I'M BACK - 02.15.2023
February 15, 2023
Good third Wednesday of February.
I'm novelist Richard V. Rupp (Dick), writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMANN SERIES posts.
For those of you who have followed me in the past, I apologize for not meeting the January 10th return date posted in my last newsletter. I won't burden you with all the reasons for the delay, except to say my recent medical procedure now involves six weeks of preventive procedures, which are uncomfortable and tiring.
I was going to say this issue is a trial balloon, but I'm afraid of it getting shot down. Sorry about that. As you can see, my terrible sense of humor has not improved.
I believe this quote by American novelist Mary Flannery O'Connor applies to my way of thinking: "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."
I'm still working on the manuscript of SKYWARD. Venturing off into the scifi genre has resulted in tremendous research. I constantly discover new things that cause me to do rewrite after rewrite. When asked how the book was going by Brian, a manager/bartender at Story Taven, my local watering hole, I responded if I stopped doing rewrites, I expected to finish the book sometime in the first half of this year. The bar is loaded with behind-the-camera movie people, including lots of screenwriters. I have enlisted two of the Story Taven bartenders, who are screenwriters, to do initial reviews of my finished manuscript.
As an aside, my research indicates screenwriting is a collaborative effort. There are an average of nine screenwriters on a single movie. I found this about the 1998 Disney film MULAN, which credits 31 people with various writing credits. Yep, there are a lot of writers in Burbank.
But writers are increasingly concerned about being replaced by AI writing from digital programs such as ChatGPT or OpenAI. 'Buzzfeed' announced last month after laying off 180 employees. Their trademark quizzes and listicles will now for generated by ChatGPT. I have noted similar changes made by a number of publishers and even movie production companies. In fact, a couple of years ago, I went to a presentation at Warner Bros. Studio about using AI for screenwriting. On AI, I just noted an interesting definition – "The use of computers to create text, images, sounds, and other media in response to short prompts."
In my novel SKYWARD, a master computer named SKY takes control of a significant proportion of the Bowman Colony Colonists' lives. There are no schools. Instead, personal robots (perbots) connected to SKY provide personalized education for each child. Each child is given their own perbot at age three. Kind of like homeschooling, where the pace and subject matter are structured for each individual. On this subject, I watched a recent CNBC episode about using bots in teaching. I took away that there are advocates for using AI in the classroom. Often dubbed "bots" in social media circles, these subtle software programs use algorithms to help teachers measure student performance. Uses for AI extend across diverse subjects and tasks. Whether it's assessments or grading or recommending the following levels of content, AI can help a teacher make intelligent decisions about how to guide a student and/or a classroom.
This article in THE WEEK about a story written by James Marriott in THE TIMES (London) caught my interest as it is something I address in SKYWARD - "America's culture wars are affecting British political attitudes, said James Marriott. People usually get more right-wing, as they age, but surveys show the Millennials in the UD are bucking that trend and remaining on the Left. European Millennials, though, are following the traditional path and growing conservative, even voting in large numbers for far-right leaders . . . Why the difference? It's likely because of English-speaking social media, which is dominated by US arguments. Psychologically, many British people effective 'inhabit an American world, obsessing over American politics, American injustices, and American Supreme Court rulings. 'And because American Millenials – horrified by the conspiracist, and anti-democratic American right.' - have remained progressive, so, too, have their British peers. The non-English-speaking Europeans, meanwhile, have their own internet spaces and are immune to this phenomenon. The West, once a monolith, is now splitting. While liberalism, with its promotion of free markets and free societies, could be applied around the world, America's new 'woke' ideas are 'rooted in the specific racial atrocities of US history.' Americans are creating 'a new kind of culture entirely alien to Europeans. . ."
To allow more time to work on my manuscript, I have decided to post this newsletter once a month (the third Wednesday of the month) rather than weekly or bi-weekly until SKYWARD is finished. My publisher is after me to return to marketing my current novels (DEATH & TAXES, and DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS) but I have told them I want to wait until SKYWARD is finished and then start a major marketing campaign.
I was appointed to the CITY OF BURBANK SENIOR CITIZEN BOARD in August of last year. The Board advises the Mayor and City Council about the needs of seniors and the impact legislation or city department decisions may have on them. It meets monthly at the Joslyn Adult Recreation Center, operated by the Burbank Parks & Recreation Department. The Center is quite a complex. This has become an excellent experience for me. I now know our Mayor and several members of the City Counsel. As a member of this Board, I receive all city bulletins and press releases.
This section from a recent City press release gives a good picture of where I live: "Burbank is a diverse community of 106,800 residents. Billed as the "Media Capital of the World," numerous media and entertainment companies are headquartered in Burbank, including Warner Bros. Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Netflix animation, and Cartoon Network Studios. With the Hollywood Burbank Airport located within the City, Burbank is a go-to destination for business and tourism. Additionally, Burbank is known for its walkable and safe neighborhoods, well-run school district, and "small town" charm." I concur with this description. It's a great place to live.
Were there any famous people attending Hollywood High School when you were there? I'm often asked this question and was just reminded of it by a recent posting by one of my old Hollywood High School Friends. We were in the class of '56 and here are some of the people who were there at the same time - Mike Farrell (57), David Nelson (54), Ricky Nelson (58), Stefanie Powers (60), Jill St. John (57), and Vince Taylor (58).
My involvement with the Joslyn Center now includes participation in a weekly discussion group titled – GENETICS, PSYCHOLOGY & FORENSICS DISCUSSION GROUP. The brochure teaser to get your interest reads, "Have you ever wanted to learn more about genetics? How about psychology or forensics?" The group title and teaser caught my interest as they seemed to go along with what I am writing about in SKYWARD. The group is facilitated by James L. Atwell, a local junior college professor who authored HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE: DREAMS, SELF-THERAPY & GENETICS.
His book's Amazon description is: "This book will teach you how to improve your life. You will learn self-therapy techniques to help you become your own psychotherapist. This book is written for the millions of people that want to improve their lives and cannot afford to pay the high cost of psychotherapy. Understanding the self-therapy techniques in this book is all that most people need to improve the quality of their lives. Genetics is the cause of most problems, psychological and medical. Most problems are caused by deletions, mutations, and duplication of genes. The most serious problems, such as schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and most of the rare medical problems are caused by deletions of genes from the genome. Therefore, the solution to solving most problems is to replace the missing genes. I have researched dreams, dreaming, sleep, self-therapy, psychotherapy, psychology, and genetics for over thirty years. I have trained with many famous psychologists and psychiatrists, including Albert Freeman, Ph.D., Nathaniel Brandon, Ph.D., Albert Ellis, Ph.D., Will Shultz, Ph.D., Bernie Gunther, Ph.D., and Eric Marcus, M.D. This book is a condensed and simplified version of everything I have learned. I am now writing a book on Genetics and Behavior, which will explain how to correct most genetic problems by replacing the missing genes."
If our first session is any indication, I suspect Mr. Atwell and I will have a lot of disagreements. Actually, there was a lot of give and take (maybe disagreement) between group members. Makes for a lively discussion.
One of the participants in the group is a 'Forensic Nurse' who specializes in investigating deaths at medical facilities. I was unfamiliar with the term 'Forensic Nurse' and looked it up. They are registered nurses (RNs) who work with victims of crimes, collect medical evidence, and provide knowledgeable testimony that can be used in court proceedings. Forensic nursing is an interdisciplinary specialty that draws from various disciplines like nursing, forensic science, and the legal system. These nurses play an integral role in connecting the worlds of medicine and law.
Another participant is a fellow writer with a scientific educational background who has just completed a biography of a famous lady scientist involved in genetic research.
I have oatmeal for breakfast with brown sugar and cinnamon a couple of times a week. Easy to make from scratch in my rice cooker, which has an oatmeal setting. I mention this because I spotted an article the other day about cinnamon's potential benefits. Loved it because of what it indicated – "Studies have shown that cinnamon and its bioactive compounds can influence brain function and affect behavioral characteristics. This study aimed to systematically review studies about the relationship between cinnamon and its key components in memory and learning. . . .The main outcome of most studies proved that cinnamon significantly improves cognitive function (memory and learning). . . .In vivo studies showed that using cinnamon or its components, such as eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid, could positively alter cognitive function. . . .Most studies reported that cinnamon might be useful for preventing and reducing cognitive function impairment. It can be used as an adjuvant in treating related diseases."
Thank you, PBS, for the TV show 'All Creatures Great and Small.' I look forward to watching it every Sunday. The writing on this show is fantastic. One line spoken by Siegfried sums up one recent episode perfectly! "I wish the past would invite me back to rectify a thing or two."
For those unfamiliar with me and my writings and who want to know more, please visit my website at www.richardvrupp.com. Or check me out on Amazon.com - Amazon.com: Richard V. Rupp: books, biography, latest update
Until next month.
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright©2023 by Richard V. Rupp