The year of the dog-eat-dog

Getting through the wild whirlwind that has been my 2018, I slipped and somehow managed to neglect my fans, all four of you. In the words of Radiohead, “for a minute there, I lost myself.” But with every apparent death comes a rebirth (see: Jesus) and mine starts with reconnecting with you, dear reader (AKA mom, probably).

2018 has been sort of like a minefield where the mines have their own mines who in turn shoot out lasers toward my naughty bits. Quite unpleasant, if you ask me. I know I’m not the only one who has been tested during this ever-changing year. Chaos, natural disasters, injustices and the rotten core of humanity were on full display, reflecting our own turbulent nature. And that was just the New Year’s party. But I’m a storyteller and I knew these stories could not possibly all end in doom and gloom.

Sure enough, from the belly of the whale, I was able to see light. And, just in time, some Japanese fishermen pulled me out of that whale.  Because they just legalized whaling in Japan again.

What I discovered upon returning to civilization–back to community and friendship and love– is that the sociopaths of the Earth have their days numbered. The world they want to impose on us is a lie and it is decaying beneath their feet. The only world we will inherit is being built by collaboration, expression, joy, uninhibited creation and truth. I know, I know–crazy stuff.

I write down these bold ideas not as the manifesto of some lunatic–I’m saving that for later–but as the experiencer of grace in a world of lies. Having seen for myself how low some people will go for self-gain, I lost a great deal of faith in mankind. But I was saved by love and brought back to my mission: to create a sustainable new world together. It is, after all, the dawning of the age of Aquarius (Aquarius, Aquarius!)

Once I reconnected with old and new friends sharing a common purpose, we created some cool stuff together, built trust, made memories and helped each other out.

A few examples:

I was the guy who called out “take ninety seven” before clapping that clapper thing on a terrific TV pilot called Dr. Scotty’s Intergalactic Motel and Cafe, which could loosely be described as “Mr. Rogers in space with puppets.” I also got to fondle some of the puppets. With consent, of course.

I helped out my pal and director Dylan Avery and cinematographer Korey Rowe on this exceptionally creepy short film called “Trust Me” along with some dear friends.

 

I brushed up on my slapstick comedy skills to play a dim-witted coke fiend (somehow not a stretch) in a loony indie movie called The Ghost in the Air Conditioner. No further explanation necessary.

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I also explored / made up the wildly brazen character of Smoke in my friends’ spec pilot Natushka & Elena, which is completely improvised and ridiculously entertaining.

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I offered my free hands and other limbs to director Autumn Palen on the set of Worst Case Scenario, a short film about facing death and being saved by love. Sound familiar?

https://youtu.be/Et1y01UoQZE

I returned to Underscore Films to help out with this delightfully silly Santa spot for MeUndies (“Less sexy, Santa! Less sexy!“)…

… followed by an adventurous spec commercial for (insert aviation company here once they hire us). The level of talent, professionalism and ambition on these shoots was inspiring. It reminded me that if I dream big enough, I too can one day grow up to be an airplane.

 

What else? Oh, yes, I got a job! A tele-screen job, no less, at a wonderfully diverse company.

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As I mentioned, I’ve been so busy surfing the sometimes treacherous / sometimes exciting waves of this crazy year that I’ve forgotten to send you selfies of myself with every meal.

While I have enjoyed breaking the vice of device–at least a little–I have resolved to get out of my cocoon in 2019 and share the important things in life–like puppies, new creations and tasteful latte art. But I resolve that most of my sharing shall be in person, with the folks I love.

Finally–he said unpretentiously–I resolve to embody the spirit of revolution and lovingly tear down the matrix we inhabit. Because, if this system is a simulation, it’s totes lame and I’m quite confident we can build a better one. #buildabettersimulation

That’s all for 2018, year of the dog. 2019 will be the year of the pig. May your piggy be healthy, happy and cared for by vegans.

Now it’s your turn. What are you going to create?

 

Matthew
@LeddySetGo
YouTube.com/LeddySetGo

Reels, reels, reels!

Our goal at Leddy Set Go Productions is to break down the barriers of the establishment film world to create fun, compelling work and make an impact with like-minded artists.  Here is a small sample of the work we have already created together, along with some shameless self-promotion by our head honcho.  Please reach out to us to help you with your next production, to hire any of our talented artists or just to say, “hey!”  If you’re here, you’re already part of our community.  Thanks a bunch! Mil gracias!

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Actualize!, a short film inspired by Danny Elfman

At 11:11 AM on 11/11/17, Actualize! premiered on YouTube.com/LeddySetGo

In the pursuit of self-actualization, a man must sacrifice his body, his time and his love before he can see clearly.  Actualize! is a short film featuring a score by Danny Elfman, produced by Leddy Set Go Productions for the Film Independent Rabbit & Rogue challenge, allowing filmmakers to create a story inspired by compositions in Elfman’s Rabbit & Rogue ballet, previously unused in film. This unique opportunity allowed friends from Leddy Set Go Productions to weave a fantastical story about our human potential and the sacrifices needed to self-actualize. Enjoy it in glorious 4K!

Enjoy our production stills and please subscribe to our channels for more original creative content coming soon!

@LeddySetGo

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Bernie Bro VS Hillbot: the final showdown

Trigger Alert: This article contains political material and may trigger election PTSD.

Well, it’s been a year since the Democrats won Drumpf the election. Since I wasted a good chunk o’ time supporting the guy who would have actually beaten ol’ Donny Boy, according to every poll, I thought it might be suitable to reflect on this anniversary of horrors. But, before I even could, I made the mistake of opining via electronic mail… and opening up old wounds… and this reflection literally wrote itself.

You see, a while back, just before the 2016 presidential election, I had invited a professional colleague to a screening of a little documentary series I made called “Journey For Bernie: Road Trip to the DNC.” Pretty self-explanatory. It chronicled some young activists going to Philadelphia in the vain hope that this Jewish socialist geezer from Vermont might get the Democratic nomination. You know how well that worked out.

The response to my invitation read:

Good luck with it.  At this moment I don’t think I could stomach a movie about the guy who first called Hillary unqualified.  Sorry.  Hate Bernie.

Fair enough. I didn’t really want to let politics divide us through email. That’s what Facebook is for. So, naturally, I did like Frozen and let it go.

Time passed.

And then all the corruption got exposed.

And, finally, one day, like a freakin’ genius, I didn’t let it go:

I found this comment hurtful, seeing as how it’s now proven that Bernie and supporters like me were robbed in last year’s primary and that’s why we have President Pumpkin-face (instead of healthcare for all and a green new deal). For me, arts and politics go together. If you are a fan of corruption and neo-liberalism and you hate Bernie, then you hate me and working people. For me, it’s important that I support people and causes that share my values. Godspeed.

Donna Brazile’s bombshell about the DNC and Hillary Clinton, explained – Vox
https://apple.news/AzbF5PlFpQ4eAssaE4HcQRQ

Smart move, knucklehead. Why don’t you just open up pandora’s box while you’re at it?

Predictably enough, the wrath was unleashed and a battle was afoot.

Their response read:

Your support of a supremely unqualified candidate is what installed an equally unqualified candidate into the White House. Sanders and Trump are equally the same entity: inexperienced and divisive disrupters who appeal to the uninformed.  If you had actually read the comments by Brazil [sic] you would know nothing illegal took place. In fact, the DNC had been bankrupted by Obama’s 2016 campaign and was one life support.  Who should the DNC fund — a life long respected Democrat or a life long Independent and self proclaimed Socialist who never would’ve survived the Trump rhetoric and whose only preceding accomplishment was to rename a post office?

And for the record, before you accuse someone of being a “fan” of corruption, you need to check your facts. Also, I don’t “hate” BS nor do I hate you.  That’s an illogical assumption. I don’t respect BS and I think his political stances are superficial and unrealistic. 

Good luck with your career. 

Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

Just be cool.

Don’t let it trigger you.

For the remainder of this exchange, the names of our two warriors have been replaced with their respective pejorative term.

BERNIE BRO: “Hate Bernie.” Your contemptuous words. Doubling down on the blame and defensiveness is not a way to bridge the gap or heal the wounds. And you care not that HRC bought the DNC long before she was the nominee. That is corruption. That is not democracy. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Adios, HILLBOT.

HILLBOT: Please stop

BERNIE BRO: Gladly. I was merely responding to your last message where you denied your own words.

A simple apology would have sufficed.

I won’t respond again.

… time elapsed…

HILLBOT: Look, I know you Trump people love to have the last word but you are simply not owed an apology. Please, as I have said before stop.  

BERNIE BRO: This is silly. I’m sorry I started an argument. I apologize. We’re all upset about a lot of things. 

HILLBOT: Yes, you should apologize.  Only Fox News is following this story. Let’s keep our eye on the relevant ball and that is Trump.   

Again, good luck and be well!

BERNIE BRO: NPR is reporting it. It’s news. http://www.npr.org/2017/11/03/561976645/clinton-campaign-had-additional-signed-agreement-with-dnc-in-2015

Take care

HILLBOT: Honestly, given that Brazil [sic] herself today ridiculed the Trumphole for saying the primary was “rigged” I have to think the BS camp is roiling over nothing.  I wish you guys could get over it and join forces in a united effort to bring this regime down.  We, on the “other”side have dealt with the misogyny of the political world.  

BERNIE BRO: Now you stop. Ridiculous, HILLBOT. I’m not arguing verified facts with you. Stay in your bubble if you want. I went to Philadelphia. I saw it with my own eyes. I made a documentary and you insulted Bernie when I invited you. It revealed suppression of a people’s movement and outright corruption. I’m trying to fix that. But you won’t even acknowledge the truth. That’s why I got upset and that’s why I wrote you, to no avail. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t acknowledge its existence. Goodbye.

HILLBOT: I never insulted your “Bernie.”  I never met him, nor do I care to. I don’t respect him.  If I wanted to insult someone it would be his intransigent supporters who didn’t vote in the election because their guy lost.  Those illogical sycophants decided they were going to make a statement and either not vote or vote for Trump. And here we are.

Your insistence on creating your own false narrative is insulting to me.  The Bernie movement was nothing more than a passing fad, lacking substance  You are more like zealous fans except that fans don’t insist that everyone root for their “team.”  What’s really annoying is yesterday you all felt vindicated and were shouting your empty message to the world.  Guess what, the entire news cycle missed this story except Fox News, which brings me to my original point that BS fans are essentially like Trump supporters. 

… and that concludes our discourse.

All in all, I would say that we’ve made a lot of progress.

@LeddySetGo

Led Talks, a new podcast, episode one!

Welcome to Led Talks, hosted by Matthew Leddy. Today’s special guest, sure to be a regular, is George Leddy, professor of environmental sciences. Tune in here for more links and info related to our podcast soon and check out http://www.Facebook.com/LeddySetGo

Thanks!

 

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A n00b’s perspective on DefCon 25

A n00b’s perspective on DefCon 25

When’s the last time you checked the news without seeing a story about hackers hacking someone’s personal information, a major studio’s intellectual property or, you know, an election? The concept of hacking is so ubiquitous in our popular culture, evident everywhere from celebrities’ leaked scandals to the media’s daily finger-pointing political tirades to Hollywood’s budding cyber-punk thriller genre. Ultimately, our society seems to understand hacking and the very concept of internet security about as well as we understand electricity: we know it exists but we would probably be hard-pressed to explain how it works. After an immersive weekend at DefCon in Las Vegas, however, even the greenest noob will have their eyes opened to just how vulnerable we all are, what we can do to make a hacker’s life more difficult and why the hacker is essential to keep the safety of the modern world in check.

The vibe at DefCon is exciting but curious. This year, 25,000 people from across the globe descended upon Caesar’s Palace in sin city to find trust within a subculture that inherently trusts no one. After linking up with far more experienced folks in this community, I was briefed on some basic Defcon guidelines. To start, the 3-2-1 rule is important to get the most out of the experience: three hours of sleep, two meals and one shower per day. Because even hackers are not robots. In honor of the 25th anniversary of DefCon, our badges imitated the design of the very first one, back before each human willingly carried a vulnerable personal information transmitter on their person at all times. I was also briefed on another important suggestion: prioritize a good conversation over a scheduled presentation that will end up streaming online anyway. This is how you build relationships within the community. Also, don’t photograph anybody without their permission. Not everybody wants to be seen here. As my Egyptian-Texan roommate taught me how to secure my phone from hackers, the personal information of the blissfully ignorant was projected onto the “wall of sheep.” Somebody described the conference as the internet personified. It sure felt like it.

This was all new territory for me. As I visited the lock-picking village and saw that even a child could break a lock, the world felt suddenly precarious and limitless. If something can be locked, it can be unlocked. It all comes down to that. And it was evident when a man demonstrated how he hacked and shot a supposedly “smart gun” designed to be accessed only by its owner. It was apparent when another man demonstrated how to hack into a POS system only to nefariously install and play Doom. It was evident at the car hacking village, the tamper-evident village, the hardware hacking village, the bio-hacking village, the social engineering village and, naturally, the voting machine hacking village. Did I mention there was a voting machine hacking village? All the machines were hacked over the course of the conference. If it can be locked, it can be unlocked.

Another important guideline to adhere to at Defcon is to avoid talking about things you know nothing about, a guideline I’m trying carefully to follow now.  Besides appearing like a fool, you may also find out within moments that the person with whom you are speaking may well be the inventor of the thing you claim to know so much about. As I chatted with a new friend about the software behind the voting machines, I soon found out he was behind that software. As I discussed our government’s vulnerability against cyber attacks, another new friend shared his exploits working for and exposing Uncle Sam’s most embarrassing insecurities. As I showed off my new Defcon t-shirt, the guy drinking bourbon with me told me he designed it. Indeed, every guy and girl at Defcon brought a wealth of information and ninja skills with them. It felt a good kind of dangerous.

By the closing ceremonies, I felt like I had taken the red pill and was ready to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. For four days, I had casually chatted with some of the people responsible for the security of the very systems our civilization depends on. I had also spoken to folks who would gladly penetrate those systems just to see if they could. Often, it was the same person. Once you see the world through the lens of security, there is no escaping it. Everything you love is protected with a lock. And if it can be locked, it can be unlocked.

The spirit of Defcon was to challenge the mind, break the locks, “hack all the things” and unite the rebels through one of the last bastions of freedom: the internet. I couldn’t qualify all hackers any better than I could qualify all humans. I’m sure there are some who would joyfully upload malware and cause mayhem throughout the globe. I’m also certain that some would happily penetrate and expose the sins of the elite to take down the establishment with the help of Mr. Robot. I’m sure all of these characters exist. The true spirit of the hacker, however, goes back to that kid at the lock-picking village, amazed that she was able to break a lock. The true spirit of hacking is discovery. And I think (and hope) that bodes well for humanity.

As I return to my life in the matrix—to keep that metaphor going—I can see right through the false veneer. If you’ve ever snuck into a party where you don’t belong, figured out a gate code or broken into your house when you forgot the keys, you very well might have the spirit of a hacker. The next Defcon will be in Beijing. Perhaps we ought to hack our way into it.

I would like to thank all the organizers and characters present at Defcon 25. If you should get the sudden urge to hack me, feel free. My address is:

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500

@LeddySetGo