In the middle of the night

My dog, Bella, is an interesting character. We call her the cat-dog, for the bit of sassiness that goes along with her doggie sweetness.

After I left my ex-husband, I moved in with my sister and her husband for a short time, to help me get on my feet.  Because I was newly separated and sad, for the first time ever, I let the dog sleep in the room with me (my ex was always anti this).  

Any way, one night I was startled awake by what felt like someone pushing my shoulder. A gasp escaped my lips and I opened my eyes, but could see nothing in the pitch black of the room. 

I took a breath, but the heaviness in the pit of my stomach didn’t leave me… It did however shift slightly. 

“Bella?” I said to the darkness.  The shifting stopped and tried to will itself still.  This is when I realized that my dog, who has very dark brown and black fur knows that I can’t see her at night.

My mommy voice came out, “Bella, get down.”

There is no Bella, only darkness. 

So, I sat up, grabbed the petulant bit of darkness and put her down on the floor. The darkness huffed and went back to her doggie bed to go back to sleep, but only after giving me a stare down. 

 

Hemlock Grove – Season 1 + 2 Review

Hemlock Grove – Season 1 & 2 Review

Have you ever wondered what a bromance between a werewolf and a vampire would look like?  Well, look no further, because a paranormal bromance of epic proportion is alive and well on Netflix’s Hemlock Grove.

…but is the show worth watching?

Well….it’s complicated.  Let’s take it in steps and note, there are spoilers in here, but I’ll warn you before.

Season 1: One-liner summary –  Boy with blood obsession seeks moon-inspired wolf for angsty bromance and solving murder mysteries.

Peter is new in town and has a secret – on a full moon, he walks as a wolf – a change he treats the viewers and a new friend, Roman to watch.  The two bond over  a series of terrible shared dreams – dreams that can lead them to a serial killer targeting teenage girls at their school.

What’s nice about this show, is that each season is dedicated to solving one major mystery, all while allowing the viewer to slowly delve into this town, where the paranormal live along side the blissfully ignorant normal.

Non-spoiler comments –

  • Roman and his mother are Upir (Vampire-like creatures who can walk around during the day), but Roman is unaware of his paranormal nature until much later.
  • Roman has a sister, Shelley, who was brought back to life by a doctor who…let’s just say he likes to push the envelope.  I’m thinking they named her Shelley in honor of Mary Shelley & Frankenstein.
  • There’s an interesting character who is a writer and goes around explaining that because she’s a writer she has to ask questions to understand motives and experience things so that she can write great stories. lol
  • Since this is a paranormal story with vampire-like creatures and werewolves AND angsty teenagers, there is of course a love triangle.  Although this one is extra wrong, because two sides of the triangle are related.

I enjoyed the first season a lot, I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It was fresh, paranormal, and there were mysteries to puzzle through.  I recommend it, however, I’m a little torn about season 2…

Season 2:  One-liner summary – last time we had a triangle, this time an awkward, angsty, paranormal three-way (team Jacob and team Edward fans can now unite under one banner).

At the end of Season 1, Peter and his mom leave Hemlock Grove, as it is filled with too many bad memories and sadness.  Season 2 starts with Peter’s mom getting arrested and then jailed.  Where? Hemlock Grove.  Why?  Because of plot.

And the Roman-Peter bromance is severely damaged.

But no fear!  More mysteries are here!  Yay!

Soon our bromance is back in business and more angsty than ever as they try to determine who is behind a string deaths and also navigate a strange three-way relationship.

This season, while weird and a little less strong than the first, wasn’t really annoying until the last episode.  I’d probably give this 3 out of 5 stars.  And now for spoilers, because it’s the only way I can accurately explain my beefs with season 2.

But first, my favorite line from this season has got to be after Norman breaks up with Olivia.  Olivia says: “Fuck me….No, fuck you.”  And later she literally rips his heart out.  Awesome.

Okay…my biggest issue with season 2 was the season finale (SPOILERS!):

  • Item 1 – Miranda jumps off the building with the evil baby who then tries to kill her as she has with others, by looking at her with the crazy baby demon eyes.  While Miranda’s eyes begin to bleed, she magically doesn’t die…probably because something flies down and saves them.  Which brings me to item 2…
  • Item 2 – The dragon and a whole lot of wtf.   This dragon was the doctor from previous episodes in the season.  How do I know?  They put his face on it, in case I was confused and somehow didn’t pick up what they were putting down.  Additionally, this dragon doesn’t really look like a dragon, but like a manta ray with talons and a weird dude’s face.  My response upon seeing this – a whole lot of wtf… will I watch season 3?  Ah, this remains to be seen…

Office worker confessional – Paid Parental Leave

Office Worker Confessional #3

I want paid maternity, paternity, and adoptive parent leave.

Why?

Because taking responsibility for another life is a pretty big deal, especially if you have to squeeze that life through a small opening in your body…


For those of you who didn’t know, the U.S. is the only developed country that does not offer guaranteed paid maternity or paternity leave for their workers.  Additionally, there have been studies and articles that have highlighted that paid maternity, paternity, and adoptive parent leave would not cause a negative economic impact, as many opponents of the idea have claimed.

And because there’s often truth in humor…and sometimes it takes a comedian to make people realize the ridiculousness of the situation, check out John Oliver’s Mother’s Day bit, which highlights the issue of paid maternity, paternity, and adoptive parent leave in the U.S.

Still don’t think it’s important?  Well, don’t be surprised when people start looking for jobs at businesses that grant their employees for paid mat/pat/adoptive leave.

Bates Motel – Review

TV Series Review – Season 1, Bates Motel

Let’s take a moment and appreciate how creepy this picture of Norman Bates is…super creepy, right?  And I picked the least strange of the series poster type ads.

Series 1 Synopsis  – Norma Bates wants a fresh start for herself and her teenage son, after her husband is killed in a freak accident.  So, they move to a small sea-side town to run a small motel and start over.  Except nothing is what it seems – not this small town, Norma herself, nor her favorite son, Norman.

Thanks to the joy of tv series of Netflix, I powered through the first season of “Bates Motel” this week. And it was awesome – a seamless blend of creepiness, teenage angst, mysteries, rich characters, and a very interesting town…all while filling us in on a backstory of one of the horror genre’s most notorious, well psycho. If you enjoy mysteries and horror, definitely check it out – not only are there mysteries/creepiness lurking everywhere, all of the characters are flawlessly acted.

For those of you who have watched, will watch, or are watching, just a few interesting tidbits I wanted to bring up –

  • Norman talks with his mother a lot, even when she’s not there – As the viewer, we generally follow Norman (though often enough we follow Norma and Norman’s bother, Dylan) and as a side benefit of that, we also get to see what goes on in Norman’s head through dream sequences, quick visual fantasy type events, as well as his conversations with his kind of second personality – a really angry version of his mom.  Sometimes he remembers these conversations with his other personality and sometimes he doesn’t.  What’s interesting is that this lays the ground work to what Norman eventually does in the movie Psycho (i.e. attacking a woman while dressed as his dead mother and no, that’s not a spoiler..if you haven’t watched psycho you most likely know what happens anyway).
  • Norman has “black out” moments – I won’t ruin this for people, but it’s an interesting concept for a character who seems to have two very extreme sides to his personality.  It also raises interesting questions about “black out” moments – is he blocking them out after the fact (for self-preservation) or is it another side of his personality taking over?
  • The town is really, really interesting too – We all know the final fate of Norman Bates, and while a backstory is interesting, that can’t be the only thing happening if you’d like an engaging and long-running series.  Answer?  The town is crooked!  Crooked, I say!!  And filled with mysteries!  Yay!  Also, this town is run by Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) who is quickly becoming one of my favorite side characters along with the quirky Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), Norman’s only friend.

Predictions for season 2?  Methinks murder shall be afoot….also, I’m betting Norma and the Sheriff are going to have a complicated relationship that will no doubt lead to romance.  Why?  Well, romance is everywhere…even in horror stories. 😉

A to Z – Z!!! (WR)

It’s April again and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge and this year, my theme for the A to Z Challenge is characters and narrators.

ZZ is for Zoological 

Okay, work with me on this one.  Z is for zoological, which I am using to discuss how/when authors give human traits to animals in books/tv/film…and also sometimes on this very blog.

There are the typical attributes given to animals – dogs are loyal and cats are generally cranky.  But it’s equally fun (usually more so) when animals have their very own unique personalities and characters.

The beautiful thing about these kinds of characters, is that while we loved stories of animals having human traits as children, many of us never outgrew this love.  There are tons of stories that feature pets as prominent and developed characters – and they can be more than just campy or silly, they can be beloved characters.

There are also stories of pets playing a prominent role (with no fictionalized character development/internal pet monologues) in a person’s life.  I love these as well, and if book/movie/tv trends are accurate, a lot of other people do as well.  I even have one of my own –

When I left my ex, a little more than a year ago, I took my dog with me.  (Side note: She was a present to me from my ex when we were still newlyweds and since my ex was never a dog person, I was the dog’s main caregiver/trainer/person.)  So many people – family, friends, coworkers, and also random strangers – comforted and propped me up in my time of need.  I don’t know what I would have done without the so many wonderful people in my life (the kind things they did, the healing words they said, and the support that they lovingly gave) and I don’t think I can ever repay this debt to them.  I know I was and am blessed to have such amazing people in my life. 🙂

And my dog, though it sounds kind of silly to say, was also helpful in getting me through those hard times.  I remember the first nights after I left my husband – away from the home I shared with my ex for over seven years, without the sounds of someone sleeping next to me.  There are so many hard parts of going through any kind of divorce (whether someone pulls the rug out from under you or whether it was something that builds up over time)…and one of the worst things (there are a lot of them) is not being able to sleep because of the emptiness of a room at night.  But I was lucky.  When I couldn’t go to sleep some nights, I could listen to the sounds of Bella snoring softly from her pet bed or the sounds of her walking around the room.  Those noises were strangely comforting, especially when I moved into my own apartment, in reminding me that I wasn’t alone.

My dog even helped stave off depression – I never had to come home to an empty house (and had an enthusiastic greeter at the door), she took me for long walks several times a day (making me get fresh air + exercise), would drop her toys at my feet to play when I got too pensive, and was glad to cuddle on the couch when nothing seemed to be going right.

And that’s why I suppose pet and other animal characters are always so endearing – for the connection we have with them and how we can take care of them almost as well as they can take care of us (yep, I know super cheesy, but there it is).

Notable animal characters:

  • Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino in Bolt
  • Doug in UP!
  • Marley
  • Lassie
  • Flipper