Home of The Cloud People
I step out into the white, the storm, the mystery of life. I scrape, scrub, and shovel to uncover my identity. These new beginnings sometimes feel hollow, yet my back aches from the weight, and my mind perseveres. Long conversations half stoopered around a blaze remind us that beyond the warmth is the freeze of winter, and we must hold together.
Some of us have brought the havoc of the city here. Days feel short, and not because winter has arrived, but because we're used to life moving faster, faster, too fast for me. Bills still keep me up at night, bills that mean so much less than they used to. I've been thinking about fear more. What would chill my core and cause my veins to freeze shut? An accident to my daughter? A disease to my spouse? My dog running off into the hills? The possibilities are endless and yet I do not fear the bill collectors. I do not fear what life is like beyond the screens. They've only tricked me for so long.
I cannot tell you what freedom is, but I hope I'm experiencing it. I know for certain that we're experiencing a lack of necessities. Here those necessities tend to be water, gas, and warmth, but we make do with what we can. My family is experiencing life with a much smaller carbon footprint. We're all learning to cherish days and not moments. What better time to learn these lessons than right around the holidays?
All Closets Have Monsters
My family and I have been through one of the biggest changes we'll ever experience in life, and it all started about a year ago. After my Grandfather had passed his land was sitting, rotting and meanwhile, we were living paycheck to paycheck back in Hillsboro.
The Hillsboro house was our first home, and by that, I mean that we finally had escaped apartment living. We had a backyard, a driveway, a washer, and a dryer. Our kitchen had new appliances, and we spent time decorating the place, making it how we envisioned it, but something felt off. I remember those months fondly, working 50+ hours a week and coming home to a dinner already made.
During this time there was a monster haunting me, telling me this was all for nothing, and although I knew that to be false, I knew in a sense the monster was right. If I kept up with the path I was on I wasn't going to afford a home, or pay off my ever-increasing debt. I know that I'm not cut out for the rat race that so many of us play. My anxiety was growing, and perhaps I couldn't just blame some monster, after all, the monster was just me, right?
As it turns out my little monster problem was the least of my worries. A behemoth reared its ugly head in our home. We've hoped to buck it off, but that's not been the case thus far. We're dealing with a real-life monster; cancer. We've thought long and hard, planned and executed, and the best solution was to take life slower. And with that, we loaded up a Uhual, stuck the Chrysler on a trailer, and made our way 140 miles East to Goldendale Washington.
I want to tell you that this experience is everything I've hoped for and more. I want to swear to you that we'll be fine, but the truth is that we were fine where we were, back in Hillsboro, and now every day is a challenge of its own.
Our pump has frozen, our home is stripped of insulation, and I've yet to find a job in my field. Are we struggling? You bet, but I'm not a stranger to the struggle. I did not come from a place of advantage, and neither did my fiance, which makes this experience all the more rewarding. I've spent hours with my family that I usually wouldn't have if I were working full-time. I'm learning how compost works, and I'm building something new just about every day. The snow has most definitely set us back, but I've needed to work out anyway, so I've taken up a shovel. The hardest part of this winter has been the frozen pipes, that's a hard lesson to learn.
Goldendale is a town I'm more than familiar with. My grandparents laid claim to their property back in the early nineties, so I've known this chunk of land all my life, and by the time I turned fifteen, I was living here. See, my dad, had done the same thing when I was a boy. We loaded up a Dodge Dakota and moved our family here just after the summer of my freshman year. I had to learn how to mingle with the locals and find beauty in small-town living, which did take me quite a while but Goldendale offers a lot of authenticities. I went back to Portland after graduating, which is where I went to college, met my fiance, and had a daughter. Is the city evil? No, but I feel it lacks the genuine human experience.
Despite the challenges, I know that in time this will be a beautiful home, with a blossoming garden, and well-fed animals. We're striving to eat better, care more, and live a more fulfilling life. Trust me when I say that none of this comes easy and that none of this is expected to happen overnight. We have days of struggle and turmoil. We also have days of quiet closeness, which I've never experienced to this degree. Have we been successful in escaping the havoc? Not quite yet, but we are learning to ignore it. Cancer may be a behemoth but with the right home, and people to love, it can also be beaten.
The Mean One:
Capitalizing on Dr. Suesse's iconic story "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" this film falls short of making any fun out of what seems to be a no-brainer slapstick Christmas slasher. The director has mostly played in the realm of short films, so it's no surprise that there are so many editing and continuity flaws. What's most outrageous about this film is that the man playing "The Mean One" (don't get ahead of yourself, The Grinch is not in the public domain) is none other than David Howard Thornton aka Art The Clown (Terrifier, and Terrifier 2).
David's portrayal of this iconic character (The Grinch) is a blast when he's on screen, but so much of the film is spent talking about "The Mean One". I must also point out that I found the character and actor who played Cindy boring and undeserving of a lead role. The story is bland, the acting sucks, and the characters are uninteresting. I wanted to love this film, but from the opening two minutes, I was well aware of the disappointment I was in for.
The director of this film, Steven Lamorte, is expected to release a steamboat willie horror adaptation, but if it's anything like this film then I won't get my hopes up.
We've got traitors-fever in our house. The premise is this: Out of twenty-something players a few are secretly chosen to be traitors. The whole group competes in challenges to earn money for the pot, but the traitors can take the pot for themselves if they remain in the game by the end of the season. Those who are not traitors are faithful, and each night they vote to try and uncover a traitor (spoiler: they're usually very wrong). Already the stakes are high, but I've yet to mention that each night a player is "murdered" in the halls of this Scottish castle.
I'm partly ashamed but completely floored by this reality TV show. You can find it on Peacock. The host is Alan Cumming whose been in a million films and TV shows, I recognized him from Spy Kids 3 of all places. The second season is on its fourth episode and has featured some of my favorite competitors from MTV's The Challenge. If you don't mind melting your brain with bullshit reality TV then get after this one.
Something Wicked This Way Comes:
An evil circus comes to town. Two boys face their duality while outrunning the winds of time. An aging librarian comes to terms with the humor of life and death. This is the first, but won't be the last, Ray Bradbury novel that I have read. Mr. Bradbury's prose flows and tumbles like a paper boat in a storm drain. There were paragraphs that I would read, and then re-read, and then take a picture of the page, and finally set the book down to think about what I've read. The relationships in this novel are relationships that every young man deserves. I spent my time with this one, and although there would be weeks when I wouldn't pick it up, I knew that the characters were there waiting for me. Jim and Will feel locked in a time of adolescence, where the summers are hot, exciting, and endless, meanwhile, the circus threatens their innocence at every corner. Below I'm going to include a trailer from the 1983 film that goes by the same title:
I stood up this very morning cursing, telling myself that I hated it. "I hate this goddamn game," I said. I then sat back down and tried again, and solved puzzle after puzzle. Timed my jumps just right, and took blows when I knew I could afford them. I can't tell you what half the items in my inventory do, nor can I tell you where I need to go next. Blasphemous is a game that will test your wits, patience, and reaction time.
The game looks the way it sounds; almost miserable, but oh so fuckin metal. There are dudes with chest faces, winged killer angels, and pit after pit of spiked corpses. Why do I do it to myself? Because I know that just after this next part, I'll be rewarded with an extra bit of health, or I'll unlock a new spectacular ability. The boss battles are brutally fatal, and the scenery is gruesome in every right way.
I've spun my wheels trying to figure out what I'm doing with this blog. It's essentially a place for me to express myself through the horror medium or by discussing what's going on in my life, which can be interpreted as a horror story on its own merits. I'm going to be sharing more about this experience. My family and I will be exploring the surrounding scenery and museums. We'll also be working hard here at the property, so I'll drop pictures and give you guys an idea of what kind of projects I've encountered. And of course, when we settle down under the heated blanket at night, we'll throw on a horror flick, or I'll break out a Stephen King book, maybe fire up the Xbox. What I'm trying to say is that my reviews will be included, and we'll see how that may reflect my outlook on this not-so-blank-slate we call life.