Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Always back up your files.

The punch line: Does anyone know an affordable data-recovery service in or near NYC That works with WD "My Passport" external hard drives?

The set-up: I was working on  a project on Cyberlink PowerDirector13 Windows 7, basically putting aside all other concerns, and after completing a scene and rendering it, I opened a new project to work on the next scene.

While I was working on it I noticed the program wasn't running at peak efficiency. I thought if I moved some files to my external hard drive, that would clear up space and the program would run more smoothly. After copying a bunch of files onto the ext HD and deleting them from my computer and emptying the recycle bin, I noticed that I wasn't able to access the files on my ext HD.

I restarted my computer and when it opened up, I found that I still could not access the files on my ext HD/ The browser window shows that it's there, but clicking on it gives me the "blue circle of delay" which never leaves. The indicator light on the ext HD blinks nonstop, which I am told means that it is booting up and when its ready will stay steady, but it never stays steady for even as long as a minute.

I am now using Recuva to recover as many of the files that I transferred over to the ext HD as I can, including the rendered version of the scene I completed, I have been able to recover a lot of the files, I moved and deleted, but not that one yet.

I went to Staples to see if it was the cable (again) and after trial and error with several cables and other devices, we determined it was not the cable. I called WD, the makers of this 2-terrabyte "My Passport" drive, and after following all of their diagnostic instructions, we have determined that it must be a problem with the drive.

The drive seems to run smoothly, but if you wait long enough, you can hear and feel the faintest "click."

The costs of data recovery that people are telling me would set back many things, and this delay is endangering the timely completion of this project. If these files are truly lost and gone, I can contact the videographers for the footage that they shot but the footage that I shot with my camera would be gone forever. That could be up to 15% of what I had intended to use in the video.

I can still make a very good video with the footage that I could get back from other sources, but there is so much other footage from so many other things that I have shot that was waiting for the opportunity to be backed up, to lose all 1.25 terrabytes now would be a very drastic tragedy. This would include  my footage from the USA Knights' campaigns in Poland (the first time), France, and Spain, and interviews with my (I promised not to tell anyone how old she is) mom about her life and adventures that I intended to post n YouTube (I believe her insights growing up in the pre-Civil Rights south would be especially topical now).

Saturday, May 9, 2015

An Amazing Ten Days in Europe!

This has been an amazing ten days of medieval and European experiences and accomplishments!

First, I and my lady went to Malbork, Poland for the International Medieval Combat Federation world championships. She went as part of the support staff for USA Knights, America's team n the tournament. My reasons for going were twofold: 1) I was producing a documentary of USA Knights at the event, and 2) I was doing the on-air commentary of the action for half of each day on the steaming webcast.

Both experiences were highly rewarding. I had contracted two camera peole, Tadej Znidarcic and Nawojka Cracke, and though I haven't looked through all the footage yet, what I have seen so far is very promising! The video will be called "American Knights." Watch for it at

Calling the play-by-play of a sports event has been one of my lifelong dreams. Ever since I was listening to Phil Rizzutto on WINS 1010AM radio as Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson were leading the Yankees to the World Series I wanted to be in the booth calling all the action. But I never could figure out the career path, aside from being a retired professional athlete.

This year, being as I would not be fighting due to my injured knee, I sort of lived up to that carer path, and took my baptism of fire in the booth. I had a few rough patches, not knowing all the fighter' names, for instance, but by the time I was done, people all over were telling me that I did a great job and I really brought something valuable to the broadcast.

I intend to do more of this. It is possible that I might be doing some broadcasts later this year. But I learned from  my mistakes this time. I will be doing a little more homework on the teams and saying "um" a little less often, for starters.

As a result of all this, it appears that I have become a bit of a celebrity in the world of medieval armored combat. When I came across the French team as they were hanging out with the Spanish team and a couple of Poles after a hard day of fighting, when I asked to take a picture with one of them, the next thing you know they were saying "Everyone get together for a picture with Captain Zorikh!"

When this was all done, my lady and I headed down to Prague for a little vacation. We visited the famous astrological clock tower, St. Vitus' cathedral and Prague Castle, the gardens of the Senate, St Charles' Bridge, took a tour to Kuna Hora with its "bone church," silver mine, and high Gothic cathedral and another tour of Konepiste Castle, the home of the lade Archduke Ferdinand, and its magnificent armor and hunting trophy galleries, and another tour about WWII in Prague, saw "La Traviata" at the National Theater and "The Magic Flute" as performed by the National Marionette Theater, dined in some excellent restaurants, did a little shopping at the Battle of the Nations, drank good beer (including the "real Budweiser"), and finished off the week with a river cruise with dinner on the Vlatava.

I shot loads of pictures and video over this trip, and will be posting them on Facebook and YouTube as soon as I can.

Watch This space for more details!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to make the most of the NYC MTA fare hike

I guess I haven't been paying attention to the news, because I totally missed the word that the NYC MTA bus and subway fares went up this past Sunday until I curiously clicked on something on Facebook.

So it seems that once again, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has decided that the way to raise money is to raise prices. A single ride, which had been $2.50, is now $2.75 if you get a Metrocard and put more than $2.75 on it, and $3 if you buy just a single ride (and getting a new Metrocard will still cost an additional dollar). They have also pulled a sneaky little fast one. The "bonus" that you get for buying a bunch of rides at once on a Metrocard is now 11%. That is higher than it was before, but it's a weird number. When you put some round number of dollars onto your card, like $10 or $20, you are going to have an odd number of dollars and cents left over after you have used up all the $2.75 rides you can get out of it. Eventually, if you decide to discard the card, you will lose those odd pennies and dimes. And so long as you have that odd change left over, the MTA will have money for which, technically, they have not provided service.

Fortunately, our good friends at the Village Voice (that once-radical downtown newspaper that has followed all other Print Media into the Interwebs while leaving its print version mere shadow of its former self) has kindly done the math to figure out exactly how much money to put on your metrocard to wind up with zero cents left over after using up all your $2.75 rides:

Village Voice Rides-Per-Dollar chart

In short, $22.30, $27.75, and $49.55 are the magic numbers that will get you your full compliment of subway and bus rides without any money left over. You can take advantage of this by using the "Another Amount" button when you buy or refill your card at a MTA Metrocard machine.

If you want more info on this whole rate-increase thing, Here is the official MTA web page about the fare increase.
Here is the Transportation Nation web page that answers pretty much every question you could have about the fare increase.
And here is a Brooklyn-centric news site that happens to have a picture of the subway entrance I use every day.

You know, back in the late 1980's/early 1990's I used to go to the public hearing about fare increases and say a few words about how the job of the MTA is to help people enjoy the benefits of our rights. I kind of wish I had heard about this sooner and gone this time around.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

RIP Joe Franklin

RIP Joe Franklin, the "King of Nostalgia."

Joe Franklin was a class act. He was always very generous with his time and his words. he loved hearing from poeple he liked and was always courteous, promising to call them and follow them and see their shows and read their book. I only knew his for a few years and under limited sucrumstaces, but I always got the sense that he appreciated talent, creativity, and uniqueness.

I first met him back when I was working with Jolie Voltaire at a New Years party. He was hosting his radio show at his restaurant and we talked to him about a creative show idea I had. He was impressed and gave me his phone number. I called him and visited him in his office many times over the next few years. He had me on his radio show once, talking about the trend of swords in movies and I got the famous dancer Jacques d'Amboise on his show also. He came to a couple of plays I did as well as the Big Apple comic Convention once. He always bought whatever videos or CD or publications I produced. I don't know if he ever watched, listened to, or read any of them, but he always had a kind word.

It was thanks to him that I got my "Captain Zorikh" moniker. One of the first things I told him was about my "Captain Marvel Culture" project, he started calling me "Captain Marvel" (I suspect he had a hard time remembering my name). I "corrected" him by saying "Captain Zorikh," and the name stuck. since then he always just called me "Captain."

He was especially interested in the wrestling business in which I was involved. Maybe there was just a little bit of the "D.O.M" in him, but let's face it, it always feels good when someone wants to hear about what you are doing.

There was a constant stream of characters visiting him and calling him at his office. He was always kind and generous with them, often buying them lunch and always listening to their stories and introducing them to each other. I get the feeling that he really wanted to connect people and see them succeed and achieve their dreams.

His office was really more like a big cavern stuffed with records, books, magazines, videos, memorabilia, letters, papers, mementos, and piles and piles of nostalgic crap from decades past. He sat surrounded by all this stuff with his two telephones. Calls would come in and he would have his man (Carlos, I think his name was) answer the phone, or else whoever happened t be in his office at the time. He would find out who the caller was and then tell whoever answered whether he would take the call or to take a message.

When I shot my first short film "Combat Twister," he agreed to do an interview to support it. He was a great sport about it, and did brilliantly in talking about the characters and the action in the film, despite never having actually sen it. You can see that interview, edited with scenes and music from the film, here: Joe Franklin Combat Twister Interview

whenever I called him he always said "Oh, Captain, I missed you" and "I love ya, kid" and made sure to get my phone number, saying there would be big things happening. "Big things" never really happened, and eventually I never got around to calling or visiting him again. I did try to visit him a couple of times when I was in the neighborhood of his office, but he wasn't in.

So yes, this ends with another one of those regrets for losing touch and not calling or visiting him more often or recently. An era of popular culture is ending and the world of popular culture will be poorer without him. He was a good person and I will miss him.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! Sowrd Class Coming Up!

Hello everyone, and farewell to 2014! As you countdown the last minutes of the year with your loved ones, your favorite TV personalities, and those guys who somehow got into the party but you are not sure who invited them, I hope you take a moment to reflect on your successes and how to build upon them, your losses and what you learned from them, and how there is usually a third thing you can add to just about anything that appears to have only two options, if you just think outside the box and accept the possibility that it may be so crazy it JUST...MIGHT...WORK!

Just a reminder to those of you who may be curious about what sort of skills and conditioning you may need to compete in the full-contact medieval armored combat that I do, there will be a seminar in exactly that this Saturday from 3-5 PM at C1 MMA and Crossfit in Brooklyn. Fee is $15. you can pay at the door or in advance, and you can get more details at

So happy New Year everyone! And may it be the best and brightest so far!

Captain Z

Monday, December 22, 2014

A small bit of family history...

In WWII, my uncle, Carl R. Berrier, served as a US Army engineer in the 1st Army, building bridges across France to the border of Germany. He was wounded by one of the first fighter jets. My father, Claude Jean Pierre LaCoudre, was a boy growing up in Brittany at the same time. I don't think they ever met until my mom took my father to visit the family in Florida when I was a baby.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A few thoughts about 9-11

Just a few thoughts about 9-11

For those who don't know yet, I took a bunch of pictures from my windo and rooftop of the Twin Towers burning and collapsing on september 11, 2001. You can see them in my Facebook albums and at this website:

First off, it was a terrible, horrible day. More died than at Pearl Harbor, and far fewer people committed the act. Even more people suffered, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially.

And every day that the incident gets further away, memories of it fade, and more and more mistakes, misinformation, and crackpot ideas find it capable to gain traction. People who were not there, are too young to have been there, who only see what the Interwebs have to show us, are finding it easy to accept things that fit clever conspiracy theories that support agendas.

Here are a few things I think are true, based on what I saw that day and what I have read and seen from reliable sources. I am dispensing with weblinks and things because I only have so much time in my life to dedicate to this.

Those were commercial airliners that crashed at all four sites. They were hijacked by terrorists, and the people on them all died.

The burning airplane fuel was hot enough to weaken the steel, and the weight of the buildings above the weak points made them break. That's why one building tilted the way it did, and the building that was struck higher up collapsed later.

The front of 7 WTC at ground level was taken out by debris fro the other towers. There were fuel oil tanks to power the generators for the police command bunker in the building (which wound up never being used). Those tanks caught fire, weakening the structure, and it collapsed. The reason the front of the building went down first was that the front of the structure was taken out, as I already said.

There was not the time in any security lapse for anyone to plant as many explosives as would have been needed for a “controlled demolition” of that magnitude.

He “squibs” in the collapse of the towers are the air, furniture, and debris being blown out the windows as the ceilings collapse, one by one, and the top of the building falls on them.

Those little squibs further down? The whole freakin' building is collapsing. You don;t thing that maybe the ceiling in an office somewhere collapses and blows out the window as a result?

The reason steel beams and other debris fell slower than the building is physics. The building was going straight down, and there was nothing strong enough to stop all that mass. The building was collapsing from the overall destruction. As steel beams snapped and other, less massive things bounced off other things, they went flying wherever there was room to fly, which was away from the building. The force projecting them outwards combined with air to slow their trajectory downwards.

The “vibrations” you see in the building in that new video? That is the shadow of the smoke from the fires.

The hole in the side of the Pentagon was where the fuselage went through. The slits where the wings went through are hidden behind the pile of debris. There are pieces of the airplane even in a photo on the cover of a French book claiming that there was no plane.

That was not a bomb on the underside of the second plane's fuselage. That is a bump that is part of the plane's design.

That little bulge that comes out of the other side of the tower in that video shot from the helicopter is debris blowing through the building and out the other side. It is absurd to think that the half-dozen pixels that are roughly the same shape as the nose of a plane could be the nose of a plane slipping past the “masking” line in the video. There are plenty of pictures and video of the plane hitting the tower from other angles that show the explosion out the other side.

And you don't see the plane earlier in that video because it was too damn small.

To say that the grainy, low-res video still shows something other than the plane just before it hits the building it is supposed to be because a row of pixels looks like the sun is hitting it at a different angle is ridiculous. Those few pixels of an object in motion can easily look like something they are not.

The “moving bridge” and other background elements are because the cameraperson is trying to keep focused on the towers as the camera moves, not because it is a composite image.

The slightly out-of-synch timing of the explosions from second plane strikes from the various networks is because the network feed to one network might simply be a second slower than the video feed to another network.

The plane did not disintegrate before it hit the building because 1) the plane had not been going that fast that long, it was accelerating to that speed, and 2) just because industry standards say you should not fly it that fast does not mean that it will not hold together long enough to crash into a building.

Those were people jumping out of the towers. I have friends who were there and saw them.

Those silhouette sculptures were public art.

There are plenty of pictures of plan wreckage at the Twin Towers.

There is someone who says that certain pictures of certain victims used other pictures of those same people and faked the backgrounds, showing side-by-side comparisons. First off, why would anyone do that? Secondly, look closer, there are little differences in the lighting or the angle. Do you think it is impossible for someone to have more than one picture of themselves taken under similar lighting conditions at similar angles?

No, there was no message sent out to all the Jews who worked in the WTC to stay home that day.

No, no one “surfed” down as the building collapsed.

The picture of the man on the roof as the plane is about to hit is a fake. The roof wasn't open, the observation deck was on the other tower, the plan is in much too sharp focus, and the guy is wearing a winter coat and hat on a very warm sunny day.

There are no secret camps holding the passengers, the victims' families were not paid off. Nobody recruited nearly 3,000 families to pretend that they had relatives that died.

There is plenty wrong with this country, the administration of George W. Bush, and everything else that led up to the circumstances that inspired and allowed the events of that day to happen, and plenty wrong with the reactions to it and the events that followed it, and there are far more Afghans and Iraqis dead, military, civilian, and “terrorist,” and American military personnel that have died since, than Americans who died that day, for what it's worth.

Those of us who were there saw the planes, saw the live footage, saw the damage, lost friends and relatives. To claim that there were no planes, that there was a government conspiracy, etc, not only cheapens the tragedy, but gets in the way of finding out why the tragedy really happened, and taking a sober and responsible look at what has happened in response since then.