Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

.Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Mocassins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

10 Memorable Dr. Seuss Quotes About His Work

10 Memorable Dr. Seuss Quotes About His Work


Here are 10 things Theodor Seuss Geisel said about his life, his work, his inspiration, and bow ties.

1. On how a childless person could write so well for kids: "You make 'em, I amuse 'em."

2. On writing books kids actually want to read: "I have great pride in taking Dick and Jane out of most school libraries. That is my greatest satisfaction."

3. On where he gets his ideas: "I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them." (He wasn't a fan of this question, apparently.)

4. On what would happen if he were invited to a dinner party with his characters: “I wouldn't show up."

5. On why he always wore bow ties: "You can't dribble on bow ties."

6. On the inspiration for Horton Hatches the Egg: "I was in my New York studio one day, sketching on transparent tracing paper, and I had the window open. The wind simply took a picture of an elephant that I'd drawn and put it on top of another sheet of paper that had a tree on it. All I had to do was to figure out what the elephant was doing in that tree."

7. On whether that trick ever worked again: "I've left my window open for 30 years since that, but nothing's happened."

8. On how long he expected The Cat in the Hat to take to write: "I figured I could knock it off in a week or so."

9. On how long it really took: "A year and a half."

10. On nonsense: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities."

Sources: Dr. Seuss: American icon (Philip Nel); "Fifty Years of The Cat and the Hat" (NPR, 2007); Your Favorite Seuss; "Children's Author Dr. Seuss, 87, Dies" (Dallas Morning News, 1991); ?The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators (Anita Silvey).

March 1, 2012 - 8:19pm

Read the full text here: 
--brought to you by mental_floss! 

The Hobbit Lego Radagast’s House (by Legopard)

Rhosgobel - Radagast’s House (by Legopard)
Rhosgobel - Radagast’s House (by Legopard)

Rhosgobel - Radagast’s House (by Legopard)


Ms. Male Character - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review and breakdown of editions to "The Hobbit: AUJ"

Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Extended Edition among best home video editions — ever

NOVEMBER 19, 2013 at 5:00 AM BY MRCERE  - 

Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D

Extended Edition national Blu-ray 3D

The home video market is dead or dying — so they say.  The digital age has brought on massive changes on how we view movies and in a relatively short time.  The ways we consumed the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy is vastly different from how we tackle “The Hobbit.”

Many consumers actually jumped to the DVD format from VHS tapes with “Fellowship of the Ring.”  But in the digital revolution, that was ages ago, back when everybody bought movies for home use and there was seemingly ever growing stacks of money to be made from that market.

Studios once had a cash cow in DVDs but the milk has dried up now.  Once, extravagant DVDs and box sets ruled store shelves while today we visit Red Box and Netflix.

So when a Blu-ray like “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Extended Edition,” comes to market it is going against the grain, against conventional wisdom and against market trends.  It’s also the best home release of 2013.

The film is still the film.  If you loved it you will love it more.  If you had problems with it, you will still have problems with it.  The added time didn’t fix what people say is broken.  But if you haven’t seen the film, for the home experience, I do recommend the Extended Edition.  The length includes some character moments that make the film more a little more satisfying but not in a major way.  A bathroom break is close to mandatory and while you can’t pause a theater, its easy from your own couch.

But while many think about the movie, make no mistake, the real prize here are The Appendicies content; Those who are only looking at this for the film are missing the point entirely.  In fact, this collection, is itself a tremendous film that would be worth buying even without the cinema release.  The movie itself is essential in the package, but what launches these discs into rare air is everything else that comes with it.

Prone to exercise laudatory caution because I write for TheOneRing, and I realize too much praise causes readers to become dismissive and classify the writer as a fan boy, I still proclaim with no hesitation that this is among the finest home video releases in history.  It sits on a shelf in rarefied air with a very few discs that can even compare.  Among those are the Extended LOTR editions, of which this is a companion piece.

While we are here talking credentials, let me fully disclose that I was on set to witness “The Hobbit,” being filmed for five weeks and I know (and like) many on all sides of the camera.  More than that, I also interned for a couple of weeks with the producers of the behind-the-scenes content.  I am even credited for extra interviews, so take my perceptions as you wish.

Even if you didn’t love the movie, the exploration of the process is a wonder to behold and the whole is a triumph.  And, this triumph comes with WB and MGM financing this content behind-the-scenes content.  This level of excellence doesn’t just happen and it isn’t cheap.  It takes financial commitment, planning and time.  With rumors of late delivery circulating, creating a shortage of discs in some places, I believe I speak for many fans who emphatically say, “So what?  The wait is worth it.”

Despite all the greatness on the discs, there are a few things that are disappointing, so lets start with those.


Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition

There is nothing about these covers that are exceptional or especially tasteful to tell consumers that these aren’t just another release on a store shelf.  For some reason, with few exceptions, the marketing at Warner Bros. insists on slapping a bunch of floating character mugshots in a college for these films at every opportunity.  More isn’t better and especially when even the casual audience knows what “The Hobbit,” is.  Nobody is saying, “What? Gandalf is also in this movie?!”

A cover with a central visual idea would be a vast improvement and for these discs, there should be a graceful, classic cover, not a garish collection of floating heads.  Better still would have been a style match with the LOTR EEs. The back of the 3-disc Blu-ray is actually great and would serve as a nice cover.

While we are here, the Bilbo in front of Erebor “Desolation of Smaug,” poster was infinitely more powerful that the nightmare LSD trip of Middle-earth’s usual suspects in the latest one.  Boo.  Very much related, if the Hobbit home video release couldn’t be a stylized match with the LOTR releases, at least we could have had a strong central character instead of a collection of them that says nothing.

Gollum and Bilbo exchanging riddles in the dark might be a place to start.  The film’s strongest sequence, virtually perfect even, highlights a key moment in Middle-earth, sells us a familiar character and gives us an absolute iconic moment from literature.  If things were right in the world, WB would issue an inexpensive replacement slip cover for a couple of dollars that ties this release back to the LOTR EEs.  Seriously.

The art on the discs are quite good.


The commentaries with Philippa Boyens (writer, producer) and Peter Jackson (writer, director, producer) are good, but again, this is meant to be a companion disc and viewers really want more commentary perspectives as they were given in the LOTR discs.  Obviously the filmmaker’s take are essential but including cast or key figures like Dan Hennah or Richard Taylor might be expensive, and not financially viable by the studios, but they are sorely missed.  An unrealistic dream commentary might be to have all 13 main dwarf actors on one track or two tracks with half on each.  Careful sound editing would be needed but Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Graham McTavish, John Callen and William Kircher and all the rest, would be brilliant.  There are two movies left to get this right.

I am sure there are many who will take exception to comparing the discs but for certain, many consumers are doing it. These are intellectually built to go together.

But, lets move on to the good (great) with a look at what is included on most versions of the film.  It is worth noting that there is a Wal-Mart version of the Extended Editions available with minimal extras. (Hate to call them extras because they are main featured content.)  Even if consumers think they want to save a few dollars and get that version, they actually don’t.  There is no circumstance where that option is a wise choice.  Any viewer willing to commit to a three-hour Extended Edition deserves to have the story of the film as well for a few dollars difference.  Friends don’t let friends buy foolishly.

Cate BlanchettDISC 1

Extended Edition of the film with filmmakers’ commentary and
“New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth”

The commentary is mentioned above but the video feature sounds like it might be a commercial for New Zealand.  It is actually, with celebrity endorsements.  Newsflash: New Zealand is amazing.


The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey -

This is a timeline of the movie that breaks down into parts how it was made, more or less, following the chronology of the film.  Of course films aren’t made chronologically, but following the organization of the film is helpful.   And the docs aren’t strictly about “how we did this,” as much as they highlight interesting stories from a particular segment of the production.

The beefiest is the first, “The Journey Back to Middle-earth,” which also happens to be excellent.  It follows the almost absurd series of roadblocks that threatened to keep this film from being made.  Viewers who followed TheOneRing will recall those days when it seemed time and again, fate had conspired to kill the film.  This is excellent content that wouldn’t be included on many DVDs of other films.

The studios bravely allowed the team to tackle subjects like the financial problems that almost derailed the films and the hiring and departure of Guillermo del Toro.

It would have been much safer to sanitize these events and it happens on many Hollywood “extras” projects but here they are addressed head on — an impressive inclusion.  That first documentary is a definite highlight but every single one of them holds up high standards of storytelling and visuals that feel as though the essential moments were not only talked about but captured.

Christopher LeeIt is in fact the best big-story view on this topic available in either print or film.  To better understand sitting down and watching “The Hobbit,” in the cinema, this is essential viewing.  It is also great not to start with the first day of pre-production but to have a wider view of the whole works.

One of the best segments, perhaps my favorite, is “A Short Rest: Rivendell and London.”  The fact that the production went to London to film Sir Christopher Lee and Ian Holm is common knowledge.  A lesser documentary might spend its time making just the fact of traveling from New Zealand to London to shoot the focus of the story.  Instead, that is established and then the focus is placed on something far more interesting than it just happening: Lee and Holm.

Jackson and Lee are on camera holding up production so those gathered around can listen to Lee remember parts of his life that are legendary on the silver screen.  He also gives Jackson some good-natured crap and it is respectfully returned.  Graham McTavish and Adam Brown are also on hand, despite not filming, to listen to Lee and help the storytelling by putting his presence in perspective.  It is gold and in fact, it is a pity somebody doesn’t produce an entire film based on the man behind Saruman.

Included in the same section is a pretty incredible give-and-take between Jackson, Cate Blanchette, Fran Walsh on a telephone and Ian McKellen.  They discussed character motivations and all the bigger questions behind the dialog on the script page.  It is pretty incredible.  There are some excellent moments with Hugo Weaving.  It all felt intimate, rare and was fascinating.

There are a lot of bright spots here and in fact they are more or less all bright spots, or will be to somebody.   The producers and director Michael Pellerin seemingly pushed for excellence and achieved it.

HobbitEE_1400x2100_USChapters include:

  • The Journey Back to Middle-earth
  • Riddles in the Dark: Gollum’s Cave
  • An Unexpected Party: Bag End
  • Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
  • Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
  • A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
  • Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
  • Under Hill: Goblin Town
  • Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
  • Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
  • The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
  • The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
  • Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
  • Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead

Jackson also appears on an introduction to promise more extended editions with DOS and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”


The Appendices Part 8: RePeter Jackson Laketownturn to Middle-Earth -

This disc delivers production details, some conspicuously missing from the film. For example:

The Company of Thorin -

The families of the dwarves are grouped together to give us more details and insights into these characters and actors. These associations are pretty tough to pick out on screen but are well presented here.  Knowing more about these characters will likely enhance view of “The Desolation of Smaug.”  Pity some of this wasn’t woven into the narrative. If you aren’t keeping score the chapters are, by family:

  • Assembling the Dwarves
  • Thorin, Fili & Kili
  • Balin & Dwalin
  • Oin & Gloin
  • Dori, Nori & Ori
  • Bifur, Bofur & Bombur

Martin Freeman enjoys telling the behind-the-scenes cameras they are number one, always with his middle finger or fingers. Here is another case of content many studios would shy away from, but a short collection of Freeman giving the one-fingered salute is part of the reveal of who this Martin Freeman is.

So in the next segment, and perhaps my favorite on this disc, we meet:

Software brought Gollum's skin to life for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," earning it an Oscar for technology and science

Software brought Gollum’s skin to life for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” earning it an Oscar for technology and science

Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member

Next we get more tasty features:

  • Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves
  • The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth
  • These are broken into chapters:
  • The Stone Trolls
  • Radagast the Brown
  • Goblins
  • Azog the Defiler

Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town — We spend an hour with locations, time well spent.

  • Hobbiton
  • Rhosgobel
  • The Misty Mountains
  • Goblin Town

The Songs of The Hobbit – A look at the realization of Tolkien’s songs in An Unexpected Journey.

This last item is another of my favorites.  It demonstrates that despite being last, it isn’t any less interesting that what came before.  There isn’t fat here to pad out the disc but instead highly polished, carefully produced, interesting, quality content.


wideDwarves0712The movie looks and sounds great, showing off how good Andrew Lesnie and his team are at shooting moving pictures.  How great does it look?  If you go to the audio, visual, home theater or electronics stores, bring the Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with you to test out the things you might buy.  The picture is lovely with great details in blacks (Riddles in the Dark) excellent color and all the rich details coming to life.  Hate to sound hyperbolic, but when it comes to audio and visual excellence, this disc is leading the industry.

The sound comes in 7.1 surround, meaning it can send seven sounds to seven speakers to create a sound atmosphere, if you home is equipped, showing off the genuine excellence in sound design through out the film.  This is a noisy movie with loud characters, loud animals and orcs, some dragon scenes, deep rumbling stone giants and lots of general chaos.

But, the dialog is always ready and easy to hear, including some pretty subtle Ian McKellen lines that come through just fine.  In fact, if you have the proper system in your home, sitting in the middle of the sound environment, closing your eyes and just listening is a real pleasure.


This movie is worth owning a Blu-ray player for.  The film, no matter how much you like it or don’t, is technically amazing.  The extra scenes improve it slightly but just as importantly, there is a wealth of documentaries that are collectively and individually great and paint an excellent picture of what made “The Hobbit,” happen.  I meant it when I said it above, this is among the finest home video releases in history.  Minor quibbles aside, MGM and Warner Bros. did right by fans and this does stand alongside its LOTR EE predecessors.  While this film doesn’t extended as much or as importantly, its extras are as good and perhaps better.




Friday, November 15, 2013

Ten writing tips From Adventure Time.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

1. On how to create incredibly weird, interesting, yet relatable characters:

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

Pendleton Ward (at the Adventure Time panel): Fan-fic your friends.

2. Sometimes it’s best to let the relationships and backstory grow organically.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

PW: We’re playing D&D [Dungeons and Dragons] — we’re role-playing the characters as we’re writing them.

3. Use tears minimally, especially when writing children.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

PW: When you’re an adult, you like to punish them [characters].

4. Because they’ll turn into huge sissies that nag all the time, like the worst Ninja Turtle.

Because they'll turn into huge sissies that nag all the time, like the worst Ninja Turtle.

PW: Leonardo sucks.

5. Write things that you would enjoy watching.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

PW: We write to make ourselves laugh.

6. Actually listen to people who give you constructive criticism. This is why TV shows have more than one writer.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

PW: I like dark places, but we had to pull it back.

7. The more you love the characters you’re writing, the better the show will be.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

PW: I’m embarrassed at how much I relate to Lumpy Space Princess.

8. Draw from life, get into the cathartic experience.


Rebecca Sugar: Marceline’s song [“I’m Just Your Problem”] from “What Was Missing” was really hard for me to write. I was trying to base it off of some stuff that actually happened, like a falling out I actually had. So I dredged up a lot of really terrible feelings that got, like, a little unhealthy.

9. Build a world where you can tell limitless stories.

Build a world where you can tell limitless stories.

RS: You only have access to a small look at a larger world, and you can feel that there is this larger world. And the past is real, and it’s changed, and everything between that and the show happened. And you can feel that happened but you don’t see it, and I think that’s really important. It made it really interesting to work on, and I think it makes it interesting to participate in because you create a lot of it. Not that it doesn’t exist — it does exist, and that’s why it’s cool, the stuff that you don’t see is really there.

10. Play games.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

Kent Osborne: We play these writer’s games where we all sit around the table and you have two minutes to draw a picture, and it’s just whatever you’re thinking — and then you pass it to the next person, and they get it and you have two minutes to write the first act. You’ll do it all day and you’ll get 40 drawings with stories and maybe you can use one of them. It’s hard with two minutes, everyone’s like, “They end up pooping!”

11. No, seriously. Get your friends together and play games.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

KO: Sometimes we’ll put a lot of characters’ names in the middle, and you pull two characters out and you have two minutes to a write a story with those two characters. Exquisite corpse: Like, sometimes you’ll draw the head, the next person draws the torso, and then when it’s all drawn you’ll have to figure a story around the character.

12. Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.

RS: The characters are really beautifully simple. If you add a bunch of extra stuff on them, it looks wrong. In the Ricardio episode [“Ricardio The Heart Guy”], Ice King had a hole in his chest and his body parts were everywhere, and I made it like a hole. But Pen [Ward] was like, “No, just make it heart, like heart-shaped.” That’s so much better! It reads, it’s cute, and it’s also really horrible.

13. Find the emotional reality of the situation, even if the world is fantastical.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

KO: I feel like Lorraine kinda burned BMO. He’s looking out for her, but I don’t know if he’s ever gonna go back to that — you can’t go backwards. They’re just different worlds, Lorraine kinda used him. I hear that, I got a Lorraine. I actually wrote that line, “Same old Lorraine.”

14. Complex backstory can evolve from a simple idea.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"

KO: We usually start with a simple idea. The whole Simon and Marcy thing, there’s an episode where Ice King’s singing the “Fry Song,” and it occurred to us that we’ve never had Ice King and Marceline in an episode before — they’ve never interacted. And it came out of that: What’s a good reason why they haven’t interacted? Oh, maybe there’s something going on there.

15. And most importantly, write. A lot. Every day, even. Be prepared when the opportunity arises.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of "Adventure Time"
KO: Make stuff. Make a cartoon, make a comic, etc. Pen [Ward] goes to comic cons and meets people and buys their comics and likes them and then says, “Hey, would you wanna come freelance a board?” or something like that. You definitely need to have whateundefined