Visiting

No apologies or explanations for the lull; the lapses in attention to my blog illustrate the way my mind gets pulled around the scope of my world. Not that I’ve suddenly stopped watching movies or playing games. I’ll be back to talk about them soon. Here’s a painting (that will end up being finished with ink precision) that I’m currently taking a break from. Working title “Fire Ants” for reasons that won’t be clear until much further along.

 

Fire Ants Rough

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Digging Out: Pictures of My Time With Nemo

All is sunny skies and near-balmy temperatures today as we of the East Coast tunnel our way out of the impressive snow mass left behind by Nemo. I’m still having some issues with power/internet service flickering in and out; sorry this is the first update! Here are a few pictures from my neck of the woods in the metro-Boston locale:

Superstorm Nemo, East Coast

Just a few hours into the storm.

Boston and its outlying lands have a strange reverence in the way large snowfall is dealt with; so as not to disrupt this heavenly mana, the city crews sneak their plows and shovels through to create one-lane walkways and roadways (regardless of the fact that many streets are four lanes across and the downtown area depends on pedestrian-style commutes.) Snow isn’t blown, or machine-melted, but instead carefully piled on the sides of walks, median strips, and breakdown lanes to make for an admittedly delightful Narnia-esque ridges taller than myself. (I’m 5’6″. Luckily–five years ago on the 21st of this month!–I fell in love with a handsome, long-legged beastie who canters around at 6’3″. He has been the one sent out on food scrounging missions, which have been fairly successful.)

The aftermath (in the rain, of all things.)

The aftermath (in an all day rainstorm, of all things.)

Glad we don't have a car; maneuvers like this were never my navigational niche.

Glad we don’t have a car like our neighbors here; maneuvers like this were never my navigational niche.

We were very lucky to keep our heat through most of the ordeal. The wind was phenomenal and coated the windows on every side of the house with ice and snow, effectively cocooning our abode. It was a little tense with the unpredictable power, but as you’ll see in this final and shameless photo, our cat was none-too-bothered. She ousted me from the living room recliner, invited her stuffed bunny to join her (she spent her kitten year alongside our late rabbit, Bun Bun Cinna-bun, esq.) and spent the rest of the night not giving a fuck. Hope all you folks in the area fared as well as we! I’ll be back to the horror and the video games right quick.

cat, fiddlesticks, bunny, storm Nemo, east coast

No prahblems heah, kid.

Superstorm Nemo Cometh

Just wanted to hold out the lantern to my fellow Bostonians and other East Coast dwellers: be careful out there! If the power stays on, you can bet that games will be played and horror films watched. As the wind howls, I find myself nostalgic for my VHS double tape copy of Stephen King’s The Storm of the Century…

Doing My Small Part to Smugly Educate Folks Regarding the Amish

This is an example of how interactions used to play out when someone asked me “Where are you from?”:

“Oh, I’m from Holmes County, Ohio.”
*received blank stare with tentative nodding*
It’s, um, mid-Ohio, in the foothills? Really rural? Like, 30 minutes south of Wooster? Uh, almost exactly two hours drive between Cleveland and Columbus?”
*more nodding, but hope is fading*
“Okay, it has the largest population of Amish like, anywhere. In the whole world.”
“But isn’t that in Pennsylvania?” they ask. I shake my head and break a little inside.
Nope, Holmes County has more than anyone.” Gears turn and I know what’s next:
O-H-H-H…so are you Amish??”
“No. No, I am not.”

Some roads are indeed still dirt.

Some roads are indeed still dirt.

But now television, that wit of modern-day exploitation media, has forced a new act to this whence-I-came drama:

*I politely endure the previous script*
“O-H-H-H…so are you Amish??”
“Not now, nor never, my good chap.” I prepare to move on like usual, except:
BUT SURELY YOU AT LEAST KNOW SOMEONE IN THE AMISH MAFIA AMIRIGHT?!”
*My mouth drops open; my eyes widen; I reach out to the nearest passerby to borrow another hand because I don’t have enough for the facepalms this deserves.*

*********

Listen, there is no such thing as an Amish Mafia.  It surprises me to encounter people who know damn well how network reality shows work, (that they are mostly if not entirely scripted entertainment save for a select few) biting the hook on the new Amish shows like “Breaking Amish” and the Discovery Channel’s “Amish Mafia”.

I get it that an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t know much of anything about the Amish, and that they are a culture categorically misrepresented and lampooned. From [a movie I can’t live without] KingPin to “Law and Order” spinoffs to even the more accurate but still largely narrow-sighted 2002 documentary Devil’s Playground,  Amish are portrayed as a world further outside  American society than [I would argue] any other sub-culture living here today.

But, come on. An Amish mafia? Rumspringa gone wild? Entertaining, no doubt, but to believe it’s a real thing? COME ON.

Here’s the reality, then it’s back to games and scary movies and all that junk: The Amish are the best neighbors you can have. They are normal, reasonable, vastly hard-working, good humored, and intelligent. They may have a quietly removed lifestyle but they–at least in Holmes County, OH–inspire a unique sense of overall community “pitching in for your neighbor in need.” They always wave back if you pass them driving their buggies or on foot. They bake absurdly delicious pies. They come in many variations of relaxed to orthodox. They shop at WalMart. They are keen businessmen and women who know how to capitalize on their life’s phenomena to sell their woodworking and other crafts. They are as susceptible to alcoholism as anyone. They are deeply, staunchly religious but are to my experience the most graceful with their faith. They are expert huntsmen and better environmentalists than anyone else has a right to claim.

Best of all, they push a drive through the rolling hills of mid-Ohio from pretty to stunning: be it a snapshot of the male family members coaxing Clydesdales through a harvest, or a vista of golden fields and forest without one telephone or electrical line anywhere to be seen on the horizon.

So enjoy the shows, enjoy how society has given thumbs up for the entertainment industry’s growing perversion of geographic, economic, and cultural strata instead of helping to bring us together by celebrating reality. But for the love of the one ring, keep in mind that there is no such thing as an Amish Mafia.

 

Heave-Ho to the Happy Crappy

Alright folks: a new year. Another one. Will this be the year I stop mucking around and set off down a glorious career path? Say “bollocks!” to debt and get my MFA? Give up my hair coloring regiment and let my silver hair be publicly silver even though I’ve got a few more of these new years before I reach 30? Just like any innovative movie or game (see what I did there?) the plot twists remain to be seen! I do know this: the cosmos would have to be very cruel indeed to set a year in motion worst than the last, so with a bout of zealously rare optimism, here’s to throwing out all the moldy remnants of 2012!

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to round out that Tomb Raider series, just, uh…hang in there. It’s actually tied into another topic very dear to my heart that will show up soon, but for now I really want to hail the new year with a few topical fun-stuffs.

Titles To Anticipate

Sometimes I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than sit and watch a barrage of movie trailers. Just such a time came up a few days ago. I, by random search, came across this youtube channel devoted to Sci-Fi and Horror movie trailers (it’s all in the name!). Spent a happy hour browsing trailers–old and new–and researching the standouts. Below is a list of the titles I wrote down in my “Watch This Shit!” notebook. (Unless noted with a ” * “, the trailers can be found by following that link to the Sci-Fi & Horror Movie Trailers channel; a few of them were already on the list from other sources.) Without further ado and in no particular order!

2013 Upcoming Releases

  • The Babadook  and These Final Hours (*no trailers yet, but both include David Henshall from The Snowtown Murders and that hooked me. The first appears to be true horror and the second is more a character movie, but I’ll allow the genre slip for Henshall’s mesmerizing acting. And an apocalypse is involved, so, c’mon. That’s scary.)
  • The Host 2 -if you haven’t checked out the first one, mark it ‘high priority
  • Warm Bodies 
  • Dark Skies
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness *Listen, I’ve never been a Trekkie, but the most recent movie was highly entertaining with re-play value to boot and seriously you guys, just watch this trailer, it looks fanta-a-astic….guh!
  • Mama – oh sweet jesus, this looks terrifying. Hooray!

Out Now: Top Titles I’m Tracking Down. Reviews Imminent! 

  • Antiviral (2012) – this has been on my mind since I caught the trailer a long time ago, but I missed it in theatres. My latter portion of 2012 was kind of fucked up.
  • Kill List (2011) – it’s amazing how pivotal movies like this fly over my head. Constantly. Time to rectify.
  • Take Shelter (2011) *
  • Tideland (2005) *
  • Outcast (2010) *
  • Sound of My Voice (2011) *
  • Animal Kingdom (2011) *

The “Watch This Shit!” list is bigger than these highlights assert–it’s obese, honestly–but these are the titles actively tickling my cinema viscera. I welcome any and all suggestions, words of caution, and personal experiences with any of these or others, so please! Speak on up!

Um, and Games, Too?

Of course, games! I’d be pretty daft if I didn’t openly recognize that I represent only a portion of the gaming community solely based on the limited platforms I use. (And I don’t have an iPhone, where so many of the games are at. That’s fine by me.) Still, my PC and PS3 have a few things to look forward to and titles that I missed this year to catch up on:

  • If it’s not clear that I’m eagerly awaiting the Tomb Raider reboot/prequel/whatever then here: I’m so eagerly awaiting the new Tomb Raider game.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth 
  • Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – eeeee!
  • Journey (PS)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online -this might be a huge turning point for my gaming life; I am not an MMO gamer. But the design, story, and map looked amazing at E3 and frankly, I just haven’t had enough Elder Scrolls in my life. Yet.
  • BioShock Infinite -it’s about freaking time.
  • The Last of Us -may end up not being my kind of game, but it looks too stunning to dismiss before I try!

Games I’ll probably end up playing anyway? GOW: Ascension, Resident Evil 6, and of course, Minecraft in its various iterations, mods, and deliciously hypnotic repetition. I love you, Minecraft. Please be kinder to my PC.

2013: Predictions? 

In general, I’m trying not to have any major life “predictions” about this year. That tends to go sour, so I’m going with the flow as far as being a person in society is concerned. But for entertainment? Let me scry.

  • Horror Cinema: New French Extremism will continue to innovate, disturb, and delight, but I think this year is going to see Australian cinema making a well-deserved and lasting statement. Particularly in psychological horror and stark character stories. We will have to groan past the umpteenth “reboot” of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and probably a few others as the gears of our beloved genre find a renewed pitch. Meanwhile, American and Canadian indie crews are going to keep us on edge and talking plenty afterward. Overall, this may not be the year of a booming horror renaissance, but it will do a lot to get us there.
  • Video games:  After 2012, a year with the lowest amount of “great games” according to the powers that be, surely we can look forward to a variety of ass-kicking entertainment to choose from. (Although I don’t foresee anything until 2014 stepping up to equal Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series from ’12. Just not going to happen this year.) No doubt there will be some wide-spread disappointment surrounding one or two of the bigger anticipated titles, but who’s to say which ones? Honestly? I’m not kidding about spending more lavish quality time with Minecraft, so let that say what it will about my predictions.

Well folks, here’s to you, to me, to the shadows of horror, to the adventure of games; to a new calendar year! Best of luck to us all. Stay tuned!

 

In the Wake of True Horror…

With the shudder of the Connecticut school shooting still shaking the bones of the country, I don’t feel comfortable writing about horror for a little while. I’m going to be true to my word and finish up the vastly overdue third part of my Tomb Raider diatribe, but then I’m going to take a little time to think about the grief clinging to that small town.

If Only You Knew Me…

So I didn’t publish the intro post as a false harbinger of the Tomb Raider finale installment just to be a time troll. I really expected to follow up with the final bit and move on (currently, a sizeable hunk of it sits in my draft tab,) but had cause to put it on hold due to some travel to the homeland. Clearly, I’m able to connect to the internet, but listen: I’m on dial-up in the literal middle of the woods, ya’ll. Beyond the perversely nostalgic robot sing-song that rings in a connection, the happy capabilities are tenuous at best and I don’t want to trust my prose-heavy ramblings to the same phone line that scurries into a virtual locked cellar every time it’s damp out. I’ll be back in the vicinity of wireless wizardry early next week, so keep that anticipation primed!

Seriously, This Weather, You Guys!

Just coming around to feeling like a human rather than a husk, but I am hoping to have a new review or two posted later today. I know there isn’t a “PART III” to the Tomb Raider op-ed just yet, but I’ve been so ill that I haven’t even managed to have opinions lately. Gross.

Take care of your immune systems, brothers and sisters and everyone, and I’ll see you back here later today!