Thursday, October 29, 2015

October, All Over

Chan did the annual cosplay ball, the parents went out to do the ghost walk and to eat.

A few shots from the ghost walk:

This tree looks like something with one eyeball and 2 arms



Rho stayed the weekend.  It started off with Jake miserable, but I think even he got bored after a while.  They got along fine for a change.
We went to see Crimson Peak on Sunday before meeting up with Amanda.

On Monday, Jake went to an open house for law enforcement hopefuls.  He really liked it and hopefully he will be able to work it so he can go this next year until he's 21.  It's a great way to get his foot in the door.  His job is good for the schedule now, but I am not sure if it's the best job for him.  The hours are super early and short-he's leaves just after 3 a.m. and is back by 9.  He's struggling with the work load and takes what seem to be minor things such as falling behind a little as these huge events that color the rest of the day.  Then he has a good day and everything is great.  Then a bad day and it's doom and gloom again.  The whirlwind is stressful.  But if he goes to a 9-5 job, he can't do the police thing.  It's a lot for him to consider.  I am staying out of it, other than to try to cheer him some when the day goes badly in his mind.  He doesn't have anything to compare it to, so every time his boss mentions he needs to do this or change that, he takes it more personally than I think strictly necessary.  But, I don't know.  Maybe Jake is the worst employee ever.  They keep texting him to come back in the next day no matter how abysmally he feels he's done.  Maybe they are filming him for a new 'what not to do' video for new hires.  I don't know.  I try not to dwell, but that's not super easy.  I want things to go well for him, for him to be starting out on the adult phase of his life and not this merry go round of turmoil he seems to be in instead.

The chicken factories are done, so far as I can tell.

On Thursday, we went to see American Horror Story, which in this instance was the story of Lizzie Borden.  As a ballet.  Afterward, Chandler had to find the wiki as we had NO IDEA what happened in the middle 30 minutes, other than LOADS of dancing.  Turns out, she joined the church.  I never would have guessed that, ever.
I told Ben the primary ballerinas had wood blocks in their shoes and on the way to the van, he got REALLY irate that I told him about that.  I don't know if it freaked him out or what.
Chandler said they asked the art department, "Who wants to paint some non-oxidizing blood from no discernible source?" which made me laugh until I had hiccups.  It was true, though.  Blood isn't red for long.  And it's green if you bleed out in water deeper than 30 feet.  Just so you know.

On the way back, we stopped at Mulberry Fork and took a couple pictures.  The fall color this year is subdued, some trees are already bare, some have not turned yet and there are a few here and there that are painfully bright, but only a few.

Below, I have the DRAMATIC filter on to get the clouds.

And that's it.  Next week starts a whole new month, even though I don't feel like October even happened.  What a crazy fast month!  I thought so many changes would make it seem slower, but I don't know if anything can slow the rush of time, other than walking.  Seems like I manage to feel every minute when I am having to get back to the van.  hahaha.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Scary Movies

I watch about 60 movies a year and run through 70 or so dvds, usually with Matt, watching TV shows and such. That's 2 or 3 a week, or our 2 dvd Netflix membership supplemented with the occasional local rental, maybe 3 a month. Not a whole lot considering the average kid in school watches 5 hours a tv a day.

My whole point in this was to highlight the absurdly high ratio of scary movies I still manage to mow through. I don't like what I think of as torture porn. Man terrorizes anyone (usually a woman) via bondage, fear, and/or mutilation or slasher movies where the body count ends up being everyone but the virgin. Especially when the victim in any situation is able to knock over the bad guy...and then they run. No. If their head is within reach and you have a weapon, you keep hitting until there are visible brains. Preferably breaking some other bones along the way, but mainly avoiding recapture. There are many delicate things located in the delicate head area. Eyeballs, nose, ears, throat.  HIT THEM HARD.

Many scary movies rely heavily on gimmick and gore and that can be fun at times-I fully enjoyed Sharknado, a movie with a body count in the double digits and not even the barest nod toward science. But in general, it's just more of the same and sooooo overdone. The scariest thing about some of those movies may be how banal seeing a person's life being taken from them can become. That's not entertainment, it's...torture porn. I am still working out the difference, like Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies and people die left and right in it. Maybe it's the survivors surviving vs slashers slashing?

Anyway. Here are my picks for the year, some are not from this year, but I can't help when I see them. Since it's nearly Halloween, I will pair them with a snack suggestion.

Netflix Instant:

I wrote about this one when I saw it, but it's a good layered story even with the plot holes.
Pair with a chocolate bar, the siblings had a childhood gone wrong. What better way to soothe the inner child?

An American Ghost Story.
6 actors, no high tech effects. Just a ghost story that has such good boo moments that I squealed. One particular effect where the main character (who wrote the movie!) falls through a doorway is delicious. I laughed so hard, talk about an oh shit moment.
The main character is alone 90% of the movie, but is likeable and is friendly, gentle, and calm. It somehow makes him feel more vulnerable without making him wimpy. Like he's open to what's going on, but no fool. It's a good movie, I hope he does more.
Pair with MnMs. You'll need something to occupy the moments between scares.

The Awakening.
Creepy and scary, set in a boys boarding school in an isolated area during an earlier era. The protagonist is a female supernatural debunker, hired to calm the boys and parents after a boy dies and rumors fly about him haunting the school. Battling inner demons of her own, she sets out to find answers. With science!
Pair with tea and scones. It's British.

Don't Blink.
I don't usually like movies where there's something wrong from the start and the people involved barrel ahead anyway. Especially if the main barrel aheader is a dumbass bully. But the effects in this are so well done, when it ends you just wonder what happened. Here's a hint: people disappear.
Pair with gummy worms. No reason, I just like them.

The Babadook.
This needs to be watched twice because the first time you cover your eyes too much. Also, the mother/child combo the movie focuses on is so disfunctional you want to line them up and slap them both. It's almost distracting as you think maybe it would be okay for them to be eaten by a character from the scariest children's book ever. Then you start getting into the story and realize the shreds of sanity that poor mother has left are wafting in the breeze and unless she can get her act together, they really might get devoured. By a book? By their grief? By their sheer disfunction? What's the turning point, and how close is it to the breaking point?
Pair with pretzels. You can scare the bejeebers out of your viewing friends with a well placed crunch.

The House at the End of Time.
From Venezuela, this movie has a female main character who has been released after a 30 year sentence for killing her whole family. Still under house arrest in the very house the murders took place, the local priest gets enlisted to help find out exactly what did happen that night.
Pair with nacho chips and cheese dip. Because they are yummy and also vaguely Hispanic. To Americans anyway.

Stonhearst Asylum
Based on a Poe story, it's got it all. Creepy location, period drama feel, a love story, a mystery needing answers. Arriving as a young and very new doctor, our main character quickly discovers they keep the most insane tenants in the basement. He pops down for a visit and finds them appearing quite sane and claiming to be the actual staff of Stonehearst. Pair this one with Twizzlers, you'll appreciate the twists.

Killer Legends
This is actually a documentary focused on discovering the origins of 4 popular uraban legends. I enjoyed it, it's a good chance to learn more about the genre and get a new perspective.
This film needs Nutty Buddies so you can peel off layers while the team unravels some history.

On dvd:

The Orphanage
A good haunted house horror film, it's about a woman who has convinced her husband to buy and reopen the orphanage she spent a happy childhood in, this time for ill children. Odd, I know. After moving in, her own unwell adopted son disappears and the ghosts in the house may or may not actually be helping her find him.
Pair with Milk Duds. Seriously.

A time travel movie with a plot so easy to follow yet so difficult to absorb that you will lie awake and think about it.
Pair with those 2 colored cheese sticks. Or some Mike and Ikes.

This movie is more tense than scary and I admit I only added it because Jason Statham is in it and I somehow missed it when it came out.
A boy in need of money badly stumbles upon a way to make some fast. The only catch is, he has no idea what it entails. He assumes the identity of a dead man to get in the door and discovers he's now a player in a game with some very high stakes.
Pair with almonds, you don't need any more sugar if you've made it this far.

At the theater:

Crimson Peak
Period drama, ghost story, love story, creepy on many levels and the ghosts are black and rattle and moan and are scary. Once the movie moves to the house above the mines, the creepy factor jacks up as the blood red clay the family fortune was built on becomes another character, oozing up, sliding down, bubbling over and slicking the walls, coloring everything it comes in contact with. I thought Alabama was bad, but our red clay has nothing on this place. The movie goes some surprising directions, there are leaves in the house-but no trees nearby, the women are strong characters and despite being certain there are nefarious plots in motion, you end up being caught up in the love story aspect as well. Tom Huddleston does some amazing acting with just those blue eyes of his. It's a very enjoyable movie to sit back and watch.
Seeing Bobby from Supernatural was a nice surprise, too.
Pair with theater popcorn, but skip the giant soda. There's not a good spot to run pee and it's a solid 2 hours long.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Forgot to publish this!

It's been an odd month, very dry despite the beginning being endless cloudy days.  There's a wildfire at Bankhead, the whole Forest is closed.  It started at the Big Tree.  After evacuating hikers all weekend, forest service then put out no less than a dozen unattended campfires.  The dumbassery is astounding.

It's already more than halfway through the month and we have not been overrun by ladybugs.

Last week, in an effort to be more social, we went with the Huntsville Teen Scene to Chuck E Cheese's.  None of the other moms talked to me.  And none of the kids interacted with my kids at all, though two of them fought like toddlers with each other and had to leave.

Despite it being a bust for meeting any new folk, it was still fun to go, we have not been in 5 or 6 years at least.  This Chuck's was different, it had very few skill games, it was mostly luck.

We do love the photo ID maker!

We combined our tickets for an even 600!  Chan was chosen to spend them, she got 4 silly straws, a bag of cotton candy and 2 manta rays.

Counting their bounty!

That evening, we stripped most of the horrid pink (sorry, I didn't like it!!) and I dyed Chan's hair blue and turquoise.

I love it!

Over the weekend, we tried to go to the Horrorfest at the drive in, but even arriving an hour early, it was PACKED.  So we came home and stayed up until 3 watching scary movies.  We gave Phoenix a Babadook Dook Dook complex.  hehehe

On Sunday we played Asian, making sushi and bubble tea.

Jake can't figure why the hell he put mustard in his sushi.  Neither can I.

On Monday, Jake went in for a final interview and they go confused and started training him on truck driving.  So they sent him home and told him to come back Tuesday.  As he was not being hired to drive a truck.

He worked a full week, so I guess after all that stressing-he suddenly has a job.  It's from 4:15 to 8:30 in the morning, so it's like nothing has changed-he's still home in bed and sleeping half the day while everyone else is up.  hahaha

Fashion Show!

The girls were asked to be in the Aveda Breast Cancer Awareness fashion show on Friday. A chance to dress in costume, get their hair done crazy, wear scary shoes and have someone do their makeup?  Yes please!  This year the theme was Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton version.

Every show has a basic theme and the designers then have something to narrow their focus on, and wild variations on the theme are allowed, even encouraged.  Some go traditional, some go goth, some go super pretty, some show more skin.  It's a great way for the students to collaborate and plan, then go right into the practical side of dealing with a model whose hair won't do that thing or realizing 10 minutes before lineup that no one thought about shoes and the whole time working to deadlines.

Each model has a team to choose and design wardrobe, then hair, then makeup.  This show was a little different, the girls all wore high-end clothing and foo-foo jewelry that arrived moments before the show and was whisked away moments after.  Rho's shoes and tights alone hit the $500 mark.  Eep.  It was not the usual funky and fun piecemeal costumes with bits from here and there. Or at least the bits were not the usual recycled and upcycled fare.  It was still fun!

Chandler is giddy that traffic held us up and we arrived a full 25 minutes late.  ACK

Gina and I dropped the girls once they found where they needed to be and ran across to Earth Fare to get them some food.  They ate approximately 7 bites before the show.  I ended up putting it back in the van.

The waiting is the hardest part.

As with every show, almost as soon as progress is made on hair, it's time to stop and do the walk-through.
The students line up to watch their 'baby' and chatter about details and what's left to finish up before final line-up, which is 90 minutes away.

Since the girls are not going through with the student's models, they get to watch the whole thing, then Rho is whisked away for hair.  I lost Phoenix-I could see where they were working on hair through some glass, but could not find a door!  So I stuck with Rho for a bit, then found Chan again.

Hair's done, time for makeup!

Mad Hatter

what are friends for?

Makeup done, time to play with the camera until Pheonix popped in from parts unknown to join us.

You have to shove Phoenix out from in front of the lens when your shutter finger starts getting tired.
That's not a complaint.

These two were after the show when Phoen and Rho put flowers in Chan's hair.

Time for the show!
I was in the balcony again and Aveda does not light for cameras of my caliber, so I shot what I could.
There were around 40 models, I did not shoot them all.

After the show!

Cookies.  It's what's for dinner.

Afterward, we went to Waffle House and the girls snarfed Earth Fare snacks the whole way there.
Waffles, eggs, hashbrowns and a grilled cheese sandwich, lots of coffee for the coffee drinkers and Chan and I had our sodas topped with vanilla the way we like.  Perfect end to the day!