Friday, August 23, 2013

Those dang entertainment lawyers

So my entertainment lawyers suck story:  in my current novel I'm writing there is a scene with dialogue between two teenage girls where one girl quotes two lines of an Alexi Murdoch song in order to explain how she feels (and says who the song is and who it is by).  I looked up the exact wording of the "fair use" law regarding copyright and songs and poems are sketchy legally because they are so short that even a sentence is considered a "considerable portion of the song" so it's best to ask permission.  So, I emailed Alexi Murdoch's management and they sent me to Andrea (read that with a nasty snide tone).  She told me I could pay them $100 down for the use of the two sentences for the first 3,000 copies made of the novel and then $100 from then on out for all the next 3,000 copies.  So, he'd be making pretty good money if my book hit the best seller list.  Even though I'd basically be giving him free advertising by having a character quote his song in my NY Times Best Seller.  So I told her no thanks, I'd pass and I changed the dialogue.  My husband said she obviously doesn't understand the fair use laws, but I pointed out that she obviously does understand them because she knows that even though they might not win they could still sue me for using two sentences of the song in dialogue in my book and because I couldn't afford defense attorneys for a full trial they would still get money out of me.  So, no way in hell am I ever using a quote by him - not even two words.  And I'm pretty turned off of his music right now.  I realize he never even knew (or will ever know) that this conversation ever happened, but the fact that he hires people like that to work for him makes him seem just as money-hungry and fame-hungry as big stars like KISS and Metalica.  I guess you can dress in torn jeans and have that sweet, innocent Scottish thing going on and still be shallow and want to play the industry game.  Blah.

In other news I start teaching riding in a month and I already have a full day's schedule worth of students.  I've been scouring the internet for resources for games that help kids with their seat and having quiet hands since that seems to be the thing I notice little kids struggle with the most.  I've already gotten great information/education on teaching from the staff at pony camp, but you can never have too much information so I'm going to take in as much as I can find on the subject.  I asked Trainer K. if over the next month she could point out stuff in my lessons that I need to remember when I'm teaching so thankfully yesterday we'd be working on something and she'd throw in "Remember this for when you're teaching your kids" for important points, which helped too.

I'm probably worrying a little too much about it and it will be fine.  But I want to make sure that I not only give the kids a positive and fun experience with horses but that they also get the very important safety lessons too.  I was listening to an instructor yesterday (not one at pony camp!) who was telling one of his students how another student has such a bad seat and keeps progressing in the levels despite that as a detriment.  My first thought was "You're her instructor, why are you not addressing it with her and working on that instead of having her progress?"  But it reminded me I don't want to be one of those instructors whose students go on to get hurt on horses later in life because I did not effectively teach them the important safety basics.  But on the flipside I don't want to be the teacher that kids don't want to ride anymore because it's not fun, it's just a lot of work.  I figure I'm probably far more ready than I think I am.  Well, the other thing it made me think was I hope Trainer K. is not telling other students how bad I am at certain things.  Aargh.

My lesson yesterday was fun because I'm working on brand new stuff and it's exciting to actually feel like I'm making progress.  It used to be that when I asked Maiden to stop I would just use my seat but now I'm learning how to use my seat and my legs when I ask her to stop to help her square up her body.  I checked to make sure beginners shouldn't learn that and I was assured that they should just start with their seat.  But from now I'd be using my seat and my legs to stop and I'll be using these skills when I start moving into First Level someday.  We're also working on supporting the horse more with my reins and my legs instead of just steering with them.  So, when we're doing a circle in the middle of the arena and there's not wall to psychologically "hold the horse up" I'm using my outside leg and rein to work as a surrogate wall for their little brains.  It feels like my lessons have suddenly launched into not just more physically challenging things, but more intellectually interesting things (like how horse's use a wall as psychological support to help balance them).

I drove by yet another farm that's for sale yesterday after my lesson.  This one is just north of the little town my husband likes so much and is in the woods in unincorporated Snohomish County.  My first thought was "Well, we'd need a shotgun to live there!"  It actually looks like a really nice neighborhood with lots of horse farms and play structures in yards.  But all the properties are really far apart.  And I imagine there are a lot of wild animals - even more so than our bald eagle family, coyotes, bunnies, deer and random bobcat.  Which is why I've been reading up on bear and mountain lion safety.   They already have an outdoor horse arena so we're part way there - we'd just have to cover it and put in the best footing I could find.  I'm hell bent to become master of my own footing (which is what the ground is made up of in an arena and despite what non-horse people think it's quite a science within itself to have really good footing).

We got to pilates early on Wed. so I went and looked at Beth's indoor and outdoor arena and drooled over both of them.  I'm a little obsessed with footing right now and can tell you way more about it than I probably need to know since I don't currently own a farm.  Speaking of pilates we did a cool new exercise in class that apparently some of the women in that class had done but I had never done.  We balanced on our knees on the exercise balls.  Or I should say a couple of the women did. Myself and my BFF and the other student who hadn't done it before tried to and would be all hunched over in a smashed down version of the 2-point seat for about two seconds before we'd roll back off.  The other student tumbled off and rolled over a couple times and Beth was disturbed (in an amused way) by that (although she was fine and we all laughed)  So when I tumbled off and rolled into my BFF's ball Beth called it quits saying she didn't want to have to call 911 for anyone.   I probably would've been happy to practice just doing that for a full hour!  And I must clarify that I did not "fall off my ball" my ball "threw me off".  There is a difference!

And I must acknowledge a fellow geek at the stable where I board Maiden.   A couple boarders were talking about some instructor I don't know who won't let anyone watch her ride even though she promotes herself as this rare, gifted, one-of-a-kind perfect dressage rider.  I made a comment "So, she's a perfect rider until observed?" and nobody got it except for M. who piped up, "She's a quantum particle rider!" and we both laughed.  I was so happy someone else got my reference!

I'll leave you with this.  I tend to agree with Leslie.

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