Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lock Down

Last night, around 1am, I heard a sound. It sounded like a loud bang and, given recent events, I paid attention to it. But then it was quiet and I started to fall back asleep.

And then the second explosion.

And then I noticed the sirens and more sirens and what sounded like gunfire.

While Emily listened to a police scanner, I walked around and made sure the doors were locked, crawled back to bed and went to sleep.

This morning, I woke up to find that the MBTA has shut down completely. The police are advising that the residents in my town, as well as in Cambridge and Watertown, to stay indoors. As I write this, there is more gunfire in the distance and a small army of soldiers, police officers and SUVs just went down my street at a run.

The two bombing suspects, apparently, killed a police officer at MIT, stole a car and then drove the car within a hair’s breadth of where I live before the police caught up with them. The sounds I heard last night; the explosions, gun fire and sirens, were the sounds of the police catching two of the most hated men in Boston.

One of them escaped. The other didn’t.

The manhunt is intense and all encompassing. There are rumors of evacuations. There are constant reminders to stay indoors. I have been answering texts and phone calls since I woke up this morning.

This is…surreal. This blog entry is not so much for you as it is for me. I wanted to nail down what exactly is happening so I don’t walk through today like a ghost, dazed and out of sync with the rest of the world. I need more concrete words and solid sentence structure and less vague feelings of unease and distress. And as melodramatic as that sounds, I feel like I’m a little entitled to melodrama considering the view out of my window this morning.

So here it is: They are going to catch this man. It’s a little dangerous outside, but Emily and I are safe and we are locked down.

Stay safe.

-D-

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

Resolutions? Uh-oh

So I think it’s fair to say that I have done none of my resolutions for this year yet. That’s fine. It is only April. April is…a third of the way through the year. Oh my God I have no more time to get anything that I wanted to get done and now I’m a resolution failure. And a hack, but that’s a separate issue.

I haven’t written anything. I haven’t run. I haven’t cooked anything beyond beer bread and brownies (both delicious, by the way).

My life is an unmitigated disaster.

That being said, it’s time to right this Titanic and get back on course.

I’m going to start running again this week. No delaying. No whinging. No more putting it off until, “it gets warmer”. This week. Running.

I’m going to polish up that writing sample and have it ready to go for when the window is open. Once again, the deadline is Sunday.

I am going to cook a dinner and move away from baking. It will be a meal. This week. It’s not bouillabaisse, but it will be food  made by me.

All this week. Nothing hard. Nothing complicated. Just three goals to do up right before Sunday.

Ready set and go now.

-D-

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

Culture Defined by Pop

Alan Lomax was a folklorist who spent the majority of his life preserving small, local folklore traditions. He believed that globalization was encroaching on the traditions of countless subcultures and slowly but surely pushing them toward extinction. He was also, potentially, a manipulative, manifest destiny toting jack-ass, but that’s not important here.

The main crux of his beliefs were that the important local traditions and stories and music of Americana would be subsumed by the mass media and rendered meaningless. Instead of the local storyteller, we would listen to radio programmes. Instead of being taught by the local wise-man, we’d be taught by a Federal mandated school curriculum.

Cultural individuality would be gone and we would be left with one, big, happy social identity.

He was, for the most part, correct. Television and the Internet have become one of the primary means that we identify with one another. If I mention Grumpy Cat to an individual who lives on the opposite end of the county, he will know what I am talking about, even if we were born and raised in completely different regions and sub-cultures.

If I talk about Game of Thrones with someone, we will connect. If I mention Downton Abbey, we will bond. Culture is rapidly becoming defined by popular culture; state-wide, country-wide, world-wide. It is steadily and irrevocably moving toward this one, great global culture.

I don’t think this is a scary thing or an arguable thing. It’s just a thing; an inevitable consequence of a communication network that binds together every corner of the globe instantaneously.

What is interesting is the fact that there are still sub-cultures and sub-sub-cultures that are forming and blossoming within this new global identity. Even with the ability to unify everybody under one pop culture umbrella, there are still individuals who huddle under their interests and beliefs, separate and isolated from the main culture.

The difference between then and now is that these people have self-determined their own sub-culture. While in the olden days, Appalachian musics and stories were determined by geographic isolation and blues music and the Harlem Renaissance was determined by socio-economic political subjugation, the various sub-pop-culture interests and traditions that are starting to flower are solely determined by the interests and desires of the individual wishing to define themselves.

And that is not nearly as bad as Mr. Lomax feared.

-D-

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Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think

Movie Review: Evil Dead (Remake)

Last night, I went to see the Evil Dead remake and I was less than impressed.

For those that don’t know, the original The Evil Dead is a horror cult classic that exists in its own realm of awesome. It is a frantic, kinetic, slapstick gore-tastic explosion of excess. The sequels that followed are less innovative, but far more fun and added more to the sub-layers of pop culture than the first. The first was a horror movie that was as much informed by the Three Stooges as it was by George Romero and drive-in horror flicks.

The remake was, in a lot of ways, going to fail before it even got out of the gate. You cannot, absolutely cannot, remake the magic that makes a cult movie a cult movie. And nor do you want to. A cult movie is popular with only a small portion of the movie-going audience, hence the name. The studio is not going to go out of their way to try and please a very cranky, persnickety cluster of fans.

So the remake was far less frantic, more reserved and more by-the-numbers, more tailored for the average Friday night ticket holder. It followed closely along in the footsteps of the original movie and every “cabin in the woods” formula movie that followed.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to consider the idea that the remake was, in a sly way, tapping into the same ideas that the first The Evil Dead did. It was violent. Ridiculously so. Almost Black Knight violent. It even made me wince once or thrice. Much in the way the first The Evil Dead reveled in the gooshy red stuff, the remake over-indulged as well, but catered to an audience that has been emotionally stunted on a steady diet of Saw and Hostel movies.

And as it progressed, Evil Dead became steadily more over the top and more absurd. At the time, when I saw duct tape routinely used as the cure-all for injuries, including, but not limited to, a severed arm, I thought that there was a very desperate or very ignorant screenwriter at play. But now, in retrospect, I think there were just screenwriters at play, trying to tread a very careful line between the goofy, over-the-top slapstick violence of every horror movie from the 80’s and the grim, ultra real, ultra gritty torture horror that has come to, disturbingly, dominate the market in the last ten years.

I hesitate to call Evil Dead a good movie, but I am willing to give it more credit than I initially gave it. If you’re a fan of the original or of 80’s horror in general (Hello Re-Aimator fans), give it a spin, keep an open mind and see it as an amalgam of the now and then.

I give it one, over-amorous tree.

-D-

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Filed under Horror: Movies, Books, Stories and More