GamingI am Jim Dattilo, who writes text-based/CYOA games about zombies. Ask me about developing multiple-choice games, getting published, Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, or anything else. AMA
May 6th 2017 by JimD_ZE • 58 Questions • 65 Points
I am an actor, director, Chicano art collector, and writer, and half of comedy duo Cheech and Chong. I have a newly released memoir called "Cheech Is Not My Real Name, But Don't Call Me Chong!"
Do you feel like the choose-your-own genre/format is having a bit of a renaissance?
So you guys are suing Trump for these acts against the environment, of which he's used executive orders to do so. Since you guys are merely suing, does this actually stop the executive order from being executed? Or is there only a fine? What are Trumps repercussions for you guys winning a lawsuit?
How did you get started in terms of marketing? I imagine once you get going that word of mouth referrals take care of new clients but how were you able to break into what I'm assuming is a very competitive field?
I'm a property crimes prosecutor. Our motor vehicle theft detectives and I have noticed a weird new trend. When the cars are recovered, a noticeable amount have had the rear view mirror removed. Theories range from the thieves are keeping them as trophies to they think there's some sort of tracking device in the mirrors, like onstar. It's a newer trend so we think it's younger thieves. Notice anything like that with your subjects? Opinions?
What are you doing currently in places like Saudi Arabia? I have a Saudi friend who has mentioned that someone he knew there got put in jail for tweeting something against the government.
Why do I love you so fucking much?
Definitely. Mobile device development makes it more easier to develop and distribute CYOA games. Companies like Choice of Games, Inkle Studios, and many others are investing in the format.
Our goal in filing the lawsuits is to get court orders reversing the illegal actions. For example, in our challenge to Trump’s order that purports to overturn Obama’s withdrawal of most of the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic Oceans from availability for offshore oil drilling, our goal is to get a court order declaring Trump’s action illegal and invalid, which would have the effect of confirming the protection of these ocean waters against oil drilling.
I started out by getting experience in the market as a contractor for other tutoring companies. People told their friends about me, and I started getting organic leads that way. Nowadays it's almost all word-of-mouth referrals, and I only need around 5 clients at a time to keep my schedule full.
Sometimes, when I release a new product like my GT practice books, I will put up flyers around the city to generate interest. For that particular product, most other companies charge 2-3x what I do, so I wanted to have a more obvious form of advertising.
We've heard of this and were told it's because they think there's GPS in the onstar mirrors. Haven't heard that from kids themselves though.
Saudi Arabia has an absolutely atrocious human rights record, including but not limited to free speech issues. One of the world's worst governments, and one which several of the organizations participating in this AMA have been highly critical of in the past:
My own organization hasn't been very active on Saudi Arabia not because we have any affinity for that horrendous government, but rather because, as a small organization, we tend to focus our resources on countries where we see some potential of impacting positive change, which just isn't the case in Saudi. It's the same reason we haven't been that active on China, despite their atrocious record.
cause you're only human
You float in the story a couple of potential explanations (population density, public transportation issues), do either of you have any other pet theories to explain the car theft issue in Pinellas County?
My uncle was killed in the Iranian 1988 executions for political dissent against the Islamic regime. Today, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Iran- speaking out against hardliner politicians or against Islam, even if you didn't mean to and somebody just perceives you as doing so, can result in a prison sentence and severe penalties (lashings, executions, etc). Hardly a few days ago, an Iranian TV executive that translated media into Persian was mysteriously killed in a drive-by shooting.
The more the west tries to influence Iran, for example if western circles publicly called for more freedom of expression in Iran, the more ground the conservative hardliners (aka most of the regime) would gain because they are against western influence. How can the rest of the world promote freedom of speech and expression in Iran today? Is this even possible?
Bit of a cliche but, What advice would yo give your younger self?
We don't have any particular theories. We tried really hard in interviewing kids to find an origin or at least a time when this kicked off. But they described it in extremely plain terms. "It just happens," basically was the answer. We're planning to look further into this as we continue reporting out car theft. There's something to be said for the West Florida laid-back atmosphere and unlocked cars. Multiple official-type sources told us they thought people feel safe here and thus are less vigilant in locking up their stuff. I'm not sure that's true, but it's certainly interesting to consider. We read in police reports about victims saying much the same to police -- I thought my neighborhood was safe; I was gone just a minute.
As to pets, Lisa has a wonderful dog named Landon.
Sorry to hear about your uncle. Iran's government is utterly atrocious, and one that my colleagues in this AMA have been sharply critical of: https://www.article19.org/en/azad/, http://www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/backpid/1/article/iran-three-journalists-arrested-in-one-week/. It's not an area we've been particularly active, because as a small organization we tend to focus our resources on place we see potential to impact positive change and, as you point out, outside criticisms seem to only fuel the hardliners. In terms of what to do in a case like that - solidarity among the rest of the world is important, as well as consideration of a country's human rights record in establishing economic relations. Without necessarily coming out in support or opposition to the recent Iranian nuclear deal, I do think that the country's human rights record has, to a certain degree, fallen by the wayside with the focus on their nuclear programme. Hopefully, with the proliferation of the Internet and the increasing democratisation of tools of mass communication, Iran's youth will be empowered to finish the work of the Green Revolution in 2009 though, like Turkey and the Philippines, when a government is dead-set against respecting human rights, and has solid support of the army and security services, it can be incredibly challenging to impact change.
protect yourself at all times
Is there a logic behind $140/hr figure or is it fairly arbitrary? (Do you think you could charge much more without significant drop-off in clientele)?
Is my truck really safer because it's a stick?
How would you rate the freedom of expression in the United States as compared to other countries around the world? A lot of my friends think that the Government in the United States tries to shut down the freedom of expression, while it appears as Americans can say just about anything (with a few exceptions, of course). In stories I see about other countries, those same freedoms don't seem to exist in the same manner.
If you could go back and decline a role in something, which would it be?
I chose that figure based on undercutting with other tutoring companies charge. Most charge upwards of $180, I know some that charge $240.
I could probably raise it significantly if I targeted new students in the wealthiest neighborhoods, but I wouldn't want to double the rates for my clients I've had for the past years. I love working with my current kids, they basically feel like siblings at this point.
Another factor is that I aim for year-round clients. I work with my kids for test prep, education enrichment, and for a fun summer school. But for clients who are only doing a few weeks of test prep before their SAT/ISEE/SHSAT, etc. I can charge a higher rate since it's more temporary. But it would be quite a significant amount for somebody to pay $240/hr all year!
Yes -- almost certainly. We saw a case where the would-be thieves couldn't drive stick. Others involved some stalled cars.
Freedom of expression is a multifaceted thing, so it depends on which areas you want to focus on. In some areas, like hate speech, the US has an almost absolutist approach to freedom of expression, which goes beyond most of the rest of the world. However, recent years have seen some alarming trends, such as the increasing targeting of whistleblowers, and even journalists. Also, widespread mass surveillance is considered by most to be an infringement of freedom of expression. On the whole, Freedom House's World Press Freedom Index is a fairly handy guide, which places the US in the "Free" category, but serious threats to freedom of expression nonetheless exist in the country, and it's important to be vigilant to safeguard this right.
ive liked all my roles
Have you thought of doing a sliding scale for charging? I imagine for some clients $1000/hr is no more a burden than $100/hr.
What was it like talking to the kids? Were they shy or boastful or somewhere in between? What kinds of questions did you ask them?
What do you think about last year's story of Mike Ward (Stand-up comedian) VS Jeremy Gabriel and the Court of Human Rights in Quebec, Canada? Have you heard of it?
It sparked a lot of debate towards freedom of expression, specifically for comedians and what they can/can't say legally.
For context; Jeremy Gabriel has Treacher Collins syndrome (facial deformities, especially ears, jaw and cheeks. In his case, he was born pretty much deaf due to malformations. He eventually got very good hearing aids and around age 10 started his dream of singing. 5 or 6 years ago, his parents exposed him a lot to the media and more importantly, he appeared with the make a wish foundation, which made his dream of singing before the Pope come true.
Fast forward 2016, Mike Ward has a number in his one-man show that starts by reminding people about him from years ago, stating that most people were saying "he sings so bad, he sounds awful, etc." (which people were saying), but that he kept defending him. "It's ok, it's his dream, let him be, he's sick, he's dying, let him be, yeah he sings bad but it's his wish, he's dying, let him be."
But then, he's really upset because today, he's not dead! "Of course not, I now know what sickness he has. Goddamn, he's just ugly! I was defending him and now I look like a fool!" (Usually Make a Wish foundation is for very sick children who are dying, they make their wish come true before they die... But TC syndrome is not dangerous for your life). Then he goes on being upset that he wouldn't die. "It's simple; I defended you, you just had to die!" When his mother made him such a parade years ago and presented him with Make a Wish as a dying little boy, the whole Province pitied poor little Jeremy as if he was dying-sick when he never was (I was here and he actually became quite the pariah because of his mother). The harshest thing Mike Ward said is: "I saw him at the waterpark last summer, I tried to drown him but he just won't die!"
So the Court of Human Rights sided with Jeremy and sued Ward for difamation and damages to personal life, then won for an amount of $42 000. Mike Ward is waiting for a appeal to the decision.
Are you sure your name is Cheech? Cordially yours, Larry
It wouldn't be "fair" really to the clients on the high end. I try to look at it as what I charge for my time, not what they can afford for my time.
It was strange to talk to the kids. I cover public safety/crime, but it's really atypical to speak to convicted people who are this young. I actually expected them to boast more, since this was seen as such a cool thing to do. But they generally undersold their history to us. They said they stole only a car or two, or didn't steal any at all, even when police records contradicted that. They said they never crashed (crashing is called "blowing it;" it's not cool). They didn't embellish their crimes, they diminished their history. And ultimately talking to them was like talking to pretty much any teenager. They were shy, they mumbled, they were slow to open up. They thought they could get one over on you. One of the most shocking moments was when a 15-year-old told me he'd never steal eyeglasses. I asked why, and he said "because people need the to see." They're smart kids, they're saavy, probably smarter than people give them credit for. But underneath it all they rarely had some profound reason for stealing a car. They spoke about it so plainly. It was just something to do.
I don't do a whole lot of freedom of expression work in Canada, because my organization mainly focuses on emerging democracies, but I find the Mike Ward case very, very troubling. People should have a constitutional right to say offensive or hurtful things, and it's not the State's job to protect people's feelings. This is absolutely chilling for Canada's expressive discourse.
There's not a lot I agree with that Stephen Harper did, but scaling back on the anti-hate rules in the Human Rights Act is one of them. We have hate speech laws in the criminal code. If speech doesn't rise to that level, it shouldn't be subject to State sanction. Unfortunately, at the provincial level enforcement is still more intrusive.
I thought so until you mentioned it
In those scenes where the hacker character meets with Julianne, she mentions Jason, and in SurvNet, there's a clear reference made to the first game.
Do you plan on making more references to ZE in the game?
Also, any possibility for added customization options such as hair length and facial hair for male characters?
Are you still litigating over Dakota Access? If you are, is that a prudent use of charitable assets given that the odds of prevailing are between slim and none?
My daughter is taking the SAT in the fall, and she's really nervous. Do you have any tips for SAT test prep?
Did you talk to the parents? If, so what did they say?
Do you feel online spaces like Twitter or Facebook should allow equal opportunity to all voices to be heard without censorship?
The E.T/Eddie Torres/Extra Testicle bit was one of my all time favorite things. How much did y'all laugh when writing that?
I plan more references to the first ZE, especially towards the end. You may even meet some of those characters, not just via the Hacker path.
As far as customization, hair length is on my to do list. A lot of people ask for it.
We are still litigating over the Dakota Access Pipeline. We may or may not win the case. But we don’t give up until the case is over, and the case isn’t over. Whether or not we succeed in stopping the pipeline, the case has been incredibly valuable. It’s galvanized unity and empowerment among Native American groups. Things will never be the same in the fight for Native American rights, thanks to the courage and commitment of the Standing Rock Sioux. It has been an honor for Earthjustice to represent them.
I can sympathize, I hated taking the SAT too.
The first thing you want to look at is if the ACT is a better fit. The ACT is more "common sense" based, and if she has scientific aptitude, it does also have a science section.
Regardless of which test she takes, it's important to break things up into manageable chunks. I like to split the sections up by question type. So for math, split the problems into Geometry, Quadratics, Simple Algebra, Number Theory, Trig, etc. Khan Academy has 8 college board approved practice tests and keys online, they're really great for this.
This part's important: Take a FULL LENGTH, TIMED practice test, and analyze which question types she gets wrong. There is almost always a pattern. For example, on reading, she might miss the "why do you think the author said _____" questions, but not the content questions. For math, she might miss the quadratics, but be excellent with trig.
Focus on the areas of need without neglecting the other sections. Once she's mastered a specific area of need, don't drop it completely. Just work in a few review problems into her future practice. So once she's confident doing geometry, move onto a Trig focus (but work in a few geometry practice questions with each practice session, along with the other questions she's already proficient in).
For the other sections, do the same thing. If she's always missing comma usage in Grammar, focus on those questions while still "maintaining" proficiency in the other questions.
For each practice session, try to do at least one set of each test section to keep it all fresh. Don't have overwhelming amounts of practice, I'd say 3x/week works well for an average kid.
We did talk to parents. Most of them were frustrated. They said their children did not respect the courts, which made it harder to get them to respect anything at home. They also said their kids always started the same way -- falling in with a bad crowd -- before they began committing crime.
It's a very interesting question as to what level of responsibility comes with these intermediaries' role as the facilitators of online speech. Generally, human rights are understood to apply to States, rather than the private sector, but there's been increasing recognition that responsibilities should attach to these tech firms as well. For a broader discussion, check out something I wrote on this issue at: responsible-tech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Intermediaries-Print.pdf
a whole lot! I thought, this is perfect
Any idea what the average amount of money they make if they sell them? I'm sure a lot go for joy rides, but I wasn't sure how lucrative the stolen car market is...
What do you think of the situation on the island of New Guinea / Papua? Its such a large region with so many conflicts, and yet, there seems to be so little coverage of news. Do the original papuans have any free press or human rights at all?
What's your favorite strain to smoke, and what's your favorite way to smoke?
Thanks! It's essentially what my AP Bio teacher did for my high school class, and it wasn't stressful to prepare at all. We were used to seeing the question style in small doses throughout the year as we completed each unit, so it wasn't hard to just do more problems when the test came.
Great q. First, they don't really take these to chop shops. If they sell a car, kids told us, they do so only after police have chased them and they know it's "hot." At that point, just get rid of it, right? So they might flip it for $20 or $30 to a friend or someone older who is desperate for a short-term means of transportation. Sometimes, they claim, they can get $100 or $200 off a car. But as you can see -- selling the vehicle is not really the point, it's an after-effect of the ride itself.
I went to Papua a few years back as part of an international human rights mission. It's a very troubling situation, and particularly relevant since this year's UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event is being held in Jakarta. I know a lot of people have been trying to draw attention to the abuses in Papua as part of that event, so hopefully it succeeds in shining a light on the abuses that continue to take place.
Free weed and the other free weed
Have you ever worked with celebrity kids? If so, how was it?
Part of their post at the top is showing about police arresting a lot of them. I'd think that's a consequence?
In a time where "fake news" is spreading like wildfire, what role (if any) do governments have to play in regulating the profession of journalism? When does a government cross the line from legitimate standard setting to undue influence in the marketplace of ideas?
What was it like to play on Celebrity Jeopardy! ? Did Alex Trebek want a hit from your pipe after the show?
Yes and no. I haven't worked with them as a private tutor, but I my first teaching work as a TA at my old high school. A few celebrity kids went there, including Terry Crews's daughter (who was in the year above me) and Zack Snyder's kids. One of Zack Snyder's daughters was a student in the Bio class I TA'd. She was a sweetie :)
It is, to some extent, but a lot of kids said they don't care about the arrest because they're often sent right back home. They laugh as the cuffs click shut. One girl asked police to take her through the McDonald's drive-thru. Several said they'd be right back out to do it again.
The traditional approach is to always favour self-regulatory models over the press, rather than any heavy handed government intervention, and I personally am not convinced that the current storm over fake news is enough to warrant a shift from that. Dominance over the news industry is a hallmark of repressive regimes. Any time you get to a point where the government is regulating what the "true" version of the news is, it leads you into some dark places.
It was the most nervous I've ever been in show business, because you can look like a real doalt out there.
It's my personal belief that many people, in the US at least, have become intellectually lazy enough to rely on online sources of information that are highly biased, at best, and outright fraudulent, at worst.
In an age when people are so easily influenced, and just want to be entertained more than informed, how does serious journalism remain viable, politically and economically?
Are you still friends with Chong?
"Viable economically" is an enormous challenge, and not one I see any easy solutions for. The best long form journalism seems to be being produced at institutions that have independent sources of wealth - either from a trust, or State support, or from a rich owner. Not an ideal situation, and all I can really say to that is - pay for your journalistic content :)
But I do think that breaking people outside of their bubbles is one of the biggest challenges we face, especially given that, according to some accounts, the Internet, rather than bridging these gaps as one might expect, has actually made things worse. Even here on Reddit, you have Politics and The_Donald - and never the twain shall meet. I think that we need to do more to foster engagement between polarised positions, and to try and find forums to agree on shared interpretations of the facts, if there's ever going to be progress made towards addressing common challenges.
why yes, we will always be connected. We played golf yesterday at the George Lopez tournament
An entry exam toddlers have to drill for? Doesn't that strike you as straight up dystopian?
The article linked at the top was great. It suggested that the viral nature of social media seems to be a large component in the unusually high concentration of car thefts in the Tampa/Clearwater area.
is there one preferred social media platform that the kids are favoring or does it cross over?
College universities are currently some of the areas most affected by dwindling freedom of expression and speech in the United States. How do you guys plan on addressing this?
Can you talk a bit about the Chicano art center and why it's important?
Absolutely, it's terrible. I hated having my abilities reduced to a set of numbers as a student, and I hate it now as a tutor. It's dehumanizing.
One of the things I aim to do is make that test prep more accessible and affordable for people. Most test prep companies keep their materials under lock and key, and charge something like $100 for a crappy book with a day's worth of exercises. So I released a free test, and a bunch of inexpensive downloadable practice tests, along with a free book on at-home prep methods. Free videos are coming this fall, too!
Hopefully with more companies like Khan Academy offering free prep, and more ethical tutoring companies, standardized tests can be less of an issue for everybody.
It definitely crosses over! But Facebook and Snapchat seem to be leaders.
I'm actually troubled by this. The academic space is supposed to be the most open and freewheeling expressive environment out there, and the drive to silence dissenting voices, even offensive and hateful ones, is deeply troubling. Engagement is always preferable to trying to shut the other side down.
And, for the record, the reason I wasn't responding was because, at last count, there's 884 comments :). It's difficult to keep up, even if there are a few of us working on it.
because it will be the first museum dedicated to chicano art, culture, and industry, and has the potential to grow into something increible world wide
Hey Cheech, since your movies were a huge influence on my teenage years in the 80's do you feel responsible for how I turned out, and if so would you change anything?
Absolutely and no, I wouldn't change it
Do the neighbors you met in each location (Nightfall city, Suburbs, Farm) show up again regardless of either or not you were their neighbor?
How has your work changed from working for NRDC to working for Earthjustice? And do you have any advice for a scientist who wants to work for these organizations?
Are people really leaving their guns in their cars unattended that often? What percentage of car thefts also include gun theft?
Besides changing sentencing, do you have any other potential solutions suggested by your sources?
Sean, Fred, and Billie will return regardless of whether you previously met them or not. However, you have a chance to start building a relationship with them in chapter 1 which has an impact when you meet them later.
I’ve been fortunate to work for both Earthjustice and NRDC, two of the most effective environmental groups in the world. I’m proud that NRDC is one of Earthjustice’s clients. My advice to any scientist who wants to work with either organization is to go for it, because having access to great scientific capacity is critical to both organizations. In advocacy work, it’s critical that scientists have both technical and advocacy skills. Including the ability to translate technical concepts into language that is understandable and compelling to laypeople (such as judges).
In my current work, I carefully choose the 5 or so families I work with to be sane haha. But when I worked for other companies (usually a few hundred different kids every month) I saw some shit. What stands out most was a little 4-year old who had some trouble focusing on his test prep for the Gifted and Talented Exam.
He didn't have terrible focus, just what you'd expect from a kid who is used to playing all day and now has to sit through an hour of drilling questions.
His mom got into a screaming match with him about his poor focus, was threatening to call his dad to come home from work and punish him, etc. It was really sad. Some kids just aren't ready to sit through that many questions at once. But if he has any hope of focusing, screaming at him isn't the way to get him to do it. You gotta make it a positive experience, reward what little focus he does have, etc.
First -- yes, people leave their guns in their cars pretty often. More than you could imagine. We did not calculate an exact percentage of car thefts including guns because we looked specifically at police reports involving an auto theft arrest. If you looked at all auto burglaries, not just thefts, you'd likely turn up a lot more gun cases. But just in car thefts, we saw guns involved in some way in more than 50 cases. A decent chunk of those guns you can guess are stolen -- most 13 or 14 year olds in stolen carfs don't have legally-purchased Glocks.
Sources told us, aside from changing sentencing, they'd like to reach more kids/families with resources like counseling and mentoring. They said they believe this kind of juvenile crime overlaps with dependency issues, substance abuse, mental health problems -- and keeping kids/families involved in schools, support programs, etc. will help keep them away from crime. Of course, that's an unsurprising response. Actually fixing that problem, or determining who provides those resources, and how, brings less clarity.
In the most open and inclusive of forums like Reddit let's say, where anyone can talk but nobody has to listen, should any speech or rhetoric or idea be off limits ?
Who came up with the Pussy Rant on Dusk til Dawn?
I think everyone believes that speech should have some limits. For example, you won't find many people defending death threats, or child exploitation images. The key is to craft restrictions around protecting against real and legitimate harms, and making them proportionate to promote a free and open discourse.
Quinten Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez
Hi there, thanks for doing the AMA! Do you think that potential misinformation (fake news) deserves to be restricted in order that 'credible' outlets reach the public? If so, how would you decide which is and isn't 'credible' as such? Once again, thank you so much for your time!
Do you have any thoughts on 1st generation Latino Americans and 3rd and 4th generation who weren't taught to speak the language and how to bridge that gap within the culture?
No. Once you get into the business of restricting "fake news", you have to have an official source who determines what the truth is - a typical hallmark of authoritarianism.
That said, there are avenues that need to be explored around promoting media literacy and public education. Also, it may be fair to differentiate in the case of government sourced campaigns to spread disinformation - though that's an area that still needs a lot of thought.
Knowing more than one language is always a plus. For those who don't know a lot of English, learning more is a necessity. For those who don't know Spanish, learning more is an opportunity. It makes the exchange of ideas much fuller and richer. Do what you can!
Do people really leave their car keys in their cars in 2017? I feel like this doesn't happen in the UK, outside of perhaps isolated Scottish islands and the like...
What are your thoughts on Edward Snowden in specific but other whistleblowers?
Safe Haven starts at the same time as the first game started. So it hasn't been cured yet.
I've found that almost any science high school level science experiment can be simplified to an elementary schooler. People have this preconceived notion that some stuff is too complex for kids, but that really isn't the case.
Here are some examples of stuff I've done in the past few months with my kids in grades 1-5.
Endothermic and Exothermic reactions: Brief talk/review on how molecules and atoms interact with each other, but this involves energy changes. Heat is energy. Some reactions absorb heat (called endothermic), and some reactions release heat (exothermic). Discuss the etymology of the words.
Prepare two reactions in glasses. Use baking soda+vinegar for one, Hydrogen peroxide+yeast_soap for the other. Both reactions produce a volcano, kids love it. You can add red dye too. Have kids guess which one is endothermic and exothermic (they try to remember the different vocab terms here, or refer to a sheet where they wrote it down).
Discuss the use of endothermic and exothermic reactions in the real world. Challenge them to think of where something getting cold/hot is useful. Most kids will bring up medical uses at this point, and you can discuss how hospitals have chemical hot and cold packs to help people soothe their injuries. You should also discuss the gas production in both reactions, and talk about where that might be useful (filling a balloon, or harvesting a specific type of gas).
Depending on the age and interest of the kid, I'll look at the products of the reaction to prove that things "changed." Specifically, for the baking soda and vinegar, there isn't any vinegar left once you add enough baking soda. They can taste it to prove it to themselves.
Other recent experiments include: using google cardboard and stereoscopes to talk about our brain's perception of 3D, and then brought over the Vive to have a fun day. This week I talked about mass, volume, and density, and we built a density column in my graduated cylinder out of different fluids. We sometimes do less "involved" experiments, like illustrating probability by counting the responses in 100 shakes of a magic 8 ball, etc. One of these days I'll probably write a blog detailing what I do every week, haha.
Yes they very much do. That happened in 250 cases here in 18 months. It probably happens more than you think!
Edward Snowden did the United States, and indeed the world, a great service by exposing illegal and incredibly abusive mass surveillance policies, and for that he's been exiled from his country and officially threatened with spending the rest of his life in jail and worse. International standards mandate that whistleblowers should not suffer any sanction for reporting in the public interest. His treatment by the US government has been atrocious.
stay centered and show up on time
We have also locally seen a giant rise in car thefts in the area. 250 reported thefts in 2017 in a city of 150,000 These are also attributed to minors. Do you think this is becoming an epidemic in the US ? What do you think we as peers can do to curb this in minors ?
How important do feel that Net Neutrality is as an aspect of freedom of expression/freedom of the press?
Great question. I never expected the teenager background to be so popular, but now I realize it is the age group of many of the readers. It is also a vocal group. Outside of the CoG forums and my Facebook group, there are more varied main characters. Soldiers and Movie Stars are popular.
Vitally important! And very troubling to hear talk about this principle being scrapped. If you're in the US - call your representatives, and sign onto campaigns like EFF that are leading the charge against these changes.
that we don't speak spanish, which lets face it, most of us don't
Did you take Spanish in night school? What grade did you get?
Many different ways. Some we cold-called. Some we met after court. Some we met on police ridealongs. Some we requested interviews with in jail, which is a process. When we sat down to talk to them, we tried to keep it simple, to let them talk, to just hear what they had to say. There's a question above about what it was like to talk to the kids. Most of them were pretty bright. They were more than capable of explaining themselves and talking to adults. They've spent a long time in the very confusing criminal justice system and in many ways have mastered its intricacies. Every interview was interesting.
I got a Beeeeeeeeeeeee
This is all so interesting. How did you get an in with this kids? How did you get them to trust you?
It sounds like many of the factors that go into why this happens is similar to why you see children getting into trouble in lots of inner-city, high density areas. Do you have any ideas for communities to take steps to reduce this type of crime and provide other outlets?
How baked are you right now?
To the first part, we pretty much just asked them if they'd like to talk. I know that may sound ridiculous, but a lot of it was asking, being told no; asking, being told no; and so on. There were so many kids, we thought some of them would probably speak with us. And they did. Sometimes the kids were trying to change their ways and wanted to warn others. Sometimes they just were willing to talk. They didn't always trust us, but part of it was showing them we knew what we were talking about. We spent months researching, understanding this, building a database. We were able to demonstrate knowledge, to show that we understood and were genuinely interested in their side, and that helped build trust.
There are certainly some similar factors. I think everyone is looking for ideas and ways for communities to stop these problems. Good schools, social programs, opportunities -- that's always the answer. But still a lot of people need help or support.
baked but never fried
Cool!! If our combat skills aren't high enough, we will have any long lasting injuries from confrontations??
i know a kid who was in G&T but didn't get into a really good school for middle school. his mom tried to hard to help with tutors and got the kid reliant on a tutor for everything where he couldn't do a lot of the work himself. he's smart, but a little lazy because of his tutor doing too much work for him
Yep. If you don't rest/heal, both mental and physical impairments will occur.
Yeah, that's just bad tutoring. A good tutor empowers the kid to find the answers on their own, and once that becomes easy, will challenge them to think and work above grade level.
I admit that I was oddly hoping for an "addiction for caffeine" in the challenges and perks but i realized that it's pretty close to the "deep sleeper" challenge. (i do love my coffee and tea with all sincerity).
I'm a little curious, were there ideas that you had to scrap both in ZE and ZE:SH?
A good tutor empowers the kid to find the answers on their own
Out of curiosity, what do you do when you can't do this?
I used to be sort of the opposite of you, I tutored kids but they were the "not the sharpest tool in the shed" types that came from low income immigrant families and were failing grade school. Way behind, zero work ethic, and put out the minimum effort possible when I tried to help them.
I tutored two of them and couldn't get through to either of them.
Do you think some or many of these kids can be reformed if they are sorry and have the network to help them?
What has been your favorite place to visit?
I wish I could have made better inventory systems. I tried in ZE:SH but it became too big a coding project.
My mom taught in inner city LA for a long time, so I understand your struggle. I'm fortunate that all my kids right now love learning, and I help foster that. I used to have a student that didn't enjoy learning so much, and getting her to start to be interested in books was a year-long challenge. For that, I read out loud to her from books for hours every week, asking questions and discussing the material periodically. Finally, she started begging for the next chapter, and applying the info she had learned to her other subjects. For a kid to love learning and want to succeed, it helps so much if the parents are on board with taking them to museums, discussing the world with them, etc.
Interesting question. Kids are young, their brains are still developing. That's established. So the guiding philosophy in Florida juvenile justice circles is that everyone can be reformed. No child is lost or beyond hope. The network to help them? That gets more complicated. Many come from difficult circumstances. Most sources we talk to said that network is the biggest struggle -- getting resources and support to children who need it most.
Oh so many, but I love Ibiza, Spain and Bamf, Canada
The hot and the cold
Hey man, a different question; This article clearly took a shitload of work, if we want to be scientific we can say it took a "Metric shitload" of work.
With how difficult it is to source, cite, find, and corroborate all of this information, and with the contrary, low effort opinion pieces, getting a lot of buzz, how the hell do we rejuvenate journalism on a large scale when the major news outlets in the states seem to be actively working against it? And what's your opinion of how the biggest news outlets with the largest reaches approach the dissemination of information?
What's it like living a life like this? If you could go back and change anything, would you? Also, what's your best advice on how to be happy
Hey interesting question. I'm sure a lot of journalists could talk on this for hours over a few beers. This did take a lot of work. I think the important thing we've seen is that readers really value long takes and accountability work. This story gets plenty of buzz, too, but part of the dilemma is defining value. At the Times, editors place a lot of emphasis on watchdog journalism, which sometimes involves projects like this. There's value in that, people really do read those stories and sometimes they lead to positive changes. Buzz or not, any impact in that sense -- a change that improves a dangerous situation -- is what we hope for. Sure, that sounds grandiose, but I think that's what a lot of reporters are after. I think anyone with a big platform or a mission of informing the public should be striving for accuracy and relevance.
I would live it exactly the same way except I wouldn't see Star Wars 3. If you want to be happy, stay centered. I meditate and do Tai Chi. Use a discipline, it doesn't jut magically happen
Do the kids that do this.usually have enough information to realize how dangerous they are when they do steal and drive a car ?
who do you miss more seeing on a daily basis? Tommy Chong, or Don Johnson?
They know that people crash cars. They know that people get hurt in them. But they told us they're not really thinking about the danger when they take the car. Kids feel invincible, right? We say that all the time. Mortality or injury aren't often at the front of their minds. So when they're behind the wheel, they said, it's all adrenaline. It's cool. And if a cop gets behind them? They said they'll speed the wrong way. They'll hop a curb. They'll do whatever it takes. Because at that point their mind is on one thing, getting away. It's not so much they don't have the information as it isn't a big factor in their decision-making, from what they told us. They don't think anything bad will happen to them, and an arrest isn't that bad -- they don't fear it.
I miss em both
Why did you become disillusioned with the field of genetics or the medical field?
Former child car thief checking in.
Have you guys talked to any older ex-thieves to get more clarifying answers on why kids steal cars?
What is your fondest memory from being a part of the Lion King?
I worked in mosquito research at Caltech, in the most awesome sounding lab I could find. The work we were doing was to genetically engineer mosquitoes to pass on the malaria/dengue/other disease resistance gene at a higher ratio than wild mosquitoes. This is the type of work that could save countless lives if it worked, get a nobel prize, etc. And yet, there was no guarantee that it would ever work, even if it looked great on paper. And in the end, it was decades of just pipetting the same reaction with a new variation over and over again.
I have enormous respect for those called the field of research. But I was going stir crazy just sitting in the lab. What I thought would be an exciting journey of using your wits to solve a new problem ended up being like 2% of the process. The rest was just getting the reaction to work.
However, my experience in that lab did inspire me on one of my latest projects, which is a portable mosquito netting design. I wanted people to have physical protection in addition to bug spray, so I developed a DIY tutorial for making an adjustable net that fits over an umbrella. That tutorial is at www.Zikashield.net
For medical school, I realized that while I loved learning the material, I just couldn't handle the process of human dissection. I know a lot of people donate their bodies to science, and want to help medical students learn. But I couldn't emotionally handle peeling somebody's face off, or sawing their genitals in half. The school handled it...poorly to say the least. They told me I could skip the labs if I kept my grades up, and I did. But then it ended up becoming a political thing about the curriculum value of an expensive anatomy lab, and they changed their mind after the first semester, essentially forcing me to repeat the year (and classes I had already passed) if I wanted to stay (while accumulating 8% interest on my loans, not to mention the apartment lease, etc.) So I left.
We haven't reached a ton of older thieves but it's something we've looked at and will possibly keep trying to do. The interesting thing is a lot of older thieves stole cars with screwdrivers/forced entry. The crime today is a little less technical, and some different people are doing it. You from the area?
seeing the first bit of animation made after I put my vocals down. You see right away that its another level of animation. Thats when I realized it was going to be a huge movie because it was an incredible step forward
Thanks! I'll probably do that one day. If you like my writing, you should check out my books (listed in the main post.) The hygiene one is currently free!
Just graduated from med school in NYC and I don't want to start residency. You hiring?
What is your favorite dinosaur?
Reading this makes me think about doing this.
How would you warn someone not to do this?
Cheech, what actor and actress do you most want to work with and why?
I wouldn't! It's great (as long as you're a good teacher and get along with kids), and I love my job!
Johnny Depp once again
Do you feel that training young students to devote large blocks of time in the pursuit of maximizing their score on a standardized exam is missing the point of applied intelligence entirely? Let's be real here: the world needs critical thinkers that can analyze empirical data and draw relevant conclusions in conjunction with "soft-skills" that are difficult to measure (i.e. leadership ability), not people that are skilled at taking a multiple choice exam. What are your thoughts on society's over-emphasis on high stakes testing?
So, the most dangerous to humans?
Absolutely, standardized tests are totally evil. I really wish we lived in a world where they had little to no emphasis on standardized tests. And most of my work isn't really test prep, it's educational enrichment (which is a lot more fun for the kids and for me!) For my year-round clients, I anticipate which tests they'll be taking and just work in some occasional prep questions here and there. That way, it's not overwhelming, it doesn't take too much time, and it still gets them used to the wording and test style.
When I do have to do focused test prep, I try to make my prep as "fun" as it can possibly be, by teaching questions with respect to their applications to in other fields, using experiments where I can, and even using games to teach the logic concepts for the younger kids.
How fun was it working on the set of lost?
it was pretty good, it was in Hawaii so that was cool. My wife came along and we cocktails and stuff
I love to cocktails
Not while tutoring, I don't snoop around my client's houses, haha. I have found a hidden sex chamber somewhere else though, which was at a party in the Hamptons. My friend got tickets to a party at Sir Ivan's Castle, and he had a sex dungeon with a bunch of giant stuffed rabbits in chains. No, we didn't use it haha.
How much of an advantage do you think private tutoring gives, would you want it for your own kids?
That sounds like a great vacation ;) what's your drink of choice?
It gives a huge advantage. I got the occasional tutor in school myself for subjects where I needed help or didn't click with the teacher, and it made a world of difference. I'll definitely tutor my own kids, or if they don't want to hear it from me, I would 100% hire somebody if they needed it!
Mezcal Mule with Tres Papalote Mezcal. Highly recommend.
How many billable hours do you do in a week, summer and winter? How do you work around school hours/weekends?
I loved Born in East LA. Was it fun to shoot?
I basically don't start work till 3PM on most weekdays, and hours are definitely less in the summer. I spend my mornings writing and working on other projects! One of the toughest things about this industry is that for my kids are on vacation, I don't get paid. If I'm sick, I don't get paid. So I have to budget for that all year.
it was so much fun to shoot. It was so fun seeing it come together just like I envisioned it.
Hey nice AMA! I am kind of in the same boat as you as I currently private tutor kids of the upper middle class in HK. I charge a bit less than you, around $85-95 per hour for a 1:1 class. Most of my students are between ages 3.5-10.
My question for you is do you feel this is sustainable in the long run? Is there a reason why you choose to work 10-15 hours a week as opposed to working a few extra hours for a few extra hundreds of dollars?
I have been doing this for that past 5 years now and I am not sure if it's just me, or how it works being a private tutor, but I equate everything into hours working. For example if I want to buy something, I'll just think "oh it's ok, that's only 40 mins of work, no problem". It's actually quite a bad way of thinking but I can't stop it. Do you feel the same?
Any big regrets?
My hours are limited by the hours kids are in school. I usually only get one day off per week, and I can only fit in 1-2 students on a given weekday.
I totally get what you mean about thinking about spending in terms of hours worked. I then have to remind myself that it's hours worked before tax :P
regrets ive had few, but then again too few to mention.
What were your goals before deciding to start your tutoring company?
Cheech! I'm a huge fan of you and your movies. I can recite most of "Up In Smoke" by memory.
My question for you, I know you do some standup - any chance of you putting out a comedy special? Perhaps a-la Netflix?
I wanted to do either a PhD in Genetics or Botany or go to Medical School. A PhD I worked with at Caltech convinced me to go to med school, but I hated it and left after the first year. I always tutored on the side though, and loved it. So this was a natural direction to go in.
you never know!
even though you find standardised tests totally evil, (which I agree with,) do you still devote most or all of your focus with the kids to test prep? or do you spend time teaching them how to teach themselves or work on critical thinking etc which may not be 100% relevant to their upcoming exam(s)?
Did writing or acting in your movies ever feel like work? Or were you having as much fun as some of your movies portrayed?
I spend very little time doing pure prep, most if not all of the time on an average day is science experiments and critical thinking!
I always had fun, always always always, right from the very beginning. You can read about it in my new memoir "Cheech Is Not My Real Name, But Don't Call Me Chong!" available at a bookstore near you!
What house would you be in if you went to Hogwarts?
Huffle puff puff pass
What was it like working with Marty Feldman? Did you smoke with any of the Pythons?
I have over the years. Marty was a unique individual. We worked together on Yellow Beard and the last day of shooting we drove out together in a taxi from Mexico City. We were stalled in traffic for a few hours and we told eachother our life stories and we laughed a lot. He told me about a jazz festival he was doing in lake maggiore. We got to the studio, shot my last scene and went to the airport back to LA. I heard on the radio that he had died that night. He was a unique and wonderful human being.
Hey Cheech! What was it like working with Martin Scorsese in After Hours? Also, how did Cheech & Chong end up in that movie? It's such a "New York" movie and it's very strange to see you guys in it.
We met him at the Cannes film festival one year. We had lunch and had a good ole time. Years later he was describing a movie and the two characters were exactly like Cheech and Chong, and then it dawned on him that he knew us, so he called us up and asked us to do the movie and we said, sure why not?
When was the very first time you've ever smoked weed, and how did it go down?
freshman in college and it went down my mouth
What are some of your favorite pieces of Chicano art that you've collected?
It changes all the time
Your collection of Chicano art at LACMA was very impressive when I visited several years ago. Are you noticing an thematic evolution in this artistic style as you've been collecting over the years?
yes I have, every five years or so, a new generation of Chicano artists jumps into the pool, and their first efforts are always news from the front. The art usually reflects the state of the community on a lot of different levels and techniques.
You've done a lot of movies with Robert Rodriguez, what's he like to work with?
Hes very cool, very efficient, great sense of humor, and hes looking at you all the time because he operates the camera.
You are an excellent dramatic actor. When will you take the lead role in a series of cerebral action films?
Next Tuesday will be my good news day
It was the most fun I ever had working with anybody. Donny likes to work hard and have a good time, just like me
Hes like gas, he will pass
probably Sativa, but I like her sister a lot too
Did you have fun in Houston for the Art Car Parade? Looks like you made some good friends who would love to see you come back!
I had the time of my life, it was the coolest live event I've done in a long time
pretty much anything
as soon as we can mak it
Do you believe that recreational marijuana use should be legal? Do you have any thoughts or feelings to share on the current marijuana legal status, especially as it compares to the legal status while you were producing all your films..?
I think should definitely be legal, but every state is different and has different laws. Its like a lava flow right now, were past the tipping point.