Tales by Duane Wik
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Check out my script Endgame which is based on real events and quotes from the mysterious Bobby Fischer. I was researching him for a feature length screenplay and wrote this as a short film sample. The feature was abandoned when I learned that there are a couple of forthcoming Bobby Fischer feature films in production already. Fischer attended the fundamentalist christian cult that I grew up in called Worldwide Church of God. Fischer also lived for a time on the church’s Pasadena campus where I would later attend a summer camp.
I enjoyed watching the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate online yesterday. It went exactly as I expected which is to say both debaters held up well in their own right. Don’t get me wrong, Ken Ham is in the realm of extremist as I feel any Young Earth Creationist (YEC) is. But he did what I expected him to do, which is to be a solid public speaker, enchant you with his accent and to be calm and collected as he went through his material. This is a man who wrote and runs the creation museum and Answers in Genesis.com after all. Nye did a wonderful job of being his likable (to me) quirky self and a champion of reason and science. I enjoyed the jokes.
A lot of people said Nye should NOT give a nut like Ham the time of day. I disagree. As long as states are pushing ID and other questionable materials in public schools then people like Nye need to be out there fighting the good fight. I want to reiterate one point that Nye repeatedly stressed: there are billions of religious folks around the world who understand evolution and know that it is fact. You can be a theist and still believe in evolution.
A little about me. I grew up in a fundamentalist christian cult called the worldwide church of god. I was born into it and left after attending the church sponsored college around 1996. I studied mostly theology there so I have an extensive bible based background. I probably wouldn’t admit it at the time, but the school was designed to bolster the home churches by pumping out ministers and speaking men who could perpetuate the cult teachings from its so called prophet. This being the aim, the school took measures to teach biased ethics, public speaking, speech writing, and intensive bible courses.
I am now a secular humanist. One of my favorite pastimes is watching theology debates, studying world religions and science of all types. I love astronomy, biology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, architecture, computer science, game theory, building stuff, writing and making movies.
I ran across this Buzzfeed article titled 22 Messages From Creationist to People who Believe in Evolution. It’s typical buzzfeed stuff (Lists, fluff). There is something about putting a face with a handwritten note that strikes a cord with more people than walls of text would. Well these questions bothered me. Mostly because a lot of them seem like such easily answerable questions to someone like me who watches a lot of debates and sees these same questions time and time again. Without further ado, my refutations to 22 messages from Creationists. Note: the article is poorly titled, you can’t BELIEVE in Evolution any more than you can BELIEVE in Gravity. It IS a fact.
A note on tone. I’m sincere in my answers despite a few questions which seem to be trolling (God said Bang). I am addressing the idea, not mocking the individual. These are our neighbors and family. The ideas must be confronted. You can see my picture on Twitter. I am open to your questions. Hit me up on Twitter or Email.
I came across a podcast called the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin show and it featured the two guys Nick and Dimitri from Everythyingisterrible.com with I’m a big fan of Everything is Terrible which was a youtube channel turned traveling show featuring ‘found footage’ from cringe worthy VHS tapes. Some of my favorites are Cat Massage, Duane and
Interesting story over at Engadget regarding an ebayer who picked up an old Laserdisc on Ebay for $699 which contained never before seen outtakes from Return of the Jedi. Apparently the disc was used as part of the traveling Edit Droid demo which was an early computerized non linear editing system. Check out this totally radical 1984 NAB footage of the Edit Droid in action with the ROTJ Laserdiscs. This particular disc contains 30 minutes of never before seen outtakes from Return of The Jedi.
Knowing the extremely litigious nature of Disney, I’m sure they will attempt to quash this content from the internet. It is likely too late for Disney to try to kill it though, since the more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. Attempting to suppress these types of things typically end up having a Streisand Effect.
The owner of the lost ROTJ outtakes disc has setup a Facebook page where he is slowly doling out clips from the coveted disc. Apparently there is a documentary in the works as well. Star Wars nerds rejoice!
I’ve been watching a lot of AMC’s The Walking Dead lately. With Breaking Bad over, I decided to catch up on all 3 seasons of The Walking Dead available on Netflix. I certainly have enjoyed the show and it got me thinking about survival if the zombie apocalypse were to happen in real life.
One thing that seems to off a lot of characters is close contact with zombies (well duh). The zombies really seem to love going for the neck and cheek. They love arms and legs as well.
Guns can only protect you for so long, what about drawing those deadly bites away from vulnerable areas?
So I came up with the Baitinator 3000™. It’s a simple slip on vest with 14 sturdy mounting points for ‘salvaged bait”.
It’s simple to use, just exaust your ammo as you normily would, but instead of sacrificing your own fleshy appendages, the Baitinator™ 3000 supplies a succulent foot or hand from somone who no longer needs it. Thus keeping you safe for long enough to escape those surprise lunge attacks!
I’m not exactly an artist, but you get the gist.
It’s always exciting to get a new film from auteur Wes Anderson. It’s equally as exciting to view these beautiful little trailers that are so poignant and funny.
Check out this stunning trailer from The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s so Wes Anderson. I love the color, the framing and the staging. The pacing of the trailer is frantic and filled with funny dialogue and striking images.
I immediately noticed the aspect ratio of the trailer what I think to be 1.37. This appears in more squarish than the 1.87 format that Moonrise Kingdom was shot in (Also 16mm).It appears to be shot on 16mm film which has excellent grain quality to the image. Check out Moonrise Kingdom’s cinematographer Robert Yeoman’s breakdown over at Studiodaily.com.
And always, I have to link my all time favorite commercial whenever I talk Anderson…Are those my birds?
Most of you are probably familiar with the street artist “Banksy” There’s a documentary covering a French man who is obsessed with street art and it covers some Banksy works. It’s called Exit Through The gift shop.
Streetartnews.com has a story covering a stunt that Banksy pulled off in NYC’s central park. Included in the story is a great video of the booth that was set up complete with old man stand-in. One lucky Chicagoan may have invested only $240.00 for a set of 4 original Banksy artworks worth an estimated $85,000.00. Check out the article here.
Some of my favorite Banksy works:
I have a friend named Shad.
This is Shad.
This is Shad’s Dog
This is a quote by The Great Wizzard Shad of Tarses.
Shad is my muse.
Watch what you say around him though, because this might happen…
Shad and I met while testing the video game Goldeneye:Rogue Agent at Electronic Arts in LA.
It was a lot like this…in my head.
Shad and I like to play an informal game.
He posts a picture. And I …uh..enhance it.
Or sometimes I find things…
And it just feels right.
Don’t ask me why…
I guess it makes me feel good.
Sometimes it follows world events…
And sometimes it is completely random.
But it always makes me laugh.
Just look at that face.
Sometimes there is a creative collaboration.
He really despises the bagpipes.
I think everyone should have a muse.
Let them play you the song of their people.
Because in the end, it’s pretty fucking epic to have a friend like Shad.
Thank you Shad.
Directing the 48 hour film “The Whole Nine Meters” was a blast. Of course I decided to check out the competition and I felt I was definitely in the top tier of local competition. Then I decided to check out worldwide competition. I was quickly humbled by last years overall winner “Jacques Serres”.
It blows my mind that they did this in 48 hours. Shot on a Canon 5d Mark III.
* The Las Vegas Zoo is not an officially recognized zoo of the City of Las Vegas, nor is it sponsored by the National Association of Zoos.
So it was with great trepidation I decided to take my family to the Las Vegas Zoo one weekend. The reason for my worry was soon apparent. None of our friends had ever even heard of the Zoo and they didn’t know Las Vegas had a zoo.
Turns out they don’t.
As I noted above, the zoo is not really a zoo, it is more like a backyard collection of animals. It’s privately owned and operated on the old 595 that leads out of Vegas to Reno. That road is now bypassed by the US95 freeway. There are still myriad casinos and older housing around the “zoo”.
Join with me in our journey, into one of Las Vegas’ best kept nightmares.
The first thing you notice is the lack of zoo like quality to the grounds. It is essentially 3 acres of someones private property with years worth of bad ideas thrown at it.
When pulling up, I noticed a water bottle filled with a yellow liquid. I avoided driving over it for fear of releasing its contents onto my vehicle. The second thing I saw was that this is someone’s neighborhood and there is not really a parking lot. The so called lot is an ugly gravel area adjacent to the road littered with trash.
Not a good feeling when you have a 3 year old with you as they can quickly pick things up that they find interesting. Before you can scream in protest they’ve picked up something truly disgusting.
The main entrance was seemingly abandoned. I think there was a sign that said ring the bell when you walk up. A few moments later a “lady” took our money and let us through the gate. I didn’t manage to get a picture because I was fighting the impulse to turn around and leave. The below picture is the backside of the main building and entrance. To the right is the goat pen. It’s sort of like a really shitty petting zoo.
You can go in and pet the goats which is slightly amusing. I think the closest thing, thought-wise, that could compare to the decision to enter the cage was if you were say in Bangkok for one night and you were in the dirtiest part of the ghetto and a one legged hooker invited you into her “house”.
Everything in my mind was telling me not to go into that area.
I think what I found most appalling was that EVERYWHERE you looked there was shit. Bird shit mostly. They got a real problem there. The sidewalks, the railings, the ground are all littered with bird feces and excrement. The smell reminded me of the time I went to distribute clothes and water to homeless children who lived among the trash at a landfill in Mexico. Just an overwhelming stench of garbage and rot.
Everything was dotted with bird crap. Disturbing.
The zoo doesn’t appear to be cleaned on a regular basis. Everything is dilapidated, dirty and unkempt. Of course it stinks here. It smells like wet goat rolled in poop dust.
All the enclosures are really broken down and in a general state of disrepair. I was honestly afraid my 3 year old was going to catch bird flu. Sad Turtle prison on the left. All the signs are damaged, faded and essentially junk. The walls are broken and did I mention yet that everything is covered in shit?
The layout is haphazard. Below is an area that is essentially a dead end. A wall, a fence and another fence with nothing.
So they do have some animals. Goats, pigeons (uninvited), an alligator, a tortoise, some kind of ostrich, an emu looking thing. They all looked really forlorn. They didn’t look clean or happy. They looked depressed, underfed, and just well… sad.
They had a snake house which was a building with a shitty entrance and 5 or 6 glass enclosures. It stunk in there and it was poorly maintained. Huge surprise I know. This is a door on the side of the building, but the entrance wasn’t much better. Nothing was very clearly marked.
Inside the snake enclosure it was dark and dirty. There were a few enclosures and a few snakes visible. This snake below was pretty much the main attraction. There was a broken window for one of the enclosures. An intense feeling of claustrophobia came over me when I was inside the snake house. I think the darkness, the smell and the fear of a loose snake was what caused my uneasiness.
More of the Snake enclosure…
I think I took a picture of this corner below because it was moldy. Yes some of that is ‘painted design” but in the cracks is furious mold.
Going outside was welcoming, if only for a moment. This sad little alligator was depressing in every way. His tree needs to be trimmed. His cage needed to be cleaned. His water is down too far, the wall is broken. On and On.
I’ve heard The San Diego Zoo has sent animals here in the past. What a joke.
Walking around was extremely hazardous. Falling would be bad, but what you fall INTO would be even worse.
Where am I going? No signs and many dead ends.
Then there’s wall of stuff: It’s like they try, but then…I dunno. It’s just so poorly executed.
What a depressing day. When I got home I was angered at the filth and at the tourist trap that I subjected myself and my family to. So I decided to take the high road and help the Las Vegas Zoo with some new advertising to hopefully drum up revenue so they can clean this mess up.
Check out my sample billboards that are sure to create a steady flow of new customers!
Leave a comment! Have you been to the Las Vegas Zoo?