... and Aha - Brookie's true nature revealed on Halloween! ;) lol
Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Honeybee/Corbin, Kentucky
Just in time for Halloween, my top 5 streaming scary movies/series for 2021.
Now, keep in mind, I haven't watched early-access box office stuff like Candyman yet because it's still $20 bucks, and I haven't seen everything horror yet (but plan to see a couple of things on Halloween, like Boys From County Hell and Censor), so this list may change after that.
Also, remember this is only based on Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Paramount (I don't have Hulu, HBO, or Showtime).
However - unlike the list below, these do include box office via rental on Amazon.
This list is difficult, because though Squid Game and Locke & Key are on my favorites list for the year and could be construed as horror, they're technically not, so they're not included on this list.
Also, I don't care for gore - meaning "slasher" or serial killer films unless they also have a good story - I like mostly spooky/supernatural stuff when it comes to horror.
I've written about most of these before, so search my blog for more about these shows/series - this is just a list.
I made my choice based on based on three things - predictability, either jump scares or chill-giving creepy moments, and quality - meaning not only the quality of the writing, acting, directing, and special effects, but also, if I could figure everything all out within the first 10 minutes (which I often can, when it comes to movies), then it won't be on this list.
Thus, I give you my opinion of the top 5 best/scariest streaming films or series of 2021 in countdown order.
7. Evil - CBS, moved to Paramount
Hired by the Catholic church, it's paranormal investigation, done by smart, educated people and atheists (who change their tune). Though dark, it also weaves in comedy well. Season 2 took an unexpected and unwanted turn, hoping it gets back on course for Season 3.
6. Servant - Apple TV
M. Knight Shyamalan almost returns to his previous quality with this one. Moves at a snail's pace and I'm still confused, but still watching - mostly trying to figure it out lol. They're all pretty much nuts, but what is the supposedly Christian cult that Leeanne escaped from actually worshipping anyway? Because they may think it's Christ, but it so isn't, it's something sinister. Yikes.
5. The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It - Box Office film, Amazon rental
Not as good as the first two (especially the creepy possessed nun in second one, which everyone has since ripped off), but not as bad as the critics said, either, still worth a watch. Loosely based on a true story, a boy who snapped and killed his girlfriend's landlord was the first person to claim demonic possession as part of his guilty plea. Say what you will about them, but those Warrens were busy people!
4. Fear Street Trilogy - Netflix series
Go R.L. Stine! This guy scared me with the Goosebumps books and TV show, from way back, and he's only gotten better
3. The Night House - Box Office, Amazon Rental
Once you think you've figured this one out, it twists on you - but not too much. The ending could've told us a bit more about what happened afterwards, but still worth a watch.
2. Werewolves Within - Indie Box Office, Amazon Rental
This one is technically horror, but it's mostly quirky comedy - Northern Exposure with werewolves lol.
1. A Quiet Place, Part II - Box Office, Amazon rental
I don't normally do alien invasion(or zombie) stuff anymore, because I think it's been overdone and I'm sick to death of both lol - UNLESS - it's incredibly well done and has a new story to tell - and this one does.
Not as good as the first, but still incredibly well done - brilliant acting by all cast, well written, well directed, solid story :)
I'll probably update this list in December, but I'm not sure much will top it by then (but ya never know - Yellowstone returns in November).
Keep in mind, I don't have HBO, Showtime, or Hulu, so these are only from Apple, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Paramount.
Also keep in mind that this isn't a list of my all-time favorites, just for 2021 - although #'s 1 and 2 on this list would definitely be included in my top 5 all time.
(For the record, the all-time list would include shows like Ozark and Peaky Blinders.)
Also, I believe I've written a little blurb on each of them throughout the year, so you can search my blog to read more about them, this is just a quick list.
My top 5 favorites for 2021 so far are, in countdown order, from good to best:
5. Kim's Convenience - Netflix - Comedy - Canadian series.
Sad they won't be returning - they were just now getting the American accolade they deserved :(
(However, you can currently see Simi-Liu playing the lead, Shiang-Chi, in Shiang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, which I haven't seen yet, because it's theater-only, but is a monster hit with both critics and audiences.)
4. The Tomorrow War - Amazon Original - Sci-Fi/Action - U.S. movie.
The only one from Amazon to make this list, because it's the only one I felt was box-office quality (though I haven't seen "One Night in Miami" yet, which I'm told is box-office quality, too.
3. Locke & Key - Netflix - Comic Book Fantasy/Light Horror - U.S. series.
Totally bingeable, dropped last Friday. The second season is as good as the first, but this series is - maybe even better. You do have to watch the first season with this one, though, to understand what's going on.
2. Ted Lasso - Apple TV - Comedy - U.S./British series.
If people ask me what my favorite show is - which is rare for people to do, these days, because TV watching isn't the same as it used to be - Ted Lasso is my answer :)
Again, season 2 is as good as the first, but this season may have actually topped Season 1 - deserved every one of it's 7 Emmy's, my favorite comedy series.
1. Squid Game - Netflix - psychological thriller/horror/social commentary - South Korean series.
Likely the best streaming series I've ever seen, box-office quality, and in fact, nearly filmmaking perfection - it's kind of Saw meets The Hunger Games - only better.
And there it is thus, far, folks - let's see if the final season of Yellowstone, coming in November, changes my list by the end of 2021 :)
October 26, 2021 - 10 years ago today - Mark and I had our first official date - to a Halloween costume party at Castle Post in Versailles, formerly the Martin Castle, now called "The Kentucky Castle."
The castle itself has an interesting story. The Martins began building it in 1969, then divorced in 1975, so it was never lived in. Rex Martin then moved to Florida, and thus it stayed empty for 28 years. He listed it for sale in 1988, but died without selling it, with the castle finally selling in 2013 to R. Post, an attorney from Miami, when it became The Castle Post, a bed and breakfast, which recently sold again, now the The Kentucky Castle, a hotel, restaurant, and spa.
However, it was abandoned so long, with no buyers, it was rumored to be haunted - so the perfect place for a Halloween party!
As for our story, though we had briefly met once, it was essentially a blind date, set up by my roommate at the time, Patti (from Long Island, now lives in Tampa, FL), as Mark was her boyfriend Peter's roommate.
Being that we barely knew each other, we didn't coordinate our costumes; thus we were Phantom of the Opera and a saloon girl? lol. Oh well, at least they were both 19th century.
Forgive the picture quality - the only ones of us together were taken by my roommate, Patty, who was already three sheets to the wind (and truth be told, so were we, as you can tell by ... whatever was going on in this pic... lol
And here's one I took of Mark, nearly as blurry - but in this one, the blurry works, it makes him look very phantomish and mysterious, descending the stairs ... spoookkkky! ;)
And Patti and Peter, as a Riverboat and/or 20s Gatsby gamblers ....
And the couple that won the contest (their costumes were amazing, though we couldn't get a good shot) ...
So, it was so dark ... and we may or may not have had too much to drink ... so most of the rest of the pictures came out like this ...
What the ... ?!?
LOL - whups!
I'm just saying, mind you, the main hall and staircase actually looked like this at the time, only sans the Halloween decorations (not our photo) ...
But the picture we took probably more accurately reflected the liquor goggles ;)
(As you can see in the above photos, they've lightened up that room a bit since, but the dark worked for Halloween.)
In fact, the only pictures that came out clearly were the ones Mark took of Patti and me beforehand lol
Yeah, so ... I swiped Mark's hat later - hee hee!
And here's the first picture I ever took of my husband, Mark :)
Here's to at least 30 more? I love you xo
So my husband just texted me that he found out College Game Day is going to be at his alma mater, Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, on Saturday, for the big Michigan State University/University of Michigan rivalry game.
I texted back, "So ... this means no going anywhere on Saturday, no talking, eating, or breathing, and everyone in the household must wear Sparty Green and White, including Brookie, lest they be damned to hell and God have mercy on their souls, yes?"
I guess we'll go on a hike to see the leaves change on Sunday then :)
All righty, then, I shall comply during football season, but when MSU plays Kentucky in basketball, there shall be a different set of rules, my love - Brookie shall wear a blue and white t-shirt and a green and white bandana or vice versa ;)
Oh ... my ... God.
While filming the movie "Rust" in New Mexico, Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that killed the cinematographer (Halyna Hutchins) ...
... and injured the director, (Joel Souza).
I'm guessing they were filming a tight shot of him shooting, meaning he would be aiming directly towards the camera as if the other person - which is why those two were hit, rather than whomever he was supposed to be shooting at in the film?
Okay, so though Alec is hilarious (especially when impersonating Trump on SNL), he's also known to be a bit of a loose cannon with a violent temper - but he's not THAT crazy, right?
Because keep in mind that the actor never loads the prop gun, and typically doesn't even check it - they trust the prop person to have loaded it correctly, with blanks.
So did the person in charge of props load that gun with real bullets - and was that an accident or-?
The articles don't say, only that it's being investigated.
The situation immediately reminded me of what happened with Brandon Lee in 1993 - Bruce Lee's son, who was shot and killed with real bullets from a prop gun while filming The Crow.
Neither the actor, nor the person who loaded the prop gun, were charged, and Brandon's death was ruled an accident, but many people believe otherwise.
Face-Off, John Woo
Still prediabetic - but my A1c dropped, and my estimated average blood glucose level was now normal range - just one more push and my A1c should be solidly back to normal range. :)
Also, my LDL cholesterol dropped and my HDL rose :)
Now I just have to find a way to fit in daily exercise rather than just three-times-a-week cycling and a walk on the weekends - I think that's the ticket for the rest, dropping back to normal levels.
I can't change my diet much more (I didn't eat sweets much anyway), but I stopped all pop 3 months ago, also no pasta, potato chips, or bagels; minimal fruit (unless with fiber and/or protein), rare bread or potatoes (usually boiled) - so daily exercise may be the ticket here (it's known that a 10-minute walk after meals can drop your blood sugar 10 points).
After losing my COVID/menopause cravings weight gain of 23 pounds, I was back to my pre-COVID baseline, and have lost two more pounds since I last wrote about it 2 weeks ago with a picture of my scales (losing roughly a pound a week, which is the the healthiest way) - so now I'm down 19 pounds (with a goal of 115, which was my usual weight until 10 years ago, hovering around 121 since until COVID/menopause)!
Again, can't say it enough, but 18 of those pounds were lost in the last 3 months, after stopping all soda, rare bread, zero pasta or chips, more active in general since vaccinated last Spring.
The FDA emergency-authorized Moderna and J&J booster shots today, also adding that all three vaccines could be "mixed-and-matched" - meaning if you received the initial dose or doses of one, the third shot could be of another vaccine.
The next step is the CDC will vote and publish its public guidelines for use - they can vote along with the FDA's labeled indication for population, or decide upon their own, which is rare (though it nearly happened with Pfizer's booster, as the CDC's independent advisory panel recommended broader usage than the labeled indication, but the CDC chief overrode them and stuck to the FDA label).
Though the FDA's label for the Moderna and J&J's booster are somewhat broader in population than Pfizer, the FDA still provided restrictions on who can get the vaccine.
However, the FDA's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to move towards vaccinating the general public with boosters of all three vaccines possibly in November.
The reason for this broadening of population since Pfizer's authorization is because Moderna's study was a larger and more comprehensive than Pfizer's, definitively proving not only that the efficacy of all 3 vaccines wane over time, with J&J's vaccine waning the fastest, and Moderna's lasting the longest.
There was some evidence that a third booster of Moderna improved immunity at least temporarily (however, we don't know for exactly how long yet, that will take a phase 4 real-world data study after the initial clinical trial).
HOWEVER, in addition to not having longer-term efficacy data on the boosters, there have been no studies on the safety of mix-and-matching, we're just assuming based on waning immunity, so this is pretty shaky, not-entirely-data-based ground we're walking on - but Moderna's study did definitively prove what the Pfizer study did not - that the efficacy of the first rounds do indeed wane over time.
Thus, I want Moderna, I always did lol.
However, good luck getting it, here in Kentucky - they ran out before they got to my age group, the first go round :/
Like I said this morning, in my post about Colin Powell - and as I questioned in an earlier post on boosters - moments ago, the FDA is now moving to the vote to allow people to cross-vaccinate, meaning if you got the J&J one shot and want Pfizer or Moderna's booster, it's possible you could have it.
This is because after Pfizer's small study not showing definitive outcomes with results in the efficacy of boosters, Moderna then came in with a larger and more comprehensive study, proving their vaccine lasted the longest of the three and protected the best against variants, and J&J's vaccine (which is a basic "live-strain" vaccine rather than mRNA-based like Pfizer and J&J) had the shortest-term efficacy of the three vaccines - but also, and most importantly, Moderna's study proved that all 3 vaccines waned in efficacy, over time.
I'm wondering if Colin Powell's death spurred this along, because I knew it was being discussed, especially with 80-year-olds who were fully vaccinated being mostly the ones actually critically ill/dying of the variant (although the unvaccinated are still 11x more at risk) - but now, they're pushing forward with this sooner, rather than later?
PS - Here's a new chart from the CDC, which shows the risk of death from COVID versus other causes to older Americans, vaccinated or not.
Note the risk of death from COVID VS. other causes of death for age 80+ is almost double for the unvaccinated, and the risk of death from COVID is just one-third to one-half the risk of death from other causes in the vaccinated, over ages 80 and 85+, respectively.
So I went to my doctor today, to get my blood sugar and A1c checked (as I'm prediabetic), after losing my 23 COVID pounds and being back down to baseline weight (121 pounds) - and after my visit, I went to sit in the lab waiting room.
I feel like I handled this pretty well (after finally learning how to), but things went like this:
Old Man on my Left: "Well, he's cutting all of the energy programs, so of course the price of gas is going up."
Middle-Aged Lady on My Right: "We need to get him out of there. He doesn't know what he's doing."
I'm just sitting there, in the middle of them.
Now, I'm thinking to myself: "Where's my phone? lol. I want to pretend to be too engrossed in it to notice or get roped into this conversation. I'm about to get my blood sugar checked and I don't want it to spike from THIS shit, today, I just don't want get involved and don't want them to involve me."
Old Man: "How much do YOU pay to fill up your car?"
Oh, shit - too late.
Me: "I think about $35?"
Old Man: "See, Biden's making the price of gas go up with cutting back oil business for that environment bullshit. That cost comes back on us, see."
Okay, well, first of all, the president, Republican or Democrat, always gets blamed for gas prices, though the president has shit to do with gas prices - gas prices, like insurance rates, go up based on that gas corporation's whim, and most environmental policies that aren't done through EOs (which have very little power) must be passed into law through Congress, and they haven't yet.
But I didn't say that.
And yet he was still looking at me to say something.
Me: "Well, higher cost of energy is true, I guess. They also go up immediately, any time there are problems in the Middle East, that's the first thing oil companies do, justified or not, it's their excuse - and you know, Afghanistan."
Old Man: "Well, he messed that all up, too, didn't he? Man is incompetent, them poor people over there in Afghanistan."
New Man comes in and sits across from me, looks left and right, then rolls his eyes with a sly smile at me.
Good - I now have an ally, in the room, if this goes too far South - literally lol
Me: "I don't know, I agree with Biden in that I don't think there was ever a good time to pull out, but we should - but it was messier than it needed to be, that's for sure. Not that I have the answer as to how it should've been done."
New Man: "Nobody does, that's the thing. We complain a lot, but nobody wants to admit what you just did - they don't have the answer, either."
Old Man: "Well, I sure as fire have more sense than that idiot."
Me: "Well, my husband is a retired Army ranger, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, and he says we've been there long enough, nothing's getting better, and they didn't want us there anyway until after we said we were leaving, we weren't accomplishing much, and there was no good time to pull out - but he agrees it could've been done in a less messy way."
*Crickets* - that shut them up, for sure - because I'm quite sure not a one of us sitting in that room was a former Army ranger.
You see, when in Kentucky, saying, "My husband is a retired Army ranger and he says ..." is a bit like those old EF Hutton commercials, where everyone stops talking and listens? lol.
Me (continuing): "I just think it's odd, everyone was all anti-Muslim, "fear the Muslim" and now, suddenly, those same people supposedly care about "the poor people of Afghanistan?"
"I've always cared about the people of Afghanistan, but this isn't really about the poor people of Afghanistan anyway - this is about oil rights and always has been."
"So perhaps we need to start investing in other energy sources besides oil - then there'd be less conflict in the Middle East, at least over oil - but then there's still religion to fight about, I guess lol."
New Man: (*snort* - stifles a laugh.)
Me: "But maybe that's just me, knowing what my husband went through, and losing many of his friends, I want to save our young men to fight another day. Just because my husband's indestructible doesn't mean everyone is lol."
Middle-Aged Lady: "Yep, that's just your love for your husband and others who serve talking, that's all that is. Your husband was over there?"
Me: "Yep, for just a little while, and before that Somalia, the Congo, Latin America in the 80s. Long before I met him, but I definitely listen to him about this stuff."
Old Man: "Yeah, that's a mess too, in Africa."
People with darker skin are bad and need to be monitored by the American military.
Me: "So are you all from Lexington or central Kentucky?"
Me: "I just ask because I know some people travel in from other places in Kentucky and was wondering if the leaves were changing where you are yet, we're late this year."
Middle-Aged Lady: "I've got a couple of maple trees, just now changing. I wonder if the gorge is changing, they usually change first."
Me: "See, that's what I was wondering, to go maybe this weekend to see. Or Shaker Village, my husband is from Detroit, and Michigan can do no wrong, in his eyes, but he loves Shaker Village, that's his favorite place here."
Old Man: "I haven't been there in 20 years, it's beautiful there, I'm glad you mentioned that, my wife and I should go back."
Mission accomplished - conversation change successful, Old Man less angry :)
There was almost a redirect by the old man, but I know how to deal with angry old men.
Old Man: "Speaking of the military, Colin Powell died today, did y'all hear about that?"
Me: "I know! Isn't that crazy? Talking about my husband being indestructible, I thought THAT man was indestructible. He did NOT look 84."
Old Man: "I'm 83 and knocking on wood."
Me: "Are you? Well, you might be indestructible, too. You know what it is - it's that purple mask you got on, must be lucky, I like it."
The room laughed, including the old man :)
Old Man (Laughing): "Yeah, my wife got this for me somewhere. I don't normally wear one, but they make you at the doctor. It may be lucky after all hehehe."
Me: "See? She knows. I want a purple mask, too, then! Purple is my favorite color anyway."
And then we all wished each other luck and good days when called back for labs :)
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how I've finally learned to deal with political conversation in Kentucky doctor's office waiting rooms, redirecting angry old men, all fired up after watching too much Fox News, who just want something to be mad about - change the subject, find something common-ground and positive to discuss - but most importantly, make sure to make it something positive about them, give them the attention they want, only make it (sincerely) positive - whew :)
RIP, Colin Powell - didn't always agree with him, but at least he followed his personal convictions, rather than popularity, to be sure.
He was fully vaccinated and died of breakthrough infection.
As we know, the CDC has published data suggesting that most deaths from COVID-19 among the vaccinated are over age 80 (thus the FDA's approval of a third Pfizer booster shot for them, with Moderna's on deck for approval, and J&J's next.), and that most people younger than 80 that have been vaccinated have mild symptoms.
The CDC also has published data suggesting that Moderna's vaccine has slightly longer effectiveness (which I posted previously), and is considering allowing J&J people to be cross-vaccinated with other brand vaccines (which you may recall was another question I had in those posts about the third shot, whether we could cross-vaccinate at some point).
So, here's what we know ... that vaccine efficacy IS starting to wane, and apparently wanes over time, and that at some point, we're going to need something else - hopefully a booster with added genetic variant material, rather than the same exact formulation.
It's possible, even likely, that a third shot of the exact same formulation will at least temporarily boost immunity, it's just the small study didn't definitively prove it.
This is why we wear masks though vaccinated, people - to at least offer some physical barrier protection.