Fruicrative

Some dude recently sold a picture of a potato for over a million US dollars. I thought, I should take a bunch of pictures of fruit and see if anyone wants to bite. If I got like, 1% of that purse for such a thing, I’d be thrilled.

…and finally, the coup de jour, the potato!

potato

I know I’m biased, but I think my potato is better.

Best Movies (that I saw) in 2015

Some of these came out in 2014, sure. My response to anyone that might bring that up is: shush.

spring_movieSpring

This is by far my favorite movie that I saw last year. This movie is listed as “horror / romance” for genre. That’s something you seldom see – a horror movie that is somehow a romance movie. It falls more on the side of romance than horror. Whatever they done did, they did good. You develop a strong connection to main characters. The tone of the movie swings between light and heavy – usually this will cause the audience to disconnect, but Spring does it right. I’m tip-toeing heavily to avoid any spoilers, just watch it, trust me.

 

Turbo Kid

Turbo Kid is a “retro-futuristic” indie film. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future (1997). All the natural water is undrinkable and people scavenge for relics that might have some value to trade for water rations. We meet an unnamed “Kid” that romanticizes a collection of pre-apocalypse objects (such as a walkman). He idolizes a superhero named “Turbo Rider.” We quickly get acquainted with the antagonist(s) as well as some of the good guys that the Kid meets along the way.

turbo-kid

When a conflict pits our hero against the band of baddies, the adventure really begins. The Kid finds, sunken beneath the ground, the ship of Turbo Rider. Although Rider is deceased, his armor and weapon are still in tact. The Kid adorns these and his companion dubs him “Turbo Kid.” The characters are simple, but lovable. The score is great accompaniment. The plot is very tight. This is a total “sit back and enjoy” movie.

 

it-followsIt Follows

This movie also has a retro feel to it – although the time period in which the movie takes place is cleverly ambiguous. There are mostly context clues to suggest it’s the late 70s or early 80s, however, one of the characters has a clam-shell compact device that seems to have internet access. Regardless, the movie has a very linear and simple theme (that seems to be what has appealed to me lately, retro and linear). Some kind of being is walking toward the protagonist at all times. If she were to get on a plane and fly to Bolivia, this thing would eventually get to her. What, why, and how are all questions you can answer by watching the movie. The only thing I really disliked about this movie is the end sequence, the teenagers combating this entity go about battling it in a way that seems a little juvenile for their age. Still, it’s a fun movie.

 

goodnight-mommyGoodnight Mommy

This is an Austrian horror movie about two children (twin brothers) that are staying with their mother right after she has had some kind of facial surgery. Her face remains bandaged most of the movie and the children begin to think that she is someone else. They reason that her behavior is so cold and her temperament so angry that it must be someone in place of their loving mother. The way that this movie plays out, talking about it can easily spoil it, so I need to just shut up and you need to just watch it.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Seldom to ever do I attend a blockbuster movie in theaters anymore. They usually feel (to me) like they’re designed to get as much money as they can and then are to be completely forgotten about. Casablanca is, by my math, something like 940 years old …I think. It’s still one of the best movies ever, ever. I remember Rick, Ilsa, Victor… as if I were right there with them in the cafe. Most movies lately, one forgets what the hell characters were named because the movies leave no imprint on them. kylo-ren_reyHere is what I can tell you about The Force Awakens without any spoilers: it was fun, it was [again] simple, and it made me forget about life for a few hours. I had this wonderful feeling of “I’m back. I’ve returned to a galaxy far far away, a long time ago…” It was a fun ride, There was some fan service without overdoing it, added to building new characters to bring us into the next generation. I remember Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, Po… Although I am wholeheartedly in agreement that this movie was very similar in plot to A New Hope, it was done correctly. I always say in regards to homages and remakes – if the remake leaves you longing for the original, it has failed. This movie succeeded. It made me want more of this story. I’d say “you should see this movie,” but being that it was just announced that it’s officially the number 1 box office movie of all time, you likely already have.

 

Finally I need to present one more accolade: The 2015 Trevor Moorehouse Award.

meet-me-thereMeet Me There

A woman is suffering from sexual dysfunction that is possibly tied to a suppressed childhood trauma. The woman and her boyfriend decide to take a road trip to her home town, a very small town in the middle of nowhere (I can relate to being from such a place). All of the locals are strange and unwelcoming. It’s a very odd movie, having a very low budget feel – as a result of the low budget. They did the best with what they could; it was a crowd-funded project. A big plus for me was seeing the main character in a a Daniel Bryan t-shirt, as well as an appearance by Dustin Runnels, AKA Goldust of WWE. If you’re into horror movies and, more specifically, the “so bad it’s good” horror movies, I think you’ll enjoy this – moreso if it’s on in the background while you’re fooling around on Instagram.

My Daddy Gave Me His Old Camera

A while back, my father gave me this one of a kind* Hanimex Praktica super TL SLR 35mm camera. It is the oldest camera in history and I own it.**
IMG_0284aIt has its flaws, being that it is indeed so old, some of the mechanics fail to function properly. The shutter sometimes stays up. The rewind lever is broken, the film advance jams, and the exposure count stops counting. However, I have taken to the streets with it and snapped a few shots, more to see if it’s still functional as a camera, but the only way to do that is to use it. That’s what I’ve been doing.

Thus far, here’s some of the stuff that has made it onto the antiquated medium of film, into the complex and sophisticated labs to process said film (read: “Walgreens”) and onto the modern realm of the world wide web.

I should note that after I developed one stinking roll of film at Walgreens, I brought back the next two rolls and found out they just decided to stop processing film in-house. Just my luck. I started going to this shop in the East Village, Luster.

These are from the Slipper Room on Labor Day Weekend.

These are various other shots of friends, streets, shoots, etc.

*Lie.
**Also a lie.

Nostalgia Trip

I went through a closet I have been neglecting for many years now. A good amount of the stuff was clearly stacks of papers and other junk that I must have said, “I’ll get to this later.” Literally, stacks of stuff, stuffed into stuff, and then stuffed into even more stuff. I did find quite a lot of stuff I had long forgotten I had or presumed I had thrown out over the years.

I Finally Watched American Gothic, from 1995

It was the summer of 1995, and for the whole season CBS was running ads for a new show debuting in the fall. It was touted as a show like nothing you had ever seen on television before, but then again, aren’t they always? Thankfully, it’s the 21st century now and I can simply show you one of these ads.

Scary, huh? Those words “someone’s at the door” haunted me that whole summer. What did it all mean? It took me almost 20 years (19 years and 8 months after the show began), but I finally sat down and watched this whole adventure from beginning to end. The show only lasted one season (22 episodes) and was cancelled. It also suffered from the same ailment that Firefly suffered; the network aired the show in the wrong order.

lucasbuckFirst, we have the star of the show, Lucas Buck, “with a ‘B,'” Sheriff of Trinity, South Carolina. I am convinced that the handling of his character is the reason this show ultimately fell apart and likely left a lot of people scratching their heads and changing the channel.

For starters, Lucas Buck (played by Gary Cole) is the antagonist of the show. He is, however, the star. From what we can tell, he is either the devil, a demon, or a human that is versed in the black arts (witch/warlock, that sort of thing). Buck makes deals with the townspeople that often end up screwing them and working in his own favor – or at the very least they are indebted to him and compelled to do things that they would normally abstain from (usually murder). Eventually, we find out that he raped a woman. Her child, Caleb Temple (now age 8, played by Lucas Black) is actually his son and some kind of protege to being the next demon conqueror of the land. Caleb, is presumably the main protagonist of the program, but we’ll get to that soon. Buck also kills Caleb’s sister, Merlyn (played by Sarah Paulson). She remains in the show, however, as a ghost, giving Caleb spiritual guidance for the entire series. Let’s quickly review what we know about Lucas Buck:

  • Kills
  • Rapes
  • Compels people to kill
  • Screws people on deals
  • Practices dark arts of some kind

That’s quite a CV for a villain, but here’s the problem with this: he’s still kind of the protagonist, also. Being that Caleb is his demon seed, he wants to protect his offspring and groom him to take his place one day. He also protects the town, even though he does some terrible things to the townspeople, if there is any exterior threat to the town, he takes care of it with haste. At some points in the show, people come to him demanding help, instead of asking. They blackmail him or bully him into helping them and he, of course, finds a way to screw them on whatever deal they make. By the time this happens, though, you will enjoy seeing this happen, because you want to see these people get what they deserve. Add to that, the character is written with a lot of wit and charm. Again, let’s review what we know about the main villain of this show:

  • Witty and charming
  • Protects the town
  • Protects a main protagonist
  • Gives people worse than him what they deserve

Confused? You should be, I was.

It’s difficult to say who the main protagonist is. For starters, we don’t follow most of them through the story as much as we do Lucas Buck. An argument could be made that one, or more, of four characters is/are the protagonist(s).

calebtempleCaleb Temple is putting up an admirable fight against being cordial with Lucas Buck, but Buck keeps attempting to get on his good side. Buck buys him things, takes him places, drives him around, lets him drive – the only caveat is that he will occasionally teach him to engage his darker feelings and impulses. Other than that, he loves this kid and will do just about anything to keep him safe. Caleb is visited by his dead sister, in ghost form, frequently, who tries to steer him in the right direction and keep him from becoming evil. Although the show starts off seemingly building around him being the main character, a lot of what is taking place is beyond his scope of understanding and he falls in line as just one of the characters.

merlyntempleMerlyn Temple (Merly) becomes more and more powerful as a ghost the longer the show goes on. She hates Lucas Buck and staves off succumbing to any of his charm at all. She sees him as a bad guy and that is that. After all, Buck did kill her. She is the one muttering those haunting words, “someone’s at the door.” She says this on the night that Lucas Buck comes to their house and forces himself onto her mother – when Caleb is conceived. (She also dies giving birth to Caleb.) She goes into some kind of emotional trauma and for the rest of her life and only says these words. Her father goes into fit of irrational rage (which we can attribute to Buck’s undevine influence, somehow) and after attacking her, Buck shows up and breaks her neck in what he calls a “mercy killing.” He has it on record that her father’s attack is what led to her her death, however.
Now a ghost, she is more fluent and understanding of the world around her. She makes mistakes, however, doing some borderline things of her own. She spreads a plague throughout the town that leads to their death, this also turns their reservoir into blood. Even Buck tells her she’s gone too far and needs to dial it down a notch. She does this to “punish sinners,” but like Santa Claus in Futurama, everyone is a sinner and we see her losing control, a bit. She also, somehow, trades places with an unborn baby and gains a physical body for an episode just to have some fun, almost costing the baby its life before it’s even born. Again, she could potentially be the main protagonist, but her lack of presence on screen and lack of involvement in most of the stories pushes her aside for consideration of that title.

gailemoryGail Emory (played by Paige Turco) is Caleb’s cousin. She fled the town a very long time ago, suspecting that Lucas Buck killed her parents. She returns to take care of her only relative left in Trinity. Eventually she finds out that Buck is, for once, innocent and takes a liking to him romantically. When she first arrives in town it seems like she may also be the main character – sort of the “fish out of water” character that guides us into the town of Trinity. She’s not. She’s absent from several important episodes. After she finds out that someone else killed her parents, she subsequently sleeps with Buck and their relationship seesaws after that.

doctormattcrowerThe last candidate for main protagonist is Doctor Matt Crower. “Dr. Matt” (played by Jake Weber) shows up in town shortly before things really start going haywire. He also has the potential to be the fish out of water, but again that proves to lead nowhere. Although most of the town does things Buck’s way (which is usually because he’s involved with things and he’s covering up his name and trail), Crower does things by the book and dislikes Buck. We find out that he has a dark past, however. He developed a drinking problem and killed his wife and child in a car accident. He is now in the town of Trinity to start over. He never quite steps up to the challenge of being the main character. He is written off the show about halfway through the season, which seems odd. His exit from the show is poorly written, as he attempts to kill Lucas Buck and while in custody, Buck tells the deputy (in so many words) to take him somewhere quiet and kill him. The deputy does this, but lets him go, however, Dr. Matt refuses to go because he is there to take a stand – and then he just goes to jail and is never on the show again. Maybe there was a contract dispute with the actor?

Through explaining these characters, you get the gist of the show. There are a few supporting characters worth mentioning, but their meta stories are all very similar.

benhealyBen Healy, for example, is Buck’s deputy. It seems like any episode he’s in is some kind of moral dilemma. He is typically tasked with or party to something he has a problem with, but because it’s for Lucas Buck, he goes along with it begrudgingly. That’s pretty much par for his character. He’s a likable guy, but at some point it gets tiring that his character seems so stop and start.

selenacoombsThe last character I want to add to the list is Ms. Selena Coombs. Oh, Ms. Coombs. I love you. If you watch the show, you will love her too, once she casts that bewitching stair at you. Selena Coombs is hot. You might say “you’re objectifying this woman.” You’re right, I am. That is, however, her role in the show. She seems like Lucas Buck’s right hand (in more ways than one). She’s a willing participant in his antics (in more ways- alright, I’ll stop). But seriously, the reason I am driving this point home is simple, a lot of her dialog is sexual innuendo. She is quite the femme fatale. She has an on and off romance with Lucas Buck. She seems to always go back to him and men that attempt to court Ms. Coombs usually end up with a sudden stroke of bad luck. It’s implied throughout the show that she’ll have sex with just about anything that moves. Buck actually (very lightly) implies that she was about to have sex with a child at some point in the series (it was network TV in the mid 90s, though, so it requires some reading between the lines). She is almost like a sexy woman version of Quagmire from Family Guy. It seems that everything turns her on and her native language is not English, but sexual innuendo. Even when she mentions spanking children – it’s perverted. She gets to deliver lines such as, “I like pounding,” and “I’m not ready to come yet,” as some examples. Her dialog is fabulous and so is she.

Ultimately, Buck gets Gail Emory pregnant and is gearing up for a second seed of evil. He dies in the second to last episode of the show and Caleb seems to get a sudden surge of evil in his spirit. When he finds out he has a half brother on the way, he wants to ensure he’s the soul heir to Lucas Buck’s …empire. He goes mad with evil and sets his sights on killing his cousin Gail and her unborn child. Buck, who turns out not to be dead, returns in order to save her and stop Caleb – again, confusing the narrative of who we should be rooting for. Based on the abrupt ending of the show, we have to presume that Caleb grows up to become the new Lucas Buck and that’s that.

dreyAlso worth noting: Sam Raimi produced this show. It took a few episodes, but suddenly Bruce Campbell shows up as an FBI agent. I got super excited when this happened, I thought he would make a super charismatic foe for Buck, but he’s a one-and-done, sadly. He gets captured by a two-bit criminal in the town and locked in some kind of box with flesh-eating beetles. It is never even made clear if he dies that way or is rescued.

I’d say it’s worth a watch if off-beat scifi/fantasy tickles your fancy. Make sure to consult IMDb when you do, however. The episodes aired in the wrong order and you’ll find yourself plunging into a deeper part of the story randomly and being very confused. This show had potential. I was surprised with some of the things that were on a network television show from 1995 – violence and sex-wise. They definitely needed to establish a stronger hero and villain dynamic. A little more revealing of what was taking place would have been helpful to move the story along. We never actually find out what Lucas Buck is – we find occult books in his house at some point and another character recognizes a spell he casts, but reach seems to extend longer than that of someone that learned witchcraft. All of the characters seem to waver from liking him, to tolerating him, to despising him, which is also confusing. It also suffers a bit from that typical serial drama storyline – where it was almost an anthology drama, except for some recurring themes. One episode holds very little effect on the next. I would like to see another attempt and this show, but done right.

Kitty

I’m certainly not the first person to lose a cat, nor the last person. Two days ago, I had to say “goodbye” to the only cat I had left from a lifetime of being a cat-owner. Her name was Kitty.

kittyI got Kitty in 2001, right around Thanksgiving. A bunch of my friends got to meet her when they came over to watch WWF Survivor Series. This little 2 pound kitten made a bunch of testosterone-fueled teenage boys turn into big softies.

kittybaby

Shortly thereafter, she and I really didn’t get along. She hid most of the time I was around, she wasn’t cuddly, she’d hiss at me for no reason, …she was kind of annoying, actually.

stupidcat

She’d do that thing cats do where she’d knead my back when I was trying to sleep. She would never actually just lie down and go to sleep herself, she just kept kneading. After a while I started telling her in a calm conversational voice, “you’re hurting me.” It’d be a phrase I’d take into my everyday life with everyone I know.

IMG_1353

When Kitty was almost 8 years old, Beeky, the other cat in my household who she knew her entire life, died at the age of 18. It was brutal, I was crushed, but the house I returned to was not empty. I still had Kitty, and Kitty suffered the same loss I did, she was hiding from me and growling loudly any time I passed by. Then everything changed, she suddenly started acting like my cat. She became cuddly and affectionate. I could pick her up and hold her without her immediately claw her way out of my arms. She followed me everywhere I went in the apartment. She was never more than a few steps behind. When I went to sleep she’d curl up next to me, on me, or adjacent to my head on the pillow. The last few months of her life she’d taken to resting her chin on my neck and nuzzling between my jaw and shoulder.

Matt and Kitty

Everyone loved this cat. I know everyone thinks that their cat is the cutest cat in the world, but I had enough visitors, friends and strangers, meet her and concur that even they thought she was the cutest cat in the world, therefore, I know that she was. She was always playful. She was petite and adorable her whole life. She looked and acted like a kitty, and her name fit her perfectly.

In December she was still running around the apartment and playing fetch with her toy mice. I was telling people how happy I was that she still seemed to be such an energetic little Kitty, even though she was already 13. I thought without any signs of decline, it was a sign that she was going to be around for a while. How wrong I was…

Kitty skipped three meals in a row at the end of January. I took her to the vet and we caught what seemed to be an infection. After administering some medication, she seemed like her old self again. I thought I’d caught whatever it was early and nipped it in the bud. A month later, however, her little tummy started to swell. I took her to the vet and they gave me some medication and I was scheduled to bring her in the next week for a sonogram.

Kitty didn’t make it.

I woke up on what would be her last morning and she seemed very listless and weak. I thought I had more time, a regretful mistake on my part. I went to work with a horrible feeling and decided I wasn’t going to wait. I left early and made a vet appointment for that afternoon, but when I got home, it was too late. I made it just in time for her to take her last breaths.

God I miss that cat.

paws I am having a lot of trouble forgiving myself for leaving her that day. I’m having trouble letting go. I’m rocked every time I come home to an empty house. I always expect her to be in the next room. I always expect to walk into her in the dark and still step slowly just in case she’s there. I swear I still hear the sound of her collar hitting her food dish while she’s eating. I still lie to one side of the bed because I expect her to take up the other.

kittybed

When I’d go to sleep at night, if she didn’t notice I had gone to the bedroom, I’d yell “where’s my Kitty?!” in a dumb high-pitched voice and over-dramatically pretend to cry. She’d always come running right away. Last night, however, I had the same one-sided conversation, except with complete sincerity.

I’m never going to forget her starting to have trouble jumping up onto or off of the bed, but still struggling to do so just to follow me around the apartment, even if I was only leaving her side for a moment.

I’m finding it difficult to decisively do simple tasks, like vacuum, because I know I’m vacuuming away the hair she left behind. I find her toy mice in various places and it stings a little each time. I look at all her favorite spots with a gleam of hope that she’ll somehow just be there again.

kittybox

I’ve never been without a pet in my life. This is completely new territory for me, but after only 2 days, I can tell you that I am not a fan. Maybe I’ll get used to it, but right now it’s the worst. My apartment feels empty and cold. I realized that most of the time when I decided I was going to stay home and forgo some event taking place, a big part of my desire to be home was to be with Kitty, now that she’s not there, I don’t have that same urge. It feels like a place where I just keep my stuff and sleep at. I will sometimes sit in the dark and it seems like a few minutes pass, but suddenly three hours have gone by and I’ve just spaced completely out. I barely have an appetite. Any little noise wakes me up. Frankly, I’m not ok.

I know I’ll get through this, it’s just going to take time, but it’s the genesis of this post-Kitty era of my life and it’s going to be rough. I miss this little 5-pound furball so god damn much. I don’t really know what else to say.

...One of the last pictures I took of Kitty.

 

Winter Woes

Stimulate – Valentine’s 2015

http://stimulate-me.com/