Stranger Things: I Want My ’80s Back!

My fitness trainer Kim shared with me her iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts during our Monday night workout. According to Kim, this was no ordinary iced coffee. This one had been cold-brewed for 12 hours. Whatever that meant … it was a new offering on the menu. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. As much of a coffee addict as I am, iced coffee rarely calls my name.

Dunkin' Donuts Cold-Brewed Coffee: Heaven in a plastic cup.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cold-Brewed Coffee: Heaven in a plastic cup.

I took one tiny sip, just being polite. I was instantly transported.

Were this a Twilight  Zone episode, you’d see that bad special effect of me, sans color, dizzily spinning backwards in time, calendar pages flipping past me in fast succession. In my case, I time machined back to age six. I was standing on our kitchen stool so I could reach the sink, washing the family’s dinner dishes. The first part of this evening chore meant washing my dad’s lunchbox tupperware, and his khaki-green metal coffee thermos. Dad had engraved his name into the side of the metal. I’d trace his signature with my fingertips as I was washing the outside of it. When no one was looking, I’d sneak a sip of its contents — his day-old java — pretending I was a grown up. (I know, I know … I’m still pretending.) This Dunkin’ Donuts cold-brewed fare mimicked Dad’s day-old coffee, perhaps because Dad’s had steeped for a good 12 hours in his thermos. While it can’t bring my father back, the nostalgia of those lost days washes over me with every swallow. I’m hooked!

On the website CockedEyed.com, you can create your own "STRANGER THINGS" Lightbulb Message Encoder. How cool is that?!?

On the website CockedEyed.com, you can create your own “STRANGER THINGS” Lightbulb Message Encoder. How cool is that?!?

The much-talked-about Netflix horror series Stranger Things became my other childhood time portal recently. I binge-watched the entire series in two nights. It was beyond amazing. Winona Ryder portrays the emotional fragility of a frantic parent as believably as Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. Maybe moreso. The camaraderie feeling we get from Stephen King’s Stand By Me (and the origin story to that film, The Body) combines with the government conspiracy style narratives of Dean R. Koontz. The music, the fashion, the cars, the bad basement decor. The vulnerable, gawky, tender awkwardness of being a teen. It all felt so familiar — like an old friend returning. A friend I didn’t realize I had been yearning for as hard as I had.

For us Gen-Xers, those were magical times. Whenever I discuss Stranger Things with my peers, I always ask them, “If you could go back to the ’80s, would you?”

Without hesitation, faces telegraphing that “Are you daft, girl?” expression, every single friend has declared, “In. A. Heartbeat.”

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Dave Dorman Interviews Alien & Predator

That time I wrote the Alien, Predator, Dave Dorman interview for Newsarama…

The famed ALIENS TRIBES cover by Dave Dorman

The famed ALIENS TRIBES cover by Dave Dorman

Denise Dorman's Blog

Dear Friends,

I wrote this parody piece a while back, prior to AVP2 coming out with the “new” Predalien character, if you catch my drift. Dave did a “very similar” creature design as a work-for-hire project for 20th Century Fox years ago, and it became a little controversial when he noted online that the Predalien design in AVP2 was virtually identical to the one he created, and then he proceeded to post both of them for the fans to compare.  I’ve updated the interview a little, but here it is:

Dave Dorman Interviews Alien & Predator

Back Story: Renowned illustrator Dave Dorman, Alien and Predator are old friends, dating back more than 15 years ago to the days when Dorman was painting Alien v. Predator pieces to please the Dark Horse fans…today the threesome reunites for a pre-San Diego Comic-Con interview.

POV: We see the famed Eisner Award-winning  illustrator…

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Watching ALIEN with Jonesy the Cat

Last night I made Jack and Jonesy the Hairless Cat watch her namesake on the original ALIEN movie with me. Needless to say, Jonesy was non-plussed. She just played with the strings on my hoodie when she wasn’t outright sleeping through it, having her little kitty dreams, muscle memory movements included. When the ALIEN version of Jonesy meowed on screen, it grabbed her attention for a brief moment and her giant ears perked up.

Jonesy the Cat, My Little Chest Burster...

Jonesy the Cat, My Little Chest Burster…

The greatest “special f/x” moment in my life occurred during ALIEN. It was 1979, during a camping trip with my parents in Estes Park, CO. The movie theater back then was this metal pole barn-style building–a bad 1970s mustard yellow, as I recall. ALIEN was playing, and I begged my parents to take me to see it. My parents paid very little attention to pop culture, so they had no idea what they were in for.

On that particular night, a bad storm was headed for Estes Park. Dark, ominous clouds were gathering and speeding toward us as we raced to the theater. We barely got in before the downpour.

In the famous scene where Kane is attempting to eat his first meal after recovering from the xenomorph facial attachment, the storm outside the theater began picking up its pace. Winds were howling. The sound of the pounding rain on the tin roof was deafening.

Then, at the precise moment when the chest burster popped through Kane’s chest, lightning struck the pole barn theater, accompanied by the loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard! It was AWESOME! I literally jumped out of my seat. We all did. It will remain the best special f/x movie-watching moment of my lifetime.

Last night I gently reminded my mom of that moment as we were watching ALIEN together. She couldn’t remember it at all. It’s always interesting to me when those moments in your life that have the greatest impact on you are so trivial to those you were with at the time. Since that was a treasured time in my life, spending quality time with my dad on a family vacation, I wish my mom could share in that memory.

Perhaps a “Spock Mind Meld” is in order…