October 2008


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Archive for October 26th, 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.