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New Zealand: Devonport Brings Victorian Seaside, Shopping, and Creativity Together

Devonport Fish Fountain

A ferry ride to Devonport comes with the Auckland Explorer Bus Tour. We were able to use our ticket on the day after we had done the hop on, hop off experience. Devonport is a small suburb of Auckland that is full of quaint shops and cafes. If you like shopping and eating, this is the place to go.

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New Zealand: A Short Survey of New Zealand’s Creativity

Hobbiton in New Zealand

The Arts Council of New Zealand is dedicated to opening the world to the arts of New Zealand. It facilitates creative exchanges and helps fund everyday artists and their works. Called “Creative New Zealand,” the organization is funded by the government and confirms New Zealand’s dedication to the arts and their proliferation.

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Why Have I Chosen These Titles for My Poll?

Writing a book isn’t as simple as having an idea and running with it, or at least, it isn’t for me. Writer’s need to consider what will sell, what they have inspiration for, and what their writing plans are. It’s a lot convoluted and other writers have different ways of working. For the moment, these are the titles that I can work on and why they’re included in the poll.

Extermination of the Ice Goddess – This book is about a boy who is recruited into an army that wants to eliminate the Ice Goddess. His companion is a different species. Together, they go out into the world, find the worshippers of the Ice Goddess and destroy their power sources. I’ve already got a part of the story written. I’ve been shopping it to magazines, but I think I can grow it into a trilogy or more. “No man follows the goddesses.”

Rod Serling and the Fifth Dimension – I don’t have all the materials I would like to use for research, but I do have much of them. This examination of the Twilight Zone and its creator would take time; there are five seasons of the original Twilight Zone. But it would be fun to examine his genius and what the Twilight Zone has to say about creativity. My copy of “As I Knew Him” is in Oregon, but that’s a minor problem. This could be used for comic convention presentations.

Saturday Mornings in the 1980s: A Study in Creativity – This would be a book full of nostalgia and it would examine everything about my Saturday mornings in the 1980s. Cereal, cartoons, and commercials would make up the largest components of this book. It would be fun and a lot of research.

Reimagining Tomorrow: Essays and Short Stories – There are a lot of dystopias out there and few utopias. With this book, I want to present a positive vision of the future and something we can work towards. This one will take research and brain power. It’s a little outside what I feel I can do properly, and I’m not sure I could get others to participate in an anthology style without coming up with some sort of payment. (I tried it with the “Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” and only two others participated – Thanks, mom and Darren!)

The Jungle Cruise Is Creativity – The third in the Disneyland Is Creativity series! The Jungle Cruise is one of the original attractions at Disneyland and opened in 1955, which means it has an anniversary next year. These books give me a presentation to pitch to comic conventions that may want Disney related content at their event. They are also my best-selling books. I would do this one a little bit differently because I want to examine the inspiration behind the Jungle Cruise, including “the African Queen” and the imagineers who made it successful, like Bill Evans. Also, no single tour can cover all of the humor in the Jungle Cruise since it changes with each skipper. I don’t have access to all of the information I would need, but I’m okay with that because I think I could get access to much of it by changing my entertainment provider.

Snow Wh-Island – That’s just a working title. I’ve also thought about “Fairy T-Isles.” Still a work in progress. This would be in the style and world of “The Pirate Union.” It wouldn’t be a sequel or a prequel; it would just be its own story. Something funny, something crazy, something weird, and maybe something timely. It’s hard to say what this story would actually be, though I have three chapters outlined, I have no idea where it would end up. Since my collaborator for “The Pirate Union” is no longer available for collaboration (or is he?), it will be a little more difficult to pull of the amazing humor and directions the PU took. Still it could be funny.

The Creativity Workbook – I don’t know if this needs another title, but basically, I have three sections outlined. This would be an intro to why the idea is important, and then how to improve your skills in that area. For example, believing that you’re creative is the first step to becoming more creative. The workbook explains why you’re creative, why you should believe it, and then it takes you through several different activities so that you can prove to yourself that you are creative. This book would contain fewer words than most books because it is a workbook.

Penguinate! At the Movies – This would be the easiest for me to pull together. It would consist of reviews of movies and essays inspired by the movies, most of which I have already published on my websites somewhere. I would just need to take them down, format them and then get a book cover. This would be the third in The Penguinate! series, which has been my least successful in terms of sales. Part of that is probably due to the title of the first one, which is in the process of changing to “Penguinate! Positive Creativity.”

Star Trek and Creativity: Where No One Has Gone Before – This would take a lot of research, and I only have access to part of it at the moment. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future is fascinating and should be great fuel for a book about creativity and moving toward that future. I don’t have access to any of the books, but I still think I could work this correctly and then use it for comic convention presentations.

So that’s a little bit about the books in my poll. If you haven’t voted already, please do. Thanks.

P.S. I have other titles that didn’t make the poll list because nine was already enough (Why didn’t I keep it to eight?) and I don’t have the necessary materials to make them happen. “My Life in the Peace Corps,” “Ray Bradbury and the Theater of Creativity,” and “My Life in the Soviet Union” are all under future consideration as is “My Life at Disneyland” though I don’t know exactly which direction, I’m going to take with that one, it’ll involve having to go through my stuff that is stored at mom’s.

There may be more ideas floating around, but I have to find the notes about them. For the moment, I’m just considering the nine that are in the poll.

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Did You Catch the Creativity Secrets in the Countdown?

Hatched penguins with egg
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Do You Know How Many Articles I Can Write on Creativity in a Month?

Have you ever wanted to know how many articles I could write on creativity in a month? Generally, I spread my writing out with travel articles, movie and book reviews, penguins and Disney-related material. Oftentimes, there’s an overlap between these subjects and creativity; sometimes, I don’t point the overlap out. What does this have to do with anything?

For the last week of July at our Patreon page, I am issuing a challenge to you, the members of my Patreon and myself. For every five new members that pledge at any level, I will write an article about creativity for all of the Penguinators. If 20 people join, I will write 4 articles for the challenge and one because that’s what I normally write. If 50 people join, I will write 10 articles plus one or more depending on the other goals we achieve. If 150 people join, I will write 30 articles plus one or more depending on the other goals we achieve. That would be at least one a day for the month of August!

I’m pretty confident I can write one a day because I’ve been able to do that at my website for the last 210 days. In fact, I think I can write as many as five articles a day, but that would mean 750 people would have to sign up at our Patreon page.

If you want to know how many articles on creativity I can write over the course of a month, you’ll need to join our Patreon and encourage your friends, family members and colleagues to join. Will you accept the challenge to find out what I am capable of? Let’s find out.

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2 Episodes In: ‘Instant Hotel’

australia traveling travelling travel

When someone does something with passion and the do it well, it’s a joy to watch them be rewarded. In the second episode, Jannine and Mark have a ‘50s-inspired Instant Hotel that’s amazing. The other guests love it, too. When they tell the couple how they feel, Jannine and Mark tear up. It’s a beautiful moment that’ll touch your heart strings, too.

As a series, “Instant Hotel” is fun. Because the participants are Australian, I’m never sure what I’m going to get. Sure, they speak English, but the cultures are different enough to catch an American off guard. So far, they tend to stick with their stereotypes: The two gay guys, the spoiled little girl who can’t get out of bed and her enabling mother, and the young couple with the wife who is spoiled but “in a different way.” But most of them seem to be enjoying themselves. The competition is bound to ratchet up as the mother-daughter team look to bring down the gay-team, but for the moment, there are only seeds for this future conflict.

I don’t normally watch reality television shows, but “Instant Hotel” is a good time that has a different cultural element to it. If you want to diversify your viewing habits and watch something that you don’t normally watch, this show is a good choice. Improve your creativity by replenishing your well and learning about instant hotels in Australia.

For more on creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Get “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”

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Ogden UnCon 2019 Schedule: First Look

The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity cover

I am attending Ogden UnCon as an artist and vendor, which means I will be spending a lot of time at my table with my wife Jenya and author Drue M. Scott selling books and penguins while enjoying the cosplayers and conversations that happen at an event like this. I won’t get much time to do anything more than go to my own panel on Sunday at 11:30 am – “The Haunted Mansion: 50 Years of Creativity.”

However, that can’t stop me from enjoying the idea of going to panels and making up an imaginary schedule of the ones I would attend. Since this is a first look, panels are subject to change. Since this is the first time I have ever attended the Ogden UnCon, it’s hard to say what the entry into events and panels will be like, so I will choose one thing that I absolutely must do and work around that event or panel. Also, it’s important to note that rooms will be cleared in between panels, so being in the room at the panel before the one you won’t help. VIPs get “line teleportation” but must show up 10 minutes before the start of the panel.

Friday Panels

On Friday, it looks like the only question for me would be whether I should go to “The Philosophy of Spoilers” or “How to Turn Your Blog into a Book Production Machine.” I’m not exactly sure what will be discussed in the “Philosophy of Spoilers.” It could go so many ways, and that’s its appeal. Blog-into-book would allow me to learn the philosophy of taking blog posts and turning them into books, which, as you know if you’ve seen either “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories” or “Penguinate! The Disney Company,” could be extremely useful for me. They happen at the same time, so I’m unsure which I would choose, but I’m leaning toward Blog-into-book even though I think Spoilers could be amazing.

At 1:00, Jack Stauffer who was on the original “Battlestar Galactica” will have a panel. I have met Dirk Benedict at Malta Comics and Pop Culture Expo and Richard Hatch during a Salt Lake Comic Con press conference. Seeing Stauffer on stage would allow me to fill out my BSG check list if I had such a thing. Maybe I should dig out my Viper from the ‘70s.

At 3:00, I would head to “Aim to Misbehave: Firefly/Serenity.” Utah has historically had a large contingent of dedicated Browncoats. This panel is sure to be a blast.

If I can get from the Firefly panel to the Star Trek panel featuring Tracee Lee Cocco at 4:00 pm, I would do so. They are in the same venue and close to each other. I don’t think I would have to choose between the two; it might be possible to check out of the Browncoats rally early to experience the Next Generation.

OMG! “Land of the Lost!” This is one of those shows I grew up with but left my memory until Ogden UnCon reminded me of it. With all of the celebs for this panel, this is the one must-do of the day. There shouldn’t be any problems getting there unless I stop for food. It’s scheduled for 6:00 pm.

Saturday Panels

At 10:30 am, Mort Castle is scheduled to present “The Story of a Story: Imagination + Reality.” I’m interested in hearing his thoughts on imagination because a lot of what’s out there, academically speaking, is tied too closely to creativity. It seems like imagination is often the forgotten ingredient in creating.

At 11:00, “The Land of the Lost” panel gets a second engagement. If I missed the one from the night before, I would definitely hit this one.

What I assume is the major draw for this UnConvention, the “Black Sails” panel is at 1 pm. I haven’t seen any episodes, yet, but I’m going to get Netflix to help me change that, so I’d have some context.

“Run, Holly, Run!” is at 4 pm and will have Kathy Coleman talking about her acting experience and her book. It’s a book I’ll have to pick up, even if I’m not going to the panel. Anyone know where I can get a copy?

Sunday Panels

Sunday would be my packed day. With so many great panels competing for my attention, I would certainly miss out on something. The panels I would go to are dependent on why I was at the UnCon. At 10, “The Bestiary of HP Lovecraft” is competing with Phil Paley’s presentation on creating a safe haven for Monarch Butterflies in your backyard. I used to cover conventions as a social activism journalist, but I enjoyed “The Call of Cthulu.” It’s a toss-up, and they both compete with the 10:30 starting “How to Become an Author of Change” panel, which butts up against “Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion: 50 Years of Creativity” at 11:30.

So, while I would love to attend the Author of Change Panel, I’m leaning toward Monarch Butterflies, which gives me enough time to get to my own panel.

I’ve got stiff competition during the same time as my panel. Tracee Lee Cocco of Star Trek fame is at 11:30. Chris Kattan is at noon as is the “new Lost in Space” panel. How do you choose? I’ll miss those because I’ll be presenting on the Haunted Mansion and creativity.

This is my bare bones UnCon schedule if I were to go as a fan. As a reporter, I would stuff the schedule more. Of course, there are a lot of panels, things to do, artists on the floor you should visit, and I haven’t covered most of them. So, which panels would you attend? And which artists, vendors and activities are looking forward to the most? Leave your comments below.

You can get tickets to Ogden UnCon here (takes you off site). Don’t miss out on penguins or books, preorder your swag from our table here and have it waiting for you at our table. Remember, members of our Patreon Penguinators get a discount at our table at all the events we attend.

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The Cover Reveal for ‘The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity’

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion was always my favorite Disneyland attraction growing up. Sure, I enjoyed singing and clapping with the Country Bears. I had fun sailing with pirates in the Caribbean, and I really loved Adventures thru Inner Space. However, it was the Haunted Mansion and its magic that remained the attraction I would choose to go on first.

This year marks the Haunted Mansion’s 50th anniversary. Because of that, I wanted to delve deeper into its history and its links to creative principles. From the late 1950s when Ken Anderson was the only imagineer assigned to the project through to Yale Gracey and Rolly Crump’s shenanigans to opening day and beyond, “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” takes you on a tour of the home of 999 happy haunts linking attraction details and designs as well as stories of its creation to creative principles as revealed through scientific studies and interviews with people who create for a living.

The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” is scheduled to be available on June 1, 2019. I will be presenting “The Haunted Mansion: 50 Years of Creativity” at Lilac City Comicon 2019 and Ogden UnCon 2019.

Without further ado… Here is the amazing cover for “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” designed by Antonisa Scott and Transcend Studio: