The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

Episode #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast242_202003/Podcast%20242.mp3

On this week’s show, I thought we’d do a little more quarantine / seclusion real talk – specifically on self reflection when alone with your thoughts, as many people are these days, kind of like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.  We may ignore or put off deep thinking in day to day life, either out of discomfort, fear of what we’ll find, or lack of time.  But, on the other hand, sometimes being alone with your thoughts offers the most freedom of expression, since there is no one else to censor your thought process except you (and the voice of society, upbringing, etc – though that’s still you, just your interpretation of those things).

Here are are some of passages from The Thirteenth Hour referenced in the episode:

I don’t know how long I sat there – I was vaguely aware of the sun going down at some point, but my mind wasn’t really on that.  I struggled a lot that day, but not with nausea or sleep.  I had always been a pretty optimistic person – most dreamers are, I think – and liked to think that people were basically good inside.  I wanted to believe that there were happy endings, and that it wasn’t just something people wrote about in books so they could vicariously experience something they never knew in real life.  I basically wanted the world to be a good place, or if not good, at least non–imposing, leaving me free to do what I wanted.  I had always thought if you left people alone, they’d leave you alone.  But that didn’t always happen, did it?   It was like being a grain of sand in a desert where a simple gust of wind or footprint could shift the position of the grains all around you, changing your own position.  Perhaps accepting that was part of something called growing up, but I sure didn’t have to like it.

If it’s just one person, perhaps life is simpler, but when there is another, things get more complicated.  I wanted to believe that love could work out, too, even though I still didn’t really know what it felt like.  But I was an optimist and wanted to believe that I would know what love was like one day.  But if love meant surrendering part of yourself, could you really do that if you felt ashamed of what you had to give? …

… And though I never asked her to, she came each day after that, even if it was just to sit by me and put cold compresses on my body as I drifted in and out of feverish sleep.  Sometimes I wondered why she did, since I had so little to offer in terms of companionship.  But finally, one day, the fever broke, and I awoke to find that the pounding in my head had gone.  I looked out my window – night.  I did not feel like sleeping anymore and began to test my unsteady legs.  As I hobbled in and out of the shadows of my darkened cell, I found my mind wondering when Aurora would stop by.  Of course, not until daylight, many hours from now, a realization that stung a little at first.  But the more I thought about it, the sting became an ache that racked my body painfully until I was forced to sit down on the floor.   There, with labored breaths, I thought back on specific things that had happened over the past few weeks, over the past few years, over the course of my life.  Then there was a spark, a sudden flash of light, and it all became so clear; I marveled how I could have been so blind.

It was then that I understood why the bards so often sung of love, because for the first time, I actually knew what they were singing about.  Because it was then I knew that it was love that I’d been falling into all along; I just hadn’t known enough about it to realize what it was.  And then, to my surprise, I rolled over onto the floor and began to cry.  Maybe I was happy, maybe I was sad, I didn’t know.  But I hadn’t really cried in such a long time that it was like I was experiencing it for the first time.  The tears that flowed from my eyes pushed away the dirt and sweat and grime, leaving a clean streak behind, fresh and ready for the future. 

(POV change to Aurora) I found him sleeping there on the floor the next morning.  He did not stir when I walked in.  I knelt down and felt his forehead; the fever had passed.  For the first time in many days, he looked like he was at peace.  I did not disturb him.  But after a few minutes, he opened his eyes and saw me next to him.  Then, he sat up slowly, looked at me, and smiled.  There was something different in his smile, but I smiled back all the same.  And then I knew what it was; he understood!  Then we put our arms around each other and stayed that way in that dank, dirty cell for a long, long time.   

I wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that I talked about a little back in episode 51 (recorded around the time I wrote it).  The lyrics and associated chords are below:

Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things

Intro

C
There’s this girl that I know
G Am
Actually, I’ve known her all my life,
F
It seems, to me.

C G
And when she found me, as a child
Am F
All alone, without a soul, to call my own.
C
Best friends were we
G Am F
Did I ever say how much that meant … to me?

C
And so … the seasons go
G Am
Promises of childhood seem so bold.
F
Can they grow old?

C G
Now I hold her hand but
Am
As an adult man, and something is …
F G
Different this time.

C
That grey dress she wears
G Am
Seen it a hundred times before
F
But not like tonight, not like tonight. ‘Cause
C
There’s a fire in her eyes
G Am
The wind catches a lock of her hair
F
And my heart lifts in time.
C
There’s a smile on her face
G Am
One I know that time can not erase …
F
But it feels new.

C G
And then all at once, it hits me like a thousand tons
Am F
How I could’ve been so blind?
C G
And that’s when I knew why songs are sung of love
Am
Because, because, because … it was love
F C
I was falling in … this whole time.

Instrumental: C G Am F C

The album version of the song (instrumental version above):

 

When I was producing the song, I added more layers and an electric guitar segment to the latter parts of the song to beef up the song what is essentially a four chord folk ballad to create a dichotomy between the slow, tender, piano part with a louder, more biting, aggressive part reminiscent of an 80s metal ballad.   I wanted it to be that way to capture the balance between Logan’s tender realization in a time of vulnerability contrasted with the flash of insight that he must lift himself up out of a hole in the ground (quite literally – he is a dungeon, after all) with his strength of will.

777261cc-33ff-42cb-b641-368622356139

Today also marks the second Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few episode mentions about the Rocketeer prior to last week’s show on Cliff Secord’s biography:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, I’m reading from some of Dave Stevens’ handwritten notes on the backstory he created for Cliff to give depth to the character and explain some of the motivations Cliff had (which, admittedly, were somewhat self serving).   This comes from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now but has pages and pages of storyboards (like the one below) and notes from Dave Stevens on the characters and story he wanted to create.

img_0363

https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

More coming next week!  Stay safe!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, 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.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #241: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Exercise in Seclusion and the Start of Like a Hood Ornament 1

Episode #241: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Exercise in Seclusion and the Start of Like a Hood Ornament 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast241_202003/Podcast%20241.mp3

On this week’s show, I thought I’d touch on the topic of exercise, specifically what you can do if you happen to be isolated (either due to a global pandemic or imprisoned for other reasons, like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.

As it turns out, there’s actually quite a lot you can do even if you can’t go to a gym.  Although being quarantined does not necessarily mean you can’t go outside (the virtues of short duration outdoor physical activity is something we discuss briefly though a scientific paper – see the abstract below), you can do a remarkable amount inside, even if you have little to no equipment.  I’ve done a version of the workout that inspired the little passage in The Thirteenth Hour for decades.  That workout was really nothing special – just having been the body weight exercises we did in martial arts classes and other calisthenics I recall from an old Canadian Air Force fitness manual I had as a kid that we probably got at a garage sale.  If you’re interested, Arnold Schwarzenegger put together a similar routine that is available for people to access here.

study

Here’s the passage from The Thirteenth Hour:

They’ll break you if you let them.  I wasn’t the strongest person out there, and though I always had hope, now I had purpose again.  I started from the beginning, with my body, the only way I’d learned how.  Every morning, after I woke up, I would wash my face and clothes, if they needed washing.  Then I did calisthenics – pushups, sit–ups, stretching – like I had done when I was in training.  My muscles felt deconditioned from lack of use and malnutrition, so much of my strength had left me, and everything was more difficult now. 

It’s hard to take it slow when your never–resting mind can envision all the things it’d like your body to be able to do once more.  But in the end, sometimes it’s best to just get busy trying and spend less time thinking. 

When I could comfortably walk around my cell and jog in place, I slowly motioned through the different hand–to–hand combat techniques that I had learned during my training.  Who knows, I thought, if I make a break for it, I’ll need those techniques the most.  After a few weeks, my stamina began to reassert itself, allowing me to wage ongoing battles against that cloaked magician, Klax.  Whenever I felt myself growing tired, I saw his form in my mind and practiced harder. 

More than once the guards rushed into my cell, thinking that I had collapsed or died because I was lying face down on the cold stone floor.  I was actually just resting, but my guards had grown somewhat fond of me, they said, and didn’t want anything bad to happen to me.  I was never sure if they were telling the truth or not; I’ll bet Klax would have had their necks if they had been so careless as to let me kill myself without his being able to see. 

My agility came back last.  The cell was not large enough for much, but the ceiling was high and my boots were padded, so I figured it was worth a go.  Pretty much anything is, though, after you’ve been cooped up in the same room for weeks. 

I tried standing on my hands again, at first with my feet resting against the wall to accustom my arms to the change in weight they’d be frequently bearing in the near future.  Then handstands without the wall.  Then handsprings, and finally, aerial techniques.  As for the latter, the first few times, the guards must have heard the sound of my feet slamming into the stone floor because they came running.  They saw what I was doing, took it as a suicide attempt, doubled their checks on my cell, and, of course, made me stop at once, lest, by golly, I crack my head open on the hard stone floor.  I was too far into my regimen to really care what they thought, and it just meant I had to practice when they were asleep or weren’t looking.  And try to land softer. 

There were a few times when I did go overboard and missed beaning my noggin on the stones out of sheer luck.  It goes with the territory … sooner or later, everybody ends up bailing in midair.   One minute you’re in the air, next thing you know, your jump seems off or things just feel weird, and if you have time to think anything at all, that’s about when you think some bad words, along with “this could hurt.” 

But I knew that once I regained confidence in my body and what it could do, I would stop bailing.  I knew my body would get used to being in strange positions in the air again, and I knew the best way to not get hurt was to go all out on each technique.  I just wasn’t quite there yet, resulting in a few midair problems and hard landings on an unforgiving stone floor.  I hurt an ankle after a bad landing – an easy thing to do if you’re practicing on a hard, uneven surface like the floor of my cell – but thankfully escaped anything worse.  Luckily, I had a good set of boots – one of the few things Darian’s Army did right – that were light and flexible with thick, padded soles meant to withstand miles upon miles of marching and other abuse.  Later, Aurora found me a mattress, which she intended for me to sleep on (which I did, of course), but what she didn’t know was that it was the mat I used to soften my landings.

https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

So I finally took the plunge and created a little profile on Tik Tok.  To be honest, I don’t get 95% of the stuff on there, but it has some videos of people making stuff and doing flips, so that’s enough for me.  I mainly just use it to post some videos of the resin minifigures I’ve made.  This is the backflip animation whose frames are above.

Today also marks the first Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Now, obviously, there have been many episode mentions about the Rocketeer before, though here are a few:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

But this week’s show marks the first time starting an actual segment (kind of like how I used to do a starving artist segment before) that I’m calling:

777261cc-33ff-42cb-b641-368622356139

https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

That’s “Like a Hood Ornament” if your interface doesn’t support graphics (that’s you, iTunes show notes).  You may recognize the moniker as a line from the 1991 film.  Today’s we’ll start out with the fictional bio most likely written by Dave Stevens for his protagonist, Cliff, who inspired Logan in many ways.

More coming next week!  Stay safe!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, 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.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞