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Mrs. Lott and I went out to a major rager last night. Ghost Ship is a Halloween party that takes place in San Francisco each year. It’s put on by a Burning Man camp called Space Cowboys.

I know it’s trendy these days to hate on Burning Man, but I feel like not having been is a major fail of mine. I like crazy art, psychedelics, the desert, and scantily clad post-apocalyptic women. Yeah, some rich dick heads fly in and if you live on the West Coast, you’ve probably gotten an ear beating about how awesome it is from some hippy, but so what? If Ghost Ship is any indication, it looks fun as hell.

Hopefully I can make it out there next year. Mrs. Lott has basically refused to attend, so I will have to bring back enough enlightenment for both of us.

On to the questions!

What is something you hope to see happen before you die? 

For purely selfish reasons, I hope they figure out a way to Jurassic Park some T-Rexs. Either that or solve whatever’s going to kill me.

What is the best advice your mom/dad/grandparents/sibling/close relative ever gave you? 

I have received one sound piece of advice from my dad: do whatever you love, just make sure you make six figure doing it. I’m still not quite there.

What’s your take on a person you work with who never swears or curses? Are you suspicious? 

I’m pretty much the opposite of that person. As long as they don’t shoot the building up and do their work, they can live their life however they want. Lately I’ve been considering a “no cursing challenge.” The only real negative to swear words is you can become dependent on them. It’s probably a good idea to go on a cursing fast every once in a while, just so you are forced to come up with more creative ways to express vulgarity.

What has Fight Club taught you? 

This movie/book had a tremendous amount of influence on me. I was just the right age for it when it came out. It’s for sure the reason I got into martial arts. Palahniuk’s interviews about writing no matter what shitty job you have (he was a diesel mechanic when he wrote Fight Club) were very influential.

More than anything, I think it made me see through consumerism at an early age. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ascetic angel or anything. I still like having a few things. However I still don’t own very much stuff. Even as homeowners, Mrs. Lott and I have very little in the way of possessions for people of our age and income.

Is it weird that I don’t want to have kids? That I don’t want to “keep the bloodline going”, or having a “living legacy”? 

For most people this is super weird. Personally, I’m opting out, too.

What’s the best way to get rid of a horrible, disrespectful, dirty, messy, weird, angry, noisy roommate?

Just tell them to move out. If they don’t want to leave, lawyer up.

If you could be on any TV game show what would you be best at? 

I feel like I could’ve been pretty good on Fear Factor. Being on Jeopardy looks fun. My dream was always to do Nickelodeon’s five-minute Toys-R-Us sweep. My plan was to run straight to the video games section and start loading up.

What does being naked in a dream mean? 

The “what does this dream mean” websites seem united that this has something to do with feeling vulnerable or shame. It would probably depend on if you were into it or not in the dream. Like, if you were all “DICK’S OUT FOR HARAMBE” dancing around butt-naked and acting wild, then it’s probably cool.

 

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Sometimes I feel like I should just quit copywriting and start a house cleaning company. I like cleaning. Just take some herbal supplements, throw on a podcast, and get to it. Of course, the money I make coming up with vegetable puns is pretty good.

Most of my Saturdays are spent cleaning up around the loft. When I’m in a bad mood and Mrs. Lott has done most of the damage, I feel like I’m living in the prequel to Fight Club, cleaning Scandinavian furniture. It can be awful. Other times I’m in the mood to create order. Those days are good days.

By cleaning your space, you can order your thoughts. Get into the dark insect graveyards where the spiders leave their prey. Organize that shelf of things you’re too afraid to throw away. Or better yet, throw it all away. It’s good to purge.

Honestly, If I made enough money, I would just hire a house cleaner.

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I’m incredibly generous to films. Especially horror. There’s almost always something I find to appreciate. A character actor killing it way harder than she needs to. Model pretty extras. Homage gore effects. And I’m way too soft on these nostalgia slashers.

But this bullshit I just watched, The House of the Devil, was a complete and total chore to endure.

The lead actress, Jocelin Donahue, is an emo-twee Megan Fox. I know how sexy that sounds, but it does not work. Her sidekick, played by sexy Greta Gerwig, reminds me a tiny bit of the girl who played Debbie in Debbie Does Dallas.

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Great Gerwig. Foxy as hell.
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Bambi Woods. My all time favorite actress.

HERE ARE A FEW SPOILERS, BUT THEY REALLY AREN’T BAD:

I thought the villain played by Tom Noonan was going to be great. He was a letdown. Noonan’s villains start out slow like he does in this film, but ramp up into high crazy territory. Once there, he oscillates between totally manic and childishly silent. But in this he just says a few creepy lines, drops in with a druid robe, and basically nothing else.

There are other people in this movie, but they were so drab I can’t even remember what they look like. I believe there’s some sort of smooth skin Powder looking-ass Boo Radley demon, but who can say? I may have been sucked into a boredom black hole.

I’m no super duper cinematographer, but I felt something off. This film’s camera movement is undisciplined kitsch. Clunky familiar. I can’t tell if its exaggeration is fun or not. It’s sort of like a white guy doing Eddie Murphy’s white guy voice. It’s reality mocking satire mocking reality. Or something stupid like that. I guess it felt too digital for my tastes. A mild treatment like Rob Zombie uses might have dirtied it up enough to feel more 80s.

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One weird thing that happened to me is that I started to think the lead actress’ mom jeans were sort of cute. I don’t know if it was all the silly dancing around with the Walkman, but I might have to reconsider my hatred of high wasted jeans.

Ti West directed this film. I kind of liked his other movie, The Sacrament.  I listened to a couple interviews with him to hear if I could figure out anything more about this one. He says he likes a slow, realistic movie, that he’s not in a rush to get to the horror. I guess. Or he could just be boring as fuck.

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This is another movie, like Neon Demon, was shot sequentially. I don’t know what it does, but I think this most certainly has some effect on the feel of the whole film. I wonder if it’s sort of like what happened to my buddy Jon when he wrote an 80 page comic. His artwork had improved so much by the middle of the comic, he went back to the beginning and started over with better skill. I don’t think this movie went back to the beginning, but imagine what it must be like at the end of a shoot. You’d be totally blown out.

I think that might be why this film’s pace reminded me a bit of Neon Demon’s. Though, let’s be real, the latter was light years ahead of this one.

Marc reminded me that this 2009 film was released close to the beginning of the nostalgia horror boom. It’s possible I would’ve loved this movie if I had seen it years ago, before It Follows and Stranger Things.

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I’m honestly surprised the kooks over at American Horror Story didn’t go full on 80s. I could write that show. It’s basically going to be Saved By the Bell meets The Hunger meets The Outsiders meets Teen Wolf with 80s prep vampires against greaser werewolves. Jessica Lange will be some sort of granddaughter of Van Helsing.

Another good AHS setting could be a lake camp. So it looks like it’s going to go Friday the 13th, except it goes full on Deliverance before it veers into full on rural horror with the worship of a primordial fungus god.

I really wish making up that kind of nonsense was my job.

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Sometimes when I’m visiting a new city I think about what it would look like to just drop everything and stay there. No plans. No resources. No stuff. I used to think about it all the time and then I did it. That’s how I ended up in San Francisco.

That rash decision worked out great for a long time. It ushered in a new level of adventure. It meant I was “On the Road” for real. No matter what else happened in my life, I would have done something more daring than most people ever attempted.

Leaving New Orleans when I did changed everything. I was unhappy and didn’t know how not to be, so I left. In recovery circles, this is sometimes called “pulling a geographic.” It’s looked down upon because most people are just relocating their troubles. It works great if you can leave who you were behind.

I decided that I’d be everything I ever wanted to be and do everything I wanted to do. I drank hard. I rode old motorcycles. I had torrid affairs. I wore cool boots.

During a wild weekend in my early days in California I met a man who gave me a piece of advice I should use more. He told me, “always live your life as if the gods are watching. You must please them. They will reward you for daring.” When he said those words time stood still. It felt like the moment when a rollercoaster is at the top of its arc, just before free fall.

I was wearing a zebra skin rug as a cape and I was standing on top of a dinner table. Don’t ever let anyone tell you weed isn’t fun.

Despite a pretty good start to my early twenties, I’ve found myself having a bit of a bummer attitude in my late 30s. I think every once in a while the gods want you to try and steal fire. They want you to try something stupid. They value the bold.

So what if you’re not wild anymore? Or favored by the universal light white women in sexy yoga pants pray to? Well, you can always change direction. You can always stoke a flame. You can always have an adventure. You just have to choose to do it.

When I decided to stay in San Francisco, there wasn’t anything wishy washy about it. I took a chance. I wanted to go a new way.  I made it happen. It wasn’t always easy. Couch surfing, even with nice people, is stressful. And I was always out of money. If I didn’t work around bars and restaurants I probably would’ve skipped quite a few meals. As hippy as this sounds, the universal forces of adventure seemed to have united on my behalf. And that’s always been the case.

Even when things didn’t go the way I thought they would, they stayed interesting. The first thing you have to do, that really I have to do, is make that choice. So I’m making it.

Who knows what the gods will have in store for me? I don’t. But I’m fairly certain I won’t find it at the end of a Netflix binge.

 

 

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There’s an old saying that goes something like, “politics is just Hollywood for ugly people.” I’m inclined to agree. What we have in this election are a collection of TV polished kooks performing leadership as it was envisioned in the 1950s. A kind of Norman Rockwell authoritarianism adorned with the twin boomer turd piles of noxious identity politics and bottom line narcissism.

No one likes power ties or pantsuits, yet we are supposed to think these dismally clad sociopaths with their lobbyist whitened smiles and corny one-liners have any idea what’s going on with real people.

These fecal souled human-demon hybrids are enabled by the celebrity cultists and student debt saddled faux-revolutionary journalists. Even uncelebrated bloggers like myself are complicit.

We need to starve these ghouls of attention. Stop giving them money. Refuse to watch them. Don’t argue on their behalf. Stop defending the indefensible. Halt the spread of their meme sophistry.

You are not a Democrat or a Republican. You are one of the most capable and glorious primates to have ever crawled out of the eternally unknowable nothingness of the unkind universe. You are a pirate space chimp, not some slave with debt chains, even if that’s what it feels like right now. You can always choose to lay in the gutter and piss in your own cereal, but don’t believe you don’t have options.

 

 

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Scary Thoughts is hands down my favorite creative pursuit I’ve taken since I stopped playing D&D. It’s really fun to think about these films and explore the choices made by successful creators in a genre I fell in love with on my own, as a kid.

My co-host Marc has so many of the same interests and obsessions I do, but he comes to and leaves from them on entirely different trajectories. We should be finding so much to argue about, but what we’re doing is what I wish everyone did: conversate without being threatened by a peculiar opinion and enjoy the weirdness of another monkey’s experience.

When we meet people we should recognize them as fellow travelers on the strangest primate filled space ship in the galaxy. Can you imagine if you stopped a stranger on the street and asked him, “hey man, do you think time would go backwards if a black hole from the future crashed into a black hole from the past?”

We’re going to start creeping our tentacles into other spaces soon. We’re considering doing an episode on that new Adam Curtis film HyperNormalisation. It’s sort of  a documentary, but I think I can forge a convincing case that it’s actually a non-fiction global horror film. We have a special guest planned for this one, I’ll keep you posted on it.

If you’re thinking you want to go into that film a little more with us, check out that link, and then pick up Daniel Coffeen’s book Reading the Way of Things: Towards a New Technology of Making Sense. Also try to read Francis Fukuyama’s End of History and The Last Man. And watch the Adrei Tarkovsky films Stalker and The Sacrifice. Oh, and maybe Children of Men.

That’s some of the stuff I’ll be thinking about for that episode. But that’s going to be a few months off. Before that, we’re going to do House of the Devil. This is the first one we’re doing that I don’t have high hopes for. It looks fun and all, but straightforward.

Alright. Dinner’s ready. Check you later ghouls.

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As the host of a popular-amongst-a-couple-hundred-of-my-friends horror podcast, I figure I ought to muster up some opinion about the season 7 opener. Expect spoilers ahead.

I thought the whole mechanism of teasing the deaths out through the episode was super corny. If you sat down to binge watch the whole show right now, this episode would seem really goofy and unnecessarily repetitive. That said, if you’re like me and have been waiting to find out who dies for months now, it’s kind of tense and fun.

Let’s get right into the deaths. I expected Glen to die, but I didn’t see Abraham’s ticket getting punched. He was one of my favorites because he still had a sense of humor after everything. I think with him gone, the show will need to figure out a few ways to punch up the laughs. Of course, the laughs are just there to make the sad shit seem worse, so maybe it’s just a wash. The subtle peace sign Abraham threw out to Sarah was some real sad shit.

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Like I said, I thought Glen was a goner for sure. It’s what happens in the comic and they needed to kill someone important so you believe the show isn’t fucking around anymore, inserting real danger back into the plot. And if you’re going to off a primary Season 1 survivor, he was the only real choice. You can’t kill Rick, killing his kid would send the whole show down a different path, no network is ever going to execute a pregnant lady so you know Maggie’s clear, and Darryl’s way too popular (but so is the actor, so he may be stepping out shortly. Don’t be surprised if he bites it this season).

I’d be willing to bet Darryl goes out in a blaze of glory. They’re for sure going to make him blame himself for Glen’s death, and he’ll go on a full emo vengeance fest.

I don’t think I was expecting Glen’s death to be so graphic. The makeup they did for him looks incredible. I used to have this book that was full of graphic death photos and he really looks like some of the corpses that received severe head trauma. His gurgling, “Maggie I’ll find you” was a nice, gruesome touch. As was his hands twitching after Negan pulverized his head.

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Apparently people have been complaining about how graphic this episode was because it was too much for their kids. Hell, I’d probably be the kind of asshole that let my kids watch any crazy ass shit they wanted, but you’d never hear me bitching at the show. These people are buzzkill nanny state dickheads who need to take some ownership of their bullshit lives.

The whole drama with Rick trying to get the axe was kind of dumb to me. I guess it shows how in control Negan sees himself. But Rick fighting his way out of being surrounded by zombies has happened so many times it’s basically a non-threat. I did, however, think Negan was going to cut Rick’s hand off after he found the alcohol in the RV. Apparently the expense of shooting the show with a green screened hand (like the effect on Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road) is prohibitive enough to keep his hand on, for now.

I did like Carl’s “just cut it off” attitude. I could see him coming under the wing of Negan and transferring his paternal needs onto him since he always gets extra grumpy when he thinks Rick’s being a pussy.

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There’s a lot of effort from the professional nerd herd about how they’re either done with this show or disappointed with it. Not me, it’s the same as it’s always been; the soap opera I’ve wanted since I was 13. It’s not complex and it doesn’t need to be.