Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Neverending Story

So, I just finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende and of course the whole time I kept thinking about the 1984 classic fantasy movie directed by Wolfgang Peterson.  My son Tristan loaned me the book and I promised him I would do a movie post!  This beloved film is basically the first half of the book and is a pretty darned good adaptation, although I heard the author didn't dig it, I thought It stayed as close to the story as movie versions usually do, and while there are changes, as there always are, the spirit of the book pretty much remains.

Bastian (Barret Oliver) who's mother has recently died, is the kid that gets picked on and bullied, you know the kind of kid, creative, sensitive, loves to read and make of fantastic stories.  Your basic middle school target.  He dashes into a big used bookstore run by Mr Coreander on his way home from school to escape the pursuing bullies that are after him.  While hiding out, he discovers an unusual book decorated with an emblem of two intertwined snakes each biting the others tail.  The book is irresistible, so Bastian takes it and runs right to his school, up to the attic, and begins to read.
Deep Roy as Teeny Weeny with his racing snail.
As he reads, he gets lost in the amazing world of Fantasia, a land full of fantastic creatures.  We discover that this world is in jeopardy.  A strange force called "The Nothing" is destroying parts of Fantasia bits at a time.  Many beings have traveled to the Ivory Tower, the center of Fantasia to discuss the problem with the Child-Like Empress. 
The Child-Like Empress.
They discover that she has taken ill and it seems to be connected to The Nothing somehow.  It's determined that in order to recover she needs a new name, only no one that lives in Fantasia can name her.  They summon Atreyu of the plains people who hunt the the purple buffalo, and the Empress sends him on a quest to find her name.  She bestows him with a gift to protect him on his journey, The AURYN which is an amulet of two entangled snakes biting each others tails, just like the cover of the book.
The design for AUREN

Atreyu and his horse Artax.
As Bastian follows the story of Atreyus quest, he becomes deeper and deeper immersed in the story and a few times he feels he may be a little too close to the story when it seems they may be talking about him. 
"They can't be talking about me!"
We follow Atreyu through the swamps of sadness, as he meets the giant ancient turtle Morla meets and befriends Falcor the whit, dog-like luck dragon, he consults the Southern Oracle, and faces down Gmorg, a terrible beast. 
Atreyu talks with Morla 

The Sphynx gate of the Southern Oracle

Atreyu scratches Falcor behind the ear.
The scene in the swamp of sadness always makes me tear up, Noah Hathaway who plays Atreyu is really a talented actor and just breaks your heart in that scene.  You can actually get a tattoo by Noah if you visit his tattoo parlor in Los Angeles. 
I love this publicity shot of Atreyu and Bastian!
For it's time, the special effects were pretty darned good, the world and creatures were created back in the good old days before CGI, so it was all done the old fashioned way, which has a certain appeal.  The messages about the importance of keeping a healthy balance between fantasy and reality in our lives is somewhat watered down in the film from the book. 
Spoiler Alert:  In the book, we learn that what The Nothing pulls away from Fantasia, ends up becoming delusions and broken dreams in the human world.  The balance between the two is vital to the survival of both. 

I love this old movie, it's just a lovely fantasy with a big heart that I love to revisit from time to time.  If you love it too, be sure to check out the book, I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Monday Movie Featured Item:

Mother of Pearl Tree Pentacle Amulet, available in our Etsy shop, Click here

This Tree Pentacle Mother of Pearl Amulet isn't the AUREN, but it will still be true to you on your spiritual journey. It is a grand tree that encompasses the tree mysteries and a pentacle representing the balance between the elements, with the element of spirit above all.  Mother of Pearl gets its name from the fact that it comes from a shell where pearls can grow. Its metaphysical properties include healing, prosperity, intuition, psychic sensitivity, powers of creativity, inspiration and manifestation. Mother of pearl is also protective and has the ability to transmute negative energy and can also be used to purify environments including your own energy system when worn as jewelry. In addition, it's used in metaphysics to access ancestral and primordial memories. All of these properties make it a very powerful material for creating magical amulets.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deals from Deals and My Porch the Helicopter Pad

Hi Dears,

Dan and I have been working hard getting the garden in shape this spring. Monday after I finished up planting seeds and putting a few plants in pots, I swept away the old leaves, dirt and mulch off of my porch and called it a day.  We looked proudly at what we had done.  The next morning, I made my little breakfast and decided to take it out to my neat little porch to enjoy my handiwork and opened the door to discover that Mother Nature had had some fun with me, there were maple keys (winged seeds) all over the place in a greater abundance than I have ever seen them!  You know, the things we called helicopters when we were kids.  We don't have a maple tree, but they blew over from a neighbors tree.  After eating my breakfast I grabbed a broom and began to sweep them up and picking them out of the pots I had so painstakingly made perfect just the day before. The place is also dripping in catkins from my oak tree, pollen everywhere.
I thought this was a lot when I took the picture, I have since decided that sweeping them up is just plain silly, at least until the tree has shed them all.

A nice pile of helicopters and lots of oak catkins thrown in for good measure.

Yesterday, I went outside and found twice as many helicopters and decided that sweeping them up at this point was a loosing battle.  I happened to be outside when Tristan came home from middle school and reminded me what they are really for, not for grumping about or trying to clean up, but for fun!  He began picking them up and flinging them into the air, and a big smile came over his face.  When did I grow up and think these things are for anything but tossing joyfully into the air?  Thank goodness Tristan pulled me back from the abyss of adulthood, at least where helicopters are involved. 

My Deals

I don't know if you have a Deals where you are, but we do have them around here.  Deals similar to the many Dollar Stores springing up all over, except Deals also has items that are not a dollar, but still reasonably priced. 

So I was over there killing some time while I waited on some printing I was having done at the UPS store nearby and I found a couple of interesting items that I just had to share.  First of all, I found a 35 light string of LED lights that are, get this, solar powered!  So I picked up one pack to try them out.  I figured if they are as cool as I hope they are, I'll get a couple more packs.  And guess cool as I hoped!  They are attached to a little solar panel on a steak, that you just stick into the ground and leave it in the sun an when the sun goes down and, voila!  Little shining lights!  They are that blue colored light that we have come to expect form LED's and my son said when he leaves in the morning and it's still dark out they have run out of power, but they last as long as any outdoor evening fun, so I'm really happy with them.  I strung them along the edge of my little deck.
35 LED solar powered lights from Deals $5.00

Now this next item is actually pretty silly, but I knew it was when I bought it.  What can you expect from a Tarot deck that cost $1.00?   But I collect many decks, they are like little art galleries and when I saw it, I figured, "What the heck?"  And the box it said (and I can't read this line without hearing a mysterious voice from and old horror movie) "Read your friends minds!"

The mysterious "$1.00 Tarot"

It reminded me of the adds in the back of the comic book that claimed Sea Monkeys look like little people or x-ray glasses can see through your hand! 
When I got them home I pulled them out, they feel kind of cheap, and that's probably because they are uncoated cards, it's a printer thing.  The art is very stylized but dynamic, red, black and a cream color, they actually look kind of rock-n-roll. The card backs were actually kind of cool as well.
The art was actually simple but cool, although the printing is cheap.  It was actually worth about $1.00, so I didn't feel ripped off at all.

They have included some of the Rider Waite-Smith symbolism, most of the images are re imagined and close up giving it a funky comic book feel.   The major arcana and the aces are illustrated and have definitions for the past, present and future written right on the card, and that may be annoying to some, but it eliminates the need for a booklet and helps new readers.  The minor arcana have no pictorial references or definitions either, just literally three cups, or five pentacles.  A seasoned reader could probably use them, not that they would probably want to, but a kid or newbie picking them up will be disappointed unless they have another book for definitions for the pips.  Although we should remember that the decks of true antiquity have only the majors illustrated.  It does have a little pamphlet that tells you how to use them for a "tarot game" and a fold out spread for the game. 

According to the back of the packaging it was designed by Docc Hilford and John Stetson, both mentalists.  It does make me curious about the artist who designed them, probably an in-house artist working for the printer or something, they seldom get credit.  It takes some talent to create interesting art with so few colors.  This deck will go on the shelf along with my others.

Well, that's all for now, I'm off to work on sketches for my upcoming tarot deck Mystical Cats Tarot.