Yarn. So come in and take a look.

I'm working on Freemo today so I'll report later on stuff that I get done today. There is also a little matter of Eurorails with our friends, Vic and Sharon.

Talk with you soon,
Cindy K-K
Happily Haunting in Interlochen!