About CrissyMoss

I've been writing as long as I can remember.

What is an “essential worker”?

One of the things I struggled with when I worked at various businesses was the thought that I didn’t matter. The job I did wasn’t important, and I wasn’t “essential” to the running of society. Today we have a whole government that has decided who is and who isn’t essential, and everyone else has been deemed unessential. To have the work you do to earn a living dictated in such a fashion seems a bit harsh, but we did it for a good reason, right?

“Essential worker” is an interesting thought experiment. What do you need? Let’s try a laptop to work from home. How many people are required to make that laptop, ship the various ingredients, refine them, mold them, and assemble them? How about tech support when it breaks, or a repair person? How about electricians to keep the power plants running, ISP workers to keep your internet working, and all the people necessary to make the parts (fiber optics, copper wires, mechanics for the trucks, etc. Etc) that the techs are going to need.

Everything can be bought through Amazon, but they don’t build it. They don’t get the raw materials or refine it. They don’t keep the system running that you need to use it.

Heck, even thinking about Avocado toast and all the people needed to grow, pick, process, bake, ship, and sell the items in that simple meal…. It’s a chain of people and they all have their place.

It has taken me a while to realize that it wasn’t the jobs I had that made me feel unimportant. A lot of it was the fact that management made it known that I could be replaced with anyone else, and it wasn’t my job that wasn’t important, it was me. They boiled the job down to the necessities, and it didn’t matter who did it, they just needed a warm body.

And if it wasn’t the employer reminding me how little they needed me it was sometimes the customer that looked down on me for having that job. The shouts, snide looks, or condescending attitude that said they were better than me because they managed to get a “real” job. And yet they were there for my customer service. What would they do if that job disappeared?

One of the jobs I had was making noodles at a noodle factory. It seems like an unimportant job, but in the first days of the corona virus noodles were one of the first things to disappear from the shelves. It seemed important to all the millions of people who eat noodles every day.

Another job was a storage facility. It seems like a perfectly useless job, so many people just have them for “stuff” right? But I met so many people who had just lost a parent and were storing their stuff while they dealt with the funeral arrangements. Or people moving to new opportunities. Or people who just lost their home and had to have storage because they had no other option. I had so many people thank me for a warm smile, or a kind word. I had people cry telling me about their mom who just passed away, and how they just didn’t know what they were going to do now that she was gone. For those brief moments… I mattered.

What is “essential”? Humanity has been building upon the jobs and inventions of past generations for centuries. Each part fits together to hold up the other.

I think if you feel a job is “unessential” then you shouldn’t go there. If you think they really don’t matter than stop giving them your money. Eventually the unessential jobs will fade away. But the jobs that do exist are there for a reason. They provided a service someone needed, either to feed them, cloth them, shelter them, or just keep them entertained. And each job is an intricate part of a greater whole.

I think once quarantine lifts we’re going to realize just how essential some things are, things we perhaps forgot or gave up for a time. I only hope that this reminds us to be kinder to those who serve us because we need them as much as they need us.

Review: Another Life season 1

I love scifi. I grew up watching Star Trek, Aliens, and Flight of the Navigator. Some of them have aged better than others, but that feeling of exploring new worlds and new technology never gets old.

So when I saw Another Life on Netflix I was hopeful. Here’s a crew traveling across the universe to talk to aliens, and find out why they sent a probe to earth. A simple plot, but one that leads to a lot of possibilities.

In the first episode the captain of the ship is introduced. Actually, she wasn’t the captain, she hadn’t been on a ship in a while, but she had more experience so they sent her to take over the ship from the man she once trained. This cliche had been used in Star Trek multiple times, so I wasn’t too mad about it. It did set the show up to be cliche driven, but for some good old fashioned scifi I could play along.

Then the captain is waking from soma (a dream tank that lets people sleep for months while on a voyage) and everything is going wrong. That’s where I started…noticing things.

This is a scifi show. It has space ships, aliens, and a holographic AI. It also has a lot of teen drama. There’s a love triangle, drug use, parties, lots of rivalry, and people throwing around their ego’s like they had a fire sale on them or something.

The crew wasn’t really a crew. It was a collection of people that occasionally worked together when out of soma for a few days. Then they climbed back in the tube and went back to sleep. They didn’t interact, didn’t really know each other, and had no protocols. The crew talked back and second guessed the captain continually, to the point where they had shouting matches, and a mutiny in the first episode. Then instead of locking the mutineers in their quarters, or putting them back into soma, the captain just lets them wander the ship, which results in another incident. Even if you accept that this is a brand new crew NONE of them have discipline. What government in their right mind would send an undisciplined group of rag tag humans on a mission to save the planet? Chain of command is there for a reason, and governments aren’t going to give that up in the future because it works too well.

Regardless, by the fourth episode the character shenanigans start to level out and there’s a little more depth to their interactions, but there are a few other things going on as well.

The science was sometimes thrown out the window in favor of some sort of plot. The AI fails to notice a moon but he can read oxygen levels from orbit. Said moon was clearly within the Roche Limit and should have been ripped into pieces. Coms don’t work in one episode and they do in the next even though they didn’t fix anything. Other things I would say are major plot points so I’ll skip them.

Other design elements of the ship just speak of incompetent design. The ship has all of their electronics connected so that one wire being cut causes catastrophe across the entire ship (none of the writers hear of redundant systems?). The soma tubes are made of unbreakable glass and don’t have manual overrides in case of an emergency. Most of the things are small, but they are there.

I did like the performance by Katee Sackhoff (Captain Nico) and Samuel Anderson (the AI). They were my favorite parts of the show, and did well with what they were given. The writers also did a good job of creating a mystery around the artifact, and some tension in some areas. I just feel like the writers took a crash course in scifi, and didn’t actually grow up with it.\

Another Life is a good popcorn series. If you aren’t looking for hard science with lots of accuracy, and you don’t mind plot-holes or stereotypical characters with a little drama thrown in, you’ll enjoy it. But if you try to break down the science, or try to make the plot make sense in some places, you are going to have a bad time.

Summer sun shining…

Today I have been working on several smaller projects, getting things set up for the rest of the month. That includes getting my bullet journal in order, setting goals for the month, and starting in on a new art challenge to get me warmed up in the morning.

I’ve also made a priority of taking care of my mental health this month. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having trouble with staying indoors so much. I’ve been trying to just get out in the back yard and sit in the sun a bit more. Exercise every day by dancing. And eating something healthy (with the occasional unhealthy cookie now and then.) I’m in Texas so things are starting to open up again, but I won’t be able to go out just yet. But soon!

This weekend I have two free books, and anthology and a short story.

Twilight Tales: three unusual tales of creatures that go bump in the night.

Ghostly Intentions: A fantasy horror romp through a haunted house.

Dishes and free short stories.

I hope you are doing well.

This week my boyfriend has been making fresh bread. It’s the type of bread that you bake inside a pan with a lid, and it gets a thick crust. Today was the first time he added a few herbs to the dough and it was tasty. He’s really enjoying baking, and I am enjoying eating it.

Meanwhile, I’ve been learning to cook new things, and use food that I’ve never used before. You have to make do when all the potatoes are gone at the local grocery store.

This morning I complained about dishes, and couldn’t figure out where they were all coming from. “We’ve been eating at home more,” my boyfriend reminded me, and a light bulb went off. Less fast food means more dishes. It also means healthier eating.

I hope all of you are doing well. This week I have two more short stories up for free. Hopefully it will entertain you for a little while.

Footprints – The things in your mind are often worse than the things in the darkness.
The Scarab Necklace –  A tales from the crypt style short story.

The Platform- is there a message?

It’s always interesting when you have a movie or book that is just esoteric enough that you can read different things into it depending on where you are in life, but the person who wrote it refuses to tell you what they actually meant. The Platform (on Netflix) is a movie just like that.

This Netflix original horror movie is about a man who volunteers to be locked up in a prison so he can quit smoking. In this prison you are on a floor that has a giant hole in the center. Every day a platform lowers through the hole and you have two minutes to eat whatever the people above left for you. But there are more than 200 floors, and the people above are hungry.

I almost think this is a psychological horror movie because most of the horror is dealing with the starvation, and knowing that you never have control over this fundamental need to eat every day. However, there are a lot of gory things that happen as well.

The basic premise of the story was interesting. How do you convince the people above you to eat less so that more people can eat? How do you get everyone to ration, especially since you can’t speak to everyone? Especially if many of the people locked up with you are criminals who already committed terrible crimes, and have no compunction about committing more?

If I had any complaints it might be the dialog for the film. I couldn’t tell if it was written poorly, or a translation problem. The film was done in Spanish, and we watched the English dub of it. Because it was dubbed there was, obviously, lip syncing issues. Some of the dialog sounded forced, and unnatural. It tries not to give too much commentary while giving you information on the situation. It could also be that they are trying to increase the unsettlingness of the whole situation with the way they are talking.

The whole movie seems to be a commentary on society. Those above take as much as they want and leave the crumbs for those bellow, and those at the very bottom are left with nothing. But how do you stop that chain? You can try getting everyone to ration, take only what they need, but often they just think “this is the way things are” and go along with it.

It’s an interesting thought experiment, and the movie has a brutal way of presenting it. Considering that each set of prisoners stays on a level for thirty days and there are many, MANY levels, there are probably just as many people dying from starvation as there are from suicide and murder.

Bird Box – The people or the monster?

Since our family is stuck inside right now we got a subscription to Netflix. That means Bjorn and I have been going through all the old movies that we’ve heard about, but didn’t have access to. Today we watched Bird Box.

The basic premise of Bird Box is a woman trying to survive a calamity that has effected the worlds population. Some sort of creature has arrived on earth and if you see it you will commit suicide in the most expedient way possible. Five years after the initial outbreak happened Malorie has lost everyone, is running out of food, and options. She has to get her two children to a safe haven miles away down a river without seeing anything.

But the movie isn’t about the creatures, or the world falling apart. It’s about Malorie and her personal journey to connect with other people amidst all this craziness. She had a terrible father, their mother left them, her boyfriend disappeared after she got pregnant, and her sister committed suicide the first day of the outbreak. She has kept everyone as far away as possible since then to protect herself. Even her children.

This is much like “A Quite Place” in that the story centers around the people, not the outside influences. I guess that is why I love movies like this. I tend to write stories with things in the background that may be dangerous or scary, but the true story focuses on the person. Footprints is about a man dealing with his fathers death, but there’s a monster in the woods. The Scarab Necklace is about a woman trying to find some confidence, and there’s a cursed necklace. Even my series, The Witch’s Trilogy, is about a girl trying to discover what and who she is, and there are acolytes trying to sacrifice her to a big sea monster.

In this sort of story telling there is definitely a monster, but it could often be exchanged for something else. In The Quiet Place and Bird Box it could have been a pandemic, or an alien, or a monster from the deep. The only thing that really mattered was the story of the family trying to find their way in a messed up world. The mechanism of the monster did make things a bit unique, one depending on sound the other on sight, but ultimately they were not the main feature.

The movie, itself, was well done. There wasn’t a lot of dialog, most of the story heavily relying on motion and action to tell the tale. What dialog there was made a point. Malorie’s inability to connect was shown right down to how she talked to her children, giving them short, easy to follow instructions, never showing them much love, and just making sure they survived. But as Tom says surviving isn’t living. You have to have something to hope for or what’s the point.

I think right now this story hit home with me. Like the people here we are cooped up in our homes, fearing an invisible creature outside. We are unable to be close to others, and things have gone a little crazy. But like Malorie we need a little hope, something to live for. There’s a point to all this madness, we just have to look for it.

TP in the mail? And free books.

My mother-in-law sent us a care package from back home today. In the box of assorted snacks, and home made cookies, she included a roll of toilet paper, and a thing of hand soap. Odd that sending people toilet paper now seems almost normal now.

The best part was she printed out memes, and faces, for everything and stuck them to the individual items. Our Cheez-its now have a big goofy smile on them, it’s great.

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been to the store so I don’t even know if they have any at ours. I hope you are able to find the things you need right now.

Continuing on my entertainment for those stuck inside (which is most of us right now) I have two more short stories for free, and an anthology.

The Ring and The Camera: Two short stories revolving around cursed items like a Tales from the Crypt style.

 

Stars End: a glimpse into a possible future, and the way technology might change relationships.

Stay safe out there my friends.

Crissy

Review: Locke & Key season 1

We just finished watching Locke & Key, the new netflix series and… I’m torn on what I think about it.

I have the complete series of Locke & Key graphic novels, though I have only read the first one. I found the whole idea of keys that magically unlock things to be fascinating. A key that you can unlock the mind and step inside the memories. A key that allows you to step through a doorway and separate soul from body. Each key a new experience and wonder.

So watching the new series was a must for me. And I have to say I do love the way they did most of the keys. You put them in a key hole, and unlock, or lock something. Except the fire key, that one is odd because all it does is light things on fire. No locks to go with it, just fire.

The story, itself, started interesting as well. It starts with three children and their mother moving to an old mansion left to them by their deceased father, but no one knows much about this house, or their fathers past. The father kept it all a secret. Then when the youngest starts finding keys with magical abilities they start to find a dark secret that they have to unravel before things go terribly, terribly wrong.

The secret of their fathers past is locked together with the traumatic way their father was murdered, and the emotional scars it left on each of the family members. Each of them blames themselves for different aspects of the death, and each of them have to come to terms with that perceived blame.

Where I think the story falls short for me is the lack of a cohesive plot. There is an ancient evil, a “bad guy” per-se, but the reason you are given for them to be at odds with the Lockes (the desire to get specific keys) falls apart in the end. They finally have access to the key they were searching for all this time, but they don’t take it for some reason. It left both my boyfriend and myself staring at the screen just wonder… but why? What was all of this for?

So, yes, I did enjoy it. I liked the mystery, and the magic. I didn’t like the ending. It was a bit too much of a cliff hanger with the family getting closer to one another, but the over all plot left hanging. And if you’ve read many of my reviews you probably already know I hate cliffhangers for the sake of cliffhangers.

Will I watch the next season? Probably. It wasn’t a bad series, and I would like to see what it does. However, I can say that if the second season doesn’t at least give the series a purpose, and some overarching plotline, then I probably wouldn’t go for a third season.

I will give them a little credit through, adapting a comic book series to TV can be challenging, especially with some of the visuals inside the graphic novels. They managed to do some interesting things with the mind key, letting us get a glimpse inside of several characters memories. They also simplified some of the plot between comic and tv series, so I will probably go back and read the comics now just to find those differences.