Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Way to Waste Your Time

Okay, so this isn't strictly Halloween-esque, but it's still a great way to waste your time. Click on the site's link (PICTAPS) and draw your own critter that will dance around for you. Send me a link, etc.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Halloween Reads

Do you like Halloween, but you're having trouble getting into that spooky spirit? Do what I do, and pick up a good book to read. Here are some classics, and some favorites, that are bound to get you in the mooooooooood.

Tales of Mystery and Madness
by Edgar Allen Poe
illustrated by Gris Grimly

Yeah, yeah, you know about Poe already--he is standard Halloween fare. Yes. But go find this version. The illustrations are SO worth it! It includes two of my favorite Poe stories: Fall of the House of Usher and The Masque of the Red Death, and two favorites since I received this book (Rebecca, thank you again and again for this, I LOVE IT), The Black Cat and Hop-Frog.

The Magic Circle
by Donna Jo Napoli

Napoli is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The more I read of her, the more I love her. She tells beautiful stories.

This one is about a witch. Not just about a witch, but how she came to be a witch. And how and why she built a house of candy in the woods, and what really happened when Hansel and Gretel found it. Wonderful book about good versus evil, beautiful story about redemption. Oh, just go and read it already!

Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury

Another classic. If you have never read this one before, perhaps this year is the year to go and pick it up from the library. It's a good read, plenty spooky, and though the ending falls a wee bit flat for some, it works for me.

by Peter S. Beagle

This is one of my favorite books of all time, but I feel I need to recommend it with a warning: people either love Beagle, or they can't stand him. I don't know why. But if you hated The Last Unicorn, probably skip this one. Also, the heroine is a thirteen-year-old snot who changes drastically throughout the book, in a good way. However, she starts off as a thirteen-year-old snot, and her actions and language reflect that. So be warned. Also, it takes a long time to actually get to the spooky stuff, 100 pages or so? Just so you know.

And now that the warning is out of the way--I LOVE THIS BOOK! You want ghosts? English folklore of things that go bump in the night? Ever heard of the Wild Hunt? Interested in a bit of darker English history? You can't read a book that will get you more in the mood, I don't think (I just finished it again).

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving
(or any number of folk that have retold it)

Always a classic. Even if you prefer to watch it on film, there are a large variety of films to choose from (though I would stick to either the Disney version or the Tim Burton version, myself).

Why are you still here? Go to the library, already!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Made You Something

Once Upon a Time...
Wynne was a dork who managed to coerce two coworkers into dressing up together for Halloween. They were the Three Fates. (There they are--aren't they adorable? That's Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. See how they very thoughtfully wore name tags so that all the illiterate would know who they were dressed up as?)

The Three Fates had a wonderful time decorating their office, passing out pamphlets to every person who worked in the building, and during their lunch hour, told any mortal who wanted to know THEIR FATE.

Much fun was had by all.

The End.

Or is it? I was thinking about how much fun I had this particular Halloween, and I thought, that perhaps, I could find a way to do something similar over the Internet.

And so, if you'd like to waste just a few minutes of your time, please click on the link below. (Please. Remember, I made it just for you.)

Would you like to add this link to your site?

Copy the text below the link you want, add an HTML element to your sidebar, and paste text into box. OR paste into a post using the "Edit HTML" tab (Blogger directions only):

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall Is Here!

Do you know what that means? That's right...I am a Halloween junkie, and I am going to be celebrating Halloween here on my blog, because I can. Why Halloween? Why not, say, Christmas or Groundhog Day? What's so great about Halloween, you want to know. Okay, I'll tell you.

My Top Ten Reasons for Why I Love Halloween:

10. It's finally okay to have spiderwebs in the undustable corners of your home.
9. Free chocolate.
8. I love pranks*. Halloween is a great excuse to do them.
7. Socially, it's great fun to watch**.
6. It's a day to let creativity run completely loose (i.e., you have a kleenex, a rubber band, a bunch of markers, and 15 minutes to come up with a costume. Go!)
5. I can dress my kid up any way I want, and even he won't complain, because he knows he's gonna get something sweet out of the deal.
4. I love it because it's solidly FALL at that point: it's cold and there are bright colors everywhere (unless you live somewhere like Vegas, I mean. That is nothing but dirt, year round.) I get an urge to break out the hot chocolate and get snuggly with a blanket and a book when the wind is howling outside.
3. It is a perfect time of year for things like candied apples (or at least, dipping apple slices in melted caramel) and apple, love, love it.
2. Scary stories.
1. Kids can extort candy from adults. Does it get any better than that?
To share my joy, I am going to be hosting two contests here on my blog! The winner of each will receive a bit of Halloween from me, the Queen Dork of Halloween. I can't promise that these packages will be ultra-cool or anything (more than likely, they will be just plain stupid) but at least you'll be getting a surprise in the mail. Now, who wouldn't want that?

Contest winners will be announced on October 16th (this way, I have time to mail you your treats so you get them before the 31st).

Would you like to add a contest link to your site?

Copy the text below the link you want, add an HTML element to your sidebar, and paste text into box. OR paste into a post using the "Edit HTML" tab (Blogger directions only):

*I'm not talking about vandalism or anything mean-spirited, I'm talking about surprising people. Putting a sound-activated spider in the doorway of your office where it couldn't be seen, and a sign out: Clap for Candy. Sitting by the front door dressed as a scarecrow and when the kids get close, suddenly coming to life. Or, my favorite, to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters, I dressed all in black, wore a black cape and a Scream mask, and (here's the prank part) stood on a chair and put a black skirt on the front of it. That way I looked about 7.5 feet tall. When I opened the door for the trick-or-treaters, I didn't say a word. Just bent down over them at the oddest angle and dropped candy in their bags. Most of them completely forgot to say "trick or treat" and just stared. But as soon as I closed the door, there was an eruption of laughter and chattering. What could be better than that?
**It's a holiday with really no significance at all: there is nothing historical or religious that we celebrate about it (don't go off about the origins of Halloween and All Hallow's Eve, the Night When Dead Walk, the Harvest Holidays or anything like that; in America, superstitions as a way of life is DEAD, and there is nothing historical we are celebrating), so why does it continue to be such a popular holiday that we celebrate?
I think it's a way for society in general to let off steam. It is a day for kids (of all ages) to face their fears in a safe environmentthey can face something scary and be brave about itconquering fears of all kinds; or it is a day for some to be able to live out a fantasy and not get ridiculed for it. Say, loads of glitter and wings. It's so fun to watch what different people choose to do with this holiday.

THE CONTEST IS OVER! Click here to see the winners.

Original post as follows:

The idea is to give me your BEST Halloween-related links.

For example, here are a few that I have found over the years:
Carve a virtual pumpkin
Make a scarecrow
Site dedicated to all things Halloween
Ghost stories

And I know there are a lot more out there, and much better sites. (And if someone can find a link to a decent virtual haunted house that isn't cheese-ball or just stupid, I'd be eternally grateful.)

The winner will get a special Halloween package in the mail. From me. And it might even be worth getting, but then again, no, not really. But at least you'll be getting mail, right? Anonymous entries accepted, though if you win, you'll have to 'fess up sooner or later if you want your prize.

All you have to do is put your link in the comments section. How does one create links in the comments? Copy and paste this text into the comment space, and make sure to put your text and your link in.

Contest winner will be announced on midnight* of October 15th!

*No, not really. I won't be staying up that late. But I'm sure I'll get around to it sometime on the 16th. Maybe.

THE CONTEST IS OVER! Click here to see the winners.

Original post as follows:

The point of this contest is to write something...Halloweenie. I suppose I can give you some examples...let's see.... One fairly easy thing to do is take something that already exists and change it a bit. Like a nursery rhyme:

Mary had some leprosy, leprosy, leprosy
Mary had some leprosy
Her sores were white as snow

Every time that Mary tripped, Mary tripped, Mary tripped
Every time that Mary tripped,

Off would fall a toe
Or you could try a Halloween haiku, a limerick, original free verse, prose, fiction, a leprosy-rich perversion of the the Beatles "Yesterday" (I hope you're reading, Marie)whatever floats your ghost. You can send it through the comments for others to enjoy, or you may email me your entry at muskadillo at hotmail dot com.

The winner will get a special Halloween package in the mail. From me. And it might even be worth getting, but then again, no, not really. But at least you'll be getting mail, right? Anonymous entries accepted, though if you win, you'll have to 'fess up sooner or later if you want your prize.

Contest ends at midnight, October 15th*!

*No, not really. I won't be staying up that late. But I'm not going to accept anything sent on or after the 16th, okay? The prize package needs to be there by Halloween, see.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dress Barn

The first time I heard of it, it was on an episode of the Simpson's. I thought they were mocking the titles of discount stores. I laughed.

Then I saw one.

Are you kidding me?

Really, what were they thinking when they named this store? Who marketed this thing? I mean, really.

"The Dress Barn...Where the Cows Go to Shop. Moo."
"Were you raised in a barn? Then you'll love to buy a dress here!"
"The Dress Barn. 100% authentic chicken crap, all the time!"
"Manure is a girl's best friend."
"Who let the dogs out, who, who, who? Who knows. But you can find them all at The Dress Barn, gettin' their clothes on!"

Yeah. Just doesn't send the right message, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Am Not a Berry Lover

I know, I know. How can I not love berries? How is it possible that I moved to Washington state, capitol of the Berry World, and not care for berries?

Yeah, yeah. So what? The fact is strawberries leave me cold; raspberries leave me lukewarm; blueberries I've never even eaten, and I don't have a desire to. And a marionberry? What the crap is that?

But I can't ignore the blackberry, as much as I've tried. I can't even take a walk outside without tripping over a blackberry bush; see flocks of birds flying out of the bushes startled from their blackberry feast; take a drive without spotting a blackberry bramble so huge it could swallow a three-story building in a single gulp. This time of year, the berries are just falling off the bushes in juicy clumps, begging you to take them home and eat them. No, no, they leap off the bushes, straight into your hands, and plead, "oh, pleeeeease eat me! Look how luscious I am! Look at my deep color, how I am oozing with juice! Please! If you don't eat me, that nasty starling will, and his beak is sooo sharp!" Okay, fine. What have I got to lose? They are free berries, after all.

So a week or so ago the child and I marched out in our backyard, over the broken fence, and into the weedy wilderness behind our house. There are blackberry brambles growing in legion out there, and fortunately, they are relatively small brambles. Which means you can actually pick the berries without impaling yourself.

(The first thing that I learned about blackberries is they are dangerous. The juice stains like mad, and as you're picking them, you can't tell if that's juice on your finger or if that last thorn really got you good...and what is with all the thorns?

I rather think that the blackberry bushes are man-eating. See, they lure you inside their prickly innards, tempting you along with sweet and juicy fruity goodness, until suddenly you find you can't turn back. There are thorns on all sides of you, you can no longer see your way out, and then you hear the bramble surrounding you cackle evilly. Then the brambles close in to feed on you, until there is nothing left but a pile of bones and more juicy berries... (yes, I have read Gaiman's Stardust. Why do you ask?))

Once I picked them, I wasn't really sure what to do with them. So I did with them what any sensible woman would do: I tossed them in the blender and tried to make a shake out of them. (The second thing I learned about blackberries is that they are seedy. Very. Did you know this about blackberries? I didn't. Seedy shakes are not good, so I strained the blackberry pulp, threw them back in the blender, then added the ice cream.) Here, a picture of the lovely shakes I made:

Well, it would have been a picture of a shake, but I didn't get the camera out in time. They went pretty fast. Even Jake, the pickiest eater in three counties, had a shake and then asked for more. They were very, very good.

Now that I've had a taste of success, I have over-enthusiastically allowed myself to be talked into making jam with a woman I know. I've never done this, ever. But she says it's easy* and fun*, so I guess I'm going to bite the housewifely bullet and sugar me up some berries and can 'em. I'll let you know how it turns out. (Elizabeth~w, Marieare you still wanting some blackberry jam badly enough that you would want some I made?)

*The same woman has used the same words to describe emergency preparedness, quilting, genealogy, and food storage. I must be an idiot.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why I'm Going to Hell

I make too many jokes about my religion. The fact is, I'm very grateful to be a member of the church and dutifully live the gospel to the best of my imperfect abilities.

But I break commandments like an elephant sitting on a bench made of glued-together popsicle sticks: easily and completely. (Which is why I'm grateful for repentance.)

But that's not the reason I'm going to Hades. Oh no. See, I watch rated-R movies*. And I keep doing it.

I mean, how did Shawshank Redemption lose the Oscar to Forrest Gump? Cinema Paradiso is the best foreign flick I think I've seen, Memento is really one of my all-time favorite movies, despite the violence. Usually, I don't go in for the noir thing, but I loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang even more than L.A. Confidential, but that's just because I like to laugh. Generally, I hate crime movies, horror flicks, and kung-fu, but The Usual Suspects, Shaun of the Dead , and Kung-Fu Hustle are all grand exceptions. Donnie Darko is yet another of my favorites of all time, and we actually own Minority Report and Vanilla Sky, even if Tom Cruise is a prat. And of course, Saving Private Ryan is the best war movie I've ever seen.

Though I have enjoyed all these movies immensely, it wouldn't be a big deal for me to never watch another movie again in my life. I could give them up. I could even toss my window out the TV and not even wince (though the guy walking under the window when I tossed it out probably would do more than that), even if that means no more Lost, The Office, or 30 Rock. Big deal.

The problem is the husband.

That's right. I'm passing the buck. See, it's him who keeps bringing the dumb things home.

Whyyou saydo you simply not watch them? After all, you could be on the computer instead.

Indeed. I mostly am. I can't tell you how many movies I've missed in the years that I've known this man, and how much time I spend on the computer instead. But, darn it, I miss him. And if I'm not watching, and he is, does this mean in the long run we're going to end up in different places anyway? An R movie is such a silly thing to lose your best friend over. So...if he's gonna roast, let me rub the barbecue sauce on myself and jump in with him. I really love that guy.

But, can you picture us on Judgment Day? Like Adam and Eve, standing before our Maker to be held accountable for our actions:

God: Jeff, why hast thou partaken of the forbidden R-rated movies?
Jeff: (points at me) The woman thou gavest me, she brought home the movies and I did partake!
WHAT?!? My own husband will play the pass-the-buck card against me? I should have guessed this was coming. What recourse is left to me?
God: Wynne? What hast thou to say for thyself?
Me: (Points at Jasper the cat) The creature beguiled me, and I did partake!
Jasper: Oh crap. There go my legs.***

*Are you a no-Mo?
Then you might not know
that rated-R movies are a no-no
for those of us who are mo's.**
Jake has really been in to Dr. Seuss lately. Curse that Cat in the Hat.
***Jasper is of course, thinking this, not speaking it. Even if he is a remarkable cat, he cannot speak.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Neverending Meme

Falcor says: End it already, you dork.
And enough with the copyright infringement already.

Am I ever going to finish this dumb thing? Maybe never. Here are the first two parts, just in case you are ridiculous enough to want to see them: Part the First, Part the Second.

And here we go with Part the Third:

Five snacks you enjoy:

  1. Chocolate dipped in chocolate with a chocolate center
  2. Hot chocolate
  3. Chocolate to dip in chocolate fondue
  4. Do I really have to continue? I LIKE CHOCOLATE A LOT.
  5. See previous answers.
Five songs that you know all the lyrics:

I don't think there is one song in the world that meets this description. See, I am horrid with lyrics. When I cannot remember how a song goes, I inevitably make it up as I go. Let's take a few hymns out of the hymn book for example:

High on the mountain top, a badger chased a squirrel.
He ate up the squirrel, and belched to all the world:

Now I ate that squirrel, I think I'm gonna hurl,

Or how about:

Where can I turn for...peas?
Where is my salad?

Where, when my hunger gnaws,
where can I turn?

(Here comes the lightning. You better duck, or it will get you, too.)

OH! Wait! I thought of one! "I like Traffic Lights" by Monty Python! (Okay, not really, but it's really easy to make it up as you go, because that's kind of the point of the song.)

Wait, I can think of one more. I worked at Aspen Grove* for one summer, and anytime there was a birthday (which was every day) we sang this song to the person unfortunate enough to be born on that day:

HappyBirthday, happy,HappyBirthday Thisisyourdaysohavealotoffun(boomboomboom) We'reallwaitingforthecelebration, forthecelebrationtobegin soblowoutthecandleonyourcakeandmakeawish serveeverybody'sfavoritedish(favoritefishboomboomboom) HappyBirthday,happy,HappyBirthday, HappyBirthdaytoyooooooooouuuuuu!

And we sang it just like that, loud as possible, and as fast as possible, and I think that there were probably 6 different versions that were all sung at the same time. In other words, no one who ever heard it (the victims whose birthday it was, and anyone else in the vicinity, I mean) actually understood what it was that we were singing. I think that might have been the unspoken goal between us staffers forced to sing it.

That's only four songs, but I'm moving on.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire billionaire gazillionaire:

Oh, I am already sick of this today. I don't knowpay off school loans? Buy a house? Buy Disneyland? How about buying a nature preserve on an island somewhere and bring dinosaurs back to life? I'm sure I could think of many frivolous things to do with that much money, I just don't want to.

Matter of fact, I think Falco is right. I need to end this right now. Hold on, I'm going to go grab something blunt...

Five bad habits:

Blogging. [THUD] Take that, you ridiculous meme! [THUMP] Die, die!

Five things you like doing:

I don't think I even dented it. Let me go get some explosive.


FivE tHinGs yoU wOUld nEveR wEaR agAIn:

Wow. This doesn't want to die. Maybe I can kill it with sarcasm?

  1. Any item of clothing that got fish guts smeared on it.
  2. Any item of clothing that had any part of any dead animal smeared on it. Especially if I had been rolling in said dead animal. Why I would be doing that, and how I could stand it, I'm not sure, but I'd burn those clothes.
  3. Diapers.
  4. about more explosive?


...F1v3 f*v0r1te t#$s:

I think I got it. That'll teach memes to mess with me.

Perhaps I should have put a warning at the top of this post warning about untoward violence? Hmm...

*Brigham Young University's Family Camp, Aspen Grove. A lot of families, a lot of mormons, plenty of trees, and mountains. Need I say more? Possibly, but I'll save it for another post.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Old Love

At the end of August, I got to go somewhere I haven't been in 8 FREAKIN' YEARS! No, not the dentist, you smart alec. No, it wasn't a shower, eithermy personal hygeine is just fine, quit mocking meno, it was the Pacific Ocean.

Carpinteria, California

My heavens, I love that place.

We went somewhere off the Washington coast, some place with "Gray" in the nameand it was, too: it was overcast, and the ocean was the color of leadand quite frankly, I've never seen the color gray looking so beautiful.

It was Jake's first time digging his toes in the sand of the Pacific, and I dare say he enjoyed himself. Especially the jumping-up-and-down-and-splashing-all-passerby part.

My husband, the dear soul, does not understand why I love the ocean so much. "It's dirty, it stinks, you get sand all over you and in your food, and the water is too cold." (He just doesn't like the thought of sharing swimming space with seaweed, sand sharks, and human sewage.)

I love it because it's magic. The sound of the surf, the salty smell (as long as there are no beached seals or otherwise dead things rotting on the beach—very stinky), the vastness of so much water, and how much life it produces...and how much of that life is absolutely bizzare!

Have you ever heard of the sea cucumber, sort of like an enormous slug, that defends itself from a curious and/or hungry fish by vomiting its innards and scootin' away, leaving its digestive tract for the fish to nibble? (It regenerates its innards later.)

Or how about the starfish (or, rather, if you are going for the new fad in oceanic political correctness, "sea star"), which, in order to eat a shellfish actually pries open the shell and then injects its stomach inside the hole to digest the poor shellfish inside?

How about a "dinoflagellate?" If you are ever fortunate enough to take a walk down the beach at night, you might just look out at the breaking waves and see them GLOW a magical silvery color. Dinoflagellates are tiny lil' buggers that are capable of bioluminescence when disturbed (usually when the wave breaks). Absolutely gorgeous, and surreal to swim out in them: every stroke churns up silver light. And, of course, when there are that many of them, there is bound to be a red tide in a few days afterward that poisons all the shellfish in the area.

How about grunion? Grunion are a small silver fish that wait for a high tide at night, then whole schools of them ride the largest waves up onto the beach to spawn and lay their eggs in the sand. They have to work fast, of course, because the next big wave that comes in will take them all back out to sea. (It is, of course, a free-for-all feeding frenzy for anything that happens to be awake and hungry, because the fish, making the whole beach wriggling and silver, are rather defenseless I've only seen them run once. So far.

The ocean is just awe-inspiring. I could sit and stare at it forever.

Not that Jake let me, of course. So we tried our hand at making dribble-castles* (these Jake immediately knocked over as soon as I got a decent number up), splashing in water, and keeping sand out of our picnic lunch. Oh, how I've missed the ocean!

Carpinteria again

And just because I'm feeling so sentimental about it, and because I am a big enough dork to do this**, I present you with another muska-delish bit o' poetry:

Gills and Lungs

There comes a time at twilight
when the sea
and the shore
have no difference between them.
The air is thick with water; the water
is smooth with air.
A wave cradling grunion sighs
ashore. The silvery fish flip onto the sand
in silence, and the beach is
alive with gills drinking air.
If a man swims into the water then
he would breathe the ocean.
His lungs would fill with the dark
tide and glow under his skin
until the heavens reflect him
in stars.

Carpinteria at sunset

*If you don't know what a dribble castle can I describe them? You pick up a handful of the wettest sand possible, and let it dribble in a single stream out of your hand, and if it is the right consistency, it looks like this. I guess some people call them "sand trees," but those people are silly.
**Did you know only dorks write poetry and then publish it on their blogs? And I am the Queen of the Dorks, I truly am.