Cultural Cringe: Ghost Busters

Ghostbusters_coverThis afternoon we went to see Aliens in the Attic. My expectation of kids movies rides pretty low to the ground these days – but I found it rather entertaining – especially a corker line early in the movie.

Cool, blonde haired cousin says to uncool, dark haired cousin about parents, “They’re wired differently to us. Their brains were fried by 80’s music.” It seemed a rather poignant (and potentially offensive – not sure which yet) after spending the past 24 hours singing The Ghost Busters song with my five year old son.

Dylan and I watched Ghost Busters last night.  He’d been waiting weeks to get his hands on it after we bought my Dad a Ghost Busters t-shirt for Father’s Day at the start of the month.  Dylan was intrigued by the symbol and wanted to know more while we were shopping.  The first thing to spring to mind was to sing the song (and can still remember without googling it – that Ray Parker Jnr sang it) It wasn’t’ long before we were doing a duet and he was bugging me to remember more of the words.

A few things struck me, 25 years on, about Ghost Busters as we were watching it last night.

  • How bloody young every one looked – Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis and Dan Ackeroyd.
  • How much hair both Murray and Ackeroyd had.
  • How Ackeroyd, Murray, Weaver and Moranis went onto bigger and better things (I guess if you count the Honey I Shrunk… series as bigger and better for Moranis?) while others of the cast were swallowed up never to be seen again.
  • How much smoking there was in it- everyone bar Murray and Weaver seemed to have a cigarette jammed between their lips.
  • How basic the special effects are – especially the demons – and how I didn’t even notice any of that the first time I saw it.  Unlike Indiana Jones, the special effects are really dated.
  • How little the melted marshmellow at the end looked like melted marshmellow and how it suspiciously looked more like shaving cream.

What I didn’t know about Ghost Busters was:

  • Ackeroyd wrote the original screen play but budget limitations meant it became the story we all know today.
  • The screen play was re-written with Harold Ramis in a bomb shelter in Martha’s Vineyard over three weeks.
  • The original characters were to be played by James Belushi (who died while the script was being finished), John Candy and Eddie Murphy. Candy and Murray were unable to commit.
  • Harold Ramis never intended to play Egon but after considering different actors – including John Lithgow, Chevy Chase, Christopher Walken (now there’s an Egon I would have loved to have seen) and Jeff Goldblum – it was decided he knew the character best and he stepped infront of the camera.
  • The Ghost Busters song spent three weeks at #1 on the American Billboard Charts and Huey Lewis sued Parker Jnr for plaguerism.
  • The Marshmellow Man was in the original script of Ackeroyds but in a different time and space.

Sadly I got Ghost Busters 1 and 2 mixed up and was disappointed to discover the Statue of Liberty was not going to walk through New York City. How ever the Marshmellow Man remains a classic.

Ghost Busters was released in June 1984. While I didn’t see it until years later on video I remember spending New Years 84/85 in the bedroom with my sister and our older friend Steven listening to the Ghost Busters song on tape over and over again (probably why even after 25 years my lyric recall is pretty damn good) – when we weren’t hiding around corners laughing at people scooping up french onion dip, into which we’d put a flattened bug.

One could argue it wasn’t just the music from the 80’s which warped and rewired our brain cells.  Plenty of the blame has to be directed at the movies we devoured as teenagers. Or is it impossible to separate movie from music, given the influence that each has on the other?

#2 Cubby House

You honestly never know what you will find in people’s back yards. I’m not one to go poking but when you’re invited to go out and have a look … well ….
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My sister took me with her this afternoon to a friend’s house to get our hair coloured for the wedding on the weekend (my sister’s wedding – not mine!) and this was what was in the backyard. I’ve never seen anything like it and pretty sure I’ll never see another. So much for the photo of  the sushi I had for lunch and the movie tickets from our cavort to see Aliens In the Attic.

Budding

A New Leaf by canonsnapperI was intending to title this post “Turning Over a New Leaf” but there is something almost sad and pathetic about it.  What I decided upon yesterday is not about getting rid of bad habits or making dramatic new starts (though I should point out I’ve cut sugar out of my diet again so any uncalled for bad behaviour is a consequence of that!) Instead it is about fostering old habits which served me well – or instilling again old interests into evey day life. No surprises it’s Mercury Retrograde.

This morning I got up to discover my iPod didn’t sync like it was meant to last night, so fussed about getting it sorted and enjoyed a morning meditation.  Not quite what I expected but I was definitely on a better plane at the end of the 15 minutes and I think for the rest of the day.  I’m intending on listening to the evening one before I go to bed (shortly!)

There is a single chair on my mother’s balcony, which over looks the court my sister lives in.  The morning sun was warm and bright, but not too much of either that it was torture to be out there.  With my fountain pen filled for the first time in months, and a new folder full of loose leaf I started back to the journey which is the morning pages – meditation on the page.  I’ve missed it and glad to have it back in my life.  Plus it gave me something to photograph for my first day of the 365 Day Challenge.  Part of the reason I fell completely out of habit with mornings pages back in June was we were staying here and I couldn’t find a spot to write at (my Mum doesn’t have a table upstairs in her Nanna Flat and the table down on my sister’s patio isn’t the right place to be when small children are eating.)

All day I looked forward to a chance to sit and write … and walk.  As it turned out the walk didn’t happen, but instead of getting lost on the internet and blowing my downtime on mostly irrelevant stuff, I opened up my “unfinished folder” and started editing Lea and Jude’s story.  Decided to go back with the original title, from the original short story “Second Chance”.

While it would be lovely to write for an hour every day (would be brilliant to write for multiple hours every day – but baby steps!) I decided as a fall back if I can’t write for an hour, to write a minimum of 250 words.  While I didn’t get to “write” 250 words tonight I edited almost 400 words – paring down the word count from well over 600 words.  Using the advice given over numerous blogs in the past few weeks – if the word, sentence, paragraph doesn’t progress the story it doesn’t have a place in your narrative.

The pared down style of writing I’ve had to adopt to participate in Fourth Fiction seems to have stood me in good stead to attack the editing and rewriting process. Another one of those beautiful gems bestowed when you take the risk of trying something new.

By the end of the week I should have edited the 2500 words I currently have. I imagine quite a few of them will be discarded in the process.  But I’m definitely getting better about not being precious.

And I did resign last night from my Breastfeeding Editor’s position with Type A Mom. There are so many unproductive reasons to stay there balanced by a few good reasons, but it was time to move on. Now there are no excuses for not spending more time writing fiction!

Image found at Conjuring Sunlight

#1 Morning Pages

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I’ve seen references to the 365 Day Challenge before but have been inspired to give it a crack after spending an houron Ben Solah’s blog last night enjoying the first 17 days of his photos.

Today heralds a few positive changes in my life – kicking off with a 15 minute meditation and then morning pages so thought I would begin 365 days of photos with a celebration of positive new habits.

Reflections

remedios varo armoniaWithout meaning to – or setting off with the intention of, I found myself wandering through the streets of the centre of Cairns today thinking about writing. Perhaps what started it off was some internal digging for my Write Anything article for tomorrow.  But I think it probably has to do more with trying to find a sense of balance again.

What I realised were a few things.

1. Good-bye Non-Fiction

For quite a while now I’ve been dedicating lots of time to writing things I don’t relish with a passion. Not surprisingly – all of it is non fiction work.  It is unpaid, it has been building up the website of other people and after a conversation with my sister and Mum yesterday, I’m biting the bullet and sethering ties with my non fiction writing gigs.  What was the sticking point was remembering some advice from a writing course earlier on this year – where we were told if you want to write novels – write novels.  So why the hell am I writing non fiction when I want to be writing ficiton?

2. I need to write every day.

Yesterday while Dylan was playing at a park I remembered I had my QWC magazine tucked in my bag.  I went through and looked at the competitions coming as well as the writing opportunities. One particularly caught my eye.

Long Short Stories is a project of Affirm Press to publish six collections of short stories in 2010 by single authors. The work is to be between 40,000 and 70,00o words and can include flash and short stories, novellas and “bits of narrative which defy categorisation”.Delia Falconer writes in the preface of the Best Australian Short Stories of 2008 that Australia does not have a publishing tradition of collected works from single writers, Interestingly enough “Head Games” by Nick Earls was never marketed as a collected works even though it is exactly that. So it is wonderful to see Affirm Press bucking the trend.

Mulling it over in my head this morning I realised I have probably have enough works in progress to hit somewhere between the 40,000  and 70,000 words set out for the project.  There’s Jude and Lea’s story, there will be my Fourth Fiction novella, plus many short stories which are currently doing not a lot on my hard drive.

Last month I made a committment to have “no loose ends” come the end of this year and Long Short Stories seems to be just what I needed to propel me towards getting stories scrubbed up and dressed in their good clothes to go out seeking to make a stellar first impression.

So from Monday onwards I’m going to committ to writing for an hour – if I can manage it in the maelstrom of a holiday, supporting my soul sister with her brand new baby and my sister with her wedding preparatins then it should be a breeze when I get home. I’m going to chip away at getting Jude and Lea’s story written, plus hack away at the short stories which have been defying rewrites such as Light Years. I often wondered, in leui of having a longer work of fiction as your WIP, what the hell you would write every day.  Now I know!

3. Writing makes me happy but I need other things as well.

Nothing blisses me out more than writing – but as writing has moved away from being a much loved pass time and become my profession, I’ve realised I need to find some other pass times to amuse and nourish me.  Before I came away I had started up my vegie garden again (which Dave assures me is still alive and we’ll be eating lots of salads from this point onwards!) and was enjoying spending time doing that.

I’m always yearning to go back to dancing – whether it be jazz ballet classes or salsa classes, it is something I’ve been wanting to do for many years now and always find an excuse not to.  So once home the excuses stop and the classes begin.

During my wander I found The Crystal Ball a “new age” bookstore which has been around forever and had a meditation CD jump out and beg me to take it home. So looking forward to enjoying fifteen minutes morning and night with it.

4. I miss my morning pages

When we were in Cairns on holidays back in June, it was the death knell of my faltering morning pages and I just haven’t got back into the habit of doing them. My morning routine has been in flux for a couple of months now and it would be nice to settle it down.  I need to find some grounding and the morning pages were always good for that.

5. Everyday Notebook of a Writer

My blog was intended as an every day note book and I barely “write” in here. When I began this blog a few months ago the target was three posts a week, but lately they’ve been scaled back to about one every 10 days or so.  I want to try to write here every day.  If someone reads and comments – brilliant.  If not that’s OK too. Writing is a means to an end in itself.

The crux of all this musing…

A need to find balance. A need to write.

It seems to be a recurring theme, balance … writing. Given the Spring Equinox is rapidly approaching it is probably not surprising my thoughts have turned towards reviewing the important areas of my creative life.

I was thinking how last year was all about solidifying my choice to write – testing the waters so to speak.  This year has been about finding my feet as a writer and deciding what works, what doesn’t, what I really want to write and getting myself read by as many people as possible. And as we hit the final quarter of the year it is very telling where my path leads by what I want to do and what I don’t want to do.  And I love the fact that I don’t have to wait until next year to “get it right”.  Practice makes perfect after all and there never is “tomorrow” just today.

It only take one encouraging comment to firm up your belief in yourself as a writer and why you want to do it.  So my thanks goes to Chris Chartrand in this rambling post for his stellar reflections on my latest Fourth Fiction installment and allowing me to think it is not all in vain.

Image: Remedios Varo “Armonía” (1956)

Fourth Fiction: Round Five

Fourth Fiction Challenge 5

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Round 5 Challenge: Incorporate this image into your next passage of no more than 500 words. You can interpret this challenge as you see fit.

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Marcus kicked the snow away to reveal a piece of iron and a rope coiled around the base of a pole. No wishing well here.

Sylvie could make out dome shapes close by and wondered if all the dwellings were the adobe style of the Birth House. She wondered about the Others. Where they lived. What they did.

How human they were?

The frenzied red eyes glaring through the wind screen came back to her and she shivered. One bite and she would be just like them.

“Let’s go,” Marcus said, having filled both buckets and replaced the iron. He set off retracing their steps, which had all but disappeared into the snow when they arrived back at the wall of the Birth House.

“Marcus -” Sylvie went to touch his arm as he set down the buckets at the wall but stopped herself. “Why are the O negatives spared?”

“You assume it is a curse to have been changed.”

“I ..”

Marcus slid the section of the wall open but Sylvie refused to follow.

“What’s the science behind what happened here? Why did the renegade virus not affect everyone?”

Marcus put the buckets down in the courtyard.

“When the virus mutated it attached to the rhesus antigens A, B and D in the blood.”

“The O negative blood group had nothing for the virus to bind to,” Sylvie said stepping into the wall. “What was the original virus?”

“A rage virus with a 90 day infectious period.”

Sylvie shook her head and walked into the compound. There was a labouring woman who needed her. The past was the past. She could do nothing to change it. Only the present and future were malleable.

While Marcus rigged up the makeshift shower Sylvie revisited the words in the birthingroom – the reaction to the two heart beats. It was then she realized the most important piece of equipment for this birth remained in her car.

“I need you to go back for my other bag,” Sylvie said, undressing and ignoring the way Marcus looked at her.

– – – – –

He left Mutt with Sylvie and set out on foot. Marcus had no fear of the Others. They were distracted by Mutt because the dog was unknown, he on the other hand was well known to them. Only the temptation of Sylvie had bought them so close on the way to the well.

The car remained abandoned and intact. Before he retrieved the bag, Marcus went through the car looking for Sylvie’s identification. He could’ve lied to himself and said he wanted to know because the Elders had blackmailed him for his help but it was far more than that. He’d felt it when she touched him.

Under the seat he found her wallet.

The first punch came with the surname on her driver’s license. The second when Dr Johaanson stared at him from a time soften cardboard square, one eye on him and the other ahead to the future.

Fourth Fiction: Round Four

Round Four challenge is to weave an element of Fyor’s story into your passage. It should be no more than 450 words. For previous entries see the Fourth Fiction just under the header.

They walked on in silence with Sylvie clenching and unclenching her hands as she processed the short history of the Dead Zone. Mutt whined and moved to her side. She stroked his long, floppy ear, the velveteen flesh soothing between her fingers.

“It bothers you?”

“Of course it does. How could it not? How come I didn’t know? No one ever said anything.”

“Did you ever question before now? Did you ever go seeking the truth?” His green eyes bore into hers. Sylvie saw for the first time while he was devastatingly beautiful he was also utterly terrifying, but she didn’t look away.

“You are assuming the truth was available for me to find.”

“You’re all the same.”

He strode ahead of her and she reached out to slow him down. Her fingers stung with an electrical shock as her long fingers curved around his muscular forearm.

“Shit!” She shook her hand and ran ahead to block his way, careful to keep her distance.

“How could I not be pissed off with some individual making life and death decisions from afar. Some fucking power tripper. How much of a threat could some hippies be?”

“You have the power of life and death over women and babies. Over this mother and baby.”

“I’m not some nameless entity issuing orders for others. I have to live with the consequences of my decisions. Any day I could be outsed, charged with being a birth attendant. Killed by firing squad for assisting women to birth outside of the system. I’m not afraid.”

Mutt growled and Sylvie shut up. The hairs on the back of her neck pricked.

“They track by fear.” He moved in closer and touched her cheek, holding her eyes with his own. The adrenalin in her veins slowed and a honey warmth sensation flowed through her. “They sense the hormonal release.”

“What would happen if they caught me?” Inside her there was a battle going on between the feel good vibe he was somehow infusing into her system and the natural fight and flight impulse.

“If you’re O negative they would kill you – probably devour you before your blood cooled.”

“I’m not O negative.”

“Then they would only bite you. Infect you.”

“And I would become one of them.” She tried to balance the cacophony of catecholamines in her system, employing the relaxation techniques she taught women to labour peacefully. Still her swum.

“Are you feeling calmer.”

“Don’t let go of me.” The shock jolted her fingers and wrist from their joints as she clasped his hand, holding tight as he tried to pull away. “You didn’t tell me your name.”

“It’s Marcus,” he said surrendering, curling his fingers around hers.