Monthly Archives: April 2005

Abandoned projects

During last week’s spring break, my 12 year old made it a point to watch all of the Star Wars DVDs, including Episodes I (The Phantom Menace), II (Attack of the Clones), and the original trilogy. To make sure he is up to speed for the upcoming release of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, he also bought and watched (several times!) the animated Clone Wars Vol. 1. Needless to say, when he happened to be watching when I was home I sat down and watched with him.

Though I have to admit I’m not an admirer of George Lucas as a screenwriter or director (my favorite of the Star Wars films has always been Empire Strikes Back , directed by Irvin Kershner and co-written by Lawrence Kasdan), I’ve always been fascinated with his approach to making movies, exemplified by the following quote:

A movie is never finished, only abandoned.

The quote above came to mind as I was answering Ian’s questions about the original trilogy and what is was like to see them in the theaters. Of course, the conversation wound its way to the special editions of the movies in theaters, then the re-release on VHS.

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As I’m sitting here composing this post, I’ve got iTunes in the background playing my library in shuffle mode. What just came on? Yep, the Star Wars Main Title. From the Return of the Jed Soundtrack – Special Edition version no less. Sorry for the interruption, but I just had to write this down.
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As we watched the DVDs, I would tell Ian where something was different, where things were added from the original to the Special Editions. Even I was caught by surprise though at the end of Return of the Jedi. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, suffice it to say that the special edition was tweaked just a bit for the DVD version, so there are now 3 different versions of Return of the Jedi. (And yes, I’ve got all three versions 😉

I think we all at some point have “abandoned” projects, not because we thought we were finished but because it was time to stop. Some deadlines are hard, and you don’t have any choice but to deliver what you have. For example (again from Lucas):

Though Episode II was shot entirely digitally, it still had to be transferred to film for display in theaters. This meant that the “final” edit had to be complete about 2 weeks before release date for printing and distribution. It was printed and distributed, but Lucas wasn’t really finished with the film and continued to edit a final final cut right up until release, when the digital version was distributed to the few theaters in the country that have digital projection. The vast majority of people that saw the movie in theaters did not see the “final” version of the film (which, by the way, is the version that is on the DVD.)

I’m not sure what my point is, if there is one, in this rambling post. On the one hand, there is the desire to have your art (and if the results of our work is not art, what is the point) truly reflect your vision for it, to make it as complete as possible. On the other hand is the practical reality that dictates to us that at some point we have to stop, whether we want to or not.

Just something to think about…

April is Autism Awareness Month

As the parent of an autistic son, I have a keen interest in all aspects of autism research. Since Zeke is now 13, though, my main focus is in the area of treatment, services, etc. In support of local efforts here in New Jersey, I’ve signed up as an “Autism Awareness Ambassador” for the NJ Center for Outreach & Services for Autism Community, or more simply COSAC. Their mission statement (quoted from their website):

COSAC is a non-profit agency providing information and advocacy, services, family and professional education and consultation. COSAC encourages responsible basic and applied research that would lead to a lessening of the effects and potential prevention of autism. COSAC is dedicated to ensuring that all people with autism receive appropriate, effective services to maximize their growth potential and to enhancing the overall awareness of autism in the general public.

As part of my ambassador duties, I’ve also set up a page as part of COSAC’s online fundraising campaign for Autism Awareness month. I’ve set a modest goal of US$500 and am posting this notice here as well as sending out some e-mails to friends and family. While COSAC is primarily an NJ organization, the work they do ultimately benefits us all.

For more information on autism and to converse with me on the subject, please take a look at my blog 29 marbles.

The Mindjet Blog

From the executive group (including their CEO, CTO, and VP of Bus Dev) at Mindjet is The Mindjet Blog, a recently launched blog addressing the technology behind and uses of their Mind Manager application. A couple of interesting early posts include an article about using Mind Manager as an RSS reader and a piece on “How Our Blog Travels Through the Blogosphere.”

I’m looking forward to more good info from the Mindjet team. Thank guys.

Evidence of Harm – thimerosal and vaccines

On today’s Leonard Lopate Show on WYNC, Leonard spoke with David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm:

Bad Medicine?

David Kirby investigates the side effects of thimerosal–a preservative used in vaccines that contains mercury. Noting that the use of this preservative coincided with an upsurge of reported cases of autism amongst American children in the 1990s, he looks into whether these vaccines directly hurt children, and who should be held accountable if they did, in Evidence of Harm.

You can listen to the discussion in Real Audio format or get it (and other things from WNYC) via podcast.

If you are in the NYC area, you can see David Kirby speak at the 92d Street Y, Makor Steinhart Center Division on Wednesday at noon.

April is Autism Awareness Month

In support of local efforts here in New Jersey, I’ve signed up as an “Autism Awareness Ambassador” for the NJ Center for Outreach & Services for Autism Community, or more simply COSAC. Their mission statement (quoted from their website):

COSAC is a non-profit agency providing information and advocacy, services, family and professional education and consultation. COSAC encourages responsible basic and applied research that would lead to a lessening of the effects and potential prevention of autism. COSAC is dedicated to ensuring that all people with autism receive appropriate, effective services to maximize their growth potential and to enhancing the overall awareness of autism in the general public.

As part of my ambassador duties, I’ve also set up a page as part of COSAC’s online fundraising campaign for Autism Awareness month. I’ve set a modest goal of US$500 and am posting this notice here (and here) as well as sending out some e-mails to friends and family. While COSAC is primarily an NJ organization, the work they do ultimately benefits us all.