Archive for chris

How the iPod Saved My Christmas –

Posted in The Good Life with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by chrisdurant2000

‘Tis the Season –

I love music, all types of music.  And while my tastes run the spectrum, I usually find myself gravitating towards classical, (I absolutely love the violin) soft jazz, and the occasional country tune.   Everything else becomes more of a seasonal selection.  For instance usually in the spring and summer I will primarily listen to alternative rock and upbeat country.   It’s weird, I don’t get it either. 

Whether I am driving, working out, working in the yard, work working, or just sitting at home, I will normally listen to my iPod.    This has become more prevalent to the point of noticeable, a fact I realized the other day.   There is a wonderful classical station here, WDAV based at Davidson College, that has really helped to expand my library and love of classical music.   Like most classical stations, there is very little talk, no commercials (except for the semi-annual membership drive) and what human voice you will hear is usually calm and subdued.  And this brings us to the point of this article…

I LOVE Christmas music!  Certainly I would not listen to it all year long, but there is just something about those songs that rekindles wonderful memories of Christmases past in my mind that I will always cherish.    Now, I know people who groan at the slightest thought of having to “endure” a single carol.  Not me!  For me it provides a soundtrack, the score to the season.  Not unlike the aroma of cinnamon and spices that provide an olfactory ignition announcing to the senses that “IT IS CHRISTMASTIME!!”

Like most cities, Charlotte has several radio stations that play Christmas songs, usually beginning the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas day.    So, I was very excited about listening to the radio in the car the other day when I set out to do a little shopping.  My excitement, however, was very short lived.    I found myself quickly frustrated as I clicked back and forth between the two stations.   While I would acheive a wonderful memory moment with an old Christmas classic, it was almost immediately erased by the “VOICE”.   The “VOICE” was that obnoxious radio personality.  It was the incessant commercials.  It was loud. It was intrusive to my reveling, and it roared seemingly after each and every song, almost as if attempting to create some sadistic balance between the harmonious music and ‘nails on the chalkboard’ commercialism.   After about fifteen minutes of this, I called ‘No Joy’ and switched the iPod back on.   But I couldn’t let it go.  I was pissed.  I was in the midst of my holiday spirit and yet I felt more like ole Ebenezer.   Apparently I needed a work-around.

Throughout the day as I shopped, walking through the mall, seeing others shopping, and bounding in and out of the various stores and boutiques, I would have flashes of memories.  Each was tied to a different carol and helped to bring me back into the sight, sound, smell and feel of the season.  So, with each memory I quickly added a little note into my Blackberry jotting down the song.  Later that night I even Googled “Christmas Classics” and a host of other search strings as I began to forge my very own Christmas playlist.   It was awesome and helped to elicit even more memories and remind me of songs that I had forgotten but loved.

The other day, I posted a comment on Facebook about my little Christmas creation and got several messages back asking me for a rundown of “Chris’ Carols”.   So, I’ve decided to share.  This is by no means a full and complete list, I know I will continue to add songs.  And while there are any number of different versions by different artists, (in a few cases there are even multiple versions in my playlist, yep, I downloaded them all) these are MY favorites.  I hope you enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) – Darrius Rucker

Winter Wonderland – The Eurhymics

O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman

Jingle Bells – Michael Buble’ (featuring the Puppini Sisters)

Baby it’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin

Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trio

I’ll be Home for Christmas – Rascal Flatts

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Michael Buble’

Merry Christmas Darling – The Carpenters

White Christmas – Bing Crosby

Where are You Christmas – Faith Hill

Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

Last Christmas – WHAM

Silent Night –Enya

Winter Wonderland – Chris Botti

Carol of the Bells – Mannheim Steamroller

Christmas Canon – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Christmas – Blues Traveler

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

Mele Kamikimaka – Bing Crosby

Silver Bells – Johnny Mathis

Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney

Sleigh Ride – John Williams and the Boston Pops

Christmas is now Drawing Near – Steve Winwood

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – Dean Martin

Belluea Wood – Garth Brooks

Same old Lang Syne – Dan Folgeberg

I’ll be Home for Christmas – Michael Buble’

Winter Wonderland – Andy Williams

Christmastime is Here – Sarah McLachlan

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Nike: JUST DO IT! Terminate Agreement with Vick

Posted in Michael Vick with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by chrisdurant2000

Below is a copy of a letter that I sent to Nike’s, Chairman, CEO, Committee on Corporate Responsibility and other relevant officers. I would encourage everyone reading this to write a similar letter or feel free to copy and paste mine. But please, let the leaders of Nike know that we will not sit idly by as they willfully abort their corporate values by restoring Michael Vick to sports hero status with their once great brand.
____________________________________________________________________________

To: Philip Knight, Chairman of the Board, NIKE Corporation
Mark Parker, CEO, NIKE Corporation
Charles Denson, President, NIKE Brand
Don Blair, VP and Chief Financial Officer
Gary M. DeStefano, President Global Operations
Maria S. Eitel, President NIKE Foundation
Elizabeth J. Comstock, Board Member
John G. Connors, Board Member
Timothy D. Cook, Board Member
Ralph D. Denuzio, Board Member
Alan B. Graf, Jr., Board Member
Orin C. Smith, Board Member
Bert Hoyt, VP Global Category Football
Tim Hersey, VP North America Retail
Elliott Hill, VP and GM North America
David Grasso, VP Global Brand Marketing

PAT ZEEDICK, VP and GM Young Athletics

Nike Corporate Responsibility Committee Members
Jill K. Conway
Douglas G. Houser
Johnathan A. Rodgers
John R. Thompson, Jr.
John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D.
Phyllis M. Wise

Other Nike Officers
Tom Peddie, VP North America Sales
Bernie Pliskie, VP and Corporate Controller
Ken Dice, VP North America Marketing
Eric Sprunk, VP Merchandising and Product
Nigel Powell, VP Global Communications
Brad Johnson, VP North America Merchandising
Trevor Edwards, VP Global Brand and Category Merchandising

____________________________________________________________________________

Dear Sir/ Madame –

I am writing to you today to express my deep concern over your company’s decision to re-sign Michael Vick as a corporate spokesman and ambassador of your brand.

I have been a lifelong Nike customer for the last 30+ years. During that time, I can honestly say that I have never owned another brand’s athletic shoe or apparel. That, however, has changed because of your poorly thought out corporate strategy to again align yourself with Michael Vick.

In 2007, when Nike released Michael Vick, your company stated that ‘cruelty to animals was “inhumane, abhorrent, and unacceptable.”‘ To which I must now ask ‘what has changed’? Michael Vick is still guilty of barbarous acts of sadistic cruelty, torture and murder against innocent dogs. The 18 of 23 months that he spent incarcerated for “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fight Venture” does not erase that. Nor does it fulfill in the minds of thousands of animal lovers worldwide that he has truly reconciled what he did. His public appearances and statements about his involvement are scripted, flat, devoid of emotion and lacking in sincerity. Anyone who truly pays attention can see that.

With so many other untarnished, talented professional athletes to choose from, it is very sad that corporate greed would lead your once great company to historically re-sign a man who clearly has a strong degree of unchecked sociopathology. How do you change that and more importantly how does Nike justify it? How can this possibly fit within your corporate “Inside the Lines” policies?

Nike plays such a huge role in our children’s lives through youth sports. From little league to Pop Warner football, high school and collegiate athletics the world’s young people look up to and want to emulate the sports stars they see not only play their favorite games, but also endorsing and selling a company’s products.

Your decision to pull Michael Vick back into the Nike fold is a blatant slap in the face of anyone who has ever known the unconditional love of a dog. And it sends the message to parents all over the world that “if you want your child to emulate a sadistic animal abuser and murderer of innocent dogs, NIKE HAS YOUR GEAR!”

Until Nike reverses its stance on Michael Vick, I will cease to be one of your customers. Additionally I will, through my words and my voice, make sure that everyone I come in contact with – friends, family, co-workers, social acquaintances, and strangers alike that Nike has abandoned its corporate values in pursuit of unashamed, ill-gotten revenues through its relationship with this man who with forethought and malice, intentionally and with pleasure electrocuted, drowned, bludgeoned, hung and beat to death innocent dogs who didn’t perform well in his illegal activities.

I do not care for nor do I need a canned corporate response to this letter. I would much rather your once great organization do the right thing and terminate your relationship with Michael Vick.

Sincerely,

Chris Durant
Former Nike Customer
[email redacted]

Join Chris Durant on Facebook AND “LIKE” Chris Durant on Facebook

Join the “NO WAY Subway” Movement on Facebook

Join the “Boycott Nike for Signing Michael Vick” Movement on Facebook

Even More Great Links and Resources:

1.) “Michael Vick Was WRONGLY CONVICTED!” Great facts and links to actual court documents
2.) “Through Her Eyes” – Virginia’s Tale
3.) Michael Vick Deserves a Pet… Rock
4.) Tell President Obama You Do Not Agree With Him Supporting Vick
5.) Vick’s Unpaid Dues – Why Advocates Are Not Moving On
6.) Position Paper On Vick’s Desire to Own Another Dog from the Director of Vick Dog Rehabilitation

“WIRED” is now Making its way through the Festival Circuit

Posted in Screenwriting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2009 by chrisdurant2000

 

 

Albert Einstein once said:  “Reality is merely an illusion…”  Georgetown student, Benjamin Roberts is now living two realities.

After purchasing an obscure book on Philosophy and Human Paradoxes, Ben finds himself immersed in a vivid nightmare that leaves him questioning his own existence and everything around him.  His only confidante becomes a psychiatrist who seems to share his fascination with the unanswerable theory.

Ben’s journey is a psychological thrill ride that takes you through the darkest depths of the brain and the epicenters of U.S. medical and military power where conspiracy theories are born and more often buried. 

Is it all just a very bad dream, or is something more sinister?

Chris Durant’s new screenplay “WIRED” brings the philosophical mysticism of the Matrix to the real world.

Submitted to several festivals, Durant is currently looking for agency representation for this and his other works.

Agencies may request a full copy of “WIRED” by emailing cdurant2000@gmail.com.

Atlanta’s “Cold Cases” get TV Treatment

Posted in Atlanta Investigations:HD with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by chrisdurant2000

Chris Durant, Angelina Cortez, Hattie Lemon on the set of AIHD

This article was originally printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and on AccessAtlanta.com.

CRIME/TELEVISION

Atlanta’s ‘cold cases’ get TV treatment
New cable series based on true crimes filming in Roswell


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/20/2008  

The idea is to take crimes from the streets and put a fictional spin on them to produce an Atlanta cop drama that will alter the image of this city the way the HBO series “The Wire” has reimagined Baltimore.

But there are problems on the set of “Atlanta Investigations: HD,” a shoestring production that, at this moment, is shooting an episode in an abandoned gym without air-conditioning on a boiling June afternoon that makes everyone on the set feel like something in the oven for dinner.

PHIL SKINNER / AJC
Actress Angelina Cortez gets ready for shooting scenes of ‘Atlanta Investigations: HD’, a new TV series based on real Atlanta homicide investigations.
 

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The generator powering the lights just ran out of gas. Carl Millender, the show’s creator and video camera operator, groans. “I only brought enough gas to run it [the generator] two and a half hours,” he tells the actors.

He pauses, thinks a second.

“Everybody move over by the window — we’ll shoot it there.”

If there’s an instinct vital to survival in the industry of TV on the cheap it’s knowing how to adapt. Millender, 38, the owner of Alpharetta-based StarMaxx Media, has honed that instinct in nine years of trying to survive on the margins of television production in Atlanta.

“They say we’re supposed to shoot an episode on a budget of $100,000,” he says of the show, which will begin airing on The Dish satellite network Thursday. “We’re more like $20,000.”

There’s no disguising the cut corners from viewers used to watching slick cop productions such as “CSI” or “Law & Order,” which carries an average per episode production budget of $4 million.

In early episodes of “Atlanta Investigations: HD,” the lighting, camera work and sound are patchy. And for actors — who are unpaid until the series airs — the work has been a test of mettle.

“We’ve been at both extremes shooting in this gym,” says Chris Durant, 34, who plays strictly-by-the-books Detective Stephen Winslow. “In January we were freezing. The beginning of June we’re sweating our tails off.”

Yet, says Millender, “Atlanta Investigations: HD” (the HD stands for homcide division) is about more than just making a hit show.

About 90 shows and series have been shot in Atlanta in the last 35 years, most recently Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” but “Atlanta Investigtions: HD” would be the first dramatic series set and shot in the city with Atlanta in the name.

And that’s huge, Millender says.

“Atlanta is the Mecca of the South, and the center of the music industry, but there’s no TV show ever been based here, and there’s no TV industry here. This is what we’re trying to do. And we’ve been getting a lot of help.”

And they’ve needed it. Millender and co-creator and director Hattie Lemon know their way around the TV business. And they’re doing what they can to juice the show’s appeal, such as casting celebrity guest appearances (comic Arnez J) and hiring Michael Moore — who produced music for episodes of “The Sopranos” — to write the show’s high-energy theme.

But, when it came to running even a fictional homicide division, Millender and Lemon were complete tyros.

They asked for help in a most unexpected place: The Andrew Young Foundation. Millender got in touch with former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young’s brother, Walter, an Atlanta dentist who works with the Foundation, and told him he was trying to produce a cop show in Atlanta that would help solve crimes and give the city a lot of publicity.

Within two days Walter Young arranged a meeting with local police chiefs. Over dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant, Millender bounced his ideas off Atlanta Police Chief Richard J. Pennington, DeKalb Chief Terrell Bolton and former Atlanta chief and current Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell.

Bolton, for one, told the producer Millender he should change the name of the show, which was originally titled “Atlanta Homicide,” recalls Millender. “He said that wasn’t the right image for the city.”

With Pennington’s blessing, Millender met with the head of the Atlanta Police Department’s homicide division, Lt. Keith Meadows, who watched one of the early episodes and offered advice.

“I thought it was pretty good, though you could tell it was low budget,” said Meadows, who teaches a crime scene class in the department’s Citizens Academy. “But they had a lot of unrealistic parts I told them they needed to fix.”

Meadows told Millender and Lemon, who attended this crime scene class, to clean up the language — “Homicide detectives don’t talk in the kind of slang they did” — and put coats and ties on the crime scene detectives.

“Their investigators were wearing T-shirts and bandannas,” Meadow said. “That’s a no-no. If an investigator of mine showed up like that I’d send him home.”

The show now has a full-time cop consultant and, for script ideas, a pipeline to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s “Rewards Office,” which offers money to help solve hard-to-crack crimes.

At the end of each episode, which are fictionalized versions of the real-life crimes, viewers are asked to come forward if they have evidence in the case.

“It’s a great show, good for the police and good for the city,” says Billy Johnson, a specialist in charge of extradition and rewards in the governor’s office who is also on the board of the Georgia Film, Video and Music Office.

The show is fictionalizing: gang-related drive-by shootings in Clayton County in 2005; a 2007 triple murder in Powder Springs; the case of a woman missing from LaFayette since 2007; and the case of a newborn found dead and abandoned in 2007.

All that will come to naught if the show doesn’t catch on with viewers, concedes Arthur Thomas Sr., VP of Colours TV, which is syndicating the show on The Dish satellite network. Locally, the show will air the evening of July 3 on The Dish at Channel 9407.

But the show’s appeal may be its lack of polish.

“It’s got a great cast, real stories, and a kind of gritty indie feel to it,” says Thomas. “If it’s a good story, people will accept the production values. And I think Atlanta is hungry for a show about Atlanta.”

Character Bio – Detective Stephen “Step” Winslow

Posted in Atlanta Investigations:HD, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by chrisdurant2000

ATLANTA INVESTIGATIONS:HD – Star Maxx Media

  
 

 

Character Bio: Detective Stephen “STEP” Winslow    

    

Name: Stephen “Step” Winslow

Age:     34

Height:   6’1”       Weight:  180lbs     Build:  Athletic

Hair:     Brown     Eyes:  Hazel

Marital Status:   Single

Religion:  Baptist

Father:   John Winslow, VP with local bank

Mother:  Carol Winslow, Retired Elementary School Teacher

Brother:  Wade Winslow, Major, United States Marine Corps, Pentagon

Education:

            High School:   Pace Academy, Atlanta, Georgia

            College:           United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

 

Military:   United States Marine Corps, Captain, Force Recon, Bronze Star, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM

Atlanta Police Department:

·         Academy – Top of his class – 6 months

·         Patrol, Zone 2 – 18 months

·         Training Group – 24 months

·         SWAT – 36 months

·         Homicide – 6 months – current

 

Background:

Stephen “STEP” Winslow grew up in an affluent, upper middle class family in the Buckhead suburbs of Atlanta.   The youngest of two sons, Step looked up to and seemed to idolize his older brother, Wade.  The boys learned their values in a firm, yet loving household.  John (a VP with a local bank) and Carol (retired school teacher) provided excellent role models for the two boys.

 

Step attended and graduated from the prestigious Pace Academy in the heart of Buckhead.  And then followed in his brother’s footsteps and was accepted into the United States Naval Academy.  After graduating from Annapolis, Step received his commission in the United States Marine Corps.  He continued to follow Wade’s lead and joined Force Reconnaissance and served five (5) years in the Corps including a deployment to Afghanistan.

 

After being Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps, Step returned to Atlanta and against the wishes of his parents joined the Atlanta Police Department.  Top in his academy class, Step went on to work patrol in Zone 2 for 18 months before moving into the training group where he served as a Firearms Instructor specializing in Tactical Pistol, Shotgun and Patrol rifle, Basic Weapons Handling as well as Taser and “Force on Force” training for officers and SWAT.  Still longing for the action of the Marine Corps, Step joined SWAT and served on the team for three (3) years before passing his detective’s exam and moving into his current role in Atlanta’s Homicide Division.

 

As the newest addition to the division, many of the other detectives are still feeling Step out.  A private person who seems to keep to himself off the job, Winslow is seen as a bit of a loner and is often thought of as arrogant because of his no-nonsense demeanor; a stereotype which has been further solidified by his refusal to take lip from ANYONE including his superiors who seem to look the other way at times.

 

His morals are beyond reproach and he is a “strictly by the book” officer/investigator. 

 

 

 

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