Thought Experiment for the New Year

Being a person is a strange thing. There are so many different perspective and ways to think about what you are. Here is one that moves me.

You are a story that is telling itself, not a story, done and complete, sitting on a shelf, nor a story only in the mind, yet to be articulated. You are a living, breathing story, being written, here and now, in real time. You are surrounded by stories that are likewise telling themselves, so it is easy for you to get caught in the background noise of other stories and get knocked off your game. The point of living is enjoy and marvel at the process of writing and being. You are writing your story and living it at the same time.

There is one thing holding many of us back. Many of us are sleep-writing our stories. We stubble forward without really paying attention to what we are doing, we don’t consider what else we might be doing with our story, and we rarely go on to explore and live new possibilities. Beyond that, most of us have a ghostwriter who is doing a great deal of the writing for us. Who is your ghostwriter? Who is telling you what your story should be about, what it should look like, how it should go in the next chapter?

The creative potential of your life is your insatiable copyright. Don’t allow anyone to interfere with that. Take your shoes off in the presence of your creativity, because it is sacred ground. Don’t let someone else water your creativity down for you. Be courageous. Get to the heart of your creativity. It is the only thing which constantly exceeds any ego. Dig deep into it. Like Socrates, have many conversations with your daimon. Pull the best that you’ve got from your soul and get it onto the page for yourself, while your still have time. In making your story better, more connected to your own creativity, you catch others in your echoes and show them how to live more deeply from their own center.

If you are reading this then you probably tend to be careful. Careful people worry too much about rules and breaking them. Stories DO have rules but those rules are not the ones that everyone thinks they already know. Bit by bit, break them. Test the rules. A rule is most meaningful after you’ve broken it, realized it, figured out what why wrong and why it was a rule in the first place.

Not only are we made of stories, but we eat them too. We are all story-vores. People worry so much about what food they are eating. Do you ever question the stories that you are eating? Are you getting a healthy balance of stories, or are you eating junk stories all the time? Are you getting some natural, home grown stories? Are you only eating mass produced, industrial, sugar coated stories? Do you have a fat head, loaded with over processed stories? If you want a new kind of diet, change your story diet. Look before you eat. Check out something new before you shove the same kind of story that you always eat in your mouth. The newness doesn’t need to be far off from what you’ve done before, but it must be continual. By the accumulation of the smallest movements away from a direct copy of the past, a new future is created.

In the book of your life, the pages are cloth, woven from thread, spun from tiny fibers of time. While you are alive, your story is made of time. Someday, your time will run out and your story will be done. The Problem is not that your story will come to an end; the Problem is that you’ll probably never know when it is going to happen. You won’t see the last chapter approaching. Most stories are left unfinished.

More tragic than that, most stories never really have a chance to get going. How many stories begin with a beautiful introduction and careful setup that promises a gripping, moving, powerful story that ultimately never makes it onto the page? Let this turning of the year be a wakeup call. Don’t leave your story unstarted. Jump into the meat of your story now. Live a fun adventure. Make being alive worthwhile.

Go and be the best story you can be. Be a story worth telling.

Quicksilver cosplay by A. Panda

Gallery

Captured some pictures of a beautiful Quicksilver cosplayer at the Denver Skate Park on Sunday.

Boxtrolls – an adorable British satire by Lakia

Boxtrolls is adorable and fun, with engaging intricacy of design and writing. It is also very, very British with huge themes about class. Will audiences in America be able relate?

Boxtrolls-Theatrical-Poster-2

Boxtrolls begins with the one of the title creatures apparently kidnapping a baby. Then we see a man in a red hat, desperate to report the incident to someone of power and authority. He pounds on the door of an impressive house, seeking to gain admission, which a butler eventually grants. When he presents his report, he is dismissed by the man in the white hat who he had come to see. Despite being waved away, the desperate man refuses to yield. We will come to learn that these two men in hats stand entangled in the underlying conflict of this movie. The man in the red hat, Mr. Snatcher, is a lowly exterminator. He covets a white hat of his very own, which signifies membership in the elite, ruling class of the town. Mr. Snatcher stands in contrast with Lord Portly-Rind, a civilized, white-clad gentleman, the absolute bluest of blue-bloods. The exterminator then forces the lord into a devil’s bargain. If Mr. Snatcher can catch all of the dreaded boxtrolls, then he will be elevated to a high station. Lord Portly-Rind agrees with enormous reluctance.

With this bargain struck, we move to the underground, where we are treated to the development of the baby into a proper feral boy. He is raised by the boxtrolls, subterranean creatures who live much like simple primates. They are unigue because they have a gift for tinkering with technology. The boy learns about technology, music and the rigid taboo about nakedness. Boxtrolls never remove their box. They acquire new parts for their tinkering by visiting and scavenging from the world above. It is on such a visit that they discover the exterminators who work for Mr. Scavenger.

The exterminators reflect upon their role and work to convince themselves that they are heroic people who will eventually triumph over the evil boxtrolls, although you have hear the note of doubt that always creeps into their thinking. While their mission is only partially successful, the boy ‘Eggs’ and his guardian ‘Fish’, each named for the picture that appears on their boxes, manage to escape. It is a narrow victory, and we see in montage that the hunt continues and each time the boxtrolls visit the surface they lose people to their exterminators. Eventually Fish is captured and that pushes Eggs over the edge.

Eggs decides to reject the boxtroll path of hiding and disguises himself as a normal human and visit the world above. He encounters a city fair where ongoing mythmaking explains why the boxtrolls are evil and to be feared. A rather dramatic, but insincere woman weaves a tale of the kidnapping of the Trabshaw baby and his father, both dispatched by the bloodthirsty boxtrolls. She is assisted by the lesser exterminators.

At the city fair, Eggs meets our last protagonist, the daughter of Lord Portly-Rind, who is about the same age as himself. She has an initial morbid fascination with the boxtrolls, but she is later able to puzzle out exactly what happened in the past and points the way for Eggs to attempt crossing the gap between his world of boxtrolls below and the world of misinformed adults above. Her grim fascinations hide a rather kind and idealistic soul. While she does not solve the hero’s plight she provides him with the support he needs at crucial junctures in the story.

The most innovative scene happens in the tense relationship between Mr. Snatcher and his assistant exterminators. Their leader insists in a pantomime reenactment of what high class people do in this world, which is eat fine cheese. Alas, Mr. Snatchers suffers from a horrific allergy to cheese, a fact he can neither acknowledge nor remember. The key symbol of status, power and privilege is his ultimate bane. This is presented with such sophistication and finesse as to change the entire gravity of the story. One begins to think that if Snatcher’s methods been less blood thirsty and heartless then his desire to elevate himself might have been a noble trait.

In the epilogue, we see a new social order that is far more agreeable than the demonization of the boxtrolls we face at the beginning of the story. As a huge fan of British satire, I hope this movie manages to sneak its way into the hearts of the right people and opens their eyes to a more nuanced vision of the world, much as Lakia’s previous outing Paranoman, did. I recommend this family movie for any fourth graders or above.

Final rating – Four out of Five tofu-points

four.tofus

Pics from NDK 2014

Hey cosplayers and the people who love cosplayers,

Here is the current posting of our galleries for pics from Nan Desu Kan 2014

This NDK marks ten years that we have been taking cosplay photos here in Denver. It has been a wild ride. We started the year-long celebration by diving deep into cosplay. Xander played Uncle Iroh and Jo played Zuko from Nickelodeon’s Avatar series.

Without further ado, here are some pics!

More Here:
Friday Part Two

Saturday Part One

Saturday Part Two

RMFC 2014 Con Report

Had the absolute best time at Rocky Mountain Fur Con this past weekend here in Denver. There are two things that I love about a convention and this one had both of them – enthusiasm and dedicated imaginative play. The people who dressed up in fursuits were some of the most enthusiastic and engaged performers that I have ever seen. They did a spectacular job of embodying their characters. Often with gestures only and no speech, these performers made their characters real. With my background, I love the theatrical side of conventions. I adore it when people take on a character and breathe life into it. I saw that in abundance. Encountering each character this weekend was a little adventure. The variety of suits was extensive. I had a ton of fun with the few friends I knew from before the con (#RanchItUp) and met a lot of wonderful, warm, fun, and energetic people. It was an absolute blast!

Who's there?

Telephone Ring Ring at RMFC 2014


Hi-resolution pics on flickr:
Friday, gotta get down on Friday…

On Saturday night, on Saturday night…

Sunday, Sunday

Low-Res on facebook:
Friday Facebook Gallery

Saturday Facebook Gallery

Sunday Facebook Gallery

Fun furries

Group of fursuiters at RMFC 2014

RMFC’14 Friday

First Day of photos with Mr. Tofu at the Rocky Mountain Fur Con

Guardians of the Galaxy – The Nerds are the Heroes

* Guardians of the Galaxy *
Meet-The-Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

The newest Marvel Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, works on a new level because at last they have made a movie where the nerds are the heroes. The word ‘nerd’ gets used so often that it has lost a most of its definition, but for now let’s take ‘nerd’ back to the sense of outcast or reject. Marvel has given us the reject heroes that we didn’t even know that we could want, let alone have. This is a rollicking, high-energy thrill ride for the adventure hungry child inside all of us.

We meet young Peter Quill with the headphones which will serve as a keystone in his story. We are treated to a musical buildup that seems a bit otherworldly until it resolves into the more familiar part of “I’m not in Love” by 10cc. Next there is a surprisingly effective punch to the gut when we see young Peter in the hospital brought to bedside of his very sick mother. After confronting something that no child should face, Peter rushes from the hospital only be caught by a transportation beam from a Ravager starship.

We next encounter Peter as an adult, wearing his trademark headphones, dancing, using a rat-like space creature as fake microphone and exploring an alien landscape with poorly operating but amazing technology. He is investigating the ruins of a dead city but his machine projects a vivid, dynamic image of what it looked like before its demise, featuring even the digital ghosts of its people. He finds his target and is just about to make off with the Orb artifact when he is confronted by another group. We learn that Peter is a thief, and when he escapes with his treasure we find out that he has betrayed his fellow thieves to make some extra profit.

Bigger trouble is brewing in this universe as a space religious fanatic, Ronan the Accuser, is preparing for the next step in his personal crusade of retribution against his sworn enemies, the Xandarians. His people were the other team going after the artifact. He is working on behalf of an even bigger bad, Thanos, who was only hinted at in previous Marvel movies. Ronan’s servant on loan from Thanos, Gamora, is selected to retrieve the artifact.

She goes after Peter on planet Xandar, just after his plan to sell the artifact goes belly-up. More of our rouge’s gallery of unexpected heroes soon gathers around Peter in an effort to collect a bounty on his head from the thieves that he double-crossed. This is the talking raccoon, Rocket and his heavy, the tree-man Groot. All the ruckus they raise gets the four of them thrown into an oppressive space jail called the Kyln filled with new threats, including the eventual final member of the team, Drax.

The visual style cut a powerful figure eight around both the clean utopian vision of a Star Trek: The Next Generation and the grittier, dirtier vision of space travel from the original release Star Wars: A New Hope. This wide range takes the best of all possible worlds of the future that never was and lets our heroes play in it.

The team goes through several tough scrapes and they barely hold their loose alliance together. Along the way, the writers draw a surprising amount of pathos from the characters. Rocket laments at his very existence in a poignant moment and Groot struggles to salvage the team when it is at is very furthest apart with the slightest gift at speech. That these flawed, uncertain, and often marginally competent characters manage in the end to save the galaxy is a testament to the heroic potential inside of all of them and inside all of us too. If you want to believe that anyone with heart can make a big difference and become a hero, then see this movie.