Trust Me

I recently went to see the movie Unsane in theaters which is in a genre that is one of my favorites, the psychological thriller. At the very beginning of the film the main character goes to see a counselor at a hospital to discuss things going on in her life. The counselor advises her that she will need to sign some paperwork that has standard disclosures and liability information before she would discuss future visits. With that assurance she signs the paperwork without reading it and it ends up causing her all of the problems. If you can get over the poor camera resolution (It was shot on an iPhone) and the silly ending (the last 5-10 seconds cheapen the film) then it is an entertaining B-movie psychological thriller with a very good performance from Foy as the main character.

The film made me think about some of the things that are currently going on in my life and how people tend to scroll through and agree to things without reading any of it. Most of us do it every time we download a new app on our phones. People seem to be even more trusting than they have been in the past when it comes to certain things, and other people are finding new ways to take advantage of that trust. Whenever you sign or agree to anything, you should read what you are agreeing to.

I am currently in the process of purchasing a house. There has been a lot of frustration on every side of things and the main issue at the heart of things comes down to trust. My realtor has been frustrated at the amount of time I have taken to read through things before signing anything, and I do NOT care. There have been things within the contract that needed to be changed, and they would not have been changed if I had not caught them. When the home inspection was completed we found that there were 4 major issues that needed to be addressed before I would proceed with the purchase. I was told that the sellers had agreed to do all of the repairs.

My realtor sent several amendments to the contract that I signed and sent back. This past week I got copies of the receipts for the work done, and it looks like the work was either half way done or not done at all. I don’t know for sure because the work hasn’t been inspected, but I don’t trust the sellers. They have been changing their minds on what repairs will be or won’t be done for the past 3 weeks. I also got word from my realtor that the sellers have not signed ANY of the amendments. They have only given a verbal maybe on the needed repairs. One of the receipts stated that the damaged duct work was removed and then a list of materials. It doesn’t say on the receipt if those materials were removed or if those materials were used to replace the damaged duct work. I am hoping that the duct work was replaced, but I don’t trust the sellers enough to take their word on it. I am going to have someone check out any repairs. The closing date is supposed to be 3/28.

As with anything else I want to tie in writing or storytelling into things. This has more to do with something I don’t talk about very much on the blog, and that would be the business side of writing. When it comes to any business contract, it is important that someone who has your best interests in mind to read it over. That is why I would always always always (add a few more here) have a lawyer, that is familiar for these types of contracts, look it over. There are plenty of predatory practices that are prevalent in the business (YAY alliteration). Anything from Vanity Presses to contracts that make it so publishing rights never revert to the author even if the publishers are no longer printing it. Traditional publishers are always trying new things to take advantage of authors, so it is important to have someone familiar with the wording to look it over and discuss these practices with you. If the contract doesn’t make sense then walk (or run) away.

In conclusion, if someone says “Trust Me” that immediately raises red flags. Don’t ever sign anything before reading it, or you could be admitted into a mental institution. As the prophet Ice Cube once said, “Protect yo self befo you wreck yo self.” Do you have any horror stories or situations dealing with contracts that were kind of shady? Share them in the comments!

The Unsolved

I have an obsession with the unsolved or unexplained mysteries in the world. It sparks my imagination to think of how these things happened. I used to love the TV show Unsolved Mysteries, and my Firestick keeps recommending it. Here is a list of a few of my favorite mysteries and why I can’t get enough of them!

The Pyramids

The great pyramids of Egypt have always been an interesting topic to me. There are a lot of interesting theories surrounding the pyramids with most of them surrounding their use or how they were built. What is so fascinating about them is how much we still don’t know. Within the ruins of the surrounding area rudimentary batteries have been found. How would they use electricity? Did they have rudimentary light bulbs as well that did not survive? The Sphynx, which is even more ancient, has been found to have chambers underneath it that remain unexplored. What curiosities could we find in those hidden chambers? Do they have traps in them like the later tombs of ancient pharaohs?

Arecibo Answer

Now I know there are many crop circles that have been faked over the years, but there are also many that have unexplained origins. The most interesting case is that of the Arecibo Answer. In 2001 a large rectangular message in the form of indented crops was found. Many see it as being a possible response to a message beamed into space by Carl Sagan in 1974. It is said to include a DNA structure of an alien race based on Silicon as opposed to Carbon along with a depiction of the typical ‘grey’ type of alien. Is it all just a hoax? That is the most likely explanation, but what if it isn’t? Perhaps there are other crop circles that are real attempts by aliens to communicate. Perhaps the fields are just convenient landing spots for alien spacecraft. Out of all the thousands of crop circles each year, is it possible that at least a handful of them aren’t faked?

Kennedy Assassination

There are so many conspiracy theories based around this that I don’t know where to begin. It is likely that we will never know what truly happened unless you fully believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I find this highly unlikely considering that even with a magic bullet there was at least 1 other bullet that ricocheted off the asphalt that day according to multiple sources. I found another documentary on Netflix that consulted a forensics expert to be quite enlightening. It proved that the magic bullet theory wasn’t as crazy as the Oliver Stone film JFK makes it seem. It also provides an alternate theory that sounds plausible. Still, there is very little that is certain when it comes to what actually happened, and with more witnesses passing away as time goes by, it is unlikely that we will ever know the full truth of what happened.

Georgia Guidestones

A strange structure that is also known as the American Stonehenge is located in Georgia. It is inscribed in several languages with what seems like instructions on how the human population should constrain itself going forward. The problem is that the population constraints have been far surpassed. The people who paid for and put together these instructions seem to be anticipating an apocalypse or nuclear war that will decimate the world’s population. Some people think that these are the satanist 10 commandments that are meant to be followed after the events of the book of Revelation. All we have currently is speculation on who did this or what their intentions were.

There are many others that I could name that capture the imagination, but some of them are not necessarily unique. There are many unexplained alien sightings, people disappearing, or spiritual/paranormal activities that are all similar stories. I will write in more detail about these and other oddities in the future. These are only a few that have grabbed my attention. What are some of your favorite unsolved mysteries?

The Undead

Hello! I am back once again to talk about the scary BOO! No I’m not talking about ghosts, maybe next time. I am writing this about the undead creatures that go bump in the night because you did not invest in night lights, and they don’t know where they are going. Humanoid undead are going to be my main focus in this post, but undead animals can be super mega robot stalker creepy too.

Humanoid undead hint at the darker nature of humanity in general. They represent the darker impulses within us all. A little part of us dies every time we endure some sort of trauma, but what happens when there is very little left alive in our soul? The stories of vampires, zombies, and werewolves are interesting to me because of the parallel the draw with humanity. There are 2 sides to every coin, but the darkness can overtake both sides.

Zombies

So what makes a zombie? Generally they are dead people who are brought back to roam the earth while their flesh rots. Is there any part of their soul left? What about parts of the person they were before? I have seen many films where they speak to the dead to get information from them. I prefer the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ version of zombie where they lurch around attacking the living.

To me a zombie represents our lowest base instincts. The need to breathe, eat, and pay taxes… maybe not that last one.┬áThe desire to cling to life at any cost keeps them moving. They don’t have any higher level thought processing going on upstairs though. Much like some people I know, the wheel is spinning, but the hamster died long ago. What makes them human is gone, but they still look the part… at least until those parts fall off.

Vampires

Vampires have been depicted as everything from sparkly rainbow powered monsters of the dreamy to relentless killing machines that want to suck you dry. Like people they retain more of their soul than zombies do. They all have unique personalities that can make them as diverse as people are. Their bodies are decaying just as the zombies are and they are clinging to life like the zombies do, but they are able to stave off the decay. The blood they drink is restorative. Perhaps if they no longer get the blood they need then they too will become as the zombies are.

I like to think of Vampires as being a bit magical as well. It is mostly used to mask their decay. Their illusions trick some into providing blood to them. The fictional vampires I prefer are masters of illusion who seem to never age, but underneath the illusions they do indeed rot. The blood they consume helps to lessen the rot. It slows the rot down to the point where it is a gradual process, similar to aging but much slower. Their immortality ends up being another illusion that eventually they can no longer maintain.

These illusions are like the fronts all people put up to protect themselves. People try to show their best version to others while hiding all of the deep dark secrets that are held within. Those secrets eat at us and cause us to decay in a way. If only there were some kind of magical restorative liquid to make that darkness go away. Perhaps the violent act of getting the blood further rips at the soul of the vampire which causes the body to decay quicker even as the consumption of blood restores it. Maybe the larger the burden we carry inside does the same to us as well even though for moments we can let that burden go.

This is why I find these creatures so fascinating in fiction. They represent the darker side of humanity. This shows that the real monsters are human in nature. That can be the most terrifying part of the stories that hold these fictional creatures. I think that gets lost in these tales because we are so ready to dismiss them as monsters, but what if they are all people who have simply embraced the darker side of humanity?

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The Unknown


What are you afraid of? We are all afraid of something, ghosts, demons, being alone, heights, confetti, or perhaps dragons. Some of the things that are the most terrifying are the things we don’t understand, the unknown.

Why do we fear what we don’t understand? What is so terrifying about things that cannot be explained? Are we as a species so in need of control that we cannot simply let things be without explanation? Or is it something more primal?

I imagine that throughout the history of man there were many points where we came upon new things that caused us great harm for no reason we could explain. This fear of new things and change was passed down through the generations. Today leaving the comfort of what you have always know to venture out into a world that can be cold and uncaring seems like a terrifying prospect. Being forced into a new situation would be even more terrifying. We are all creatures of habit, and disrupting our routine is always stressful and can be scary.

In America fear is marketed on a large scale every day as if it is a major product. Changes that are very unlikely or impossible are marketed as being something that is certain to come in the very near future. Local news programs report on crime, murder, robbery, and then there is the truly terrifying reports of the weather. This can lead us to fear others and the decisions that they make. Those decisions are never going to be under our control, but could have a major impact on our lives, or deaths. We are primed for anything to startle us. Is the bump in the night the cat, or is it some monster hiding under our bed waiting for us to close our eyes? The doubt is what keeps night light makers in business.

This also makes Sci Fi and Fantasy such a natural match for horror stories as well. For everything we know there are a lot of things that we don’t understand. There are so many ways in which scientific experiments could go horribly wrong. Fantasy takes this several steps further into a fictional world where the physical laws are different. They allow for things like magic to exist. It could also allow for unimaginable horrors like Deadpool’s unicorn.

Life is special, but you have a better chance to win the lottery than the Earth does at being the only planet in existence to have life. Not knowing the form that life takes can make them terrifying. What if they are all sentient boogers? Can you imagine trying to talk with them? The same can be said of supernatural beings. Having some entity that is not visible speak or move objects is super creepy.

The unknown also pushes us to achieve great things. We strive to answer the questions we have and stamp out this fear of the unknown. Our curiosity can also lead to our doom. Just ask Marie Curie.

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Comic Writing


Welcome to my first blog post on the new website! There is a lot of debate on the Marvel vs DC cinematic universes, or as I like to call it “slap-boxing with pancakes!” Some prefer the light comedic action that Marvel brings to the table while others prefer the dark gritty films that DC has pelvic thrusted into theaters. One thing is for sure though, comic films have dominated at the box office in recent years. I wanted to take a look at each cinematic universe with an eye on writing. I’m not going to bring up films outside of their cinematic universes even though I really want to talk about Deadpool and how excited I am for the sequel.

Marvel

Marvel has put together a formula that works for its films. It goes something like Pi + Pie = OMG PIE. They have done most of it the right way even though they have the Hulk fumbles in his solo films, so they stopped giving him the ball. Ever since they came up with their phase 1 plan to build up to the Avengers movie, their cinematic universe has been all of the rainbow grenades and unicorn farts.

The biggest successes they have had because of fantastic writing and planning. They have build everything from the ground up. This gives us a rich history of interactions between the characters they can reference. The sibling rivalries Thor has with Loki and Hulk paid off huge in Thor: Ragnarok. The jokes all hit their mark because of that history which made Ragnarok the best of the Thor films. The tension built up between Captain America and Ironman began with the impromptu jazz dance battles they engage in going back to the first Avengers film. That led into the epic disco rap battle in Civil War that helped to introduce the next line of characters to have solo movies within the MCU like Black Panther, Spiderman, and Disco Man 2000.

The other thing that Marvel does extremely well is to build up their villains. Thanos is one of my favorite villains in all of the comics and I cannot wait for the next installment of The Avengers because I know Marvel will make it the awesome that I cannot wait for! My only hope is that they will be able to get the Silver Surfer into the film. I know it is not likely, but the Surfer is a huge part of the storyline in the comics and one of my favorite characters. The villains aren’t always the most epic, but they take the time to build them up just as much as the heroes. The depth of their backstory goes beyond the generic bad guy because bad guy.

The Marvel films follow a coherent storyline that doesn’t try to do too much or mislead you into a plot hole. The scripts have had enough comic relief to make you smile often while the heroes deal with their impossible tasks. They use the loose ends to tie the other movies together, so you feel the progression build up with each new volume added. The cameos from the other characters help as well. It makes for a neat bundle that is known as the MCU, and we know to expect all the weeeeeeeee when one of their films comes out.

DC

DC handed the reigns of their cinematic empire over to Zach Snyder beginning with Man of Steel. I think this was a mistake as Zach has been very good at making films that are flashy, but he is not much of a storyteller. That has proven to be true with his 2 lackluster efforts Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. The true dark and gritty tone began with Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy that was so artistically fantastic that I cannot sing the praises enough. Please… don’t make me sing. It won’t be pretty. Unfortunately those do not qualify as part of the DC Cinematic Universe in the buildup toward Justice League.

DC has rushed to push their Justice League film without laying any of the ground work to build up the surrounding universe. The 2 precursor films being Batman vs Superman and Wonder Woman. Batman vs Superman was a mess of a movie where they tried to mash 5 different comic book stories into 1 mega comic story. That story was as awful as making an Abominable Snowman out of 5 different kinds of moldy mashed potatoes then eating it. They also wasted one of the iconic Superman villains by changing the origin, not building the villain up, and then killing him off with a stick.

Suicide Squad showed that they could make an entertaining film. They built up Harley Quinn to perfection in that film. The villain was good as well, but everything else ended up being a mangled mess. They had characters that they didn’t know what to do with who ended up having awkward one liners just to have something to say. The editing was shoddy and the story was kind of cobbled together like a kid forcing a jigsaw puzzle piece into a spot where it doesn’t fit. It was still mildly entertaining, but it could have been so much better.

Wonder Woman is where they finally started to put everything together. It is the best film of the DCU, but it still falls short of the Batman masterpieces that Christopher Nolan put together. Those films cast a shadow over the DCU showcasing what these newer films could be when placed in the right hands. Wonder Woman came the closest to reaching those heights. Justice League has cartoonish CGI in spots which is not something we expect from a big budget blockbuster type comic book film. Yet still it was a step in the right direction if you consider it as more of a sequel to Batman vs Superman instead of a progression from Wonder Woman. Justice League has a storyline that you don’t have to be on drugs to understand, but the tone is all over the place. It goes from quaint and charming to dark and serious. Justice League is like a bag of hard candy that tastes like chemical coated plastic until you get to the gooey center of chocolate goodness.

Conclusion

It’s easy to point at what DC has done wrong with their cinematic universe in contrast with Marvel. It isn’t a matter of liking light and comical films over dark and gritty films. It is a matter of enjoying films that have a coherent story over ones that make everyone want to throw things through the plot holes to see where they land. DC also needs to do a better job of developing their villains. So far their cinematic efforts have produced some of the most generic villains with little to no back story, and that is a major problem. It’s like having a bad paper cut when you have to slice 50 lemons. The heroes can only be as good as their villains, and that is what those in charge of DCU need to learn most from Marvel. They can be the dark and gritty behemoth of comic book films, but they need a good villain with a back story. The Christopher Nolan Batman films proved that it can be done. Either way I will be there to root for my favorite comic superheroes in both universes. The Marvel films are going to continue to have more success until Warner Brothers and DC can figure out how to properly harness their rich catalog of comic stories. Justice League, which is worth seeing, is suffering at the box office for these missteps leading up to it.

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