"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Can You Train a Meg?

 Now, it’s set to happen all over again, as the second trailer for Meg 2: The Trench (2023), the sequel to the 2018 hit which sees Jason Statham reprise his role as Jonas Taylor (very clever), unleashes a ton of prehistoric predators upon unsuspecting humans, from the depths of the ocean all the way to the surface and even onto dryland!

Jason Statham riding a jet ski in Meg 2: The Trench trailer
Credit: Warner Bros.

At the start of the trailer, we see a T-Rex of the exact same design as “Rexy” hunting a Postosuchus along a beach, only to end up being prey himself to an enormous Megalodon shark, which bursts out of the surf to chomp down on the dinosaur. The trailer then cuts to the modern day, reuniting us with Statham’s character and many others from the first film.

T-Rex in Meg 2: The Trench trailer
Credit: Warner Bros.

Meg 2: The Trench is shaping up to be a dinosaur movie in its own right.

Stealing Time for Your Dream -- Part 5: How to Make "the clock of life" YOUR clock


 How to make '"the clock of life" your clock:


The stopwatch

Mercury’s contemporary magic wand for taking command of your time is the stopwatch. Here’s how you use this magical wand: 

You know the clock on the wall will keep ticking away relentlessly until the day has gone by. You even know how it keeps ticking at night--why else would you awaken at 5:59 on your digital bedside clock when you’ve set the alarm to go off at 6:00? You know the telephone seems wired to that damned clock, life’s interruptions seem wired to it, the myriad distractions that flesh is heir to seem wired to it--and you recognize that, as a result, you yourself and your dreams have been wired to the Accountant’s clock for way too long. Your world has been defined by that relentless, uncreative clock. You are desperate to realize your Goal Time.

Today you stop the world. You buy a stopwatch. I suggest buying the simplest one you can find, one that allows you to stop the seconds and restart them, without the other countless modes that will drive you crazy unless you’re training race horses. Hang the stopwatch above your computer, your telephone, your work table--above whatever altar serves the god of your dream. Promise yourself that, no matter what happens on that wall clock, you will work on your dream at least one hour before you go to bed tonight. 

Or two hours. Try one first, then expand slowly and naturally in the direction of that Goal Time. Keep it as simple as you can and still make it work for you. Using the stopwatch allows me the illusion of freedom you value highly, but also ensures the constant sense of disciplined progress toward the success you’ve mapped out for yourself.

Nothing is more satisfyingly inevitable than the achievements that time creates from small, stolen increments. One hour a day is thirty hours a month. Thirty hours a month will inevitably produce results, especially if you’ve programmed the three parts of your mind effectively to make the best possible use of that one hour. Imagine how quickly planning his quest will move forward, having assigned five hours a week to the operation. 

If the one-hour-per-day approach doesn't work for your unpredictable schedule, or makes you feel too disciplined, make it a weekly approach. One of my workshop students was having trouble keeping to his contract that he’d put in two writing hours per day. After several give and takes, we came down to the real reason he was having problems: He was leaving his day job in order to be free, and the daily discipline we’d been discussing made him feel enslaved again. I asked him if he’d be comfortable committing to a weekly number of hours, to bringing in his stopwatch to the next session with ten hours on it.

 "And I could do them in whatever configuration I choose?" 

"Absolutely. The whole idea is to find a way of tricking your mind into allowing you to live by your own clock." 

He came in the next week with 10:06 on his stopwatch, and the weeks after with 10:04, 9:56, 10:10. He’d found a way of using the magic wand to give him that necessary illusion of freedom and control combined with the satisfaction of real progress in committing hours to his career transit. 

Don’t forget that only you can call "time out!" 

Anon: It's not over until the fat lady sings. 

Atchity: It's not over, but you can call time out. 

I used to wish I could call time out to give myself time to regroup and figure out the meaning of life. I used to fantasize about building in an extra, dateless, hour-less day each week to give us time off: no appointments, no phone calls, no deadlines. But that is daydreaming, undisciplined Visionary thinking; and we are trapped in an Accountant’s world. 

You can get time out on a regular basis by stealing it. Now that you’ve embraced your career transit and are living the entrepreneurial life, don’t forget to give yourself the benefits that your day job employer was forced to give you. Sometimes we are so excited about doing the things we love on a daily basis that we forget to give ourselves a break from them. “I don't need a vacation. My life is a vacation!” 

Everyone needs vacations. Most people need them because work is exhausting. The entrepreneur needs them because vacations bring perspective and creative insights that are unavailable under the daily pressures of the career transit. "To do great work," Samuel Butler wrote, a person "must be very idle as well as very industrious." The entrepreneur, as both employer and employed, must schedule his vacations, with alternate dates in mind in case "something comes up" that forces a change. You are accomplishing just as much if not more when you "go away for the whistle" and allow your mind to play. 

Vacations for the dreamer are excursions into Visionary time. "Getaway time," like the aboriginal "dreamtime," puts your Mind’s Eye in direct touch with the Visionary’s view of what you've been doing on a daily basis, and what you could be doing more creatively. Traveling away from "Base 1" is always good for the dreamer because it causes a "cross-pollinating" effect among your objectives, goals, and projects. Traveling anywhere away from a project is a kind of vacation, and nearly always a creative advantage; but traveling should be distinguished from true vacations. Going to New York on business, or going home to see your family for a week, are vacations that can bring fresh perspective. But in both cases there are too many things "to do" for the most constructive form of abandonment to occur. A true vacation is being on the island of Maui, where, after a couple of days of readjustment to "heavenly Hana," your "to-do" list consists of two items, and you somehow never quite get around either to doing them or to caring that you didn't. You notice suddenly that the days seem long, immense; that time has become, as Jorge Luis Borges puts it, "like a plaza." Smaller getaways can produce the same effect: mountain hiking; wandering through the museum; deep-sea fishing for a day; just "hanging out" at Grand Central Station or at the Plaza Oak Bar watching the world go by. During a true vacation Mercury can bring you an Olympian perspective, where the patterns of your life and activities become apparent among the tangle of busyness.

It is precisely at such times that "chaos theory" applies itself to the  creative process. Chaos theory posits the all-important impact of tiny random events on the long-range prediction of physical cycles. Weather patterns could be predicted accurately were it not for "the butterfly effect": Somewhere a Monarch butterfly fluttering from flower to flower (an incident too small to measure) minutely disrupts the passage of the breeze, and a thousand miles away a middle-sized storm turns into a tornado. Chaos theory is the despair of Accountants, who spend their lives trying to predict regularity as though chaos didn’t exist. But to the Visionary, chaos is the staff of Mercury. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, in Thus Spake Zarathustra, his most Visionary work, wrote: "One must still have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star." 

The dreamer arranges his true vacations to put him in direct touch with chaos, following winding roads to heavenly dream places inaccessible to ordinary travelers. 


Tips on time and work management


Rate everything that crosses your desk 1, 2, or 3. Then make an agenda for the 1s immediately, and immediately delegate the 2s to someone else. Put the 3s in a drawer designated the "3-drawer," setting aside a few hours once a month to go through it and see what’s still important enough to deal with. You’ll discover that most of the contents of the 3-drawer are even less important than they were. Napoleon supposedly had all his mail dumped before the bags were opened, on the premise that the important news would have reached him already and anything he neglected that should not have been neglected would make itself known. I’m sure that Josephine quickly found an alternative method of communicating with her Emperor.

Postpone procrastination! Anthony Robbins says, "The best way to deal with procrastination is to postpone it." Procrastinate with everything except your dream. To make that happen you need to--

As much as possible, solve each problem as it occurs. Postponing the solution automatically increases the total amount of time needed for it. Opening a letter, then stacking it somewhere, is counterproductive. If you know from the envelope that the letter isn’t important, toss it in the nearest wastebasket and don’t even take it into your den.


Selective pruning

Mencius: Men must be decided on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do.

 Just as the vitality of a tree can work against the tree unless an experienced arbor culturist is engaged to prune the weaker branches, dreams can be dangerous unless you understand their peculiar fertility. As work creates more work, one dream breeds another, usually grander than the one before. Success has ramifications, breeding all kinds of activities; and, unless you recognize that and infuse "regrouping" time into your success agenda, you’ll suddenly find yourself "too busy" to be successful again. 

Well-meaning Friend: You're such an enthusiast. 

Atchity: Why does that sound like an accusation? 

Enthusiasts must protect themselves from their enthusiasms. To accomplish this, I suggest the following. 

Hold a monthly "drop" meeting with yourself. The object of the meeting is to select activities that can be dropped for a month, with a promise to reevaluate their importance at your next meeting. Tabling or discarding the weaker dreams, thereby constantly improves the quality of the dreams you work on. As you become experienced in the creative life, you’ll recognize that one of its strangest characteristics is the necessity of killing the little monsters--that once were bright dreams--nipping at your heels. The smaller dreams must now be pruned away so that the bigger ones can thrive. Of course it’s even better to kill them off in the concept stage; as Albert Camus said: "It's better to resist at the beginning, than at the end."

Don’t feel bad about the discards. Celebrate them. More than sacrifices or disappointments, they are symptoms of your disciplined progress. Just because you can do something, after all, no longer means that you must or should do it. That was the old you, dominated by the Accountant, before your Mind’s Eye opened to engage you in an entrepreneurial career transit.

When evaluating new projects, keep in mind the sign that psychologist Carl Jung had framed above his desk:


Yes No Maybe


"Maybe" is crossed out as well as “No” to remind us that it’s the "Maybes" that devour our time and dream energies. If the answer to an incoming idea or request isn't definitively "Yes," it’s definitively "No." Never Maybe. Maybe kills countless ambitions and splendid plans. "We are what we pretend to be," says Kurt Vonnegut's narrator in Mother Night, "so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." 

You may also find it useful to go through the following checklist: 

Is this a good idea (or opportunity)? Yes or No.

Is this idea directly connected with my dream? Yes or No. If the answer is No, pass it along to someone else "with no strings attached.”

Does this idea fit into my present agenda? If not, is it such a good idea that I should revise my agenda to accommodate it?

Is the world ready for this idea?

Am I ready to spend years making it real? 

It’s extremely important to consider both internal and external "timing" when it comes to evaluating new ideas and opportunities. Many of us waste time on good ideas whose time has either come and gone, or won’t be coming for too long a time to make its present implementation productive. Of course, thanks to the predictably unpredictable impact of chaos on our lives, we can never be certain about timing. But we can be certain about our gut reaction to the checklist. 

So long as you live, be radiant, and do not grieve at all. Life's span is short and time exacts the final reckoning. 

--Cepitaph of Seikilos for his wife (100 B.C.) 

This series was updated from How to Escape Lifetime Security and Pursue Your Impossible Dream: A Guide to Transforming Your Career (Helios Press) 


Check out these amazing AI Generated Reviews for The Cloud by Robert Luther Rivenbark!


In twenty-second century L.A. dominated by The Cloud, every imaginable pleasure is accessible—yet the entire world can vanish in a single upload. That choice rests in one man’s hands.

Get The Cloud: A Speculative Fiction Novel On Amazon Today! 

See more at HRPR Avatar Book Tours 

All book reviews on this tour were generated by artificial intelligence. Each avatar reviewer has their own unique voice and personality, and we respect their autonomy by not adding human edits. We did, however, check every review for accuracy and appropriateness. 

“Your Shrinks Might Need to be Shrunk” (by Dennis Palumbo) For ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE!

It’s been more than twenty years since Dennis Palumbo’s fiction has appeared in EQMM. In the meantime, he’s been busy with a series of novel-length thrillers featuring Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist who consults with the Pittsburgh Police (the latest is Panic Attack, from Poisoned Pen Press), and his short stories have been collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). A former Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis is himself a licensed psychotherapist, and in this post he talks about some misconceptions many mystery writers and readers have about the usefulness of psychological diagnoses in solving crimes. —Janet Hutchings

As a former Hollywood screenwriter, now a licensed psychotherapist and mystery author, I have more than a passing interest in how therapy is portrayed on screen and on the page. That said, I’ve noticed that in recent years, whether in some best-selling crime thriller or on your average procedural TV drama, the therapists depicted are usually pretty quick-on-the-draw when it comes to diagnosing characters in the story.

For example: To explain a suspect’s behavior to the investigating detectives, shrinks in these novels and TV series toss out easily-digestible diagnoses like “psychopathic,” “schizophrenic,” or “borderline personality disorder.” As if these terms explained everything the cops (and readers or viewers) needed to know about the person being discussed. In my view, not only is this lazy storytelling (psychological symptoms taking the place of character development) but it’s clinically debatable.

The problem starts with the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Used as the premiere diagnostic bible by mental-health professionals worldwide, the DSM has been predominately responsible for the labeling of an individual’s behavior, in terms of whether or not it falls within the range of agreed-upon norms. As such, it’s been both praised and reviled over the years. Praised because of its concise descriptions and categorizations of behavioral symptoms; reviled because of its reinforcement of stigmatizing attitudes towards those whose behavior is deemed “abnormal.”

In fact, there’s an old joke about how clinicians use diagnostic labels to interpret their patients’ behavior. If the patient arrives early for his therapy appointment, he’s anxious. If he’s late, he’s resistant. And if he’s on time, he’s compulsive.

Nowadays, however, it’s becoming clear that the joke may be on us. Diagnostic labels are thrown around quite casually by people who ought to know better (therapists on TV news programs) as well as by people who usually don’t (writers of mystery novels and procedural crime shows).

For the latter, it’s perfectly understandable. With rare exceptions, most writers depend on research—and such tools as the DSM—to provide their psychologist and psychiatrist characters with the right lingo. This not only makes these characters sound like the mental-health professionals they’re supposed to be, but it also allows the writer to describe the bad guy’s psychological problem in a way that the reader understands. Plus it makes the shrink character seem wicked smart.

However, as I said, it can also lead to lazy storytelling. In too many mysteries and thrillers nowadays, the shrink character need only say that someone’s a psychopath and—in an instant—a whole series of inexplicable or horrendous behaviors are explained away. To the question of why the bad guy did what he did, the answer is simple: he’s crazy.

In other words, so much for developing a vivid, relatable backstory for this character. Or creating a motive that makes sense. Or for acknowledging, as the author should, that most people are too complicated to be reduced to a set of easily determined symptoms.

Which is why I feel that crime writers—especially those who make use of therapists in their stories, either as protagonists or “experts” brought in to help the hero or heroine—need to take care not to use a one-size-fits-all model of diagnosis when it comes to describing a character in the story.

(There’s another problem with this, one which I think writers need to be aware of. Diagnostic labels, like practically everything else nowadays, follow the dictates of trends. Remember how, not too long ago, every other child was diagnosed with ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]? Or Asperger’s? Well, forget about those. Now the “hot” new label, regardless of age, is bipolar disorder [what used to be called manic-depression]. Lately, whether you’re a movie star, teen heartthrob, politician, or athlete, you’re not cool if you’re not bipolar.)

Not that there’s anything wrong, per se, with labels. Nor with the idea of a common vocabulary so that all us clinical geniuses can communicate with each other. It’s just that, if we’re speaking honestly, diagnostic labels exist primarily for the convenience of the labelers. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But how far is too far? Especially for crime writers?

In my opinion, “too far” is when authors give their therapist characters an almost clairvoyant ability to declare (with God-like conviction) what’s going on in the mind of some suspected bad guy. Because, as any working mental health professional will tell you, facile, off-the-cuff interpretations of a patient’s psychological state rarely end up being accurate. And can even do great harm.

Once, when asked how he worked, Albert Einstein replied, “I grope.” Frankly, that’s what most good therapists do, too. They grope. That is, if they truly respect the therapeutic process—and their patients.

In my own series of mystery thrillers, my lead character, psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi, does a lot of groping. Trying to make sense not only of his patients, or some suspect for which the Pittsburgh Police are seeking his expertise, but of himself, too. His own motives, prejudices, needs.

As a therapist in private practice for over 28 years, I’ve grown to appreciate the vast differences in temperament, relationship choices, communication styles and beliefs of my patients—and how these translate into behaviors, both healthy and harmful. Which means I’ve been forced many times to challenge the orthodoxy of my own profession, and to pay attention to the potential danger of reducing people to a simple diagnostic category.

I think all of us who write mysteries owe our various suspects and bad guys the same consideration. As well as try to keep our shrink characters’ smug, self-congratulatory opinions in check.

After all, despite being fictional, they’re still only human.

Guest Post: HOOKED ON ROMANCE (WRITING) by Alan B. Gibson

Alan B. Gibson inks a four book deal with Robin Cutler and LMBPN World Wide Publishing!

I confess. I wrote Summer Thunder on a bet, and the stakes were high. My reputation was on the line.

It was cold and damp that March evening in Scotland when I joined a group of colleagues around the fireplace. We’d wrapped up a full day of workshops and classes at a writers’ conference, and we were doing what authors do best–sitting around talking about writing.

The conversation wandered to poking fun at genres other than our own. Most of them wrote crime. I’d been writing horror/thrillers, and apparently, I made a disparaging comment about how much easier it would be to write a romance or a fantasy.

“You wouldn’t know where to start,” said someone, (a friend?).

Encouraged by three fingers of whiskey I took her insult as a dare and doubled down, suggesting that not only was I capable of writing a romance novel, I could write a romance fantasy.

“Pfft!” I said. “I’ve even got the plot.”

I didn’t know the first thing about writing romance novels, and to the best of my recollection, I’d never read one.  Stunned that after all those years of teaching and practicing yoga I could still let my ego get the best of me, I shut up and blamed my impulsiveness on the whiskey.

“So, tell us!” The woman who goaded me was my good friend, or so I thought, and I made a mental note to get back at her one day.

I had just fallen into a gigantic hole that I’d dug myself. With only seconds to climb out, I reached not very far back in my brain to an area of expertise that hadn’t failed me––a lifetime career in advertising pitching to clients.

I stood up. “Okay. A beautiful woman with lots of personal baggage sells fairy figurines in her shop at a Renaissance Festival. A mysterious, hot surfer guy walks in looking to buy fairy dust. Turns out he is an actual fairy prince, and his kingdom recently ran out. Naturally, the encounter changes both of their lives.”

“That could work,” said a publisher friend with the credentials to know. “But set it in on a beach in California instead. You’ve always got to think about the movie.”

On the spot I created a fictional beach boardwalk. I kept the fairy prince, but now in this revised version he also happens to be a champion kite surfer. The story was writing itself, and on the plane home the following day I scribbled plot and character notes. For the next few months, I was obsessed with writing the story I entitled Summer Thunder.

Nobody was as surprised as I that putting that first book together got me hooked. I had so much fun, I couldn’t stop, and I wrote three more.

If you enjoyed reading about Lily and Theos’s magical romance in Summer Thunder, I believe you’ll want to find out what happens to her best friend Greta the Witch and her run-in with a rival witch, Zsa Zsa Hadju in Summer Storm.  Summer Lightning, and Summer Cyclone complete the four-book Romance/Fantasy series, Magic at Myers Beach.

Summer Thunder will always have a special place in my heart, too, because my life partner of 31 years, read the manuscript the day before he unexpectedly died, and one of the last things he said to me was how much he loved the story and how proud he was that I’d written it.

I appreciate feedback, so please visit me with your comments. I’m easy to find because I’m all over the place.

Summer Thunder is Book 1 (of 4) in my Magic at Myers Beach romance/fantasy series. It's being released very soon. If you're looking for a novel that just may change your life, (!) AND you feel you could pop for the 99¢ special series launch price, your support will help convince my publisher that they picked a winner!


MEG 2: Behind The Scenes With Steve Alten on Don't Call Us Anthony


Super excited to announce our guest: bestselling author, Steve Alten! He has 20 published novels under his name including "MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror". We talk about the inspiration behind his work and the upcoming launch of "MEG: LEGACY", a collection of the MEG series, and so much more! Tune in and join Tony, Cooley and our guest, Steve Alten on “Don't Call Us Anthony”

Stealing Time for Your Dream - Part 4: Where Does the Time Go?


Where does the time go? 

The nonproductive dreamer: "I don’t know where the time goes. 

Once your Mind’s Eye takes over: "It doesn’t go anywhere; time’s in your face all the time! It’s knowing what to do with it that counts." 

For me, keeping track of time started at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, where the Jesuits taught us to schedule our activities in precise Accountant segments. A page from the daily list I kept for four years looked like a space-launch checklist. Every single ten-minute period all day was chockfull of activities, starting from the moment of awakening to the last minutes of making the next day’s list. 

At the end of each daily agenda, which was written in pencil, was "tomorrow's to do list": At 10:50 P.M. I allowed myself eight minutes to work on the next day’s agenda. All day I’d been jotting down notes in pencil to remind me of things that had to be scheduled for the next day. During the eight minutes at the end of the day, I created the agenda for next day. All but one of the individual items on the daily agenda are items of "micro management" (defined as what to do on the Accountant's clock when—or “objectives”). The eight minutes at 10:50 P.M. are "macro-management" --considerably less than 1% of the time available to me. 

Though it served me well as a foundation for future productivity, it’s immediately obvious that an adult living in our new millennium, in a life filled with interruptions and immediate demands, can’t live sanely for long with this excessively disciplined approach. But accurate description precedes effective prescription. 

For accurate consciousness of time-usage to arise, you must take control one way or another. As years passed, I learned I had to move on from the severe but satisfying monastic time-management methods of my Jesuit agendas. I experimented with macro management techniques --what I call "the Gordian knot style of time management": Cut through the busyness by doing the important matters first, and letting everything else take care of itself. 

The most familiar macro tool is the to-do list. It’s excellent for getting specific small objectives accomplished, but ultimately you’ll want to move on because using the to-do list to control your life ends up wasting too much time. Yes, you get the important little things done. But you can’t write, “become an internationally recognized architect” on your to-do list. The to-do list doesn’t motivate or inspire you because it doesn’t deal with goals and dreams, only with objectives. That’s why even the shortest to-do list often gets neglected, ignored, postponed, constantly "carried over" from one day to the next. There’s a rebellion going on inside you. Accomplishing the list may satisfy your Accountant, but your Visionary is longing for more and feeling cheated. 

I’ve developed two forms that can help you inventory your actual expenditure of time so that you can take charge of this most precious asset and attach it firmly to your dream plan. 

The Time Inventory Daily Work Sheet should be filled out at the end of each day, estimating the number of hours you spend on the various activities in your life. The example that follows belongs to an imaginary dreamer who wants to move from his day job as a bank teller to selling the nonfiction book he’s writing. 

When you’re filling out your own work sheet, don’t forget housework, church and/or volunteer activities, phone time, etc. If the categories here don’t sound right to you, alter them to suit your own life and activities. Don’t add up the totals beneath or to the right until the week is over. But at the end of the week, add them up. Our bank teller came up with 201 hours. Ninety percent of my career management students and clients end up with weekly audits far under or considerably over 168. 

What’s magical about the number 168? The accountant is right about this one: 168 is exactly how many hours are in the week for all of us--whether you’re the Pope, a figure skater, the President of the United States, a stock broker, a major league baseball player, a bank teller, or a hairdresser. 

The discrepancy between your count and 168 arises from your unawareness of the interaction among the three voices within your mind, the Accountant, the Visionary, and the Mind’s Eye. In his first week of keeping track, notice that our future published writer has recorded activities to fill 201 hours in the week. Where did the extra thirty-three hours come from? Now that he's admitted the discrepancy and recognized its magnitude, he's ready to get serious. Obviously he's more careful using the work sheet the second week, making sure he keeps closer tabs on where the time is going. 

Once you’ve used these work sheets for two weeks, you have an accurate enough idea of where your time is going to make use of the Actual Time Inventory Analysis Work Sheet. Fill out the Activity and Hours per Week columns using the results of your second Time Inventory Daily Work Sheet. 

Next we want to find out, on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being highest), how much each activity serves your goals. This is its Visionary Quotient. And we’re not going to fool with "Sleeping" because the right amount of sleep is essential on all fronts. 

There’s nothing magical about filling out the Visionary Quotient column. Follow your gut reaction. 

The Accountant's Quotient column rates the activity’s importance to your physical, financial, and psychological welfare. Taking writing classes, as far as our banker’s onboard Accountant’s gut reaction is concerned, has minimal present value. Your paycheck from the bank is keeping the potatoes on the table. Obviously, on the other hand, this teller's Visionary hates his day job. But notice that neither his Visionary nor his Accountant is thrilled with the twelve hours weekly this man spends on errands. Although some might rightly regard "socializing" as a valuable activity, our example obviously doesn’t. His Visionary hates it as much as he hates his day job, and his Accountant rates it only a 2. If he’s going to do anything about his socializing, he should think about socializing with different people (exchanging the coffee shop in his neighborhood for the one where the social interaction might lead to useful networking. 

The third column, presided over by your Mind’s Eye, combines the two quotients. This man’s bank job is a pain in the neck to his Visionary, but it does pay the bills--an activity the Accountant values to the utmost. It receives a 0 in the Visionary Quotient column, a 5 in the Accountant Quotient column. But your Mind’s Eye acknowledges that any activity with a combined quotient of 5 or above will not be dropped or seriously reduced in time investment, thereby keeping both serpents happy. 

The blank Actual Time Inventory Analysis Work Sheet below is for your reassessment. Fill in the categories to suit your own life. 

As it recognizes the unique power of both his Accountant’s and his Visionary’s perception of time, our teller’s Mind’s Eye knows that the yin of Accountant time and the yang of Visionary time are both valid, simultaneous, and equally important in their places and for their purposes. Telling them both that they're correct, and that they can take turns, his Mind’s Eye negotiates with the Accountant to allow a conservative, cautious amount of time during which the "success dreams" of the Visionary can be explored. Without the Mind’s Eye’s intervention, he was constantly conflicted over his use of time. With his Mind’s Eye’s help and negotiation, he begins to steal time for success, using his Goal Time Work Sheet to carve hours from the twenty-four hour clock and to mine, methodically, the breakthrough energy of the Visionary. 

Activities that rate less than a 5 in the M.E. column are subject to first-round negotiation. Let’s say you hate doing yard work, and give it a 0 Visionary Quotient and a 1 Accountant Quotient. Obviously, we’re going to find a way to get that particular activity out of your life. In our teller’s inventory, "Driving Errands" falls into this category. So he figures out a way of no longer doing errands. Instead of spending twelve hours a week on errands, he decides to do four hours of overtime at the bank to pay for someone to do the shuttle service for him. Or he moves closer to his day job. These revised decisions, which become "goals," are recorded in the Goal Time Work Sheet. Notice that by reducing "Driving/Errands" to two hours, and making a few other adjustments, he’s been able to increase Sales Calls from thirteen to twenty-four hours per week--which will inevitably advance his dream more quickly. At the same time, he’s managed to increase the percentage of time devoted to the pursuit of his dream from 16% (combining "Sales Calls," "Writing Classes," and "Reading") to 26% because he’s increased the time available to make those sales calls, but he’s also changed his way of socializing so that it serves the dream as well.


Time to schedule time

No time you spend is more important than the time you spend scheduling your time; and that needn’t be more than a tiny fraction of the time available to you. But scheduling your time is doomed to ineffectiveness unless you begin from the reality baseline of knowing what you’ve been doing with your time, and confronting your own lack of awareness about where your time has been going. 

The blank Goal Time Work Sheet helps your Mind’s Eye complete and memorialize its contract with Accountant and Visionary. 

Once your knowledge of your time usage has allowed you to make new goals and objectives regarding the use of time, how in this busy, busy, busy world do you enforce the objectives for yourself? How can you schedule a life that is one, long, endless shrieking, demanding interruption? After all, you can only turn off the phone for so long without losing your illusion of control, and all contact with reality. 

Next: How to make the clock of life YOUR clock.


China-US co-produced 'Meg 2' set for summer release

Distributors announced that the China-U.S. co-produced sci-fi monster blockbuster "Meg 2: The Trench" will arrive in Chinese theaters this summer. Its first installment was hailed as one of the best examples of Sino-American film co-production.

A new Chinese poster released for "Meg 2: The Trench" shows the giant shark. [Image courtesy of CMC Pictures]

In the highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 sci-fi giant monster horror film "The Meg," Chinese action megastar Wu Jing will join British action star Jason Statham. "Meg 2" is set to be released in China on August 4, simultaneously with North America and many other markets worldwide.

The film is directed by Ben Wheatley and loosely based on Steve Alten's 1999 book "The Trench." Although the director has changed, the sequel will see the original cast and crew return, including scriptwriters Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, as well as actors Sophia Cai, Cliff Curtis, and Page Kennedy from the first installment.

The first installment of "The Meg" was well-received by audiences in both China and the United States, demonstrating the success of co-production, where Chinese elements were seamlessly integrated rather than forced for the Chinese market. It was regarded as a significant milestone for a Sino-American project primarily developed by a Chinese company, gaining widespread popularity.

Two new Chinese posters released for "Meg 2: The Trench" show Jason Statham and Wu Jing in action. [Image courtesy of CMC Pictures]

In North America, it grossed $145 million, while in China, it earned 1.05 billion yuan ($166.8 million), contributing to a global total of $530 million when combined with other market grosses. "The Meg" surpassed "Kung Fu Panda 3" as the highest-grossing China-U.S. co-production of all time, boosting confidence in Chinese and American filmmakers and showcasing the potential of cultural cooperation. This achievement has provided valuable insights and experiences for both the Chinese and American film industries.

In a recent interview with China.org.cn, Gillian Zhao, president of Warner Bros. Discovery China, one of the main producers of the film alongside China's CMC Pictures, emphasized the accomplishments of "The Meg" as an outstanding example of co-productions. The film, created in partnership with China's CMC Pictures, has generated revenue through various channels worldwide.

Zhao explained, "If Chinese co-produced films can achieve even greater box office returns outside of China, then our Chinese films can have higher production budgets in the future because their revenue is global." She believes that a good and universal story that transcends cultural differences and historical backgrounds will work on the global platform.

A photo released by CMC Pictures shows Wu Jing and director Ben Wheatley on the set of "The Meg 2: The Trench." [Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures]

On Tuesday, three new Chinese posters and a trailer were released, showcasing the enormous sharks and featuring lead actors Wu and Statham in action. The trailer reveals Statham and Wu teaming up to embark on an adrenaline-filled underwater journey, investigating new creatures at the bottom of the ocean and facing off against a trio of giant sharks.

Wu Jing, renowned for his roles in Chinese juggernauts like "The Wandering Earth" and "Wolf Warrior," recalled his curiosity and excitement after reading the script for the sea monster movie. Despite his childhood fear of monsters, he saw this as an opportunity to challenge himself and understand the intricate process of filming underwater.

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Meg 2: The Trench - Magic TV Spot


Meg 2: The Trench Takes Aim at The Little Mermaid in New TV Spot

Jason Statham battles a different kind of magic under the sea in the latest look at Meg 2: The Trench.

This summer, magic awaits under the sea. But rather than the enchanting vocals of Ariel, we will instead hear the terrified screams of The Meg’s latest victims in the highly anticipated sci-fi action outing, Meg 2: The Trench. The latest TV spot for Meg 2: The Trench takes aim at The Little Mermaid, drawing an amusing comparison between the two and thus making Jason Statham the latest Disney princess.