Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Museum Part 3

Some athletes talk a lot about a fabled mind set where nothing bothers them. In that frame of mind the crowd is not a factor and the other players are just an obstacle to move around or through. While they are in it it is only them and their task, they are at their best and nothing slows them down. They call it 'the zone' and usually their playing is referred to as being "on fire". Simon, who was not very athletic, had never been 'in the zone' before. Today was his first trip; his maiden voyage. Today, through some cosmic fluke, Simon had entered the zone. He was an artist even though this was the first time he had ever attempted anything even remotely artistic. Well unless you counted coloring or the art projects he did in grade school and Simon didn't; those were crafts.

He worked feverishly on the task in front of him; barely noticing the room, his surroundings, or even the people talking around him. He had already tackled the use of primary colors in the painting. He had stared at his painting in front until it seemed like certain areas called to him to have paint applied. He followed his instinct, or was it the paintings suggestions, and soon he set his brush to paper. When he was done 4 hours of time had lapsed and it seemed Simon had gained an audience. He looked around at everyone and then down at his paint colored hands. Jeff and the tour group had made their way back in along with other museum patron and staff; he was surrounded. Jeff eased over to have a look at the painting. His eyes went wide and his breath caught in his chest. Simon was not sure what that meant but he was afraid it was because Jeff did not like it, like he had not liked the weird cardboard bird. Jef turned to Simon smiling; "May I show them?" he asked. Simon nodded at Jeff and Jeff turned back toward the painting, Then he carefully picked up the painting and turned it to face the crowd. People let out strange noises and then grew very quiet.

His father slumped into the table Simon had been working at, as if without it he might have collapsed on his face. That was when Simon noticed his dad, mom and sister were all next to him around the table. His seemed to be overwhelmed and actually took the proffered seat slid to him from a member of the crowd. People quietly looked from the boy to the painting to Mondrian's examples. One patron said "It's amazing. His painting is completely different from anything I have ever seen of Mondrian. It is not a copy it is original and it's..... it's beautiful!" Simon was nodding as the man spoke, he had not copied a design he had simply created his own. He began shaking his head when the man exclaimed it's beauty, he had simply been taking on a challenge. He had held no delusions that he was creating art, this man misunderstood his intent in making the painting. As Simon was preparing to dispute this man's claim the sound in the room grew to a tumultuous pitch. Everyone began talking all at once as if Jesus had come down and cured someone of their leprosy.

The room being less then sound proof was at a fever pitch and Simon wanted nothing more then to escape. The cacophony of sound was making his head hurt. He looked toward the exit thinking only of leaving the confined space and heading for a larger area. What he was a door clogged with people and everyone staring at him like a pack of wolves stare at a lost lamb. At that moment he felt a tug on his arm and looked over to see Jeff was trying to yank him toward a backdoor that Simon had not seen before. His parents were still kind of in shock and his sister was busy trying to best his effors with her own version but the crowd was pushing forward. He decided to follow Jeff through the door that Jeff had opened with a magnetic key card. JEf pushed the door shut quickly so that it would lock behind him to prevent the crowd from following. Jeff yanked Simon's arm and Simon found himself marvelling at how amazingly strong Jeff was despite his mall stature. "I'm taking you to the main office so please keep up" Jeff informed him. Simon looked around and realized he had followed Jeff into the background of the museum. The area that required you to work there to walk through. The side the public never sees. At first glance it was nothing special it contained a lot of unfinished walls and the air conditioning ducts were visible. When they turned a corner Simon was confronted by a large storage space filled with crates. As explanation Jeff pointed lazily in the direction of the boxes and said "next month's featured artist". Simon was amazed to see the buzz of activity as the unloaded art was sorted. He slowed down to take in the scene and a few paintings caught his eye. He walked towards them until he was yanked back by Jeff. "Hey kid, we need to get to the main office so we can let your parents know where to meet up with you. This is no time to lolly gag!"

Soon Simon found himself in a very neat and orderly office while Jeff announced that "The Parents of Simon Ronsed are requested at the museum office" over the speaker system in the museum. Simon sat in a very large chair that left his feet to dangle below him and he began to swing his feet to and fro while he waited. It was at that moment that it happened. A sparkle in the corner of his eye, a hint of gold. He looked in that direction but there was nothing there, just a table and a chair with huge red painted canvases on them. He tried to ask Jeff about the sparkly item but Jeff was speaking to the museum director. He was sure it was some random art piece but he had an overwhelming desire to look at it. He remembered why he was there and decided to stay put. He did not need his parents to be more worried and upset with him. Worried would be enough to deal with. He could already hear the lecture "We know Jeff seemed safe but follo..." There it was again. Twinkling more incessantly in the side of his vision. He turned to look over there and it kept twinkling. It was coming from beneath the desk which was probably why he had not seen it when he had turned to looked before. He had simply been looking too high. He realized then that he had to investigate that twinkle because it seemed so out of place. He looked around and saw he was alone. He knew he was supposed to not move from the chair but he was just going a few feet away it was withing viewing distance. He would hear them come back and he could fein interest in the paintings on the desk or given enough warning he could probably even make it back to the chair. He had to see what was twinkling....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Rambling Review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Oh my goodness I was practically giddy with excitement. It was my birthday and in my hand was a ticket to see the new Indiana Jones flick. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (IJKCS of Indy 4 for short). I love the older movies. Recently while watching the older ones on television I almost went online to sign up for whip handling lessons. I am not sure where I could get such a lesson but I am sure someone charges money to teach this completely impractical skill. I can see it now: Imagine that I am on an interview to be a new teacher and they say "So why do you want to be a teacher?" I pause for a moment and press my fingertips together in front of me and lean forward to make complete and total eye contact. "Well Dr. Randall," I begin, "I want to be like Indiana Jones. Last summer I mastered the art of the bullwhip and could use it to take the pen from your hand without even touching you. I have bought a huge collection of old dusty books filled with random facts about ancient civilizations. All I need now is to become a teacher and have students watch me adoringly as I try to tell them archaeology is boring even though I nearly got killed that very weekend while looking for an artifact in some remote jungle." I am not sure they would hire me but it would stll be cool. That whip is damn handy! Anyway so my roommate and I were in the theater saying "Hurry Dr. Jones!" and "You're my best friend Dr. Jones!" like Short Round would say in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. We wondered if he would reappear in this movie because he was awesome in that one. Dr. Jones! Then the movie lights dimmed and we tucked in for a 2 hour long tale of excitement.

The movie picks up in the 50's, the Nazi's are no longer the issue. Instead it's those damn Commies and all their Free Love and Applesauce For All! Wait, no, Commies like the color red... so they are like the fathers of the street gang the Bloods. I am being told that once again I am partially incorrect. Apparently communists are people who like to talk a lot especially during quiet times like during movies or at church. Their moniker was originally Communicationists but people hated saying that so they shortened it to communists. If you have ever been in a theater and had people around you talk through the movie you can understand the intense dislike of communists. This is why people say things like "Shut your commie mouth!" all the time. Anyway Cate Blanchett (who is a communist because she has horrible hair in this movie and doesn't know that you spell Kate with a K not a freaking C!) Anyway she really wants Indy's help finding something so instead of sweet talking him she shoves him and another guy into a trunk of a car. Apparently communists are not only yappy in movie theaters but they also disregard the personal safety of their guests. Of course the other guy that was in the trunk with Indy happens to be working for the Commies and has betrayed Indy which we soon find out. So she has taken him to a military base in Nevada and wants him find some magnetic box. The box has a body in it but all we get to see is a gnarled hand and then Indy is running for his life. You realize at that moment that even though Harrison Ford is like nearly 98 years of age, he is back and so is this character. He manages to escape and wander through the desert and into a town that happens to be a fake town used for nuclear testing. Of course the bomb is about to be dropped so he has to get out. The way he gets out is pretty cool so I will not tell you how. Anyway he survives because otherwise this would be a completely different movie. He is found and gets grilled by the FBI (one of them plays the janitor on scrubs, does that character have a name?) and the FBI hates him. The interrogation ends with Indy losing his professor gig, just in time to run into Mutt (Shia LaBeouf).
Mutt tells him the chick (and Mutt's mom) from the first movie and some other archaeologist were taken by communists (apparently communists also kidnap people, they have poor social skills). Of course the commies are following Mutt and a fun chase scene through the college campus ensues. Then we get to know Mutt as they tromp through the forest. They find a silly looking crystal skull that looks like glass with tinfoil in the hollow part of it. We also run back into Mutt's ma aka Indy's old flame. Then the silly Commies show up and we have a crystal skull that looks stupid and a movie that slowly gets sillier. Several times I thought they would go in a different direction but in the end they had taken all the lame routes and concluded this adventure with a stupid ending. They managed to take a fun movie with great potential and run it into a wall.... they waited 19 years for this? This could have happened directly after the third because all they were trying to do was cash in. AND WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SHORT ROUND? They were supposedly best friends in Temple of Doom! WHERE IS HE SPIELBERG??? YOU MONSTER!!!! YOU DESTROYER OF DREAMS!!!

Ok I need to breathe! It wasn't that bad... it was just disappointing. Let's ask Indy and Mutt what they thought:

Indy: "Oh, land sakes! What did we just do?"
Mutt: "I think we landed in poo."

OK right here is where I tell you why I did not like the ending. I am giving it away so if you will do what I would normally do, which is see it anyway and avoid reading people blowing the ending then stop reading here. This is your warning.

Spoiler warning!!!

Oh my goodness did I just see Contact again? I swore I would never see Contact again and here it is in a new movie. The whole thing traces back to a freaking UFO and aliens?? Are you freaking kidding me!!??? 19 years and he remakes Close Encounters of the Indy Kind?? I am convinced that Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are completely senile! Someone please stop allowing them to make movies that spoil their earlier and far better work. If you are one of those three please stop making sequels and prequels and focus on new ideas and leave the past in the past. Oh and seriously what happened to Short Round?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Museum Part 2

The tour group crowded around a weird painting with lines and colored squares that looked to Simon like something not quite worth hanging up. It wasn't like it was super artistic and it just seemed like maybe the artist had some extra canvas he decided to fill up with random lines and colored squares. Then all these morons decided to make it valuable because they had too much money to spend. Which was the reason he thought this was a terrible waste of a museum. Modern art just seemed so silly.

"I figure some of you are not fans of modern art. You may be looking at this Mondrian painting thinking 'and?'" Jeff paused to look at the faces looking at him. "I have to admit that I have had a few thoughts like this myself before I ever even dreamed of working here. Modern art is usually very weird and sometimes it is still hard for me to appreciate. One display involved strangely shaped cardboard pieced together in a shape that looked vaguely like a cartoon depiction of Nessie the fabled Loch Ness monster. However it was labeled "The Bird" and I was 5 seconds away from quitting when I saw it get put up."

The crowd chuckled at his story and he smiled broadly before ascending a flight of stairs to get closer to the painting. He pulled out a pointer to highlight a few areas.

"This painting, as I mentioned, was created by a gentleman named Piet Mondrian. You may have seen his designs before as a lot of fashionistas have decided it is fun to put on shirts and purses and all sorts of things. The reality is that it is quite a bit harder to create something like this then it looks. The lines are perfectly straight and the colors are in areas that don't detract from the composition. I t looks really basic and like anyone can do it. In fact if you look behind this painting there is an area where we challenge you to create one. People can create these but it takes some thought and a little science of color to make it compelling. This tour is the only way you can get into this area and so we are challenging all of you to try your hand at this. Follow me please." Jeff opened a door and the tour group followed him inside.

Inside the room there were a bunch of tables piled high with art supplies. There was paint, pens, pencils, markers, paper, rulers and reference books. Around the room were several posters of Piet Mondrian to use as reference. Simon was the first to venture to a table and he grabbed a pencil and a sheet of paper and bent to the task of sketching out his Mondrian painting. Slowly the rest of the group followed his lead and the volume of the room rose as people started trying to duplicate the simplistic appearing designs.

Simon found nothing he did was straight enough so he grabbed a ruler and a new sheet of paper and started over. He started adding lines on one side and then rotated the sheet to the other side. He kept working slowly drawing lines and pausing to think before placing the next line. He was absorbed in the task and had not realized people were slowly giving up on their attempts and were starting to focus on him. Soon everyone was watching him make his Mondrian painting but he had yet to look up. He was too busy painting in the lines with black paint. Keeping the brush with in the lines was a difficult task and that was where his focus was concentrated. He was steadily painting the third line when the tour continued on and his mother and another member of the museum staff stayed with him while he worked. He was oblivious to the fact that his mother and the lady who worked at the museum were talking about all kinds of art related topics, attempting to fill the silence with small talk. Simon worked like a boy entranced and nothing was breaking through his revery. Not even the fact that he had been working for over an hour.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Museum: Part 1

Simon had went to the museum with his family and after an hour he found himself waiting for the free tour to begin. He already looked at all the exhibits twice and was ready to leave but his sister was enthralled with the place. He had already been admonished to "calm down and enjoy the exhibits" and to "appreciate the money spent coming here". The thing about it was he did not want to be here. He had wanted to go to the ball game with his friend Henry but he was here instead. It was not fair! His sister always got to pick what they did. He managed to conveniently overlook the baseball game he had attended Wednesday night. He also neglected to recall that his sister had not relished the idea of attending that baseball game but had been drug along anyway. In fact, if he was being honest he would be forced to admit that his parents rotating schedule was very fair. Every member of the Ronsed family had a chance to dictate a family event in an alternating pattern, even his mom and dad picked events where they dragged the family along. Simon just happened to not like anything his sister picked. Of course knowing this, way in the back of his mind, did nothing to stem the flow of his negativity. So his mother was going on the guided tour with him to give his sister, Julie, a chance to enjoy herself. His father would go with Julie because he also loved this museum and could be entertained for hours within it's walls.

Simon and his mother stood in the midst of a gathering crowd that was restlessly waiting for the guide. Simon watched as people looked at their watches every few seconds as if they had a lot of appointments that day or somewhere else to be. He did not care for watches and the dislike translated to careless treatment of them. After the third watch was mysteriously shattered his family stopped buying him new ones. Simon's theory was if everyone else had one then he did not need one since he could just ask someone else what time it was. The logic in that pleased him as it went right along with the familiar refrain "You don't need that just because 'everyone' else has it." He heard that from his parents whenever he told them what toy he simply had to have. He had once said "Just because everyone else cares about time does not mean I need to care about time." He had gotten in trouble for a while over that one but he figured the little bit of trouble was worth it because he had turned their logic against them. Now his parents simply said no when he asked or begged for something new and left the peer evaluation part out of it. They may train him in the art of proper manners but he could also train them out of the use of stupid cliches.

As he began to wonder about where the tour guide was, the tour guide made his appearance. Which almost went unnoticed because he was maybe a little under 4 feet tall. Simon wondered what the proper term was, he had hear dwarf and midget but were they acceptable? If he asked this man would he be insulting him? Did this guy just want to be treated as if height was not an issue? Simon was fascinated for the first time since he walked into the museum. He was brimming with questions and now felt the urge to stay here for a little while longer.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. May I have your attention?" People turned to look at the little man in the front of them. "My name is Jeff and I will be your tour guide today. Just to get this out of the way some of you may have noticed I am not exactly average height. There are many terms used to describe my resultant stature such as midget, little guy, dwarf or 'little person'. I prefer Jeff. However if you are describing me later please use the term 'little person' as 'little guy' implies I am a toddler running between your legs. Some of you look like you want to laugh at that last sentence; which is a good thing as I consider myself to be fairly funny and I am actually making a joke. If you are the type of person who likes to 'put themselves in the other person's shoes' then realize that my personal view is that you are all simply freakishly gigantic. Now that we got the awkward part out of the way let's start the tour! Follow me into the Red Bull sponsored wing of modern art. The Red Bull part is a joke which aims at the silliness of the constantly changing corporate sponsors of sports stadiums and music venues. Try to keep up with me people! I move fast and talk faster!" Everyone was smiling as they followed Jeff into the first exhibit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few emails

So the other day I get this email:

From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: Your Blog

What is the deal? You were on some crazy writing bent and everytime I logged in there was something to read! Now I have not seen a post at all this month! What is the deal here?! I am very upset at the lack of maintaining the blog... it was part of my routine. Everyday I was here! You better start writing again or you are off the Christmas list!

Yours truly,
(Name Withheld)

Well I am glad you are an avid reader but I know you are lying. If you were on everyday you would not have something new to read everyday. I only posted 7 times last month. Thanks for being a liar Mr. Lying Liarpants! Anyway I promise I am working on a story to post. I have written 2 but they suck so I am waiting until I get inspired or when I am procrastinating on my homework.

In other news my cousin is running in his third marathon this year. He has decided to be a charity runner this year and is raising money. I have decided to try and help him. I am enclosing the email he sent out in this post, check it out and hopefully you feel motivated to donate. Here is the email:

Dear family & friends,

Six hours and six minutes, followed a year later by five hours and thirty-seven minutes. These were my times for completing my first 2 Chicago Marathons. I am attempting my third on October 12th. While I won’t be breaking any records, I am hoping to raise money as a charity runner.

This year I have decided to make the marathon more meaningful by becoming a charity runner. I have signed up to raise funds for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association ( They are an Illinois organization that assists individuals with disabilities participate in sports through numerous camps, clinics, competitions, and events.

I am looking for your support in setting a personal record (hopefully under 5 hours) and achieving a $1,000 fundraising goal. Please help by contributing at my online fundraising site or mailing a check directing to GLASA. Don’t forget to check if your employer provides matching for charitable contributions! Your contribution will dramatically impact this local organization’s impact in our backyard.

Online Contributions:

Mail-in Contributions:
400 E. Illinois Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Memo line of check – Chicago Marathon, Robert Waddell


Robert Waddell

Anyway, until next time!