Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not That Much of a Stretch

I had to chuckle this morning while listening to radio news. I have my radio alarm tuned to a "classic top 40" station. It's nice, sometimes, to wake to a song I've not heard in, literally, decades.

And, once in a while, I manage to catch some snippet of news. I don't watch a whole lot of television and the radio is pretty much my contact with the world at large.

This morning's snippet of note, however, elicited a snickering chuckle; a silent shake of the head as I wonder "Really? Truly? Are you folks really, truly surprised by this?"

Seems Mr. Jackson Browne is suing Senator McCain for the unauthorized use of his song "Running Empty" in a campaign ad.

As an artist and writer, mother of a musician, I am a little overly sensitive to intellectual property rights and copyright issues. However, I also try to get as much information as I can before I damn someone for infringement.

But, we're talking about a U.S. Senator here and a fairly well-known musician. The Senator certainly should have known better -- rather, at least, "his people" should have.

Then I thought, "But -- what if the Senator had won the election? What then? Would Mr. Browne have been *more* inclined to sue, or less?" Hmmmm... There's something to ponder for a little while... Well, I didn't ponder for long, because it's also fairly well-known that Mr. Browne is somewhat liberal. Then the news story provided me with further thought.

(Allow me to interject here that the story first broke in the middle of August, 2008. It's now nearing the end of November. The reason the story has resurfaced is because of the following.)

"McCain seeks to dismiss the charges, citing “fair use” of a song with “an acknowledged cliché” for a title. McCain’s lawyers also say that their use of the song likely increased the popularity of the 30-year-old song than damaged its commercial potential. In a second motion that adds insult to Browne’s injury, McCain’s lawyers are seeking monetary damages, accusing Browne of attempting to “chill” McCain’s free speech." (excerpted from Rolling Stone Online,

The radio story also mentioned something along the lines that because the song was used for a political ad and not an advertisement for a product, it was okay. Because it was for a politician.

Well, huh.

Why not? I mean, after all, we've had eight years of a President who has been known to say, "Yes, I can. I'm the President." Why can't McCain say, "Yes, I can. I WANT to be President." Just ain't that much of a stretch, now, is it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Floundering About

I work from home now. It’s an awesome thing, and I’m still amazed and befuddled by the fact that it doesn’t happen more often – that it’s just not as commonplace as it should be. What with oil issues and companies cutting payroll when they *could* be cutting overhead…. I just don’t get it.

I really dig the fact that I don’t drive two hours a day – ok: I used the term “drive” very tongue-in-cheek. Forgive me. Let me rephrase: I really dig the fact that I don’t sit on the freeway for two hours each and every day. And, even my cat knows when it’s time to work: I’ve a morning ritual she’s come to recognize. I take my grandchild to school (it’s only ten minutes and a very calm and traffic-free ten minutes, thank you!), return home and fix breakfast. Eat breakfast while getting in my daily reading time. Then here’s where the cat joins me. I take my plate to the kitchen and put it in the kitchen for later cleaning. Refresh my beverage. Pick up my cell phone and head to the back to the office. Saavik (Yes, that’s “Mister Saavik” for you Trek fans and, yes, she’s female; and, yes, I’m a dweeb, but in this case I inherited Saavik 16 years ago, so let her have her name) – anyway, Saavik will “show me the way” to my office. At the doorway she pauses and allows me entry. Then once I’ve sat down and begun to check the daily email, she leaps to the desktop and curls up in the cubbyhole I’ve set up for her, and we spend the morning together until lunch time.

I’ve worked from home before. I’ve been a freelancer for quite some time, so making the transition from working in an office for a company to working at a home office for a company was no big deal. I work well alone and, no, I haven’t a clue what’s been on Oprah. Period. Or The Guiding Light or ComCentral for that matter. In fact, I know less now about what’s going on in the world of television than I did before I started working at home. I tend to work a bit more, actually. There are few distractions, so I get really focused and don’t want to stop until I’m done.

What I need to learn is how to better use my off-time. As mentioned before, I’ve lots of personal passions I’m ready to muck about in and now need to create some time-slots in which to fit them.

Because I work well at home, once I get writing and digital artwork time worked out, I should (that’s an important word – “should”) be able to transition at least writing into “work” and perhaps start working on that seriously. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the excitement of submitting manuscripts, attending workshops, talking shop. And the industry has changed soooo much since I’ve been a part of it that now I’m a noob again. Feels a little strange, but I’ll get over it.

Just doing this – the blog – is forcing me to look at a disciplined writing schedule. I can’t just do it when I can. I need to schedule time.

Not doing so well, am I? Well, you get to watch while I flounder some more. Promise not to laugh too hard…

Friday, November 07, 2008

Starting Over -- Yet again

I think, finally, all the dramatic changes have been made to my life for a while. Most of those changes I'll not be talking about so I can digest them and incorporate them into my being first before sharing with everybody else. And, chances are good some of 'em will never be shared. They're "nunya.*"

Now, I'm trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Again. It's a phase I go through after major life-shifts. I've a half-dozen or so passions that are put on hold whilst life intercedes and demands my undivided attention. They've been put on hold entirely too often and for entirely too long. I want to do all of them. Now.

I'm one of those poor souls who has to have some kind of schedule, some kind of order in my life to be happy or feel in control and I *must* feel in control or I'm just flat cranky. But life does not agree with me. I've learned that whatever schedule or order one imposes upon one's life, there must be allowance for the chaos. Because chaos will *always* toss in a monkey wrench to keep you on your toes. Keep you humble.

I'm not quite sure why life doesn't get any easier as you go along. Seems to me all those experiences ought to be good for something other than angst. Trying to learn from 'em doesn't seem to affect anything. Life just continues to take a dump on your little world when you least need it.

Ok, back to the passions. What are they? Hmmmm. Reading, writing (I really want to be published -- or like someone else I've read said [forgive me for forgetting who wrote it] "I want to have written"), 3D imagery / 2D digital art, watercolor, and gaming (computer games, of course -- not gambling; don't understand gambling -- currently World of Warcraft).

I'm diligently working reading back into my life. I've sorely missed it. I used to be one of those folks who bought 3-5 books a week AND READ THEM. Then, suddenly, about 15 years ago, the books I bought just stacked up beside the bed and never got read while life pooped all over me. In the last 15 years, if I read a half-dozen books, I'd be shocked. So, I try to read every day now. I've met with acceptable success. Now I'm in a position where acquisition of reading material presents a challenge (one of those major life changes I'm digesting). So, I and are gonna be great buddies.

Writing -- going back to the blog is an attempt at jumpstarting that particular passion. I've boxes of old manuscripts I'll be dusting off and reviewing, editing, and -- hopefully -- submitting. Perhaps I can get things pointed back to that moment in time when I was meeting some limited success. Get back there and make that train go.

The 2D / 3D imagery was something I'd started 15 years ago and dropped shortly thereafter because of life issues that drastically altered my budget and back then it was a VERY expensive passion to indulge. Now it's much more affordable and I'm trying to get back into it -- have been trying for the last four years. It's been fits and starts, but perhaps now I can put some order to it.

The watercolor has never been given the attention it should. I keep waiting for "the right time."

The gaming is something I've clung to for my sanity. It's kept me from climbing a tower somewhere and doing the unspeakable.

I'm figuring out that one has to stake a claim for the right time. I'm staking my claim now (again). Time for me to indulge me. Start *my* life over. Yet again.

Dammit. It's my turn.

*nunya: Family slang for "none of your business"