SHE SAID: Case of the Mondays

October 18, 2010

Happy Monday!  Hearing that is kind of like reading Have a Happy Period on the Always panty liner.  It’s just not going to happen.

I spent a large chunk of my weekend working on my son’s Halloween costume.  While brainstorming ideas (I was pushing for ghost or Karate Kid – he chose a Clone Trooper from Star Wars) we decided that we would rather make it because we had fun with last year’s home-made octopus.  It took a while to get my mind around the idea of making a clone trooper costume since the on-line suggestions included the words, heat gun and PVC piping – both of which seemed a little intense for my limited skill set.  So, working with some huge cardboard boxes we got started on the suit of armor.  Anyway, like I said, we were working on his costume and while bing-ing for ideas and images, I found this site full of great ideas for women.

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This is a link to a great slide show of Edward Horsford’s images documenting the innards of water balloons bursting.

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I suck at this game.

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But I fared better at this one – hint, you have to play off your own words so choose wisely.  Or at least better than I.  I have a feeling Jeremy and I could have a lot of fun and waste a lot of time playing this one.

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HE SAID: Horror Movies

October 28, 2009

Initially, I was going to concentrate on how vampires are all of a sudden dominating our society.  However, besides a brief watching of True Blood: Season 1 I really don’t have much experience with the current vampire craze.  While I have an odd infatuation with Kristen Stewart, I haven’t watched a scene or read a word of the Twilight Series, nor seen any of The Vampire Diaries, and even refuse to admit last year’s Lost Boys 2 exists.  So, ultimately I decided it would be a bit unfair of me to crap on vampires.  However, I have seen quite of a few of this generation’s so called “horror” movies, and have decided they absolutely suck.

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The Hostel Series, Saw (I-XVI), Paranormal Activity (I admit I haven’t seen this yet, and maybe it will end up being good, but my guess is it will not live up to the hype), Orphan, The Strangers, Sex and the City, every Halloween since the first couple, yada effing yada, the list goes on.

They all have more or less the same formula: show a bit of skin (and by skin I mean nipple) and have one or more incredibly messed up individual who torture the protaginists.  Here’s the thing, torture does not equal horror.  Watching some guy saw off his own ankle, or seeing an achilles tendon being plucked ou is NOT horror.  It is gore, and it is gross, and sometimes I turn away from the screen, but only because the vodka soda’s from the night before are starting to creep back up.

Then there are the Blair Witch type movies (which is what I think Paranormal Activity is going for), these seemingly ‘real’ pictures of horror.  I still remember how many morons though the original Blair Witch Project was based on a true story.  So many counselors came back from seeing that and were shitting their pants at the thought of sleeping in cabins in the woods.  What a bunch if “p” words.  I, along with the couple friends I saw it with, were literally chuckling at how dumb and awful the movie was.  Believe me, I’m not sitting here on my high horse claiming I’m a tough guy that can’t get scared, I’m sitting here on my high horse claiming today’s horror movies suck.

I can get scared.  I watched some of The Shining on TV just the other night, and when the wind howled a bit when going to sleep later on, I’m pretty sure I was a bit more on edge than usual.  I saw the original Halloween in a hotel room by myself, and definitely tossed and turned until about 4 in the morning (give me a break, I was 12 at the time).  When I walked up the stairs from the famous Exorcist scene, I shuddered and almost hershey squirted.

Maybe this speaks to what I alluded to last week when discussing Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, directors today too often rely simply on special effects, and what gets lost is the actual movie making.  Maybe I’ll do an actual psychological study one day, but I’m pretty sure if you sat a 13 year old down in front of Saw V, and then a week later made the same kid watch The Shining…he’d have a lot more nightmares about Jack Torrance and REDRUM than he would Jigsaw.


SHE SAID: Horror Movies

October 28, 2009

horror-moviesHorror Movies … I think the last one I saw was Scream 2 and we got the last two seats in the theater, which meant I was more uncomfortable about having to look directly above me at the screen than by anything in the movie.  Before that, my horror movie memories are of Nightmare on Elm Street and The Exorcist.

Someone who will remain nameless thought it would be a good idea to show Nightmare on Elm Street to me at seven years old.  And because I was unable to separate what I saw on the television from reality, I spent years hating showers and taking really fast ones when absolutely necessary.  I was also legitimately petrified that I was going to end up sucked into my bed with a geyser of blood being the end result.  For years.

I watched The Exorcist at a friend’s birthday party and when I got home, my parents were headed out for dinner.  I spent the entire night beyond terrified of demon possession and kept hearing footsteps in the house which were, in reality, my own heartbeat.

Two pretty impressive reactions to horror movies, but I was also under 15 and in one case still trying to get my parents to admit that Santa didn’t exist.

Are we supposed to have that severe of a reaction to a horror movie in our twenties and thirties?  We know the mechanics behind movie making, we know the virgin lives and the whore dies, that the “blood” is dye, perhaps even the mechanics of story structure enough that we can determine the bad guy early on.  So, yeah, they don’t keep me up for days in a row anymore.  I don’t think that I, at 31, am the target audience for these movies.

Suspense is key in a scary movie.  Cape Fear, The Shining.  Those were both suspenseful and terrifying – not because the scenes were scary, but because of the blanks that the mind was able to fill.  Not to sound like my mother, but viewers don’t need to see every thrust and bead of sweat in order to comprehend attraction between two characters.  It’s the same with horror.  We don’t need to see the blood spurting and the amputations in order to be scared.  And frankly, it dates a movie because within a few months or at most, years, the audience will be laughing at the dated special effects.

I’m horribly out of date as far as appreciation for the genre in writing this.  It’s akin to me writing a post about Oasis, a band I haven’t listened to since high school.  And while I’m aware that it’s not the most respected of genres, I don’t think having titles like Halloween H20: 20 years later is helping.  I am really hoping that there aren’t 20 Halloween movies.  I don’t care how good the first one was.  Anything beyond three is stretching it, and even three is stretching it.

But I will say that I am one of those people who likes being scared.  And not because of some child getting killed or some woman being raped on screen (both of which I think are cheap scares), but because of the suspense, the unknown that, when successfully conveyed is fun.  When you’re safely curled up on your couch.  With another warm body.  And a big bowl of popcorn.


SHE SAID: Halloween

October 15, 2009

knight_halloween

When I was younger, Halloween seemed a whole lot cooler than it is now.

Back when my only worry was running into my older brother and his friends who were equipped with shaving cream cans and eggs, and we didn’t have to worry about that AND the neighbors putting razor blades in our popcorn balls or candy apples.

Back when my biggest disappointment was having to put on my down coat underneath my ghost costume that I had spent at least ten minutes on since the eye holes were apparently necessary, however much they compromised the costume and missing meeting up with friends.

Back when Unicef was still unquestionably good and all of us struggled blissfully under the growing weight of our candy and the little orange boxes as the night progressed.

Back when pumpkins were all hand carved and not created by following one of the five included patterns.  Although, I will admit the little tools are a lot easier to work with than the ten inch butcher’s knife.

Back when we kids owned the neighborhood, even if only for the evening.  And we roamed aimlessly, hitting up every lit house for candy and sometimes hopefully knocking even on the dark house’s doors, trying to amass the largest group of people we could as the twilight eased into darkness.

There was one rule.  Be home when it got dark … or a little past dark.

Now, my mom says she only needs one bag of candy since she only gets about three trick or treaters.  Parents drive their kids from house to house, packing their families into mini-vans until the kids are old enough to go out on their own.  And when that is the case, they stay on a few streets that are populated with tons of people.  You start trick or treating at 3pm and are done by 6.  You don’t trick or treat from people you don’t know and you don’t accept any candy that wasn’t pre-wrapped by Mars, inc.  Costumes are mostly store bought from places that specialize in mass marketed outfits that reference a popular TV show or widely recognized icon.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a punk rocker, now it’s Hannah Montana, the Backyardigans, Disney.

And because of this mass produced Halloween, how many kids are going to be able to recount the time they went as a mummy, completely wrapped in toilet paper, which seemed like the greatest costume ever until you started dancing, it deteriorated and you were mortified because you hadn’t anticipated that little problem and so didn’t have anything on other than underwear.  And yes, that means no bra either which was MORTIFYING in sixth grade.

I get the reasons behind some of the changes – safety being the obvious one due to the creep who hid razor blades in candy apples.  But it still makes me a little sad for what was lost.  And I plan on making my son wear home-made or pieced together costumes.  Because making them is so fun.


HE SAID: Halloween

October 15, 2009

I can write forever on Halloween in the 80’s and early 90’s, my heyday of acquiring candy, egging people & toilet papering houses.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I do not have a child of my own and really have no idea what goes on these days for Halloween.  Well, I should say I have no idea what goes on Halloween these days for children.  Based on the number of absurd photos I just detagged myself from on facebook, I am quite sure I know what goes on Halloween for adults in the new millennium.

But first, I do have a quick bone to pick with Nifer…I am quite sure growing up we did indeed have to worry about those creeps that tried to feed razorblades to sugar hungry children.  We were always told not too accept unwrapped candy from houses we didn’t know.  Maybe you are just THAT much older than I am, or maybe that ritzy little ‘hood you grew up in didn’t have crazies.  Just kidding, it’s not like I grew up in Watts or anything like that.

Also, I don’t know about you (Nifer, our 18 readers, etc), but we also never did anything too egregious.  Maybe it was the small town thing, but a couple eggs here, or rolls of toilet paper there, were pretty much the extent to our shenanigans.  We certainly never threw shit on someone’s door, leading to exchanges such as this one.  Actually, this scene brings up two good points 1. going as Ronald Miller and Cindy Mancini would make a kick ass couples costume and 2. what the eff happened to Amanda Peterson?

This brings me to yet another point – couples dressing as lame couples for halloween of really lame.  Two M&M’s, Fred and Wilma, plug and socket are all examples of ideas that I can not endorse.  Now, the aforementioned Ronald & Cindy or Axl & Slash, these are something I can get into.  But I am just far too lazy to do something that cool.

I realize that this post has no semblance of structure, so I’ll wrap it up with two final thoughts.  While halloween is fun as an adult (dressing up like a jackass, seeing girls dress up as skanky as possible, getting extremely inebriated, etc etc etc), there is no doubt in my mind the joy I felt as a child going from house to house with my friends was more pure and unadulterated.  Even when my effing parents dressed me up as a bunny rabbit or pumpkin.  There was a sense of innocence that has been lost.  And maybe that’s the issue with today’s kids and Halloween; with all the TV/video games/internet crap that’s out there, maybe they have lost their innocence at a younger age.

Since it is not within me to end on such a serious note, might I suggest all adult females go for one of the following costumes a couple of weeks from now.


HE SAID: Promptness

August 6, 2009

566184634_f88248883dThere we were, a ghost, Jason from Friday the 13th, a gorilla, and god knows what else.  There were about 8 of us that year, horsing around my friend’s house after school waiting for our last friend to show up, so we could commence trick or treating.  We were probably about 9 years old that year, the pinnacle of Halloween.  We were able to pick out our own outfits, no longer could our parents dress us up in fucking pumpkin costumes (thank god that picture hasn’t  been scanned onto facebook yet), and this was the first year we were allowed to go trick or treating on our own.  Our plan was simple: get lots of candy, avoid the high school kids who would try and egg us, get back to our buddies house watch Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors and gorge ourselves on the candy we had.

And you know what…it almost never happened.  Why? Because my best friend was late.  Really fucking late.  We got about 45 minutes of trick or treat time, missed most of the Simpsons, and my candy lasted me about two days.  I’ll leave full names out of it, but we invented the term, “B***r Time,” after that night, because this kid operated on a whole different space/time continuum than the rest of the world.

How effing hard is it to show up on time, generally speaking.  I get the fact that in many cases there are extenuating  circumstances, but most of the time that is not true.  To quote one of the greatest comedies ever made, “Well, no, why don’t we say 9:30, and then make it your beeswax to be here by 9:30? I mean, we’ll all be in our late 20s by then. I just don’t see any reason why we can’t be places on time. ” (Wet Hot American Summer).  When you’ve agreed to be somewhere, or meet someone at a certain time, just do your best to accomplish that.

Guess what?  If you think you might be late – That last beer before you head out the door…doesn’t need to be drunk.  That last mile on the bike, skip it.  While I realize the following statement is not what chronically late people are actually implying, it seems to those of us chronically affected by it that you deem your time to be more important than ours.  Again, I want to stress that I understand that isn’t what you people (yeah I said it, “you people,”) are actually saying to the rest of us, but it is how it comes off.

I have two friends (yes, that’s right, only two), who shall also remain anonymous.  Both of them have had some terrific softball careers.  One of them was somewhat of a team leader, showing up on time, running practices, etc etc…however in his final at bat one season he had the chance to be the hero – runners in scoring position, two outs in the final inning, and he struck out looking.  Clearly he can’t come up big when it matters.  The other friend is a bit like Manny Ramirez  (not the hitting aspect, the mental aspect).  She shows up some games, sometimes late, she doesn’t show up others.  You get the point.  She had a walkoff single last week.  Who would you rather have on your team?

Well, the one that shows up late and comes through in the clutch of course.  This doesn’t support my overall statement in any way, but I just heard the story about my buddy that struck out looking, and had to squeeze it in here.


SHE SAID: Promptness

August 6, 2009

Before anyone berates me in the comment section, for those of you who don’t know, I am chronically late.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?  I find it’s usually about 15 minutes, but sometimes despite best intent, I stretch it out a bit longer.  There are those who think my showing up late is disrespectful of their time.  And while I completely understand that, it is not my intent in any way shape or form.

It all started way back, such a long long way back …

My entire family is late. As Jeremy’s childhood friend, we seem to operate on our own time & space continuum.  Christmas morning starts at 11 am, dinners scheduled for 7 start at 9, and any time it’s really important, tell us to be there at LEAST a half an hour before you actually want us there.

Once I walked home from soccer practice as a young child (4 miles) only to find my mom hadn’t left to pick me up yet.

So, I consider my 15 minutes preferable to both my brother’s 45 minutes (my sister-in-law’s ring tone for him is “love isn’t always on time” – brilliant) and my mother’s solid hour.

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My most horrendous offenses to date that I remember:

I was close to two hours late for a friend’s Christmas Dinner without a good reason.  Well, it was good for me, but they weren’t as understanding.

I once told Jeremy I was on my way to meet him as I was stepping into the shower which resulted in me meeting him at 7:28 for a 7:30 movie that was 30 minutes away.

I recently orchestrated a meet up with friends at 7 and while they were all there at 7, I was just getting off my bike at seven and didn’t make the dinner until a little after 8.  Thankfully, they had all ordered a few drinks.

I have spent a large amount of time this summer driving 85 MPH +  for over three hours in an all out effort to make the last boat of the day to my destination … because I left home late.

Thankfully cleanliness, not timeliness, is next to Godliness because at least I have some hope in that area.

I just asked my best childhood friend if she had any memories of my lateness and she said in an incredibly sexy voice (she’s single, gentlemen) ….

“You are always late. I factor in an extra 45 minutes, no joke, when you are meeting me and honestly it works out pretty well.  You have the best intentions of anyone I know and you genuinely want to be on time and make plans but it’s how it goes.”

About two weeks ago, I decided, after a day of being ten minutes late for everything (and it was a heavily scheduled day, so it was wearing me down) that I was going to be on time.  And, surprisingly enough, I did it.  I was uncomfortable at first. I didn’t know what to do with all the time I found I had, and I was really unaccustomed to not running around like mad and constantly apologizing for keeping people waiting.  But it was nice.  In comparison to my regular state of being, I felt like I had just stepped out of a spa.

I could get used to it.  Maybe.  But I’ve got to work in room for the spontaneity quotient, so don’t count on me to be on time ALL the time.