Monday, June 30, 2008

girl-lock holmes

Another style post, girls! (Sorry guys- should I start marking these NSM aka Not Safe for Males? heh) As usual this outfit was created at

I call this one Girl-lock Holmes:

(click the pic for details on all the pieces above)

This is one example of how I usually find style inspiration in very odd places. I mean, Sherlock was not exactly known for being a fashion plate. But I love the idea of dropping Holmes-inspired pieces with the sexiest of red dresses... I dig the unexpected juxtaposition of sexpot and superslueth that red satin and houndstooth brings on. I must admit I've been inspired by the intellectual babe/secret agent look of 99 in the new Get Smart flick (smart girls are HOT), but I wanted to go a little more old school with it. And this is what I came up with.

The lesson: leave the head-to-toe mall outfits to the trendy and draw inspiration from whatever moves you, no matter how non-'fashion' it may be- it can be anything, really... a song, a fictional character, a book, anything- find a way to integrate some part of your favorite things into your look and you will always represent yourself with personal style.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

put another dime in the jukebox baby

Last night I got to see Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at the El Paso Street Festival, yay!
Joan Jett was one of my earliest icons & inspirations, and I have pretty much worshipped her since I was a kid. I had seen her before- both in concert, and in the role of Columbia in the Rocky Horror Show on Broadway- but I'd jump at any chance to see her, anytime.

She pumped up the crowd with the same intensity as the brilliant fireworks show that lit up the sky just before she took the stage. She rocked it. The crowd loved her. But then, they always do- she's such a kickass, intense artist. The band did walk offstage for a moment when the crowd got too wild and someone threw a full beer can at the stage, but once they settled it down she came back out and handled it like a lady- a lady in black leather that can kick your motherf**king ass. I loved her look- she was totally rockin' the jet(t)-black shag & full-on leather style she made iconic in the 80's, and damn, does this woman ever age?? She looked HOT.

Since I didn't have my better camera with me, and I am a shorty shorty, it was pretty difficult to get any really decent pics or videos. I did my best, standing on my tippytoes w my camera extended high above my head, getting jostled around by the frisky (and partially inebriated) crowd... anyway, the quality may not be the greatest, but at least it captured the vibe of the show. Which was: ROCKIN'! Viva La Jett!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

sick and/or tired

Trying to wind down after a hardcore day (and night) of illness & convalescence. I had a rough day today. My body crapped out on me. I'm so tired of being sick & tired. I'm only 35 but my body sometimes behaves like it's 70... *grumble*

I've had various health problems most of my life, and I have always imagined that if I lived in the way-old days, I'd be one of those white-ruffly-nightdress-ed ladies that always got the vapors and spent most of their time lying abed, hand pressed to forehead dramatically. But since I do not live in olden times, I am instead just that chick who sometimes falls down in a faint, most usually not in a white ruffly nightdress. Fainting sucks!

Fainting has actually been a big problem of late. Right now I am sporting a nice, purply bruised lump at my hairline (and a lingering headache) from my head kissing floor during an early morning faint. I have a rather new scar above my eyebrow from a faint a few weeks ago (another one dammit, though it does kinda give me that fetching deadly assassin-ish type look) Also I have a little cut by my lip right now from yet another recent faint. I look like I've been brawling! The fact that my room- where the fainting has happened lately- has a superhard concrete floor doesn't help. Doh.

The fainting is happening because of my blood pressure issues, which are being exacerbated because of stress. And when it gets hot (like it has been lately with the crazy 105 degree temps) my blood pressure is even more apt to spike up easily, increasing faintage potential. I am in a stressful living situation right now (UNDERSTATEMENT), so decreasing the stress is not that easy right now. I'm sorta stuck here in a toxic (for me) environment- for the moment. Luckily, it looks like I will be moving out soon; we're just looking for the right mobile home now, as soon as we find it, I'm outta here!

In the meantime, I just hafta keep on keeping on and try to at least make light of things- I've long been known for finding humor in the grimmest situations so, lucky me.

And I could be doing better in terms of taking care of myself lately. There- I admit it.
I've been eating a crappy diet (and not eating nearly enough), I've not been sleeping enough, I've been pushing myself physically on those days when I know I should cool it and give my body a rest. I have to realize that I can't bully my body into not being sick. I have to- like my very dear friend recently told me- ride out the rough patches like a sailor (or a pirate, yearrgh?!) on the deck of a ship at rough seas.... roll with the swells while keeping focused on the horizon.

So, though I had a very shitty & discouraging day today, there's always tomorrow. That, and randomly stumbling across things like these brilliantly bizarre videos of Isabella Rosellini portraying the sex lives of various bugs in a sort of see-it-to-believe-it insane bug porn.
Now that shit made me laugh, and laugh and laugh. More, please!

Friday, June 27, 2008

spinning on that dizzy edge

Alcohol is coloring my brain in warm light right now. I feel buzzed, loose and relaxed. No anxiety. It's nice. I had a good time tonight with my friend Dollface tonight. We did our Thursday night girl's night out. I love hanging out with her so much. Weird but I knew she & I had the potential for a great friendship the very first time I laid eyes on her. It's so good to have someone to talk to.

I feel so out of place when I go out nowadays. I need to find the right place to hang out. I never feel 'at home' anywhere. Everyone is either way younger, or way older, than I am, everywhere I go. The music is not relatable to me. I feel lost and yeah- too old (or too young, depending on the place) I need a hangout. I need a niche.

And now I need my bed. The room is spinning oh my. And I only had 4 drinks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

trailer trash treasure

I always knew it would happen.
Maybe it started way back when I played with my Barbie Star Traveler Motor Home circa 1976, pretending my Barbies were carefree, travelin', trailer-livin' gypsies. Or maybe when I developed a fetish for those shiny shiny (ooooh shiny) silver Airstreams I'd see glinting through the trees here & there in the campgrounds we frequented back in the day. Or maybe even when I spent summers traveling the country living in my grandparents Southwind RV motorhome- which we all officially adored and referred to as Big Mo.
Or maybe it's just my Italian gypsy blood.

But somehow, some way, I always knew I might end up living in a mobile home. And now it looks like that intuition may just become reality- I might be purchasing & moving into a mobile home!

The plans we had been making to convert the garage were besieged with roadblocks and problems- at the rate it was going, it was going to take half a year if not longer to get things going on the construction. An opportunity came up to buy a mobile home, which costs- holy moley- a lot less than a lot of cars cost, I had no idea! So we started thinking about the idea... I don't think I had ever consciously considered it before... but it didn't take long to realize the benefits that could be had by becoming a trailer-livin' woman.

And NO I don't mean the kind of 'benefits' that are suggested on the covers of these crazy old books, goodness gracious! *blush* By the way I dunno what the deuces is up with these books, what the Hell?? I didn't know there was a whole trailer-tramp subgenre of literature out there but there ya go, learn something every day. I thought they were kinda hilarious, and the tag lines are so ridiculously camp, tee hee.

This afternoon I drove to the trailer park (am I being un-PC? Should I be saying 'mobile home community'? Ah screw it *wink*) that I may potentially be moving to... and admittedly I wasn't sure what to expect. The place was pretty nice, though- clean and quiet, with lots of trees lining the winding roads that curve through the park (I totally dig that)... I felt at ease, I felt like I could be comfortable living there.

Visions of crazy-painted gypsy wagons and pink yard flamingos have been floating through my head all day.

I love the idea of having the privacy of my own place... my own place, because yes, I would own it. I love the insanely low price of mobile home living ($240 a month, with some utilities included!) I love that I'd have a yard for my 3 Hellhounds to scamper around in. And maybe this is weird of me, but, I love mobile homes. I have always been fascinated- since I was wee- by homes mobile & motor, the extreme efficiency with which every little centimeter of space is used, the freedom to move the thing if you ever want to, and the allure of a snail-shell home that travels with you.

If I do end up going mobile, I'll be posting about my trailer park trials & tribulations here for sure, so stay tuned. And hey, no trailer park jokes from the peanut gallery please! (like I am gonna be able to escape those, groan)

the grand debut of things you have to see

Today, I am proud to announce a brand new Shadyblog feature, welcome to the debut of....... Things You Have To See! *proclaimed in that reverb-y super echo voice like on Mexican radio*

I think it speaks for itself, no explanation needed. But for you sticklers (goddamn I hate you bastards!! *shakes fist*)... that means this is a new category for random things that, well, you have to see. IMHO.

Let's kick it off with a bitchin' video, yes?
Ok, go...

Toe Jam- BPA feat. David Byrne and Dizzy Rascal

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

mean streak

So I went to the salon to have my brows waxed today- usually I'm a plucker, but, I found out that my lady does brow waxing for only 15 bucks, and it saves me the hassle, so I decided to have her do them for the very first time today. Anyway, I happen to have a pretty high tolerance for pain. So I wasn't worried much about the pain, especially eyebrow waxing, pshaw. But my salon lady didn't know that.

And the entire time she was preparing the first strip, I wanted SO VERY BADLY- right as she ripped off the first strip- to scream at the top of my lungs, "AHHHHHHH KELLY CLARKSON... FUCK ME IN THE ASSHOLE... NIPPLE FUCKER!!!"

I might have lost an eyebrow but it almost would've been worth it just to see the look on her face. Almost. Hahaha.

Friday, June 20, 2008

fashion passion

Ok boys, the following post will be of no interest to you, sorry! Ha ha. Girls: listen up.

Even though I spend my time in many dark & shadowy places, I am still a girl, and I do love fashion! In fact I am addicted to reading street fashion blogs, and other people's style blogs- I love seeing how other stylin' chicks out there put their stuff together. So naturally, I want to post about my takes on fashion here in my blog... eventually I'll be posting pics of my own outfits to show you guys a sense of my style (once I have a real mirror to photograph myself in!)... and also, I'll be posting outfits from, a fantastic site that I just joined that lets you create & save outfit sets from pieces available online. If you are on (or join) Polyvore, hit me up!

So- to kick it off, here is the very first outfit set that I've made on Polyvore... I like the idea of coming up with outfits for various events/situations, and I tried to be creative (as opposed to making a 'brunch' or 'office' or 'first date' look)... so here, I present you, my outfit for a day of urban exploration! Ta da:

(click the pic for details and info on this set)

First, I started off with a tank and shorts because you wanna be comfy if you're gonna be involved in a day of urbex. Practical boots too- you may be encountering tall weeds, murky puddles, and other various calf/ankle dangers. I loved the unexpected green color of these. I paired them with thick tights because it was cute and still comfortable- tights are so damned versatile- but you could also do jeans with the boots a good pair of Converse, if you're not up for shorts.

Sometimes urbex leads you into some damp, chilly, even underground places, or you may need to protect your arms & torso from brambles or other pokey things, hence the jean jacket, though a nice hoodie would work too, and of course, I can never resist peppering my jackets with a variety of graphic pins aka mah flash, bitches. A scarf or bandanna is good for extra protection- you can always use it as a face mask when things get dusty! But they also work great for securing the hair, and for adding some contrasting pattern and or color into the mix. Or you could do a cute hat or beanie- loose hair is a no-no when you're creeping & crawling!

When it comes to jewelry- apply the rule of K.I.S.S.- Keep It Simple, Stupid. You want chunkier pieces as opposed to something delicate. And practicality is, in this situation, fashionable- a good, big fat nerd watch can help you keep track of all kinds of info besides the time nowadays and still look adorable to boot. I am a well-known fan of piling on multiple necklaces, and I love to mix and match them into interesting combinations. In this case- the mystery keys and cartoon ghostie are a playful nod to the nature of urban exploration, which lies in exploring lost & hidden places that very, very often have ghostly or urban legends associated with them. Last but not least, don't ever forget your camera and your cell phone. Seriously, I don't even have to explain this one!

So that's it for my first outfit, and that was way too much fun. Now, I'm taking suggestions... got any ideas for events or situations I could design an outfit for next?
Send them my way and maybe you'll see it posted here... *eyebrow wiggle*

Thursday, June 19, 2008

RIP kitty princess

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to a beloved & loyal friend of 18 years, my beautiful kitty Nico. I had to make that totally hard and crappy decision to have her put to sleep. Her liver had shut down due to old age, she had stopped eating, and there was just nothing more that could be done for her other than to spare her any more pain. Still I absolutely hated to have to make that decision. I miss her. I keep forgetting and looking around the corner into her basket but her basket is empty. A little piece of my heart is gone for sure. I'm trying to deal, and trying to focus on what a great f**king cat she was, and all the good memories I have of her....

Like how I rescued her from a dangerous alley behind our house when I was only 17... like how she was a wild little thing but she came right up into my hands with perfect trust... like how she was such a fluffy, funny, lively, curious, fearless little kitten...

...and how she grew up into such a gorgeous cat:

Nico was a total character. Everyone that knew her found her adorable. She loved baskets, she was a wicker fiend. One of her nicknames was 'Basket Case'. Another one of her nicknames was SataNico. You can see an example of the reason for both nicknames in the following photo:

She was a photographer's dream- an awesome cat model. She had such total attitude, yet posed for so many funny photos! She was also a rebel, a real rebel. Well, most cats are rebels I know, but Nico was a rebel among rebels, a hardcore cat...

She was just so beautiful. Her green eyes were insane... she had what we would call the Godzilla Stare, and she could look right through you with that shit. Nico was always independent. She loved her humans- the privileged chosen- and often hopped up on a lap, pushing her head insistently into her target's hand until she got got petted (or she'd just pet herself with the hand, either way!), but she didn't have much use for other animals...

You'd usually find her off on her own somewhere, bathing in the sun or sleeping in something basket-y. She had a very elegant air about her, and a slinky-cat walk. The fur on the back of her legs puffed up and out halfway down like a little frilly, froofy white pair of pantaloons and she walked with her tail pointed straight up above the fur 'knickers'... people used to laugh whenever they saw her walking away, couldn't help it... so funny looking with her fuzzy 'pants', Hell another one of her nicknames was 'Pants' heh...

Nico was an exceptionally healthy kitty for 99.9% of her long and amazing life. Only in the last couple of years had she started to look more like an old kitty, and she started sleeping a lot more, and even- *gasp*- started tolerating a few of her fellow house pets. Sometimes she even let Mia lie close to her while she slept- maybe she just liked the chihuahua body heat easing the ache of her old bones, or maybe she was mellowing out. Nico got sick with a serious feline respiratory infection a few months ago- it was going around El Paso, all of my cats got it in fact- and they told me then that Nico wouldn't survive it. She almost didn't. But with a lot of work on her part, and ours, she pulled though and was more Nico than ever. The past few months with her were great, she even started sleeping on my bed again and hanging out more than usual. She'd to climb up into my lap and curl into a purring ball as I sat at my computer, sometimes pushing my hands away from the keyboard to get herself a good petting or a scratch or two.

Then, last week, I woke up one day to find that Nico's skin had a yellowish tint... and the vet confirmed that it was liver failure, probably just due to age. We decided to give her a fighting chance anyway, putting her on some antibiotics on the off chance that it was just an infection (though the vet prepared us by telling us she doubted it) She seemed to be doing ok at first but gradually I could see that all the fight had just gone out of her, and she was just exhausted. She couldn't eat and was very weak. I couldn't watch her suffer any longer and had to make the decision I had been dreading all along.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Nico, kitty princess and beloved kittycat, and she left the world a lady to the end. I miss her terribly. But I wouldn't trade it for the world, Hell no- this pain sucks but it was so worth the 18 years of love and friendship she gave to me. She had an attitude & a half- I used to say 'she's French', heheh, and she was named for the Velvet Underground's German chanteuese Nico, but it wasn't til years later that I learned that 'neko' is Japanese for 'cat', which was pretty cool too. She was a fussy eater but she loved french fries. Her personality always reminded me of that cat that PePe Le Pew always sexually harassed in his cartoons, heh. She was an awesome cat, funny and unique and loyal and beautiful. I never imagined a life without her.

Rest in peace, Miss Kitty. I love you, fuzzy girl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

bed bugs

I am a well-seasoned night owl and insomniac. My internal clock has been amped to high during the late night hours since I was a kid, so being liveliest at night is natural to me. But for the past decade I have also had the cannot-fall-asleep thing happening, I usually have to exhaust my racing brain in order to get it to shut the f**k up and it's rare that I fall asleep early. I've tried the usual- hot tea, counting sheep, soothing music, yadda yadda etc- but it's almost like my subconscious has this paranoia of going to bed before a certain time in the early morning hours. Recently I realized that the hour I can't seem to fall asleep prior to, is the approximate hour that both my mother and my sister passed away. I'm sure some would love to analyze that one. Bad moons rising. When I do fall asleep, I have the most bizarre dreams... lately there has been a series of recurring ones that rotate around my twisted little head. One of those is about a place, very strange and surreal in that dreamlike way of course, neons and purples and greens and reds and smoke hugging the ground... it's always nighttime, and I'm standing outside of some kind of club or bar... it winds around like a Nautilus shell to a velvety interior with the entrance to the heart of the place deep inside. And people are drifting in and out, beautiful people in beautiful clothes, in groups of 2's, 3', and 4's, laughing, cheeks reddened, partying down... they let bits of colored light and music spill out behind them in the doorway and it looks good in there, good, nice and cozy... and I always watch, from outside looking in... but I never go inside... I never get to see what's in there. I'm not sure how to get in, am I even allowed to go in? Nobody talks to me, and I talk to no one. People part and flow around me like I'm ghostly. And I always feel like I'm dressed totally wrong, I feel like I have forgotten something really important, there is always a sense of urgent awkwardness. Is something important happening inside? Was I supposed to bring something? Was I meeting someone here? Sometimes everyone is a stranger. Sometimes not. The circumstances, the details, the individuals and the sequences are always different, but always within that same premise... sometimes I like being invisible and watching everyone ebb around me... other times it makes me feel so lonely. Strangely, even though I often wake up intermittently while I sleep, I tend to just weave in and out of the same variation of one dream as I fall in and out of sleep, which is confusing as Hell. No matter what I dream or how I sleep, though, I always wake up the exact same way.... with a uberhyperactive chihuahua in my face. Yip yip.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I heart crazy old 7-11 employees

Once, back when I was a 14 year old little metalhead & semi-hooligan, my bitchin' friends and I went clomping into a freshly-mopped 7-11, leaving muddy hightop footprints all the way over to the Spy Hunter and Galaga machines over in the corner.

The slightly wild-eyed, white-haired old guy behind the counter glared at us for a moment, then angrily stomped around to stand before us, and proceeded to shake his mop at us threateningly while yelling, "Ding, dang, look at my floor....... ding, dang, GET OUTTA MY STORE!!"

We ran for our Aquanet-ed lives, Metallica Ride The Lightning T-shirts flapping in our wake.
And I will never forget that shit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

diss function

This is what my MDD feels like:

I woke up today filled with dread, the worst, most crippling sick-to-my-stomach dread... unnamed dread... it had no source, but the feeling was very very very REAL, and that combination only amps up the anxiety... making me feel like something horrible is right around the corner and I don't even know what to expect, but it's coming, it's definitely coming, and it's very bad.

I knew it was gonna be a bad day right away, even after I popped an anti-anxiety med. The force of despair inside me was rising way too fast and furious for mere pills to curb the tide.

Things just got worse as the day went on. My skin is crawling. I feel hollow inside. My hands won't stop shaking. My throat is closed up tight as a fist. It's hard to breathe. My torso hurts with every movement. My limbs feel numb and heavy and hard to manage. Nausea is burning in my stomach and I feel dizzy and weak. I feel faint every time I stand up. My blood pressure is soaring and I am covered in a cold sweat. And that feeling of creeping dread has grown 100 times more intense as the day goes on.

This is MDD. This is the illness that I am living with. It sucks monkey ass. At times like these I feel like a freak. It's embarrassing. It makes me hate my body; it's like my very being is sabotaging me. My brain is telling me to run, to hide, to be afraid for no valid reason. How retarded is that??

How do I even explain something like that to anyone? "Oh hi there, I'm Shady, and I'm freaking out for absolutely no reason right now! My brain is wrongly misfiring fight-or-flight chemicals into my system and making me panicky, but hey, I'm just peachy, I'm not an insane freak, wanna be pals?!" *facepalm*

It's hard to see the light of reality when everything is buried in this treacherous shit. I tell myself over & over- 'breathe, you're ok, nothing bad is happening'... but my body doesn't care. The dreadful paranoia just rolls on. It's scary to not be in control. It's scary not to be able to stop this. There are days when I can... sometimes the meds do help... well, mostly they do help. But some days they don't, nothing does. Today I thought about death, today I got into fights with people I love, today I sat on my bathroom floor in the dark and cried. Today is one of those days. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

And this is what my MDD feels like.
*flips MDD off*

Monday, June 9, 2008

the great kitten rescue extravaganza

So this wee abandoned little kitten had been creeping around my neighborhood for a few days, crying it's fluffy heart out. And I kept trying to go out there and approach it, but the tiny dood was so terrified that he'd stay across the street from me at all times, just standing there, shivering & crying. It was too sad. This kitty didn't stand a chance in our notoriously cat-danger-filled area- dangerous Montana Street traffic... free-roaming pitbulls... crazy-mean old tomcats... and even a cat-poisoning neighbor... kittens don't last long here, sadly. So I knew I had to rescue the kitteh or he had a slim chance at survival.

He eluded me for a whole frustrating day. No amount of coaxing would let me get near him. I'd approach, he'd run away, I'd go back inside and soon would hear him crying outside my window again, I'd go back outside, repeat cycle.

Then I realized we had a can of tuna. Lightbulb! I went across the street and from there, left stinky dollops of tuna leading back to my yard like a fishy E.T. Reese's Pieces trail. Keep in mind I was doing this at about 1:30 in the morning, it's a wonder I didn't get carted away to the mental ward. Again. Haha. It worked- he came right into the yard, but then he still wouldn't come within arm's reach. At least he was getting closer. This went on for awhile... until I ran out of tuna and he ran off again. I was beginning to feel like the guy in I Am Legend (the book not the Will Smith flick), in that part with the stray dog. Frustration!

A little later in the night, I heard the dalmation out back barking it's monster head off. Immediately I thought uhoh, and hustled outside to find- yep- the none other than the orphan kitten... cornered by the gigantic houndzilla. Somehow, I had to move fast with Spideylike skills and grab the little guy, pluck him into the air and away from the dog drooling/barking an inch from his face, and get him inside... so I just went for it! And got myself gouged by the freaked-out kitten like 3-4 times in the process.

So I took him inside, and (after cleaning up all the blood- mine that is, ha) I fed him, gave him water, and cleaned him up. And he was ADORABLE... fluffy white with big blue eyes and fitting right in the palm of my hand. He even calmed down pretty quickly. I could tell right away that he was a really mellow, sweet cat. I had him purring within 5 minutes. But I couldn't keep the little bugger... so I used the power of Myspace and sent out a bulletin about the orphaned kitty...

In an answer to my wishes, quickly I got a message from a friend whose brother might be interested, and, it turned out, WAS interested in adopting the kitteh cat. Yay!

So I dropped him off at his new home this afternoon, and he has an awesome new family. Total cat people, and I can tell that kinda stuff *wink* He seemed to dig them right away, too... burying his face in their cat's food right away without shame, and later cuddling up and making muffins in their arms. And best of all he was a birthday gift for a very adorable little girl, showing that sometimes, timing really is everything.

Tonight it's quiet outside, no pitiful kitten cries in the air, and that makes me smile. Bigtime.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

you can't lose what's already lost

So. Lost Destinations. It has been forever since I updated it, I know. It makes me sad, because I never intended for it to go un-updated at all, let alone for so long. Bah.

It's always something that I have done for love not money, and something that I have always had a ton of passion for. LD is super-importanto to me. LD has tons of fans & friends all over the globe. LD is FILLED with pics & stories of the lost, abandoned, haunted, forgotten, weird, urban legendary. LD is my baby. Lots of memories, discoveries, and crazy journeys within those pages.

Sometimes, though- truthfully- in the past year+ it has hurt me to look at that site because of some of the memories... like seeing all the photos of places I explored with my sister, and some other extremely special people who are either no longer here or are no longer in my life... looking at those photos brings back a lot of feelings- good & bad. That, combined with the mental focus, hours of work, and financial support that is required to keep a site like LD going just became a little too overwhelming for me to maintain with all the other stuff that's happened recently (my sister's murder, a whole string of unexpected deaths, health problems, hospital stays & depression... oi)

I kinda crumbled.

It has sometimes been hard enough just getting through that stuff, let alone anything else. So LD, like a lot of my hobbies and passions, sort of fell to the wayside as I held on to myself for dear life just trying to just keep it together. But I need to get back to it. It could only be good for me to delve back into my passions (or, obsessions, as the case may be!) And I haven't been ready to, but.... I think I'm there now. And I have started working on some stuff for LD recently- new photos and stories, some redesign, some improvements, and I'm hoping to have it all up and running again really soon.

Lots of you guys have been asking me if I'll ever return to updating, and for awhile I wasn't sure myself. Not that I didn't want to, I just didn't know if I could handle it (& that went for pretty much everything for awhile) But, I know now, I can... I just needed a little time off to deal with shit. And now, the creative juices are creeping back up on me and LD is calling my name ("Bitch, get back over here!")

I'm looking forward to getting the new stuff added.
And then to getting back into exploration mode, to see what dark & spooky places I can get myself into for your urb ex enjoyment! So stay tuned. I'm about to get lost again.

Friday, June 6, 2008

movie review: The Strangers

I've been planning to do movie reviews here on the new blog (it's mostly gonna be horror flicks so, if that's not your thing, sorry Charlie!) and so away we go, here is my first...

Last night I went to the movies with my lovely friend (who will henceforth be known in this blog as 'Dollface', because of her exquisite hand painted dolls, and also, because she herself is a living doll... *grin*)

So, we saw The Strangers. And here's my review.

The plot is simple but chilling. Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are spending the night at a remote house belonging to James' parents after attending a wedding. Trouble is brewing between the young couple; there are tears and tension flowing, and we do find out what their issue is, but it won't matter because soon, they will be in for a helluva lot worse. A 4 am knock at the door breaks the silence, and the terror slowly but surely begins as 3 menacing, masked strangers begin a home invasion of epic and twisted proportions.

The Strangers is a loosely based 'remake' of the critically acclaimed 2006 French horror flick, Ils (Them) I haven't seen Ils yet, dammit, and I really wanted to see it first since that movie has gotten such raving reviews, but oh well. I still thought The Strangers (based on the same 'true events' as Ils) was worth a shot. Plus the trailers were promisingly creepy too.

And this movie is creepy- isolated location, menacing villains, lots of quiet, fear-laden tension. I can't say I didn't like it. I just didn't love it either.

The cinematography was great, keeping things taut by using lots of deep shadows, saturated colors and slow, spooky panning shots of the woods, the inside of the house, and other dark places where someone bad could be lurking. And it wasn't filled with obvious, gratuitous 'jump scares' either (except for one very corny one right at the end, ugh)- the sightings of the strangers come in very subtle, hair-raising ways that were reminiscent of one of my fave horror flicks- good ol' Halloween, where Michael Myer's mask would briefly hover, ghostlike, in the background of a shot before disappearing into shadows. And speaking of masks, the ones in this flick are very effective... projecting both a scary emotional blankness and also an undercurrent of savage childishness.

The strangers in question were my favorite part of the movie, exuding such an air of cruel detachment and a slow, steady determination to spill blood, all the while playing with their prey like cats with two terrorized mice. You really get the feeling that they are enjoying their deadly little game to the fullest. Dollface (not to be confused with my Dollface, purely coincidental heh), played by Gemma Ward, was the scariest of the crew in my opinion. Her clear, girlish voice was disturbingly ice-cold, and her patient calmness as she systematically tears Kristen and Scott's world apart is chilling. The Man In The Mask (Kip Weeks) is also scary as Hell with his stoop-shouldered gait, his raspy breathing, and his dead eyes peeking out from his sack-like mask (which was very reminiscent of the pre-hockey-mask Jason and also, the killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown- that mask was a very creepy touch!) Pin Up Girl (Laura Margolis) lacked the presence of her masked partners... while she looked freaky enough, she didn't have much to do for most of the time other than stroll around, butcher knife in hand. I would have liked to have seen her get to do a little more of the seriously scary shit.

Now, for the stuff I didn't like. The main thing that annoyed me was that they totally blew their wad, revealing the fate of our couple within the first 5 seconds of the movie, in a voiceover telling us that ::POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT:: the following is based on 'true events', and that law enforcement still don't know what happened to the couple that night. Since that gives us a pretty good idea of exactly what is going to happen, all we have left to do is sit and watch the how for the next 80 minutes. When we already know that Kristen and James are not going to survive this night intact, it makes it hard to invest any hope or real concern for them, which lessens the feeling of dread on their behalf. It does steal a great deal of suspense from the proceedings ::END SPOILER ALERT:: Also, there sure are a lot of dumb-horror-movie-esque decisions on the parts of Kristen and James in this movie; while it does come with the territory- if all horror movie protagonists did everything in a logical, smart way many of the movies would be about 10 minutes long- some of these moments still made me roll my eyes like, c'mon, guys, what are you thinking?? For instance- Kristen runs around completely barefoot for the entire f**king movie, even though she changes into a practical outfit of jeans and a flannel, she neglects to add shoes? Even after the place is pretty much carpeted in broken glass and splintered wood, and she also runs around outside in the woods, and yet she can't say, throw on a pair of flip flops at least, or something?? Minor little things like that annoy me in horror flicks.

And one additional gripe: when in the movie did THIS scene happen...?

Um, this was not in the movie! I realize that sometimes stills from scenes that are later cut sometimes make their way into the stream of public display... but but but.... this was featured on one of the official movie posters for Pete's sake. And trust me, folks- this scene was not in the movie.

Anyway. Overall I actually really liked this movie. Being that home invasions and random thrill kill murders are now a sadly common reality in our world, this movie does provoke an uneasy sense of fear and paranoia on a very real level. And the strangers are seriously creepy figures.

If you are looking for a similar movie with a much more gut-twisting, leave-you-disturbed-for-days vibe, I recommend Michael Haneke's 1997 film Funny Games (this is the Austrian original, I haven't yet seen the US remake yet) Now that movie is sick, man.