Musing on things other than media (and also some media)

Soon, I’ll return to archiving my work here. The new owner of California Literary Review originally expressed interest in employing us writers, but it turns out he’s just milking the now-defunct site for the (rather unimpressive) ad dollars. It makes me sad and more than a little angry that my work’s in the hands of someone with whom I’ve never even corresponded. C’est la vie.

Skydiving

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

I haven’t been consuming media at nearly the rate I was a few months ago; instead I’ve been vacationing, gathering new creatures, and being an adrenaline junkie.

Golden Gate

A little wine-drunk, a little wind-beaten.

I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, which I actually think was more stressful for someone who a) is extremely wary of other people, and b) had not been on a bicycle in at least 15 years, than skydiving was. Nonetheless, I am absolutely, 100% in love with northern California. When I was in San Francisco with family as a teenager, I felt at peace there. The same is true as an adult – despite the many drawbacks of living there, I clove the electric hum and drone of the city, which seems a living animal. The whistling wind as it sluices through those massive hills is a siren song, even if it’d likely mean cutting my hair to avoid tangles. I feel drawn to the chilly air even in midsummer, to the pleasing anonymity, to the dank whoosh of Muni trains and the abundance of beautiful places tucked into secret niches. I feel at home amidst the vast, unending mishmash of people. I don’t hold out much hope, but I’m applying for jobs in the next few weeks and we’ll see if anything sticks.

Wine country!

Because being in and around SF makes me feel like this.

I got a kitten. His name is Oliver, and he sleeps like a dude.

Oliver

Straight loungin’.

In actual media news, I am that fucking loser who likes going to movies alone (especially horror), so I took myself on a matinee date to The Conjuring. I came out of a solo show of Sinister (link to CLR review here – pardon the messy look of it) jangling with nerves, loving every minute of it. I saw Paranormal Activity and Dark Skies by myself, too – but they were hardly satisfying. Insidious left me thrilled and mildly spooked, and The Conjuring left me feeling similarly.

The Conjuring

Uhh, there’s something behind you… [ Patrick Wilson in The Conjuring]

James Wan’s work is stylish, simple (sometimes a bit too simple, perhaps), aggressively timed and plotted for the best fright moments, and relies heavily on psychological terror rather than gore. In my old age, I’m becoming more attuned and sensitive to unnecessary blood and guts. My appreciation for slashers and Giallo hasn’t diminished, but I’ve grown wary of new horror that lovingly lingers on the guts because there’s no heart, so to speak.

The story of Ed and Lorraine Warren is truly curious – and as a morbid weirdo who occasionally goes through spurts of intense immersion in Crime Library, I find these “true tales” horror films intriguing. Due to its maligned reputation and seemingly depraved subject matter, horror is more capable than other genres of subverting social norms, to paraphrase Robin Wood. Particularly, when horror focuses on the family, it can offer frightful insights into what lies beneath the culturally accepted idea of the happy American family. The Conjuring does little to subvert said familial norms – if anything, it reinforces the image of the perfect American household – but it’s nonetheless a solid entry to the ghost/demon canon. It has some seriously spooky imagery, boasts a great cast (who, unfortunately, don’t have that much to do), and pops in just enough wit to keep the story afloat without drowning the audience in jump-scares and tension.

Much Ado

You, Nathan Fillion, are ridiculous, and I love it. [Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk in Much Ado About Nothing]

The day after The Conjuring, I sneaked a beer into a local theater to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Mainly, Much Ado is a kind of love letter to Whedon fans; the guy filmed it in his own house, with his stable of beloved actors. I would watch Nathan Fillion do just about anything, and love him especially when he’s playing an aggressively bumbling detective opposite Andrew from Buffy (Tom Lenk). Amy Acker proved herself a tiny force to be reckoned with in Dollhouse even before I watched Angel, and opposite Alexis Denisof in Much Ado she does it again. Most of the cast takes a few minutes to slide comfortably into the Bard’s language (and let’s face it, it always takes me a bit to put my brain in that space too), but once they’re there, they have a ton of fun. The film is overwhelmingly simple, but Whedon knows how to baby his actors, and it’s lovingly shot and rendered. It’s an enchanting excursion.

Other than that, I’ve been watching bad television (Dexter and True Blood have truly jumped the proverbial shark at this point, and Under the Dome features such terrible acting I’m having trouble sticking with it) and trying not to go batshit crazy with all the things on my plate. As summer winds down, I’m hoping to plug my brain back in to this site and to writing. My last post on California Literary Review wasn’t a lie, I swear. I’ll never stop writing (for long).

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