Friday, August 29, 2008

American Politics and the Media: Showmanship

speaking of performances: Here I am onstage at the Wetlands Preserve
on New Years Eve 1989, a few months after my production of the
Artists For Social Change Awards.

I have personal experience with American Politics and a love of
media. I was part of the special events unit that televised the 1968
presidential election. I was a production assistant at the time in my
early 20's. I found myself in the master control room and studios of
the ABC Television Network in NYC which for me, was college. My
American Broadcasting Company experience had me working with Peter
Jennings, Jules Bergman, Howard K. Smith and other network celebrities.

I was just out of college where I majored (unofficially) in
Communication Arts. After a year of school (and cutting classes to
hang out at WCWP where I was first an engineer, and later host of
"Folk Project," which often had me setting up microphones and music
mixing my friends music live in the studio. That set the stage for my
life. Shortly thereafter, I was snapped up by ABC when looking for my
first full time job.

What I immediately noticed, after watching Obama's compelling closing
comment at the Democratic National Convention, was that the Media and
the Message were perfectly orchestrated. The VP announcement
delivered by the Republicans, was a carbon copy of the democrats
production with flags waving, cheers and yelling mixed in with rock
music theme song to create the look (of television) that American's
have come to model their lives after and be steered by.

The Republican party offered a parody of the Democratic production.
Jon McCain a mockery of what I think of as a leader announced his
running mate. How could anyone vote for a person reading from a
script - not even delivering someone else's words with inner
convection one would expect from a leader!

American politics has become a shame or at least it is when I think
of Republicans. The party producing the puppet reading the script
saw the power of Obama's wife. In a last minute move, they have
selected a woman of strength to buoy up the presidential contender -
who possibly will become the first ever female vice-president.

I see the Rep.VP push as someone who was selected to ensure political
pliability. Someone who will give way and bend (despite her
rhetoric) under control of the "big boy" powers and global elite
that are pulling the strings. "She has been far from the well oiled
Washington political machine." This suggests Republican's (IMHO)
are setting her up to have the image of a self-starter, someone not
to be pushed over, but in fact is subterfuge. I had to laugh as
McCain had to look down at his script before announcing the name of
Sarah Palin. That to me was scary (to think anyone could vote for
such a surrogate leader).

Palin from Alaska is about as far removed from the players of
Washington as possible - except if Linda Lingle, Gov. of Hawaii would
have been suggested. Linda doesn't have the needed housewife image
though. I thought it in appropriate and strange to see a presidential
hopeful kissing his potential VP. Can you imagine Bush kissing Chaney
on the cheek?

I must say, the Republican potential VP is a woman with a certain
pizzaz and sexiness, unlike Hillary. Her house-husband Todd, a
production operator of an Alaska Oil drilling rig has not a drop of
political will or experience unlike the Clinton pairing. Both
candidates seem to be puppets for the Republican elite. How American
to have a son in the army no less. Rah Rah for the military. Please!

This family of five represents the American family. There is nobody
who can NOT identify with her. A good counter measure and lever to
wedge voters and splinter Obama's race. A lot of voters won't like
him because he's black and not privileged. At least Senator Palin
speaks well. Presenting power, presence and conviction unlike her
rather lame (as a performer which counts a lot in todays world)
running partner.

You could feel the electricity and aliveness in the Democratic
production values featuring the most creative and insightful
speakers, but not with the Republican briefing so far. There is a
whole different tone and style to the rather stoic Republican
presentation. A lot to be desired.

I couldn't help but notice the Republicans mic'd the men's choir to
amplify their chant of USA USA USA trying to punch up the rather lame
"atmosphere." It was so artificial. The whole crowd was not in the
ecstatic unison like the Dems. behind Obama. I was actually annoyed
by McCain's fidgeting, did you notice? He didn't know what to do with
his hands and his unresponsive stiffness whilst standing close to
Palin looking over her shoulder at her script as she delivered it
was as artificial as his performance. I see the party players have
humorously exchanged roles. McCain is somewhat flat and picks a
vivacious woman of conviction and charisma. Clearly in the other
camp, Obama is the one who shines whilst running mate Biden is rather
low key.

BTW, I am not at all political as its always the lessor of the
evils. I can't wait for Creativity Cafe venues to act as community
town halls, to get the vote from the people themselves. After all,
the security of our Internet identities beat out the voting machines,
proven to not be tamper proof.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Boy Was I surprised when I got my Totally Repaired Mac Back!

Despite the fact it was rudely smashed up! Good thing I had the screen fixed outside the Apple system last September after the stupid incident - described in the post below.

TimeLapse-Peter Shave's Beard - Memorial to a Stranger's Kindness


The shaving of my beard, that was started on top of Mount Haleakala, marks three months since I was stranded and began praying for divine intervention which came! The beard which comes and goes on my face on a whim, is seen from three different angles in this time lapse recording of the shaving off to please my mom on her 89th birthday coming up.

The beard movie loops through three different poses. I suggest you look first at the left image all the way through and watch again noticing the middle image.

Tale of Two Screens - And two Free Upgrades, You Gotta Love Apple!

OK, HERE IS THE REST OF THE STORY (long and short of it) You're a champ if you get through the whole thing. It surely needs editing but who has all that time. I don't any more than you do!! LOL. But for the brave... I go on (and because its a great story of what is possible when one sticks to ones convictions and speaks the truth!)

••••••••••• Friday, August 22, 2008 12:00:49 AM Pacific/Honolulu •••••••••••

It was yesterday that my MacBook Pro purchased in April of 2007 was returned. I had sent it in rather battered and beaten for removal of the tip of an Audio Adapter Plug that had broken off in the headphone jack.

I bought that machine to replace my AlBook that got swept off a table by a stiff Maui wind. Rather than pay the $1300 standard repair fee, I made that machine my "desktop machine" hooked up to a new TV-Monitor, and upgraded to the MBPro.

That AlBook replaced the PowerBook that was so bad, apple GAVE ME the AlBook rather than fix the older machine one more time (given it had 6 mother board replacements in 8 months). You can imagine my frustration and anger at Apple. Their appeasement was appreciated.

But that wind has not only precipitated two broken screens, but ultimately caused Apple to give me the benefit of the doubt this time and fix my rather banged up MacBook PRO, proving (to me at any rate) Apple is aggressive about honoring good customers like me when the going gets rough. They did the right thing... and the timing of the Agent's followup call will never cease to amaze me. Thanks Apple.

2nd draft more detail

I got my MacBook Pro back for the second time yesterday (8/21/08) having sent it in over three weeks ago for a simple (so I thought) plug tip extraction. A moment after DHL delivered my Macbook Pro back - for the second time, the phone rang. It was Apple rep Sharleen, following up. She had insisted - because of the extent of existing damage, Apple would have to charge to repair the machine ($1300 to remove the tip of a plug)? She read me the riot act because Mac was cosmetically very fucked up when I sent it in... BUT IT WORKED GREAT! except now the sound wouldn’t come out with the plug tip jammed in the earphone jack.

In an act of metaphysical timing, her call came less than 30 seconds after DHL dropped off the box. Her timing was Amazing! I had the razor in my hand and was about to open the package when the phone rang. Simply amazing.

Twice Apple has now sent Mac back for what I’d hoped was a simple Applecare repair to remove the defective earphone plug tip which had broken off inside the earphone jack.

The box with my rather trashed machine was delivered back to me. The first time it was delivered DOA (dead on arrival). I assume it had been broken in transit -- as the box it had been delivered in was beaten up and ripped. Could poor handling have caused the machine to die? Very likely. Certainly the machine had been dropped several times. I guess I took the concept of Road Warrior a bit too far. Actually once Mac actually did act like a Frisbee and “hit the road” having taken off from my car roof. That was a year ago just before SIGGRAPH.

It was obvious violent forces had been at play. But despite the fact “cosmetic” damage was considerable (and apparently ran deeper), THE MACHINE WORKED. That was the point and I stuck to it.

Sharleen, bless her heart, after much persuasion from me, agreed to fix the machine! But, just to the point so it would work again. Hey, that’s the least you could do. I was so glad Apple treated me the right way. I am a good customer who has 5 Apple Computers plus two purchased for Mom -- and I own stock too!

Sharleen made the point several times that she would not do anything about the stuck plug. So when she called at this amazing moment, I asked did you happen to get the plug out? She countered by asking if I’d seen the machine yet, and had me open the box. Lo and behold, Apple repaired the Mac back to new. Wow!!! Make MY day why don’t you! You’ve got to love Apple! She was really happy to hear my joy upon opening the box.

I thought that, that in itself was wonderful! That she demonstrated genuine pleasure at my overwhelming joy when I opened the box to discover a spanking brand new machine. That she could provide someone as hard working and obsessed with Mac as me with a brand new machine, after reading me the riot act, had been unimaginable and certainly unexpected!

If she’ had only known how heavy my heart has been these days. I have worked so hard for so many years to manifest magnanimous visions and vehicles for social change, together with many community service productions; designed to help propagate a peace filled audience and seed Creativity Cafe (i.e. Creativity Cafe, KidCast for Peace and V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media Ink; the Visionary Artists Showcase and Networking Events) only to come up empty handed (as far as my goals are concerned) after 30 years of effort is frustrating, sobering and really depressing. So this was a real gift to my spirit.

I had waited for DHL all day knowing Mac was coming back with a new mother board. But when I opened the box and took the Mac out of its pink plastic wrapper to behold a new machine, it was beyond my wildest dream. Mac was totally refurbished! The put in motherboard, top case, bottom case, audio board, flex assembly display bezel, a new display (replacing the one I’d had put in that enabled me to get past the “was the machine abused Gestapo”), new keyboard and fan. Zowieee.

The HD and optical drive failed after I’d returned from my NJ travels last September (2007) which I am just about to embark upon again this year. Apple had replaced both thanks to Applecare, which they would not have done, if I hadn’t already replaced the display (for $500) -- thanks to an outfit in Seattle (it took a week).

It was July 2007 that my computer troubles began. Just before my travel to the mainland for SIGGRAPH. At that time, minimal cosmetic damage did not give away the “Frisbee Effect” that destroyed the second screen on my second (replacement) laptop. The Mac that had fallen off the roof of my car flying to the street (where it sat until I discovered my stupidity 10 minutes later).

I had spaced out when realizing I left my $1000 camera in a store on a counter, that I had put the computer bag on the roof. When I remembered where I’d left my camera, I forgot about the computer. I was halfway rushing to retrieve my camera when I realized I no longer had my laptop.

It dawned on me that I had never taken it off the roof when zooming out of the parking area. I did a bat turn and thank GOD, was able to recover my computer before someone else did (or it got run over). The Macbook Pro was still laying right in the middle of the street in my condo development - in a thin cloth bag I had been carrying it around in (in those days). That it was still there at all was another gift of God.

After SIGGRAPH, I was intending to visit my Nephew in SF, take a flight to Florida to visit Dad and family, and then on to Mom’s 88th Birthday in NJ. But the trip turned out to be way more eventful than that. It turned out to be to the bedside goodbye to my Dad, who died August 14th a year ago. He has always supported me with the tools of my trades. I feel the new life of my Mac was really a gift from him as well as Apple.

I had done a stupid thing and smashed the screen of this second laptop, making two machines with broken screens. At least the MBP could be used on the road with 20% of the screen still usable. I was very grateful it worked at all. Fantastic craftsmanship Apple! I was able to use screen sliver to operate during SIGGRAPH and beyond -- until I got to Moms when I sent it off for repair. The machine the MBP replaced is my back up and now center of my FILM SCANNING Station and MUSIC STUDIO.

At the time, there was minimal external damage (beyond fixed screen) which is why Apple repaired the HD and Optical drives when they failed. They could not see any real external damage. The MBP had landed flat when it sailed off the roof of my Toyota. But by this time, there were more dings, bruises and bend metal on the outside. I had only wanted Apple to take out the tip of the earphone plug that’d broken off. But now I am ever so thankful that when I got the machine back the first time after Apple refused to repair it (way too banged up) it no longer worked!

Thought it was just a plug tip stuck in the earphone jack, the audio could be ported to the USB port thanks to Griffin Technologies, so I was still able to work. Maybe I shouldn’t have risked not having my Mac for a week as the plugged port was not a major hassle, even when using Digital Performer by Mark of the Unicorn who had sponsored KidCast for Peace; Solutions for a Better World for many years. However now, it becomes obvious how lucky I am that it all came down the way it did.

The reps all told me that since there was so much damage to the case, the machine was abused and they had to charge their normal make it new charge of $1300. I refused to accept that since IT WAS a working machine.

Then when the supervisor tried to tell me NO several times even mentioning that there was a note in my file specifying “white gloves” whatever that means? I persisted. Maybe that’s that Apple code for a good boy, or bad boy? I would not accept their refusal to not make right a machine that was working when sent in. My conviction and “sales style” must have done the trick. I was told they would make an exception in this case. But normally this just isn’t done! They would only repair to get the machine working again. They sure surprised the hell out me. Yup, darkness totally disappeared just up and left! LOL

My precious MacBook Pro came back the second time, totally fixed!! A great surprise, I have been feeling very shaky emotionally lately. So this gift was just what the (god of the universe) doctor ordered!

The MBP had replaced my former aluminum powerbook that is now tethered (thanks its broken screen) to a 20“ LCD TV-Monitor (which is great to watch movies via on). I had figured rather than pay $1300 to repair an older machine (that thanks to an unfortunate stiff wind, was suddenly picked up and blown off a table top at the Grand Wailea Resort), I would invest $1300 more $2.6K total and upgrade to the MBP.

The AL Book was a gift from Apple - an appeasement to keep me quiet about the TiBook I bought a year after it came out. The first year I had it, it needed the mother board replaced 8 times - in a year! I can’t begin to tell you the grief I suffered as a result of trying to produce the global KidCast for Peace with a machine needing repair twice in the 4 month production cycle. Believe me, I let Apple know they caused me such untold grief with my projects, work flow, email communication, etc. I was on the warpath against Apple. That’s why they upgraded the hardware.

No more war. That’s all changed given the hands of fate that day at my favorite hotel which was ultimately responsible for not only my upgrade to a newer Mac, but also the overhaul needed to my MBP thanks to my significant "rudeness" to ”my best friend.“ The Macbook Pro took a licking and keeps on ticking. Thanks Apple!

They replaced over 9 parts; basically giving me a brand new machine. You got to love ‘em! That’s why I buy Apple stock. Now if only the APPL ticker would go back up to where I purchased it! :-)