Billy and his Grandpa

 It was a cool spring morning near the lake in the upper midwest. A light fog had lifted as the sun was beginning to rise and revealed a breathtaking view from the porch of Billy’s secluded front porch. It was spring break at his school, so he decided he would go fishing in his grandpa’s old boat tied next to the tattered wooden dock. Billy and his parents spent a lot of time at his grandpa’s old lake home. Fish fry’s, barbecues, and picnics were very common.

  At fifteen, Billy was a bit of a loaner outside of the home. Most of his classmates were dying to go on trips for spring break, but Billy was still mourning the loss of his grandpa who had just passed away. The family was very close. After Billy’s parents were abruptly killed a year prior, his grandfather took him in. They would go fishing year round, even on the ice in the winter. Sometimes they would share a meal and listen to the ball game on the radio as they sat on the front porch facing the dock. His grandpa was not only Billy’s guardian since his parents passed, but his best friend as well. They were inseparable. Everywhere his grandpa went, Billy was sure to follow. Everything his grandpa did, Billy tried to emulate. They even dressed alike.

  While Billy loaded his fishing gear and lunch on the boat, he realized that he had forgotten his lunch cooler. After grabbing it out of the refrigerator, he smiled thinking of all of the good times he had spent with his grandpa and how much he missed him. He then proceeded to head back to the boat. After untying the rope from the dock and securing it, he lifted the anchor and began to row out into the lake. A few hours had passed and the sun was almost directly overhead, Billy decided to take a break to have some lunch and maybe put on his grandpa’s old fishing hat to shield him from the sun.

  As he opened his lunch cooler, Billy lifted his grandpa’s deceased head out of it and sat it upright on top of the ice and the cooler lid on top to shield the sun. Refrigeration had preserved it well. As he took his fishing knife from the cooler, he sliced off part of his grandpa’s ear and cheek. While Billy sat in the boat, chewing on the ear of his grandpa, he knew something wasn’t right. He wanted his grandpa to enjoy the day as well, so he took a couple of fish hooks and connected each cheek to the side of his grandfather’s head to form a smile.

  “There, that’s how I remember him. Grandpa was always smiling when we went fishing”, Billy said out loud as he kicked back to relax and drifted along.

  “Maybe tomorrow, mom and dad can come, if there’s enough left”, Billy once again said out loud as he smiled and tilted his grandpa’s old fishing cap.

   It had been just passed a year since the outbreak and Billy was bitten by a zombie at school. Although he killed his parents and his grandpa for their flesh and brains, he still loved them and remembered the good times instead of the chaos that the world had become. He didn’t want to kill them, but the zombie virus grew too strong. Billy knew that eventually the virus would decay his body and he would slowly deteriorate, but he wanted to spend every last second he had with his family.

   They tried to keep Billy under control. They even tried to lead a normal life, but eventually his mother came too close. As his father attempted to save his mother, he too was bitten. When Billy’s grandpa came home, he was horrified, but he knew the family dynamic was ruined. However, he loved Billy so much that he removed his parents’ heads to prevent them from turning. He dismembered and refrigerated them for preservation.

   Billy’s grandpa wanted to be near them and keep them for as long as he could, so he would only feed Billy small pieces at a time. Just enough to satiate his zombie desires. Unfortunately, a few days ago, Grandpa came too close. Billy bit his grandpa during a feeding. He was horrified at what he had done. However,  just as he did as a child, Billy tried to emulate what his grandpa had done.

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Captain America: Civil War Debate

Captain America: Civil War

 In this movie, the Avengers are faced with an internal dilemma that divides them and causes them to interact with physical violence that leads to an array of death and damages along the way. This dilemma is derived from a United Nations sanctioned document, called the Sokovia Accords. This document forces any enhanced person to be regulated by the UN. Captain America, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Ant man feel that forcing them to sign that document would be a violation of their freedom and could ultimately prevent them from instinctually saving lives. Ironman, War Machine, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Black Panther and Vision initially feel regulation is necessary after all of the death and destruction in Sokovia.

  Helmut Zemo, a terrorist who lost family in the Avengers fight against Ultron in Sokovia, blames the Avengers and is driven by revenge. He orchestrates the divide in the civil war amongst the Avengers because he feels the only way to beat them is to destroy them internally. By the end of the movie it is debatable as to whether or not Zemo succeeded. There is still divide and separation amongst the Avengers, but tensions have eased. Black Panther altered his position of revenge when he found out that Zemo was responsible for the death of his father, not the Winter Soldier. He even goes as far as to help Captain America and Winter Soldier to hide in Wakanda.

  In a universe where enhanced individuals are powerful enough to be considered weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s), should they be regulated? There are two compelling sides to the argument. I see valid reasoning to both sides. On one hand, you somewhat handcuff the abilities of enhanced individuals to save lives by not allowing them to use their instincts that could prevent potential catastrophic disaster. On the other hand, their non-regulated and instinctual actions have led to several casualties along the way.

  In the end, both sides are right, but who gets to make the rules? Why is a UN panel more capable of making a rational decision than Tony Stark, Captain America, even Ant Man when they almost nuked an entire city in the first Avengers movie. If it wasn’t for Tony Stark a whole city and it’s population would have been vaporized. Instead, his quick action saved New York and defeated the enemy and alien Chitauri fleet. On the other hand, in cases such as the Winter Soldier, Hydra has shown the ability use mind control. If that would happen to say, the Hulk, things could get real ugly and quick.

  In the end, I think some sort of regulation is inevitable or chaos could ensue. However, it shouldn’t come at the cost of freedom or loss of innocent lives. Much like the gun control debate that is currently a hot button in the US, both sides have compelling arguments. However, fighting about it won’t solve anything, it just creates a bigger divide. Whether you are pro Captain America, pro Tony Stark, for gun control, or against it, there needs to be calm level-headed discussions about what makes sense. At the end of the movie, Cap left Tony a letter that gives us the sense that cooler heads seem to be prevailing, even though he didn’t sign the Sokovia Accords.

  I’m somewhat torn about both and have strong feelings both ways. Obviously, one is a comic book movie and one is real life. However, both sides should have a voice and be heard. No one wins in a tyrannical society or when freedoms are lost. However, whether you are an Avenger or a governing political leader, corruption has happened and is a constant threat. Nazi Germany, the Russian and Young Turks Revolutions are real life examples of what can happen when government goes bad. All three happened within some of our current grandparents or great grandparents lifetimes.

  Although no one wants to see children murdered in mass shootings in real life or children losing their lives collaterally by an Avenger, it is important to remember that creating legislation without considering the bigger picture can and has led to tyrannical situations in history. In the end, I don’t know if there is a solution that would make everyone happy for the Avengers or the gun control debate, but it’s worth discussing.

My Ascension

Photo taken from:https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/alien-life/alien-abductions-freaky-fiction/alien abductions

The green and white light encompassed my entire body as my ascension began. On my journey I passed over the treetops near Briars farm. I spent many years there. Hay rides in the fall were my favorite. I remembered the apples that my mother would bring home. So beautiful, crisp, and sweet, the thought of them made me salivate.

  Just before I passed through the clouds, I could see the bridge near the water. I remembered our vacation at the bay. My parents old green Ford LTD station wagon was packed to the gills. There was barely enough room for my nine year old plaid clad body. Typically, my mother would wedge me between the cooler and the sleeping bags. Sometimes I would nod off as my mother would sing. She had a beautiful voice. My father enjoyed it as well, which was good because the AM radio never seemed to work right. He would smile at her, but you could barely tell, as the tattered grey fishing hat covered most of his face.

  As I passed through the clouds, I could see the school yard. Specifically the bleachers near the field. That’s where, Susie Kramer and I shared our first kiss. It was a Friday night after the game. Her long dark hair always smelled sweet. She liked to wear my leather jacket over her favorite black dress. We held each other for what seemed like hours before I drove her home in my parent’s old station wagon.

  While I rose above the clouds, I could see the moon and stars. They illuminated the night sky as though it were daytime. The glowing full moon reminded me of the night I proposed to Susie. We were walking back from a Halloween party. It was near Memorial park that I nearly split my Hulk pants as I knelt before her and proposed. When she said yes, I nearly crushed her pumpkin queen costume as I hugged her tightly with my giant green hands.

 As I  glided through the atmosphere of our planet, I could see the beautiful blue outline of the oceans. It reminded me of the first vacation we took with our son, Bruce. I remember driving up the coast on our way to the beach. I had packed up the 1995 green Ford Taurus station wagon and loaded it to the gills. Susie nestled our son between the cooler and the sleeping bags. I remembered watching him nod off as Susie would sing along to the radio. She had a beautiful voice. I was smiling as I listened and watched Bruce from the rearview mirror. However, it was hard to tell as my baseball cap was pulled tightly above my eyes to avoid the glare from the ocean.

  While I looked up, I could see the opening of the ship that projected the green and white light. As I stared at it, I began to weep. It reminded me of the bright light emanating from the operating table as Susie laid motionless as the surgeons worked on her lifeless body. The impact of the car accident had proven to be too much for her.

  As I entered the ship, I could see four walls, four gray beings, and a bed awaiting me.They reminded me of the four walls in my room at the hospital. I had been there for a while. After suffering my third stroke, I didn’t think I could go on. That was when my son Bruce had come to see me. I was overjoyed, especially at the news of he and his wife Carly were expecting. They stayed for a while, but eventually they had to go. Even though I wasn’t well, I managed to call a cab to drive me back home. Back near the farm where I grew up. I knew I was going to die, I just couldn’t do it in a hospital. As I rolled my chair through the front yard, I sensed a powerful presence of light. I stopped and wrapped myself in the blankets as the green and white light encompassed my body and my ascension began.

The Conditioning

Photo taken from:https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/10/experts-warn-un-panel-about-the-dangers-of-artificial-superintelligence/AI

 Brice Parker’s bedroom was quiet, aside from the faint hum of the pewter coated ceiling fan and occasional rustle of blankets. The only emission of light was from the LED alarm clock and charging light on his cell phone. Brice had just finished a series of long work days with many more to come, not to mention his four-hour round trip commute.

   His boss had given his team an escalated deadline that left little time for anything else. The social media project that he had been working on required a lot of computer data research, analysis, and attention to details. Brice had stared at his computer screen for many hours that particular day with very minimal breaks, leaving his eyes strained and exhausted.

   The constant flickers and distorted images of light, from his computer screen, remained imbedded even after closing his eyes more than 30 minutes prior. He thought they would soon dissipate and he could drift off to sleep like every previous night in his life before. Unfortunately for Brice the light flickers remained and even somewhat multiplied.

  Hours went by as Brice laid in his bed, watching the light show as he grimaced from exhaustion. After finally giving in to the flickering light induced insomnia, he couldn’t bare to look at his alarm clock. As his wake up time approached, Brice noticed that the flickering light he watched behind closed eyes began to take more substantial form and resemble words from articles he had read online. Brice knew he had been working long hours and perhaps that was contributing to his eye strain. He thought perhaps a visit to the doctor was in order, but he knew there was no time.

  Brice began his morning with his usual hard-boiled eggs, chased by a cup of green tea. Brice was very health conscious and rarely veered from his ketogenic diet. No sugar, no processed foods. If he did ingest carbohydrates, it was from raw whole foods.

 Amidst his commute to the office, Brice noticed that the images of light, articles, and such would become more prevalent each time he closed his eyes. In fact, during the two-hour commute, he would lose chunks of time. Sometimes fifteen minutes or so. When he arrived at the office, he could barely recall the commute at all. In fact he could recall more social media content than he could the ambulance, fire truck, or parade that he had passed.

  In a panic, Brice grabbed his Starbucks coffee cup from his car console and walked across the parking lot. On the way, as he gulped down the remainder of joe and realized that he didn’t remember purchasing it. In fact, he remembered that he didn’t even like coffee. Somewhat stunned by the sudden realization, he briefly sat on the bench next to the entrance and closed his eyes. Almost immediately, the lights and images began. First it was a Facebook post, then came twitter, and Instagram, etc… Brice began to rub his bloodshot eyes in an attempt to control the images. However, it only increased the speed and fluctuation. Brice placed his palms over his face and dropped his head between his knees as one of his coworkers walked by and noticed that Brice appeared to be having some distress.

  “Brice….you OK?”, said Charlie Simpson as he placed his hand on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. Brice looked up at Charlie and became immediately enraged. Brice quickly arose and grabbed Charlie by the shirt and shoved him to the ground.

  “Fuck you!” said Brice as he sat back down and replanted his face in his palms, closing his eyes and dreading the images.

   “Damn it, Brice! What is wrong with you! We’ve been friends since elementary school!”, said Charlie as he dusted himself off, offered his friend a gesture, and made his way into the building in order to not be late.

  As Brice sat back down, he recalled their friendship, but couldn’t recall exactly why he was so angry with Charlie. Each time he closed his eyes, the anger grew. He didn’t know why, but he felt compelled to kill him. In a rage, Brice sprang up and marched towards the entrance of the building. When he lifted his arm towards the microchip scanner, the doors opened and everything went dark.

  As he came to, Brice was once again lying in his bed, staring into closed eyelids viewing vast amounts of social media at enormous rates of speed. As each image of a post appeared, Brice’s emotions swung from anger, to sadness, to happiness, and all places in between. Feeling as though he was going insane, he went to his kitchen to clear his thoughts and maybe find something to eat. To his surprise, his cupboards were filled with all sorts of famous name brand snacks. His refrigerator was filled with the same. Brice had no recall of buying any of those things, but partook nonetheless. Soon after eating his third cupcake and soda, Brice passed out and fell to his kitchen floor.

  Twenty four hours had passed and Brice was once again making his commute to the office. He felt sluggish from all of the junk food, but the computer images, flickering lights, and social media posts had stopped. Brice thought that perhaps the insulin spike was maybe what he needed.

  As Brice sat down at his desk and booted up his computer to begin working on the project, everything once again went dark. When he awakened a few moments later, the computer images, flashes of light began. That time, he didn’t fight it. In fact, Brice was no longer in control of his own brain. He no longer had an identity. He felt compelled to do whatever the social media posts told him to do. As his mind scrolled through his Facebook page, he saw a post in which his friend Charlie Simpson had embraced the newly elected President’s actions on Twitter. Instantly Brice became angry. He stood up from his black leather office chair and walked over to Charlie’s cubicle, grabbing a pair of scissors along the way. Without blinking, Brice grabbed the back of Charlie’s head and drove the scissors through his temple. Charlie died instantly without much of a struggle.

  Six months had passed and Brice was eating lunch from his cell on death row. As he chewed his bologna sandwich, he smiled as the current memes regarding politics scrolled through his brain. Seconds later, he came upon one that made him angry. It was a Facebook post from Phil, the prison guard standing outside Brice’s cell. Phil, had posted a meme mocking the legalization of marijuana. Brice called to the guard to approach him as he slowly lowered the shank from his orange sleeve. Brice was no longer in control of his mind. Artificial intelligence had overtaken him. He not only had been working on the social media project, he was the project. The conditioning.

  

 

                                                    -The End-

  

My take on the Slasher horror genre

Freddy vs Jason vs Michael

Photo taken from:http://www.moviefancentral.com/walkingdeadlover/top10s/26465

  As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s I grew to love the horror movie genre as a whole, especially the slasher films that were at their height of popularity in that time. Friday the thirteenth, Halloween, and a Nightmare on Elm Street film series were the most famous of the franchises. Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers were so iconic, that they have each since been modernized and remade for a new generation. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same for me. The original cinematography and viewing format was something special, even on VHS (which is making a comeback btw). I don’t feel putting a modern spin can ever recreate the same experience.  

  Each of the new films were okay, but just didn’t have the same feel as the originals. Maybe if I had never seen them as a kid, I may feel differently. I mean Jackie Earle Haley was an excellent Freddy, but he isn’t Robert Englund. Robert had a one of a kind flare that walked a fine line between humor and terror. One minute you were laughing at his one liners and the next you were panicking and wondering when the hell that chick is going to wake up! Let’s not forget the bubble bath scene. How iconic was that? I defy anyone to get into a bathtub without thinking of that. I’ll stick to showers! 😉

   Rob Zombie did a great job in recreating the terror that struck Haddonfield, but nothing can replicate the aura of creepiness that John Carpenter harnessed in his 1978 masterpiece. The musical score alone makes me apprehensive each time I hear it. Not to mention the creepy white-faced Captain Kirk (William Shatner) mask. That was genius. You can’t forget the original scream queen herself, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), was phenomenal. She had the perfect balance of vulnerability, toughness, and beauty that you want in a horror movie heroine. Let’s also not forget Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance). Malcolm Mcdowell was excellent in the remake and I don’t think anyone alive in 2007 could have done a better job. However, Donald Pleasence had such a commanding presence and creepy vibe that if he were to tell me my Lucky Charms were haunted, I would believe him. He had a way of delivering his lines that was almost storytelling as he painted the evil picture that was Michael Myers. In some ways he reminded me a little of the late Vincent Price.

   I liked Supernatural’s Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in the Friday the thirteenth 2009 remake, but there was something about the build up in the original movie series that showed the slow progression of the evil known as Jason Voorhees.  Instead, they jammed it into one movie. Not to mention that they made Jason some sort of crossfit douche instead of the slow plodding creeper that seems to always be one step ahead, even though he barely moved. Don’t get me wrong, after part four of the original, the franchise spiralled out of control, but in my opinion the burlap bag with one eyehole, in part two, was the creepiest of all Jason’s looks and needed a bigger share of screen time. Maybe if Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) were to have cameoed in the ‘67 jamming to “Carry on Wayward Son” and beheaded Jason with the “first blade”, I would have felt differently. (Hint: if that happens, I want creative rights.)  😉

  You can replicate the stalking music, masks, and gratuitous boob shots, but you can’t replicate a time period. An era that had vulnerability. There was no internet, no cell phones, and no GPS. It was lot more difficult to stay safe if you were lost in the woods, at home alone trying to stay awake, broken down in the middle of nowhere, or babysitting on Halloween night. All in all, I wish Hollywood would refrain from these type of remakes. They were good in their own right, but each time I see the “big three” in the original formats I am transported back in time.

  The modern horror industry has a variety of sub genres that seem to have quite a following, but they haven’t mastered the slasher movie. Instead of replicating past horror icons, I would like to see a new slasher on the scene that has the sustainability of a Freddy, Jason, or Michael Myers. I may sound like the grumpy old man who doesn’t like anything new, but I actually liked the remakes. However, I think their efforts would have been better creating their own original slasher. I understand that there is a lot of money wrapped up in making movies today and studios are hesitant to take a risk, but don’t forget that the original Halloween movie was made on a budget of $300,000.