Monday, October 15, 2018

Cancer: Gearing Up for Phase 2

This is an old picture of Cathy's Wall of Strength. It's got
a lot more on it now. And she's still got more cards to add. 
On Tuesday Cathy will have her last chemo treatment before surgery. To say that we are both thrilled about that would be an understatement of gross proportions. Lots of you have been asking how it's been going, and I've been just a little bit too busy to update like I'd want to, and I'm sorry about that.

As Cathy's needs have intensified in the midst of her treatments, my own mental health took a dip and it took me a couple of weeks to recognize it. I'm making corrections and adjustments now, and as a result, I feel better and more alert, so here you go.

The change in the weather has helped, too. Autumn in October? In TEXAS? Pinch me, I'm dreaming. We haven't had actual Fall weather in the Fall for years. I'm so excited.

Yeah, that's right, that's
right, we bad. Uh huh.
Don't want no bullshit.
Cathy goes in for surgery at the beginning of November. On top of managing the day-to-day...challenges...of chemotherapy, such as spinning the Wheel of  Random Symptoms to see what we're going to be dealing with, personal energy drain that resembles those Samsung phones that were blowing up in people's pockets (she's fine, she's fine, she's fine, shesnotfine), the unpredictable daily mood swings, and now the "trying not to freak out about major surgery and failing at it miserably" planning that is happening in the Day-Finn Family Bunker has made things more tense than either of us would like.

We have our fifteenth anniversary coming up, and it's going to be a quick and dirty road trip. We agonized over what to do for our milestone day and ultimately decided it would be best if we both got out of the damn house for a couple of days. We're both going a little stir crazy. And before you ask, She's Richard Pryor, and I'm Gene Wilder. Duh.

After that, I've got a birthday coming up. I'll be, well, old as hell, but I have to tell you, I don't feel my age. Not the way our parents do. I still like all of the stuff I liked as a kid. I never had to give any of it up to "be a man" or "act like an adult." Well, I did have to do that, but it was always presented to me as a part to play, a dance to perform, rather than who I had to be.

Cathy's birthday is November 11th. She'll be out of the hospital and recovering at home by then. Once we're in Dallas, I'll post details on Facebook, so that those of you who know us can stay caught up. It's going to be stressful--it's going to be so stressful that it's going to make what we've been doing up until now look like Disney on Ice--but it's also the shortest part of the treatment process. We're just trying to take a few days off, to get out of our heads, before we have to tackle this next set of challenges.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

In Defense of Bad Movies Part 2: FLAAAASSSHH!

Check out the muscles
on Blonde Conan!
In Part 1 of  In Defense of Bad Movies, I outlined the disconnect between film critics and the general public. If you want to read it, you can certainly do that. Now that I have made this particular bed, I’m going to lie in it by taking a pipe wrench to the skull of a film most beloved and personal to the Geek Nation. Let’s all watch some people’s heads explode. Fun!

Since I mentioned Flash Gordon (1980) in Part 1 as an example of a bad movie, I thought it would be worthwhile to explain why I think this is so. Before you start typing your hate mail, there's some objective criteria below that you ought to look at. I put pictures in the post, so you wouldn't have to just take my word for it. If you make it all the way to the end and still feel triggered, just follow this link over to my Facebook page and let fly with your invective. I'm bracing myself for impact. Okay, enough of that; let's go tip some sacred cows!

Friday, October 12, 2018

In Defense of Bad Movies Part 1: Somewhere Between High Art and Cult Classic

I’m writing a lot about old movies at the moment on both of my current blogs. Finn’s Top 5 is happening over at the Finn’s Wake blog, and my biased look back at the fantasy films of the 1980s that informed our Dungeons and Dragons games is happening over at Confessions of a Reformed RPGer. I like writing about film; I have been a professional reviewer and critic for many years now, and I’ve been named one of the top movie reviewers in Texas by the Associated Press Managing Editors several times. You may also know that I am co-owner of a movie theater in North Texas that plays first-run movies on two screens, which is kind of like a unicorn in today’s market.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Top 5 Favorite Stephen King Movies


It really says a lot about a person when they are their own genre of storytelling. Think about that: Stephen King is one of those very rare—as in, maybe four or five authors, tops—who have such consistent draw that they are household names. Not just any household, either, but every household. Try this: next time you’re at your grandparents’ house and they are regaling you with the saga of the latest bunion on their foot, wait for them to finish and then say, “Jeez, Grams, that was more horrifying than a Stephen King story,” and see if they don’t immediately know what you mean by that.

King’s prodigious output also accounts for a list of movies nearly as long, and while the quality of the aforementioned movies and books varies greatly, both subjectively and objectively, there are a number of great Stephen King movies that have been accidentally made out of their literary counterparts. Granted, there are also some god-awful ones, too, but we’re not here to talk about Maximum Overdrive…or Firestarter…or The Tommyknockers…or…you get the idea. For the purposes of this list, we’ll focus on the ones that cleaved most closely to the books and were also scary or horrific in some way. That’s why you won’t see Stand By Me or The Shawshank Redemption on this list, as great as they are.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Top 5 Favorite Kaiju Movies


Kaiju is one of those terms that has been around for years, used primarily for fans of Japanese pop culture to sound smarter than the rest of us when they wanted to talk about big honking monsters. Unfortunately, thanks to three decades’ worth of importing their TV to jaded American audiences, “kaiju” has entered the pop culture lexicon. It’s a word of Japanese origin, that, loosely translated, means “big honking monsters.” Way to move the discussion forward, folks.

Specifically, the term as it applies to movies is considered a genre, though what monsters are considered kaiju are hotly debated. For the purposes of our discussion, I’m going to break it down like this: King Kong (1933) is not a kaiju movie. King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) is. Simple, right? Also, I’m going to give it my best effort to pick the scariest kaiju movies I can, knowing full well that these movies aren’t anything like what’s on the other Top 5 lists. However, I am a Monster Kid, so neener-neener, we’re doing this anyway.