I am saddened by the passing of Star Treks Nichelle Nichols

I am not even a Star Trek fan in comparison to others. I watched the movies, my favorite one being the one with the whales and time travelling Trekkies. As such my experience with Star Trek is primarily limited to the OG cast. For that reason hearing the news Nichelle Nichols has passed away tugs on my heart. She is an iconic hero for girls and female identifying people everywhere.

Star Trek has always been about showing the best humanity can strive towards. Lt. Uhura, the character Nichols played, was a strong, powerful African-American woman who had a prominent role staring in a very popular science fiction television series. Over the course of the next few days you are going to be reading dozens, nay hundreds of thousands of tributes to her and I wanted to get my thoughts out there while they are fresh on my mind.

Everyone talks about the kiss. That famous first interracial kiss on network television. I don’t think of her in terms of just her sexuality like that. To me she was a role model. She was a language specialist. As a student of English who took college courses in Linguistics I was inspired by her language expertise. To me I feel we lost an iconic character that was a role model for children of all genders, especially female ones.

I don’t feel like I will write some profound tribute to her life, how can I? I never met her. I am sure there are nerds out there with stories of meeting her at conventions, not to mention journalists and entertainers who met her in a professional manner who are likely to reminisce over the next few days. I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts I had. First I hope she gets remembered for more than just a kiss. Second, she absolutely inspired young girls all across the world and that needs to be addressed. Third, I never got to meet her but I felt like she was the kind, gentle type of person that would have been a treasure to get to know.

The day my mom gifted me the confidence to stand on my own

Shopping. I love it. Some of my best memories are going to thrift stores with my parents. I bought some of my favorite cherished treasures shopping at thrift stores. SO when my mom called me earlier this week saying she was taking me thrift store shopping for our day out together I was ecstatic.

I woke up with anticipation. I was going to spend the day with my parents shopping for clothes. I couldn’t be more excited!

I have had a rocky relationship with my mom since coming out trans. She is a very conservative evangelical Christian. I have had to endure misgendering, preaching and deadnaming from her this entire time. When she called me that morning with the news she was taking me clothes shopping for my new job I was in tears over joyed.

It started out slow. We walked into that Goodwill store together mother and daughter. She walked to the back of the store to look at the junk first. She sent me off to find outfits for work on my own. I spent a few minutes working my way through the blouses, the dresses, the skirts and then the t shirts. As I walked through the women’s clothing section unable to find a single outfit that I would wear to work my mom walked over and saved the day. She said to me in a stern voice, “I hate doing this but I want you to look cute at work.” From that moment on she spent the rest of the day walking through the aisles with me asking me about my colors, style and dress size.

After a few minutes she picked out a pair of outfits that she thought would look good on me for my new job. She sent me into the dressing room to try them on. I went in and undressed to try them on. Once I figured out which blouses would work and which ones would and wouldn’t work I returned to my mom with the new information. She paid for my clothes and we drove to the second store to repeat the process.

Spending the day with my mom is a rarity since I started transitioning. I cherish every moment we spend together because I know I have to fight for scraps of affection from my parents. Scraps my cishet sisters don’t have to fight nearly as hard for. Getting to spend the entire day with my mom doing a decidedly mother-daughter feminine activity was more than enough to bring me to tears. I will hold onto the memory of that day for the rest of my life. Even as I write this I am wiping away tears from my eyes. I know my mother loves me. I know that she can dig beyond her bigotry and find a way to accept a small piece of my life in an effort to see me stand on my own two feet. For that reason I will wear those outfits as proud as I am queer in honor of her belief in me.

I will fight to stand on my own. I will use the tools my mother equipped me with so that I could succeed in that role. I will honor my mothers wishes by representing her in that office. I hope I can make her proud. I love my mother so very much.

How I can be Pagan, witch and Christian at the same socialist time

How can I be a Pagan and a Christian at the same time? How about socialist how does that work? Doesn’t the bible say if you don’t work you don’t eat or something like that? Here we go Christianity from the perspective of a witch.

The simplest reason I can claim to be a Witch and a Christian is because I am a Christian who practices witchcraft. It’s that simple. But what about the Biblical directive to avoid witchcraft? This is easy to get around.

First there is the different practices associated with witchcraft. The bible forbids talking to demons. It talks about divination using satanic powers. It doesn’t talk about using magic in a negative way except when dealing with demons. There are plenty of examples of the disciples and their followers using magical powers in the Bible. It’s as simple as that. Magic is not forbidden what is forbidden is getting that magic from Demons. Spells are not satanic inherently just spells that delve into the dark arts.

Second there is the entire notion of the New Testament. All things are lawful. It flat out says that as long as you LOVE your neighbor as yourself that is it you are saved you did what was required and thus have fulfilled the entire law. No sin. This is the easiest way to explain away those Christians who point to verses in the Bible that list sins. It talks about evil. It is in the heart. Those lists are not if you do THESE things you go to hell. It is if you are EVIL in your heart and do these things you will burn for your sins. Evil is the key. Now it is easy to label magic evil because it gets mistaken for satanic easily. But this is not the case. There are good Witches who are in fact Christians.

OKay but you said you are also pagan. Pagan means NOT Christian doesn’t it? Well no. There is no universally accepted definition for pagan. The simplest term is anti christian. But that is not the only meaning of the word. TO some it refers to the old religion that predates Christianity. Ah ha then it is Satanic! Right? Wrong.

You see the religion wasn’t forbidden itself either. Even praying to other gods is NOT forbidden, sacrificing to them is. That is all. You can pray to whichever entity you prefer as long as you don’t make idols and sacrifices to that entity.

What I mean when I say I am pagan is I practice some of the traditions of the ancients. That is all. I like to follow the Wheel of the Year. This is mostly pagan but also Wiccan in origin. I don’t worship false gods. I sometimes pray to them for guidance. Just like when I perform magic I don’t get my power from devils I get it from angels and nature. Using nature is not forbidden, otherwise science would be a sin and oops in that scenario electricity is satanic, sounds Amish to me.

What about socialist? Doesn’t the Bible say if you don’t work you don’t eat? SO what? It also says to give to the poor. It also says they sold all their possessions and shared in the wealth equally. Those are guidelines not rules. Remember the rule is love your neighbor and love God. That is all everything else is permitted. In a way. Obviously evil is not permitted but acts are not inherently evil thus deeds are not inherently sinful.

Now for the kicker. Even if I do sin, which I DO we all do. I just ask for forgiveness and I am cleansed. Sometimes I feel the need to attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation if I feel my sins are extra egregious but for the most part the standard confession is enough. There you have it a simple explanation how I can be pagan, witch, and socialist while still believing in Jesus as my Christ and Savior!

How a visit with my parents led to quality mother-daughter time

The day started with a phone call from my mother. She was preparing to head this way. She wanted to inform me the plan was to go to thrift stores so she asked me where to go so we could meet up at a Good Will.

After she got off the phone I got ready. I did my hair and makeup. Then I got dressed. I drove the long way to the Good Will I had instructed my parents towards. I was going to meet them there. Once they arrived we hugged then went inside. Mom helped me pick out a few blouses for work. I went to the dressing room to try them on and then we chatted about life and things.

We then drove to a second thrift store where she bought me 4 more blouses as well as a new hat! I was quite happy spending the morning with my parents. We then got lunch at a restaurant nearby. They ordered chicken sandwiches and I had a cheeseburger. It was pretty good although the service was not great.

They told me about their recent trip to Kansas to visit with my uncles. It had been several years since they last saw my one uncle so they were quite pleased getting to see him. Mom told me all the things she had done on her vacation while telling me more about her work. I then told her all about my new job I am starting on Monday.

After lunch we said our goodbyes, hugged and parted ways. I then drove home, with a few happy tears rolling down my cheek as I made my way home. Overall it was a pretty good day. I love spending time with my mom. We had some fun mother-daughter time despite her protests to that end. It was a blast. It made me realize the relationship I have with my parents was as good as it was ever going to get. I am okay with that. I am just happy they are still in my life.

25 Sci Fi horror movies worth your time

Science fiction often overlaps with horror in a lot of interesting ways. Sometimes a movie is more sci fi than horror but it still has horror elements. Other times it could look like science fiction but is straight up horror. Here are 25 science fiction movies that should satiate a horror buff!

1. Event Horizon

A sci fi thriller set in space.

2. Leprechaun in Space

A Just for fun sequel that will offer a new take on a tired franchise.

3. Killer Klowns From Outerspace

A fun romp that has some good scares.

4. Critters

A movie about alien monsters that could be mistaken for science fiction action.

5. Hellraiser 4

Set in the future it’s hell but in space.

6. Jason X

Jason goes to space.

7. Sphere

A psychological thriller that takes place under the ocean.

8. Jurassic Park

A great monster movie.

9. Alien

A slasher movie dressed up in science fiction clothes.

10. Alien 3

A good monster movie sequel to a great classic.

11. Ghost in the Machine

A cheap knock off of Lawnmower Man…

12. Lawnmower Man

A virtual reality game turns a simpleton into a monster.

13. Shocker

A serial killer gets superpowers.

14. Wishmaster

A demon grants wishes. More fantasy than sci fi but it has elements.

15. Christine

A possessed killer classic car that kills people!

16. The Langoliers

A sci fi thriller set in a time locked airport.

17. Tremors

The greatest monster movie ever made.

18. The Faculty

A slasher film in the style of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

19. Species

A sexy alien that breeds people to death.

20. Resident Evil

A sci fi action horror zombie power trip!

21. Pitch Black

Gremlins, in space!

22. I Am Legend

A zombie movie with a twist.

23. Leviathan

Monsters under the ocean.

24. Chopping Mall

Short Circuit turned into a killer robot!

25. The Thing (1982)

A Gory fest for the ages~

25 Horror movies that aren’t slashers

If you are looking for a good horror movie to watch but are tired of slasher flicks? Here is a list for you~

1. Dawn of the Dead

Just the goriest zombie movie ever made.

2. Phantasm

A supernatural/sci-fi thriller that is more about messing with the viewer than it is the kills.

3. FunHouse

It’s nearly a slasher but a total thriller nonetheless. This movie is about kids that find themselves trapped in a terrible murder house dressed up like a carnival.

4. Shocker

Not a great film but a fun ride. A serial killer gets super powers.

5. 976-EVIL

A nerd makes a deal with the devil and gains evil powers he uses to get revenge on his bullies.

6. House

A haunted house movie about a novelist trapped in a nightmare house reliving his horrors from the past.

7. Fright Night

Just the best vampire movie you will ever see~

8. Amityville Horror

A classic haunted house movie about a serial killer who’s ghost haunts a family in New England.

9. The Faculty

Not technically a slasher but a sci fi thriller in the vain of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

10. Species

She is an alien. She is a monster. She is a horny mother trying to get laid. She is also a murderer. She is also just a child.

11. Mimic

A horror/thriller about sentient insects that turn into killers.

12. Event Horizon

A phycological horror movie set in space.

13. Sphere

Event Horizon but under the ocean.

14. Critters 2

A fun monster flick about creatures that eat people.

15. Day of the Dead

Only the greatest zombie movie ever made.

16.  Evil Dead

A group of teenagers opens a doorway to hell unleashing demons along the way. What could go wrong?

17. Interview With The Vampire

A vampire movie that will make you sympathize with a monster.

18. Phantasm 2

The best sequel to a horror movie ever.

19. Halloween 3 Season of the Witch

A terrible movie worth watching just for the laughs.

20. Fear Street

Holy. Shit! Scary. Modern. Refreshing! Gory as all hell!

21. The Babysitter

Almost a slasher but it still counts. Consider it a slasher in reverse though. This time the teenagers are the murderers. But it’s also a psycho cult.

22. Army of Darkness

A sort of sequel to Evil Dead 2 but also a wild action adventure horror D&D esque fantasy!

23. Se7en

The best serial killer thriller ever made. A detective caught in the act!

24. Frailty

A cultist who thinks he is doing the will of God by killing demons disguised as humans.

25. Ginger Snaps

One day I will write a whole review of this movie. In the meantime all you need to know is this is the greatest werewolf movie I have ever seen.

What Makes a Good Slasher film part Three: The rise of meta horror

Scream changed the rules. Following the decade of gore was a challenge nobody wanted to take on. Wes Craven himself shied away from the slasher genre opting for more psychological horror in the 90s. It was no surprise he would follow up The People Under The Stairs with Scream, a combination psychological horror and slasher film that picked the genre apart and dissected it piece by piece.

In the science fiction sub genre I forgot to mention films like Alien or The Faculty, absolutely slasher films in their own rights one from the 70s pre-Halloween and one from the 90s, Post-Scream. Then there is I Know What You Did Last Summer, a slasher that took the playbook and ripped pages out but wrote it’s own rules.

Let’s get back to Scream for a second. The meta horror genre became big business in the 90s and 2000s. Once audiences were made aware of what components went into a slasher film they became bored with the stagnant genre. Now the genre has experienced quite a revival in recent years but there were those dark days when it felt like the meta horror was going to kill the sub category entirely.

Scream changed horror forever. That has been beaten to death. I want to side step that and instead take a look at why it worked instead of what it accomplished.

Scream was simple. It laid out the rules of a horror movie on the table. It followed the rules to a T while breaking them only as needed to further the plot. While Scream is a brilliant analysis into the minds of horror icons, it is itself quite a useful scary movie in its own rights. That is what makes it work, unlike all the copy cats and yes I consider Saw a Scream clone, and not a very good one but for different reasons.

Horror is a funny topic. It always goes back to what is scary and makes us think about life and death. I believe death is the central element that is necessary for something to be considered horror. Defining a slasher film by strict rules is a point in futility as it leaves out some brilliant movies that otherwise might not make the cut.

The genre has had it’s ups and downs but it remains, largely, my favorite style of horror movie to this day.

What Makes a Good Slasher Part One

What Makes A Good Slasher Part Two

What Makes a slasher film good part two: The supernatural element

Answering this question is going to take more than a single article I am afraid. I decided to take a look at more than one franchise and in my attempt to answer this question I raised more concerns as I began comparing Halloween to Friday the 13th.

One of my all time favorite slasher films is a case study in the genre. It is called Slumber Party Massacre. Obviously it has a remake of the same name but I am referring to the original 80s classic. This movie has an escape murderer on the loose picking off teenagers in a house one by one. The killer rarely shows his face and relies on creative kills to snuff out his victims. The movie has a pretty standard body count while serving up a feature film that hits all the notes: right tone, scares, bloody, suspense and thrills and a final girl. It has all the tropes.

Another case study is one that also stars the same actress famous for surviving Halloween. Her name is Jamie Lee Curtis. The movie is Prom Night. Another movie that is a carbon copy of Halloween with a twist, young kids responsible for the death of one of their own inspires the killer in a story reminiscent to I Know What You Did Last Summer.

There is a subgenre of the slasher film, however, that requires a deeper look. This is the supernatural thriller. There are a number of slashers that fall under this banner. Ones where the monster is of supernatural origins rather than a mad stalker. The two most famous ones in this style are A Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser. Now both of these franchises bear some resemblance to the slasher genre while also straying away from the tried and true trope in their own respects.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite movie of all time so I have written extensively about it already. Instead I want to touch on the supernatural elements then dig deeper into Hellraiser.

Freddy is a poltergeist haunting his victims dreams. He is not a man. He manifests in the shape of a human being for most of his kills but not always and not exclusively. Sometimes he is a giant snake monster. He also quite often disguises himself as people familiar to his victims, including their fallen friends from time to time.

Hellraiser is entirely different. It bares only a passing resemblance to the slasher genre. It does feature a final girl. There is a body count and the killer does hide in the shadows most of the film. That is where the similarities end. I still count it among the slasher ilk as it does feature the same tone as those films, at least the first one does the rest are a genre all their own.

Let’s take a detour and look at Phantasm for a moment. Here is another slasher-esque film that features a mixture of supernatural and science fiction elements. It has the tone and feel of a slasher movie, right down to a teenager surviving the ordeal, but it also fails to hit all the tropes.

Getting back to Hellraiser for a second the franchise is decidedly NOT a slasher series meanwhile the first film is enough of one to be counted among the faithful. AS for Freddy Krueger his movies are absolutely slasher in nature. Even right down to the razor blades he wears on his gloves!

Then we have the Friday the 13th Knock offs, such as Sleepaway Camp and Maniac. Again these movies capture the core essence of what makes Friday the 13th work, a serial killer while one is set at a summer camp, the other in the city, they both rely heavily on slasher vibes.

I don’t have some incredible insights into what makes the slasher genre enjoyable. Hell I can barely make passing reference to the ones I have seen. I don’t analyze movies well that is not my strength. What I can do is take a look at the genre as a whole and discuss the elements I enjoy while offering up examples. In a way I would be better served making a top 25 slasher films of all time list.

What Makes A Good Slasher Film Part One

What Makes A Good Slasher Film Part Three

What Makes a slasher film good part one: Jason vs. The Shape

Ghostbusters is horror. I will stand by that statement until the day I die. Horror doesn’t have to be scary. It is an aesthetic. Some of the best horror movies are dressed up in the clothes of other genres. Take Beetlejuice as another example. That’s a straight up comedy if I ever saw one but it’s still as horror as horror can be.

Horror doesn’t have to be about gore. A good horror movie can have gore, but it’s not required. A movie can have gore and not be horror also. The two are not mutually exclusive.

This isn’t about defining horror, been there done that. This is my reflections on a certain type of horror movie, the slasher film. Specifically the 80s slasher film and more specifically the Friday the 13th franchise and it’s clones.

The best slasher films all have the same tropes. A group of teenagers being murdered one by one by a serial killer/stalker for their transgressions. It is not always clear what the killers motive for the killings are but one thing is clear, the body count is high in this genre.

If you champion slashers on the body count, however, you will quickly find out there are other genres that can shame the genre in their sleep, namely splatter, body horror and zombie films all come to mind. There is no greater body count than a zombie apocalypse film.

If it isn’t about the body count or the motive than what makes a slasher film so enjoyable?

I don’t know I just watch them.

There are two main line slasher franchises that compete for dominance. One is a mostly coherent narrative with a few side quests while the other is an incoherent mess of reboots, requels and spin offs. The two I am referring to are Friday the 13th and Halloween.

While Halloween often gets the credit, erroneously, as the first slasher film, it is not the superior franchise between the two. What makes a Halloween movie good is the suspense. For the most part Michael Myers takes his sweet time picking off his victims one by one in a tapestry of blood that is sure to inspire the most morbid of the macabre. The franchise falls apart in it’s never ending sequelitis. The worst offenders are the reboots that ignore everything that came before. This reboot sequel has been made 3 separate times. It’s almost as if they recognize the franchise sucks but they keep trying to repeat it’s success anyways. I think it stays popular on name recognition alone. Nobody actually LIKES these movies, they can’t they just watch them because there is no viable alternative, right?

The Friday the 13th movies have vastly superior pacing than the Halloween films. They also enjoy a more coherent storyline than the Halloween films. That isn’t to say the franchise is perfect, Jason Goes to Hell is sitting right there to remind us of that. However considering it follows a, mostly, linear timeline that makes more sense that it’s counterpart it wins by a hair.

Both franchises have a body count. Both have a masked killer who silently stalks his prey. Both have a horde of teenage victims. Halloween takes a few more risks than Friday the 13th but in the end the Jason-led franchise does edge out the Michael Myers fare ever so slightly.

There is more to the movies than pacing and story there is also tone. The Friday movies have a campier tone which does knock them down a point. The tone of the Halloween films tends to be more in line with what you expect from a thriller. It feels slightly darker overall. In that regards I can see why it has such a following.

The killers are both similar in many respects but in some ways The Shape is a darker monster than Jason Vorhees. Keeping in mind Pamela, his mother, was the killer in the first one and he was a lizard demon in Jason Goes to Hell. Jason looks cooler and is far more creative with his kills. The Shape is less known as a monster and more for the serial killer mask it wears.

All of this is not to say the Halloween movies aren’t worth watching. As a fan I have seen all of the mainline films and I can assure you they hold up quite well as far as slasher films go. They bring the suspense, the kills and the scares all things you expect from the genre. Friday the 13th has the scares and the kills but lacks the suspense for the most part. It replaces suspense with a few random jump scares. Overall the two movies are nearly on par.

This isn’t a comparison which is better sort of deal. Rather I wanted to discuss the franchises independent of one another while recognizing their similarities. I failed to do this because I can’t bring myself to talk about slashers without comparing these two franchises.

At the end of the day if I was trying to pick one over the other I would have to say I personally enjoy the Jason films far more than the Halloween films. While I do recognize the Halloween franchise for what it does well, and it does that quite well indeed, I have to give credit where due. The superior series is easily Friday the 13th.

That being said since I didn’t set out to make this about comparing the two let me get back to what I intended in the first place, to answer the question what makes a slasher movie good?

This is going to be a longer article than I am used to writing. It might get a part two if I am not careful.

What Makes a Slasher Film Good Part Two

What Makes A Good Slasher Film Part Three

Why I don’t give up even though I am lost

Sometimes I wish I could figure out what I am doing in this life. I went to college. I got myself some experience in my career field. Then I moved to the city expecting I would find success. Instead I found myself bouncing from one temporary and seasonal job to another like a ping pong ball. 

I haven’t quite given up on my dreams. I started a YouTube series, a talk show where I get to be the host. I am in charge. This gives me a creative outlet where I can make decisions on what content I produce for a change. I have deadlines as before but they are a little looser, I set them myself. I have standards as before but they are my standards not some corporate overlords. 

I decided a while ago I was walking away from journalism. I made that decision because I couldn’t find any meaningful employment in the field. I chalked it up to two things, mostly the pandemic, and then my transition. All of my previous work is in my deadname making it awkward to share news clippings I wrote with someone else’s name on them. Same thing happens when I apply for photographer positions. I am sharing clips someone else took credit for even thought it was still my work. 

I have resolved that I have to give up. But then I found my strength. Despite recent failures attempting to get into childcare I remembered something, I pushed myself beyond my limits and landed a job I wasn’t qualified for. This reminded me of my inner strength. Then I decided to channel that strength towards applying for jobs I am far more comfortable with. Jobs I have more experience getting. The idea is I would have an easier time getting hired if I applied for work I already have experience in. 

Today I spent the better part of the day applying for tons of jobs, at least three dozen by last count. I am optimistic something will work out but I have to evaluate my needs versus desires. Right now I need a job that will pay the bills. I am kind of tired begging for jobs that I am either not skilled at or wouldn’t be best suited for. But I keep trying. The right job will come along but in the meantime I have to step back and take a hard look at who I am and what I have been doing. I can’t make up my mind what I want to be doing with my life. Thus I am sitting here lost. I have no direction. I don’t know what terms to enter into the job search bar. I don’t know what previous skills to highlight. I am at a loss for words. I am lost. 

I found my inner strength and I will draw upon that strength as I move forward. But I now know I will be using that strength to fumble in the dark towards God knows what. I have no clue where I will be working tomorrow, or a month from now. What I do know is I have run out of time. I can’t wait around trying to figure out who I am while I face the threat of homelessness. I have to channel that strength into finding gainful employment. I have to push myself into a world I don’t have a path towards. I enter this new phase of my life unsure of what I will be doing. For the first time in a long time I can’t picture what my next job should look like. For the first time since going to college I am sitting here lost. I will find my way but it’s going to be a bumpy road for the time being. 

I may have to settle for something beneath my skill set, an entry level minimum wage fair just to pay rent. I may have to settle for living minimalist. I may have to let other bills go as I regroup. In the meantime I will dig deeper as I continue my search. I don’t have a direction but I do have strength. I have will power. I have the desire to push forward. I will not give up. I will continue to walk this path without a map. No guide. No flashlight as I walk in the dark unsure what my future holds. For the first time in my recent memory I cannot say I have a plan. That alone scares me. But then I remember how I function better without a plan and I wonder if all that planning is what tripped me up in the first place. Only time will tell. For now I have to plug along in the dark unsure of where I am going.