GreenLance Communications: News • Media • Reviews

Monday, December 21, 2015

How I Script a Script

Did you know there are rules for screenwriting? Actual rules. And when you don't follow the rules, you get beaten with a yardstick -- or ignored by Hollywood. Whichever hurts worse. Whenever I fancy myself a screenwriter, I hire an assistant to help me follow the rules. OK, "hire" is perhaps too strong a word; "open" may be more accurate.

Celtx is a terrific little piece of software, absolutely free, that will write scripts, storyboard scenes and sequences, sketch setups, develop characters, breakdown & tag elements, schedule productions, and prepare and circulate informative reports for cast and crew. (Yeah, I plagiarized that description from Celtx' website. Ssshhhh.) In between screenplays, it also writes comic books. Not kidding.

Now if Charlie Sheen could just download an assistant to help him follow the rules, all would be well in Hollywood.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How I Get My Adobe On

Noupe.comMany decades ago, we spent a long weekend in a Lotus 1-2-3 workshop. By Saturday night we were experts on everything spreadsheet.

Now we're wishing for a weekend seminar on Photoshop...but the local community college is putting all its continuing ed energy kidding...Introduction to Facebook! Become a Mystery Shopper! Cupid's Cuisine! Sigh.

lynda.comSo we're finding ourselves having to create our own weekend Photoshop workshops. Fortunately, these workshops are free, and allow us to attend class in our underpants. For print tutorials, we've become quite fond of Noupe, and for video tutorials, we're growing even more enamoured of Lynda. Both resources provide intensive, Adobe-in-a-Can delivery of knowledge by folks who seem pretty knowledgable about their product. Time to dive in now. We won't come up for air until we're experts!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How I Check (Yesterday's) Weather

Weather UndergroundEver wonder where the weatherman gets his information? "Yesterday's low was xx degrees, two degrees below our record, set back in 1948, of xx+2 degrees." I mean, you can't just know this stuff, right?

Turns out, you can. Courtesy of Weather Underground, the free weather resource that predicts tomorrow's climate, and records yesterday's. After typing in your zip code -- sorry, people of Mozambique and Madagascar; your weather isn't good enough to track -- scroll down to the History & Almanac heading, and read up on hour-by-hour weather, any day in history. Assuming, that is, that history started in 1931.

Friday, September 11, 2015

How I Conquer the Travel Bug

Back in the early 80's we had our first bedbug encounter, at a trashy little rathole in southern Taiwan. Head to toe. Those nasty critters left scars! We'd pay good money not to do that again! Fortunately, we don't have to pay good money. The Bed Bug Registry is willing to warn us for free -- well, so long as we stay in the US and Canada, or on a cruise ship. Next trip to Asia, we think we'll take a good flashlight and a sturdy shoe.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How I Know When I'll Die

Living to 100I'm about to have a birthday. Interestingly, it's the birthday that marks the halfway point of my life. How do I know? A little calculator called Living to 100 told me so.

The calculator measures factors such as social interactions, medical condition, family history, diet and exercise...all the things your doctor says you need to take care of...and tells you how long you're expected to live. Ouch.

Turns out that if I want to live to 105, I need to get my backside onto a treadmill. Who knew?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How I Hassle Myself

Hassle Me
I operate many mailing lists; sometimes a week or so can go by without my remembering to moderate the messages -- and then all sorts of chaos ensues.

I've found the solution: Hassle Me, a helpful little resource that sends me abusive emails every few days reminding me to go moderate my lists.

Use it to remind yourself to go to the gym ("Get off your fat backside, you lazy twit"), eat fruit ("Lay off the burgers, you massive carnivore!"), or to think positive thoughts about yourself ("You're really quite lovely, and not at all obese.")

Sometimes, you just need to be nagged.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How I De-Junk My Mail

OptOutPreescreenI may have been amongst the first three people to put myself onto the Do Not Call registry. Before the registry, I had nearly stopped answering my phone altogether. Just couldn't bear the relentless solicitations for life insurance, time shares and credit cards. Since the registry, blissful silence from the commercial sector. These days the only people who call me are friends and clients.

So now I've added my name to the junk-mail version of the DNCR. OptOutPrescreen is operated by the four credit-reporting agencies. Signing up stops credit card issuers and insurance agents from checking your credit to mail out those obnoxious You're Pre-Approved! offers, thereby discouraging -- but not quite eliminating -- the daily overstuffing of the mailbox. Reducing clutter is just my tiny contribution to the sustainabilification of the planet.

See how I just totally coined a new word?