I do a lot of lettering with a Pentel Brush Pen. My local art store, Blaines Art & Frame, now carries them, and you can get them online as well from JetPens.com. Wherever I have to wait, I take my sketchbook and pens and I'll write people's names for them. It has always paid for the paper and the ink, and quite often beers when at the pub...
My wife and I spent two hours of last Friday night, watching fairly good acting, an interesting premise, combined with a lot of Hollywood money and knowhow, fly straight into the side of desert outcropping leaving no survivors. The movie was Cowboys and Aliens with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig holding down the bleeding roles. It really wasn't bad until the screenwriter's LSD kicked in and the unbelievable began to happen. Like Daniel Craig's character, Jake, running down an injured yet still flying alien spacecraft, (amazing feat #2). Granted, Jake is on a horse, but he has a lot of craggy desert terrain to navigate and the spacecraft he's after only has air. So, I'm guessing that in order for a horse, picking through rocks and cliffs, to keep up with, let alone pass an alien craft going say, 60 miles per hour, the horse would have to travel about 180mph. Ok, he catches up to the alien craft, passes it, and jumps off his horse and lands on said spacecraft which is slightly below him in a canyon (amazing feat #3). At this point, intelligent life left the movie. But let's now go back to amazing feat #1. An alien craft had crashed because of Jakes ejaculating wrist gizmo. The cowboys walk up to the craft which has a low and narrow profile. The fuselage of the vessel is not higher than their knees and could barely fit Twiggy side to side. No biggie at this point because you're thinking, "ah, area 51-type aliens— little guys with big eyes." The wounded alien had left the craft unseen, but left a trail so the posse tracks him. The footprint of the unseen creature is longer than the nose section of the alien attack vessel. When they finally see the alien, he's a good 8' tall. So this alien image harkens you back to the street scene and causes one to ponder, "Oh yeah, how'd this enormous creature fit in that tiny alien plane deal?"
But wait, it gets worse. Jake begins to dig Olivia Wilde, who's name is Ella.That part is believable. By the way you have to love the names. The cattle baron's (Harrison Ford) name is Dollarhyde. And the memory depleted, left for dead bad guy's (Daniel Craig) name sounds like Lone-me-a-gun. When I was a kid movies made Mad Magazine at least scratch their head for caricature names. But I digress, Ella dies, rendering Jake's carrying her 20 or 30 miles, on foot, through a desert sun (amazing feat #4) futile. The indians throw her wrapped, dead body into a nice crackling fire. Conversation among whites and indians continues and nobody notices the disgusting smell of a burning body and we can only assume the smell of processed beans was masking it. And then Ella walks out of the flames and discloses that she's actually an alien who has taken this human form. She says her mission in life is defeat the evil emporer Zurg. We are not told how living in the town, Absolution, and burying her tongue into Jakes chewing tobacco prepared her for this, so this is amazing feat #5.
The aliens have a large tower structure something akin to Mordor. And oddly enough the bling on Jake's wrist needs to be thrown into the fires of Mordor in order to defeat the bad guys— I had to applaud the writers on this unique idea. But the bling won't come off of Jake's wrist—he's tried with large rocks in scenes before. But the post fire Ella tells Jake to use the Force to remove it — I had to applaud the writers on this unique idea—and Jake, heretofore a murderer and robber, conjures up enough cosmic mojo to remove the bracelet with one whiff of his newly enlightened mind. Amazing feat #6
I'd like to say the good guys defeated the bad guys. But there were no good guys, save the sappy indian hired hand — sort of adopted slave of Col. Dollarhyde. But his dying speech was so sickeningly gooey I was glad when he breathed his last.
The apostle Paul commands me to approve things that are excellent and there was one scene I hope ends up on YouTube, and that is where Jake Lone-me-a-gun is rolling a cig. While he's rolling this cigarette, the camera is close up on Daniel Craig's impressive forearms. Watching that much muscle perform such a delicate maneuver was cool. Another plus was the guitar work, I believe the title has Cabin in it -- great tune, albeit short.
I haven't posted anything since mid April. Feels like I've been away from this a lot longer than that.
Ken Follett's new book Fall of Giants, puts anything else I've read to a distant second or perhaps even another category altogether, perhaps, "Non Ken Follett Books". I do think I ran into a bit of depression when I finished the 1,000 pager. You can look up the synopsis online from a real writer person. Of course his older series Pillars of the Earth and the follow up World Without End, are as my daughter Sarah says, "They're Crack!" I read a little over 20 words a minute by the time you add up all the mindstorms that hit me and then the realization that I've "read" a whole page while I was wondering about algae in the mediterranean. I probably read a book three times by the time I'm finished with it. It is this same disciplinary feature that keeps me out of any elongated time of prayer. I just can't seem to control where my mind will warp to. I once fell asleep at a prayer time and while I was asleep had a dream about chairs at church. I woke myself to a mystified audience as I was praying outloud about the chairs! You know, nobody asked me about the chairs... Anyway, even though I read an amalgamated 20 words a minute, when I'm reading something cool I feel like a scholar. Follett's book made me feel like I was Evelyn Wood.
Malcom Gladwell has produced a series of books, Tipping Point, Blink, What the Dog Saw, that just get you to think. They are to me like suped-up Reader's Digest writings. Very entertaining style.
Way back I mentioned Neal Stephenson and his book, Cryptonomicon. Great book. I've slogged through a few of his others and found him to pessimistic, and as is common with that outlook, somewhat elitist, all knowing and void of an ethic outside of himself. I don't recommend anything else by that author. I'm willing to be very wrong about this. But this is my opinion as weak as that is.
Musicians and they DVDs. One of my latest statements is that we are in the musical age of Jeff Beck. Allow me to downplay that a smidge. I don't mean this to say that "he's the best, or that no other is his equal." It's just that his style has matured to such a level that his stamp is on a wide swath of musical genres today. Having said that, there is another guitarist without peer and he is Tommy Emmanuel. Acoustic music without bounds. All three of his DVD's are tremendous. And I do recommend the DVD because Tommy is a charismatic showman. There are few that will ever stand with Tommy. Consider that since he's been about 6 years old he's been a pro. He has a big brother to look up to (Phil) that is a fabulous guitarist himself. Add to that a mom and pop that totally encouraged the love that Tommy displayed since he was a tyke, even to the point of selling their home and touring as a family band in the outback of Australia for a long time just living out of a car! Tommy has emerged as one of those gifts of God to society. He's such a child at heart and the love he has for playing the guitar has brought more than one teary eye to those who watch him.
This past weekend I had the privilege of giving a seminar at the APHEA homeschool convention. I also had a table where I could promote and sell my book, Simply Draw with Bob Parsons. Since I had no electricity where I was assigned, I went old school and covered my table with paper and put out some Sharpies. There was a constant que of children wanting to draw. I had thought the paper was for me to draw on. I gave impromptu lessons but mostly just let the kiddos have fun. We sold out of our stock and had to order more to fulfill the orders. I think most parents bought my book because of guilt. It was like free childcare to send them over to my table!
Not to give out too much information, but as good a time as any to change dietary habits is after a bout of nausea-inducing flu. Which brings up the subject of Lent (this doesn't sound right). I'm way late for Lent this year (March 9 to April 23 - Luv Ya Sarah!) but it's never too late to get on board with a God thing right? But about a week ago I was joking that I was going to "reverse Lent" this year by starting to drink water instead of giving up something. Now that my tummy is tender and dark roast coffee seems a tad strong, drinking water instead of coffee seems easier now than before.
We can't all be lucky enough to rely on the flu as emphasis for change, and giving up something usually implies sacrifice. When you are in the sacrifice mode, normally you're in for repercussions that may leave you worse off than before. The best way I've found to change is to love first, then change. Here's the best example that I personally have. I have terrible will power. I used to bite my nails and my mother all her life told me that that was a terrible habit. No change. Then I started playing guitar and found that those fingernails that I had been nastily chewing off came in quite handy. I quit chewing nails because the love of playing made that habit inconsistent with the action. So, I've developed an M.O.— if you want to take away, first add something you love. And for those of you who are losing weight or trying to, my hat's off to you. It's the hardest thing to do because you have to love yourself and have a vision of yourself that pulls you through. Loving is an action that can grow and grow. Sacrifice can only be maintained for a season. So the sacrifice has to be part of the loving. Check this pattern out:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. -- Hebrews 12