Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Writer's Loft

Check out my TV show on public access in the San Diego area and beyond via the Internet. Cox cable uses Ch 23 or 18 and TimeWarner uses Ch 19. Also, DelMarTV.com streams the shows. There are still shows in December. Here is the schedule for DelMarTV.com, which can also be viewed on the ATT U-Verse system. Each show is 30 minutes long:

Thursday, December 17, 2009
5:00 p.m. Writer’s Loft: Crow’s Nest
Friday, December 18, 2009
9:00 a.m. Writer’s Loft: Crow’s Nest
Saturday, December 19, 2009
7:30 p.m. Writer’s Loft: Wordsmiths
Thursday, December 24, 2009
5:00 p.m. Writer’s Loft: Crow’s Nest
Friday, December 25, 2009
9:00 a.m. Writer’s Loft: Crow’s Nest
Saturday, December 26, 2009
7:30 p.m. Writer’s Loft: Wordsmiths
Thursday, December 31, 2009
5:00 p.m. Writer’s Loft: Crow’s Nest

The TimeWarner slot is Thursdays at 5:00pm. They also have Ch 130 on some networks that air the show. Next week is Episode 2, 31 Dec starts Episode 3.

So what's this all about? In my desperation to get into video to promo books and do book trailers, I befriended a fellow that does public access TV. He wanted to air a show about writing, so I came up with this theme. You can’t promo for sale on public access television, but the networking possibilities are endless. I am really enjoying bring to the public shows about writing. What a dream.

Episode 1, The Crow’s Nest – introduces the show and the idea of getting inside the writers mind by visiting the place where the author works his magic – his loft. It includes my loft and fellow author Erica Miner.

Episode 2, Wordsmiths – visits Richard Lederer and Alan Russell, two local San Diego authors. They talk about their lives and what they write about. Lederer is a language expert. Russell is a mystery writer. Both provide a fun listen .

Episode 3, Book Builders – visits Robert Goodman, the proprietor for Silvercat book services. He designs books for clients. The inside critical parameters like font choice, layout look and feel is matched to the book content. The cover is matched carefully and holds the back and spine information to attract a reader. All good stuff.

Episode 4, Stringers: Freelance Journalism – visits LinDee Rochelle, where we follow back in time from a great magazine article she did to how the job came into being and the fact that it led to writing a book.

We will initially do six episodes, but could continue, especially if there develops an interest, so check it out and let me know if you like it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Long Time, no Blog...

Sorry, I was on another planet for the last couple of months, no really. Life forms out there aren't so bad. We all have our pluses and minuses, but for the most part, the aliens I met were civil. Here on the Blue Orb, not so much. Are people going nuts? Global warming, economic meltdown, El Nina – again!, the cola wars are blurred by too many variations on a theme – I’m confused. There are more new jobs in government than the private sector, these government types think laying-off teachers is the best way to pay bills, only about five authors are being published by the Big Five in New York – what are they thinking? We are stagnating into carbon formed blobs with no imaginations.

Ethics are driven by political spin. Truth is bartered. One man’s fact is another man’s lie. Sitting on Mars, I talked to an old blues player on the Valles Marineris Delta, and he told me to chill, there is a reckoning coming. You humans are passing through puberty. You all just need to get laid.

Well, he’s probably right. Anyway, I can’t be bothered by all that. I’m trying to get a new book out. It’s in the final draft with worker bees going over and combing out the bugs. Oops, no offense bug people. This is going to be a sad one, full of plot twists and consequence for the protagonist. Struggle and redemption are the themes – oh, and who murdered two people in Las Vegas last summer. Then there’s the jewelry heist of museum quality gems that belonged to Louis XIV. “Benny Plays the Blues” is a tale about a New York sax player that gets into hot water in Vegas, is obvious to everyone but the reader that he is a murderer and thief, but has to run for cover only to run into more trouble. Did he really do it? Maybe his laid-back demeanor is fooling the reader. He is definitely headed for disaster. You can’t run from your future. Cool.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Signing and Reading in June

NEWS FLASH Location: Sally J. Griffin senior Center, 700 Jewell Ave., Pacific Grove, CA (Monterey Peninsula)
Phone: 510-796-4364 or 831-375-4454
Date: June 10, 2009
Time: 11:00am and again at 1:00pm

NEWS FLASH Location: Milpitas Senior Center, 540 S. Abel St. MilpitasAlso: San Leandro Senior Center in the afternoon
Phone: 510-796-4364 or 1-408-586-2775
Date: June 11, 2009
Time: 10:15am and again at 12:15pm

NEWS FLASH Location: The Groves, Dublin, CA Book Signing
Phone: 510-796-4364 Date: June 12, 2009
Time: 02:45pm

NEWS FLASH Location: Book signing at Good Eats, 217 W. Winton Ave., Hayward, CA
Phone: 510-796-4364
Date: June 13, 2009
Time: 10:15am and again at 12:15pm Titles: Orphan Records, A Dark and Stormy Knight, Harmonics, Of Beryl & Alabaster

John Wolf

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Uranium Tipped Arrows

I was reading about how technology is displacing so many traditional industries like newspapers, books, book stores, libraries - the list goes on. It's like Cupid is shooting depleted-uranium tipped arrows to improve penetration he loves us sooo much. Technology is becoming a curse, not a cure. Don't you think it's ironic that our soldiers in Afghanistan are being badly damaged by their own ammunition, just being near the stuff – sad as it may seem.

Focusing more in the literary vein, there is a lot of buzz about electronic readers blowing paper products out of the water. Sit down you tree huggers and stop screaming, yippee. Listen, the toxic disposal of electronic equipment is much scarier than the loss of a replenishable tree. But the combination of technology paradigm shifts and the effects of a down economy are taking a toll on traditional media. What would you do without paperback books, that warm fuzzy pulp that lines your shelves?

The tsunami of Kindle readers forming a wave on your beach is not far off. As a writer, I really don’t care, as long as my books are read by someone, somehow. But what’ hurts is the impact to the stores. I don’t want my whole life to be online. That’s resigning to solitary confinement in your own home. I like the smell of Starbuck coffee in the air when I run my fingers down a row of books, looking for the next in a series from my favorite author. I want to read a flap or two, ruffle the pages, smell the paper dust, and gaze at the cool artwork on the cover. My advice is to buy a used book store now and start storing up. People are going to go nuts for the antique known as a book.

I envision disposable book readers. You buy them from a vending machine, read the eBook, and recycle it when you’re done. Technology is the great leveler of anything that gets in its way.

John Wolf

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Unlearned

Teaching and learning are two separate actions. The teaching can be standardized into curriculums or "schools of thought." In the past, great institutions were identified by their particular take on what should be taught. This produced centers of excellence for particular interests. Students could choose a vocation in alignment with their education and probably receive the best advice and guidance in that particular endeavor available within their society. The British are brilliant at doing this.

In America we compete for dollars on every campus. We attract dollars in the form of students by mainly having a valued sports program. All colleges are ranked by their sports teams’ recognition. This has nothing to do with education or being taught career skills. Parents are rampant about getting their kids into colleges, any college, just get that "sheep skin." They don't see the forest for the trees and will pay any amount thrown at them in desperation.

As a result, the colleges don't cater to those that come for an education; they cater to a collection of barbarians. The campus life is a screaming joke. If you want to start life with an alcohol problem or a drug addiction, go to college. If you want to have a valued career...what do you do? So many Americans spend half their lives trying to find themselves, mainly because the launching pad slung them way off in the weeds and they had to wander back into civilization and start over again.

Learning, the other side of the coin. I once had a very wise couple (both PhDs in clinical psychology) tell me that an educated person is one that has learned where to go to get information and with that information, teach themselves. If colleges focused on the skills to seek and find information and gave you a taste of what's out there, the student would take it from there. Just listening to inspiring speeches from the experienced scholars can be life changing. Then if there were follow-on schools that specialized (vocational schools) in some particular discipline, young people would be anxious to learn and would become highly valued citizens. Notice that would take a minimum of administration!

Every college I've been connected with, including the one I'm teaching at now, has the same dumb concept that undergraduates must average a 2.75 grade point and graduate students a 3.25. There is no consideration on what that means just do it. Generate crap exams so enough students do poorly to guarantee this desired outcome, which is based on standards to gain credibility certification. Artificial standards based, not on humans, but idealistic statistics that match a political agenda. We mold our children to become political animals from the very first semester in college. You have to push down the competition by any means available to make sure you land on the high side of the curve. This is totally bogus.

I taught in the Air Force Navigation School, it was a true vocational institution, where we taught until each and every student could achieve 100%. They were all A-students or they were dropped out. The delimiter was time. You had to achieve in a reasonable amount of time. We couldn't have a critical skill not be learned or that lieutenant would be a danger to himself and those around him. These are the kinds of programs that you grow in; you are motivated by, and are proud of when you make it. All education should be so designed.

We just don't get it in this country. We are total conformist to commercial marketeering. We eat, buy, and do what the rock stars, movie stars, and sports figures do and have no clue as to how the real world functions. Parents don't get it, teachers don't get it, and administrators are on another planet. We all want to be petted and loved, then everything else will come to us. That's a very Christian attitude - sit on your hands and let God run your life. Bull feathers. Our ancestors were guided by the ethics of their religion, but had the common sense to invent, manipulate, and accomplish by using their heads and not living a life of excuses.

John Wolf

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You notice how hard it is for the rich to lose a grip on all that money. They just throw it around amongst themselves but it never really leaves Washington. Did you know the government already spent 1.2 trillion dollars at the end of last year to those that will manage the corruption of the financial industry this year. That's the group you want to work for. Most of that money was kept secret, in fact, all of it is still being kept secret. The contracts are now public record with the beneficiaries and the amounts given blacked out. So, my question is, who will get the next trillion dollars to police the ones policing the original white collar criminals. We are in a tailspin of corruption from the top down to us. This 819 billion is peanuts compared to the money fest going on behind the scenes.

Here's another question of the hour. Why are the Chinese buying up all our debt? Who would want to buy a totally corrupt country that manufactures nothing, so there is no material wealth, has no exports, and only complains about everything from pollution to politics and can't pay back their debt in a hundred years. It's stupid. What is going to happen is the burden of our debt will fall on the Chinese people when we forfeit, and why not, their a Communist country. Why should we do them any favors?

No there is no way to understand what's going on. These people are so consumed by programming their Blackberries and scheduling cocktail parties to even notice the rest of us are dying out here. What care in the world doesn't a rich guy have for a family thrown out of their house because they were so stupid as to take out a loan that would balloon into payments they would never be able to pay, has credit card debt to the moon so they could buy a lot full of SUVs at $65k a piece, HD TVs all over the house, 7.1 surroundasound stereos, college funds at Ivy League schools, a pool in the back yard, and a house that's 5000 sq ft that they can't afford to furnish. Frankly, I don't blame the politicians for ignoring our little problems. We brought it on ourselves. We are commercial junkies and have no control over our own greed. How could you expect those in government to be any different. The only difference is we just ran out of money before they did.

John Wolf