StaRGazing 2012 Speakers

“What's New on the Internet?” by Orv Beach

Orv Beach

“Web sites and browsers and networks, oh my!” How is a mere mortal to keep track of the newest trends, sites and equipment used when surfing the World Wide Web?? Have no fear — Orv is here! We'll discuss social networks, home networks and computers, and anything else that might be help you be as productive and efficient as possible when using that most ubiquitous of reference sites: the Internet.

Orv Beach has been involved in computers and networks for 30 years, and has been involved in technology in general all his life. He's a principal member of the Simi Conejo Linux Users Group, and the Publicity Chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. He's been on the Internet since the days of dial-up modems, and keeps tabs on the pulse of the communities there.

“Ask the Sexologist” by Robert Berend

Robert Berend

A wildly popular panel discussion where anything goes! Adults only!

Robert Berend is a lifetime Mensa member, and he has spoken at several AGs, RGs and many other venues. Robert has a Ph.D. in human sexuality. He presented “Fishbowl” and “Ask the Sexologists” at the 2010 Annual Gathering in Dearborn, Michigan.

“A Travesty of Justice or Justified Conviction?” by Jana Bickel

Jana Bickel

In 1785 Elizabeth Wilson was hanged for murdering her twin daughters. In 2011, Casey Anthony walked away from her daughter's murder trial convicted only for lying to the police. How is it that Elizabeth Wilson died and Casey Anthony was set free? Jana Bickel will tell the story of Elizabeth Wilson and her brother William who desperately tried to save her. Was Elizabeth Wilson a victim of her times or a mother justifiably hanged for infanticide?

Jana Bickel has been a member of Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa for over 25 years. She has represented the San Fernando Valley on the Board, been RG Chairman, hosted parties and RG programs as well as co-led GLAAM's NOVA Toastmasters. She now brings her love of history to this year's RG.

“Oners: Extended Movie Shots That Challenged the Crew, Indulged the Director, and Gave the Cast Nightmares” by Peter Paul Block

Peter Paul Block

Sometimes only other film-makers and film students notice or appreciate them, but throughout film history there have been amazing shots that seemed to go on and on without a cut. This survey of some of the more noteworthy “oners” in classic and recent films explains the challenges, the techniques, the equipment, and why we should care.

Peter Paul Block has been an autodidactic film student (and critic) most of his life, because the arts and sciences of making movies have always fascinated him. A popular West Coast radio disc jockey in the 1980's and 1990's, Peter has played leading roles in stage musicals in community theater and was able to observe several A-list directors in action by working as a film extra (and by crashing the set of a Jim Carrey movie). Peter won the 2010 Mensa Creative Urge Award for Video.

“Spy vs. Spy: The Deadly Game of Deception Between British and German Intelligence in the Netherlands During World War II” by Peter Paul Block

Peter Paul Block

In World War II, Europe was a battleground not only of air and ground forces, but also of opposing intelligence agencies. Special Operations Executive, a British agency that gathered intelligence and coordinated resistance units in Nazi-occupied countries, had a network of secret agents in Holland. This is the story of how their British handlers tried to keep them alive and safe (and useful) and how German Counterintelligence tried to find and capture them — with hopes of using them to feed misinformation to the Allies.

Peter Paul Block became fascinated with cryptography when he discovered Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold-Bug at 13. Trained as a linguist by the Naval Security Group (the U. S. Navy's intelligence agency at that time), Peter served in Germany and Washington, D.C. Since then he has been an amateur cryptographer and is developing a new form of steganographic cryptography.

“Intelligent Designs: How Play and Games are Changing the Cultural Landscape” by Sarah Brin and Simon Wiscombe

Sarah Brin Simon Wiscombe

In this entertaining lecture, Sarah Brin and Simon Wiscombe will give a brief history of artists' games, followed by a case study of Reality Ends Here, a collaborative project-making game used to boost morale and interpersonal connections between incoming undergraduate students at a local film school.

Sarah Brin is an art historian and curator. Simon Wiscombe is a game and interaction designer.

“Purpose, Passion, and Profits” by Chellie Campbell

Chellie Campbell

Find out how to mind your money without losing your mind! Chellie treats money disorders — spending bulimia and income anorexia. Her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops help people create more cash, bigger sales, less debt and more time off for fun! Half of what she calls “Financial Stress Reduction®” is “Minding Your Money” through three basic steps: 1) Think Positive 2) Send Out Ships and 3) Count Your Money. And the other half is “Without Losing Your Mind”: 1) Swim With Dolphins 2) Survive the Storms and 3) Seek Balance and Enlightenment. Anyone who follows this simple program will be amazed at the “Magic Money” that appears in their life.

Chellie Campbell is the creator of the popular Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops now taught by certified Coaches throughout the country. Author of The Wealthy Spirit and Zero to Zillionaire, both published by Sourcebooks, Inc., she is one of Marci Shimoff's “Happy 100” in her NYT bestseller Happy for No Reason and contributed stories to Jack Canfield's recent books You've Got to Read This Book! and Life Lessons from Chicken Soup for the Soul. She is prominently quoted as a financial expert in The Los Angeles Times, Pink, Good Housekeeping, Lifetime, Essence, Woman's World and more than 50 popular books. For “30 Days to a Wealthy Spirit” daily inspirational emails and other information, visit her web site Chellie.com or email her at Chellie@Chellie.com.

“L.A. Times Test Kitchen” by Noelle Carter

Noelle Carter

Noelle will talk about the L.A. Times Test Kitchen, one of the few remaining test kitchens at a newspaper. She will discuss how they acquire and develop recipes, how a recipe is tested, and how they style and photograph the recipes they run. She'll also discuss some of the other things she does with the section: the kitchen shoots televised recipe demonstrations with KTLA, features stories, and she manages the weekly Culinary SOS column.

Noelle has been with the L.A. Times for over five years, and has managed the kitchen for about four years. She is a professionally trained chef, and prior to working at the Times, worked both in restaurants and with catering companies.

“How to Create a Lasting Sexual/Spiritual Relationship” by Judith Claire & Frank Wiegers

Judith Claire & Frank Wiegers

Want the hottest sex? The most fulfilling relationship? We believe they start from a powerful spiritual connection between you and your partner. Join us and learn about how hormones and neurotransmitters impact the mind\body\spirit connection. Discover empowering tools and techniques you can use in each stage of your relationship: dating, commitment, power struggle, and intimacy. Learn how to create a joyful, delicious, lasting relationship.

Happily married couple Frank Wiegers and Judith Claire are professional relationship experts from Los Angeles. Frank, a former fighter pilot turned sex and relationship coach specializes in working with men. Judith, a successful personal, career and relationship counselor, has been practicing for 34 years. Together they are committed to giving men and women the inspiration and tools to succeed in their love-lives. They are the founders of Top Gun Love: For Sizzling Sex and Lasting Relationships.

“Looking for Life on Mars and Other Places” by Max Coleman

Max Coleman

It is likely that the Earth's surface was habitable shortly after its formation just over 4.5 billion years ago. Microbial life dominated the Earth until just over half a billion years ago and signs of microbial activity are the prime targets of exploration for life on Mars. Biological characteristics of life are an insufficient basis for life search instruments so we developed a new operational definition of Life, based on the chemistry of metabolic processes, compared with what would happen in an environment without life. Amazingly, and counter-intuitively, exhaled “breath” of microorganisms is one of the best signs of life, preserved as minerals and recognized by their compositions. Other analyses also reveal details of paleo-environments and whether they were habitable. Having developed the scientific approaches, until we can return samples to Earth, we need to fly instruments to Mars. Examples will be shown of how laboratory analytical instruments are miniaturized spectacularly (by factors of a thousand) and adapted for flight to Mars. This presentation will involve practical demonstrations as well as the more usual audiovisual material.

Max Coleman's training combined chemistry, geology and isotope geochemistry at London and Leeds Universities, but he found that he needed to encompass microbiology too when studying sedimentary rocks. He has applied multidisciplinary fundamental scientific research to elicit solutions to practical problems in petroleum exploration and production, environmental pollution, radioactive waste storage and forensic science. He now uses the same approaches to search for life on other planets. After ten years at the British Geological Survey, where he ran a national stable isotope facility, he joined BP Research to start a new geochemical research group. He then moved to the University of Reading (UK) in 1995 as Professor of Sedimentology. Prof. Coleman was enticed to join the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech, in 2003, to be Director of the Center for Life Detection and Leader of the Astrobiology Research Group. In 2009, he spent a sabbatical period in Paris where he worked on aspects of sequestration and storage of carbon dioxide. He has now returned to JPL to focus again on looking for life outside the Earth by developing mineral biosignature approaches and instruments to detect them.

“Why Outsiders Are Key To Any Company's Success” by David Couper

David Couper

Research has shown that outsiders can bring needed creativity to an organization but paradoxically companies are often unwilling to hire those of us who think differently. Find out how you can go from being an awkward problem to a successful solution in your career.

David Couper is a career coach and consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies around the world. He has published eight books and has appeared on more than 100 TV, radio, and other media outlets including NPR, Forbes, and Fortune. He has a degree in communication and a masters in psychology.

“Affordable Travel: What You Need to Know” by Jane Engle

Jane Engle

Don't let money worries keep you from seeing the world in 2012. By planning wisely, you can travel nearly anywhere for less than you think.

For more than 20 years, nationally known travel expert Jane Engle has helped vacationers find the best deals on hotels, flights, cruises and more. A former Los Angeles Times travel columnist, blogger and assistant editor, she writes about travel for top media.

“Why They Toss Your Screenwriting Masterpiece” by Stewart Farquhar

Stewart Farquhar

Many scripts fail within the first half of the first page or less. Others dig themselves a grave within the first ten pages. Either scenario causes the first level reader to lose interest and either drop it in the reject pile or skim through the rest of it. Both options spell disaster for your spec script and in many cases any further writing efforts on the writer's part. In this interactive presentation you will learn why spec scripts get rejected in the first ten pages and ways to minimize the chance of that rejection.

Special offer: Mr. Farquhar will review the first page of each qualifying attendee for free (normally $75) with on-page notes for all those who commit to attending his course by Monday prior to the RG. Further, during class he will draw for five free on-site ten-page consultations. All attendees are encouraged to bring their first ten to class. To qualify for the first page review, send your name and phone number and attach your first and title page to: LAMensaRG@gmail.com by 6:00pm Monday, Feb 13.

Stewart Farquhar is a Mensa member and holds Screenwriting and Advanced Screenwriting certificates from the Professional Program at The UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television. Stewart has analyzed over 3,300 scripts for private clients. He is a produced playwright and active screenwriter. His in-demand interactive lectures address the first ten pages of a script. An additional series places emphasis on the first page alone. He is an active member of The Table, which is made up of over 1,000 writers, directors, actors, producers, novelists, composers, editors and more (including Oscar, Emmy, Hugo and Edgar winners, New York Times bestselling authors, and those who have worked for all the major studios, networks and publishers in the world).

“Songs of Science!!!” by Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin

Join award-winning songwriter/performer Tim Griffin for an hour of funny, mostly educational music about such topics as evolution, revolution, the ocean, the laws of motion, geometry, particle physics, that thing you ate in the school cafeteria, and of course philosophy. Kids are highly welcome, but this is guaranteed not to be the kind of kids' music that will make parents flee the room.

Teachers from preschool to college-level have used Tim Griffin's music to help their students retain and apply the content of their lessons. Tim has been teaching grades K-5 in LAUSD for eighteen years. He is currently on sabbatical to work on his music full-time; you can hear a new song every week at his website: Tim Griffin Music.

“Renaissance Man — Does It Pay?” by Robert L. Hecker

Robert L. Hecker

Called a Renaissance Man, his presentation explores how this “imaginative response to broader horizons” has influenced his earning power as a free-lance writer of more than 50 years and what the future holds for non-genre writers.

Born in Utah, but grew up in Long Beach, California. Widower with three grown children. WWWII Vet. Lt. Col. USAF (ret). Graduate Pasadena Playhouse School of Theatre and Westlake College of Music. Matriculated at UCLA. Free lance writer for radio, TV, screenplays, documentaries, business, government, educational audio-visuals, novels, short stories, songs, stage plays and musicals.

“The Illusion of Reality in Film: An Overview of the Past and New Trends of Today” by Sherwood Jones

Sherwood Jones

Down through the years the film industry has exercised numerous techniques to make films seem more “real”: color, sound, 3-D, even Smell-O-Vision. Recently, however, less obvious techniques have been used to give the simulation of reality to modern audiences, where the filmic conventions themselves have been played with in order to generate illusion. In this session, we'll have a fun retrospective of “reality” techniques of the past, as well an exploration of the more psychological strategies of recent years, all complete with film clips. The key question: do they work, and why or why not?

Sherwood Jones began making films at the age of 11. After receiving a BA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University, he went on to earn an MFA in Film production at Ohio University. While in graduate school, he won a Student Eddy Award from the American Cinema Editors, as well as a Student Academy Award for his Masters Thesis film.

Over the years, Sherwood has worked both in the freelance world and as well on staff at Tapestry Films, where he served as editor, assistant editor, and/or postproduction supervisor on many of their films for thirteen years. Tapestry has produced numerous films, including “Wedding Crashers,” “Pay it Forward,” “The Wedding Planner,” “She's All That,” and “Serendipity.”

“Exercise and Nutrition and How to Feel Better Now” by Stephanie Alison Kagel

Stephanie Alison Kagel

Sifting through the fads, learn real information about exercise and nutrition and more importantly, how to incorporate it into your life. Getting healthy and improving all aspects of your life doesn't have to be all hard work.

Stephanie is a personal trainer in Los Angeles certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She is also a professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and maintains an Advanced membership in IDEA Health and Fitness Association, the world's leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals. Visit StephaniesTraining.com.

“Whoa! New Evidence that God Exists!” by Rich Kapnick

Rich Kapnick

Richard Kapnick qualified for, and arrogantly joined, the ISPE (International Society for Philosophical Enquiry) in 1989. He is the only known Associate to achieve the level of Diplomate in less than five years. He was elected Editor of Telicom in 1993 and continued as a highly successful Editor for nearly three years. He created the current format for Telicom that is still used today. He now quietly and humbly lives as a happy, satisfied Life Member of the ISPE.

“Science Time for Kids” by Jennifer Karp

Jennifer Karp

A variety of fun and safe science experiments geared toward children of all ages. All materials are provided. Just show up and be ready for a lot fun.

Jennifer Karp has been a volunteer instructor at the San Diego Library for the last two years. She teaches technology to children and seniors, with a focus on discovery and hands on learning. Jennifer also volunteers her services to domestic violence shelters, where she teaches victims of domestic violence new skills in technology, and where she teaches children science.

“Ghost in the Machine: How To Protect Your Identity Online” by Jennifer Karp

Jennifer Karp

Don't be a victim! Protect yourself online! We will start with a brief overview of how the Internet works technically, and a tertiary comparison between the old IPv4 and the new IPv6 standard. We will then move into the realm of network security as it applies to protecting your identity online. Tips and tricks for safe and fun Internet surfing, browsing, and purchasing. Forewarned is forearmed.

Jennifer Karp has had a sordid romance with the world of technology. In 1994, she was one of the world's first Web site developers. Jennifer foraged new ground in the world of the Internet for generations to come, from helping to develop the first end-to-end solution, to helping to improve and to set standards for eCommerce, to developing design and backend methods for Web sites that are now standards. Jennifer embarked on her next adventure into RF Engineering, utilizing WiFi for advanced applications, and helping to research emerging technologies in both the fields of WiFi and IT. She is considered a guru in Unix/Linux and in PERL, and has taught classes in both subjects.

“The A Word: My Life Behind The New Scarlet Letter” by Bobbie Kirkhart, President of Atheists United

Bobbie Kirkhart, President of Atheists United

I am among relatively few people who are atheist and very open about it. The responses I get might surprise you, and they say a great deal about our society's attitude toward religion and irreligious belief systems.

Bobbie Kirkhart is president of Atheists United in Los Angeles, vice president of the Atheist Alliance of America, and a former president of Atheist Alliance International. In addition to her regular President's Messages in The Rational Alternative and in Secular Nation, her work has been printed in Free Inquiry, American Atheist, La Raison and HUMAN magazines, as well as the Humanist Network News. She is a contributing author in three books: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion; The Fundamentals of Extremism: the Christian Right in America; and in Everything You Know About God Is Wrong (the Book).

“Economy of The Unincorporated Man” by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

In a world in which every individual is incorporated from birth, and by virtue of that incorporation has every imaginable need met, is freedom as we understand it really necessary? Should such a world be deemed Compassionate Capitalism or rather a Dictatorship of the Content?

Brothers Dani and Eytan Kollin's debut novel, The Unincorporated Man was designated a SciFi Essential and went on to win the 2010 Prometheus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of the year. Their second and third novels, The Unincorporated War and The Unincorporated Woman were also nominated for the same award (the 2012 winner will be announced this July). Last year the brothers signed with Hollywood powerhouse ICM (International Creative Management) and are hoping to ride the gravy train to fame and fortune or at a minimum, some really good foot massages.

“A Journey Celebrating the Wonders of The Early French-American Relationship Through The Lives of Franklin, Washington and the Lafayettes” by Eric Lafayette

Eric Lafayette

Nobody represents better the French-American friendship than the Marquis de Lafayette and his wife Adrienne de Lafayette. You will learn in detail the marvelous friendship that existed between France and America when the USA struggled to become independent. Most of the lecture will focus on Lafayette and his wife Adrienne, an extraordinary unsung heroine if there ever was one. You will learn that even today we benefit from the friendship between Washington and Lafayette as well as the complicity between Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette.

Eric Lafayette of French origin, a Mensa member, lived in many different countries and travelled extensively. He lived in The Kingdom of Morocco and in Spain under General Franco. Living under these tyrannical regimes and then in France and the USA allowed him to appreciate how important democracy is. Since then as an historian he has studied in depth the era when these two nations founded modern democracy. He is now devoting his time to writing a book that extols the virtues of Franklin, Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, the founders of the USA and of the modern Western world. For more information about Eric Lafayette visit his website: www.fordemocracy.com.

“Dodger Stadium: 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2012” by Mark Langill

Mark Langill

From Kirk Gibson's World Series theatrics to the frenzy of The Beatles performing on stage behind second base, hear the behind-the-scenes stories from Southern California's iconic ballpark.

Mark Langill is the team historian of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the perfect vocation for a kid who couldn't hit the ball in Little League. The South Pasadena native and Cal State Northridge graduate is the author of five Dodger-related books and edited the upcoming commemorative history book, The Dodgers: From Coast to Coast.

“The Story and the Pictures: Writing, Illustrating and Getting Books Out There for Young Readers” by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Ever have the desire to create a picture book? What exactly goes into a trade-published children's book anyway? From concept to hardcover, here's a step by step, blow by blow, of how to write, design, illustrate and promote a book for young readers with all the mistakes, footfalls and great luck that goes with it.

Deborah Nourse Lattimore is the author-illustrator of nearly forty books, with over two million books in print, and is still writing, illustrating, teaching and traveling with her work. She is the winner of the PEN Award, the ACLU Award in the Arts, twice short-listed for the Caldecott Award, a speaker for the International Readers' Association, the ALA, the U.S. Dept. of State, Education and the Dept. of Defense, and a supporter of literacy for everyone, everywhere, and of all ages. She is also a member of the American Research Center in Egypt, The Egypt Exploration Society, has done extensive graduate work in Egyptology at UCLA, and has also been an archaeological illustrator for the J. Paul Getty Museum, the American School in Athens, the Women's Classical Caucus, and the U.C. Berkeley Press.

“Solar Power: The Locus of Change” by Jack Leonard

Jack Leonard

There are three things we will discuss in our presentation: one, energy efficiency and the process for dramatically reducing our electrical power consumption; two, electric vehicles and their undeniable “cool” factor; and three, the ability of solar technology to power our future and restore the American dream.

Jack Leonard is currently a Solar Power Inspector for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he conducts solar system performance analysis, system commissioning, and utility integration. He believes in — and advocates — the sustainable use of solar and wind power for generating energy, energy efficiency, and the viability of electric vehicles.

“Current Event Discussion” by Stratton Lindenmeyer

Stratton Lindenmeyer

Join us to discuss the most current events of the day — the upcoming election, unemployment, the economy or today's news. Stratton will lead off the discussion with a few remarks and then turn over the discussion to the group.

Stratton Lindenmeyer is a life member and has been a member of GLAAM since 1965. He led the Urban Hike and First Friday Happy Hour for twenty years and has made numerous contributions to past RG's as a committee member and as the leader of such events as: Dr. IQ, the Discussion Group, Spelling Bee, garage sale, etc.

“The Mad King and His Castle” by Dennis Lynch

Dennis Lynch

He was a dreamy introvert, a great admirer of German composer Richard Wagner, and the unfortunate king of Bavaria who was deposed for his madness in 1886. Mad King Ludwig II is perhaps best remembered for building grand fantasy castles, the most famous of which, Neuschwanstein, was the model for Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland. But his madness and his unsolved death three days after he was deposed are still a source of conspiracy theories today. To find out more about the Mad King and his tale, join Dennis Lynch as he uses PowerPoint to reveal the fascinating story of the Dream King and takes you on your own tour through the halls of Neuschwanstein.

Dennis Lynch is a veteran Advanced Placement History teacher, Academic Decathlon coach, and 2002 Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year. He is witty, charming and debonair, and his fascinating spiel will keep you awake.

“Refuse To Be A Victim” by Harry Mallory and Jennifer Venola

How to reduce the odds that you will be victimized at home, in your vehicle, at work, on travel, in cyberspace. Quite a bit of it is attitude, attitude and attitude, plus skepticism. This presentation has limited attendance and requires a $6 per person fee for materials. Contact LAMensaRG@gmail.com for a reservation.

Harry Mallory has a B.S. in Security Administration, and has worked private security for 18 years. He is currently part of base security at China Lake Naval Weapons Center. He is a life member of NRA. Jennifer Venola is a retired lawyer, and former long distance horseback rider. She has tutored literacy and cooks at the local VFW, where she is a life member. She is also a life member of NRA and Mensa.

“Transmedia, Transformation and the Future of Story: What's on the Horizon in the Worlds of Entertainment and the Arts?” by Kate McCallum and Ed Lantz

Kate McCallum Ed Lantz

Ed Lantz, Engineer and Immersive Experience Designer and Kate McCallum, Transmedia Producer and Storyteller combine left and right brain know-how in this informative presentation on future trends in entertainment and storytelling. From phones to domes and from cognitive to expressive storytelling, get insights on what's emerging at the cutting-edge of culture and entertainment.

Kate McCallum is a Mensa wannabe. She spent 20 years at Universal and Paramount, is now working in new media, founded c3: Center for Conscious Creativity and serves as Chair of the Global Arts and Media Node for The Millennium Project. Ed Lantz has an MA in Electrical Engineering, is President of Vortex Immersion Media, is co-founder of IMERSA and maintains a 50-foot R&D dome at L.A. Center Studios.

“Comedy in the Courtroom” by Ray McElfish

Ray McElfish

Attorney and stand up comedian Ray McElfish has seen it all in the court. Not only will he share a plethora of human behavioral pranks that he has experienced in his years defending the transportation industry, but he will also talk about some of the ways comedy can be part of a successful defense.

Los Angeles based trial attorney Raymond McElfish began his career in transportation law representing motor carriers and bus companies in New York City in 1991. Over the past two decades, he has expanded his practice to include trucking companies, TPAs, national and regional carriers, primary and excess insurance companies, and reinsurers in California and New York. He has taken over ten high profile jury verdicts in transportation related trials over the past two years. He is a member of every leading industry and trade association in the transportation and insurance industries.

Ray is also a member of the TLA (Transportation Lawyers Association), the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, the Association of Northern California Defense Counsel, the Los Angeles Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association, the New York State Claims Association, the New York County Lawyers Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the Boston Bar Association.

“American Red Cross in Action: Disasters and Preparedness” by Kat Meredith

Kat Meredith

Come for an overview of the American Red Cross's projects and missions overseas, and little-known services provided at home. To prepare you for a disaster, survival kits for adults and children will be discussed and demonstrated.

Kat Meredith is Community and Government Relations Liaison and Regional Chair, External Relations, Emergency and Disaster Response for the Los Angeles Region of the American Red Cross.

“Wedding Planning for Super-Smart People” by Elizabeth Oakes

Elizabeth Oakes

Wedding planning isn't rocket science, but there are important factors to be considered for optimum lift-off (hint: you won't find these critical factors listed in bridal magazines or online bulletin boards.) Elizabeth Oakes gets to the relevant conundrums about wedding traditions in the New Millennium, event logistics, and modern technology for enhancing your nuptial event. She also promises this talk won't be too boring for boys, especially since males are more involved in planning their weddings these days.

Elizabeth Oakes is an authorized marriage-license notary, ordained ULC minister, Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage for L.A. County, and the creatrix of MarriageToGo.com. She has been creating and officiating custom wedding ceremonies for over ten years and volunteers as a civil wedding officiant for the L.A. County Clerk's office in Norwalk. She was the founding National Wedding and Marriage Examiner at Examiner.com; keep an eye out for her new insider wedding blog for engaged couples and wedding professionals.

“Cults, Constructs, Control, and Creativity: What Do Weird Fundamentalist Cultic Groups Tell Us About Human Evolution and Creative Genius?” by Steven Plaat

Steven Plaat Steven Plaat

In this talk, Steven will share his own story of escape and recovery from a fundamentalist cult, a journey that is both poignant and humorous in hindsight. Steven argues that society overlooks tremendous abuses, insights, and critical developments by writing off growing fundamentalist fringe groups. In this talk, we will also explore the topic of “evolutionary creative genius” by looking at cults as “laboratories available for the study of the human condition.”

Steven Plaat is originally from Ohio, and was raised as a charismatic, fundamentalist Christian. He finished college early to join what he would later realize was a cult in New York. For four years, he worked essentially for free, lived communally, travelled the world, and had experiences he “wouldn't trade for the world, but wouldn't wish on his worst enemy.” Since leaving his group and moving to California, he has shared his experience, and spoken out on the topics of spiritual abuse, loss of faith, and recovery from controlling groups. He now lives in Venice, and does freelance copyediting, design, and data work.

“Is White Light Really White? How Does Understanding Light Help Us Explore Space? and What Are Comets Made Of?” with The Planetary Society

Come join the Planetary Society as we experiment with light and prisms and lots of other cool stuff to explore these fascinating topics!!

The Planetary Society, the world's largest space-interest group, is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. Through our projects and publications, the society plays a leading role in creating innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds. We make you part of space exploration. The speakers for this event are: Danielle Hanne, Geovanni Somoza, Mary Brown, and Tom Kemp.

“The Holocaust Denier's Playbook: Science Denialism and the Threat it Poses to Society” by Donald Prothero

Donald Prothero

The various types of deniers of scientific reality (creationists. global-warming deniers, anti-vaxxers, AIDS deniers) are at odds with a 95-99% consensus of scientists qualified to do research in a given topic. Yet they have a disproportionate effect on the debate in our society, often convincing a near-majority that scientific consensus is wrong. They all employ a standard set of tactics and ploys to discredit science or confuse the public's understanding of it, first pioneered by the Holocaust deniers. Visit DonaldProthero.com.

Donald R. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 28 books and over 250 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and four trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

“Heal Yourself” by Rosemary The Celtic Lady

Rosemary The Celtic Lady

Rosemary will show you how to bring balance to your lives, and to your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional bodies. When you have balance then you can draw anything that is good to you: prosperity, abundance, good health, and great relationships all can be achieved with balance. It is her belief that we all have the gift to heal and communicate with Spirit, we just have to choose to use it! When you learn to work with Spirit it is amazing just how much your lives can change!

Rosemary is founder of the American, Canadian and UK Associations for Healers and Psychics. She is a world renowned psychic medium and medical intuitive, minister, motivational speaker, author, and an ambassador for peace. She is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, moved to the States in January, 1994, and now resides in Burbank. She is the author of Miracles from the Light, the life story of a Scottish healer and seer, and has a meditation CD called Heal Yourself. She is a Reiki Master and also teaches Ascended Masters Healing Techniques which she was taught by her guide Joshua. She has appeared on TV and radio shows throughout the USA and Canada. Visit her website: Rosemary The Celtic Lady, or call (818) 736-7291.

“Men & Women: Vive la Difference!” by Penelope Salinger, LCSW

Penelope Salinger

Men are not just “hairy women who know what they're supposed to do but choose not to.” And women are not just “smaller, weaker men who let their emotions run away with them.” Is it possible to bring about peace between the sexes? Yes! When we understand how specialization provided for the survival of our species, we can stop expecting each other to behave as members of our own gender might. I will share research-based tips on how to listen and talk more effectively with members of the complementary sex and the importance of respecting and even celebrating our differences.

Penelope Salinger, LCSW, is passionate about creating peace between men and women. She draws from her participation in the year-long PAX Mastery and Leadership program created by Alison Armstrong (www.understandmen.com), as well as material from brain chemistry researchers, social scientists, and couples therapists. Penelope is also a documentary filmmaker, a jewelry artist, and a singer/songwriter, with CDs #2 and #3 almost ready for release. Her music website is www.pensongs.com.

“Accessing the Akashic Records for Creativity and Conscious Evolution” by Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht., ARCT

Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht., ARCT

Quantum physics and metaphysics agree that a unified energy field exists which contains a vibrational record of humanity's evolution, collectively and individually. Called the Book of Life by religions and the Collective Consciousness by Karl Jung, the Akashic Records were accessed via hypnosis in the early 20th century by mystics like Edgar Cayce and more recently written about by quantum physicists like Ervin Laszlo. As the archive of each soul in its journey through all lifetimes, the Akashic Records can now be accessed by easier methods than ever before. Learn how the Akashic Records are valuable for creativity, spiritual healing and conscious evolution, and experience their compassionate and empowering energy for yourself in a guided meditation.

Barbara Schiffman is a Life and Soul Coach and Akashic Records Certified Teacher affiliated with award-winning author-expert Linda Howe's Center for Akashic Studies. Devoted to teaching others to access and work with their own Akashic Records for personal development, spiritual evolution, creativity enhancement and soul-level healing, Barbara iss also a certified hypnotherapist, a past life regression and guided imagery master facilitator, and a Voyager Tarot coach/teacher. Her chapter on “2012 and Beyond Through the Eyes of the Akashic Records” was published in early 2011 in the anthology 2012: Creating Your Own Shift and her first ebook Living in Balance for Boomers was published in December. (Both are available on Amazon.) She teaches Akashic Records Practitioner Certification Trainings in L.A. as well as elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada. For info on her writings, life and soul coaching, Akashic trainings or private readings, contact Barbara at (818) 415-3479 or AkashicLA@gmail.com, or visit Your Life & Soul.

“Master Your Creative Process” by Pamela Jaye Smith

Pamela Jaye Smith

From initial inspiration through research and development, polishing, pitching, production, marketing, and distribution, increase the power of your creativity with these timeless, practical tools once mainly taught in the secret Mystery Schools. Explore the Four Stages of the Creative Process. Learn about timing-and-order, balancing emotions and mind, the power of silence, the fine art of collaboration, celebration, and moving on. Get a heads-up on the specific pitfalls of each stage and how to avoid them. Now you too can work with the natural cycles of creativity to become much more efficient and effective creatively, professionally, and personally.

Pamela Jaye Smith is a writer, international consultant, speaker, and award-winning producer/director with over 30 years experience in the media industry. She is the author of four books for writers and filmmakers. Clients and credits include Microsoft, Disney, Paramount, Universal, RAI-TV Rome, UCLA, American Film Institute, Natl. Film Institute of Denmark, Pepperdine University, the American Assoc. of University Women, Junior ROTC, General Motors, Hughes Space & Communications, the FBI, and the U.S. Army. She is past president of the Pan Pacific S.E. Asia Women's Assoc. LA Chapter, the Boeing Workforce Development Think Tank, the U.S. Army Advanced Warfighting Working Group, the China Exploration & Research Society, and California Emergency Response Team. Pamela was listed in Who's Who In The World, Millennium Edition. She is founder of MYTHWORKS and co-founder of the Alpha Babe Academy.

“Titans: The Early Greek Gods” by Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended Los Angeles Public Schools during the heady days of the space race. She comes from a family of storytellers, so her favorite school activity was Show and Tell. She still loves public speaking, even though now she does a lot more telling and a lot less showing. After amassing an eclectic assortment of academic degrees, (BA in Sociology, MA in Library Science, California State Secondary Teaching Credential) she made a career in Civil Service (ornamented by another degree, an MBA). After decades of diligent drudgery, she retired and took up travel. She has been able to enhance a life-long interest in myths and folklore by visiting sites she only knew from books.

“Save the Planet: Eliminate CO2 and Destroy Nuclear Waste” by Van Snyder

Van Snyder

The current generation of nuclear reactors is perceived to be unsafe, and creates an intractable waste problem. The presentation will discuss the Integral Fast Reactor, a different nuclear power system from the ones in service, which is inherently safe, and, more importantly, consumes the waste from today's reactors. No need for Yucca Mountain! Using this system, there is enough uranium to power the entire world for a million years.

Van Snyder is a mathematician, software engineer, and erstwhile professor, with an abiding interest in nuclear power. He has been employed by Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for nearly 45 years, doing mathematical analysis and developing software to support communication, energy, spacecraft operations, orbit and trajectory planning and analysis, and science data analysis and modeling. From 1976 to 1992, he was an adjunct associate professor of computer science at West Coast University. He serves on three national and international committees relating to computer programming languages and numerical software, and as associate editor for a professional journal.

“Opportunities and Pitfalls in Real Estate and Business Transactions” by Steven A. Sokol

Steven A. Sokol

It's no secret that the economy has faltered badly. This has affected real estate and nearly every other segment of the economy. This talk will focus on approaching and carrying out sales, exchanges and other real estate and business transactions in 2012 and beyond. Topics will include negotiating and writing coherent contracts, choice of investment entities, valuation, disclosures, due diligence, insurance, title, financing, tax issues, foreclosure, short sales, mediation, arbitration, and litigation.

Steve is an attorney and partner at Halling Sokol + Meza LLP, a law firm in Calabasas. The firm handles sophisticated transactional matters with a heavy emphasis on real estate, energy, and business transactions, as well as estates, trusts, civil litigation, and other matters. Steve has authored a number of publications, has written and teaches classes for real estate professionals, and has served as an expert witness and consultant. More information is at Halling Sokol + Meza LLP.

Songs and Games hosted by Alan Stillson

Alan Stillson

Sing-Along: An hour of fun group singing from some of the best pages of our folksong SIG songbook. Bring your own acoustical instrument if you have one with you. One of life's few certainties is that this program is always a hoot. Alan Stillson is the leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

Original Interactive Word Games: Alan Stillson is author or co-author of a new e-book plus nine printed puzzle books, including seven official American Mensa titles. Here's a chance to enjoy some original interactive word games and bring out your inner word geek. These word games are fast moving and easy to play — no tiles, no boards. You can find Mr. Stillson's puzzle books and many sample puzzles by visiting Stillsonworks.com.

Name That Tune: This long-standing RG tradition will be played once more. How quickly can you associate a few notes with the title of a song you haven't heard in xxx years? The host is Alan Stillson, leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

Alan Stillson has been a Mensa member since 1987. He's the puzzle editor of L.A. Mentary and leads the folksong SIG and the writers group. Alan is an adjunct mathematics professor at four L.A.-area colleges and an author. He has ten published puzzle books and a musical show that will be running for six weeks this summer. His website is Stillsonworks.com and his email address is astillson@sbcglobal.net.

“Filmmaking For Dummies” and “First Dog Screening” by Bryan Michael Stoller

Bryan Michael Stoller

“I know of nobody more suitable than Bryan Stoller to author a manual on how to get a film made.”
— Dan Akroyd

With all the recent advancements in filmmaking technology, more people than ever are trying their hand at filmmaking. Keeping up with the newest information in this booming field, Bryan Michael Stoller's book Filmmaking For Dummies features up-to-the-minute coverage of the latest and greatest hardware, software, accessories, and trends — including high-definition technology and new outlets for films such as YouTube and MySpace. It demystifies the nuts-and-bolts of filmmaking, from developing a project and securing financing to hiring a cast and crew, editing, and getting distribution. It also provides new movie examples and updated contacts and resources. Whether people want to become professional filmmakers or simply shoot quality home movies, this practical guide has all the advice and tips needed to succeed.

In addition, Bryan will screen his 90-minute film First Dog. See the theatrical trailer. The story begins when “The First Dog,” Teddy, is accidentally left behind after the President appears at a dedication ceremony. Thousands of miles from home, the dog is found by a young boy, Danny Milbright, who discovers that Teddy belongs to the President of the United States — but no one believes him. And so begins an exciting road adventure filled with hardships, friendships and suspense, as Danny runs away from his foster home to return The First Dog to the White House — because, “It's the right thing to do!”

Bryan Michael Stoller is an international award-winning filmmaker who has produced, written and directed over eighty productions that include short comedy films, half hour television, music videos, commercials and feature films. Bryan and his films have been featured on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Dateline NBC and in many newspapers and periodicals including The Los Angeles Times, Premiere Magazine, and People Magazine. His website is BryanMichaelStoller.com.

“Shooting James Cameron's Avatar on Location, on the Alien Moon Pandora” by Jim Tanenbaum, C.A.S.

Jim Tanenbaum, C.A.S.

James Cameron's Avatar has earned almost $3,000,000,000 to date. The most important factor in its popularity is its believability. How was it made so real? Jim Tanenbaum recorded sound for the last three years of the film's production on Pandora, and will discuss Cameron's having to wait for real-world technology to develop sufficiently to make Avatar a viable production concept. He will explain how Avatar was made, including Cameron's inventions to make actual production possible (real-time animation, video facial capture, virtual camera, SimulCam, etc.), and will throw in some humorous anecdotes from the set.

Jim Tanenbaum, C.A.S. has been recording sound for movies and television for 45 years. He originally set out to be an astrophysicist, but got seduced by computers (in the days when some of them still used vacuum tubes) and then ran off to Hollywood to do special effects work on two Boris Karloff movies. He also teaches various audio engineering courses at UCLA and writes technical articles for several trade magazines. He won an Emmy in 2003, and has received various other nominations.

“Five Ways to Keep Yourself and Your Estate Out of Court” by Robert M. Triplett

Robert M. Triplett

Who wants to be an involuntary participant in court processes when there has been an incapacity or death? Bob's talk will highlight some easy things you can do to allow your personal intentions to be carried out in a private way, without incurring the time, expense, and frustration of court intervention. He will also explore the use of a “Cookie Jar” Trust.

Bob has been an estate planning attorney for 30 years and has spoken before many different audiences on this subject. He is also a California real estate broker.

“Marriage Equality” by Robin Tyler

Robin Tyler

Robin Tyler was the first out lesbian or gay comic, appearing on national television, recordings, and live shows since the 1970's. She produced the main stages for three LGBT marches on Washington (in 1979, 1987, and 1993) and has produced 25 music and comedy festivals for thousands of women. Robin was the first lesbian plaintiff in the lawsuit that brought marriage equality to California for same-sex couples (Tyler v State of California), and was a petitioner to overturn Proposition 8. Robin has been named one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in U.S. history. She has spoken at hundreds of college campuses. If you want to know the history of marriage equality, the LGBT movement and have a sense of humor, you will love this lecture. Visit RobinTyler.com.

“Belly Dance for Every Body” by Ronda Wood

Ronda Wood

A gentle introduction to the wonderful world of belly dance for women of all sizes and ages. Belly dance is a wonderful way to improve flexibility, stamina and self-confidence. Dance is also a fun way to get more movement into one's life and these methods can be adjusted for all levels of fitness.

Ronda Wood was a dance student since 1987 and an instructor since 1991 as well as director of the dance troupe The Fatimas. For information about performances and local classes, call (562) 693-1844. To order the DVD Belly Dance for Every Body, go to Plus Size Quality Costumes.

Werewolves and Lawyer Games hosted by Ed You

Ed You

Werewolves of the L.A. RG: By night, werewolves kill off villagers. By day, angry villagers kill off suspected werewolves. (But oops; sometimes they just kill off “innocent villagers.”) “Werewolf” requires observation, some deduction, and a lot of bold-faced lying. Who will prevail: the werewolves or the villagers? Since an average game take 15-20 minutes, new players can join quickly. (This game is similar to, but better than, “Mafia.”)

Lawyer Games: Myron used to run this game of questions and deductions and now Ed You will run it in his memory. Sample: “The music stopped. The woman died. How?” Ask a series of “Yes” and “No” questions to deduce the events of her death. Then start another riddle.

The Big Bang Theory Trivia Game: Use your knowledge of trivia from the TV series to earn character cards for each of the five original characters. Or steal someone else's cards in a head on challenge of Rock/Paper/Scizzors/Lizard/Spock. It's that simple — and you don't have to be a genius!

Ed You is an actor, singer, clinical pharmacist, and former game entrepreneur. You might know him as “The Palabra Pimp,” as “the alpha wolf” when he's playing Werewolf, or as the clueless, incompetent “Inspector You” when he's leading the Mensa Murder Mystery Games.