Friday, March 27, 2015

Just What Did Indy Jones Accomplish in Raiders?

I've seen it argued in two very different places that Indiana Jones was completely ineffectual in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Had he not been involved the outcome would have been the exact same.

But this was predated by What Are you Doing Movie (formerly Down in Front):

"Once the Nazis get the Ark, if Indy went home, it would turn out the same way. … Now, if this was a Vin Diesel movie, he would kill all the Nazis and then he would punch God back into the box."
— Down in Front,
Raiders of the Lost Ark @0:04:40

So here is my take on the concept.  I agree that Indy did not affect the action surrounding the Ark (other than killing and maiming many people, who I am sure felt that he was quite influential in the movie of their lives).

But actually, what he changed was himself, and his relationship with Marion.  He had a character arch in which he changed.  The Ark didn't change, the fate of the world didn't change, but there was a personal level of change.  This isn't what we expected and maybe it's not what some wanted, but I do think it was worth the movie, and better than Amy's dismissal.  What do you think?

Also, this was one of the experiences that influenced who Indy was when he searched for his father in Last Crusade.  Did he affect the world in that one?

Let's talk about it.

BTW:  I remember my Dad loved two specific parts, first was when he complained that he hurt everywhere and Marion could only kiss him on the forehead (just before he fell asleep), and the second one was when he put on a stolen Nazi uniform and it didn't fit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2015!

Every year I try to write a leprechaun joke, or at least an Irish joke in honor of St. Patrick's day.

This year I came up with a simple and clean one:

If St. Patrick had not driven all the snakes out of Ireland, what kind of snakes would be living there now?

Erin Co-bragh
Ha Ha Ha Ha, That's so funny!
If McDonald's had their way they would be Shamrock snakes!
Not a snake and not really Irish

Ireland forever.  Happy St. Patrick's day!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Identity Crisis (or GOOOOAAAA er no, no goal)

This blog has had an identity crisis.  I've tried several approaches and I thought I had settled on making it a professional product where I could share some of my fiction writing and opinions.  I thought I would share some of my writing goals, trials and triumphs.

Other things kept creeping in.

I realize now, I have about 5 loyal readers, but they are all family and friends.  Why do I have only 5.  I think it is because of all that creep, the identity crisis.

This is really no place for my personal goals.  Those 5 people care, but no one else.  This is no place to whine, or talk about family; not if I want even only 5 other readers.

In June and July of 2014 I rededicated this blog to writing, changed the background and pledged to make it more professional and writing oriented.

Then I went astray.

In December 2014 I promised my goals and I never delivered them.  I talked about my Greek goals, but the only people who care about those are those 5 readers I have and other people who study second or more languages.  Those language people have their own forums and since I'm not providing any insight on how to do it (possibly how not to do it) then they don't need this blog.  I can go to those sites dedicated to language learning if I want to share.

This blog is for writing, my fiction and non-fiction.  The only goals this blog should cover are any writing goals I have.  I don't particularly have any this year.  I've got so much other stuff on my plate that I didn't and couldn't make any writing goals.

That's okay for here.  I don't need writing goals, at least not now.  What I do need is to write.  That's what you are going to get.  In December I said it might be messy, and it certainly will be.  What it won't be is personal, non-writing related goals or issues.
I know, I know, but non-goals in Rugby are difficult to picture
and can never feel as sad as this image.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Over the Limit

If it's not one thing it's ten things.  I've gotten myself into another fine mess.
Don't tell them how much he
weighs, Stanley

I weighed myself and I'm over my own self imposed limit.  I told myself I should never go above 250 lbs, and now I have.  This is unacceptable so I began an exercise program yesterday.

This is health related so I'm going to have to make Greek study a 1B priority.  Speaking of which, I should have been reporting on my progress.

I read on Lifehacker and am trying a program of habit sprints.

Here is the habit plan I set up on 19 Jan 15:

  1. What is the habit:    STUDY GREEK 90 MINUTES DAILY
  2. What is the trigger
  3. Reminders:
    1. TooodleDo reminder
  4. Accountability
    1. Tracking sheet
    2. Weekly Blog Reports (for report review)
  5. Consequences
    1. Positive
      1. Ice Cream
    2. Negative
      1. undecided

You are supposed to do a weekly review and adjustment.  I failed to do that, but here is the one for this week:

  1. How many days did you do the habit?
    1. 8 (out of 46) x 90 min
    2. 38 x <90 min="" span="">
    3. 3 days at the beginning with no study at all
  2. What worked?
    1. Anki flashcards
    2. Recording spreadsheet
  3. What got in the way?
    1. Daily prompt on day planner
    2. Remembering the exact number of minutes
    3. Doing a weekly review
    4. Can't have ice cream with new exercise routine
  4. How can you adapt your plan to overcome your obstacles?
    1. Pimsleur CD to and from work
    2. Record minutes by pen in my notebook
    3. Get Skype to work and have Skype conversations
Here is my plan for this coming week:

  1. What is the habit:    STUDY GREEK 90 MINUTES DAILY
  2. What is the trigger
    1. Driving
    2. After exercise
  3. Reminders:
    1. Not needed
  4. Accountability
    1. Tracking sheet
    2. Record minutes in notebook
    3. Weekly Blog Reports (for report review)
  5. Consequences
    1. Positive
      1. If I get 90 minutes in a day = IDK
      2. If I have a skype conversation = IDK
    2. Negative
      1. undecided

My Greek study has had very slow progress and I really think what I need to do is engage in conversations.  That is the main thing that will really get me going, and I'd better get going because the rest of my life can't wait any longer.

I've got to find a workout program that only take about 30 minutes a day.  Also, SEL and I are signing up for pool access at our park district.  It's the exercise she wants to do.  I'm going to have to do more.  Any suggestions?

Did you see how slow this guy's Greek study is going?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hate Hiatus?

Now I'm conflicted.  In my last post I asked if you all wanted me to continue posting the story, "Hate to Say I Told You So" and I would know if there was enough interest by getting 10 likes, pluses and/or comments.  I got five.  That's more than I've ever gotten before, which is something in itself, but it's only half what I considered to be a reasonable audience.

I also got a comment emailed to me that I should write just for enjoyment, and shouldn't care what others think or want.  This is true to some extent, but it's more complicated than that.

Why do I write?

I write because I do; I tell myself stories in my head all the time (ALL the time) so it seems much more productive to write them down rather than just keep them in my head.  I also write because I have to; I'm compelled to.  This all means that I can, will and do write for myself without regard to others.  All well and good.

I also love to tell stories.  I tell stories about myself, about people I know.  I embellish, I practice (in my head and with others), I pantomime.  I like telling stories so much that I want more to tell, so I make some up.  I don't want to tell the same old tired stories so I write them down to keep better track of them, to help remember and improve them.

There is the rub.  Writing is storytelling, storytelling is writing, and storytelling needs an audience.

I would love to get paid to write.  I want to be able to devote as much time as I could ever want to writing.  I want to go on tour to talk about my stories.  Telling stories about stories is almost as good as telling stories, oh heck, it is as good as telling stories.  I know that those who are that successful are very few and far between.  I can hope for it, and work for it, but shouldn't expect it.

So really, I can't just write for my own amusement with no regard to audience.  I can write with no regard for PAY, but I need to know that there are people reading the stories, and the bigger the audience the better.

I'm juggling a lot of stuff and I actually have far too many balls than I can handle right now.  The only way to get better at any of them and to be successful juggling is to decide which balls to juggle and which to keep on the ground, nearby.

I can't help but tell stories, so that ball is always going to be in hand.  I can get more bang for the buck (yes, I know I'm mixing my metaphors) if I actually write those stories and have an audience.  Let's say this is a torch I'm juggling and have to juggle.  As long as I'm going to juggle a torch I might as well light it (there, my metaphors match).

Here is the problem with "Hate..."  It take too much time.  It was intended to be fan-service for myself, but I got into this thing with the songs and now in order to have a chapter title and any magic I need to find an appropriate song.  Sometimes that can soak up close to an hour of searching and thinking.  If I don't have a pretty big audience clambering for it to continue then I don't think I can spare the time.

I can't juggle a flaming chainsaw.  It's just too much.  I am putting "Hate to Say I Told You So" on hiatus.

For all you who have been reading and enjoying "Hate..." I am not totally abandoning it.  I have the outline.  It will take about 14 chapters to complete (much more than I originally intended).  Someday when I have more time and the ability to move this up in priority (like when I'm not trying to spend 90 minutes a day to learn Greek) I will return to it.  I absolutely do not want to leave a partial story out there.  That is unacceptable.

I will probably switch to another, simpler story, if that is any consolation.  Also, with the shutting down of "Flowers Of Mundelein," I'll be posting my progress with learning Greek here, and anything else I need to share.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Is It!

The last post of 2014 happens in the last half hour of the year.

I've decided to shut down Flowers of Mundelein.  I'll leave the blog up, but I won't be posting there anymore.  I can't keep up with multiple blogs.

I've been spending the last three months trying to ratchet up my Greek studies in an attempt to become conversational in three months.  I've failed, but I'm renewing my efforts in 2015.  I'll go into my goals for the new year in the new year.

I will post any thoughts and efforts here in this blog.  I still want to keep it professional and about my writing, but I'm also going to share goals, highlights and my thoughts.  I find this the best way to share and to organize original fiction and long form essays.

I owe you all the rest of the chapters of "Hate to Say I Told You So."  I do have them outlined, but not written.  If I can get in at least an hour of studying Greek and some other requirements and still have some time I will finish the story.

On the other hand I just may leave that up to the readers.  Maybe I should put up a poll to see how many want me to continue.  I think I need at least 10 people to want me to finish.

So here's the deal.  If I get 10 likes and/or Google+ pluses and/or comments on this post I will continue and finish "Hate to Say I Told You So."  

If there isn't even that much interest I will stop.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 7

Part 7:  Follow the Lollypop Guild

"Where are we?"  Abby asked while lying on her back in the middle of a green field of grass beneath a bright blue and white sky.  She was still dizzy from the transport and the kaleidoscopic colors still danced at the corners of her eyes.  Her ears still rang with, "miles and miles..."

"Shh,"Troy Green, Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions scolded his buxom companion, Abby Bancroft, Krav Maga instructor, "We might be on the ramparts of the Wizardess' fortress."

Dartegnan Pneumann, father of abducted daughter, Susan,  managed to stick his head up.  With his long neck he managed to barely glimpse over the tops of the grass and saw an adorably quaint village to his right, "Do you think her fortress is in that village?"

"What?"  Troy sat up and immediately wished he hadn't.  "That's the last time I pick a song spell from the 60's" he moaned and flopped back down.

"Troy," Abby said with some urgency.

"No, leave me be a moment.  My head is spinning, but the kids will be alright."

"Troy," there was even more urgency and Dart had joined in.

"No."  Troy said emphatically and managed to slur the short word, "I need rest.  The Wizardess' fortress is in fact a castle, which is, as I saw from my very quick, but thorough, long distance recon, all the way over there."  He waved over his head in the opposite direction from the village.

"Troy, the village is - "

"Of no concern to us.  Our goal is the castle, though I admit I expected it to be much closer."  He propped himself up on his elbows, but let his head hang down to look backwards as the castle.  "Much closer and less pink."

"Troy!"  Both Dart and Abby yelled.

"Troy?  Troy Green?"  A small, high, wizened voice crackled.

"Where?"  Troy sat up.  "Who else has my name?"

"Who else indeed?"

The trio all sat up and looked around themselves.  They were surrounded by small people, each carrying a drum or flute.  They looked ready to use them.

The musically armed posse were each brightly dressed in shades of a single color, but none exactly like another.  One particular drummer seemed better fed and perhaps more muscular than the others.  He wore a star on his blue jacket.  The woman beside him carried a pan flute and wore a red sash over the red jacket of a reddish suit.  Beside her was another woman, taller, thinner, younger, with wild blond hair all dressed in yellow.  She alone had a national guitar.

It was from behind these three that at elderly voice came, fragile yet playful.  It laughed.

"Who are you and why did you come here?"  The man in blue demanded.

"Troy Green, I told you," the still invisible voice said.

Troy got to his feet slowly and cautiously, more because that was the only way he could move than from a fear of the villagers.  He looked around the field they stood in, "This is public land, isn't it?"

The woman in red puffed her chest and looked sternly.  The woman in yellow arranged herself like she was about to do a Pete Townsend windmill and lay some serious power chords on them.  The man in blue looked irritated and hooked his thumbs in his belt, "Listen here.  I'm Sherriff Rufus and this is Mayor Sallee and Wizardess Areelee.  Although you are on public land we reserve the right to question any transdimensional travelers within a five mile range of our village.  Who are you and why are you here?"

"Troy Green!"  The invisible voice shrieked.

"Sherriff Rufus, I am indeed Troy Green, and my companions are the lovely Abby and the dashing Dart."

"Why are you here?"

"Let me ask you a question, if it has nothing to do with your village then why do you care?  Why the armed band, what has you so concerned?"

"Do you know where you are?"  Rufus asked.

"Some land primarily administered by the Brixies, I imagine a valley tucked away somewhere.  It's delightful by the way."

The mayor smiled and said, "Thank you," before she regained her composure and returned to her stern gaze.

"Is that the way it works?"  Dart asked.

"Primarily," Troy turned to speak to Dart.  He wobbled quite a bit when he did and the group surrounding them all raised their instruments to the ready.  "Sorry," Troy said to them, "I was just going to explain to my companion that most Brixies prefer to keep to themselves in far off corners of the world, either that of hidden parts of cities.  Did you ever notice how most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor?  Or do they?"

"This is not a valley, or even Earth."  Wizardess Areelee said, he voice was surprisingly beautiful and musical despite her look which conjured up images of a screaming banshee.

The old voice finally broke through the three officials and he brought a face with him.  An ancient looking Brixie poked his mostly bald head between the hips of Mayor Salee and Wizardess Areelee, "It's a pocket universe, created by the Witch," the old man pointed a crooked finger toward the castle, "Hello Troy, my boy.  Good to see you again."

"Bukus, my dear old friend!"  Troy scrambled over and got on his knees to hug the old Brixie.  "How did you get here?   I thought you were living in Patagonia like a king."

"I was, but the village here needed help so I followed them here, though they don't appreciate my help."  He shot a sneer at the Brixies around him.

"We don't need another Wizard," Areelee said.

"It's not like you've been any help anyway.  We're still here," Mayor Salee said.

"Where is here, what is here, what's a pocket universe and why are you in it?"

"A while back the Witch created this pocket universe as her own personal domain."

"Or discovered it," Areelee said.

"The Wizardess has her own theories, which may very well be valid.  Regardless of the universe's origin, the Witch has made it her headquarters and fortress.  She ripped a chunk out of Earth to make it more habitable and stole this village to help keep the land."

"To be her slaves," The mayor said.

"More like serfs," Bukus said.

"But why?"  Abby asked.

"We think she's in league with the Guns of Brixton."

"Isn't she human?  What do the Guns want from a human witch?"

"She has a very powerful army -"

"See!"  Dart said, "She she's probably kidnapped Susan to try to get the Hammer of the Gods.  I'll be she doesn't even want you."

Troy shrugged, "Some women do."

"There's another thing, "Sherriff Rufus said, "She has a fleet of flying monkeys."

"Of course she does," Abby said.

"Flying monkeys?"  Dart asked.

"Yes," Bukus said, "Just like those." He pointed to the group flying in tight formation from the castle.

"That looks bad," Troy said.

"It is," Rufus said, "Run!"   

As they were running the villagers played their instruments haphazardly.  It was more cacophony than music and had little effect.  Before they made it to the village the monkeys were above them.  Rather than having separate wings they looked like a cross between flying squirrels, bats and baboons.  They all wore helmets with spikes on them.

One of the monkeys had three bright metal pips on his helmet.  He carried what looked like a megaphone.

"I see you're prepared to pay my ransom, even though I hadn't told you what it was," a woman's voice came from the megaphone.

"In case you didn't know, this is the Witch, Kirke and I am very pleased with my ransom reward, however since you did not pay him to me you forfeit your daughter."

Troy pulled out an harmonica while he ran.  He turned and planted his feet to play, but as he took a deep breath a monkey swooped down and knocked it out of his mouth.

Dart drew his sword.

Another monkey hit Troy in the chest and knocked the wind out of him before he could even sing.

Two more hit Dart and Abby in the back, tumbling them to the ground in surprise.

Three monkeys swooped onto Troy before he fell and carried him away, one on each arm and one holding his mouth.

The megaphone laughed, cackled a moment, then resumed laughing as Troy was flown off in the direction of the castle.