ZOMBIES – Pt. 3 “I don’t want to end up like THAT” It just keeps getting worse…set the mood: the theme from Halloween, since I wish I’d chosen to watch that film instead.

Flesh Eaters

This film isn’t even listed on imdb.com, which guarantees it will suck.

We open on a hayride. Sigh. There aren’t enough films that take place around Halloween, thank gods this one… I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought when the group of acid-washed denim clad teens decided to start dancing to the boom box. So much denim and bleach-blond hair. I’m mesmerized by the sheer 80s-ness. And there’s the boob shot, 10 minutes in.

11 minutes in, two of our denim loving “teens” played by actors in their late thirties, run off to a barn to fuck. The acting is so bad. So is the writing. I don’t even know what is going on here.

Girl: Why are you holding back? Don’t you want to be with me?

Dude: It’s not that, it’s just everything is going so fast. This is our first night out.

Girl: You saying I’m too pushy for you?

Dude: A little. It’s just I don’t think I’m ready to get serious with anyone right now.

Girl: Who said anything about getting serious? I just wanted to get together with you and have some fun, you know, fool around. The first time I met you at Julie’s party I wanted to be with you.

Dude: Maybe you don’t understand what I’m trying to say, but when Julie fixed us up to go on this hayride together, I was really excited about it. I mean, you are really cute, and I haven’t been out with a lot of girls, I just never had any girl treat me the way that you have.

Girl: Well, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to come on so strong, I just really like you and I want you to know it. Why don’t you come a little closer…

We all know what happens next. I don’t believe this dialogue for a second for two reasons: this guy isn’t too bad looking, and men rarely turn down women who are throwing themselves at them, second I was pretty sure she was a man until her top came off. This scene is great because as they are making out, her terrible studio recorded moaning is heard while he’s suckling, then immediately cut out when they kiss.

Of course, the zombie, who rose when a farmer dug up his tomb out of general curiosity, comes into the barn pre-fornication, stabs the dude with a pitchfork, then rips a hole in the girls upper abdomen and removes her heart and eats it.

A) hearts are usually located beneath the sternum, on the stage left side of the body, not in the upper abdomen, below the ribcage.

B) this movie is terrible.

So now the farmer is a zombie. And the slut will be a zombie and the horny dude also a zombie. The ten teens are down to eight.

This is great. This one teen is running through the woods and she sheds her jean jacket in order to better project herself through the air, as though the denim was keeping her from being aerodynamic. She’s bitten, the teens decided to bring her to the farm house they saw. That seems like a bad idea to me.

One thing I like about this ridiculous thing is the zombies. They are far more Romero-esq than the ones in Burial Ground, which means that the producers took this far less seriously. And there is little room for serious in a zombie flick. The gore is mid-range, the acting is D-level if that, the hair is big, and the denim and blue eyeshadow is plentiful. I never thought I’d support an American take on a genre over the Italians, but this one takes the cake.

What? Six of them are boarded up in the house, and are rejecting the two stragglers, saying “it’s too late, find your own place to hide.” That makes no sense, but it propels the story forward.

The tightness of the jeans in this movie is distracting me.

I just want Fido to come out on video so I can talk about something intelligent.

Um… 34 minutes in and everyone in the house is dead. The two rejects are hiding in the basement. I hate movies like this that start the action thirty seconds in and continues to progress so quickly that by an hour in, they are grasping at straws to keep the story going to the 85 minute mark.

Oh, I see. Naked woman showering in the house nearby. That’s what they are doing. Introducing new characters almost halfway into the story. New naked characters.

I don’t know how I feel about this kind of thing. Tarantino did it in Death Proof, and though I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I felt strange about being given these girls backstory and then taking them away in an eruption of body parts and soiled pavement. Now I understand the technique. It’s extremely jarring to invest a certain amount of emotion into the characters, have them killed horribly, then begin again. Perhaps the reason I didn’t like what was done in Death Proof was that the second set of characters were also given too much time to develop, and the film, rather than slowing to help the viewer retain composure after such a horrific car crash, actually halted while these girls sat around drinking soda and eating burgers.

Look at this, the old man (the original zombie) just ate the face off of a 7 year old girl. I’m both disturbed and impressed that the filmmakers killed off the kids. However, this was made in the 80s and Romero had already done it in Dawn of the Dead so I’m not that impressed.

Now there are just zombies everywhere because no one has figured out how to kill them yet, which seems lame because, you know, it’s the 80s and these kids should have seen Dawn of the Dead. This represents the very bold line between shit zombie flicks and fine art zombie films: cardboard characters who are killed because they are vacant abound poor slasher films. And it doesn’t matter because the star is the FX guy. Romero took this genre and improved it by creating characters people could relate to and care about. They weren’t just devoured because they actually did have brains. They could think for themselves. Rarely did they die due to simple ignorance, they died fighting to stay alive.

Girl: This is a really great party.

Dude: Yeah, and it’s getting better all the time.

Girl: That is a really great costume.

Dude: Thanks.

Girl: This is a really great song.

Dude: Yeah, let’s dance.

Can she not say anything else? Who wrote this dialogue?

Dude: Are you okay?

Girl: Yes. No. I’m scared to death. (pause) I guess I’m alright though.

They go to the Halloween party, and no one believes them, then a zombie comes and the host mistakes the zombie for someone in a great costume. No one is sad when the zombie eats his face. Everyone at the party is consumed. The scene had me thinking “thank gods the zombie found a meat hook, or she would have screamed indefinitely.”

1 hour 5 minutes in and I really don’t want to watch this anymore. I’m so glad I bought this box set instead of Arrested Development Season 3. This is much better.

The zombie film is a perfect American horror genre just because when the zombie apocalypse occurs, everyone already has a gun. It doesn’t seem at all strange that the police are rounding up the locals, who all happen to own many various firearms. It’s great because the authorities don’t have to worry about the legalities of handing out weapons to the general public.

Hm. I don’t think I’m watching this movie anymore. Which is probably good. Maybe I’ll go read some Dostoevsky before bed, you know, to make up for the neuropathways this film has severed. Oh look, it’s over anyway and nothing actually happened except everyone turned into a zombie. BOOOOO! *throws veggie chips at the tv*

^^^^^

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August 1, 2007 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

ZOMBIES – Pt. 2 Braaiinnnnsss… set the mood: the sounds of Oktobre fest sausage eating contest

Burial Ground: The Night of Terror

This movie looks terrible. I almost scrapped the zombie theme altogether in favour of more complaints about alcoholism through a review of The Lost Weekend when I watched the trailer for this monstrosity. I only get one day off a week and I’m going to spend 1.5 hours with this?

I’m not sure what’s going on here. 4:15 minutes in, a man who is described as a “Professor” but who looks more like Rasputin meets Ted Kazinsky, ventures into a mausoleum or grave site of some sort, starts banging away with a pick axe, apparently waking the dead. He shrieks “But I’m your FRIEND!” as several decaying corpses inch towards him and proceed to feed. Lesson learned: be quiet in grave sites, for the dead sleep lightly.

Cut to happy Italian people dubbed with English as they venture to the countryside to have some kind of weekend away from whatever lives they lead. This film doesn’t concern itself with backstory. These people are tightly wound, since they are all over each other as soon as they arrive. “You look just like a whore. But I like that look on you.”

This one couple has brought their child with them, though I’m concerned that he’s not actually a child but a thin, short man in his 30s. This is Michael, and there is something bad about him because the score is weird and ‘terrifying’ when he is in the room.

20 minutes in, my favorite line is spoken “Oh, you’re getting a raise from me, but it has nothing to do with money.”

Huh, I have a feeling that zombies have some connection to Michael, because the zombie score is the same as Michael’s score. How odd…

The scene in the sculptor’s studio reveals that Michael has some kind of Oedipal complex, as he runs yelling “momma” when he catches Mummy’s new boyfriend coping a feel. Cut to sex in the yard. The two (unnamed?) friends make the mistake of banging behind some bushes near what I assume is an unmarked grave (oh, a burial ground? Probably). Now we wait 5 minutes for the zombie to slowly (very slowly) crawl towards them. After the zombie eventually gets close enough to grab at their ankles, they scream in terror at the decaying skull and its maggot accessories, but take a moment to question what it may be. They stare for a bit, then run when they are attacked by another creature of the dead.

Cut to weird music over a montage of all the zombies crossing the grounds of the mansion, stumbling slowly. I’m sure they’re mobility would have been better if they weren’t all wearing canvas dresses.

Back in the studio, Michael finds a cloth that “smells of death” just prior to being bombarded by the zombies. George, the boyfriend, shoots vainly at the corpses (corpsi?) while Michael and Mummy run away. After closeups of the brownish liquid that closely resembles baby poop which seeps from their wounds, George is consumed in a feeding frenzy.

Cut to the garden, or the burial ground, where the third couple are attempting to get fresh, but of course they are interrupted by some twelve zombies who just sort of stand there and do nothing. Probably because they don’t have any eyes.

Back to the first couple (the model who shouldn’t be a model, who didn’t and probably won’t get her raise from her photographer) gets her foot caught in a bear trap, which is far more realistic than if maybe she’d just fallen (that would imply women are the weaker species – this film is so pro-female). Her beau attacks a zombie with some kind of random gardening tool but the zombie overpowers him and strangles him until another couple saves him by smashing the skulls of the zombies with large rocks. All the while the model just screams and screams and I wish someone would just hit her with a rock so she’ll shut up.

Mummy tries setting a zombie on fire by dumping paint thinner on it and a match. Then she clutches Michael close to her bosom as they watch him burn. As she sets the others on fire, I wonder if this will backfire and the place will burn down with her and her rapidly aging son trapped inside. Also, I’m concerned by the look on her face which seems to indicate a love of burning flesh. This may be the perfect set up for a life long battle against pyromania. “But mummy, I just got a bad grade! Please don’t burn down my school! No, mummy, please!”

Minute 40 is when things start to become a little far fetched. The maid, who is wandering around alone with only a pillar candle for light, intends to close the shutters when a clever zombie throws some kind of railway nail (think Christ… for some reason) that just happens to hit her in the hand, keeping her from moving away as the sicle they’ve acquired is used to slice off her head.

This is the perfect set up for the zombies to create some kind of Home Depot army of rebellion, as they’ve broken into the gardening shed and taken all that they could in order to gain access to the delicious, if vacuous, brains inside the mansion. I’m getting a distinct Land of the Dead feel, in that they’ve clearly evolved enough over the first 35 minutes of the movie to take advantage of potential weapons. They are even climbing the walls of the mansion now.

And the model continues to moan, something that sounds like a disturbing mixture of pain and pleasure (this would be less disturbing if she were in some kind of s&m situation, rather than just sitting on the couch crying about the bruise the bear trap left on her leg).

Someone is cut from the broken glass of a window (yes, zombies were involved), death isn’t clear but it’s assumed. The model suddenly has nicer hair (her colour still needs work, but she’d gained control over the frizz during her fit of screams). A zombie gets into the house and she just stands there screaming and doing nothing with the harpoon she’s wielding. You’ve got a harpoon for Christ’s sake! A fucking harpoon! They move about as fast as meatloaf! If you aren’t going to do anything, at least run away or be dramatic and give yourself to them so I don’t have to hear you scream anymore!

Mummy and Michael hug some more.

Oh good god! HE’S PUTTING THE MOVES ON HIS MOTHER. And it took kissing, breast bearing, and fingers in cooch for her to slap him away. I told you he was a grown up, they could have never hired a 9 year old to do that! After she rejects him, he finds Leslie, the one who had been cut, who is now a zombie. Now all he has to do is have sex with her, and this movie will be the worst thing I’ve ever seen.*

The Model’s hair is bad again.

Even better. Mummy, now regretting her decision to not have sex with her son, finds Leslie eating Michael’s arm. Mummy freaks out and smashes Leslie’s head on the bathtub. A mixture of blood and milk runs from her head.

Since the garden tools failed, the zombies get a battering ram. Some how. That isn’t explained. I’m sure it’s not important.

This is so bad it’s not even all that funny anymore. So I opt to watch the rest in fast forward mode. It seems the professor makes another appearence, now as a zombie. The Model still can’t do anything but scream. The four stumble out to the road, leaving the house to the zombies. They find a Monastery. I’m sure the monastery is inhabited by zombies. OH, IT IS! OH MY. How shocking. How horrifying.

This film was given a 4.9/10 on imdb.com. I don’t know what was wrong with the people who cast that vote. I looked up Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, a film I saw years ago during my Bill Maher phase, and it was rated only 4.4/10. This movie is not better than Cannibal Women. Not by a long shot. At least it was clever in the dumbest sense of the word. The Men lived in fear of the Women, crocheting pot holders all day and acting as the servents to the Women, who would sacrifice ‘hot’ men (those tanned bulky blonde men who wear tiny pants to cover their privates – not my type).

Oh, the movie is still on. The Model is still screaming, though her hair is decent again. Actually, I’m starting to suspect that the Model with the nice hair is a different actress altogether, since she seems a bit prettier, though not at all less annoying. Michael reappears, of course. HE’S THE ZOMBIE GOD, ISN’T HE? And now Mummy’s letting him suckle, and is surprised that he tore her nipple off. Well now they can have hot incestuous zombie sex together. The zombie baby would be more interesting than what they’ve got working for them here.

Now the zombies are running the photographer’s head into the blade of a table saw. I don’t know where the table saw came from. Considering the setting, its appearance is very random, though consistent with the rest of the film. The Model screams as the zombies eat her.

The End.

Thank Gods. Watching that made me wish there was a zombie apocalypse outside, then I could go do that instead of watching this horrible waste of celluloid. Argh! Foiled again!

^^^^^^^^^… I don’t think any amount of hat hair could represent how terrible this was. I’d rather watch The Legend of Boggy Creek again.

* I looked up the actor who played Michael. He was 25 when this was made. Poor man.

July 31, 2007 at 7:20 pm 3 comments

ZOMBIES – Pt. 1 When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth… set the mood: the bells of hell – kevin quain

Zombies.

I’ve never written about them. After seeing Dawn of the Dead for the first time, I wrote a short story about myself and my friends and our attempt to escape a zombie appocalypse by hiding in a mall. Brilliant, I put a real spin on the story by making one friend some kind of supernatural zombie (if that makes any sense at all) who could hunt the rest of us methodically rather than through a mindless, animal instinct. One particularly gruesome scene involved an escalator. Brilliant.

Since then, I don’t write about zombies. Why would I decide to turn my talents towards something far less exciting and peckish? Honestly, the zombie genre has a canon that is far too clear and I don’t think that I could, without the help of someone who is well aquainted with comics and mythology, create something that I would consider original. In all honesty, until Planet Terror, I thought it was a dead genre.

Rather than go over the same old stuff, I’m going to just skim over my favorites with a brief description of why they are great, then get on to reviewing the crap…

1. Planet Terror – Yes, I actually list this as my favorite zombie film. It’s disgusting, clever, sexy, and somewhat nerve racking. It’s everything a zombie film should be and more. Rodriguez has done a service to amputees. I know I’d do Rose McGowan with a wooden leg.

2. Shaun of the Dead – Yes, I listed an homage as my second favorite. It’s because I could watch this again and again. It’s light, it’s quick, it’s funny, it’s british. I can’t resist.

3. Dawn of the Dead – There we go. This is third because as much as I love it, it’s quite long, and when I think “must have zombie fix” I think of Shaun. BUT this is a masterpiece in it’s own right, a fantastic social commentary, and excellently bloody for the time period. Gotta love that Nurse Zombie.

4. 28 Days Later – Brilliant. The visual of London completely deserted is eerie as hell. Not gonna lie, initially though Danny Boyle copped out by breeding Dawn with Lord of the Flies… Still think that’s what the film is, but at least it wasn’t Zombie II meets Porky’s…

5. Dead Alive – Man, I don’t have anything bad to say about LOTH except that they are too long, but that’s not Peter Jackson’s fault. I do miss that Jackson doesn’t make films like this one anymore. Greatest moment: Lawnmowing a zombie party. Guh-ross! OR the mother’s ear falling off her head into her soup.

6. Cemetery Man – I much prefer the original title Dellamorte Dellamore simply because it sounds far more beautiful. And who doesn’t want their zombie movie to have a little romance? I like this one because Rupert Everet plays this grumpy, misunderstood, sexually frustrated undertaker who sits up all night waiting for the dead to rise. Best moments: Grave sex and Gnaghi’s romance with a zombi head.

7. The Evil Dead – I actually don’t automatically categorize this film with the typical zombie film (hence its place at a solid 7), but it really is. Sort of. This was the only film I actually couldn’t watch straight through on the first run. I’m a hard-ass when it comes to scary movies; no clutching to anyone for me (cuddling is better anyway), but this one… I had to stop it half way through and finish it the next morning, in the kitchen, with my dad 😛

End of list (because 7 is the perfect number). Damn, I hope these zombie posts improve cause this one is a head-shaker…

July 31, 2007 at 5:51 pm 1 comment

So tired… let rambling ensue… set the mood: ugh… the rhythmic sound of my snoring.

How to define a world in which women gain power and independence by baring mid-drifts and leaving their jeans undone? I wonder, with peelers and Hooters in mind, if the women who use their bodies for economic gain are really clever (entrepreneurs in a way) or stupid – the line is rather fine. Does my question make me a feminist or misogynist? If post-modernism was meant to break down the traditional class lines of expression, allowing everyone to have an equal voice, what does it mean when Creedence and Beefheart are replaced with a hand full of blondes who look and sound the same? This is, of course, the dichotomy of our society, the struggle to remain an individual in a world whose fashion industry pump out the same foreign made articles, whether you pay twenty dollars or three hundred. Which Swiffer suits my individual needs? Why is it that if Dr.Phil says men are the problem, but then yells at the women for being stupid enough to fall for them, then encourages the happy family ideologies from 1950s advertising? Are we really moving forward? Are we stagnant in a world where we’ve quietly agreed to consume only to boost the economy (in this sense we are doing it to help ourselves, not for the material goods, it sounds like capitalism, but it also smells of something else…)? Or are we just making a figure-eight, where we feel as though we are evolving, but we are really just back in the 1950s idealism again, but instead of cold war fear, we are entrenched in WMDs – what do you mean Saddam is buying thousands of Playstations?  Why are gas prices so high? How have they survived so long without our guidence? Does yellow mean they are still jealous of our freedom? Which colour is IN this season, teal or seafoam? I wonder if I feel like a diet Pepsi, or a diet Pepsi with lime…

I need bed.

Soon to follow: Zombie review session.  Why? Cause I was reminded that I’ve not once mentioned zombies in this blog, which is shocking and disturbing, since they are the ultimate metaphor for the Western consumer. Nice segue, eh?

July 30, 2007 at 12:41 am 2 comments

Smoking, or Why Do Terrible Things Seem Romantic?… set the mood: Bukowski – Modest Mouse

“My air sacks are feeling better already”

When I started my diatribe on smoking and my inability to exit myself from its carcenogenic wasteland, then intention was to look at why it is that we have developed this feeling that smoking is somehow romantic and powerful, and not just an addiction like any other. The media is certainly to blame, and I wanted to find out how they, along with cigarette manufacturers, were able to manage this cultural perspective*

Of course, the rant also included a detailed history of my smoking patterns, which seem to underscore a strong link to the men in my life, past and present. This I surely knew, and then realized that it held a link to something more.

Rather than query the obvious (media in bed with Philip Morris results in young children buying Popeye candy cigarettes at the corner store leads to…people like me), I thought more about the idea of being tormented and that kind of sex appeal, since the men in my life have that in common too. I think of James Dean films, the leads in Withnail and I, Humbert Humbert of Lolita fame, further back there is Soren Kirkegaard the father of existentialism. All sexy, all alluring, all complete head cases.

I don’t know if they are viewed as misfits and therefore powerful by men, but I’m sure many women find them attractive for their brooding nature, their tormented souls that are understood by no one except perhaps the one perfect woman who can walk through that door and change them forever. Because this is what women do. They save the man whose soul is dying. That is why women like men who are messed up, because they want to save someone in order to feel useful.

Shame on us. Thinking we have the power to change other people. No good woman could walk into Withnail’s life and coo at him and prepare him a hot meal only to have him say “My God! My thirst for alcohol has left me completely thanks to your undying love for me! Where is that old can of lighter fluid? I shall toss it into the streets post haste and we shall walk to the park, hand in hand, to feed the wolves under the warm sunshine.” Wouldn’t happen. He’d push her aside the minute a bottle of brandy was sniffed.

Of course, everyone tells us we can do it, particularly men. I’m not sure how Rebel Without a Cause would have ended had it been written by a woman, but it’s amazing how quickly Jim turned into a wonderful sensitive guy once Judy started giving him notice. Okay, he was clearly sensitive in the beginning, what with being torn apart and all by his manly mother and frilly father, but in reality this guy would have suffered severe depression. I’m attracted to a man who can cry, but not when it’s more than I do (that’s not to say I cry often, but when it happens I try to make it count).

Let’s see, he got cut up in a knife fight, took part in a chickie run (I don’t care what era this is, I don’t see how any woman would have stood by with a smile on her face when her boyfriend decided that driving straight towards a cliff is the best way to show up the new guy), was arrested for public drunkeness, things that would be more annoying and tiresome in real life than the way they are romantically portrayed in the film.

After having read the life story of Kirkegaard, along with selections of his work, I have to say I’m into the guy. This could be because after rejecting his fiance he pinned for her for years, so much so that the latter was buried next to him upon her death. It appears he never forgave himself for having left her, and bemoaned existence thereafter, vowing to never love again.

This is hot for two reasons: he felt terrible about leaving his love, and gave his heart to her always despite not being able to be with her (undying love), and two he is attractive because he’s just the type of guy I (or any other wonderful woman) could coax into giving love another chance (makes me feel special). Of course, it all ends in a round of misery because he’ll always be alone (with his sadness keeping him warm at night) and I (and you, and every other woman) will feel the pang of failure when unable to free his heart from its cage of despair.

Humbert was sexy no only because of his description of himself, which I’m sure we all believed (“handsome hunk of hollywood manhood” read: tormented soul), but also because he has been drawn to young girls ever since an unfortunate experience as a child when, upon prospecting his first sexual encounter, is riped away from his young love, and must molest children in order to feel whole. Unfortunately for him, pedophilia is no answer, as it only creates a longing for more pedophilia, but it is also illegal and dehumanizing.

And yet I’m sure most readers of Lolita felt sorry for this man, a man who has been driven from a normal, respectable life, to something torrid and sinful (and not in the good way) and disturbing. Who did I hate when I finished that book? Lolita. That’s who I hated. Little slut. But this sentiment is rather preposterous. Okay, she was a 12 year old hooch who used him for money, but she’d also been totally abused by the guy for years. But I still hate her. This is worrisome to me.

“Yeah I know, he’s a pretty good read, but who would want to be such an asshole?”

I can’t put my finger on what started all this. Clearly someone is to blame for having romanticized decaying human spirit, making it all seem dandy to hate the world and wallow in sadness all the time. Whoever it was is laughing now I’m sure.

Seeing all these men who just sit around thinking about how unfortunate the world is, unsure of why life has treated them so poorly (despite the fairly universal knowledge that if you’re sitting around drinking your sorrow away in an unending and very vain search for happiness at the bottom of a bottle, then you probably don’t have problems that are all that depressing — like having to walk miles in bare feet for food, or having your hand cut off because you didn’t bring in enough diamonds this week (cause that’ll teach ’em for next week).

Although cultural images of pain (a perfect example for myself would be the intensity in which Selena claws at the bottle of pills during an anxiety attack in the film Dolores Claiborne. She downs them with alcohol, and shakily collapses into a ball on the floor of the bathroom. There is something about her chainsmoking trauma that is appealing, leading me to believe she would play me beautifully in the film about my life, which makes little sense as I’ve never been addicted to anything remotely harmful) are rampant, there was a sense of this sympathy towards the dammed prior to moving pictures.

Wuthering Heights is one of those novels that has you questioning the entire time why it is that Heathcliff is so fucking attractive even though he’s a bloody arsehole. And not only that, in the end he dies a changed man, still broken hearted but less of a jerk, and is buried next to his lady love that he never had in life. So even women encouraged this kind of behaviour.

So after pushing romanticism aside, it has become clear to me that brooding in self pitty and loathing is not all that appealing. Yes, feeling emotions other than happiness are an important part of being human, but boo-hooing oneself perpetually is quite tiresome it seems. I mean, I’d argue against this fact if I had undergone some horrid childhood or been stained by terrible things as a teen or young adult. But truth be told, there is little that has happened to me that should make me feel as though I must drape myself in black and listen to downer music in order to convey how deeply misunderstood I feel.

In fact, misunderstood isn’t how I feel at all. I mean really, how depressed and misunderstood do you think Tom Waits feels? He’s a storyteller, he’s not singing about how horrible he thinks life has treated him.  He charges $250,000 per performance for Christ’s sake!

*I’m not saying that everyone agrees that smoking is sexy or alluring at all. This idea has changed somewhat into a different view of smokers. Although in reality many people have quit successfully and joined the pack of smoker exhilation movement, it is still a common thing on television, particularly on period shows (for obvious reasons), but the true facts (smokers cough, cracked voice, aged appearence, excessive salivary and mucus production, and CANCER) that spawn from constant tobacco use are rarely shown in gruesome detail.

As an aside I should point out that I’m not much of a smoker presently, and that ever since the occasional butt has caused my chest to feel as though it is about to collapse, I’ve decided to curb my desires by running every day, since I feel shitty when I smoke and run, but less so when I’ve not had a fag in my system for a period of time. And when I mentioned I am not, and have never been, addicted to anything harmful, it was not a lie.  A physical addiction to smoking I have not, a slight psychological comfort (read: addiction of mental proportions) is present, and I blame the above representations (along with many others) for making me feel that as a writer I should chainsmoke and drink like a fish and be miserable.

Additionally, the comment about Tom waits’s charge should not be misconstrued as a belief that money makes people happy.  It doesn’t.  But I don’t imagine that Tom Waits could have kept his marriage and his music together for so many years if he were a depressive alcoholic of the kind presented in his music.  That is all.

July 25, 2007 at 5:18 am Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Customers… set the mood: Float On – Modest Mouse

Dear Customers,

Greetings! First, I would like to thank you all for your ongoing devotion to the establishment I manage to manage. I can honestly say that I appreciate the business and compliments, as my battere-wife-like relationship to the store has me care for it as though it were my own.

This letter is a thanks as well as a push for understanding. Rather than ranting in my usual fashion, I’d like to put things into a perspective that might be understood by those who spend their days in office buildings.

Occasionally, or more often than not perhaps, a scream or two escapes the kitchen of my place of work, along with the exasperated tone we so often take when we are frustrated. But you see, this frustration – which can sound like rage for the most part – has complicated origins.

Imagine this scenario:

7:00 am: You arrive at your office an hour early with great ambitions to take care of all those papers and projects that have piled up on your desk. To your dismay, your quiet time is shattered by your ringing phone. After taking a couple of calls, you decide to turn off the ringer until your official start time.

8:00am: You turn your ringer on, and realize you have twelve new messages that you must try to listen to and respond to while trying to take the many other calls you are being bombarded with.

9:00am: You realize you have an 11 o’clock meeting you must begin to prepare for, and you do this while talking with the co-workers who are stopping by with questions, updates, and chit-chats.

11:00am: You attend your meeting. You arrive late because you are caught up by a co-worker in the hall.

12:00pm: Everyone is leaving for lunch. You decide to forego lunch today in order to catch up, since no one calls during lunch because everyone is away from their desks. Your fellow co-worker one cublicle over asks to borrow money for a hotdog. You loan it to him, saving enough for an afternoon coffee.

12:30pm: It is raining so your buddy who borrowed money from you is eating his fresh, savoury street meat right next to you and the smell is seductively crawling over the cubicle wall to your nostrils. You tell your brain to ignore the rumbling of your stomach as you push onward.

1:30pm: You realize you haven’t yet checked your email. Your heart sinks at the vision of 27 messages in your inbox, and the dream of an afternoon break is rained out by the dark cloud now hovering above your hanging head.

3:00pm: You sigh loudly as Street Meat thanks you again and tells you to have a good weekend just as your phone rings. On the line is someone who emailed you ten minutes ago and wants to know why you haven’t returned his message yet. You get a beep. On the other line, another co-worker is wondering something similar, having messaged you an hour earlier.

5:00pm: Thankful to finally finished some work, you look at the time; you’ve been at work for 10 hours and you’ve had nothing to eat since 6:15am. You’re exhausted so you call it a day.

Now, imagine this is what every work day was like. And imagine that you had to do this six days a week. For less than 15 dollars an hour. Oh, and you don’t have a chair, so you have to stand. And that you have to keep a smile on your face constantly because the people you are continuously talking to are there in person rather than on the phone.

Can you say with a straight face that you’d be sunny and cheerful to everyone, even when confronted with many rude, self-centred, demanding people who believe they are the only ones in the world who command your attention?

I thought not.

Despite this, I’m trying very hard to remain calm when faced with daily frustrations. I’ve taken to deep breathing when exasperation hits. I like to think I’m a very calm person, as I’m not upset by much (unless I’m on my bike and I’m cut off or harassed by drivers, or if someone is particularly rude or offensive when I’ve been perfectly pleasant). I do like to relay things in a way that may seem as though I’m more upset than I am, but I just have a dramatic story-telling style.

Anyway, have a nice weekend, I’m sure I will when I eventually get one. I’ll get on top of arranging for that sometime when I’m not too busy…

.megan.

July 17, 2007 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Shaving my head – Part I

So I’m going to shave my head.

Yes, I still like boys. No, I don’t want to kill everyone. It’s not because of the music I listen to or my decision to return to veganism. It doesn’t represent anything about who I am as a person, nor will it change me. Well, it might, but I imagine it will only make me stronger.

Last year was a bad year. Well, the middle part. The beginning of this year was not very good either, but in a different way. Hair grows in six-month life cycles, and if you’re prone to auto-immune disorders (where your body attacks your body instead of disease) you’ll likely suffer from hair loss when you’re very stressed out. Of course, it will only happen six months later.

In February when my hair started to fall out meant that last summer was taking a delayed toll on my body. I was up north and I noticed the bald spot. I was too scared and shocked and whatever words can describe that feeling of losing something you’ve always had and had always appreciated, and truly felt you deserved.

I mean, I’m 24, my hair couldn’t possibly be falling out (something I’d always imagined as being terrible beyond belief), and when I’ve done everything for my hair- gave it a wonderful hairdresser, not dyed it too much, used expensive hair products, tried not to dry it out, never slept with it in a pony tail – this seemed unfair. I put a hat on hoping it would go away. Two days later, at home, I pulled out a mirror and checked again. I hadn’t been dreaming, and so I started to cry.

I started wearing hats and scarves to cover up my thinning hair, and also so I wouldn’t feel as though I needed to style it. Four months have passed and I still can’t style it without shedding like a cat, and I constantly have to clean the drain catch so as to keep the water from lapping at my ankles in the shower.

This has been an upsetting process. Though the patch has grown in for the most part, it seems to be coming out from all over. After reading up on Alopecia I tried to come to grips with the idea that lost hair in patches usually grows back, but continuous all over loss is a different story (ie. eyebrow in the candy beans, ha ha). One I don’t care to daydream at this time in my life.

Even though I’ll be seeing an accupuncturist in September, and my belief in the process may very well help, I’m still going to buzz it. I mean, I wear hats all the time now anyway, so it doesn’t much matter if it looks bad. Even if I didn’t shave, my hair would take some time to grow back fully. I’m taking this to be a time when I can begin again, totally fresh.

For years my hair has defined my self-worth, something I’ve come to realize as a bit of a problem. I was the fat kid in highschool, something that still haunts me, causes me to feel shitty about myself even now as a size 8. I’ve had the same hair dresser for 6 years because I trusted no one else. She gave me the hair cut that made me realize that dressing like a hobo wasn’t the way to go, and ever since then I’ve embraced my gender completely.

But I think it’s time to move on from that. Should some dead follicles define my femininity? My sexuality? My lifestyle? My personality? Fuck that, I say.

And you may all rub my bald head for good luck.

July 8, 2007 at 2:34 am Leave a comment

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