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Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Zombie Apocalypse

Anyone who knows me even remotely well knows that I love zombies.  I have spent all year building paper zombies from a calendar and posting the pics on my facebook page.

I will watch any and all zombie related flicks and I’m currently engrossed in the TV series, The Walking Dead.  If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of it, here’s a taste:

I enjoy the show but one thing is beginning to stick in my craw.  It’s been months since the zombies overran the cities.  Various groups of survivors have banded together to fight them off in order to stay alive.  But some characters still react and behave like this is all new to them.  One woman in particular, Andrea, wails and screams every time she is beset by a ravenous zombie like it’s the first time that’s ever happened.  Really?!?

Thankfully it’s not the only way women are portrayed on the show.  In fact, in the last episode when Andrea was screaming like a bitch (yeah, I said it), it was another woman on a horse who strode in and dispatched the zombie with a baseball bat.  Thwack!  I am looking forward to finding out more about her.

This brings me to what this blog is actually about – survival.  What I love most about zombie movies is that there are no good guys or bad guys.  Zombies are the horror equivalent of a good disaster scenario.  Zombies are the asteroid, the earthquake or the spiders that overrun your town and cover it in cobwebs (hands up who’s seen Kingdom of the Spiders).

Thinking about survival had me finally take a book off my shelf and begin reading it.  Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales takes a look at both the people who survive extreme situations and those that don’t.  It examines several factors that go into how people react when accidents happen and how they survive, or don’t, if lost in the wilderness (or the tundra or the ocean or wherever we weren’t really meant to go but do anyway).

I just read a paragraph that had me see why I’m so annoyed with Andrea—she doesn’t behave the way I think I would behave in the same situation.

“As William Faulkner wrote in Lights in August, ‘Man knows so little about his fellows.  In his eyes all men or women act upon what he believes would motivate him if he were mad enough to do what that other man or woman is doing.’”

We don’t root for the good guys in zombie flicks, we cheer on the people who act and react the way that we think we would if we were facing down the hoard of mindless eating machines.  That’s why my favorite character on The Walking Dead is Daryl (played by Norman Reedus).  He’s a redneck with a crossbow.  I probably wouldn’t like this guy here in the normal, civilized world, but if the shit hit the fan, I would gladly follow him anywhere.   He’s a real TCOB kinda guy.

Think about who you want to survive the next time you watch a zombie or disaster flick, and I’m pretty sure it’s the person you think deserves it; the person you think you would be.  Would you deserve to live?

Have a Happy Halloween!!!

My zombie love knows no bounds.  I even have a book of Zombie Haiku and I will share one with you.

Brains, brains, BRAINS, brains, brains,

Brains, BRAINS, brains, Brains, BRAINS, brains, brains,

Brains, Brains, brains, BRAINS, BRAAAINNNNS!

Rockin’ My World

I have never been the one to know who the latest and greatest is when it comes to music.  I missed most of the new wave/alternative music in the 80s and have only heard of lesser known musicians through friends’ recommendations.  I read up on practically every new film that’s in the works, so rarely do I get scooped on that subject but music is an entirely different animal.

My parents listened to country music when I was a kid but I never liked it.  There will be a song or a particular singer I might like but as a genre, I avoid it for the most part.  It just doesn’t speak to me.  So it has been up to my peers to shape my tastes in music.  In high school, a small group of friends I spent the most time with turned me on to classic rock.  I consider Pink Floyd, The Doors and Queen to be among my favorite bands.  In college, I added reggae to the mix and even had friends who were in a reggae band.  I still have the CD they made.  My favorite music channel to listen to while I clean is old school R&B.  The smooth sounds of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Al Green put me in a real Zen place.

Well, today I get to be the one to give the scoop on who I think will be the next big thing and if he isn’t, it’s not because he isn’t the most amazing musician I’ve come across in years.

I was at a party in August just hanging out with some people, smoking a little herb, when someone in the room put this video on the computer:

I stared transfixed at the monitor.  This was pure genius.  Then she played this one next:

Aaaahhhhh.  What is this brilliance?  I found a piece of paper and wrote down the name, Gotye.  A day or two later, I looked it up again on youtube.  I just wanted to see if it was the weed making this great or if it was unequivocally the best thing I’d heard in years.  Bingo!  Just as good as the first time.

I watched a lot of the other videos that were up and then did a little research on Gotye.  From the bio on his site, gotye.com:

Who are you?
Gotye (pronounced “gore-ti-yeah”). Music-making mutant.

Real name?
Wally (born Wouter) De Backer

Anyway, About Me. Erm…Okay. Information!- 31, Belgium, music. And stuff (FYI, he was born in Brussels but currently resides in Australia)

That’s enough.  You can look the rest up yourself.  That’s what Google is for.  What I will tell you is that he is an amazing performer and a genuinely nice guy.  I even have the pictures to prove it.

The place was packed so he’s at least popular with the hipster crowd in Silverlake.  It’s time the rest of you catch on.  He only played LA and NY this time around but he’ll be back next year.  And you won’t want to miss him if he comes to a city near you.

I just want to finish by saying, you heard it here first.  Gotye is better than sliced bread, or a more timely reference, an iPhone 4s (I can make this claim because I don’t actually have one, haha).

And last but not least, my new favorite “Get Happy” song.  Oooh, I think that may be an upcoming blog topic.  You’ll have to check back later to see.

You are not the target audience

I used to get so up in arms over every new shitty film’s existence.  “Why, dear God, did anyone waste money to create (fill in the blank)?”  I’ve spent more emotional energy being annoyed with yet another lame reality TV show than I care to admit.  God forbid some lame pseudo-celebrity who hasn’t even lived a life yet writes an autobiography (I can almost feel the bile in my throat, now). But then somehow, through the din of all that ire, like a knife slicing through hot butter, came the incisive and absolutely indisputable truth – You are not the target audience.

I wanted to argue with this thought at first.  These things were undeniably bad.  They just shouldn’t be.  They are part of the dumbing down of people everywhere.  But, but, but…

But my arguments were pointless.  It was still true; I am not the target audience.  I am not the target audience for remakes of some of my childhood loves.  They are aimed at the new crop of kids.  I am not the target audience for reality TV.  I see through the façade and fake posturing; therefore, I’m neither entertained by nor interested in what happens to any of those people.  I have no interest in most sports programs or TV shows about people who have lost the ability to clean their freakin’ houses.  I am not the target audience.

You know, it’s almost spiritual in its simplicity.  Religion – I am not the target audience.  I cannot be bowed by an outside authority when I know all the answers lie within.  Politics – I am not the target audience.  I can see the game is rigged and not in my favor.  Materialism – I am not the target audience.  I can find joy in free stuff as much as stuff that requires a great deal of wealth to possess.  I’m sure I can go on, but I’ll bet you’ve already gotten the point.

Boy, did that cause nothing but peace for me.  I didn’t even have to have opinions about things anymore.  What difference would it make?  I am not the target audience.  If you really want to know peace – give up your opinions, your judgments and your beliefs.  Just let shit be, because if you haven’t figured it out yet, your upset doesn’t change the fact that something exists.

Someone once told me that to be upset about anything is to be in an argument with Reality.  You can’t say “it shouldn’t be” because if it IS that means, hell yes, it SHOULD be.  Your argument is moot.  The only thing for you to do is to decide if you wish to partake or not.  Just because you don’t want it to happen doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  And if it is happening, rather than just being pissed off about its very existence, make a choice to participate or disengage.  But do it from a place of peace – No thank you.  I will not go and see that movie.

Go in the direction of what you want rather than just running away from what you don’t want.  Your dollar, your participation and attention, that’s your vote.  That’s your voice.  Use it wisely because the consequence of squandering it will be Die Hard 5 – oh yeah, that’s already in the works.  Haha

 

The refinement of my entertainment palate

Perhaps this comes with age.  Perhaps experience.  But I can no longer waste my time or money on just any old thing.  I used to try and see all of the films I could.  I’d catch what I missed at the theater on cable and later on VHS and DVD.  I was voracious.  I could watch TV for hours on end.  Perhaps I’ve finally hit my saturation point.

Not to get morose, but I’m aware that I’ve already lived around 40% of my life so far.  And in that time, I’ve seen a lot of movies, watched quite a bit of TV and read more books than most.  I studied film in college and work in the entertainment industry.  Despite all of that, I found myself beginning to lose interest in all of the things that I used to hold so dear.  If you are what you consume (and I’m not just talking about food), then who would I be if I wasn’t the walking encyclopedia for all things film?  It actually became an identity crisis of sorts.

Once I was finally able to sort it all out, I learned to accept that I just didn’t give a shit about most pop culture anymore.  I made peace with what was inevitable. In turn, I looked for those things that piqued my interest and felt were worth using my precious time left on.  In all of it, there is one thing I’ve noticed that may have lead to my declining interest—constant repetition in the form of remakes, sequels and reboots.

Do I really want to use two hours of my life, plus possible travel time to the theater and back, for the remake of Footloose?  I didn’t even care for the original so this has an easy answer—No.  What about a film based on a mediocre board game (i.e.Battleship)?  Ha!

I don’t like the trend towards lots of computer generated effects and 3D presentations either.  Neither of these can make up for a weak script with bad dialogue and ineffective direction.  I’ll go to an art museum if I want to look at something visually stimulating without a narrative structure to hold it together.

These things may make money and people flock to see them but they don’t feed my need for constant variety.  Some people find comfort in the familiar.  I am no longer the target audience.  I am of a different breed.  I seek out the new, the untried, the adventure for adventure’s sake.  I’ve been skydiving.  It rocked my world.  And if the opportunity presented itself, I would do it again.  But I don’t need to do it again.  Ay, there’s the rub.  I don’t need to do certain things or see certain things ever again.  I’ve had the experience.  Next!

Ah, but don’t get me wrong.  There are some things that one should never get enough of, nay, can never get enough of IMHO.  Although the name would be the same, each one is unique in its own right, like a snowflake, so take ‘em where you can get ‘em, whenever they’re available or offered:

  • Sunsets and Sunrises (no day is like the last)
  • Orgasms (maybe this is the perk of being a woman but they are not always the same in strength, duration or even sensation)
  • An insanely expensive and/or delicious bottle of wine (the price doesn’t always correlate with the quality so try as many as you can)
  • Eating something that doesn’t “taste like chicken” (expanding what my taste buds find pleasurable means trying the unusual)
  • Being in love, deeper this time than anytime before (never believe you’ve ‘done this before’ or you will miss out on some truly great opportunities)

What would your list look like?

That’s what the refinement of my entertainment palate has led to.  Rather than gorging myself on “fast food” spectacles, I want the gourmet experiences that alter the very fabric of my being, rewire my brain for greater and more profound experiences.  Your time is precious and limited.  Treat it like the gold that it is and be a little choosier from here on out.  That’s what I’m going to do.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost”
–J.R.R. Tolkien

Nostalgia in the Extreme

It’s time to play the music,
It’s time to light the lights,
It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!

Those words still elicit a feeling of joy and excitement whenever I hear them.  Just try reading that without wanting to sing the song.

What’s your thing?  You know what I mean.  I’m talking about that song, that toy, cartoon or other show or that movie that lights you up because it was the spark that turned you into a pop culture junkie for the rest of your life.

Some people have never had this moment so their interests lie in sports or science or even history.  They prefer the literal world to the imagined one.  This blog entry is not for them, unless they’re just curious about how the mind of the geek works.  Yes, I called myself a geek.  I fly my geek flag proudly.  It’s a term of endearment for those of us who “geek” out about the things we love.  We debate our position endlessly as to what is great and what absolutely sucks!  No middle ground allowed here.  Your opinion only matters if it matters a great deal to you.

For me, it all started with Sesame Street, probably around the time I was three or four.  Rubber ducky was the one and a love affair that’s lasted longer than any other was born.  That show shaped me in many ways and I still quote from it endlessly.  I was in the company of a toddler recently and during a game of catch, he got too close to me so I told him to back up.  He ended up backing up at least twenty feet.  The first thing that popped into my head was, “Near… far.”  If you get the reference, you too might be a geek.

But that was just the beginning of Jim Henson’s legacy.  Soon after came the pièce de résistance, The Muppet Show.  What more could a show offer – comedy, musical acts, drama and the best special guests.  It was like Ed Sullivan for kids.  Kermit was a wonderful and gracious host, always trying to keep his performers happy.  I remember Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) singing about the “Rubber Band Man” and Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” most vividly.

Kermit and the gang went on to star in an ingenious spot of lunacy called The Muppet Movie.  “Myth, myth!” “Yeth?”  No other song stirs the heartstrings quite like “Rainbow Connection.”  It’s a sweet little ditty that always gives me a warm fuzzy.  Have a listen.

 

Moving right along, many other fun shows and films followed – Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and one that not everyone remembers, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.  Only one other creative mind from my childhood would matter nearly as much, and that was Dr. Seuss.  Henson died the year I graduated from high school and then Dr. Seuss the following year.  It felt like my childhood had died right along with them.

It wasn’t until around 2001 that my love for the Muppets was stirred once again.  A new line of action figures based on the Muppets was launched for the 25th anniversary.  I was going to get them all.  I was that type of collector, and I made sure I pre-ordered each wave of figures and secured whatever I couldn’t get through retail means on the auction site, eBay.  I have practically all of the exclusives except for a few redundant ones created for special events.

In the very near future, there will be a brand spanking new Muppet movie in theaters.  As much as I love the Muppets, I have to wonder–will it live up to my expectations?  Will it be any good at all?

As the X-Files put so well, I want to believe.  I want to believe that even though Jim Henson, the heart and soul of the Muppets, has been gone for over 20 years, the characters, a part of our collective psyche, can live on.  Will someone else be able to capture the magic and bring them to life again?  The actor, Jason Segel, is a huge fan too and this is a labor of love for him.  He wrote the script and from the trailers, it looks like all of the manic energy and general silliness is there in abundance.

Here’s hoping for the best!  I will most likely revisit this topic after Thanksgiving but in the meantime, enjoy the latest trailer.