Monday, October 26, 2009

Monster Lips

No, I'm not talking about Lisa Rinna. Just the greatest Walgreen's find of the century.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkin Suds

I know this comes off as sarcastic but I do truly love how shopowners try to shoehorn their wares into the season. This little Jack is getting a shampoo - either that or his brains are coming out. And I like it.

Monster Lovin!

The annual changing of the nightlight

Owls are great and all and a perfect symbol for night-light-ism, but come October they've gotta jobshare.




Paul Frank is my fiend

Because who doesn't love a good window display:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New spooky ball formation a la Zoey

I've written about my cat's eerie ball arrangements before - toy balls, people, geez - so you can imagine how I felt when I came home the other day to find this:

*sniff* so proud. so creepy. it's a yin-yang thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Owl from Turkey

The man got back from a 3-week trip to Turkey this week and he brought me a sweet little carved owl from the Mediterranean coast. Check it:

Pretty cool, huh? I have a small owl collection - sort of a subset of my h'ween collection - that I'm really trying to keep that way, but this is a worthy addition. I know full well how trendy owls have become the last few years and they've probably jumped the shark by now, god willing. But for me, they have special resonance.

As kids, our house sat on a hill in Danville and a huge great horned owl - who must have lost his way from Mt. Diablo - used to swoop down and hang out on our balcony. He even got comfortable enough to let my brother feed him chopped meat from a heavily gloved hand. We called him Owly. Yeah, we were super clever kids.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quest for Pumpkins

Last weekend, I went squash hunting with friends Bruce and Robin. We also brought R's adorable boys, Jacob and Johnny, because what is a trip to a pumpkin patch without a couple of beards? A lot less awkward, that's what.

We started at an out-of-the-way corn maze. One that had that mom-n-pop feel. Actually, more like a mom-don't-keep-your-eye-off-pop-because-he's-chatting-up-the-younger-ladies joint, to be more accurate. But it had an abandoned truck out front, a rickety barn and probably Boo Radley in the attic. Score.

Despite these humble signs, the corn maze was really pretty good. There was enough real estate to spook the kids (yes, Robin is that kind of mom - meaning: my kind of mom). Then we got lost and Bruce had to blast us a new path - yes, we're those kind of maze-goers.

After a quick stop at Duarte's, wondrous home of artichoke soup and ollalieberry pie, we found the pumpkin patch of my childhood dreams. It was more like a theme park with a haunted house, huge-ass hay bale maze (open for p.m. flashlight tours), hayrides, pony rides. In. Sane. And of course, there was the veritable river of pumpkins.

The kids got a wagon of jack-worthy squash, I got one shaped like Nixon's head and we all got that old-timey autumnalness of the central coast. I also got a loaf of artichoke bread to go with my Sunday night martini.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pre-h'ween in LA, Night 3

My last night we did a mystery dinner. I was a serving wench (read: ho) - not sure why I was assigned this. So against type.

Sugar was a horror writer and here we are rockin it:

Needless to say, I did not guess the murderer, since it was not me. :-( I get really confused after about an hour and everyone starts to fling accusations and I start wanting my woobie.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pre-h'ween in LA, Night 2

Great timing is not normally in my wheelhouse. Live and learn, maybe next time, and oh well it'll come out soon on DVD, are my watchwords.

So I was nerdily delighted when a rare "Trick 'R Treat" showing fell into my lap. The only night we didn't have plans happened to coincide with a one-night screening of this elusive internet sensation.

For whatever reason, the suits decided not to give this homage to h'ween a wide release or really any release at all and people like me were left wringing their werewolf gloves in agony.

Of course, today is the day that it's being released on dvd (yay!), but I figured, how great to see it on the big screen with several fellow-minded horror geeks?

Well before the 8 pm start time, a line began to form outside the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax, a cool little indie place that reminded me exactly of the art house screens in Palo Alto, Berkeley and other college towns of my homeland. What I hadn't realized was the entire horror program the theater had planned for the whole month - a good mix of popular and obscure films and, and! a rare festival of Jose Mojica Marins, the Brazilian phreak who I've come to love, thanks to IFC. The fact that there are practically no horror festivals in SF this year made it hard to hide my jealousy.

To keep us occupied, a member of the staff strolled the line offering candy from a giant, splintering easter basket. Maybe it was the basket's shoddy workmanship, or the fact that this woman weighed about 90 pounds, but sadly, seconds after she began her rounds, she dropped the whole thing. I know it was cruel but there was something grimly hysterical about it. Sort of like Kevin on the Office with his big kettle of chili.

Anyhow, the event-ness was great, but not as great as the film. If you haven't seen it, get thee to a dvd. It's the first film I can think of that really nails every tenet of the holiday and in such an entertaining way. Brian Cox (the first Hannibal who also boasts two of my favorite things on his resume, Rushmore and Deadwood) was frickin amazing as was Sookie herself. Yes, Anna Paquin. Such incredible foresight of director Michael Dougherty, who there to do a Q and A, to put this now-horror icon in his first film.

The best part, though, was Sam. I won't say anymore than that - don't want to ruin the fun. But as Sugar said, he's the most darling evil figure ever.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pre-h'ween in LA, Night 1

So I just got back from an early halloween weekend in LA with Sugar Sue and Friends(R). We did this for the first time two years ago and it was great! It's awesome to get some time with kindred H'ween spirits.

My first night we went to Knott's Scary Farm. I know they call it the Halloween Haunt now, and there's probably some "good" marketing reason for it, but I think the original name is perfect.

Like last time, we went to the pre-scare boo-ffet (see what they did there?) – not for the food but because you get to go into the park a full hour early. So worth it. As hinted, the food is nothing special but it's not college dining hall either. They take a stab at themed desserts but the creepiest things are the guys under the hot orange lights slavishly waiting to slice your fatty prime rib. Or whatever that meat was.

Also, as you eat, you get to look forward to having various "cast members", as they're called, sneak up on you, scare the crap out of you and apply the heimlich, if needed. I find myself wondering about this choking aspect a lot when I'm there and whether it's an explicit part of the training. It's just how my mind works.

Then we pee (a must) and wait for the gate to open while creatures start to gather around you like a noose. I'm not kidding. The sun starts to set and you do begin getting a weird foreboding feeling.

And then, bam! The doors open and you're off to get as many passes at the haunted log ride as possible until the lines start to form. Yes, I said haunted log ride. I don't get it either but it's fun. Log ride + people jumping out at you = nice opening gambit to the evening. They make some kind of effort to create a backstory about mauled firefighters, but it's never made sense to me. Plus, October is still fire season in LA so it seems a tad dark, as Sugar Sue puts it.

Then it's the similarly klugey marriage of the train ride infested with giant spiders and we're off to the mazes – all 13 of them, an apt number. And as you walk through the park, this year infused with way too much eye-watering fake fog, you get accosted by more cast members.

At first, you think, I don't know if my nerves can take this all night but then it happens – the awesomeness. By hour two you're so filled with adrenaline you feel GREAT. The scares put you in some kind of nirvana that's hard to explain. Let's just say, it's a good time.

There are 3D mazes, clown mazes, insane asylum mazes, usually a lame maze promoting a current-ish movie, creepy doll mazes and so on. My favorite this year was the haunted cornfield – it was a rare outdoor maze filled with hay bales and creepy-ass dudes in burlap hoods. Scary because in some parts of the country, this could totally happen. I know, right?

There are also pseudo freak shows – fire-eaters, fire-dancers, etc. We even saw this guy stick a nail through his bicep. The whole time you know there's a trick to it and you keep waiting to figure it out until you look at each other and breath, dude, I think it's real. We left shuddering and looking for Snoopy cookies.

By about 11:30, my dogs are barking but I'm trying to re-visit the best mazes as many times as I can. Eventually, middle age wins out and I walk zombie-like to the car. There's a post-scare breakfast served from 1 a.m., which always sounds like a great idea the day of and always sounds ridiculous on our way out. So, so, so grateful that Sugar's boyfriend drives us home.