This post was a Five Star Friday selection
Mommy Blogger Mug Photo courtesy of Megan at the Velveteen Mind
This might turn out to be the worst idea I've ever had or I might make it a regular thing where I try to cheer everyone up at the beginning of the week by allowing them to poke fun of me for tweezing, and trimming, and using hair products while also posting a video from Coldplay or similar such uncool bands.
This one's from Coldplay's Hope For Haiti performance. If you'd like to make a donation, you still can at Hope For Haiti Now; donations start as little as $25.
Now, let the hatin' on "Clark Kent" begin. But, before you do here's a shout out to some great Dad Blogs you should become acquainted with:
Carrying a Cat by the Tail
Musings From The Big Pink
Remember that regular game on Sesame Street where they would have you guess which item was different from the other items in the group? No? Okay, well here's a little refresher.
Not too hard right? Okay, let's try another one. See if you can figure out which person in out family does not look like the others in the below chart.
I'll give you a hint. It has to do with the eye wear. Ooo, this is hard even for a monster. If you're having trouble, click on the picture.
Did you guess with all your might? Did you guess it right (One person's not wearing glasses - cough, cough)? In the words of the Cookie Monster, "You so smart."
Programing note: I'm on a trip and will be away from the computer for a few days so it might take me a few days to reply to comments. Be back middle of next week.
Of the vast array of movie genres, horror flicks rank the lowest on my list. If watching teenagers getting hacked to bloody shreds by a chainsaw-wielding psycho from Texas (we have a lot of them here, you know) is your thing, that's cool. But please don't invite me over for BBQ and an all-night TV gore-fest marathon. It's nothing personal, it's just preference.
Listen, I get it. It's not real. That's not blood, it's katsup, and that's not some guy's intestines; it's spaghetti. Whatever. My problem is that after seeing someone hacked up in a life-sized blender, I can't get it out of my brain. The image keeps looping in my mind over and over like a needle skipping on a record that never stops playing.
When I young, maybe six or seven, I remember a TV commercial for a horror movie that showed a girl around my age being pulled through a wall by tangle of flailing, bloody arms. Another I recall was of a woman cautiously investigating a noise inside a closet, and as she--BAM! Something yanks her in and you hear a deathly scream. Thirty-second clips, that thirty years later still have me eying sheetrock with suspicion.
In my later life, I recognized the facade behind terror, and even managed to watch a few of the classics. Scream made me laugh, especially when Drew Barrymore answered the phone. And that Freddy dude with the bad skin? I really couldn't blame that guy for slicing up those kids, given that hideous, woolly sweater he had to wear. After a while, that sort of chafing can make anyone want to don a leather, glove with Kinzua knife affixed to the fingers and start swinging away.
Of course, during that era, most horror film seemed to have a ridiculous quality about them as illustrated by the one I came across about a killer snow man*. The back of the VHS box showed a picture of a classic snow man complete with a top-hat, scarf and corn-cob pipe trying to kill a naked woman in her shower. (I'm guessing the water heater was on the other side of the house and in the time it took for the water to get hot, Frosty used his carrot nose on her as a shiv.) I can't remember if I take my medication from one morning to the next, but a homicidal snowman reminds me never to drop my drawers until steam's billowing up from behind the shower curtain.
In recent years, torture porn became all the rage. Yeah. I don't think so. Running a power drill through someone's eyeball, and spooning out their heart with a melon baler while they are forced to watch--are you kidding me? I've just confessed to the impact a snowman has made on my daily routine, can you imagine how I would act after watching one of these films and then walking into a Home Depot or Crate & Barrel? I read an article where audiences were actually throwing up in the theaters during these films, and, get this, the directors took it as a compliment. I should mail them an envelope brimming with my yak and sign it, "From your biggest fan."
Thus far, I've only mentioned what a mere image can do to me. That's bad enough, but if you really want to carve an indelible mark into my brain, add somewhere on the film's poster or in its theatrical trailer the phrase, "based on a true story." I had vowed to never watch anything with that claim attached to it, but when an old girlfriend asked me to watch The Amnityville Horror with her, I agreed. (With Adam and Eve it was an apple; with me it's horror movies). I may have cracked jokes and poked fun through the entire ninety minutes of spooky mayhem, but the overriding thought that kept repeating itself was, "This crap really happened. This crap really happened. This crap really happened." If evil ghouls can turn Ryan Reynolds (who's plays a stepfather no less) into an evil madman, that's plenty freaky to me.
To those in marketing, touting horror films as being based on actual events might make for good hype, but to me, it strips away that lone bit of ammunition I need for combating my hyperactive imagination. In such cases I can no longer tell myself, "Hey Big Guy, that crap's just CGI and raspberry Kool Aid." No, instead it's something closer to, "Holy Polyester! That sh#t's real ...and they're coming for you next!" Then I can't sleep for days, which all seems plain stupid on my part, and it probably is except for the fact that I actually do believe in ghosts. Now, I realize everyone has their own opinions on the topic, and I respect that, but we can save debates for later. Yes, I believe they exist which can terrify the Honey Nut Cheerios out of me, but not as much as one other entity--demons.
Again, not wanting a debate here, and feel free to call me crazy. But, unlike ghosts, which I've had no contact with, I have met several perfectly sane people who themselves have experienced demonic happenings. None of them were possessed, but one had been involved in an exorcism; the rest had gotten caught up in calling out to demons thinking it would be cool. (They don't now.) I'll skip the details, but their stories were compelling enough to forge my certainty that demons exist.
So, that all said, imagine my reaction the other night when Ashley held up a red and white Netflix envelope as she announced with unrestrained glee that we had something good to watch that evening.
"Yeah," I answered, catching her excitement. "What is it?"
"Paranormal Activity," she replied in a voice that sounded ominously like Vincent Price's.
For the next hour and twenty-six minutes I downed enough Absolute and soda to kill a 300-pound Ukrainian mob boss, hoping it would help me to forget the evil dealings of a demon plaguing a typical suburban couple. I had heard the movie was scary-really scary, but a Costco-load of Depends Undergarments couldn't sop up the results of what certain scenes caused me to do--proverbially speaking of course. Somehow, though, I managed to survive through to the ending... and the alternate endings... and the bonus footage. Even so, I knew the worst night of sleep was soon to be upon me. (Turn down your speakers and shush off the kids if you're brave enough to click on the link. I won't even link to the alternates, they are so gruesome.)
If anyone were to deem me slow, I couldn't dispairrage the claim since it would apply to me on so many levels. I mail birthday cards out the day after the candles have been blown out; I fail to grasp the punchlines of most jokes until 3am of the next day; and I am easy pickin's for time-share salesmen. So, given that we're one-third of the way into 2010, it should come as no surprise that I'm already behind schedule in getting to this post about the new year. (At this rate, it'll take until April 2011 before I address the part about it being a new decade--that's how I roll ...like a stone covered in moss.)
Looking back at 2009, I could comment on a number of events both universal and personal: the ills of the economy, the two wars with no clear exit strategy, my first wedding anniversary to my wonderful wife, highlights of my kids growing up--the list goes on. It's been a happy year, a painful year, an interesting year, a weird year, a sad year, and overall, a worthwhile year.
2009 provided me a fresh array of challenges, the lessons of which, I am excited to use in facing what lies ahead in 2010. The past, both the good moments and the bad, are beyond changing, but they can be used in shaping future goals.
Last week, my wife and I hashed out our individual and family goals for the year, and when we finished, I thought it would be good to establish some objectives for my blog. When I first started up the Lunchbox, there was no clear purpose behind it and no audience to help shape it. Nearly three years later, that's no longer the case, and am I truly humbled by the readership. Blogging has become a big part of my life, big enough to warrant a plan for the future. So, this is what I came up with:
1. Improve on promoting community with other other bloggers: Some of my ideas on this include having more posts that feature other bloggers through guest posts, and interviews along with increased use of social media to promote others.
2. Streamline the look of the Lunchbox: Part of this has to do with #1 in that the cleaner look will allow me to include more people in my blogroll. (I'm still not done cleaning it up. If you can't find yourself, let me know. I lost everyone when I reformatted it last week.)
3. Remain true to the readership: Last year, I had a ton of posts reviewing products, and, based on traffic, that didn't go over well. Plus the new FCC regulations in this area, to me, signifies a future of greater governmental involvement with bloggers and corporate sponsors. So, no more product reviews on playground equipment and lawn fertilizer. The lone exceptions to this will be books, television shows, and movies as well as stuff from people I personally know.
And that's it. Three is simple, and I can remember them five months from now. On the flip side though, three may be simple but that doesn't make them easy to make good on.
I planned to have all this ready within the first week of January, and then the world got crazy. I was approached about job back in the corporate world, a good friend asked me to go in on a major business venture, and although Sugar Milk might be in production, it takes twice the effort to market it as it did to write it. Add to this the new book I've started on, along with all the day-to-day family stuff, and my above goals are going to be easier said than done. But I'm going to work towards those ends, because it's important.
And one side note: Many of you have been checking in with me on my health issues (no, the other stuff besides the vasectomy), which I've greatly appreciated, but I've been remiss in posting an update for the larger audience. Thus far through all the CAT Scans, the neurologist was able to rule out the potential for an aneurysm (my biggest concern), narrowing it down to either seizures or extreme migraines (with migraine aura). In order to make an official diagnosis the plan was for me to have my brain patterns recorded by wear this turban-like contraption on my head for three days. The only problem to this, however, is the insurance. Even with our deductible met, the cost for this test obliterated our budget, and I had to put it off. In the meantime, I have to manage things through lifestyle changes--better diet, more sleep, regular exercise--which I had planned on following anyway in order to better manage my bouts with depression. I've still had a few more episodes, but overall the lifestyle changes seem help, as they have been less frequent and lower in intensity.
I'll continue to post updates, but for now, it's business as usual. It's a new year, one I'm looking forward to, even though I'm already a little behind.