Monthly Archives: April 2013

THREE ITEMS

Three items in this weeks’ blog. First, the picture above, a mother duck and her babies, newborn babies.

This is the time of year when we see the baby ducks entering the world in one of the many ponds that surround the home division we live in near Phoenix. Most of the other fowl have fled North by this time to avoid the heat. This coming week our forecast calls for 99 degrees as a high for the next seven days. Yikes! It’s only late April early May and near 100 already? We are not snowbirds, we are full-timers here in Arizona at the edge of the Sonora Desert that stretches south well into Mexico. So summertime temperatures stay consistently over 100 every day and even into the night hours from now on until about September.

But this morning, just seeing new life, fresh and happy life, bobbing up and down in the cool pond, made me appreciate just the every day pleasures of life and being alive. All you have to do is turn on CNN and you will be instantly depressed; Poison gas in Syria, death and destruction in Boston, unnecessary delays at airports, price of gas into the stratosphere…and on and on. That is why, I think, it is important to connect with life and nature and wildlife around you, wherever you live as much as you can. If you live in the city, or the country or in another country other than the U.S. where we live…enjoy the world around you. We are all above ground on this planet Earth only so many days, enjoy each one and be thankful just for being alive.

Item #2: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/livenow?id=7602707  This is the url link provided by KABC-TV, the owned and operated local affiliated ABC-TV network station in Los Angeles (where I spent many years during my network broadcasting career.) This is a great view, with audio, of Laguna Beach, CA, just south of the megalopolis known as Los Angeles. The area is a beautiful seaside cove where the water is clean, relatively speaking compared to Santa Monica Bay, the homes are beautiful and the living is quiet. Laguna Beach is a beautiful peaceful beach community and if you are ever in L.A., check it out. Until then, you can enjoy this peek at what is happening now on the beach with this live streaming video.

Finally, I posted previously that I was “fixin” (that’s a Texas slang term, sorry) to start up a podcast, maybe 15 minutes in length, once per week or so, as a companion to my writing websites at www.frederickfichman.com and www.visit-the-zoo.com. I have all the components about ready: a fancy studio MXL microphone, a Mackie 4-channel mixer, a PCM-D50 Sony digital field recorder and Sound Forge Audio Studio mixing software. I want to do this right so you can hear my scratchy voice clearly and it doesn’t sound like I am using my bathroom for a studio with a $5 Radio Shack mic, sorry RS. I am also thinking about shooting video simultaneously and uploading to my new video channels on You Tube and Vimeo. I asked for response awhile back as to whether you wanted me to press forward with this plan for a new podcast. I am still looking forward to feedback. So, give me a few comments below.

Well, that’s all from the desert. Take care everyone and check out my new video channels. Have a great weekend and a productive week ahead. bfn.

https://vimeo.com/channels/frederickfichman  Vimeo Video Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/fjfichman/feed   You Tube Video Channel

Frederick Fichman
www.frederickfichman.com
www.visit-the-zoo.com

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time….
Storytelling began before written history. Tales were told by a fire, in a cave or in a deep dark forest or possibly on the plains of Africa, with wild animals crying in the night. The earliest recorded storytelling was by Gilgamesh, as he told of the accomplishments and triumphs of a Sumerian king. The earliest written record is found in Egypt as the sons of Pharaoh Cheops was told by his sons.
Storytelling at its best today is found in the books written by accomplished authors or by journalists or bloggers. But watching last night a DVD I ordered for the movie “Life of Pi,” prompted me to write this blog in praise of the Story and Storytelling. The story in the original book written by Yann Martel and the movie version adaptation screenplay is superb. To weave a story in a speech, to tell a fascinating tale at the dinner table, or to put a truly intriguing story on paper or in an ebook is the deepest hope of many. It is The Goal for compulsive and driven storytellers whose hearts are bursting with imagination and ideas to spin out some funny, wicked or mysterious collection of words.
I think about you my readers every time I sit in front of my computer as I continue my labors to finish “SETI, Conception,” as I finish my outline for “Megaptera” or as I constantly think about my fantasy manuscript of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804 that will be described in my book, “The Feather.” I just wanted you to know that I try to please both myself and you, always thinking about what would set your imagination on fire. And after you read that last sentence before “The End” I consider what is that would put a smile on your face.
Just one more item before I close this weeks’ blog, I have put together a 3 minute video that you can find at YouTube.com and Vimeo.com. You can click on the url addresses below.
Hoping you have a great weekend and a productive coming week. Drop me note, even just to say hello.
 
Frederick Fichman

The Digital Revolution is Here, Like it or Not

Last week the National Association of Broadcasters held its annual conference and exhibit in Las Vegas. Over 80,000 people attended to look at all of the latest and greatest broadcast equipment, software and media production gear. If you read my Bio you will see that I spent most of my television broadcasting career at ABC-TV in Hollywood. I would make the annual trek to NAB and attended during a time that everything was analog, now it all digital. It is digital, smaller, and lighter with picture and sound resolution that is getting close to real life, how we truly see and hear the world around us. Soon, broadcast, download or streamed images and sound will be so lifelike that the line between real and virtual will almost be erased.

More than the resolution it is the global coverage of our digital world that is astonishing. The business models for broadcasters and major media companies have also changed. The large television networks no longer dominate like they once did. It is Facebook, YouTube and Ustream that is stealing attention and eyeballs by the tens of millions. And without social media and other digital “broadcast” platforms hope for your product and service sales is minimal. You must participate in this digital revolution whatever you do for a living, whatever you make or produce or service. Digital components are embedded in our cars, homes and our bodies. There is no escaping the Integrated Circuit and what is to follow.

That is why I post frequently on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and here on my weekly blog. I want you to know what I am doing as an author. I have more than 20 books now published on Kindle, Nook and KOBO. More is on the way and “in-work”, but I want to keep connected with you, my readers, and my audience. That is why I am moving forward, very soon now, putting together an audio podcast with a video YouTube component as well. For fifteen minutes or so I will tell you what I am working on, how I am progressing with my latest new book, and occasionally bringing on a guest or two to turn my podcast into a Master Series of people expert in their field.  I also want you to hear some natural sound that I have recorded on my Sony PCM-D50 stereo digital field recorder. I’ll drop in a clip or two every now and then. I want to keep this Podcast varied and interesting and I would like to request feedback from you as to what you would like to hear or want me to capture for you. I will try to make my Podcast “Sound Rich” for you the listener, not just a talking head, me, all the time.

My question to you is, are you interested in listening to such a podcast? It will be free, of course, and available on iTunes and other Podcast venues. You will be able to listen on your computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or other digital devices.

I want to know what you think, again…would you listen to a regular podcast, let’s say once per week or several times per month? Let me know, comment below or even send me an email.

                                Tell me what you think.

Frederick Fichman

Polar Bears are Cute…But They Will Eat You

 
Hey, what’s with the fuzzy soft picture? It’s a screen shot, a picture of a computer monitor. And the Polar Bear, what’s he holding? He’s holding a carrot. There are no carrots being grown in the Arctic, but what you are looking at is a snapshot from live streaming video at the San Diego Zoo.

Polar Bears have now more than ever captured our imaginations. It may be because of the increased number of television documentaries on Polar Bears. Perhaps they are more visible because of the widely advertised adventure travel packages that can take you to Churchill, Canada. These trips look like great fun. You travel to the edge of the Arctic and see these creatures in the wild, up-close in comfortable safe protective vehicles.

But I have a feeling that most of you reading this blog will probably not be making that expensive trip to northern Canada. You can still get close to these magnificent creatures through protective glass, moats and distance by visiting your local zoo. They are fascinating; observing them eat, watching them playfully swim, watching them chase other polar bears in their enclosure and constantly sniffing the air maybe for an imagined next meal.

And if you can’t do that, I suggest you go to one of the polar bear internet streaming websites now available on the web. Of course, I would also suggest going to Amazon or Barnes&Noble and downloading a copy of “Visit the Zoo, vol. X.” You will find a chapter in that book with excellent photos and facts about these magnificent creatures. Here is a couple of interesting tidbits:

Largest Polar Bear on record weighed 2,120 pounds and stood erect over 12 feet.

Under that thick coat of fur they have another 3 inches of fat to keep them warm.

An opportunistic hunter they will eat just about anything, but they love seal meat.

Although born stark white to blend into their surroundings, their fur yellows with age

And yes, if you, a human being, were to stroll up to one of these powerful animals, either in their zoo enclosures or in the wild, there is a better than average chance that with one swipe they would kill you. And if not interrupted or stopped, they could very well eat you.

Finally, I really do hope you check out my “Visit the Zoo” 12-volume series available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Besides your own gratification the book series is a wonderful way to introduce children and young adults with those great facts about over 120 animals while you are strolling around your local zoo or sitting on your living room couch, reading your smartphone, tablet, laptop or ereader.

LINKS:

 

 

 

 

“SETI” and Stanley Kubrick

 
Recently, I’ve been diligently working on the final outline for my novel, “SETI, Conception” which will be book III in my SETI Trilogy. And, in my humble opinion, will be a fantastic and fast-moving story with a monstrous surprise ending that startled even me when I came up with the idea.

As I was working on completion of the story and outline for this book I thought I would review some of my favorite science fiction works that really moved me in such a way that even today I think about those stories. The absolute first story and film that came to mind was the motion picture “2001 A Space Odyssey.” It was directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1968.

I was young when it was first released and full of ideas and passions for filmmaking, television, writing and telling my stories. I went to see “2001” with my father to a large theater in Kansas City, Mo. After the film was over I will never forget an older gentleman saying to his wife, he was walking behind us, “…What the hell was that all about…” I pitied him then and now that he didn’t get it. He didn’t get the concept that the universe is large and mysterious, there may be civilizations millions of years more advanced than we are and that we have to realize that what is “out there” truly is unknown or unimaginable to us.

It was the beauty of the way Stanley Kubrick told the story from Arthur C. Clarke’s short novel, “The Sentinel,” that made the existence of extraterrestrial civilization come alive with the underlying subtext that we may not be prepared for what we find. Kubrick’s films were events, more than just mere movies to entertain an audience for a few hours on a Saturday night. They have stood the test of time and are seen and enjoyed long after they were released. Some of Kubrick films: “Paths of Glory” (1957), “Spartacus” (1960), “2001, A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Barry Lyndon” (1975), “The Shining” (1980), and “Eyes Wide Shut” ( 1999).

When you watched a Stanley Kubrick movie, you were watching true motion picture art; you were experiencing and were part of an event.

I am really trying to make this book III of my SETI Trilogy, an event. I can only dream and hope to come up to that same level of excellence established by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.

If you have the time and are curious about the life and films of Stanley Kubrick, there is a wonderful documentary available free on YouTube, “Stanley Kubrick, Life in Pictures.” But be prepared, the running time is slightly over 2 hours, twenty minutes. But it is excellent. Here’s the URL:

My cover art for book III, the SETI Trilogy, can be found on my home page at www.frederickfichman.com. Links to purchase books I & II can also be found on my home page.

 

Frederick Fichman