Saturday, January 19, 2019

Annual Remembrance

37 years ago today, well, you know what happened, and I've taken it upon myself to
write about it every time on this day. Loss such as this is permanent, however how I let it
affect me can change over time. Or can it? I'll never get to play another game of chess
with my father. I've already talked about how that has helped growing up, and here we
are 37 years later, and these are still good memories. 

The bad ones I don't want to write down, and I feel that's a disservice to my memories of
him, however they happened, and affected me deeply as well. I don't want to talk about
them, and I don't want to write them down either. It's probably possible to use those bad
memories and turn them into good ones, as the first time I went through the traumatic
brain injury cycle, their mantra was, "Laugh him out of it." 

Some would say this is a bad thing, and some might say otherwise. I don't know who
these people are either. My mother lived almost eight years after my father died, and
never remarried to honor her memory of him. I only have her stories that she told me
afterwards, and I truly only have memories of being at parties where I again was the only
child there, and hearing stories about how my parent's friends reacted to their stories as

Maybe Shakespeare had it right from the Scot's play; Let us sit upon the ground and tell
sad stories of the deaths of kings. Are we part of the Marlowe society? The theory being
that a sergeant in the king's army couldn't possibly be intelligent enough to write all of
those tomes during his lifetime. 

However, we've all seen Shakespeare in Love, or if we haven't, we should. It's a great
movie. It goes to the writing process without making it intrusive. He was writing to
entertain the unwashed masses, and maybe we as writers continue to do that to this day.
Ultimately any story is told from the point of view of the narrator, and his reactions to
the various events that he or she witnesses. The hero's journey is written as if the hero is in fact a heroine, as all the literature that I've taken in calls her, well, she. 

This isn't about me. 

However, it is about how I react all these years later, and about my upbringing. My parents basically told me no most of the time I wanted something, as they knew we couldn't afford it, and yet I have so many things now.

Someone once asked me if my father was a good man. I still answer yes to this question,
even though I haven't heard from this person in over a year. Maybe two at this point, as
I'm not truly counting, however as an earth sign, these things that happen to me are taken in slowly. 

My "ruling" planet is also Saturn, from where we get Saturday, which is today.  

Life, Death, Marriage, and Funerals. 

Celebrations of other's lives. How these events affect those that either witness them directly or hear about them indirectly may not ever be recorded and passed on by whomever shall read this.
The joke here is that 37 years later, there's a guy on The Rams with last name Shields,
with #37. I bought that jersey to use as costuming for special someones. I won't mention
their names here, however they should know who they are. If they don't, then they
might comment if I ever publish this. 

It has been published by the fact that you're reading this now, and even though this is
supposed to be private and unfiltered every day while at the same time being
spontaneous only states my need to get most of this out there.... 

Today I have a wedding to attend, and I will celebrate my need to honor my father by
performing magic if asked. We're asked to wear a costume, and I'm effectively going as
myself, however there's a character in the DC Universe that I look like. I just need to
swap out the white jacket for the midnight blue one, and I'll be good to go. 

I do have to remember that the right hand inside jacket pocket has a hole in it however. If
I put anything in there, I'll never get it back. So much for things being instantly reset!!!
I did, and do love my father. 

Frederick M. Shields died on this day in 1982. 

Here's to you, Dad!!!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why Things At _____ Cost So Much

As always, fill in the blank with your favorite place of doing business, in this case it's Half Foods. While on a leisurely walk past the establishment in question, I noticed a sign. Now, I know how to read, and the sign stated something on the order of "Free Stuff from October 29th through November 4th!"

Cool. I'm into free stuff, so I stop, and continue to read the rest of the sign. Products at deep discounts, other products free if you buy x, etc. depending on the day.  For the calendar inclined among you, that's Monday through Sunday, however as previously discussed elsewhere, the week starts on Sunday. Don't quibble or comment, just go with me on this one. Or, read this....

So, I'm liking the promos, and figuring out which day I want to pay for overpriced things on whatever days in order to balance the fact that I'm getting something else for practically nothing, and suddenly I notice an anomaly.

Free Soap on October 27th!!!

As always, I'll wait for you to catch up.

Now, as you may already know, I have a degree in computer science, and I know my days of the week. I even know how to count simply. I'm not an AI, however I may be artificially intelligent.  The jury is still deliberating on that one.

In any case, the brain short circuits, and reads the entire sign again. I go inside, and grab someone with a name tag in the hopes that they work there. I mean, why would you wear a name tag at a place you don't work? I'll take comments on that one below, but to continue, I find someone wandering around looking like they're doing nothing, and I ask her to follow me.

We go outside to the sign, and we read. I ask the famous question: What's wrong with this picture?

She says you're right, and proceeds to take the sign out of the signpost, and takes me inside. She even gives me a free bar of soap for noticing the error. I probably could've asked for a free tube of the toothpaste I like, but I'm not a greedy man.

I chose the cucumber soap. I like alkaloids. Sue me. You can Bob or Frank me if you'd like as well. You can Mike me for that matter, but I've already been Miked.  Can everybody hear me?

Now my question which may never get answered is simply this: Did they misprint this sign everywhere, or just in this one location?

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach. Adjust your expectations accordingly.™

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Why I Don't Post Everyday

I keep making the same mistake. I should just write these journal entries as soon as I get up in the morning, however timing is everything, and it takes about 20 minutes to get to this point even when I do that effectively. Today's mistake was reading my email first.

I'm a member of several "Lists", and one in particular mentioned something about being moderated on that particular thread. We all know our industry is incestuous, and at the same time, entertainment should NOT be political. However, most have gotten into this industry for the wrong reasons.

As a matter of public record, I rebelled against this industry for exactly that reason. I could've taken a different path growing up, and then maybe more of you would have heard of me, but as you already know, "Not too many people know that I'm famous."

I use that phrase every once in awhile to humble myself. It's almost hubris at this point, as I have a ranking on IMDb, unlike some of you. It's in the six digits, and it's not going to go up anytime soon, unless those that credit me do it properly. The call sheet should read, "Mike Shields II."

Anyone can find out how I think on a particular day by virtue of social media posts that I make either manually or automagically. That's right. One post in the wrong place, and suddenly all my followers, connections, and the like (not to be confused with "Like") will suddenly vanish. Do I become infamous at that point?

Maybe I am already. I don't know. I just know that I have work to do within the industry that was effectively chosen for me before God and everybody knew that I existed. I also vote a certain way depending on whose running. That should be who's.

The current broohaha or broowaha or however you spell it is simply about television ratings of the latest Emmy broadcast. Why have they dipped from last year a whopping 10%?

I gave my opinion, and started a thread that is currently being moderated. I was lucky enough to give my opinion first on this particular topic simply because no one else thought to reply to all. That's a bozo no no sometimes on these types of lists, as you get scolded by the list manager about a reply that should've gone to an individual via private message when you've done so.

A decision has to be made, and you have a choice. Delaying the decision, or deciding not to decide is still a choice, however after that, it's cause and effect. The Matrix Reloaded explored this very phenomenon. Remember the scene in the restaurant where the owner sent a tiramisu to a woman he fancied?

Ultimately, who decides what's right? Moral relativism is all the rage, and we all want to make money in this business we call show. The needs of the many will always outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. There's probably a better way to write that with correct grammar, however nobody said this was a grammar lesson. Unless you did, then you're in the wrong class. That one's three blogs down on the left.

So, I'm walking a fine line. I believe in free will, and in this country, I have 1st and 2nd amendment rights. Without those two, the rest of the rest don't truly mean anything to me. My personal preference should not shade what you think about me.

Somehow, I've been put in a position of authority by virtue of my length of time pursuing fame and fortune. Did I ask for this? No. The media does this to me, and by extension, us. Everyone wants fame and fortune, but these days it seems like nobody wants to do the work to get it. Awards shows are great for acknowledgement within your particular industry, and there's a lot of cross pollenization by virtue of the fact that I was literally born into it, but again, I rebelled.

The reality is my education is well rounded as a result, and I have certain opinions that I share on more than an occasional basis, and some of you may read about them here or elsewhere. Getting paid to bloviate is great work if you can get it.

The phone rings. BRB

I could've written, "Be right back", to pad my word count, but I didn't.

So, to review, I have opinions that I write both here and elsewhere on more than an occasional basis, and you may choose to ignore them at your leisure or peril.  I may have covered the original reason why I wrote this in the first place, but that's for you to decide. Let me know in the comments.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach. Adjust your expectations accordingly™

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Why Am I...


Bought coffee. One sip, and I'm already jittery. WTF?!? Why isn't WTF in the spellcheck
dictionary? Who am I going to inflict these words on? What was I thinking when I told her
I was going to write a book too, and we'll see who finishes first? 

Damn me. 

Hell is where when you go there, they have to take you in. Standing up in front of a
crowd of people that you may be meeting for the first time is scary. In fact, fear of public
speaking is a fear that most of you have. I know I don't. My mom put me on stage at
what, three, maybe four years old, and I did okay. I spoke lines in another language as

I'm still attempting to figure out what year that was. Teahouse of the August Moon. Tea
House is two words? Hey, that's great. Sakini. Cho demo'd key word memorization for us
at Van Mar. I wonder why Ivan didn't ask me? Intellectually, I get it. We can't all be on
stage at the same time. Unless we can, in which case, I may have to be the one to write
that scene.

It's the big production number. Phantom has one at the beginning, and one in the middle.
Masquerade has always been my favorite. Paper faces on parade. I guess that's where
my need to emcee comes from. You can be behind the scenes, or you can be in front.
The question becomes, "Can you do both at the same time?" 

I know I can. I can compartmentalize too. It's how you make a successful 168 Project film
that goes on to bigger and better things after. Blue Blazes. Seven years ago!!! 

These morning brain dumps get harder and harder. I feel like I'm writing the same stuff
over and over. What am I selling? My book. Wait! It hasn't been published yet! 

Neither has hers. It's not a race. It's a calling. We can all write. We can all read unless
you're like a toddler. At some point, we all know our alphabet. We know how to
pronounce things, and most of us can gain meaning from context. The writing discipline
means that I should be writing something every day, and all the time.

But I can't sit here 24/7. To write what you know, you have to know about it. That doesn't
come from sitting at the keyboard all day. At some point, your brain will be completely
drained. Have I written something that others want to read? 


That's for you to decide. Do you share this? Do others come here and leave a comment?
Sometimes instantaneous gratification takes too long. Everyone wants success NOW!!! 

Do the hard work first, and then maybe you'll find your passion. It took me x years to do
that, and I needed the motivation of several amazing women to get to this point. You
may even meet a few of them in the future. 

You may not know that you have. They may not be with me at the time. I could start a
list, or simply post an #FF at the appropriate day, and then you'll figure it out. However,
most aren't on Twitter, unless they are. Have we discussed how Twitter, and by extension all of social media is a drug? 

Everyone wants to be famous, however no one wants to do the work. The 'net is the
culprit. By virtue of the fact that there's almost 8 Billion, yes, that's right, Billion with a
big fat B people on the planet, not too many people know that I'm famous.

Communications and the ability to broadcast myself out to the unwashed masses as they
were called back in the day allow us to put words in some semblance of an order to
allow for others to read them. 

We all have opinions on how things should work, and most things work the way we want
them to wrote he, before he took another sip of coffee. I may need to write a poem about
the need for tea, or coffee. 

What was the movie in the 60's? Coffee, Tea, Or Me? About stewardesses and how they were selling not only over priced liquor onboard, but themselves to the various passengers. 1969 is the year I remember, however that's ayear or two after I became self aware for the first time....

Well, that's the required. This will be posted elsewhere for commentary. Hope to see you

Thursday, August 30, 2018

These Are My #ThursdayThoughts

Literal day today. Anyone speaking in metaphors will have to talk to me another day. Seriously. I don't have time to translate your memes, even if you think everyone knows them. This goes for acronyms too. By definition, there are 26^3 possible three letter acronyms, and that's just in the English language. Each of those may have multiple meanings that I don't have time to lookup either.

Turns out I have a life outside of sitting in front of this beast we call a computer. I can't be here 24/7, and I'm pretty sure neither can you. I just got a day job wherein the #1 rule is and I quote, "Cellphone use while at post is grounds for termination!" Okay, I added the exclam, but you get the idea. Exclam is short for exclamation point, however I didn't think you'd think it was a former mollusk.

While writing this missive, I'm not going to be going for any particular pie chart changes either. They are what they are. I do remember one time when one of them was 100% affectionate, however I don't know how I did that at this point. I was thinking mostly at that point too.

These mourning pages are colored by what's going on around me on a particular day, and today we have construction going on across the street for about another month or three, and a cooking show that shall remain nameless running in the background that I'm somewhat paying attention to. Yes, I've committed the cardinal sin not to be confused with an ordinal sin; I've ended a sentence with a preposition.

Colors are going to be primary for most of the rest of the year as well. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and finally, Violet. Roy G. Biv, a character name that I will use at some point.

Oh, Crayola in their infinite wisdom gives you six colors plus white and black in their 8 crayon set. I made this observation the other day, and yet again, Indigo gets short shrift. How short is a shrift anyways?

There's a theory out there that the coat of many colors, or the amazing technicolor dream coat for those of you that have seen The Musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, tells all stories. Or rather, tells you how to tell a story. Maybe this theory is mine that I'm putting out there for the first time for everyone to see. 7 main characters, and they all have a color. Seven acts and they all have a color. How many different combinations and permutations from here? It's not astronomical like the odds against a royal fizzbin, but we haven't even considered genres yet. PS, those of you that put a "D" in genre need to go back to elementary reading and pronunciation school.

As a magician, I perform pick a card tricks for a living. I have roughly 20 minutes of comedy magic I can perform if someone hands me a deck a cards. I don't necessarily hate the fact that I'm always asked to perform at a moment's notice, however it does get annoying at times.  I'm happy to do it if I'm all propped up as it were, but most of the time, I'm just me.

So, I perform impromptu mentalism. Okay, spellcheck, if that is indeed your real name, I KNOW THAT'S SPELLED CORRECTLY!!! Sometimes, you only need three exclams. 

Digression is a matter of fact these days in the million dollar minute. It used to be a thousand dollars, however I'm adjusting for inflation. Oh, I'll be on a panel at Alpha Omega Con coming up soon in Downey, CA, and I may talk about some of the above.

So, now that I've paused for reflection, I'll continue.

Contrary to somewhat popular belief, okay, it was kids in a pre-school class last century, the world didn't magically turn from black and white to color like in the classic, The Wizard of Oz. The world has always been in color. I wonder if there's anyone left that dreams in Black & White?

Pretentious film school students want to make their movies in B&W. When I was acting for film school students, I was in a few of those myself. Something for your reel. Well, this is real life, and you only get one take.

In any case, if writing comes downto choices, and the fact that as the writer of a particular script I get to create the world, doesn't that make me a god of sorts?

I'll let you figure that out. If any of the above doesn't make sense, by all means, let me know below....

Monday, August 6, 2018

Flight of the Bumblebee - Canadian Brass

I don't know if you know when you first heard Flight of The Bumblebee, however for most like me, it was part of the theme song for The Green Hornet.  Seriously. I fell in love with it then, and still play it every once in awhile. I did some research on the tune itself at some point last century, as I found out that the original lasts a mere 1:10.

There's more to say and write about how music affects us in various and sundry ways, however whole industries are dedicated to it, and you've probably read most of what I have to say about it elsewhere. As this tune is very fast, it tends to get me wound up, and the brass makes me smile.

The arrangement here by Canadian Brass is unique, as they were able to create an almost 2 minute version. Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks!!!