“There was no driver in the car”

A couple days ago my latest order from Amazon showed up in our hot little mailbox. Included was a package of the razor blades I use with my safety razor and a DVD. The movie contained upon the hallowed disk? 1977’s “The Car.”

I first saw The Car a few years ago on Netflix. It fell off Netflix not long after and I was left only with memories, and the trailer which can be watched on YouTube.

I was prompted to finally order the movie when horror host Svengoolie featured it on last Saturday night’s show. Here I’ve been The Car-less for years and for the low low price of 10 US bucks I own the disk and can watch it whenever I damn well please.

What evil drove me to possess this film? I won’t argue too much some of the film’s shortcomings. If you are the type who can’t get past the idea of a killer car going about killing people in killer car fashion then this movie probably isn’t your cup of, dare I say, 10W-30.

But if you dig some suspense in a story that’s well paced or you like your horror movies not covered in blood and gore (in this case for the most part bereft of both) The Car might be right up your alley.

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Another visitation tonight. More people that I went to school with losing a parent. I remember the years where every summer a bunch of people I knew got married. Then I remember the time where, for awhile it seemed I kept hearing of separations and divorces. Now its parents dying.

The next wave I guess is the inevitable. There have been a few already. Of course a few didn’t make it out of high school, a few more out of their 20s. Since then its been a trickle. It’ll be weird when it really starts hitting.

Or maybe it won’t. I haven’t been witness to outrageous horrors. I haven’t witnessed a war or a genocide or any momentous natural catastrophes up close. But I’ve thought about death a lot since I was pretty young. There are others no doubt who’ve thought about it more than me but still I might have thought about it more than one should. And I’ve no idea how much one should. And who would decide how much is too much? A board of psychiatrists? The necromancy guild? The Surgeon General?

I don’t like funerals. It’s not the whole death thing as much as the clergy. Their schtick is horrible and worse, boring. I don’t care for weddings for the same reason. The droning of the pastor (or whatever this one titles him or herself) is, if not insulting then insufferable. So I usually go to the visitation.

But I went to a visitation a couple of weeks ago and now there’s another one tonight.

I dropped lil A off at daycare/preschool this morning. His Mom usually drops him off, his school being near her work, and I drop off the oldest boy H at his school which is nearer our home and my workplace.

A week or two ago Katie’s car’s dashboard lights started warning us about the brakes, the steering, localized warfare in a rural area on some other continent, and the apocalypse. Katie had an appointment this morning to get it looked at so I took lil’ A to school.

I remembered which building he belonged in but there are two classes in there, but they are usually all in one big room in the morning, but he switched from one to the other at some point, and there are two doors but it doesn’t matter if you pick the wrong one because you can hear the kids playing and yelling and you can walk on down the hall to where you’re supposed to be. And so as usual we didn’t take the direct route but we got where we were supposed to go.

Lil’ A gave me a huge hug, two huge hugs in fact, and wouldn’t let go until a teacher volunteered to watch out the window with him and wave to me as I left. That is usually the way it goes when I drop him off. I’ve had other teachers tell me that clinging behavior is common when little one’s routines are shaken up, for instance when a different person who takes them to school and picks them up.  Like so many behaviors I don’t know where it comes from or what it means.

Kicked a soccer ball, no two soccer balls, around Katie’s sister’s family’s backyard with H and lil A and their cousins. We were at their place in Kansas City KS (okay, a suburb of KCK) for their kids’ birthday parties. Yes, one party for two children, I don’t know how long you can get away with that but it’s a nice trick as long as it works.

The party started at “Old Shawnee Pizza,” a rambling mid-century joint with beer, your classic pizza joint salad (iceberg lettuce, plenty of cheese and bacon bits) and pizza with a thin, flaky, yet will not sag under the weight of the toppings crust. They had some beers I don’t think I’ve tried but it was 11 in the morning and a long day of keeping track of children and driving halfway across the state lay ahead.

Children’s parties have themes now, even beyond the primary themes of cake, ice cream, and presents. One child’s theme was “Star Wars” (I don’t know if it was “Force Awakens” specific or if all the movies, not to mention books, blogs, and angry tweets, were on), the other kid’s theme was “Frozen.” If you haven’t heard of this obscure flick, it’s animated and it features a queen with magical icy powers who, despite her heroic and tragic attempts to control them, unleashes them upon her kingdom on the day of her ascension to the throne.

There was the customary cake and ice cream, and presents, the lust for a nap, and then the ball kicking. And in a twist right not out of a sitcom the only balls footed were designed for such activity while Dad’s balls were left unaccosted. Toward the end of play my oldest son did decide that I must be tackled. Fortunately I’m still capable of warding off the attacks of most average sized solitary 9 year olds, especially ones overtaken by giggling.

Final note: the game was kept fun and moving by fences. My in-laws entire back yard is fenced in and so I didn’t have to take off chasing soccer balls or my 3 year old across the county, which is what happens on the open prairie that is our neighborhood.

I want a British horror film from the late 60s -early 70s that features a drug filled orgy scene, a temple collapsing on a dude, old priests, the Greek countryside, and a sexy vampire. I want “Bloodsuckers.”

“Bloodsuckers,” also known as “Incense for the Damned,” stars Patrick Macnee, maybe best known from his role in the British TV show “The Avengers” and Peter Cushing best known as Peter Cushing Badass Extraordinaire. It also stars Johnny Sekka, Madeleine Hinde, and Imogen Hassall among others.

Reeking of the supercool period in which it was produced, or rather pasted together, it features plenty of steam and blood. And while I watched it in a dark basement during the middle of the day it’d be a fun movie for a dark basement late at night.

Besides watching old British horror films I spent yesterday thinking about things happening in the secular community, locally and nationally. I thought about what I want to do and what I plan to do next.

When things get heavy my first instinct is to crawl into my hidey hole and wall myself in. But I spoke with a friend that I trust and respect and was reminded that a person needs that now and again.

I walked to pick up Henry from school. It was a cool day with a light breeze, perfect for a walk, and for watching British horror flicks. One of Henry’s Adventure Club teachers had bandaged his hand up over one of his ever present monkey-bars blisters. We talked, only half joking, about getting him some bicycle gloves for his monkey-barring, if he’d wear them.

Lots going on these days. Changing things around, winding down old projects, winding up (or at least contemplating winding up) new ones. This all sounds a lot sexier than it feels and I’m certain it sounds a lot sexier than it looks.

Sometimes it’s just a word from a friend, or an unrelated event that convinces you to go ahead and do what you had considered doing once, twice, or a million times before. Doing some of the things I’m doing might be a little jarring, even painful, but I think I’ll be glad they were done AFTER they’re done.

I have to do something this evening that I’m not looking forward to. I didn’t make the decision on my own to do it, indeed it wasn’t my idea (though I think it’s a good one), and I won’t be doing it alone. It’s not going to be pleasant, though it needn’t be nasty, we’ll see how it goes. It’s good though that more than one person will be working on it.

This post is vague, I apologize but it can’t, okay won’t be helped. I don’t like talking about things before I do them, in case they don’t get done.

 

I’m not just not a morning person, I’m an anti-morning person. I’m half asleep almost every time I get dressed. My body runs an automatic process, a program called “get dressed,” yours probably does too, even if you are a morning person. The entire program can run while I am not so much awake, it can run while I’m thinking of other things, it can run without me fully realizing it’s running.

I could make the the whole thing difficult. I could decide some night that I wasn’t going to run the “get dressed” program the next morning. I could decide to reinvent, as much as possible, the entire getting dressed ritual. I could spend hours getting dressed. I could do all that, but what would it accomplish? The program works, the easy thing suffices.

I like to do the easy thing. There are heroic souls (or those who like to pose as heroes) who are fond of saying “do the hard thing” or “challenge yourself,” or, my personal favorite, “there’s no such thing as problems, only opportunities” (that last one especially pisses me off, but let’s save if for another time).

But the easy things work. Automatic processes allow us to do the things we need to regularly do without learning a new skill every time we do it. And if you think it’d be fun to not run a “get dressed” program and do it a different way every time, go help a family with a toddler or two, tell them you will get the kids dressed and ready to leave whenever they go somewhere. No, the automatic processes are crucial.

Sometimes though a more interesting challenge than “get dressed” comes along. You might be given a chance to show that you aren’t bothered by those who oppose you. And maybe the offer would be easy to duck. You could simply refuse the offer and there would be no dishonor, no repercussions. Sometimes the correct answer is indeed “no.” But sometimes the thing to do is to accept.

You might end up better off if you accept and meet the challenge head on. Maybe you don’t utterly destroy every one of  your foes, because you don’t live in an adventure movie, but you emerge better  nonetheless. Sometimes the difficult thing is the right thing to do.

So how do you know when it’s right to ignore a challenge and when it’s right to meet it? That’s a challenge in itself. I won’t claim to be able to tell you and I’d be leery of those who would.