Zoetrope Script Review Contest

I used to be a very active member on 2 peer review writing website.

the professional site is The Writer’s Building
and the site for new to intermediate writers is Zoetrope

Where I am the top reviewer – in terms of prolific review – across the various areas of the site from various forms of writing to graphic arts to music and film production like costumes and set design.

In any event, I started a contest to win a review of your feature script from me. There is no limit to the number of times and the contest continues until there’s a winner.

Rule of Law or Rule by the Mob?

Something Real

I posted this over a year ago – calling for more civil interactions on a main board of a free membership artists peer review website…


There is something very real that I would like to share about myself and http://www.zoetrope.com  (a peer review site for screenwriters – but also other film related artists as well)

I’ve been a member for I don’t know how long and I’ve read enough scripts that the last time I looked, last year, I was still in the top 10 readers in screenplays and I don’t remember what year I last reviewed anyone’s scripts so I expect that there’s a lot of people who have no clue who I am and those who do, have no idea of what I’ve become post abyss

Well, actually a top 10 reviewer by numbers in a lot of the buildings here that I very well may be the person who’s reviewed more material than anyone. I might not, depends on how you count. Doesn’t matter.

I know how rough these board can be, and I am capable as anyone of being venomous.

But here’s what I know. It’s a cut-throat’s world anywhere you care to look.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to be that way to each other – especially not when any of us reach out with vulnerability – because that’s what posting a logline is.

Heck even asking the eternal brad question is apparently cause for a flame war.

There are no honestly asked stupid questions. So save the venom for the dishonest people who deserve it.

If naivete annoys you, ignore it. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Maybe if you stopped feeling so bad about other people, you could feel better about yourself instead of feeling bad feelings all the time. No sense stewing yourself in your own hormonal juices for nothing.

Let the little shit that doesn’t have to bother you, just not bother you.

Save it for the things you can influence, and spare up the runtime for figuring out positive and passionate ways to bring about the changes that would make you happy more

Blue Moon – August 31, 2012 – a Tribute to Elvis August 31, 1957


Because this is the book that I read and mentioned to Elvis Sidekicks Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling.

The only 2 members of the Memphis Mafia that I ever wanted to meet because I read so many Elvis books when I was a kid that I thought that they were the only 2 who were ever really friends with Elvis in a meaningful way.

And you know what happened? They both yelled at me.

I don’t think Elvis would have approved of that.

So you know, I totally sympathize with Elvis on why he fired those other bodyguards.

You don’t get to rough up the fans who were responsible for Elvis success and you sure as fuck don’t do it to fans now either who are keeping Elvis’ memory alive.

Insight to remain open

Insight is a unique clinic that’s located in Vancouver BC to provide a safe place for drug users. The clinic provides clean needles, monitoring and health programs for this under served community.

Insight was established as part of Vancouver’s four pillars approach to the social problems of drug use: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement.

The program has been extended several times and is considered an important part of the reduction of the spread of AIDS, overdose related deaths and a lowering of criminal activitiy in the downtown east side. Proponents and critics disagree on the site’s impact, but no matter what the viewpoint, the clinic provides services to people who would otherwise not have access to medical services at all.

Ever since Stephen Harper and his conservative party have been in office, he has tried to shut the clinic down. He was prevented first by the Province of BC, who considers the clinic a success, then Health Canada and now the Supreme Court of BC.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday the Conservative government must grant the supervised drug injection site Insite immediate immunity from federal drug laws – and that comes with no deadline attached.


To force the site to close “would have been to prevent injection drug users from accessing the health services offered by Insite, threatening the health and indeed the lives of potential clients,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the ruling.

Harper, who, since taking office has:

  • canceled the Charter Challenge Program;
  • slashed funding to Status of Women, reducing it from 17 offices to 5,  redefined their mandate to remove “equality”, and reduced their ability to provide funding to community groups;
  • passed a law setting elections every four years, but orchestrated an annual non-confidence vote and triggered expensive and needless elections
  • appointed a young earth creationist as minister of Emergency Preparedness
  • appointed anti-science climate deniers to be in charge of approving funding proposals, unsurprisingly, resulting in no funds for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • has gagged government scientists from reporting their findings in a variety of environmental and ecological programs
  • has slashed social funding to increase the budgets of police and prison construction
  • cost Canada a seat on the UN security council and Canada was one of four nations to vote against the US declaration of aboriginal rights
  • click to go to “Why Harper sucks
  • more shit Harper has done

Harper has been accused of having a secret agenda since he first ran for PM, but there’s never really been any secret about his agenda – copy America – slash social spending, slash anything that prevents or reduces harms and give the money for enforcement and punishment, and remake Canada into America 2.0.

I have to wonder, if he admires America that much, why not just move to America and live under that system instead of tearing Canada apart.

Harper has constantly expressed paranoid and concerning remarks about the public services, the judges, the very instituations of governement being against him and this lone outsider attitude is very concerning for the person in the big chair to be holding and worse, beleiving.

Harper is an example of why it is critical to not ever place morals above people.

Harper has an ideological agenda that he is seeking to impose on Canadians, whether we agree or not. His extreme control over the conservative party MPs, gagging the public service and limiting contact with the media is concerning, but hasn’t seemed to factor into Canadians really understanding that Harper is dismantling Canada for a makeover, where he claims to be putting high minded rules in that he will immediately ignore if they don’t suit his objectives.

Canada as the opposite problem that the US has.

In America, there’s a democratic president unable to accomplish much because of republican control over the houses; but he benefits from the republican field for potential presidential candidates being very thin, strident with an appeal only to a narrow section of far far right republicans – none of whom will draw voters from the centre, swing and undecideds.

In Canada, we clearly aren’t done punishing the Liberals for the excesses under Jean Cretin and blamed on Paul Martin, but we have to stop cutting off our noses, ears and fingers to spite them by giving Harper back to back minority governments with a small majority in the last outing.

But the liberals aren’t giving us candidates that demonstrate they’ve learned their lesson and are deserving to once again take the big chair, as they have done for most of Canada’s history.

Why we would pull out that big chair for someone who’s even more elitist and authoritarian and apparently drunk with power madness than anyone the Liberals ever fielded, is beyond me. But Canadians are apparently, politically kinky, and perhaps we’re punishing ourselves with Harper as PM, but it’s time to stop.

Without Jack Layton, the NDP has a serious challenge to bring the country back to Canadian values, of the social safety net, of evidence based approaches to scientific problems, of returning the country to Liberal surplus budgets and not Conservative deficit budgets.

But at least, in Vancouver, for a while, the Insight clinic will continue to provide health services to a vulnerable sector of society that the Harper government would rather see in prison than helped to return to functioning citizens.

Which is the real problem of putting moral ideas over people.



Homeopathy is Homeobunk

The idea of homeopathy is to take something and to dilute it in water several times – usually 30 – and administer a few drops as medicine.

The underlying idea is that the water retains the characteristics of the dissolved substance and the more dilute, the more powerful it is.

What’s curious to me, is that generally, the people who embrace homeopathy maintain the opinion that drug companies are just out to make money and not help people.

But, if this was the case, wouldn’t the drug companies be willing to sell us free city water?

In homeopathy, there’s no research & development, no government regulators, no expensive clinical trials. You give a person a dilute solution and if whatever ails them goes away, it worked and if it didn’t, then you have another water treatment to try out.

What drug companies do, is isolate the medicinal chemicals in the various natural sources and replicate them. There is no chemical difference between the replicated chemicals and the ones sourced from natural sources. They remove any chemicals that are inert or harmful; so the medicine is only the active ingredients with inactive ingredients such as a base, colour and binding agent.

So who is really making the largest profits?

  1. Homeopaths who are selling you water with very low overhead
  2. Drug Companies with R&D, clinical trials, government regulators, marketing and a lot of overhead?

If homeopathy really worked, we wouldn’t need there to be drug companies – we’ve had water around a lot longer than drug companies have been around.

Aside: the idea that natural is only those things occurring in nature and not what humans can create or manufacture is strange to me, since, everything we work with comes from nature – including the raw materials used to replicate the chemicals and compounds used to make medicine.

To me, the first problem with the idea underlying homeopathy – that water can take on the characteristics of something else and retain those characteristics through a procession of dilutions.

Water is everywhere – as water, ice and vapour. Water touches everything and goes everywhere. There would be no need to put anything in water and dilute it – all water has already pretty much touched everything.

That’s assuming that water can take on the molecular structure of the substance dissolved in it in the first place. Which is another issue – homeopathy was invented prior to knowledge of molecular structure, so this sciencey sounding explanation of how it works is a dubious later addition.

Water is a very peculiar, common but not really understood substance. Molecularly, it can take on many shapes and cluster sizes in the liquid state. But, even if exposure to a foxglove leaf did allow the water in contact with it to take on the structure of a digitalis molecule – surely the process of diluting it 30 times would make those clusters come into contact with other water molecule clusters and they would all be altered by the movement of the dilution process and be influenced by the molecule cluster shapes of the other water being added.

Indeed, if homeopathy’s “less is more potent” can be believed, instead of swallowing pills, we should be able to lick them for a more effective treatment.

Clinical trials that test for Placebo effect offer an explanation for why homeopathy sometimes seems to work.

A person who knows that they are being given a treatment – whether it’s being given a medication or only having doctors and nurses come in and tell them they are giving them medicine – feel less anxiety, pain and other subjective symptoms.

If a person is given medicine without knowing it and without being seen by medical staff (ie a machine metering out the medicine through an IV drip), do not experience a decrease in the subjective symptoms.

Symptoms that are objectively measurable – such as broken bones or tumors – are not impacted by the placebo effect at all.

It also appears from these trials that the expectation of being given treatment is enough for the brain to release chemicals that reduce pain or block the pain perception. The placebo effect can also work when the person is aware of the placebo.

Aside:  For years, I have asked any lab tech drawing blood to say “now” at the same time that they insert the needle. (not “now” then poke, but now simultaneously with the poke). What the now signals to me, is to exhale very deeply. The concentrating on the breathing is enough to distract from the needle prick.

Another aspect that I find very curious – you can sue a doctor for malpractice – they carry insurance for that very purpose.

But homeopaths don’t. Homeopaths don’t make mistakes, they have just failed to find the right dilution for you, so really, it’s down to the patient for failure, not the homeopath.

If homeopathic and other so called complimentary treatments actually worked on their own – they would be treatments – not complimentary treatments.

To a degree, I support buyer beware. But it’s no longer the people willing to pay for complimentary treatments that are paying.

Many medical insurance plans and employer benefit plans include covering these “complimentary” treatments. Health care is expensive, so diverting money on unproven and often untestable “treatments” wastes public as well as private money.

In personal cost terms, people will often delay actual medical treatments in favour of trying various unproven treatment courses – sometimes to the point of dying owing to delayed diagnosis.

Even if a person proceeds with medical and a complimentary treatment – if that treatment includes herbal preparations – these can often interact with medicines and make it less or more effective. These interactions can be unpredictable and are often not admitted to the attending doctor. That carries a whole other risk set.

There is an easy way to determine what is medicine and what is quackery.

Medical diagnosis and treatment is a process developed over decades, with many people contributing to the knowledge and advances. There’s peer review, replication, clinical trials,  regulations and practice standards.

Treatments that are basically invented by one person, the mechanism or process is not able to be explained, aren’t effective in clinical trials and aren’t regulated in any way – and regulation isn’t a hoop for companies to jump through, they are a consumer protection standard – these are not medical treatments.

These are treatments to extract your money, make you subjectively feel like something is being done so you subjectively feel better and little else.