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docks of the city's picture
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Joined: Jun 19 2007
"call it your own"

Gypsy Cowgirl, I'm in with a beloved pair of silver hoops to help vibe up a New Year, Dark Star. And while I am here, I hope the sun is shinning thru your backdoor today. And everyday.

Gypsy Cowgirl's picture
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Joined: Aug 14 2007
MaryE

"like a rhinestone cowboy".....may at least help.....

Hozomeen's picture
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Joined: Jun 22 2007
marye

Thanks Mary for all the good vibes...I should be around for a while. The seal is broken. I just wanted to let you know that the site has meant the world to my family and especially me. Thank you, this is a great place...home....website...family...

marye's picture
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Joined: May 26 2007
hozomeen

love the stories, even if they describe events that suck; it's just great to hear from you. Best to Marjie and Jack, and don't be a stranger around here...

GC, dang, I don't think I've got a one. Will rhinestones work?

Gypsy Cowgirl's picture
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Joined: Aug 14 2007
OK....

If any of you kind folks have any kind of diamond jewelry (be it heirlooms or whatever) would you please start wearing them now in hopes for a Further New Years Eve, "Dark Star" ??? ("thru the transitive nightfall of diamonds").........

lamagonzo (not verified)
Best wishes MacLain

Hope you and your family do the Alabama Getaway and you don't become a Lost Sailor (bein' way to long at sea). Better to be a Saint of Circumstance -- being at sea when you need to be and being at home when appropriate. I was just talking the other day to a woman whose husband is the captain of a supertanker and she said all the usual things a sailor's wife would say. She worried about rogue waves and bad storms where the crew has to tie themselves in bed and her husband watching the bow of a 1000 foot ship disappear into an 80 foot wave. Jeezum'crow, don't know if I could handle that!

Sounds like a wise decision to give up the ghost on the lawsuit. Jerks! They always get what they got coming in the end though. Karma cuts exactly like a razor blade. They owe you a debt that has started accumulating interest soon as you made a formal demand, don't you know...

About the book... Let me see if I can rough out an outline on the spur of the moment here:
Working Title: To Live & Die in Traphill
Chapter 1: Your first post today. Maybe start the story with the ride to Charlotte and how you lost your wallet there and end the chapter with having your wallet lifted by the Traphill trio. Flesh it out a with a little history of Merlefest and moonshine runners who today have become cash crop runners. End it with with the trio heading for a honky-tonk in Traphill.
Chapter 2: At the tonk the trio decides to be the go between twixt the growers in their county and the Baptist Boyscout mafia who buy the stuff and then have their workers stuff fat buds into half dollar coin tubes which they then use as the skeleton for big fat table soy candles. Then they package em' up and send them North to the big cities where their Baptist mafia bretheren sell it and use the money to fund television, radio and internet programs promoting conservative southern Baptist values.
Chapter 3: You file the lawsuit against the candle company and your intellectual property lawyer hires a private investigator named Guy Noir who starts poking around the candle factory and spots the Traphill trio bringing in a load. He figures out what is going on and reports back to you and the lawyer and... well Hozemeen, you take it from here, any direction you care to.

All you really got to know is that you are building suspense and giving out clues until the big climax at the end where the good guys win. You can make the good guys anybody you want. That is the great thing about being a fiction writer. You have to build your characters carefully so that the reader cares about them or really grows to dislike them. After the big climax, which can be clever and not necessarily violent, make sure you do a good denoumeant
where you let people know where all the characters took themselves to.

Ok, my work is done here. Wishing MacLain & his clan a happy and prosperous new year!

Hozomeen's picture
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Joined: Jun 22 2007
You are involved

I think I'm gonna take your advice. I didn't wanna do a hatchet job on them, but since I'm not going to pursue it any further I'll give out the web address. Bear in mind that my studio was the back of the candle factory, and my lighting wasn't ideal, so when you see the pics you'll understand that if I were to have gotten paid and not burned this bridge down I would have finished the project and made it look good enough to show off. Anyway, here it is...
www.southerncandle.com They have great candles. Some of their best aromas aren't in their catalog...they do a tomato vine that everybody down there hates, but it smells just like tomato vines, and I love it.

You are right about the psychodrama around here. We didn't necessarily decide to move here. When we left Mobile our son was on the way, and we wanted to position ourselves so that I could go to school and get off the ships. I sailed as an engineer on cargo ships for 13 years. We owned this quaint little 8 acre farm driving distance from Appalachian State University...we had insurance, a couple of cars, a flatbed pickup...we were deciding what to do with ourselves I guess, and there was too much noise in Mobile at the time. Anyway, on day I was out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean...minding my own business...and I got the message that my wife had breast cancer. The ship was traveling from Houston to Durban SA, and we were about halfway. Four weeks later we made Durban...a week or so to get myself a visa...and I flew home not knowing my career at sea had ended...at least temporarily...if we move to Mobile, I may be able to ship out again, but that depends on Marjie, and her ability to take care of our son Jack. Down in Alabama we have the kinda support that might just allow that. It would suck, just like it always sucks to leave your family for three four five or six months....not knowing which, not know where all I'm going...just knowing that I am gonna get in that engine room and sweat my way across the ocean...

It's funny, I was in Durban when I found out Marjie was pregnant. Our ship was in the yard there, and so I've spent a good deal of time in that city. One tip though if you travel to Africa...get a pre-paid cell phone and put minutes on it...don't use your phone to just call and text your wife incessantly during every break and every meal...Anyway, when I found out about Jack, our son, I knew right away that I needed to get off the ships. I also knew that there would be a gauntlet to run in order to make that happen. They say you climb up the haws pipe when you start out unlicensed and eventually become an officer. Well, I was trying to climb back down the ole anchor chain and make a living as a normal human being somehow. All I knew was that I needed to get my ass outa Mobile and get some perspective....cause until Jack was conceived, I honestly hadn't thought about what to do with my life. Now the irony...I would love to return to sea. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, and I especially love being a dad, but the thing is, my sea trips were more than just jobs, they were how I centered myself. A few months at sea and I would come home with a paycheck, a little PTSD, and usually a big bushy beard. Then I was free to explore. Months went by without my working a real job. I would do construction just to commune with my buddies, but really life was pretty good in Mobile on a sailor's paycheck. That's just the thing...I was stuck in a pattern I was afraid I might not break.

Thanks for the honest opinion. I had been thinking something similar...you know, like a poker game...I was thinking that his lawyer took one look at my letter and said, "make him sue you" and that was that...I'm sure that is what happened. I can't really afford an attorney to be honest. I wish I could, but then again this is a fight that isn't worth the effort. At least I'm not working for free anymore. Truth be told, I'm hoping to just skip town and leave all this behind...but you are right....maybe I should write down something about our time here...There is no accounting for what happens within the artist's scope...

Best Regards,
MacLain

lamagonzo (not verified)
Hozomeen, an honest opinion...

...about your dilemma. I think you're going to lose unless you hire a lawyer who protects intellectual/artistic/industrial copyrights. Which category, by chance, I have happened to rail against in another post on this site today... Now, what are the chances of that happening? Like a billion to one? Are you pulling my leg?

If not, and I assume you are not going for my goat, I would say you have very little chance of being paid since you have no written agreement with these hypocrite Baptist mafia bozos. Also, you have already worked for them as an intern and so have established a pattern of working for free. As you say, their word against yours...

Now, how many wholesalers of soy candles could their possibly be on the internet? I looked and I couldn't find these guys. The reason I looked is to see how many candles you could have possibly photographed, of which less than half were used? It can't be that many. So, you have already invested in a registered letter and a small claims action that is doomed to lose and your only hope is to put a intell. prop. lawyer on retainer. I'd say you are doomed on this one brother. Cut your losses and head for Mobile. Only bad things can happen if you push it. But keep us informed -- inquiring minds want to know!

But hey, what do I know? I still think you're trying to involve me in this little psychodrama...

Hozomeen's picture
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Joined: Jun 22 2007
...and so on

To continue the story of what's been happening to us...I've been working for a print shop since the summer. I made several repairs to their large format printer, I printed out several jobs...basically learned the business. I'd been in the graphic design program at school, and so it was kind of interesting to see the business up close...

First off, the printing company is owned by a soy candle company. The candle company is owned by the local Baptist Mafia...two volunteer firemen and scout leaders...pillars of the town. These two guys grew up here, and one of them inherited the real estate where the candle factory is located and they most likely went into business together, and somehow they were able to attain a fairly substantial wholesale market. They make all natural soy candles, but they make them for all these different people's labels, sometimes fundraisers...and well, there is work work work for graphic designers at this place. I designed several candle labels as well as fundraisers for them...and all of this before school started. So, when school started, and I was registering, it only made sense to knock out an internship credit by working at the print shop I was already working for at for no pay...

Everything was kosher until recently. They just underwent a complete overhaul of their website. They have a new web designer who is excellent, and he is also good at web marketing as well. It was exciting for all of us. Meanwhile, I had just invested in a new Canon 50D...believe me folks, there is yet another long story involved with that, but let me just say that I plan to work in photography either here in NC or back home in Mobile, so the investment remains sound, it just seemed as if I might be cashing in a little bit early. See, the main guy, the owner, told my friend and me that he wanted to hire me to photograph the candles for the website. I joked about the fact that all my hobby photography takes you to India and Africa and Bangladesh, and places in between...and my big jump into professional photography involves a thousand photographs of different candles. It seemed incredibly mundane by comparison, but believe me, it was my first shot at doing a job and getting paid.

I set up a shooting table so there would be no horizon behind the candles themselves. I used a white piece of styrene and some duct tape to fashion what actually turned out to be a fairly nice backdrop. For lighting I used tungsten work lights and adjusted my white balance to compensate. So for about a month my nights and weekends and spare time were all filled with click click clicking my camera with my computer...take one out, put the next one in...then the mouse and click, and start over...it was indeed mundane, but I was still excited. At the end of the day, when the project was finished...almost save a few candles that needed to be poured first...and they were posted on the fancy brand new website along with the factory tour I shot photos for as well...and I ask about getting paid.

I won't go into amounts except to say that I was asking for a standard rate for this type of digital imaging. A buck a photo, and I didn't include the ones that eventually ended up not being used...they had me take each one with the lid on, and also with the lid off...so only half the photos I made were used...and I only expected to get paid for the ones they have posted on their website. A more experienced photographer would have gotten half up front and a contract regarding payment and so on...but see, this was my foot-in-the door job, so I didn't twist his arm about price or anything like that up front, I was just happy to have a paying job. So when the subject came up last week regarding how much I should get paid, this guy all the sudden says...in an email to my supervisor the print-shop-girl...that he thought that the photography was part of my internship. I can't say I didn't see it coming, but I was still surprised when it happened. These guys are Eagle Scouts for fuck's sake...if you can't trust an Eagle Scout who can you trust? I trust my buddy in Traphill to be the criminal he is, which is why it didn't piss me off that bad that he made off with all my useless plastic...no, these guys really put the wrenches to me with this one. I had been planning to spend half the money on my son's Christmas gifts, and the other half on real actual studio lighting...that way whether I stay or go I am still collecting equipment and gearing up to do portraits, weddings, nature, pets, kids, or whatever I need to do in order to squeak out a taxable leaving.

So I had to write a letter. I got it as a template from a pricing and ethics guide for graphic design. The letter was a cease and desist letter, stating that they do not have my copyright consent unless they pay, which they have not. I had it delivered return receipt and all that...and oh boy, what a bunch-o-drama. I was basically calling the guy a liar in writing, but he was basically lying to me when he agreed to pay me for my work. There were threats about taking away my credit, which I told them to shove up their ass for all I care, and I'll never work at any print-shop in town and so on and so on in that very self righteous manner in which they do most of their business. I was banned. My key taken away. No more working for free. I told Marjie I had to shake the tree sometime, cause they would have me work as an intern perpetually, always stringing me along with these promises "When we get some money in this place..."

They blatantly lied to me, and so I sent what I thought was a very professional letter asking them to please cease using my artwork without my permission unless they intend to pay. I gave them until the 24th to respond, and the holidays came, and the holidays went, and they were busy busy busy down there...and needless to say my collection of what I would call mediocre images are still up online without my permission...that's it, my bluff is called...

No, not me, not this crazy dead head...No-Sir-Re-Bob will I lay down and allow this to happen. I'm gonna follow in my mother's footsteps and sue the bastards. Sue 'em for a relatively nominal amount of money. It only costs $75 bucks, plus $15 to get the Sheriff to deliver the summons. I figure I've willingly lost more than that at the casino, so why not. All I loose by filing a small claim and loosing is $90 at most. I've dropped twice that on a night drinking back in my sailor days when I could afford such things. I've never done this before, but I read all the instructions, filled out all the forms, and so now I just have to come up with the money. Who knows, maybe we'll move on the money I get paid assuming it comes through. We are stuck here in this limbo town...we have decided to move.

I'm gonna call their bluff. I checked, they called, and now I'm calling. What do they have? Well there is no agreement that they should pay me, it was a verbal arrangement and is arguable, especially when it comes to price. In my corner, I have the market rate, plus just like I don't have anything in writing from them, they don't have anything in writing from me either. Those are my cards...they are breaking copyright...

All kidding aside, the goodie scout leaders took more from me than the petty thief. Way more in fact. I hope this works out in my favor. I sure would like to be paid for my first professional job ever. It would also be good to find out what my rights are as a photographer/designer for future reference. If anything, I may not get paid, and I may not even get the college credit, but I will be pre-disastered. There shouldn't be any trouble getting paid for my second professional job, thought that probably won't take place until we make it to Mobile.

Whew...I wanted to catch up with you guys, but I also wanted to sort of talk about what has been happening also. I'm sure there are artists in our community. If anyone has any advice...other than "get it in writing" cause I got that one...please share it with me. Much Love from Marjie and Jack and Me

lamagonzo (not verified)
Wow Hozomeen!

Don't keep us in suspense to long. I feel like I've just started a novel. Some weird psychothriller from down South. I mean really, this would be an excellent first chapter of a book.

I used to live in Furnace, Ky. for a while. I can totally relate. I hope you guys make it outta there...

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