The Confidence Game

I was in the Funk Zone this afternoon for the soft opening of the LaPlace Wine Bar & Shop (man, they went all out with the hors d’oeuvres…I should’ve snuck home a full filet of lox for the morning), but on leaving I decided to stop by the Arts Fund and make chit chat and check out the current exhibit.
While I was about to leave a family rolled up, peeked in, and a boy about six stepped in to ask if this was a gallery.
Why yes it is, the gallery sitter replied. Do you like art?
I *am* an artist, the kid said.
Oh really? she said.
Yes, he said. Did you just open?
The sitter was torn between saying, no, we’ve been here for many decades, but instead said, the show just opened this month. Do you like it?
Yes! He continued. Was this your grand opening?
By this time I’m thinking this kid is wondrously precocious.
As I left, the kid did too–I think the parents were dragging him along to the wine bar opening–but then he doubled back.
I have some of my art in the car, do you want to see some?

Way to hustle, kid. Way to hustle.

This six year old spoke with more confidence about being an artist than the artists I hang out with, some who shuffle their feet in the dirt while admitting their profession.

Takeaway: Be more like this kid and less like the people who are gonna make him embarrassed later in life.
 Having said that, I certainly didn’t have that confidence when I was six, I was very shy. Is it just genetic luck?

(And no, I didn’t stay around to see his art. I’m sure it was fabulous.)

(Above painting: Portrait of Shorty by Jamie Wyeth when he was a wee lad of 17)

I’m Going Back to Flickr, Flickr, Flickr

I’m going back to Flickr (Man, I don’t…think so?)

Twitter is an open sewage pipe of hate. Facebook is full of Russian bots and fake news. No wonder we all pine for the days of the early internet…even the post- 9/11 version. Well, I discovered a site that is exactly that, it’s one I didn’t give up, and it’s something you may have heard of: Flickr.

I don’t know if anyone else thinks this, but Flickr is cool again. At least for me. I came back to it when I noticed that Instagram dropped a Flickr upload option. I guess their UPIs or whatever they call them stopped working, one of those under the hood changes that happens without anyone telling you. Like if you drove all the way to Palm Springs and didn’t get notification that, whoops, yeah, your car manufacturer had a disagreement with the coolant hose manufacturer and dropped all U-rings compliance, the ones connecting air to your face.

It turned out I had to rewire a IFTTT routine and then, boom, my Instagram uploads were once again going to Flickr.

But once on Flickr in order to confirm my upload, I began to wonder, why did I give this site up as an afterthought? And isn’t this what a lot of us have been looking for?

I mean, look at the benefits:

  • User-controlled.
  • Very easy to make albums and join groups.
  • Exceedingly easy to navigate your past photos (esp. if you made albums)
  • No social networking, although comments were always a part of Flickr
  • You can completely ignore everybody on Flickr and just use the site as storage cataloguing.
  • And…just in case you missed it: NO FUCKING ADS

I stopped using Flickr as much around 2013, when it was slow to join the smartphone revolution, and uploading pics from the iPhone *as it happened* was preferable to taking photos on my various cameras, uploading them to Abode Bridge, sorting, processing, using Bridge’s interface to upload to Flickr. I was getting overwhelmed.

But now, I’m rebooting everything (and trying to sort out this blog).

This is all part of an effort by me–but I’ve noticed others doing this too–to move back to a pre-streaming, pre-social media, pre-Facebook era. That means more blogging, more owning of my own material. Less monetizing. So we’ll see. You can’t put the horse back in the barn, but I don’t have to chase after the horse.

A Fiesta on wheels: The 35th annual Cruiser Run inches closer to an official event

A throng of cyclists surrounds a car during the 35th annual Fiesta Cruiser Run on Sunday.
A throng of cyclists surrounds a car during the 35th annual Fiesta Cruiser Run on Sunday.

The streets were soggy with mulched-up confetti on Sunday, the aftermath of four days of Fiesta madness. Barring the rodeo and the Courthouse Sunken Garden final symphony concert, Old Spanish Days was pretty much over. But there was one more – unofficial – event: the increasingly popular Fiesta Cruiser Run, now in its 35th year.

Thousands of cyclists, young and old, gathered at the dolphin fountain at the base of Stearns Wharf, waiting for a chance to ride en masse up State Street with their final destination being Goleta Beach.

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THE ROAD HOME : Hollywood scriptwriter David Weiss’ journeys of faith


David Weiss’ goal as a scriptwriter has maintained itself over his years in the industry: “I like telling stories that a kid in junior high would enjoy. I like doing things that are good and helpful to mankind. And there’s something neat and sweet and old fashioned in doing films for families.” And in his work, from his debut “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” “The Rugrats Movie,” “Shrek 2,” and the upcoming “Smurfs” movie, he’s done just that. Behind the success, however, Mr. Weiss has also journeyed a great deal spiritually, a path he will outline in his presentation Friday at Chabad Jewish Center in Ventura, the city where he was born and raised.

Mr. Weiss’ own storyline pitch would be simple: A boy raised a Reform Jew in Southern California finds Christ and converts to Christianity. Yet, later on in life, after his initial success in Hollywood, he returns to Judaism, delving deeper than he ever did.

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California Pizza Kitchen’s Cherry Lime Sparkler

Nik Blaskovich/News-Press
Nik Blaskovich/News-Press

Some journos spend months landing an exclusive interview with a Hollywood star. We spent six weeks working to bring you this exclusive review of California Pizza Kitchen’s cocktails. Our request went from server to manager to general manager to corporate office to public relations to marketing to… well, who knows? Way up we went in the halls of corporate pizza power and back down again to get the OK. At last it was on. CPK, we’re coming for your cocktails, so unlock that liquor cabinet.

First of all, has it really been 19 years since CPK hung its shingle at the former corner of De la Guerra? General Manager Kevin Secky has been here nine of those years, making sure the gears are greased and the dough is spinning. The full bar has only been open for three years, where it served beer and wine only once. But now there’s a page full of mojitos and margaritas and another page of assorted specialty drinks. Secky put the human face on the machine and welcomed us to it.

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Who Likes the 1980s? A list of films I’ve never seen.

I see a lot of movies, I make movies, I teach movie making, and I review movies. But there is a huge gap in my movie life which I realize makes me an exception to my contemporaries and to those younger than me: the 1980s.

I’ve included a list below if you want to see some of the Hollywood films I’ve never seen. You may be surprised. These are all very popular, sometimes cheesy, and most are high-grossing films of those years. But I’ve never bothered to see them.

Here’s a few reasons I think may explain why:

1) Money. I rarely could afford to go see movies, and so I only went to things I really really really wanted to see.
2) I didn’t have a VCR until 1989.
3) From 1984 to 1988 I lived in England, and that meant the cinema was even more inaccessible to me. In those four years I saw maybe three films in the cinema (True Stories (as a Talking Heads fan I took a train into London just to see it!), Crocodile Dundee, and Beetle Juice). Very few friends had VCRs either.
4) I wasn’t interested in a lot of these films to be honest. To me, a lot of these looked pretty stupid, and by the time I was 11 I was reading film and television critics, watching Siskel & Ebert, and learning what I should bother with. I also found very few of the Saturday Night Live people funny, except Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy. Can’t stand Dan Ackroyd, nor Chevy Chase, so you can guess I’ve never seen Vacation. (The same goes for now–I’ve never seen an Adam Sandler movie).

When I finally did get a VCR I didn’t go back and watch these–i went and rented all the famous old films I had been reading about. I watched a lot of Hitchcock, Godard, Lynch, etc. etc. I’m still catching up. I still haven’t seen all of Tarkovsky’s films, and he only made seven!

I’m generally distrustful of Hollywood. It’s movie making for the masses. And the masses like Transformers.

Here then is a list of popular movies of the 1980s I’ve never seen:

Revenge of the Nerds (or sequels)
Rambo (or sequels)
Friday 13th (or sequels)
All Nightmare on Elm St. sequels (except for the fifth self-referential one)
National Lampoon’s Vacation (or any sequel)
Risky business
Back to the Future (I can’t remember, maybe I have)
Sixteen Candles
Weird Science
Pretty in Pink
The Breakfast Club
The Goonies
Fatal Attraction
Die Hard (or maybe I have, can’t remember)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
All Disney animations from The Little Mermaid onward. Actually, now I think about it, I haven’t seen the ones before them either, except for Fantasia and a few childhood memories of Peter Pan and Aristocats
St. Elmo’s Fire
Karate Kid
Police Academy (and sequels)
Star Trek II or III or IV
War Games
Conan the Barbarian
Mad Max 1 2 or 3
Dark Crystal
Lethal Weapon
Honey I Shrunk the Kids

1980s films I’ve seen but probably only seen once and haven’t bothered with since:
Empire Strikes Back (once, maybe?)
Return of the Jedi (two times, I believe)
The Princess Bride (meh)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (once)

Goonies. Nope, never seen it.