This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 20 – 26, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Video: Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl | Song: Promise Land – Hannah Miller

On Saturday, April 26th, 1986 — 29 years ago this week — the worst accident in nuclear history occurred at Chernobyl.
This video of the area, taken by drone, was filmed last year.

 ~***~

Pickings are slim in new releases this week, so I’m offering up some outliers for you. Perhaps you’ll like one of these:

movie poster the cat and the canary movie poster the devils carnival movie poster mad house movie poster a girl walks home alone

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) NR
Will be streaming as of 4/21/2015
Ogre has been telling me about this one for months. Apparently the reviewers at one of his movie-centric podcasts thought it was terrific. It looks … intriguing.
On IMDb here.

The Devil’s Carnival (2012) NR?
Will NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX STREAMING after 04/24/2015.
This is a horror musical. A review I read called it a “blend of Rocky Horror and the Twilight Zone,” and that is a great description. I’m watching it as I type this, and I don’t yet know if I like it or not … I will say it’s gorgeous.
On IMDb here.

The Cat and the Canary (1927) NR – SILENT
Available on Netflix streaming.
(This movie has come into the public domain and is available for viewing all over the internet.)
On IMDb here.
The following is a scene from the movie as I was unable to find a “trailer.”

Madhouse (1974) PG
Available on Netflix streaming.
Vincent Price and Peter Cushing in 1974. Sweet.
On IMDb here. 

NEW IN THEATERS:

The Age of Adaline (2015) PG-13
Likely to be an art house film. Release date: April 24
Ogre and I saw the trailer for this when we went to see Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. It’s more magical realism than horror or scifi, of course, but it looks gorgeous.

UPDATE: It was awful! This movie gives the impression that it was once a beautiful thing, until a committee of money-guys got ahold of it. The narration, which seems perfectly fine in the trailer, continues through the whole film. The narrator tries to explain far too much. The first half to two-thirds of the movie is a pretty boring romance. Only when Harrison Ford appears does it pick up a little.

This is the first time I’ve flagged a film as red, and I don’t feel bad about it. It could have been, and should have been, so much more, and it definitely does not live up to the expectations I had for it. That said, it’s not un-watchable. If you’re looking for a romance, it’s not bad. A far better choice for a magical realism romance, though, would be Midnight in Paris (2011).
On IMDb here.

~ON TV~

12 Monkeys | SYFY
(The full first season is currently available on SYFY STREAMING now. Also check your ON DEMAND.)
I’m coming to this AFTER the first season has wrapped up, on the recommendation of a friend. I’m able to access all the episodes via On Demand. So far, I’ve seen the first two episodes and I like it. It’s too soon to know if I’m going to love it, but I’ll be watching more this week.
On IMDb here.

 ~***~

To see other, recent, recommendations, visit

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Mar 30 – April 5th, 2015.
Don’t miss: Nightcrawler.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 6 – 12, 2015.
Don’t miss: Whiplash.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 13 – 19, 2015.
Don’t miss: Housebound.

Nearly all of the highlighted movies & shows listed there are still available.

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

Investigating a Haunting: Carlos Avery WMA, MN – part two

I’m in the early stages of my investigation of a suspected haunting in the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, a local nature preserve. Last Friday, I shared the Facebook conversation which inspired me to begin this series, as well as brief sketch of the park’s history.

YOU CAN READ PART ONE HERE.

THIS WEEK

The day after I last wrote about this topic, my husband (aka Ogre) and I visited one small portion of the WMA. Since then, I’ve searched the internet to find any references to paranormal phenomena associated with the area. I am continuing to find and read dozens of old newspaper articles about the park and its environs.

Here’s what I discovered this week:

ACCESSING THE LAND

Over the past 25 years or so, I’ve spent hundreds of hours exploring our local public parks and doing citizen science projects in regional nature centers. My engagement with Carlos Avery, however, has been limited. (Or, at least I thought so, until I began to understand the scope and scale of Carlos Avery. I’ll get back to that in a moment.)

I’ve been driving past, and through, portions of the preserve for most of my life, occasionally noticing small signs meant to identify it, without any real understanding of its purpose. My first order of business was to find out what a “WMA” is.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

“Wildlife management areas (WMAs) are part of Minnesota’s outdoor recreation system and are established to protect those lands and waters that have a high potential for wildlife production, public hunting, trapping, fishing, and other compatible recreational uses.”

This, then, is not the kind of park most of us are accustomed to.

It’s a beautiful area with good access. It provides habitat for a multitude of species, (only a fraction of which are game animals.) I’ve learned that it is a popular spot for birders.

But. It is also often full of hunters, many of them inexperienced, who are absolutely intent on killing something.

If, like me, you believe that a haunting can be caused by a concentration of negative or harmful intent, or by a saturation of fear or tragedy, then it’s only logical to see how the atmosphere in a hunting preserve could become … tainted.

(I’m not knocking the practice of hunting. I don’t really get it, in the absence of a need for food, but that’s just me. Here in Minnesota, hunting is fact of life and I don’t begrudge the hunters their space. The WMA isn’t meant for me. I understand that I am only a curious guest there … one who is a little worried about getting shot as I continue to explore the grounds. I think I might need to add some blaze-orange to my wardrobe.)

OUR VISIT

When Ogre and I visited there were no hunters. (Apparently, though, turkey season has since started.) The access roads were closed to vehicles due to muddy areas, resulting from a recent thunderstorm, but we were encouraged to grab a map and walk in.

In our two and a half mile walk, we saw a flock of turkeys, a herd of deer, a variety of birds, and this little guy:

Carlos Avery April 2015 garter snake

It’s early spring here, so the park felt quite open and well lit. It was quiet, though some frogs were calling from the wet areas. Overall, it was peaceful and pleasant. At no point did I feel unsettled or uncomfortable.

Of course, this was just a taste of the WMA, in of one of the most frequently accessed areas of the preserve. I have not yet located the specific sites of the tragedies I referenced in part one of this series, so I cannot say that anything bad or traumatic happened here. I would be surprised if there was even much hunting this close to the park entrance.

It does appear that gunfire is common though.

Carlos Avery April 2015 gunfire evidence

OTHER LARGE PREDATORS & DEAD THINGS:

It’s important to understand that this is a huge tract of land, ( 23,000 acres,) containing a variety of zones which are dedicated to diverse purposes.

This particular WMA includes the Wildlife Science Center on its grounds.

This center “was founded as a federally funded research facility in 1976, in order to observe and document the physiology and behavior of a captive population of gray wolves.” (WSC)

Now, in 2015, the center houses more species than just the grays.

I know this not just because I can use google, but because I was once a regular volunteer there.

Yes, I’m admitting that I have spent a great deal of time on the Carlos Avery property, without realizing it.

In my defense, the Wildlife Science Center feels very distinct from the rest of the WMA. You visit the center by going through this arch, which is visible from a well-trafficked two-lane highway:

2013-0326-CarlosAveryGameFarm

“Carlos Avery Game Farm” by Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The white structures you can see in this photo are part of an eleven building complex built between 1936 and 1941. (I have never been inside any of these buildings.)

After you go through the gate, the road curves to the left, past the complex.

The section of the property which houses the Wildlife Science Center is composed of modern barns and sheds, as well as the main building, which is just a modified, late 20th century, residential house. Large, chain-link, animal enclosures stretch back into the park, providing homes for animals. (Resident species include: gray, red and Mexican gray wolf; coyote; fox; bobcat; lynx; cougar; black bear; porcupine; and several different kinds of raptors.) The entire center is well fenced and only open to public tours on Saturdays.

During the week, the yard of the center is over-run by a pack of 20-30 large-breed dogs which belong to the center’s director … or at least that was true when I was working there ten years ago. (There were also several wolf-dog hybrids.)

Most of my job was dealing with dead things. I chopped up gophers, which had been turned in for a bounty, then laced them with vitamin supplements, so they could be fed to the raptors. I boosted road-killed, maggot-infested, deer into a wheelbarrow and carted them over to the wolf enclosures. (This was very hard for me. I have a particular aversion to maggots.)

I wasn’t permitted to handle the live creatures, (other than the dogs,) though I did once get to stroke an anesthetized adult wolf who was having a medical procedure done.

HOW DOES THIS FIGURE INTO THE HAUNTING?

All of this is a digression, really. Yes, I did feel watched–even hunted–sometimes when I was moving around in this part of the WMA, but that’s because I was being watched, and watched intently, by large predators who wanted my carcasses. Even when I wasn’t toting a corpse around with me, I still reeked of flesh and blood and decomposition. I’m sure I seemed likely to be quite tasty.

(By the way, I loved the work … well, not so much the tasks I was assigned, but the larger work. I’d still be doing it, but I screwed up and got myself dismissed. That’s an embarrassing story for another day, though.)

I will say this: The wolves (and other canids) like to howl. On still nights, and quiet, overcast days, I imagine their chorus can be heard throughout many acres of the WMA. That sound would absolutely contribute to a sense that the area is haunted.

A BRUSH WITH THE SKUNK APE

As long as I went off on this tangent, I might as well share one more interesting tidbit about the Wildlife Science Center. Its director, Peggy Callahan, has appeared as a wildlife expert on an episode of History Channel’s MonsterQuest (Swampbeast, 2007, S1E5.) For the show, she devised and conducted an experiment meant to determine how long it takes for the body of a large beast in the wilderness to decompose and completely disappear.

A RESIDENT CRYPTID & PHANTOM VEHICLES

My quest for accounts of paranormal events associated with Carlos Avery is only beginning. An internet search revealed two primary legends.

One that amused me is our old friend, the Linwood Woolly Beast. If you’ve been reading The Paranormalist blog for a while, you may have run into one of my posts about this creature:

My best guess is that folks are seeing a large, perhaps albino, deer. If you’d like to know more about the critter, feel free to click on one or both of the above links. I won’t be spending a lot of time watching for the Beast. If I spot him, I’ll be sure to let you know.

The second commonly told legend of Carlos Avery is more interesting to me. Apparently several people have reported seeing phantom vehicles in the park. Headlights and taillights are seen shining from areas that are actually inaccessible to a vehicle. (From the middle of a pond, or swamp, or otherwise road-less spot.) This is a legend I can pursue. The WMA is open to visitors from 4:00 am – 10:00 pm. I should be able to legally spend some time driving around in there while it’s dark, once the roads are open.

Though I have some feelers out in search of local people who have had unusual experiences in and near Carlos Avery, I haven’t yet been contacted by anyone other than “Rebecca” my original source.

If you are reading this page because you searched for information about Carlos Avery after encountering something unexplained in or near the preserve, please contact me to share your story. To remain anonymous, send me a PRIVATE message at my Facebook page. Our conversation will be confidential, and you will determine how you will be identified if I quote you or include your experience in this series.

HISTORICAL RESEARCH

A FEW DETAILS OF THE EARLY LAND USE

Last week, I mentioned that this region of Minnesota was first utilized by fur traders in the 1700s, then by loggers in the early to mid-1800s. After that, some of the land that now makes up Carlos Avery was purchased by a carpet manufacturer which wanted to use the wire grass that grew abundantly there. (Wire grass is similar to sisal.)

Based on these facts, I am assuming that the land has been witness to some significant human activity in the past couple of centuries. I have not been able to confirm any particular settlements prior to 1890, but I do know that the carpet manufacturer created three camps on this property which, at one point, employed 100 men and used 250 horses. (I do wonder what camp life was like at that time, and how this activity could have contributed to the atmosphere of the area.)

After WWI, the carpet industry faltered, and the land became tax delinquent. Many acres reverted to the state’s ownership.

The Carlos Avery Game Park was established on about 8,000 of these acres in 1933. In 1935, the project was approved for WPA status and expanded. Since then, it has been subject to an evolving system of wildlife management.

And so ends my speculation about the pre-1933 era.

UNLESS I STUMBLE ON MORE THINGS LIKE THIS …

My continuing search through old newspapers has turned up a 1911 murder that occurred in Linwood Township, (which now borders a portion of Carlos Avery.) I have not yet ascertained how close this location is to the boundaries of what is currently the Carlos Avery WMA. (Remember, in 1911, the preserve had not yet been established.)

It’s an interesting, if brutal story, so I’ll likely share it in a future post. For now I’ll give you a glimpse of one James Dugart:

James Dygart Linwood Murder 1911

NEXT WEEK

Starting next week, I’ll provide the details of at least one of the historical events that could be contributing to a haunting at Carlos Avery.

This is going to be a busy week for me, so I’m not sure I’ll have time to do any on-site investigations, but I will try. (Once I figure out how to not get shot.)


For my Walking Dead Peeps.

My son brought this Imgur thread to me tonight. As my boy would say, it got me right in the mind. I had to step away from the PC because I was laughing so hard I got a stomachache.

Maybe it’s just me. (But Ogre was laughing pretty hard too.)

Here’s a sample, but click the link to see them all.

glue walking dead meme

RICK AND CORAL ON IMGUR


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 13 – 19, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

The Flight – Dark Corners
Not sure about the music itself, but I love the video.

If you only watch, play, or read one thing from this list, it should be:

movie poster housebound

Housebound (2014) on Netflix streaming. (See below.)

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

The Babadook (2014) NR
Will be streaming as of 4/14.
In Redbox on 4/14
I could not get to this when it was in the theaters, so I’m excited to watch it this month.
[UPDATE] I finally got around to watching this and I wish I hadn’t wasted the time. I was very excited about it, because I loved the short film, Monster, which it was based on. I’ve embedded the original short film below the trailer video. My advice is to save yourself 80 minutes, and watch the better version of the story.
On IMDb here.

Monster – Jennifer Kent from Jennifer Kent on Vimeo.

Housebound (2014) NR
Available on Netflix streaming.
This one is fantastic! I retroactively added it to last week’s M&M Media post, because I found it late in the week, but I want to mention here too. I loved this movie, especially the first two-thirds of it. It’s funny, and smart, and it has some pretty good scares.
On IMDb here.

Marvel’s Daredevil (2015) 
All 13 episodes of this Netflix original are available now.
I’m hearing this is darker and gritter and all-around better than the 2003 movie. The previews look intriguing. Ogre and I will be giving this a go this week. [UPDATE] We caught the 1st episode this weekend and it looks pretty good so far.
On IMDb here.

Practical Magic (1998) PG-13
Not newly released but I just saw it is an option at Netflix.
It’s April. There’s gotta be a rainy afternoon or evening that lends itself to watching this charmer.
On IMDb here.

Killer Legends (2014) NR
A documentary about the true stories that may have inspired urban legends, by the director of Cropsey (2009).
This is dark stuff folks. I haven’t watched the whole thing but I can tell you the crime scene photographs, which feature prominently, are tough to take. It’s different when it’s real, you know. [UPDATE] I have now see it all and thought it was worth the watch. A couple of the four segments are better than the others, but a decent show overall.
Available on Netflix streaming.
On IMDb here.

Speaking of Cropsey, it is also available on Netflix streaming right now:

Cropsey (2009) NR
On IMDb here.

IN THEATERS:

Child 44 (2015) R
In general release. (Opening Friday at our local theaters.)
We saw the trailer for this at the theater, and it looks great. The movie is based on a book by British thriller writer, Tom Rob Smith, which is based on the crimes of Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, aka the Butcher of Rostov.
On IMDb here.

Monsters: The Dark Continent (2014) R
Supposedly in general release on the 17th. (I suspect this might be art house flick, though.)
I mentioned the movie that came before this, Monsters, last week. Since then I’ve head more good things about it, but I haven’t queued it up yet. I’m thinking I should.
On IMDb here.

Woman in Gold (2015) PG-13
In general (wide) release.
On IMDb here.
Not paranormal at all. ‘Just mentioning it because Ogre and I saw it over the weekend. Interesting story, but the movie-making is nothing special. I think a lot of the latest true-life / historical films have been that way. The source material is compelling, yet the cinematography, writing, acting, etc. feel serviceable but bland. (The Monuments Men (2014) and Unbroken (2014) are other examples that comes to mind.) I didn’t dislike this movie. My eyes did fill with tears a couple of times, and I gasped in outrage at one particular revelation. Still, I think that’s a function of the story itself rather the way it was presented to me. If you want something similar but better, try Philomena (2013.) (Currently available in Redbox and on Netflix disc.)

To see other, recent, recommendations, visit:
This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Mar 30 – April 5th, 2015.
Don’t miss: Nightcrawler.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 6 – 12, 2015.
Don’t miss: Whiplash.

Nearly all of the highlighted movies listed there are still available.

~***~

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

Investigating a Haunting: Carlos Avery WMA, MN – part one

Recently, a concerned reader contacted me via my Facebook page. She wanted to discuss a sensation of being watched or followed she has experienced while working on the grounds of a local wildlife management park, as well as her confusion about why she is able to sense anything. Our conversation intrigued me, so I’ve done some preliminary research about the site and its history. I’m discovering multiple factors which may be contributing to the unsettling atmosphere of the region.

I’m learning enough, in fact, to know I will need to break my investigative progress into several parts. I hope to share my results on Fridays, throughout the spring. I will always notify readers of a new segment by sharing the link to Facebook, Twitter and G+. I will also add two-way links to each installment as it goes up here at the blog.

For today’s installment, I’ll share the message thread that inspired me to start digging, and some basic first facts about the history of the place.

2013-0326-CarlosAveryGameFarm

“Carlos Avery Game Farm” by Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work.
Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

INVESTIGATION INSPIRATION:

The following instant messaging thread has been edited for length and clarity, and to obscure any personally identifying information ‘Rebecca’ provided during our conversation.

Rebecca
March 26th, 3:33pm
I am new to the area and we own a towing company. We have been called out to the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area several times for different things. Every time we go there, I always feel as though we are being watched and/or followed by some unknown presence. I have tried to do some research on the wildlife refuge, but unfortunately am unable to find much. I have, however, discovered that a little boy was murdered back in there, which is sad. I am truly just wondering if there is any other info out there that would help me understand the feelings I get. Thanks.

The Paranormalist – Renae Rude
Mar 26th, 4:59pm
I’m not surprised by the experiences you’ve had in Carlos Avery. I haven’t done any intensive research about the place, but my family has all sorts of stories about things that happened there … mostly about gangsters during prohibition. I’m glad you brought it up. Maybe that will become my spring project. … I’d be interested to learn if there’s any particular place or time where you’ve noticed a strong sense of being watched.

Rebecca
Mar 26th, 5:03pm
Yes I could help you in your project. I’m not saying I have a sixth sense or anything, but it’s like I can feel, and almost see, what it is that is bothering me. Can’t explain it and no one believes me.

Rebecca
Mar 26th, 5:16pm
I would like to know if I do have a special ability and how to control it. One night, in a home where we lived, my fiance was unsure about why I was uncomfortable. Then he started to try to understand, and was able to feel what I felt by touching me. That night was one of the worst nights on the property, and we moved shortly after. Sorry for bothering you, but I just wonder if there is something wrong with me or if all of this is just a gift, so to speak.

The Paranormalist – Renae Rude
Mar 26th, 11:29pm
I think it’s always best to pay attention to and obey one’s instincts. [Note: I’ve clipped a few sentences of my response from this thread and moved them down to the “WHAT’S NEXT” section of this post. You’ll see why when you get there.] Your experience with your fiance is familiar to me. My husband is less open than I am to sensing the mood around him, but he can “catch” what I’m feeling if he tries. I doubt there’s anything wrong with you. And it doesn’t matter if anyone believes you. Only you know how you feel in certain situations, and only you can determine your own belief about why you feel that way. Personally, I enjoy feeling like I might be tapped into the history of a place. (And if the “vibes” are bad, I’m outta there.)

The Paranormalist – Renae Rude
Mar 26th, 11:34pm
Oops. I didn’t mean to hit enter yet, but I am pretty much done. I suspect there are lots of folks out there who are wondering some of the same things you are. May I use the text of our correspondence in a blog post? You can be anonymous or choose a name that conceals your identity.

Rebecca
Mar 27th, 8:11am
Sure, you can use our conversation. Just use my first name, but not my last. And yes, if it is anything bad, I do feel I need to get out as well. The same goes with the town where I live. [Note: The town Rebecca named here borders portions of the WMA.] There are areas within the town where I sense different things. I guess it is what it is. It’s all in what one’s individual take is on things, I suppose. I just may be a little extra sensitive. We did a tow for someone who lives on the edge of the Carlos Avery, and who is surrounded by the wood line. I didn’t have to say anything at all and this person just started talking about the spiritual activity they have experienced. Creepy, but yet I knew already.

That is where Rebecca and I left off. The next day I went to the Anoka County History Center and began my research.

FIRST FACTS:

The Child Murder:
Rebecca is correct about a boy being killed in the sanctuary. He was six years old. The murder happened in 1980, but the saga of the perpetrator’s insanity actually began in 1965-66. (Most of that story happens well outside the boundaries of the wildlife preserve, but it’s chilling.)

The Fugitive Hunt:
I discovered that I was wrong about the history of the park including “gangsters during prohibition.” In fact, the gangster incident occurred in 1957.

CA full page from book 2 (3)

The Camps:
Now, in 2015, the property is more than 23,000 acres, with 4,500 acres classified as a wildlife refuge and closed to all trespassing. The habitat is a mix of open water grasslands, marsh, and oak woods.

The property has been in production since since the 19th century. First it was logged out, like most of Minnesota’s wilderness, then a carpet company bought the land to harvest its wire grass for the making of rugs, then the state government took over and established a game farm. To make each of these endeavors possible, camps of workers were required.

Territorial Conflicts:
I’ve not found reference to any major battles within the boundaries of the Wildlife Management Area, but the history of the wider area is dense with territorial conflicts. Minnesota did not achieve statehood until 1858. From the 17th century forward, however, the wilderness was being harvested of its furs for French and British traders. During this time it was common practice for the traders to intermarry with the indigenous people, and so a new “race,” known as the  Métis, developed. In the mid-18th century, territorial conflicts between the Dakota Sioux and the more recently arrived East Coast tribe, the Ojibwe intensified. Battles between the two tribes continued for a more than a hundred years. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’ll share the local urban legends and spooky stories that are associated with the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area in particular, and the surrounding counties in general.  I’ll organize the historical information I’m finding, and attempt to determine the origins of the urban legends. (I foresee several more trips to local historical libraries and sites.) I hope to have more conversations with Rebecca, and–perhaps–others who have had unusual experiences in or near Carlos Avery. Of course, I’ll be going out to to the property–probably repeatedly–to explore, take pictures and experience the atmosphere of the place.

My purpose for conducting this investigation is best expressed by a passage I originally wrote within the conversation I shared with Rebecca. I’ve clipped and moved it to this spot, so that you can understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. I wrote:

I suspect that most of us have some degree of sensitivity to the echoes that linger in certain places. (And some of us are just naturally inclined to pay attention to our environments.) I don’t know what those echoes are. For lack of a better word, most of us think of such places as haunted. I suppose we each have to develop our own opinion about what it is we are sensing. I’m interested in the haunted-place experience itself, more than the cause. (I don’t attempt to either prove or debunk hauntings. I don’t think it’s possible to do so. I also have zero interest in trying to interfere with or change whatever is going on. It’s not my place to “send anyone into the light.”)

My plan is to go where the research leads me, and to report my findings here, in future blog posts.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

GO TO PART TWO


Blooming premonition & inspiration.

THE PREMONITION:

Ogre and I have been married for 8,632 days, as of this writing. When a pair has been together that long, strange, magical things can happen … even if one of the pair doesn’t believe in strange, magical things. (*Looking at you, Husband.*)

Things like this:

flower premonition (2)

 

Those flowers are called Peruvian lilies, aka Alstromeria. They are inexpensive around here, and readily available in floral shops and grocery stores. Usually, there’s nothing particularly magical about them. If you look closely at the bouquet, you’ll notice a few branches of pussy willow tucked among the blooms. It’s spring, so those aren’t difficult to come by, here in Minnesota, either.

How is this bouquet magical then?  Let me tell you its story.

When I was working at the nature center on Friday, one of the naturalists cut a posy of pussy willows branches for me. (Apparently the bush needed pruning.) When she brought them to me, a stray thought popped into my mind, “These will look pretty with the flowers Ogre is bringing home tonight.

It was an odd thought. I don’t get flowers every Friday, or every holiday weekend, or every Easter. In truth, I don’t get flowers with any sort of predictable regularity, nor do I get them particularly often. I mean, he does do it a couple time a year, I suppose, but it’s not a big thing for us.

I noted the thought, brushed it aside, then got on with my critter tending.

After finishing up at the nature center, I did some other errands and got home later than usual … late enough so that Ogre had beaten me there. He greeted me with a kiss, took some stuff out of my hands, and said,” Oh. I got you some flowers.”

I think that’s pretty cool.

I did confide what I’d thought earlier, btw, and reminded him that this kind of thing is happening between us more and more often. He thinks I’m cute. He always thinks I’m cute.

Oh! Now that I look at this snapshot, I’m realizing the flowers seem to have another magical property. The cat hasn’t chewed on them, or knocked over the vase, as we both expected him to do. (Perhaps that behavior pattern explains why I don’t get flowers more often. Ogre is certainly inclined to spoil me, but the cat has been terrorizing living with us for about thirteen years, which has made it difficult when it comes to flowers. And THAT probably explains why I do get *pharmaceutical-grade chocolate on a regular basis. The cat has no interest in that.)

*Pharmaceutical-grade is Ogre’s term for dark, intense chocolate.

THE INSPIRATION:

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that we’re trying very hard to put ourselves in a position where we can move permanently to North Carolina. Our daughter moved there almost six years ago ans we want to reunite our family in a sane climate. (Long-term readers also know that I despise Minnesota winters.)

Right now, I’m recovering from this last season pretty well. It was a mild winter here, and spring is springing.  All the ice is melted off the pond out back. We got our first thunderstorm of the year just last week. On the warmest days, the birds actually sing a little as they bask in the sun. A few blades of grass are turning green.

How much more spring-like could it be? I mean, here’s the forecast–with NO below-freezing temps in sight:

weather forcast

 

Well, on Easter Sunday, my daughter sent me some snapshots of what she was seeing a she strolled around, texting me.

Here’s how much more spring-like it could be for us:

We gotta get out of this state.

UPDATE:
Thought I’d share a quick video from today, Thursday April 9th.

Not long after I put the camera away, I tried to navigate one of the hills around here and failed. I’m going to go put an ice pack on my shoulder now. Bleepin’ winter.


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 6 – 12, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL AUDITORY INTERLUDE~

Deathly Spirits: A Ghost Story (and cocktail recipe) from Ted Raimi

A huge thanks to my daughter, Pooka, for finding this and sharing it with me.

If you only watch, play, or read one thing from this list, it should be:

movie poster whiplash

[EDIT] Now that I’ve found and added the sneak peek video for the 8th season of Ancient Aliens, though, I’ve got to say the TRAILER (at the very least) is not to be missed.

(See below.)

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

Nothing exciting in the releases this week, but The Babadook is coming next week!

Wait, here’s something: A movie called Monsters: Dark Continent will be coming to theaters soon. I’ll share that next week. Right now, you might want to check out its forerunner. (What’s the the correct name for a movie that spawns a sequel?)
Monsters (2010) R
Currently available on Netflix streaming.
This film has surprisingly good reviews. Not sure how I missed it entirely back in 2010.
On IMDb here.

Whiplash (2014) R
Available in Redbox.
I forgot to mention Whiplash last week. It’s not horror, of course, but it’s definitely intense and suspenseful. And weirdly inspiring for artist types.
On IMDb here.

EDIT: Housebound (2014) Not Rated
Available on Netflix streaming.
O.M.G. This one is fantastic. I’m not even done watching it yet, but I had to pause it so I could come here and add it to the list. Because I missed it on Monday this week, I’ll feature it next week too.
On IMDb here.

IN THEATERS:

Ex machina (2015) R
In general release.
UPDATE: It took me a couple of weeks after posting this entry to get to this one, but it was one of the best movies I saw in the month of April. This is scifi with a generous dollop of straight-up horror that takes over the middle of the film … in a good way. I have an issue with A.I. that goes all the way back to A.I. (2001) and this movie did not soothe me at all. There is just no good reason to be pursuing such technology. Decent acting. Interesting visuals. A head full of thoughts when you leave the theater. All in all, a good entertainment value.
On IMDb here.

To see other, recent, recommendations, visit
This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Mar 30 – April 5th, 2015.
Nearly all of the highlighted movies listed there are still available.
Last Week’s Don’t Miss: Nightcrawler in Redbox.

~ON TV~

Ancient Aliens | HISTORY (not H2) | Fridays | 9/8c
(Eighth season begins April 10th.)
I cannot wait! This is my favorite sleep aid of them all.
Webpage here.

The Returned | A&E | Mondays | 10/9c 
(First season. Episode 5 will air on April 6th.)
I’m catching up with this series this week. I missed it when it came out, but luckily all the episodes are available On Demand through my cable provider. To be honest, I had it confused with ABC’s Resurrection, which I tried and abandoned last year. This show has nothing to do with that. It is an American version of a French television series which began in 2012 and went on to win an International Emmy for Best Drama Series in 2013. I’m three episodes in, and I’m liking it so far. If you have the opportunity to see it from the beginning, give it a shot. This one might have some legs.
On IMDb here.

The Lizzy Bordon Chronicles | Lifetime | Sundays | 9/10c
(Started LAST NIGHT, Sunday April 5th.)
Sorry I missed this, Guys. I’m not a Lifetime watcher, but I’m thinking of giving this one a go, because I love Christina Ricci.
EDIT: Ok, I’ve given it about 15 minutes. So far I see two characters that I could maybe love, existing in a show that might be too chaotic and experimental for my tastes.
On IMDb here.

The first full episode is available online right now, at Lifetime.
The movie that came first is available on Netflix streaming now too.

~***~

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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 398 other followers