Year of The King: 2017 Stephen King Recap and Review

Well, it looks like 2017 has come and gone.

Actually, am I a little late?  Since it seems like we are actually well into 2018…

Oh, and…

HI GUYS!  YOUR NERD IS BACK!  MISS ME MUCH???

Yeah, the hiatus has been long.  Life has been getting the way…

And you don’t even want to know how much time I had to spend fighting the Todash monsters!

So yeah, 2017 was Stephen King 2.0.  And if you are gonna have a 2.0 of anything, make sure it is a continuation of the story, not just a rehash…

(We all know my feelings on sequels.)

In other words, be a Phantasm 2, not a Children of the Corn Part 2,887, 221.

King was back, and this round of King was at least as good as the 80’s hey day, and may even have been better.  And I don’t often say that about sequels and reboots!

2017 showed King in all of his forms:

We had the King of horror, in the movie It.

We had the King of fantasy, in the Dark Tower movie.

We had the King of stories about women, in the Netflix adaptation of Gerald’s Game, and the publication of the novel Sleeping Beauties, co-authored by the prince, aka Owen King.  2017, coincidentally, was the year of #metoo.  Or maybe not so coincidentally, as a famous character reminds us:  coincidence has been cancelled, sugar.

We had the King of just the weird and creepy, with the Netflix adaptation of 1922.

I could go on and on, actually…

We even have some things that don’t officially have King’s name on them, but still feel like they are part of the sequel that was 2017.

Strange, huh?

All things serve The Beam, after all..

But, let’s get back on topic.

I may not have spent copious amounts of time on this little old blog talking about the year of The King, but that does not mean that 2017 went unnoticed.

On the contrary, in fact.

Actually, I reveled in it.

There is just something about being an adult with the maturity to really enjoy the nuances of a Stephen King story.

Of course, a Netflix subscription doesn’t hurt either!

So, I am making this entry to recap and talk a little about some of the year of The King.

Obviously, I can’t get through it all in one entry, but I can at least talk about the highlights.

After all, it doesn’t cost anything to just talk about the highlights, right?

(Totally written in my Leland Gaunt voice, by the way.)

So buckle in (hopefully you are not strapping yourself into a 1958 Plymouth Fury.)

And get ready to talk about our favorite boogeyman (and some of his boogeyman friends), Stephen King!

And, as always:

 

 

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The Eclipse, Part 1: My Review of Gerald’s Game

When one thinks of horror, often one thinks of horror movies.

You have your classic horror movies, such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.

Or, for a little more modern fare, you can always watch films such as Horns, or Get Out.  Those are good for a fright as well.

These movies are fantastical in some ways.  We all know that someone cannot possibly be shot 23,889,209 times and still get up to chase sexually precocious teenagers and kill them in inventive ways (although that is a good way to burn that free 100 or so minutes you may have that day.  More if you watch the cut scenes on the “extras” menu.)

But often, real life can contain plenty of horror…

And no, I am not talking about the latest American Horror Story, aka the Drumpf presidency, although the survivors of the Bowling Green Massacre may not agree with me on that alternative fact!

But seriously, just turn on the news any given night, and tell me that man’s inhumanity to man is not the most horrific thing out there?

And there is one guy who understands this very well, and who has written some compelling literature on the subject, as a matter of fact…

You guessed it, we are talking about Stephen King!

*insert shocked look right about here*

King has been called The Master of Modern Horror (but you can call him The Master for short), and for good reason.

I mean, a killer clown that hunts kids?

Check!

A vampire that effectively turns a town into a ghost town that any sane person would want to avoid at all costs?

Check!

A rabid St. Bernard that makes you want to avoid car trouble at all costs?

Check!

An evil entity that haunts a town, and forces you to agree with the statement “Dead is better?”

Check and mate!

While most of the above horrors are not actually “real horrors,” one of King’s greatest strengths as a writer is his ability to include elements of realism in his writing.

The Shining is a prime example of this.  Most of us have at least seen the Kubrick adaptation, and quite a few of us have probably read the book as well.

So we associate The Shining the famous phrase “Redrum” (spell it backwards, for the uninitiated), along with a haunted hotel and a scary lady who is a permanent residence of a room with a famous number

There is also the matter of the guy in the dog costume…

Well, back to my point.

Which is that King can insert reality into his works.  The Shining is a great example of this, because it deals with alcoholism, unemployment, child abuse and the list goes on.

In other words, we can relate the above list, since we have all experienced at least one of those things in our lifetime.

And that is what makes the story so terrifying:  since we can relate to those topics, it is not that far out of left field that there may be a haunted hotel somewhere out there, where we avoid room 217 (or 237), along with the hedge animals and fire extinguishers, because if it can happen to the seemingly normal Torrance family, it sure can happen to us.

King writes about people.  These people may be placed into extraordinary situations, but they are still people, who could, at least theoretically, be any one of us.

And these people do not always fight supernatural monsters,  Often, humans are the monsters, and what a human can do to a fellow human is far worse than what a haunted hotel or even a rabid St. Bernard can do to us.

One of King’s books that deals with man’s inhumanity to man (or, more appropriately, woman) is Gerald’s Game.

Gerald’s Game contains hardly any elements of the supernatural, but it is still a frightening read.  The monsters in this book are human, so the scenario is one that is plausible for anyone.

So strap in (but don’t handcuff yourself), and get ready for the ride that is Gerald’s Game.

As always:

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Time to Take up the Right Fight

Again, folks are outraged.  And the outrage is for a good reason.

In fact, ESPN’s Keith Olberman had a passionate rant session about it.

And I agree with his outrage.  I applaud him, in fact.  And I consider him to be on “the side of The White,” or perhaps one of the Jedi Knights.

Jedi 1

Keith Olbermann is actually someone I have come to admire greatly in the past several months.  He works for ESPN and may be “just a sports guy” to some, but to me he is much more than that.  He is smart, and he cares about society.  And not afraid to speak his mind on tough subjects, such as the Tamir Rice shooting.

keith-olbermann

 

Last week, Olbermann made an impassioned speech about Jameis Winston and Floyd Mayweather.  Jameis Winston is a soon to be NFL quarterback who may be chosen in the first round of the 2015 draft.  Mayweather is a boxer who will be participating in yet another televised match this weekend, where the prices of the tickets were ungodly, and the price of watching the pay per view is also ungodly.  A much anticipated match, in other words.

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Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault in 2012, when he attended Florida State University.  Winston was also the quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles, and was a Heisman trophy winner as a freshman.  Both the college and local law enforcement “investigated” the accusation, and no charges were filed, despite some compelling evidence that indicated otherwise.

Jameis Winston

Floyd Mayweather is also no stranger to troubles with the law.  Mayweather has been accused of domestic violence multiple times, and unlike Winston, the charges have stuck.  Mayweather has been prosecuted several times, and has served some form of punishment several times.  In other words, like a certain pseudonym come to life in a book by my favorite writer, he is “not a nice guy.”

George Stark

And Ser Olbermann is outraged.  As he should be.  As we all should.  Clearly, we live in a society that does not value the safety of women and children, and does not treat domestic violence and sexual assault with the gravity that both of those topics deserve.

In fact, Olbermann is calling for a boycott of the fight and NFL draft…

And let me stop you right there. Ser Olbermann.

You are noble and your intentions are good.  And I admire that.  I will always admire that.

knight

But let me make one thing clear.

Boycotting the NFL draft and the upcoming fight will NOT do a FUCKING thing to address this problem.  Not a FUCKING thing.

We talk about the problem the NFL and the sports world in general has with domestic violence and sexual assault.  And this is true, even outside of Winston and Mayweather.  More than a few athletes have had brushes (or worse) with the law in regards to these issues.

But really, its not the sports world that has a problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Our society has a problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.  A big problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Consider this.  Most victims of rape and sexual assault do not report the attack, out of fear that they will not be believed and/or that the perpetrators will actually receive any form of meaningful punishment.  And the statistics will back that up.

Consider this.  Domestic violence is also a crime that is under-reported.  I am a survivor of domestic violence from my first marriage.  I never called the police on my ex husband.  Never.  What was going to happen if I called the police?  He gets thrown in jail for maybe a few hours and is bailed out?  Then he comes back, and maybe hurts me even worse?  Possibly even killing me?  Again, this is the likely scenario, and the statistics will back me up once again.

People often believe that perpetrators such as Ray Rice, Floyd Mayweather and even Jameis Winston are not punished due to their money and fame.  This is true to an extent, but does not tell the whole story.  Men who are not rich and famous (like my ex husband) do not face very much in the way of punishment, either.  Our justice is system is harsher on people who smoke marijuana or fail to pay their traffic fines (see John Oliver’s brilliant rant on that subject here).  In short, someone is more likely to get the attention of our judicial system if he/she runs a stop sign and then can’t pay the ticket, as opposed to either raping or beating up a woman.

Running a stop sign

And this is where the outrage must go, Ser Olbermann.  Boycotting the NFL draft and an overpriced boxing match may be noble in theory, but does not address the real problem.

The real problem is our judicial system.  Our judicial system simply does not value the health and safety of women.  Many states may brag how tough they are they are on domestic violence, but this is lip service for the most part.  If this was actually true, women would not be murdered by their intimate partners at such a high rate.  And women’s shelters would not be at maximum capacity, since their services are so badly needed.

And our society.  I remained silent on my own experience for far too long.  For one, it is difficult to talk about and still extremely painful.  And one of the reasons it is so difficult to talk about is because of the judgement.  Yes, judgement.  I was the one who was choked, received black eyes and endured all sorts of horrible things, but I was afraid of judgement.  Judgement for marrying my ex in the first place.  Judgement for not leaving.  Judgement for staying far too long, as if I was the one who had something wrong with me, even though I wasn’t the one trying to choke another human being and then blaming that human being for my actions.  And the judgement is ever present.  Women who work in what we consider to be “low life” professions, such as strippers and even prostitutes, experience rape and sexual assault at an alarmingly high rate.  And yet, these incidents are under-reported even more than by women who do not work in these industries.  And again, the reason is judgement.  Women who work in these types of professions (rightfully) fear judgement, as society has instilled in them that they deserve what happens to them, as it is a punishment for being employed in a “bad” job, and that women employed in these professions are not worthy of even being treated like human beings in the first place.  Or if alcohol was involved in any way.  Or drugs.  Even if the guy pays for the date and the woman doesn’t “put out.”  Our society is very quick to judge women’s sexual behavior, and if the behavior is not up to code, then the woman is deserving of any punishment she receives, including rape and any other form of violence that men care to throw at her.

Like I said, Keith Olbermann is awesome and always will be.  But Ser Olbermann, re-direct your anger.  You are right to be angry.  You are even right to be angry at the sports world, for it does far too little to address this problem.  But a boycott of one fight and one NFL draft is not the answer to this problem.  In fact, I don’t know what the answer to this problem is.  But perhaps if everyone, including Keith Olbermann, could direct their anger towards society and our judicial system, maybe one day we will not even need to have this conversation of whether or not to boycott sporting events.  Maybe the perpetrators will be ones who fear judgement, not the victims.  And maybe myself and the other survivors will be in a little less pain, because society will final recognize that the perpetrators are the ones who need to be punished and actually fear that punishment, instead of the survivors, who have already endured enough horror and fear.  Just maybe, this will happen one day.

 

 

Since Everyone is Entitled to my Opinion 2.0

Well, it looks like this is my week for giving opinions.

I treated everyone to mine a couple of days ago, in regards the proposed Dark Tower movie.  And that was fun.  Speculation always is always fun.  Casting threads are too.  And I can never have enough conversation about Stephen King and his magnum opus.

DT movie 3

But life isn’t always fun.  And I think we all know that.  Sometimes, you need to cast aside the fun and be serious, at least for a minute.

Like this post today.

There will be no casting threads.  No speculation.  And I don’t even think this post will be especially nerdy.

So you have been warned.  Feel free to skip over to any of the other posts, if they are more likely to suit your fancy.  For today’s post will have a bit different of a flavor, and may not be to everyone’s taste.

Yesterday, it was announced that former Carolina Panthers‘ defensive end (who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys) Greg Hardy will be suspended for 10 games during the 2015 NFL season for his role in a domestic dispute that allegedly turned violent.  Hardy was accused of assaulting the woman and threatening to kill her.  The criminal charges against Hardy were dropped and the case was settled in a civil court.  The NFL determined that Hardy was guilty of violating its personal conduct policy, and doled out what Commissioner Roger Goodell determined to be an appropriate punishment.  In this case, it was suspension without pay from 10 regular season games.

Greg Hardy

There is also the more notorious case of Ray Rice, former player for the Baltimore Ravens.  Ray Rice and his now wife Janay Rice were the subjects of the famous video footage that was leaked last year, where Rice could be seen beating his then fiancee unconscious in a hotel elevator, and then dragging her body across the hotel hallway.  Rice was originally suspended for only two games, but the release of the video and the ensuing public outcry changed that punishment to indefinite suspension, and Rice was also released by his team, the Baltimore Ravens.

Ray Rice

Many would agree that the punishment is an appropriate one for Greg Hardy (Mike Golic certainly does).  In fact, I would like to think that most would agree with this statement.

But once again, the aforementioned trolls have come out of hiding.  But really, is that too surprising?

troll 1
And the trolls always have an opinion.  And they also seem to think everyone is entitled to that opinion, and they are not shy about voicing that opinion.

Well, trolls, you know what you need to do?

That’s right…SHUT THE FUCK UP!

And I would tell you where you can stick that opinion.  Let me give you a hint:  sunlight does not make its way there.  Enough said.

Greg Hardy strangled his girlfriend.  That’s right:  strangled.  Have you ever been strangled before?

Well, I have.  I am a survivor of domestic violence.  I was married for nearly seven years to someone who abused me, both emotionally and physically.

For seven years, I lived in terror.  I walked on eggshells constantly, never knowing what may set him off.

And no, my ex did not come with a sign saying “I beat up women for fun.”  My ex came across as a nice guy, but as someone who had a hard time in life, and just needed some understanding.  I would provide him that understanding, and be able to fix him.

Roland 1

But boy was I ever wrong.  My ex was not the man I thought he was.  Scratch that, I know men (my father, husband, brother and various male friends.  Even my two neutered male dogs).  My ex is not in that category.  He may rank a little above a cockroach (I hate those fuckers) but my two neutered male dogs know way more about manhood than my ex ever will.

giant cockroach

So I lived with the abuse, hoping it would go away.  And really, I was just afraid for seven years.  But like a blind person who does not know he/she is blind because he/she has always been blind, I never knew I was afraid.  I accepted it, just a the blind person accepts his/her lack of sight, because there is no other choice.

And I accepted a lot.

I accepted being strangled to the point where I had to fight for air, and where my lungs just wouldn’t function.

I accepted my hair being pulled so hard that my scalp bled.

I accepted the black eyes and the bruises.  I accepted having to lie about those on a regular basis, even though I really don’t think anyone else I knew accepted those lies.

I accepted being beaten in a hotel room, where I was pinned in a corner and used as a human punching bag.  And I accepted the cuts, scratches and bruises on my face and other parts of my body.  After all, if I had not aggravated him, I would not have been put in that position.

And I accepted being a shell of my former self.  Even when you don’t know you are afraid, the fear will still whittle you down to almost nothing, until you look in the mirror, and are unable to recognize that husk staring back at you.

Luckily, I am a survivor.  It has been nearly eight years.  I am married to a wonderful man and I would not trade our relationship for the world, even though we have had our ups and downs.  My life is (usually) pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

But my ex (unlike Greg Hardy and Ray Rice) never faced any consequences for his actions.  No jail time.  No monetary punishment of any kind.  His parents never even held him accountable, and chose to blame almost anything and everything else on his behavior, including me.  So he was able to just walk away.  Nothing happened to him.

However, I was not able to just walk away.  If only.

There were the trust issues.  My poor husband.  I really am married to a saint.  What I put him through, because it took me so long to be able to trust him completely and actually feel safe.  When you know nothing but fear and the fear disappears, you have no idea of what to do with yourself.  So you will try to re-create that fear, in order to bring back what you know.

And the nightmares.  Oftentimes, victims of domestic abuse also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Nightmares are a part of that.  I know that I got out, and luckily got out alive.  But sometimes, after I fall asleep, I forget that fact.  And I would take dreams about an evil clown over dreams of living with my ex any day.

pennywise

And the humiliation.  One of the worst parts.  How much time do I spend beating myself for making the mistake that I did?  And how long did I hide this part of my past from nearly everyone that I knew, fearing judgement?  I heard some awful things said about Janay Rice for staying:  that she was a gold digger, why couldn’t she just leave, etc.  But its not that easy.  The Twitter conversations #whyIstayed and #whyIleft shed a little light on this subject, but those who have not experienced what myself, Janay Rice and countless other women have experienced simply fail to understand that it really is not that easy.  I can’t speak for Janay Rice, but I did at one point love my ex husband, and wanted to try to save my marriage.  And I was also afraid, and had every right to be afraid, as women are more likely to be killed by their partners when they attempt to leave, not when they stay in that hell.

So listen up, trolls.  Mike Golic is right.  This punishment for Greg Hardy is fitting.  This punishment is completely appropriate.  This punishment is not about Roger Goodell being on a power trip.

This punishment is actually about the NFL doing what is right.  Our judicial system does NOT do what is right when it comes to cases of domestic violence.  Otherwise, far fewer women would be killed by their partners, as the system would not allow abusers to walk away so easily.  And restraining orders would actually be more than a piece of paper that abusers could walk right through.

Greg Hardy (and Ray Rice) have made millions.  Both will likely continue to make millions, as they play a sport that rewards handsomely, and often turns a blind eye to people’s pasts.  They will likely not have to worry about food, shelter and other basic (and not so basic) necessities for the rest of their lives.

But myself and other survivors of domestic abuse will likely not have it so easy.  And I know I am lucky.  I have a great support system of family and friends.  I have a job and a way to support myself.  And I am resilient.  I have been resilient all my life.  I am able to bounce back, even though it hasn’t been easy.  But I will still be living with the effects of the abuse.  They may now be scars instead of open wounds, but scar tissue is still sensitive if its touched just right.  And its not easy knowing that ex (and other abusers) will never face any kind of consequences, as we live in a society that has so little regard for survivors of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.  Perhaps this will change some day, but change is never fast, and often comes too late.

So trolls, stop being a Greg Hardy apologist.  He has been suspended for 10 games.  Big deal.  He will never be living in fear.  He will never face judgement for being a victim.  Greg Hardy will not have to live with the effects of domestic violence for the rest of his life, like I will.

So, if we have to punish someone like Greg Hardy by suspending him for 10 regular season NFL games, and hitting his pocketbook a little bit, then so be it.  The damage done to his pocketbook is far less than damage he caused to his ex girlfriend, as she will likely be dealing with its after-effects for a long, long time.  The damage done to Greg Hardy’s pocketbook is not nearly enough punishment, but if that punishment can bring some kind of solace to his victim, myself and anyone else who has suffered at the hands of someone like Greg Hardy, then that punishment needs to stand.  Sometimes in life, we are stuck taking the consolation prize.  And the consolation prize is almost always better than nothing.

Fat-Green-Troll