Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sequels & Remakes: Disney

The hospital must have given our information out to third parties, because we were home with our newborn moments before we started receiving mail for parents. One of the first pieces of mail that I came across was from Disney for 4 Disney DVDs for only the price of shipping. I opened this right away assuming that they meant Disney Classics. Instead, almost all of the movies were sequels to those classics, along with Hanna Montana/Jonas Brothers/ other crap... Hollywood has become too safe in recent years. Instead of giving a chance to a new idea, they go for the movie that is guaranteed to break even... They choose to make sequels, and remakes of older movies and TV shows knowing that they will make money. The problem that I have with all of these sequels and remakes is that they are often mediocre and at odds with the plot of the first movie. The characters are shallow stereotypes of the initial characters, and they act in ways that they would never had in the originals. Instead of allowing someone to write a story that is creative and imaginative, Hollywood executives are more happy to produce something that is mindnumbing that the public is guaranteed to buy. Bet on the sure money. I want some of the money, but don't want to actually create something new (lol, like I could get a new idea through), so I've come up with some ideas for sequels that they could make.

Sleeping Beauty II: Insomnia
Sleeping Beauty now has the problem that she can't sleep, thus making her life with the prince a living hell. As a tie in, she finds relief in the form of Lunesta.

9- The Hunchback of Notre Dame III: Judgement Day
Facing Persecution at the hands of an angry mob, Quasimodo decides to out Esmerelda as a witch, which results in her and Phoebus being forced to run from Paris.

8- Tarzan III: Tarzan's Haircut
Tarzan is faced with the challenge of living in society with long hair. He decides to cut his hair to fit in, after many songs praising conformity and cleanliness. Teaches important messages to kids about conforming and getting haircuts. (I'm a little obsessed w/ this I guess.)

7-Peter Pan II: Time to Grow Up
Peter Pan realizes that there is a time to give up on childlike wonder and grow up.

6-Dumbo IV: Dumbo's Rampage
A combined effort w/ the people who did NatGeo's "Dark Side of Elephants: Elephant Rage".

5-The Little Mermaid III: How Ariel Got Her Groove Back
After Prince Eric leaves Ariel, she goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a younger prince, since a woman is nothing without her man.

4-Cinderella IV: The Quickening
Cinderella learns that she and her step sisters are actually aliens from another planet. Every time that she is near to one of them, she feels a tightening in her stomach. She has to kill them all , so that she can be the last one. Realizing that this doesn't make sense with the other films, they return to the roots of the story for Cinderella V: From the Ashes.

3-The Jungle Book III: How May I Help You?
Mowgli moves into the city to pursue the girl from the end of the first movie. He takes a job doing IT Support. After a few months of being yelled at over the phone every day, he decides to move back into the jungle.

2-Beauty and the Beast VI: The Enchanted Channukah
Lumiere's cousin Menorah comes to visit, and teaches everyone about the miracle of the oil.

1-The Sword and the Stone II: Happily Ever After
Arthur marries Guinevere and lives happily ever after. There is never any infidelity in their marriage, and he is never wounded in battle. They do take a Carnival Cruise to the tropical isle of Avalon.

This post took 2 weeks to write. In part due to my new job as a Papa, and in part due to my crappy IP which I will soon be replacing.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yoga Skeleton 5

Here's my fifth yoga skeleton drawing.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)

Previous Yoga Skeletons:
Padmasana (lotus pose)e
Virabhadrasana A (warrior I pose)
Vrkasana (tree pose)
Halasana (plow pose)

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another of my first views of Kali: Ray Harryhausen's

A couple of months back I did a few posts on the goddess Kali and the places I'd first encountered her. I completely neglected perhaps the very first time I saw her. As a kid I was a big fan of the Golden Voyage of Sinbad. I loved Ray Harryhausen movies when I was a kid, and will probably eventually do a post on Harryhausen himself. The reason that I bring up the Golden Voyage of Sinbad was that I believe the first time I saw a representation of Kali was in this move. It was on basic cable when I was ~5 years old. If I recall correctly, she was a statue of the goddess that came to life to fight Sinbad.
(As a side note sci-fi geeks will be thrilled to know that the evil magician Koura was played by Tom Baker of Dr. Who fame. )
Though Kali's appearance in this movie did not follow the traditional mythos, I do not feel that her appearance should be seen as offensive.
Enter Heidi Klum and Seal. That couple has some of the greatest Halloween parties around. A few years ago when she was pregnant, she was the apple that tempted Eve with the serpent wrapped around it. Seal obviously had to dress as Eve. A very clever couple's costume (if a little sacrilegous). They seem to have some great ideas for halloween costumes. Last year they decided to dress up as Kali and Sinbad from the Golden Voyage.

Their costumes raised the ire of many Hindus who didn't feel that one should make fun of their goddess in such a way.
If Klum's costume was offensive, then it's inspiration in the Harryhausen movie should be seen as offensive, but generally it is not seen as offensive. I feel that some people have no sense of humor when it comes to sacrilege. If you want to be offended by a representation of Kali take on Jack T. Chick. His comic on Kali that I posted on earlier is much more offensive.
I believe that part of Halloween should be offending the fundamentally religious anyway. Dress like a pregnant nun accompanied by the Devil.
(as a side note: I believe that whoever designed these costumes did an excellent job.)

The Harryhausen movie was probably my first encounter with Divine Mother Kali, and it was interesting to me to see that that image is still influencing others much less geeky than me.

My posts on Kali.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Get Better Sleep Now.

In our hyper-stimulated world, the quest for a good nights sleep has become our holy grail. Humans generally don't function well without sleep. They make mistakes. The mistakes could be as minor as locking yourself out of your car, or as major as having an accident with a plane full of passengers. We need good sleep, but how do we accomplish this? If you are the parent of a newborn, as I am, it may be impossible to get a good nights sleep. I have often had a hard time sleeping, and usually these would help me out some.
  • Don't watch disturbing or stressful programs late at night. It has always surprised me that shows like ER and Law and Order are on later in the evening when you should be preparing yourself for bed. It probably has something to do with children's bedtimes. Watching shows where there is a crisis situation causes the adrenaline to course through your body, making it harder to calm down.
  • Make a list of the things you need to accomplish for the next day, then put it away and don't think about it. I know this may be hard to do, but it can help.
  • Make your bedroom an argument free zone, then use that time to practice relaxation exercises. Just doing relaxation exercises before bed can induce a better quality of sleep. One that I find helpful is to slow my breath down, counting down from 50, paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly, breathing deep.
  • Don't drink before bed. You can probably have a drink and it won't affect your sleep much, in fact recent studies suggest that a glass of wine could be good for your melatonin levels. Drinking so much that you induce sleep is bad, because it doesn't allow you to go through all of the stages of sleep, which are all beneficial.
  • Physically exhaust yourself. If you are active throughout the day you will be more likely to fall into a deep sleep. Don't do anything too close to bedtime as this might keep you up.
  • Early to bed, Early to rise. It really helps if you can set up a regimented sleep schedule. Setting your internal clock to sleep at a specific time will help you fall asleep. Try to even keep some semblance of your schedule on the weekends too. The more you habituate your sleep times, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
  • Don't Worry. Bedtime is not the time to think about deadlines, or anything else that stresses you out. Once you get your adrenaline going it will be tougher to calm down.
  • Listen to Relaxing music. Relaxing music before bed can lead to an easier time falling asleep.
  • Trade massages with your partner. The right type of touch can ease you into a relaxed state which is more conducive for sleep.
This wasn't meant to be a complete list of methods to find that goal of a good night's rest. If you have any more ideas related to this leave them in the comments section. For more ideas read here.


Healthy Moderation 2: Avoiding Extremes

Many of the ills that our society faces health wise are directly linked to the fact that we shoot for the extremes. In many cases an obese person has become so through wholly seeking pleasure, through food, rest, and entertainment. These things are not good in themselves, they are goods that are dependent upon some other good. The anorexic seeks to be thin, not seeing that this is also not a true good. Fitness should be the end goal, though it is not a goal that ends. Fitness is the good that is a good in itself. I realize that it is tough to be moderate. I especially have a hard time with this one. I tend to go overboard with anything new that I discover. I have the propensity towards an addictive personality, thus it is very difficult for me to try to be moderate. I used to be a vegetarian, but once I started eating meat, my diet suffered horribly. It was all burgers and juicy steaks, the fattier the better. Around the time that I began eating red meat again I began another unhealthy habit- smoking. I had quit when I was 22, and didn't smoke again until I was 27. from 27-29 I went through periods of quitting and starting again. I haven smoked a cigarette in over 2 years. I generally drink moderately, but once I graduated from college I accelerated my nightly drinking to the point that I was drinking 3-4 beers a night. My health suffered. I was chronically tired, my weight had surged to 250 lb. I generally felt like crap. I was living to an extreme.
When I became a vegetarian at 22 I lived at the end of another vicious extreme. I began exercising a lot. I was lifting weights 7 days a week, running 5 miles every morning without fail, I was doing yoga 5 times a week, I took up Taekwondo, kick boxing, Hapkido, Judo. It was to the point that I was in the Dojo 3 hours a night 4 nights a week. In the daytime I was riding my bike 70 miles round trip to swim in the river. What was the end result of all this exercise? I was physically exhausted. If I missed any part of my routine I would feel intense guilt about it. I was unable to help friends move as my muscles would give out midway through the day. My typical workout consisted of 2 hours of heavy weight lifting. Where now I would count helping someone move as a workout, then I would just workout early in the day so that I would still get my workout in before the moving.
You can't reach fitness goals if you live in the extreme. You should not look at reaching fitness goals as being torn between extremes, you should look at it as practicing to hit a target. Being torn between extremes does nothing to achieve actual health. You should aim not to overeat, nor under eat. You should aim not to over exercise, not under exercise. There is no plan that works for everyone, so you should try to find one that works for you. The most important rule of thumb, it to not beat yourself up if you slip, just get back on the horse as soon as you can. If you are just beginning start slow, if you are continuing look at a way to re tune your workout.

There is a post in the pipes on the true philosophy of Epicureanism.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


I noticed that while I have been spending time with articles on yoga, which is one of the two main topics for this blog, I hadn't really spent any time on articles pertaining Heavy Metal Music. I have decided that I am going to be starting a new weekly post on HEADBANGER HAZARDS. These posts will cover several (hopefully comical) conditions that could afflict a Heavy Metal star or die hard follower.

I have chosen to use CRABS as the topic of my first Headbanger Hazard post and I am reserving other STDs for future posts.

Crabs are a universal for the touring heavy metal band, and I have yet to meet a band that has not had them run through at least one or two of their members. I even knew a punk band where all the members caught crabs from crashing at a groupie's place. The bassist and guitarist caught crabs from sleeping with the groupie and her friend, while the drummer only caught crabs from sleeping on her couch. They vowed that it would be their last trip to Spokane, and their performances were greatly hindered for the next few nights, as they missed riffs and whimpered to the itching in their groins.
Crabs is a horrible affliction to heavy metal. If you are a headbanger going to a concert with crabs, you will not be doing much moshing. If, on the other hand the band that you're going to see has crabs, hopefully you get pretty wasted before the show, as they are not going to be playing their best as they try to casually itch their nether regions. The pain that they suffer from the crabs effectively wussifies their demonic lyrics as they whimper more than growl. The riffs will not be clean, and the band will not be syncing up very well. I've seen more metal shows that were killed by crabs. Thankfully I usually had the needs to get drunk / stoned enough to enjoy the show. (I have even been able to enjoy Jam Bands with enough of a buzz.
Sadly, I had my encounter with these little demon bugs when I wasn't in a band, way back in high school. They really will ruin your week. Thankfully I also didn't have any concerts to go to.
Crabs can ruin a concert, but thankfully they won't ruin your life.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yoga Skeleton 4

This week's post was postponed a little as my wife was having our first child (a boy) on last Thursday night.

Halasana (plow pose)
previous yoga skeletons:

Padmasana (lotus pose)
Virabhadasana A (warrior I)
Vrkasana (tree pose)

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Yoga Skeleton 3

Here's my third yoga skeleton drawing.

Vrkasana (Tree Pose)

previous yoga skeletons

Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I)
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Friday, March 6, 2009

Forrest J. Ackerman RIP 1916-2008

Forrest Ackerman did more for science fiction than anyone else in the 20th century. He guided numerous writers, helped organize the first conventions, and was even Ed Wood's agent. It would be impossible to list his many accomplishments relating to sci-fi, thus I will focus my tribute to him on two of his most notable accomplishments: Famous Monsters of Filmland and Vampirella. Both of these were were created by both Ackerman and James Warren.

A little backstory is needed to understand why these two magazines were so important to sci-fi. In 1954 the Comics Code Authority was founded, censoring what could be published in comic books. It was theorized by Fredric Wertham that violence and gore in comics had a causal link to juvenile delinquency. Much the same argument is taken with video games, rock and rap music today. For an explaination of my opinion of this argument see here. If media were able to influence society to commit horrendous acts, then there would be massive spikes in violence relating to the release of this media. There isn't... Of the millions of teens entertained by violent comics, video games, et cetera, there is only a very small minority that will actually be violent. This is because people that are prone to violence will be violent no matter what media they are exposed to. Hitler was a big fan of classical music, especially Wagner, yet no one argues that classical music causes violence and genocide, or that the opera Tristan und Isolde should be banned from performance. There could even be an argument that it could cause teen suicide, since that is what the two main characters do in the opera. Because of the Comics Code, many horror comics that were popular in the 1950s were banned. This includes Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Terror.

There had to be a way to get the kids the sci-fi/horror monsters that they craved. Lord knew that there was a market for the comics prior to their ban. In 1958 Forrest Ackerman created, with the publisher James Warren, Famous Monsters of Filmland. The reason that they were able to publish a magazine that featured terrifying monsters and horrific stories was because it was a magazine. The Comics Code only had jurisdiction over comic books. A little loophole gave Ackerman the ability to expose a new generation of kids to the horror movies that he so loved as a kid. The original Famous Monsters of Filmland ran for 25 years, covering numerous contemporary horror movies as well as the classics. The magazine also had short horror comics in them.

Ackerman weakened the Comics Code with the publication of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and also showed other publishers that there was a market for just such a magazine. Soon there were many others that were copying Warren Publishing's success hit, but none were as great as the original.

Sadly in the 1970s Famous Monsters began copying older articles and it became irrelevant in the world of horror. In 1983 it ended its run, only to be resurrected in 1993 with the help of Ackerman. The new Famous Monsters were never as great as the classic run. Classic Famous Monsters editions can still be found in used bookstores, but the really good ones from the 50s-60s are more difficult to find than the 70s magazines. The magazines from the 70s are still good though, and since they have many of the great articles from the 60s they're a pretty good read.

The Com
ics Code was weakened, but horror themed comics could still not be published. In 1969 Ackerman decided that the Comics Code was irrelevant and so he created Vampirella for Warren Publishing. Vampirella was first drawn by one of my personal artistic heroes, Frank Frazetta. Frazetta painted the covers for Vampirella and other artists drew the interiors. Vampirella differed from the traditional vampire in that she was from another planet, a planet completely inhabited by vampires. The name of the planet was Draculon. Vampirella was also different in the fact that she was a heroine who came to earth to punish evil vampires from her home planet who crashed on Earth and were running amok. This new science fiction version of a vampire was something that had never been seen before in vampire mythos. In the Vampirella comic there were several other horror stories along with the continuing story of Vampirella herself.
Forrest J. Ackerman was one of the great proponents of science fiction. He was an innovator who changed classical mythos. Anyone who enjoys sci-fi or horror owes a great debt to Forry for his advocacy and creations within these genres. His collection of science fiction and horror memorabilia was rivaled by none other. He was a great man and will be missed.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Doonesbury SUV

This was the funniest Doonesbury that I've read in quite a while. I've been holding onto it for several years, unsure of why I was keeping it, then last night I dreamed of making it into a blog entry so here it is. It's a commentary on SUVs, at the time I was riding my bike exclusively.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti
Creative Commons License
Heavy Metal Yogi by Nick Matthaes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.