the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

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Transformers and A Hero’s Journey: The Ordinary World is not so Ordinary

The Monomyth cycle begins with “The Ordinary World”.  According to Christopher Vogler:

The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma.  The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history.  Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.

But we have yet to even meet the hero.  The movie instead starts with an ominous presentation of a strange, planet-like orb floating in space, then a peaceful planet called Lithone, inhabited by robots.  One scene is very reminiscent of ’80s culture of the time: robots chatting, laughing, and playing in what looks like a mall.  So what is this foreboding planet that descends on Lithone?

“It’s Unicron!”

With shades of the Death Star and Galactus (see my Silver Surfer posts), it becomes apparent that this Unicron intends to devour the planet, and it does– leaving only a solitary survivor that will be introduced later.

After the credits, we learn that not even the Transformers world (from the animated series thus far) is the same, or even ordinary.  The Autobots have lost their homeworld of Cybertron to the Deceptions, and have been forced to retreat to its moons.

In the next post of this series, we will find out what the Deceptions intend to do next, and meet Hot Rod, the hero of this tale, back at Autobot City on Earth.


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A Blogger’s Journey: The beginning

I still have trouble believing it.

I think I realized how long it’s been when Aussa prompted comments with a “How long have you been blogging?” question, in one of her posts.

Then I was reading Rara’s blog and saw her mentions of being 29 years old.  Looking back, I slowly realized that I started blogging when I was 29, too.  I had tried to think of what was happy when I was 29.  I thought of my daughter, when she was born, but that was a year earlier.  She brought such joy, but 2003, the year I began blogging, was filled with sadness and sorrow.


I created my account at LiveJournal on the 12th of November, 2003.  My first public post was the next day, with this quiz meme (reconstructed as the original code has been taken down):

You are Morpheus, from “The Matrix.” You have strong faith in yourself and those around you. A true leader, you are relentless in your pursuit.

It was a time of fluff– lots of users did these quizzes, posting the result.  Although some users wrote about their lives in the old journal/diary style that was common for the time, others were writing in the same style, for fictional characters.  I’d been drawn into LiveJournal by LARPers (Live Action RolePlayers).  The organization they were part of was known as the Camarilla (at that time), and so users were writing diaries as development for their characters– usually vampires and mages, for a horror-based setting.

I will save tales of woe concerning them for another time.  Know simply this, dear readers, was that so very many of them blurred the line between fantasy melodramatics and drama in their own personal lives.  And it brought out some of the worst in me.  I’d already been with them for about three years, if I remember right.

Anyways, I continued on with the meme fluff at LiveJournal until November 18th:

I got a job for the holidays! It’s work with Noerr Programs ( working as a Santa at the Columbia Center Mall. It’s full-time hours, Monday-Thursday, 10-8, $10/hour. My final interview included two hours on the floor playing the actual role and I got a photo of my daughter on my lap, which was actually sent to the regional manager, which I’m sure sealed the deal. I’m very excited.

Not to mention I can get off the dole for December and be rid of my case manager at DSHS for a little while…

This is the picture in question.  Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This is the picture in question. Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This was the first time I gave a hint to the ugly reality of that year.  The year previous, we had been homeless and bankrupt, and so we had stayed with a friend, whose marriage was ending while we were there.  We had moved to a fourplex, which brought horrors detailed in the 5 Truths, 1 Lie meme.  Both Cimmy and I were in welfare-to-work, because we were valiantly trying to be self-sufficient.  This dragged on until Cimmy had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the DSHS office, and Rhenda Stewart (the “battleaxe” of a case manager I mentioned in the quote) wormed it out of me that I was on psychiatric medicines, and then they pushed us to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

I had worked as a mall Santa before, but I didn’t get the job that year.  I had been walking the mall and an employee at the Pepperidge Farm kiosk tried to give me a sample, and I just couldn’t manage with that fake beard.  Noerr normally insists Santas have real beards, bleached white, but I did not have a long enough, full enough beard at that time.  This was my post on December 5:

Well, I found out the Santa gig won’t pan out… I got grounded because of a background check, and they just kept me hanging forever. I had to play phone tag between my case manager and the set until I finally found out the background check would take too long (and my case manager called me to tell me this… no, my employer couldn’t tell me that. Meanwhile, I was five days without money). I wish they would have just been straight with me. I had to reapply for benefits today, and the whole thing just rather cheesed me off.

By the way, Princess was only a year old in that photo.  Cimmy was worried she might freak out, as young children that age sometimes do, but she was fairly calm and serene.  She told me today that she knew it was me with my kind, smiling eyes.  (Tell me, how many of you are saying “Awww…” right now?)

Now what does this have to with the Hero’s Journey?  Well, this time I started blogging– I was already past The Ordinary World (outer), and the Limited Awareness of the Problem (inner).  This was well into the Call to Adventure, with its increased awareness of the need for change, but also the Refusal of the Call, with fear and resistance to that change.

Inner steps: 2. Increased awareness of need for change 3. Fear; Resistance to Change (from Christopher Vogler)

Inner steps:
2. Increased awareness of need for change
3. Fear; Resistance to Change
(from Christopher Vogler)

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: The hidden beginning