Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Premature Embellishment

Let me make my feelings twinkle-light clear: there is no justification for decorating your house with Christmas lights nearly a week before Thanksgiving. Yet, when I drove into my development after work Sunday night I was greeted by a fully-lit, entirely Christmassed-out house flashing me in the most inappropriate (for November 23rd) manner.

And I wonder, what is the message this house is supposed to be sending me? Is it "Look! I operate independently from the Gregorian calendar!" Or is it just the bragging rights of being the first, at something...anything.

"DECEMBER - not NOVEMBER," says Miss Cranky Blogger

In a new-found effort to be kind or empathetic or mimic some other charitable emotion, I wondered what extenuating circumstances might prompt, or even require, the early Xmas decoration. I could only think of two: Someone shipping off overseas to serve their country before the holiday, or someone with only 5 days to live whose dying wish is to see their house all lit up, just one last time.

If this is not your situation, I beg of you: Please don't turn on the lights before Thanksgiving. See, I'm not saying don't put up your lights -- for all I care you can leave them attached to your eaves 365 days a year. I'm just saying please don't turn them on before turkey day.

In addition to being annoyed at the premature embellishment, I am perplexed -- it was freezing this weekend. At least 10 degrees colder than normal. I can see rushing things to take advantage of unseasonably warm weather, but to take advantage of unseasonably frigid weather?

Even more annoyed by illogicalness of it all.

I'm not a grinch. A contrarian, yes, and somebody who is old enough to remember when Christmastime meant Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day even - but - not an entire "season."

The next evening, upon his return home from work, my Esteemed Husband told me there were now three houses lit in the neighborhood. Oh yes, we suburbanites are nothing if not intensely competitive beasts.

So, to the folks who won the bragging rights to First Lights this year...you may be thinking you are being festive and jolly and all that. But I find your early lighting depressing - in that it just seems another dilution of the Christmas Spirit into something much less potent and meaningful.

On the other hand -- tomorrow's Thanksgiving! So all the rest of you can decorate to your heart's delight and my mouth will be too full of pie to complain.

Run! Here comes a former vice-presidential candidate!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cyn's Movie Recommendation for Stoners, Stay-at-home Moms Who Don't Like Soap Operas, and the Employment Challenged

Yesterday, I was paging through the Verizon Fios On Demand menu for something free to watch while I did mending (Mending? Yikes! When did I turn into a granny?) when I saw it listed -- The Brain That Wouldn't Die!

Guess how I spent the next 80 or so minutes.

As manner of explanation (or excuse), I present one of my earliest television memories:

My sister and I were sleeping over at my grandparents' house...in my hazy memory, we were tucked in, each on our own little cot, in a small room that might have been my grandfather's home office or a spare bedroom. The room was dark, save the glow from the black-and-white television sitting on a cart between our parallel cots. The whole set-up was quite a treat, because (of course) we didn't have TVs in our bedrooms at home.

We were being allowed to watch a television program before we went to sleep. That show was: The Outer Limits.

...we control the horizontal...we control the vertical...

If you're not familiar with Classic TV (read "not anywhere near as old as I am") The Outer Limits was kind of like The Twilight Zone, but scarier - at least to a kid. And I probably wasn't any older than 7 years old at the time. But I loved that show. And it seems to have either set the stage, or have been an indication, of the viewing tastes of the rest of my childhood.

ANYWAY, a long and roundabout way of saying I watched a lot of Sci-Fi/monster flicks in my misspent and sedentary youth...and although I may have seen The Brain That Wouldn't Die half a dozen times on UHF in the 1960s-70s, I've never watched it as an adult. Naturally, I had to rectify that when I saw the listing yesterday afternoon.

Turns out I really got a kick out of it. In fact, I'd give this flick four (out of five) Dust Bunnies (what other measuring unit would a person use that's watching a B movie at 1 in the afternoon?)

It's got the requisite inadvertent humor you look to a B movie for, but also a plot that is fairly inventive. And a feminist message -- she's not going to let a little thing like a lack of torso and limbs keep her from taking control of a bad situation!

Even if you've never seen the movie, the image above is fairly iconic. And evidently, this film was used in a popular MST3K episode -- but I would suggest watching the original version and adding your own heckling.

Because the movie stands very well on its own (lack of) feet. Like most successfully cheesy Sci-Fi, The Brain That Wouldn't Die explores/exploits a scientific innovation. It was made in 1962, the year that a severed limb was first successfully reattached. View it in that light, and you see the movie works not only on the pure horror level, but also played on a prevailing fear of the time -- that medical science might venture into areas where it didn't belong...doctors playing god and conducting unethical experiments...hmm, absolutely recycles the Frankenstein plot...so, um, forget my analysis and enjoy the bad acting and pure camp of it all.

Expect something very low-budget (a couple times it's glaringly apparent they used music so they didn't have to mic a scene), enjoy the retro vibe of the trolling for loose women scenes, and laugh out loud like I did at practically everything Jan In A Pan says.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

She Asked for a Smiley Face

This was the first presidential election my nine-year-old daughter was aware of. She followed the campaigning with interest (in a fourth-grade superficial kind of way.)

Even so, there was no way she could stay up last night to watch all the results come in, not with school today.

Before she went to bed, she had a request. If Barack Obama won, she wanted me to slip a drawing of a smiley face under her bedroom door...and if John McCain won, I was to make a sad face.

I've never enjoyed doodling more.

There's not much I can say here that won't be said better by those more eloquent than I...and maybe the election results are a clear sign that the time for words is over and the time to act is here. But I'm smiling inside, more than the smiliest of doodles could convey.

Because I doubted reason would prevail. Because I didn't believe that racism could be overridden in my lifetime. Because I had given up hope, but now it has been given back to me.

Thank you, fellow voters. Thank you, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Things Michael Penn and I Have in Common

#1 Both vertebrate mammals.
#2 Both wearing a vest on April 27, 2007.
#3 Both have posted in the Not Spencer series on the blog A Rubber Door.

Okay...so I'm still working on fleshing out the list -- but in the meantime, check out the new, exclusive (imagine the word "exclusive" surrounded with sparkly thingies) song/musical -blog-contribution, "The Count of Pennsylvania" by fantabulous singer-songwriter Michael Penn.

And, for my political ranting, see: "Hope vs. Fear in a Steel Cage Match for the Title" (Ah, I've been waiting years to work a professional wrestling term into my writing!)