This is the lesson of Russell Westbrook. In a deeply imperfect world — a world where a shooting touch will suddenly abandon you at the worst possible moment, where your teammates might not be good enough to make a win possible, where an economy might suddenly collapse for no apparent reason, where the decency of strangers cannot be presumed — in a world like that, Westbrook’s approach to life might actually be the most rational one. You control the things you can control (family, daily routines, the occasional big choice) and outside that you fling yourself with wild abandon, every day, at every object that seems worthy of pursuit. In the absence of guarantees, in the absence of certainty, in the new American volatility, we can bank on only one thing: total presence, total sincerity, total effort, all the time. That is the sound of one hand clapping.
As many of you know I grew up, in part, on a ranch in Washington State in America. Now, this was not one of the huge ranches you see in Wyoming or Montana but about 600 acres of grazing land carved out of the primeval temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. An island of grass in an ocean of forest. On this ranch along with the horses, steers, bulls and dairy cow we also raised chickens. Not for meat but for eggs. We had to keep our chickens protected by wire fencing above and below because we were regularly visited by hawks and eagles as well as mountain lions, foxes and bears.
We had a dog named “Jim Dandy” after a song made popular by the 70s country rock band Black Oak Arkansas. Jim was a Jack Russell terrier. Now terriers are small, wiry dogs. They, as all terriers, were originally bred as rat catchers for farms. Jack Russells are fast, strong for their size and extremely intelligent.
Rats are a big problem because they carry disease, get into the animal feed and spoil what they don’t eat. They also will eat eggs and kill chickens. Now these farm rats are even meaner and a lot bigger than their city cousin the New York subway rat. They are big, as big as a small cat, with long sharp yellow teeth. Nasty critters.
Jim Dandy was not a rat catcher. He was too small for serious ratting. He was just a family pet. One time my dad noticed that some of the chickens were missing and figured either a fox or coyote was digging into the coop under the fence. So, he increased his vigilance by this I mean assigning us boys to stay awake to see if we could get the critter responsible for all the carnage. It was my turn to sit in a lawn chair covered with a sleeping bag and stand guard. I had a thermos of hot chocolate and a box of graham crackers and Jim Dandy to keep me company,
It must have been the hot chocolate but I promptly fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was asleep but I awoke to a great commotion. A fight. In the chicken coop. My dad in his boxers and unlaced work boots carrying his shotgun burst out the house. I grabbed my pistol and sprinted toward the coop. Before we could get there the noise stopped.
I shone the light into the coop and there was Jim Dandy, cut and bloody standing over the body of the biggest ugliest rat that any of us had ever seen. This guy was huge. The pupils of his eyes were dark red. Jim Dandy had apparently heard the rat and his old instincts kicked in and he tackled this giant rat without a thought. It was an epic battle, one for the ages. Jim Dandy to the rescue had saved the day. We took him to the vet who patched him up and kept him in quarantine to make sure the rat had not given him rabies but he healed up just fine.
Russell and his younger brother Rodney live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother becomes involved with one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast - a mistake that will cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother.
I Feel that Out of the Furnace has been under-appreciated, it’s really a beautiful movie, and one of the most well-made and well acted movies of 2013, a very stylish movie, the music is very moody and touching, The Script is nice, even Christian Bale made a comment about how the script and the character really stuck with him before he’d ever agreed to take the role, who haven’t seen the movie, i highly recommend it.
Matthew, in what way is Keri most and least like her character?
RHYS Height and hair. No, she doesn’t have the ice of Elizabeth — though sometimes she does.
RUSSELL How dare you! (Laughs.)RHYS No, for the most part, you’re not as calculating and icy as she is. But I think it has to live somewhere inside you in order to play it with conviction.
So was that the most or the least?
RHYS Pick one. That’s all I’m saying. I’m already drowning in hot water. (Laughs.)
And Keri, how about Matthew?
RUSSELL He’s incredibly good with people. And with women. He’s a good listener, he’s incredibly emotional.
RHYS This is going f—ing south. Next question!
RUSSELL He’s dying. (Laughs.)
Is it any less comfortable because you two are a couple offscreen, or does that make having a crew and cameras there that much more awkward?
RHYS There’s that immediate thing where, like, physically you’re comfortable together, and so that’s fine, and you’re not all …
RUSSELL “Can I touch your arm here?”
RHYS “I’m sorry if I do this. … Oh God … Oh, can someone get her a robe, please?” (Laughter.)
You’re not doing that with Keri?
RHYS I am, actually. I get a little protective. I’m like, “Can someone get her a f—in’ robe, please?! She’s standing there naked, we’ve cut for five seconds, Jesus Christ.” (Laughter.) And they’re like, “Dude, this is the fourth season.”
With Great Power: Making a Super Hero Saturday, 3:30pm - 4:30pm Room 152
Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way Sunday, 11:00am - 12:00pm Room 151
Spotlight on Russell Dauterman Sunday, 2:30pm - 3:30pm Room 152 Join WonderCon special guest Russell Dauterman, artist of Marvel’s Thor and The Mighty Thor, for this panel about his career in comics! Russell will be talking about his digital art process, female Thor, breaking in, and more with moderator Sam Humphries (writer, Star-Lord). Plus, Russell will answer your questions and give a sneak peak of his upcoming work.
Come hang out at the spotlight panel with me and moderator supreme @samhumphries ! (A spotlight panel! Five years ago I was walking around WonderCon trying to get anyone to look at my portfolio. Crazy, right?)
Other than the above, you should be able to find me at Artists’ Alley table A-16. I’ll be selling art, X-Men prints, and Thor posters. Will be happy to sign your books and draw a quick doodle in trades/hardcovers.