Karma Chameleon

I had some seriously strange dreams last night. The first was a nightmare involving reptile and snakes–that’s all I remember of it–but Paul had to wake me up because I was crying out in terror in my sleep. (Thanks for the rescue.) In the second, more benign but also scary dream that I remember, I was teaching a creative writing class, focusing on short stories. I suppose the subliminal message my mind is telling me is how terrified I am of writing short stories, and I have any number of them on deck that need to be written, and time is rapidly running out before they are due. Heavy heaving sigh. Maybe in the first dream the snakes and reptiles symbolized the deadlines.

Stupid short stories anyway.

We’ve finished watching season 2 of Freakish, and alas, it’s not as good as Season 1. We’ll probably watch the third season, if there is was, to see if it recovers its lost promise; but yeah, jumped the shark and went off the rails in the second season. Plus, it has The Walking Dead problem; to up the ante they have to  keep killing off characters and introducing new ones. The problem (spoiler!)is they keep killing off ones we like and keeping the unlikable, stupid ones…and adding more unlikable, stupid ones. In the first season, part of its charm was that Breakfast Club thing of kids who have nothing in common and are from completely different social circles, for the most part, having to work together and come together and bond to survive. That was lost in the second season; which is a shame as it was one of the show’s strengths; the developing relationships and bonds between the characters.

We’ve also started watching Mindhunter on Netflix, which is fucking amazing. The first episode was a trifle slow, but still interesting; episode 2 really gets the ball moving and when it was finished, I was really disappointed we didn’t have time to stay up and watch another episode. It really is terrific–and the guy who plays the Co-ed Killer should win an Emmy for Best Guest Star. He was absolutely riveting. They also have done a remarkably good job of capturing the late 1970’s; as I said to Paul last night, ‘wow, I had no idea or memory that the late 1970’s were so aesthetically ugly; colors and designs and so forth. Blech.’ Can’t wait to get home tonight and watch another.

I read another chapter of Alafair Burke’s marvelous The Wife last night, and that story is also really starting to pick up. One of the great things about Burke’s writing is her attention to little details that make the story and characters seem absolutely real and authentic.

I also–speaking of short stories and so forth–got some revising of early Scotty chapters in the new book done, and realized that a scene in Chapter Three is eerily reminiscent of one in a short story I am writing. Ah, well, I guess there’s no harm in slightly plagiarizing yourself, is there?

The weather was weird yesterday; it appears to be more of the same out there outside my windows this morning. Heavy heaving sigh. At least today I know to take a Claritin before i leave the house.

And now, back to the spice mines. Here’s a Throwback Thursday hunk for you, Constant Reader, actor/model Gordon Scott:

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Don’t Cry

Saturday in New Orleans. I have a big to-do list to get through today, and I must get it all done so we can stream season 2 of both Stranger Things and Freakish this weekend, guilt-free. I also want to get some writing/editing/reading done on Sunday before launching into yet another week of work. I also slept late this morning; which felt wonderful–probably because it is a mere fifty two degrees here (AIEEE!) but I feel rested, which is truly the most important thing. I’d wanted to get up earlier, but hey–them are the breaks, kids. So, when I finish this cup of coffee I’ll probably make one to go and start running the errands, so as to get them over and done with. We were going to go see It tonight, but decided to wait and stream things tonight; we can always watch it when it’s available for streaming later.

I did finish my reread of The Haunting of Hill House last night before going to sleep, and as always, it was just a wonderful experience. That final sequence on the tower staircase terrifies me, as it always does; my fear of heights and my fear of spiral staircases no doubt stems from reading this book and seeing the original film, which was fantastic and remains, to this day, one of my top five horror films. (Do NOT under any circumstances watch the horrific, embarrassingly bad remake.) After I finish all my errands today, I am going to dive into End of Watch, which will probably bring my Halloween Horror reading to a close for this year. I am most anxious to dive into some of these books by authors I love (Laura Lippman, Alison Gaylin, Donna Andrews, Alafair Burke, Adam Sternbergh), and then of course there are the books collecting dust for far too long in the TBR pile. I also realized yesterday that I’ve not reread Rebecca this year, but that may wind up being something I tackle over the Thanksgiving holiday season. (I was also thinking last night of the similarities between The Haunting of Hill House and Rebecca last night; which might make for an interesting essay at some point…must make a note of that.)

Heavy heaving sigh.

So much to do, so little time in which to do it.

And on that note, tis off to the spice mines…since I overslept I can’t get more in depth on The Haunting of Hill House  as  I would like to; perhaps later, when the errands are finished.

Here’s a Saturday hunk for you, Constant Reader.

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Save Me a Place

I have to say, one of the most interesting developments of the advances in television viewing (i.e. streaming) has been the development of interesting new programming from non-traditional sources. The cable networks have long been giving the traditional television networks a run for their money for quite some time, but Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix are now throwing their hats in the ring. I was skeptical, to be honest–but I really enjoyed Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, and so when a friend recommended Hulu’s Freakish, I was also a bit skeptical about it–I mean, Hulu?

I also recognize that’s very snobbish of me.

My friend told me it was kind of a cross between The Breakfast Club and The Walking Dead…which sounded intriguing, so Paul and I decided to give it a try.

Wow.

The description couldn’t have been more apt; it literally is The Walking Dead as directed and written by John Hughes, but rather than playing into the stereotypes Hughes lionized in his films, this show subverts them and turns them inside out.

It’s a Saturday, and some kids are arriving at Kent High School for all-day detention. just like The Breakfast Club; this was not a thing at my high school and I don’t know if it’s ever been a thing–but it’s always seemed weird to me. There are also a variety of others kids there at the school–playing basketball, putting up posters for the school election, etc. The basketball coach is in charge of the detention, and is checking in students. Grover, our main hero, shows up and checks in–but he doesn’t actually have detention (just like the Ally Sheedy character in The Breakfast Club), he’s just there because he’s interested in Violet, one of the girls who DOES have detention. As we are getting to know some of the characters–the basketball star, the cheerleader, the Type A girl who wants to be student body president, the violent thug bully, the nerdy smart guy–there is a series of explosions from the chemical plant nearby where most of the people in town work. As the explosions continue everyone rushes inside the school as the atmosphere outside changes–there’s a weird fog, debris falling–and no cell phone service.

And… people exposed to the outside environment have become infected with something that turns them into what the viewers know, from years of these types of films and TV shows, ‘walkers’ or ‘the living dead’ but the kids on the show call ‘freaks’; because in their universe there have been no George Romero movies or anything.

This, of course, is the beginning of their zombie apocalypse, and it’s all shown from the point of view of the teenagers; the coach, the only adult, is killed by a ‘freak’ early on.

The entire first season has them trapped in the school, as one by one the group dwindles as kids are either infected or killed by the freaks; and they slowly, as the season progresses, realize they have to kill or be killed, rather than just trying to save themselves or lock the freaks up somewhere. And those stereotypes I mentioned? As I said, as the show progresses those stereotypes are turned on their heads as the kids slowly begin to bond, a la The Breakfast Club, and as we the viewers get to know them better, as they begin to adapt to their new world and try to figure out ways to survive.

Each episode is only twenty-two minutes long, which goes to show you don’t need over an hour to create suspense or character, and lots of action. Each episode flies past. And yes, we kind of rolled our eyes at it at first, but by episode three we were completely sucked in.

And the last two episodes were a definite sucker punch.

I also liked the sly references to Hughes films, particularly this shot:

I guess it’s time for the 80’s nostalgia wave….but I’m certainly enjoying it!

Looking forward to Season 2.