Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ben Browder Q & A 2013

I really don't know the legality of writing in detail about a ticketed event at a convention... but I just had to share the fun that was Ben Browder for my fellow Farscape fans.  He is also know for Stargate (which I didn't really watch but just might now!) and was also on a recent episode of Arrow.

But my heart will always beat for John Crichton of Farscape.  Thanks to my AZ BFF Alisha, I was introduced to the most creative sci-fi show I've ever seen.  Working with the Muppet studios and fantastical make-up creations, the show TRULY felt like another universe that would be phenomenally confusing to any human.  And that is part of the humor in it for me... I don't want to spoiler anyone who plans to watch the show, but poor John is a brilliant astronaut who is accidentally sucked into another universe, fumbling his way through, perpetually confused and mocked mercilessly for it.
I'd been kind of disappointed in certain sci-fi shows in the past in that the aliens didn't look THAT alien... just slightly divergent of a human appearance.  But on Farscape, the aliens are stunningly creative, astoundingly elaborate - sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrific.  (and everything in between)  If you plan to watch this show, it's IMPERATIVE you watch from the first episode exactly in order - or you will be hopelessly lost.

Now, onto Ben's Q&A... first of all I have to thank Dakota for winning a contest and giving me a ticket to Starfest, or I wouldn't have been able to get into the events room to hear the Q & A.  SECOND of all, I thank Chris so much for not caring about Ben and giving me his VIP seat in the FIRST row, RIGHT by the microphone where fans line up to ask questions.  My heart was palpitating the whole time.  Because of that, I got to be the very first question!  I was a bit thrown off because I had a two part question, one being what it was like to work with the elaborate muppet creations.  He started off before taking questions by saying, "yes it's cool to work with puppets, yes, I enjoyed this and that..."  (I suppose he gets the puppet question a lot).
So it was my turn at the mic... I said, "well you already touched on my first question about what it was like to work with those amazing puppet creations... can you expand on that?"  And then I realized I didn't phrase it in a way that got my two questions in... His answer was, "Well, I learned that I'm really good at getting my butt kicked by puppets!"   I asked the man holding the mic if I could ask another quick question and he said no, but Ben said, "oh c'mon let her ask another one." BE STILL MY HEART!  So I asked what his favorite episode of Farscape was, and he said "the next one."  :-)  We all cheered... because much to the dismay of all, the show was canceled pre-maturely and left on a really difficult cliff-hanger.

I didn't think it was possible but I love him now more than ever.  I gotta say for a man of 51, he's still gorgeous.  And funny as all hell... but being that he's friends with Nathan Fillion, that's really no surprise now is it??   He lives in Malibu with his wife and kids (side note, his wife played a few different characters in Farscape but they were always Crichton's enemies and she was in such elaborate make up you would never recognize her.  I will leave the true fans to Google these tid-bits).
He told funny stories about his kids growing up in Australia where the show was filmed... his son being asked in kindergarten what his father did and his boy replying, "my dad is an astronaut."  The teacher, confused probed the matter further and his son kept insisting, "no he's an astronaut, I've been in his ship!"  Apparently this concerned the teacher a lot and called Ben in and he said, "yep, I'm an astronaut."  (Farscape fans gave a big laugh.)  His son also got to engage in lengthy conversations with Rygel (a muppet)... the puppeteer happy to let the conversation continue.

The backdrop for celebrities in the event room is black with lit stars, emulating space.  Ben kept looking back and acting as if he was floating.  It was pretty darn cute.

He was asked how much of himself was in the role of Crichton - and he explained that he was given a bit a free reign as far as the sci-fi pop culture references in Farscape.  I thought that was pretty cool.   Not only that, but he's a true geek... He was asked what character he would like to be in Firefly and he was stumped and eventually said, a male courtesan?  To which all the females cheered extensively.  He said he would be honored to be cast in any Joss Whedon production because he respects and likes his works immensely (another comment that got raucous cheers from the audience).  Ben was very athletic in high school, but he was also a dungeon master in D&D.  :-)  He knows all the sci-fi shows and made sure to watch all the seasons of Stargate before his role began.

He also amused and entertained everyone with tales of what it was like to film Stargate episodes in the arctic (and try to sleep in a tiny wooden shack with very large men).  I really can't quite emulate his humor in this blog post... he was always funny in his responses, not always answering the questions directly but still maintaining a respect for the fans.  I liked how the questions would lead him to humorous tangents about different filming experiences and how much credit he would give his fellow actors in making him look better.

All in all... it was a frelling fantastic two hours!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Isn't it amazing how much of our lives we spend 
seeking and demanding to be right? We can be 
right or we can be happy.

- Dr. Roger W. Teel
Consider this: Whatever we say about anybody else contains at its core an affirmation about ourselves.

- Dr. Roger W. Teel
"This most basic question, who am I, is the one that is most overlooked. We spend most of our days telling ourselves or the other we're someone important, someone unimportant, someone big, someone little, someone young, someone old. Never truly questioning its most basic assumption. Who are you, really? How do you know that is who you truly are? Is that true, really?

When you turn your attention to your question, who am I, perhaps you'll see an entity that has your face and your body. But, who is aware of that entity? Are you the object, or the awareness of the object? The object comes and goes. The parent, the child, the lover, the abandoned one, the enlightened one, the victorious one, the defeated one, these identifications all come and go. The awareness of these identifications is always present.

The misidentification of yourself as an object or awareness leads to extreme pleasure or extreme pain, and endless cycle of suffering. When you are willing to stop the misidentification and discover directly and completely that you are the awareness itself and not these impermanent definitions, the search for yourself and thoughts ends. When the question "Who" is followed innocently, purely, all the way back to its source, there is a huge astounding realization. There is no entity there at all. There is only the undefinable, boundless recognition of yourself as inseparable from anything else. You are free, you are whole, you are endless. . . Ganjali

"Everyone wants to be happy but what makes for lasting happiness? Interestingly, research is now validating ancient wisdom in many ways. Money, for example, is surprisingly ineffective-- it can alleviate the suffering of deprivation, but above a certain minimum does precious little to increase lasting happiness.

So what does work? Many things will bump up happiness temporarily, but long term is a very different matter. Researchers have found three thing that succeed in doing this. What are they?

1) Cultivating gratitude, and particularly effective is writing down something each day for which you feel grateful.

2) Reframing difficult experiences in a positive way. This, of course, is the old practice of looking for the silver lining.

3) Generosity. The old wisdom is true--in giving to others we give to ourselves, and the happy result is what's called a "helper's high.

May you be happy!"  -Roger Walsh