FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 4, 2006

Jet Lag

...or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation by Stacie Ponder.

Well, look at me, all returned and whatnot from my big wild west adventure. I tells ya, I feel all ten kinds of Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball! It's going to take some time for me to give up my Nell-like wilderness ramblings (though I'll try to remain pure and childlike, of course), to hack off my ZZ Top-length metaphorical vacation beard, and to simply try to comprehend everything I've done and seen in the last 17 days. Let it suffice to say for now that I am humbled and really, really fricking tired.

I've uploaded a few snappy snaps for your boredom enjoyment. These are some of the 300+ digital pictures, but the 35mm junk will have to wait. Since I'm now unemployed, I'm going to have to apply for a grant to fund the developing of the 25 or so rolls I've got sitting here. They're the good stuff, though, baby...worth the wait- I'm all about the analog.

Incidentally, I've gotten used to this so-called "unemployment". In fact, I like it so much that I've decided to say fuck getting a job. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this idea, but I've been ruminating on my options:

1. Become a 1930s-style sad clown vagabond hobo, a la Roger Miller's "King of the Road". I'll spend my time riding the rails and singing American folk songs such as "Jimmy Crack Corn" (see: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure).

2. Become a 1970s-style alcoholic, sort of like Ava Gardner in Earthquake. This will entail the wearing of flowy slacks, the maintaining of an all-day buzz that could at any moment turn into screeching hysteria, and the listening to of many Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass LPs.

3. Become a jedi.

I'll let you know how things go.

In the meantime, on with the vacation wrap-up quickstyle!

*States visited: 6
*Miles driven: 5270
*National Parks seen/hiked/conquered: 15
*Pizzas consumed: 9
*Highest temperature: 115 (Zion National Park, UT)
*Lowest temperature: 43 (Alamosa, CO)
*Highest elevation: 10,856 (Wolf's Creek Pass, CO)
*Lowest elevation: -280 (Death Valley National Park, CA)
*Most awesome wildlife seen: Black Bear (Mesa Verde National Park, CO)...YES, WE SAW A FUCKING BEAR. Runner-up: California Condors (Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ)
*Least awesome wildlife seen: (TIE) the killer bees of Joshua Tree, CA; the gnats of Tombstone, AZ
*Wildlife Stacie may or may not have seen: Tarantula (x2); dead kangaroo ( I SWEAR! It was in the road near a wildlife "park". We passed by and went on to Bryce Canyon for the day. Later, when leaving, I was going to stop and investigate- but the body was gone!)
*Movies watched in LA: 6.2 (the damn DVD of The Mutilator crapped out on us)
*Total # of Matlock movies watched: 1 (...and it was fucking terrible. You see, our house doesn't have cable- thus, when we go to a hotel and there IS cable, it's exciting and exotic. The wires in my head must be crossed or something, because whenever I see there's a Matlock movie on in a hotel, I get psyched. I think maybe I think it's something cool like Columbo or The Rockford Files or Perry Mason or something so I always put it on. And it always sucks! I hate Matlock! Andy Griffith acts like a retarded 2-year-old in a seersucker suit with his mugging and his fucking banjo shit and his ludicrous courtroom antics and I get so irritated...yet I leave it on. And guaranteed, the lesson of the suckiness of Matlock just doesn't stick with me. Were there to be another Matlock movie on the following night, I'd probably turn it on and then I'd end up wanting to punch myself in the face repeatedly. Hard.)

Did I walk the mile-and-a-half down into the natural entrance to Carlsbad Cavern (New Mexico)? Yes, I did. There were gobs of cave swallows circling around the entrance. Every night around sunset, this is where all the Mexican Free-Tail bats fly out in search of yummy mosquitoes. Between the birds and the bats, the entrance was pretty stinky with poop. It was still wicked cool, though.

Here we have Groom Lake Road, the 15-mile dirt road that leads to Area 51 (Nevada). We drove as far as we could, to the signs telling us that if we went any further...well, use of deadly force was authorized. I got out and approached the signs to take pictures of them, at which point the security dudes on the hillside lurched their unmarked truck forward to let me know they weren't fucking around. It was awesome!

The "dark cell"- solitary confinement at Yuma Territorial Prison (Arizona):

Did I put on a hardhat and simulate launching a Titan II nuclear missle (Arizona)? Yes, I did. It's the last remaining Titan II in the US, the rest of the silos having been destroyed at the end of the cold war. It's not a big red button that initiates the launch, no matter what Martin Sheen may have done in the Dead Zone; it's the key in the center of the top row. After entering a bunch of security codes, there's a synchronized key turn to launch. The three buttons on the top left were for the 3 target locations- locations that are still classified today.

Crusty alien autopsy at the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM:

Ghost towns in the desert = happy Stacie. This is Rhyolite in Beatty, NV- very close to the California border:

Here's the...err, dunes at Great Sand Dunes, Colorado. We hiked almost all the way to the top, which is about 750 feet. Sand hiking is kinda cool, kinda way too difficult:

Kanab, Utah:

All right, I won't bore you any longer (until I get my film back, that is)- this is supposed to be about horror movies, right?

Ah, civilization.


Mike Exner III said...

Sounds like an amazing trip, Stacie. My family used to undertake cross-country trips from time to time to visit family scattered throughout the States. Never had a road-trip quite like that one. I salute you.

Anonymous said...

Man, isn't the West frickin' amazing? It's like nowhere else. I'm going out to New Mexico in late October, and I can't wait. (Although with a couple little kids in two, we won't be doing anything particularly adventurous...)

And to tie it in with the Final Girl theme, I just caught Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark for the first time. It captures some of the weirdness of the West in a unique vampire fest...

Anonymous said...

Roswell, eh?

Did you stop by the UFO McDonald's?

Option #4: Walk the earth, meet people... get into adventures. Like Caine from "Kung Fu."

Glad to see you're back, and wondering what the other six movies were.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the Internets, Stacie Ponder!

I opt for unemployment option #2: Ava Gardner circa "Earthquake," but ONLY if you rock the Victoria Principal afro from the same flick...

Mistah Wade said...

glad to hear you made it back safely! i can honestly say i missed you!
as for matlock... i seem to remember a similar reaction on a not so grandeous trip as i was stuck watching shit texas fuckin walker mutha ranger whatever the hell it is!!!!
the wedding montage almost caused my head to explode

Stacie Ponder said...

I bought a book while I was out there called Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon and its been freaking me out, people. I've had those almost-asleep dreams for a few days now- you know the ones as you're drifting off to sleep and suddenly you fall or something and you kolt awake? I've been falling off the rim of the Grand Canyon in those dreams. I wake with a start, then dream it again. And again. I don't know what's wrong with me. But between the risk of falling into the canyon, the potential for deadly flash floods, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and creepy compounds with MANY rusting RVs in the yard, I'm starting to think I'm lucky to have come back from the southwest alive!!

Josh, I'm really into the Kung-Fu idea. Right now the alcoholic option is sounding most likely because 1) it's easy and I'm lazy and 2) I like beer. But there's no way I can pull off the Victoria Principal puffy 'fro!

The other 6 movies I watched in LA:
-The Blair Bitch Project: yes, a Blair Witch parody, but it starred Linda Blair so how can you refuse? It was actually funny, even. Linda Blair is funny. I love that Linda Blair.
-: a short film written by my awesome friend Heidi Martinuzzi. It was a rough edit of the upcoming short film, and I was blown away. The acting was fantastic and it LOOKED amazing. Brilliant photography and use of the limited space. I loved it, and I can't wait to see the final version. And lest you think I'm saying that because Heidi's my friend, well, we also watched
-Slaughter Party, which Heidi appears in...and it was a huge steaming pile of CRAP. It's Troma, so that gives you an idea where to start judging it- now move down about 18 rungs and you'll hit this movie. Ugh. Not even the line "I'm almost finished with college. I still have to take College Algebra." could save this flick. Dreadful.
-The Children: if you can't get into a movie about a cloud of radioactivity that causes a busload of children to turn into zombies who burn their victims with their touch, then I'm afraid you're dead to me.
-Mortuary: a pretty sweet flick with Bill Paxton in his first role. I'll probably do a real review of this sometime, but I need to watch it again first.
-Grotesque: Linda Blair vs 1980s-style "punks" out in the snowy mountains. Deformity, siblings kept in closets, shoulder pads, and Foxx from Friday the 13th Part 3-D. Did I love it? Read that last sentence again and tell me what you think!

Randy, you know you love Texas Walker- especially the theme song. That wedding montage was beautiful and you know it!

OK, that's a lie. I don't know what's wrong with me.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the Kung Fu idea as plausible because I do a lot of walking now; otherwise, drinking seems like the greater challenge. It requires as much stamina (if not more) than getting into adventures.

Since it's out on dvd, I suggest you do not watch Shock Treatment, unless of course you want the next FGFC to be an all out mutiny, in which case... nah, still don't watch it.

Wait... someone made a Radioactive Village of the Damned, but with Zombies??? And people thought snakes on a plane was too much of a good thing!

Des said...

Damn you and your awesome vacations Ponder!!!

Anonymous said...

Goose said...I am glad you had a great vacation. I am gladder (Word? Today it is.) you are back on the net. I can surf the net again knowing that horror movie talk and stick figure toons are at ready at the click of my mouse.
(note the self made intro...I changed my blog to the new beta and cannot change back. Now I cannot post using my own name so therefore I will type it in so all know who I am.....)

Anonymous said...

Stacie forgot to mention the best movie seen in LA-The House at the End of the Drive! I'll leave it to her to write about it as I went into self-defense mode and slept through a large portion of it!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say "Welcome back!"
I'll just repress my "vacation envy" until an appropriate emotional moment at a future date.
Driving around this crazy country of ours AND watching movies, too? Son-of-a-muther-fu----

I mean, later!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had a grand old time.