Category Archives: personal

Five Nightmares at Freddy’s

My son is obsessed with Five Nights at Freddy’s. He’s never played it. His older sister has never seen it. Boys in her class natter about it incessantly so through social osmosis he’s latched onto it, terrified. Someday* he’ll play it and wonder how it ate up so much sleep at the end of kindergarten.

We can’t talk it out. In his mind plain facts hunker down and shake. There is no solid ground when The Fear comes out, it touches everything. Freddy, like Chucky before him, is just a vessel**.

Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy'sIf the vessel can hold some of the general dark, I’m for it. Let Freddy hold as much as his sunken eyes can handle, as long as the air in my kids’ brain is clearer. Give the fear a place to rally so he can get more solid ground.

Maybe that’s horror at a tribal level, demons and witches sucking energy from pools of pain we dig around unpredictable things like jobs, sickness, rejection. The monster’s killed and we hope shotguns or sunlight works on personal demons too. Potential catharsis.

Some argue simulated catharsis unhelpfully medicate us — we’re too doped up on fantasy to face our own problems***. Maybe. Spending too long in worlds of carefully constructed narratives might lead us to oversimplify messy old Life, but spending zero time outside of messy old Life dulls down messy old Life.

At the bottom of all this is that I can’t control everything my kids see and what they’re scared of and I’m trying to make sense of it. I remember what it was like. I remember trading monster defense strategies with my friend (not play monsters – the ones really coming for you at night). And it burned off. I’m no longer afraid of the dark^, except its tendency to hide things like walls when I walk into them.

But for El Kindergartnero the Fear has kicked in. It needs something. If it wasn’t Freddy, maybe Slenderman. Scary robbers. Grease pens. The fear needs a vessel. All told, an aversion to life-size animatronic animals is specific and manageable. One building in town he doesn’t go to and he’s good, and that doesn’t break my heart any.

* Age 27, 28, somewhere in there.
** The 1988 horror movie doll has ground floor with k-6 kids in Boise.
*** Or bigger problems corporations or the government want us to look away from, like war, corruption, endless movie remakes.
^ Unless I just watched Jaws. None of this applies to Jaws.

I like music, music I like.

When I was living at home at my parents house when I was going to college I was heading to a blind date. It was early on a Saturday night, still sunny. Summer, late 90’s. I was driving my parents’ minivan. It didn’t have a tape-player, or the tape-player was broken, I was listening to the radio. I heard someone new. About a block from the blind date’s apartment I turned the minivan around, drove the ten minutes back home, ran inside and put a blank tape in my stereo and hit record, then went back to the van and drove then 10 minutes back to the blind date’s place. I ended up getting about 4 songs, but I did get the band/songwriter name: Ani Difranco. I apologized to the blind date when I got to her apartment, explaining I’d just heard some great new music and I had to record it. That was not my wife it didn’t go very far. The music is the key to the story here.

As far as I can remember these were the songs on the setlist. The song that caught my attention the most was probably the acoustic version of Out of Range. Ani plays guitar really really well, sings well and writes personal poetry, basically. There’s some profanity/sexuality in these songs.

It looks like Ani Difranco has put out 8 albums since the last one I listened to carefully, To the Teeth (1999), which my brother gave me for Christmas one year. Probably 1999. I haven’t kept up with her. I really like some of her stuff and am meh about a lot of it. I’ve really only followed a few bands over their careers. I’ve a fair-weather friend when it comes to music.

Here’s who I follow.

The Trashcan Sinatras

Sometimes Trash Can Sinatras (early) and sometimes Trashcan Sinatras (later) (worth mentioning because of the different when searching, Spotify has both, separately). My entrypoint was “Only Tongue Can Tell” (which got airplay on KJQ) then the local library had “I’ve seen Everything”. They make catchy alt-pop, maybe. Smart lyrics. They’ve mellowed as they’ve aged but instead of getting mushy they’ve gotten sentimental, and their songs are just as strong. As a gift my wife got me a T-shirt and tickets to see the band in New York, which was a weird show because the monitors kept them from hearing any of the requests they asked the audience for, but it was great. Honestly part of what kept me searching for them was that no one, absolutely no one I talked to knew the band. So I had that going for me.

The Shins

James Mercer, apparently, he ditched most of the band for his latest album, which kind of ticked me off, even though it’s still a great album. Entry point was Know Your Onion! which I downloaded somewhere as a single and didn’t get the full album, Oh Inverted World, until a year later.  They have four albums. All are strong. They got a lot of attention when one of their songs, New Slang, was on the Zach Braff movie Garden State, not just on the soundtrack but a song that the Natalie Portman character tells him to listen to in a hospital waiting room, and it was in a McDonlads commercial, which some people got mad about, but any exposure of good stuff is good, right?

Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave I really follow on and off. I really liked Out of the Shadow and Descended Like Vultures. Their later albums are good but don’t hit me as hard. They’re basically two guys, Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon.

Laserdisc Bonanza!

Pile of LaserdiscsThe Media Said So peeps and I were joking about old tech as we got ready for an 80’s teen movie (watch this space!) and one mentioned laserdiscs. Lo and behold, dropping off some old gear to The Reuseum (an electronics recycling center / store in Boise) I found the mother load of laserdiscs.
They were getting rid of them cheap, I guess they haven’t been able to move them. Long story short I’m now the proud owner of 30 80’s era laserdiscs and $30 poorer.
Four laserdiscsI’m so excited! They’re like vinyl movies – the image is huge and they’re all older movies because the tech went obsolete a while ago. I tried to buy a player too but it wasn’t working.
Why buy them? As we all know they’re going to make a huge comeback.
No, I just like them. They remind me of my older brothers’ room growing up with movie posters everywhere. A wall collage of laserdiscs may be in my future.