Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Boo

I wanted to boo, hiss, seethe, make some motion that I hated what they were doing to me. But my body, as it always had, was holding me motionless. I wanted them to know what they were doing was wrong had been wrong my entire life and that this procedure they were talking of performing was the worst possible idea and not what I wanted at all. But the people ‘taking care of me’ as it had always been, were paying me no mind.

It’s not like I’m not use to people making decisions on my behalf, decisions I didn’t want made, decisions I can’t fight. It’s not like I’m not use to people underestimating my mind because my own body has trapped it, held it captive for years. Why should this place be any different?

Being held captive is one thing, but being tortured for needless reasons is an entirely different thing. I want, no I need someone to listen to me, to find a way to hear my mind when my body won’t speak.

Nurse Jane is coming. She’s sad. I know she doesn’t like what they are doing to me, what they are going to do to me. Maybe I have some time to convince her that what they will be doing to me tomorrow is wrong. Maybe there’s something I can do to make her listen.

What is that at the corner of my eyes ? It’s wet and running down my temples. Are those tears? Am I capable of tears? Will that be enough to convince her, them, all of them, that this is against my will?

All I can do is try and cry until somebody listens. 

The above short story is for this week's Trifecta challenge word boo:

1 (interjection)
used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten

2 (noun)
a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something

3 (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly

 It was inspired by this story I read yesterday that broke my heart. If you think it's too long or it sounds too heartbreaking, I'll try and give you the cliff's notes. It's essentially about a girl with cerebral palsy whose parents deliberately infantalized and sterilized her so that her body would stay the same size as what they believe her brain function to be. The story is also about a person who lived through a similar experience and how heartbroken she is by this decision. It's an incredible but devastating article and I wrote this story above, partly because this thing wouldn't leave me and partly as a way for advocating disabled rights, no matter the age or brain capability. 

As some of you know, I had a son with special needs who passed away ten days before his second birthday and everyday I struggle with the decision we made to let him go because I don't know if that's what he really wanted. Despite his disabilities, he had a voice, an incredible, unique personality and a mind that wanted to fight to communicate and to work properly. I would've fought to my very last breathe to make sure he had that right. I have another blog called Ukiah's Heart, inspired by him, where I try to do just that for all the kids just like him by talking about issues revolving around children with special needs, parents with special needs, and bereaved parents. If this touched you at all, do your part by educating yourself at my other blog, and the other blogs I link to. Also, stop by George Mark House's website and educate yourself about the wonderful work they have done for families like mine and need help to continue to do. 

Thank you, in advance to all the Trifecta members who read this. You're all gems.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Movie Review: Hellbenders

So, do you remember how just last week how I said Clifton Collins Jr. had me by the short and curlies? Well, thanks to Hellbenders, he's not only got me by them, but he's started braiding them, coloring them every color of the rainbow and he named them. For the record, the longest one's is name is Larry. It's a long story.

I didn't really know what I was getting into with this movie. I think I remember watching the trailer for it last year and thinking 'Clancy Brown as clergy cussing, that could be right up my ally'. I didn't know or remember my booooiiii Collins was in it until the opening credits, which may have exceeded my somewhat low expectations by about a bajillion, so you might not get a fair and unbiased movie review is what I'm saying. It could devolve into "Eeeee Clifton Collins Jr. with the collar wearing and the cussing and the scenery chewing, Eeeeee!" But I'll try my best to make this movie review a little bit more intelligible.

The premise of the story is unlike anything I've ever heard of for starters. It involves an order of hellbound priests who commit sins in order to take the demons they exorcise back to hell in their bodies if need be. They cuss and booze and sleep around and commit hedonistic acts to ensure they can expel the demons back to hell. This ragtag group is led by the ever awesome Clancy Brown as the lead priest Angus who calls everyone a c*ck sucker and does dastardly deeds to make sure his vessel is ready to go to hell. He's rounded out by the likes of Clifton Collins Jr., as the conflicted smart-ass Lawrence, Andre Royo, as the record keeper who ensures the order is hell ready, Robyn Rikoon as the fierce, defiant Elizabeth, with Macon Blair and Dan Fogler (Ugh) rounding out the cast. The ragtag band of priests starts out with a new problem. A new Pope has to be named, which means a new archbishop will be overseeing them and probably won't like how they run things, what with stripper cakes being brought into the parish, not mention the onslaught of drugs and sex they submit themselves too. On top of all that, there's a new demon billed as the God-slayer who's threatening to overtake the earth.

The movie is billed as a horror/comedy which is not an easy tight rope to walk, and as a straight up comedy, well it didn't exactly fail but it didn't all out work either. It had one or two pieces that fully (hello archbishob walking into a priest doing some unspeakable acts which may or may not have involved gerbils) worked for me, but I think overall, the movie thought the comedy was only to be found in the idea of priests sinning and that's all it went for, which was mirthful, but not outright funny. Overall, I found the most hilarious part was that because they were still priests, they were forced to use public transportation. Watching a bunch of dour priests face battle while sitting on a bus was hilarious to me for whatever reason, but that was about as far as it went.

As a horror, it most definitely did work. The possession of the Character Elizabeth was so haywire and brilliant because it was less about the gore and more about the psychological baiting. The whole scene builds this incredible demon character up from nothing and sets the scene by feeding off of Elizabeth's insecurities and beliefs or lack thereof. It's incredible to watch and nerve wracking and builds to the very end.
The scene at the very beginning, with Clancy Brown and Collins facing off against a possessed rabbi was the one place where I felt both the laughs and freakouts came very naturally and set the tone for the rest of the movie. It's fraught and yet it gave me one of my funniest, laugh out loud moments. Clancy is getting the demon to possess him instead of the rabbi and is about to cut his own throat as the possession takes place and its nerve-wracking to watch, and then suddenly, Collins comes into the scene stage right, smacking the demon upside the head with a bible and yells "King James Motherf*#&#" and I absolutely lose it. In the cage fight between scenery-chewing one-liners that Collins has uttered, this one and "Found a loophole bitch, I oughta be a lawyer!" are duking it our for supremacy, and I have no idea who wins. Repeated viewings of both movies will have to determine the victor. (So much for this devolving into a Collins fan girl post. heh.)

*Spoiler Alert* I will say, that the ending was pretty transparent and I still find it laughable that the movie thought our end times would come about by a giant fiery hell vagina getting fingered as it were, but these are mostly minor quibbles for a movie that builds its mythology, its horror and its laughs very well by the end. And also, for a movie with Dan Fogler in it, it used him very well, which is to say, very, very sparingly  and for laughs. (I'm sorry, but he still owes me for Ball of Fury and I have not come collecting yet).

So overall, its worth the two hours and the rental fee we paid for it. B+

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

So here's the deal. On the face of it, Pacific Rim had all the makings of a movie made just for me. Big Giant Monsters? Check. Robots and Monsters fighting together? Check. Hotties like Charlie Hunnam and Rob Kazinski sharing screen time and making it sizzle? Check and Check. And yet, somehow the whole was less than the sum of its parts. Don't get me wrong. The whole still added up to a freaking lot, but not as much as I'd really hoped it would.

Perhaps I had too many expectations, perhaps @JAMNPP's review had me believing my twelve-year-old self would also receive a big ole' robotic handjob of awesomeness from this movie. But really, this movie just found my husband and I MST3King the whole thing, making jokes about rim jobs and big holes that needed to be filled. Don't get me wrong, that was worth the price we paid to On Demand to watch the movie, but that shouldn't have been our first instinct.

I have to say I don't know how, but my disbelief wasn't nearly as suspended as it needed to be to glide over some glaring logic consistencies, or some really apparent plot holes that just didn't make sense. Not to mention that Charlie Day and Burn Gorman just annoyed me completely. Talk about a black hole of suckitude. I kept telling Charlie Day to stop doig a cut-rate Rick Moranis impression (Which I'm not wrong. I didn't even have to look hard for this pic, I mean, come on), and Burn Gorman to tone down the Willem Dafoe creepiness because, well, we already have a Willem Dafoe and he's creepy enough. But now thinking about it, Burn Gorman is what happens when a mad scientist takes Willem Dafoe's DNA and mashes with Crispin Glover's hairline and watches what happens. And what happens is annoying.

And the thing that was really annoying was the women in the movie, most notably, the lack thereof. We get to the scene where Charlie Hunnam's character walks off that helicopter and we meet Mako for the first time and Fighting Nun and I had this notable exchange:

Fighting Nun: Hummana!
Bloody Munchkin (giving him the side eye): Really?
FN: Yeah!
BM (more side eye): Really?
FN: She's the only chick in this movie, pretty much. What else do you want from me?
BM: Weird. Your choices are a poor man's Brigitte Nielsen parading around in military gear or this chick, sporting her best Ramona Flowers hairdo. Slim pickings.

But the notable absence of women in the movie just became more noticeable the whole way through. Are you telling me that in the future monster apocalypse, it's still men doing all of the heavy lifting and there's not a woman with any notable career in the whole of this? If Burn Gorman, or Charlie Day had been replaced with a plucky girl trying to make her way in a science career, I would've lauded this movie more than nitpick it to death. Really, I think that's all it would've taken.

But enough of what the movie didn't have, and more about what it did have going for it,  which for starters was lot of broody but hot Hunnam and Rob Kazinski doing his best Ice Man impression, which I gotta say was pretty damned good. The other thing the movie had that I loved (and wished it had a lot more of) is Clifton Collins Jr. May I take a moment to explain just how much of a Clifton Collins Jr. fan girl I am and how I think he's criminally underused in just about everything he's in. That guy had me by the short and curlies ever since he uttered the phrase "Found a loophole bitch. I oughta be a lawyer" and every time I spot him, I get little heart palpitations and a big ole smile on my face because every scene he's in is utterly going to awesome just cause he's in it.

Ahem, sidetracked sorry.

The other thing this movie had was a lot of action and a lot of monsters and a lot of robots and a lot of action with monsters and robots. Both of which I should've loved a lot more than I did. I don't know why, but both fell short in the impressing me category. Still awesome but less awe-inspiring. My eyes didn't pop out of my head like I was hoping. The fight scenes while fun, logistically fell short. You're only sending a giant robot? No air support, no drones with nukes? The F? And if these stupid-ass Kaiju could 'poof' send things through the magical hole of destiny, why didn't they send everything? And, and, and, Gah. See what  mean about my disbelief not being being suspended enough? Needs more duct tape. I'ma work on that.

But overall, it was a pleasurable experience, more pleasurable than I've made it out to be and definately worth a watch. B+

Trifecta Challenge: Phantom

Jenny tried to write off the raven as just a coincidence. But the second it arrived and let out a nasty caw I knew it was a phantom my sister sent to let me know the spell was working.

The Oiji board started moving even though we’d both moved away from it. We watched paralyzed, as it spelled out S-I-S-T-E-R. I could no longer handle it. I wept openly above her grave stone. “I miss you so much Christa,” I cried out.

“We should probably go,” Jenny said, shaking. The trees began to sway violently around us.

“Then go,” I snapped.

“But the book says that bad things happen when the connection is broken,” Jenny pleaded.

“I know what the book says. I’m the one who found it.” I snapped back, although the words didn’t feel like they were coming from me. They felt as if they were put there, like I started reading from a script.

The wind whipped around us and the raven swooped down and swiped its claws at Jenny. She screamed and ran away. Suddenly, everything darkened. It was already a dreary night, but it was suddenly swallowed in a dense fog that seemed to seep into my bones. I felt cold, deathly cold and suddenly hallow.

“Christa,” I screamed out hoarsely, “Where are you?”

“Here,” a voice echoed in the fog. It wasn’t Christa’s but I tried following it anyway. “Come join me.”

“I don’t want to join you,” I started crying. I knew I’d done something wrong and the spell wasn’t working as intended. “I want you back.”

Suddenly an intense light brighter than any flashlight I’d ever seen started breaking the fog. “Life and death is a one way street child. Once you start going down it, there’s no going back the other direction.” It was gran. I was simultaneously grateful and outraged to see her.

“But the book said…” I entoned, starting to cry.

“The book lies,” She said, grabbing me as I fainted.

 Above is my entry for the Trifecta challenge, asking for our best 33 to 333 words using the word Phantom. I don't usually write these kind of horror tinged pieces, but the word, along with a few other of the entries, inspired the piece. Enjoy. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things parenting books will never prepare you for

I don't read a lot of parenting books, partly because there aren't enough hours in the day, but partly because I was a special needs parent for over two years and that trial by fire has pretty much convinced me that I can handle anything and that I don't need no stinking book to tell me what to do. I also get the feeling that the problems I want parenting books to solve, they'd never address. The one that got closest what Let's Panic about Babies, which is hilarious and informative at the same time and also makes for a great coffee table  book/conversation starter.

If I did start picking up parenting books, it would be because a parenting book addressed these following issues specifically, in great detail.

  1. How to handle things, both mentally and physically when you realize there are toe nail clippings in the water table that your child has been drinking out of.

    I'm still reeling from this one. Like I'm wondering what kind of damage it's done to my psyche. Here's the story. So we're outside playing and of course Little Munchkin wants to play in the water table. Her favorite past time in said water table is to drink from it of course, which I try to discourage, but there are only so many hours in the day.

    Said water table was set up by the trashcan for a time, which I'm only mentioning because it's close proximity to the trashcan is the only explanation I can find and be reasonably happy with for the fact that there were toe nail clippings floating in her water table water. Gah. I'm literally having to quell a gag reflex just writing this out. I have to hypothosize that someone's toenail clippings were floating on top of an overloaded garbage can and they just somehow magically appeared in my daughter's unclosed water table (which is another issue entirely) and just settled there, because any other hypothesis for how they got there is just too terrifying to contemplate.
  2. How not to gag on a piece of half-chewed food your child sticks in your mouth.

    The munchkin likes to 'share her food' which in theory is fine but in practice is completely disgusting, because what she does is eat something, realize halfway through the process that she's either not into it or that she's jammed too much into her mouth and then bale with that piece of food. If she's sitting on a lap, she discard said piece from her mouth, into her hand and into a mouth if its close without much thought and barely any reaction time on my part. And if it did make your mouth, she expects you to eat it.  After having three kinds of bodily fluid on me at a time (something I endured as a special needs parent) and going through that without gagging, I thought I no longer had a gag reflex. But when I'm challenged with having a half-chewed piece of french toast forced down my gullet by a drool-covered toddler hand, I most certainly have one.
  3. What to do when a diaper loaded with poo gets flung all around you.

    Shag carpeting + toddler poo = Ugh. 

So yeah, if you know of any parenting books that deal with these problems specifically, I'm all ears. If not, pay no mind to the mother picking toe nail clippings out of a water table while chewing on half-eaten french toast whose busy thinking about the poo still left on the nursery floor.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Scary Things

I'm still pressed for time lately and haven't been able to contribute to the Trifecta challenge the way I'd like, but today they wanted 33 words on what scares us or our characters most. My entry is auto-biographical and the thing I worry about on a daily (if not hourly basis). I hope I don't depress everybody.


I’m not scared of death. Not my death anyway. I’m scared of my daughter’s, that it will happen while I’m still alive, that I’ll see it, that it will be like my son’s.
So, there you go. Just a snippit of what's on my mind pretty much all the time.  Would you like a palate cleanser? Do puppies work?