I’ve been listening to a lot of metal lately, and I’m starting to think of it in much the same way that I think of horror: a nice place to visit, but not somewhere I’d want to live. There is stuff that I like–Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, some of the goth metal groups like My Dying Bride–but the more extreme stuff (fuck you, Anaal Nathrakh) doesn’t do it for me. To my grumpy old man self, it just sounds like lots of pounding and screaming. By the same token, I have enjoyed horror movies campy (Bride of Frankenstein), psychological (Don’t Look Now), and slasher-y (Nightmare on Elm Street), but there is a certain point at which it just feels exploitative. I’m not just talking about torture porn. I saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and respected its lean, mean devotion to being as nasty and gruesome as possible, but can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. Maybe that’s where I draw the line.
The fun part about digging into horror/metal is learning about the subculture. There are people who live and breathe this shit, who spend all day watching/listening and debating it with their friends. I don’t want to become one of them. But the thought of spending all of one’s time obsessing over one facet of pop culture seems appealing at times. I try to be well-rounded. When I first got into movies, I was fourteen, and for a while, I actually thought it was possible to see every good movie ever made. Then I realized that that was idiotic. What I got out of it was a wide-ranging knowledge of cinema’s many movements and genres. You can ask me about the French New Wave, documentaries, 70s paranoia thrillers, and gross-out comedies. No matter what you try on me, I’ll probably have at least a little bit to say about it. As I get older, my tastes get more specialized. That’s as it should be.
I didn’t have much fun this summer. I went to my job, hung out with a few friends (literally just a few), had to get my computer replaced, masturbated, moved to Queens, then decided that wasn’t working and moved back in with my father. This is the third time I’ve done that. I’m hoping to make it the last. My mother is looking for jobs in California, and if she gets one, my father might move out of wherever he is to be with her by the end of the year. That gives me a few months to figure out what I’m going to do with myself, as I am not moving yet again just so that I can keep staying rent-free with him. That should be enough time. I haven’t done much job-hunting since getting back to Cali. Why should I? I had a weird summer, and if I want to take a week (or two, or three) to decompress, that’s my right. But I am looking, make no mistake. I have loose ends to tie up here. I knew that even when I came back a few weeks ago just to visit. A few days ago, I went for a drive around my old neighborhood. I hadn’t seen most of those streets in years, but during the years that I lived there, I walked some of them hundreds, if not thousands of times. It’s time to let go.
It’s taken me a long time to get this post right. I wrote a complete draft that was about something completely different, then threw it out and started all over again. I spent a long time on that draft. This is unusual for me. Usually, I write only one draft. But this past month and a half has had a two steps forward, one step back feel to it. I was going to get a job, furnish my apartment, and settle down. I would have pulled it off, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids…er, I mean, if it wasn’t for my psychotic roommate. But honestly, I don’t think about him all that much anymore. He’s miserable, I guarantee you, and I’m not happy, but at least I’m moving forward.
One of the reasons I stuck around New York for slightly longer than I might have otherwise was to see my therapist one last time. I’d been seeing him for close to a year and yeah, he did some good. My parents sent me to a therapist when I was in eighth grade to help me with anger management and shit. He was okay. A few months later, they discovered I was a hypochondriac with OCD, and sent me to a shrink. She wasn’t very helpful, essentially asking me a few generic questions about my behavior and then badgering me about medications. (I didn’t want to take any. Since shrinks get kickbacks if they prescribe them, that was all she wanted to talk about. My mother sat in on the sessions. I still haven’t forgiven her for not jumping in and saying, “He doesn’t want to take medications; let it drop.” Fortunately, I only saw her twice. I guess my parents realized she wasn’t helping.)
That’s basically all for now. I saw The Descent recently, a top-notch horror movie from the guy who directed the “Blackwater” episode of Game of Thrones. Its premise is the standard stuff about people going into the wilderness and getting picked off by monsters, but since the cast is (almost) all-female, and they’re not helpless victims but seasoned outdoor explorers, it works. The film was released in America with a different ending that’s not horrible, but lacks the, shall we say, moralistic bleakness of the original. The American ending implies that you can get out, but never truly escape. The English ending implies that you might escape, but not if you care about revenge instead of redemption. I prefer the latter.
Also, here’s a funny article satirizing TV antiheroes. Enjoy.