In the words of Sigue Sigue Sputnik "I Love Technology"

"You don't have to be in here, do you?" I am sitting at my desk, my eyes filling with tears.


"It's a beautiful day outside."

"I think I know that one. It's a U2 song, right?"


"Look, I just don't want to deal with everything out there-frickin' happy young people-sunshine-birdies"

She goes to meet a friend of hers for coffee.

"You'll feel better tomorrow."

"You think Sin City is going to give me a reason to live?"

"I think it will help."

So I go to Metafilter and cruise their comments on the film. It is the first thing to make me smile all day.

"Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written in his blood"-Thus Spake Zarathustra
I woke up this morning with blood on my hands. Literally. A Lady MacBeth scenario. Except it wasn't just on my hands. I looked like I had been murdered in bed, but it hadn't caught up with my consciousness yet.

Nine years ago. I almost died by bleeding out my crotch. Not a very dignified way to go. My gynecologist at the time didn't believe I wasn't pregnant.

"Are you sure?"

"Look, Larry, I haven't even had a date in a year and half. I spend all my time in fucking gay bars drinking cosmopolitians. Unless I am THE most unlikely second act to the virgin mary or there are elves with turkey basters living in my room, REALLY not pregnant."

So he did a pregnancy test.

"Huh, you're not pregnant."

"Imagine that."
Yet I continued to bleed for another three weeks, making five in total. I woke up that morning covered in blood. My mother was on the phone to the hospital before I even got out of bed.

Larry stood next to me explaining everything that could go wrong. I had already been given a sedative to calm me before surgery. How many surgeries ago was that? He asked me if I accepted the risks. "Shouldn't you have asked me this BEFORE you gave me the sedative?" He blinked. Of course I accepted. It's a little more respectable to die in surgery than to exsanginate out of your vagina. Looks better on the death certificate.

My grandmother had a strange theory about the bleeding, that it was my depression made physical, that the blood from my broken heart was trickling around my liver and stomach-filtering through the cracks by the kidneys, and flowing out of my cunt.

And she worked in a ob/gyns office for 20 years.

Yesterday I found out I didn't get into Columbia. Today I wake up alone covered in blood.

The Morning After
"You know, that's some shit, when you wake up with someone. That's serious."
"I know. I've never really lived with someone. Sex is easy to come by, but waking with someone that really is something."
They look about nineteen. Upper-class. Manicures in light pink. They are dressed in light spring colors-crocus yellow and grass green. They wear impossibly high heels on nude pale legs.
I am attempting to read Lowlife by Luc Sante while I wait to see my gynecologist. I am too tired. My eyes slide off the page and stare instead at the monotonous carpet. How many nights have they spent alone, I wonder. I have, on more occassions than I care to remember, spent over a year without so much as a coffee date.
Doctor appointments, even check ups, make me more nervous than I care to admit. On one level, as someone who has essentially a Yugo for a body, my fear of these visits makes sense. How many times have I gone into visit only to be ordered a battery of tests, injections, minor surgeries, hospitalizations? On the other hand, as my mother often points out, "Well, you have made it through all those things. You'll make it again."
Yes mother, but really, I would prefer not to test that little theory.
I wake up the night before with a strangling feeling, as if my lungs have collapsed. I sit on the bed slowly trying to catch my breath feeling horribly alone. Which is odd. Because I'm not.
My gynecologist tries to converse brightly with me during the sonogram. She can't find my right ovary. "Maybe it's on eBay," I say. After several sweeps she says, "Well, we both know it's there somewhere, so let's just move on." Yes, let's just move on from the suddenly missing ovary.
I pay the receptionist after I find out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my reproductive system. My feet, my back, my joints, my nervous system, my tiny mind-those have problems-but short of a very shy ovary, I've got the whole reproductive thing under control. I feel like I've bribed my way into a clean bill of health.
The two girls are still in the waiting room when I leave. They are experimenting with jiggling high heels off of their toes in seductive ways.
I think of the morning, waking with warm breath on my neck, an arm thrown over my body, the press of a body against my spine, that long spinal scar obscured under the embrace. The morning breathe and einstein hair forgotten in the warm comfort of nesting under the covers. That act of ultimate intimacy, to be held while unconscious, no make up, no control, no pretense.
And I think about those two girls in the waiting room. It is something to wake up with someone, but it will take them a while before they fully appreciate the wisdom of the statement.

Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow
According to MSN, the above links to the "worst rejections men have faced." And with the exception of the guy who got the Singles with STDs line, I have to say "Excuse me while I go buy a box of Meow Mix for you guys because all y'all is pussies." I have a suspicion people, don't ask me where I get it from, but I have a feeling we can do better. Don't worry, I'll start.
Worst rejection by a guy:
A guy asked me out on a date, then called back and said "You know, I've been thinking about it and you're too short for me. Does that make me shallow?"
Worst come-on line:
"You know, you're the shortest person I've ever met." (Are you sensing a trend here?)
Worst break-up line I have ever been given:
After just one date "I can't see us together three months from now."
Worst break-up I initiated: I broke up with a guy on Valentine's Day which also happened to be his birthday.
OK but let's not forget the good times
Best guy on the street come on line: "Hey baby, would you be my wife during the day?"
Now it's your turn.

"What do voyeurs see when they look in the mirror?": The Use of Video in Contemporary Horror Films

The integration of home movies, surveillance, and video in horror movies is nothing new. The 1986 films April Fool's Day opens with home movie footage; the footage not only introduces to the main cast of characters, but also sets the tone for the movie. Similarly the third installment of Poltergeist features the use of surveillance video, which objectively captures the manifestations of the evil spirits in a high rise.

The increasing use of such technology like surveillance video and home movies is not surprising as it mirrors the reality of American life, namely that being on film is an expected feature of every day existence. Other technological advances such as cellphones have also been increasingly featured in horror films. The inclusion of these devices adds to the reality of the world of the horror film. For example, the movie Red Dragon does not include the use of cellphones, which is necessary to the justification of the final scene, but it makes the climax of the film somewhat implausible. Would the FBI allow a man like Will, who is quite valuable and also still a target of Lecter, go without an emergency cellphone? Not likely, and this omission (especially considering that FBI agents Mulder and Scully were sporting cellphones as early as 1992-and cellphones were in common usage among doctors and other emergency workers as early as the mid-eighties) damages the reality of the climax.

However, the integration of video into horror movies is slightly different than that of cellphones. Although cellphones have become the central device of some horror films (like Cellular, which is more likely termed a psychological thriller) video has been incorporated several different ways, which heighten the threat made to the audience. The use of video can be divided into three major categories: incidental video (like a surveillance tape), intentional video, and "evil" video.

Incidental video is merely the integration surveillance tapes into the horror movie. As already mentioned, this device has been around for quite some time, but some modern horror films like The Grudge and Frailty have used it merely to objectively recording the presence of a supernatural element. This use of video is often meant to enhance the reality of the threat made to the characters. The evil, in such a case, is not something imagined or ineffable, but is tangible enough to be recorded on film.

The second category is intentional video. There are two subcategories of intentional video: intentional video by a supporting character or intentional video by the killer. The movie Scream has perhaps the most complicated use of intentional video by a supporting character. At the climax, teens gather in a house to watch horror films. While the teens are watching the horror film, Gail Weathers, a newsreporter, is watching the teens on a planted surveillance camera. In other words, the audience is watching a horror movie in which teens are watching a horror movie at the same time the teens are being watched by Gail. The multi-layering puts Gail and her camera man in the same position as the audience (watching the teens). The murder of the camera man, who is a stand in for the audience (casually watching the endangered teens while eating cheetos), heightens the threat to the audience. It condemns the audience for its apathetic observation of murder.

The use of mirroring in Scream consistently threatens the viewer. For example, when Randy Meeks talks to the video, inciting Jamie Lee Curtis to turn around and see the killer, the audience is tempted to do the same to Randy, who is unaware that he is being menaced by the killer. Some audience members might agree with Sidney's condemnation of horror films heroines who "run upstairs when they should be running out the front door." However, when the killer attacks Sidney not more than a minute later, she runs upstairs instead of escaping out the front door. The inclusion of such episodes illustrates how audience members might attempt to overcome the fear created by such films by imagining that they are superior than the characters in the film. By self consciously including such episodes and revealing the fallacious nature of the fantasy, it heightens the audience member's sense of danger.

One of the most interesting increases, however, is the inclusion of video used by the killer. Films like Feardotcom and Saw, going back as far as Copycat (1995), feature killers who enjoy videotaping their handiwork. The increasing use of such a device not only mirrors the unfortunate reality of serial killers like Charles Ng and Leonard Lake who videotaped the rape, torture, and murder of several women, but also involves the audience in the story in an unusual way. Saw has several point of view shots in the beginning, which heighten the drama by forcing the audience to literally be in the place of the victim. Jigsaw characterizes Adam's life as "Up until now, you've simply sat in the shadows watching others live out their lives." This exact accusation could be made of the audience who is passively observing the unraveling fate of two men. However, as the film progresses more and more surveillance footage from a camera planted by the killer is spliced into the film. The viewer instinctively moves away from the victim's p.o.v. and increasingly allies himself with the killer, who is both safe and in control. The killer sets up situations in which passivity ends in death. However, the last shot of film is from Adam's p.o.v. as he is sealed into his tomb. Adam has been condemned by his passivity. Although some critics, like Robert Scholes, see the act of viewing an interpreting video as active, the majority of critics view television/video/film as a medium that invites passivity. Thus the viewer, who has been passively observing the film, is condemned for his "apathetic , but mostly just pathetic" existence.

In Feardotcom and the Ring video itself becomes the conduit for evil and merely observing becomes a fatal activity. These films make the fear of television/video's destructive nature literal. A special feature of Grudge DVD has a psychologist remarking that what drives audiences to see horror films is a way of experiencing fear in a safe environment. The viewer is afraid, but able to look around at the same time and acknowledge that it's "just a film" and thus defang the threat. By making the video itself evil, horror films undermine the audience's belief that they are observing the film under "safe" circumstances. When the girl comes through the television screen at the end of the Ring, it terrifies audiences because it plugs into their base fear. The key moment is, in addition, shot from the victim's p.o.v. enhancing the direct threat made to the audience.

Feardotcom combines two approaches to video. The killer records his murders and then broadcasts them over the internet. The viewers who indulge in their sordid desire to see a torture murder are then killed by the spirit of one of the killer's first victims. Thus the film demonstrates the public's ambivalence about video-it is a way for a killer to broadcast his perverse acts, but it also becomes the way in which a murder victim is able to met out justice. Passive viewers who do not attempt to investigate or help the victims are relentlessly pursued by the spirit of a murdered girl. The passive viewer's indulgence of his own voyeuristic nature and his refusal act is punished by death. Such a threat indirectly threatens the viewer who is also passively indulging in observing the sordid going ons of the movie.

Horror movies have long been alledged to enforce an ethical code. Made explicit in Scream, characters who indulge in sex, drug use, or alcohol are ear marked for death. The use of video in horror movies adds a new wrinkle in which the passivity and indulgence associated with watching movies and tv shows is also punishable with death. Not only making our fear of the dangers of television/video literal, it also allows horror films to heighten the thrill of watching by directly threatening the viewer.

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