StaRGazing 2013 Speakers

Changes in the Publishing Industry & How You Can Benefit From Them as an Author or a Reader by Trish Albright

Trish Albright

In only two years, we've seen a massive transformation in publishing – especially in the realm of fiction – with an exodus of authors leaving traditional publishers, and the majority of fiction sales taking place via e-books. There have been bankruptcies among distributors, retailers, and publishing houses. There has also been the meteoric rise of e-sales. Whether you read or write fiction or non-fiction, book lovers will learn some fun facts about this evolving industry and there will be time for questions on how to publish and market your own book at the end — because everyone's got a story.

Trish Albright is a multi-award winning author of historical romantic adventures and contemporary young adult novels. She is a winner of The Molly Award, and a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist. Her first novel, Siren's Song, is winner of the Write Touch Readers Award, the Beacon Award, and was nominated for the 2009 Award of Excellence. Her latest release, The Time Keeper, is a 2012 Christmas novella that takes place in Greenwich, England. Trish belongs to several publishing organizations and currently resides in Los Angeles.

High Glitz: Through The Looking Glass by Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson's documentary portrait series, High Glitz, is shot on location at several of America's child beauty pageants. Setting up her studio amidst the colorful spectacle, she captures the young girls at the height of their performance. Hours of preparation are spent on each child's appearance, and her camera records it all in graphic detail. Children's pageants are a fascinating subculture, but more than anything they represent a strange microcosm of America itself: our own values of beauty, success and glamour reflected in the dreams of thousands of young girls.

Anderson is a Los Angeles-based fine art, commercial, and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, beauty, fashion, and conceptual work. After earning her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, Anderson relocated to Los Angeles in 2001. Her editorial work has appeared in a variety of magazines including Los Angeles, People, Glamour and Playboy. Chronicle Books commissioned her to illustrate their wildly successful series of humorous trade paperbacks, Porn for Women, and the sequel, Porn for New Moms. Her fine art work is represented by Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her photo, left, is by Brad Jones.

Missouri in the Civil War by Jana Bickel

Jana Bickel

When most people think of the Civil War, they think of Shiloh, Gettysburg, and Appomattox. They don't think of Missouri. The battles in Missouri were just as significant and important to the outcome of the Civil War. Jana Bickel will take us through the beginning of settlement in Missouri, through Bleeding Kansas, to the war in Missouri where neighbors fought neighbors.

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.

Smokejumpers: Heroes from the Sky by Peter Block

Peter Block

Smokejumpers are a special breed of firefighter. They parachute into remote areas that are otherwise inaccessible, to fight forest fires. The job involves a unique combination of skills, demands, and dangers and has developed its own argot and subculture. In the United States, smokejumpers have been an important part of forest conservation since World War II, when the U.S. Forest Service saw a need for precautions after a Japanese bomb killed a minister's wife and five children in Oregon instead of starting the forest fire it was supposed to. This presentation will look at the history of smokejumpers from the first pioneers, the equipment, the training, some tragic accidents, the lore, the heroes, and even the cultural differences between American and Russian smokejumpers.

Peter Block grew up hearing his dad's stories about his exploits as a young man when he was a smokejumper during the fire seasons of 1948, 1949, and 1950. An early experimenter with the concept of a parachute taking off and flying, Paul Block eventually found a way to do it before anybody ever heard the word Parasail — and Peter was test pilot for his dad's experimental designs when he was not yet 12 years old. Many years later, when it was too late to ask his dad questions about smokejumpers, Peter visited the old smokejumper base in Oregon where his dad was stationed — and the smokejumper museum that now occupies the old chow hall. With help from the museum curator, Peter reconstructed the world of the smokejumpers from photographs, diaries, news stories, interviews, and incredible legends — some of them true.

Building Sustainable Economic Systems: From Pilot Trials to Widespread Adoption by John Boik

John Boik

In coming years, it will become increasingly important for local economies to transform themselves into ones that are stronger, greener, more resilient, more diverse, more self-sufficient, and more fair. Many urban areas already face difficult financial and economic problems, and soon climate change will strain local economies and city and county budgets even further.

Local monetary/financial systems could help. Many cities in in the U.S. and elsewhere are developing local currency programs. Most of these amount to buy local programs designed to keep money circulating longer within a region. A local monetary/financial system is a highly advanced type of local currency system. It creates new currency, debt free, and and uses it to drive responsible growth and fund education and social services.

John Boik is the founder of the Principled Societies Project and president and founder of New Earth BioMed, a 501(c)3 nonprofit cancer research organization. Dr. Boik received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas, Health Sciences Center, Houston. He completed postdoctoral work at Stanford University, Department of Statistics.

Creating Sustainable Societies: The Rebirth of Democracy and Local Economies is Dr. Boik's first book outside of the biomedical research field. In it, he applies systems thinking, an important perspective in biology, to our wider financial, economic, and governance systems.

Sexual Politics: Pleasure, Power, Morality, and Law by Marshall Burns

Marshall Burns

Sexual politics is about the relationship between power and sex. The term was the title of a landmark feminist text by Kate Millett in 1970 and was used in the titles of two essays by Prof. Harris Mirkin in the 1990s that nearly got him fired. But the complex interplay among sex, laws, morality, and power is seldom discussed and little understood. Come learn the history of sex, war, rape, and registries, and see how they all fit together.

Marshall Burns is a physicist and technology entrepreneur turned social activist. In 2007, he spent six months overseas learning about America's role in global poverty (see www.MBurns.com/Kenya). On his return, he learned about the growing clamor for tougher sex laws here at home and plunged headlong into research on this tough issue (www.SOLresearch.org). He is now working on a book about people designated sex abuse victims who don't agree with that designation.

Why Conservatives and Liberals Think Differently by Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper

Former political consultant Matt Cooper explains how progressives and conservatives are really different in the head both biologically and morally. A greater understanding of these differences could help Americans become less polarized and create better governments. Cooper presents dozens of proposals that might bridge this rift in order to make government better generally, and invites the audience to weigh in on each of them.

A 35-year Life Member of Mensa, Matt has been presenting to non-profit groups for three decades. He has lectured at colleges, Mensa gatherings, and to community groups on contraception, world trends, climate change, democracy, self-driving cars and other subjects. As a political consultant, he has worked professionally and as a volunteer on dozens of political campaigns. A former staffer for Skeptic Magazine, he arranged lectures featuring Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Jared Diamond. In addition to training in engineering and theater, he holds an MBA from the University of California Irvine.

Tax Like It's 2001 Again by Linda Dorfmont

Linda Dorfmont

Linda will discuss the following: income issues including W-2s, cancellation of debt, dividends and capital gains; adjustments for educational expenses, self employed health insurance and student expenses; itemized deductions for medical expenses, sales tax, mortgage interest and PMI; tax computation: exemptions, standard deduction and tax rate increases; credits for children, business expenses, home energy improvements, and AMT; depreciation and Section 179 deductions; Awful Monstrous Tax and what we avoided on the fiscal cliff; and evil effects of the late passage of the new tax law.

Linda Dorfmont is an Enrolled Agent, which is a tax specialist who has earned the privilege of practicing, that is, representing taxpayers, before the Internal Revenue Service. She has been preparing tax returns and teaching tax practice and planning since 1973.

Pub Trivia hosted by Doug Ecks

Doug Ecks

Enjoy a competitive round of trivia, just as played in pubs from England to San Francisco. Your team will compete for victory by answering a variety of challenging and eclectic questions in the categories History, Literature, Movies and Television, Science and Miscellaneous.

Doug Ecks is currently the Pub Trivia host on the second Friday of every month at the British and Dominion Social Club in Garden Grove. He is a criminal defense attorney and former cage fighter. He earned his JD from UC Hastings in San Francisco where he learned the ways of Pub Quiz and Swing Dancing. He is the proud owner of dejagloom.net, a t-shirt design site with sales to four different continents.

Three Sequential Topics to Improve Your Screenwriting Abilities by D. Stewart Farquhar

D. Stewart Farquhar

Your Screenplay Gets One Chance To Impress: Looks, adherence to writing conventions and crisp execution are seen before story.

Hollywood Judges You On Your Looks: There is an expectation that must be met when a reader picks up your script.

You Think You Wrote A Blockbuster Screenplay? Does the market care about what you write?

Attend all three presentations in succession, or the one or two you are available for.

Mr. Farquhar will review the first ten pages of a feature length script, TV show or novel from each qualifying attendee without charge (normally $275). He will provide on-page notes for all those who commit to attending his course and submit by Wednesday, February 6, 2013. Furthermore, during class he will draw for five free on-site first-page consultations (normally $75 each). All attendees are encouraged to bring their first ten pages to class. As a special incentive, he will incorporate and answer questions, as part of each presentation, from those questions submitted by the same deadline before the RG.

To qualify for the first ten page review, put RG13 Script in the subject line. Please include contact information in the e-mail body then attach your first ten and title pages as a PDF to: stewart@thereaderscompany.com by 6:00pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

Stewart Farquhar holds Screenwriting and Advanced Screenwriting certificates from the Professional Program at The UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television.

Stewart has analyzed over 3,500 scripts for private and studio clients. He is a produced playwright active screenwriter and an in demand lecturer. He presented two lectures at the Reno AG12 and recently returned from a well received engagement as a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley. He has been a final story analyst for both Slamdance and scripts headed to Cannes for funding.

He is an active member of The Table, which is made up of over 1,500 above and below the line talent from all major studios and publishers worldwide, including Oscar, Emmy, Hugo and Edgar winners, and New York Times bestselling authors. Membership is by current member invitation only. Stewart Farquhar is a Mensan.

He can be reached at The Reader's Company: stewart@thereaderscompany.com.

Turning Poisons into Medicine: A Foolproof Guide/Roadmap to Finding the Silver Lining by Margrette Francisco

Margrette Francisco

Have you ever felt unhappy or powerless about an event or from the actions of another person in your life? Have you suffered loss or misfortune and are unable to move forward? Do you want to become a master of your emotional mind rather than a victim of it? If you answered yes to any of the preceding questions, solutions await you.

The ability to turn the most negative episode into a positive, life-affirming and character-building chapter is a trait that can be learned and mastered by any individual. Foolproof tools and powerful techniques to turn poison into medicine and to overcome life's obstacles through the process of human metamorphosis will be explored.

Margrette was born and raised in the United Kingdom, lived in the Middle East, and attended law school and graduate school in the U.S. She currently wears a number of hats:

  • international trade and compliance attorney in the aerospace and defense industry
  • founder/coach of Brandnewmetoday, a body and mind transformational program which provides coaching in exercise, nutrition and spiritual techniques to optimize wellness and self-esteem
  • founder/director of a non-profit organization in London that provides mentoring and financial assistance to minority medical students

As a result of turning family tragedy into legal history (chronicled in the BBC documentary Justice for Joan), Margrette shares how to transform obstacles, weaknesses and the negative behavior of others into springboards for growth, development and inspiration.

Liar's Club hosted by Nikki Frey

Nikki Frey

Our panel of experts will present objects and photos for the perusal of the audience. Each panel member gives a different description of the object or photo. It's a shoemaker's tool! No, it's a motor part! Is it a childhood photo of Elvis or Charles Manson? The audience decides who is telling the truth. Prizes for those who guess correctly.

The photo was taken at a volunteer job where the two girls and I made a quilt! The most interesting thing that's happened lately is that I did a nice drawing of Prince Philip (Queen Elizabeth's husband) and mailed it to Buckingham Palace. I received a nice thank-you letter from Prince Philip's secretary!

The Development of Nuclear Weapons: The Personalities Who Made It Happen by Sol Friedman

Sol Friedman

One thousand years from now, or perhaps ten thousand, the twentieth century will be remembered for us reaching the moon and for our developing the nuclear bomb. While the moon landings were a purely wondrous achievement, the story of the creation of atom- and hydrogen-bombs is a truly telling one of all facets of human behavior. Let us venture through the science and political decisions that ultimately led not only to a global stalemate but to the unforeseen potential of fanatical groups utilizing nuclear weapons.

Sol Friedman first joined Mensa at age 12 and always had an interest in math and astronomy. He obtained a Bachelors in Physics from Cornell and a Masters at UC Santa Cruz. Sol has also been an artist and songwriter since childhood and ultimately combined his musical and technical interests by becoming a software engineer specializing in audio digital signal processing.

Meet Actor Leif Gantvoort, Featured in The Amazing Spider-Man

Leif Gantvoort

GLAAM member Leif Gantvoort is best known for his villainous role in the $250 million blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man shown in theatres this summer. He will describe his career as an actor and give us a behind-the-scenes story of what it's like to work on a major movie production.

Leif has appeared in such TV series as Desperate Housewives, Justified, and Revenge. He recently worked on Bones for FOX, and has just finished work in another motion picture. He writes, performs, teaches and directs sketch comedy at ACME Comedy Theatre in Hollywood.

Home Music Production and Recording by Kevin Gates and Peter Block

Kevin Gates Peter Block

Over the past decade home music recording has shown tremendous growth due to advances in digital audio technology, making increasingly affordable equipment available to anybody. At the same time, distribution channels have opened up and diversified, making it possible for a kid to record a hit song in his bedroom, theoretically. With everything from garage setups to professional-grade home studios, more and more people are making music and sharing it with the world.

Kevin Gates and Peter Block, both songwriters with home studios, provide an overview of the technology, the tools, and the techniques now available to musicians, songwriters, composers, and bands who just a few years ago would have had no choice but to buy studio time at hourly rates. There will be an explanation of theory and vocabulary, a discussion of how to get the right gear for your purposes, and a demonstration of how to use one of the popular digital audio workstation (DAW) computer applications. Particular attention will be given to using these tools as part of the songwriting process and for recording song demos. This presentation will be useful both for beginners and for artists who have recorded before.

Kevin Gates is a classically trained musician who dropped out of his music performance major when the reality of being a struggling musician for life hit him full in the face. Though no longer down the path of being a professional, Kevin turned his sights onto alternative musical paths, eventually leading to the world of home recording. Armed with his Roland U-20, Yamaha DX-7 and HR16 Drum machine, Kevin began recording himself in 1989. As home recording gained popularity and affordability in the 90s, Kevin began upgrading his equipment until he had a small home studio capable of recording and mixing anything from orchestral works to electronica. Beginning with offering his home studio to those who could not afford a professional studio as a no cost you get what you pay for alternative, he has grown to a no/low cost alternative that rivals many recording studios. Kevin has also spent many hours providing hands on teaching for teenagers with an interest in the audio industry and has forwarded his love for synthesis by providing school presentations and community exhibits on synthesizers.

Peter Block has been writing songs his entire adult life, and within the past five years some of them have been pretty good. Peter's career in broadcasting had him producing radio commercials and television voiceovers in professional studios. He even wrote and produced some jingles. Now he offers production techniques tailored for songwriters using affordable equipment at home. Peter's song These Many Roads won the 2011 Mensa Creative Urge Award for Songwriting.

What Are Choices Made Of: The Biology of Branding by Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon

From Disney to Apple to Southwest Airlines, companies that understand the biology of branding know how to reach inside our heads, play around in there to guide us to feel a deep sense of loyalty to them. Dan Gordon of The BigTime Group will show you exactly how branding works on us at a core level … and … how you can use branding to guide your best customers to feel that same loyalty too.

For over 15 years Dan Gordon of The BigTime Group has been a creative force in design and marketing. His approach and philosophy to this work is based on a unique understanding of how people actually make choices. Often called the Idea Machine by his clients, Dan is a uniquely talented individual with terrific business savvy. His career has spanned copy writing, graphic design, writing and producing industrial videos and animation. In 2003 Dan moved to Los Angeles, helping a friend launch a children's media company. He also served two years as president for LA's Film Industry Network. The BigTime Group creates highly specialized marketing programs around the unique qualities or brand of their clients. Dan is also, of course, an avid Star Trek fan.

The Science Behind Contagion: Myth or Reality? by Natasha K. Griffith

Natasha K. Griffith

With current climate changes there is an increase in new and re-emerging infectious diseases around the world. Research on the pathogens causing these disease requires use of high-containment facilities: Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) and Biosafety Level 4 (BSL4) facilities. What is the science behind Contagion and how real is the threat of infectious disease in today's world? Come and explore the world of infectious disease and learn about the people behind the orange suits.

Originally from former Yugoslavia. Grew up in Paris, France. Now living in Los Angeles and working as a Director of UCLA High Containment Facilities. Serves as a subject-matter expert for high-containment research and biosafety for different national and international organizations. Served as a technical advisor for Steven Soderbergh's movie Contagion.

Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God by Perry Lanaro

Perry Lanaro

Is there a God? What does science really tell us? Come hear a detailed, informative and thought provoking talk on this question. Q&A will offer a chance to ask detailed questions regarding the initial talk on what science really says about the existence of God. Feel free to attend the Q&A even if you missed the initial lecture.

Perry Lanaro holds a B.S. in physics and an MBA, both degrees from UCLA. He currently works in corporate finance for Paramount Pictures. He combines a natural understanding of science with the story-telling aspect of the entertainment industry to present sophisticated scientific concepts in an understandable and entertaining manner.

Fred and Ginger: The Greatest Dancing Partners in the History of Film by Craig Lancaster

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Many film clips of the dances of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers will be shown. Craig will add his comments, both professional and personal.

Craig has been a member of Mensa for 21 years. He loves movies. The films of Fred and Ginger especially are his particular favorites.

Current Event Discussion hosted by Stratton Lindenmeyer

Stratton Lindenmeyer

Join us to discuss the most current events of the day — 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.

Werewolves Games (Kids' Track, Sunday) hosted by Vicki Lovett

Vicki Lovett

Who are you? Werewolf? Villager? Triumphant games player? There's only one way to find out … let the games begin! (This is the same Werewolves game Ed You is hosting on Saturday.)

Vicki is a writer and editor dedicated to bringing love, joy, sexiness, and order from chaos to the world one word at a time. Her range of style and expression spans from poetry to policy and with the flick of her pen words dance at her fingertips. Vicki is relatively new to Mensa and is enjoying getting to know our unique community. She is on the GLAAM Board of Directors and is planning to become more involved as time goes by.

Handwriting Analysis: What Can You See About Yourself and Others? by Lee MacMorris

Lee MacMorris

Unfortunately, this program has been cancelled for this year.

Learn what your handwriting says about you, and practice analyzing your own handwriting or that of a fellow attendee in this participatory workshop.

OC Mensan Lee MacMorris has been analyzing handwriting since 1977. She spent three years studying handwriting analysis and holds a certificate as a Master Graphoanalyst from the International Graphoanalysis Society.

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby: How Hypnosis Can Help You in the Bedroom by Lynda Malerstein

Lynda Malerstein

Learn the truth about hypnosis: it's much simpler than you think. (Yes, you can be hypnotized.) Whether there is a problem with non-medically related dysfunction, shyness, or you just want to intensify your sexual pleasure, Lynda will explain how hypnosis can help you express yourself sexually and have more fun in the bedroom. You will experience two brief hypnosis techniques and have time for questions and answers.

Lynda Malerstein is a Board Certified Hypnotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. In addition to hypnosis, she uses a unique variety of techniques to help her clients create physical, emotional and spiritual health. She knows from personal experience the effectiveness of mind-body therapies having used them in her own life to overcome bulimia, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. Find out more about Lynda at Power Journeys Hypnosis or Fertility Los Angeles.

The Wrong Family: A Mensa Member Switched at Birth by Al Mascareñas

Al Mascareñas

Ten years ago, I discovered that at birth I was taken home from the hospital by the wrong family — the hospital mixed up two newborns. The operative term is switched at birth. It was hard to understand why I was the only male in my family to graduate from high school, and the only one of ten siblings to go to college. At the first Mensa meeting I attended, in Chicago in 1971, I was invited as a speaker — I was an organizer for the Farmworkers Union's grape and lettuce boycott. I had no idea what Mensa was — I was totally confused. In Spanish, as you probably know (this is L.A.), mensa means a dumb woman. Follow my story as I go from a world of trauma to understanding my life.

Al spent the last ten years exploring a reality that shifted a decade ago. The journey has taken him through rehab programs in California, New York, and New Mexico; a frozen winter on Michigan's Canadian border; homeless shelters on both coasts; a VA psychiatric ward; and 217 cheap motel rooms.

He had a twenty-year teaching career, most recently as an English teacher at an information technology program in South Los Angeles. He is writing full time, exploring this strange new world, and promoting his independently published new memoir, The Wrong Family.

Fundamentalist Christians in the Military Academies by Sara Meric

Hard-core Christian Fundamentalist commanders at the Air Force, Naval and West Point military academies are harassing cadets to participate in religious events that violate individual beliefs, as well as violating the U.S. Constitution. Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force Judge Advocate General, is leading the fight to protect these young cadets through his Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF.org). His aggressive tactics have brought about token reforms, but the basic problem runs very deep in the U.S. military.

Sara Meric, a veteran multi-lingual script analyst from the motion picture industry, accepts private script clients and translation assignments from French, Spanish, German and Italian. She also teaches those languages as well as English as a Second Language (ESL). A life-long civil libertarian, Meric works with First Amendment organizations such as Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the ACLU, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The Planetary Society Presents: Shuttle Life

A look back at 30 years of Space Shuttle service with a focus on the arrival of Endeavour to Los Angeles and the experiments that The Planetary Society carried out on board.

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: Geovanni Somoza, Danielle Hannah, Tom Kemp, and Randi Rawlins.

The Unbearable Kvetching of Being: Stories from a Life On Camera and Off by Alan Rachins

Alan Rachins

Alan Rachins won Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal of Douglas Brackman on the NBC dramatic hit L.A. Law. He followed that with five seasons as Larry Finkelstein on the ABC comedy hit Dharma & Greg. He graduated Brookline High in 1960 and attended the Wharton School of Finance before moving to New York to pursue an acting career. He's appeared in ten feature films, eight television movies, and various guest star appearances as well as productions both on Broadway and off Broadway. He's a graduate of Empire State College as well as The American Film Institute. He has sold television scripts to Fall Guy, Hill Street Blues, Hart To Hart, and others. Recently he was in the world premier of Arthur Laurents's two character play, Attacks of the Heart. He has also appeared in Love Letters, La Cage aux Folles, and his own one man show called No Complaints-No Regrets. He was in the Cape Playhouse's production of Inherit the Wind playing Matthew Harrison Brady. He's been married over thirty years to Joanna. They have a twenty-nine year old son, Robert who graduated from The University of Pennsylvania.

Goldsboro Broken Arrow: Retrieving Rogue Thermonuclear Missiles by Jack ReVelle

Jack ReVelle

Nearly fifty years before the 2009 Academy Award winning film The Hurt Locker, there was the actual 1961 Goldsboro Broken Arrow. Described in the 2011 book of the same name, it tells about then 1st Lt. Jack B. ReVelle's leadership as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer in the de-arming and recovery of two thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs that were accidently dropped over North Carolina in 1961. Jack will describe the eight days he and his 10-man team spent locating and recovering one of the two weapons which buried itself in a tobacco field and swamp. (This information was only recently declassified by the military.)

Jack is an OC Mensan whose professional career includes over a decade in the U.S. Air Force as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer with two Broken Arrows (damaged nuclear weapons) to his credit. Much of his career afterward was spent in aerospace and in academia which included an appointment as the founding dean of the School of Business and Management at Chapman University.

Things Every Intelligent Person Should Know by David Richards

David Richards

We will explore how even smart people can cling to irrational, and even downright wrong beliefs. It will begin with an overview of common errors in rationality, including logical fallacies, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, mass sociogenic illness, and political bias and the occupy movement. We will move on to address commonly-held but unfounded beliefs in the area of the paranormal: psychics and ESP, monsters and cryptids, UFOs and aliens, ghosts and hauntings. The talk will conclude with a segment called fun with numbers, outlining some interesting observations about non-linear spaces of various types, and recurring relationships found across widely different disciplines.

David Richards is a member of the Center for Inquiry, and the Independent Investigations Group in Los Angeles. He's founder of the OC Skeptics Supper Club, and FreethinkersForLiberty.org. Professionally he is an engineer and partner in a company that manufactures equipment for movie theaters.

Sensation Play: Incorporate Kink Into Your Life Without the Dungeon by Mistress Serene Sin

Mistress Serene Sin

Develop your Erotic Intelligence and protect your emotional safety.

Add more stimulus to your play with simple tools from the sensualist toy bag. This workshop is packed with Serene's tips from twenty years of living and teaching sexuality courses ranging in topic from flirting to fisting. We'll cover developing and playing out the first fantasy through the needs of the play after, as well as techniques to enhance the play all along the way.

Don't know how to start a scene with your partner? We workshop negotiation skills to create effective communication of each other's needs and desires, including how to share and incorporate your favorite fantasy with your partner. (It's easy: we play a game.) Learn to understand your body's own stimulus response, and then how to heighten that pleasure.

Do bring a partner to practice several techniques in class. If you don't have a partner, we'll match you.

Due to the adult content in this program, it is only open to attendees 18 years and older.

Phyllis-Serene, Southern California Leather Woman 2010, is a classically trained lifestyle and professional educator and player. As an author, she is a frequent radio and Internet show guest appearing on Playboy's Spice Radio, Dr. Susan Block, Leatherati.com, TSR Networks, and The Fetish Show, and has presented nationally at DESIRE: Leather Women Unleashed, Evolution of the Revolution, and the Leather Leadership Conference. Serene is the founder of SereneSin.com, a mastermind for erotic entrepreneurs and kinksters, where she provides BDSM/Fetish/Kink coaching and classes.

Theseus: A Human Hero Both Brave, Foolish, and Somewhat Immoral by Sandra Smith

… and that's no bull! (Think back to all the Greek mythology you don't remember.)

Sandra Smith, a long-time member of GLAAM and current Board Member, brings to life yet another character from her vast knowledge of Greek mythology. She is always a well-received presenter on Friday evening. She 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.

Seven Things You Need to Know About Business and Real Estate in 2013 by Steven A. Sokol

Steven A. Sokol

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.

I Did Wait Till Next Year, Did You Mean The Year After That? by Gene Steichen

Gene Steichen

One fan's unconditional love for a team that never wins.

My proudest accomplishments in life are being born in Iowa, spending the past 11 years trying to describe how in the world of Fruit of the Loom a Leaf is an actual Fruit, and not losing faith in a team that is convinced that winning displays a sign of weakness, thanks so much.

Gene has had parts in a variety of TV series since 1990, but is best known for the last 11 years as The Leaf in the Fruit of the Loom commercials. Yes, there is a Leaf in the Fruit of the Loom commercials. More recently, he is featured as Senior Pastor Craig in a series that is in post-production called Youth Pastor Kevin. Let's wish him the best of luck!

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 has two produced musical shows. One of the shows, Thank You, Minerva, will be running for six weeks this summer in North Hollywood. His website is Stillsonworks.com and his email address is astillson@sbcglobal.net.

Astrology: An Understanding of Your Life by Jack Taube

Jack Taube

Jack Taube has been a student and practitioner of astrology for over 30 years. In today's talk, he will show how astrology is a metaphor for life. It is a symbolic language that defines who we are as individuals and explores our potentials.

Jack holds a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a therapist and a probation officer. He participated in international conferences on crime which were sponsored by the United Nations. In the course of his life he has been a sailor, particularly in yacht racing, and a pilot. Currently he is a student of military history, and is continuing his teaching and lecturing on astrology.

Financial Strategies Usually Reserved for the Ultra-Wealthy by Tony Vaca

Tony Vaca

What is a 401(k)? In the last few years, has yours become a 201(k)? 30 years ago, when EF Hutton spoke, what was he talking about? And did he take the time to talk to you? We have all heard that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, but what about middle-America? Who's looking out for us? Is the concept of not being able to retire — ever — scaring you to an early grave? If there were IRS codes, wealth concepts and arithmetic formulas available for you to use that would enable you to eventually stop working and enjoy your Golden Years, you would want to know about them, wouldn't you? And if there were nationally-known providers of these services ready to assist you, when would you want to be informed? Today? Tomorrow? Ever?

Tony Vaca is a Wealth, Finance and Retirement Strategist, Realtor®, and a once more active Mensan from Orange County. His past RG and Las Vegas and New Orleans AG topics on Zen and the Art of Craps, Dating and Sexual Tension, Purchasing a Home in Today's Market (2005), and Your Credit Report and How to Raise Your FICO Scores were well attended.

Mojave Desert 101: Why You DO Want to Go to a Valley Named Death by Jennifer Venola and Harry Mallory

Jennifer Venola and Harry Mallory

Jennifer and Harry will show pictures of some of the highlights of Death Valley while they explore many aspects of the lowest place in the Americas, plus Trona Pinnacles and Mojave National Preserve.

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 Mensa.

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.

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 Faverman 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.

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.