The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #251 and Like a Hood Ornament 11: Welcome back Jeremy, Max, and Antonio – Nirvana Pilot Yume Redux and Fragments of the Past (Part 1/2)

Episode #251 and Like a Hood Ornament 11: Welcome back Jeremy, Max, and Antonio – Nirvana Pilot Yume Redux and Fragments of the Past (Part 1/2)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-251/Podcast%20251.mp3

On this week’s show, my brother, Jeremy, and I had the opportunity to reconnect with European game developer team Dev9k (Massimiliano ‘Haematinon’ Nigro and Antonio Scacchetti), who were last on the show in episode 123.  At the time, they had recently released the 80s anime / Skyroads inspired video game, Nirvana Pilot Yume, for the PC.

Nirvana Pilot Yume for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

Today, we’re discussing the recent port of the game to the Nintendo Switch as well as the release of Massimiliano’s recent fantasy art book, Fragments of the PastMost of this session was spent discussing the creative process.  We’ll be discussing more about the book next week, so just a taste this episode.

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There are many, many beautifully rendered painting in the book which we’ll explore more next episode.

By the way, if you haven’t gotten the chance to check out the 80s retro soundtrack for Nirvana Pilot Yume done by Retroxx, check it below or here:

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Since we’re essentially talking about the nature of the creative process in this episode, I thought for this segment, I’d post a little on the circuitous path Dave Stevens’ creation, The Rocketeer, took flight, first on paper and, eventually, on screen.  From the April ’91 edition of Comics Scene:

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See you next week for Part 2!

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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!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #250 and Like a Hood Ornament 10: Welcome Jim O’Kane and Hal Bryan of The Rocketeer Minute! (Part 2/2)

Episode #250 and Like a Hood Ornament 10 – Welcome Jim O’Kane and Hal Bryan of The Rocketeer Minute! (Part 2/2)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-250/Podcast%20250.mp3

On this week’s show, I had the opportunity to continue the discussion with Jim and Hal from the Rocketeer Minute podcast, which if you never heard of the Movies by Minute podcast movement (I hadn’t until stumbling upon their show), it’s where people dissect a movie, generally one minute at a time.  Check out episode 249 for the first part of the conversation.

In the intro, I’m reading from a book I spent hours flipping through as a kid, The Smithsonian Book of Flight by Walter Boyne.

I always enjoyed the first third of the book since it was devoted to the pioneering and golden ages of aviation, that time when a garage tinker could put something together that – even if it might not ultimately fly – the dream was there, and it seemed attainable. So I’m reading from the introduction of the book on the Experimental Aircraft Association (at least, the 1987 iteration of the organization), Hal’s employer, since we’ll talked a bit about them last time and will be again at the end of the episode but also because making the goal of aviation attainable for everyday people captures the kind of hopeful spirit for a better tomorrow that The Rocketeer inspires.

The first aviation meet from 1910 …

To the yearly EAA gathering …

The barnstorming photo my daughter was commenting on at the start of the episode …

The “E” in EAA stands for experimental!  Back to the roots of aviation.

We then continue talking about the idea of what makes for a rewatchable film. That was my regular pattern for a number of years as a kid (getting up early on Sundays, usually, to rewatch movies I’d already seen). Most of those films ended up being ones I’ve talked about in some fashion on this website or on the show, ones like Labyrinth, Real Genius, Karate Kid 3 (the only one I had), Some Kind of Wonderful, The Last Starfighter, and, of course, The Rocketeer).

If you enjoyed The Rocketeer, you may enjoy these films:

Zone Troopers (also written by Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson)

Out There (also starring Bill Campbell, playing the same kind of earnest, down on his luck character to Cliff)

The Brylcreem Boys (also starring Bill Campbell, playing the a downed flier similar to the sort of character you’d expect Cliff to be had he enlisted in WW2).

Captain America: The First Avenger also directed by Joe Johnston)

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It was great to connect with Jim (of TVDads.com) and Hal (of the EAA) to discuss the making of their show.  Here’s how to find out about their show and/or connect with them.

RocketeerMinute.com

The Rocketeer Minute Bulldog Cafe

The Final Mission by Chris Henry and Hal Bryan.  From the EAA product page: “This book tells the powerful and personal stories of some of the people who have stepped back in time by taking a flight on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s restored B-17 bomber, Aluminum Overcast.”  Just got mine and am looking forward to reading it!

finalmission

 

This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer talk next week!  Stay safe!

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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!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #249 and Like a Hood Ornament 9 – Welcome Jim O’Kane and Hal Bryan of The Rocketeer Minute! (Part 1/2)

Episode #249 and Like a Hood Ornament 9 – Welcome Jim O’Kane and Hal Bryan of The Rocketeer Minute! (Part 1/2)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-249_202005/Podcast%20249.mp3

On this week’s show, I had the opportunity to connect with Jim (of TVDads.com) and Hal (of the Experimental Aircraft Association) from the Rocketeer Minute podcast, which if you never heard of the Movies by Minute podcast movement (I hadn’t until stumbling upon their show), it’s where people dissect a movie, generally one minute at a time.  So one minute of the movie = 1 episode.  The 1991 Rocketeer film, based on the original comic by Dave Stevens, screenwritten by Paul De Meo and Danny Bilson, and directed by Joe Johnston, is 108 minutes long.  But there are actually 116 Rocketeer Minute Podcasts if I counted right, making for over 60 hours of listening.  That’s one hell of a DVD commentary!  (Rocketeer fans have long had to deal with a dearth of any substantial extras on the official DVD releases of the film, but even if there had been a DVD commentary, the amount of material on the Rocketeer Minute podcast would be over 30 times whatever was on the disc!)

As mentioned, I found their show totally by accident.  Ever since I learned about the internet in the mid 90s, I would occasionally type “Rocketeer” in whatever search engine was used at the time just to see what popped up.  As I recall, there was really only one Rocketeer site in the mid 90s (when I first realized that the internet was someone more that those AOL Online floppy discs that used to come in the mail – we never had AOL Online, but for awhile, that’s what I thought this “internet” thing was).  While there was never a ton of info online about the film and comics, there were always a few sites and fanart pictures on places like Deviantart.  Earlier this fall, I was doing what I usually did, this time typing in “Rocketeer” in Twitter (which I only half understand), and lo and behold, something called The Rocketeer Minute popped up.  (I’d looked around on iTunes in the past, back when I did episode 53 on my first rewatching of The Rocketeer since childhood and hadn’t found any podcasts devoted to the Rocketeer; turns out I was about a year too early.)  I listened to the first few episodes that night and was hooked.

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It took about a month and a half to listen to all the episodes, and like when I was a kid watching the film over and over again (more on this next week), I was kind of sad when it was all done!  (I’ve come to wonder if that is the mark of any meaningful work of art – you miss it when it’s gone.)  This was also around the time that the Disney Jr Rocketeer cartoon was released, allowing me to introduce my children to the Rocketeer.  The timing of both made me realize there was so much I wanted to talk about when it came to The Rocketeer and also hammered home the realization that there were quite a few other Rocketeer fans out there lurking under the surface that might also like to be interested.    And since so much of The Rocketeer influenced my writing of The Thirteenth Hour, I figured, why not just keep it as part of the same podcast as its own recurring segment:

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Before we sign off for this week, I’ll leave you with this little spread of pictures from a 1991 issue of the kids’ magazine, Disney Adventures, which thanks to the magic of eBay, I was finally able to read ~thirty years after originally wanting to.

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I totally remembering wanting the water rocket Rocketeer as a kid but never being able to find one.

Next week, we’ll talk a little bit more about the EAA, Hal’s employer, in the intro and during the episode.  In the meantime, please check out The Rocketeer Minute’s Bulldog Cafe Facebook Group for more pictures and behind the scenes info from the movie as well as the episodes.

This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer talk next week!  Stay safe!

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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 #248 and Like a Hood Ornament 8 – My Brother Jeremy Comes on the Show to Discuss DnD Alignment of Thirteenth Hour and Rocketeer Characters!

Episode #248 – My Brother Jeremy Comes on the Show to Discuss DnD Alignment of Thirteenth Hour and Rocketeer Characters!

https://archive.org/download/podcast-248/Podcast%20248.mp3

This week, my brother Jeremy joins the show to discuss Dungeon Dragons alignments of characters in The Thirteenth Hour books and in The Rocketeer.  Read more about Jeremy’s response about fantasy races and alignment here.

You can find these alignment charts around on the internet, and while some of those were probably done as fun or funny memes, the concept of figuring out a character’s alignment along good vs. evil, lawful vs. chaotic, and neutral vs. not helps to develop a character and make him or her more fleshed out and 3 dimensional in terms of psychological motivation, so it can be a useful tool for a writer, even if you’re not a DnD player.

Here are the ones we discussed as well as some unofficial archetypes (“knight, judge, etc”) I found for each online.  You may disagree, as there’s a lot of subjectivity in what makes a character fit a certain alignment (Image made via this site: https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/73659174/Alignment-Chart), but that’s part of the fun of the discussion.

Thirteenth hour alignments

Lawful Good – “The Knight” – like Jake, the unofficial leader of the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour and Empty Hands.  He is by-the-book, rule abiding, believes in the hierarchical structure of the military, and a stand up, straightforward guy who takes his job and unofficial leadership position seriously.  Picture from Empty Hands.

Lawful Neutral – “The Judge” – no picture from the book, but probably many of the Imperial Army soldiers might fall in this category.  They are there to do a job, whether they agree with it or not.  The Head General believes in maintaining the order and the rank hierarchy of the military.  He believes in following protocol and in protecting his men and the military budget but is not above a little bribery from the King, who he does not especially respect but still follows (since its his job).

Lawful Evil – “The Overlord” – King Darian is the narcissistic, spoiled monarch of Tartec that decides that he wants to live forever and creates a whole plan to send members of his military to the ends of the Earth so he can get what he wants.  He wheedles, bribes, and complains his way into getting what he wants, and when that fails, he is not above threats and the wanton loss of life if it serves his own means.  However, as the King, he does believe in law and order as a well a certain religious scrupulosity to serve social order.  Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.

Neutral Good – “The Hero” – Aurora is a kind, warm, good-hearted person who believes in following one’s dreams, even if they don’t necessarily align with societal norms.  At the start of The Thirteenth Hour, she is a 19 year old, single female who never knew her parents (to her knowledge) and was raised in an orphanage, which provided a good chunk of stability and allowed her some shelter from societal norms for young women of her village (marriage, childbearing, homemaking – all of which she considers boring).  Because of that or because she would have always been an independent thinker, ideas around what is expected, good, or bad, are somewhat subjective to her.  Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.

Neutral Neutral / True Neutral – “The Outsider” – there aren’t a lot of characters in The Thirteenth Hour that fit this alignment, though some of the animals in the story probably would fit, like sea serpents and dragons.  They are separate from the whims and politics of mankind, and while they may attack, destroy, and kill, they are generally doing so since their territory has been invaded, the same way any animal might defend its turf.  The dragon picture was from The Thirteenth Hour.

Neutral Evil – “The Villain” – while the character Klax is a more sympathetic villain than he might have been, there’s no doubt he isn’t an especially nice person – he imprisons Logan and Aurora to fulfill his own desires, he is physically, verbally, and mentally abusive to both characters, and holds a long standing grudge against his biological brother, so the thirst for revenge, even at the expense to others, motivates a lot of his actions.  Age has somewhat softened his resolve and hatred, and he does have some fairly well defined goals in mind, leading him to have some fairly liberal internal guidelines about what is acceptable vs. not.  Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.

Chaotic Good – “The Rebel” – while Logan could also fit in the neutral good category, he leans a little more heavily towards the chaotic side, since, like Aurora, societal norms and (some) laws seem subjective and relative to him.  Like Aurora, he was raised mostly in an orphanage, which provided (ironically) a higher level of education that some of this peers, since both he and Aurora were never adopted.  He spends what free time he has dreaming and thinking, and that, plus a naturally curious mind, means that to some degree, he marches to the beat of his own drummer.  In Empty Hands, he aligns with the “void” element, suggesting that he tends to pull from the other elements (earth, water, wind, fire) intuitively and is not locked into one or another.  Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.

Chaotic Neutral – “The Nomad” – one of the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour and Empty Hands, Aron, kind of fits this category.  While he can have his moments (like when he comes up with a plan to row into the open water to distract an attacking sea serpent), he does not follow any particular vision or moral code for himself and tends to respond to whatever thought or urge passes through his mind.  As a result, he is quite impulsive with a short attention span, so ideas (like the sea serpent plan), tend to fairly superficial.  He enjoys gambling, though it’s a punishable felony in the military, but would probably do better if he could keep his pride in check.  While naturally athletic, his fighting style has more flash than substance and can be unpredictable, which makes it hard for his teammates to be able to depend on him.  Picture from Empty Hands.

Chaotic Evil – “The Psychopath” – there really isn’t anyone in The Thirteenth Hour books that fit this alignment, as even Klax and Darian have their scruples.

Let’s try the same exercise with the characters from the Rocketeer universe.

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

rocketter alignments

Lawful Good – “The Knight” – pictured is agent Fitch, a FBI agent working to recover the stolen rocketpack for Howard Hughes, its inventor in the film.  I debated who would best fit this category but figured that the police and FBI agents involved were doing what they thought was right (recovering stolen property, upholding the law), and mainly were antagonists to Cliff because he was essentially stealing / borrowing someone else’s property and refusing to give it back.  While they’re seen as foils to the hero in the film, they’re upholding what they feel are societal norms.  While they could slap many more charges on Cliff, in the end, they don’t, making them decent enough folks in my book.

Lawful Neutral – “The Judge” – I wasn’t sure who exactly to put there but figured that like the G-men, the German stormtroopers were also just doing a job.  While the individual soldiers may not have agreed with the mission, the German WW2 agenda, or the Nazi party line, they were following orders from a superior.  It wasn’t their job to question whether it was right or wrong, and if asked to fight, that’s what they were supposed to do.  Although Germans are usually put in the villainous category in WW2 movies made in former Allied countries, there were probably plenty who were just fighting for their country like anybody else but just happened to be on the losing side of history, which is obviously subjective depends of who writes it.  The aircrew of the German zeppelin could also fit this alignment.

Lawful Evil – “The Overlord” – Eddie Valentine, the crime boss in the film tasked with the “snatch ‘n grab” job of retrieving the rocketpack for actor Neville Sinclair fits this alignment.  While he operates on the wrong side of the law, he tries to run his syndicate as a businessman, with his arms in the operations of a swank LA nightclub, the South Seas Club, and seems to be fair to his men.  We also find out at the end of the film he has his own personal code – “I may not earn an honest buck, but I’m 100% American.  I don’t work for no two-bit Nazi.”

Neutral Good – “The Hero” – Jenny Blake is an aspiring actress in the film (Betty was her name in the comic, where instead of an actress, she was a glamour model like her namesake, Bettie Page).  Like Aurora, she is an independent thinker and can take care of herself, though doing so may put her at odds with the establishment and/or convention.  Although it ultimately isn’t a successful ruse, she uses guile to lure Neville Sinclair close enough to knock him out by hitting him with a flower pot, enabling her to sneak into his secret room, try to call for help, and snatch the rocket plans that Lothar had stolen from Peevy.  Not exactly the actions of  the truly lawful, but certainly not the actions of someone in the story “to just do a lot of screaming” (to paraphrase something Aurora said).

Neutral Neutral / True Neutral – “The Outsider” – Howard Hughes, the Cirrus X-3’s creator, marches to the beat of his own drummer but is beholden to no one but himself, as he has the funds, skills, and resources to be able to cooperate at his own discretion, as he mentions to the military brass at one point.  While he helps Cliff, you get the sense he is doing so for his own reasons.  He may lean toward the good category at times, given his natural scientific curiosity and mistrust of government intervention (“your gentlemen in Washington want to turn anything that flies into a weapon!”), leading him to be protective of those working under him.  There is a character in the comic called Jonas (an ode to the Shadow) who seems quite similar.

Neutral Evil – “The Villain” – Lothar in the film, Neville Sinclair’s giant of a henchman, while just doing a job, seems to have some sadistic methods (breaking people in half, twisting them into pretzels).  He’s a bit different in the comic book, but in the film, he seems cruel, putting him in the evil category.  If you have any doubt, look at his expression when he encounters Cliff and Jenny (both unarmed) on top the zeppelin.  He whips out a switchblade and cackles as only a bona fide villain would.  He is, however, operating for a paycheck, and I somehow doubt he would care one way or another about the rocketpack if not being paid.

Chaotic Good – “The Rebel” – like Logan, Cliff, is an inherently good-hearted person who sometimes gets in trouble inadvertently or bumbles his way through things.  He is more hot headed in the comic book than in the film, but even there, spends much of the film evading the law.  You get the sense that while he might not naturally be the kind of person who deliberately chooses to be the hero, he doesn’t hesitate to put himself in the line of fire to help other people if the situation calls for it.  You also get the sense that if you were in his shoes, you’d be feeling a lot like him.  He was one of my main influences for creating Logan’s personality in The Thirteenth Hour.

Chaotic Neutral – “The Nomad” – in the comic book, Lothar is somewhat of a tragic figure.  While he serves as a villain, he is doing so out of revenge.  He doesn’t hesitate to break the law in his relentless pursuit of people who he thinks were involved in a past crime which turned him against the world.  However, he seems to act mostly out of his own independent, free will, even if misguided, making him quite different from the movie version of his personality.

Chaotic Evil – “The Psychopath” – I debated giving Neville Sinclair this alignment, but his actions in the latter part of the movie show his truer colors, and not only does he break multiple laws and societal conventions, but he is pretty unpredictable, turning suddenly on people he formally allied with.  Not to mention he drugs Jenny and tries to take advantage of her, making him one of *those* Hollywood guys.  Definitely evil.

Agree or disagree?  Comment below if you are so inclined!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer talk next week!  Stay safe!

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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 #247 – Collaboration with Jeremy Lesniak from Whistlekick on the Ladder Fight from Jackie Chan’s First Strike and Like a Hood Ornament 7 – Cliff Fights a Giant and Survives!

Episode #247 – Collaboration with Jeremy Lesniak from Whistlekick on the Ladder Fight from Jackie Chan’s First Strike and Like a Hood Ornament 7 – Cliff Fights a Giant and Survives!

https://archive.org/download/podcast-247/Podcast%20247.mp3

This week, Jeremy Lesniak from whistlekick.com rejoins the show as we do another fight scene analysis of the famous ladder scene from the film, First Strike.  You can listen to a similar version of this episode on Jeremy’s show as episode 497.

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It’s a great example of the use of everyday items that can be used as weapons of self defense.  There’s a little scene in The Thirteenth Hour interlude, Empty Hands, that discusses this very idea:

After we’d finished for the day, I eyed the wall of weapons.  Frankly, I wasn’t especially attached to any of them.  Not the way Aron was to the sickles or Lance to the sword.  In fact, the idea of cleaving someone open with a bladed weapon and seeing their tortured expression was nauseating.  I’d grown up around bows, since they were tools to put meat on the table, and while the Army ones were nicer and more powerful than the rough ones people in my village had used, I didn’t think of them much differently than, say, rakes or fishing poles.  The only one I’d taken any interest in was the sling, and that was only really because in order to use it, we had to go hunting for smooth stones to use as ammunition.  The stones reminded me of one of my favorite pastimes as a child – skipping rocks over the water – though my accuracy was so horrendous that I might as well have thrown the damn things. 

The only weapons exercise I actually enjoyed didn’t even involve weapons in the traditional sense.  It was a weekly session jointly taught with the wizards where we were given random objects from daily life, like umbrellas, gardening rakes, toothbrushes, and in one case, potted plants.  We then had to defend ourselves from a partner coming at us with a haymaker or an overhand sword strike (supposedly the two most common attacks we would be facing).  You could use whatever orthodox unarmed or magical techniques you wanted to defend yourself … or you could think fast and come up with a creative way to jury rig the household item you were given for your defense.  I was only fair with the unarmed stuff and horrible with magic, but coming up with a new way to use an ink bottle or a folding chair for self-defense was probably the only fun I had in our combat training.  However, that was a very small part of the curriculum, and before long, it was back to more repetitive drills with the sword or spear.

Speaking of a long weapon like the spear, how would you use a ladder if that’s all you had?  Would you spin it around, unfold it, throw it, etc?  Interesting thing to thin about as you watch the clip.  Speaking of which, let’s get to the clip!  We’re watching this scene at 1/4 speed, starting at 3:17 (should load at that time by clicking on the link below).  You can follow along in real time by clicking below:

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

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This week’s Like a Hood Ornament section is also a fight scene analysis of a short altercation (plays not long after the .gif above) in the 1991 film … starting at 1:00 in.  As before, the clip will be playing in the background with commentating occurring in real time.  Cliff loses his weapon (in this case, a Mauser C96 pistol) and has to improvise – in this case, using his rocket pack to accelerate his flying tackle).

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer talk next week!  Stay safe!

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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 #246 and Like a Hood Ornament 6 – The Reluctant Hero

Episode #246 and Like a Hood Ornament 6 – The Reluctant Hero

https://archive.org/download/podcast-246/Podcast%20246.mp3

This week’s show is about the idea of the reluctant hero, an archetype in literature and film to describe an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and as a result does things beyond what he or she could ever had imagined.  We also talk about various definitions of the word “hero,” from the ancient Greek usage, to hero in terms of an idol, to a hero in terms of someone who does something selfless to help someone else, whether in the everyday or out of the ordinary sense.

I didn’t read this segment in the show, but here a chapter in The Thirteenth Hour which describes this idea where Logan, the main protagonist, first becomes a reluctant hero:

The day before the end of basic training, I went into town to find a shoe repair shop.  A buckle on my left shoe had broken a few days ago and now, every time I stepped down with that foot, my heel would slide out of the shoe.  It was getting annoying, but I’d finally managed to put together enough money to cover what I thought it’d cost.  One gold piece came from a poker game where I’d gotten lucky, and the rest I’d gotten from picking pennies off the street, which is what you do when you don’t get paid.

I asked a man on one of the crowded streets for directions. When I got to the shop, there was a big sign that said, “CLOSED FOR REPAIRS, WILL REOPEN IN TWO WEEKS.”

“Figures,” I thought to myself.  “Two weeks?  Maybe there’s another shop in town.”  I went back to kicking a stone and trying not to fling my boot off in the process as I wandered through the downtown merchant sector, considering what to do next. 

So there I was, minding my own business when I heard an ear–piercing scream.  I spun around, forgetting all about my shoe and the rock.  Right in the middle of the dirt road lay an old man, struggling to get up.  About ten yards away, barrelling down the road at full speed was a four horse carriage.  The driver in front was shouting out commands to his horses, but they weren’t listening.  There was a big crowd of people watching from the sidewalks.  I saw the woman that had screamed; she was still screaming. 

“Somebody do something!”  Apparently, that didn’t include herself. 

In fact, everyone stared around blankly, waiting for someone else to make the first move.  A few people new to the scene made faces and hurried off. 

“Do something!” she screamed over and over.

Aw, shit, people, the lady had a point. Though I had half a mind to throw something at her to get her to shut up, I pushed past the people on the edge and jumped into the middle of the road.  The next few seconds seemed to be in slow motion.  Unfortunately, in what was to become regular pattern until progressing to a more advanced stage of cognitive development, I didn’t think first before doing something idiotic. 

At any rate, the man was sitting up, dazed.  I don’t know how close the carriage was, but it couldn’t have been far, because as I dove at the old man, tackling him around the waist, a horse clipped the loose heel of my boot, the busted one, sending it spinning off into the gutter.  We rolled to the other side of the road, missing the remaining hooves by a heartbeat.

I sat up and looked around.  The old man looked all right as far as I could tell, just a little shaken.  Suddenly what seemed like hundreds of faces crowded around us.

“Are you all right?”

“Bravest thing I ever saw.”

“Somebody call a doctor!”

“That was a pretty rough fall that old fella took, is he okay?”

I stood and bent over the old man.  He was breathing, but his eyes were closed.  He looked like he was in pain, but he didn’t utter a sound when I asked if he felt alright. 

 “What happened?  What happened?  I didn’t see,” someone yelled.

“Well, this old fella was walking across the street, he tripped, and he couldn’t get up … mebbe ’cause he’s so old.  Anyway, doesn’t matter now ’cause that’s when the kid jumped in. Tackled him around the waist.”

“The kid’s a hero!” said someone else.  They looked at me, expecting me to say something.

“Well …”  As usual, words failed me.

“Now, don’t be modest, you’re a hero, son.”

Okay, if these people wanted me to be a hero, then what the hell.  Heroes are entitled to certain privileges, like new boots.  Any takers?

Just then, a man in a white coat pushed his way through the crowd saying, “It’s okay, I’m a doctor!”  He bent over the old man, briefly examining him.

After he had finished, the man said, “Probably just a twisted ankle.  No serious injuries I can see from here, but let’s get him on that stretcher.  Watch his head, and keep his neck still.  We’ll carry him to my office.  It’s just a few blocks from here,” said the doctor.

“I don’t need no damn stretcher!” yelled the old man.

“Everybody goes on the stretcher,” the doctor said emphatically.

“Ah, go to hell!  At least let me talk to the kid that saved my rear end!  Hey kid!  Come over here!”

I walked over.

“I just wanted to thank you.  My name’s Wally.  What’s yours?”

“Logan.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Logan.  I’m been living in this stinking kingdom for eighty–five years, and now I guess I’ll be able to stay for a few more years, huh?”

Now was that a good thing?

“You know, kid, you got a real set of marbles to do something like that.  Hell, I wouldn’t have done that even for me!  But hey, no complaints, glad you did.  I could use a kid like you.  What do you do for a living?”

“I’m … a soldier, I guess, in training.”

“No kidding!  That’s perfect.  Meet me at this address tomorrow; you won’t regret it!” he said, handing me a little white card.

“What’s it for?”

“Let me put it to you this way.  You ever see a magician?”

I said I had once.

“And did you like it?”

I said I’d enjoyed the show.

“But weren’t you disappointed when you discovered that he was a fake?  I mean, that he wasn’t using real magic, just tricks?”

I said I was disappointed when he told us that there was no such thing as magic.

“Nonsense!  The lousy bastard didn’t know what he was talking about!  See, you have to understand, real magicians like to keep that a secret … until it’s needed!  So, of course there’s magic.  I’m really not supposed to be telling you that, but, what the hell, kid, you just saved my life.”

“How do you know about magic?”

The old man looked both ways suspiciously.  Motioning for me to come closer, he said, almost in a whisper, “I’ll get to that in a minute.  This is what I’m proposing.  How would you like to learn some genuine, old–fashioned magic?  No bull now.  Just the real thing.  And get paid for it!”

“Well, sure, I guess.”

“Alright.  You like traveling?  Seeing new places?”

“Well, I haven’t really done any, but I would like to.”

“Great!  How about sports?  You like running, climbing, jumping, fencing, things like that?”

“Um, yeah, they’re okay.”

“Would you like to be better at those games?  You’ll get better in this job!”

“Sure … I guess.  What is this job, anyway?”

“Yeah, so it’s all set then.  Meet me tomorrow.  I’ll see to it that an announcement is made tomorrow morning.”

Just then the doctor motioned to his assistant, who picked up the other end of the stretcher.

“Umm, that’s nice and all, but I live in the castle training grounds.  It’s awfully hard for anyone from the outside to get inside there.”

“Oh, silly me!  Did I mention that I am one of King Darian’s wizards?  Well, that’s me.  Wally the Wizard at your service.  I’ll see you tomorrow!” he shouted as he was being carried away.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself.  Something sounded fishy here.  What was one of the King’s wizards doing outside the castle walls?  They supposedly always stayed locked up in one of the remote wings of the castle.  This one was an awfully smooth talker.  I wondered if this had something to do with what those two knights were talking about; one of them had mentioned the King’s wizards.  Something didn’t sound right.  He never even told me what the job was.  And …

“Wait!” I yelled. “What’s the catch?”

But the wizard was too far away to hear.

“Ah, shit,” I muttered to myself, finding my left boot wet and slime–covered in the gutter.  I wiped it off on some grass and secured the loose buckle as best I could.  It squished every time I stepped on it.  Something wasn’t right, but like the proverbial stinking turd, I’d stepped right in it.

Well, I thought, kicking another stone the rest of the way back to the castle, on the bright side, at least I am walking away.  Of all the ways to end up dead or in the hospital, getting trampled was not one I’ve ever wanted to experience. 

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

I first learned of the term “reluctant hero” from an ad for The Rocketeer.  Cliff is not motivated initially by much other than a desire to make some money and get in the good graces of his girlfriend, a rising starlet with an eye for the finer things in life (at least from Cliff’s perspective).  There are lots of other great examples from cinema and literature.

One of my favorites is from the 1992 movie, Hero, with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, and Joan Cusak.  The Dustin Hoffman character is a minor conman, if I recall right (I need to watch the movie again) who becomes a reluctant hero after he saves a bunch of people from a plane crash but can’t take credit for the act.   I love this ending scene – both for its life lessons as well as its insight into human nature.  As hinted above in The Thirteenth Hour passage, a lot of people don’t want to do heroic things, especially when eyes are on them.  They might act when someone else initially steps in, but making that first step (like Logan does above or Bernie does in the scene below), takes a certain, well, heroic disregard for what other people think, and as social animals, that’s not always the easiest thing for humans to have.

Although I hadn’t seen Hero yet when I originally wrote The Thirteenth Hour, I had seen The Last Starfighter – many times, in fact – and the way Alex Rogan behaves through most of the movie is very much in keeping with the way of the reluctant hero (as well as one of the influences in the creation of Logan).  Here’s when he’s first offered the chance to be a Starfighter:

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

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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 #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

Episode #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

https://archive.org/download/podcast-245/Podcast%20245.mp3

This week’s show is all about flying!

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from a section of The Thirteenth Hour about what Aurora thought about her first experience flying on Lightning, Logan’s magical hoverboard.

We left for the Castle in the Water the next day.  Logan showed me his air board called Lightning; it was somehow able to expand itself so I could fit on as well.  Let’s just say it’s better if you suspend belief a little.  I guess that’d be a fitting theme for the following section, indeed this whole story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Getting on Lightning was one thing, but flying was something else entirely.  There was only one foot strap for me, so I had to hold onto Logan.  I think I would have anyway.  I had never been more than twenty feet off the ground in my life.  Logan said he was still getting the hang of it when Lightning beeped out something.  Words appeared on some kind of window near her front.  They said that I wouldn’t fall off because there was a protective shield around the board.  I wasn’t so sure, and even to this day, a ride on Lightning makes me want to vomit. 

I suppose flying was fun, in a white–knuckle–ride–by–the–seat–of–your–wet–pants sort of way, but I never really got the hang of it, even though Logan tried to show me how to pilot Lightning.  It should have been easy – you rocked your body back and forth to go up or down and swayed your hips to turn – but I guess it just wasn’t my thing, and I nearly had a heart attack when I accidentally flipped us upside down. 

The altitude was one thing, but the speed completely blew me away.   Okay, I know, not funny.  But really, if you can imagine being shrunk, tied to the head of an arrow, then fired in the air from one of those six foot war bows like the ones the King’s archers used, then you’ll have some idea what it felt like. 

Flying that fast always made me nauseous.  That first time, after an hour or two, I couldn’t take it anymore and told Logan to get Lightning to pull over to the coast (we were flying over water), where I threw up in some bushes.  I collapsed onto my back, staring up at the sky, which, for some reason, kept spinning round and round.  That’s how Logan found me.  It all seemed very unladylike, and I guess I was looking very sheepish when I climbed back on Lightning, because Logan, who must have figured out what I was doing, asked if I were okay.

I grunted something.  I guess I looked okay, so he grinned.

“I puked all over my uniform a few days ago, if that’s any consolation to you.”

It wasn’t, really, because we ended up having to stop two or three more times later on, but it made me laugh a little at the time. 

[Logan] Yeah, I always did wonder where it all came from.  It’s not like we had an overabundant food supply, that’s for sure.  But she seemed to have a never ending supply of that stuff.

You know, who’s telling this section, you or me?

[Logan] Couldn’t help it.   

Right.  So, blah, blah, blah, whatever, I threw up a lot.  Very funny.  Anyway, after that, Lightning slowed down to a kind of cruising speed, which was really nice because it gave us a chance to actually see the landscape we were passing. 

At the end of our first day out, we stopped on a deserted section of coastline to eat and sleep.  We had used our pockets and a sack we found to stash food liberated from the Cordel marketplace, but neither of us were very hungry.  You already know why I wasn’t, but I think it was pretty tough on Logan’s stomach, too.  It had been a long day of travel for both of us, and our heads were still spinning as we lay them on the damp sand.  I leaned over and told Logan that I was glad I could accompany him on his journey and apologized for slowing us down today.  But I think he was falling asleep already, because he just smiled a little, as if to say, “forget it,” and patted me on the shoulder.

Searching for Forever Picture Final more contrast

Another picture painted as the cover art for “Searching for Forever” (that would have fit in towards the end of the book with Logan and Aurora flying to the new home).  Watch it being created below:

There’s an instrumental part to accompany the reading – the backing track of “Searching for Forever” – the 80s inspired ending credits song I envisioned as playing as the story ended.  Both the instrumental and vocal versions can be found on the LP, Long Ago Not So Far Away, and below:

Speaking of music, I’ve been going through a number of acoustic guitar songs I used to play a lot when I was first learning how to play, since in this time of national quarantine, I try to do music time with my kids as a part of, you know, daddy daycare.  I’ve picked out a few that are more hopeful and positive than the stuff songs are often written about (heartbreak, unrequited love, longing, substance use, and other important adult matters).   Anyway, I’ve included one such song (“Flying Free” written by Don Besig) since it is about flying (whether figuratively or literally) free from the constraints that bind us to the earth (again, whether physical or mental).

That’s because today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying!

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Today marks the fourth Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

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, we’re discussing this little documentary hosted by Bill Campbell that came out about the same time as the movie (and sadly, not available on any of the official Rocketeer releases).  It is part history of flight documentary, part behind the scenes movie making, and part experiential journalism into different modes of flight (including actual rocketpacks).

Suffice to say, real life rocketpacks highlight the myriad limitations such a device would likely entail.  But … that’s why we have stories 🙂

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A few frames of Cliff taking off for the first time from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens (from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition).

We also talked, among other things, about those vague Rocketeer sequel rumors.  But, you know what?  Even if it never happens, we got a cartoon to introduce a whole new generation to the Rocketeer and an epic rocketpack battle in The Mandalorian:

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk 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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞