I’m not sure how I discovered Nebraska Energy Observer, but I suspect it involved Neo leaving a comment on one of my posts a couple of years ago. I’m generally suspicious of unknown commenters, as the Internet is full of trolls interested in harassing right-wing bloggers, but I quickly figured out that Neo was one of the good guys.
My initial perception was that Neo was obsessed with English history, and I figured his blog was largely dedicated to the “special relationship” between the United States and our erstwhile mother country. That relationship is, indeed, an important focus of Nebraska Energy Observer (though you’d never guess it from the title), but the blog covers a wide range of topics (including, of course, reflections on the life of an electrical lineman in Nebraska).
I’ve been enjoying my Shudder membership immensely, and it’s pretty much become the main streaming service I watch when I’m viewing solo. Needless to say, I’ve consumed a lot of movies on the service already, so brace yourselves for many horror movie reviews (as if I didn’t mostly write those already).
This week, I’m looking at the horror anthology Creepshow (1982). Horror anthologies can vary in quality, with usually one very strong entry, and then some forgettable duds. Creepshow, for the most part, beats the odds.
I don’t remember when I first saw Creepshow, but I was probably far too young. What I do know is that some of its most iconic, comic-book-inspired images have stuck with me down to the present. I didn’t even know they were from Creepshow until re-watching it all these years later, but they’ve been seared into my brain.
For example, the whole plot of “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill“—which stars Stephen King in his first film role—has always stuck with me (indeed, I have an idea for a short story with a similar premise tentatively entitled “Yeast Man”): the idiot farmer slowly succumbing to the weird alien plant. Ted Danson’s submerged head in “Something to Tide You Over” is another memorable image, as is the flood of roaches entering the impossibly sanitized apartment in “They’re Creeping Up on You!”
I have, however, signed up for Smith’s e-mail list—the least any potential supporter can do—and have enjoyed his e-mail blasts. One recent message caught my eye: a blog post entitled “Time to Fix a Problem.”
Indeed, I’m hoping to write some original short stories this summer (and hopefully some new songs, too). I’m not sure if it’s feasible, but I’d like to have a collection of new original stories out by the time school resumes. We shall see.
The story is a short parable riffing on the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Visitors to the protagonist’s land keep telling him how terrible and crummy the place is, and instead brag about the greatness of their home.
The glowing talk of the visitors’ homeland churns away in the mind of the protagonist, until he finally decides to pay a visit. What he finds depresses and angers him: nuclear war, corruption, violence, declining birth rates, normalization of pedophilia, famine, depravity, etc.
Feeling cheated, the protagonist returns to his own home, and realizes how much he took it and its charms for granted—but there’s a twist (I recommend reading the story, which takes about three minutes, for the full impact; twist revealed below).
When I revived the blog on WordPress in late 2018, I never intended to write daily. I’d maintained a Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule on the Blogspot blog, which I shifted over to WordPress on 1 June 2018. I kept that pace up briefly, but when school resumed I left the blog dormant until late December 2018, and after three days of consecutive posting by happenstance, WordPress informed me I was on a three-day “streak.”
That caught my attention. At that point, I decided to write daily for the month of January 2019. It seemed like a fun a challenge, and I figured it would help build an audience and give me something constructive to do during the slowest month of the year.
After that, I thought, “Eh, why not go to fifty?” From there, 100 didn’t look too difficult.
At one point or another we’ve all experienced the situation where we’ve seen or heard some new idea, word, or concept, and suddenly, we see it everywhere. When I bought my car in 2020, I suddenly began seeing Nissan Versa Notes constantly.
Well, it was fun while it lasted—another Spring Break is in the books. I enjoyed this brief respite, the eye in the middle of the storm that is the Spring Semester. The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of activity for yours portly, followed by the long, graceful descent into summer vacation.
Like last year, I’ll be recapping the short stories I recommended this past week, and offer up a short ranking of them. The list will be shorter by two this year, as I dedicated last Monday to a movie review and did not reblog an earlier short story review Thursday.
“Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021, Part III: “Out of the Deep” – This tale was an excessively wordy, psychological ghost story. It admirably confuses the reader with its unreliable narrator and the weird visions of its protagonist, Jimmy (who is fairly unlikable), but part of the confusion comes from the authors overwrought writing. Still, if you can wade through the dense swamp of the prose, it’s an interesting little tale.