This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 27 – July 3

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

A conversation with composer and musician Rob Kapilow,
about the magic of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

As July begins, there isn’t much in the way of newly released ghost- or monster-based media around, but I’ve found a selection of sci-fi and fantasy films that should keep us entertained. (Plus my usual one complete outlier, in the form of The Great British Baking Show, which comes back to PBS on July 1st.) The July 2016 Netflix new releases list has a few fresh-from-the-theater titles, but mostly it looks like they went into the vault to pull out and dust off some old stuff. So many classics are being made available, in fact, I had to add a special section to M&M Media this week, to list old favorites returning to streaming. (They aren’t macabre or mysterious, but when it’s this hot outside, we need lots of viewing options as we seek cool, dim places.)

This week I’m most excited about:

gallery-uktv-great-british-bake-off-02-2 legend-tarzan-movie-poster-2016

~THE MOVIES~

NEW NETFLIX & REDBOX:

Dreamcatcher (2003) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I’ve read the Stephen King novel, of course, but I’ve not yet seen the movie. I’m wondering how the filmmakers will deal with the … indelicate nature of the symptoms caused by the parasite. I find the story itself and the relationships within it to be compelling, but Constant Writer’s descriptions of the intestinal distress experienced by the protagonists was just too visceral for me. In this case, for that reason, the film might be better than the book for me. All that aside, I do love watching a deep-winter movie in the heat of high summer. (And vice versa.) Stars Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee. 

Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.
-from IMDb.

~***~

The Lovely Bones (2009) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
Here again, I’ve read the book, but haven’t seen the movie. With this one, I suspect the film will be less enjoyable than the novel. It’s tough for a movie to capture the magical realism of a written story without going over the line. The shots of Susie’s “own perfect world” in the trailer below feel forced to me. I should confess, too, that I’m one of the few people who didn’t go gaga over the novel. Reading it was a pleasure, thanks to its elegant prose and rich characterizations, but I found the ending unsatisfying … which is my usual response to literary fiction. 

Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
-IMDb.

~***~

Pandemic (2016) NR?

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I’m looking forward to firing this one up. I love a good post-apoc and this one seems to be a crowd-pleaser (85% audience score at Rotten Tomatoes.)

Pandemic is set in the near future, where a virus of epic proportions has overtaken the planet. There are more infected than uninfected, and humanity is losing its grip on survival. Its only hope is finding a cure and keeping the infected contained. Lauren (Rachel Nichols) is a doctor, who, after the fall of New York, comes to Los Angeles to lead a team to hunt for and rescue uninfected survivors.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Terminus (2015) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
An Australian indie film that many critics are praising as sophisticated and low key sci-fi. Hmm.

Following a near-fatal accident, David Chamberlain makes an unprecedented discovery that will not only determine the fate of his family, but of mankind.
-from IMDb.

~***~

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) PG13

Not yet Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
The way they use the song I Think We’re Alone Now in this trailer is brilliant. It hits the perfect creepy/unsettling chord for me. Some reading around the net tells me this movie is a favorite with both fans and critics, with the critics loving it a little more than the fans. That puts it square in my “I’m probably going to love this” sights. I think I’ll go ahead and rent it this week, rather than waiting for it to hit Netflix.

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Catwoman (2004) PG13 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
This movie is legendary in some circles for being so very, very non-canon. And, at the 25th annual Razzie Awards, it won for Worst Actress, Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Director. Is this so bad it’s good? Should I add it to my queue?

A shy woman, endowed with the speed, reflexes, and senses of a cat, walks a thin line between criminal and hero, even as a detective doggedly pursues her, fascinated by both of her personas.
-from IMdb.

~***~

Batman: The Movie (1966) NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
Luckily for Batman fans, Netflix is also going to stream this gem.

The Dynamic Duo faces four super-villains who plan to hold the world for ransom with the help of a secret invention that instantly dehydrates people.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Phenomenon (1986) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I honestly can’t remember if I saw this. If I did, it didn’t leave much of an impression. As I read reviews though, I ran across the phrase “Capra-esque”, which intrigues me. John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forrest Whitaker, Robert Duvall. Should I give it a go?

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.
-from IMDb.

~***~

 ~Titles in the following section are linked directly to Netflix for your queue management needs.~

OLD FAVORITES RETURNING TO NETFLIX STREAMING JULY 1ST:

* Lethal Weapon1 (1987), 2 (1989), 3 (1992), & 4 (1998)  *
* Beverly Hills Cop 1 (1984) & 2 (1987) *
* Back to the Future ~ 1 (1985)2 (1989),  & 3 (1990) *
* Big Trouble in Little China (1986) *
* The Sting (1973) *

HEADS-UP ON MOVIES LEAVING NETFLIX IN JULY:

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ~ leaving July 1st *
* A Clockwork Orange (1971) ~ leaving July 1st *
* Medium, seasons 1 -7 ~ leaving July 1st *
* all the Star Trek movies ~ leaving July 1st *
* Serenity (2005) ~ leaving July 16th ~ Tell me it ain’t so! *

~***~

NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS:

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) PG13

In general release as of June 24th.
On IMDb here.
Oh, dear. The reviews coming in aren’t good, which is sad, because I loved Independence Day (1996). (You can get that one from Netflix DVD.) The only good thing I’m hearing is that the special effects are amazing … and plentiful. I’ll be waiting for this one to come to me on Netflix.

Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?
-from IMDb.

~***~

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) PG13

In general release July 1st.
On IMDb here.
Now this looks like fun. It even has Christoph Waltz as the bad guy. The trailer is so chock full of pretty and awe-inspiring visuals that I know I want to see it on the big screen while I can. (I have a thing for big gorgeous apes … speaking of which, my husband wants to see it too.) This, I believe, is certain to earn our movie money this week. 

Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.
-from IMDb.

~***~

~ON TV~

The Great British Baking Show | PBS | Fridays | 9/8c | Season 3 starts July 1st

I’m slightly less excited about this than I normally would be, because I accidentally found a spoiler last year, and I know which contestant wins. (Such are the perils of watching British shows on PBS, a year after they air in the UK.) Though I’m still annoyed about that, I’ll probably forget all about it once the season gets underway for me. After all, this is less about who wins and more about the baking itself — which is a soul-soothing experience for an American TV watcher like me. (There’s just something so wonderful about watching a reality show that doesn’t emphasize or fabricate drama between the competitors.)  

Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the U.K.’s best. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker, serve as judges. Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts, crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.
-from the PBS homepage.

~*~

Overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape for the upcoming long holiday weekend. 

What are you doing to celebrate? What will you be watching?

Because the Ogre has been working long hours and some weekends lately, he’ll be taking some extra time off this week. That should give us enough time to build some bookshelves, make beef jerky with our daughter, hang out at the pool, and watch a hell of a lot of movies. (We still need to go see The Conjuring 2 even!) 

PS: I suppose I should’ve mentioned that The Purge: Election Year (2016) is also coming out (on July 1st) but, blech. 

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 13 – 19, 2016

~YOUR MUSICAL SPOKEN WORD INTERLUDE~

Christopher Walken reads The Raven

The first M&M Media of each month is always more extensive than those that follow, but the following paltry offering is ridiculous. I promise, I’ve checked all my sources; this week is just a dud for new macabre and mysterious entertainment. Remember to check last week’s edition if you missed it, because all the media I featured there is still available.

How bad is it that the most exciting thing about this list, for me, is my own nostalgia for an imported melodrama I watched for a while 30+ years ago?

prisoner_cell_block_h

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

Orange is the New Black, season 4 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix – seasons 1-3 already available, season 4 arrives June 17th, 2016.
Not Available from Redbox.
Not a movie. Not paranormal in any way, but a guilty pleasure, nonetheless. I drifted away from watching this show after the second season, for no particular reason. It’s ideal for a marathon though, so there may be a stretch of too-hot-to-think days ahead that will allow me to catch up with the women.
On IMDb here.

That reminds me: Does anyone besides me remember the show Prisoner: Cell Block H? (Fun article at that link, from Den of Geek.) I got totally sucked in as a very young teenager, when I could watch it in syndication in the afternoons. Netflix has a DVD collection on offer, but by all accounts it’s terrible. (Incomplete, out of order, etc.) All 692 episodes, however, are apparently available on You Tube. Just sayin’.

NOT-NEW, BUT GOOD, ON NETFLIX:

Dream House (2011) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I had completely forgotten about seeing this until I ran across it today while desperately searching Netflix. This movie belongs on two of my existing best-13 lists, and on one I’m still compiling. There’s some controversy around this film, including the idea that the trailer below gives away too much. (Skip it if you want to go in completely cold.) I don’t mind. I think the story is compelling and the atmosphere is delightfully mysterious. Excellent acting by Daniel Craig. Visually striking, lovely to look at. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
On IMDb here.

Angel Heart (1987) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Ah, I found a gem. I’ve seen this movie, but I’ll be honest and admit that it was so long ago that all I can remember is thinking it was amazing. It’s now in my to-watch queue. I’ll reserve my final color coded judgement until the re-watch, but it’s either going to be green or orange (I’m pretty sure it’s REALLY intense, possibly too intense for some.We’ll see what my older, kinder, wiser self thinks of it.)
On IMDb here. (linked)

~ON TV~

Mother May I Sleep with Danger? | Lifetime| June 18th| 8/7c 

I’m too old for this, right? I mean, the original was a 90s phenomena, and I’m more of an 80s chick. That’s gotta mean at least part of the cool factor here is lost on me. (But the way, I checked; the ’96 version is NOT available on Netflix.) I’ll have to go in clueless. Still, I love James Franco, so I’ll give it a shot.

From the homepage:
“In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the cult classic, “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?,” Lifetime and Sony Pictures Television team up with James Franco to remake the classic TV movie … The retelling stars Franco and reunites Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei from the original film …With a story by Franco, this updated classic features a vampire love story that brings a whole new meaning to “sleeping with danger.””

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

~***~


Grave and scary numbers.

On Fridays, when the weekly prompt for the Post A Week photo challenge is revealed, I try to think of a way to respond that will suit the theme of my blog. My first thought for this week’s prompt Numbers was to seek out the number 13, but even though I kept an eye out all week, 13 was elusive. Other numbers, though, prominently featured in my week, in fact I was haunted by them.

SCARY NUMBERS:

As recent transplant to a new state, I’m desperately trying to figure out how to get around. This process is complicated by my multiple driving phobias. (High bridges, high speed, ramps, forced merges, and getting funneled against my will, to name a few.)   I am determined, however, to establish some comfortable routes, and carve out a territory that feels safe. That means I’m spending an awful lot of time pouring over maps, trying to figure out how to stay off the roads that have numbers but no names.

scary map for numbers 2

#FunWithFilters — I see versions of this and other local maps in my dreams. If only that were actually helpful in any way.

GRAVE NUMBERS:

I had one slight territory expansion success this week. I headed east from Raleigh, in search of two small towns promised by the maps. I found and explored both of them. (One even has a metaphysical shop just a block off Main Street, but that’s another story.)

The excursion was my last ditch attempt to find a good photo op for this week’s challenge. I meant to go to a graveyard — because a graveyard is filled with stories, histories, and mysteries, each told in a few  cryptic words and numbers — but I failed.

(I drove past one that looked promising, but couldn’t figure out how to get back to it. Once the route is more familiar, I’ll make my way  back.)

Luckily, I have a whole folder of photographs taken at graveyards. Here are a few I don’t think I’ve ever published, that have interesting numbers:

2016.05.20 Lexie's Vacation Old Burying Ground graveyard grave 12

This was taken in the Old Burying Ground, of Beaufort, NC, a cemetery that is full of some of the most complete stories I’ve ever found in a graveyard. (There are more photos from the same beautiful cemetery here.)

The iron cross appears to have a ‘4’ on it, but it’s actually a confederate battle flag.

The ’12’ marker at this grave-site is keyed to a pamphlet available at the graveyard. The pamphlet reads:

“(12) Jechonias Willis (1838-1862) — A Beaufort man killed when Fort Macon was taken by the Federals. Beaufort members of the garrison were brought home on a flat and released on parole. The body of Willis was brought at the same time. General Burnside himself stood at the wharf witnessing the joyful reunion between soldiers and families. Then, as the pine box containing the body of Willis was claimed by sorrowing loved ones, sympathetic tears rolled down the general’s cheeks.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This sad and simple stone, located in White Bear Lake, MN, is a glimpse into history, and we must try to imagine the story behind the memorial, using only the clues provided by the numbers.

graveyard tree growing over grave stone

This gravestone, which caught my eye precisely because it is disappearing, had just enough visible information that I was able to identify the deceased by using the excellent database at Find A Grave. There I learned that this is the grave of the founder of a northern MN city named Staples.

Which leaves me with a new mystery: Why is the founder of Staples buried in Anoka, 119 miles away from his namesake city?

Find all my photographic projects at Haunting Photos (there’s also a link in the blog header.)


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 6 – 12, 2016

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Pink Martini – Que Sera, Sera

This week, I’m most excited about:

the-witch-a24-poster-gallery

(But watch the Bob Ross trailer below too!)

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

The Witch (2015) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
EDIT: I composed most of this edition of M&M Media on Friday. Since then I’ve had the chance to actually see The Witch. I’ll leave my initial thoughts intact below, but I must confess I was too worried about the way it was framed in the not-safe-for-work trailer I linked to.

Don’t let your distaste for gratuitous blood and gore scare you away from this film … there’s actually very little of that kind of stuff. That said, the THEMES are tough, there is blood, there is a terrible event, and it is scary. This movie has lots of rising tension and dread. In some parts it might even be a bit draggy, but I have a high tolerance for that, as long as I’m engaged … and I was deeply engaged. I became attached to all the characters in this story early, and stayed that way throughout. Each character, in his or her own way, is innocent, frail, flawed, spiteful, and beautiful. (The adolescent daughter, in particular, is just breathtaking in several scenes.) Together they are very, very human as they try to deal with isolation, a demanding faith, and a horror in the woods. 

My pre-watch thoughts: I’ve been aware that this was out there for a while, and all I knew, before watching a couple of trailers, was that it was supposed to be genuinely scary and that its makers were meticulous about recreating the time period. Now that I’ve watched trailers, though, I’m thinking this one might freak me right the hell out. (Here’s a more graphic, not-PG one, if the one below doesn’t give you the willies.) My plan is  to watch it  in broad daylight, with the Ogre, with plenty of breaks to shake it off.

New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. ‘The Witch’ is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.
From IMDb here.

~*~

The Boy (2016) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox on June 7th, 2016.
This is one of the few movies Ogre and I went to see while we were in the moving process. We both really enjoyed it, with one caveat: IF you’ve seen a lot of spooky movies, this one is pretty predictable. Lots of tropes, but they are done well. The characters are likable. Overall, I think it’s very much worth a rental fee.

An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
From IMDb here.

~*~

The House at the End of Time (2013) NR 

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
In Spanish, with subtitles. This is my random find for the week. I don’t think it’s new to streaming, but it must have appeared in the months when I was away from my lovely paranormal world.

The first Venezuelan supernatural thriller: Dulce is a mother of two who suddenly experiences terrifying encounters with mysterious apparitions inside her old house, a place where a terrible prophecy is about to be unleashed. Thirty years later, an elderly Dulce returns home to decipher the mystery and the tragedy that have tormented her for so long.
From IMDb here.

~*~

The Legend of Hell House (1973) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This scared the hell out of me, in the early 80s, when I saw an edited version on TV. The book, which I sought out immediately, was even darker and more perverse. This film is on my 13+ most haunting ghost story movies list

A scientist and his wife lead a team into the Belasco House, which is supposedly haunted by the victims of its late owner, a serial killer.

On IMDb here.

~*~

Jurassic Park – I, II, and III (1993, 1997, 2001) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
The most recent episode, Jurassic World (2015), is available via Netflix DVD, and from Redbox. Did you miss this series? Any desire to watch it from the beginning? Now’s the time, folks. I’ve seen the first one, and thought it was pretty good. I don’t know if I’m willing to give up as much of my media watching time as I’d need to satisfy my completionist urges, though.

Before I move on, I’ve got to share my FAVORITE Jurassic World meme:
jurassic chickens

When I first saw this, back in June, 2015, I tracked down the original poster, because it was circulating without a credit. The genius behind this is twitter-user @slayer1551. Props to this guy for knowing that chickens are just itty-bitty dinosaurs.

The original, On IMDb here.

~*~

The Fear of 13 (2015)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
According to IMDb: “A convicted murderer who has spent 23 years on Death Row tells his story.” It seems there’s something more going on here, though, because reviewers are making a point of calling it a “docu-drama” and are eager to describe it as compelling and spellbinding. I think I’ll give it a go.
On IMDb here.

~*~

Extraordinary Tales (2015)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I’m very excited about this one. An animated collection of five Poe tales: The Fall of the House of Usher; The Tell-Tale Heart; The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar; The Masque of the Red Death; and The Pit and the Pendulum. Featuring the voices of: Sir Christopher Lee; Bela Lugosi; Julian Sands; Roger Corman; and Guillermo Del Toro.
Oh my. 

On IMDb here.

~*~

Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere (1991)) G

Several of his other workshops are Available on DVD from Netflix.
This particular title is Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
You must watch this trailer. It is the most awesome thing I’ve seen all week. 
The original series, the Joy of Painting, is On IMDb here.

~*~

HEADS-UP ON MOVIES LEAVING NETFLIX IN JUNE:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) available on Netflix streaming until June 24th

(Nostalgia demands a watch before it’s gone.)

~*~

~STATUS CHANGES ON PREVIOUSLY FEATURED MOVIES~
(See original listing, with updated info, by clicking movie title.)

Previously featured, and now available via Netflix streaming:

Amnesiac (2015) * Final Girl (2015) * Phoenix (2015) * The Falling (2014) *  Harbinger Down (2015) *  Pay the Ghost (2015) * Both seasons of Daredevil now available *  Strangerland (2015) *

Previously featured, and now available in Redbox  — and (probably) as a Netflix DVD. There are exceptions.

* Terminator Genisis (2015) * Inside Out (2015) * Hotel Transylvania (2015) * The Martian (2015) *  The Visit (2015) * Mr. Holmes (2015) * The Gift (2015) * Crimson Peak (2015) * Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) * The Gallows (2015) * Self/less (2015) * Z is for Zachariah (2015) *

~*~

IN THEATERS:

The Conjuring 2 (2016) R

In general release June 10th, 2016.
I already fussed about this on my Facebook page. That said, I’m going to see this movie, of course, because I so loved the first one, and because I adore Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in these roles.
On IMDb here.

~***~

~ON TV~

This is not the season for interesting television … thank goodness, because I’ve got a lot of Netflixing and Redboxing to do!

EDIT: After drafting this, I did come across an intriguing new show on AMC:

Preacher | AMC | Sundays | 9/8c | airing now.

From the homepage:

“Based on the popular cult comic book franchise of the same name, Preacher is a supernatural, twisted and darkly comedic drama that follows a West Texas preacher named Jesse Custer, who is inhabited by a mysterious entity that causes him to develop a highly unusual power. Jesse, his badass ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vagabond named Cassidy come together, and when they do, they are thrust into a crazy world populated by a cast of characters from Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between.”

I’ve watched the first 15 minutes or so, but then Ogre noticed what I was doing and said he wanted to see it too, so now I wait. It’s too early to tell if I like it, but i don’t dislike it based on the bit I’ve seen. By next week, I may have some actual thoughts share.

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

A long time coming, but now there’s happiness to spare.

I’ve been away from the Post-A-Week photo challenge, and from my blog, for a long time. (I’ve been almost totally silent since February, and — if I’m being honest — I went mostly-missing not long after last Halloween.)  I was busy being overwhelmed and obsessive about the things that needed to be done so that we could move from Minnesota to North Carolina.

It was a long, scary, and stressful process — one that began as a dream, more than seven years ago; then became a goal, about four years ago; then became a plan, at the end of last year.

It shouldn’t have been so all-consuming. I know folks do this kind of thing all the time, but when I was a younger woman it would never have occurred to me that I would. I was a Minnesota girl, through and through. I was rooted. I expected my life to unspool like that of all my friends and family members, who did not just pick up and start all over again in an unfamiliar biome and an unfamiliar society.

But then life happened.

(I don’t want to write about the circumstances that are included in that “life happened” phrase tonight, but if you want an overview, you’ll find it a pretty good one in the middle of this post which I wrote a couple of years ago, when we were still in the goal stage.)

The point is we are now here, together, in warm, lush North Carolina, and it’s time to get back to taking photographs, and blogging, and writing …  in short, it’s time to get back to living a life instead of planning for one.

I have two photos for the “spare” prompt:

First a very literal one. I had mentioned to my Ogre, on Friday night, the topic of this week’s photo challenge. A couple of mornings later, as we sat at the breakfast table doing our usual morning stuff, he suddenly looked up at me and said, “Wait, you need a photo for spare, right?” then he pushed his puzzle toward me. Slam!

Spare crossword

This next one, though, is the photo that really captured something special about spare for me this week.

2016.05.30 the rainbow from poolside

This is the pool at our new apartment community. We were relaxing in two of the loungers in the late afternoon. The sky was restless, with layers of clouds chasing each other about, and it was occasionally sprinkling us with soft, heavy, warm raindrops. We were talking about our new budget, and our new life, and about how much he’s enjoying his work, and how much I want to settle in to mine.

Then the rainbow came to delight us. A good omen.

The second bow? The one that came a few minutes later? That’s the spare one.

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the “spare” prompt  from others:

(I’ll add more as I have time to browse, so feel free to check back.)

The Simpler the Better | Once a Home | Iceland | spare tires | this reminds me of the paranormal hotel | a spare chair | love the way this is written | refreshing | bone | ooh, a creepy one | spare (ribs) | spare words |


Caution: You are entering a temporarily abandoned blog.

Hi Folks. I suspect many of you have picked up on the fact that my life is changing dramatically, but I should have written a post about it more than a month ago. Apologies. (My mind is just completely overwhelmed these days.) Here’s the official announcement:

We are moving from Minnesota to North Carolina

at the beginning of April, 2016.

That’s 1,200 miles, give or take, and the logistics of the move are nightmarish. Consequently, I have to admit that I won’t be blogging until I can think about anything other than organization, transportation, and packing.

Long term readers will know that this has been our goal for the last four years. I can’t wait to get there, and I can’t wait until this part of the process is over!

Answers to questions you may have:

HOW?

1  The Ogre (my husband) asked for a transfer to a North Carolina branch of the company, but local management said no, they couldn’t do without him.

Instead, they made him the happiest techie-introvert on the planet… he’ll be keeping the job he has, but he’ll be doing it out of an office we’ll set up in our apartment. (He’s a software engineer, and his company employs a number of 100% telecommuters. In fact, he already works daily, via teleconferencing, with some folks who live in other states and work from home. He just didn’t realize he could be one of them.) Isn’t the modern world a magical place?

2  We are taking the dog and the cat with us. (And hasn’t that complicated our travel plans exponentially?) We are not, however, taking most of our furniture. We’ll be living like newlyweds / college kids for a while. (Won’t that be fun?) We want to take our time finding pieces to replace the stuff we don’t want to drag across country. (Plus, to be honest, this whole process is expensive! We’d rather live on folding chairs than go into debt to furnish a new place.)

3  We’re moving into a large three-bedroom apartment in a lovely complex. (We need that extra room for Ogre’s office.) On the property, there’s even a pool, a real fitness gym, and a dog run with agility obstacles. (Bonus: I’ll have my own washer and dryer again.)

WHY?

4  We are done with snow, and ice, and cold … and feeling like we age a few decades, and become shut-ins, for four or five months out of each year.

5  We’ll be joining our daughter (aka Pooka) and her beau, who have been living in NC for almost seven years. In fact, our new place is very close to theirs. Our 20 year old son is relocating with us. Our little family will be reunited.

WHAT NEXT?

6  The plan is to for Ogre and me to take at least a year to explore NC in a quest to find a town or neighborhood to settle in — one that we will love as much as we have loved White Bear Lake, MN. (Which would be perfect, if only it weren’t in MN and subject to so freakin’ much winter.)

7  Our son is leveling up to roommate status. He’ll continue to work and save money, and look into his college options, while he is establishing his residency for in-state tuition. He already has his AA Degree, so he’ll basically be a junior when he can go back to school in 2017. (Not too far off the planned trajectory, age-wise.)

8  Finally, I expect I’ll be clear-headed enough to start blogging and writing again by mid-May. Maybe sooner, if things go well. I miss it.

So. Did I forget anything? Ask anything you like in the comments … and wish me sanity and fine weather for the cross-country caravan trip that is coming.

We’re going home!

 


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Dec. 21-26, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

My Christmas gift to you:

We are hardwired to get along, you know.

Christmas isn’t really my season, but I miss you all so I took a look a what’s available this week. I’m pretty excited to share two things in particular:

 I’ll be back to regular blogging soon. 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYBODY!

~THE MOVIES~

NETFLIX STREAMING:

The Ref (1994) R

Available streaming on Netflix.
I was so excited to see that this is available on streaming this year, so I could recommend it to you. I’m going to give you a fan-made trailer here, because the professional one is just dumb. This is perhaps my favorite modern Christmas movie. Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey are terrific. Dark. Funny. Satisfying.
On IMDb here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2003) PG

Available streaming on Netflix.
Another favorite from recent years, but I usually watch this around Halloween.
On IMDb here.

Most of my other  modern favorites are NOT available on streaming right now, but in case you have alternative ways to access them, here’s the list:

White Christmas (1954)

Available streaming on Netflix.
My go-to classic. I’ve actually seen it playing on a variety of cable channels, but if you’re looking for a pure, commercial-free, watch, queue it up on Netflix. (I have a huge crush on Danny Kaye.)
On IMDb here.

~ON TV~

The Twilight Zone “The Night of the Meek” | METV | Christmas Eve at 2:30AM/1:30C

Here’s the first five minutes of the episode:

Art Carney as a down and out Santa who finds a magical sack of gifts and seeks his redemption. Set you recorder. This is a great one. It has its own IMDb listing here. EDIT: When I set my DVR, I found the program description says this is a REMAKE of the classic episode. It’s possible the guide is just wrong. I hope the guide is just wrong!

ABC’s The Year: 2015 | ABC | Tuesday | 9/8c 

A year in review news show. I’m betting there will be a ton of commercials, so I think I’ll record it and watch it on time delay.

The Jinx | HBO | On Demand 

Nothing Christmas-y about this one at all, but I just marathoned it and enjoyed it immensely. If you need a break from holiday cheer, you could do worse than this documentary.

I don’t recommend a lot of premium cable shows. We often confine ourselves to a basic cable package, so I don’t have reliable access. Our provider screwed something up recently, though, so they gave us a few months of HBO.

I made a bee-line for the six-part documentary, Jinx, which I’d heard about and coveted. It was well worth the time investment. The first episode is the weakest, but I found myself intrigued anyway. By mid-way through the second episode, I was hooked. Over the hours, I developed an opinion, changed my mind, changed my mind again, and got literal goosebumps at the end.

Here’s the homepage.

 

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

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