Silence

The house is silent today.  As it was yesterday.

On Tuesday, dog lost her battle with cancer.

It’s been a long summer full of vet visits, pills, chemo treatments and very slow walks.  I loved every minute of it because the alternative is this silence.

Scout and I had a lifetime of adventures together.  She was a warrior to the very end.  I’m glad she’s at rest now.  Cancer is a real bitch.

Now I’m a bit lost.  Everything is the same, but it isn’t.  The world goes on, but I’m hovering in the schism of a brief moment on a Tuesday afternoon.

I told a friend Tuesday evening that I didn’t want another dog right now.  Too soon.  Maybe later.  Wednesday was so quiet and weird that I started thinking about it anyway.

Nobody can simply choose to replace a best friend, but perhaps some dog and I can rescue each other.

It was worth every second.  I’ll miss you, buddy.

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Asteroid Day is a thing and it’s today

Today is Asteroid Day.  It’s only the second annual Asteroid Day, so I don’t feel that bad having it sneak up on me like this.  I have set five reminders on three different calendar apps just to make sure I don’t miss the 4th of July.  Otherwise I end up assuming Chicago is being attacked by Green Bay and lock myself in the bunker until the rockets stop (usually only takes about four days until they run out of roman candles, jet screamers, black cats and Shoot the Moon tubes).

Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the largest asteroid impact in Earth’s recent history – an event that took place in Siberia on June 30, 1908, known as the Tunguska explosion. A small asteroid apparently exploded over Tunguska, Siberia. It released the equivalent of 100 tons of TNT, devastating an area of about 800 square miles, the size of a major metropolitan city.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is also an Asteroid Day partner. ESA asteroid specialists will be participating at events in Barcelona, Munich and Heidelberg. Ian Carnelli, project manager for ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission, spoke from the ESTEC technical centre at Noordwijk, the Netherlands:

Asteroid Day media partner, Discovery Science will dedicate the entire day on June 30 to asteroid programming.

Of course, we all know about Tunguska from Ghostbusters.  Don’t we?  Did none of you listen to Ray?  Gozer the Gozerian’s arrival was the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska Blast of 1909!

Asteroid Day will be chock full of movies, concerts and knowledge whatsits (full schedule here).

Check out Twitter, if you’re into pound signs and texting into The Great Void.

I figured I would watch some crappy horror movie that is tangentially related.  It turns out all the movies featuring asteroids that have ever been made are, more or less, crappy.

Not the fun kind of crappy either.  Just crappy.  The newest being the worst of the bunch – Armageddon, Deep Impact, Asteroid, Meteor, Deadly Skies, Meteor Apocalypse, The Apocalypse.  You get the idea.

The old classics aren’t nearly as bad, but they are also not easy to come by.  Despite U-verse, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, the only ones on tap right now seem to be Phantom Planet and Phantom from Space.  The Day the Sky Exploded is just not in the cards for today.  I’m not in the mood for phantoms of any sort or zombies for that matter, so Night of the Comet is off the menu as well.

What to do?

The Blob, 1958 version, obviously.  This movie always creeped me out as a kid.  The blob is just relentless and it manages to get a lot done without seeming to have any real skills or intelligence.  It just keeps growing and growing, eating everything that dares to touch it.

Kind of reminds me of the legion of Trump supports.  We should have never poked it with that stick.

Besides, it has Steve McQueen, who is the coolest of the cool.  Even when some asshole blob ruins his date with Aneta Corsaut.

In the end, they subdue the blob, but not by killing it.  They freeze it in the Arctic.  Can we take a hint from them with regards to Trump?  McQueen’s character responds to a comment that the blob has been stopped with the film’s final words, “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.”

Beware of the blob.  It creeps.

 

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It’s a Friday and it’s the 13th day of the month

It’s been a week.  Not the greatest one, but a week nonetheless.  I’m going to have a drink.

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Friday the 13th is happening.  You can’t stop it.  Why would you want to?  It’s still a Friday. If you end up taking a harpoon gun shot to the eye, at least you probably blew the evil weed and had relations beforehand.

In a giant twist, I’m not going to watch anything related to those happy camper movies.

I’m going to hoist a few while watching Dementia 13.

Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Roger Corman.  Coppola’s first legit directorial work by most accounts.  Legit being a subjective term.

If I had planned better, I would have gotten some Coppola wine.  A pinot noir.

As it is, I’ll have to suffer through some ridiculously good porter instead.  Tough breaks.

The plot follows a scheming young woman (Luana Anders) who, while visiting her husband’s family castle in Ireland, inadvertently causes his heart attack death. She attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law’s will since her husband (Peter Read) has pre-deceased his mother (Eithne Dunne). Her plans are permanently interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family.

This could be a Friday the 13th movie if I squint real hard and focus on the ax-wielding lunatic part.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.  I’m sure it will be award-winning.  Coppola and Corman got in a spat while churning out a cheap skate Psycho ripoff and a second director came in after it was done to film additional scenes to finish it off.  That’s a recipe for greatness.

I’ve been assured of a miasma of madness.

I’m off to the domain of the damned, the dead and the demented!  As you do.

Posted in Universal Absurdity | 2 Comments

Meteor Wave

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is happening.  I probably won’t see any of it.

Clouds and rain and a host of light pollution are working against me.

Every meteor shower in recent memory seems to have been obscured by clouds (don’t quote me on that, memory is fallible).

As a rational man, I am left to conclude that Cosmic Whoosh (I totally didn’t make that up just now) caused by the speeding meteors pushes the clouds down over the city, thickening them into a dense cloud cover.

The clouds ride the wave of the Meteoric Cosmic Whoosh right over me.  The meteors use this obfuscation to pass right by me.

I’m not saying that the meteors are avoiding me, but maybe they’re aliens.

If you look southeast before dawn in the next few days, maybe you’ll see some.  If you do, wink conspiratorially so they know you’re on to them.

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Flying Leap, take one and pass it on

Today is a day like any and every other day.  More or less.  It’s also a rare day, if that’s possible.

Of course it’s possible.  Anything is possible when you’re making shit up.

The calendar is made up.  It’s useful, but it’s not sacred.  The format follows the day/night cycle, more or less.  It’s inexact.  So we have these makeup days.

It’s like getting a tax refund.  They (you know about Them already, I’m sure) took your 1/4 of a day from you for three straight years and are now giving them back, without interest.  The Universe does not pay you interest.  It doesn’t care about you at all.

What were They doing with your extra day? You should probably wash it before you use it.

I get a bit of insomnia sometimes.  During those times, my “days” don’t fit in a 24-hour-per framework.  It makes me think about time.  During those days, I have extra time.  And, often, a lack of coherence.  There is no better time to think about time.

I’ve been on a time travel entertainment binge of late.  Not traveling in time for the purposes of entertainment – going back to bet on Buster Douglas knocking out Tyson, dodo hunting trips, or watching the live version of the Battle of Cannae from the safety of a hot air balloon (with popcorn and triple berry smoothies).

I’m talking about movies and television.

It started with Continuum.  I had watched a season and a half back when it first came on.  Mostly just to watch Rachel Nichols, but I got caught up in it.  Then I wandered away.  I decided to rectify that and binged it out to the end.

Then I watched a bunch of time travel movies.

What I learned is that I really don’t give a hoot about the mechanism of time travel or the idea of inconsistencies and paradoxes.  If I’m going to allow for time travel, I’m just not going to get all twitched up about that shit.  If the Universe will accept the movement of people from point to point in time, then the Universe has its ass covered for when we fuck shit up.  People are going to screw things up; that’s a given.

Every Grand Scale time travel story has contortions it goes through with these issues.  I am not interested.  I’m certainly not going to argue about your made up world mechanics.  “What is time?” is a big, rambling sort of question.

It’s the kind of question you can discuss until the bar closes, like “Would the ’98 Yankees beat the ’27 Yankees in a 7-game series?” or “How often do zombies defecate?” or “Who would be the first pick in your fantasy rock band draft? (dead rockers count)”*

I really only care about the small things.  The other stuff is the icing on the cake.  There can be too much icing.  Let’s not even talk about fondant.

We live in the moment.  The day in front of us.  This leap day is just a slice of life we gave a name and a slot in a greater grid.  A grid we made up to order the chaos.  In the end, the moment is what counts.  Not that the rest doesn’t, but it’s all made up of moments.  All those moments played out in front of us.

It took Continuum the entire arc of the show to figure out what you already know – you can never go home again.

Things change and that’s that.  You just have to move forward.  The stories focused on the small things resonate more for me.

There is a deeper point about me here, I’m sure.  It’s the same reason I wander away from TV series all the time.  I can do an hour, but if you are asking me to set time out for weekly updates, I’m gone.  Unless there’s real happenings happening.

You can do both; mini hour-long story arcs nestled among the overall season (with maddeningly long mid-season break added for your annoyance).

I don’t really care about The Big Bad.  I want to know what the toilet paper situation is in the apocalypse.  I want to know how many midterms Teen Wolf had to retake.  I need to know who pays for all the destruction every time Shit Goes Down.

I want to know how people get along without it all being a love quadrangle.  This stuff can be slid in on the sly, for those paying attention, but you can’t ignore it every day because the Giant Conspiracy of Awful is looming.  There’s no point to saving Everything if the Little Things die in the process.

Great stories manage this balance.

Time Bandits is a classic.  There’s a lot going on, but it has a solid emotional base and it’s funny.  FAQ About Time Travel manages to be funny about it all (but is still just a story about three pub doofuses and not truly a Save The World film, though it is that too).  Terminator has a huge amount of Timeline Related Angst, but is really just a chase and survival story.  Planet of the Apes has a lot going on, but the time travel is just a device behind the deeper stories.

The following Terminator films managed to get progressively shittier as the story went beyond the bubble of Sarah and her time traveling savior.  Movies like Interstellar and Looper don’t grab me.  The personal stuff seemed forced.  Perhaps I just didn’t see the trees.  Frequency managed to ruin an intimate story.  Just a plate full of icing.  Maybe they’re just time travel movies I don’t like and there’s no real thread there.

I like movies like Primer, Fetching Cody, Happy Accidents, Groundhog Day, Donnie Darko, Peggy Sue got Married, Repeaters.  Maybe even +1 (maybe, that film had issues, but it was a nice effort).  Not all great movies by any means, but they all have an organic feel.  These are movies where the small stuff is big stakes for the individuals.  The world isn’t getting saved; people are figuring out what time it is in their own lives.

The questions about time travel aren’t really “Can the Timeline survive me?”  The question is “What would I do?”  “How could I do it?” and “What should I do?”

Time Lapse is a movie about seeing one Polaroid photo from one day in the future.  It’s a simple premise, but the story potential is great.  If the movie itself ends with rather predictable results, I might suggest it’s because people are predictable.  Our motivations are basic, our goals are simple and we are often short-sighted.  Having a view of the future doesn’t change that.

In the end, the little things are what fuck everything up.  Not in a butterfly flapping its wings sort of way.  In the way that little things impact us every day in our small stories.  The Timeline survives regardless of our romping, but the dog needs to be fed today or it won’t have a tomorrow.

I think I confused myself after all that bullshit.  I’m going to watch one of the movies I haven’t seen.  Mr. Nobody or Predestination.  Assuming I have the time to spare.

*The ’98 Yankees win.  Zombies don’t defecate, the consumed matter bursts out wherever it finds a weak spot.  Jimi Hendrix.

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Some kind of GeddonMas

An asteroid will probably not hit Earth on Christmas Eve.

Or will it?  I’m just asking questions here!

The first full moon on Christmas since 1977.

The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977.  A new hope; a retitled IV.  You know who else became a IV?

Malcolm IV, King of Scotland.  He was a boy king.  Interested in knighthood and warfare, and deep into mystical faith type stuff.  Died in December of 1165.  A new hope, indeed.

Malcolm was nicknamed “the Maiden”.  I know I’ve called Luke Skywalker that a few times over the years.

A new Star Wars movie came out just in time for Christmas this year.  Spoiler – there was a light saber battle!  Malcolm would have loved it.

Coincidence?

Certainly, these events must have great meaning.

This ChristGeddonMas Holiday was, in fact, foretold in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first words of which are “He who saw the Dark Side of the Moon.”  I’m pretty sure about that.  My copy is a bit smudged and the translation might be off, but you can trust that I wouldn’t lead you astray.

Then again, I might be making something out of nothing.  Maybe not.

Best to hunker down in the bunker until 2016.  If I’m wrong and the Empire doesn’t return to blow us all up, then it was probably a mathematical error and we will revisit this problem again next year.  Or at the end of the next 19-year lunar cycle.

Either way, always remember, Hans shot first.

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“It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles.”

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Happy 13th of Friday folks! Keep your rabbits’ feetsies handy.

The third Friday the 13th of the year.  Lucky us!

I should celebrate by watching Friday the 13th Part 3, the original final chapter that didn’t manage to end it all.  This bad boy knocked ET from the top of the box office and introduced us to the hockey mask.  A dumpy alien with a big head and a speech problem can’t handle Jason.  Not even.

The cinema gem has teens and bikers.  I could bust out the 3D glasses that came with my TV and put a mask on the dog.  Have a disco movie party.

It’s got a good beat; you can dance to it – like you’re hanging from a barn by a noose.

Did you really think that would work, Chris?  We forgive you.  Why don’t you take a relaxing paddle in the canoe.

On the other hand, I am still behind on my Nano writing.  I should probably just pop a beer and get on that.

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Trick or treat, mofos?

I’m betting you want both.  That’s the sort of folks you are.

I don’t blame you.

I got my pumpkins done, my zombie dance cookies made, I bought all the candy in candyland and I’m settled in front of a football game.

You can bet I’ll watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” after the Georgia Bulldogs manage to lose in some frightfully awful way.  Then I’ll watch some horrible horror movie while I sip a beer.

I haven’t decided what stupid move that will be.  I just can’t plan that far ahead.

Speaking of planning, I need to get my ass in gear for Nanowrimo.  Day one is looming.

What am I doing for Halloween? Oh, just hanging out.

Frick and frack, at your service.

Don’t disturb us, we’re deep into Netflix and chill(ed beer).

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Home Movie (2008), a movie about a home

The thing about home movies is that nobody wants to watch them.  I don’t even want to watch my own recordings.  I make them so that someone in the far future will get a headache trying to find meaning in the meaninglessness of them.

Home Movie is a found footage film.  I’m not one of those wankers who goes on and on about it being a dead form of horror.  Bad writing, stale stories and bad movie-making make bad movies.

This one wasn’t even the worst of a bad lot.  It’s no great shakes, don’t get me wrong.

One of the problems with something purporting to be home movies is that, if done well, it must by nature be unwatchable.  If the actors are good enough to portray non-actors poorly mugging for a camera, it emulates a home movie pretty well.  Those very same home movies we can’t be arsed to watch.

Adding in some asshole children doesn’t really mitigate.

Children don’t scare me.  I spend a lot of time horsing around with children.  What I know about them is that they are weak, frail, they cry a lot and they really don’t know that much.

In the end, it’s a tale told without ambition and with little fuss.

The couple’s relationship is mildly engaging.  We see their frustrations, their history and their resolution.

And just in time, because we know how it will end from the beginning of the film.  It might be a depressing story informing us that neither faith nor science will save us in the end or it might be about the impact of watching too much staticky television.  Or the ills of the parents falling heavily upon the children and then rebounding right back in the parents’ faces with the force of a child’s enthusiasm for swinging a baseball bat.  Whatever it was, it was.  We knew it would be.

The Man in the Closet, who you might miss mention of if you were getting coffee, could be anything you want it to be.  Other than an actual man in the closet, of course.  That would have been a hoot.  I was rooting for the ice cream man, who, having become an economic victim to healthy eating and warehouse grocery stores, is now homeless and lives in various children’s closets.  Plying them pied-piper like with Mickey Mouse bars and bomb pops.

To the film’s credit, the parents knew the inevitability of it all too, even if they didn’t completely understand why and didn’t want to admit it.

Other points in favor:  the couple is handsome on-screen, camera twitch was at a minimum for this type of film, there was no horrifyingly awful musical score, we aren’t really left wondering at the end (though, I suppose interpretations may vary, mine is correct, as you might expect).

The parents got what they deserved.  As nice as they seemed, they didn’t help those hellions and they did the dog no favors by keeping it around even after the cat got it.

When the credits roll, it’s a relief.

Would I recommend?  That depends.  Most people will find nothing of value here.  As a genre devotee, I enjoyed it for what it was.  You have to go in without high expectations.  I’ve seen far, far worse.

The lack of spookiness will probably rub a lot of horror fans the wrong way.  The gore is minimized.  It’s not original.  The family’s last name is Poe, which I found lame and slightly annoying.

Man, the negatives really pile up when you think about it.  Maybe I should have the movie committed.  Like those parents should have done with their demon brats.

Ah, hindsight, always late to the party and carting in a box of wine like you’re our savior.

 

 

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Scream Season

October blew in and Chicago got chilly, wet and windy.  No surprise.  Crazy weather is a must for the season.

To celebrate, I watched the entire first season of MTV’s Scream.

I had forgotten the show was even a thing until I read a nonsensical rant decrying Fox’s new show Scream Queens and claiming it was a failed attempt to be Scream.  Scream Queens is nothing of the sort.

Scream Queens is smart and funny.  It’s supposed to be funny.  If this fact somehow zoomed past you, you probably say “I don’t get it” an awful lot.  I know damn well you don’t know what a dugong is.

Scream was…OK.  Nowhere near as clever as the first Scream movie, but it has moments.  For ten episodes, just moments isn’t enough for me.  That might be harsh.  I did keep watching.  I just never felt truly hooked.

The characters are likable enough.  Not likable enough that I don’t want them killed, but likable.  Not adorably sinful like Stu from the original Scream movie.  He was a hoot.  What we get is a reworking of Stu as played by the 2015 version of teen Matt Dillon, Tom Maden.

It’s not the actor’s fault. The whole cast of Scream does what they can with what they’ve got to work with.  It’s just uneven.  Is it serious? It certainly acts like it, despite the half-hearted jokes and gags.

Not likable like frat king Chad Radwell.  I want to be Chad Radwell’s bro.  He’s got it goin’ awn.

“I do love you. I’d just love you a lot more if other people loved you too.”

The two shows shouldn’t even be compared.  They are very different shows, even though both shows have a bunch of attractive, surprisingly intelligent, but nonetheless dimwitted, youths being stalked by a killer in a plastic mask.

Don’t let that fool you.  They are going for different vibes and, to a degree, each achieves its goal.

Both shows are full of teens from rich families who have seemingly zero supervision.  It is easier to brush that off in the farce, especially as it happens on a college campus.

Is it really so easy for a high school girl to buy enough booze for a house party from the local liquor store?  In a small town?  When her father is the mayor?  And there is a serial killer scare?  I guess so.  We had to do a lot of hard, sneaky business to get hold of a few Old Style cases and some skunk weed.  Times have changed, I suppose.

I’m not sure I would have stuck with Scream without the binge-watching factor.  This isn’t saying much.  I have a hard time keeping up with anything that airs once a week.  However, I will offer that I didn’t care who done it.  Not in the slightest.

The obvious choice obviously wasn’t the killer.  The other obvious choice obviously was and it was even more obvious that there was a pair at work.  The fact that the Scream movie had two killers put that possibility in your mind from the outset.  The events unfolding onscreen just proved the point.

Scream Queens is a big, fat joke.  A hilarious joke about mass murderers on a ridiculous farce of a college campus full of suitably clichéd college students, administration and the best damn security woman on the planet.

You can’t help but laugh at this crew.  If you don’t, it’s because you’re a humorless bastard and I don’t want to have tea and crumpets with you until you rectify that.

The FOX show pushes some envelopes.  I didn’t know you could get away with using “spit roasted” and “Eiffel towered” on normal television.  Those are terms that you’ll have to look up on your own because I’m too chaste to describe such salacious acts.  Either that or I just want you to spend time on Urban Dictionary because it’ll put hair on your chest.  I won’t even mention the use of “gash” or “blumpkin”.  Wait, did I just mention those?  Sorry.

Other than a horribly shoehorned appearance by Ariana Grande, the cast of Scream Queens is stellar.  That would almost be enough, but the use and timing of the music is perfect and it makes me laugh.  At least so far.

I’m sure I’ll give the next season of Scream a go.  I can’t wait for the next episode of Scream Queens.

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