Sunday, September 6, 2015

Never Sleep Again

Recently the world found out that we'd lost a horror legend. Wes Craven had had a hand in an absolutely ridiculous number of iconic films, helping to shape the industry. Like a lot of people, especially in my age group, his most memorable films were the Elm Street franchise. While I know for sure that I'd seen Last House On The Left first, A Nightmare On Elm Street form a solid chunk of my earliest memories. So, in honor of Wes Craven, I'm going to tell a really horrific story. It's a true one, and now seems as good a time as any to traumatize anyone stupid enough to read this.

I'd mentioned before that my stepfather had worked for the junk yard that had been used in one of the Elm Street films, and had met both Wes and Robert Englund on separate occasions . I've mentioned that he was fond of smacking my mom around as well. What I hadn't gotten into is what a fucking monster he was. In addition to being a drunk and generally a piece of shit, he was a pedophile and rapist as well. When my mom married him she was young and kind of stupid, and never imagined that he wasn't just marrying her to have a young attractive wife. He'd seen in a young unwed mother, strapped for cash, access to his favorite kind of sex "partner" - the kind that was too small and too weak to fight. I was two years old.

While A Nightmare On Elm Street wasn't the first horror film I'd ever seen, it's the one that has stayed in sharp detail, fresh in my mind nearly 30 years later. It was certainly a terrifying movie, especially for such a young child, but it was especially horrifying for a kid that was living in a household that was horrifying in itself. The fact that Freddy Krueger was a child molester was glossed over, but a fact that I quickly picked up on. His method of killing has been likened to rape, and the parallel was obvious to me right away. The fact that the parents in his community took vengeance into their own hands, only to inadvertently create an even greater monster, confirmed in my mind that no one would ever help me. No one could save us.

In a child's way, I drew comparisons between the Freddy Krueger character and my very real stepfather. I'm not sure if I imagined the resemblance, but I saw a physical one to match the emotional one.

To this day I still have nightmares about Freddy Krueger. They're almost always intertwined with nightmares about my stepfather. Wes Craven created one of the most iconic fiction characters, not just in horror, but ever. He didn't mean to make a film about my worst nightmares, not mine specifically, but he did and not in a way that causes me to hate the films or him. I love Elm Street. I often wonder if other childhood abuse survivors have watched them with the same mindset as me. I've never seen anything, an article or an interview, from that perspective. I've wondered if I'd ever have the chance to meet Wes Craven, if I'd tell him about my stepfather. Would he have been polite about it, would he have been struck by how close to home he'd hit with some of his fans? I'll never know. I wonder what he'd say or think to know he'd met a real-life Freddy Krueger, someone's flesh-and-blood nightmare.

This was pretty short, but it was also pretty straight forward. I wanted to put this out there, in case anyone ever wondered if someone else had watched A Nightmare On Elm Street through the same filter.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nerd Block Vinyl Palooza!

I made a video.  I swear I did.  But the quality was such garbage that I had to junk it, and it seemed disingenuous to stage another unboxing.  So here's a written rundown of what was in the box:

With pictures!

I was having a pretty crap day at work today.  The tasks were what they always are, but there are a couple of people who make me want to punch a baby, and I was stuck dealing with them all day.  When I got home I discovered a delightful surprise on my kitchen table!

Like I said, I made a video.  What you'll miss is Stinkbug climbing into my lap to steal, right out of the gate, a Titans Vinyl Ecto 1.  I went ahead and opened it, for a better look, and in a flash it was gone. He's since fallen asleep, and I've reclaimed it.  I didn't hesitate to open it because I fully intend on keeping it. 

This was the highlight of the box, for me at any rate.  There were a really good figures in here, but none from franchises that I collect, or I do but didn't feel the figure fit with my current collection.  For example:

The 10th Doctor, Doctor Who, Nerd Block Exclusive Titans Vinyl

I love Doctor Who.  If I fish around, I have a small handful of Doctor Who items.  Figures aren't included; I'd had a Doctor Whooves Funko Pop at one point, but was so un-attached to it that I gave it away to my niece.  I think if I ever did add figures to my collection they'd be action figures.  It's an aesthetic choice.  I know that these guys are pretty popular, I was somewhat tempted to keep it, but in the end I've decided to sell him.  It's like when you find a kitten in the rain, and you take it home and nurse it back to health, but you know you can't keep it.  I'm rather fond of #10, but I can't see this on my shelves.  He deserves a collector who will love him for what he is, much like the Doctor himself.


Next up:

Saul Goodman, Breaking Bad, Nerd Block Exclusive Titan's Vinyl

I used to watch a fair amount of Breaking Bad, but then I didn't have cable and I sort of lost the thread.  It's on Netflix, and I have every intention of catching up...eventually.  I literally have no desire to collect figures from this franchise, or at least I didn't until I saw this:

Bad ass.

But Saul doesn't equal Blue Crystal Heisenberg, now does it?  And, honestly, I'll probably never pick this guy up either.  He's a SDCC 2015 exclusive, so he's more expensive than your run of the mill POP!, and I'd have to pay flippers' prices - which is to be expected - and then run the risk of catching the extra shade being thrown at collectors who don't or can't make it to events, or spend all day in line at Hot Topic or wherever, to get first crack at a chase or exclusive.  There seems to be a subsection of the POP! community who feel that you're not devoted enough, or serious, or whatever if you don't abandon everything else in your life to stand around the mall waiting to buy a doll.  A doll, I said it.  We collect toys, people!  It's not a cult.  No one has told us to put on a track suit and drink the Kool Aid.

I was absolutely going to put up a crime scene photo from the Heaven's Gate mass suicide, but even I have limits.  Not really, I'm just lazy.

The point is, Saul's got to go.  Sorry Saul.

Finally we have:

Assassin's Creed III, Connor, Funko POP!

Assassin's Creed is a franchise that I've never played but am extremely familiar with.  I used to subscribe to Game Informer, and Assassin's Creed has always gotten a lot of coverage.  I think that if I had more time and money I'd be really into these games, but for the time being I can't know that for sure. 

Much like The Tenth Doctor, I can't keep him.  He's pretty cool looking, but I'm just not well enough acquainted with the games to warrant keeping him.  If someday I finally get a chance to marathon all the games I'll probably regret this decision, but that's a terrible reason to keep stuff.  That's crazy hoarder mentality right there, and I actively fight the urge to keep every stupid thing that crosses my path.  I already walk a fine line with what I do collect.

So, in conclusion, the Vinyl Palooza box was pretty much a bust for me.  I knew I was taking a gamble, because of how extremely picky I am about what I keep.  I'm hoping to trade Connor for a Universal Studios Monsters POP!

Minus The Wolf Man - I already have him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Where I Try To Write A Blog Post While Catching Up On YouTube Videos

I'm literally skipping back and forth between this and an incredibly ridiculous backlog of YouTube videos that I've not had time to watch.  I usually rely on Facebook to let me know when Anthony J. Rapino or Buzzfeed or whatever puts up a new video, but since I've fled I haven't really remembered to watch videos of any variety.

Belinda videos are always the exception.

Did you know I pay for Netflix but haven't actually watched it in two months.  Ridic. Part of the problem is that I hate watching stuff on my laptop.  I have the world's shittiest Acer, which is only two months old and, already, the mouse has completely crapped out.  It's taken me nearly half an hour to write this little, and the fact that Rapino has posted an unusually high number of videos with his hair down has almost nothing to do with that.

But Netflix and YouTube aren't the only victims of my shitty computer.  I got an invite to be a Beta user for Shudder! So here I have such a fun account to play with, and I can't even enjoy it.  I'd smash this stupid thing against a wall, but then I'd be well and truly fucked.

Slow down there cowboy, not that kind of fucked.


It's literally 5 days later.  I had to give up because of the aforementioned mouse issues.  The Fixer done fixed it by sending me a wireless mouse.  So I'm still slogging through videos, and writing this silly nonsense.  

I have no idea what I was writing before.  I don't recall what-so-ever what I wanted to tell you about.  Oh!  Hey, so I went ahead and ordered Nerd Block's Vinylpalooza block.  If you don't know by now, Nerd Block is a subscription box for which you pay a set amount of money every month.  Then you get an amazing box of mysterious goodies.  Easy peasy.  I am usually subscribed to Horror Block, but due to some financial difficulties from moving, I have had to cancel my subscription for a little while.  I went ahead and sprung for the Vinylpalooza block because it's a one-off deal, containing 4 vinyl figures featured in previous blocks.  No guarantees that any of them will be horror themed, or even that they'll be Funko POP!s (which are easily my favorite).  I figured that I'll either be super delighted with whatever I find in the box, or I will be super disappointed.  Or perhaps there will be a 50/50 split. 

In any event I am going to try to remember to do an unboxing video.  I don't do a lot of videos, I don't really have a YouTube presence.  A lot of this has to do with the fact that I despise being photographed or filmed, but The Fixer is still in California (along with the iPad), sooooo...I will be appearing in this video.  If I make it.  I make no promises, except that I coughed on your sandwich.  I absolutely did that.

I also come to your house at night, during Christmas, and lick your candy canes.

I think I had something more to write, but it's been 5 days and I've slept - and drank - since then.  I think, in the future, I'll try to steer back toward some parenting stuff.  Mostly I'll just be compiling evidence that I'm a terrible mother, but it's still kind of funny.  In the mean time, if you want to look at stupid pictures of contests I've entered and toys and other absolute bullshit I've come across, follow along on Instagram!  Join me while I stalk dudes with man-buns.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do

I've got a little Facebook icon, floating around somewhere, that leads to pretty much nothing.  Well, now it leads to definitely nothing because I quite the Place of Face.

I guess maybe a week ago I got on Facebook to fucker around and I realized that a family friend, who'd been close to my sisters, had had a baby without my even noticing.  I usually check my account on my smartphone, so most of the content I'm exposed to is payed content - minus things I'd had on notifications.  Then there was some minor kerfuffle in a group I was a member of, and everyone lost their shit and didn't seem able to recover, so I quietly walked away. 

I'd been pretty disconnected from most of the people in my life for a while now, for various reasons.  I've always had a habit of floating in and out of the fray of life.  But around a week ago I realized that the disconnect was much deeper than, say, a bout of depression that takes me out of the game.  Or not keeping in touch as much as I once did after moving. After I saw that I missed the birth of a friend's third child, I made it a point to check in on my friends.  I know that our FB profiles are inaccurate snap shots of our lives, like the one acceptable selfie after taking one hundred bathroom mirror photos; it's carefully angled and filtered to present an image that isn't 100% real, but in it's own strange way it is 100% honest.  The internet has afforded us our own platforms for espousing our ideologies and values on a relatively captive audience.  After all, we're friends, so we'll all spew out things we'd never say to someone's face, and you'll hit "like". Because we're friends. 

I congratulated my friend, and said how lucky I thought she was to have three beautiful children who she loved and who loved her in return.  I'll only ever have Stinkbug, even though I'd always thought I'd have more.  I'm happy for her, and a little envious that she'll get to kiss baby toes for another year, and hear "mama" for the first time again.  If I'd known that these sentiments would set off a diatribe about how hard her life is and how I'll never understand or be as strong as she is, I'd have just moved on with my life as if I'd never found out about the baby.

I moved on down the friends list.  Another rant about deadbeats on welfare who are leeching off the system and living off our tax dollars...from someone I know for a fact receives food stamps.  Really?  I see a lot of those types of rants on my newsfeed, and - to paraphrase - I'll defend your right to your opinions, no matter how disparate they are from my own.  But the fact that easily 90% the people putting these recycled right-wing fundamentalist memes out there are on, or have been on, some kind of assistance, completely boggles my mind.

I feel like that last sentence is grammatically wrong somehow.  I'm sick, so I get a pass.

Caitlyn Jenner was why I eventually just hit the "deactivate" button. 

I have an aunt who is MtF.  We're not crazy-super-close.  I'm not "crazy-super-close" to anyone.  But she's a bitchin' burrito smothered in awesome sauce.  She's a Republican, which is a total mind-fuck, but she's articulate and I can understand her rationale - even if I disagree.  I'd throw a pie for that lady, not because she's my aunt, or because of equal rights, or anything else other than she's cool beans and a human being.  And she has nothing to do with my leaving Facebook. 

I have a friend.  We're not crazy-super-close.  I'm not "crazy-super-close" to anyone.  But she's another bitchin' burrito smothered in awesome sauce, and she is often wounded by how shitty the world is.  She's beautiful, and I sort of want to steal her hair.  She's in love with a fictional character, because real people are shitty.  She is MtF, she is very young, and she is very vulnerable.  We have mutual friends, at least one of whom felt the need to weigh in on Caitlyn Jenner.  Post after post about how we shouldn't call "it" Caitlyn.  About perversion, about sin, about going against god.  "Friends" who know how she struggles, can call Caitlyn a "freak" or a "monster," and still smile into her face. 

I'll defend anyone's right to their opinion, even if I disagree with my entire soul.  But you can't say, I dunno,

"Women with brown eyes are genetically predisposed to murdering babies."

and still want to be friends with my brown-eyed self.  You know?  I feel like we're in "I'm-not-racist-because-I-have-one-black-friend-at-work" territory at that point.

I could unfriend a bunch of people, easy peasy.  Buuuuut...that'd be like 80% of my 60+ friends.  I'm sick, so don't ask me to math.  Let's just say it wouldn't be worth keeping a Facebook.  It's not worth it, to find out that people I care about are horrible, so I called the whole thing a wash, and deactivated.  I still IG, because cats and Funko.  I'm a lame ass.  Some of my real-life friends follow my account, and vice versa.  We don't interact much, except to like each others' pictures.  I like people much better at a little more than arm's length.

Completely unrelated P.S.:  THIS WHOLE WEEK OF STEVEN UNIVERSE GUYS!  ZOMG!!!!!!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Not The Babies!!!

I'm finally watching Annabelle, something like a million years after its release on DVD. It stars a bunch of people whose names I don't remember, because I'm bad at knowing who people are. But I am good at knowing who Ed and Lorraine Warren are.

Annabelle is about an evil demonic doll that terrorizes a nice, squeaky clean couple sometime in the the early 70's. The movie also uses the baby/child in peril trope, which is seriously my least favorite because it does it's job entirely too effectively. I've always had a hard time watching horror films about very young children in danger (teenagers can go to hell), and now I'm especially anxiety ridden because the act of having a kid myself has driven me bat-shit crazy. Normally only one very specific type of horror film actually scares me, but I'm fairly squeamish about the prospect of children, especially babies, in danger of a supernatural variety. I tell myself that I can throw myself in front out-of-control buses, and that I'd run into a burning building for my son, but there's about jack-shit you can do in the face of paranormal shenanigans. I don't believe in demons or malevolent spirits, per se, but I am freaked out by the idea of them. And for the record, the sub-genre of horror that does scare me is possession films. I'll get into that another day.

You'll get to it now!

Another thing that I super hate is dolls. Again, not actually afraid - I can be in a room with them, I even have a few for Stinkbug. I guess what I hate are China or porcelain dolls. There's just something inherently creepy about even the pretty or cute ones, and the filmmakers managed to create the fucking ugliest mother fucker ever captured on film.

This is what every nursery needs.

Which makes no sense, because the reality was so much more horrifying. The "real" Annabelle was a Raggedy Anne doll. I never had a problem with Raggedy Anne or Raggedy Andy until I read The Demonologist back when I was a teenager.

This blog post is now full of demon cooties.

Which leads back to Ed and Lorraine Warren. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I was a teen in the 90's. And if there's anything 90's teenaged girls love, it's the occult. The Edward Cullins loving youth of today got nothing compared to the tom-foolary we got up to back when I was a youngun. Like all young girls coming into the flower of womanhood, I made it a point of reading every horror novel, vampire novel, every true-story haunted house book, all of Mom's Wicca 101 books, and all the (now debunked) books about the psychological effects of Satanic ritual abuse on children. I've also, then and now, read a lot of books and articles exposing many of those "true-life" stories as fraud. And the Warrens are (were, as Ed is now dead) two of the biggest hucksters out there. So while Annabelle is the fictionalized prequel to The Conjuring - based on the "true" story of one of their cases - the association takes a lot of the shine off this film for me. Had the filmmakers changed the name of the doll, this would have been a semi-decent film. It has some genuinely creepy parts, and like I said, you put babies in danger and I immediately flip the fuck out. I'm all "NOOOOOO!!!! NOT THE BABY!" And there'd only be a 50/50 chance I'd recognize the story, because I don't always recall details very well or at all sometimes.  But the "based on a true story" angle was a huge part of the marketing for both films, and so the baleful specter of those two crackpots' lies hung around to constantly annoy and harass me.

*For the record, my computer totally freaked out when I added that picture of Reagan.  Like, freezing up at the mere mention of it.  I don't know if my laptop is possessed by demons or just by Acer.  I'll keep you updated.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Ability To Even...

As I've mentioned, I moved!  I got the bright idea to basically just start all over, something I've done a few times before.  This time I'm doing it with a toddler, so that's no fun.  I found a pretty sweet job, but jobbing means finding a daycare for Stinkbug, so that's no fun.

But find it, I did.  And now I work at a magical wonderland that all my thrifter homies and junk collector compatriots know and love.

Pictured:  Not the actual store I work at.  I'm not crazy.

Now my mission is to find a car and a place of our own.  In the mean time, The Fixer has returned to California to tie up loose ends.  The pragmatic part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, and find out that those loose ends will never be tied, but I'm choosing to stay optimistic while ensuring that if that worse-case-scenario happens, I'll be able to manage on my own. 

This isn't a terribly interesting post, mainly because I'm just whipping it up to keep this blog active.  I've actually got entertaining things to tell you, whoever it is that reads this, but I've got to get my crap together so that I can ship a hideous George Harrison doll tomorrow.  Seriously, hideous.  But it's old, and people are willing to overlook the nightmare inducing qualities of the thing because The Beatles were one of the greatest rock bands of all time.  So he can go live with some other schmuck, along with the baleful ghost of the dead relationship from hence he came. 

Imma eat yo toes while you sleep little worm!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gotta Get Them Dollars...Now, Who's Hiring?

For those (all) of you that don't know, I "successfully" moved back to Ohio, because I hate myself and 10 years of miserable winters just weren't enough for me.  I'm adding the finger quotation marks because it seems to me that a successful move should include having an actual place to live, having a job lined up, and having reliable transportation upon arrival.  I'm not well known for planning well, so in this instance, "made it to Ohio alive" is a pretty good stand in for "success."

The Fixer was originally going to drive Stinkbug and me out in our Jeep, leave the Jeep with us, and fly back to California to continue fixing things.  This is not what happened.  Instead, we ended up borrowing MLM(IL)'s van, which (understandably) she couldn't allow to stay in Ohio while she was still in Cali.  This sucked for a few reasons, including but not limited to:
  • The Fixer having to go back a few days sooner than planned
  • Getting screwed out of $220, which was the cost of The Fixer's unmet flight
  • I HAVE NO CAR!!!
I mean, I've done the no-car show before.  It's not that big of a deal, the actual traveling part.  It's the parts where I have to leave my son with my mom, who's good for half an hour tops.  She's pretty limited in her ability to care for such a small child - hell, she's pretty limited in her ability to take care of herself.  So if I have to go somewhere that takes more than that thirty minutes, I'm ever so slightly screwed.  This is going to make the job interviews I hope to have within a week or so interesting.

Meh.  I'll figure it out.  To my credit, despite living life pretty stupidly and by the seat of my pants, I always figure it out.  

Sorry for the lack of stupid pictures.  The Wi-Fi is kind of wonky at my mom's, and this quick post would take a thousand years longer if I tried to insert my usual running-visual commentary.  As soon as I have something more interesting than "Hey guys, I moved!" to talk about, I'll get my shit back on track.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm An Idiot

...but that's no secret. 

I'm talking about a very specific shortcoming, however, and that is that I somehow come into possession of amazing crap that I promptly lose.  Things that are pretty cool to begin with, and then within 10 years become ridiculously valuable.  Things I've loved and lost, and will never stop kicking myself over include:

Joan Jett Barbie
This was a 30th birthday gift from my now ex-girlfriend's older sister.  I'd like to pretend that this was a token of her acceptance of our relationship (it wasn't) or a subtle nod to her own deeply closeted homosexuality (How're your shoes doing in there Champ?), but it was neither.  Turned out she had no idea what I'd like, and her sister helpfully pointed this amazeballs toy out to her.

About a month later, my girlfriend and I had a major falling out and temporarily broke up.  In a fit of vindictive assholery, she chucked Joan Jett out with the garbage.  I'm actually a little (a lot) sadder about the fact that she felt some foolish need to toss my An Amphigorey by Edward Gorey out as well, or at least I was until I saw how much Joan is going for on eBay.

Image courtesy of Girl Meets Tennessee

Friday The 13th Pumpkin
Back in the roarin' 80's, my mom owned a video store.  She got a lot of promotional crap whenever new releases hit the shelves, but didn't display all of it.  She'd had some grand idea of suspending our Friday The 13th pumpkin from the ceiling, but for whatever reason couldn't make that dream a reality.  So I inherited it.  We'd had a compressed air pump from our giant inflatable dinosaurs, so I blew that sucker up and played giant beach volleyball in my livingroom.  I kept it in my bedroom, to look at and devise weird games involving it.  I probably named it.  I have no idea what happened to it, but it was either cat related or my mom got tired of my shit (there'd be an outright ban on all horror related things during high school).

I haven't been able to find it on eBay, which leads me to believe that it's now worth a million bajillion dollars, and that no one who still has one is willing to part with theirs.  Fuckers.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Where do I even begin?  So, I'm not really going to get into the gory details, because there are a few detours in this story that lead straight into territories that I don't get too much into on here.  For reasons.  But, needless to say, at one point my stepfather found himself banished from the family home.  He did what he often did when he found himself in this predicament:  he ran off to California.  It was, in fact, during one of these stints from his first ex wife that he met my mom. 

He made his way back out to the Los Angeles area and found work as a night security guard at a local junk yard. 

Hey kids, have you seen The Dream Master?  If you have, then you may recall a scene in a junk yard and there was some flamin' dog pee.  If you haven't...actually, that's fine.  I mean, I have a soft spot for all the old Freddy films, but I know that Dream Warriors was better.  I'm ok with that.

I'm not really sure if Robert Englund is just that magnanimous, or if it was the fact that my stepdad resembled Freddy Krueger (a horrible irony, again, reasons).  I have no idea how it came to be that when my mom (stupidly) let him come home he brought a signed-by-Robert Englund copy of the script with a short storyboard for that junkyard scene.  That scene was shot in a real junk yard in North Hollywood - the very one that Stepdouche worked nights at.  And I had a copy of the script with Robert Englund's fucking signature on it. 

When we fled Tennessee a few years later, it was left behind.  I don't think anyone thought to grab it, and it fell by the wayside along with other important documents and a family photo album.  In 1998, my (at that point) ex-stepfather died.  Under normal circumstances we'd have just gone down and collected what needed collecting, and I might not be including this in this post.  But normal isn't a commodity I'm accustomed to dealing with.  His brothers and sister descended on the house like a plague, and burned everything that was burnable in it.  They'd had a notion that there'd be a will naming his children (my sisters) as beneficiaries of any wealth he may have accumulated.  They'd also figured they'd be able to seize control of the house and property from my then underaged sisters.  So, if the script was still in the house, it went up in flames - much like Freddy was wont to do.

And now I'm sad, so I'll stop now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Murphy's Law

What's that old saying, if it can go wrong it will?

The Fixer has been fixing the Jeep for my long-anticipated trip to that ice covered hell I like to call "Ohio".  Only, for once, he's not fixing so good.  He's usually quite a good Fixer, but he's hit a wall of obstinacy that he can't overcome.  So we get to shell out Christ only knows how much to have a "professional" do the fixing.  The fact that The Fixer used to be a "professional" isn't lost on me.

I seriously considered just saying "fuck it" and leaving all of my and Stinkbug's clothes behind, and hopping a Greyhound.  Then I remembered that California has screwed me out of a valid ID, and I don't have Stinkbug's birth certificate.  These are obvious problems when taking a plane, well, the ID part, but the thing is that California (and the surrounding states) are sort of a hot-bed of contention right now, concerning immigration.  This isn't to start a conversation about immigration.  But the fact of the matter is that I'm Latina.  In Middle America, at most people assume I'm Italian or possibly very light skinned Middle Eastern.  I've got very unassuming features, and I pass for whatever is the average wherever I am, with obvious exceptions.  But in California, black hair, dark eyes, olive-toned skin, and a Spanish last name equal...well, people assume I'm Mexican, because most Americans don't seem to know that there's a whole continent right below Mexico.

And, without fail, every time I've gone through an immigration checkpoint on a bus, I've gotten a ration of shit.  In Texas I even got screamed at, "WHAT IS YOUR NAME?!  SHOW ME YOUR IDENTIFICATION!!!!  WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!?! ¿TU HABLA INGLES?" all while having a flashlight shined in my face in the middle of the night.  Considering that child immigration is the hot-button issue du jour in these parts, I'm just not.  I'm just not.

Hey Rachel, why the fuck don't you have a valid ID?

That's an excellent fucking question!  As if people need more reasons to hate the DMV, they've graciously provided at least one more for me.

I went in for a regular state ID.  Not a license.  An ID.  I don't drive.  It's not that I can't, I just don't, for the safety and well being of other motorists.  If I ever kill someone with a car, it will probably have been on purpose.  I'm just saying.  The last car accident I was involved in, I was rear-ended by some dumb schmuck who wasn't fucking paying attention, and I think I scared her so much she peed herself.  Rage, I has it.

Anyway, I waited in line for over an hour, filled out the paper for a non-license picture ID, waited another two hours, payed for my ID, got my picture taken, and then was told to step over to the computers for my test.

My what now?  So I was like, WTF?!  I went back to the lady who processed my application, asked her what the actual hell? and was told, "Oh, gee, I can't fix it. I guess you'll just either have to take the test or get back in line and pay for another ID."

Are you fucking kidding me?

So I took the stupid test.  But I can't have a valid picture ID until I take the practical test, which isn't happening because I'm moving in fucking three days!  You have to schedule the test weeks in advance!  All I have is a slip of paper that clearly states that it is NOT AN ID, and my old ID, which is expired.

The state of California wants to issue drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants (I sort of understand that) but I can't have a card stating that I exist?!?!!?

I think I'm really down-playing my hatred of California when I say I won't be sad to see that "Now Leaving..." sign.  California is like that ex-girlfriend who I really loved.  I loved her enough to stay for several years of her abusive bullshit, because I though she needed help and if I just loved her enough she'd get better.  Until I woke up one day and realized that I'd either kill her or myself, and I was leaning toward her.

Living in California is like being in an abusive relationship.  Also, palm trees.

Fuck you Palm Tree.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Horror Block February 2015

We got our Horror Block on Friday, and I promptly didn't film an unboxing.  I totally have an excuse though!  The Fixer had to take the iPad and the camera to work, and trying to use my phone is just booty.  But I took some beautifully grainy "art" shots (I took some shit cell phone pics) for your pleasure.

For real guys, do I need to keep telling you how fucking awesome Horror Block is?  I had to cancel my subscription for March, and possibly April, because I'm moving.  This will be the last of these posts for at least a couple of months, so if you've been coming to look at my groovy swag, the well is going to run dry for a while.  More on the move after the picture show.

This month's block promised items that would be werewolf, zombie, and vampire related.  Technically they delivered, but if I'm being honest, I was a little let down.  I kind of knew what the werewolf item would be because they'd been teasing it for over a month.

They'd outright said they'd partnered with Kelley Armstrong for the month, and since there's no merchandising for the series, I'd guessed (correctly) that the novel would be included in the Block.

To say that I was less than excited would be an understatement.  I'd never found a reason to be disappointed in Horror Block before, and I'm not going to call the whole box a wash over this, but there's very little room in my heart for what amounts to supernatural soft-core porn.  I have a fairly strange relationship with sex, so using it to help drive a narrative bores the living shit out of me.  If you're going to go that route, it better get real fucking weird real fast.  The fact that MLM(IL) speaks highly of the series bodes not well at all for me.  We have disparately unmatched expectations in our reading materials, and I already have a hard time convincing her that not everyone enjoys the type of books that she does.  Horror Block's inclusion of this one only cemented her conviction that everyone shares her opinions about everything.  I couldn't even pawn it off on her because she owns the entire series. 

This was the lone "vampire" item in the block.  I hadn't had my heart set on vampire stuff, not really, but with the recent resurgence of horror vampire love (opposed to romantic vampire love), I had had a certain amount of expectation for something...good.  Considering the "werewolf" item, I should count my blessings we didn't get a Twilight item.

If you can't tell, it's a slap watch.  This hearkens back to 1991, when I was ten, and loved slap bracelets.  I don't love them so much now, because all wrist adornments make my arms look fat.  I know this is 100% in my head, but I already feel like I have tiny t-rex arms, I don't want to feel like I have fat t-rex arms.

The watch works, so that's cool I guess.  The image is meh.  The whole concept is meh.  I will probably give this to either my sister or my niece, after I've moved.  I have to keep telling myself that not every block is going to be gold.

Ok, now we're back on track!  I have a soft spot for The Bride in all of her many incarnations.  It's nearly impossible to tell from this picture, but this is a t-shirt.  I really dig the retro tattoo design, it's got a little bit of that rockabilly or horrorbilly vibe.  Neither of those are exactly my scene, simply because I'm too lazy to make sure my eyeliner is even, but I like the aesthetic.  The people who take the time and care on their look are like walking works of art, and I'm pleased to have this tiny chunk of fashion.  Things are looking up in this block!

This is the first block that included something I'd give my son.  He's a little more than a year old, so most of the items aren't age appropriate.  But plush toys are always in with him, and this was no exception.  If anything, it fit perfectly with what I usually get him anyway.  This little critter is a Giant Microbe representation of the "zombie virus".  He fits in very well with Stinkbug's Zombie Pets, which are getting harder to find.

This was the final item in the block, other than the Rue Morgue magazine.  Short of cracking this sucker open for the sake of photographs, you can't tell that it has a little zombie trapped inside a viscous fluid.  I'm not sure if it was meant to be ooze, or gel, or liquid.  It seems to be all of those things, plus some glow-in-dark powder floating around in there.  And it leaked.  Not as bad as some I've seen online, but bad enough that I'm going to have to super glue it shut before displaying.  I suggested that it would make a fun dust collector on The Fixer's desk at work, but he never remembers to make his own coffee -- let alone take extra stuff with him -- so it sits on the kitchen table for now.  The same fate befell the anti-zombie hand sanitizer that came a few blocks back, which sort of pissed me off because I asked him to get some fucking sanitizer so that he'd stop bringing home the fucking plague his co-workers keep spreading around his office and shop.  I'd figured that nifty-fun packaging would finally persuade him to fucking keep his fucking hands clean, but no.  But I digress.

Both Horror Block and Nerd Block have promised that they will be including more books in their blocks.  I'm very much on the fence about this news.  On the one hand, yay books!  On the other, Bitten.  I'm really hoping that they can steer this ship back to horror that is actually horrific.  I don't know what kind of books to expect from Nerd Block, because I haven't subscribed to their classic block.  I'm finding I kind of wish I had, because March is supposed to include some Simon Pegg items, of whom I'm a big fan.  But I can't for sure know where I'll be when the block would ship, so I have to take a pass.

So, yeah, moving!  I'm moving in a few weeks, because I miss my family and my mom has yet to meet her youngest grandchild.  I'm also moving because the work situation out here is a bust.  While I'm no longer willing to return to the public service industry, I am willing to return to manufacturing or something else not dealing with the public.  Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods currently, there really are no jobs to be had that aren't behind a cash register or manning a deep fryer.  I wouldn't mind working in a proper kitchen; I've always like working in restaurants, just not the ones with drive-thrus attached.  Am I being selective?  Yes.  But I have the luxury of being able to move to a part of the country where the only viable work options aren't limited to Taco Bell, so I'll be picky if I want.  Not everyone has that option, and it's not an opportunity I'm willing to squander.  So posts may become more sporadic than before.  I don't know how you feel about that, but I'm a little bummed -- I like writing this blog.  It's a fun break from the minutiae of my day-to-day.  I hope to get a little more regimented, once the move is over and I've gotten into a working routine.  For anyone who reads this regularly, thanks for bearing with me! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Was A Teenage Monster

Ever since I was a kid, I've had a hardcore obsession with monsters.  I drew them, I daydreamed about them, I worried teachers and psychologists.  I could blame a (probably) way-too-early exposure to horror films, or I could blame TV.   Of course, to "blame" would imply that my life is worse for my fascination, which it isn't.  Poorer financially, but certainly not in any other respect.

I recently succumbed to the siren's song of Monster High merchandise.   I know that a certain segment of society wouldn't call Monster High "real" horror, and I'd totally agree.  The toys call to me on a different level altogether.  You see, I'm a child of the 80's and 90's.  More specifically, and big fat duh, I was a girl of the 80's and 90's.  The plain and simple truth of the matter is that the things I loved weren't being marketed to me.  During Saturday morning cartoons, when I indulged in a plethora of monster-themed cartoons, commercials would loudly proclaim the latest, the coolest, the most amazing toys ever injection-molded in China.  And, almost invariably, all of those commercials featured boys playing with those toys.

Intellectually I know, and knew then, that just because boys were the ones shown in the commercials didn't mean that I couldn't have those toys too.  And my mom, when she could afford really cool (read expensive) toys seemed to understand that too.  I knew that I wasn't confined to Barbies and those dolls that folded up into cupcakes.  But no one else seemed to have gotten the memo.  When I received gifts, without fail I would get at least one Barbie.  Sometimes several.  Except for the year I got this:

'Sup girl?

"Hey Rachel, just give your shitty Barbies to your sisters, and rock out with your awesome cool toys!"  I hear you say.  Now I get to the real problem.  I wanted the bitchin' boys' toys and the Barbies.  I wanted my Barbies to look like Morticia and Elvira.  I despaired that the only black haired dolls I could get had tan complexions.  Actually, their complexions caused a great deal of inner turmoil and strife because while I wanted my dolls to look like Death, I was also keenly aware of the fact that the toy industry was slow to make dolls for sullen little Latina girls with two annoyingly white sisters. 

So Barbies got makeovers, complete with sharpie makeup and tattoos.  I took up sewing, destroying a lot of mom's lingerie in the process, to make vampire bride costumes for my dolls.  I wish I had pictures of these early endeavors, but people didn't take the ass-ton of photos then as they do now.

So now we circle back to Monster High.  I mean, let's be real, they're glorified Barbies.  But they're the Barbies I longed for in elementary school.  And, even better, they're in high school - which speaks to another obsession of mine as a kid.  Monsters in high school.  I often have a hard time pinpointing where certain fixations begin for me, but I can on this one, and with laser precision.  During Saturday morning cartoons, before or after the New Kids On The Block animated series that I had to sit through as a trade-off with my sisters, there was a show called Gravedale High.  I loved that show with a burning passion.  I wanted to go to that high school when I got old enough.  It was stupid, it was hokey, it was a poorly written, and despite banking on Rick Moranis's fame from Ghostbusters (another awesome thing seemingly targeted toward boys), it genuinely seemed aimed toward girls.  Story lines focused on the interrelationships of the teenaged monster characters, and female monsters got as much, if not more, screen time as the males.  I wanted to be a monster.  Granted, I was a senior in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred, so teenaged monsters were much realer than I'd anticipated. 

Sorry to be such a buzz kill.  Let me make it up to you with pictures of monsters.

Also, I'm really sorry if you clicked that New Kids On The Block link. No I'm not.

Friday, February 27, 2015

I know I made big, grand promises about content, but I've failed to follow through.

On February 14, we made a tough decision to end one of our cat's suffering.  I hadn't realized how bad Grrbles's condition was, because she'd been MLM(IL)'s cat for nearly 15 years.  So Valentine's Day was super shitty.  But nowhere as shitty as the next day.

Our front door doesn't always catch when you close it, unless you make a point of pulling very hard.  We'd left the house in a hurry on Sunday, with many bullshit errands to run, so the door must not have caught.  Whether the door fell open later, or it was pushed open, we will never know.  I am sure that the neighbor's dog came into the house, looking for our other cat Bob.  I know she's pretty...enthusiastic...about other animals.  What I don't know is why she became so aggressive and completely destroyed the cage my pet rabbit lives in.  I'm fairly certain that had he just hunkered down in a corner he'd have survived, but he bolted.  I don't know if the dog was trying to play with Chocobunny, or if she wanted to kill him, but she did.  We came home to find her in the driveway, still playing with his dead body.

Naturally, I flipped the fuck out.  I won't get into too many details, but just for a general idea, the house was a disaster.  Whatever happened had been gory and violent, and Bob had gotten in the fray in an attempt to defend Choco.  We found new things to clean for a couple of days.  Luckily, Stinkbug is oblivious (the bliss of being a baby) and The Fixer fixed most of the mess while I sat on the couch, holding my rabbit and having a fit.

The house is weirdly quiet without Choco scratching at everything, without Grrbles complaining about everything.  It's empty without that giant house-shaped cage sitting right next to my bedroom.  It's oddly barren, as I dispose of all the grey puffs of fur that Grrbles had a habit of leaving everywhere.  I find them in the weirdest spots.

Bob isn't the same.  He doesn't play the way he used to, he's scared shitless of the dog.  He lingers where Choco's house used to sit.  The more I clean, the more the scents of other animals disappear for him.


I still have Anabelle to watch, and I picked up Penny Dreadful Season One and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  MLM(IL) added The Theory Of Everything to our collection as well.  So, that stuff is still happening.  Just not when I thought it would.  We should have a Horror Block arriving this weekend too, so keep an eye out for the video (assuming I can control myself), if you're into unboxing videos.  I also plan to get a little ridiculous about Monster High, because I'm 10.

Thanks for sticking it out, all six of you who read this thing!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dracula Untold

It occurs to me that a written opinion piece about a film isn't the most...fashionable?...way to go.  I would consider doing this via YouTube, but I just lack the kind of presence to make that work.  I can talk a mile of shit, but the minute I know someone is looking at me, I tend to lose steam.  Plus I only really know how to express myself through snarkily captioned pictures, culled from the internet.

MLM(IL) was kind enough to pick up Dracula Untold on Saturday, so we watched it that evening.  It's intended as the beginning of a series of reboots for the classic Universal Studios Monsters, re-imaging them, not as horror icons, but as dark anti-heros.  I just...I don't know.  I really don't.  The very thought of this re-branding makes me get all, I don't know, internet-fan-boy.  You know, the folks that rail and rant about reboots of their childhood favorites.  Not quite "Those fat whores are ruining Ghostbusters!" (which is a thing), but definitely not pleased.  Biased even.  So we popped in the DVD, and I told myself to just repeat "This isn't Dracula.".

Which is fair.  It's not remotely like the novel by Bram Stoker.  It kind of took up the fact that Stoker borrowed a name from Transylvanian history, and incorporated a bit of historical fact with a modern vampire-turned-romatic hero fiction.  This isn't exactly new territory, as Bram Stoker's Dracula did the same thing, to great effect (despite Keanu Reeves and Wynona Ryder).  I think I've mentioned it somewhere before, but I really dig that film.  It never gets old for me.  So, right off the bat I'm given a very easy out for my discomfort.  This is NOT Dracula.  They just happen to share a name.

This Rachel is not a Werewolf Mommy.

I'll be honest when I say that I'm not as familiar with the historical Dracula, or Vlad The Impaler, as I ought to be.  As much time as I spent in high school learning as much vampire folklore as my tiny, blackened heart could retain, I just didn't glean a lot of that part of history.

You just don't understand the beauty of blood and pain, MOM!!!!

I do have vague recollections of a TV movie about the historical Vlad.  It was riding on the popularity of Vampirism, hoping to capitalize on the new-born mainstream popularity of the hero-vampire.  So, except for some very basic knowledge, I was walking into Dracula Untold blind.  This worked in my favor.

I'm not going to get into the plot too much, except to say it wasn't that bad.  Just keep telling yourself "It's not that Dracula," and you'll be ok.  Basically, blah blah blah, enemy army, blah blah blah, have to save my family, blah blah blah, save, wait.

He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

It had some good special effects, and it had some really terrible ones.  The ending was baffling.  I know it's meant to be the start of a new franchise, but it seriously made me want to punch a baby.

I don't know how great an endorsement "Not as bad as I expected" is, but it's the best one I can offer.  Don't buy it, unless you like horror-turned action and haven't placed the classic Dracula, in any of his many incarnations, on a pedestal.  But don't not at least rent it or borrow it or whatever.  It's not that bad.  It's almost good.

Just kidding.  I am Batman.