Dangerous Drivers & Odd Observations: It’s a Crazy World, Folks.

Over the past month, I’ve witnessed several very odd and dangerous situations while either driving or walking. I’ll list them here and leave my thoughts at the end.

1.) I witnessed a pedestrian, jaywalking across a busy downtown street with approaching traffic. This happens (whether we like it or not) and we slow down and stop. However, I noticed this particular jaywalker was pushing a baby stroller. And he was hobbling along on a crutch.

Words–and safety–fail. Please, use the crosswalk. And yes, he/they made it across safely.

Continue reading “Dangerous Drivers & Odd Observations: It’s a Crazy World, Folks.”

A Partial Movie Review & Thoughts on the Horror Genre: “The Quiet Place”

My spouse bought the tickets, got us free glasses of ice water and I scurried off to use the restroom. I sat down in the dark theatre, baffled by the motley collection of previews that ranged from the dramatic yet playful “Avengers” series to an odd, demonic horror movie of  uncomfortable supernatural darkness. I was reminded how even though I write horror, most horror I’ve come across I dislike and avoid. More on this later.

I relaxed as the “The Quiet Place” finally began and flashed my husband a grin. I was geeked about this movie, particularly because I could learn more American Sign Language (ASL). As I mentioned previously, I’m attempting to become fluent in ASL and was curious how the language–and maybe even Deaf culture–was incorporated into the film.

“A Quiet Place” is the story of an American family cobbling a bizarre, post-apocalyptic existence while striving not to make the slightest noise. The parents are raising children, one who is a teenaged deaf girl and two younger boys who are hearing. Alien neighbors surround the town and farm where the family scratches out an existence. The aliens are blind, armored predators; they target and kill anything that makes the slightest noise (including unlucky raccoons). The family walks barefoot on sand paths, eats on lettuce plates and plays Monopoly with soft fabric playing pieces. They cannot cry loudly and struggle with expressing (and suppressing) their emotions. The parents whisper hoarsely to their kids and use ASL to communicate and teach their children how to survive.

I made it through about 40 minutes of the 90 minute film before leaving. Hats off to Mr. John Krasinski, the director, for the movie’s unique power. I walked out of the theatre, afraid to make any noise in case an alien was hiding around the corner ready to ambush me. I blared my Pandora station with courage at home and proceeded to clean my house–until 2 in the morning.

Continue reading “A Partial Movie Review & Thoughts on the Horror Genre: “The Quiet Place””

Book Review & Theory: The Turn of the Screw

A friend recommended reading Henry Jame’s novella, The Turn of the Screw. It’s a psychological horror, set in Victorian times in England in Essex, specifically. Throw in an old country estate named Bly–isolated and with a large pond–a couple of potential ghosts, a country church and I’m sold. Get me a cup of tea, some caramel popcorn and away we go. Nothing better than a cozy horror snuggled up in blankets.

Expecting something like Jane Eyre, I sat and read the novella (approximately 43,000 words) over a weekend, some in the car, some in restaurants and the rest at home. It’s a quick read–I particularly loved the short, but thick chapters, that gave just enough momentum to keep the reader going. The imagery, particularly the ghost sightings I adored. James has a way with describing just enough and letting your mind fill in the rest, particularly with domestic scenes so close to our experiences.

I got to the end, eager for answers, several theories at my side I developed. I met Mr. James there, holding his white handkerchief in a tease surrender, standing next to his character’s corpse. My theories fell to the wayside. I argued, I harangued, I politely condoled. But I would get no answers, it seemed. It was up to me and all the other readers since the 1800’s.

I screamed.

Continue reading “Book Review & Theory: The Turn of the Screw”

Video Games & Writing Inspiration

I enjoy well made video games, preferably Japanese role playing games (JRPGs) with strong characters and story lines (e.g., the older Final Fantasy’s, Legend of Legaia, Shadow Hearts 1 & 2, the Pokemon series, etc.). I just finished my first tactical role playing game, Fire Emblem: Birthright, on the Nintendo 3DS. Overall it was a good game that kept my interest, with a pleasant soundtrack and a broad set of characters to learn about as the 27 chapters progressed. Like with other JRPGs, some personal annoyances popped up: sexualized females and some awkward sexualized scenes.* However, I appreciated the bigger picture of the rivaling kingdoms and the sibling groups love and support for each other. The artwork was bright, beautiful and airy. The story will be shelved in my mind, commingling with my subconscious, giving inspiration to my future writing.

Continue reading “Video Games & Writing Inspiration”

Addiction & Humility in Incomprehension

The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for addiction is bending your pointer finger into a hook and tugging at the side of your mouth.* In effect, it’s a wry way of saying “you’re hooked.” Deaf culture–and its humor–amaze me and I can’t help but smile back. I do appreciate its bluntness.

I support families and individuals behind the scenes who deal with addiction, among other things. I help children reunify with their families, parents reunify with their kids. I help with high level administrative work, low level trench work and all the inbetween mundane tasks. The families and children will never meet me, will never know the battles I fight for them over funding or what I do to make sure they receive second chances. I prefer it that way. If I could blend into the very wallpaper I would, especially if it helped lessen distraction. Just let me work and throw me a cookie every so often; others can do the touchy feely. Am I right, INTJs?

Continue reading “Addiction & Humility in Incomprehension”

All Dogs Go to Heaven

I’ve never liked when I come across a person who is so adamantly sure that animals–particularly dogs–don’t go to heaven. I listen to their explanation, or rather give the appearance of it, because I’m usually required to be polite while enduring intolerable situations. I nod along to their premises (ones I disagree with) and take out an umbrella to shelter myself from their dripping grey attitude. Drip, drip, drip…the beating of the umbrella fabric gives me something to count. On some occasions, I watch the speaker’s temper flicker and flare, catching their pants on fire. I find a fire bucket and quickly douse them, becoming a hero two-fold. I smile coyly and say “There now, everything’s alright. You’re all wet after all!” Continue reading “All Dogs Go to Heaven”

Disabilism: A Word I Didn’t Know

I think it’s telling that when I type the word “disabilism” within WordPress’ platform, the word is automatically assigned a red squiggly underbelly. This mark of doom gives me pause that I mistyped the term, but a quick Google search verifies my spelling. Oxford Reference defines disabilism as “Discriminating against people because they have or are perceived to have an impairment.” In other words, disability discrimination. I’m throwing myself onto the sword: I didn’t know disabilism was a word. I know some disability history and am aware of general laws and governmental support for those with disabilities, at least in America. But clearly I do not know enough to recognize the simple –ism summarizing this ugly arena of human behavior.

All my life I’ve lived with, besides or around disabled people. How then did I not know this word? Continue reading “Disabilism: A Word I Didn’t Know”