Rubber, and why I feel like it accomplishes absolutely nothing

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Everyone loves a good screwball comedy once in a while. Sometimes you just want to watch a movie and not have to think. You just want something silly you can switch off and laugh at because of the absolute absuridty of the entire thing. This is what Rubber appeared to be, from the trailer at least. A tire that rolls through the desert and kills animals and people through telepathy? Very absurd, and people loved it. The idea was crazy, it was shot beautifully, and it promised to be a hilarious, goofball movie to laugh mindlessly at.

Until the movie starts.

One of the first scenes is a monologue about how movies today do things that make no sense, and when people challenge the reason they did it, the directors just shrug and tell the fans “No reason”. “Why is the alien in E.T. brown?’ Maybe because no one has ever seen an actual extraterrestrial, so body type and skin color are completely subjective until proven otherwise. Or “No Reason”, which ever you prefer. “Why do we never see the characters in Texas Chainsaw Massacre use the bathroom or wash their hands?” I don’t know, maybe because in the midst of being chased by a seven foot tall, four foot wide homicidal maniac wearing the skin of his victims and wielding a chainsaw, hygiene isn’t very high on their list of priorities, nor is it essential to show every minute detail of every scene in every movie, otherwise every movie ever made would be hours upon hours of droll, boring nonsense that we have to deal with in every day life and turn to movies to escape from. That couldn’t possibly be it, though. 

This is the meat of this monologue, and he is filled with such conviction, you can tell he’s about to blow our minds with this completely original, blistering satire of the film industry who has run out of original ideas and creativity and does things only for the sake of dollars these days, and Dupieux is here not only to mock them and show them the error of their ways, but to encapsulate us with his brilliant, Kubrick-esque vision of what a well written, fully thought out film should look like.

Except that’s not what happens at all.

He goes on his sternly worded hissy fit about “No Reason”, resulting in a scathing take on the state of the film industry, then a man holding multiple pairs of binoculars turns to a group of people standing in the middle of the desert, passes out the binoculars, and instructs them to turn around and start watching. It’s all very awkward and weird, even by arthouse standards.

Then begins the actual journey of the tire, named Robert. It’s just like any other origin story, and the tire is treated much like a child. It is “born” from the dump, it learns to roll, and eventually finds out it can crush objects like a plastic bottle and a scorpion just by rolling over them. It is just gleefully rolling along in it’s newfound sentience, and gets caught on a glass bottle. This is where the story gets weirder. The tire begins pulsating and shaking like a woman having an orgasm, and suddenly the glass bottle shatters and Robert rolls off on his murderous little way. This graduates from glass bottles to birds and eventually people and all these scenes are interspersed with scenes of the crowd offering ham-fisted, finger-wagging advice about the film industry to each other. “You know it’s forbidden by law to film this film. They’ll throw you in jail for that.” says one older black woman.

Here’s the reason I think this movie accomplishes absolutely nothing: I think Dupieux’s heart is in the right place. I think he has a point that Hollywood has gotten lazy, and they only amke movies for the shareholders of a few major companies and the art of filmmaking at the highest level is but a foregone conclusion at this point. The art is in the hands of the independents, and the people who still have that passion. I understand that’s what he’s tryng to get across, but I think his approach is all wrong. What he’s done with this movie is the same thing he’s complaining about, only in a much more direct, passive aggressive fashion. It was intended to be a big middle finger to the film industry, but it’s really just more of the same bullshit he’s trying to combat. His movie is a triumph of the “No Reason” approach he was bitching about in the beginning of the movie, and the irony doesn’t make it any better than the movies he was bitching about, it only makes it a stripped down perfect example without any of the bullshit surrounding the “No Reason” aspect he was so tired of seeing in movies.

In the end, it’s just a temper tantrum from someone who is upset that movies aren’t made the way he wants them to be made, by someone who has more money than sense and is probably surrounded by people who tell him how original and interesting and creative he is. I didn’t find anything creative or original about this movie, and it does the exact opposite of what he set out to do.

I’m rambling so I’m gonna wrap this up, but I really just want to say fuck Quentin Dupieux and quit bitching about the industry if you’re just going to waste time and money on an overpriced bitch fit. That is all. 

 

 

Announcing DEAD HEART: THE MOVIE!

Colonel Derillion "Madcat" Sorenson:

Written by Brandon Ford, directed by yours truly, and coming soon to YOUR computer!

Originally posted on Brandon Ford's Sleepless Nights:

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I am pleased to announce that production has begun on a short film adaptation of my story, Dead Heart. Filming on location in Louisville, KY, the film stars Christopher Folan, Joey Arena, Jaime Duvall, and Shane Abell. Directed by Adam C. Thomas, who also penned the screenplay, the film promises to not only be a faithful adaptation of the original work, but a slice of twisted and depraved cinema that will creep its way beneath even the thickest of skins. Release date to be determined. In the mean time, whet your appetite with the delicious teaser poster (pictured above), which was designed by Blake Ulmer, as well as some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos. And don’t forget to download your FREE copy of Dead Heart for your Amazon Kindle, as well as your Barnes & Noble Nook!

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Update to my life, August 2013

I haven’t done one of these in a long time, but this is really therapeutic for me, so I’m going to open up. You don’t have to read it, it won’t matter to me if you do or not, but getting it all out in the open really helps clear my head, so I put it out there in blog form to get it out of my brain and in some form of writing. I guess I do care if people read it. I’m not sharing it to Facebook or Twitter, because if people really want to read it, they’ll find it.

Right now, I’m languishing over whether or not I should leave my job at the hotel. I really like the pay, but the benefits aren’t equal to the stress I deal with here. A lot of the stress is anxiety related, because I whip myself into a tizzy over the dumbest shit. For instance, a couple weeks ago, my boss called me in the middle of an otherwise normal night, and asked if I knew anything about an incident that had occurred. I had no idea what he was talking about, but once I reviewed the cameras, I found what he was talking about and I along with my coworkers were all complicit in failing to catch it. It was purely our fault, we should have been watching the cameras and we simply weren’t. I got so anxious and nervous over the whole thing, I was literally sick to my stomach. I had to call into work, for other reasons as well, but I was so anxious, it made me physically ill. It turned out to be no big deal, but it really made me realize how bad my anxiety is getting. I didn’t have this working at the gas station, but I also didn’t have the pay and fringe benfits I get here, either. The main reason I left the gas station I worked at is because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my adult life working in a convenience store. It just seemed so below me, I guess. I don’t know why, it was easy work for decent pay, it just wasn’t fulfuilling. This job is more fulfilling, but like I said, my stress is compounding all the time. I know I should value my own mental sanity over all, but there are also bills to be paid. That’s the one thing keeping me from chasing my dreams, is the thought of destitution.

I work a lot. I usually work from 4pm until 630am at least 3-4 days a week, and 10pm-630am 1-2 days a week. I make good money, and I don’t even really NEED to work two jobs, but I do. I do it because I’ve been dead fucking broke my whole life, and now that I work so much, I don’t have to worry about money nearly as much. I’ve ALWAYS worried about how my bills were going to get paid, because I always had shit jobs. Now I don’t have to worry, but I never get to rest. I’m always moving, always going and it’s fucking exhausting. But I do it anyway. I do it so I don’t have to worry, about money at least. I still worry about every little thing, except money. I would honestly be much happier if I could make a real living delivering pizzas, but I can’t. I just wouldn’t make enough to pay my car note, insurance and all that. I did in the past because my bills weren’t nearly as high, but now it’s too much.

I need a major fucking change in my life. I need something to kick me in the head and make me realize that life is too fucking short to work a job you hate and be miserable all the goddamn time. I feel like the last year and a half of my life has just buzzed by with me barely noticing, and that’s absolutely frightening. The fact that such a large swath of time has just disappeared and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s all been for nothing other than maintaining what I’ve got. Paying my bills, moving on to the next day, the next week and the next month. Life is a blur for the sake of forward motion. Forward motion until you hit that wall and you die. I feel like if I don’t find some kind of purpose for my life soon, I’m going to just lose all of my fight. I’m going to lose all of my ambitions and hopes and dreams, and just give up and live the boring, normal cookie cutter life in some plain, boring apartment by myself, alone until the day I die. That thought scares me more than anything I’ve ever faced.

One of my absolute biggest fears in life is the thought of spending all of my life, being a boring, plain man who just lives on his own, works every day, and has no purpose. I have absolutely nothing to live for, and that’s part of why it scares me. There is nothing in my life that would be changed detrimentally if I suddenly stopped existing. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with working for a living, everyone’s got to eat. I’m not saying I want to just stop working, live off the government and eak my way through life until I take the old dirt nap. I’m saying I want to find something that makes me happy, that gives me purpose, and that can sustain me with some padding in the bank account. I don’t want anything super extravagant, I just want to know that I’m not going to have to worry if something unexpected comes along. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been blindisded by something as small as a $200 car repair bill that set me back exponentially. It’s happened multiple times, and it makes me feel like an absolute moron. To not be able to cover something as small as that, it’s belittling and humbling, and not in a good way. It annoys me that I can’t make myself save money, that I just feel like I HAVE to spend money if I have it in my account or in cash. I’ve always been that way, and I’ve always been broke. I’m such an impulse spender, it’s getting in the way of my life. It’s an absolute struggle for me to save money for ANYTHING.

I feel like that’s another one of my problems, I’m too whiny all the time. I whine about everything, and I know it’s annoying, but I don’t know how to stop. It’s just become synonymous with me, which is not a good trait to have. I’m not even trying to play the “Woe is me, the white man” shit, I just literally am slightly upset by everything. My inital gut reaction to EVERYTHING is to complain. I know this post is kind of rambly, but that’s the point. It’s a stream-of-consciousness thing where I just put whatever I’m thinking through the keyboard into the blog, until my brain is absolutely empty. If you’ve made it this far, thanks, but there’s still much more to say, so bear with me.

This has always been my favorite way to relieve my stress, with blogging. I started a LiveJournal a long time ago that I’ve never shown anyone where I would post everything, completely unfiltered. I didn’t pay attention to grammar, or spelling or punctation, I just kind of let it all go, and put everything out there. It helped me so, so much. I’ll never show it to anyone, but it’s my secret cupboard of thoughts that are very personal to me. I’ve started to realize a lot about myself lately. I realize why I’m scared of sexuality (no, I won’t share it because it’s immensely personal), I realize that I’m SEVERELY depressed and I’m very good at hiding it to the point where most people wouldn’t even notice it, I realize I’m so deeply ingrained into being single at this point that being with someone else would be almost too much of a shock to my senses and it probably won’t work with anyone for the rest of my life. I realize my own mortality, and death does not scare me any more. I’m scared to lose the people who mean the most to me, because once they’re gone, then I’ll be all alone for the rest of my life. I realize I act out my fears as hate towards other people when they upset me. I realize I need help but I’m too stubborn to get it. I really should be seeing a therapist, but I’m too lazy to do it. No one’s going to do it for me, or make me do it, nor do I expect someone to. I just value my own life so little that my personal mental health means that little to me. I know I SHOULD care about me, but I don’t. I just try to trudge through life, be nice to others as often as I can and get to the end with as little conflict as possible. Even in death, though, I feel like I’d be a big burden to someone. I always feel like a burden. I always feel like I have to depend on someone else for everything, and I don’t know how to shake that. It’s scary and one of the reasons I’m so timid. I don’t like rustling the real feathers of life, so I just kind of go with the flow and do what I want.

The thought of living alone scares me, too. Too often I get lost in my thoughts and I start thinking really, really dark thoughts. The only thing that keeps me grounded is being around someone else. Once I start tumbling inwards into my mind, It hits the dark spot pretty quick and if someone else isn’t around, it’s a fight within myself to not do some dumb shit. I don’t think I’d ever kil myself, but I really don’t care if I die. I really don’t see a purpose of being here any longer than necessary. I’m not scared of death because death is a release. Death is the final end to all the bullshit, all the stress and anxiety, all the drama and confrontations and stupid arguments that you can never win, all the short checks, all the car problems, all the fear and worry and regret. Once you die, all that is gone. Whether you believe you’re going to heaven, or back to the cosmos, or just left to rot in the earth, it doesn’t matter. Your collective concsiousness has ended, and you are free from it all. All the He Said, She Said bullshit, all the minor inconveniences, traffic jams, all the dates that stood you up, everything is done and over with. To me, that is far more beautiful than anything life can provide at this moment in time.

I know that sounds like some moody teenage rant, but it’s one hundred percent honesty from me. That’s where I’m at in my life right now, I can’t wait to die so I can be released from all the bullshit life is throwing at me right now.

I thought I knew what my passion was, but as it turns out, I can fake being passionate. I still want to make movies and do standup comedy, but I can’t break myself from the tether of bills to just shirk everything in favor of that nomadic kind of lifestyle. It seems so fantastial and romanticized, and I would love nothing more than to do that, but I just can’t break myself out of this rut and convince myself to do it because I know I would go right back to destitution which would absolutely suck. Maybe living out of my car wouldn’t suck that bad, who knows. I could probably make it work.

I remember when I had hit hard times once, I was thinking of moving to a new city. I’ll never forget the one thought that kept me from doing it, I was trying to find places to live, and the thought hit me like a ton of bricks, “Which city would I like to start my homeless career in?” I know if I were to move to a new city, I would not be able to support myself enough to get my own apartment, and would end up on the streets. That one thought scared me so bad, I haven’t gotten over it yet or forgotten it, and that was YEARS ago. I don’t want to be homeless, but I don’t want to be miserable all the time, either.

I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what I want in life, and I don’t see it ever getting any better. I want to go back to school, but I have no idea what I want to study. I would like to do somethign involving video games or movies, because even at almost 30, those are the only things that really still keep my interest at all. I just keep telling myself, “You’re not smart enough for that.” and I still believe it.

Torched By An Angel

So, I started writing this story. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it, but I started writing it because it wouldn’t leave me alone. From the very first time my friend Brandon suggested the title (which he insists is awful, but I don’t care), my gears began turning and I had to do something with it or it was going to eat me alive. I started writing, little bit by little bit, and I got a few pages down. Then I sat on it.

I sat on it for a few months, until I read that Mikey Neumann, the voice of Scooter from Borderlands and Borderlands 2 (my favorite game series of all time, hands down) wrote a book called The Returners. He explained, along with his editor, that he had written it in small chunks. I have such sporadic bursts of creativity, it’s hard for me to finish a project I’ve started. I have so many half finished ideas, most of them will likely never see the light of day. I get so excited about something, put a lot of effort into starting it, then let it sit and stew for the rest of time. I wish I was better about finishing things, I try to be, but my very short attention span coupled with my chaotic work schedule makes that nearly impossible. 

After I read about how Mikey did it, I was inspired. The story is far from finished, but I intend to produce it in short form, one Chapter (micro chapter, really) at a time, and maybe it will get somewhere. If it does, I’ll be elated. If it doesn’t, at least I got to get it out, and hopefully people will like it. 

Do I want to be internet famous? Sure. Will it affect me personally if I don’t? Not at all. I’d love to receive accolades for my work, who wouldn’t? My ultimate goal is to entertain people. It seems to be the only thing I’m good at. Maybe I should put more effort into it, but then again, the short attention span comes back to the forefront there. 

Fuck, maybe I should get that checked out.

My First Horror Con: The Electrifying Climax

So, here it is, the last chapter in the tale of my very first horror convention ever. I hope you’ve liked the previous entries, and  this final section will be nothing short of immensely entertaining, or so I hope.

So, I left off going to sleep about 6:30 AM, right? Well, it’s now 8:00 AM on Saturday. I awaken to David standing over me getting his vengeance for cuddle-raping his wife the night before. I open my eyes once my ears fill with “GET UP FUCKER IT’S 8 AM TIME FOR BREAKFAST.” Yes, this insane bastard literally stood over me after an hour and a half’s worth of sleep demanding I get up and eat breakfast with him. I had no choice, for I feared the worst, and I obliged him.

We get up, get cleaned up, and head out to eat. Most of the day at the show was fun, met some more very cool people, including Travis Fessler and his merry band of sideshow performers, The Pickled Brothers Circus. Travis holds two officially recognized Guinness world records, both of which relate to his sideshow. His first record is for putting the most Madagascar hissing cockroaches in his mouth and retrieving them alive in one go. He had, at one time, eleven hissing cockroaches in his mouth at once. Travis is a really nice guy, but he had eleven. cockroaches. in. his mouth. Gross. His other world record isn’t nearly as disgusting; I’m not quite sure of the details, but while it does have to do with things in his mouth (No, not that, you perv), it’s some combination of sword swallowing and whip cracking. I think Travis is a pretty kinky guy who is just using the Circus as a cover for his BDSM fantasies, but I can’t be sure.

I do know that he is a sadist, because at one point in the day, he had me remove a sword he had swallowed from his throat. It was fascinating holding a man’s life in your very hands, I’ll tell you that. He also lay down on a bed of nails, placed a piece of wood on his stomach and had myself, tipping the scales around 350 pounds, and my friend TJ who is as big as me or more, stand on his belly while he was atop these nails.

Like I said before, Travis is a really nice guy, but I can’t help but think at some point he ate paint chips while falling off his head and living under power lines.

So, the day goes on, and I’m trying to convince my friend Charli (that’s a female) to come to the show. After much coercion, she finally concedes and heads our way. Also, I can’t help but notice David and Mimi have gone, and I wasn’t aware. I guess my cuddles would just have to be postponed. So, the show is over, people are preparing for the final party, and the night has just begun. I’m in my room, still going strong on my big one and a half hours of sleep. People start filling the room once again, and the party starts hopping. I remember talking to a girl called Beef about the kinds of girls I find attractive, and she  explains to me that you just have to shove them against the wall and force your love upon them. This sounds a little too rapey for me, so I move along in the night. I remember talking to a female, who was of the variety Beef and I had discussed earlier in the night, and getting along well. This is where I go dark. I remember talking, and then the next thing I know, we’re making out. Heavy petting, kissing, all the works, and I ask if she wants to come back to my room (which was full of people, so I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea). She said she needed to go find her friends first, and she’d come back. I took that at face value, and headed back to the room. So, I’m standing by the door, talking to someone, people are out on the balcony talking, smoking cigarettes, and generally being happy.

What happens next was all within the span of about five minutes, and it’s all just kind of a blur.

I was standing literally at the door, making conversation when out of nowhere, all I see is a police officer rush into the room, taser drawn, and he fires into the room. The room that was crowded with people. Naturally, everyone in the room scatters, and the culprit is being led outside. Remember Josh Felty, the guy I told you to remember from the previous entry? This is his shining moment.

After that, the party kind of died. A few people were still hanging around, but most went back to their rooms to shake off what had just happened. We all went to bed after everyone left, and waited until morning to think our options out.

Sunday morning, I woke up and immediately called David on Skype. We discussed what it meant for the Infernal Dreams crew, which turned out people loved us even more, so it was a partial win. Felty was in jail, sure, but he was a hero amongst our group.

The official charge was, I think public indecency. What had happened was, Felty was urinating off the balcony in plain sight of a cop, who was at the hotel for noise complaints. Imagine that. The cop had yelled at him, asked him to stop and zip up, and Felty was spooked, so he ran. The police gave chase, tasered him, and he was arrested.

So, after I play damage control for Infernal Dreams, my roommate, who was apparently chummy with the local cops as he was a semi-local himself, went to the police office to discuss bail options. He came back with the news that we would need $200 to get him out. A few of us began to formulate a plan, but as it was the last day of the show, most people had spent most of their money on movies, t-shirts, and autographs. We got a bucket, put a “Save Felty” sticker on the front, and got to work, even though we didn’t really expect much to come of it.

That’s when the magic happened.

We went table to table, explaining the details of what happened, and while most people were glad to know details, almost everyone pitched in. In just over an hour, we had raised the money to get him out. The local took our money and went to the holding facility. We all waited with bated breath, wondering if the local was going to run off with our money or if they would just decide to hold Felty indefinitely, because maybe they were corrupt as hell backwoods Kentucky police.

Some time passes, and the local comes back, money still in hand. Perplexed, he explained to us that they now decided it was going to be $300. We took to the begging once more, and once again, everyone pitched in as much as they could, until we had enough to get him out for the second time. So the local goes back to the holding cells a second time.

By this point, we’re all really wondering if he’s even going to get out, and if we’re going to have to divvy the money back out to the people who’d donated, and this was about to be a big, giant headache, but then again it was a cause worthy of a headache.

As we almost reached our cumulative breaking point with patience, who walks through the door but the local, with the man himself, Josh Felty, in tow. He was met with a large round of applause, and after he gave a heartwarming speech worthy of a Hallmark card, we all congratulated him on not only surviving a taser shot, but also surviving a backwoods jail cell for a night.

This is the story of my very first horror convention. I’ve been to many since then, I’ll be at many in the future, but I will never, EVER forget this one. Ask anyone there and they’ll tell you, it was definitely something special. The bond within the community that helped get Felty out of jail was something that made me realize what a great, close knit group the Kentucky horror community is. We may have internal arguments, we may have disagreements, but in the end, we’re all filmmakers, actors, and friends, and we’re all in this together, for better or for worse.

My First Horror Con, Chapter 2

So, we left off with me arriving at the hotel, which is where we’ll pick up.

I check in to the hotel, which was a rather painless process. The front desk attendant told me I was in room 213. I take my bags to my room, clean up, and meet my Alabama friends at the Jerry’s restaurant next door. We eat, and I head back to my room. 

I open the door, and amidst the smoky haze that has now permeated my room, is the guy I split the room with. He didn’t tell me he was there, I had no idea he had checked in, he was just kind of… there. 

“Hey…” he muttered, sounding as though he had just poured a handful of sand down his throat.

“H…Hey.” I replied, slightly scared for my life.

We made pleasantries, and set about our weekend. Most of the first day, Friday, was meeting a lot of people I had previously only known through Facebook for the first time, checking out their movies, or books, or whatever it was they were there to promote. My friends whose website (www.infernaldreams.net) I used to write for, David and Mimi Rupp, showed up, and bunked down in my room. More of the Infernal Dreams crew showed up, namely Josh Felty (this guy is a very important part of the story later, so remember him). 

I was heading back to my room for a moment, and ran into one of my friends I had yet to meet, we talked briefly, and she asked what room I was staying in, to which I replied “Room 213″. Her face dropped like she had seen a ghost. I asked her if there was a problem, and she told me that was a bad luck room. I had no idea what she was talking about, but she informed me that 213 was Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment number. I, of course, had no clue and wondered why this had any bearing on me or my room, but she seemed to think it was some kind of weird omen. I passed it off and went back to my business. 

Heading back to the convention, I began to hear murmurs across the floor asking where the party room was. I figured, since it was my first show, I would nominate my room. Everyone seemed to form a consensus, and the plans were set. Everyone began spreading the word, and I had no idea what I was in for. 

The show ends for the night, and I make plans to eat with m friends. I don’t remember where we ate, but that’s not really important. What’s really important is what happened next: my first con party.

This hotel room was a standard sized room, two beds, a bathroom, two chairs and a table.

 

11:46 PM: There were a few people packing in, enough to get a good crowd going, and the alcohol was flowing pretty swiftly. People would come in and out, stand on the balcony and smoke because the room was already quite permeated from everyone else in the room smoking cigarettes, among other things. The more the night went on, the more people showed up. It seemed as though with every drink I took, the people in the room multiplied until before I knew it, there were easily seventy to eighty people in one room. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I have many witnesses who will confirm there were far more people in the room than the Fire Marshall would be comfortable with. 

12:31 AM: I remember a beautiful woman, who we’ll call Stacy, in the room sitting on the bed next to me. We talked briefly, and she got up to leave. I tried to make her stay, but she didn’t want to. Talk about awkward.

1:32 AM: Someone came to the room and told everyone that Dick Warlock, who played Michael Myers in Halloween 2, was upset we were being so loud, and he couldn’t sleep; this only served us a reason to become even more drunk, loud and obnoxious. This has led to many inside jokes amongst the people there, and it comes up at just about every convention I’ve attended since then, whether Warlock is in attendance or not. Surely, some time throughout a weekend, a person will be shushed and told that Dick Warlock is trying to sleep. It is never not funny.

2:14 AM: I was chatting with the aforementioned David’s wife, Mimi and decided I needed a good cuddle. She was the nearest thing missing a penis, and I can’t be certain, but I think I cuddle-raped her. She acted like she didn’t want it at first, but she eventually relented. We cuddled for an unmeasured amount of time, at which point I immediately began apologizing to David, as he was a much bigger person than I am, and could assuredly run me ragged in a fight. He laughed it off because he found it genuinely funny (thankfully), and the night continued. It has become tradition, any time I see Mimi, that we must now have mandatory cuddle time because apparently I am an amazing cuddler. Ladies, take note.

3:10 AM: Someone shows up with a gas can. My first drunken reaction was panic, thinking my room was about to be set ablaze, but I was hastily informed that it was not gasoline in the gas can, but alcohol. I could do nothing but admire the craziness of this idea. I also took drinks straight from the gas can, because… gas can alcohol is better than any alcohol you’ll ever drink in your life. Yeah, I said it.

So, the night goes on, we all party until our eyes bled, and many Dick Warlock jokes were made, far, far too much alcohol was consumed, no one in my room got to sleep until about 6:30 AM, and everyone had a great time, as far as I know. My first horror con party was an amazingly resounding success, however this was only the first night. Trust me when I say, the best is yet to come. 

The third and final chapter is coming.

I really hope you’re ready.

 

Tomb Raider (2013)

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This is my first game review on this blog, and it’s for a game I was kind of looking forward to once I heard about: the Tomb Raider reboot. I grew up on the original Tomb Raider games, and hearing they were doing a proper next-gen version made me pretty happy. I sat and finished the game damn near in one sitting, and I finished with mixed emotions. Here’s why.

 

PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW PROBABLY WILL CONTAIN A FEW SPOILERS. I’LL TRY AND KEEP IT AS SPOILER FREE AS POSSIBLE, BUT YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

 

The story starts with young Lara Croft, before she became the battle-hardened super explorer she was portrayed as in the original games. This isn’t Lara at her peak. No, This is Lara before she became the Tomb Raider. 

The scene opens and she’s sitting on a ship listening to her iPhone… wait… This is a prequel to the original Tomb Raider… and she has an iPhone?! 

(just go with it, they did kind of bill it as a reboot and a not a direct prequel)

Fine, whatever. 

After arguing with the expedition leader about where to go, the ship captain steps up and says he’s going to follow Lara’s instinct when the boat hits troubled waters. The ship wrecks, Lara falls off the boat (more on Lara falling in a minute), and they all land on an island in the middle of the Dragon’s Triangle.

Shipwrecked on an island inhabited by a weird cult (because what kind of adventure game doesn’t have some suicidal, ritualistic cult?) Lara’s friend Sam is kidnapped by the tribe and taken elsewhere on the island. Lara takes it upon herself to rescue Sam, no matter what, as she feels responsible. Things escalate from there, and the story picks up at a nice clip throughout the entire game. 

I have a couple issues with the game, from both a story standpoint as well as a gameplay standpoint. First, for a game that’s supposedly based off the original Tomb Raider series, they relegated the raiding of tombs to SIDE QUESTSSeriously? The name of the game is TOMB RAIDER. You would think that RAIDING TOMBS would be the main focus, but I guess they wanted to focus on the story they created for the game, however bland it was. It wasn’t a bad story, it hit the right notes at the right times and punctuated the gameplay pretty well. It just wasn’t anything extraordinary or anything we haven’t seen, read or heard a million times already.  For such an iconic series, I feel like the story should have been a little stronger than the average cookie cutter nonsense. 

My second beef with this game is the tiered skill trees aspect that every game seems to shove in for no apparent reason these days. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching Lara grow into her bad ass character, but I think making you earn experience and skill points doesn’t really feel like Tomb Raider. It feels like a clone of games like Uncharted, when it should be the one to step up and say, “Look, we’re going to do something new, and never seen before, because we started this genre, and we’re going to push it forward like you’ve never seen.” Instead it was more of a “Let’s just apply the Tomb Raider name to the same exact structure of the myriad of adventure games that are already on the market, and add a dash of our own flavor, but not enough to really set us apart.” It’s disheartening, because this game had such potential. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but I really feel like it missed a lot of opportunities to both push boundaries and tickle the nostalgia bone gamers have these days, myself included. 

Something else I noticed about this game is Lara falls down a lot. I’m not exaggerating when I say she falls down in practically every cut scene in the game. She is either drinking the antiseptic or she has the worst case of vertigo I’ve ever seen. It is almost literally impossible for Lara to keep her two feet on the ground. She must be one of those people who say, “Gravity is just a theory, you know”, then goes on to prove it to you by hurling herself at the ground at every possible opportunity. There is a cut scene towards the end of the game where she literally falls about seven or eight times in a row. It plays out something like this: Lara falls on a bridge, said bridge collapses; hits a rock ledge, and the ledge crumbles; falls onto a slippery slope, and rolls/slides down the slippery slope for a bit before it chucks her off the edge of a mountain and she tumbles some more. You get the point, and if there were a drinking game based on how many times she falls in the game, you’d be drunk by the first tomb raiding side quest (and with good reason, because I’ll still never understand that decision.)

The last thing I was going to complain about was the lack of a good boss fight, which most games forego these days. It was set up to be the same “wave after harder wave of enemies” that most games throw in at the end instead of one massive, truly challenging boss fight; however, I was proven very wrong, and that’s all I’m going to say.

In closing, I enjoyed the game. I had fun seeing this portrayal of Lara in her formative years. I wish they had done some things differently, but in general it’s a fun game with a few glaring flaws. If you can look past most of the nitpicky little problems, you’ll enjoy this game. I, however, am a very nitpicky person, and even though I found a few big things to have a problem with, I still had fun, especially towards the end. 

My First Horror Con, Chapter 1

A lot of my friends already know this story, or some version of it, but I’m going to tell it again, because I love telling stories, and this (as my friends who were there will tell you) is a hell of a story, so grab a drink, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. I’m going to break it up into chapters, since, as I’m writing it, I haven’t even really started the story yet and I’m already at 700+ words.

I am a fair-to-middlin’ fan of horror movies. I have a lot of friends in the horror industry, and as such, get into some pretty cool horror parties, meet some pretty cool celebs, and drink until I’m falling over drunk (which is extremely dangerous when you’re on a twelfth floor balcony).

I had never been to a horror convention until 2009. My friend had put together a show he called “Dead Woods Con” “Dark Woods Con” (Thanks, Jason. I have a cup of coffee now, so I’m good), and it was to be held in Pikeville, Kentucky. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, and this is about a five or six hour drive for me. My friends assured me that it would be well worth the trip, so I made plans and began saving money for the trip.

I started by making reservations at the Landmark Inn in Pikeville where the convention was being held. I got a reasonable rate, and split the room with one of my friends, so it was pretty cheap.  I was pretty confident this was going to be an awesome time, and my anxiety grew day by day as the date approached. I had heard so much about these conventions, but I had never attended one. I had heard all the stories of copious alcohol, VIP parties, celebrities, and crazy room parties. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The day came, and I was so anxious, I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake on the couch, and decided to watch some horror movies to pass the time and simultaneously pump myself up for the blood soaked weekend I was about to endure. I ended up watching Laid To Rest, which if you haven’t seen, I highly suggest. If you enjoy super simple, super gory horror movies, definitely check it out. Anyway, back to the story.

The movie ended, and I was still far too anxious to sleep. I decided to say fuck it, I packed my bags into my car, and headed out. After all, it was a six hour drive, might as well get a head start, right? Oh, did I mention it was 5am when I left? Yeah, it was 5am. I decided to leave at the ass-crack of dawn, because I am a sadist. I get on the road, and follow the directions I had printedfrom Google Maps because at this point I didn’t have a GPS, and back in the old times, we had to print hard copies of our directions, we didn’t have all this new technology to hold our hand every step of the way and gently reproach us when we made a wrong turn.

I had been on the road for about two hours, decided to pull off, grab a beverage, empty the previous beverage from myself, and stretch my legs. I refuel myself, then take a look at the directions. It says to go down Mountain Parkway for two hundred something miles. I thought, surely that must be a chocolate smudge or something, so I looked again. Nope, it really said two hundred something miles on one thoroughfare.

Whatever, I think, I got this. I’m a road warrior, man. This won’t be shit.

I found the parkway, and headed out on my way. I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the most grueling driving experiences of my entire life. Most of the time, even on a long stretch of road, there are things to see. Buildings or small towns sit off the interstate, and there are people milling around the town, billboards, things of that nature. On the Mountain Parkway, however, there are none of these things. No, whoever designed this highway must have had a Master’s in torture. There is nothing. When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. No billboards. No towns. No people except other drivers. Hardly any radio selection. It’s you, the road, and mountains. That’s it. For TWO. WHOLE. HOURS. Let me tell you, I didn’t even mind that the first place to stop, get gas and load up on snacks was a place that looked like it was literally ripped out of a movie that would be celebrated at the very place I was destined for.

It was a small convenience store, log cabin style. I walk in, and the place smells warm. Yes, I swear, it smelled like hot. Not like fire, mind you; it just smelled like… body odor, I guess. I can’t really describe it. If you can imagine that smell of a building that hasn’t had air conditioning apart from a ceiling fan in the life of the building, that’s exactly what it smelled like; just… funk. I walk in, grab a six pack of Ale-8-One as a gift for my Alabama friends, a soda and some candy for me, and walk to the register. The man behind the counter looked like the stereotypical movie redneck. Flannel shirt, big scruffy beard, unimpressed demeanor. He rang my things up, and to my surprise, they took credit cards which was a blessing, because I had zero cash on me at that time. I paid for my things and left as quick as I could before I heard any banjo music. Back on the final stretch of the Torture Parkway, I’m determined. I’ve made a hotel reservation, I’ve come this far, I’m almost there. Just this last stretch of about thirty or forty miles, and I’ll be at the hotel, and can relax for a minute. I can tell I’m getting closer as the average IQ is dropping like a swallow carrying a coconut. I check the directions again, surely I’m getting close. I watch the signs, check the map. I’m looking for the Pikeville exit. I’m checking the directions one more time, I look up, and… FUCK. I literally blinked and missed it. This town really is that small. I take the next exit, loop back around, and find the hotel.

We’ll stop here, since It’s already become quite wordy, and I’m sure you’re already bored of reading.

I’ll post Chapter two some time in the near future, probab;y within a week or so.

Colors!

So, I was bored with the standard white on white, and decided to add a splash of color to the blog. Things will most likely change a lot, as I am quite indecisive almost all of the time, and prefer to change things often to keep it fresh. Don’t expect much to be the same for very long stretches of time. I guess this is kind of like the old MySpace shit, where things are so customizable, it’s always changing.

Random Inspiration: Describe The Ghosts That Live In This House

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house:  

The ghost that lives in this house is the ghost of a very simple man. This is the man who woke up every day at the same time. He would open his eyes, go to the kitchen, fix himself a bowl of oatmeal, or maybe some toast and butter, a glass of milk, and get ready for the day ahead of him. He worked from sun up to sun down, probablty in some kind of manual labor job. It was tedious work, but he didn’t mind. His father raised him to appreciate hard work for good pay. He made a decent paycheck, enough to get him by and leave him a little extra for a few luxuries, enough that he wasn’t completely destitute. His name was Daniel, or David, or James, something simply, but strong. He was never married, he lived alone most of his life. He would have roommates here and there, but he generally preferred isolation. There were ghosts in this house long before his untimely demise, though. Ghosts of his past, ghosts of lost opportunities, squandered relationships, paternal discord; all these ghosts were present long before this man decided to take his own life. He didn’t mind his job, but it wasn’t fulfiling. He was happy to be able to stay up on his bills, but he never really took the time to pay his internal debts, either. He forgot to realize, tragically too late, that you have to be true to yourself, as well as the electric company. Humans need social interaction, but not this guy. He didn’t need anyone. He enjoyed his personal time. He enjoyed it so much, it became all he knew. He never wanted to leave, except for work, or a few errands here and there. After a while, it began to wear on him. He forgot how to socialize. He would occasionally go out to a bar, or a restaurant; always showing up alone, always leaving alone. He never had enough gumption to get a girl to come home with him. This, among other things, led to his ever-present and constantly growing introverted narcissism. One night, it just became too much. After having far too many Jack and Cokes, he took the belt out of his pants, wrapped it around the ceiling fan in his room, and fastened it around his own neck, He stood on the edge of his bed, contemplating what was about to be his own demise. As he stood there, on the uneven mattress, he felt his foot slip. He felt his balance go, and he felt himself fall forward. His eyes grew three times their normal size as they protruded from his skull. He panicked and clawed at his throat. He knew, in this merciful instant, this was the end, even though he now regretted it, as the pain was far too much to take. There was nothing to gain his footing on, either. His existence on this planet was done, whether he wanted it to be or not, by his own hand. The final thought that crossed his mind before he was to return to the cosmos was how no one would find his body for God knows how long. He was out in the middle of nowhere, he had no family and no friends to ever come and check on him, and now he was dead. What a stupid decision he had made.

Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic