Rick Riordan and Turning a Book into a Movie

percy jackson If are more then a casual fan of this blog then you know that I am a huge Rick Riordan fan.  I know he writes for kids but I find his writing to be so clever and charming.  He has introduced to stories and myths that I didn’t know before or had forgotten.  He has widen his universe to be the most inclusive in children’s literature.  He uses his voice and privilege to ally and uplift other voices that don’t always get the spotlight.  To put it simply.  Rick is a good egg.  He is also been one of the biggest critics of the movies of his own books.  While the way he trolls them is amusing it does highlight the difference between the two mediums and how as much as we think Authors have a say in the movies based on their work, they don’t.  We all have a favorite book that was completely ruined by it’s movie.  For fans of Percy Jackson the movie is just terrible and almost unrecognizable to the books.  The choices that the filmmakers chose made it almost impossible to make it a franchise.  I think they realized it with the second movie and tried to fix it but it was already too late.  A problem that Rick foresaw when the filmmaker’s asked for his opinion.  Today, Rick posted a blog post where he details the email conversations with the filmmaker’s and how little power he had in the process.  It’s an interesting read and I suggest taking a few minutes to read.

First, it kills any possibility of a movie franchise. I don’t know if you or your staff have had the chance to read farther than The Lightning Thief in the Percy Jackson series, but there are four other volumes. The series is grounded on the premise that Percy must progress from age twelve to age sixteen, when according to a prophecy he must make a decision that saves or destroys the world. I assume that XXXX would at least like to keep open the option of sequels assuming the first movie does well. Starting Percy at seventeen makes this undoable. I’m also sure that XXXXX (for) the first Harry Potter movie, some in the studio argued for making the characters older to appeal to a teen audience. Fortunately, they took the long view and stayed true to the source material, which allowed them to grow a lucrative franchise. This would’ve been impossible if they’d started Harry at seventeen. The same principle applies here.

Memories from my TV/Movie Experience

This Month in Reality: Sit Still Already 

I’ve been thinking about starting a meditation practice for awhile now and last month’s Relovution reminded me of that. So, I’ve started one. I’ve been using Stop, Breathe and Think. And, it hasn’t been too bad! 

So, for this month I’m going to talk about two books that are of a the Buddhist/meditation perspective. (One that I just listened to and one that I admittedly read awhile ago).

Awhile back I read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. I was having a rough time because it was winter and I had sinus infections that I couldn’t shake and I was pretty bummed out. And, the title just caught me. It seemed pretty apt for my situation (because I’m overly dramatic so, of course, my life was falling apart because I never saw the sun and I was on antibiotics). Two things from the book stuck with me: the idea that even terrible situations have something to offer us (other than their terribleness) and that we should practice loving-kindness. Loving-kindness has a particular meaning here and refers to a practice of gentleness, compassion, flexibility and forgiveness. Mostly I remember that this idea of loving-kindness (maitri is the word Chödrön used for it) means being gentle and as someone who can be sharp tongued, being reminded of the importance of gentleness is always something I need. Chödrön talked for a long while about starting this practice with yourself. Yes, you mess up sometimes. Yes, you are uncomfortable. Yes, things hurt and you can’t always fix them or make them better. But, you can be gentle with yourself. You can be gentle with others. You might not be able to make something better, but you can, at the very least, not make it worse by being hard and inflexible. This book is full of discussions of Buddhist practice and how practice is important in difficult times.

The second book for this month isn’t actually a book. Mindful Living is a series of audio recordings of lectures given by Thich Nhat Hahn at a retreat that have been compiled for our listening pleasure. This audio recording is a nice example of what the audio format can do that you don’t see in books. It is really neat to be able to hear the monk’s words in his own voice. I enjoyed the lectures. My favorite of the lectures talked about thinking about what your face was like before you were born. We, none of us, came from nothing so it is an interesting exercise to ponder where we came from and how we have been influenced by things. I liked all of the little reminders of how to be mindful and how to make reminders to be present and to enjoy the experience of being you.
This is was interesting audiobook and I recommend it if you know a little about mindfulness and you are interested in expanding your understanding of it.

So, there you have it. One book and one lecture series both of which are worth a look! Yay!

Dear Stackologist: You seem to know about love and reincarnation

Dear Stackologist,

I read your column and you seem to have some idea of how to deal with love and reincarnation. I have a love and reincarnation problem. Um, the world might end because of my one true love and me. I know, sorry everyone. I really love him, he’s great. Our friends are great. But, in order to save the world I have to be careful and keep a low profile. This has meant that I’ve had to stay away from my family and I really miss them. Do you have any advice for how to keep in touch with your family without blowing your cover?

Love Gives You Wings

Dear Wings,

Pre-paid cell phone? Hotmail account you and your parents both have a password to that you save messages to the drafts folder in? I don’t know, I’m a blogger not a spy, Jim. I am happy that you are trying to reach out and keep in touch with your family, though. And, I’m happy that you really love your guy and that he is great. I do worry for you, though. Separating someone from their support structure, the people who know and love them is also a tactic used by abusers. Please do find a way to reach out to your family and keep in touch with them. Please be careful with yourself while you’re saving the world.

-The Stackologist

Dear Stackologist,

I recently spent some time in prison. It’s complicated. As I’m sure you’re aware, the government is corrupt and has been targeting minority populations for oppression, marginalization and extermination. Before I was, uhm, released from prison, my keeper and I had a chance to get to know each other and come to trust each other. I see him as a strong ally in my fight against a corrupt government. I also maybe see him as a bit more. (I think he feels the same way, too.) However, I’m afraid to admit to my feelings because I think my friends will see our relationship as nothing more than Stockholm Syndrome. I just don’t know how to approach this topic with them.

Prison Tat

Dear Prison Tat,

Life is complicated, isn’t it? I think it’s great that you were able to find an ally (and maybe more!) in such a horrifying situation. I also think it is wonderful that you have kept strong ties with your friends. I think you have to ask yourself some hard questions but it sounds like your head is in the right place and I feel like you’ll come to the right decision for you. First, are you afraid that your friends will think you have Stockholm Syndrome because part of you also might feel that way? Really examine your feelings and their origins. If you think you might be coming to identify with your captors then I think you may want to consider a cooling off period without you ally with benefits. If you aren’t, and your feelings, like the world around you, are complicated but coming from a good place, then you should consider being honest with your friends and frankly discussing your feelings. Discussing your feelings with people who care for you will let them know you still trust and value their opinion. It may also help you gain new perspective on your situation. Most of all, it will help to reinforce your support system and if you’re about to take on a corrupt government, you’re going to need that. Finally, we here at Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy have always found that the traditional view on Valentine’s Day, where you focus on romantic love, is misguided. Saint Valentine was martyred for marrying people who was told not to marry. He stood up for what he believed in and fought the power. Today is a day for bold and revolutionary acts. So, today, we here at Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy stand up with you against your corrupt government and say:

Vive la Révolution!

The Stackologist

Dear Stackologist: Life is Full of Tough Choices

Dear Stackologist,

I am married. I thought I would be happy to be married to my husband.  He is exactly the type of man I should be married to as we come from the same background and status but he isn’t my true love.  That belongs to my father’s ward.  He would be unsuitable to marry, I know but we are kindred spirits.  We used to run all over the moors together.  I think what makes me the most unhappy is that my love has ran off with my husband’s sister and married her.  I think I was much happier when he was mine and mine alone.  Am I wrong to be so down?  I just might die if I can’t have him.

Lonely on the Moors.

Dear Moors,

First of all, I feel like you got married for the wrong reasons.  While it might be important to please your family, this is your life and not theirs so if you are not happy with your husband then maybe it’s time for a divorce.  Chances are, if you are not happy neither is he.  As for your other issue, I’m not sure you really love him but want to possess him.  That’s not exactly healthy.  If he has gotten married, you should respect his decision but again I do worry about his reasons for marriage too but that’s for another letter.  Also I’m a little worried about you saying you will die without him.  No man is worth dying for.  Life is full disappointments and you must learn to live with them.  Nor can you expect someone to stay single just because you want them too.  You moved on, you have to allow that they will move on, too.



Dear Stackologist,

I really like this guy but we sort of met under unusual situation.  He’s funny, and charming and also an addict.  He traded in doing drugs and alcohol for another vice, so to speak, but he still partakes in self destructive behavior.  I couldn’t take it. I could not stay and watch him destroy himself. So, I left. I moved to California with my Mom.  I have my own problems to deal with like my brother’s death and my parent marital problems (they’re divorcing).  I don’t need to his on top of that.  I thought I was getting over him when one day he showed up at my job.  Now all the feelings I had for him are back but I’m not sure I can trust him. He says he is no longer doing what he was doing but I just don’t know.  I’m not sure I can let him back into my life.

Ugh. I can’t believe I’m one of those letter-writing girls

Dear Letter-Writer,

I think it’s brave that you saw that you were in a bad situation and you took yourself out of it.  It’s not easy, especially when it involves someone that you care about. It sounds like you are going through a difficult time right now and by taking him out of the equation you are on the right path.  I think this is one of those cases where the only person that can truly help them is them.  It’s obviously difficult now that he is back in your life.  You want to believe he is better and maybe he is but more importantly, how are you?  Who is supporting you? Who is helping you cope with your brother’s death and your parents’ separation?  I think you need to deal with you first before him.  If he cares for you, then he will wait for to get yourself back together.


Dear Stackologist: Love Advice for the Young and Literary

During this week ending in Valentine’s Day, we here at Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy will be offering our advice to any heroines or heroes who see fit to send us a missive.

Dear Stackologist,

My fiance and I have reached a sticky spot in our relationship. We’re going to be married before the end of summer and we’ve never…you know. Whenever we talk about it, he tells me that he doesn’t think we’re ready, that he’s worried about the state of my soul and he’s also really worried that he’ll hurt me. (He’s very strong!) I see his reasoning, I guess. If he’s worried about my soul, I should just let it go. But, I’m ready to move on to the next stage of our relationship and it is frustrating! help! I’m not sure what to do!


Dear Vamps4Eva,

A relationship is about give and take. Sometimes, you don’t get exactly what you want but that’s okay because your partner is happy and there will come a time when you’re happy but they didn’t get exactly what they wanted. If you are happy enough with the compromise, then you can go ahead and continue on with the relationship as is. If you aren’t happy with the compromise, you should tell your partner how you feel. You should use I-statements (“I feel this…”)

My bigger concern is this: He is very strong and concerned that he’ll hurt you and he is telling you what to do with your body. You are in charge of your body. No one else is. And, I recommend being wary of anyone trying to warn you off because “they might hurt you”. This is a move often made by abusers to put themselves in a position of power over someone. They warn you off, you keep on, and then when something bad happens instead of dealing with the bad, getting angry, leaving, a victim will blame themselves for not listening to the original warning and stay and possibly get hurt more. I recommend talking to someone, a family member, a friend and making sure that you really are safe.

Finally, I know this is a hard to think about, pending nuptials and everything, but sometimes relationships fail because you and your partner want different things. Sometimes those things can be part of your physical relationship. It is a huge bummer but it is better that you realize it before the wedding than after. Think really hard about if this relationship is really what you want and really meets your needs, physical and emotional. Relationships are about compromise, but you can’t compromise on your needs.

-The Stackologist

Dear Stackologist,

I recently met this dude and he’s super hot and we get along really well together and I think I’m falling in love. Maybe for the second time? I discovered recently that in my past life he was indirectly responsible for my death. I also just discovered that he was directly responsible for a recent wave of genocide against my people.

But, I know he’s been abused by his father and he may have started the genocide as revenge for my death. I’m so torn. How do I reconcile my anger with him and my love for him?

Blue from head to toe

Dearest, Blue,

Wow. I am so sorry, well, sorry doesn’t even cover it, to hear about the genocide against your people. That is a serious trauma and I recommend that you seek some counseling for that. And, if sounds like your dude might also be suffering from some trauma related to your death. I recommend that he also seek some counseling. It sounds like what you need is to have a serious discussion (or series of discussions) about his involvement in the genocide and possibly your death. And, you need to decide what you are willing to forgive and what you’re willing to live with. Sometimes, things don’t work out not because of how we feel but because of bigger concerns. But, sometimes they do.

-The Stackologist