Halloween is the Best Thing Ever

Holy Hell, Halloween is tomorrow. I just barely got my pumpkins carved in time! My printer is broken so I couldn’t print out any stencils, and what I ended up with are a bunch of less than optimal Jack-O’s.

Updated: now that it’s dark I’ll show off my pitiful Jacks. Not perfect but I’m committed to getting better, no matter how many pumpkins I have to disembowel.

cannibaljack halloween pumpkin

Ghosty-oOOooOooO I woooon't staaaay liiit...

Oh well. *shrug*

I’ve been making myself feel inferior by googling the most awe-inspiring, wicked-cool pumpkins. Check them out! This is the pumpkin I really wanted. I just couldn’t get it right:

Shut Up and Take My Candy

I sure hope this meme is kicking around next year! I looooove Futurama. Have I mentioned that? Futurama and Halloween together can only be a good thing.

And look at this Death Star. Just look at it. I never would have though of this in a million years:


Artist Scott Cummins, of pumpkingutter.com made this Chewbacca Jack-o-lantern and has some serious mad skillz. I highly recommend visiting his website to feel totally bummed about your own pumpkin-carvery:

Chewbacca Pumpkin Carving

Courtesy of i09, a Dalek, complete with egg-beater, and toilet-plunger:

Marvel at this Ten pumpkin. You can get the template at Pink Ray Gun:

Legend of Zelda. Awesome, huh? Via hellogiggles.com:

If you still have punkies to carve and a printer, you can go to the Think Geek blog where they have a whole catalogue of geeky stencils! Check it out here. Here’s a sample:

pumpkin template Dalek by Ashley S.     pumpkin template Mockingjay by Nicole H.    pumpkin template An Unexpected Pumpkin by @lil_monmon

Flash Friday Squeaks in Under the Line

I don’t know what this is. I really don’t. Maybe it will be something someday. I like Nieman, and his friend with the recurring dream, so I may take the effort to figure out who they are.

There’s an orange dusty sky and orange earth packed like cement. The grass is dry and ratty and makes a rustling crunch under my feet. The hot wind tries to sandpaper me away, but I’m not a mountain and I won’t standstill long enough to be eroded. The inverted pyramid stands in the middle of the dead field defying everything I know about the way monumental buildings are constructed. I put my hand on the huge stone slab that angles up seamless into the sky and suddenly I am inside. I am in a bare chamber and one of the little men (or women? I don’t know) shows me a baby wrapped in what appears to be a cloth sugar bag. There’s an inscription and a baby and a dog barks and I am awake again.

I stand and look out the window.

“It is the dream you always have. Isn’t it?”

Nieman laughs shrilly, and then rubs his finger and thumb into his eyes. He sighs heavily before continuing.

“I don’t exist,” he says. “I mean, I guess I do, but I don’t. I shouldn’t, anyway. I’m not real.”

I turn back from the window, and look at Nieman, sprawled on the bed, or as much of him as I can see in the moonlight anyway.

“The philosophers told me I couldn’t change history. But I’ve changed it so many times that I must be the only constant left.  No universe could exist that contradicts itself – whatever happens has always happened. Well, fuck you, Mr. Novikov.”

Nieman paused and waved away an imaginary Novikov.

“Because now, I’m not real.” He went on. “I wasn’t born and I won’t die. I just am. Over and over. Forever, I guess.”

Neiman wanted to be real very badly; he talked about it all the time. I frowned at him.

“All you do is sit around here and watch TV,” I pointed out. “You don’t seem very anxious to do anything at all.”

“This wasn’t the plan, you know. I had other ideas. Stupid ideas.”

I raised my eyebrows, and waited silently.

“I thought I could see all the pieces laid out in front of me. In my infinite wisdom I thought just a little nudge, a little jiggle, and the pieces would come back together in a different way.”

“I think I’ve heard this speech a thousand times now, Nieman.”

“Oh you’ve heard it more than that,” Nieman replied. I could hear him smiling in the dark. He patted the bed, and I draped myself over the blankets.

“You know what I think? I think the universe has sealed you off, so you can’t do any more damage. I think you’re stuck here.”

The universe. Or something else.” Nieman laughs, his face striped black and white in the moonlight.

I reach over and he feels very real, despite his protestations.

‘Did You Know Gaming’ is the Best Thing Ever

These guys don’t need my endorsement, but I’m giving it anyway. Delicious, nerdly gaming trivia served up in a quick, shiny format for the short of attention. Check it out:

Here’s one of their takes on Mario:

And this Pokemon video, with a great blooper at the end:

And they have a whole website full of bite-sized trivia to enjoy! You should definitely waste some time over there today. Right now, in fact. Go! Be free! Away!

It’s the best thing EVER.

Flash Friday in My Happy Place: Post-Apocalyptic Wal-Mart

This week I decided to write about my happy place: post-apocalyptic Wal-Mart. This bit of narrative circles around the edges of the Angry Re story, but isn’t directly connected.

I stand in the entrance inspecting the empty metal framing of the doors, wrenched and crooked in the overcast evening light. The two sets of twisted metal door frames once made a gleaming crystal vestibule. The glass is long since shattered or taken away and repurposed by the Survivalists. I’m relatively safe from them here, as they travel in well-armed groups and are never silent. There’s no distant cackling laugh, no rough camaraderie to send me crouching into a corner, hoping I’m dirty enough to match the dust-striped shadows. Everything of value has been stripped, in waves, in the years since the Accident so there’s no reason for Survivalists to hang around.

First the televisions, computers, tablets were looted when everyone still thought the lights would come back on. Including me. A few well prepared people were hunkered down with their emergency generators and seventy-two-hour emergency bags, waiting for the proper authorities to sort things out. The Survivalists snickered in their bunkers.

Then the food. When new found dark and quiet stretched on into weeks I started raiding the shelves. Lots of people did – no one had the skills to find their own food. The bread was already a mass of blue spores, but there were still cans and can openers. I drank down the canned vegetables salty brine and all and chewed the coffee grounds straight.

Then people started to pick over the fixtures. They used the wood, metal, and glass for patching up buildings, fortifying fences. Things got serious very quickly.

My steps echo too loud in the silence, and my feet scuff through layered dust and mouse droppings, glass crumbs and rock-fall from the decaying roof. Rays of grey light spear through the crumbling ceiling highlighting the dust I’ve stirred up. The few remaining shelves are bare except for the remains of cardboard boxes, shredded and scattered by what I wish were mice, but which are probably rats.

The steel arms that hold up the shelves have mostly been scavenged. I have a neat pile of them at home, and one looped into my belt. They look strangely like the scattered bones of a long-dead cyborg, even though I know they are no such thing. But they are light and strong, and can make an awful dent in a Survivalist’s forehead. It makes me cringe just remembering it: the twitching and blood, and after too long the sudden stillness.

But here, in the relative safety and quiet, I can stand erect and run my hands along the few shelves that still defy gravity, resolutely perpendicular. The grime makes little gray ovals on my fingertips, and I tap the counters once twice three times for luck. Toward the back of the store, I climb unsteadily past an overturned counter, twisted and broken, a heaving metal avalanche. Fat sparrows sweep in and out of the hole where the roof gapes open to the sky. I can hear the faint coo of rock doves nesting in the rafters as I pass under it.

Back under another overturned counter I can just hear what I have come for. An unearthly chittering gets louder as I pick my way closer. A glossy raccoon pops out from under the counter. Somewhere underneath is a den, with fat wrestling babies. The old lady has mostly ignored me as she went about her business. I’ve spent nights following her, watching as she stood silent by the little murky pond and caught frogs by hand.

I tried it too, and one night I was successful.

Nostalgic Canadiana is the Best Thing Ever

Maybe it’s because it is Fall, and I’m feeling nostalgic. Maybe it’s because daughter 2 came home from school singing ‘The Cat Came Back.’ But I pulled up YouTube and said, “Have you seen the video for The Cat Came Back?” Here it is:

I know, right? If you feel the same nostalgic pull as I do from this song, I can pinpoint your age and location pretty accurately. But one thing led to another, and we ended up watching this too:

Sung by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, this video is probably the most stereotypically Canadian thing ever made.

Both shorts were created under the auspices of the National Film Board of Canada. The NFB, a branch of the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, was created in 1939, and today boasts a catalogue of over 13 thousand films, which have amassed over 5000 awards. You can watch the great majority of these films at www.nfb.ca

But I was on a roll and it led to this:

You can watch a bunch of the Hinterland Who’s Whos on YouTube. And also this wonderful parody:

And this, which always makes me cry:

And this for good measure:

I still, to this day, randomly exclaim, “I smell burnt toast!”

All the Heritage Minutes are available for free at the Dominion Institute’s website. These 3 series of shorts populated Canadian television the same way Schoolhouse Rock populated American TV (we had those too, on the station out of Erie, Pennsylvania). If you’re Canadian, and about my age, this is a good way to waste an afternoon. Nostalgic Canadian television is the best thing ever!




Flash Friday: Farutto the Third

Parts of this, my Thomas the Rhymer Story, are here and here. Of all the things I’m picking at, this is in the most danger of ever getting done. I have the clearest idea of where it needs to go, and in what order. And (most importantly) I still like it. It has a bunch of oddball characters, which makes me happy. Here is the main character at work:

“When you’re a nail, everything looks like a hammer.”

John Farutto raised an eyebrow, “I think it’s, ‘When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail’.”

Estel Wolfman had long unkempt hair and a full yeti beard. He was the progeny of two inveterate hippies and it showed. He ran his fingers through his hair and then held it into a ponytail as he talked.

“It works both ways,” Wolfman continued. “It’s all about perception. Maybe you weren’t really qualified for the job. Maybe it wasn’t because you’re a dead white male, but it will always seem that way from your perspective.”

“I’m not dead,” Farutto muttered, turning away. He sprayed some Ready to Use All Purpose Cleaning Solution onto the counter and wiped half-heartedly. The neon sign outside reflected in the surface of the counter. Hammermassig Video. Wolfman wandered away and began re-shelving new releases. Gradually. One by one.  He chattered on as he worked.

“What were you applying for again? I can’t keep track.”

The front door tinkled as a customer came in. She was dressed in a blue cotton shirt with her name stitched above the breast pocket, and black cargo pants. She sighed and wandered around frowning at the available movies.

“I’m a civil engineer; I applied for a job with the City.” Farutto answered.

“Civil engineer, huh? What a load. Who needs a degree to say we need new roads? That’s pretty obvious.” Wolfman glanced at Farutto out of the side of his eye.

Farutto knew that Wolfman was trying to get him started on a rant, but it still worked. It was a skill Wolfman had.

“There’s so much more to it than that,” he began when he was interrupted by the store’s only customer.  She turned to Farutto.

“Any suggestions?” Blue Collar Woman asked.

“I suggest you read a book.  This book for instance,” Farutto said, waving a tattered paperback at the woman, “This book is pure genius.  It’s part of a series by Lynn Ash and the final book is coming out in a few weeks.”

Blue Collar Woman wasn’t sure what to make of this, “I’d just really rather just see a movie. I’m tired. I just want to lie on the sofa.”

“Sure,” Farutto answered, “Well they are all pretty much the same, all the new releases are crap.  This one,” he offered, pointing, “has a great part where buildings fall down. Or this one is your standard romantic comedy. Happy ending guaranteed.”

He waggled the empty box and smiled encouragingly.

Just pick one and get out, he thought.

“I think I’ll just go somewhere else,” the woman replied frowning.

As she left, the bell on the door tinkled behind her.  Farutto didn’t hear Wolfman walk over to stand beside him.

“Good show, moron.  You’re going to get your ass fired.”

Doctor Who Crossplay is the Best Thing Ever

Crossplay is the cosplay equivalent of Rule 63. Which is one of the best rules there is. 🙂

Cosplay.com defines it thusly:

Crossplay (verb) = a subset of cosplay: to wear a costume where the character in question is of the opposite sex as the cosplayer.
Crossplayer = either a girl wearing a costume of a character who is a guy, or a guy wearing a costume of a character who is a girl.

If I ever, ever, ever, finish my scarf, I plan to be the 4th Doctor for Halloween (knit like the wind little Raven! Knit like the wind!). I’ve been looking around for instructionals and howtos and I found this awesome awesomnity (sure it’s a word. Now.):

via Sock-Monkey-Renegade’s DeviantArt

Not the Doctors I was looking for, but amazing nonetheless.

Again with the Sock_Monkey-Renegade’s DeviantArt

Ten is my favourite Doctor. I think Nine was a better actor, but Ten wanted it more.

go to http://sock-monkey-renegade.deviantart.com/ to check out all the awesome.

Anyway, it helps that the cosplayer is half-Scottish, and looks a smidge like David Tennant to begin with. But it gets better: I’ve long said that DeviantArt is the source from which all good things spring. And it is. Sock-Monkey-Renegade also has a wonderful FtM howto for these photos.

From this:

OMG it’s Annie Lennox! Oh. Wait…

To this:

Sock-Monkey-Renegade's Profile Picture

…in only about a half dozen steps. Pretty incredible huh? Considering I think I’m doing well to smear on a bit of black eyeliner and smudge on some black lip gloss. I’m pretty impressed. I don’t want to post the whole thing, so check it out here. I encourage you to view it repeatedly, in fact. It’s the best thing EVER.

Doctor Horrible Easy Reader (Or What I Do When I’m Bored)

I hate early readers; they are uniformly boring. My kids hate them too. Today I got bored and did this at quickmeme. This is my first go, and I’m obviously no professional, but it was fun and I hope Daughter 2 likes it. I’m going to print it out – we’ll see if the pages end up sized all crazy. But it’s just for my personal amusement, so I’m not too worried.