Thursday, October 28, 2010

They've always smurfed my fancy

In the 1950's in Belgium, a man creates a fictional society of enchanted beings for a one-time shot in a short comic series he draws (Johan and Peewit) and the characters are so popular that they span an entertainment and merchandising empire that still goes strong today.
I've always been fascinated by the Smurfs. Why? first of all, I was enchanted by the little guys when I was a kid. The tiny houses, the sword and sorcery aspect and their inherent goodness at a time when I was realizing just how much badness there is in the world.
Now, as a creator, I am even more entranced. A simple idea, a fun idea and one that had to be a blast to create. I can only imagine how much fun the creator (Belgian cartoonist Peyo) of Smurfs had when returning to this world he has created.
What a great story. He didn't think "What do people want?". No, he created Smurfs  because they struck his fancy. Apparently they struck a chord with everyone else as well. Henry Ford said, "If I'd given the people what they wanted, I would have made a faster horse."

So maybe you've got an idea that seems great to you, but you may be hesitating in getting it in front of people. They may not like it. They may smurfing hate it! You'll never know till you do it.

So let's get smurfing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My Day job has been a major distraction to writing lately, so I am a bit behind on the word count I wanted to have written by October 2010. Of course I am also working on my Master's degree, I am a runner and I have a wife and kids. All of these could fall under the label of distractions...if I let them.
I suspect Stephen King has distractions (a raging cocaine habit back in the 80's). I am sure R.A. Salvatore has distractions (he still meets with his gaming group weekly). Terry Brooks certainly has distractions (he hits fantasy conventions all over the globe). In the meantime, this folks also manage to churn out more words than I ever have.
I suspect it involves their discipline to manage the distractions and still find time for their art. I am not advocating shirking our familial and social obligations.
I am advocating meeting those AND still making time for our art.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The sunny slopes of right now

I am by no means referring to the political landscape with this post (GGE is non-political) but I wonder, when I hear people talk about how much better things were in the past, just what they are referring to?
Did things cost less in the past? Sure...but we made a lot less. In fact, more people are making more cash now than ever before.
I hear it referred to in terms of the caliber of leaders we have, but I suspect leaders have always been about the same. Some we know about, some we don't, and some we have just fictionalized so that they are more like a fictionalized hero than a real human being.
I heard it today referred to in terms of our "morale fiber". I really wondered about that one. Crime rates are extremely low compared to historical crime rates. The example someone gave of our weakening morale fiber was the acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Not to nitpick, but I don't think increased acceptance equals lax morals. We should have a better examples of lax morals than that if moral fiber is what used to be so wonderful. this just a rant? I hope you know me better than that. It is part cautionary and part suggestion.
The caution is to not get too invested in how great things "used to be". Often "the sunny slopes of long ago" (as my friend Augustus McCrae says) look better than they actually were. This is a gift of human memory. In fact, those times were probably about like these times.
The suggestion is to identify that which makes one think today is so bad...and then go work on changing that thing. If you think the world needs leadership, then become a great leader. If the worlds needs better morals, then take charge! Establish a tribe! Lead us! If you can't change the thing that bothers you so much, then change what you can. A million little positive changes can go along way.

John Wooten says that "Things tend to turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out"

Long ago is not coming back, no matter if we agree that it was great or not. All we have is "right now". Let's make the best of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Movie Selections

For the week of Halloween, GGE kicks off a weeklong movie marathon (7 movies at least, might watch more). The goal being to establish a good Halloween mood.
(On a side note, Green's commercial Haunt, Haunted Caverns at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN has been selecting as the #6 Haunt in the nation by Rand McNally. Way to go Green and all the guys and gals at Fear Connection!)

Back to our Halloween movie marathon (I'll list 10 just to capture our 3 runners up in case we watch more than 7)
  1. Bram Stoker's Dracula
  2. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
  3. The Exorcist
  4. Halloween (the new Rob Zombie version)
  5. Nightmare on Elm Street (the new one)
  6. Resident Evil (Any)
  7. Skinwalkers (Need a good werewolf movie in here)
  8. Saw (3D)
  9. The Monster Squad (if you haven't seen this, do yourself a favor and pick up this cult classic)
  10. Van Helsing (Kat Beckinsale...need I say more?)
What are some of your favorites?

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Hard to reach Second base...

    ...if your foot is still on first (and I don't mean this as a dating metaphor).

    It is true that at times we have to leave first to get to second. Some corollary aphorisms are:

      • Any ship is safe as long as it stays in port, but that's not what ships are made for
      • The dangers of life are infinite and safety is among them (Goethe)
    The point being that safety is attractive and comfortable, but probably not for all of us. It is certainly not for those who strive to do something new.  Most new activities, especially those that could become great, involve some risk or perceived risk. Chris Guillebeau asked the question "What would you do if you knew you could not fail"

    That's a powerful question and I think the answer is obvious. We would change the world. Well, to extend my original metaphor, if changing the world is a homerun, then we certainly can't get there with our foot on first. If we set out to change the world and we only make it to second or third base, we've still done something pretty great.

    Sounds like we should go for it.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    I added the red text that Deanna left unspoken

    NEW YORK (AP)—Deanna Favre says her religious faith and an outward focus are helping her overcome the allegations of improper behavior that have been leveled against her husband, Brett.
    Deanna Favre was interviewed Thursday on “Good Morning America” about a book she co-authored with Shane Stanford called “The Cure for the Chronic Life,” which is about getting past hard times and patterns of unhealthy behavior.
    During the interview, Deanna was asked how she’s handling the accusations against Brett Favre(notes), who is being investigated by the NFL for allegedly sending suggestive messages and lewd photos to a woman who worked for the New York Jets.
    Deanna Favre says: “I’m handling this through faith.” (In my lawyer)
    She did not address whether the allegations against her husband are true or false

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    A must read

    I cannot thank my friend Jeff enough for introducing me to Seth Godin's work (way back in 2002 with an article about the Purple Cow). Now I read Seth's blog daily. I reference it a lot and I refer people to his books a lot. Today I'm not even going to post my own thoughts. Just a link to Seth's blog. He posted a rant today that resonates strongly with me. I don't always agree with everything he writes, though I will admit to a bit of hero worship. An imaginary Seth sits on my imaginary brain trust, but even with my biased view, I think this is a great post for anyone to read.

    Check out Seth's blog about being intentionally uninformed.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Fear might be a good thing

    Fear is an important reflex. In the past, and in certain situations, it tells us to flee. It provides us with the tools to survive horrific and dangerous situations.
    Today, however, for most of us, we feel fear when we have to give a presentation, ask someone out for a date, or sing karaoke (I love karaoke). While these feel very scary, they are not likely to injure us in anyway. So what purpose is the fear serving?
    None really and it might be holding you back.
    My friend Chris Guillebeau (who I have never me, but am convinced we would be friends if I did) reminds us to do something that scares you every day. I think that is great advice!
    Chris has a great blog about living a remarkable life. If you're needing a lift, check it out.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    What do they want?

    I had a long conversation with a good friend about creativity and purpose. I was wandering how George Lucas, Walt Disney, The Wachowski Brothers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone knew what to create to hit exactly at the right time to really capture our imagination.
    My friend, in his infinite wisdom, reminded me that "they didn't". Star Wars, The Matrix, Steamboat Willie and Southpark were not the only thing on these guy's minds. They created other things. They had other stuff happening. These were just the ones where they got some attention and they fed into it, slowly increasing the speed of the wheel until it really took off.
    Some of these (Southpark) began quite modestly. Others required someone taking a leap of faith after being concinved that the creators deserved a shot (Star Wars and The Matrix). One was self-produced and was unlike anything people had seen. It was whimsical AND technologically advanced (Steamboat Willie). The point is, none of these were a first endeavor, but these creators kept creating.
    They didn't just write on thing and try and sell that thing for the next 40 years. They kept writing, kept producing and kept getting stuff in front of people's eyes.

    Maybe you and I should to?

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Heroes and Mentors

    Hey, Seth Godin and I are right in tune at this time of year apparently. I posted about a brain trust yesterday and here are some additional thoughts on that very subject from Seth himself (who happened to be one of my imaginary charter brain trust members)

    Seth echoes how important and powerful it can be to have a mentor or a hero. It can be a means of guidance, a way  to spur one on to action and a meaningful way to remind us that even the most successful people have been where we are at one time or another (or multiple times).

    It's always nice to be reminded that overnight success takes years of hard work (Rob Zombie), that failure isn't failure if you don't let it be (Donald Trump, Thomas Edison), that it's never too late to make a difference (Louis Pasteur, Ulysses Grant) and that sometimes doing what they say is a HUGE mistake, just might be exactly what you need to do (Walt Disney)

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Clay Matthews as Predator

    I know not everyone is a football fan, so let me give a brief intro - Clay Matthews plays for the Green Bay Packers. He is awesome. He is the son of a former awesome player, also named Clay Matthews and his uncle is Bruce Matthews who was also, well, awesome.
    The current Clay Matthews is a devastating defensive player, smaller and faster than his Dad was (imagine Nightwing taking over as Batman).
    Anyway, Clay has my favorite celebratory dance in football after he mauls someone on the gridiron.
    I don't know if he is intentionally taking a "Predator" stance, but I have to believe he is. Either way, to paraphrase Arnold, he is "one ugly muddaf-----!"
    See for yourself

    The Brain Trust

    So I remember when reading Jack Canfield's "Success Principles" (which I highly recommend) one of the items he discusses is a brain trust, or a mentoring group who meet regularly and advice one another on their various pursuits. Typically these people are not specifically involved in your business, or art, or endeavor, but have some meaningful input. Typically, it would be people you trust and admire and whose input you value (but who won't just agree with you for agreement's sake). In the event that you have no friends, or for some reason cannot assemble a physical mentoring group, he suggests assembling a fantasy team and then based on what you know about those people, imagine what they might tell you about what you are doing, where you are going and what advice they might give.

    I thought it might be fun to imagine the GGE Brain Trust who would advice Green and I if we had the chance. Here's my current list (and I listed Seven because I love "The Seven Samurai" so I went with the same number. I think Canfield actually recommends five):
    1. Walt Disney (who else better to fire the imagination and demonstrate how to build an entertainment empire)
    2. Stan Lee (Amazing imagination and energy)
    3. Seth Godin (inspiring, innovative and a marketing guru. All about doing something rather than doing nothing)
    4. Jack Canfield (Obvious reasons - cited above)
    5. Donald Trump (Why the Donald? Because he is a monster. He's made success out of nothing and his advice would be cold, hard and logical - unlike a lot of the artsy types I typically run with)
    6. Rob Zombie (A master in branding oneself and making success in one medium translate to another
    7. George Lucas (George is the weakest member of the team, but he is a natural innovator and understand a lot of what I am trying to do. When I think about where I want to be, a mini-George Lucas is a good example, so he gets a seat for now)
    that's our Magnificent Seven. Make sense? Do you like the list? Who would you add or subtract? Who's on your list?

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Superman/Batman Apocalypse

    Picked up my copy of Superman/Batman Apocalypse over the weekend. I thought you might like to know about it.
    First off, it is definitely worth owning. It is by all the familiar players in the DC Anmated Universe. It is based on a comic mini series, I believe.
    Basically, it tells the story of when Supergirl (Kara Zor-el) fell to Earth. It's not really in the continuity with the Cartoon Series, Justice League Unlimited, which might be my only complaint witht the current crop of DC Animated Movies. I feel like they should all be part of one continuity (George Lucas has shown us that this can be done)
    The animation is superb, which we have come to expect, and one thing I do like is they got Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly to voice Batman and Superman respectively, reprising their roles from the animated shows.
    there is lots of great super action including a major throwdown in Smallville between Superman, Kara and Darkseid.
    So, go rent the movie for sure, buying it would be better since it supports that they will make more of these.
    I enjoyed it, but I love these movies so I am admittedly biased.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Iron Man 2

    Happy Columbus Day (yesterday) - Actually today (October 12th) is the original Columbus Day. Yesterday was Columbus Day (observed). I only know this because I was born on October 12th. Yes...It's my birthday.
    For my birthday, I treated myself to a DVD copy of Iron Man 2. Watched it right away. I must say, I loved it.

    Of course, as we know, I can be pretty forgiving of Superhero movies, but there's a lot of good things about Iron Man 2.
    Here are some of them:
    • The armor looks awesome
    • The effects in general look awesome
    • Tony is a hard drinking, arrogant, insufferable dude who you can't help but cheer for
    • Scarlet Johannsen
    • Whiplash is pulled off very well by Mickey Rourke
    • The Senate Committee hearing is awesome
    • Lots of talk about the Avengers (Thor's hammer!)
    Could I find some things wrong with the movie? Maybe...but minor issues. I could see how the following may bother some people
    • Replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle. I love both actors, but why replace him?
    • Lots of subplots and lots of stuff going on. Not too much for a comic fan to keep up with, but maybe for a layperson (non-geek) to understand
    • Whiplash ended up in armor...why?
    So, a highly recommended DVD, even with a couple of issues. Of course, you should go buy it anyway to support our types of movies. As I have said many times, if we want more superhero movies, then we have to vote for them (with our money)