Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finals Week

Darkness has descended upon Commerce, Texas. The professors have sprouted claws and fangs, blood is pouring from grading pens, and students have turned into sleep deprived zombies. I can already feel the symptoms overtaking me. My eyes ache...my hands cramp...and I can literally feel my hair follicles turning grey. Where is our saviour? Where is our white light? All hope seems lost in these dark times...OK...OK...I'm stretching the truth just a tad...but it really is that dreadful time of the year where FINAL EXAMS crawl out of the fiery pit of Hell to cause misery and headaches. No exaggeration there.

I literally just got done writing Stalin's life story for the fifth time this semester (socialism and fascism are running rampant in the history department), and I couldn't be more relieved. However, I'll be writing about him and other communist activities more on Thursday for both of my history classes. What a joy...

Well anyways, I just wanted to check in and let everyone know that I haven't been sucked into the black hole of finals...yet. More posts to come as soon as tests are done!

Photo courtesy of Google

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Tried Not to Do It...

I couldn't deny it anymore as I typed the words Vernon's Peak. My next book is taking me back to my hometown. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I was hoping my imagination take me to somewhere new like it did when it took me to the city of Mayfield ruled by brooding, pompous and privileged brats. Well now, I'm bringing the brooding, pompous and privileged brats to Vernon's Peak because things can be so much more sinister in a small town. Everyone knows each others business, and murder can cause more than just a ripple. That's a really good tagline...copyright!

By returning back to my hometown, this means that I can fulfill promises to people that wanted to be a character. Sorry, all of the big parts are already taken...

Well anyways, here is a small part of a flashback scene that I finished up the other night.

There she had been, standing between the Bubblicious gum and M&M’s in the smoky atmosphere of Rigney’s gas station. I had choked on my ICEE while I admired her beauty. Her name was a complete mystery to me. Her blue eyes sparkled like diamonds as she brushed the black strands of hair out of her face. I watched her body move as she leaned forward to pick out a pack of gum. Her skin was caramel colored. I scanned every perfect inch of her body that was exposed. She had worn very little fabric on that hot summer night.

“She’s absolutely gorgeous,” I whispered to Thatcher.

“Oh, cool.” He didn’t notice her as he filled his cup with cherry ICEE. “What’s her name?”



Who is this mystery girl?

The secret is, she is an actual girl I know...

The million dollar question is...what is her name?*

*A million dollars will not be disbursed if you try to identify her name and guess correctly

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Nothing can ever be normal with my family...this particularly includes holidays.

Thanksgiving started in the early hours before the Sun even began to rise. My mother had gone over to my house with her husband Frankie to use the oven to cook the ham since she was going to have the oven full with dressing at her house. Well, all went smoothly until it came time to leave. She walked down the front steps and snap, crackle and pop! She stepped in a "hole" and broke her ankle. Supposedly she had rolled all over the ground screaming and hollering in agony and despair. I was not there to witness this, but the neighbors did call in to report a murder at my house...just kidding.

She was quickly taken to the ER by Frankie, and she had her ankle wrapped up while she received a dose of some "happy pill". She was so chipper and giggly when she called to tell me what had happened. When she called my sister she told her that she had to go see Dr. Marvel in Quitman and that he was "Marv-e-lous." She said that in the most sing-songy voice that she could. Believe me, this is totally out of character for her when it comes to situations of pain. Just ask my brother-in-law who wheeled her around in a wheelchair all over the Magic Kingdom when she had a few foot blisters.

So, with none of the Thanksgiving food prepared...things became desperate. Mother gave orders from the living room as Frankie and I tried our best to make mashed potatoes and deviled eggs. Thankfully, my sister came to the rescue and prepared the rest of the food while I entertained my nieces. Problem is that Frankie took his time to de-skin and de-bone the chicken for the dressing, and Kim forgot to put it in the dressing! Afterwards, I went over to my aunt's house for her annual Thanksgiving shindig. It was there that I discovered the beauty and tasty delight of "dog vomit." Mmmmmmm! It is pretty much a sausage ball smeared on rye bread...just in case you thought I really ate doggy chunks.

Believe me, that's not the only crazy stuff that has gone on today...but every family has to keep some of its secrets...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Popcorn Worthy? - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

READER BEWARE: Opinions Are Expressed Below

Ever since Harry Potter movies started to hit the silver screen, my sister Kimberly and I have had the long running tradition to go see them all together. We even had the tradition to go the midnight book releases as well. Along the way, my brother-in-law Brandon and niece Halie have been added to the tradition of going to see the movies.

Well tonight, we all reflected as the credits rolled how hopeless, dark, touching and magical the penultimate Harry Potter installment is. I am not going to lie, this movie does not offer a single shred of hope. Part 1 is purely a transitional film filled with dread, gloom and pure evil. One can't help but be depressed and deeply touched when the movie is over.

Following as close to the novel as any movie could, Part 1 still veered off from the original text. Hedwig was more heroic, Dobby appeared where he wasn't supposed to (but I'm not complaining about that), and a character was even spared his impending death! I'm curious to see what direction they will be taking that character now. There were other minor details changed...so no big deal.

Director David Yates has only improved since his Harry Potter debut on Order of the Phoenix, and I'm glad that the best has been saved for last. Character development is a critical issue in this installment, and it is played out well by all of the actors...old and new. I can't describe this development, but there were just these little moments shared between characters that were deeply touching. However, David Yates should really learn how to film a scene concentrating on two characters in movement. I could have sworn I was watching Cloverfield when the camera was severely shaky.

The musical score for Part 1 wasn't bad, but it wasn't phenomenal. The spirit John Williams and Nicholas Hooper pumped into the music was not be felt. Don't get me wrong, I still think Alexandre Desplat did a good job. However, I really liked the Fever Ray song in the Red Riding Hood trailer before the movie started much more than anything in the actual movie.

Three more points of interest for people with young ones. Firstly, the snake scenes are scary for small children. Secondly, Harry and Hermoine have a practically nude make out scene. Necessary? Nope... Lastly, the ending was AMAZING! The movie couldn't have ended any better. It fit the prevailing mood completely.

4.7 Popcorn Kernels Out Of 5 (gloomy, sad, touching, character development, lacking powerful music, I could have sat through Part 2)

Photo courtesy of Google

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Fad That Should Die: 3-D Movies

READER BEWARE: Opinions Are Expressed Below

This is the beginning of a new series where I just complain about fads that should just crash and burn. Will my complaints evoke any changes? Nope. There are enough mindless drones out there to keep useless things alive.

Well anyways...I would like to start off with 3-D movies.

I'm not the only one in the world that knows that 3-D movies are a complete waste of money and effort. I should not have to pay extra every time for the 3-D glasses (shown above) when I have about nine 3-D glasses at home. Yes, you are supposed to recycle the glasses when you leave the theater BUT just think how much money you would save if you just kept the one pair you already purchased and use them for every other 3-D movie you watch. If you did that it would also be more environmentally friendly and more economically friendly for everybody.

I'm sure the extra charge also compensates for the amount of money it takes to convert a movie to 3-D and other expenses that I can not possibly fathom. That's why I say it's all a waste of effort. Making a movie 3-D adds no true value to a movie. A movie should be great and effective in 2-D, and not rely on 3-D technology. Christopher Nolan knows this for a fact...hence Inception and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises strictly being in 2-D. Thankfully Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 dodged the 3-D bullet (only due to time constraints). Sadly, the 3-D gun is being re-loaded and is aimed straight at HPATDH: Part 2.

So who do I blame for the sudden resurgence in 3-D movies? That's easy...Avatar and James Cameron. Upon reflection...Avatar is the biggest ripoff that had everyone fooled. When the 3-D magic is stripped away, all that remains is the storyline that has already been told in Pocahontas and Ferngully.

Now for the biggest charge yet...3-D movies are not truly a 3-D whimsical. Sure, there is a certain layer of depth added to a movie, but things are not popping out of the screen. I don't want to look at a screen and be like, "Wow...there are layers." I want to look at a screen and be like, "Holy crap! His hand reached out into the audience, and I could have sworn that pie almost hit me in the face!"

That just doesn't happen...I guess my expectations are set too high. Actually, they are high for a reason. Disney World and Universal Studios have 3-D and 4-D experiences that must be seen to be believed (cough...cough...Terminator, Muppets, Mickey's Philharmagic, etc).

3-D movies have been sent to their grave once before. Let them be sent to the grave once again sometime in the near future...along with 3-D televisions.

Photo Courtesy of Google

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Retrospect: The Faded Glitz and Glamour - The Men

Not too long ago, I went over some of Hollywood's classiest actresses. Now I would like to go over Hollywood's most dashing and charming actors that rounded out the Hollywood fairytale.

Let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to The Hollywood Man that once was:

William Holden

John Wayne
James StewartJack LemmonHumphrey BogartRobert RedfordPaul NewmanMarlon BrandoGregory PeckJames DeanWarren BeattyCary GrantGene Kelly

Photos courtesy of Google

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Retrospect: The Faded Glitz and Glamour - The Women

Once upon a time, Hollywood used to be filled with classy, glamorous and smoldering actresses. They were bombshell-dynamo women who didn't have to get naked (on camera) to have the credentials of a sex symbol. They simply just set the silver screen ablaze with their charm, wit, passion, and acting skills (what a concept!). The sad thing is that they are being forgotten. It's almost as if the fairytale never existed when I have to explain who Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford is.

Let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to The Hollywood Woman that once was:

Joan Crawford
Bette DavisElizabeth TaylorGrace KellyAva GardnerEva Marie SaintIngrid BergmanAudrey HepburnKatharine HepburnMarilyn MonroeKim NovakNatalie WoodGloria Swanson

Eve Arden

Photos courtesy of Google

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Press Release - Paranormal Investigation

I still remember it like yesterday when the "firestorm" hit Texas A&M University - Commerce. I remember it because I caused it...

It all started when I innocently participated in a paranormal investigation of the Hall of Languages in Commerce, TX with my colleague Allyson Smith. The investigation was conducted by Chad Miller and his organization called Paranormal Research and Investigations of North Texas (PRINT).

Well, when the news broke in our campus newspaper (The East Texan) of PRINT's adventure in the Hall of Languages...the crap hit the fan (I'm being nice here). Firstly, Lt. Jason Bone of the University Police Department (UPD) claimed that the police officers provided were there for security purposes only and did not participate. He even said that the officers did not witness any of the events described in the article. Hmmmmm...I really don't recall Bone being there, and there was audio recordings of a police officer participating. Secondly, many students who had class in the Hall of Languages on a regular basis (and faculty members) had sooooo many nice things to say. They all made a mountain out of a molehill, and they just added fuel to the little story.

To be perfectly honest...I laughed about it and enjoyed seeing the article go around in mass circulation on the social media. It's just sad that this was one of the controversial pieces in my career. Very sad indeed...

Oh well...here it is once more in the spirit of Halloween!

Paranormal Team Takes to Hall of Languages
By: Chance Crane

Nine Paranormal Research and Investigations of North Texas (PRINT) investigators conducted an overnight investigation of the Hall of Languages on Saturday, April 24.

The investigators were locked in from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. to see if reports of a spirit or spirits allegedly haunting the building were true.

"The Hall of Languages was the epitome of all that is evil," PRINT co-founder Chad Miller said.

The second floor experienced little to no activity, while the third floor was the highlight of the night. Reports from University Police Department officers said that the third floor sitting area did used to exist. There use to be a rotunda above the sitting area's current location and the square space was open all the way to the first floor. The central focus of the activity was near the sitting area.

"I believe this area is the key to all of it," Miller said. "It feels like this sitting area has its own atmosphere. When you walk into it, it is muggy and you feel top-heavy."

Nine group members, two press members and two university police officers participated in the investigation. The group members were separated into smaller teams and exchanged posts periodically throughout the night. As each group cycled, different activities began to occur. The first group reported a strange happening on the third floor.

"We could see the shadows of people walking down the hall and going into the classrooms," PRINT co-founder Shahnez Ragosino said. "There was a lot of activity."

During the first investigation, Ragosino felt as if someone was following her. Her frightened reaction, along with the echoing voice of a woman, was caught on tape.

"There are only three women in our group tonight," Miller said. "All of them are accounted for. I have no idea who that woman is talking in the background."

Another recording caught the sound of a phonograph playing in the background. These sounds were not audible to the normal human ear. However, a chair being dragged across the floor in a classroom was heard down the third floor hallway. Matthew Key, a reserve, went to investigate.

"I saw a pair of legs walking away," Key said. "I also felt a cold spot that moved down the hallway, and then it just disappeared."

Efforts to prompt the ghost to show itself or speak through one of the investigator's electronic devices drew a visible response in the form of contrails, and white and black masses.

However, after hours of little activity on the third floor, the group decided to pack and leave. Everyone was downstairs when a series of demonic-like screams sounded from the third floor, followed by pounding and banging on the walls and floor.

"We thought it was a car squealing by at first," investigator Brad Allison said. "However, no one outside heard anything. The noise came from inside above us and it was so loud that it could be heard throughout the entire building."

The group rushed upstairs and the once-silent electronic device lit up. It lasted a few seconds and stopped.

However, the activity did not stop. Everyone patrolling the hallways reported hearing heavy breathing and seeing a strange light as bright as a flashlight radiating from the other end of the hallway. This was all before a full-body apparition finally appeared between Ragosino and lead investigator D.J. Eichelman for a few seconds.

It wasn't until the next day that Eichelman replayed more audio and heard more strange noises.

"I ran all my tests and the ‘voices' are far from being in the human range and I believe to be residual," he said. "It sounds like a church choir or monks chanting."

Overall, PRINT found the Hall of Languages worth the hype.

"It did not disappoint at all," Miller said. "We would love to come back if they will have us. When the press and the police experience everything with you, it just validates what you're trying to accomplish. They'll be talking about this place for years to come."

PS: I heard those audio recordings and I'll just say they creeped the crap out of me!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Popcorn Worthy? - Paranormal Activity 2

READER BEWARE: Opinions are Expressed Below

Paranormal Activity 2 has been the movie that I have eagerly been anticipating the very second I heard about it. I know that I've already gushed about how I loved the first Paranormal Activity (which is truly an acquired taste). So now, what did I think about this bigger budget sequel? The first one had a $15,000 budget...this one had a $3 million budget. That still pales in comparison to other movie budgets. My reactions to this movie are complex...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but PA 2 bored me, thrilled me, terrified me and amazed me.

Boring you say? That's just awful! Well let me explain what I mean by the statement above. The movie starts off in the happy household of a family (and their dog) who has a newborn son (Hunter) in 2006. They are documenting Hunter growing up and developing...so the reason why the camera is always running is perfectly clear. Well, within the first 10 minutes of the movie...Katie Featherston makes her appearance. She's just as happy and as normal as she can be. This unsettles me...unnerves me. Why is she at this family's house and holding their baby? Don't they know she is a crazed, possessed killer? No, they don't because she hasn't done anything yet.

Yep, you heard me correctly...PA 2 is a prequel. However, the last frighting moments are truly part of a sequel. It's a hybrid more or less.

Micah Sloat is still alive, and Katie Featherston is still innocent. That still doesn't explain how she is involved with this happy family. FYI: Hunter's mother (Kristi) is Katie's sister. Gasp!

After this fact is established, someone breaks into the happy family's home and trashes it (without stealing anything but a "special" necklace). They are all upset by this (I can't imagine why...sarcasm there), and the father decides to install security cameras all over the house. No more are we, the audience, bedroom voyeurs! We are able to spy all over a huge house! Don't get too excited though...the only spooky thing going on in this household for the first thirty minutes is a crying baby, a superstitious Hispanic nanny (or cook...or whatever) that I can't understand and a pool cleaner that just won't stay in the pool. This is where the movie is boring. However, it's realistic. I give the movie props for that.

The movie really picks up when the parents leave their teenage daughter (Ali) to babysit Hunter. The nanny (cook...whatever) has already been fired at this point for crazy ranting about demons. Some things happen (not going to tell you), and the rest of the movie is tense and frightening in ways that will make your hair stand on end. Hunter is put in danger, the dog's life hangs in the balance, and Katie's inevitable crossover to the dark side is closely looming. That's what I love about PA 2. It is closely linked to the first PA. FYI: If you haven't seen the first PA, then you will be completely lost.

I'm going to straight up admit that there were three parts to this movie that literally terrified me. I'm not saying that I just jolted out of my seat...I'm talking the cold sweat, hands shaking, heart pounding and fingernail biting type of terror.

A lot of elements from the first PA have been transferred to this one. Doors open by themselves, footsteps can be heard on the staircase, someone gets dragged down the hallway...but these happenings have been injected with steroids and are scarier than ever. However, PA 2 has some new tricks up its sleeves. It even provides a reason why all of this is happening in the first place, but it just makes the mystery deepen.

All in all, PA 2 managed to do what Blair Witch 2 couldn't. There is a legitimately great franchise here that is ready to be harvested, and everyone involved knows it. I'll just say that a PA 3 was more than hinted at when the final 10-15 minutes of the movie played out.

4.5 Popcorn Kernels Out Of 5 (scary, tense, dog didn't die...that I know of, a cliffhanger ending, but a slow start)

Photo courtesy of Google

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Than You Need To Know - Anneliese Michel

READER BEWARE: Contents of a Graphic and Frightening Nature are Found Below

With my recent viewing of The Exorcist, I wondered if such a thing could actually occur. Yes, I know it's in the Bible...but you just don't hear a lot about demon possession. Well, through the miracle of the Internet and Youtube...I actually found something. Sure, I dismissed the video as something fabricated by some bored teenager, but I couldn't shake that the video had 16,955,565 hits. So I Googled Anneliese Michel, and I couldn't deny it anymore. Everything I saw and heard in the video actually happened. Was she really possessed, or was she just psychotic? Who knows? Either way, an exorcism actually did occur. The case of Anneliese Michel actually inspired two movies. I'm sure you've heard of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Anneliese Michel was a very devout Catholic girl that took the burdens of other sinners upon her back and tried to make reparations by sleeping on the floor. At the age of 16, Anneliese started to experience convulsions, and she had an epileptic attack in 1969. It wasn't too long after this that Anneliese could no longer pray without experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices that told her that she was damned. Her behavior increasingly became more odd as time passed. She started to lick her urine off of the floor. She ate spiders and coal off of the floor. She bit the head off of a bird. She got underneath the kitchen table and barked like a dog for two days. She even tore off her clothes.

At the age of 23 (1975), a elderly woman was shocked to find that Anneliese could not walk past the idol of Jesus Christ. She wouldn't even drink blessed water. The elderly woman instantly suspected demonic possession, and an exorcist in a nearby town agreed. With the proper approval, the exorcist was allowed to perform the rite of exorcism (after two failed requests).

Psychiatric treatments could not help Anneliese, and the doctors did not know how to get rid of the "demons" inside of her. Anneliese claimed that the demons inside of her were Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann (as well as some others). So all efforts to "save" Anneliese went into exorcism overseen by Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt. 67 exorcism sessions were held over a 10 month period, and a session could last up to 4 hours.

During these 10 months, Anneliese refused to eat and allowed her weight to drop to 68pounds. She also ruptured the ligaments in her knees from doing 600 genuflections (falling on one or both knees as an act of reverence). Eventually in 1976, Anneliese died in her sleep from malnutrition and dehydration. The parents and exorcists were held accountable for her death, and went to prison for six months.

There is information about Anneliese and her alleged possession all over the Internet. But FYI...don't waste your time on Wikipedia. I just summed everything that it had to say.

So what do you believe?

Here are some released recordings of Anneliese's "demon voices" during her exorcisms:

Well...there was a video here. But due to an order from the highest authority (yes I still have a censor AKA my mother)...I removed it. However, I will still provide the link to the video on YouTube. If you are faint of heart, and are uneasy about viewing such things please just don't watch it.


Photos courtesy of Google

In Retrospect: Halloween Movies

As some of you have probably guessed after reading about The Last Exorcism, Devil, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Paranormal Activity on here...I love scary movies. I especially love watching them during this time of year. The very second that I changed my calender from September 30 to October 1, I popped in a scary movie.

Well anyways, I guess you could say I've had a scary movie overload this month. Don't judge me! When you don't have movies for awhile...you get a little stir crazy. I've seen some stupid ones, some funny ones and some downright scary ones this month. I can't say that I didn't learn some things along the way.
  1. Stay a virgin.
  2. Don't drink or do drugs.
  3. Don't enter a dark room where you just heard an unusual noise.
  4. Don't go into a cornfield.
  5. Love for personality...not looks.
  6. Don't go camping.
  7. Believe in what your delusional friend is trying to tell you.
  8. Have a priest on standby.
  9. It's every man for himself...leave your friends behind.
  10. Don't go inside that creepy building/home.
  11. Protect all private parts from a spear gun.
  12. Run away without breaking a limb.
  13. Don't get into scary situations in the first place.
  14. Lastly...chop the killer's head off! How hard is that?
I shall now highlight for you what I have seen so far... Please excuse me for not watching anything else "scary" that you like. I would like to add Psycho, Darkness Falls, Ghost Ship, Single White Female and many others to this list...but I just haven't gotten to them yet. Oh and I was really, REALLY nice, and I gave you all the IMDB links so you can learn more about the movie if you're interested!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Remake

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

A Nightmare on Elm Street Remake

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday the 13th Part 4

Friday the 13th Remake

The Blair Witch Project Paranormal Activity Night of the Living Dead Shaun of the Dead The Others American Psycho The Haunting Hellraiser

The Ring


Halloween 2
Halloween H20

Halloween Remake

Hocus Pocus


Children of the Corn

The Uninvited

The Exorcist

2000 Maniacs

Photos courtesy of Google