It’s been a weird week.
A bit of a stressful up-and-down one, really, so let’s pepper this post with funny cat gifs.
I wasn’t anywhere near the bombings at the Boston marathon last week, but my work is about a mile or two away from where it happened, and because details were so scant, everybody was panicking, and “news” organizations like CNN and Fox News were busy spreading hysteria-inducing bullshit that was just making people panic even more. Falsehoods about cellphone service being shut down, or explosions at the JFK library, or additional explosive devices found in subways. It was starting to get so bad that the FBI had to publish a statement to bitchslap the media into getting their facts straight.
Shortly after the bombings occurred, I fielded a few messages and phone calls from worried friends and relatives, most of whom didn’t know anything about what was happening. I had sent them each a blanket text just saying “Hey, I’m not dead” or something to that effect – just a quick message to let them know I was OK, so I could get on with work. Unfortunately, anyone who knew my TV-watching habits probably thought I was either referencing Sherlock, or just befuddling people with my morbid sense of humour. Once my mum knew it was neither, she had gone into understandably panicked parent mode.
Later that night, we went to Nerd Trivia night at the Flying Saucer, a trivia night we’d won the first ever two times (and the previous week). Everyone else in our team wanted to stay home and sort of recover from such a horrible day. Feeling resilient, I was hoping to use trivia to get my mind off it, and for the husband, the gravity of that day’s events hadn’t quite sunk in yet. But it wasn’t until I got home and turned on the news and saw the footage, over and over, the smoke, the fire, the screams, the running, the screams…(did I mention the screams…?) that I got shaky, upset, angry, scared, and sick.
But I went anyway, because I had promised my husband (who was going to have to be late because of his tour schedule), and two other friends who were joining later. So for the first 45 minutes of trivia, it was just socially-awkward, sort of PTSD-addled me, frantically scribbling answers while trying not to look up at even more harrowing news coverage on the TV. I’d imagine that many others share this view, but I don’t feel calmer/better about a stressful situation/event until I get more information on how it’s coming to a close. At the time, no-one knew who had done it, or how many of them there were, if the situation had been contained, or if/when the perpetrators were to be caught. The unreliable news organizations weren’t helping, either, and were, in fact, encouraging the post-traumatic culture of fear and paranoia, and might have been more successful if it weren’t for their frequent, unintentional comic reporting blunders.
…Was my work-from-home day, and I was never happier to confine myself to my overly-hot, extremely stuffy-to-the-point-of-suffocating, dated shoebox of an apartment. I don’t think anyone had got any work done Monday, or even that day, to be quite honest.
Wednesday was the city’s free preview of Rob Zombie‘s latest horror offering The Lords of Salem, a movie which, if not for a moderate public outcry over Facebook, would not have been distributed to Salem at all (and it still probably won’t be). Yes, a film that was inspired by the history of Salem, filmed partly in Salem, and even has Salem in the title, was not going to be shown in Salem. Satanic whispers about the movie possibly coming to Danvers (AMC Liberty Tree Mall) probably meant that the filmmakers were one of those hi
pst erory buffs who still believed that the Salem Witch Trials took place there instead.
As expected, it was weird. Fucking weird. The premise is that a Salem DJ Heidi Hawthorne (Sheri Moon Zombie), receives a strange record and, after playing it on the air, possesses a small amount of Salem’s women through black magic wielded by a trio of witches, and our heroine slowly begins a descent into madness. Zombie has stated that he sees the film as “if Ken Russell had made The Shining” and I guess it shows. A lot of religious-symbolism-as-shocking-parody (including visions of a trio of Catholic Cardinals wanking off neon dildos in their laps), but I felt the movie suffered from under-editing when overlong shots lingered on things like maniacal muddy witches cackling and spitting on newborn babies next to a bonfire.
Zombie definitely has a clear vision of his own style, but it shows that he wanted to make an expensive-looking movie, but just didn’t have the budget. The many ritual scenes with the witches look like cheap soundstages, strategically-lit to give the illusion of being outdoors, and the demon baby looked like a glazed chicken, which appeared as a disappointment after a long, drawn-out scene in which the film’s protagonist walks into a grand, deco theatre lobby (but from an apartment door), to the tune of Mozart’s Lacrimosa. The film’s opening shows the DJs (and receptionist) all wearing ’70s-era clothing, but the exterior shots of modern cars and buses feel jarring.
The Shining‘s influence was definitely present. Everything from the extended slow-mo shots with the protagonist in the centre, the movie’s day title cards (“Monday” etc, which were used inconsistently), the emphasis on trippy decor, the time period of the clothing and even the music, seem borrowed from the movie rather than paid homage to, and by the time the film reaches its Wicker Man-esque ending, I was left wondering what the point of this movie was. Sheri Moon Zombie’s acting was decent, but it had to be, as the film relies entirely on her to carry it, with only Judy Geeson able to make Rob Zombie’s awkward dialogue sound believable. Even screen veterans like Dee Wallace (E.T.), Bruce Davison (The Crucible) and Patricia Quinn (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) read their lines as though they’re just realizing they’re in a movie, and have to try to get on with it in case the director bites them and turns them into a Walker. It’s just…off.
Thursday held some pretty amazing news for me. After five long years, a heck of lot of money, worrying and straining my relationships with everyone, I finally got approved for my 10-year green card. Yay! I am so relieved. And happy! It still hasn’t hit me yet, but when I get my card in the mail, it’ll be drinks all ’round 😄
My lawyer had been convinced that we would be called for an interview, especially after we had received an RFE (Request for Evidence) a while back. We had almost no financial evidence to support our case, which, apparently, is the only evidence USCIS wants to support your case. The other alternatives were children, but…I can’t even finish such a ludicrous statement, if only to say that, since we had not been in a position to provide USCIS with reams of joint financial statements, we were clearly not in a position to have any children, either.
Three friends of ours had written personal affidavits on our behalf, the risky wording of which had worried me, even though I staunchly agreed with every word they had said. They had all stated that they did not believe that, to prove a marriage, a couple must go into debt that not even most US citizens would plunge themselves into. We were not struggling by any means, but the reason that almost everything is in my name and not the hippie’s is that his credit is so bad that he doesn’t even have a bank account anymore. Yes, I married someone grossly financially irresponsible. It happens. Sometimes people make stupid mistakes, but I’d like to think I’m trying to help him before he does something stupid again.
The entire city was on lockdown for the manhunt. They killed one of them, and got the other alive. That’s all I cared about. It was over. On Thursday night, a friend and I had gone to a candlelight memorial walk around Salem Common (there was also a “last mile run” beforehand, but I fear I was not fit enough to participate, so I cheered a friend on), a sombre but respectful event. Then onwards to the Peabody Essex Museum’s April PEM/PM party, which involved Nick Cave (no, not that one)’s soundsuit dancers, people in great big rainbow-coloured shaggy muppet-mop awesomeness dancing and bouncing about. Even though it was disappointing that the PEM didn’t delay the event start time by an hour (to allow for the memorial), the enormous flailing koosh-balls brought a smile to everyone’s faces (including little kids), and museum patrons were invited to basically Harlem-Shake about with them on the Atrium’s dance floor.
And so ended a weary week, leaving the weekend free for the chore that is food shopping, endless TV-watching, and my first ever trip to Gloucester. Man, it’s cold up there.