Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

When I was a kid, my brothers and I spent a lot of time unsupervised. It was the 70's, my mom was a single mom raising three kids, and also worked and went to school. Back then, "latch-key kids" were pretty much the norm. My older brother was a huge fan of scary movies. The gorier the better, at least to me it seemed. Because I idolized my big brother, and what girl didn't if she had one, I wanted to watch what he watched. By the time I was 13 I had seen Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, Carrie, Alien and Jaws. A couple of them in the movie theater. My little brother was six when Jaws came out, and I know we all saw that in the theater because afterwards he was too scared to take a bath for a year because he thought a shark would come out of the drain and eat him. In addition to watching scary movies, my older brother also read about them in fan magazines and books. He would show me pictures of how the special effects were done, and when we watched the movies on TV he could point out the obvious fake heads and rubber knives to me until the scary movies had little-to-no effect on me. It took a lot to scare me when I was a tweener. And I was pretty darn proud of that. When I was 16 and at an all-girls boarding school (which sounds a little like it could be the opening to a slasher flick script in and of itself) we had a Halloween night scary movie marathon. As the girls around me screamed and hid their eyes from the creepy killer chasing kids around in Halloween -- probably, I don't really remember what it was -- I sat and pointed, saying things like, "that's not even a realistic blood spurt, and look, I can see the 'dead' guy breathing. Sheesh." I probably ruined it for the others, but at the time I couldn't believe anyone could have been fooled by such schlock.

That doesn't mean I was never scared by a movie. There was one in particular. One movie gave me the heebie-jeebies more than anything ever has. It was the movie that made me lie in bed, wide-eyed with vivid images of dozens of tiny little hands coming out from under the bed to grab me and drag me under... to drag me away. I think I was around eight or nine. Definitely old enough to have had the mysteries of movie gore totally explained to me. This movie, however, had not blood, nor ginormous glinting weapons, nor masked menaces jumping from behind doors to fill the screen and startle me. This was a made-for-TV movie that was called Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. It is from 1973. It's about a couple, Sally and Alex Farnham, who inherit an old mansion from Sally's recently deceased grandmother. After moving in, she discovers a bricked-up fireplace in the basement den, and asks the estate's handyman, Mr. Harris to remove the bricks, and allow the fireplace to be used. He reluctantly does so. It turns out some bad little critters come out of that fireplace once it is opened up, and they want the "spirit" of Sally for themselves. The embedded video below is the last eight minutes of the movie, and this is the part that set off a long stint of my life where I made sure every spare item of clothing, and/or all toys that could be spared were shoved into every square inch of space under my bed. I figured, if all that stuff was under there, then the little demons couldn't possibly fit. But just to make sure, I also kept my sheets tucked into the bed so they couldn't get to my feet. I'm not kidding. I still kind of do that last one. At this point in the movie, the little demons have spiked Sally's drink with sleeping pills, cut off the electricity and locked her friend out of the house. Her husband had been over at the handyman's house when Sally called and was abruptly cut off. This clip starts off during the frantic car ride home where we learn why the fireplace was bricked up in the first place. (And yes, the handyman is Uncle Charley from My Three Sons.) Don't be surprised if you sleep smack in the middle of your bed tonight. With the lights on.



ETA: I found out while looking for the clip that Guillermo Del Toro is remaking this movie but it doesn't mention a release date.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The AMY Memorial Random Wikipedia Look-up of the Day

Today I introduce a new feature on R2C, a random wikipedia page found by happenstance, usually while looking up something totally unrelated. It is named in honor of someone known to get lost in the wiki pages for days at a time, neglecting friends and family. She's not dead or anything, but it's named in her honor; hence the "memorial" in the title.

Today's entry started as a search for an episode list of a show on Boomerang. It ended up answering a question I have had for decades. What the hell are the names of the two rodent things from the Looney Tunes cartoons? I can't tell you how many times I have asked that question to friends.

Me: What the hell are the names of the two rodent things from the Looney Tunes cartoons?

Friend: Chip and Dale?

Me: No, not the Disney chipmunks, they were in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, they're also chipmunks, I think. Or maybe squirrels. They're really polite.

Friend: I don't know what you're talking about. Oh, do you mean Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Me: No! Thats three chipmunks, these were only two and they would say things like "After you," "Oh, no I insist, after you," and "Indubitably," in a British accent."

Friend: Oh yeah! I remember those guys. Maybe they don't have names.

Admittedly, a strange conversation to have, but I swear I've had it many, many times. Well, for anyone else that has ever wondered about meaningless crap, and strive to fill your head with useless knowledge that will never come up in conversation unless you can work it in yourself, I give you the name of the two Looney Tune creatures:

(imagine fanfare sounds here)


Mac and Tosh.

Together they are called the Goofy Gophers. The link to their page is here, if you wish to delve further into their story. Me, I was just surprised to learn they were gophers. I guess that explains their tunnels when they were tearing up Bugs' carrot patch. I guess I wasn't very deductive about animal species back in the 70's. Must have been all that Hawaiian Punch and Lik' M Aid warping my little brain.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hallo-won'ts

I just got back from a trip to the party store. My search was pretty much unsuccessful. After searching through the women's costume section, I feel like I just left this place (Not exactly safe for work because of language):

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cayley Practices Her Photoshop/Photo Uploading Abilities




I think I must have scurvy.


First, I was on a quest for lemon juice.





Then, I started adding this to my water.






Then I had an overwhelming craving for Limeade and sent my husband to store for a couple cans of it.




And now this is my favorite beer. It is apparently "inspired by a Mexican recipe with lime and salt." All I know is that it's limey, and not in the derogatory name for an Englishman way. Me likey limey lately.





As a postscript, if you think lime flavored beer is gross, then I can't imaging what you will think of me when I tell you I have found something else I want to try while I was searching for the Miller Chill photo:

I believe I have mentioned before that I like, nay, love Clamato so you know I just have to try this. Mostly just to tell the story of the historic day I was brave enough to conquer the odd concoction that struck fear into the hearts of all around me. And, of course, to see what it tastes like.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NaNoWriMo or Bust!

In 8 short, quickly moving days I will try my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Participants in NaNoWriMo begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

From the website:

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

The fact that somewhere in the vicinity of 99,000 other foolish souls are in this with you helps a lot.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

I tried this last year. I had hit my Stumble Upon button on November 5th and came across the website. I enthusiastically thought, "No preparation necessary? Write like a maniac even if it doesn't make sense? This has my name written all over it!" I got to 7,500 words. My friend AstroJones and I had started a website called Scribe Asylum, which was like a MySpace for writers. We decided to co-opt the idea. We started a challenge called Resolution One: One Month, One Novel. When I tried that novel, I acheived 12,000 words. My goal is to "win" this Nano, but honestly, I'd be happy with 25k.

Wanna join me in this ridiculousness? My user page is here. Make sure you add me as a Writing Buddy. Wanna just watch me suffer? Check in here from time to time. I have a widget in the right hand column that should tell you how I'm doing. It's supposed to tell you my name also, but right now it just says "participant." I'm going by the name of Blinky in honor of my late, great cat (right). We'll see if the widget gets more efficient once November kicks off. Knowing that you, my readers, will be seeing how badly I'm doing should be the impetus for keeping me plugging away. So, you know, uh, thanks for that in advance.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

3rd Annual Squish The Girls Day

I just learned that today is the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Totally coincidentally, last Thursday was my annual mammogram.

I go to the unfortunately named Faulkner-Sagoff Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Centre in Boston. They have night time hours to keep me from having any excuses for putting the procedure off, which is exactly what I wanted to do at first. Three years ago my primary care doctor ordered the mammogram when I told her I had just turned 40. It's the standard age to start such tests, but I was a bit anxious about the whole subject because my mother and paternal grandmother had both had breast cancer. That grandmother's sister and my maternal grandmother both had stomach cancer that metastasized to the brain, so cancer doesn't so much run as flow in both sides of my family.

Knowing all that, I still didn't want to have the test because basically: I heard they hurt. I told myself that all those cancers happened post-menopausally so hey, I had plenty of time before I had to worry about the "C" word.

Three years ago, for my first one after turning 40, I walked in cracking nervous jokes about the impending torture test. This annoyed the nurse doing the procedure to no end. Maybe she was just cranky after a long day at the Iron Maiden, but she told me what she thought about my flippant remarks. Sighing, she said, "I get so tired of women telling me it's going to hurt when they haven't even had one. It's really not that bad. But every time someone gets all freaked out thinking it's going to hurt it makes my job so much harder." It turns out she was right. It didn't hurt at all. It tugs a little up at the pit area, like the twisty, rubbing feeling of the "Indian rope burns" we used to give as kids.

So after that, every time I heard a friend of mine was going in for their mammogram, I assured them completely that there was absolutely no pain at all and they should have no fear or trepidation going into the procedure. And every one of those women have come back to me and said, "I am going to fucking kill you for lying to me like that!" Yeah, apparently it hurts other women. So, sorry to anyone I may have misled. See, I'm not particularly lucky in the breast department. I have them, I'm not flat-chested. The thing is, I'm flat-boobed. If I'm not wearing a bra they just lie there. They have no natural roundness. Let's put it this way: If nipples were eyes, I could read a newspaper I was standing on. So, I guess if they already look like pancakes, squishing them in a machine has virtually no consequence. Finally, I have a reason for my friends to be envious of my chest for a change!

Yesterday I received in the mail my report from the radiologist: Clean. No cancer detected for the third year in a row. And I have already made my appointment for next year because while these boobs ain't getting any younger or better looking, I sure want them to grow old with me.