Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Anticipating the New Year


It's the last day of the year. It has been a strange yet somewhat productive day, but not at all like I planned yesterday. A friend was to come over and spend the day watching DVDs and celebrate a late Christmas. As it turns out he had errands to run and a few personal things to take care of, so we delayed getting together a little while. Meanwhile, another friend came over and waited to see him too and enjoy a visit.

The day wore on and we waited and waited. It got so late that I called and suggested we just plan another day when we could enjoy more time together.

Looking back over the day, it was a little frustrating; the day was spent 'in between.' Off subject, this is kind of funny. I'm an animator. I began my career doing cel painting and then moved up to assistant animation A.K.A. in-betweening. For those not familiar with animation terms, 'in-betweening' is drawing the pictures between the extreme poses in animation. An animator may draw extreme poses numbered 1 and 5; the in-betweener draws 2, 3, and 4. I thought about this in comparing that definition and what today was like in my life. It was definitely an in-between day and in need of a plan B to fill it in.

So I ask, am I 'in-between' life's extremes at the cusp of the new year? What are the things happening in this last few hours of 2008 and what extremes should I anticipate (if any) for 2009. I'm certain there will be surprises in store in the coming New Year as there were things that happened this year I did not expect. It's funny to be in that place where a plan has been made, I anticipate the outcome, assume a few things that will likely happen, then nothing happens. We all know what assuming does.

Even so, today, lessons were learned for the next time such a day may occur and a little bit of catch-up I needed was accomplished and I still had surprises waiting for me. I received a gift; a really cool Hot Wheels Limited Edition 1966 Batmobile. 1:18 scale fr children 14 and up. For a couple moments, I'm 14 all over again.

Good-bye 2008.....

And now, on to the new year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

UFO - Vapor trail


Last summer, while driving back from West Texas I had the opportunity to see the strangest vapor trail ever. Not that the vapor trails left by jets is usually a streak that dissipates over time. However this time, with two other passengers, I confirm that what we were looking at could not have been made by a jet. In fact, I have never been able to find anything of this nature on the web. The photo I've attached to this post is a retouch in PhotoShop.

The purpose is to illustrate the kind of vapor trail we saw in July 2008.

A funny thing, we passed by the exit for Stephenville, TX where the huge "Walmart-sized' UFO had been spotted and reported last January. We opted to keep going as we didn't have enough time for the detour, and since there was nothing to see anyway. Check out UFO Hunters on the Science Channel this Wednesday for a new episode. Please note the program can be rather hit or miss with it's content, but the guys seem sincere enough.

Please feel free to post any thoughts you might have. We have NO explanation about why (or IF) there could be a sudden turn from a jet or what other kind of aircraft could leave this kind of angular trail.

Enjoy the picture and happy UFO hunting.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Consumerisms, collecting.

I was listening to NPR today. On one of the programs they interviewed a UPS employee who said his mall deliveries to a bunch of stores which included Banana Republic, (although he called it "banana") were down from 1500-2000 packages to only 900-1000 in this years deliveries, if I heard this correctly. Anyway, the point being his numbers are way down.

I think I have a blatant lesson to learn here and it is in order to learn a valuable lesson; I had better evolve and think of new ways to sustain myself. The stores have been selling high-priced junk at a premium for years and I bought it. Now what? Granted some of my best clothes have come from friends or thrift stores, but occasionally I buy the shirt or pants not on sale and experience buyers remorse for about two seconds. Shame on me. Gasoline companies do the same and then we're surprised or even elated when the prices come down to almost half of what they had been in Spring and Summer 2008 which is good, BUT how quickly we forget how they jabbed us in the gut. My memory is getting better and better. Good. That's what evolution is all about.

I decided that instead of buying high-priced gas to buy less; consume less. In fact a lot of other people thought the same way. Yay! We did it! It wasn't to show the oil companies we have brains. We did it out of necessity and isn't that better? We consumers tend to shine when forced into a corner. And we can continue to take the same approach. I take pride in that. It's never too late, is it?

Maybe it's time we took a good long look at what we really need, not want, but need. I feel a high sense of gratification when I give away my stuff, either new or used. I have too many clothes. I collect too many things. Hell, I even collect too many friends on Facebook. Why? What's that about? Oh yeah.....I collect compulsively. (It used to be comic books.) Still, what can a person do with 200 virtual friends? Maybe it's too early to tell. People are one thing. Virtual people are entirely another.

Looking back, I have added a few so-called "friends" to my ever-growing list rather compulsively. Don't get me wrong. There are many friends I LOVE to keep up with, even if we don't chat everyday. Then there are the ones I see in person and have actual face-time with, which is a bit better. Then there's this another category of people who don't really give a s**t but want me for the same thing I added them for. Granted there are those I won't call either and so, again, what's the point? Should I drop them or block them? I think I should call them. I will.

For 2009, I'm doing some house cleaning. I don't need to keep adding virtual "friends." I want friends who want to spend actual Facetime with me; friends whom I find enjoyable to be around and vice-versa; let's enhance each other's lives; let's inspire ourselves to grow, learn and evolve through love; this lovely thing called personal contact. Does that sound lofty? What about old fashioned? Love is a great and sometimes powerful word, but who was it who said "Words are cheap?"

For 2009, I'm going to reduce my Facebook time and spend a little more actual face-to-face time with the people I truly cherish. And instead of wasting time purchasing things I don't need, eating too much food at restaurants, and going places I don't really care about, I think I'll paint more, read more, blog more and create a more authentic lifestyle with people.

I think I'll collect some quality, for a change.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sugar Plums-Memories of Christmas Past


One of the things our family enjoyed talking about this year, if all too briefly, was the things from our childhood Christmases that we still love to remember. The top three topics were: Stockings and the stocking stuffers, Christmas smells, and the anticipation.

As children, we had no idea we were essentially poor. Yet our family had a tradition every year for the things Santa would put in our stockings.

But before I get into that, let me first say my stocking was made by my Grandmother Elsie, out of bright red flannel. It was abnormally large since she used a pattern from her volunteer work at church which was making stockings for Baylor Hospital for the babies born close to or on Christmas Day. This was the early 196os and I was born in October 1960.The pattern was large enough to hold a baby, which it did, but not me. My brother and I were almost two years apart, so we both had similar designs; a felt snow man, a felt Santa, a sleigh or reindeer, also in felt and glued to the flannel, instead of sewn. Our names were embroidered on her sewing machine in Christmas green. It was the very best thing to hold a baby; even better for all the stuff. My sister came 5 years later and was not as fortunate; her stocking was red artificial fur, store bought, smaller and her name was glued on. She still got cool stuff though.

Here's the ususal "stuff" we got for years, even as teenagers: hazelnuts, Hershey kisses, smoked oysters, peppermints, butter scotches, a few oranges and apples, Life Savers books (remember those?), M&Ms, Butterfingers or some other candy bar, small toys such as string tops or Whizzers™ by Mattel (gyro-tops which seem to spin for hours), Pez, View Master reels, candy canes, small wrapped gifts for fun, kaleidoscopes, sometimes, but rarely, a banana and last but not least little Hickory Farms™ kid size cheeses and sausages...I love typing "option 2" for the "™" it adds so much.

Now take all those things together and stick your whole head into the stocking. Go ahead. You know you want to. Now, breathe all that aroma. Do it again. The flannel, the candy, the fruit....all of it. This is what Christmas morning smelled like for us for many years.

Then we grew up.

The end.

Crap. I hate growing up. So for all intents and purposes, I'm still 19...Got it??

Oh wait....not so fast.....there were other Christmas smells too, I almost forgot. At my grandparents house, that is my father's parents (who were not divorced) we had a cool Grandmother making fudge, divinity and brownies and there were always peanuts around, especially during Xmas. At this house another favorite scent was the smell of the 8mm movie projector running while we watched family home movies. I suppose the modern day equivalent would be watching VHS tapes of holidays past, but can you smell those?

At grandparent's house number two; this would be Mom's father C.M. and his wife Nina, our very first and only Step Grandparent, Nina made holiday popcorn balls, all buttery and sweet but in a specific kitchen drawer (if we found it) was a stash of Juicy Fruit™ gum or Wrigley's Spearmint™ gum. Both smells were prominent as you pulled the drawer open. But Grandy (C.M. to the adults) kept his Hersheys™ bars stashed and well hidden from us kids. The last smell I can remember from this house was Grandy's cigar, which we didn't seem to mind at the time. He quit later and that favorite smell was almost lost forever, until now.

The last of the Christmas smells takes me to my Grandmother Vivian's house. Even though we ate plenty of Holiday meals at all the grandparents' homes, this one had a magical smell during Christmas. Grandmother Vivian loved to cook but certain foods were always over done; other foods were barely recognizeable as what they used to be. Yet the smells still linger in my mind and among those would be the ham and green beans with bacon (they were cooked to almost mush by the time she took them off the stove....the GAS stove I'll add which wafted through the entire house since the pilot lights always stayed on, even in the Summer. Something about gas heating always makes me think of her house at Christmas. Another great smell were her famous sugar cookies. I say famous because she would often leave out the sugar. We always wondered what in God's name was she thinking, but we faked liking them anyway. She could never figure out what she had done to make them taste so "yummy." One time, we think she accidentally substituted too much baking soda, but the mystery of her special recipe was never solved from year to year. They made a fantastic Christmas smell, however, and it will always be a cherished memory. The last of these is an obvious smell, but I can't top it: Wood burning in a fireplace on a cold night. I'll stop there.

The last of these memories could only be summed up by the greatest of all intangible Christmas brain candies: anticipation.

What I believe made us grow feel this thing begins first with the holiday specials. My top favorites which are Charlie Brown's Christmas, The Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph. These TV elements combine to make us REALLY believe in Santa and all the stuff that is Christmas. A long time ago, these animated specials were doled out one or two at a time during the three weeks before Christmas beginning Thanksgiving night. By the time Christmas was here, we were ready to literally bust. I think my great nephew who is 3, still gets as wound up, but I know his world is greatly different from mine, yet we put all the same crap in his stocking just because we had it too.

All these old "files" have been stored away for years and I chose to let them out again and live them as this year comes to a close. We grow up; I grew up. Our grandparents and even our parents eventually pass. My mother and one great aunt still live. All my grandparents and my father are gone. They leave us a thing that becomes their legacy, the things we preserve if we carry it on. Hopefully it's full of the same innocent wonderment and happiness they created, whether amidst the usual family dramas or not. They carried forward their old traditions too and gave them to us without giving it too much thought, I suppose. But the candy, the gifts, the times I recall with my family were always so planned where everything was wrapped individually, and gift bags didn't exist.

This is the colorful, smell-filled Christmas that lives on in a parallel world, somewhere in my head.

May it always be so.

And how was your Christmas?


This year, I have to admit, unlike Winnie The Pooh, my tummy was rumbly for Christmas. Anticipating spending the holiday with family had me a bit on edge. My siblings and I seem to have a deep inner connection that we all feel but rarely speak about.

Background: Before our strong belief in Santa Claus was exchanged for "Oh it's Mom & Dad," before our parents divorced; before driving to all the "step" places, Christmas was the biggest blast ever. Every year, we woke up earlier and earlier. Until one year it became almost an hour after bedtime that the parental units shifted us back to our rooms and demanded we stay in slumberland...that is IF we could. And under NO circumstances were we to leave our rooms again!

The real holiday pressures came later from having to see new family we had no association with otherwise and for the most part had to fake liking. Sound familiar? I wish I had been fortunate enough to have been young enough to develop a relationship. Hard to do by dad's third wife/family. Mom only remarried once and there was little expectation of creating a family center since most of that step family lived elsewhere, thankfully. Not that they are bad people, they are not. It's just that odd way of "creating" new, heart-felt relationships when people like your parents remarry. Maybe it's different these days since so many people end marriages sooner. Is it? And of so, why marry? Just COMMIT without that piece of paper.

Aaaaaaanyway......Christmas was actually fantastic. For the most part, everybody said all the right things, made all the right comments and made a point to just have fun. We laughed and we never traipsed down memory lane, for that is where the trouble starts; the picking and poking and remembering not so pleasant memories. We did good. It was well deserved and we have finally made it on our own; that is made a Christmas for oursleves that our parents would have been proud of.

For this special Christmas cheer, my sister had the brilliant idea to watch on old (dated even) DVD of the Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976). Remember him? Center Square on Hollywood Squares, Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, and lest we forget one of the many stars in Bye-Bye Birdie. How ta-acky! The show had a classic appearance of Margaret Hamilton and Billie Hayes (The Wicked Witch from Oz and Witchipoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, respectively). It was old but we were amused at the first TV appearance of KISS contained therein. It was TV at it's tackiest and it really tried to give us the best of Paul Lynde. It just didn't translate to 2008. The best items: 1. Paul's best jibes at KISS toward the end of the show. 2. The extras contains a great tell-all audio interview with Peter Marshall. Worth every bit of the $8 bucks.

Later we played Scene It, both the movie and TV versions. We knew just enough to make it a good match for all involved. Ahhh, family games at Christmas. After that a brief nap THEN off to the movies. We intended to see Benjamin Button (sold out) so we opted for totally different fare; The Spirit. Highly stylized Frank Miller movie take on the comic character. In vivid black, white and red and ocassional chest shots of he that is the Spirit. Yay for that but on the whole, not after Xmas lunch. Too sleeeeeepy for the virtual movie.

At second glance

I recently saw this movie and made some quick judgements. After a second glance, I HIGHLY recommend The Day The Earth Stood Still for it's timely message, if not for being a cool re-do of the Hollywood classic. When you see it, leave your comparisons to the original at the door.

SPOILER ALERT: Don't read this if you intend to see the movie.

Let me exchange the haste of a snappy review for the value in having seen the new TDTESS a second time, which allowed me to enjoy it with two teenagers who thought it was cool, and who don't have an opinion one way or the other about Keanu Reeves or 1951 science fiction movies.

My first thoughts...I always shoot from the hip....were albeit premature. Too many comparisons to the 1951 version was unfair and the update does stand on its own. After seeing it a couple weeks later, I really wanted to exorcise the first thoughts and dig deeper into the subtlety and fresh approach, even being so hung on the original for so long.

1. "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto" was indeed present in alien form and WAS used, but you have to listen for it as G.O.R.T. first appears. My apologies for missing it the first time, but you had to listen closely, for it is in alien tongue, yet almost unrecognizable.

2. With regard to the ending, the thing I missed the first time was that Klaatu touches the Orb/Mothership before allowing himself to be assimilated. The first time I saw it, I thought he just disappeared and died, making himself the sacrifice as the Earth's salvation comes with a price. This time, it seems he lives because he touches the ship. Timing is everything.

Of all things to be remade in world that tends to take itself too seriously at times, we could take a hint and think about our impact on Mother Earth. Then I remember we also "revisited" Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Lost In Space among many others in TV Land. I suppose we don't ourselves seriously enough.

As we plod through our daily lives, let's hope it won't take something in the form of an alien to wake us up from ourselves...or maybe the upcoming movie 2012 will show us the way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gotham Ghouls


I started this a few years ago; updated it last week. The layout resembles the Disney Haunted Mansion ride poster from the 60s. Then an artist named Shag did another version with his own characters. Here's mine. Just for fun.....

Batman, Superman and Childhood Abstractions



I don't know who your favorite version of Batman is. I'll have to admit my favorite would be the one I think about the most, I suppose. The Adam West Batman. But before I lose you, let me say I also LOVE the new movies; I totally enjoyed Heath Ledger's performance, but not because he died. (How many people have you heard say that? I've heard it said at least 4 times. ) But it's funny because you almost feel obligated to qualify your taste because he died before it was released. Ledger was a stupendous actor and this Joker role was another of his amazing portrayals in his brief line of screen personai, God bless him!

My superhero fetish came first from Superman....the George Reeves version. When you're 5 and under, these people are real though I didn't see it in it's original run. It doesn't matter about wrinkles in the costumes or the over-use of "Jeepers!" or "Biff! Bam! Pow!" What matters is these are real people, who exist and they matter because simply because they're real...forget the goody-good lessons because nothing else matters.

I was so young when I watched Superman, it was an abstract thing. I don't remember dialogue, I just remember seeing an image of a man who seemed to be in charge whenever he was on screen; in my mind there was no music or sound effects, maybe just the wind sound for flying and the drum roll within the opening theme. They say that children do not begin to understand abstract concepts until after the age of 6 or 7. Maybe that has changed, I don't know.

Batman, I did see originally. I was 5, and I hate to date myself. I think I got that it was a TV show, but it still seemed real enough, after all they were real people, not cartoons.

Though it's true for most superheros, I'll focus on Batman for now. I'd say he was cool because he seemed impervious to pain, he was logical, smart, he cared about the people around him, especially for the well-being of Robin who occasionally got into a tight spot. Batman would have to make decisions about sacrifice and he seemed to always say "take me instead." Wow. What a sacrifice. Robin had his whole life ahead of him, even though Batman was only in his mid 30s. Gee....the 30s must have been ancient back then.

My hero worship must have developed largely due my alcoholic father. Yet, I could clearly see the differences of men on TV and my dad. My father wasn't all bad and he had some good things about him. But you never get in the way of what your children love, or you'll make an enemy for life. Of course there are things to discern for them, but in this case we are talking about harmless hero worship, so sorry dad, you blew it on this one.

Dad probably also was none too thrilled about the capes, masks or complete disinterest in sports of any kind. I can look back and see why he would question my staring at the baseball mitt and bat, the football. I gave it a try, but I preferred my colored pencils, crayons and markers to any of that. He could at last understand the "artistic side" since he was an oil painter. Maybe that is what scared him the most. "Oh my God, my son is (gulp) an artist!" And we all know about those artsy types.

My love for superheroes also helped develop my love for drawing them. Everything I drew showed a level of interest in the subject, whether it was houses, architecture, space ships, flying saucers, race cars, or cartoon characters.

As much as I loved my Batman, the biggest letdown on Batman was adding Batgirl. This didn't make sense to me because Batman & Robin handled everything quite well. Why did they need a "Batgirl" to help them out now? What a rip-off. Now I look back and see, "oh it was the ratings." Times have changed and so have I. Now I love the inclusion of women and they constantly show me a thing or two about heroism, oftentimes more than men, but I don't wanna seem the least bit sexist. I'm not. There's plenty of room for everybody, period. The teamwork is what really matters the most. I'll save another post for Lynda Carter.

I digress.

Dad had a knack of continually showing off his lack of compassion for his children and their world. He was a stern believer in "Children should be seen and not heard." and showing off the family dog tricks saying things like "I wish I could get the kids to behave as well as the dog does." Umm....we heard ya, Pop.

Back to the drawing board. I'm not bitter, but I was for a long time. Now I look back and know I grew as an artist because I dove head first into fantasy land because of Dad. He never understood how much Batman really meant to me as a child or how much I was saved from lingering depression later in life. Pop had his good side too. Thankfully, he loved Halloween and Christmas, a couple cartoon shows like the Road Runner and the Pink Panther and an occasional, if rare visit to a local amusement park. he also had big dreams and big ideas. These are things I inherited from him and cherish the most. See -- he wasn't bad, he was just drawn that way.

Then again he might have enjoyed life better if he would have traded his Jim Beam and cigarettes for a cape and mask. Come to think of it, he was not lacking in masks.

Ironically, Pop died the exact same day as Frank Gorshin who played the Riddler, May 17 2005.

I can only imagine what a meeting that may have been.

Riddle me this:
There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes and no matches.
How do they manage to smoke?

Christmas and dream follow-up.


Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Week! I assume some of you may not celebrate this holiday, but we celebrate Christmas in my family...that is whatever is left of the tradition of Magi bringing gifts to baby Jesus. I still don't understand what that has to do with us today. We Americans are such capitalists, but I am reminded by well-meaning friends WE set this scenario up and so goes our economy. Anyway, I believe the giving away part is at the heart of the tradition. Follow your own heart on that one. The receiving part isn't so bad either. Today I enjoy the less tangible substance of receiving.

For 2008, I am extremely grateful to have found this new release called blogging for what goes on In my head and what needs to come out of it. I am even more grateful for having followers, which I had not anticipated. So, THANK YOU people & Welcome to my brain. I'm enjoying your brains too, I might add.

Before I forget this, I am totally fascinated with the Magi both as concept and history. 2000 years ago they were highly regarded as astronomers and astrologists, with hardly any differnece in definition. There's all kinds of speculation about the so-called "star" they saw; specifically what astro-phenom took place to make them take off on a journey for a baby. Anyway, all they know is there were at least 3, probably more and they likely rode horses and not camels, likely being from Persia; modern-day Iran. So much for the Hallmark card moment. Hi-yo silver!

Dream follow up:

Last night I carefully crafted my sleep time to be something different. I guess I had already accepted the fact that my dreams are an alternate universe, so no changes. Note: I remembered something about where part of this concept may have had its beginnings and that would be through the DC Comics universe. I remember from my childhood phrases like Earth 1 and Earth 2 which somehow combined the existence of the old style characters to co-exist with the then modern versions. I'm not up to date on that, sorry.

That brings me to last night's dreams, both were art related and also related to my previous career as an animator. I had two waking dreams since I tend to do that just before I wake up. One was about a non-artist friend who had become an animator and was showing me a round the studio where he worked. His job entailed laying out simple drawings on colored paper which would not allow any visibility to other layers. Animators would get this. The other was about a young friend who was training to be an artist. Not much to exciting to give a way here. The dreams contained real people in unreal events and in places I had never seen, but all in color.

By the way, I had heard recently that when dreams were first analyzed back in the 20s and 30s, they used to say that people only dreamed in black and white. They have since speculated/concluded that the reason may have been how movies of the day were only in B&W and therefore must have some affect (effect?...I get those confused) on the dreamer's meta-physical reality. Other misnomers were about not being able to read words in dreams or signs always being in gibberish, also not accurate, but perhaps this was about a person's level of education.

How do you dream?

Anyway, part of the fun about my dreams is about the amazing likeness they are to watching a movie or TV, yet existing within the dreamworld. I seem to always be a participant/observer. Also, one of the major elements is that I often dream about real people and places, whom I have never met or visited, that is I can dream about seemingly REAL circumstances. This is the major thing that led me to believe that dreams are alternate multi-verses. I've also had dreams when I was paralyzed or stuck in one place or situations where I could only run in slow-motion....another film reality.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dreams: A New Rabbit Hole to The Multi-verse




Question: Are dreams a product of REM sleep or are they an alternate reality; a view into a real "MULTI-verse."

Welcome to my world. I believe everything is connected. Everything. Dreams affect your life, life affects your dreams. I looked up "mystic" and I know I'm one of those.
mystic |╦łmistik|
noun
a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.

I love the last part of that "....truths that are beyond the intellect." Believing myself to be a mystic is the basis of my own personal evolution. Currently, my new area of discovery is the places you go when you are asleep...your own personal dreamworld.

I used to think of dreams as something quite personal, yet containing symbols and revelations that were common to most people who either have them and remember them or not and in which the dream symbols were somewhat standard. Examples of dream symbols include things like snakes, white horses, being naked on stage in front of your family and peers, and so on.

We are told that dreams are a way that our brains process the day, our problems and basically create some sort of balance while we sleep. I still believe this or at least part of this. Studies are beginning to reveal to us through quantum physics, we "live" in an infinite number of worlds via our sleep, but only one physical reality; a concept not unlike one seen in the movie "The Matrix." But I don't wish to peg it like that exactly. Check out Dr. Michio Kaku on the Science Channel sometime and hear more about these mind-blower philosophies.

So, I'm still pondering dreams but for now, I've decided they are indeed part of the multiverse, not just a manifestation of REM sleep.

Side note:
Evidently spell check doesn't recognize this new word "mulitverse" and I'm a bit surprised. I would think "multiverse" would be an automatic addition since "universe" describes one; multi describes many, right? So much for Websters.

Back at the ranch.....My dreams have become a conscious part of my daily living. I feel as though I am able to unravel mysteries of our existence and to begin to answer at least two very human questions, "Why am I here?" and since I am here, "What is my ultimate purpose?" The first part of this answer is simple: to evolve, which takes me to "into what?" That's a little scary. Did anyone ever see that episode of Voyager when Paris and Janeway evolve into their higher selves, which was a some sort of psychic lizard creature? What next "Godzillaaaaaah!"

When I dream, I rarely have bad dreams unless I've eaten too late, had a cocktail (or three) or have some other situation going on such as a sinus cold, etc. (I hate those nasty, bad dreams that happen when your nose is stuffed up creating oxygen deficiency) In fact, lately I've been dreaming about the most positive things and places. I awaken feeling great and ready to create a new day.

I'll stop here for now. Bedtime. I'm hoping I get another flight dream. Last time I would have sworn I could fly like Clark on "Smallville."

Do you believe your dreams are portals to other real dimensions?

RABBIT HOLE TEST for yourself. When you're getting ready for bed, consciously say to yourself: "I believe my dreams are an alternate universe and it is real." As a disclaimer, I'm not a doctor, nor did I play one on TV, so get advice from a real doctor or sleep guru if you have any doubts about the outcome. Then if you have fantastic results, blog it, baby!

Next blog: What did I dream last?

The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008 vs. Lost In Space

The Day The Earth Stood Still SPOILER ALERT:

Sci-fi comparison:

You never know how much a studio will use and re-use its own material for future productions. The following 20th Century Fox Studios projects make a great example. In the first season of Lost In Space, Michael Rennie played a Klaatu-like character called the Keeper in which he collected alien species for further study on his home planet.

Ironically, the primary focus of Klaatu in the 2008 incarnation was to preserve as many of the Earth species as possible species of Earth much the way his character had done in The Keeper episodes. Klaatu was here to take away all the species except for us naughty humans.

Side note: Okay here's the sci-fi geek in me. 20th Century Fox also used stock music from the original The Day The Earth Stood Still in many Michael Rennie scenes, which they also did for several of the Irwin Allen series including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea all the way through The Time Tunnel where ever a 'sci-fi ambience' was needed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

8th Man and "Spider Hero?"










There used to a be a black & white cartoon from Japan, the first of its kind, called 8th Man (AKA 8man). For a superhero with a dual ID, he was the first robot/superhero I remember....predating RoboCop even; but a very similar scenario and for a kid's cartoon, it was pretty gritty; A cop is shot and killed; a super genius brings him back as a cyborg/supercop. Weird thing: In order to recharge his atomic battery, 8th Man would smoke a "special atomic-charged cigarette." (...no chance we'll be seeing that show anytime on Late Night Black & White) Anyway, there was a cool 8th Man Halloween costume that went along with the basic design except with "day-glo" safety colors in place of the dull TV grays on the mask. Isn't safety fun?

Halloween was the greatest thing next to Christmas...sometimes, even better.
In the mass market of Halloween in the last 40-50 years, the masks and costumes were always related to pop culture, comics and cartoons. Yet every so often costume companies would "sneek in" a knock-off character for some poor kid who didn't get there in time to be Spider Man or Batman. I would have been one of those kids. I remember one year I had the chance to be a knock off of 8th Man and Captain America combined. It wasn't so bad. I could create my own powers and wear a cape or not...although I must admit, wearing the cape always made you feel more "super" than without. The mask was bonus.

The weirdest concoction one year was the Spider Man knock off. We'll call him "Spider Hero" for lack of a cool name. He wasn't bad. Actually he should've had his own TV show. But he simply wasn't Spider Man. He would be resurrected from time-to-time in various colors day-glo, bright red lips (hmmmm....made ya wonder) but always with the zombie white face...almost like a vampire/spider guy.

I wonder whatever happened to him?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blue Dog Comparison


It may work better to see the original too.

A new Blue Dog


I enjoy rethinking art that already exists. Art is always derivative of the world around us. To say "original" is an oxy moron (did I say that right?), yet we all have a uniqueness that is unlike anyone else. Here's a new blue dog. This time bandit from the old Jonny Quest gets a blue treatment. Thank you George Rodrigue for the inspiration.

Are Our Dreams Really A Parallel Universe?

I had this profound thought today after a long nap...actually I've been thinking about this for a few weeks; Are Our Dreams Really A Parallel Universe? When we think of quantum reality (don't ask me to define it) electro-magnetic impulses which we are told are also our thoughts, I ponder the questions 1. what are dreams and 2. if not then are they other possible places that actually exist. The possibilities are endless, so I want to focus on the dream world as a real place or perhaps many places.

I am fortunate enough to be an artist; a creative thinker. My dream world most often is an inviting place, sometimes challenging. In it I have run at super speed, flown, painted masterpieces which valuing upwards of $10,000...you get the picture. For the most part, it's really a positive place attainable only through deep sleep.

Today, I took a two hour nap. I have been sick almost all week recovering from strep throat. I felt I needed to shut down and heal a little more. I awoke inspired and full of questions about the place I just visited and the strange things I was doing.

I called a friend of mine, whom I had been discussing this parallel universe idea with. He is totally on board. We believe it's real; an alternate world where these things are actually happening. Part of my exploration in this is to give the best definition possible, but I have only myself as an example. Do other people think about this? Do they believe this alternate world exists? We can't prove it. No way, no how. I'm not insane, but others may disagree. So what is it, really?

Since I have only my own dreams to think about as being my personal manifestation, I acknowledge there are millions upon millions of other similar worlds too just by sheer volume of other like-minded people out there. But if it truly exists, it's real for everybody, not just me. Believing it is a whole other subject.

For now, I'm content with pondering, but ultimately, I want to see more about this subject. I think one of the greatest minds of today is Dr. Michio Kaku. I know he would probably agree with the concept and likely, though I haven;t researched it, may have some writings or TV shows about it. I know he has done lots of work and study on parallel universes, but I wonder what he would think of those other worlds in dream land?

I'm going to ask. BRB. I did it. Here it is:

"To:

Dear Dr. Kaku,

I'm a huge fan of yours. Like so many people who have posters of Einstein on their walls, I would love to have one of you.
Thank you for opening up new, progressive thinking to the world. I watch your programs regularly. I love to ponder the possibilities of parallel universes (multiverses?).

You may have a program on this already, but I'm wondering this:

What do you think about our dreams being actual parallel universes or alternate realities?
That's my question. I don't know if there's a quick answer you can give it, but I would welcome any answer at all.

You are definitely headed in the right direction, as I am certain you already believe.
Keep up the great work.

I'll be watching.
Thank you for your attention.

Charlie Rose"

I'll post the answer here too. What a cool world we live in...even cooler is the one I dream of.