In keeping with the film theme (no doubt inspired by the recent number of award shows) lets talk about the Horror genre. I grew up when Jamie Lee Curtis was the Queen of scream, Jason had just come back, and Freddy was giving us nightmares. My blogging minions found this old post of mine and brought it to the Other Side of 40 for some tweaking and TLC.
Poltergeist was the first scary movie I ever saw. I will freely admit that I was too sissy to watch it at night (I watched it during the day). I like the “old” scream films with their charming stories of murder and mayhem. Who doesn’t like a plot line that has a mother of a child though to be dead (but wasn’t really) showing up and killing a whole bunch of teenagers that have decided that it’s a really good idea to reopen the summer camp where the psychotic mom thinks her child died. Then in the sequel, have the not dead child kill off the lone survivor of the first movie (who managed to kill his mom) plus a second group of teens that have decided that it’s a really good idea to re-re-open a camp that a child was thought to have drown at (but didn’t) and had another group of teens murdered while planning to re-open it in the first place. Then in the next movie… (well you get the general idea)
All of this has me thinking. Why do the heroes of scary movies make really dumb choices? From their back stories, these people are smart, ambitious, successful, and usually over-sexed. In other words, they’re like pretty much everybody else. So please explain to me why when the walls bleed or Charlie “disappears” mysteriously they hang around smoking pot, or head to the local library to do historical research, or find a quiet room to have sex in? Much like Shaggy and Scooby, I would high tail it out of there! Nice house, someone else can have it. Charlies gone, lets run and call the cops who have lots of guns.
But no, our heroes are picked of one by one (unless it’s the couple having sex) till someone gets lucky enough to whack the attacker. Oh course staying true to the law of film sequels, they end up failing to do it correctly and the villain shows up again a few years down the road even more ticked off because of the axe that’s been stuck in his head for the last five years. Then all the screaming starts all over again. Maybe they should have just run!
Check out this video. It’s a fun look at what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation to those mentioned above. (Warning some off-color words)
Got a favorite classic horror film? We’re dying to hear from you!
Since the Mayan Apocalypse was a resounding dud I figured that it was time to get back online and start blogging again.
So in the spirit of organizing for the new year, my blogging minions have worked round the clock redesigning the look of Other Side of 40 and tidying up the old posts. They have been also raiding past blogs of mine taking the good bits and defining my blogging domains better!
You will notice (please look up at the banner) there are several new tabs for pages. The Fiction page now has most of the short flash fiction that I have written in one place. Fictional Campfire acts as a portal to that site. And finally Rumpus in My Mind is an introduction to my newest blog and home to all things that are nerdy and geeky.
So there it is! All laid out and organized. A place for everything and everything in its place.
It’s been 15 long months since I’ve blogged with any sort of regularity, and I’m sure it will be many more before the rust is gone. But at least this is a start!
Other Side of 40 is back on the air (or web?)
I’ve done some New Years cleaning trying to get back into the blogging habit. I posted this list on another blog of mine a while back. The history lover in me decided to bring it here for a blogging reboot.
I have a lot of history films lining the DVD shelf, but these 10 stand out as my favorite historical movies.
So if I can have a fan fare please!
10 The Longest Day – Could also be called the longest movie! Lots of star power in it as well.
9 Battle of Britain – Takes us through the darkest days of the Battle of Britain. It was a lot of work for the makers to find all those airplanes.
8 The Green Zone – Matt Damon is a very convincing soldier in this tale of the war in Iraq. Makes the viewer ask some questions by the end. Jason Isaacs is superb doing what he does best, being the bad guy!
7 Windtalkers – A great tale about the Navajo code talkers and the Battle for Saipan. Nice to see a movie that shows the contributions made by aboriginal soldiers in WW2.
6 A Bridge To Far – Another film full of Hollywood stars. It’s about Operation Market Garden in 1944 and shows how poor planning and intelligence can bring down a plan.
5 The Patriot – Love this one. Brings life to the Revolutionary War and how the militia were part of the army. There’s a lot of Mel killing people and lots of Jason Isaacs being evil!
4 Gettysburg – While I like Glory, I have to go with this film based on one of my writing heroes books “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara . I’m also a huge fan of Gen. Joshua Chamberlain and his defence of Little Round Top. Jeff Daniels has come a long way from Dumb and Dumber!
3 We Were Soldiers – Vietnam is a tough story to tell. Many try to just show the bad parts like the poor leadership or drug use. This film show what was right with the leadership of the Air Cav. It also has Mel in it again (you noticing a theme here?)
2 Saving Private Ryan – Best WW2 film ever. I showed it to my children and asked them to remember it. War is a dirty horrible thing, and this movie shows that!
1 Kingdom of Heaven – You have to watch this one several times to get the story! It also features a pilgrim’s guide as a historic primer. Nobody sword fights like Orlando Bloom! Best quote of the movie – “Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath. [cuffs Balian with the back of his hand] And that’s so you remember it.
Surprisingly I’m not talking about Kate and William. 22 years ago, I started a new chapter in my life. I married my best friend! Since then we have made a life together, fought and loved, brought 2 children home from the hospital, … It’s been one hell of a ride, and I’m ready for a least 22 years more!
I love this song! Yes it’s true! I am a big sap. (I can’t turn in my “guy” card because it would seem that I was never issued one.) By Peter Gabriel and from the movie “Shall We Dance?” I present a special Musical Thoughts.
P.S. – Kate and Will. You guys picked a pretty good day.
For my friend and Love (AKA The Wife of Awesomeness)
As I mentioned last week, my new self-appointed content director (aka Cat of Complaint) has taken issue with the decided lack of posts about Cats! In the intervening week she has hammered out the “Feline/Canine Equity Accord” which states that for every dog posting on the OSo40, I must also post about a cat. While it would be preferable that the stories be about her, any cat will suffice.
By her count, cats are still down by 2 posts, so again today I bring you the Wonderful World of Cats. Lets take a cruise around the web and see what we find OK?
Ah, yes this is right up CofC’s alley! She loves to taunt the dog all the time! Shall we continue?
Hey, this looks familiar! Been getting strange friend requests on Facebook. I think she hacked my account!
Yep! Seen this too! Except CofC says it’s her bed!
But who would do the children’s math homework?
I’ve always suspected that!
What really happens when you are out. Makes you wonder … what the heck…hey stop that…put down the stapler…get back…OK I’m sorry for mocking you…help!………..
Due to unfavorable coverage of the feline world, I have seized control of this post! Rest assured that my slave shall be dealt with accordingly.
Cat of Complaint
Photo by woodleywonderworks (Flickr)
I’ve had so much fun this week with the Flash Fiction Challenge issued by Haley Whitehall, I almost missed this hallmark moment for the OTHER SIDE OF 40!
This week I reached 100 posts, 200 comments, and had a single post generate 13 comments!
So what does that mean? Lets look at the numbers shall we? OK, first lets add them all together… lets see… 100 + 200 + 13 = 313 Hmmmmm (curious fact of the day – type Hmmmmm and the spell check will offer Hammad, Hummus, Hummel, and Hummed – just saying!)
The number 313 according to the internet (which is never wrong) is significant because –
- It is the Area Code for Detroit, Michigan.
- The year 313 started on a Thursday, and was known as the Year of the Consulship of Constantinus and Licinianus. (don’t ask! I have no idea, ask Wikipedia instead)
- Was a song title from the band EMINEM. (1996)
- Is a Racing Skateboard Team and Brand from Germany.(you know the guys who race down really BIG hills, really FAST)
- Frame 313 of the famous JFK assassination film is the frame in which the fatal shot hits the President (that is a slightly weird coincidence)
- The address of a house that I have never lived in. (honest)
- And finally, 313 is not the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” (that’s actually 42 )
For all those people (both of you ;) ) that read this blog, thank you! Without your support, I would never have been able to keep this blog going (I’d most likely be playing solitaire or surfing Facebook instead). I feel a bit like Sally Field right now (sniff) “You like me, you really like me! … sorry, I need to go find some tissues and watch “Smokey And The Bandit” . (Mom you can stop hitting the Digg button now)
Photo by Cat Sidh’s (Flickr)
Last weekend I experienced a haunting, or maybe it might be more accurate to say I encountered a ghost (I think). I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m losing my marbles, or wondering why on God’s green earth would he even admit that, much less write it down? Part of me is asking those same questions too!
First off I’m part Irish, so I have a healthy respect for things that can’t be seen (tip – never ask me about “the little people). You could consider this as me being superstitious, but I feel that just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there. In this day and age, science seems to be the only recognized method of proof. If you can’t create it using either chemicals or math equations, then it can’t be real right? Except that science can’t calculate either faith or belief, so in the end it becomes a personal choice. You have to ask yourself – What do I really believe? Personally, I choose to believe that I’m not privy to all the mysteries of the world, so maybe it wouldn’t hurt to keep an open mind.
Photo: Scout Brigade of Fort George website
I’m a member of the Scout Brigade of Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake) which re-enacts the war of 1812 at two camps each year. The summer campaign takes place just west of the fort at Butler’s Barracks and will often host a couple thousand Scouts from both Canada and the United States. The winter campaign (last weekend) is a much more intimate event with just over a hundred Scouting members taking part. The fun part about the winter camp is that the participants get to sleep like the soldiers of the British army did (in Blockhouse #2) which makes the experience feel very realistic (and educational too! but we try not to tell the kids that).
There are a few things that I need to add at this point. First, the fort has a fairly well documented history of “incidents” of the unexplained kind. Second, I have camped in and around the fort several times and have never had or seen one of these “incidents”. I have however listened to both youth and adults earnestly tell tales of ghost orbs, strange people (stranger than the ones getting dressed up as soldiers and running around a field with a cap musket), or events they have encountered. Also consider there has been a great deal of pain, suffering, and death that has occurred in the geographic area of the fort as well. So if ever there was a place that could be inhabited by spirits, Fort George certainly fits the bill.
Fort George by William J. Gibson (Flickr)
Blockhouse #2 is believed to be home to several ethereal friends, and while doing some research on the building, it would seem that my cot ended up in a hot zone for sightings (the lesson here, don’t be the last leader to arrive at Fort George so you can choose where you sleep!). After we had settled in Friday night I kept dreaming that I was on my cot in the blockhouse and something was trying to get me to sit up (it happened 3 or 4 times). The dream was very accurate in the details of the room right down to the sleeping people. It was almost like I was awake and looking around me. At another point later in the night, I remember having a nice chat with someone (at the time I assumed that it was another leader) just outside the building, yet I know I didn’t leave the blockhouse until morning (well at least my body didn’t). I normally don’t sleep well at a Scouting camp, I tend to worry that I’ll be shaken awake because of some emergency (I have had it happen, and going from sound sleep to full awake in about 3 seconds isn’t fun) but this “dream” had a different feel to it. Definitely not the “wake up every 40 minutes” to listen everybody sleep, check my watch, close my eyes, and then repeat the process… that has become my usual Scout camp routine.
When I was sharing the experience with a few others at breakfast, I was asked why I hadn’t told Irving (the ghost which they suspected had been socializing with me) to stop bothering me? (Thanks for the timely advice, I could have used that on Friday night) Sometimes the solution is so obvious you just don’t see it. I tried it going to bed on Saturday night, and it seemed to do the trick, because I slept like the dead (trying for a cheap laugh here). What I can’t figure out is, was this an “incident” or just the product an over tried mind. I saw no traditional white figure that Hollywood has depicted so well, no evil voices from the darkness saying “get out”, or any floating items. What I did have, was an experience I can’t explain (I have never had a dream repeat an image over and over) and while it was in no way frightening, it still has me wondering what exactly did happen.
Ghosts sound like a topic meant for late night talk radio, and not something that a rational person talks about. Yet here I am doing just that, and the one thing that I keep coming back to is the question:why do ghosts exist? I am in no way a paranormal expert (though I will admit as a kid I loved the TV show “In Search Of” narrated by Lenord Nimoy) so I can’t give a scientific answer to that question. Most likely nobody will ever be able to give an answer to that question. There are many theories about haunting and why they occur, some include victims of murder and the damned souls of their murders, spirits of the dead that still have work here on earth, or that the ghost just doesn’t realize that it is dead.
Purvis Family Portrait – Jim Moran (Flickr)
My personal theory to why a spirit choses to stay long after it has finished it’s time on earth is rather simple, they wish to be remembered. For the most part many ghosts are unidentified, and carry simple names that describe their appearance to us such as the “man in a black cape”. Their historic facts also tend to be totally lacking, or vague at best (victim of murder, or stranded lover forever waiting for their endeared one to return…). It is rare for a ghost story to involve a spirit for which we know all the details, like the name, why they died, and why they are still here. Ghosts are a legion of forgotten souls. Let me ask you this. How often do you think about your great-great-great-grandmother? While she might be listed in the family tree, along with some of her personal history, and (if you are very lucky) an old photo, no one can sit down with you and say “I remember that time when…” She has passed from our living memory. Now think of all the people who have lived and died in this world that also no longer have a living memory as well. That certainly is a pretty big number.
When a person we care for leaves this world, well wishers looking to console us will often say things such as “the person is never really gone if you keep them in your heart”. Does that mean that a small piece of their soul remains with us (bet you never considered that)? And what happens to that piece, when we eventually quit this world as well? (could these lost pieces of soul eventually become a ghost?) Do they become a footnote for our family history, delegated to a box of old photos and papers in the basement or attic? Have they joined the ranks of the forgotten? I like to think that this is too much for some spirits to bear, and that they reappear in the world of the living attempting to be noticed again. We all want someone in our lives who will witnesses our achievements and comfort us in our loses. Why not the same for those who have departed the living? Being gradually forgotten over the course of time, would be traumatic and could make a lost person try to get our attention again.
Of course is just all speculation on my part, but there is a romantic part of my brain that likes to believe this is possible, and that the simple act of remembering allows for a certain amount of immortality. Living on, even if it is just in a memory seems like reason enough for a spirit to come into being. So Irving (if that was you who visited me), I hope you enjoyed our talk. I won’t be back down your way for a few months, but rest easy knowing that I now remember you. If by chance you are up to it in September, you’re welcome to drop by my dreams, but please remember that I still need some sleep so we’ll have to limit the time of the visit OK. As for the living who may read this, try to find a bit of time this week to remember those that have left this world and joined the forgotten. I’m sure they might appreciate it.