The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #200: The Blade Runner Show

Episode #200: The Blade Runner Show

https://archive.org/download/Podcast200_201906/Podcast%20200.mp3

My brother (last on the show on episodes 179 and 180) joins me today for episode 200 as we discuss the Blade Runner movies.  I missed it when it originally came out and didn’t watch it until I was in high school.  Jeremy gave his reflections on watching the film as an elementary school aged child (probably too early to watch the film, honestly).  Humanity, slavery, indentured servitude, the role of AI / can it be self aware, cyperpunk trappings rooted in urbanism and Asian stereotypes, etc – we do some #realtalk on the show.

Even though I have my issues with the movie, the ending scene of the original film is still a great piece of cinema:

The sequel pays homage to the above scene in an equally touching and visually moving sequence:

 

Click on the pictures below to find a copy of your own on Amazon.

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By the way, if you enjoyed parts of the films where there were little shops with slices of analog life in a digital future, you should definitely check out the channel Strange Parts on Youtube for more footage (mostly Shenzen, China) of aspects of a Blade Runner-esque cityscape in real life.

For more aspects of the first movie in other forms, check out the soundtrack by Vangelis as well as a synthpop song by Gunship with an accompanying video done by Jason Tammemagi.

 

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I have been working on the past year, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Also check out a preview of a new album from Starfarer, who was on the show back in episode 143.  Stay tuned for an upcoming t-shirt contest!

Lastly, the podcast is now on Spotify!  Check it out.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #171: Reflections on Rewatching Real Genius (1985) 

Episode #171: Reflections on Rewatching Real Genius (1985)

https://archive.org/download/Podcast171_201811/Podcast%20171.mp3

Today, we’re talking about the 1985 film, Real Genius, one of my personal favorites that I could probably watch over and over without getting tired of it. It’s the story of a group of college students at a thinly veiled version of Cal Tech who are working on creating a high powered laser for a sleazy professor (played to a t by William Atherton) who has a secret government contract to create a high altitude assassination laser gun for the Air Force (look for Ed Lauter from The Rocketeer and Louis Giambalvo from Weekend at Bernie’s as officers).  When the students discover his true intentions, they decide to get even in their own unique way.

I first saw the the film when I was a kid, years before I attended college myself. And for years after, it became my internalized representation of what college might be like – plenty of zany characters, dorm room hijinks, intense hours of study, self important professors, and the exhilaration of solving seemingly impossible problems. All those things ended up being true, in a way, though some things were more tolerable in a movie than they were in real life – especially the intense hours of study, the all nighters, the self important professors, the social class differences, the awkward interactions with possible significant others, rivalries with other student groups, stress over grades and struggles to understand classroom material despite putting in hours and hours of work with little to show for it … yeah … sometimes it’s easier to remember the fun parts of schooling minus all the headaches.

Luckily, that’s essentially what this movie is – on one hand an entirety fantastical, fun version of college, and on the other, a surprisingly believable version that, despite its outward appearance as a Revenge of the Nerds clone or just another teen movie, was clearly carefully researched (Valley Girl director Martha Coolidge was at the helm) and aligned with a specific demographic (college students, especially those that went to an academically intense and/or technical/engineering focused school, grad students, and now, 35 years later, folks that lived through the 80s or like aspects of that decade – the music, the zeitgeist of the times, video game arcades, lasers, etc.)

Check out this page for much more info on all the inside jokes and references people have come up with in the film to the real life Cal Tech.  Even if you have no desire to be or have been a student at an intense place like that, it’s interesting to read about all the little details they stuck in the movie (or appeared coincidentally) that could be appreciated by those in the know.  As for myself, though I was never a student at Caltech and was just a kid when this movie came out, I do recall a number of specific things that were definitely still true (some referenced above) when it was my turn to be a college student (e.g. the infamous little blue books used for written final exams, the forays into the steam tunnels, the coin op arcade machines in the dorms – in my case, Tekken 3).  There are a number of other fun facts about the film and its real life inspirations (like the Frito Lay contest) here and here.

Speaking of the Frito Lay contest, one of the more unusual characters in the film is Lazlo Hollyfeld, played by Jon Gries, the burned out former student now living in the steam tunnels (the entrance of which is the closet in Mitch (Gabe Jarret) and Chris’ (Val Kilmer) room.  He was so memorable in his quirky, shy weirdness that my brother and I took to calling the movie “The Guy Who Lives in the Closet” (as in “Do you want to watch The Guy Who Lives in the Closet tonight?”).  We were too young at appreciate the double entendre of a nickname like that, but what can I say, anyone who lives underground, spends his days entering a contest to win prizes and then succeeds instead of working a 9-5 job like the rest of humanity seems pretty good when you’re a kid.

In case you were wondering about the science behind the film – in other words, whether we have laser weapons as powerful as the one they made in the film, well, yes and no.  There are portable ones the US military has, but nowhere near as powerful as the 5 megaWatt cannon they make in the movie.  There are ones that are much more powerful now, though not nearly as portable as the one in the movie.  So, it’s still somewhat of a fantasy (as a frame of reference, the laser pointers you can commonly buy as pointers for lectures are often 5 milliWatts or less, a billionth of the power the one in the movie supposedly had.  And even those made by Wicked Lasers, supposedly the most powerful handheld ones you can buy are under 5 Watts – more than a millionth of the power of the Real Genius laser.  Still, check out the site above for ads for their products – still cool as hell, though I’m not entirely sure what you’d do with one, unless you want to pop some popcorn with one, like in the film).

Speaking of popcorn, it’d be hard to imagine the film’s ending credits, popcorn flying and all, without Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a bittersweet anthem for a movie about making weapons and human domination (though for me, it was always bittersweet since it meant the movie was over).

Click on the poster below to find a copy of the film:

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Enjoy a little collection of animated gifs from the film:

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A cameo by Deborah Foreman, who was also in Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl.  Below her is Michelle Meyrink (also in Valley Girl) as Jordan, who in her words, “never sleeps.”

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The real geniuses (minus the guy in the closet, who’s just driven off with a significant portion of the winnings of the Frito-Lay contest): Jordan (Michelle Meyrink), Mitch (Gabe Jarret), Chris (Val Kilmer), and “Ick” (I think it kept calling him Ish on the show, played by Mark Kamiyama).

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Did this ever happen to you in college?  I love how no one reacts to the meltdown except that some dude steals the guy’s chair.

The montage sequence where the gang gets ready to exact revenge with a great score piece done by Thomas Newman:

The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #165: Reflections on Rewatching Big Trouble in Little China (1986) 

Episode #165: Reflections on Rewatching Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

https://archive.org/download/Podcast165_201810/Podcast%20165.mp3

Today, we’re talking about the 1986 film, Big Trouble in Little China. It’s really fun film that has a little bit of everything – martial arts, action, fantasy, comedy, satire, even a bit of horror and romance – with a great cast.  I’m not sure what I would think of the film had I not seen it years ago or been interested in martial arts, since it’s absolutely a product of its time and its lineage (paying homage to movie serials from the first part of the 20th century and 70s and early 80s kung fu films), but if you like any of those things, you’ll probably find something to like in the film.  I’m not sure a film like it would be made today, but for the time, it not only introduced the feel of those old Hong Kong produced kung fu films to a mainstream Western audience but gave work to a lot of Asian American actors – they outnumber the Caucasian actors in this film (unusual for Hollywood at the time).

If you were interested in martial arts during the 80s or 90s, you’ll recognize a bunch of familiar faces and names. A lot of these guys showed up in martial arts magazines at the time and worked in stunts for martial arts and action movies.  For example …

Jeff Imada, Kevin Endoso, Kurt Russell, and Al Leong:

The man holding up his fingers is Victor Wong, the grandfather in 3 Ninjas.

Jeff Imada in action (above) and Gerald Okamura (below; interview with movie trivia in the link)

James Lew often did fight choreography for films (like this one) and often had larger speaking roles in various action films as well.

Click on the poster below to find a copy of the film:

Enjoy a little collection of animated gifs from the film:

Below is a clip of Carter Wong in another film – he’s the one I keep calling “the Chinese Arnold” in the podcast:

One of my favorite lines from the movie:

And if you want your own Tec 9 like Jack Burton but don’t want to deal with the black market or figure out what’s legal in your area, you might try finding an airsoft version.  This Japanese gas powered version is actually now really rare and hard to find.  It’s probably about the same vintage as the film.  But there are some electric versions that are much easier and cheaper to find these days.

There is also a comic book that continues the adventures stated in the film.  Here’s a frame that makes good use of Wang’s name …

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The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #163: Reflections on Rewatching Flight of the Navigator (1986) 

Episode #162: Reflections on Rewatching Flight of the Navigator (1986)  

Today, we’re talking about the 1986 film, Flight of the Navigator. I recently rewatched it start to finish for the first time in probably a few decades,a at least to me, the decades in between did not to diminish its enjoyment. The many scenes where David (the Navigator) and the ship he is controlling are flying above the clouds, the design of the spaceship, and the overall idea of a child, not an adult, holding the key to unlock a great mystery were all ideas that influenced the writing of The Thirteenth Hour as well as some of the illustrations contained within the book.

Click on the poster below to find a copy of the film:

The face of the alien ship, which the main character names Max. I was both delighted but not surprised to find that the voice of the ship was done none other then by Paul Rubens, a.k.a. PeeWee Herman!

A young Sarah Jessica Parker also has a small role in this film as a NASA intern that befriends our protagonist. There are a number of funny interchanges between them which highlight 80s culture.

Carolyn: “All right, listen, um, I gotta go, um, is there anything else you want when I come back?”

• David: “How about a Big Mac, large fries, and a Coke? They’re still around, I hope.”

• Carolyn: “Well, now, that all depends, Do you want New Coke, Classic Coke, Cherry Coke, Diet Coke, or Caffeine-Free Coke?”

• David: “Huh?”

• Carolyn: “Nothing, forget it.”

During one of those scenes, David is introduced to music videos. They happened to pick one of the weirdest movie music videos that I’ve ever seen in my life to highlight MTV/new wave. It’s actually a really great song done by British synthpop duo, Blancmange, though the music video is something else. It rivals the video for “True Faith” by New Order.

Enjoy a little collection of animated gifs from the film:

This little guy loses his home planet to a comet, and David ends up (on purpose or accidentally) bringing him back to 1978 with him.

The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #162: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 4: Reflections on Rewatching Predator (1987) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

Episode #162: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 4: Reflections on Rewatching Predator (1987) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast162/Podcast%20162.mp3

This week marks the fourth in a four-part summer Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action fest where Adam from the Instagram page @mom_gave_them_away and I rewatch four classic Arnold movies we originally saw as kids and discuss our reflections (listen to episode 159, 160, and 161 here).  Today, continue where we left off last week with Predator.  Like The Terminator, it’s a film that fits multiple categories (sci fi, action, horror), and in some ways, it’s pretty hard to beat in any of those categories.  Enjoy a little collection of animated gifs from the film:

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The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.  To end on a humorous note, despite the fact that these movies had a degree of badassery that no one could deny, the video games that came out in association with them with pretty horrendous.  But I’ll let the AVGN do the honors:

 

Adam, you’re welcome to BE BACK anytime!  In the meantime, check out all the excellent custom action figure work he does for a taste of some truly heroic work.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #161: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 3: Reflections on Rewatching Commando (1985) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

Episode #161: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 3: Reflections on Rewatching Commando (1985) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast161_201809/Podcast%20161.mp3

This week marks the third in a four-part summer Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action fest where Adam from the Instagram page @mom_gave_them_away and I rewatch four classic Arnold movies we originally saw as kids and discuss our reflections (listen to last week’s show here).  Today, continue where we left off last week with Commando.  Released only a year after The Terminator, this one is an entirely different kind of movie.  There are even touches of comedy, and Arnold even says, “I’ll be back.”  Enjoy a little collection of animated gifs from the film:

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The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.  And if you’re wondering what song is playing over the ending credits of the film (the one we used for Adams’s theme song), it’s this one:

One of my favorites I’ll link to here. To end on a humorous note, despite the fact that these movies had a degree of badassery that no one could deny, the video games that came out in association with them with pretty horrendous.  But I’ll let the AVGN do the honors:

 

This arcade and NES game wasn’t related, but it was better than an of the official sanctioned products and was around at the same time:

Adam will BE BACK next week for Predator.  In the meantime, check out all the excellent custom action figure work he does for a taste of some truly heroic work.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #160: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 2: Reflections on Rewatching The Terminator (1984) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

Episode #160: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 2: Reflections on Rewatching The Terminator (1984) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast160_201809/Podcast%20160.mp3

This week marks the second in a four-part summer Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action fest where Adam from the Instagram page @mom_gave_them_away and I rewatch four classic Arnold movies we originally saw as kids and discuss our reflections (listen to last week’s show here).  Today, continue where we left off last week with 1984’s The Terminator, which of course is one of the films that continued Arnold’s push into the stratosphere of stardom but also birthed one of his most famous lines (“I’ll be back”).  Part sci fi, part fantasy, part film noir, part cyberpunk, part horror, it’s a film that defies easy categorization, though, as we discuss during this episode, it’s part love story as well.  Neither of us felt that Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn) really got enough credit in the film (or the series), so we spent the better part of the episode on Reese.

The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film.  One of my favorites I’ll link to here.  It’s a rare moment of respite for Reese that is not surprisingly disrupted – always felt bad for him in this scene since he loses one of the few things he has to comfort him:

If the music in between the introduction and when Adam and I start talking sounds familiar, it is, of course, the rendition of The Terminator theme that we made back in episodes 146 and 147.  More information about the making of the soundtrack for the film and the different ways the theme was used in the film can be found in the show notes of episode 146.

To end on a humorous note, despite the fact that these movies had a degree of badassery that no one could deny, the video games that came out in association with them with pretty horrendous.  But I’ll let the AVGN do the honors:

These ones are specific to the Terminator games:

Speaking of NES games, check this out:

File:Snake reese.jpg

Yup, the painted cover of the original NES version of Metal Gear Solid is basically Kyle Reese with slight variations.  He may have died in this movie, but he lives on in other ways.  Not sure if this was a homage or just a blatant rip off, but hey, imitation is the best flattery, and it’s not the only instance where NES game art did this (more soon).

Adam will BE BACK next week for Commando  In the meantime, check out all the excellent custom action figure work he does for a taste of some truly heroic work.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #159: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 1: Reflections on Rewatching Conan the Barbarian (1982) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

Episode #159: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 1: Reflections on Rewatching Conan the Barbarian (1982) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast159_201808/Podcast%20159.mp3

This week marks the beginning of a four-part summer Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action fest where Adam from the Instagram page @mom_gave_them_away and I rewatch four classic Arnold movies we originally saw as kids and discuss our reflections.  Today, we start in chronological order with Conan the Barbarian, one of Arnold’s first staring roles.  It combined some of the best parts of Frank Frazetta (he, of course, painted many Conans and Conan-like figures during his career) with a tinge of the 70s, pre-MTV/quick cut, languid style filmmaking (hearkening back to spaghetti westerns) with an epic score by Basil Poledouris.

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Members of the cast

The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there to listen to the score and check out some Frank Frazetta renditions of Conan.

One of my favorite scenes from the film:

Arnold talks about how influential Conan was for his career and what he had to do prior to getting the role in an inspirational University of Houston commencement address here.

To end on a high note, despite the fact that these movies had a degree of badassery that no one could deny, the video games that came out in association with them with pretty horrendous.  But I’ll let the AVGN do the honors:

Adam will BE BACK next week for The Terminator!  In the meantime, check out all the excellent custom action figure work he does for a taste of some truly heroic work.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #158: Reflections on Rewatching Spacecamp

Episode #154: Reflections on Rewatching Spacecamp

https://archive.org/download/Podcast158_201808/Podcast%20158.mp3

This week, I decided to take on one of my all time favorite movies as a kid, Spacecamp (the reason for my wanting to be an astronaut for almost 10 years and going to the actual camp in Huntsville, AL three times), and rewatch it to see what it looked like through adult eyes.  It was a mixed experience, as I expected and talked about on the show, but overall, when viewed as a fantasy, I still think the movie is a lot of fun.  Yes, the whole reason the Space Campers end up in space is contrived, but then so were the plots of most 80s sci fi movies.  I still enjoyed the teen movie elements (it was probably the first actual 80s teen movie I watched without actually realizing it), the characters, the music by John Williams (which, every time I hear it out of context, takes me right back to being a ten year old looking forward to the movie as the opening credits rolled), and the dialogue.  There are still some downright funny scenes.  And that’s how I view it all these years later – a lighthearted 80s sci fi teen comedy with elements of a thriller rather than something akin to a training film for future astronauts (which is probably closer to what I thought at age 10 – hence the fact I can still recite verbatim whole sections of dialogue).

Like a lot of 80s films, Spacecamp featured an ensemble cast with the teamwork approach (i.e. each person on the team has their own specialty), which of course fits for a space mission movie.  You may recognize a number of the actors here from their roles in other films.

And just in case you’re wondering, there is an adult Space Camp that you can do over a weekend.  And a family camp were you can go with your kid.  Just sayin’.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

 

 

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #154: Reflections on Rewatching Some Kind of Wonderful

Episode #154: Reflections on Rewatching Some Kind of Wonderful

https://archive.org/download/Podcast154_201807/Podcast%20154.mp3

This week, I decided to take on one of my all time favorite movies, Some Kind of Wonderful.  I’d been awhile since I watched the whole thing, start to finish, and given that I’ve done a bunch of these retrospective rewatchings over the last few years for this show, I’ve mostly gotten over the worry that I’ll tarnish a rose-colored, nostalgic view of a film I enjoyed as a kid when looked at through adult eyes.  In many cases, like this one, my views are somewhat different, but thus far, the basic elements that drew me to films such as these years ago have not changed much despite the years in between.

Of all the 80s teen movies, for some reason, this one was always my favorite.  In some ways, it ironically also feels like the most grown-up of John Hughes’ 80s teen movies, and from what I’ve read, was his last one of this type. Most people know of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink, but for some reason, this one is not quite as well known.  It does sound like it quite difficult to write, and the backstory behind the making of the film is quite interesting to read if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

I identified with the main character, Keith, as a teenager and remember thinking it would be great (and probably too good to be true) if your best friend also turned out to be your significant other.  (I’m guessing a lot of guys can identify with that wish, especially if it all happens without you having to, you know, do actual work.)  I loved the way Keith and Watts bantered back and forth, and it’s probably one of the main reasons why the main characters in The Thirteenth Hour, Logan and Aurora, not only have a similar relationship but come to understand their love for each other in much the same way Keith and Watts do in the movie.

Rewatching it years later, the basic charm of these two still holds, but I found myself appreciating the other characters in the film much more.  Perhaps even more than Keith and Watts.  All in all, I thought Keith’s father, played by John Ashton, was actually a pretty good guy and, in the end, supported his son in the way we can all only hope to support our own children (i.e. the most difficult way – even if we don’t like or agree with what they are doing, we still believe in them, to paraphrase what Keith tells his father.)  I found myself siding a bit more with his father this time around.  I know, I know.  But just a bit.  I found myself wanting to take Keith aside and give him the low-down – forget about high school drama – no one is going to remember or care in ten years.  Don’t blow your college fund on a single date for a girl who you don’t really know and probably won’t appreciate it.  Not fair to you.  Not fair to put that kind of pressure on her.  And, you know, hate to say it, but your old man’s onto something.  He wants you to go to college, I get it.  Make him happy.  He ain’t gonna live forever.  He doesn’t want to be worrying about you when he retires.  So pick a school in a place you can tolerate.  But by all means, pick one that has a good fine arts program so you have the option to major in that if you like.  Once you’re in college, it doesn’t matter!  So few people actually use their college degrees for their actual work, anyway!  Alas, I’m not sure anyone gave Keith this talk (not sure if it would have done much good – what 17 year old wants to hear this kind of stuff?).  But his Dad came sort of close.

john-ashton-some-kind-of-wonderful-photo-GC   John Ashton as Cliff Nelson

I always liked the unlikely pals that Keith meets in morning detention, Duncan and his gang, but appreciated the comic relief Duncan brought to the film much more this time around.  Elias Koteas, who plays Duncan (below), sort of reprises the role as Casey Jones in the first live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film a few years later (1990).

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I love the scene where Keith walks into detention, expecting Amanda, only to be greeting by a bunch of dudes in motorcycle jackets and shades.  The guy above randomly rips a book in half, a scene that still cracks me up to this day.

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Two artists bonding over their works of art – Duncan’s is a vandalized school desk (scratched with a pocket knife) and Keith’s is in his sketchpad (I don’t think we ever see it – probably a picture of Amanda Jones).  Another great short scene.  Duncan, of course, has to break the desk in order to show it to Keith 🙂

img_4212Lea Thompson as Amanda Jones

Speaking of Amanda, I always liked the way the Amanda Jones character was a bit more three dimensional than just phoning it in for her looks, but I liked her a lot more this time around.  She’s no angel, of course – she cuts class and then weasels her way out of detention by sweet talking the driver’s ed teacher and clearly doesn’t have the best taste in friends or boyfriends.  But, hey, no one’s perfect.  She’s portrayed as a human being, flaws and all, and one of the nice things is that she grows.  You get to see her change course at the end of the film, when she decides to learn to make friends and find significant others who like her for who she is, not for who she’s with – a great lesson that everyone needs to learn in some capacity at some point.  Unfortunately, there traditionally aren’t as many of these roles for women – the kinds where it’s seen as a positive for her to stand on her own two feet even if it means outwardly losing face in the eyes of school (mirroring the eyes of society).  This article hints that Lea Thompson pushed for more three dimensionality in her character than the script originally intended.

Speaking of which, this site is a great resource for all kinds of trivia regarding the film, including a copy of the script.  There’s also whole music section.  I mentioned on the @the13thhr.ost instagram page how much I’ve enjoyed the soundtrack over the years, though unfortunately, it really should be a two disc set since there are lots of good songs and instrumental parts not found on the album.   The synth instrumentals were done by Stephen Hague and John Musser, which you can find here as isolated tracks.  Thanks to fans, here’s an instrumental compilation of the score:

The song playing when Amanda and Keith head up to Hardy’s house is Charlie Sexton’s “Beat’s So Lonely,” a great 80s track, also not on the official soundtrack, but a great high note to end on.  Stay tuned for more 80s films as the summer progresses!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #153: Reflections on Watching The Karate Kid 2

Episode #153: Reflections on Watching The Karate Kid Part 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast153_201807/Podcast%20153.mp3

After rewatching the original 1984 Karate Kid, I decided to give the sequel a try. I distinctly remembered not liking it as a kid (since it had the audacity of having not just one but two love stories), but since that was 30 years ago, I figured what the hell – perhaps my tastes had changed in the interim.

To be honest, this time around, I liked it better than the first movie. Don’t get me wrong, the first film has a certain teen movie charm, but I thought this one was a better movie overall. In the first film, you pretty much know (as with most sports movies), what’s going to happen. Lots of pain until the end when the hero goes out, gives it 110% for the Gipper (so to speak), and wins the game, match, race, etc. (Sure, sportsmanship dictates that learning how to lose well is just as important as winning. Any grade school kid can tell you that – even if they don’t believe it – since they’ve heard it from countless adults who know the truth – no one wins all the time. That all goes out the door with your typical sports movie). We know that despite seemingly being unprepared for the kind of fighting in the All Valley Karate Tournament, Daniel-San is going to win. He’s the hero, after all, but it wouldn’t be much of a story if he were kicking ass right from the get go. Speaking of which, we guess he’s going to use that crane kick (really just a stylized jumping front kick) in the clutch when all the chips are down. Every hero needs an ace up his sleeve, even if said ace has a suicidal opening stance that exposes just about everything and probably wouldn’t work 99% of the time.

Not surprisingly, the crane kick makes a reappearance in the sequel but is blocked. The sequel basically rehashes almost everything from the first film but raises the stakes … and with that, casts doubt as to the outcome. No longer in it just Daniel fighting, it’s Mr. Miyagi, too. It’s not a game of three points until the match is done, then bow and shake hands. The match is done when the loser is dead. With odds like that, the sequel manages to keep things up in the air and uncertain until the end.

One thing that surprised me (since I have vague memories Daniel in Karate Kid 3) was that Daniel was qnite a bit more centered and chilled out in this one. I found him more likable as a result. I figured the writers wanted to show some growth and highlight the effect the relationship he’d developed with his mentor and teacher, Mr. Miyagi, had had on his hotheaded nature.

Whereas the first film was really a sports, teen, and father-son/student-teacher film that happened to be about karate, this one felt more like a traditional martial arts movie. I liked the Okinawan setting and the touches of “old Japan” the film had (while quaint and probably a bit stereotypical), which added to the overall mystique of the film. It was also easy to root for Daniel and Mr. Miyagi since the enemies in this film, Sato, Mr. Miyagi’s childhood friend turned corrupt businessman, and Chozen, one of Sato’s henchmen who takes an immediate dislike to Daniel, do a good job being villains. It was a little harder to feel that way about his nemesis from the first film, Johnny Lawrence, since you got the sense he was an inherently decent, if immature, guy who might have behaved better if his circumstances and role models had been different.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. This film was more Mr. Miyagi’s story than Daniel’s, in a way, and since you can never really go wrong with Mr. Miyagi, I’d say give it a rewatch if you found it a snoozefest as a kid. There are a number of nice touches than make it worth giving it a second shot.

Case in point: in the Miyagi family dojo, there are two scrolls. Although I don’t read Japanese, they use Chinese characters for some words, and usually, the meaning is about the same. On the right, 空手無先手 literally means “karate (’empty hand’) is not for offense,” and on the left, 先正其 心 I think translates into something like “first, fix your own heart,” which is a little different from how Mr. Miyagi translated it in the film but fits with the way he lives his life and what he tries to instill in Daniel.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #152: Reflections on Watching The Karate Kid Part 1

Episode #152: Reflections on Watching The Karate Kid Part 1

https://archive.org/download/Podcast152_201807/Podcast%20152.mp3

My town recently had a showing of the 1984 film, The Karate Kid. Having not seen the movie in about 20 years, I was curious how it would hold up. There is a great Sports Illustrated article that gets many of the original cast and crew members together to talk about their experiences making a movie and reflections decades later. It encapsulates a lot of what is referenced in this particular podcast episode – mainly that there were many things included in the film that never occurred to me as an eight-year-old first watching the film. There’s less black-and-white duality in the characters, for example. Daniel seems a little less good, Johnny seems a little less bad, Mr. Miyagi seems a less less all-knowing. Everyone, in other words, feels a bit more human. And perhaps that’s the way it should be, since it isn’t really a movie about martial arts at its core. Next week, on to Karate Kid 2 (which, in some ways, I liked more than the first one. Though that, too, was an adult development).

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #60: A Storytime Reading of Sleeping Beauty

Episode #60: Sleeping Beauty Reading

https://archive.org/download/Podcast60_201609/Podcast%2060.mp3

This week, my daughter and I are reading The Sleeping Beauty, written/retold and beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, who also illustrated St. George and the Dragon, which we read on episode #52.  Below are some pictures:

Image result for trina schart hyman sleeping beauty

Image result for trina schart hyman sleeping beauty

As an aside, my brother recently told me that Stan Bush, the man behind “The Touch” created a new 80s-style anthem for the game Shadow Warrior 2 – something that is incredibly awesome on so many levels I don’t know where to start.  You can listen to the EP on Souncloud! (click on the link above to listen).

Speaking of which, the soundtrack to The Thirteenth Hour, Long Ago Not So Far Away is done and will be coming out on 11/13/16.  It will be available digitally and on CD.  If I can find a few cassette tapes, I may even try to make a few cassettes that will be available on the eBay store for the truly old school.  (Remember making mix tapes?  This assumes I actually remember how to do that 🙂  If you want an advance preview in the next few weeks, sign up for the mailing list for a free advance digital copy!

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As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

Get The Thirteenth Hour Free Starting Tomorrow (May 13th to 17th)

The Eternal Optimist’s Rule #1: Sometimes when you think things can’t get any worse, they make a turn for the better.

Well, yes, that’s a positive way to start this post.  Because guess what?  The Thirteenth Hour is free on amazon starting tomorrow.  So even if you’ve had a $#!te week, it never hurts to get something for free.  Who knows, it might give your week a turn for the better.

logan lightning animatedSo zoom over to amazon.com to get The Thirteenth Hour for free starting Wednesday, May 13th!  The promotion runs for 5 days.  If you’d like a chance to win printed version of the books below, just check this post out.

book pics

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The Thirteenth Hour Featured on GoodKindles and 1980s Fantasy Film Mania!

Do you remember those 1980s fantasy movies with the big hair and electronic synthesizer soundtracks – movies like The Neverending Story, Ladyhawke, and Labyrinth?  If you can imagine those films in illustrated book form, you have some idea what The Thirteenth Hour is like …

… One could classify the story as adventure or fantasy, though not a serious JRR Tolkien-style fantasy.  The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, though there are plenty of introspective, psychological parts where the characters grapple with balancing that difficult no-man’s land of feeling older than an adolescent but too young to classify oneself as an adult.

In some ways, the book grew up with me, since I wrote a very early draft of the book the summer after I finished high school …

…So life went on – going to many years of school, working to pay the rent, getting married, changing diapers, etc.  But the story wouldn’t let me go …

Check it out here: http://www.goodkindles.net/2015/03/the-thirteenth-hour-new-adult-fantasy.html

By the way, side note: if you want more suggestions on 1980s fantasy movies, I put together a amazon listmania entitled “So you want to watch an 80s fantasy movie …”  

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/So-You-Want-to-Watch-an-80s-Fantasy-Movie/lm/R1H34IQ5YOD1PV/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full 

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Dreaming Big, Not Giving Up, and Other Thoughts from The Thirteenth Hour

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

~T. E. Lawrence

Ask many children what they want to be when they grow up, and you’re likely to get a fantastical answer.  Professional football player, race care driver, ballerina, Hollywood actor, rock star, etc.  When my own brother was asked this question in nursery school, he said something to the effect of “someone who jumps off buildings” – he was really into Batman at the time.  I was pretty confident I was going to be an astronaut until I was about twelve, and then I wanted to be an American Indian (sort of), as described in this post here, so I could shoot bows and arrows all day (I’m sure an actual Native American would be horrified by this stereotype, but what can I say?  To me, it was a benefit).

But not very many of us go on to do those things.  So what happens to us?

We grow up, slog our way through school, realize most people don’t become astronauts, professional ballerinas, and rock stars, get “sensible” jobs instead, start paying taxes, start worrying about whether there will be tons of traffic slowing down the morning commute or how to make this month’s rent, get into relationships, have kids, start worrying about our kids’ futures and what college tuition will be in 2030, start taking Zantac before eating spicy foods … (maybe not in that exact order, but you get the picture).

And it’s no wonder.  Although this is too big a topic to discuss here, our world today is complicated.  Like the narrator says in The Gods Must be Crazy, modern man has to send his children to school for the majority of their formative years just to learn to survive in the world they were born into.  And now, increasingly, add on one to two more decades of schooling and/or training to become “independent” in this complex world we live in.
Perhaps because there’s so much “important” stuff that children are expected to master, they are often given the message that their hopes, wishes, and big ideas from childhood are nice … but, come on, get real, grow up, and take your place in line like the rest of us.  What’s more, that happens when children and young adults, when, as befitting their psychosocial developmental stages, they’re trying to figure out who they are, how they fit into the world, and what they want to do with their lives.

I would like to ask – is all this necessary?

Must we intentionally piss on the dreams of youth?

If you’re an adult reading this and have thoughts about trying to reality check the children around you – ask yourself: how would you have responded at their age if the future you tried to talk some sense into your younger self?  Would you have listened?  Would you have even cared?

There’s a scene in the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club, where Vernon, the hardass principal is sitting with Carl, the school janitor (drinking beer in a closet, if I remember right) and musing about this very conundrum:

“Vernon: What did you want to be when you were young?
Carl: When I was a kid, I wanted to be John Lennon.
Vernon: Carl, don’t be a goof. I’m trying to make a serious point here. I’ve been teaching, for twenty two years, and each year, these kids get more and more arrogant.
Carl: Aw bullshit, man. Come on Vern, the kids haven’t changed, you have! You took a teaching position, ’cause you thought it’d be fun, right? Thought you could have summer vacations off and then you found out it was actually work and that really bummed you out.
Vernon: These kids turned on me. They think I’m a big fuckin’ joke.
Carl: Come on…listen Vern, if you were sixteen, what would you think of you, huh?
Vernon: Hey, Carl, you think I give one rat’s ass what these kids think of me?
Carl: Yes, I do.
Vernon: You think about this…when you get old, these kids; when I get old, they’re gonna be runnin’ the country.
Carl: Yeah?
Vernon: Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night; that when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me.
Carl: I wouldn’t count on it.”

And so, like Vern, we adults worry about the welfare of the future generation – maybe because we want them to do things we couldn’t, maybe because assuring their security ameliorates our anxiety about their future or makes us feel like good parents and role models, maybe because, like Vern, their success means our own futures are that much safer.  Or maybe because we just genuinely want the best for them or want to see potential fully realized.  There are many reasons to talk sense into fantasy, some out of self interest, some more altruistic.

So I ask again, must we piss on the dreams of youth for these things to happen?

I’m not a huge believer that every story needs to have an underlying message.  But if there is any one message behind The Thirteenth Hour, a fantasy novel of all things, it would encapsulated in the quotes from T.E. Lawrence and Harriet Tubman above – essentially, dreams are important, so make them big, for they are within your reach, and you shouldn’t give up on them.

Particularly the last part.  It’s an unspoken message in these quotes, but it’s there, under the surface – the sad fact that despite the mountains of pee that rain down on your dreams, you should hold fast to your umbrella and not let go.  It’s idealistic, that’s true, but that’s what dreams are – visions of something better, things that give us hope when we have none and help us get through the morning commute, the mountains of paperwork, the dead-end job, and the countless other mindless tasks we probably didn’t envision ourselves doing when we were children dreaming of being John Lennon.

You can help those younger than you in many ways.  Curiosity, hope, and optimism in the world’s possibilities are all qualities that can be as easily fostered as crushed.  Middle school, adolescence, and the early twenties will do a fair amount of the latter anyway, but less so if it’s circumstance, rather than the purposeful actions of another person, that does the crushing.  All this you know, because it’s probably happened to you, as it does to most of us.  But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.  Because underneath the calluses, the TPS reports, the bills, and the other trappings of adult life, beats the heart of a rock star, race car driver, jet fighter, Hollywood actress, or … even someone who jumps off buildings.

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

~Langston Hughes

All quotes from:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_dreams.html#2zrGKPGfYL1XS1o4.99

The Thirteenth Hour Kindle Edition 60% Off Sale – This Week!

Get The Thirteenth Hour for the Kindle this week for $1.99, as opposed to its usual $4.99 price!

That’s a discount of 60%!

Want to try before you buy?  Check out the links below for excerpts and other free stuff.

Here’s the link to amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Thirteenth-Hour-Joshua-Blum/dp/1505792673/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=thethihou-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=UDBZIFI4NFSPCHG6&creativeASIN=1505792673

logan and aurora castle grounds moonWM

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One sentence summary: a nontraditional faerie tale for adults about a young man and his childhood friend who journey to the ends of the Earth to find the secret of eternal life for a narcissistic King, learning a little about living, loving, dying, and dreaming in the process.

You might like this book if you enjoy … 

  • 1980s fantasy and scifi films
  • books like The Neverending Story by Michael Ende or Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • adventures with unassuming, introspective protagonists
  • coming of age stories
  • irreverent (probably politically incorrect) humor
  • fantasy art
  • martial arts
  • gymnastics/acrobatics
  • archery
  • throwing cards
  • skipping stones
  • contemplating the nature of human existence
  • backflipping chimpanzees (yes, there is one)

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Influences Behind “The Thirteenth Hour” Part 3: Video Games

In the last few entries, I talked about literature and film influences that went into the making of The Thirteenth Hour.   I could say that I was similarly influenced by video games … but, with a few notable exceptions, I’d actually be lying.

See, I had a rather conflicted relationship with video games when I was a kid.  I always wanted to like them, and there were a few that I did enjoy, but my experiences with them were sort of like my experiences trying to read fantasy books, as detailed in my previous book post.  In other words, frustrating.   There were a couple of reasons that make more sense now as an adult.

First, my parents felt I shouldn’t spend too much time in front of a TV or computer (and now that I’m a parent myself, I have to agree with them), so my success with these electronic bits of interactive story telling was limited just by the nature of less overall time with them.  (The 286 computer we had took forever to boot up, and sometimes it didn’t boot at all, so when that happened, that was the end of that.)  Foreshortened time did create a sort of pressure to maximize the amount that I could do, but really, that was a small issue.

The real problem was that I was pretty lousy at most of the games I had, and to be honest, looking back, most of them weren’t very good to begin with.  And some were insanely hard.  (It seems that some super hard games are seen more favorably these days out of nostalgia for their retro pixelation and/or their so-called “challenging gameplay” … but try telling that to a ten year old who can’t get past the first level).  People like the Angry Video Game Nerd have created whole careers out of ripping these old games new assholes, but they’re mostly right – a lot of these games just plain blew goats!

Let’s backtrack for a second.  This was the 1980s.  There was no internet (at least none that I was aware of), and aside from word of mouth, I think people basically just hoped for the best when they bought a game.  It was basically a hail Mary whether your (or, probably more likely if you were a kid, you parents’) hard earned 40-50 bucks would end up yielding a winner or a stinking turd polished with good box art.  Though I had no experience with them, there were rental places for the console games, so you could try before you bought a game.  I think nothing like that existed for computer games, though.  And regardless of the platform, if you got stuck, you were pretty much on your own unless you had friends who knew what to do or you managed to find a magazine or book that had tips.

Later, I found out about cheat and level codes for NES games, which helped somewhat, but in the beginning, without the ability to save a game, I basically ended up having to play from the beginning each time.  So, I got great at the first few levels, but seldom got much practice at the later ones simply because it was such a process to get there.  I can distinctly recall my hands sweaty and trembling in anticipation around the controller the further and further I progressed, knowing that not only was I on my last life, but if I messed up, I’d have to go all the way back to the beginning (which happened a lot).  So, I think out of the small collection of Nintendo and PC games that I owned, I finished a grand total of … wait for it … zero games.  Yup, zero!

Now, my brother had quite a different experience with all this.  He was born a number of years later, so when he got interested in video games, it was already the age of the internet, strategy guides, and emulators with save states.  He was (and still is) a better natural video game player and had the patience for things like reading manuals and learning the actual gameplay mechanics.  He still plays and writes about video games in the blog pixelgrotto.  If you enjoy reading well written reflections on a wide variety of games and related topics, I’d highly recommend checking out his blog.  Unlike me, he actually was successful at finishing games when he was a kid, so, at least in my book, that should count for something.

However, this wasn’t meant to be a diatribe against video games.  Quite the contrary.  Aside from the above, their overall experience was frustrating mainly because the potential for greatness was so high.  Here was an interactive world with moving pictures and sound and a story you controlled – all in one nifty package!  What more could you ask for?  Well, a lot, actually, but there were a few games that stood out, even to me, at the time.  And these are two that influenced the world of The Thirteenth Hour.

Wizards and Warriors II: Ironswordthis was a Nintendo game that I’d seen in an issue of that great advertisement for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Power.  It was, in fact, probably the only game I owned where I had the benefit of tips from that magazine.  Probably for that reason, I progressed the farthest in it of all the games I owned, right until the next to last level, which I never did beat.

But on to the story.  It had this little bug eyed hero, Kuros, depicted by Fabio on the box:

 

Ironsword Kuros

 

Umm, I never did see the resemblance, but … whatever!  It’s your job to guide Kuros on a quest to find the lost pieces of the Ironsword, and to do so he must travel to the ends of the Earth (wind, earth, water, and fire).  The four element idea is very prevalent in myth and legend, which probably explains its use here, but this may have been an influence for Logan traveling to the wind, water, fire, and earth palaces during his journey in The Thirteenth Hour.

Ultima V – the cover pretty much says it all.  I mean, check this shiznit out:

 

That is some pretty good box art right there.  You really feel for the guy in red.  His buddy in on the ground with a dayglo arrow in him, and all he has to defend himself against the three cloaked giants is that measly sword.  Talk about intense .. and some epic fantasy stuff there.  What the game itself came with was epic as well – a cloth map, a little metal coin thing (never figured out what that was for, but it looked cool), a book of background on the land the game takes place in … they sure knew how to package games in those days:

 

My great aunt bought me this game, I think for my birthday.  When it came in the mail, I took one look at the box, and it was like the scene from A Christmas Story when Ralphie finally gets his red Ryder bb gun.  I immediately read everything it came with, unfolded and studied the map, and treated the little metal coin thing like it was the Hope diamond or something.  For hours.

And after all that … I proceeded to have absolutely zero clue what the hell I was supposed to do in the game.  To be fair, I was like eight, so I was probably too young to really understand or devote the necessary focus to get into a complicated game like this.  Though I got nowhere in it (don’t think I ever figured out how to make it to any of the other disks – as you can see in the picture, it came with a bunch), I had fun playing it anyway.

But it was the box art that provided one of my first introductions to fantasy art (this was also about the time I was making equally poor progress trying to get into fantasy novels and proceeded to find the covers more satisfying than the books), which I still appreciate to this day and influenced me to include illustrations in The Thirteenth Hour. 

So, that’s a wrap for video games.  Next, we’ll look at music, and then finally, a miscellaneous collection of works that didn’t directly influence the writing of the book (but could have).

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-Website: 13thhr.wordpress.com

-Art: 13thhr.deviantart.com/gallery

-Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpcIUpwTiFY

-Free itunes podcast of the book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-thirteenth-hour-audio/id955932074

Read free excerpts at https://medium.com/@13thhr/in-the-army-now-852af0d0afc0 and the book’s amazon site.

The Thirteenth Hour Theme done!

I was finally able to record the theme to The Thirteenth Hour after first starting to compose it while creating the book trailer.  It took me awhile to be able to play it through without making mistakes, and even so, it took many takes to get it to an acceptable point.  I wanted to make it a bit longer and add an electric guitar part but have stuck to just a synthesizer track for now.  As I mentioned in this post on film influences, there were a lot of 1980s sci-fi/fantasy films brewing in the pot of inspiration that created the book, and the synth soundtrack is my homage to the music of these films.

Nothing too fancy in terms of recording – just the voice recorder on a phone and a old Radio Shack keyboard I had from a number of years ago.

Here’s the stand-alone link again if you want to download it (in .mp3 format):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B069Riqr1ie_X2NuWTlyYW5tTDg/view

Stay tuned for the next project – venturing in to music video territory with one of the poems from the book!

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