Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Time Flies

   I recently read a blog by a new friend of mine that was all about time and his decision to no longer live tied down by worrying about its passage.  We spoke briefly about how he chooses not to know his age anymore, and I was intrigued.
    It is true that we, as human beings, have a tendency to put such importance on time.  Being on time, the passage of time, birthdays, new years, deadlines, being late, being early, what time is it, what time will it be, time time time.  Frankly, it's an obsession.  One of which some people, I'm learning, have chosen to rid themselves.

   I, myself, am incredibly guilty of putting deadlines on things, even soft ones. I always thought that if I put a deadline on something, I knew I was more likely to work toward it. Having my own home by 25. Starting a family by 26. Successful enough to retire by 35. These were all very arbitrary numbers, but I always felt that having them was a good way to make sure I stayed on track. I've bypassed all but one of the above with zero success on either front, and despite always telling myself they weren't set in stone and just guidelines, I find that I feel I have failed. Without realizing it, I set a much higher importance on these dates than I meant to, and now suffer the consequence of feeling as though I'll never reach those goals at all because I missed them the first time.

   There is a huge part of me that would love to take this existential leap into timelessness and try my hardest to live every day, every moment, as a single piece of life to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest.  Like a slice of cake that is savored, every bite, with no thoughts as to when the other slices will be consumed or how they will taste when it happens.  Giving up the idea of time, to me, is a slightly more extreme version of "living in the now".

   My friend says, in his blog, that by doing this he has seemingly slowed his life down by living each moment. With time as the governing factor in everything we do, our lives are akin to grabbing a handful of pages in a book and just running our thumbs across the side as they all flutter past until we reach the end.  We plan and live our lives as though the goal is to get to the last page as quickly as possible.  And in doing so, we skip the entire story that got us there.  We ignore everything that doesn't, in some way, get us to whatever we've decided to aim for.

  I don't know if it came from somewhere else, but the only place I've heard it is on The Browncoats album, Space Age Loser: "Only an unhappy man wears a watch."  The more I think about this line and the myriad meanings it could have, the more I can't help but think it's more accurate than we realize.  When all you're doing is trying to figure out what and when comes next, it must mean you're not enjoying what's happening now.

   It's such an easy thing to say, though.  "I will live in every moment!"  But the fact is that time is unavoidable.  Deadlines are inevitable. Unless you're living in the woods; Even then, you have to track the sun and the seasons to survive. But in our world, in society, we have to live at least some of our lives as slaves to time. I do it when I sign up to vend at a convention.  We do it when we make plans, choose classes, set dates.  When the rest of the world relies on a set standard of time, it's impossible to ignore it. I'd be interested to know how to reconcile the two; Living a life without tracking time while having to do so daily.

   Getting to the point where age doesn't matter while living a life where each day is filled with moments that rely on time.  I love what I do.  But how can I detach my success from my hopes for the future?  Is it too lofty a goal to want to enjoy every moment and use each of those moments to set up happiness for the ones that are upcoming?  Is it even possible not to worry at all about what's coming?

   True, we may die at any moment.  And it would be best if our last moments were good ones.  But more likely than not, we will live.  We will live a long time, and we can't just ignore that we need to prepare, at least in part, for that length of life.

   It's a tough one.  I would love not to feel as though I have failed at life for missing my arbitrary deadlines, but I also know that it's impossible for me to ignore that I still have goals to work toward.  No one wants to live life as a slave to the calendar or the clock, but to what extent can we really dismiss these?  How can we adapt and possibly learn to do both?

   Whatever it leads to, I look forward to going down this path and trying to figure it out.  This is the first time in a long time that something has made me look at myself so deeply and question whether I've been doing it all wrong.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Screw Your Remake #1: Halloween

Years ago, I was a writer/editor on the site It was there that I came up with the idea to write a column focusing on the shite that is movie remakes. I named that column "Screw Your Remake". Succinct, to the point. I was only able to do one article before the site shut down. I haven't written another since. Recently, I've been reminded how much I loathe remakes, so I've decided to pick it back up! Below is the first and original, and there are more to come!

(Originally posted on

I’ve decided to start a series of columns dedicated to the pure awful that is movie remakes. As most of you know, the majority of these remakes are being done on horror film classics or Asian horror films. I’m sure there will be other articles about non-horror remakes, but my love and passion is horror films, so they will be prominent.

To begin, let me first say that the word “reimagining” will only be used as a mockery, in a sarcastic tone, and with venom. You haven’t re-imagined anything. The entire concept of the “re-” is that something is being done again. If you had an imagination, you wouldn’t need to leech off the ideas of others. Others to whom ideas actually were original; They called that imagining. Notice the absence?

Reimaging is a concept as asinine as “new and improved!” Which is it - new, or improved? It can’t be both. New denotes something that hasn’t been done before, improved suggests that something old has been revamped and made better. Reimagining = fail.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.

John Carpenter will always and forever hold a firm position in history as a filmmaker. Many of his movies have achieved Classic status, whether mainstream or cult, and have prompted many revolutions in the way films are made today. One example of this is Halloween (1978 ).

With influences from Alfred Hitchcock, Carpenter created a character that successfully scared the crap out of generations of children and adults alike. All without the use of gore or gratuitous violence and nudity. His Halloween was and is a psychological thriller, tapping into our fears of evil and our inability to stop or understand it.

Some critics argue that this film was a social critique, noting that the sexually promiscuous and otherwise morally inept characters are the ones to die the soonest. While Carpenter dismisses these analyses, there is no denying that the perceived parallel between moral strength and likelihood of survival has become a standard slasher movie theme. Another common pattern stemming from Halloween is the main killer’s ability to survive gruesome attacks or even return from the dead multiple times.

While I have been known to argue the movie’s right to being heralded as a Classic, I do not deny its strong influence on horror as we know it today. Because of that, I respect its standing in film history. A respect I fear is devoid in Rob Zombie after watching his horrific remake.

The first thing I’d like to say to Rob Zombie is this: If you want to make films about trailer trash, show off your wife’s tits, and make movies that are two hours of blood, guts and sex then have at it. Leave Halloween and other psychological thrillers and classics alone.

In Halloween (2007), Zombie, bitten by the prequel bug, took it upon himself to completely change a character that has become an icon. Michael Myers, in 1978, is from an upper-middle class white family. They live in a nice home, in a nice neighborhood. In 2007, Michael Myers lives in a trailer with a stripper for a mom, a drunk for a step-dad, and a slut for a sister.

In 1978, Dr. Loomis informs the sheriff, along with the audience, that Myers is evil. Pure evil. There is no other reason for his behavior than that he is perhaps a human incarnation of what people spend Sundays in church to dispel from their lives. Myers, the jolly giant in Zombie’s movie, was picked on as a kid, or maybe he’s a sociopath… both?

The inconsistency in the explanation for why Myers acts the way he does is frustrating. Not only have you tried to garner sympathy for the character by showing him bullied as a child, but at the exact same time you’re trying to claim he is a psycho with no sense of morality that doesn’t deserve the sympathy or have any reason for what he does. Make up your mind! Myers doesn’t kill his mom or his baby sister because they are the only ones who are nice to him. But while he is being transferred, he kills the janitor that has taken to him since he was a kid and treated him with nothing but kindness. Then when he meets Laurie, he has no intention of killing her until she tries to escape from him, thus being mean to him and incurring his wrath.

One of the amazing things about the original Michael Myers was that he seemed to show no mercy, but also no emotion. His killings were cold, calculated and quick. He stared deeply into the eyes of his victims as he wrapped his hand around their necks and cut off circulation, seemingly enjoying the event with calm collective. He didn’t rush around in a frenzy, he was patient. This is what made Michael Myers so scary. To think that anyone could so wholly lack any sense of conscience or morality is frightening. He was able to do this because he was evil.

Poor little Mikey who got picked on by the mean kids at school would likely not act this way. People out for revenge harbor very strong emotions about the people they kill.

The near pornographic quality of the film was totally unnecessary and goes a long way to hack down Zombie’s status with me. A good film shouldn’t need tits and ass to keep the audience’s attention. It also shouldn’t require a mass amount of blood and guts. Those are all just smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that your film is lacking in quality elsewhere. Like, say, plot and consistency? Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous camera tricks that near gave me a seizure while I was watching the film. I get it, Dude’s big. I don’t need to see it from a thousand angles to believe you.

One of the things that hurt me the most about this film is that movie legends like Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Caligula) and Brad Douriff (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Child’s Play) associated themselves with it. I suppose getting old does a lot to hamper your reasoning. After seeing McDowell in Doomsday, I determined he’s officially senile.

Long story not quite short – the Halloween remake was unnecessary and a complete crap on the concept and status of the original and everything it has influenced since. When I find a remake that isn’t, however, I may just die of shock. Now there is a sequel on its way. The only pleasure I see coming from that one is when I tear it down piece by piece for the bile it is.

Like a knitting needle to the jugular, I’m Maygin Theresa.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's A Wonderful Day In The Neighborhood

Every day we turn on our televisions to the sad news of abuse and neglect.  We are inundated with the truth that we live in a world where people kill each other for sport and wars are being fought for little more than a disagreement over which deity to worship.  Far worse than people hurting each other, however, are the innocent victims of our hatred, cruelty, and gross apathy. 

We’ve all seen the commercials.  Sad songs crooning over a montage of pathetic, helpless animals whose previous owners no longer deemed it necessary to do their duty and simply threw these poor creatures away.  Left to starve, freeze, or cook in the elements these animals are forced to survive until, hopefully and mercifully, someone rescues them.  And all we can do is pray that whoever finds them is taking them in with the intent of saving them, or bringing them to a shelter where they can be cared for until they find a loving home.

 Too often, though, instead of salvation these dogs and cats are beaten, shot at, and killed or simply left to die after suffering their torture.  Left to spend their last breaths wondering what they could possibly have done to deserve such treatment from strangers, or worse, the families they once loved.

Good, decent people see these pictures and hear these stories and their hearts break.  They count their pennies, check and recheck their living arrangements in hopes they will figure out some way to help. 

Maybe I can convince my husband to get just one more dog.

If we buy the cheaper brand of cat food, it won’t be any more expensive to feed three cats instead of two.

God, I wish there were some way I could help.

But even with all of our efforts, it will never be enough to save them all.  And that is the worst feeling of all.  The feeling of helplessness;  of knowing that no matter what we do, we will fail.  So we continue to watch the sad TV spots, to spread the word however we can.  And we grow angry.  Our impotence leads to frustration, pleading, and even hatred for whomever could commit such disgusting and inhumane acts against any creature, let alone one so trusting and loyal. 

Who, we wonder, could be so empty that they could do this to an animal without flinching?  Who could bear to commit and walk away from this?  What kind of evil is in the heart of the person who allowed something like this?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the answer.  We may never find it.  All we can do is keep helping and supporting those who make a positive difference in the lives of these beautiful, innocent souls.  And while we do that, another question may arise – Who could witness crimes like these and choose to do nothing about them?  For that we have an answer.  But sometimes knowing is worse, because it isn’t easy to look into the face of true evil.