The Conjuring Sucks Ectoplasm

July 27, 2013 at 12:19 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Why oh why didn’t I listen to my friend Sean Smithson? He tried to warn me about “The Conjuring,” but I didn’t listen! And why not, you ask? Because I couldn’t resist a movie that starred both Vera Farmiga and Lili Tayler. I love them. (If you wonder why I love Lili, see “The Addiction” or “I Shot Andy Warhol.” If you wonder why I love Vera, see “Quid Pro Quo,” or her stunning and subtle work in “Bates Motel.”) Oh yeah, and Patrick Wilson is rilly cute.

Vera did a wonderful (if rather thankless) job as heroine (in reality professional bullshit artist) Lorraine Warren. Lili did a fine job as the bedeviled mother. In fact, because of her, I really enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the movie. I haven’t seen such a good possession since Jennifer Carpenter in “The Possession of Emily Rose.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. You know all of those ads touting how freakin’ scary the movie is? Well, it may be scary if you’re 6 years old, or you’ve never seen a horror movie before in your life. I was never scared, creeped out, or even startled. (And yes, I do get creeped out. “Mama” did a great job of that.) The story was SO predictable that I almost fell asleep.

Then there’s the direction and cinematography. It was boring. Just plain old boring and uninspired. It was so white-bread that when they finally included a creative upside-down flip shot, it stuck out like a sore thumb.

And the movie was riddled with problems. What kind of problems? You name it, they had it. To name a few (minor spoilers ahead):

-If the “witch” was a young woman who’d just given birth when she died, and she’s possessed by a demon who either is or is named after Biblical hottie Bathsheba, why does she appear as a fugly old lady?

-THERE WAS A PUNCTUATION ERROR IN THE SUBTITLES! They displayed “…Warren’s house” when showing a picture of the WARRENS’ house. It’s only Warren’s house if you’re talking about a dude named Warren. BAH!!!

-“Annabelle the doll” is shown as a horrid, creepy-ass thing that nobody in their right minds would ever go near. The “real” Annabelle the doll is a freakin’ RAGGEDY ANN! Which brings us back to the fact that the Warrens are ridiculous bullshit artists…


-If you had a museum’s worth of what you believed to be horrible cursed and/or demonically possessed objects, would you keep them in your home with your 5-year-old daughter? Yeah, me neither.


-Years ago, Gene Siskel talked about what he called the “rule of 4” in horror movies. Basically, it meant that in lame horror movies, something startles or unnerves a character. You (the viewer) count slowly to 4. Then BOO! There’s a scare! You could set your watch on rule-of-4 scenes in this thing.

THERE WAS A… oh okay, I’ll shut up about it.

As I said, I did enjoy the last 15 minutes. It was a fine exorcism scene. But overall, “The Conjuring” was a total waste of time.

Oh well. At least the previews were good.


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Orion’s Birdemic Review!

February 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm (Uncategorized)

This is all my fault. I bet my 12-year-old 5 bucks he wouldn’t watch “Birdemic” all the way to the end. Then he asked me if I’d give him another 5 bucks if he reviewed it. Of course, I said! Sadly, I think the experience has driven him mad, as he seems to take leave of his senses by the end of the review. But here’s my favorite line: “So he talks about things that subtly amount to an environmental message. IF you spell “SUBTLY” with flaming letters while playing  an epic song.”

Without further ado, here’s O’s review.

So it starts with this scene with a car. Really, it’s just a car driving down a road with a camera man whose hand is practically a GMod character with a thruster on it. Then the protagonist goes in this restaurant and the waitress says, really loudly I should add, “HI”. Nope, it shouldn’t have punctuation, she says it like a robot with a terrible sound chip.

Then he leaves after this girl and talks to her about him knowing her from somewhere. It doesn’t really matter though. So our protagonist is talking to someone and yells “WOOHOO!” Then some guy comes in and asks him “what’s withith all the noise”. No, I didn’t mistype that. He really says withith. Our main guy says he “caught the big fish,” which is 1 million dollars. He doesn’t sound excited at all when he says it though. 1 million dollars? Yeah, happens all the time on the way to work.

So a bunch of boring stuff happens with solar panels and then there’s this scene where everyone claps and when they’re about to stop they terribly edit in more clapping! Who directs this stuff, Mimmy from No More Heroes 2? So then this guy talks about cars and stuff. Whatever.  NEXT.

They try romance, but the actors in Devil May Cry are better than THIS. They dance for 2 minutes and then sleep together, and when they wake up — is that — is that — BIRDS??? I thought they’d NEVER come, but they DID! There’s a swarm of TERRIBLY edited birds and they… DIVE BOMB? AND EXPLODE??? OK, I just noticed that these birds are almost EXACTLY like the Rakk from Borderlands!!! What’s next, Bird Hive? Also, these birds sound like the ant lions from Half-Life 2! What BIRDS sound like alien bug things?

These 4 people are teamed up with coat hangers! Forget crowbars, axes and any other iconic first person shooter melee weapon, coat hangers are where it’s at! Also, I’d like to draw attention to these birds and their horrible editing. They’re just flying in place and curling their wings! That’s not how birds fly! Then there’s some kids they save and they shoot some birds and stuff and they find an old guy on a bridge. No really, that’s what they said in the movie! So he talks about things that subtly amount to an environmental message. IF you spell SUBTLY with flaming letters while playing  an epic song.

So they go to a bus and try to save people but birds wind up exploding on them into acid. They melt, big deal, whatevs. They need gas for their car so they go into a store with a guy who isn’t understandable in the least bit. Apparently bird attacks made gas rare somehow and now it’s 100 dollars a gallon. So this cowboy comes and wants to buy gas but they need it. Then he pulls a gun and they sell him the gas, but he gets his neck sliced by a random bird and they… leave the gas behind? FFFFFFFFFFFFFIG NEWTONS.

Then they meet a tree hugger and he talks about beetles eating the trees. Yeah OK. So he hears a mountain lion and leaves and they run out of gas. GOOD JOB IDIOTS. They catch some fish and the kids don’t want them. The best acting in this comes from the kids ya know. So the little boy hurts his leg and they get back to their camp and kill some birds. Then the birds leave.

The best thing in this movie is the music; and I also noticed something… strange about this movie… Yeah, it’s a complete environmentalist driving around EVERYWHERE in a car. Good job. You are a horrible person. We weren’t even testing for that. That jumpsuit looks stupid on you. Anyway… the movie ended. YOU’RE THE BEST! AROUND! NOTHING’S EVER GONNA GET YOU DOWN!

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Flashback: Oh Hai, I Almost Dide!

February 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized)

5 years ago this week, the dashing Mr. Death took me for a spin around the dance floor. He kissed my cheek, but decided not to walk me home just yet. Here’s what I wrote about it after I got home from the hospital…

Oh hai, I almost dide.

Okay that might be a slight exaggeration. But I was Real Freakin Sick for awhile there.

I came down with the flu on Sunday, Feb. 10th, 2008. Orion already had it. Fenris got it the next day. It was some evil stuff, with chills, high fever, and that delightful feature known as “cough till you barf.” Seriously nasty, but I had no idea how nasty it was gonna get.

A couple of days later, Fenris and Orion were bouncing back. I wasn’t. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, I started throwing up without a break. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water or Sprite. That was, in fact, the day that my mom went in for her cataract surgery. She took a cab and did great. I had the same surgery about 15 years ago, and they’ve improved on it a great deal in just that short time. Anyway. Mom was fine. I on the other hand was a mess. Daniel bundled up me and the kids and took us to the Swedish emergency room that opened last year in Issaquah.

They put two liters of fluids into me, and pumped me full of anti-barf medication. They x-rayed my chest, which is where I’m kind of baffled, because evidently they didn’t see anything in my lungs. Once I was stabilized, they sent me home, where I expected to make a quiet recovery.

Not so much. I maintained, barely keeping from yakking, for almost 24 hours. In pain and hideously uncomfortable the whole time. Finally I fell apart again, on the afternoon of Valentine’s day. This time my mom came over to watch the kids. Once again, they pumped me full of fluids. Four liters this time, altogether. They gave me one kind of anti-barf medicine, and it didn’t work. They ran another one through my IV, and I stopped barfing for about 10 minutes. Then the nurse came around and started trying to stuff me into my clothes, so I could go home.

I was horrified. The doctor had told me earlier that they would probably admit me into the hospital. I felt like I NEEDED to go to the hospital. I’d never been that sick in my life, I was in huge amounts of pain from my chest and head, and I just felt like there was something badly wrong with me. I asked to see the doctor again before they kicked my ass out the door.

He was a nice, friendly fellow who seemed quite sympathetic to my plight, at first. But when I asked him “Aren’t you going to admit me to the hospital?” He smiled sadly and said that since I was no longer “presenting symptoms” (I guess that meant barfing myself inside-out) that it would be a “difficult sell” to get me into the hospital.

It took a minute for that one to sink in. I realized he was talking insurance. Now that I was semi-stabilized, he didn’t think he had a good enough excuse to admit me.

At this point, I kinda lost it. I would have started crying, but even with four liters of fluids in me, I didn’t have enough spare liquid. Nothing came out of my eyes, they just burned and got hot as I utterly humiliated myself by begging the doctor not to send me home. The last two times I’d fallen apart had each been more painful and awful than the last. I told the doctor I wasn’t a wimp–I had both my kids without medication. I told him it really, REALLY hurt. I told him I didn’t think I could go through that process one more time. I told him I thought–no, KNEW, that there was something really badly wrong with me.

He sent me home anyway. Although he did say that if I fell apart again, he’d try his best to help me get admitted quickly.

I wanted to kill him at the moment, but I was too weak and wimpy.

A few short hours later, I was “presenting symptoms” uncontrollably, every five to ten minutes or so. My brain felt like it had been replaced with a hot, heavy stone. Every time I coughed or threw up, my head pounded with sickening pain. I hadn’t slept in about two days, so I was actually yawning while trying to barf. (A disgusting endeavor. I don’t recommend it.) I felt like somebody had beaten me in the ribs, chest and back, from all the barfing and coughing. It hurt just to breathe. Daniel scraped me up and poured me into the car, and we went to Overlake Hospital.

It took almost an hour for me to get a bed in the ER. They were hopping, for a Friday morning about 1AM. I sat drooped over in a wheelchair, a barf baggie that resembled a female condom for a rhino clutched in my clammy paws.

They finally got me into a bed, where I grabbed the nearest nurselike person and asked if they could give me some fluids. My head felt like it was caving in from dehydration. Nope, not until I saw the doctor. A little while later a doctor buzzed by, and sent me for chest x-rays. These were handled entirely differently than they had been at the ER. Different equipment, I guess, but they also pressed me up against the machine way more than they did in Issaquah. I was a good six inches away from the plate there. Anyway, that was hard because I was having a tough time standing up, but they gave me bars to hang onto and got me back to my ER room quickly. Just a few minutes later, the doctor came by and told me that I had double pneumonia. My left side was worse than my right, but neither one was good.

They took some blood, and hooked me up to fluids (yay). They came back shortly to say that I was too low on potassium, phosphorus, and iron, and they started running potassium into my IV. (I actually had two IVs, one in the bend of my left arm, and one in my left wrist.) Weirdly enough, potassium hurt like hell going in. Not that I noticed that much–everything else hurt more. Soon I was connected up to three different IV lines, a heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff, a blood gas reading thingy, and oxygen. Daniel said I looked like a bug caught in a spider’s web. At some point, they ran some painkillers through my IV, so I didn’t give a crap what I looked like.

I spent the morning in an ER room while they were waiting to discharge somebody. Then in the early afternoon, they moved me up to the fourth floor of the main hospital. I was hooked up to my web of IVs and I had an oxygen tube going up my nose, but I was so much more comfortable I thought I was in heaven. For the first time in two days, I slept.

In the next exciting episode–Lorelei gets a roommate! Stay tuned!

Oh hai, I almost dide part 2!

When we left our intrepid heroine (me) I had been admitted to Overlake Hospital, and put into a 4th floor room. It was a double room, but I was the only person in it. They parked me by the window (nice eastern exposure) and I promptly fell asleep.

A couple of hours later, some nurses came up and started prepping the bed next to mine. “You’re getting a roommate!” said one cheerfully. “Yep, a little roommate,” said the other.

Little? A kid? I thought that kids were usually in their own wing of the hospital. Not that I minded, I love kids. They pulled the curtain between the beds when they started to move my roommate in. Said roommate was making some of the weirdest nonverbal noises I had ever heard in my life. Sight unseen, my best guess was a profoundly retarded adolescent boy. That was okay too, I get along famously with the retarded. (Oh shut up. Or go ahead and say it if it makes you feel better. But I generally find mentally handicapped people to be honest, straightforward, and much sweeter-natured than the average bear. Except for our then-president.)

I was mightily surprised when the nurses pulled the curtain back, and I found myself looking at a little old lady. I found out later, from the nurses and from her three sons and two daughters who came to visit, that her name was Louella. She was in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. Her mind was like that of a baby. She could string two, sometimes three words together, but most of the time she just vocalized. It was a lot like listening to a regular baby, except for the strange quality of her voice. Poor Louella wasn’t feeling well at all. Her nursing home had sent her to the hospital with what they thought was a urinary infection. It turned out to be that, plus an appendix that was about to burst. But even so, she griped a lot less than the woman in the room next to me, whom I could hear constantly bitching at the hospital staff, right through the wall.

I want to say something here about people in the medical profession. They absolutely amaze me. Everybody took such good care of me. Of all the nurses, nurses’ aides, phlebotomists, doctors, and orderlies I encountered over five days, only one was mean to me. (And hey, there’s a bee-yoch in every crowd, I guess.) Everyone was kind, helpful, and somehow managed to not act disgusted when I was awash in one repulsive bodily fluid or another. (Coughing up blood was a highlight.) Okay, you could say it’s their job and they’re getting paid for it, but dude, you couldn’t pay me enough to deal with icky sick people like me. Those folks must have a true calling, and my hat’s off to them.

Okay, back to Louella. She was mostly in her own little world, but once in awhile she would look over and catch my eye. I’d smile at her, and her eyes would crinkle up with happiness. Having her next to me made me feel better, even when she sang at 2AM. Hell, I wasn’t getting solid sleep anyway. For some reason, the hospital picks the middle of the night to do stuff like taking your vital signs and sucking out your blood.

So Louella went for her surgery late that afternoon. I worried about her, and I was very happy when she came back. She was in a much better mood (probably full of painkillers) when she came back. Once she was fully awake, the aforementioned singing began. Sometimes it was tuneless baby songs, but sometimes she’d sing snatches of lullabies and other melodies I recognized. Listening to her sing “Daisy” was particularly surreal.

I spent my first night in the hospital. I had to learn the fine art of going to the bathroom pulling my IV tree with me. This involved unplugging the two IV pumps that were running at all times, tucking in the cords so I wouldn’t trip over them, using the IV tree as a walker (because I couldn’t hold myself up very well) and then trying desperately not to bend my left arm while using the toilet, because if I did, the IV pump would start beeping an incredibly loud alarm. Then I had to toddle back and plug everything back in, and try to get into a vaguely comfortable position despite having three different fluids pouring into my arm. But I managed, and even managed to grab some sleep here and there.

In the next exciting installment–Lorelei gets tossed into isolation!

Oh hai, I almost dide part 3!

Day 2 in the hospital started out uneventfully, other than the fact that the sun blasted in through my window from 8AM to almost noon. I’m never a huge fan of direct sunlight, and I was still in the “light hurts my eyes” phase, so I spent much of the morning lying on my right side facing away from the window.

I was doing much better than I had been at home, but I was still very uncomfortable, and in a lot of pain. My eyes hurt. My skin hurt if I touched anything. My chest, neck and back hurt from all the coughing and barfing. And my head hurt almost constantly. I rapidly became a Dilauded junkie. WELL not literally, but every four hours or so I’d start to get so miserable that I really needed some relief. The rule was I had to ask for pain medicine when I needed it, so ask I did. It went like this. They’d dump anti-nausea medicine into my IV, and wait about five minutes. That stuff burned like heck going in, but I didn’t care. I was gonna feel better soon! Yay! About five minutes later, they’d put in the Dilaudid.

The initial rush I’d get from it was NOT at all pleasant. There was a flash of nausea, then my face and chest would flush. My heart would pound for a minute or two, then cool relief would wash over me. I’d feel suddenly sleepy, and for a little while, nothing hurt. I’d usually fall asleep for an hour or so. It was fairly pathetic, how much I looked forward to that.

The day went by. Daniel and my mom both came to visit me. Daniel was amazed that I hadn’t been reading, or watching TV, or doing anything at all. The truth was, I just didn’t feel up to it. My eyes hurt too much to stare at anything like a book or a screen. And when I was awake, I was just kind of lying there, thinking about things. I wasn’t bored–I guess I felt too crappy to be bored. But I sure wasn’t doing much.

Late the next morning, my mom came by to visit again. She bustled around taking care of things, as she is wont to do. She went out into the hall and asked the nurses if I could have another garbage bag and some more water. I hear the reply: In just a minute. We’re about to move your daughter.


The nurse and the nurse’s aide come in, wearing yellow gowns and blue masks on their faces. They smack a mask onto my face, and start preparing the bed to move.

“Eh, where are we going?” I ask.

“We have to move you to isolation,” says one of the nurses. “We found mursa in your lungs.”

“Ack! What’s a mursa?”

“Em Arr Ess Ay. It stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.”

“AAAACK! That sounds bad!”

“Well,” said the nurse, gazing at me over her mask, “It’s not good.” They parked me in a teeny-tiny private room. The garbage under the sink had a bright red bag in it that said BIOHAZARD.

“Shit!” says I. “Am I gonna die?”

The nurse smiled at me reassuringly, and said the doctor would be in to see me soon.

I was not reassured.

So my mom and I sat around and fretted for awhile. She was under the impression that I was not going to die. But she might have just been saying that. After awhile, my very young and adorable doctor came in to see me.

“This is no big deal,” he told me. “Lots of people carry MRSA. We just have to be extra-careful about it in the hospital. You’re going to be fine.”

“Oh. Good. Am I going to infect my family?”

“No. Just make sure they’re wearing a mask if they’re closer to you than three feet away.”

“But this is no big deal?”

“Probably not.”

“Probably or definitely?”

“Probably. Almost certainly.”

I was only partly reassured.

My mom left, and I dozed off. I woke up later to a big yellow pain doctor hovering over me. “Yi!” I squeaked. But it was only Daniel, in his springy yellow gown and mask. In typical Daniel fashion, he had researched MRSA online thoroughly before coming to see me. He also told me that MRSA was in the environment in general, and it’s only a problem if it gets into your body through an incision, or you get an actual infection with it. “You’re not infected,” he told me cheerfully. “The doctor says you’re just colonized.”


The general consensus seemed to be that MRSA was everywhere. Even in dog noses. The hospital just had to be extra careful because of all the incised and immune-suppressed patients. That made me feel better, except every time I glanced at the big old Biohazard symbol on my garbage can, I got a little creeped out. But eventually they hit me with some more Dilaudid, and I went to sleep.

In the next exciting episode, Lorelei gets released!

Oh hai I almost dide part 4!

So I spent the morning of day 4 in isolation, fretting. I was fretting over who I could have possibly exposed to MRSA. I was pretty sure that Louella was safe. Supposedly, I would have to get within three feet of somebody and actually cough on them to share my bacterial infestation. I never got that close to her, and my mama taught me to cover my mouth before I cough.

I didn’t think I could have infected Rita, the lovely therapy dog I met on Saturday, either. Her people had me use hand sanitizer before and after petting her. She was a sweet, friendly, rather petite standard poodle, with whitish-apricot fur that was as soft as silk. I petted her for a few minutes, while chatting with her handlers about the awesome intelligence and goodness of poodles. (Hey, just cuz I love pit bulls and rotties doesn’t mean I don’t dig poodles! I had a 5-pound poodle when I was a kid, and he was absolutely wonderful. Not yappy or bratty–he just thought he was a big dog, that’s all. He’d been tossed out by a backyard breeder because he’d had rickets, so he walked like a bulldog, which only added to his macho image.) For all I know, Rita infected me with her dog nose of doom!

I worried a little bit about the healthcare people I encountered in the first couple of days, when I was spraying bodily fluids like a Rain-Bird lawn sprinkler. Occasionally a cough would catch me unawares, before I could cover it. But hopefully those folks have iron-clad immune systems. You’d think they’d have to, working in a hospital with all of us sick puppies.

I was kind of bummed out by the time the doctor came to see me. I was worried about the MRSA thing, and I still felt like crap (even though I was way better than I was when I first came in). He reassured me, telling me that I really was doing better, and that when I felt up to it, they’d release me. “What do I need to do to get released?” I asked eagerly. He told me that I should be able to walk on my own, eat a little bit, and stay hydrated without the IV. They’d already taken me off oxygen, as I was keeping my levels up just by breathing. Yeehaw, I felt like I was almost ready!

“Oh!” said the doctor. “I know what would make you feel better! How would you like to take a shower?”

I can’t remember getting a better offer in recent history. Did I mention how grotty I was by now? I mean, the hospital folks were bringing me hot soapy towels to clean up with every day, but still. Part of the problem with having a constant fever is that you get chills and sweats all the time. It seemed like every time I fell asleep for more than an hour, I’d wake up literally soaked in sweat, to the point where I’d have to call someone to bring me a new gown. My hair was flat and lank from being soaked through so many times. Ew.

They disconnected me from the IV, leaving the caps still in my arm. Then they mummified my arm in plastic. I couldn’t bend my left arm at all, but that didn’t discourage me.

The nurses brought me clean towels, and a bottle of squeezy-soap that they said I could use on both my body and my hair, although it might dry out the hair. I didn’t give a crap. I got in the shower, turned the water on to just-shy-of-boiling, and poured that soap all over myself, starting with the top of my head. I scrubbed my usually dead-white skin until it was glowing pink. When I finally dragged myself out of the shower, I brushed my teeth extra-well (at least I’d been able to do that all along) and used my usual face creams and such, which my mom had been kind enough to bring. I almost felt human again. Then they brought lunch and scared the hell outta me.

I hadn’t been able to eat much since I’d been in the hospital. I kept marking choices like “soup” and “Jell-o” on my menu, and they kept bringing me things like herb-stuffed chicken, which I couldn’t really even look at. That day they brought a giant mound of mac and cheese, with a giant mound of broccoli next to it. I am generally a fan of both foods, but just the smell of the broccoli sent me into drooling nausea. I talked them into taking it away and bringing me some exciting applesauce and crackers.

My mom and Daniel visited that night, and I went to bed encouraged. In the morning when I woke up, I was still feeling great from the shower. I took another one, and started telling every nurse who came in that I was ready to go home. They all told me I had to wait for the doctor.

I had some entertainment before the doctor came in, anyway. The nurses pulled the IV out of my inner wrist, for which I was incredibly grateful. My whole arm was starting to get swollen and bruised from having them in for so long. Then the IV in the bend of my arm sprung a leak, bigtime. It gorked saline solution all over me and my gown. This caused the nurses to pull it out too. I was FREEEEE! For the first time in five days, I went to the bathroom with no machines trailing me! Yeehaw! (That was over a week ago, and my arm is still sore and bruised. Crikey.)

The doctor finally came in, looked me over, and declared me fit to go home. YAY! I called Daniel, and he came to pick me up. I asked the doctor one more time about MRSA and how much I needed to protect my family. He told me again that he didn’t think it was a big deal, but I should talk to my own doctor about what she thought. I wore my mask in the car on the ride home, just in case. For the first time in days, the sunlight actually didn’t hurt my eyes. I was weak, tired, and still feeling pretty crappy, but I was on my way home!

In the next exciting installment, Lorelei creeps out her family and pets!

Oh hai, I almost dide part 5, the final chapter!

So I was back home. Daniel and my mom got me settled in the downstairs guest bedroom, so I wouldn’t have to deal with stairs for a day or two. I gave the kids careful hugs, but I left my mask on around them. The whole MRSA thing had totally freaked me out.

And the kids were pretty freaked out by me. They tried not to show it, but let’s face it, I was pretty creepy. (Creepier than usual, I mean.) My skin was an unpleasant gray-white. I had dark circles under my eyes. I was wearing a spooky mask. I mean, yikes!

The dogs were even more freaked out than the kids. Jack took one look at me, with the mask on, and said “Oh HELL no!” He’d wag his tail at me from about six feet away, but wouldn’t come any closer. (I probably smelled like hospital that first day too, which didn’t help.) Crystal didn’t seem afraid of me, but she couldn’t understand why I wasn’t acting like my old self. She kept coming into the room, wagging her tail, dancing, and trying to get me out of bed with cries of “AWOO WOO WOO!” She just couldn’t understand why I didn’t jump up to play with her.

The only one who didn’t seem spooked by me was the cat, Johnny. He was just really excited that I was lying around so much, so he could cuddle up to me. Poor guy, I must have tossed him off of me a dozen times before I went into the hospital, because it just hurt too much to have anything touch me. Even a warm kitty.

I was even freaking myself out a little. I worried a lot that first day home. What if I couldn’t keep hydrated by myself? What if I started barfing again? What if my fever shot up? Being in the hospital was no fun at all, but while I was there I had a major safety net. That was gone now.

To make myself feel better, I went through all the things I WOULDN’T miss about being in the hospital. To name a few:

-Blood draws at 4AM
-Hauling IV trees around
-The freaky compression cushions that squeezed my legs periodically all night to keep me from getting a blood clot
-An oxygen tube up my nose
-Ghastly food (yes it really was that bad)
-That hospital SMELL

Yep, I was glad to be home. I made it through the first day and night just fine. By the second day, I was fairly sure that I was going to be all right.

Thursday I went to see my GP. She listened to my chest and thought my pneumonia was improving. She also told me I didn’t have to wear the stupid mask anymore, around anyone. She said that, in her experience, I wasn’t a danger to anyone, not even the kids. Yay! I still wasn’t feeling that great–I still had a fever, and I was so tired. My doc told me to stay home from work another week and sleep. Considering how wilted I felt, I didn’t argue. I went home and hugged the kids blue. Even Jack came up to see me–I guess I looked more like Lorelei.

Friday my fever finally broke, after twelve days. I can’t even tell you how much better that made me feel! Sunday I woke up with some nasty pain in my lower left ribs. It was even worse on Monday, so I went back to my doctor. After much examination and about a zillion x-rays, she told me that all the coughing and barfing had ripped up the connective tissue between my ribs. Nothing to do about it, just heat, rest, and anti-inflammatories. I asked why the injury showed up now, since I wasn’t coughing much and wasn’t barfing at all. There was no real answer to that either–I’d probably strained the tissue, then just got “lucky” and slept on it wrong or something. The good news was, all those x-rays revealed that my lungs were clearing up. Yeehaw!

So here it is, eight days after my release from the hospital. I’m still coughing a little bit, but not much. Still very tired. The rib thing is improving. All things considered, I’m in pretty darn good shape.

I’m still keeping my New Year’s resolution for this year, which was to grow an immune system…

P.S. 2013: I did grow an immune system. Sort of.




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One Nation Under Geek (an apology)

January 23, 2013 at 1:42 am (Uncategorized)

I’m a geek. That’s not news to anyone who knows me, or anybody who’s even seen me. I’m all kinds of geek. Movie geek, horror geek, goth, science fiction geek, gaming geek, and so on, and so on. I’ve always been proud to be a geek. But I have not, in fact, always been kind to my fellow geeks.

When I was a very young geek and I first started going to science fiction conventions, there was a schism between the Star Trek geeks and the Dr. Who geeks. I was a Trekkie. The Whoites ran around with big goofy scarves, and we mocked them mercilessly. Of course, they mocked us right back for wearing our dopey polyester Star Trek shirts and talking into plastic communicators.

As I matured as a geek, I settled in with the pro crowd. We were professional writers, which kind of made us geek royalty. We weren’t jerks about it or anything, but we considered ourselves separate from the hordes of “fandom.” Despite the fact that I have action figures on my bedroom shelf and every episode of “Forever Knight” on DVD, I felt wasn’t JUST a fan. As a pro, I felt like I needed to maintain a certain level of decorum (you can stop laughing now), and not be, well, such a dork.

I am ashamed to say that my friends and I considered some aspects of fandom to be ridiculous. Despite the fact that I had seen every single episode of “Beauty and the Beast,” I thought furries were weird. The whole sexualized, anthropomorphic animal thing struck me as creepy. My reaction to furry culture in general was “ew.” I was never mean to furries, but I did my share of pointing and snickering.

Come on, it’s WEIRD to want to have sex with a furry woman with a fox head! Somehow, I forgot that I found the werewolf sex scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula freakin’ HOT. Or maybe I didn’t forget, I just didn’t think about it in the same way. My strange little kinks were cool. Yours were icky. Sure, I wanted to have sex with Christopher Walken’s Headless Horseman character in “Sleepy Hollow.” But that’s SO much more normal than sexy mouse girls.


Geek culture has exploded since I was a kid. With the interwebs, we can all see each other. Goth, science, furry, Brony, steampunk, fantasy, horror, anime, Harry Potter, Twilight, LOTR, and on and on and on. There are as many flavors of geek as there are Bertie Bott’s jelly beans.

Okay, yeah, I do find some of those flavors unpalatable. Nothing on earth will ever convince me that “Twilight” is a good book series. But you know what? There’s no reason why I should rag on “Twilight” fans and basically say they’re not as smart as I am. One of the most brilliant little girls I’ve ever met in my life is a huge Twilight fan. I would never say or do anything to make her sad.

Which is not to say that parody and humor are out of the question. You can bet I’ll still make sparkly vampire jokes, and I’ll almost certainly tease my furry friends from time to time. But I no longer consider it an “us and them” situation.

We are all geeks, members of the international Geek Nation. We are one big freaky family. Come on, everybody’s got family members that they find a little weird. But that doesn’t make them not family.

We should look out for each other. Because if somebody is putting down one aspect of geek culture (and I mean really putting it down, not just funnin’), they’re putting us all down.

I am completely nuts about the musician/artist/writer/filmmaker Aurelio Voltaire. (And not just because he’s one of the sexiest humans who ever drew breath.) I’m in awe of his talent, and I love the fact that he accepts all of geekdom as his brothers and sisters.

There are Bronies, furries, and Twi-hards who are dear to my heart. They have just as much right to have fun with their geekiness as I do. Even if I find some aspect of your fandom to be silly, it’s your thang, do what you wanna do.

If I ever hurt your feelings regarding your geekdom, I apologize. I was being a tool.

And besides, whatever weird crap you do in the name of geekdom, it’s probably not as silly as me kissing my life mask of Vincent Price goodnight each evening before bed.

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Cleanflix: To edit or not to edit?

December 29, 2012 at 9:04 am (Uncategorized)

Well, I started to make this a movie review of a documentary called “Cleanflix” (2009). Then I realized that the question it raises is actually more interesting than the movie itself.

“Cleanflix” is the story of a Utah-based chain of video rental stores, that specialized in offering “clean” versions of movies that are rated R or PG-13. Basically, they’d take out any gore, nudity, or profanity for their mostly Mormon customers.

The documentary talks about the origins of Clean Flicks, its rise in popularity, and its ultimate fall. The first part of the documentary is very interesting. The guys who had the idea to offer this service are rather brilliant–there was (and is) huge demand for edited movies. Then, unfortunately, the docu goes into a section that’s basically nothing but dissing Mormons.

The filmmakers explore the reasons that Mormon audiences would want such a thing. Well, for one thing, back in the late 80’s, a prophet told the church that Mormons should avoid R-rated movies. For another thing, anybody who’s ever met a Mormon knows that (unlike me) they just don’t go for gratuitous sex and violence. But that wasn’t good enough–the filmmakers found people to say things like “Mormons aren’t taught to think for themselves.” I found that rude and condescending. You know, there are loads of religious people of all varieties who don’t approve of explicit content. There are even non-religious people who just don’t like to see gore and sex onscreen. That’s their choice. They’re allowed to feel that way. That snotty dis pulled the whole movie down to a level where  it shouldn’t have gone.

The second half of the movie concentrates on one Clean Flicks franchise owner, who turned out to be a real sleazeball. Okay, the guy’s an asshole, but he didn’t speak for the company, and he really wasn’t that interesting. The whole point of including his story seemed to come down to the fact that he went to jail for inappropriate conduct with 14-year-old girls, and the fact that he had a huge porn stash in the back of his Clean Flicks operation. That way, the filmmakers could say “SEE? THEY’RE HYPOCRITES! Again, not a class move. That was one dickweed, not the entire organization.

Not enough time was spent on what to me was the most interesting part of the story–the lawsuits filed by major movie studios and directors that ultimately got Clean Flicks shut down. Sure, they mentioned the decisions, but I was really interested in what the arguments on both sides were. No such luck.

Of course, the ultimate question that the movie proposes is whether or not it’s OK to edit the content of movies for the consumption of people who want to see the latest blockbuster without the blood and boobies. And here’s where my movie-fiend friends are going to start throwing stuff at me.

Yes, I think it’s fine. As long as the original is available, why not offer an edited version for people who wouldn’t watch the original anyway? The studios missed a big, BIG opportunity here. If they’d decided to work WITH Clean Flicks, and get a percentage of edited movie sales and rentals, they would have made a buttload of money. Clean Flicks’ business model was, by the way, a 1:1 ratio. They bought one DVD for every edited DVD they sold or rented. Oh, there were a few people (like Mr. Sleazeball) who were breaking that rule, but it was company policy. In other words, Clean Flicks wasn’t taking business from the studios to start with.


Here’s how. The customers involved WANT edited content. It’s not being foisted on them, like Blockbuster used to do in the bad old days. And as for artistic integrity…as you can imagine, a lot of directors were screaming bloody murder about their “art” being edited. I call bullshit on that one. Studios have the final say over a movie’s final cut, unless the movie is indie. They own the directors’ “art.” What’s more, studios regularly license the use of edited movies. Ever watched a movie on a plane? Yeah. Unless it’s the latest Disney flick, it’s been edited all to hell. And what do they think happens when a studio licenses a movie for non-subscription broadcast TV? Right again. It gets sliced like a fish at Benihana. (The TV-edited version of “Brazil” is one of the most ghastly things I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch.)

Weirdly, the studios claimed that they had no interest in endorsing edited movies, because there “was no market” for them, which is clearly not true.

So how was the editing, you ask? The scenes I saw from “The Matrix” were seamless. Unless you were very familiar with the movie, you probably wouldn’t notice them. Then they showed a scene from “Saving Private Ryan” that looked like it had been put through a blender and reassembled by monkeys. But that’s not the point.

The point is that Clean Flicks offered a valuable service. If they had a brain between them, movie studios and distributers could have cleaned up, so to speak.

So how would I feel if someone edited my “art,” you ask? As long as it was clearly marked as edited, and as long I got a piece of the action, I’d be fine with it. Of course, if you took all the sex and violence and cussing out of Possum Kingdom, it’d be about 25 pages long. But still.

Big movie studios are already whores. They’re all about giving people what they want. They don’t give a crap about art. And edited movies are something that, evidently, a lot of people want.

Okay, you can start throwing stuff at me now.

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Movie Review (drama): “Northfork” (2003)

September 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm (drama, fantasy, movies, Uncategorized)

I’m sorry this movie went completely under my radar when it first came out, because it must have been amazing on the big screen. “Northfork” is dreamy and magical, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The year is 1955, and the town of Northfork, Montana is 72 hours away from becoming a lake. Almost everybody’s been relocated. A team of company men (featuring the always wonderful James Woods) has been dispatched to talk the few remaining, stubborn straggles into leaving.

Meanwhile, the town priest (Nick Nolte), who ran a school and orphanage in the town’s heyday, is caring for Irwin, a desperately ill little boy who is too fragile to be moved.

About half of the action revolves around the company men, and their efforts to move the eccentric stragglers. These semi-surreal set pieces are loads of fun, showing a quirky, dry sense of humor that isn’t common in American films.

The other half of the film takes place in the nearly comatose Irwin’s fevered dreams. He imagines a strange set of characters, Flower Hercules, Cup of Tea, Cod, and Happy, whom he hopes will take him “A thousand miles away.” The strangeness of his dreams seems to seep into the world of the company men.

Slow-moving but beautiful, sometimes very funny, and touching without being sappy, “Northfork” is a gem.

5 out of 5 stars.

Rated PG-13. The content is OK for older kids and teens, but most of them won’t want to sit through it.

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Movie review: (drama/thriller) “Law Abiding Citizen” (2009)

December 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm (Uncategorized)

  This is a goofy-ass movie. It starts off realistic, then veers into bizarro fantasy Hollywoodland. I did enjoy it, though. Especiially the middle of the movie, where people are getting killed left and right by crazy Rube Goldberg mad scient…ist contraptions.

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler are both very good in their roles, despite the silliness of the script. I did find it a little disturbing to hear a black man snarl “F*ck his civil rights!” at one point. I mean, it seems to me that black people get their civil rights f*cked with all the time. But not if you’re a Hollywood A-lister, I guess.

Anyway. The movie’s too long. The gruesome and ridiculous gadget murders are the best part. Keep your fast-forward button handy.

-Rated R
-3 out of 5 stars
-Some very disturbing content–maybe OK for older teens

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Shiny New Blog

July 12, 2006 at 6:32 am (art, Blogroll, cars, hearses, movies, music, pets, Uncategorized, writing)

Hey Kats, Kittens and Dawgs,

This is my blog. In my blog, I will post movie and book reviews, discuss the writing business, and sometimes babble incoherently. Hey, it’s MY blog, I can do whatever the hell I want!

I love horror. You’re going to see an awful lot of horror reviews here, among other bizarre, shocking, and socially unacceptable things.


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