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Tasker

“Tasker” — Invasion.”

SFF – YA / NA

On the densely populated planet-M, cheeky eleven-year-old Samdan practices an age-old alchemic science called tasking—he uses his mind to manipulate atomic structure. As his uncanny ability makes him an outlaw, a threat to Tanom Sar, the corporate leader of the planet, Samdan’s parents send him far away, to a place where the corporate board will never find him.

Six years later, in present day Los Angeles, teen orphan Jack Paige carries bugs outside rather than stomp on them; he climbs lofty trees to rescue wayward kittens; he’s plagued by recurring dreams.  Tonight he’ll find himself in a heap of trouble. Assassins will try to kill him; the local police will say he’s a murderer; secret agents will claim he’s America’s most dangerous, and even Shane, his best buddy, will doubt him because Jack will try to convince him that he’s really Samdan, sent to Earth six years ago from a dying world called Planet-M, where the ruler, a corporate thug named Tanom Sar, is drumming up plans to invade Earth.

Two worlds on the verge of colliding. One lost soul might be able to save both.  Jack/ Samdan is not a superhero, nevertheless, as a tasker he is unique.  But after living six years on Earth, Jack has forgotten almost everything a practicing tasker needs to know. 

War.  Resistance. Alchemy.  Destiny. They want him dead but if Jack/ Samdan can believe, hope might exist.

Kauai Video Productions

OUT-OF-BODY

Stuck in a loveless marriage, and having met the woman of his dreams, Herbie Forest decides it’s time to get divorced. 

Too bad Death sends him a shocking curveball. Martin the ghost knows he’s dead because he can chat with him. Herbie’s wife knows he’s dead because she murdered him. But Turnik the angel isn’t so sure because Herbie is one of those rare cases; he was already out of his body at the moment of slaughter, so technically he’s neither dead or alive. He just doesn’t have a body. 

Agents, producers, leading performers contact my agent:

The Fraser Agency
808-278-8643

 

 

Capitalism – I’m not an expert

Capitalism. Socialism. Mixed Economy.  Three different economic/political systems. For the masses they conjure epochal realities of various nations suffering or prospering.  Capitalism for most means free enterprise, while socialism means government decides who gets and who doesn’t.   How often have I heard: “There isn’t a better system than Capitalism.” “I’m proud to be a Capitalist even though I live paycheck to paycheck” Perhaps, it could even be you saying it. It used to be me. 

The longer I live, the more I witness poverty, strife, bankruptcies due to medical nightmares, sudden job loss, individual bad luck, bad timing, a silly mistake, I’ve grown to  realize that Capitalism only works for the richest of society who can weather the harshest of circumstances. But what’s better than Capitalism? Is there anything better?  I’ll give you a hint. It’s definitely not Socialism.    

 I’m not an expert on political systems. I’m not one who believes government should have the power to dictate how much a person or corporation should make. But I do believe in fairness. I also believe in an old phrase: No man is an island.   

Let me talk about fairness. Who pays more at a car dealership, a person with good credit or a struggling waiter with so-so credit?  Who pays 29% bank card interest rates, millionaires or hard-on-their-luck Americans who sometimes use their cards for food, gas, and emergencies?  Who makes money on the stock market, people who can afford to gamble, or a single mom who can barely get by with a minimum wage paycheck? As a percentage who pays more tax, the average millionaire or the average factory worker?

Only obstinance, a head in the sand would deduce a different reality: Capitalism favors the wealthy and wealthy minded. But what’s wrong with that? If you’re not wealthy, play by the rules, get into the system, and profit by it. Really?

What about the hand you are dealt? Child of a middle-class family / child of a convicted drug felon living in squalor. Rich kid who goes to a good school, poor kid who barely gets an education.  Note: I’m not suggesting that poor kids cannot receive a good education anymore than I’m suggesting that rich kids get the best education. 

Again, I’m not an expert on these things but I’ve lived for six decades and have seen the gulf between the haves and have nots grow exponentially.  I’m certain our inequitable taxation system is part of the problem. I’m also certain that without regulatory mechanisms wealth hoarding will continue to plague our society.  

 “I started the business! It was my brainwave! My sacrifice!” The business owner who says this is correct.  But could the business have grown without employees? 

No man is an island, right — imagine a society that lived by this;  Imagine a society that looked poverty in the eye and said “I cannot allow this.” Imagine a society where you couldn’t find a business with 50 or more employees that didn’t have a profit sharing plan.  Imagine: a livable wage as an anachronism, welfare an instrument for the needy rather than a strain on the economy.  Is this a Utopian pipe dream?   

Factually, profit sharing already works well in many companies. I keep hearing the argument against livable wages but in the fifties and sixties wages were indeed livable; one working person in the family earned enough for a mortgage, food, clothes, car, and for the family to live well. How about taxes? Specifically, is it possible for to have a fair taxation system?  I’m absolutely convinced that income tax prevents economic honesty. Too many individuals, corporations, partnerships, dodge, evade and avoid income tax. The main problem with income tax is the tax forms; they’re too easy to rig, especially if you have a high-priced accountant preparing the forms. The solution: do away with it. Instead adopt a very comprehensive usage tax system. 

With a usage tax everything purchased, rented, invested into, would be taxed, hopefully nominally. You wouldn’t be able to avoid the tax, dodge it, right it off or defer it. You still might be able to defraud the government by selling something at a pretend lower price but overall Usage is a fair taxation system that would cause corporations, super-corporations, individuals, investors to pay a fair share. No deductions. No tax free. Perhaps waivers or rebates for the needy. Unfortunately, the system might be a daunting endeavor to implement. 

Wall Street. The lynchpin of American Capitalism—I believe it needs a massive redo. While investing for a rainy day, saving for retirement, and planning your kids school days are noble practices that must be kept alive, Wall Street and the banks have been given a free range to muck up peoples lives for too long.  

Back to my opening statement: Capitalism. Socialism. Mixed Economy!  Adam Smith who invented Capitalism believed in a free trading market that would benefit all; I don’t believe he ever imagined his idea would become the benchmark of greed. Karl Marx believed that Capitalism would eventually destruct. But his vision of equality that he termed Socialism was tunneled; he couldn’t see the coming doldrum that would spread across his nation like an inky cloud suffocating the people’s innovation and drive. Socialism has never worked.  Those that think of Sweden and Norway are misguided—they are not Socialist nations. Social democratic theorist Eduard Bernstein who termed the phrase Mixed Economy, believed that a system of public and private enterprise working cooperatively was the way to go, fearing that ultimately Capitalism would reshape itself into Socialism. Is he right?

But in some ways these systems are just names. The Montagues and Capulets in Shakespeare’s play were warring families who hated each other, and thus caused the death of lovers Romeo and Juliet.   It’s not the name is it? It’s what the bigwigs in charge do! And they call it a name.  

Entrepreneurism is nowhere to be found as a political /economic system. But it sounds good to me. Investmentism? No such word. But it kind of befits the Capitalism we see in America today. If you have the money to invest and you do, you’ll make money and your money will make money. Forget the rest. Survival of the fittest. Bla bla bla!

Maybe there really isn’t a better system than Capitalism.  Perhaps New Capitalism. After all, it’s not the name. It’s the policy.

But what do I know? As I said, I’m not an expert on these things. 

 

 

The Genesis Engine

The Genesis Engine is the 2nd volume of a YA trilogy that unfolds on two worlds, present day Earth and a planet known as M, as seventeen-year-old Jack Paige from Los Angeles California learns that he’s really Samdan, born on M, and destined to save both worlds from the grips of a sinister corporation.

While the first and third volume take place almost entirely on Earth present day,  “The Genesis Engine” is set on the planet M.

 

 

Movie review – “Room”

What do they say, better late than never? In the following case, maybe. I just watched the movie “Room” -2015 – starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, a film that has won numerous awards including an Oscar for Brie Larson. I now see why there are so many average and even negative reviews. But first,  “Room” is an extremely well crafted movie. The subject matter is disturbing and unfolds deliberately, even slowly, as the two lead actors pull you into their bleak world. Larson plays Joy, an abducted woman—taken seven years prior, at seventeen. Now with a five-year old son named Jack, fathered by her abductor who still repeatedly rapes her, Joy and her son are imprisoned in one room, that houses a tub, toilet, stove, an old TV, and rodents on the floor. I’m not going into  elaborate story details here, as there are so many existing reviews that have covered this ad infinitum.  “Room” is structured as most feature films are, in three parts, however they are strangely time-alloted. The first parts deals with Joy and Jack living in squalor, and it’s very detailed. The second part deals with escape; and it provides the only nail-biting tense moments of the entire film.  But the movie then morphs into a drama of trashed lives, focusing heavily on guilt and shame. And oh boy, some of this stuff is really top-heavy. It’s one thing when your father can’t even glance at his grandson because he’s what, un-kosher, fathered by a rapist, a symbol of pain, or whatever, but when the mother/grandmother can’t hold her lip and engages in a vituperative row with her daughter —for God’s sake the poor girl’s only just got home— and then moments later a TV show host (think Diane Sawyer) interviews Joy and asks the most insensitive series of questions: “didn’t you think of giving up Jack when he was born?” the question’s purpose designed to promote Joy’s feelings of guilt, I just about couldn’t take any more. Come on, film makers, get real. The monster rapist would have just flushed the newborn down the lavatory.  These in-your- face contrivances consume the latter part of “Room.”  So on the whole, while there are excellent performances, phenomenal confinement scenes, and the last scene is poignant, what I just watched is a flawed film that was almost a masterpiece.

The Genesis Engine

The Genesis Engine

Book 2 of “Samdan of Two Worlds”

by Difraser.

January 6th 2016 – Having stroked the outline and storyboard for the last 3 months, this is the day to begin drafting.

End of April: estimated completion first draft.

For those interested I write 5 days a week. My workday starts at 8 AM. I usually write for 3 -4 hours, then I break for 3 hours, then go back for another 2-3 hours, finishing no later than 6PM.

Update: January 7th: 2 days at it…doing okay, have 2700 words. Took off early today because I needed to think. Dreadful thing this thinking, but someone’s got to do it.

Update: January 8th -10th –   Saturday 8th I spent an hour, mostly thinking about the new characters, doing notes. Sunday I reviewed what I’d done  and made a few changes. Bear in mind, it’s all very loose at this juncture. It’s like a pencil drawing, occasionally coloring a small section, but mostly keeping it stark, for now.

Update Monday 11th.  It’s 9pm. Today was big, because I made some major changes.  Already! Just as well I’m keeping the writing loose. I’ve broken my rule about writing late. But of course rules are for breaking. My word count tonight is 4300, which is close to my target  for the 4th day.  If you’re wondering, about 1200 words per day is my goal.

Update: January 14th – This is officially my 6th day. Okay, I admit It’s going slower than I’d hoped. I am advancing. I’m more concerned with structural integrity these early days than finesse, although some of the scenes are beginning to take real shape.  Word count so far: 6500. Not so far off target.

Update: January 18th –   I’m unlikely to maintain these regular updates. Today, officially my 9th day of writing, I’m at 33 pages, just under 9000 words. Some of it is rough, some pretty good for a first draft, I think. Let’s leave it at that—I think.  Revisiting after weeks or months will probably be a decent test. Anyway, I’m hopeful that at some date in April I’ll have a first draft,somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 words.

Update: Feb 3rd — While my aim with the first book in this series “Earth Falls” was to create a blisteringly paced sci-fi thriller, and I hope I’ve succeeded, this 2nd book is turning out to be more mysterious, with lots of clues, red herrings, setbacks, double-crosses all unwinding at a deliberate, mindful pace.  After writing for almost a month the going is slow but I think, and I hope, that the material is strong. Naturally I won’t know that as an absolute until I’ve finished the draft and get some feedback.  For other authors interested in knowing, here’s my word count at this juncture: 18000. My original goal has gone by the wayside. I’m now anticipating a full first draft by June 1st.

Update: Feb 19th — Woah! Not much has changed since my last update. My schedule is all over the place, which is not good. Sometimes I write in the morning, other days only in the evening. The only constant is that I’m still advancing. I’m now at 22,500 words.  All I can say is that this is a far more complex tale than I had originally envisioned. I spend much more time thinking of the puzzle than getting it down on paper.

Muslim Hero in a film?

I just read a published open letter by a Muslim asking film director/ producer  J.J. Abrams to create a Muslim hero in one of his films.

Of late there’s been many articles supportive of Muslims, written to temper the wave of anti-Islamic sentiment sweeping the nation. So I ask this question. Are American Muslims and Christians the same?  For me, intrinsically, yes.  Ostensibly, no.

I’ll explain slowly. But here are some clues.  Yin and Yang, Republicans and Democrats, love and hate. I agree, I disagree.  Choose almost anything, any subject, you’ll find two sides, two contrasting opinions. More often than not the numbers on the one side versus the other are pretty identical, roughly 50% give or take.

It is these numbers that have me worried. Far too many American Muslims, even moderates, do not decry all terrorist organizations. A huge percentage, more than fifty percent of Muslim University students do not believe that Israel has the right to exist, they do not feel the need to condemn terrorists such as Hamas who strike against Israel, or strike against supporters of Israel.  The last time I looked America is a supporter of Israel. To me this anti-israel sentiment is a cancer that helps to breathe life not only into Hamas but all jihadist groups including ISIL.

If Muslim leaders in America and around the world really want to stop the anti-Islamic wave, they’re going to have to confront the cancer in their own ranks.  Educate, teach your Muslim students the real history of Palestine—named by (and meaning the invaded lands) by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Read the history as documented over 2000 years by scholars of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Tell them about the Philistines from Crete. Tell them about the first mosque in Jerusalem and of Saladin. Tell them about the British accord in 1936 to portion the land into two: the Jewish Palestine and the Arab Palestine.  And above all, teach your students peace and love as Mohammad did.

I realize that to some this article is going to come off as anti-Islamic, which is a shame, because I am not.  I am adamantly against Trump’s Muslim border initiative. I am for admitting refugee Muslims into America.  I’m for all peace-loving folk, regardless of color, religion or race.

Here’s what I think of J.J. Abrams creating a cinematic Muslim hero. If he is driven or impulsed to, it’s his  choice, his free will, and I wouldn’t judge him for it. But I hope he wouldn’t dream of doing so out of guilt, or because he feels pressured—even though there are real life Muslim heroes in the world, as there are Christian and Jewish and Hindu heroes.

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