Childhood Fears I Prepared For…Which Ended Up Never Factoring Into Adulthood

New Year’s Eve tends to bring nostalgic reflections and hopeful projections.  Tonight, no matter how hard the year’s been, it seems we always find some warm, nostalgic feels for what’s come before.  And no matter how hard life may feel in this moment, it seems we always find some excitement for what lays ahead.  If our last year was more beautiful and joyful than not, well all’s the easier to touch those bright reflections and projections.  I’m not sure why.  If I was to hazard a guess (which I feel I should as I brought all this up), I’d say it’s because – deep down – we are fundamentally hopeful.  We want to find reasons to celebrate, to believe.  New Year’s Eve is as good a reason as any!  While I’ve never been one to buy into the magic of tonight and the promise of tomorrow too much, I do enjoy a reason to be nostalgic and hopeful as much as the next person :).  So, in the spirit of the night, I figured it would be fun to get way nostalgic and look back at a few childhood fears I spent ages preparing for, only to find they were problems I’d never encounter in adulthood (well, at least not yet).

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Brian Asman’s Man, Fuck This House – When I’d Move Out of This Haunted House

It’s almost Halloweeeeeeeeeen!  That means it’s time once again to look at the age-old question of the haunted house genre – Why don’t they just move?  Sure, sometimes you’re snowed in at the Overlook and there’s no conceivable way to get out but most times, if I was in the protagonist’s shoes, I’d just up and move.  I don’t care if I was in debt and didn’t have the money or means to sell and buy again.  That’s what bankruptcy’s for!  Getting away from ghosts!  In fact, imagining when I’d move and the alternate story it would lead to as I watch/read a scary haunted house story is one of my horror coping mechanisms.  So, in honor of Halloween and all things scary and spooky, haunted and horrific, macabre and malevolent, I’m doing a li’l series about this.  In each installment I consider a haunted house novel and ruminate on when, if I were living within the events of the novel, I’d move the heck outta that house.  This time I’m looking at Brian Asman’s Man, Fuck This House which gets my vote for “Best. Title. EVER.” and the equally prestigious “I’ve Never Felt A Title More” award. 

This piece contains minor spoilers for certain incidents in the novel but the ending and all major twists are left out of the discussion.  So read on based on your comfort with such spoiler territory ;D.

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Ania Ahlborn’s Within These Walls – When I’d Move Out of This Haunted House

It’s time once again to look at the age-old question of the haunted house genre – Why don’t they just move?  Sure, sometimes you’re snowed in at the Overlook and there’s no conceivable way to get out but most times, if I was in the protagonist’s shoes, I’d just up and move.  I don’t care if I was in debt and didn’t have the money or means to sell and buy again.  That’s what bankruptcy’s for!  Getting away from ghosts!  In fact, imagining when I’d move and the alternate story it would lead to as I watch/read a scary haunted house story is one of my horror coping mechanisms.  So, in honor of Halloween and all things scary and spooky, haunted and horrific, macabre and malevolent, I’m doing a li’l series about this.  In each installment I consider a haunted house novel and ruminate on when, if I were living within the events of the novel, I’d move the heck outta that house.  This time I’m looking at Ania Ahlborn’s Within These Walls which managed to freak me out in two horrible, particularly unfair ways! 

This piece contains minor spoilers for certain incidents in the novel but the ending and all major twists are left out of the discussion.  So read on based on your comfort with such spoiler territory ;D.

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Jac Jemc’s The Grip Of It – When I’d Move Out of This Haunted House

It’s the age-old question of the haunted house genre, isn’t it?  Why wouldn’t they just move?  It crosses my mind with every haunted house movie I watch or novel I read.  Sure, sometimes you’re snowed in at the Overlook and there’s no conceivable way to get out but most times, if I was in the protagonist’s shoes, I’d just up and move.  I don’t care if I was financially in debt and didn’t have the money or means to sell and buy again.  That’s what bankruptcy’s for!  Getting away from ghosts!  In fact, imagining when I’d move and the alternate story it would lead to as I watch/read a scary haunted house story is one of my horror coping mechanisms.  So I thought, in honor of Halloween and all things scary and spooky, haunted and horrific, macabre and malevolent, I’d write a li’l series about this.  I’d read haunted house novels and ruminate on when, if I were living within the events of the novel, I’d move the heck out of that house.  First up, is Jac Jemc’s The Grip Of It which is simultaneously the best and the scariest haunted house story I’ve ever read!

This piece contains minor spoilers for certain incidents in the novel but the ending and all major twists are left out of the discussion.  So read on based on your comfort with such spoiler territory ;D.

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No, I Haven’t Seen That Show Yet. Here’s Why.

I’ve often heard it said we’re living in the era of Prestige Television (or Peak Television, if you prefer).  Regardless of the terminology, there is the general sense among people who think, write, and talk about these things that the 21st century has seen the rise of a Golden Age – if not The Golden Age – of Television.  The caliber of what’s being offered on TV is generally considered to have risen.  There are more “high quality” shows generating more critical acclaim than ever before.  The line between “TV star” and the once-more prestigious “movie star” is blurring.  In fact, these TV shows with shorter seasons, renown casts, and complex storytelling, are often touted as six (or ten (or thirteen)) hour movies, broken up into smaller installments.  You couple this with the rise of streaming services (and the accompanying “streaming wars” where each service tries to outperform the others to earn your subscription fee) alongside the culture of binge-watching and our experience of television’s been transformed.  It is a remarkable time to be consuming such content and the excited query, “Have you seen [fill-in-the-blank-show] yet??” drives our pop culture conversations like never before.

The thing is, my answer is almost always “no.”  Like 9/10 times it’s “no.”  And here’s why.

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Things I’m Thankful for in Quarantine

Those of you paying close attention may’ve noticed I’ve had a lot of wonderful content on the blog over the last month but all I’ve written was my loving ode to the Doctor.  That’s because I teamed up with a bunch of other marvelous bloggers to celebrate female characters through the month of March and I totally used that as the path to brilliant pieces I didn’t have to write.  It was awesome.  Those of you paying close attention may’ve also noticed the coronavirus has become a full-blown pandemic, a global crisis unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, leading to quarantines and self-isolating and social distancing the world over.  That’s, admittedly, far less awesome.  However, I thought it’d be nice to celebrate some things I’ve been thankful for while stuck in self-isolation. Continue reading

Community – A Welcome Distraction

I’ve started writing a regular monthly feature over at Reads & Reels!  I know, right??  I’m super excited about it too.  In it, I’ll be talking about something – be it a book, comic, movie, TV show, album, whatever – that has captivated my attention over the last month and proven a welcome distraction from everything else (re: boring adult stuff) that fills up my life.  For my first piece, I’ve written about the work of brilliant postmodern art that was NBC’s CommunityI am SUPER EXCITED to be writing for Reads & Reels (and pleased with the piece too) so you should totally click here and check it out!

When Love, Actually Misses You, You Wait for Death Among the Walking Dead

As the old year turns to the new, we become reflective.  We think of our blessings, trials, challenges, and our hopes and dreams for the year to come.  When we consider all this, it’s only natural we think of love.  What, after all, is more important than love?  Perhaps no modern cinematic tale more accurately (or more hauntingly) presents love’s all-important nature than 2003’s Love, Actually.  I’ve always loved (hmm…that seems redundant) this film because it celebrates love in so many shapes and forms.  It shows us romantic love, platonic love, familial love, sacrificial love, unrequited love, new love, old love, love won…and love lost.  Of it all, Mark’s story teaches us the most important lesson.  We should pay attention, careful to heed its warning. Continue reading

The Most Ridiculous Facet of Tony Stark’s Ego (In My Opinion)

It’s no secret, I love me some Iron Man.  Yes, Tony Stark can be a huge tool and our favorite “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” isn’t known for his humility or restraint.  He’s great.  He knows it.  And he’ll happily let you know it too.  However, I maintain Tony’s ego – and his struggle with both the trouble it brings and learning his own limitations – is part of what make him so important as a character.  While I doubt many of us have an ego quite the size of Mr. Stark’s, we all wrestle with ego.  Or at least I do.  So I see parts of myself in Tony Stark as well as lessons I need to learn.  I put a lot of value on that.  However, regardless of the relatability we (or at least I) can find in this particular fault, there is one MASSIVE expression of Tony Stark’s ego that even I find ridiculous.  Continue reading

OH MY GOSH THIS IS A THING!!!!! : Andrew Schaffer’s Hope Never Dies

Yesterday I was browsing Barnes & Noble.  My barrage of midterm grading was finally behind me and I was enjoying an afternoon of meandering with nothing much to do (until chaperoning the Homecoming Dance last night).  I glanced down at a table of new paperbacks and saw a cover, reminiscent of a pulp noir novel, featuring Barack Obama and Joe Biden riding in a car.  Then I took in the title – Hope Never Dies: An Obama/Biden Mystery.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?  I can’t remember the last time I bought a book, drove home, and immediately started reading it.  But no other plans could compete with this and if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned dance, I’d’ve finished it one sitting.  This isn’t an analysis nor a review, not traditionally at least.  To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, I got excited.  I just wanted to…shout it from the top of a mountain.  But I didn’t have a mountain.  I had this blog.  Look, I write about comics, that’s what I do.  And today’s top story, in Michael Miller’s world read something like this – I love Andrew Schaffer’s Hope Never Dies and this needs to become a long-lived series! Continue reading