Welcome to the Neighborhood

Suburbs Suburbia Neighborhood Neighbors Homes

Hi, there neighbor. I’m swinging by to welcome you to the subdivision. So is it just you and your spouse? Partner, good good. And kids? That’s great! There’s lots of kids in the neighborhood. Besides welcoming you, there are some things I need to discuss with you. Can we go inside and sit down? What? No, this isn’t about the HOA and I’m not trying to recruit you into a cult. Cult recruiting happens at the monthly mixers. I’m kidding! Please, I do have some neighborhood regulations and safety rules to go over with you and your partner.

Most are common sense, wearing helmets while biking, no loud music after 11 pm Sunday through Thursday, no fireworks. I know technically we’re outside the city limits until they resurvey and redraw the lines but some of our neighbors are sensitive to sudden loud noises so they’ve been banned within the subdivision and surrounding area. If you give me your email, I can send you a complete list and sign you up for the weekly newsletter.

There is one rule I have to go over in detail. It’s more of an advisory really. Between the start of sunset and one hour after, you are advised to stay indoors. It’s not a curfew. You can go outside afterwards and no one will stop you from going out during but we don’t suggest you do so. You aren’t really going to believe me, I didn’t believe until I saw it, but I’ll lay it out for you.

We call it The Stranger. About once a week a woman, a man, a person or sometimes a child appears in the neighborhood and wanders around for an hour and disappears. It isn’t anyone in the neighborhood. When it first started appearing we tried to keep watch around the subdivision. Eventually, we tracked it back to the empty lots. So we started staking out the lots but it just appears on the sidewalk and starts walking. At the end of the hour, it disappears mid-step. Like a ghost but it’s not a ghost.

If no one engages The Stranger, it leaves on its own after an hour. It doesn’t take much to catch its attention, a nod of the head, a wave of the hand, a smile, even just brief eye contact might do it. Once you’ve engaged it, it will approach you and ask for help finding an address. The address will be close by, usually just around the corner. You can refuse or just ignore it but The Stranger will follow you for the rest of the hour yelling or screaming or crying. It will beg for you to “play the game right” or to “please help me get home” or curse at you. This is annoying or upsetting or potentially traumatic but at the end of its hour, it will disappear as normal with no other side effects.

However, if you lead The Stranger to his, her, their, destination something else happens. When you arrive at the correct address, you are strongly advised not to take them to the wrong address, we’ve already had two disappearances and don’t want any more, they will ask you inside for a refreshment. Accept and they walk to the front door, unlock it and lead you inside. The inside of the house will not match the outside. It will be bigger or smaller than you expect and the interior design will be odd. We’ve had people report Victoria townhouses, log cabins, Gothic mansions, and single room apartments. The Stranger may offer you various sodas or liquors or juices but your safest option is to ask for plain water. Drink it quickly but don’t be rude and gulp it down. They will lead you to a door other than the one you entered through, exit through it and you will be on the sidewalk somewhere in the subdivision. From there you can just walk home.

Should you refuse The Stranger’s offer, they will walk to the front door, unlock it, and enter alone. When you turn to walk back, the neighborhood will be changed. Instead of the modest two-story houses in the subdivision, there may be sparkling geodesic domes, Brutalist concrete cubes, or giant redwoods with doors and windows carved through their sides. Start walking at slow even pace. Don’t loiter in one place too long or the locals may become hostile. If no one approaches or talks to you, after an hour you will find yourself in another different neighborhood. This will continue for no less than three neighborhoods but no more than eight. Four is the average. Sooner or later you will wander back into our neighborhood. Once you are certain you are in familiar territory you may return home.

Should someone approach or talk to you, ask them to take you to your home address. If they refuse, it is advisable to simply walk away and leave them alone. If they agree to help you, follow them. The house they lead you to will not look like your house but your key will unlock the front door regardless. Offer them a refreshment. If they refuse, leave them on the sidewalk and enter the house. When you enter the house you will find your home inside and the subdivision outside.

If they accept your offer, lead them inside the house where you will find your house but different. No one will be home, the lights will seem dimmed, sounds will be muffled. Provide your helper with their choice of drink. Once they are done lead them to the back door or the garage door, just not the front door. Allow them to exit and close the door. When you turn around you will be in your home properly.

So that’s about it. If you just stay indoors from sunset to an hour after you won’t have to deal with any of that though.

Gillian Reviews Captain Marvel (Spoiler Free)

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Something I’ve tried to do over the years is to let go of my expectations when I see a movie. It’s hard to do this at times and today I failed a little bit. I let the hype of “The First Woman Led” Marvel movie get to me. I felt a little underwhelmed by the final fight but I realized I was expecting an earth-shattering battle when that wasn’t what the movie was building to or made sense in the MCU history.

Also, this time between Infinity War and Endgame has been full of anticipation for the conclusion of the story started in Infinity War. A lot of people, myself including, are desperate for any hint of what is coming. Captain Marvel is not Avengers 3.5 nor is it the super secret history of the MCU.

Captain Marvel is not the greatest Marvel movie and it shouldn’t have to be. It is a fun movie that introduces a character we could (should) have met years ago. It has great acting and a good story. And it has Goose the cat. Brie Larson emotes in subtle but powerful ways. Samuel L. Jackson brings a bit of humor as her sidekick.

I liked the ’90s setting and didn’t feel like it was forced or over the top. There was one scene that is set to a certain song that is very on the nose but it plays almost in the background. I would have liked to hear the song blasted over the action instead.

The CGI de-aging of Fury and Coulson looked good but I do have mild faceblindness however I have heard other reviewers also say they looked fine.

One final thing. As the Marvel logo began to play, I was internally wishing they would do the older style Marvel Studios logo with images from the character’s comics. Then I saw this was not the new standard logo. Instead of characters from the MCU movies, images of Stan Lee began popping up along with clips of his movie cameos. And then it ended with a simple “Thank you, Stan.” Nearly got my waterworks going. His actual cameo in the movie is inspired but I won’t spoil it.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Umbrella Academy Episodes 6 & 7 Thoughts

Quick review:

I watched ep6 “The Day That Wasn’t” and then rolled right into ep7 “The Day That Was”. These two episodes should be seen together. They compliment each other perfectly.

I have a feeling that some people aren’t going to like them or suggest that they should have been cut down to one episode. I haven’t looked up reviews or recaps of any of the episodes so I don’t know yet. I tend to like the oddball episodes like these two. I also liked the episode of Stranger Things in season two where Eleven has a side adventure.

Spoiler thoughts under the read more:

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