Thursday, December 25, 2008

Watchmen: Fox vs. logic= Fox wins... Fans lose (possibly)

Judge Says Fox Owns Rights to a Warner Movie

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Published: December 24, 2008

LOS ANGELES — In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the “Watchmen,” a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March.

The decision was disclosed in a five-page written order issued on Wednesday. Gary A. Feess, a judge in the United States District Court for Central California, said he would provide a more detailed order soon.

Fox has been seeking to prevent Warner from releasing the film. The superhero adventure, based on the “Watchmen” graphic novel, is being directed by Zack Snyder (who also directed “300”) and has shaped up as one of most eagerly anticipated releases for next year.

A Warner spokesman, Scott Rowe, declined to comment on the ruling and the studio’s plans.

At an earlier hearing, the judge said he believed that issues in the case could be settled only at a trial, which was scheduled for late January. On Wednesday, however, Judge Feess said he had reconsidered and concluded that Fox should prevail on crucial issues.

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said.

Fox acquired rights to the “Watchmen” graphic novel in the late 1980s for the producer Lawrence Gordon, but eventually dropped its own plan to make a movie from its story, about the underside of life for superbeings.

Mr. Gordon later pursued the project with Universal Pictures, and then with Paramount Pictures, before shooting it with Warner and Legendary under an arrangement that allows Paramount to distribute the film abroad.

In ruling on Wednesday, Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal.

“The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.

Now I call shenanigans. If I create something and sell the rights to a company to make a movie from it, but after 20 years, (let me repeat for emphasis, ahem... 20 YEARS) I should be able to bring it elsewhere to make a movie. Sure they should be reimbursed for what they spent to buy and maintain the copyright (though I believe they paid once and never paid any sort of additional fees) and then they are excluded from any further money generated by hard work done by someone else. I mean it is like asking for a job to be assigned to you. Rather than completing it you let the job sit undone, so long in fact that the person assigning said job assigns it to someone else. This guy (that takes it over) does a great job; he does so well he gets a bonus. Then you slide in and say 'hey I was assigned that job earlier but I didn't do it, but since I asked for it I deserve something.'

Argh. Shame on you Fox. Your version would have been a dreadful travesty anyways.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well I am working on finding entertainment then working on pages while the rest of the world does the xday thingy. So over the next 2 days I hope to get at least 2 or maybe even 3 pages layed out for ink! YAY!

New daily links: (god I want this movie to come out!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another thing off of the list of have to see before I die...

yep now I can match up my mind's eye from childhood with reality. and the cars really just appear to be normal cars, except they now go 300 mph.

Friday, December 19, 2008

children can be funny, but mostly scary

Seriously I will be adding a new blog tomorrow about the comic and I am finalizing page scripts so I am beginning initial pencils next week!

Montauk Monster, I know it is probably all over the net what this thing was but can someone please tell me it looks neat. And gross.

and everyone should check this page out it is great!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daily links and a promise

My birthday is tomorrow and I will return full force with a blog on Thursday about the comic where it is heading and some details on what I intend to do with it. I promise

for now though here are some internet faves to tide you over, as they say-

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Before there was DITA there was a girl named Betty...

9:17 PM PST, December 11, 2008
Bettie Page, the brunet pinup queen with a shoulder-length pageboy hairdo and kitschy bangs whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has died. She was 85.

Page, whose later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state mental institution, died Thursday night at Kindred Hospital in Los Angeles, where she had been on life support since suffering a heart attack Dec. 2, according to her agent, Mark Roesler.

A cult figure, Page was most famous for the estimated 20,000 4-by-5-inch black-and-white glossy photographs taken by amateur shutterbugs from 1949 to 1957. The photos showed her in high heels and bikinis or negligees, bondage apparel -- or nothing at all.

Decades later, those images inspired biographies, comic books, fan clubs, websites, commercial products -- Bettie Page playing cards, dress-up magnet sets, action figures, Zippo lighters, shot glasses -- and, in 2005, a film about her life and times, "The Notorious Bettie Page."

Then there are the idealized portraits of her naughty personas -- Nurse Bettie, Jungle Bettie, Voodoo Bettie, Banned in Boston Bettie, Maid Bettie, Crackers in Bed Bettie -- memorialized by such artists as Olivia de Berardinis.

"I'll always paint Bettie Page," De Berardinis said Thursday night . "But truth be told, it took me years to understand what I was looking at in the old photographs of her. Now I get it. There was a passion play unfolding in her mind. What some see as a bad girl image was in fact a certain sensual freedom and play-acting - it was part of the fun of being a woman."

"The origins of what captures the imagination and creates a particular celebrity are sometimes difficult to define," Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner said Thursday night. "Bettie Page was one of Playboy magazine's early playmates, and she became an iconic figure, influencing notions of beauty and fashion. Then she disappeared. . . . Many years later, Bettie resurfaced and we became friends. Her passing is very sad."

In an interview 2 1/2 years ago, Hefner described Page's appeal as "a combination of wholesome innocence and fetish-oriented poses that is at once retro and very modern."

According to her agents at CMG Worldwide, Page's official website,, has received about 600 million hits over the last five years.

"Bettie Page captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," said Roesler, chairman of the Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide, who was at Page's side when she died. "She was a dear friend and a special client and one of the most beautiful and influential women of the 20th century."

A religious woman in her later life, Page was mystified by her influence on modern popular culture. "I have no idea why I'm the only model who has had so much fame so long after quitting work," she said in an interview with The Times in 2006.

She had one request for that interview: that her face not be photographed.

"I want to be remembered," she said, "as I was when I was young and in my golden times. . . . I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."

Bettie Mae Page was born April 22, 1923, in Nashville. She was the oldest girl among Roy and Edna Page's six children. Her father, an auto mechanic, "molested all three of his daughters," Page said in the interview.

Her parents divorced in 1933, but life didn't get any easier for Bettie.

"All I ever wanted was a mother who paid attention to me," Page recalled. "She didn't want girls. She thought we were troubleWhen I started menstruating at 13, I thought I was dying because she never taught me anything about that."

After high school, Page earned a teaching credential. But her career in the classroom was short-lived. "I couldn't control my students, especially the boys," she said.

She tried secretarial work and marriage. But by 1948 she had divorced a violent husband and fled to New York City, where she enrolled in acting classes.

She was noticed on the beach at Coney Island by New York police officer and amateur photographer Jerry Tibbs, who introduced her to camera clubs.

Page quickly became a sought-after model, attracting the attention of Irving Klaw and his sister, Paula, who operated a mail-order business specializing in cheesecake and bondage poses.

Under contract with the Klaws, Page was photographed prancing around with a whip, spanking other women, even being hog-tied. She also appeared in 8-millimeter "loops" and feature-length peekaboo films with titles including "Betty Page in High Heels."

"I had lost my ambition and desire to succeed and better myself; I was adrift," Page recalled. "But I could make more money in a few hours modeling than I could earn in a week as a secretary."

Her most professional photographs were taken in 1955 by fashion photographer Bunny Yeager. They included shots of Page lounging with leopards, frolicking in the waves and deep-sea fishing, and a January 1955 Playboy centerfold of her winking under a Santa Claus cap while placing a bulb on a Christmas tree.

At 35, Page walked away from it all. She quit modeling and moved to Florida, where she married a much younger man whose passions, she later learned, were watching television and eating hamburgers.

Page fled from her home in tears after a dispute on New Year's Eve 1959. Down the street, she noticed a white neon sign over a little white church with its door open.

After quietly taking a seat in the back, she had a born-again experience. Page immersed herself in Bible studies and served as a counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade.

In 1967, she married for a third time. After that marriage ended in divorce 11 years later, Page plunged into a depression marked by violent mood swings. She got into an argument with her landlady and attacked her with a knife. A judge found her innocent by reason of insanity but sentenced her to 10 years in a California mental institution.

She was released in 1992 from Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County to find that she had unwittingly become a pop-culture icon. A movie titled "The Rocketeer" and the comic book that inspired it contained a Bettie-esque character, triggering a revival, among women as well as men, that continues unabated.

With the help of admirers including Hefner, Page finally began receiving a respectable income for her work.

In an interview published in Playboy magazine in 2007, Page expressed mixed feelings about her achievements.

"When I turned my life over to the lord Jesus I was ashamed of having posed in the nude," she said. "But now, most of the money I've got is because I posed in the nude. So I'm not ashamed of it now. But I still don't understand it."

She spent most of her final years in a one-bedroom apartment, reading the Bible, listening to Christian and country tunes, watching westerns on television, catching up on the latest diet and exercise regimens or sometimes perusing secondhand clothing stores.

Occasionally, however, Page was persuaded to visit the Sunset Boulevard penthouse offices of her agents at CMG Worldwide to autograph pinups of herself in the post-World War II years of her prime. The agency controls her image and those of Marilyn and Princess Diana among others.

During one such event in early 2006, Page needed about 10 minutes to get through the 10 letters of her name. As she pushed her pen over a portrait of her in a negligee with an ecstatic smile, she laughed and said, "My land! Is that supposed to be me? I was never that pretty."

She is survived by her brother Jack Page of Nashville, Tenn., and sister Joyce Wallace of Blairsville, Ga.

Triffids remake!

Why the love affair with man-eating plants?

Triffids from the BBC's 1981 adaption

By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

A new BBC adaptation is being made of The Day of the Triffids, but why are we still prepared to believe in a post-apocalyptic world roamed by flesh-eating semi-sentient plants? And do we have a love affair with fictionalised destruction?

Picture the scene. Something bad has happened. Very bad. The streets are deserted. The people are either dead or fled.

The cause could be a natural disaster - a volcano, a tsunami or an earthquake. It could even be something truly far-fetched - an alien invasion, giant lizards or a wave of famished zombies.

Mary Shelley: The Last Man (1826)
MP Shiel: The Purple Cloud (1901)
HG Wells: The Shape of Things to Come (1933)
George R Stewart: Earth Abides (1949)
Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)

But the explanation seems often to be man-made, misguided aggression or science gone wrong - accidentally released plague, nuclear war, or genetic modification gone awry.

This is one of Hollywood's favourite genres - the disaster movie. Look over the biggest grossing movies of recent years, and disaster movies are over-represented. Between them, Independence Day, I Am Legend and War of the Worlds took well over $2bn at the box office.

Within this category of disaster movies there is a a powerful sub-genre, the "post-apocalyptic fiction". Stories of a world having suffered, or in the last throes of, total collapse seem to have a perverse hold on the cinemagoer.

Deserted London

The modern incarnation of this genre has its roots in the febrile atmosphere of the 1950s, and perhaps its greatest pioneer was John Wyndham.

His 1951 novel The Day of the Triffids tells the story of a man, Bill Masen, who awakes in a hospital after treatment for temporary blindness caused by a sting from a genetically modified plant, a triffid.

The first 45 minutes of 28 Days Later are the first three chapters of The Day of the Triffids, marginally modified with the addition of zombies
Dr Barry Langford

Sensing he has been left unattended, he takes off his bandages to find the hospital is deserted. Upon leaving, Masen soon realises everybody has gone blind after witnessing spectacular lights in the sky the night before.

He, of course, was unable to watch the shower and has therefore retained his sight. The result of the epidemic of sightlessness is chaos and starvation, underpinned by a growing threat from the mysterious stinging triffids.

The tiny minority who have avoided blindness face difficult choices about how to continue their lives in a ravaged country, and how to deal with helpless blind survivors.

Its influence on some modern disaster films is apparent to any reader, says Dr Barry Langford, senior lecturer in film and television at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of the introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics version of Wyndham's novel.

"The first 45 minutes of 28 Days Later are the first three chapters of The Day of the Triffids, marginally modified with the addition of zombies."

Zombie lineage

Seeing a modern cinematic zombie lumbering unthinkably towards the hero or heroine as they try and make good their escape, it's not a massive leap to the triffids lumbering unthinkingly towards Bill Masen and Josella Playton, the resourceful heroine.
Armoured car in scene from 1981 adaption of The Day of The Triffids
Competing political views arise in the aftermath

Horrorphiles may trace the zombie lineage back to Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend, but the triffids made their literary debut three years earlier.

Wyndham's work played with the paranoia of the Cold War then seeping into ordinary people's subconscious. In his novel, both the rise of the triffids (farmed for their oil) and the putative explanation for the blindness (an accidental release of chemical or biological weapons orbiting in satellites) are byproducts of the Cold War.

And the idea of malevolent plant life has a certain appeal now, in a time where some people are increasingly concerned about the idea of genetically modified organisms.

"The triffids are perhaps to us a more potent threat than even in Wyndham's time," Dr Langford suggests.

Rising seas

Andy Sawyer, librarian at the Science Fiction Foundation Collection at the University of Liverpool, concurs. "It has become relevant. There is a lot more anxiety about bio engineering now."

Militaristic semi-feudalism
Polygamous pragmatism
Socialist idealism
Traditional morality

Apart from the triffids, Wyndham's other novels also cover topical issues. The Chrysalids tackles the idea of genetic mutation, possibly caused by nuclear war, and The Kraken Wakes tells of a world drowned by rising sea levels.

As well as meddling in nature, the relationship between cities and civilisation is a central theme in Wyndham's work.

At the heart of The Day of the Triffids is the idea that without cities there can be no civilisation. After everybody goes blind, the survivors cannot hope to sustain life in the cities. Pavements are soon cracked by weeds and streets overgrown.

"The empty city is a really powerful visual motif for the end of the world as we know it," says Dr Langford.

And in Wyndham's novel, the division of labour - and pampered lives - in modern society leaves people singularly ill-equipped where there is suddenly a battle for survival itself. One character rages that a group of women are unable to restart a generator.

Strange fantasy

"There is always a very strong sense of do we actually have the reserves to sustain ourselves? Have we become insufficiently robust?" says Dr Langford.

Wyndham's work provides a bridge from the work of HG Wells, Jules Verne and others, to the disaster and apocalypse fiction of today. It is as popular as it is today because it taps into a strange fantasy - a world in which we have avoided an all-embracing death and can do what we want.

Science gone wrong
Ordinary man as hero
End of urban living
Need for old-fashioned skills
Competing political visions

"It's living on past the death of everything, living into a future that isn't mapped out and doesn't resemble anything we know," he says.

"When we die, everything ends, but in these stories that's inverted - everything ends but we get to live on. It is the world evacuated of everyone else. You can go into shops and have everything you want, live in any house you want."

And Wyndham's writing expounds an idea that is the template for many a modern film - the ordinary man, and ordinary woman, who have to take on a heroic mantle.

"He does follow that Wellsian tactic of making extraordinary things happen in ordinary circumstances. He saw himself as very much in the tradition of HG Wells rather than the American space opera," says Sawyer.

Wyndham also follows Wells in embedding an overtly political aspect in his science fiction. In the world that Bill Masen confronts, there are a number of different models for how to build society in the aftermath of the disaster.

Wyndham certainly did not invent disaster or post-apocalyptic fiction, and many of his ideas had precursors in earlier authors. But the way he expanded and expounded his ideas, and his popularisation of the nascent genre to a mainstream audience, make him an immense figure in science fiction.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Damnit I have to post something to move that video down a bit. so here is this:

and this:

looks like I need one more to fix this:

Daily links and an apology.

Sorry about the lack of posts this week people. I have been hunting down proper reference for more of the settings for the comic then BAM I will be working through the initial pages and getting a feel for the look I want for this story.

Here is a few links to tide you over til I can post in a few days again:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman r.i.p.

Forrest J Ackerman, who discovered Ray Bradbury, credited with coining term sci-fi, dead at 92
12-05-2008 3:38 PM
By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (Associated Press) -- Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with coining the term "sci-fi," has died. He was 92.

Ackerman died Thursday of heart failure at his Los Angeles home, said Kevin Burns, head of Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Ackerman's estate.

Although only marginally known to readers of mainstream literature, Ackerman was legendary in science-fiction circles as the founding editor of the pulp magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. He was also the owner of a huge private collection of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia that for years filled every nook and cranny of a hillside mansion overlooking Los Angeles.

"He became the Pied Piper, the spiritual leader, of everything science fiction, fantasy and horror," Burns said Friday.

Every Saturday morning that he was home, Ackerman would open up the house to anyone who wanted to view his treasures. He sold some pieces and gave others away when he moved to a smaller house in 2002, but he continued to let people visit him every Saturday for as long as his health permitted.

"My wife used to say, 'How can you let strangers into our home?' But what's the point of having a collection like this if you can't let people enjoy it?" an exuberant Ackerman told The Associated Press as he conducted a spirited tour of the mansion on his 85th birthday.

His collection once included more than 50,000 books, thousands of science-fiction magazines and such items as Bela Lugosi's cape from the 1931 film "Dracula.

His greatest achievement, however, was likely discovering Bradbury, author of the literary classics "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles." Ackerman had placed a flyer in a Los Angeles bookstore for a science-fiction club he was founding and a teenage Bradbury showed up.

Later, Ackerman gave Bradbury the money to start his own science-fiction magazine, Futuria Fantasia, and paid the author's way to New York for an authors meeting that Bradbury said helped launch his career.

"I hadn't published yet, and I met a lot of these people who encouraged me and helped me get my career started, and that was all because of Forry Ackerman," the author told the AP in 2005.

Later, as a literary agent, Ackerman represented Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and numerous other science-fiction writers.

He said the term "sci-fi" came to him in 1954 when he was listening to a car radio and heard an announcer mention the word "hi-fi.
"My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,'" he recalled.

Soon he was using it in Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine he helped found in 1958 and edited for 25 years.

Ackerman himself appeared in numerous films over the years, usually in bit parts. His credits include "Queen of Blood," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," "Amazon Women on the Moon," "Vampirella," "Transylvania Twist," "The Howling" and the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video. More recently, he appeared in 2007's "The Dead Undead" and 2006's "The Boneyard Collection.
Ackerman returned briefly to Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 1990s, but he quickly fell out with the publisher over creative differences. He sued and was awarded a judgment of more than $375,000.

Forrest James Ackerman was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 1916. He fell in love with science-fiction, he once said, when he was 9 years old and saw a magazine called Amazing Stories. He would hold onto that publication for the rest of his life.

Ackerman, who had no children, was preceded in death by his wife, Wendayne.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the subject of violence...

I have decided the graphic novel (title pending chapter 1's completion) will have violence where necessary to the story, for example -the opening scene is a gun battle on the streets of a "NYC inspired" city between rival gangs in car. Bullets flying, car crashes, people screaming and taking cover. I have decided however, there is a point that I feel is over the top. I decided this last night while watching the 2008 offering "Rambo".
Now before anyone hints at censorship, or suggestion of it. Before anyone decries I am old and am outgrowing violence- please remember who you are talking about. I love violence if it is a necissary part of a story. Not every story toldd can be hugs and handshakes. There are many times in life that violence is a direct result of decisions made, or for that matter desicions left un-made.
Now for those of you have not seen this movie I will tell you I spent much of my time watching this wondering if it is steroids or plastic surgery that has made Sylvester look the way he does in the movie. A 62 year old Sly Stallone dusted off his red headband and m-16 to take part in this blood bath. He is huge even compared to his former self. (See picture below.) He looks like a giant version of himself.
Now don't get me wrong I am a fan of explosions, bullets flying, people flying, people diving over stuff whilst shooting guns and screaming, blood and explosions (yes, I am aware I wrote explosions twice.) But this movie takes it to the extreme in two ways. Ok, let's start with the high body count- at 93 minutes it is the shortest of all 4 movies and far surpasses the rest. When released Rambo 3 was called the most violent film of all time*, but the new movie destroys the record. I mean the violence is pretty much contained in the second 2/3rds of the movie so it really is like 236 kills packed into an hour. The first three movies have a grand total of approximately 169 dead. That is a pretty high death toll, seeing that in the nightmare on elm street movies doesnt even come close to those numbers. niether does Jason Vorhees in the Friday the 13th movies. (as a side note both of those series are far beyond 4 movies and still they arent close to these numbers)
Secondly, the gore isn't silly because of suffering it becomes silly becuase of the sheer amount of it. There are so many explosions causing body parts to be thrown freely in this movie, you begin to see dismembered limbs bouncing off of other dismembered bits, like some sort of ghoulish high-five. There isn't enough screen to contain it all. There had to be an army of assistants that where in charge of throwing limbs, bits as well as buckets of blood.
Again, I say I am going to have violence when the story needs it, but it shouldn't be so prevalent that it is the focus because it all become self parody. Having a touching moment while killing someone at the same time, yeah, those arent the stories I am telling I guess.
Let us not even start with how this is acceptable in the US but full frontal nudity, never mind nudity at all is seen as the beginning of the end of the world.

Ah, foriegn film, my old friend how I missed you. C'mon Delicatessen, lets kick back and watch a little Amelie and talk politics with City of lost children. Maybe, Toto the hero will make popcorn for all of us while we take in Das boot. Damn, ok who invited Hardboiled? Ok I guess you can stay my blood soaked, bullet riddled friend.

John Rambo circa 1982 john rambo circa 2008

*The 1990 Guinness World Records deemed Rambo III the most violent film ever made, with 221 acts of violence, at least 70 explosions, and over 108 characters killed on-screen. However, the body count of the fourth film in the series, Rambo, surpassed that record, with 236 kills and an average of 3.2 kills per minute...Rambo holds the record with the most kills out of the entire Rambo series, with
263 kills ;[2] also the number is more than that of the previous three movies combined. Stallone justified this in a press conference by saying "the violence in the film was to underline the ongoing problems in Burma"-wikipedia

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More "daily" links

More links for you, are to follow- but before that I am asking people that come here (which I fear may only be ME) for volunteers when the time arrives to proofread my graphic novel as it comes. By doing this I not only get some feedback but I also am setting deadlines for myself and that will insure a reasonable amount of work output. (In other words if I work with no deadlines i may never get this done. If I have concrete deadlines I will work to keep close if not to schedule.)

here are you links for today:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I have been reading, and rereading blogs and essays about self publishing written by artists I admire. Jeff Smith creator of Bone(BONE RULES!) invited Colleen Doran a talented artist in her own right to write about her experiences with self publishing in the medium on his popular Boneville blog page. Dave Sim creator if Cerebus,(and though Dave has proved himself sexist on numerous occasions) with 300 issues spanning decades of work; it is hard to ignore as an accomplishment of the highest when it comes to the realm of self publishing, and his subsequent essays on the subject have been helpful as well.*

After reading numerous essays and books on comics, the graphic novel and about the art-form itself I have come to this realization: Story is of paramount importance, overshadowing nearly everything, except concept. You can have a great story but if the characters are unappealing, cliche, corny, trite or just plain dull- no one is going to care about your story. It is for this reason entire sections of my original concepts, notes even plot points have been revised. I am looking for a balance between classic and innovative. A fine line it can be trying to make a "classic" styled character (because of story purposes)without marching headlong into cliche territory.

I am hoping that with the designs I have been working on I hope will be interesting and not overly stale.

artwork by the amazing Jeff Smith!

*If anyone knows of any other great essays on the subject I am always looking for more motivation