There are moments in life when everything suddenly becomes prioritized. What seemed to be of great importance yesterday now is a distant memory and unfortunately this new found perspective is usually the result of bad news. I wish I had the ability to grasp what is really important without an accompanying tragedy. But I suppose only a few can in the fast paced society that so easily takes over our lives.
In early September my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I am not the type who gets overly anxious about bad news because I need to understand all the factors. In my mind there is a fixable answer to everything and nothing is final until every single resource is exhausted. So upon hearing the news from my dad I was concerned but emotionally, very detached.
Almost immediately she was put through a battery of tests and a few were very intrusive. There were also countless appointments with therapists, nutritionists and surgeons to widdle down the appropriate treatment. Most of the tests’ outcome were good but a few were not. Really, until the surgery the long term prognosis is unknown. And at 9am tomorrow she goes in for the surgery.
Still, up until a few hours ago this hasn’t been very real for me. I have been living here in the Northwest thinking that solution for the cancer is an ongoing battle placed in the hands of the most competent professionals that the medical science community has to offer. Everyday I call home to see what the parents are up to and it seems that the days are full of activity and fun and not thoughts of illness. I wanted to fly in for the surgery but they insisted I stay and save my time off for the holidays and now I am wishing I was home.
Today I talked with Mom and she is fasting and drinking a clear liquid that was given to her in preparation for tomorrow. I could hear the nervousness in her voice as we talked not of tomorrow but of Thanksgiving and how excited Dad was over the Redsox on Saturday. Some of the extended family is coming in town later in the week to help out and we discussed whether my 81 year old Grandmother was capable of driving the family Volvo suv around Roswell, Georgia. Then the air of lighthearted conversation turned to the reality of uncertainty.
My Mom and I are not as close as my Dad and I are. We are just very different people in personalities. That doesn’t mean that we fought all the time but being an only child, I would imagine she felt on the outside a lot. These things weigh heavy on my heart now and today when she told me that she was proud of me, that she loved me and that no matter what happens she can be at peace knowing she was the best mother she could be, the cancer became real.
I try to live my life free of hate and regret. These emotions are a waste of time and energy and after a while, they will kill you. But I still feel them. I hate cancer. I hate how it can indiscriminately come and take a loved one away. I hate the fact that I put rational thought before reaching out and being there emotionally. I hate the thought of my Dad wandering the halls of the hospital. I hate the thought of him eating alone in the hospital cafeteria. I regret that I couldn’t wait one fucking hour until my Mom came home from a meeting to leave for Idaho because I was worried I would hit traffic in Knoxville, Tennessee. I can’t remember when I hugged her last.
We got off the phone and I said I loved her very much and there was nothing to worry about. Inside I wanted to burst but right now she needs strength and not weakness. I know that the surgery, while very serious, is not uncommon. Millions of people are survivors and this is a struggle shared by a large percentage of the world. I understand all that but this is my Mom. And the night before an operation, there is a sense that the battle is only fought by the three of us.
So tonight, I think I will sit outside for a while and watch the sky. I always feel a sense of vitality when in nature. I can’t say if I feel closer to God, since I haven’t been very close to him/her in many years. We sort of have an understanding; I live a good life and He/She protects my family and friends. Which now leads me to wonder what I have done so badly that I haven’t already paid for. But I don’t think God is a “tit for tat’ kind of creator.
Sorry that this post isn’t the kind of light and humorous (or sick) post that I usually write. A very good friend of mine recently told me the good thing about a blog is that when you write something, it then becomes real. Almost making your feelings tangible in a way. I say that is true.
SAME? Keeping with the October theme I want to shed some more light on my favorite thing to do this time of year and that is watch horror movies without getting weird looks from friends and family. Trust me, I have watched Jacobs Ladder on Easter morning and got more than a few raised eyebrows. It was my silent protest after spending two hours outside, freezing for sunrise service. But anyway, I do love the frightful TV programs on AMC and The Chiller Channel so much. It is what makes Halloween now that I am an adult. So today I will talk about some of the more memorable scenes, some fellow website pals that do a better job of listing horror favorites and some my odd childhood scares and items that I still hold close to my heart thanks to Tobe Hooper and the like.
Ho-Boy! The 1981 classic, Ghost Story, isn’t well known to those who are fans of SAW or The Grudge but it will beat them hands down when it comes to the creepy factor. This movie has a little bit of everything for everyone and includes gore shots, boob shots and the controversial full frontal male nude shot. I wasn’t a fan of the penis shot but in a genre full of boobs I guess there should be equality.
The premise of the film is a group of four gentlemen who befriend a young woman and they accidentally kill her… so they thought. In their panicked state they load her body in a car and push it into a lake only to see her scream as it slips under the frozen water. Tormented with grief they vow never to tell about this until they are old men and she comes back to haunt them, taking their lives one by one. Excellent. Plus Alice Krige is super hot in this film, for a ghost. Take a look but please put down anything that can be spilled or dropped (i.e. coffee, tea, water, cat, baby….)
GOOOOO! That’s just great, isn’t it?
Robert Wise 1963 film The Haunting is the creepiest movies of all time and I say the with hesitation. I know in a day full of special effects and gore, the possibility of a black and white film to be of the same scare caliber might seem iffy at best, but it blows any film away. I have seen this countless times and it keeps getting better. It truly holds up and even the remake by director Jan de Bont in 1999 couldn’t touch it proving that the only thing special effects do is remove the viewers imagination. And that is a crime.
This movie was as much psychological as it was supernatural. The camera angles, the inside the head conversations and the muffled ghostly sounds makes The Haunting truly terrifying. Wise hit a home run and please, please watch this clip. This has to be the greatest ghost moments of all times in the cinema and probably made our parents completely sleep deprived for weeks. Enjoy.
Poltergeist. (whistle) Just the name sends shivers down my spine. Who hasn’t seen this Spielberg/Hooper classic? Well if you haven’t, stop what you are doing, go to the movies store and get it. That’s an order. I can’t decide which scene is the best so I’ll just leave you with the trailer. I love the dude’s voice. I have already reviewed the movie here, so, that’s that.
Robert Berry’s site, RetroCrush is by far the greatest site on the web when it comes to pop culture. He does an amazing job of archiving, interviewing and listing all things cool from yester-year and today. Recently he made a top 100 horror movie character list and it will have you blowing at least an hour out of the day scrolling through the actors. Even though I would move a few of the characters’ places around, he hit everyone and that takes eminence effort. Stop by and don’t forget to check out his list of the worst Halloween costumes. Hilarious!
Mystie has done some great work when it comes to Halloween reviews for the holiday, both food and cinema. If you haven’t been there it’s a trip down memory lane especially if you are a girl that grew up n the 80’s and 90’s. To me, her snarky sense of humor makes even an article about Polly Pockets fun. What can I say? I’m a fan and she is a very good friend. Click the Crown Combo picture above!
The Flesh Farm is all things great when it comes to archiving, reviewing and sharing clips and trailers to every horror movie available. J.P. Butcher and staff have outdone themselves with this site and I have been a fan for a couple of years now. Be careful when viewing this because there is some language and nudity so it’s not for the office or public computer viewing but when you get home, late at night, it’s a great way to spend the time. I give this site two severed thumbs up! Click the picture above to see what I am talking about.
Oh you didn’t think that was going to exclude X-E from the site shout out list did you? Of course not. It’s not like I haven’t plugged it about 300 times. But Matt is the king of holiday preparation and review so he earns a spot anywhere that Halloween centers as the topic of conversation. Even though the past couple of years haven’t been like the previous in scale it is still the place to go to find out what is hip in the world of spooy treats and decore. You can’t blame him. It’s near impossible to keep 45 days of holiday reviews alive while working full time and having a life. But we appriciate his efforts. Again, click the picture above to visit Matt and all of the X-E cult.
“You owe me restitution!” Who doesn’t love the classic, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charley Brown! ? Well besides one person I know. I won’t say who but you know who you are! Anyway, this signifies that Halloween is upon us and much like A Christmas Story, I will never miss this CBS Special that, for some reason, generally lands on a Tuesday night. I haven’t figured that one out yet. This is one of my favorites and no matter how many times I have seen it, it never gets old. My dad has seen it, I have seen it, my kids will see it, their kids will see it, their kid’s kids will see and then maybe an asteroid will hit. So, with that said I am going to go out and bury a copy in an airtight titanium case in the backyard. It must survive.
“‘Arrrr, I been Orange Beard The Pirate Cap’in, and this be me first mate….Odie the Stupid.”
This comes in a close second to Chuck Schultz’s master piece above, but still, it’s a classic. I can’t remember if they aired it last year or even the year before, but I hope so. When I was little I owned all things Garfield and the Halloween special really was close to my heart. Even the pirate ghosts were scary. Ok, ok…are scary. Happy?
You see this? When I was 8 I would have sold my soul for this plastic and cloth piece of shit. I begged for it from August to the last week of October. There were so many dreams of showing up to school, dressed in my amazing costume and wielding my deadly fist of blades. But when my Dad finally caved and bought the Freddy Glove, the thrill quickly faded. First off, it didn’t fit. Yeah I was eight and had hands the size of a cellphone but even today, and I still have it, it doesn’t fit. If I had bear paws for hands, maybe, but human hands? So that year I was knight. I love my Dad.
Here’s another one! I saw Halloween II and I knew that I was destined to be Mike Myers for Halloween in 1991. That meant my parents needed to shell out another $25 bucks for latex shit. And it was. The mask above pretty much looked identical and when I was at home looking in the mirror, the realization that I would be the subject of ridicule was eminent. Not only did I not look like “the Shape” but I didn’t even look scary. I looked like a dead Don Knotts. So that is what I went as. I put on a Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants and took off to plunder treats from the neighbors as a zombie Mr. Furley. This was my father’s idea and that makes him uber cool.
Fruit Stripe Gum was always in the Trick or Treat bag and I loved it. It’s too bad that the flavor only lasted 3.2 seconds. I remember that a lady went the cheap route and gave out individual sticks and later on that night it did not pass the parents/customs treat inspection. Still bummed and now that I am an adult and can buy mt weight in Fruit Stripe gum I must say, the thrill is gone.
Here is my second favorite Halloween candy, Spree! Doesn’t the sight of these just make that thing behind your jaw and under your earlobe tingle? Mine does. In fact, one year I ate so many Spree I numbed my tongue out until Christmas. Honest! Moderation is key when it comes to Spree.
Holy Hell! Remember these wall decorations? Tell me these weren’t all over your homeroom walls and windows in elementary school! I remember being truly terrified of the eyeball skull and witch as a child. But back in the early eighties, the folks thought the fright was cute and even tormented me by putting them on the outside of the front door. Do they even make these classics anymore? Or do I have to roam around the neighborhood and steal them off the elderly home’s like I did last year. Am I joking? Maaaaaayyybbbeeee……
Here are some more of the classics. God I love this time of the year! But seriously, that flaming skull still fucks me up.
I apologize about this post. There isn’t really any organized thought process behind it other than just verbal vomit of all things Halloween. But it was fun to write and I hope it was fun to read. Please check out the sites. They do a much better job but then again, they get paid for it. So they should.
For anyone who knows me personally they are fully aware of my irrational fears. Am I scared to swim with sharks? No. Can I watch the movie, The Exorcist at 2am and sleep fine. Yes. Will I hug a frothing pitbull? Of course! But somethings I just can’t grasp and like a typical human, what we can’t understand we fear. My new irrational fear is wild turkeys.
If you are a first time visitor to my blog let me explain. I have recently moved from the hustling bustling city life to far north Idaho where I live in a cabin-like house on a mountain. Everyday has new and exciting challenges like trying to avoid hitting moose on the winding gravel road to retrieving well water. I am loving every minute of it but I will tell you, there are certain things up here that I am unsure of.
Now sure, there are bear, cougar, Indian burial grounds (just up the road 😐 ) and perhaps an occasional shit shot hunter that mistakes runners for deer. But none of those have the audacity to gang up on me in my own backyard like the gang of wild turkeys. I know there are far worse things like what I have already stated but when I went out back on Saturday, these stupid birds charged me! Can you believe that?
As a 30 year old male that still believes he can be rough and tough, I refused to run back into the house. I calmly turned and walked, fast, back into the safety of the house. But i didn’t realise turkeys can also fly. I felt the feathers hit the back of my head and that’s when I took off. Maybe screaming. I made it in the door and looked out the window to see them gathered as if to say, “Come on out! We got all day!”. This pissed me off. It would be different if it was a bear or a mountain lion but these were birds.
I don’t own a fire arm because, well, I don’t hunt. There isn’t a reason to own a killing devise if you don’t plan on killing. But I do have a lucky football and that was my weapon of choice. I opened the door, walked to the corner of the porch and threw a perfect spiral right at the main tom and missed, throwing my football off the side of the mountain. Mother fucker! I really did, as you can see my backyard drops off to the base of Hauser mountain. The turkeys looked off the edge and back to me as if to say, “nice arm, Marino.” I went back inside, defeated.
Turkeys are just awful. They look like their heads are inside out and they don’t ‘gobble’ like you would thing. They sound like a demonic Hamburgler. “Robble Robble”. There is a reason that they are not in a flock or a gaggle but travel in a gang. So all in all I give wild turkey both middle fingers as now they they are my least favorite in the animal kingdom. I even Googled a story that proves turkey’s suck. I found this in Field and Stream.
Between five and 10 large male turkeys, or toms — apparently a little giddy with the onset of turkey breeding season — have been bullying postal workers as they make their rounds, pecking at them and even trying to rough them up with the sharp spurs on their legs. One of the birds launched itself through the open door of a mail truck and scratched the driver.
Eric Lobner, regional wildlife program supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resources, is on the case, investigating the turkey gang.
“They are being threatened by the turkeys, ” said Lobner, who received a call from Wilhite about the situation.
Lobner said other residents should not be too worried about marauding bands of wild turkeys in the streets. He said this particular group of toms has a reputation and has actually been a problem in the past at John Muir Elementary School, chasing school children around the playground and even pecking at the doors after the students were rushed inside the school.
See? I’m not a total Nancy boy. There are documented cases of turkeys gone bad. But I refuse to be tormented so the next day I went outside and sat down with Kootenee. We hung out for a while but I could tell we were being watched. And soon there was a familiar “Robble” in the woods and I turned to Kootenee and told him to get them. Kootenee took off for the safety of the porch. Such an ass!
So here I sit, stalked by wild turkeys and slowly going mad. I imagine I may exercise my 2nd Amendment before my time here in Idaho is done. There maybe a post in the next few weeks with pictures of me in a full feather jacket and a necklace made of beaks. So, just be prepared. Now I will leave you with me in my mind, here on a mountain.
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All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Will a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. all work and no play make Will a dull boy. All wotrk and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Willa dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy.
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EDIT: Stop over and say Happy Birthday to Social Pariah! She is turning almost 30 today! Happy Birthday Mandy!
There is something to be said for youthful indiscretion. Rational thought usually takes a backseat to terrific stupidity that is completely ignorant of any consequences. I was one of those youths. If there was a food fight in the cafeteria I was the clown to throw an apple. I feel fortunate my indiscretions never resulted in incarceration, maiming or death but that doesn’t mean I escaped all disciplinary actions. Here is one of my finer moments.
It was October of 1992 and I was a freshman at a Catholic high school, bred for mischief. A few neighborhood friends had invited me to the annual Fright Night at Six Flags amusement park and for a 13 year old kid it was one of the highlights of the year. To be unchaperoned at a theme park until midnight was probably the greatest opportunity a kid could have. It was an afternoon and night with creepy characters, roller coasters, funnel cakes, and no parental oversight with contingency plans and meeting points. Nope, we were young men in charge of our own destiny.
We all met, the four of us, at my friend Sandy S’s house since it was his parents who volunteered to take us. Now Mr. and Mrs. S were the envy of the neighborhood when it came to Halloween. They gave out full size candy bars, turned the garage into a spook house and after the trick or treating was over they hosted a Halloween party for all the kids. I don’t know what I looked forward to more, the trick or treating or hanging out at the S’s house? Needless to say, I was of a fan of the S’s.
When we were about ready to leave my friend Ben pointed out that there was a case full of orange MoonPies at the front door. If you are unfamiliar with MoonPies than you must be from North Korea. Ha! No, they are marshmallow filled cookie thing covered in a wax chocolate. You either love or hate them. I was not a fan and a little disappointed that this was the candy of choice for the S’s this year. It had to be stopped.
I explained that giving out individually wrapped MoonPies could only lead to a night of tricks by ungrateful little twerps. It’s bad karma to follow the previous years of giving out full size Twix and Snickers with a treat that was popular in the 1930’s. So we, as caring and thoughtful kids, volunteered to alleviate them of the Moonpie burden and stuff your windbreakers with the individually wrapped Moonpies and Mrs. S could stock the house once again with proper Halloween candy. We did her a favor.
So why would kids who didn’t like MoonPies to begin with want to take thirty of them to Six Flags? To throw them off the top of roller coasters of course! We weren’t going to eat them, silly. No, we came to an unspoken agreement that made sense only to 13 year old boys. There is no rationality behind it, we just knew that it was the right thing to do.
So after we stuffed our jackets to the brim with the said treats, we piled in the car and took off to Six Flags Over Georgia, blasting Smashing Pumpkin’s “Cherub Rock” all the way. Mr. S always was a teenager at heart and he kept current to what the kids were listening to. I remember the car ride there so clearly and how unusually warm it was for a late October day. So the first order of business, we decided, was to dump the cargo and ditch the jackets.
Right when we got to the park and through the entrance the decision on what to go on first was primary. This was the chance to get the mischief out of the system and relieve ourselves of the Moonpies in a glorious display of stupidity that will be the envy of Monday’s lunchtime stories. Should we go on the “Mindbender” with multiple loops and corkscrews? Nah, too short. Should we go on the famous “All American Scream Machine”? No, it’s mostly over water and no targets to hit. How about the “Cyclone”? Maybe, but it doesn’t quite fit what we are looking for…
Ah shit, that’s it! “The Looping Starship”! The one ride in the park that suspends you fifty feet in the air, completely upside down. It was as if it was designed to drop things from it. How many pairs of sunglasses and flip-flops perished on that ride? One could only imagine. Within ten minutes of arrival we were standing in line to meet our destiny as the new world record holders for dumping Moonpies off the Looping Starship. If only mom could see me now.
After an agonizing wait it was our turn to strap into the coaster. The shuttle was wide enough for all four of us to sit together on the same row. The lap-belts were tightened and the hydraulic bars came over our shoulders, securing us from plummeting to the depths below. All we had to do now was some how pull all the Moonpies from our jacket pockets and wait for Ben, the mastermind behind the plan, to say when to release.And then the ride began…
I suppose I should explain the mechanics of this coaster. There are about eight rubber tired wheels on the base underneath the flat belly of the shuttle which keeps the momentum and also slows it down. The shuttle itself rocks back and forth, like a pendulum, until it become totally inverted and completes a series of loops. Here’s a video of the exact ride.
So there we were, MoonPies in our arms, awaiting the command to drop. I have to give Ben props, his patience paid off because there was a point when the shuttle was completely suspended upside down and that is when he yelled, ‘BOMBS AWAY!”. And so we did. All thirty, individually bagged orange MoonPies fell from the Looping Starship. It must have been some sight from the ground to see such a shower of an iconic American treat.
We did it. Laughing and yelling as all the blood in our body rested in our heads, there was sense of forbidden pleasure that swirled around us. And then I noticed something. You see, foresight is not something a thirteen year old boy possesses yet. That comes many, many years later. Only after the deed does reality become apparent. Below us, resting on the tires were the thirty MoonPies, still wrapped in their air filled bags. And the shuttle was making it’s way down again towards them. And this is what we heard when we ran over them.
POP PIP PIP POP BOB PIP POP POP BIP PIP BOB POOF PIP POW BOP!
It sounded as if there was rapid fire machine gun, laying waste to the crowd below. And really, it wasn’t too far from the truth. As we began to ascend I looked up to see that the MoonPies had disappeared from the rotating tires. There was only a glimpse of an orange and white splotch on the spinning tires. But there was also a splat line of orange that lead right to the line waiting to ride the “Looping Starship”. And there were people laid out, covered in orange and white MoonPie goo. Our triumph soon became terror as the ride slowed abruptly and came to a halt.
Everyone else’s hydraulic shoulder harnesses released but ours did not. We were trapped and I was still holding a MoonPie that didn’t make it out of my pocket. So screwed! The conductor (?) approached and yelled, “I’ve called security and you’re not going anywhere. Look at what you’ve done!”
I did and I still have an image of a poor black woman pulling a glop of marshmallow from her hair and another who was peppered all over her back. Her head was cocked back and shoulders were raised as if she had an ice cube dumped down her collar. Those images are still with me today. But every year they get funnier.
Soon the security guards arrive in golf carts and we were pulled from the ride by the elbow, much like a 6 year old who is bad at a Toys R’ Us. We were whisked away while the caked crowd jeered us. They wanted blood and I was relieved when we were taken behind the secret alley behind the skee-ball machines. That is when the interrogation began.
As the guards conversed with each other, Ben turned to us and said, “whatever happens, do not give them your real name.” That sounded like sound advise and when the guard approached with pad of paper in hand and asked Ben for his name, he verbally shit himself.
“My name? It’s uhhhh….Beeeeyoorrnn?”
“Your name is Bjorn?”
For the life of me I can’t recall how the whole security guard encounter went. All I know is that we had our Polaroid picture taken and kicked out of the park soon after. We lasted only an hour at Frightfest ’92. I suppose it wasn’t all that bad. Mr. S wasn’t due to pick us up for another 6 hours and we played “capture the flag” in a parking lot of 5,000 cars. We agreed not to tell anyone of the incident but right when we were picked up and asked how it was, Sandy cracked and confessed the whole affair. He was such a cock suck. Regardless it was time to remember.