BFQ Diary #3: A Fall Failure … Kinda.

So the month of NaNoWriMo has passed. I did not write 50,000 words in November. Worse yet, I did not finish a complete rough draft of a novel in autumn, which was my actual goal. (Otherwise known as my Boss-Fight Quest, as you may recall.) Assuredly, by these metrics, I have failed.

But.

I am writing again. I have figured out how to find the time and energy I need to make words happen, even as I continue to settle into my life in North Carolina.

During the month of November, I pretty much set aside everything I deemed negotiable — things like housekeeping and social media maintenance, for example — in favor of a new approach. I split my waking time into thirds, as follows: 1/3 taking care of my self and my loved ones, 1/3 having fun and relaxing, and 1/3 working on the novel. (Plus, I’ve been sleeping regularly … up to eight hours at a time!) This approach worked. (Even if it didn’t lead to prodigious, NaNoWriMo-style output.)

This autumn, I helped my daughter sell her buttons at a couple of events, including the Raleigh Pagan Pride Festival. Our family picked out, and are preparing for, a puppy who will come home to us in a three weeks. I went to the NC State Fair. (That was a two-for. Both fun and work, because I wanted to do some research for the novel setting.) And now plans are underway to have a real Christmas, for the first time in years.

I also wrote about a third of a novel. (One that is shaping up pretty damn well, I think.)

In these last few days of fall, 2016, I feel balanced and healthy. My relationships are happy. My home environment is … fine. (Better than fine, really. Even good. Just not immaculate.)

So. As the “winter” season begins, I’m going to stay with this plan. I’ll have to make few tweaks of course. I am going to have to dust, sooner or later. And, as usual, I’m resolving to being more faithful to the blog and my other social media connections. I hope to do some on-topic posts in coming weeks, but for now I’ll settle for checking in with you and sharing a bit of what I wrote in autumn.

I hope you are all well, and living the lives you want to live.

P.S. Please remember, this is from a first draft.

Excerpt from ‘the carnival novel’. (As it is currently known.)

The wind lifted the hair off his hot nape, bringing with it a fresh burst of his prey’s scent. Under layers of sweet and powdery perfumes, the animal smell — the betaille smell — of her was dank. She reeked of long-dried excretions, of gently rotting teeth, of pinprick wounds now scabbed over.

For more than an hour, she’d been posing off to the side of midway traffic, smoking cigarettes, making herself available. Despite the sultry evening, she was wearing a jacket with long sleeves and many pockets. All the better to hide a pharmacy, he thought, scowling. Below the hem of the coat, a few inches of denim-clad thigh showed above tall boots. Best to cover up as much scarred and pasty skin as possible, eh Chère? He noted the boots were flats. She’d be able to run.

The night was loud with the sounds of the carnival, but it was no trouble for him to sift through the noise and hear the patter she directed at teenagers as they passed. “I love your skirt,” she’d call out. Or “Hey, where’d you get that foot long?” If the marks engaged with her, she’d chat some, maybe offer a cigarette, before asking, “Looking to get hooked up?” Or, “Need some party supplies?”

The kids couldn’t see the sloven woman — the salope — beneath her fresh-from-the-mall clothing. A shoplifter too, yeah. They couldn’t see the underside of her shiny, long, false nails were crusted with dirt and food and flakes of skin. To them she was a girl, like them, except a bit more edgy. Just a pretty pichouette, in a fashionably distressed jacket, offering to sell them a little fun.

Maybe if she only peddled the mari, he would leave her be. True, she was stealing money better spent on the carnival’s attractions, but about that he could look the other way. After all, some of her marks had come to the carnival only to score their pot. Whatever dollars were spent on the midway by such as them was a windfall, a side effect of the “munchies” her herb inspired. If mari were all she sold, he could forgive the trespass. Mais non, this one sold all the poisons, all the pills and powders and rocks. And some of the children she pitched were so young they had yet to grow hair under their clothes.

Now she was selling capsules, each a one, to a trio of muscular young men wearing matching jerseys. The were laughing and posturing for her, daring her to come ride the Freefall with them. He tensed as she looked up at the blazing neon tower they pointed at, worried she might slip away from him, escorted by the fortuitous herd of near-innocents.

His shoulders relaxed when she put them off, telling them to come back around for her later, making sure to touch each boy as she made her excuses. Was she a putain too? If so she was spoiled meat. He could smell her sickness from where he crouched.

Finally the pack of boys left her. As soon as they turned away, her flirtatious pout fled her face and she licked her thin lips. With narrow, feral eyes she looked up and down the strip. Assured that no one was paying attention to her, she turned her back to the flow of people and swiftly organized the cash the boys had pressed into her hands. She tucked a single bill deep into her front pocket then slipped the rest down the front of her pants, careful to snug the wad up against her crotch.

She looked up suddenly, a stray chienne who’d caught an alarming odor. She peered into the darkness, trying to decide if there was something or someone to fear between the generators he was using as cover. He held his ground, motionless. If her human vision was better, she would have made direct eye contact with him, but to her there could be nothing more than a glint of reddish light reflecting from his eyes. Spooked even so, she backed out into the traffic behind her, then allowed the stream to carry her eastward. She glanced back to her squatter’s territory twice before the crowd swallowed her. Trust one predator to know when another was around.

Staying to the alleys, he kept pace with her as she strolled along the midway, not always bothering to keep her in his sight; he would not lose her trace now. He contented himself with occasional glimpses of her long blond ponytail and that jacket. Within five minutes, with the invisible pressure of him muted by distance, she had stopped checking over her shoulder.

He drew close again when she paused to buy a lemonade and a pretzel. A local boy, temporarily hired to work behind the counter, was just as vulnerable to her surface beauty as any mark. But — he was pleased to see — his cousin Salvatore’s son, who was running the booth tonight, was not fooled. His face twitched in disgust when he caught a whiff of her. When the local went to pump extra cheese into a second cup for her, T-Salvatore stopped his hand with a disapproving glare that forbid the lagniappe.

She moved on. By the time she dropped her plastic lemonade cup into a garbage can, her loose-hipped, easy saunter told him that she was feeling confident again. He wondered if she’d circle back to the corner where he’d discovered her or choose a new location to hawk her wares.

Instead of doing either, she made her way to a bank of portable toilets that lined the eastern edge of the fairgrounds. There was no crowd here, where there was nothing bright and flashy to make one linger, but plenty of stink to hurry one away. She moved toward the end of the line, where strung up lights did little more than blunt the darkness pressing in from the rough fields around the fairgrounds. To the north, beyond the fields, on the far horizon, was a black line of timber. A welcome breeze wafted the clean, wild scent of pines to him as he watched the girl check three boxes, before she chose to go into the second from last. He smiled.

 


BFQ Diary #2: Something Old and Something New

Something New: Anticipating Hurricane Matthew

So, there’s this hurricane. Named Matthew. And he might pay a visit to Raleigh in a few days. Scenarios vary, and it’s still quite possible that he’ll veer out over the Atlantic, but the speculation and discussion about his approach is making it hard for me to concentrate on my Boss-Fight Quest. (Said quest being to finish the first draft of a novel within one season, deadline Nov. 30.)

About a month ago — over the Labor Day Weekend, just as I was getting rolling on my draft — Hermine brushed the coast of North Carolina, but it was almost a non-event here in the center of the state. In Raleigh we got a lot of steady rain for about two and a half days. It was good writing weather.

At her strongest, Hermine was a Category 1 hurricane, but she had been downgraded to a “post tropical storm” by the time she tickled the Carolinas on her way north. (I don’t mean to minimize. The Outer Banks took some damage, but even that wasn’t too bad according to the news.)

Hurricane Matthew appears to be a different kind of beast. He intensified from a Cat 1 to a Cat 5 hurricane in just 24 hours. Now he’s settled down to a Cat 4 and is ravaging the Caribbean. He’s expected to weaken to a Cat 2 before Friday night or Saturday, when he will arrive in or near my state. The TV meteorologists are in their glory. The governor (boo-hiss, for other reasons) has declared a State of Emergency for Central and Eastern NC.  It’s all making me … ansty. It’s hard to relax and drop down into my work. Hell, it’s hard to sit in a chair.

Okay, that’s an understatement; let me try again: If I had a visible meter on my forehead, its indicator needle would be frantically sweeping back and forth across the dial, from “nervous*” to “thrilled.**

To be clear, those theoretical meter labels should be translated thusly:

  • * Ohhell we could lose power, and windows could shatter, and Very Important Plans could be disrupted, and we could run out of bread, and …
  • ** Ohmygod this could be the most awe-inspiring storm I’ve ever frolicked in!!

A few minutes ago, I opted to make a quick visit to the store, even though my daughter and I will go on our regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip tomorrow. I needed to find out if a run on milk and bread and bottled water has begun yet. It has not. All the shelves and cases are well-stocked. The atmosphere is calm. Everything is normal. I bought bread … and an unneeded gallon of chocolate milk. (I don’t buy bottled water, because the tap water here is fine, but I figure having a spare empty gallon jug around sometime on Friday won’t be a bad thing.)

The trip helped. A little. At least it relieved enough of my antsiness so that I can sit here now, to a write this BFQ Diary entry.

Something Old: This week’s photo prompt is ‘NOSTALGIA’

Nostalgia for me right now is more like déjà vu than like reminiscing. It’s being pleasantly surprised when a new experience arouses familiar emotions, emotions that were once inspired by something very different.

Here in NC there are not as many natural bodies of water present in daily life as there were in MN. (Land of 10,000 Lakes and the Mississippi and the pond my old apartment overlooked.) I know North Carolina has lakes and rivers too, but they aren’t yet within my personal driving territory. What I have now is the Atlantic Ocean. As spectacular as the sea is, it’s only a rare treat for me, because it’s a three-hour drive away.

I’ve been missing water badly.

This week, I went to a local park. There’s a bit of water there, in the form of a small drainage pond fed by some culverts, but, even though it’s pretty enough, it just hasn’t been inspiring the same feelings I had while gazing into the waters in MN.

2016-07-08-great-blue-heron-at-library-park

Still, I’ve gone back to the park several times. And each time I’ve noticed this magnificent rock that lies just off the boardwalk that winds through the dense wood.

my-rock

This time, I finally decided to kick off my shoes and clamber up.  (Yes, I’m in a skirt; luckily there was no one around to flash.)

the-rock-on

Which was fun, because I like boulders too. Then I turned around to see the view from my new vantage point.
rocks-view

At that moment the sun peeked out from behind intermittent clouds and the breeze picked up, making the leaves flutter and the shadows dance. That’s when my nostalgia hit. The peace and joy I felt was just as good as it used to be when I was sitting on a bank overlooking the Mississippi. Maybe even better, because now I know I’m really home.

EDIT: As I wandered the nostalgia responses, I found a reference to this song, which I’d entirely forgotten:

Talk about nostalgia! As a 10 year old, I spent a lot of time pouring over my sister’s collection of 45s from her youth. I remember listening to this one over and over while I was babysitting my nephew; he loved it when I’d pick him up and wildly whirl him around the room in my arms. And now I have tears in my eyes … ah, nostalgia.

~***~

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

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Here are links to some of my favorite entries for the NOSTALGIA prompt  from others:

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

Missing Mongolia | If you Only Stay Little | Just look at that bread! | 1963, captured beautifully. | A sheep queen. | Dreams of Childhood | Dad’s Tools |


My Boss-Fight Quest Diary — Inaugural Entry.

I’m giving myself 15 25 minutes to write this post, then I’m heading down to the pool. It will not be perfect, and I’m not going to spend time trying to make it so. (Yeah. We’ll see if I can actually live with that.)

Long term followers have figured out by now that, this year, I’m not doing things the way I usually do. I honestly don’t yet know if I’ll be doing any Halloween-centric posts in 2016. It’s weird, I know, but my heart is in my fictional world right now, and deeply resistant to creating evergreen-style blog content.

That said, I really miss blogging, so I think I’m going to use this space, for a little while anyway, as a personal diary, more than a professional platform. I’m going to write about the journey I’m on, the one in which I finish a full, first draft manuscript in a single season. This is my boss-fight, as my son would say, and it’s worth journaling.

I’m going to loosen up on the structure here at The Paranormalist, and write more often, more briefly, and about whatever is going on in my life on a given day. Thinking too big and being too concerned with theme has already prevented me from sharing some events that might have made good posts. (Recently I sold one inch buttons from a gypsy tent at a pagan festival. Our 15 year old cat died very suddenly, and I think he lovingly haunted us for a couple of days. We’ve had our first brush with a hurricane. I finished a kick-ass detailed outline for a novel that I’m going to write the first draft of by the end of November.  (See, I’m not going to go back and fix that grammar.)

This week’s WordPress photo prompt is “Quest.” Since Friday, I’ve been thinking about what majestic and intriguing photo I might already have, or could take, to symbolize this quest I’m on to make a full and rich life here in North Carolina. And that has gotten me precisely nowhere. I’ve locked up.

The truth is, my most concrete quest right now is my fiction work. It’s what I think about through the day, before I fall asleep, and the moment I wake up. And this is what it looks like right now:

quest

So, I’m going to take that notebook, outline, and my laptop down to the pool  — which is likely to be deserted now that people here think it’s autumn, and too cold to swim — and I’m going to get back to work.

PS: As a MN native, I can tell you that it feels a LITTLE like fall. It is NOT too cold. And if this long range prediction, based on past history is any indication, I’m about to have the longest, most beautiful autumn of my life.

~***~

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

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Here’s where I will link to some of my favorite entries for the QUEST prompt  from others:

(I’ll add some when I’ve had time to browse the entries, so feel free to check back.)


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: August 15 – 21st

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

The Voyager Interstellar Record – The Sounds of Earth

Access the record’s complete playlist here.

(Thank you to my son for finding it and bringing it to my attention.)

This week, I’m most excited about:

stranger-things

~THE MOVIES~

NEW NETFLIX & REDBOX:

Stranger Things (2016) Netflix Original Series 

Not yet Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
Based on what I’ve seen in your Facebook feeds, most of you have already discovered this little gem. I still need to watch the last episode or two, but I love it, of course. It’s especially charming for those of us who grew up (as nerds) in the late 70s / early 80s. I’ve received several messages from junior high school friends asking if it looked familiar. (The actual time setting, btw, is 1983.) So far I think the appeal is mostly in the nostalgia, because the story is a little on the thin side for me. Still, well worth a watch.

After her young son inexplicably vanishes, Joyce joins an intensive but fruitless search for him. As the mystery deepens, Joyce begins to suspect that supernatural forces may be involved in the boy’s disappearance. Winona Rider.
Description from Netflix.

The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) British Documentary 

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Not On IMDb.
I’ve added this to my queue, but it’s clear from the reviews that it doesn’t really have anything to do with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Working on a tip, police start to unravel the case of a British former mental patient who hoarded guns and have links to a famous Texas crime.
Description from Netflix.
(No video.)

~***~

Sleepy Hollow (1999) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
This is an old favorite that is included in my Halloween Movies list … which is a like a movie-a-week film festival of 13 Halloween-themed movies to be watched as we journey toward the big day. (We are only 11 weeks out from Halloween, as of today, btw, so if you want to get going on that, now’s the time.)

Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.
Description from IMDb.

~***~

Slow TV

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Not On IMDb.
I am surprised to see that “Slow TV” has come to Netflix this month. This is a strange and wonderful concept brought to us by the Norwegians. The shows (when they are at their best) are minute-by-minute, real-time recordings of a time-consuming, “normal” event or activity.

Most folks think it’s boring once you get past the novelty, but I think there’s something deeply soothing about it.  

If you want to see what you think of it, I’m going to recommend that you start with Train Ride: Bergen to Oslo, just as I did when I discovered the concept a year or so ago. (The entire recording is SEVEN hours long.) It’s utterly hypnotic. One of my favorite features of this particular piece is the tunnels … the longest of which is 13 km (8 miles) long. The recording goes almost entirely pitch black after entering a tunnel, while the sound of the train continues. Other topics include: firewood, knitting, salmon fishing, a canal trip, and additional train trips. Just enter Slow TV into the search at Netflix to see the whole selection.

Best played when you plan to read, write, knit, etc.  Be aware that the sample “clip” I’m providing below is an hour and eighteen minutes long😀

The television program Bergensbanen minute by minute – train journey across Southern Norway was … the 7-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo along the Bergen Line. The event was planned as part of the 100 year anniversary for the existence of the Bergen Line. Four cameras were used to produce the documentary, showing both exterior and interior views, along with interviews with both crew, train conductors, historians/past workers and passengers. (I’ve yet to see one of these interviews while watching, but I assume they are in there somewhere.) The train went through 182 tunnels. The show was first broadcast on November 27, 2009, while the recording had been done earlier during summer.

The program was followed by an average of 176,000 viewers, and 1,246,000 Norwegian viewers (20% of the population) were watching the event at least once during its screening time. The event received attention in both Norwegian and foreign media, and has in relation to the Slow TV event Hurtigruta minutt for minutt, received both renewed attention and appreciation, mainly among its Norwegian followers.
Description from Wikipedia.

~***~

Black Widow (1987) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
1987. When watching the trailer for this, I was shocked at how incredibly dated it looks and sounds. If you’re into Stranger Things on Netflix right now, this might be fun too … it’s just a bite later, but very evocative of the 80s, if from a more adult angle. Film Noir-ish.

An inquiring federal investigator becomes intrigued — then fixated — when she uncovers and unusual pattern of deaths by seemingly natural causes. Debra Winger, Teresa Russell.
Description from Netflix.

~***~

NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS:

Nothing exciting in the theaters right now, I’m afraid.

~ON TV~

All quiet on the TV front too.

 

~*~

‘Sorry to be so short and sketchy folks. I may have missed some good stuff, but I’m eager to move on to other things now.  My Ogre took last week off, during a lull between projects, so I’m just getting back into the swing of things today. I’ve been writing a fair bit of fiction around the edges of his vacation, and I’m excited to be able to throttle up this week. I hope to be back with some additional blogs later this week too, but we’ll have to see how deep the story takes me into fictionland.

Remember, only 11 weeks until Halloween!

~***~

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.

Creepy North Carolina: The Blue Devil / Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp

Since moving to North Carolina from Minnesota four months ago, I’ve been extraordinarily aware of all the creepy crawlies that share my new biome. It seems like each week reveals a new species for me to contemplate. And by contemplate, I mean decide if the species in question freaks me out, or if it’s just interesting.

When it comes to the Organ Pipe Mud Dauber / Blue Devil Wasp, I’m going with interesting — even though its young-rearing behavior is … well let’s say, off-putting.

This set of NARROW tubes is a Blue Devil nest. (Narrow is this week’s Post A Week photo prompt.)

Mud Dauber nest

I came across this construction at a local park, while on a Pokemon hunting excursion, with my daughter (who has been living in NC for seven years or so.) This particular nest is attached to the underside of a park shelter’s roof, in plain sight of the picnic tables below. My daughter identified it as a “mud dauber nest” but didn’t know much beyond that. Later, after the hunt, I was compelled to hit the interwebs to find out more.

It turns out this is the home of a rather special mud dauber. (Not rare, but certainly creepy-cool.) Several species of mud dauber live in North Carolina, but only one builds a nest that resembles a pipe organ.

After reading up on  Trypoxylon politum, I now know that the big, blue-black wasp that was flying around us was the father Devil, guarding the nest. (The species is harmless to humans, and only stings people when tormented.)

I also know that those tubes were crafted by the mother Devil, who transports innumerable tiny balls of mud to the site, and painstakingly builds individual cells into which she will lay eggs. Then she stuffs each cell full of paralyzed spiders, as food to be consumed by her larval offspring. (Whimper.)

You can find more detailed information about the creature, along with other photographs, at the following links:

~***~

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

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Click to visit the homepage of Post A Week.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the NARROW prompt  from others:

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

A Haiku on “Narrow” | New York City Pocket Park | Jazz Alley | paths & journeys | pretties in gutters | crematorium | through the forest | butterfly from a different angle | crab spider in rose | the light | nope, nope,nope | narrow street in Prague | a reference to “Laura” | mountain goats | straws | child’s focus | boardwalk in the woods | Yellow | Annie’s Canyon | abandoned kitchen | too narrow for a wheelchair | palm tree | eye of the needle | alley in Hoi An, Vietnam | communications tower in Tasmania | a bee’s passage | American Bittern | Narrow Bridge in G Scale | in the side mirror |


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.

~***~