October 25th, 2017

#5933: Incidentally, that movie was BAD

So we watched, Monday night, the Amityville Horror remake from 2005.

O Lord, was it a bad movie. Spoilers, but as usual I'm doing you a favor.

There were a handful of similarities to the original story. Okay, characters are George and Kathy Lutz. They're a family with some kids. They buy a house that's a steal, because there were murders in it. The house has a gambrel roof with two quarter-circle windows for the attic room, on either side of the chimney. It's haunted and/or possessed. George Lutz chops a lot of wood. A babysitter gets trapped in a closet.

Here's where we depart from the original narrative.

I define the "original narrative" as coming from the book, which I last read about the time the movie came out, the one with James Brolin and Margot Kidder. 1979. It terrified me. Granted, I was 12, and credulous, but it was nonetheless a scary story.

We're treated to the little girl walking on the roof of the house because of what "Jody" told her to do. When the babysitter gets trapped in the closet, the ghost of Jody takes her hand and puts the babysitter's index finger in her bullet wound. The babysitter is taken away in an ambulance.

(By the way, the babysitter dresses like a go-go girl--neither George nor Kathy bat an eye at this--and smokes pot.)

George Lutz has dreams about the wall he caught the dog digging at; in his dream, there's a big room behind it with a double row of dissection tables. Later in the movie when he breaks down the wall, there's a row of cells (with ghosts of torture victims in them) and a room at the end with some deranged priest or something, from the 17th century or so, cutting his own throat. The house was built where that person had tortured indians to death. This convinces Lutz to murder his family, so he gets a gun from somewhere. Cue the big tense scene where he's chasing his family with a shotgun.

But of course long before that happened, he axe-murders the family dog. Sometime between the dog's murder and the final confrontation he's doing something incomprehensible with his boat, having it in gear while tied up in the boathouse; his wife falls in the water, and her hair gets caught in the prop, and somehow this doesn't rip off her scalp--or kill the engine (because when he throws the thing into forward it promptly unwinds her hair). Trust me: if her hair got tangled in the prop, her scalp would have come right off her head--and at that she would have been lucky, because even a relatively small outboard motor generates enough torque to snap someone's neck, which would be what would happen to someone whose scalp didn't detach under those circumstances.

Mrs. Fungus was denouncing the movie as "really bad" even before we got to the scene with the haunted cells and the ghost of the suicidal priest. We gamely watched the whole thing, but the only thing keeping us entertained in that time was our own wisecracks, because that movie was absolutely terrible.

The movie could have been set anywhere, using any other characters, and been "generic Hollywood scary movie". Of course, lacking the "Amityville" name, that's all it would be, anyway.

It's a total waste of time.

#5934: There's a strange light in the sky!

I just don't seem to get tired of Mom's quip about forgetting what the Sun looks like after a long period of rain and/or cloudiness. I'm sure plenty of people wish I would, self included. Or at least come up with something new.

But yes: for the first time in a week or so, I can see blue sky. It's an amazing sight, something you almost forget exists when the October rains come.

* * *

So, about this whole FusionGPS thing--

You may recall that--during the campaign last year--suddenly a dossier appeared alleging that Trump had visited a hotel in Moscow, rented the same suite Obama had stayed in, and hired prostitutes and had some kind of orgy involving urination. This dossier was the primary driver behind all the "Trump colluded with Russia" stories and investigations.

After the election, despite continued flogging by the Democrats and the media, it turned out to be a wad of complete nothing. The dossier was, in fact, fake news. The organization that had assembled it, FusionGPS, turned out to have heavy ties to Russia. And now, as time goes on, we are learning so many interesting things about this entire story, some of which defy belief.

First off, it's been shown that the Democrat party itself, and the Hillary campaign, paid FusionGPS (via a law firm) to assemble the file. Right there, that's bad enough, and it ought to be remembered the next time there's an election, but it gets better.

The FBI paid them to work on it, too.
Sometime in October 2016--that is, at the height of the presidential campaign--Christopher Steele, the foreign agent hired by Fusion GPS to compile the Trump dossier, approached the FBI with information he had gleaned during the project. According to a February report in the Washington Post, Steele "reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work."
There's some speculation that FBI did that so the wiretap subpoenas to FISA could say "FBI-sponsored" on them instead of "law firm-sponsored", thus increasing the liklihood that the wiretaps would go ahead.

James Comey briefed Trump on the dossier. The same James Comey, FBI director, who decided that Hillary couldn't be prosecuted for her illegal e-mail servers, and his briefing conveniently omitted that the file he was briefing Trump on had in fact been funded by the Hillary campaign.

That last link draws its information from here, which is ten things to keep in mind about the file.

Overall, then, the whole FusionGPS imbroglio is looking to be the tip of quite a dirty-looking iceberg. Given the general mood of the electorate, the FBI allowing itself to be used to legitimize shoddy propaganda for the Democrat party isn't going to deflate the tires on the Trump bandwagon. The more of this kind of thing that comes to light, the more likely Trumpslide 2020 looks.

Quoth President Trump, "The whole Russia thing...this was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing the election."

* * *

And, incidentally, all of this excludes what's being learned about the Uranium 1 scandal, wherein the Clinton Foundation got hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources while Hillary was Secretary of State and actively considering whether to allow the sale to go ahead.

* * *

I agree with this, 100%. If we're going to allow women in the military, particularly in combat roles, then women ought to have to sign up for Selective Service the same way men do.

That is equality.

* * *

The case of the Las Vegas shooting just keeps getting weirder. So a brother of the shooter has been arrested for possession of child pronograpy, so discovered because the authorities are looking for a missing hard drive.

* * *

New York Times honoring a century of horror and death. I'll let the opening paragraph do the talking:
To mark the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution The New York Times has been running a series called "Red Century." In the spirit of its Pulitzer-Prize winning Moscow correspondent and uber fellow-traveler in the thirties, Walter Duranty, the articles in the main are an exercise in rehabilitation rather than historical evaluation. Given communism's historically unprecedented and copiously documented record of slaughter, torture, mass imprisonment, brutal occupation, and utter failure to achieve its workers' paradise of justice and equality, the question why the Times would attempt to mitigate the evil of a totalitarian ideology that led to 100 million dead cries out for an answer.
Because 100,000,000 dead is "just a statistic". Omelettes, eggs, you know. And the glorious workers' paradise has never been implemented correctly.

* * *

I, too, love this picture.

* * *

Aww, bitch. Freddy, chase your dreams! It's not too late!

* * *

So, it went and got cold.

40° yesterday afternoon, and last night they predicted 32° for tonight's low. Now it's predicted to be 34°, but even so, that's chilly.

It reminds me (as if the turning leaves and declining sun weren't enough) that it's autumn, and winter is on its way.

Yesterday evening, while I was working on reassembling the computer room, I got so hot I had to open the window. Of course, I forgot to turn down the heat, so the heater started running, and I remembered in a hurry. Closed the window later, after I was done and had cooled down; the house started feeling chilly by bedtime, so I turned the heat back up.

Windows by the front door have had condensation on them for several days. I keep catching myself worrying about where all that water is coming from, until I remember it's been raining constantly and the temperature has been dropping and that's where that water is from.

This morning, I was laying in bed, and the heater came on, and I felt content.

* * *

Today's main task is to get some work done on the partition wall. I have a few errands to run, as well. No worries.

#5935: Hump status: busted

I did not do the partition wall, because I spent my day installing the new ceiling fan in the computer room.

Holy crap what a job that was. Taking the old fan out--that took fifteen minutes at most. There was a little weirdness when I undid the wiring, because the power chose that exact moment to flicker, setting off the UPSes and freaking me out. I mean, with the switches off, there should be no current flowing, yet scree! Twice, yet. WTF.


The box in the ceiling is built for supporting a ceiling fan, but the mounting bracket was too wide to accommodate it, so I had to improvise.

Went out to the garage, intending to bridge the box with a 2x4. I even had a 2x4 that I could cut to the correct length to fit between the joists (14.25"). That plan lasted until I got a good look at the box; with the conduits coming in through the top of it, what I'd have to do is put bridges between the joists on either side of the box instead. Problem: not enough 2x4.

However: right next to where the scrap of 2x4 was, there was a scrap of what looked like 2x6, and it was long enough that I could get two chunks, 14.25" long, from it. Only had five wood screws, but I also have some good nails, so I'd do the screws on the bottom and nails on top. Protect that ceiling I just painted, right? Circular saw took care of that; then back up into the attic!

Got one hole drilled and screw driven in, then--of course--the cordless drill died. Swearing a lot, went back out to the garage for the plug-in drill so I could get the holes drilled, and got the charger for the cordless so I could drive the remaining screws.

Eventually--after much swearing and SWEATING MY ASS RIGHT THE HELL OFF--I got the 2x6 fastened in securely. Secured from attic and resumed work in the computer room, where I was finally able to mark and drill for installing the new ceiling fan bracket.

It took me almost two hours from start to when I tightened the screws on that freaking bracket.

The rest of the assembly went reasonably well, though of course there were little infuriating moments, like the one screw hole that wasn't tapped right, so naturally that was the one I was trying to fit a screw into through a plate that was flopping around and I'M GETTING REALLY FRUSTRATED NOW--but nothing that was too far beyond the pale. The rest of the assembly procedure took the remaining two hours from when I started, because this thing has more parts than the Space Shuttle, but--

...flipped up the light switch and it went on. I got the wiring right on the first try. With two 100w equivalent bulbs in it (instead of the CFLs that came with it) there's plenty of light in the room, and the fan spins at full speed and doesn't vibrate at all. Solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.

Now just have the other chores to do in here--replace an outlet and clean the switches--and I'll be done. But first, the bunker needs diet Pepsi, so off I go.