20 Years of Laughs, 20 Years of Thrills, 20 Years of Knockoffs, 20 Years of Scream. 20 Years Ago, Casey Becker got a phone call that changed the face of horror as we know it, giving us a new maniac in the slasher lexicon: Ghostface. Pop culture and the horror genre in general was never the same. Games had to be stepped up. Heroines had to live up to the goddesses known as Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers-Riley. Sequels became more scrutinized, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Happy Birthday, Scream. Thanks for being with me since I was 13. #Scream #WesCraven #KevinWilliamson #SidneyPrescott #NeveCampbell #TatumRiley #RoseMcGowen #DwightDeweyRiley #DavidArquette #GaleWeathers #CourtneyCox #RandyMeeks #JamieKennedy #BillyLoomis #SkeetUlrich #StuMacher #MatthewLilliard
Chapter One: “At least once a day I ask myself where did I go wrong in my life, and not in a comical manner...”
There are days where life is as smooth as the finest silk from an exotic land, with no creases or bumps to make you question the decisions you took to get to that particular point in your life. Then there are days where your brain, body, and soul demands a complete analyzation of how, why, and when did you allow the determining factors of your current dismal situation to take fruition, resulting in your own personal space of hell. I get the latter more than the former. And that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to my experiences alone. It’s just a bothersome reality for me.
I write all of this to simply make sense of everything going on in my life now. Sure there are tons of bright spots that occur throughout, but their comforting luster tends to be buffed out by the shadows of that I want to control, but simply can’t.
Sometimes we are, sadly, the creators of our own damning dilemmas, and no matter the external factors, the responsibility and consequences are that of our own accord. Some people are deft in combating and changing their current situations when they find themselves in a nasty rut. Others are not so lucky. I don’t want to say that I belong in either camp. Rather, there’s always a foot in each respective door to those particular groups. Or actually you can view it in a macro vs. micro setting. You might can manage something locally like rent and other small bills, but you might not be able to make a move at the drop of a hat to a new city, or purchase your first time home whenever you feel like it. Again, this isn’t something exclusive to me solely, but it’s problematic nonetheless.
And this method isn’t regulated to finances alone. Love, relationships, education, and other personal issues can be substituted variables for the same equation. In fact, they are tit for tat in my current situation.
So, yes, I ask my self at least once a day what did I do wrong and, most importantly, how can I course correct it?
When I do get into that mind frame, I always end up looking for answers within my collegiate years where the many crossroads presented themselves like a complicated Choose Your Own Adventure novel from back in the day. I analyze not being sociable enough, or more daring and confident in who I was back then. I mull over not pushing myself harder to educate myself on life outside the classroom, but within the social and economic structure of higher education and the various influencing entities on the outskirts. I ask myself why didn’t I fight harder or investigate fully certain opportunities and resources that would’ve benefited well beyond my expectations.
Then after all that scrutinizing and self-analyzation, I come to the quick conclusion of beating myself up over the past – something I can’t control – is exhaustingly banal and plainly futile. Shocker, right?
But like the annual NBA Finals or the Super Bowl, the Self-Analyzation Games takes place within my head, where I’ve been told repeatedly to vacate from and only return for visits. I feel as if the games will continue until I finally have closure, some understanding, and a viable plan to change course. Maybe then I can over turn the W’s and L’s in this scenario.
So that didn’t go well…
After coming up with this “elaborate” schedule of celebratory birthday posts, life, as I said previously, got in the way. I didn’t have access to a computer to write or keep up with my plans, nor did I have enough free time to blog via my phone. It was a valiant effort and plan, but the 33 Random Chapters idea is one that doesn’t have to be a daily thing, can include multiple chapters a day, and can still be celebratory of my birthday. Who knows? It might can turn into a mini-book or sorts.
SO! With that being said… Let’s get the 33 Random Chapters started.
Here’s the new list titled: “A Mark O. Estes ‘Novel:’ 33 Random Chapters”
“A Mark O. Estes ‘Novel:’ 33 Random Chapters”
Chapter One: “At least once a day I ask myself where did I go wrong in my life, and not in a comical manner…”
Chapter Two: “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to accept that a lot of my dreams will never come into fruition”
Chapter Three: “I’ve rarely experienced the true notion of comfort.”
Chapter Four: “Growing old and alone still haunts me.”
Chapter Five: “Nostalgia is like a recreational drug that you can either wallow in or use it to reconnect with your inner self, who you may have thought you left behind.”
Chapter Six: “Sleep has become the adult boogeyman.Will explain later”
Chapter Seven: “I miss being able to read freely with no obligations, interruptions, or plain old distractions.”
Chapter Eight: “I’m a personable person. I’m not a personable person.”
Chapter Nine: “My Friends are my world.”
Chapter Ten: “I’m flip-flopping over whether I’ll ever experience a loving relationship or not. Currently I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Chapter Twelve: “My love for TV is waning…”
Chapter Thirteen: “Music is an integral part of my life.”
Chapter Fourteen:“I’ve only had one person I was truly in love with.”
Chapter Fifteen: “Coming Out was the best thing to happen to me.”
Chapter Sixteen: “I’d be interested in partaking in a triad relationship.”
Chapter Seventeen: “Despite claims from various social groups and figures, I don’t think society as a whole really wants to accomplish unity.”
Chapter Eighteen: “As of 2016, I’ve only been to one concert in my life and that was Kanye West’s College Dropout Tour back in 2004.”
Chapter Nineteen: “One of my biggest goals is to tryout for Big Brother at least five times.”
Chapter Twenty: “Trying to make sense of the world is a taxing experience and I’m over it. To an extent.”
Chapter Twenty-One: “I still haven’t seen more than half of the movies I own…”
Chapter Twenty-Two: “I wish Divine Intervention would have stepped in and warned me not to come back to Brownsville.”
Chapter Twenty-Three: “Embracing every unique aspect of me has been the greatest love affair ever told in my book.”
Chapter Twenty-Five: “I still wonder about Christian Tobias Estes, the son I dreamed about many years ago in college.”
Chapter Twenty-Six: “People truly think that I’m stupid and don’t pick up on that.”
Chapter Twenty-Seven: “If I could travel anywhere in the world and stay there, it would have to be somewhere near a beach or cove of some kind, or in metropolitan area with more than 500,000 people to experience on a daily basis.”
Chapter Twenty-Eight: “There’s not that many people I can trust. And even the ones I do trust, I can’t help get leery about sometimes.”
Chapter Twenty-Nine: “Biggest pet peeve is social media and the plethora of misinformation circulating through it like a disease.”
Chapter Thirty: “I truly hate talking about race, even when I’m enraged about something blatantly racist.”
Chapter Thirty-One: “When I die, I want The Smiths’ ‘There is A Light That Never Goes Out’ to be sung at my funeral, and some of my ashes to be set loose on the Pacific Coast.”
Chapter Thirty-Two: “I’ve never forgiven myself for not fighting harder for my first love.”
Chapter Thirty-Three: “I still think about death constantly.”
Again, these are all tentative.
Last night I wrote about taking a list I compiled for a 2009 Facebook trend and using it as a template to reflect and write daily about why I felt that way at that particular moment for a personal birthday retrospective covering the seven years since and before the list was written. I also wrote about doing something else entirely and not wanting to say exactly what just yet, because of my compulsiveness to change my mind at any given moment.
Well it’s Day #2 of my 23 Days of Reflection on 33 Years on Earth, and I’ve changed my mind on how to approach this self-appointing task.
Instead of explaining how I felt seven years ago, I’ve decided to compile a whole new list that represents my current mind state as of today. It will hopefully be more forthcoming than the list I drafted back in 2009. I have some entries in mind at the moment, and hopefully will have the list completed by the end of tonight. Some days will have two entries or more and some will have a single entry.
I’m trying to remain focused and determined to complete this personal challenge, but life constantly gets in the way. It’s like the present doesn’t want me to dwell on the past, which in some instances is considered a wise stance. But in some others, it’s healthy to reevaluate your past to determine or make sense of your present or future.
17 minutes left in the day so for the sake of keeping up with this task, I’m publishing this piece right now, and will introduce the new list for tomorrow.
I’m going to try something this year for my birthday. It’s not new. It’s just a drive to finally see a ‘long-form’ creation of mine into completion. I’ve never truly done something for my birthday outside of a few pic collages and a blog post or two. Never have I had a birthday party. Never have I hung out with friends and celebrated my birthday. Never have I really ventured outside of my hometown for my birthday, and if I actually did, it wasn’t memorable. And if it was memorable, it wasn’t worthy of the “Happy” portion of the phrase “Happy Birthday.” So, for some odd reason, I want my birthday to be special this year. It’s not a “monumental” numeral like ’30,”35,’ or ’40,’ but it’s the burning desire to eradicate the similarities between my birthdays and those of one Buffy Summers (If you are a die-hard Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan then you will get that reference). The only problem is settling on a creative event that will not only become a welcome imprint for years to come, but a positive, goal-achieving, and reflective one as well.
So a quick glance at my Facebook page yesterday gave me the first idea of how I wanted to execute this year’s birthday celebration. Seven years and seven months ago, there was a fad flowing among my college friends’ pages where people wrote lists consisting of 16-25 truths of themselves and posting them for their peers to see. My list was the full 25, because at that point in time I was 25 years old and still in a collegiate melancholic haze about life; confident, but not to the point of knowing where the economic crisis would take me in the next few months. But that’s another story…
The point in why the list caught my eye was because it showcased a different side of me that I, sadly, had managed to lose track of. A lot can happen in seven years and while some of the truths from that persona checklist are still solid rods in the foundation of my very being, an equal or greater amount has morphed into new ideals teetering on the brink of madness sometimes.
Here’s the list in it’s entirety:
“A Mark O. Estes Production: “25: Random Edition”
I waited on doing this because I was getting tagged for both 16 random and 25 random things and I didn’t want to do 25 and be called out for being extra so here goes the top 25 things that you might already know. If you didn’t then you just haven’t been around me much, which isn’t a bad thing…
Scene 1. I believe that no human being is perfect, but laugh when people actually believe the opposite. And they wonder why folks “hate” on them…
Scene 2. I have scoliosis, which for those who don’t know, it is the curvature of the spine.
Scene 3. People need to learn the difference between friends and associates and I believe that it should at least be a required 101 class for all universities.
Scene 4. I’ve been writing stories since the age of 8. One of the first was The Goonies 2 and I also write stories/scripts for me to act out with my action figures by directing and providing voices as well.
Scene 5. I am going through a period now of reading as much thought-provoking black books/essays that I can find. I have read two Toni Morrison books (‘Love’, and her newest ‘A Mercy’), and am now reading Michael Eric Dyson’s ‘April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr,’s Death and How It Changed America’. Next on my list are Toni Morrison’s ‘Sula’ and Ernest J. Gaines’ ‘A Lesson Before Dying’.
Scene 6. A lot of the stuff that I know or have learned in life has come mostly from TV and movies, which has strangely put me at odds with a lot of people, namely my family. The Real World Seasons 1-10 (It got hella skeezy afterwards), early BET and MTV in general and a few others are to blame for my ‘upbringing’.
Scene 7. Speaking of my upbringing, I kind of raised myself in a sense, because my parents and I have contrasting ideals and I am always the oddball on both sides of my family. It was hard growing up to be myself, because my family frowned on just about everything I did, except my schoolwork.
Scene 8. Technically, I attended my parents wedding due to the fact that my mom was three months pregnant with me at the time.
Scene 9. I am constantly ragged on about my taste in music, TV, and movies, because most of it is “white-washed” and “lack color”.
Scene 10. Out of the over 200+ movies and TV Shows that I own, I haven’t seen more than a handful of them.
Scene 11. I have been told that I can be quite depressing company to be around, which is puzzling because I have also been told that I am a people magnet.
Scene 12. I have a tendency to alphabetize books if they are out of order in a bookstore and replace books in order of their call number in libraries if they were misplaced. Blame it on my past experience as a librarian. My books here at home are in order of their release date as well as my DVDs.
Scene 13. I had a dream about the birth of my son and in that one dream I watched him age to four years. His name was Christian Tobias Estes. Needless to say that was the best dream ever and was hard to wake up from.
Scene 14. I subscribe to the belief that its vacuous to be at every event, club, party, etc and wonder why or how your business is in the streets.
Scene 15. My first/only Spring Break Trip ever was Spring 2007 and it was to Atlanta, which was also my first time ever being there.
Scene 16. MTSU and the University of Memphis were the first and only choices for school. But after both said my grades weren’t good enough (yes not good enough), I so happened to be cleaning my room and a brochure and application to UT fell out of the bottom of a box that I picked up. I filled it out and the rest is history. Or rather God helped me come to my senses…
Scene 17. I initially came to UT for theater, but by Divine Intervention again, I was steered back to my first loves: writing, television, and film.
Scene 18. Growing up I was a social misfit in my own head. I didn’t think that anybody liked me because I thought they considered me too awkward to be around. But by my senior year in high school, I wised up and realized that people didn’t like me because I was a social chameleon and didn’t let cliques dictate my social life. So I told everyone in my last will and testament to go to hell and that good luck making it to our 1st class reunion, which I won’t be attending.
Scene 19. One of the people who helped shaped me into the person I am today, Earline Bynum, died two weeks after I moved to UT. I never got to say goodbye properly because the last time I saw her before I left she was asleep. I knew then that nothing will ever be the same and I still haven’t gotten over it yet.
Scene 20. I wonder a lot about things that people would be frightened to acknowledge, issues that others only think about when their own being is at stake, scenarios and possibilities that most consider irrelevant or petulant. At all times my mind is operating…
Scene 21. I don’t like it when people measure someone by their achievements/status/merits and not by their complete character. While that might seem either conceited or confusing to some, I feel that if you don’t have some sense of a moral compass then you don’t have shit worth gloating about.
Scene 22. I see my entire college life as a television show (ala Degrassi) and that I am living my own spinoff now, while the rest of my friends have their own spinoffs. I can’t wait for the reunion movie to happen now. Yea, it’s that deep…
Scene 23. I am a big nostalgic person and love anything relating to the 80s and 90s because they remind me of how things used to be so simple and how film, TV and culture in general was much more creative, original and, at times, unique.
Scene 24. My senior year in high school I placed #1 in the nation in the Cranium Bowl sponsored by Channel One News and U.S. News and World Report magazine. I won a $100 dollar gift card to The Gap and had a field day at the clearance rack.
Scene 25. I have a problem with people who go out their way to be pompous and siddity and then declare that they are just “confident” or that they just have “swag” when someone calls them out on it. That’s not confidence, it’s straight up arrogance. ‘Confidence’ doesn’t have to be displayed 24/7 and is ugly and retarded as hell no matter how tight you twist it. But I still love ya!
Deleted Scene: I am a true Gemini to the core.
Commentary: Sorry if my list might sound bitter, but you got to admit that it was random at best. I tried to mix them up but I guess I had to vent a little. But this is my Random Edition so… Plus, I wanted to do something a little different with mine as you just saw. This is the first of three different editions so look out for the other three installments.”
To be honest, I cringed rereading some of those, but it’s just a prime example of youth in motion. It’s astounding to look at this mirror of words and see someone so totally different, yet not really. It’s a beautiful thing.
So here’s what I’m thinking of doing: I’m thinking about updating at least 23 of these ‘truths’ daily and give reasons why I chose to do so or not. This is just one of the challenges I’ve set up for myself. The other ‘provocations’ I’ve set up for myself won’t be listed, because they might change as soon as I hit publish on this particular blog post, which is actually already late technically.
I hope whoever reads this joins me in this journey and makes sure I stay on track on it until completion on May 23rd, 2016. It’s also a way for me to make sure I’m writing something everyday for the next 23 days.
In advance, I thank you. And hopefully this birthday will become one for the annals.
As of this writing, it is April 28th, 2016. We have suffered the devastating loss of the Artist Forever Known as Prince. We have learned that Harriet Tubman will grace the front of the $20 dollar bill sometime after 2020. We know Beyonce has dropped her album, her tea, but not Jay-Z after a possible cheating scandal, yet still scalped the heads of the masses like Jesus Christ returning for the Rapture. We have knowledge that half of our favorite primetime dramas are returning this fall, the newest meme trends that will dominate this summer, and we are confident that despite a nice try from Warner Bros. with Batman v. Superman, Marvel Studios is still the undisputed champion of the comic book movie genre.
What we DON’T know is the theme for American Horror Story Season Six. And that, readers, is a goddamn tragedy.
Again, it is 2:26PM, Thursday, April 28, 2016 and we still have no clue whatsoever what Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Lady Gaga, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulsen, etc have up their sleeves for the next season of FX’s unapologetically addictive horror anthology. We have “clues.” We have “rumors.” We have those somewhat blatantly fake (but not to basic fans) posters floating around with the subtitles “Camp,” “Boarding School,” and “Cruise.” But what we don’t have is CONFIRMATION, something we, as fans, should have had by now. Yes, there have been longer wait periods in the past, with Asylum possibly ranking as THE longest. But even then we still had some concrete information of that particular season taking place in a haunted institution and it would be set in the past. Clues from the latter episodes (barring Freak Show, where clues for Hotel were sprinkled throughout the entire season) helped fans narrow down the theme for the next season and while there might have been several in Hotel, the weren’t as glaring as earlier years nor discussed in length this year. If they were, then I missed out on that conversation entirely, which is not impossible. But I digress. We’re going into May with no idea what Ryan and Brad is conjuring and that is nerve-wracking to the core of my soul.
So what’s the hold up? Are Ryan and Brad finally working on giving us TWO iterations of American Horror Story this year? Are they stuck on picking one of said two ideas and trying to figure out if they could (or rather should) merge both into one cohesive narrative? Do they need help in the writer’s room? A colleague and I are available for retainer if needed…
All in all, we’re six months away from the premiere of American Horror Story’s sixth season and while that is an ample amount of time for Ryan and Brad to write, cast, change their minds, and rewrite, I just want one morsel of confirmation on what’s to come so I can prepare accordingly. Akin to the BeyHive members who made passive aggressive videos and memes borderline taunting Beyoncé to drop her album, I’m hoping this post will ‘encourage’ Ryan and Brad to give the AHS stans something to chew over until this summer’s onslaught of teasers/promos gives us much more life than we deserve. It will make up for the lack of info from PaleyFest this year, which I and several other fans are still reeling from.
But knowing the Murphy/Falchuk dynamic, they are probably working on a reveal/press release/announcement video as I type this and by the time this post publishes it will already be too late and irrelevant. And that would be perfectly fine, because at this stage of the game, I just want something. ANYthing. But until I am hit with news that will leave me convulsing in the middle of my work place for three hours straight (I work at a library and they’ve already been forewarned to not interrupt my AHS related freak outs), I will continue to hit the refresh button on Deadline, Entertainment Weeky, Variety, and TVLine’s respective and reputable websites.
(Editor’s Note: This post was exactly 666 words long and by it being about American Horror Story, I had to add one word to offset the juju. You can tell your thoughts if you want… Or not.)