The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Monday, May 12, 2008

Speed Racer (2008)



In terms of results for the Five Tibetans:

1) Merely taking five minutes a day and dedicating it to yourself, if this has been difficult for you, would make a difference. Understand something: I believe that in 99.9% of cases, people who say they don't have time are lying to themselves. They mean "I don't make the time" or "I don't take the time" or "I don't want to deal with my body, and I use anything and everything as an excuse not to." So the single move to a position of ".5% of my life belongs to me..." is the beginning. Sometimes you have to fight to take your life back from the world.

2) If you are not in shape, you will definitely feel it by the time you have been on the program for six weeks.

3) If you concentrate on your breathing, and use the "be breathed" protocol, you should feel an increase in energy.

4) If you deal with any issues of joint integrity or stiffness, you will feel it strongly.

5) The more meditative aspects are difficult to speak of: but if you can stay with the breathing, and stay in a Flow state for the entire ritual, it becomes easier to access that Flow in other aspects of your life.

6) Remember--objects at rest stay at rest. Objects in motion tend to remain in motion. Taking ANY action regularly tends to motivate you to take other actions. If you develop the discipline to do the Tibetans daily, you will probably find it easier to take other actions, as well.

7) If you integrate the Five Minute Miracle approach (breathing for 60 second blocks several times during the day) you can reduce the negative effects of stress massively.

##

I think people misunderstood my comment about the seating of Michigan and Florida. My perception is that people who twist the rules beyond a certain point can be trusted to do nothing except look out for their own self-interests. In other words, it doesn't matter what they've said, at all. I would rather deal with an honest person who voices views contrary to mine (within limits) than a dishonest one who talks the talk. Obviously, this is a tricky area. But it isn't just not wanting Hillary as the candidate--if she can convince the Superdelegates to vote for her, that might well be back-room dealing, but I can live with that.



I DO really resent what I see as an all-out playing of both race and gender cards on her part. I have friends and family who are deeply offended by her recent comments. I am not, although I am wary of them...her comments suggesting that her supporters are racists are quite interesting: I'm not certain if she's saying that she understands them because she, personally, feels the same way...or that she understands them but considers them beneath her (not as evolved socially). I'm not entirely certain what the third option is. But regardless, I consider that to be ugly politics but not beyond the limits of what I've seen in that arena my whole life. So...I don't react to that one as strongly.



But when I see her campaign manager suggesting that it doesn't matter that Obama's name wasn't on the ballot, I realize that our world views are different enough that I literally have NO idea who she really is. And that disturbs me deeply. If she gets the nomination through means I don't like? I'll sit down with Hillary supporters, or Democratic partisans, and hear what they have to say about the whole thing. I'm just being honest that that particular situation makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.



Suzanne asked me about balance in relationship to McCain. I don't see him as being any less balanced than Hillary, frankly. I do think he sold himself out for his political ambitions, but I see that tendency in politics in general--one of the reasons I like Obama is that I don't believe he's sold as much of himself.

But his stance on gay issues would disturb me--especially if he has actually voted to support those public attitudes. Looking into the gap between his words and his actions, especially if he has broken agreements, would be the line of investigation I would pursue in determining my vote.



My guess? The Florida-Michigan thing would turn out to be politics as usual, and I'm just too ignorant to grasp how often this shit happens. Sigh. And I'd end up voting Hillary and holding my breath. Dammit, I hate politics. It's certainly preferable to open war, though.

##

Any questions about the Tibetans should probably be left here on the blog, or over on the discussion group. Modifications, observations, anything at all. Remember: if you already have a physical practice that covers the basic spinal flexions, and focuses your breathing, you're not going to get a huge amount of change from adding a 10-minute practice. And the Tibetans aren't one of those "toast your ass in 15-minutes" programs (like, for instance, Hindu pushups-squats or Kettlebell C & J ladders or something) but health is more basic than fitness. And they really aren't "exercise" primarily, although they can be used for that effect. More than anything, they are a ritual of checking in with your bones, your flesh, and your breath. Every day. For the rest of your life.



Or hey, for ten weeks, any way.

##

People asked about getting feedback if you don't have professional level editors among your friends. I would suggest:

1) Find a writing partner and sharing your approach with her, and growing together.

2) Use the Lifewriting approach: take the Hero's Journey and the Chakras. Specifically have your readers criticize your work based upon their ability to discern the stages of the journey, or the clarity of characterization in relation to the chakras. Don't ask whether the story is "good" or "bad"--just look into the structure. Do similar exercises with other stories, books, movies. Watch and read them together, and then discuss--from the VERY specific POV of Lifewriting. Of course, you could use another writing structure as well. The point is to shift focus away from the subjective "good or bad" to the question "does the story's skeleton support its flesh?" Plot and Characterization.

3) The above approach would work with other forms of writing as well--get the focus off the subjective evaluation of quality, and onto whatever structures of form apply.

##

Kind of interesting that part of the contrast between Obama and McCain is that Obama is more willing to speak to our enemies. My personal inclination is always toward more communication, but I suspect that this is more a matter of personal style and philosophy than any kind of strict superiority of one approach over another. It would be interesting to see if anyone has ever done a study evaluating the comparative efficacy of each approach.

##

Saw "Speed Racer" over the weekend. Oh, it's fun, and unique visually. And bombing at the box office. So much for live-action anime. The acting is actually rather good, considering, and its story of a born race-car driver in a futuristic world is more of a family drama than one would expect. But it's also frenetic and eye-blistering, and unless you are in touch with your inner eight-year-old, I can't recommend it. A B-.

##

And took Jason to see "Forbidden Kingdom" with Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Liked it better than I did the first time, and suspect it may be the best English-language martial film ever made. All the the critiques of it compare it to classic Chinese films. I don't think that's fair. While Sergio Leone DID make several classic Westerns, in general it's harder than hell for someone from one culture to make a serious contribution to the art forms of another. And I've heard several people complain that "it took Hollywood too long to get these titans together..." Excuse me? It was Hollywood that got them together at all. Where was the Chinese cinema on that matter? I mean, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly never starred in a movie together (Let's not count "That's Entertainment" or "Zigfield Follies") and if a Chinese filmmaker had done it, it wouldn't really be fair to criticize them for "taking so long" now, would it..?

##

And the question of the day is: what movies, or movie parings, do you wish had been made? What were you yearning to see that never happened?

ᅠI mean, I would LOVE to have seen Connery as Gandalf. It almost happened. On the other hand, he might have overpowered the role. Just...I would have given a lot for his last film role to have been a real capper. A bang, not a whimper. Ah, well...

12 comments:

Dan Moran said...

unless you are in touch with your inner eight-year-old, I can't recommend it. A B-.

Hello, big people ... Speed Racer is a great movie.

http://danielkeysmoran.blogspot.com/2008/05/speed-racer.html

Sean said...

Steve -

Check out Redbelt from David Mamet when you get a chance. Chiwetel Ejiofor is awesome in the movie, with the usual Mamet double crosses, switcheroos and some decent MMA.

mjholt said...

"I'm just being honest that that particular situation makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up."

Me, too. That is why I quit supporting her. She has made some very bad personnel decisions and campaign decisions, or they truly reflect her. Either way, pfffft.

Even if she is VP I am voting for the ticket. I am not voting third party, and no Repub will get my vote. Got to change out the parties, and they made life safe for Cheney and Bush.

mjholt said...

Re Florida and Michigan,
Obama did say today that since he is no longer running against Hillary, but against McCain, he is going to start having rallies in Michigan and Florida. I read an article that says even with Hillary's methodology on Florida and Michigan, Obama wins.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

In re the Five Tibetans: When you say "you will feel it", do you mean "you will feel it as an improvement" or "you will feel it as a challenge"?

I had some trouble with my big toes not bending enough for numbers three and five, but one session of rotating each toe 30 times in both directions and back and forth seems to have solved it.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

In re the Five Tibetans: When you say "you will feel it", do you mean "you will feel it as an improvement" or "you will feel it as a challenge"?

I had some trouble with my big toes not bending enough for numbers three and five, but one session of rotating each toe 30 times in both directions and back and forth seems to have solved it.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

In re the Five Tibetans: When you say "you will feel it", do you mean "you will feel it as an improvement" or "you will feel it as a challenge"?

I had some trouble with my big toes not bending enough for numbers three and five, but one session of rotating each toe 30 times in both directions and back and forth seems to have solved it.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Sorry for the triple post--the site kept saying my comment wasn't going through.

Steven Barnes said...

Nancy--

Both. You'll feel it, AND you will find improvement. Every session, search to learn just one more thing about how to do it properly. Concentrate on the three aspects of breathing, muscle tension, and skeletal alignment. Modify the poses to make them easier at first. Remember to NEVER allow pain to go above a "3" on a scale of 1-10. Allow time and focus to make the progress for you.

Steven Barnes said...

I like the way both Hillary and Obama are cooling their rhetoric. It feels more like a pair of adults now. I dislike politics because of what it brings out in people, but don't really blame the people who are politicians. That said, I greatly admire those who seem to be trying to rise above that. My take on Hillary is that she is an extraordinary woman who killed her heart to feed her ambition. Doesn't mean she'd be a bad president. Just means that I'm not at all sure who she really is, and that makes me wary.

Of course, McCain has some of the same problem with me: he sat back and let his family and honor be criticized in a way no warrior would without SERIOUS ulterior motivation. Not being privy to his thinking, I can only make guesses about what those motivations are.

And yeah...that torture bill business makes me ill.

Steven Barnes said...

Dan--I enjoyed "Speed Racer" just fine. I should have given it a personal vote of a "B+", but then added that I thought most people wouldn't score it quite as high. In its own cockeyed way, the damned thing is art.

Anonymous said...

movie pairings: would have loved to see a western with charles bronson and clint eastwood in their primes, shame it never happened. jackie chan and bruce lee can only imagine, would jackie be overshadowed by lee's presence. would lee have been threatened by jackies insane physical gifts? along the same lines different medium have to wonder how hendrix would have paired with some modern performers can you imagine hendrix and herbie hancock? or ect ect...