Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday in the House of Dreams

News on the home front. Kristen Kelly is up to her old tricks again., Many of us viewers can no longer tolerate it. Several dedicated watchers have decided to quit watching because of Kristen. She did drive Kara to tears this morning. I have the distinct feeling that KK is under marching orders from the producers. I doubt that anyone can be the rude, crude,and abusive that KK was toward Kara without guidence from her bos. She was trying the same with Ben and Giglianne. You're right, just walk away for it next time. I just can't believe that KK does not do what she does without the express permission from Michael Herwick, the Executive Producer.I've seen KK drive Gig to tears too. I am not easily shocked anymore. I know other viewers are uncomfortable with her line of questioning.

One final comment, KK should not be in a position of contact with people in the house or be on camera. Not sure sacking her would help. The results of all this? A possible bad image for the show, the producers, and the company the is producing the show. Bad image, no interest; no interest, no viewers; no viewers, no advertisers; no advertisers, no show.

This is all on top of our disagrements with what Chef Caitlin is doing and the way that Lindsay Jones was ushered out as chef. I can't imagine that IICD ca nafford to lose viewers. There such thing as counter word of mouth - people will start saying you shouldn't watch that show. We don't want to see that happen. We have truly grown close to our friends in the house. We are concerned of what happens to Amanda, Ben, Kara, Giglianne, Justin, and Alex. They are already under enough stress as there is. Why let a member of our own staff deliberately cause more friction in the house? Okay. That's my two cents worth. Lets hear your side.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life as I see it

Good Sunday morning all. I have a little time before heading out to Mass this morning. I always have to go early because of confessional. I think the Father is a little weary of asking me if I have sinned this week. We'll, some weeks are better than others. I also believe that confessing is good for your soul. I better get off the topic of religion. I know how this topic can be so non-pc these days.

I am still watching the If I Can Dream house. I am amazed that alot of what I see there, as far as interaction, conversations, emotions,and love are all things I experienced at that age. It all brings back good memories. I also think it is interesting to watch as someone else's life plays out in front of a worldwide audience. God help them if there were cameras here. Big snooze fest - LoL. In any case, one of the big conversations of the week, besides Tim Urban, was what Chef Caitlin did one night last week. The results from what she did are interesting, humorous, and may have some serious consequences down the down for several people. Everyone who watches is familar with what happened. It will condense it here.

Chef Caitlin came in on Wednesday with a half dozen bags of groceries. She opened the refer and freezer and soon found that there was not enough room to put said groceries away. So, her next logical step was to start routing through the food on both sides. She tossed foods that she deemed unhealthy into the trash (with help from Justin). She said she would donate some of the tosseed items to a food bank. The rest of it went into the trash.

Well, her heart may be in the right place. But how she went about this was completely inappropriate. She first of all, she exercised her beliefs on the rest of the people in the house by tossing the food that had been personally bought. Out went Ben's salad dressing, some of Amanda's food, and almost all of Alex's frozen food. If I were her, I would have told everyone that what was in the refer and freezer was it. After this, she would, without notice, toss unhealthy food out. That way everyone would know about it and prepare for it. Second, everyone in the house are adults (don't say it). They can handle this. Life is full of these little set backs. If she had a little respect for their personal wants, then this would have come off as a good teaching lesson. It instead is going to come back to bite her (I know, poor choice of words).

How has everyone reacted to this? Well, maybe we're making a mountain out of a molehill. But, it is the princple of the matter. Justin should have spoken up when Caitlin was tossing food he knew people had paid for. He should have asked her to hold off until everyone was there. However, she selected a night when Justin and Alex were the only ones present. Ben was the first to discover the stuff that was tossed. I know he was too pleased that his dressing got tossed as being unhealthy. Ben promptly put it all back in the freezer. Well, Ben, come on. That stuff had been sitting out for five to six hours.I certainly would not have put it all back in the freezer. Again, you heart was in the right place. But someones stomach could have paid the price of eating that stuff. Alex, well, probably could have cared less. He said no big deal and went about eating it anyway. So much for tossing it, huh Caitlin? I don't beleive that either Giglianne or Kara had food in there. But we know that Amanda did.

We all love Amanda for her straightforwardness and not pulling any punches. We always know that Amanda is going to tell us like it is. That is a fine quality in any person. So few people speak their minds these days. If is refreshing to find one that does and isn't concerned what other people may think. I think Amanda has finally discovered what happened.I do beleive that Amanda can confront Caitlin, tactfully, about all this. If not, she can resort to speaking like a sailor (I understand those words because I was a Navy sailor for 20 years). If anyone in the house that can set Caitlin straight it will be Amanda. We love you, girl. Don't let Hollywood change you!

God, did I just go on for a full page about this - LoL! Well, it bothers me when adults resort to acting like kids to get their point across. It also bothers me that people do this type of thing behind everyones back, If Caitlin feels so strong about healthy food, she could have confronted all of them. And, as before, she could have turned it into a good teaching lesson.

I know, I am biased. Everyone knows I have a place in my heart for Chef Lindsay Jones. She truly made watching cooking fun again. Her style in the kitchen is made for this new project of Simon Fuller's. She is part of that genration that has and is growing up within this conencted society we live in.Caitlin, I have nothing but respect for your craft and what you do. It is your delivery methods I disagree with.

Okay, we got that out. Another life's lesson put in electronic bytes for the masses to read.

Remember, these are my thoughts and opinions. I know that we all don't share the same opinion. I'd like to hear yours. That is why I write this blog. I like social interaction. I beleive we would all learn from it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life and Times

Well, I continue to enjoy watching If I Can Dream.It takes the boredom out of the day and I find it very entertaining. I still can't bring myself to watch them sleep or even when they go into the bathroom. I have learned what you can achieve once you put your mind to it. All of those who are in the house have what it takes to be successful in Hollywood. They have all been given a great opportunity that most actors and musicians would kill for.No one, as far as I can see, has squandered this opportunity.There have been some hiccups. Recently there was talk in the house about the difficulty of keeping up with Twitter and Face Book. Some even said it was a distraction and others said they were going to stop using the social networking sites all together.As I told some of my other "SuperFan" friends on Twitter, contact with your fans is very important. You can't take it for granted that all of those who are following you today will follow you tomorrow. There could be fan backlash if you say that answering fans is too much of a burden. I realize that right now they may not see the importance of staying in contact with their fans. However, I believe that building a fan base right now will help them further their career. Casting directors and producers like to have actors with an already built fan appeal. That is going to sell tickets at the box office or have more people tune in.

The one thing I can say about each episode of If I Can Dream, it is definately getting better as time goes on. We are starting to see some of the other sides of the house guests that we have not seen before. I specially like to see the preparation involved with both Justin's and Brooke's Idol appearence and Giglianne's photo shoots. The one thing that you notice with all this is that you must have patience. It is alot of hurry up and wait. A week of preparation and it is over in three minutes. Same goes for the photo shoots. Hours and hours of preperation and only minutes in front of the camera. Oh, such is life in show business. Keep it up Amanda, Kara, Justin, Ben, Giglianne, and Alex. Great work. I know you all will be successful at what you do.

Onward and forward with the day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF

Well, Friday could not get here sooner. Weather is going to be very spring like today, mid 70's. Maybe I'll be in the mood to do that spring cleaning I have been putting off for so long. Going to prepare for our (Down East Animal Refuge) Wellness and Rabies Clinic tomorrow. Always a busy event in our small town. It is almost like a social event. I get caught up on all the juicy town gossip - LoL! Still making preparations on the Kentucky Derby Fundraiser. Plus, we're moving right along on our first ever Micro Chipping Clinic on June 26. Oh, my, 45 shows in my Hulu queue! Well, must be all that time watching If I Can Dream! Watching my friends Justin, Amanda, Giglianne, Ben, Kara, and Problem Child is worth it. Makes me feel homesick for Los Angeles. As my friends here say, once a Yankee, always a Yankee, no matter now long you have lived in the south! I'm from the south! Southern California that is! Make it a great day my friends. God bless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dog Fighting

I saw something on the news last night that deeply, deeply disturbed me. Apparently a man (I use that term loosely here) was arrested in Duplin County NC for running the 5th largest dog fighting ring in the country. The report says that members of the Atlanta Humane Society, a private security firm, and local law enforcement busted the ring yesterday. Apparently over 33 fighting dogs were taken in and seen by vets before being transported to undisclosed locations. The report also stated that this may have been going on for over 40 years. Okay, here is one of the many things, besides it being dog fighting, that bothers me. How can something going on that long not be known to the surrounding residences? Why didn't his neighbors report this long ago? This man had a previous record for dog fighting. So, how some local law enforcement had not made a visit to this proeprty before yesterday? Certainly there was enough probable cause to issue a search warrant? Why did it take a private security firm and an out of state Humane Society organization to bust this ring? Certainly we have local organizations that should have been involved? So many questions and so few answers.Sometimes there just are not enough words to express my distaste for that evil sport of dog fighting. The dogs end up losing when this happens. As I told a friend, if I were a judge, I would sentence him to community service for life at an animal shelter. I'd make sure his cell was about the size of what he crated his fighting dogs in. Oh, I'm sorry, that violates the cruel and unuseal punishment law. Darn.

One more iteem before I get off my soapbox. Michael Vick.Here is a guy who I believe did not serve enough time for his crimes. Plus, he went back to the multi-million dollar job he had before with another NFL team. Makes me wonder whether anything was learned from this entire issue.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Shelter News

We had an eventful day at the shelter yesterday. We had two families come by to look at our available dogs. First family picked out our one of our long time residents, Misty. She is a beautiful dog who has a slight food agression problem. The other, Spud, is a small herding dog. He is constantly stress being in the shelter. But is good when he is in a single dog home. The other family is interested in Polly, our only hound dog.She is full of enegry and is amazingly agile for a dog her size. So the outlook is good to get them rehomed (the new word for adoption in the animal community). We also have someone interested in Blue, a male lab, who is just so full of himself. Full of energy and a loud mouth to boot. SOmeone asked me how do we match dogs with perspective owners? Well, we go by Cesar Millan's philosophy - high energy dogs with high energy people, medium, and low energy dogs match appropriately. It has worked out so far. We got them all wormed and treated yesterday. We have one more project ahead of us. Our former president has submitted a grant request to Halifax EMC for $5k to complete a second fenced in dog run. This will give us a run on both ends of the shelter. It will also allow us to let the dogs out more often during the day.

I came home and continued work on our two upcoming fundraisers (see www.downeastanimalrefuge.org for more info). Well, first had to get the smell of 40 dogs off of me. Must have stood in the shower for 30 minutes. My pit bull, Penny Sue, likes to lick my feet and legs when I come out of the shower. She must think I am not clean enough. I told a friend that someone needs to tell her that shes a dog. I'm not going to do it. 50 pounds of dog that pulls at 300 pounds of torque.

Our Kentucky Derby Fundraiser, the second year we are doing this, is going to be held on Saturday, May, 2010, 4:00 - 7:00. We'll have snacks, refreshments, and a full fried chicken dinner. Country cookin at it's best. It is $25 a ticket. We expect to sell out like we did last year. Members are selling tickets. But this year you can purchase tickets via PayPal on our web site.Donations are also accepted via PayPal at any time.

I am happy to say that our Micro Chipping program is finally getting off the ground. This is after three years of work. We have purchased 100 micro chips and have donated two hand scanners to the community and county. We're going to have the local SPCA, Humane Society, North Shoree Animal League, Best Friends Society (Dog Town), and material from the Cesar and Illusion Millan Foundation present. We've invited several other rescues and shelters to attend. I am happy to say that we will also have local law enforcement present to talk to the kids about the ills of dog fighting. Not to be out done, we will also have another fried chicken plate dinner, along with home made deserts and ice cream. We are only charging $25 per animalfor micro chipping. That will include the cost of the chip, injecting it, and permenent registration with AKC's Companion Animal Recovery program. We are planning this event for Saturday, June 26, 2010, Town Commons, Scotland Neck NC, 10:00 am to 3:00pm. Our travelling vet, Dr. Marty Edwards is being very gracious with her time.

I am also working on our week Rabies and Wellness Clinic which is scheduled for this weekend in Scotland Neck.

Feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions about these events. I can be reached at (252) 826-3965, Cell (252) 406-4184, Twitter @RandallCMelton, Email Randallcmelton@downeastanimalrefuge.org. Mail address is 1705 Main St. Apt 15, Scotland Neck NC 27874.

All this and I am working full time too!

Friday, April 9, 2010

If I Can Dream - my thoughts

I have been watching If I Can Dream since the beginning. I think the idea is innovative and shows where the Internet is heading. Simon Fuller is a visionary. The concept is sound and should be successful. However, once you throw people into a project like this, all this theory goes right out the window. When I first started watching, I first thought of Big Brother. Then, after a few days, I realized that this was nothing like Big Brother. People in the Big Brother house couldn't go out, had even more limited access to the outside, and, it appeared that they had even less privacy than our If I Can Dream house guests. So, I have stuck with the show because of it being unique in its presentation and what it is trying to portray.

Now, on to the topic at hand. As a mass communication/journalism major, I know that editing can make or break at story. We never edited to make the stories more sensational. The story had to stand on its own merits. We were also very careful not to edit where it would take what someone said out of context. I like the house because there is not opportunity to take back and or re-edit something. We see life as it unfolds. The Hulu If I Can Dream episodes are meant as a weekly synopsis of what went on in the house during that week. Of course, the editor exercises a certain amount of editorial views in the way the show is edited. The producers can't all the time control what the house guests say or do on the live streams. However, the episodes give the producers a chance to piece the story together as they see it. Those of us what watch the stream on a daily basis have seen things taken completely out of context in the episodes. The editing has portrayed several people in a very bad light. This editing puts undue and undeserved strain on the house guests. Because if I were there, I would certainly hesitate to invite my friends over. I certainly wouldn't want my friends to be made the fool at the producers expense. So, I think the executive producer needs to take a step back and look at the product that is being produced on a weekly basis.

Hiding from the camera or mics have other ramifications for our house guests. I certainly don't like it when they go running off camera and turn off their mics. I feel it detracts from the true meaning of the show. None of the house guests should feel like they need to whisper, shut off mics, or go to an area where the cameras don't cover. This project was meant to show what it takes in Hollywood to be succesful in the entertainment industry. We want to see it all, whether it be good or bad. We, as viewers, are not privvy to exactly what restrictions the house guests are under. It would be nice to know what restrictions there are for them. We might feel differently about what is going on now if we did know those things they cannot do or discuss. When they do this whispering or going out of camera range, it makes me think that they are talking about the production itself or the management. I wouldn't want to be discussing that on camera either. Common sense would dictate that it would be better to directly confrony the producers on these issues and resolve problems with them. Hiding from cameras or microphones is not the answer.

Lastly, complaining is directly tied to the hiding issue. Complaining about the rules does nothing but aggrevate the situation. That complaining also influences others on the show. Pretty soon everyone is grumbling. Again, as I stated about, the best way to resolve the complaining is to directly confront the producers. If not, the complaining could backfire on the house guests. I could say the day that the producers are adding more cameras and reducing the blind spots. That would be less privacy than they have now. I would hate to see them lose the rare privacy they get now. We all realize that they are under a strain to be on camera 24 hours a day. That in itself can cause strain between people. So, we have to udnerstand their situation. Again, my advise to the house guests - speak to the man in charge, the executive producer, about you concerns and complaints. He is the one man that has the power to make those changes and to make your life better.

Thank you house guests for letting us in your lives. Thank you Michael Herwick for making this entertaining, and thank you Simon Fuller for giving this project the light of day. May all of you be succesful in all your careers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fiction Writing

About five years ago, I started a Lara Croft action-adventure novel. It was my first stab at fiction writing. It was different for me because I had been a journalist for over 20 and always wrote other people's stories. Well, time has passed by and the story is still sitting there unfinished. Like a musician, a writer has to be in that special mood to write. And, when it hits you, you better be near a keyboard. I have re-read my story, now at 145 pages and think I have a clear vision to finish it. Okay, some of you are going to ask who is Lara Croft? Well, if you're not an avid gamer (yes, another geek trait), or movie goer (Angelina Jolie - another reason to go to the movies), you might not know who that is. Everyone has compared her character to that of Indiana Jones. Well, maybe. But I think Lara Croft could kick Indiana's Jones ass. Well, enough of that. I am excited and pumped to start writing again. This is my dream, to write an adventure novek and get it published. I will keep you posted as to my progress.

Shelter Happenings

Another monthly shelter meeting is under my belt. I think it went well. We have made the final preparations on our upcoming Kentucky Derby FundRaiser. Plus, our big micro chip clinic in June. I am very proud that our folks in New York adopted nine of our puppies last month. I know they have gone to good homes. All in all, I think I have had a great day.

Idol Rumblings

Well, what a strange night for American Idol. After watching the competition and hearing the decision, I almost shut the tv off. I glad I didn't. It sounds like the judges used their save wisely. Big Mike did NOT deserve to be voted off. What are poeople thinking? Are they watching another competition than I am? You wonder whether if regions of the country vote for an Idol based on where the Idol is from? Sometimes I have thought that. Other times, I have wondered whether the system that Idol uses to rally votes is working correctly. Sort of reminds me of Al Gore challenging George Bush in Florida. I want a recount. It must be the hanging chad. Oh, well. Next week, we'll see two Idols voted off. And, as before, the Idol cast offs end up over at the If I Can Dream house on Friday night.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

News from the Animal Shelter

I have just returned fro mthe animal shelter after an interview with a member from the news media. Something happened, positively, while I was being interviewed. A lady pulled as I was explaining the use of our micro chips and scanner. I walked out and asked if I could help. She said someone had dumped two young puppies off at her house. They looked to be malnurished and dehydrated (it has been averaging in the low 90's for the last two days). She asked if we, Down East Animal Refuge (DEAR), would take them. There is never any hesitation as to the answer to that question. Yes, we will take them. And all the time this was in front of a member of the electronic media. I could not have put all that into words to that reporter. He saw what we do best an DEAR. This is truly why we love what we do at the shelter. Thank you to that anonymous woman who took the time to pick those abandoned animals up and get them to us. You have saved two lives today. God bless you.

Thanks to Amanda Phillips

I want to put a special thank you out there to Amanda Phillips, one of the artists in the If I Can Dream House. Amanda made mention I was one of the "regulars" Which made me feel good. Just as long as it doesn't get creepy. I still can't watch them sleep. Something just not right about that. And, I beleive that those camera might be a little intrusive. I like Amanda because of her straight forwardness and honesty. We never have a problem understanding exactly the way Amanda feels about something. I always admire that quality in a person. Specially someone trying to get work in her line of work. You go girl!

If I Can Dream - Chef Lindsay

I guess I have found a good cause to get behind. I hooked early on to Simon Fuller's If I Can Dream project at IfICanDream.com. Well, like any project, it has gone through, and continues, to change. However, one of the changes, the replacement of Chef Lindsay Jones with Chef Caitlyn Levin was too painful to handle. I had to do something about it. So, along with several others, we started a petition to get her back to the house. Lindsay has been very supportive of our efforts. I think we stand a good chance of getting her back.

Hello and Welcome

Well, I feel like I have finally caught up to those 20 years younger than I. I now have a presence on Face Book, Twitter, My Space, and lastly, I have finally created my first Blog. Well, I feel like I am now fully connected. I got my iPhone, soon to haveiPad, my three computers, PS3, Dish Netowrk with HD DVR and Slingbox. God almighty, I might be too well connected - LoL