Horror Movies…

My local newspaper’s website published a Halloween list of the 13 top scariest scenes in (supposedly) “horror” movies.  A few are okay, but I have some issues with the list, because some of what they put on there just isn’t horror, and some stuff is clearly just there to give a nod to the last few years, but caused some GLARING omissions.  So here’s their list, and my relevant disputes.


·     ‘Alien’ (1979) – NOT HORROR – I’m sorry…but it’s sci-fi.  I know some people don’t see a difference, but there is a HUGE difference.  Horror should not involve aliens.  (Ya’ hear that M. Night Shamalamadingdong?)  I’ll give you that “Alien” could be classified “scary,” but it is NOT horror (I might even let it slide as “suspense,” but I’m more inclined to just leave it at “sci-fi”).  A scary movie is not synonymous with a movie that is supposed to be horrific.

·     ‘Carrie’ (1976) – This was a good one.  Involves the concepts of payback, revenge, fear, rising from the dead, and loads of blood.  All the classic horror elements, and I’m fine with this one.

·     ‘When a Stranger Calls’ (1979) – NOT HORROR – Technically suspense.  Sorry folks, but home-invasion is terrifying, but it isn’t horror.  It’s just suspense.  Shoot, Indiana Jones had to run away from the Nazis, but it certainly wasn’t horror…it was just trying to get away from someone who wants to kill you.  If we’re going to accept “When a Stranger Calls” as horror, we may as well also accept Dennis Leary’s “The Ref.”  (And, yes, even though I am totally freaked out by the concept of “The Strangers” which just hit DVD — this is in the same boat.  Suspense, not horror.)

·     ‘Deep Sea Blue’ (1999) – NOT HORROR, and also not the correct title, as it’s supposed to be “Deep Blue Sea,” but they messed it up.  Well done, there.  It’s Samuel L. Jackson running around with a bunch of genetically engineered sharks.  Where’s the horror?  Where’s the dead guy out to avenge his own murder?  Where’s the fake-out where the killer jumps out of the closet wearing a pelt made of Grandma?  I’ll admit that the thing where the shark jumps through the glass was awesome…but it’s not horror.  Better classified action/semi-sci-fi.  May as well put “Jurassic Park” and “Orca” on the list if this is horror.

·     ‘Saw’ (2004) – Not that scary…but passable.  Qualifies as horror, though the sub-genre of torture-flicks, which I don’t really approve of, but I can let slide.

·     ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974) – Definitely deserves to be on there.  Ed Gein himself would be proud.

·     ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980) – Haven’t seen it…can’t judge.  Don’t even really know what it’s about. 

·     ‘The Descent’ (2005) – Not list-worthy, but passable.  It’s mostly a monster-flick, and that always works as horror.  This one, though, I think is just trying to bow to the present movies and acknowledge that something’s been made since the 80s.  I can let that go, though.

·     ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) – Actually a good one.  Based on a true story that happened not too far from where I live, in fact.  This is the one that made my dad want to sleep in the car after he saw it, years ago.  I never quite understood that, since sleeping outside is always scarier than sleeping inside with the lights on…but whatever.

·     ‘Final Destination’ (2000) – Just supernatural enough to qualify.  No problems here.

·     ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980) – Good one.

·     ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ (1981) – I haven’t seen it, so I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to be…but the site described a scene of a kid getting a shish-ka-bob rammed down his throat, upon which he chokes to death…and I want to see that…so I’ll let this one stay.

·     ‘The Ring’ (2002) – Good God that was creepy…good call on this one.


So…we’re missing a few.



I was glad I didn’t see “Psycho” on the list, because it’s more suspense than horror.  So, well done there…but come on…  No “Elm Street” movies?  None of the classic Draculas, Frankensteins, Mummies, etc?  No “Scream?”  No “Shining?”  No “Night of the Living Dead?”  Shoot, I’d even let the first one or two “Child’s Play” movies sneak in if they wanted to…  Or…hello?  “Evil Dead???”  A tree rapes someone in that movie!  How can THAT not be on a list of scary movies???  Yet, they go with “The Descent” and “Final Destination” which are decent movies, but not really classics and not really unexpectedly thrilling (I could have let them pass with “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” or the aforementioned “Scream,” though).  …and come on, “Deep Blue Sea?”  The “Boy Meets World” Halloween episode was scarier (and truer horror) than “Deep Blue Sea!”



…ehh…at least it’s better than most and didn’t list things like “Terminator,” “Jaws,” or “Fargo” — all of which I’ve actually SEEN on other lists!  (And all of which aren’t horror, btw.)


Also, if you’re looking for some advice on some lesser-known scary movies, check out my brother’s blog for a list he posted.



EDIT: I have no idea why the shade of black changes throughout this post.  Can’t seem to find a way to fix it, and it bugs me…  DOUBLE EDIT:  …and why the hell is this green?!?


My friend Angela inspired me to write this, via Facebook.


Some of you know this, and some don’t.  I don’t like kids.  None of them.  Not a one.


It’s nothing personal.  They’re just very small and have absolutely no control over their behaviour.  Sooner or later, they’ll produce a sound or smell that I personally find offensive, and they’ll make me look like the bad-guy for having pointed it out.  I can do without all of that.  But, what’s worse is the ones who’re old enough that they SHOULD be able to control themselves…yet they don’t.  Some of them just have crappy parents…but some of them are already crappy people at the age of six.


Now…there’s a cut-off.  I can deal with a kid once it’s somewhere in the area of 8-10.  Then you can kind of reason with them, and they at least know when to back down…then they hit like 12 or 13 and there’s all these hormones involved…and they should be shot into space.  (You thought I was just going to leave that at “shot,” didn’t you?)


Then they hit about 16-18 and I’m fine with them from there on out…


…but any kid from 0-8, then 13-15, I can do without…


So, dear friends of mine (if any)…  Do me a favor.  Stop breeding.  Especially those of you who’ve been married for less than a year–which is another blog post altogether.




Current Listening:

  • The Misfits…duh.  It’s Halloween.  Spooooooooky!!!

I’ve Been Showing My Boss Around

Fair warning: My spell checker isn’t working…


Next year, I hand the steering-wheel of the Library over to Tom Scott, who will be my new boss.  I’ll be kind of glad to be rid of the extra pressure at that point…but there are aspects I’ll miss.  (Mostly the private office.)  Over the past couple of days, he’s been on campus doing consultant work and house-hunting for the move in May.  He’s a nice guy.  I think I’ll like working for/with him.


One of the interesting things I’ve been noticing about Mr. Scott, is that he’s been very interested in finding out what our typical procedures are like.  He seems to want to adapt to SLCC rather than have us adapt to him.  That’s a good thing.  One of the things that was said to me early on in the hiring process when we were going over his resume was, “We know he can do the job, but can he do it HERE?”  From the attention he’s paying to our operations, I think he wants to.  I think he wants to integrate into the campus, rather than just move into the office.


As I said, I’m looking forward to that in a lot of ways.  I’m also looking forward to being the only one in the office that knows the filing system next year, ha ha.


Sorry that was a boring post…but it’s what’s going on.  Sometimes you have to deal with my life being dull just like I do.  🙂


Current Listening:

  • Tree By Leaf – “Postcards from Rome”

Current Watching:

  • Father Ted – Which I’ve loved for years.
  • Black Books – Which I just got.  Found the entire series online for like $40!  I’ve seen a few episodes on BBC America and liked it.  I figured I’d take a chance on the rest.  It arrives today, so I’ve technically not started watching it yet…more like “future” watching.  🙂

So this is Pretty Big…

The “this” I’m referring to in the post-title is my gut…


At the train-wreck of a gig at the Penalty Box the other night, I happened to catch my reflection in a mirror while we were unloading.  My exact words to Mike and Kenny were, “Good Lord, I’ve gotten fat!  This is ridiculous!”  Up until the last couple of years, I thought of myself as a thin guy.  Then I noticed I put on a little bit of weight when I was somewhere between 23-25.  Then about a year ago (or two?) I got depressed for a bit and got REALLY heavy (I peaked at roughly 212 lbs).  I took off a lot of that weight, getting down to a comfortable, though not TRIM 175. 


After the gig, I stepped on a scale, out of curiosity.  I didn’t believe it.  So a couple of days went by, and I stepped on a scale again.  Turns out it was right the first time.  Folks…I’m checking in at an even 200 pounds.


Now…I’m not one of these “body is a temple” douche-bags…but I also don’t want to think of myself as a fat-guy.  So…and I know this is the WORST time of year to start it…I’m going to try to shed a few pounds.  I still plan on enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas—maybe even a day or two of Hanukkah, if I get invited to the home of one of my Jewish friends.  Also, if I go to a proper restaurant (or buffet) I still plan on getting my money’s worth.  I know to some, it probably sounds like I’m already conceding defeat, or that it sounds like I should at LEAST wait until New Year’s to get going…but stay with me.


I don’t actually eat that much, normally.  It’s true.  I eat one proper meal, and usually one other small one and/or some light snacking.  True, a lot of what I eat is complete crap…but nonetheless, there’s honestly not that much of it on an average day.  I only eat like a pig when I go to a restaurant or a big dinner—which is probably biweekly at best.  So I think over-eating isn’t really the problem.  The problem is that I don’t exercise AT ALL.  So, mostly, I’m going to start doing some basic exercises.


I already do some stretches for my back just about daily, but that’s not really exercising, and it only takes about two minutes—in fact, they’re performed lying down, just before bed.  They’re really just simple leg-lifts.  (I do more when it’s in constant pain, but I do about two minutes or less regularly.)  So, I’m thinking I’m just going to add to that regimen.  I’m going to add a few additional stretches and crunches.  I’m also adding sit-ups.  Hoping to increase my exercise routine to 30-minutes a day.  Tonight, I only did like ten…but for the first night, that’s a LOT—especially for a fat, lazy bastard like me.  🙂


I’ll be posting about any progress I make.  I hope to post my weight weekly, until I reach a point that I’m comfortable.  But if I don’t…well, I’m probably embarrassed, or I’m trying to ignore the commitment…  So please feel free to ask me about it in person, or in the comments here.  But also please be kind.  The easiest way to get me to NOT do something is to nag me about it.  It’s one thing to say, “How’s the exercising going?”  It’s a whole other thing to say, “So, Derek…I can’t help but notice that your ass is still huge.  Get on a treadmill and put down the sandwich, you planet-shaped snack-whore!”  So…do the former…because the latter’s just going to make me think, “Screw it…it’s obviously not working.”  🙂


Honestly, part of this is just not being happy with how I look.  It’s a tough transition to go from thin to fat in about five years.  Also, part of it’s that I think it’ll help my back to take off a few pounds.  It’s a medical fact that thinner, physically active people have fewer back problems (except for cases of injury or chronic stress) and I HAVE noticed then getting worse lately.  …and the last part of it is that I think I actually out-weight my dad now.  For those who don’t know, my dad used to be a big-fat-dynamo.  Then a few years ago, he had a heart attack and now exercises and diets and such.  His weight fluctuates, I’m sure…but he still looks to be in better shape than I am…and I won’t have that!  …uhh…no offense, Dad.


So…October 27, 2008: 200 lbs.  10 minutes of exercise…  Hoping for better.


Current Listening:

  • Hank Williams III – Damn Right Rebel Proud. 
  • Review: Meh…  Musically great…but how much longer can III live off of making songs about how drugs and Satan are “awesome?”  Seriously, dude…switch it up a little.  You’ve got more talent than that.  Also, if I had one critique of the music, it’s that we’ve all got “Nighttime Ramblin’ Man” and “Cecil Brown.”  Please write a different progression.  But, I DO basically enjoy it…it’s just that I’m starting to feel the “I already had this record” syndrome with III.  Of course, it’s not like Hank Sr. didn’t recycle riffs…so maybe I’m nitpicking.

Brief Update…

Just an FYI to anyone who might’ve been interested in seeing the Feldman Group play at the Penalty Box this weekend.  We played one set and were pretty much told to leave because we didn’t “bring in a crowd.”  We also won’t be playing there tomorrow night.  Or ever.  That’s how they work.


So, I guess a lot of my trepidation leading up to the sets this week may have been prophetic, in some ways.  Sometimes, it’s not that I’m a pessimist…it’s that I know how life works.

I Wrestle with the Gigs Sometimes…

It’s no news to some of you that I often play in a blues/rock cover band.  I make decent money at it, and sometimes the shows are fun.  Plus I really like the other two guys in the band…  But I’ve complained on and off about the places we play since we’ve started playing.  Part of the problem is that we’re largely playing places with no natural draw.  We’re not playing the GOOD bars–we’re playing the bars that expect the band to provide the audience–which, frankly, I can’t promise for that group, since I’ve got my OWN material to support.  It’s a failing business model, to begin with.  If you’re a bar and no one’s in you on a Saturday night, you shouldn’t be employing a band in the first place…but I digress…


As much as I get irritated with the drunks, the bar owners (who are often just freaking insane), and sometimes even the setlist…  I’ve got conflicting emotions about even playing in bars at this point.  Actually, I don’t mind the 9:00-11:00 crowd.  Most of them are the responsible club-goers who know when to stop drinking, or at least know when it’s time to have someone else drive them home…  What I mind is the 11-1 crowd.  The sloppy drunks.  They come in three categories:

  1. The Young Idiots – These are the ones who think it’s awesome to be out at 1 a.m., instead of just being either naturally used to it, or realizing that it’s kind of a pain to be out that late and have to get up the next day.  They think they’re “closing down the bar!!!” but they’re really just irritating the owners by not leaving when “last call” has already been announced.  At least they usually enjoy the music, though.
  2. The Old Idiots – These are usually also the bar’s regulars.  These are the guys that would be there if there were a band or not, come rain, sleet, or apocalypse.  They have long since been defeated by the world, and now all they have left is beer–and not GOOD beer at that.  And they DON’T like the music.
  3. Miscellanea – Some people just end up there until closing and they’re not really sure how it happened.  Either they came in with the Young Idiots and can’t leave because someone else is their ride, so they’re bored and just waiting to go home…or they came along with someone, they started having fun, and they just lost track of time.  (This is usually easy to spot.  They often look at their watches around set three and say, “Alright…one more.”  Then they look again during set four and say “Holy *&^%!!!  I’ve got to get up in the morning!” – The particular profanity is their call.)  They may even be people who just don’t go out too often who finally got a babysitter who was willing to keep the kids overnight, so they’re having a rare night out.  That’s cool.  They usually enjoy the band, and I actually usually like these people, or at least sympathize with them for having burn-out friends that they’re stuck with.  Either way, my qualm is not with them.

The first two groups make me sad.  I wouldn’t probably think about it if I were playing 45-minute sets in a multiple-band setting.  But over the four-hour gigs, you see people come in at 9 (or worse, they were there before you) and leave at roughly 1:30, practically being shoved out of the door because they “don’t have to go home, but they can’t stay here.”  They’re slowly murdering themselves with alcohol, they have no real life to speak of, and they stink of failure and sad.


…and I’m their entertainment.


I struggle with that.  People point out the fact that it’s not exactly like I’m contributing to their excess, since they’d be there anyway…but I’m not sure I agree.  I mean, I’m getting PAID to watch these guys drink themselves to death.  It makes me sad and I often walk away feeling like it’s blood money in my pocket, always knowing that if I ever say anything like, “Man, I think you might’ve had enough” to one of them, I risk either getting into a fight, or giving the band a “reputation” around town and losing bookings. 


Now…I’m no prude.  I enjoy a good drink as much as anyone.  I like a good party.  I also like moderation.  If I went out and drank like these guys (or–even sadder–ladies) do every week, I’d probably die within a month.  I stopped liking being drunk YEARS ago.  I usually will have a couple of beers over the four hours, but I’ve never been in a drunken state while playing, and I’ve certainly never tried to drive home that way.  If you want to be one of the Miscellanea who are just out for the sake of being out, and maybe it’s even kind of “special” for you to be doing it…that’s great.  But if you’re a “regular” anywhere, I kind of pity you.


So…y’know…I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.  Sometimes I’m just not sure the money’s worth it.  Sure, maybe it’d go on if I were playing or not.  In fact, I can GUARANTEE it would…but that still doesn’t mean I want to watch it every week. 


Maybe I’m just burnt out.