Rurik, My Viking Character

Here’s the complete backstory to the characters of Olaus Bloodhammer (Odin) and Rurik (me). Here I attempt to explain how Olaus was exiled and how I the Asian became a member of the Viking ranks, and how you as Ragnar met both of us. I used a combination of real factual history, a little bit from the TV show, and my imagination to create hopefully a workable story with endless possibilities for our larp.

larpcostume-collage-beachshots

Ragnar Lothbrok is an ordinary farmer who craves adventure, exploration and bringing back treasures from distant destinations. The raid on Lindisfarne in 793 AD that started the Viking Era occurred over fifty years ago, and Ragnar is determined to continue the Viking tradition of exploration and raiding. Rising to the position of king of what is now the country of Denmark, he has already led expeditions to England, Scotland, Iceland and various points south and east. He is now making plans for his biggest, farthest and most ambitious expedition to date: an expedition to the eastern Mediterranean.

In the early 800’s the kings of Scandinavia began to centralize control and consolidate their powers, thus wiping out the smaller earldoms. Many of the local chieftains and earls were then stripped of their titles and powers, and now they wanted revenge, to take action and do something, to explore and raid. One such earl is Olaus “Bloodhammer” Eyvindsson, earl of Granby, an inland village in Gotaland (Sweden).

Olaus had been exiled from his position as earl not only from political restructuring, but also as a result of his drinking habits and squandering his village’s financial resources. Olaus spends most of his days drinking ale and hitting on shieldmaidens (female warriors), earning him the nickname “The Drunk Lord”.

When Ragnar sent out word that he is looking for crews and warriors for his Mediterranean raid, Olaus Bloodhammer responded with interest and brought a compliment of warriors with him to Kattegat to met Ragnar. Olaus showed up dressed in a flowing fur overcoat and fur covered boots but the most imposing characteristic of his person is his Thor-like mallet. A few other earls and their men arrived in Kattegat to take part in this ambitious journey. All warriors knew of the risks of participating in raids. They knew they could die from disease or in battle, but their code of honor and Valhalla superseded all risks and made them take the step forward. The townsfolk prepared a lavish feast for the newcomers in the Grand Hall.

Formerly the eastern end of the Roman Empire, Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) is now the Byzantine Empire. Its capitol, Constantinople, is said to contain a bounty of wealth and riches and for the Vikings that was simply irresistible. There was also a rumor of a silver rush as silver coins were coming in from China. Ragnar and Olaus and their crews departed in the Spring of 860 AD. Sailing across the Baltic Sea, they entered modern day Poland. There they traveled along the Varangian Trade Route that connects northern Europe to the Black Sea and the Byzantine Empire. The route then takes them to the Dnieper river system that drains into the northwest corner of the Black Sea.

Varangian_routes-w
Map of Vikings’ route to Constantinople

En route, Ragnar’s party stopped at a region on the northern border of the Black Sea called the Rus Khaganate, a region populated by a melting pot of ethnicities including Baltic, Slavic, Finnic, Turkic, Hungarian, and Norse. Here he joined forces with other adventurers, treasure seekers and pirates. The Rus were angry that the Byzantines had constructed a new fortress that restricted one of their trade routes, and so wanted revenge. They were all too happy to partake in Ragnar’s raid. Now his massive raiding party numbered nearly 5000 women and men warriors.

Constantinople (Istanbul) is an important trading center. It is incredibly rich with goods and wares brought in by traders and merchants from China, India, Persia, Europe and North Africa. It was also Europe’s largest city. The Vikings even had a name for it – “Miklagard” (The Great City). Unbeknown to Ragnar, his arrival at Constantinople came at an opportune time. The capitol city was undefended as 20-year-old Emperor Micheal III and his armies were preoccupied with a war with the Arabs.

At sunset on the evening of June 18, 860, the first of 200 longships and vessels landed ashore. They descended upon the city like a swarm of wasps. The Vikings and their new allies, the Rus, pillaged and plundered the churches, monasteries, palaces, emporiums, harbors and the city’s suburbs. They trashed the city. Debris, food items and mutilated bodies littered the streets. Once again, the Men from the North had proven their ferocity, ruthlessness and merciless vengeance on an unsuspecting populace. As always, while the Vikings slaughtered many captives, they took others as slaves. One of these captives is a dark hair guy named Rurik (my character).

When Ragnar came across Rurik, Ragnar was impressed by Rurik’s ability to understand and speak the Vikings’ language. Ragnar ordered that Rurik’s life be spared and be taken in as a slave.

larpcostume-solo-beachshot
On an overcast day off the coast of Northumbria, England, Rurik is about to join Ragnar in a raid on another Saxon monastery. (Actual location: Torrey Pines State Beach. Tourists not included).

As a multi-ethnic Asian orphan from the Far East, Rurik doesn’t have a home, and has no allegiance to any country, ethnicity or nationality. He doesn’t know what his last name is, where he’s from, or who his family is. Could he be a bastard offspring from rural peasants? He is a drifter, a wanderer, a nomad, a traveler. His long flowing locks often attracted onlookers as it was rare to see non-Caucasian men with such long tresses, but that didn’t bother him. At the time of the Vikings’ raid, he was in town hoping to find employment in the Byzantine Army, or to find passage to the west where he hopes to find work as a siege weapons builder. As a traveler, he has been exposed to a number of languages and customs, and this somehow interested Ragnar.

Ragnar wanted to seek out all the information Rurik had about other cultures, perhaps to be used for future raids. During the return trip to Scandinavia, Ragnar had long and interesting talks with Rurik. In time, Ragnar discovered that Rurik has an interest in siege tactics and weapons designing. Back at Kattegat, Ragnar released Rurik from slave status, and turned him into a sort of personal warfare advisor. Rurik began explaining his ideas for a giant armored catapult mounted on a pair of longships, a siege tower where the top level is a shielded lookout room where archers could pick off enemy soldiers as Viking warriors entered the city, where Greek fire could be launched or incendiary grenades thrown from, and a wrecking ball that could knock down enemy walls. Ragnar said we will use all of those in his next campaign – a raid on Paris.

The backstory of our larp seems like it could be a movie! Historically, Ragnar never went to the Black Sea, but the city of Constantinople was besieged in 860 AD. by the Rus Khaganate, which is contemporary with Ragnar’s life. Maybe a few Vikings were in that raid, we’ll never know because no one ever recorded it.  When I researched the emperor at the time of the raid, I learned that he was 20 yo, a drinker, slept with married women and mocked religious ceremonies. I think he can easily hang with 21st century snowboarders. I haven’t gotten as far as the blood brothers thing yet, that will be in some future installment.

larpcostume-collage-axe
The character of Rollo from the TV series Vikings provided ideas for my larp costume. Originally captured as a slave during a Viking raid in Asia Minor, what was then the Byzantine Empire, Rurik was coerced by Ragnar Lothbrok into joining their raiding parties and conquest campaigns.  His weapons include a Viking sword and battle axe. He had to rely mostly on the charity of Ragnar for battle gear.

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before-after-paint
Live action role play (LARP) weapons are usually made of foam. I purchased mine from Ebay and Amazon. Straight from the factory they needed paint work and weathering, so I watched Youtube tutorials to learn how to make them look realistic.
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Artist’s rendition of the Vikings arrival at Constantinople in June 860 AD
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The Blue Arrowhead

As a history buff who recreates in the Sierra Nevada mountains, I have had an interest with the story of the Donner Party, one of the most famous and tragic events of the American west. One would think that their determination and despair would be perfect for a movie storyline, yet there is no such feature length epic-style movie. I can only guess why:

1) the subject of cannibalism

2) it’s a film making logistical nightmare

3) it’s a complex and lengthy story   

With skillful approach to the storytelling paired with some of the latest technology – camera drones and CGI – I believe a movie dedicated to this group of intrepid pioneers may be possible – a movie that is long overdue.

 

 *   *   *

 

Title: The Blue Arrowhead: Based on the Events of the Ill-fated Donner Party

By: Snowslayer

Logline: During the American westward migration of the 1800’s, the will and determination of a young lady with insecurities is put to the test when she is forced to go on a suicide mission to get help for her starving and snowbound family in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

 

FADE IN:

EXT. BEAR RIVER, SIERRA FOOTHILLS – DUSK

Six BODIES lie motionless about a muddy patch of forested land along a RIVER. They are scattered here and there and look dead but in fact they’re alive, though barely. Some have their limbs outstretched as if trying to reach for something; others are in the fetal position. Their extremely tattered clothes reveal their severely emaciated bodies, covered with dried mud and filth, and their feet, swollen and bloody. We then focus on a young woman, MARY ANN GRAVES, 20, her eyes half open.

MARY ANN (V.O.)
I don’t know how long I’ve been
lying here in this miserable muddy
wilderness. With food running low
we left the others at the camp and
climbed the mountain pass in hopes
of getting help.
We left with six day’s provisions
and now it’s been how long who
knows but I think it’s at least
over 30 days out. We traveled so
far and it seems we’ve come so
close but now we can go no
further. (beat) Then I heard the
footsteps, and the voices of
disbelief…

CUT TO:

EXT. RUSTIC CABIN – NIGHT
A bright porch LAMP in the distance appears, gradually approaching, which we soon see is hanging from the exterior of a small CABIN.

MARY ANN (V.O.)
And then I remember the warm yellow
glow, getting closer and closer. It
was like a welcoming beacon against
the black backdrop of a dark night.
It was then that I realized that I
would survive this ordeal and my
brothers and sisters had a chance
of being rescued from starvation
and deprivation.

EXT. BUSY STREET 1840’S TOWN – DAY
A bird’s eye view of the town, as people are going about their business.

MARY ANN (V.O.)
Then word about our rescue and
survival spread among the land
and soon everyone was talking
about the Donner Party tragedy
or the tragedy of the Sierras.
Gossip turned into exaggerated
and sensationalistic stories of
cannibalism, and people called
us names. But we were no
different than any other wagon
company.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. GRAVES’ FAMILY HOMESTEAD – DAY
Rows of Spring crops and groves of trees surround a small
rustic STRUCTURE. A handful of people are working among the
rows of CROPS.

MARY ANN (V.O.)
We started from Marshall County,
Illinois. That’s where I grew up.
Father had built a one-room
cabin for my five sisters, three
brothers and ma and me and a farm
where he grew corn, wheat and
pumpkins. But now he wasn’t getting
good prices for his crops, and he
grew tired of the constant threat
from the Illinois Shakes.
MANIFEST DESTINY was sweeping the
country, and he was itching for an
adventure. So when the EMMIGRANT’S
GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA AND OREGON was
published, describing a lush,
vibrant land of bounty and ample
opportunity, a frontiers man like
my father was enticed.

INSERT

A MONTAGE of wagon trains assembling, en route on the open
plains, views of the California Trail, valleys, snow-covered
MOUNTAINS.

MARY ANN (V.O.)
It would be a perilous journey.
We’d be leaving the Unites States
and entering Indian territory.
Settlements for provisions are
separated by hundreds of miles. The
last one hundred miles of the trip
is the most dangerous part, and
only the healthiest and strongest
should go.
Timing was crucial to ensure safe
passage to the California
territory. We could not leave until
after the Spring rains subside, but
yet we had to make it to the Sierra
Nevada pass by early fall, an
advice that father seemed most
concerned with.
END INSERT
EXT. GRAVES’ FAMILY HOMESTEAD – DAY
MARY ANN, 19, is standing among a patch of tall wild grass.
The Graves’ HOME and a ROAD is seen in the BG. A beautiful
girl resembling actress Daisy Ridley, she has a slender build,
expressive dark eyes and long dark wavy hair like that of
Kristen Stewart’s from Twilight. She has her index FINGER
pointed upwards, and a LADYBUG beetle is walking towards her
fingertip.
MARY ANN
Fly home, little guy.
When it reaches her fingertip, it extends its wings and flies
off into the afternoon breeze.
BILLY (O.S.)
Hey Mary Ann! Emma’s lookin’
for you!
Mary Ann turns around and heads for the road.
CUT TO:
EXT. WATER WELL – DAY
Mary Ann is pumping water into a BUCKET. Standing beside her
is her best friend EMMA, 17, a bright and cheery young girl,
similar in personality to “Amanda” from the movie Taken.
EMMA
These fields have been our
play area for so many years
now. I will hate to see you
leave.
MARY ANN
Remember those mudcakes we
made when we were little? Made
your ma so mad.
EMMA
Remember hiding among the corn
stalks where no one could ever
find us!
MARY ANN
(smiling)
I’m so nervous and excited for
this journey. I don’t see what
got papa goin’ about
California. Travelin’ overland
through Indian lands to a place
not even owned by the U.S.?
They begin walking as Mary Ann carries the filled bucket,
passing under a large SHADY TREE.
EMMA
So Sara finally decided to get
married to Jay?
MARY ANN
Yeah, It was a last minute
thing. Jay’s pa needed him to
stay to tend the orchards and
didn’t want his son going off
to some far off place. Sara
was torn between going with
us and her Jay. When my pa
went to the courthouse to
sign the papers for the land,
Sara and Jay went along and
the JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
married them. They’ve decided
to come with us.
EMMA
I’m so happy for them. And
for you, too.
MARY ANN
My sister so lucky.
EMMA
What do you mean?
MARY ANN
At least she’s got a man. I wish I
had a man too. Do you think I’ll
meet a husband on the trail?
EMMA
Oh I think so. There’ll be
plenty of young hopefuls out
there.
MARY ANN
I wonder what the men are like
in California. Will I find one
who will like me? What if
they’re all taken?
EMMA
You oughtta stop doubting
yourself. Look at you! You’re a
pretty girl! There’ll be plenty of
men out there who’d kill to be with
a pretty girl. You are for sure to
met someone. Just remember keep
your spirits up!
They embrace each other.
MARY ANN
I really hope so.
EMMA
I’ll miss ya.
MARY ANN
I’ll miss ya too.
EXT. GRAVES’ FAMILY HOMESTEAD – DAY
Three covered WAGONS are parked in front of the Graves home.
The Graves family is busy loading household items and
personal belongings into the wagons. FRANKLIN GRAVES, 57,
Mary Ann’s father, a tall lanky hospitable and congenial man
with medium length hair who resembles a Liam Neeson with
messy hair, is securing the oxen to their yokes. JOHN SNYDER,
23, a young man with strikingly handsome good looks who
resembles a rebel James Dean type, is helping him.
Mary Ann and one of her younger brothers, JONATHAN, 7, are
carrying items out of the house and leaving them at the
tailgate of one of the wagons. ELIZABETH GRAVES, 45, Mary
Ann’s mother, also of tall and thin build, is walking in and
out of the house. Emma walks up to them and catches Mary
Ann’s attention.
EMMA
I wanted to come by and say
goodbye.
Emma and Mary Ann walk off to the side.
ELIZABETH
Oh hey Emma!
EMMA
Hello Mrs. Graves!
MARY ANN
We’re finally off into the unknown.

EMMA

I have something for you, it’s sort
of a goodbye present.
Emma reaches into a pocket a takes out something in her hand, which she keeps from Mary Ann’s view, and extends her closed hand to Mary Ann, palm facing down.
MARY ANN
How nice, what is it?
EMMA
It’s something I wanted you to
have so you can remember our
friendship.
Emma drops the object onto Mary Ann’s palm. Emma retracts her
hand, revealing a small gold-plated LOCKET, attached to a
simple NECKLACE.

MARY ANN
It’s beautiful!
Mary Ann examines the gift. A RED GEM adorns the frontside.
Inside, a small strand of blonde-color HAIR is rolled into
one side, while a dried FLOWER is mounted on the other. She
closes the locket and unclasps the hook. Emma helps her
secure the necklace around her neck. The girls hug each
other.
FRANKLIN
Mary Ann! Go help your ma.
MARY ANN
Yes pa!
Mary Ann kisses Emma with a quick peck on the cheek. She
notices a young man adjusting the ox bow on one of the oxen.
She eyes him very carefully, suspiciously, scrutinizing his
muscular body as it bends and flexes. She’s not quite sure
what to make of him. She approaches the wagon. John notices
her stare.
JOHN
How do you do, ma’am. My
name is John Snyder.
MARY ANN
I’m Mary Ann.
JOHN
Pleasure, ma’am.
John touches his hat.
FRANKLIN
Mary Ann! Get going!
CUT TO:
EXT. GRAVES’ FAMILY HOMESTEAD – DAY
Mary Ann and one of her younger brothers, BILLY, 17, tall for
his age and slender, are loading the final items. Billy sees
a SPIDER on the ground trying to evade their footsteps. Billy
stomps his foot on it.
BILLY
Darn I can’t stand spiders.
MARY ANN
Hey you don’t have to kill it!
BILLY
I wish they’d all die. They’re the
most annoying thing to man.
MARY ANN
They have a right to live too!
BILLY
Nah they don’t!
SUPER: APRIL 14, 1846
The WHEELS of three fully loaded wagons begin rolling. The
Graves cabin disappears into the background as the newly assembled
family wagon TRAIN pulls ahead. The wagons are so
filled with belongings and supplies that almost everyone is
either walking on FOOT or on horseback.
Franklin and Elizabeth are driving the lead wagon, John is in
the second, and JAY FOSDICK, husband of Mary Ann’s older
sister SARA, is in the third.
EXT. PRAIRIE
MARY ANN (V.O.)
We left Stueben Township on April
14, 1846, along with my sister SARA
and her new husband, JAY FOSDICK,
and a teamster named JOHN SNYDER
who pa hired to drive the oxen, for
St. Joe to stock up on provisions
and hopefully met up with other
wagon trains.
EXT. PRAIRIE NORTHERN KANSAS – DUSK
ON SCREEN TEXT: MAY 27
Billy and WILLIAM RITCHIE, 19, are standing on a berm away
from the main campsite, throwing ROCKS at random targets.
BILLY
I think I’ll be an expedition guide
or a blacksmith when I get to
California.

WILLIAM RITCHIE
What makes you say that?
BILLY
I like making things with my hands.
What about you?
WILLIAM RITCHIE
I’m gonna find me a pretty belle.
Your sister Mary Ann ain’t bad
lookin’.
BILLY
I think she’s got a thing for our
teamster, John Snyder. (beat) You
know what I feel like now? I feel
like token some of that fine
nicotiana rustica right now.
WILLIAM RITCHIE
Hey look at what I got.
William Ritchie reaches into a pocket and takes out a little
POUCH.
BILLY
What is it?
WILLIAM RITCHIE
I happen to have some. It’s a
little tobacco I snagged back at St
Joe.
Billy takes out a small flask.
BILLY
Look, what I got. Some of pa’s
whiskey. I was saving it for the
fourth of July. Hey I bet your
tobac I can hit that tree.
WILLIAM RITCHIE
You’re on!
Billy picks up a rock and throws it at the tree. It falls
short.
WILLIAM RITCHIE (CONT’D)
I bet your whiskey I can hit it.
BILLY
Deal!
William Ritchie throws a rock at it which travels a little
further, but still misses the mark. Billy selects another
ROCK and makes another attempt. When it misses the tree, he
picks up one more rock. It is a BLUE AGATE rock. He examines
it for a moment, then decides to pocket it.
BILLY (CONT’D)
Lets forget it. Why don’t we just
share what we got. I think we got
an Indian peace pipe back at camp.
WILLIAM RITCHIE
Yea!
The boys sit down where they’re at and begin taking turns at
sipping from the flask.
TEENAGE GIRL (O.S.)
William Ritchie! You got first
watch tonight!
WILLIAM RITCHIE
Says who!
TEENAGE GIRL (O.S.)
Says pa and Mr. Graves!
WILLIAM RITCHIE
Pa would have to choose me. I’d
better head back to camp and get
the fire ready.
BILLY
I’ll start rounding up the cattle.
EXT. PRAIRIE NORTHERN KANSAS – NIGHT
Billy, standing guard at the perimeter of camp, notices a
grass fire about a half mile away. He did not believe it
would pose a threat. Another young man hastily approaches
Billy from the direction of the fire.
BILLY
Who comes there?
YOUNG MAN
Friend!
BILLY
Friend, advance and give the
countersign!

YOUNG MAN
It’s me, William, and don’t talk so
loud. Haven’t you seen them?
BILLY
Seen what?
WILLIAM RITCHIE
The Indians. They’re setting the
prairie on fire and are going to
surround us and kill us and take
our livestock.
BILLY
Where?
WILLIAM RITCHIE
Why, there, running along the fire.
There are hundreds of them.
Scared and trembling, Billy looks at the fire again and
studies it carefully. He realizes that the Indians are
actually tall weeds bobbing and wavering in the wind,
silhouetted against the flickering flames.
BILLY
Nah, those aren’t Indians. It’s
just the resin weeds in the wind.
WILLIAM RITCHIE
What? You mean it’s just the grass?
Promise not tell the others about
my mistake, will ya?
BILLY
I won’t.
The voices of several men at camp are heard. Two other guards who had seen the imaginary Indians return to camp, warning of the approaching threat. As the panicked men began shouting orders and rushing about, someone calmly says that it’s a false alarm.

 

Charlie Chaplin’s Cell Phone Time Traveler : My Analysis

I’ve been reading endless speculation about that “Cell Phone Time Traveler” video that was filmed in 1928 which shows a person who appears to be talking into a hand-held device.  The clip comes from the “extras” section of a Charlie Chaplin DVD and was shot as part of the behind the scenes of the premiere of Chaplin’s movie, The Circus.  A filmmaker posted it on Youtube and claims that the device is a cell phone.

While watching a closeup version of the clip I notice that our mysterious person is in fact holding something, so I made an in-depth examination to see if I can get a better picture of the allege cell phone object:

Youtube video

11.21.09 Friday Night Clubbing in Long Beach

Diane and I went to a club called Seville in Long Beach to take photos for her employer, Myclubscene.com. Had an awesome time! She was assigned to cover an event there put on by 944.com, a lifestyle mag. We got lost going there, so it’s a good thing we left extra early. We ended up parking in the parking structure of a Walmart, where we bought batteries for the flash unit. Even with time lost from driving around and looking for parking, we arrived with still enough time to set up and look around before the crowds arrived. We entered through the VIP entrance and after we were cleared by the bouncers, we were given blue wristbands. I overheard that the cover was $10, but as we were representing a website we got in with no charge. The floor was super-packed! Even in this uncertain economy, people still want to party and dance. One of the cocktail waitresses was passing around free drinks. I think it was some kind of margarita mix. There were of course scantily-dressed girls dancing on platforms next to the DJ station, as the DJ did his spins. The music was super loud. When Diane wanted to communicate with me, she’d text something into her blackberry and then show me the screen. I’d then enter my response by typing something on the screen and handing it back to her. A new use for texting! Inside loud clubs!

One thing I thought was interesting was that in the men’s room, there was actually a dude standing there that was personally handing out paper towels. He was basically watching you as you did your thing, which gave me a weird feeling. There was a line outside the ladies room, which was even more crowded. As we were leaving we went across the DJ stage. At the bar at the front of the club, Diane took some more pictures, while I found myself standing in front of this trio of hot girls who where taking photos of themselves. We made eye contact and I could tell they gave me the look-over. Among them, the one standing nearest to me was actually “my type.” Surprisingly, she motioned to me to take their picture for them. She handed me the camera, the flash went off, and after I handed it back, I asked her if they were from around here. She said yea. Hmm was this conversation going somewhere? By then Diane got me and said we should go because she was starting to get a little light-headed from all the flashing lights. The girl trio probably thought Diane was my date or something. I gave them one last look as we headed to the stairwell, where Diane took a picture of me with one of the bouncers, and soon indoor flashing lights turned into outdoor city lights.

There were one or two police cruisers parked outside, and cops standing around. I asked one of them about their presence. He said they were there because fights sometimes break at these clubs. Diane and I were there until about 1:30am. I might add that this is the first club I went to that was non-smoking, which is great because I don’t leave the place smelling like smoke. While Diane went around shooting pics, I did meet and talked with a couple of hot chicks, but I doubt that I would ever hook up with any of them. That’s a story for another time! Nonetheless, the one with the camera made my day!

11.13.09 Friday the 13th and Walmart

Friday the 13th, perhaps one of the most feared day of the year! Today, 11.13.09,  is the third Friday the 13th this year did you know that? Two weeks after Halloween no less. As a horror movie fan myself I have no particular superstitions about this day and I see it as just another normal day. But I keep wondering, who or what gave it its superstitious connotation? Was it from the Biblical reference to the Last Supper which was attended by 13 people or the crucifixion that occurred on a Friday? Was it from the failed Apollo 13 mission? Or Jason Voorhees himself?

According to this AP article, a North Carolina behavioral scientist and author came up with a term for those who fear Friday the 13th — paraskavedekatriaphobia – while the phobia of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.

For my Friday the 13th, what could be more appropriate than to watch Friday the 13th the TV Series, on Youtube, not to be confused with the Hollywood movie series. The TV version was originally aired in the late 80’s and is a precursor to Warehouse 13, a series currently on the Sci-fi channel. In both shows, 2 characters, a man and a women, search for and retrieve ancient relics that posses magical powers and return them to a secured vault. They are both guided by an older man, who serves as their mentor, or boss. The Friday the 13th the TV Series I watched was called “Mesmer’s Bauble”, which is about a lonely geeky guy who finds a crystal that he uses to transform himself into a pretty boy to get the attention of his singer idol named Angelica. Eventually, the twisted kid takes over her body, and then dies when one of our main characters snags the crystal from his neck.

I have a theory that value shoppers are especially susceptible to triskaidekaphobia. We knew that buildings don’t have a 13th floor, but if you go to your local Walmart store, you’ll see that there is no checkstand #13.

walmart-int

BTW, I read that a Walmart employee was killed in a Black Friday rampage at an East Coast store last year. In this NY Times article, I see that the store will put in place new crowd control measures such as opening the store on Thanksgiving morning and keeping it continuously open until Friday night, and having workers supervise and hand out flat screen TV’s instead of leaving them in piles and making it a every-man-for-himself free-for-all.

11.08.09 Halloween

My Halloween treat this year was watching one of my favorite horror flicks – The Shining! Well-written, great setting and still scary. It’s a ‘ghostly’ feeling to see a three-person family having an entire hotel to themselves. A recovering alcoholic drinker-writer is hired to be the winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel. He takes his family along, then under the solitude he trades his soul with an evil entity hiding in the hotel for one more drink, then, possessed by the evil entity, tries to kill his son because the son has a certain psychic ability called the “shining”. You can view the whole movie on Youtube.

The first time I heard of the movie was when I started riding at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood, Oregon, which was featured in the movie. The south side exterior of Timberline was used as the wide angle shot of the Overlook Hotel in the movie, but all interior scenes, including the hedge maze, were shot on soundstages in England, according to imdb.com. In the Stephen King novel, Room 217 was the room that was occupied by a former caretaker who also murdered his family. Timberline has an actual Room 217 and requested the producers change the room number to 237 so guests wouldn’t be scared away.

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Screenshot of Timberline’s south side from the movie. Note the missing day lodge in the bottom right corner.

 

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Head chef giving the Torrances a tour of the kitchen.

 

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One of my buddies and I at Timberline after some late spring riding.

10.16.09

This past week I submitted my first ever news feature story, “Beef Noodle King”, to the Wednesday class, and in the Thursday class, I turned in and we screened my other big project, Lost series finale parody in the form of an interstitial ad. It was well received by the class. Everyone understood my spin on the series, which is about a TV convergence meltdown where island TV shows from the past all come together on the Lost set (Brady Bunch Hawaiian vacation, Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island and Love Boat). The professor approved of the project. The professor said she liked how I kept all the pictures of each TV show on the screen, giving a “mash up” feel. She also liked the background I created for this ad. Both projects were uploaded to my Youtube.

There were 2 other projects from the class that I really liked. One was a parody of Extreme Makeover Home Edition called Extreme Homelessness Makeover and the other was a parody of Dating in the Dark, called Dating in the Darkroom:

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