Film Corner: Fright Night

Note: This post was previously posted on Patreon.


Today's Amazon Prime offering feels very appropriate for the Halloween season: "Meet the new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge. He's charming--and utterly lethal. That's because he happens to be a vampire." I've never seen the first Fright Night (1985, I believe) before but I have a vague awareness of it enough to know this is a sequel. I'm a big fan of modern reboots because they're interesting and sometimes great and sometimes terrible (and sometimes impossibly both at once), so I'm curious to see how this holds up.

The movie opens with some really terrific heavy music that is hella portentous and I'm here for it. We zoom over a middle-of-nowhere suburb where all the houses are cookie-cutter identical. A television plays a scary Vegas magician who looks like he's honing in on Criss Angel's territory before cutting to news that a woman in a grocery parking lot was accosted by a man who tried to bite her. Sounds like we might have a vampire problem!

A teenage boy barrels through the house in a panic, hiding under his parents' bed which also contains his parents' dead bodies. Ahhhhhh. We don't see the vampire who kills him but for a moment's glimpse, which is precisely how you want to do an opening like this. RIP, that kid. I do love that we're establishing vampires exist right upfront; I have a vague sense that maybe the first one had a bigger air of mystery about whether vampires were real and/or really in the suburbs? But you can do that with a remake, you can get down to brass tacks with the mystery twist because everyone already knows it. I approve.

Film Corner: Nope

Note: I recommend watching this movie without reading my review first. It's so much better, I think, if you go into the viewing experience for this film not knowing anything about it. It's a scary movie, yes, but not a jump-scare movie, if that makes sense. As far as content warnings go, there's some pretty graphic animal death and animal violence.


We're going to watch NOPE tonight, which I've been looking forward to as a big fan of Jordan Peele's GET OUT, and the previews for this looked amazing. I think that was back when we still went to theaters, in the Before Times, before covid. All I know about this one is that it has aliens and occurs on a horse ranch. Sort of like SIGNS, but with a Black family instead of Mel Gibson? I think we can all agree that's an improvement. "The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery."

As always, there will be spoilers!

December Newsletter (Update!)

There is a lot more rain and water overall up here in Chicago than in Fort Worth / Dallas. That was one of the reasons why we chose Chicago; we were tired of living in a desert while climate scientists kept warning that droughts are just around the corner. But with all this water comes the risk of floods. I was warned of this by friends when we moved up here (not a "stay away!" warning, just a "be aware!" warning) and then experienced it firsthand when our temporary housing flooded not once, not twice, but three times before we were able to close on our house. (And that was sewage flooding, which is the worst kind of flooding.)

This morning I woke up to find that (a) I'm kind of under-the-weather because the humidity and air pressure has been doing bad things to my sinuses and (b) our basement flooded overnight.

Really, it couldn't have happened better than this. We specifically paid more home insurance to cover flooding and they're already working with the plumber and the cleaning team to take care of things. We have been cleaning non-stop because a friend is coming to visit for Christmas, which means that we literally just finished unpacking and putting everything away downstairs, which means that it's not a maze of soaked cardboard boxes full of water-damaged belongings. We bought elevated furniture (desks, bookshelves) and designed the downstairs (wall shelving. lots of wall shelving) around the flooding issue so all our stuff is elevated off the floor and mostly safe. Additionally, it's mostly rain water instead of sewer water (...mostly) so the smell isn't as bad as it could be. After the insurance deductible and the ruined rugs and the one water-logged box we hadn't unpacked yet, we'll probably be out about $2,500 to $3,000 dollars. Obviously not what anyone wants to hear right before Christmas, but it could have been so much worse.

Those are the pros. Cons: We were a little blindsided by this because the house does have a sump pump but apparently those can get clogged and backed up. The plumber is trying to figure out why that happened and if we can make sure it won't happen again. And as previously mentioned, we literally just finished unpacking and putting everything away downstairs, so this is emotionally a real kick in the teeth--we had been looking forward to being able to use the downstairs over Christmas break to get back to our resin products and making art to sell on Etsy. The cleaning team has to basically move everything in order to take up the bottom foot of drywall and replace it, or else we could be risking mold and foundation damage. We're really grateful that they're on top of things and that the insurance is being cooperative, but obviously this isn't fun. The cats don't understand why they've been confined upstairs (which we have to do, because they will drink the water) and everyone is a little bummed at having to quarantine upstairs. We'll survive though!

Anyway! I mentioned this on the public discord but I know not everyone keeps up with things there, so I wanted to make a mid-month newsletter post about what's going on here. Sending you all love and hope that you can stay safe and warm.


[TW: Transphobia]

The other big thing I need to report is that a story broke today in the Washington Post that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office has been trying to compile a list of transgender adults in Texas by querying for a list of numbers, with a list of names to follow, of everyone in Texas who has changed gender marker on their driver's license. Gillian Branstetter spread the story on Twitter.

Needless to say, this is extremely scary. It sounds like--best I can tell from the reporting--that numbers were pulled together but not individual names...yet. I want to call attention to this because Kissmate would be on any such list as this. Before our relocation, many people assured us that we were overreacting to move out-of-state. They told us that Governor Abbott and his administration were "only" going to go after transgender youth, and that adults were going to be safe because Republicans may hate trans people but they know they can't do anything about law-abiding adults. Well, now we have evidence that they are planning to do something about trans adults, because there's no reason to compile a list like this unless you're planning to use it.

I'm scared for my trans community still in Texas.

"Reading is Ableist" and Other Things I Haven't Said

I think it is very silly that I have to address this, but I have not said--nor do I believe--that "reading is ableist". I do not even know what those three words would even mean when applied in that order; reading is a skill that some people have and some do not, but a skill is not inherently ableist to possess or wield. What I said was that mocking people for not reading is ableist because some people cannot read.

At this point someone will mock my statement that "some people cannot read" by bringing up that audiobooks exist and forgetting that there are people with disabilities which preclude them from reading those too. And that disabilities which preclude print-reading can coexist alongside disabilities which preclude audio-reading and that it's just a generally good rule not to mock people for not engaging in a complex skill like, for example, reading.

Reading: Not ableist (nor can I fathom how it could be).

Mocking people: Often very ableist (and rarely kind or necessary).

December Newsletter (2022)

Winter is very definitely here! We weren't really sure what to expect when we moved up to Chicago and people kept warning us about the cold weather. Contrary to popular belief, Texas has pretty cold weather too it's just cold for a shorter length of time. We have, in fact, experienced the fun of living through 20 degree weather in a drafty poorly-insulated house while waiting for four days for the power to come back on and our various elected representatives vacation in the sun. Compared to that, a slightly longer winter in a house with working electricity and decent insulation sounded like it might just be an upgrade!

So. We are currently very cold, but we are also as cozy as we can be. I am learning that "cold" here is less a function of actual temperature and more a function of accompanying environmental factors. A sunny day that is calm (not breezy) and dry (not wet) can be in the 20s and still feel fine; a cloudy, windy, wet day can be in the 40s and feel like death. And I apparently brought my allergic-to-weather-changes allergies up here with me because I have turned into Sniffles the Under-the-Weather Monkey and have been running a 101-102 temperature. Not sure what that's all about, but we're weathering the storm. 💕

Medical Updates: We're kind of in a holding pattern on this one. Kissmate is still in a lot of pain. He's going to the doctor soon to talk about when to schedule his surgery, which we're hoping will be a lot cheaper here than it would've been in Texas. We're a little unsure what recovery will look like, since our house here is divided into two levels separated by stairs (this is apparently very standard in Chicago) but probably he'll be confined to the bedroom for a few weeks and we'll marathon-watch old Sherlock Holmes episodes or possibly Dragonball Z. Unrelated but also medical: I am going on T soon and very nervous and excited about that.

Twitter Updates: I've been watching what is happening on Twitter with trepidation. I am glad that the site hasn't imploded for the sake of folks who rely upon it for their livelihood, especially sex workers and disabled people surviving on crowdfunding. Yet I am very alarmed by the behavior of the new ownership, which has been increasingly hostile as he tweets out deliberate Nazi "memes"--which are, in my opinion, really just Nazi messages cloaked behind a cowardly claim of joking. I don't feel like I, personally, can safely or ethically participate in the use of that site anymore, though I will absolutely miss the social camaraderie there. I will remind folks here that I have a public Discord that I am trying to use in place of Twitter; I would love to see you all here if you like.

Chicago Update: We replaced the stolen Pride flag on our lawn with another one that we tied to the flagpole and would need, like, scissors or a knife to remove and it is still there! Victory! We are very happily settling into our new little safe space. We almost finally have all the boxes unpacked and we feel... we feel home. More than we have ever felt before, this place feels like a place we made for us. It's good.

Cat Update: The babies are doing very well. They've figured out that heat comes from vents in the floor, so we placed little basket cat-beds at the foot of several of the beds and they all have their favorite spots picked out. Some of the others (Cookie, Crispin) basically just don't leave the bed, ever. They really like the heated blanket that we put on over the main comforter. Cheddar is starting to get a little closer to us; he's figured out that when we sit on the toilet (lol) we're not going to be moving anytime soon so he can sit nearby about a foot or two away and watch us. He's a very curious boy. He's also filling out and getting nicely rounded, losing that "hungry street cat" look he had before. I'll try to get some pictures up later in the month.

Other Updates: We're this close to setting up our old "packing corner" where I shipped out books and bookmarks and resin crafts from our Etsy. I owe a lot of Patron bookmarks! I haven't forgotten, I swear! Kissmate is really keen to reopen the Etsy store and get back to work with resin, though he'll probably have to keep a slow pace until he heals up.

I hope to get you a new fairytale story soon, a few live-reacts of things, and maaaaybe a Narnia chapter? (fingers crossed) And cat pictures! And I found a folder of old live-reacts that we wrote and planned to post but then never did because of the hectic move stuff, so I need to edit those and get them posted as well.

Let me know how you're doing in the comments? I worry. Sending love.