October 2008


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Archive for October, 2008

The problem with horror

Posted in Life, Media on October 26th, 2008

Tolerant picked up “The Haunting of Hill House” the other day, and seemed surprised that I wasn’t really into watching a horror flick. I’ve watched a lot of them over the years – my first roommate was a huge horror fan, and since it was his TV, I pretty much had to watch them or leave our tiny apartment to get away from them. Anyway, the modern horror flick all has some heritage of the Jason movies, in which you find a handful of teens-to-twentysomethings and unleash a homicidal maniac on them.

You see, the problem with these movies is the suspension of disbelief. You have to turn your brain off to enjoy the movie, otherwise you sit there talking to the screen asking why the victims are being so damned stupid and unprepared. I have trouble turning my brain off.

For example, we will use the episode of “Criminal Minds” that aired this past Wednesday. A couple driving from one place to the next via old country roads finds themselves too tired to drive any further. They happen across a lonely country inn, and opt to get a cabin for the night. Lo and Behold, the guy who runs the joint is our serial killer, and he likes to torture his victims physically and psychologically before killing them.

In the morning, the wife mentions what she wants for breakfast while they are getting dressed, but she can’t find her underwear for some reason. Then room service is delivered a few minutes later. The wife goes to move a chair and discovers it is bolted down. The couple realize neither one of them ordered breakfast, and gather up their stuff to leave, suspecting they may be in trouble – only the door refuses to open. Just as the doorknob comes apart in the husband’s hand, the window shutters all start slamming shut.

This is where the couple freaks out. If it was me, this would be where I stop being freaked out and get pissed. A quick inventory of available weapons would be made: none on me, and the furniture is bolted down. I do however always carry a Gerber multi-tool, which would then be used to unbolt a chair to break into suitable club-sized pieces. The tool would then be used to open the door, either by manually releasing the catch through the broken doorknob or by removing the hinge pins so I could pull the door down – but I would leave it in place until I could plan a trap to catch our serial killer.

You see where I’m going with this? I would always be the guy that survived, but chances are I would also defeat the bad guy before any of my companions died unless he kills someone to start the whole ball rolling. After a while, watching these gets a bit tedious.

Another thing about these movies is that somehow the Sci-Fi channel has decided that these are the root of the Sci-Fi genre and keep making them, or flicks about mutated monsters that eat half the town. This is not sci-fi, it is horror and I wish they would knock it off.

On a side note, “Hill House” does not follow the serial killer pattern, it is a good supernatural thriller, and the house is just too cool. The movie is worth watching just to see the house.

Some of us are a little more recently evolved than others

Posted in Life on October 26th, 2008

Those of you who have hung out with me for any length of time have probably heard me say that line before, but today it was a damn nice thing. For those of you that don’t know me, allow me to explain.

If you’ve read the “about me” page, then you know I am the Furry Man. What I didn’t mention are some of the more feral aspects of my family genome – like my fingernails, which all curve down over my fingertips and more closely resemble claws than human nails. They grow out sharp, too. I spend quite a bit of time filing them smooth so I don’t inadvertently draw blood when scratching Tolerant’s back. And back when I still had all the original equipment, my canines were just a tad pronounced, and my jaw has a definite lupine overbite.

Back before the sinus infection I contracted a few years back that burned out my olfactory senses, I could still identify the scents of my friends from across the room. (And this is after smoking for the last 20 years.) To truly prove the strength of the family traits, however, you should remember that blue and grey eyes are a recessive gene. 4 out of 5 children born to a brown & blue-eyed couple will have brown eyes. Ratty’s eyes are green, Pookies’ are a gunmetal blue/grey mix. Both mothers have dark brown eyes due to their Native American heritage.

The final bit of evolutionary throwback, however, seems to be the ability to survive damage. My brother is into motocross and other hazardous sports, yet has managed to break only minor bones. I have survived the last 19 years with only half a pancreas, and never broken a bone. (But not for lack of trying.) A few years back, however, we got definitive medical proof via a set of head x-rays my brother had taken after someone smashed a beer stein over his skull: his skull bone is twice as thick as a normal human specimen. Both of my children have proven this point in the last few years, and today I proved it again myself.

Pookie talked me into going ice skating for the first time today. I did pretty good at first, just tooling around the rink and trying to get used to the skates. (Definitely different than rollerblades.) After a while they kicked us off the ice to resurface it, and I made the mistake of not waiting longer for the ice to freeze up solid again. While heading off at a reasonably slow speed, I somehow lost balance and the ice was slicker than I was used to, and I lost it all.

It wasn’t just a crumple and slide wreck, either. Both feet shot straight forward, and I landed full flat on my back, at three major contact points: tailbone, shoulder blades and skull. I hit so hard my glasses flew off my face. I think folks on the other side of the rink heard the thunk when my head hit. The two teenage girls who slid up to see if I was all right looked a little stunned to see me get up under my own power and casually skate back over to Pookie (who had missed the whole incident, thankfully. Never crash spectacularly in front of your kids.)

My head hurt a little for about ten minutes, but the lasting pain is actually in the muscle groups that help pull my head forward. Nothing critical, it just means leaning froward after I have been leaning back gets a bit touchy.

Like they say in my family: “That which doesn’t kill me, had better run fast.

Tales From Real Life – the Un-Wedding

Posted in Proof! on October 21st, 2008

So Carrie Vaughn has posted the first chapter of her latest book, in which Kitty the Werewolf contemplates a ‘Vegas wedding. This got me thinking about my time in the desert and an Un-Wedding that a buddy of mine threw. I wasn’t there for it, but he took lots of pictures so I think I can relate the tale here.

Waaaay back when, my buddy BJ grew up in NYC before his folks up and moved him to Sin City, and when they did move he had to give up a girlfriend (You may remember BJ from the ‘great Frognapping Caper’). There was much pining done by phone and mail (regular mail, this story pre-dates the WWW) over the next few months, until everyone involved ponied up some cash and bought “Jane” a plane ticket so they could shut her and BJ up for a while.

When she got to ‘Vegas, somehow the subject of famous ‘Vegas weddings came up, and someone finally said “wouldn’t it be GREAT if we did a ‘Vegas wedding?!?” I don’t think it was BJ who said it, but I wouldn’t put it past him. Likely he did what any teenage boy would do at such a mention and went wide-eyed and scared. Luckily, he snapped out of it before Jane noticed and ran away crying.

Much discussion then ensued, and they came up with a Plan: they would have a ‘Vegas wedding, except for that little part about the paperwork. Closets were turned out and thrift stores were stormed, and in a few short hours they had managed to suit up the wedding party in proper finery. (You can get a tux at 2am in ‘Vegas, no problem.)

A limo was quickly rented (natch) and the whole gang piled in. They drove down Chapel Row, picked a suitable faux-church, and piled everyone out. They took tons of pictures out front, then piled back into the limo and plowed on to a favorite liquor store for supplies before heading back to BJ’s for the “reception”.

And a grand Reception it was, complete with photographic evidence aplenty of people doing Silly Drunken Dances and making complete asses of themselves – I think one of the bridesmaids nearly fell in the pool trying to catch the bouquet. BJ said he was hungover for about a week afterward. They repaired the damage over the remainder of Jane’s stay, then sent her home to Momma – with a huge wedding album in her hands.

From the reports BJ mentioned, Momma was very tearful, but they never did get to the bottom of whether it was because Jane “eloped” or because she didn’t – you never can tell with some Mommas.

JFK « Filling the Well

Posted in Life, Politics on October 15th, 2008

Carrie Vaughn is one of my current favorite authors (she writes about werewolves – go figure) but she recently posted an article comparing Obama to Kennedy that raises some good points.

…I heard something like this: “I don’t like either candidate. I want to vote for someone I’m excited about. I want to vote for someone like Kennedy.”

But in 1960, John F. Kennedy was not Kennedy. He was a young upstart senator with the audacity to run for president against an established, experienced politician. And to, astonishingly, win.

That age mention is one of my major sticking points. It seems that politics is the only career where you are not expected to retire by 65 or even 70 years old. Sure, these people have lots of experience to guide them, but they are also (in many cases) hopelessly blinded by that same experience and less able to see the changes around them.

Why did 9/11 happen? Because old men couldn’t grasp the true possibility of the event. It had never happened before, and it was inconceivable in their hearts that someone could do such a thing.

Why has nothing the government has done to protect us really done anything more than inconvenience and upset the people they are trying to protect? Because those years of experience have made them forget what it is like to believe in something so completely that nothing else matters. When you were a teenager, or even a 20-something, when you fell in love you fell all the way. No holding back, no brakes, the pedal went to the floor and stayed there until you crashed.

The people we are currently fighting are in love with their beliefs, and they are deep in the throes of a teenager’s love. They will not listen to reason, they will not compromise, and they will not give up til their dying breath. And the current establishment has no idea how to deal with that. They have forgotten what it is like.

We need a younger generation in power so they have a better chance of dealing with change and understanding the world around them. This is the way monarchies have been operating for centuries – the old King dies or retires, and the young King steps forward. Yes, he is guided by the experience of his older advisors – but it’s still the King’s decision.

This evolution in government has powered some of the greatest nations the world has known, and it is time we remembered this. America was built upon a revolution with the idea that Revolution may be needed in the future to change things. Let us face a simple fact: there is no possibility of a successful revolution in the United States today. There are too many people, and the government has too many resources at its disposal for any group of Americans to overthrow the government without the aid of an outside military force. This just won’t happen without bloodshed on a massive scale.

Our only hope for change then lies within the system itself. It will take upstart young Senators and the people who vote for them to bring out any significant change in this Nation. If you don’t like the way things have been and are currently going, you must exercise the one Right they have not truly hindered yet and get off your ass and vote.

Either that, or figure out how to build a practical stardrive so we can get the fuck off of this rock.

Yeah, I thought so. See you at the polls.