Saturday, June 30, 2007

108. Sad and Angry

This TribuneStory makes me so sad and mad.

Sad that Doreen Tudela abused her position. Sad that she forgot how important it is to keep personal and professional separated. Sad that our kids, who deserve the best, had a principal who made a big mistake. I'm glad she's paid back what she took, and admitted what she did. I don't doubt that she's used her own money for school things a lot and never kept track, but that isn't an excuse, either. It's just a shame, and it will be hard on the students who must now process that their principal, whom they respected and relied upon, has let them down.

But I'm also mad at the underlying story. That Barney's Pizza pays to put pizza into the schools. We already have an obesity and diabetes problem in the CNMI. We don't need our kids eating junk food like greasy pizza. And Barney's paying to feed it to them is a double corruption.

I'm disgusted.

Friday, June 29, 2007

107. All Hail to the Script Frenziers

In case you're interested in the zany fun and crazy ways of participants in Script Frenzy, let me share these with you.

Trailers from some of the scripts (all awards determined by the Office of Letters and Lights)

Most Hilarious

Best Use of Creepy-Child Voice-Over

Best Use of Cute Photos of Lemmings

Best Forbidden Facial Hair (?!)

And overall winner in the Most Awesome category

I have got to learn how to make You Tube videos. I mean, my script --Photo on the Fridge-- would be even more awesome for a trailer than these. Well, you can imagine, I'm sure!

Script Frenzy is fun. Wish you were here.

And wish this darn post would show up on my blog!

106. Rushing toward the end of the frenzy

June is almost over. I am racing the clock for Script Frenzy. I'm just at 17,000 words, but need 20,000 to win.

Boni let me down by dropping out before we even really got started. She was going to be my writing partner, so we could spur each other on. So I'm going it alone, and I am too crazy to stop.

So I'm writing like mad. And the script is loose and flimsy, and stiff and uneven, and any combination of crummy words you want to use for a play.

But it's also a rush to write, to create characters, put words in their mouths and pull their puppet strings through actions and reactions.

So onward. My script is calling. And later, we can all act it out and laugh out loud at how terribly bad it is. Because we could all use some laughs, right?

P.S. Word verification was Smenita. Maybe I'll name a character after it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

105. Condolences to the Charfauros Family

My sincere condolences to the Charfauros family of Rota on the death of their fallen soldier. TribuneReport

How many more dead must we have before we seek peace?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9).
We need more peacemakers, like these sons and daughters of God. Peacemakers

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

104. The Impotence of Proofreading

Thanks to Bev Cooke for this.

Now get out your red peniles and start prof reading.

103. The Truth in Fiction

Writing fiction is a tricky business. When you write a novel, you're writing a lie, but it has to seem real to be considered good.

And authors can lie about their identities, too. Writers have long used pseudonyms. This type of "lie" is a literary tradition for certain types of novels--novels that touch on real people, novels that address hot topics like sex and drugs, novels that are controversial in subject-matter.

So what happens when an author writes a novel that seems totally real, uses a pseudonym, and starts attracting a lot of attention? If she makes the mistake of pretending to be the pseudonymous person, she can get sued for fraud. WashingtonPostReportsOnJTLeroy

And made to pony up the expenses paid by the company that bought the movie rights to the book. KTVUreports

The pseudonym was supposed to be a young boy, sexually exploited, telling his fictionalized account, but turns out to be a woman, who was sexually exploited, telling her fictionalized account.

I'm all for the truth, but somehow, writing a NOVEL and using a pseudonym, doesn't seem sufficient to entitle a company to think that it's buying something that is true, and then sue and win on a fraud claim.

But there's a lesson for all writers here. That line between fiction and truth--it can be blurred, must be blurred, for the novel, but it better be bright and clean on the signed contract.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

102. Visiting my aged mother

My mother is 90. I can't borrow her car until after 2 PM each day because she is busy gadding about from one social engagement to another. She's got so much energy that, besides all the stuff she does, she walks 3 times each week, jogging suit and all. And she's just waiting for my visit to end so she can plan her next long-distance trip--probably to the Bahamas or something.

Here's the latest British version of her generation of geriatric people with energy to burn.

Wow! These guys make me laugh. And with geriatric1927 getting a quarter million hits on his You Tube videos, you've got to be amazed.

101. The CNMI's Summer Ambassadors

Every summer handfuls of students from the CNMI head to the mainland to compete in various activities. The students who participate in Little League have gotten press, both locally and nationally, with televised games and some commentary. But there are students who get less recognition and yet who succeed each summer in improving the image of the CNMI among their peers and the adults who spend long hours involved in the activities.

Forensics and Thespian students head out with their lines memorized, their songs humming in their ears. They have worked on their sense of timing, the dramatic pause. They speak their parts in clear, unaccented English, setting aside their island-style patter for after their performances.

The thespians start their work Monday, June 25th, in Lincoln, Nebraska, perfoming their monologues, mimes, solo musical pieces and other performances for their individual evaluations, and then working together as a group to perform a one-act play that other thespians from around the country can watch and enjoy.

And the forensics students just finished their hard work in Wichita, Kansas. I don't know all of the results, but I heard that several students finished in the top 100. Ryan Ortizo of MCS finished in the top 40. And the star CNMI student this year was MHS student Rachel Reyes, who finished 9th in storytelling among all of the students from around the U.S.

Imagine a CNMI student finishing in the top 10 of any academic competition open to all U.S. students! That's what Rachel did. Congratulations to her and to all who helped make her success possible (like Harold Easton, MHS drama teacher).

And thanks to Rachel and the other students for the positive image you help share about the CNMI as unofficial summer ambassadors.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

100. Too Busy Shopping

We've been too busy shopping to take photos. We've been too busy shopping to do much sight-seeing. We've been too busy shopping to ... Well, you get the idea!
But we visited my alma mater, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The University has a beautiful and huge campus, with buildings in red brick, Georgian-style. The campus is very well-maintained, with the buildings relieved by large chunks of deep green lawns and large shade trees. Slant walk, which cuts across the main quad gives a small view of the balance of architecture with nature.

The town is also post-card beautiful. It's main drag, High Street, is a wide, clean street that is smoothly paved and clearly marked with cross-walks, with well-maintained traffic lights and easy-t0-read street signs, with open, inviting side-walks and nice-looking, frequently emptied trash cans at convenient locations. The storefronts are well-maintained and beautiful. The streets have potted plants in hanging baskets and small trees to add a bit of nature's beauty. The parking spots are angled for easy access and the meters are in working-order.

The shops have a nice variety of clothes, souvenirs, books, and other things to buy. There's a balance of eatieries and coffee shops. The prices weren't especially cheap, but the shopping was still fun and interesting.
There was a small park, with a flat place having a few sprinkler-style fountains that little kids could run through. There were park benches at several locations, around the park and also along the sidewalks lining the main street. The gas station is at the end of the strip and was clean.
If shopping, walking, enjoying the park, drinking coffee and chatting were not enough, there was an outdoor garden show, a drum ensemble playing, and an art exhibit with juried flower show inside an old building that housed the community art center. All for free (donations requested).
And the whole town seemed to be hopping, with a comfortable amount of people out and about.

Saipan would do well to learn from this small Ohio burg, to see what is inviting to tourists and keeps bringing people back, spending money, investing. A good learning institution, a beautiful environment, a well-regulated and maintained attention to order, cleanliness, and access. We could do this.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

99. In Search of the Elusive Butterfly

We searched for butterflies at the "butterfly garden" at the Farbach Werner park, with little success, but had a nice time walking along the trail amid the trees.

And then we cheated in our search for the elusive butterfly. We went to the butterfly show at the Krohn Conservatory. This years batch came from Africa. And even in the confined space of a greenhouse, I couldn't snap a decent butterfly photo. These are just enough butterfly to give a hint at the beauty, color and diversity of the show.

Well, at least I did get a photo of these two "butterflies."

Who ever heard of butterflies with attitude!

Monday, June 11, 2007

98. The Blogging Life

The blogging thing has really gotten into my blood. Perhaps it was Jeff Turbitt's articles on blogging, but just about the time he'd published his 2nd one, I started having blogging dreams. In these dreams, typically, I am reading blogs and identifying what I like, what works and what I think could be better. (This is not the version of myself that I would like to have show up in my dreams!)

My favorite and most vivid dream so far was a blog post titled 50 Reasons Why My Life Is Half-Full. In my dream, I immediately wanted to edit "life" to "glass." The first reason on the list was "I live in a desert." Who wrote this blog post? What did it mean? I'm not sure, because I woke up, and said aloud, "I don't live in a desert, I live in the tropics."

See, I am oriented in all three spheres. No problem. I'm not going crazy! Just loving the blogging life. It's a small part of the writing life I also want to have, and love the little bits I pull out of thin air.

Who else dreams about their blogging?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

97. SPLICE--A Nifty Music tool

So I don't know how to do the whole video thing. I don't even yet have a video camera, although my digital camera has a video icon on it (and I don't even know why!). I'm a Luddite at heart. But I'm a curious Luddite. So while I was looking for something totally different, I ran across this, and thought--wow, that's neat. It appeals to me, the lawyer, because it offers a legal way to add music to your videos. And it just seems technologically easy and cool. So I share, for those who might benefit from it. A video explains "Splice":

UPDATE 3/5/2008--that video no longer works, but this one does.

96. Confirmation at San Vicente Church

95. Graduation Photos--Behind the scenes

So many people make an event happen. Here are just a few of the many people who made the MHS graduation run smoothly--faces "behind" the scenes--Hal Easton (teacher and staging guru), Chris Cabrera (teacher and emcee), Bert Guerrero (teacher), Tita Gabrido (Chris' mom and all around aide-de-camp), Matt Wheat, (student, tech), and Tommy Baik (student, videographer).

Sunday, June 3, 2007

94. Photos: Graduation 2007 at Marianas High School

Here's a small sample of the events at the MHS graduation, held on Saturday, June 2, 2007. It was hot inside the gym, but the spirits were totally cool. Behind the scenes, teachers, tech crew, and others kept things moving smoothly. And in front of the jammed-packed arena, the PSS administrators, staff, and Board, the invited dignitaries, and teacher-emcees, kept the focus on the successes of the graduating class.