Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Fall Is Best

It's hotter than a mothertrucker in the great state of Minnesota today.  We are even in for a heat advisory this afternoon!  Whew!  By the end of June I'm usually ready for summer to be over with anyways.  But there are at least two and half months left (it stays fairly steamy well into September 'round these parts) and I'm already yearning for fall.

Fall brings all the good things, crisp hoodie weather, pumpkin spice lattes, kids regulated back to government-run learning institutions where they belong, no more nose-running air conditioning but no furnace fired up either.  Delicious candle scent options are made available with imagination-provoking names such as Harvest Welcome, Treehouse Memories and Apple Pumpkin (those are taken directly from the Yankee Candle website.)  All the best colors appear in the fall, burnt orange, a pale yellow, browns and greens of varying vibrancy.  An excuse to make chili again!  And grilled cheese and tomato soup without feeling ridiculous!  And of course, Halloween is in the air.

Everyone is a in a nice and spooky mood in the fall.  No one blinks twice at a fake arm popping out of someone's front yard, spiderwebs strewn across a front porch, stickers of black cats and ghosts in people's windows, the Grim Reaper greeting you at the front door and pumpkins, gourds, and other oddly misshapen vegetable that can be made to look like scary faces.  People are more interested in and willing to believe in the paranormal and embrace ancient traditions that have long been pounded out of us by various overbearing institutions in our society.  Oh, and bonfires.  I love a good, possibly dangerous bonfire in someone's backyard, especially when the fire is used to get rid of old furniture (we have utilized bonfires twice for this.)

So, if you are like me and done with the summer (it's only June 27th...ugh) Below are some pictures I have found for us to gaze longingly at and try to remain forever in the fall mind frame, because fall is where it's at!

I'm cooled off just looking at this picture.  Of course that could just be the air conditioning at this Caribou I'm sitting in.  

Good Gourd! 

These people are living the dream right here.  

It's weird when you type "Trick or Treating" into Google Image Search and this picture of Brad Pitt dressed as DJ Lance Rock comes up, right? 

One day I'll have a front porch like this and keep it decorated like this all year round!  

And needless to say, this is one of my favorite pictures of my daughter Violet of all time.  Here she in, nearly 12 months last fall.  (Oh, yes, I had my child in the fall, November 9th, that's another reason fall is better.)

 Okay, summer, GTFO.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Halloween Hottie of the Day-Werewolf/Male Stripper Edition

This one is for the ladies.  Joe Manganiello (um, I totally spelled that correctly when I typed his name into Google, btw.  I haz da good spelling.) Joe is most famous for playing hick werewolf Alcide on HBO's ridiculous nighttime soap True Blood (and he also said one of my favorite lines from that show, "Shut the fuckin' door!" Heh.) but he is also going to be in Magic Mike!  Which I am going to see on Friday with other assorted horny ladies!  Check it!  He's a fox.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Good Witch Shame

It happened again.  I wasted a few hours of my life I will never, ever get back again.  I watched The Good Witch movies again.  Well, to be fair to myself, I only watched the second half of the third one for about an hour yesterday, and changed the channel before the fourth one came on because I just couldn't take it anymore.

ABC Family is a great channel.  They frequently offer all-day Harry Potter movie marathons, repeat airings of The Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan, and offer up one of my favorite features during the month of October, the 13 Nights of Halloween, where a Halloween-themed movie is on for thirteen nights in a row!  It's usually where I catch my annual viewing of Hocus Pocus.  Well, The Good Witch doesn't air on ABC Family.  The Good Witch is a product of The Hallmark Channel, the next channel up if you have DirecTV.  Yes, Hallmark, as in the greeting card company.  They have a channel.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Good Witch movies, let me break them down for you.  There are currently four of them, yes four.  They star Catherine Bell, best known as the female lead in your grandpa's favorite show JAG.  Catherine Bell plays a woman named Cassandra Nightingale (Oooo...witchy!) who breezes into Small Town, USA and shakes things up!  There is the original movie, The Good Witch, The Good Witch's Garden, The Good Witch's Gift and The Good Witch's Family.  Yes, four.

I was first drawn into The Good Witch for obvious reasons, the witch!  It's no secret that I love me some witches.  I was also drawn in by the settings.  I love Small Towns as depicted on TV and in movies, mostly because they don't exist in real life.  There is the bustling Main Street, the well-kept, crime-free neighborhoods, everyone knows each other, no one seems to have a job unless it's Police Chief, or Shop Owner, or Teacher, or Mayor.  Despite no one working, no one has financial problems either.  And everyone shops locally.  You never see a Target in the middle of town.  Everyone Knows Everyone and Everyone Likes Everyone.  And there is also a haunted house.  Oh, my yes.  The house that the baseball field always happens to be in the shadow of and when the ball is hit over the fence and into the yard, it stays there.  The braver kids in town dare each other to run up and touch the front door, you know the one.  You have one in your town too, don't you?  It's not being used as a meth den, right?

Thus is the hamlet where The Good Witch movies take place.  Everything in this town (called Middleton, natch) is running smoothly.  People are going about their business, not breaking the law and paying their taxes, when suddenly the haunted house is occupied!  Oh, dear! A dark haired woman with black nail polish moved in!  And she is landscaping!  She's a witch!  Burn her at the stake!

The police chief's daughter (oh, the police chief is a widow, of course, with two kids.  His father-in-law also lives with him.  The father-in-law has an Irish accent of varying degrees) is attacked by a dog and Cassandra treats her bite wound with some sort of magic beans or something from her suddenly bursting and vibrant garden.  And, not only that, but when the Mayor's Wife is giving a "heritage" tour of the town and they come across the grand old haunted house Cassandra dare come out and speak to the tour group, even offering them a peek inside!  Why this pisses off the Mayor's Wife so much, I haven't a clue.  She's a very cartoon-y, plump, female made-for-TV-movie villain.  Too much make-up, very prim, you know the type.  This one incidents alone put the Mayor's Wife on the warpath and she "simply insists!" that the police chief go talk to this woman, or arrest her or something.  Okay, fine, move the plot forward.

Jake, the Police Chief goes to Cassandra's house and sees a black cat, a broom, and herbs scattered about the kitchen counters.  He doesn't care though because SHE'S SO PRETTY and nice and took care of his kid when she was hurt.  Oh, he likes her very much and tells her that the Mayor's wife can take a long walk off a short pier for all he cares.

"Oh, BTW Cassie, what are you going to do now that you are here in Middleton for your job?  Here are your career options as indicated in the Game of Life..."

"I am opening a shop on Main Street, of course!  I will sell things that can easily be misinterpreted for drugs and Satan-worshiping tools!"  (I may not be remembering this dialogue correctly.)

Cassie (she's now called Cassie) opens her little witch-y shop and sells crystals and sex drugs to horny housewives (or the character who just can't get pregnant...) Of course, the Mayor's Wife goes to the shop and clucks her tongue at all the goods for sale and Cassie, like a moron, decides to don some ridiculous bedazzled feather mask and sneak up behind the Mayor's Wife, causing the Mayor's Wife to crash into a display.  The Mayor's Wife marches right to the police station and claims that Cassie assaulted her and she is to be arrest right away.

The movie goes on like this, the police chief loves her, his kids love her and think it's kind of fun she's a witch (even though when asked straight out "Are you a witch?"  Cassie says, "I'm not a witch.") and there is even a dumb subplot about some kid whose dad is beating on him and the Police Chief's son uses Cassie's "magic" and invites him over for dinner, blah, blah, blah saves the day.  The movie comes to a head when the Mayor's kids, two teenage boys, decided to vandalize  Cassie's shop on 3:30 in the afternoon and are easily apprehended.  Cassie is ready to leave town and sell her haunted house with a now kick-ass garden to return to her existence of, who-knows-what.  Her life before Middleton is never really discussed.  By the end, everyone learns tolerance (of a pretty white woman!) and Cassie decides to stay and starts knocking boots with Jake.

The next three movies are very similar, just with different backdrops.  The second one revolves around the town's bicentennial and Cassie turning her house into a Bed and Breakfast, but one of her long-lost relatives tries to run her out of the house or something.  The third one is a Christmas themed movie wherein Cassie and Jake are planning their wedding for Christmas Eve, and some bank robber is back in town (this character is just shy of wearing a striped jumpsuit and carrying around a sack with a dollar sign on it) and the fourth one is about another one of Cassie's relatives coming to muck things up.  At the end of the fourth movie Cassie is not only now Mayor of Middleton, she's also preggers.  Awww.

So, what of the witch, you ask?  What makes her so witchy if she even says, "I'm not a witch" in the first movie?  Apparently, to be a witch all you need to do is talk in riddles;  lots of "We all get just what we need" or "you deserve a treat.." and BAM, you run into your son who's mad at you at the coffee shop because Cassie told him to "warm up" on his way home, moments after she told you to do the same, what?!  Whoa?!  Witchcraft!  She also has a black cat, which I don't know about you guys but....that's a sure sign...AND a broom.  Because one never needs a broom for practical reasons, only for flying reasons.  So, no, never do you see Cassie slitting the throat of a dove and squeezing it's blood onto her skyclad body or any of that sort of business.  She's very "I make my own tea and enjoy herbal supplements.  Have some crystals."

Despite not having an actual witch in them, when The Good Witch movies re-air I will again waste a perfectly good afternoon watching all of them and saying to myself, "This is dumb.  All these actors have really thick Canadian accents...." And you should too!  It's always fun to have something that isn't worth your enjoyment that you totally enjoy.  Guilty pleasures, I believe they are called.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Halloween Honey Is Taking Over Your Internet

The Halloween Honey is getting her stink all over the internet!  Don't worry, I smell like Burt's Bees lip balm and nectarine and white ginger body wash.  I just want to update all you wonderful people where you can find me outside of the Blogger universe!

I'm on Twitter: @halloween_honey


And good 'ol No-What?-We-Aren't-Going-To-Turn-Into-MySpace-Why-What-Have-You-Heard?- Facebook:

I am veeeeerrrrryyyyy sloooooooowwwwwlllllyyyy working on building a full-blown Halloween Honey website, but it has been a long, frustrating, swear-filled process, so I will let you know as soon as that baby is up and running!

Thank you all so much for taking an interest in my little blog here, I love doing it so much and I am glad that you are enjoying it!  And come find me at the places listed above!  We have a good time!

Halloween Hottie of the Day-Pride Edition

This weekend was Twin Cities Pride!  My sister and I hauled our respective daughters down to the parade today to take in all the festivities and sweat out a few gallons of liquid, (don't worry, I'm replenishing with wine....oh, I shouldn't be?)  In honor of Gay Pride, today's Halloween Hottie of the Day is the gay, beautiful Portia De Rossi!  She is on board to play the new Lily Munster in NBC's remake Mockingbird Lane.  I am very obsessed with this show and have been monitoring it very closely because it kinda makes me nervous.  So, here is to you, Portia!  Don't screw it up, girl!  (no pressure, or anything.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Halloween Hottie of the Day

You thought I forgot, didn't you?  The Halloween Hottie of the Day!  Yvonne De Carlo!  The OG Lily Munster.  So beautiful, and my inspiration for Halloween fabulousness!

Rolling For Initiative-With Ghosts!

"Incoming Game!"

"Oh, is that what we say?"

"It's what we say."

"It's been passed on from my GM, and the GM before him."

Thus went the majority of my first foray into RPG-ing.  Me asking a lot of questions that the other two guys not only know the answers to but something that is really, as silly as it sounds, part of their core. 

I was lucky enough to RPG for the very first time with my husband Jim, and my brother-in-law (my sister's husband) Derek.  Derek had been RPG-ing since his freshman year in college, and my husband had always had an interest in it but never really had the opportunity (or the right set of nerdy friends) to play until my sister started Derek dated and they were forced to hang out together, and realized they were going to get along quite nicely.  When Derek decided to propose to my sister, Cori we   joked about Derek having a pie chart of the reasons he wanted to marry Cori, she was 75 percent of the chart....Jim was the rest.  

Oh, what's that?  What's RPG-ing?

RPG stands for Role Playing Game, which I assumed was more of a Choose Your Own Adventure type game and it still kind of is, but at it's core it is more of a improve game, sort of.  You are given a set of circumstances or a scene presented to you by your GM, Game Master.  The Game Master is the person who wrote the game you are playing and they also play characters known as NPCs (non-player characters) who are either secondary to the main action or filler material and is more or less the God of this universe.  The game usually exists in a set of rules that is determined by the system which you are playing.  For example, World of Darkness equals Modern Day Horror, Dungeons and Dragons equals Swords and Sorcery Fantasy.  These systems have rules and guidelines that have already been laid out in published materials, books and so on.  This is why RPG lends itself to the creative types, you have a rigid set of rules but you can let your imagination run wild with the story line, characters, etc.

The first thing you have to do before you play is create a character using a old-fashioned piece of paper and pencil.  You fill out bubbles with the skills you wish possess (these are not limitless, you have regulations and can only fill out so many bubbles on so many skills) The difficulty of making a character really exists on the difficulty of the system you are playing.  Apparently, World of Darkness has fairly easy character creation since I was able to do mine after a glass of wine on my birthday in 20 minutes!

The dice exist primarily to help you determine how successful you will be at an action you are trying to do, from as complex at jumping off a cliff to as simple as having a phone conversation.  

LARP-ing is....something we didn't do.  Which is sad, because it involves costumes.  But, whatever.  

Okay, here we go.    

Derek wrote our particular game, which was a World of Darkness game.  He wrote something that would defiantly appeal to me.  Ghosts! I heart ghost!  Our scenario went like this:  

We (me, Jim and Derek, even though he is the GM he also plays all secondary characters and other main characters if there are any) are a three-person public access/webisode Ghost Hunters/Ghost Adventures-esque show, called Ghost Stalkers.  The people involved in this show are the on-air talent, Susie Cross, my character.  I created her to be kind of a ditsy blonde, kind of overly-trusting person who can't lie or isn't terrible cunning.  Susie took the hosting job for this particular show originally for the semi-fame aspect of it, but since I filled in four bubbles of occult, meaning I had a vast knowledge of the subject, I learned all about ghosts from my hosting gig.  Jim played William Locke, an anti-social, kinda shitty camera man ("Just put your camera on a tripod and go smoke.") and Irving, the bank-roller of this little dog and pony show.  I asked Derek what his motivation was to through money at something that wasn't terrible successful, or all that legit.  Apparently, little did I know, this was a much more loaded question than I anticipated.

 Thus far, our show has aired ten episodes to little fanfare and viewership, but we are looking to gain more fame and opportunities whenever we can, but our show isn't very good ("You're show is a little bit too much, 'Yep.  There it is'  None of that, 'Did we get it?!' DUN! DUN! DUN!  'Nope, it's a cat.'"  Derek explained)  Our next investigation (for this game) is taking place at an old estate in Fargo, ND that was owned by a bitter not-very-well-liked old man Darren Harnett who got himself trapped in his fancy-pants wine cellar and died in there.  Not only did he accidently trap himself in there, he also drank a lot of his wine, and then smashed the remaining bottles of wine in his cellar just so that no one else could have them. He knew he was going to die in there so he went out in a drunken fury.  His body was only discovered months later by his staff members, since no one really cared where he was most of the time.  So not only did Darren Harnett die under terrible, lonely, drunk circumstances, he also led a bit of a angry, Mr. Burns-esque life.  

Derek asked us, Susie and Locke, if we wanted Irving to go with us on our latest investigation.  We said sure, why not.  Apparently, Irving likes to go with occasional on investigations just to help out with costs and holding extra equipment and what not.  So, the three of us loaded up and headed to Fargo, ND.  

I would like to just state how hard it is for me to not CONSTANTLY interject, "in the game" into every verb-heavy sentence I write.  So, I'm just going to say, this is all happening IN THE GAME. We never left the kitchen table at my sister's house.  Not once!  Not even to go and get ice cream.  Wait, that's a lie, I totally had ice cream.

Speaking of food, I apparently got too hung up on what everyone was eating when we would go out to our make-believe breakfast, lunch and dinners, which I am sure is a novice mistake.  I mean, what people eat does say a lot about themselves, right?  And if what we were eating wasn't so important than why did so many conversations and major plot point revelations happen while eating breakfast, lunch or dinner?  I made sure that I would describe what my character Susie was eating. She had a bread bowl salad at Perkins for lunch, a fried egg sandwich for breakfast the morning after the overnight investigation at the local diner.  Later, I ate some popcorn in my apartment.  I also attempted to make a turkey sandwich at some point, and ate some Sweet Tarts.  After a while, Derek got fed up with me.

"Where do we go for lunch?"  I asked.  

"I ....don't care." He said.

  But, I digress.

Once we reached Fargo the three of us met with Darren Harnett's niece, Lindsey, who is now the caretaker of the property.  Derek played Lindsey, disappointingly without taking on any kind of feminine voice of inflection at all.  Tsk.  Some GM.

We would ask her a question, than roll our dice to see what kind of answer we would get.  Depending on the roll, Derek, who wrote the story, would decide how much or how little information he would give us.  Pretty much throughout the whole game, Jim and I rolled terribly.  We couldn't catch a break.  This was especially disappointing when we were actually doing the investigation and rolled pathetically and had zero paranormal activity, but much to my surprise, that wasn't the point of the game at all!

So, we did a uneventful investigation, didn't really get a whole lot of stuff at first blush, evidence still needed reviewing, etc.  So, Locke, Susie and Irving all backed up for the night and headed back to their hotel.  Susie and Locke got up at about noon and were making inane chit-chat with the front desk clerk who just happened to mention to us that Irving checked out two hours prior to us even waking up.  Yea, I didn't think there was a point to this either at first.  Locke and Susie go off in search of breakfast at the local diner, where Irving already was, just sitting down and getting ready to order.  Locke and Susie join him.

More dice rolling occurred, and since I had no luck, I rolled very poorly and was too interested in my fried egg sandwich to be observant at all.  Jim's Locke rolled much better and was able to notice that our wealthy friend was wearing a fancy new ring.

Now, this is something else about RPG-ing that I really failed to grasp.  Apparently, my character wasn't suppose to be hearing any of the following exchange because of how poorly I rolled.  But, I could totally hear it!  I was sitting right there!  Like, real me!  I dunno, I still kind of find this confusing.

Locke asked Irving where he got his new ring.  Irving told Locke that he went antiquing that morning and found it.  End of conversation.

So, next we all piled back into our van and headed back to Minneapolis, our home base.  Once we were back in town we all went our separate ways.  Susie went and got a mani-pedi ( I was also prepared to go into a long description of this but I was afraid that it "wan't important" either.  What.  Ever.) Irving went back to his home in the 'burbs and Locke went off to our little lab, or what have you, to review evidence.  Hour passed, and as Locke went through the evidence he caught on his camera a piece of his equipment that he just remembered he didn't pack back up with him.  Locke was quickly on the phone with Lindsey.

The Locke and Lindsey conversation reviled that "Oh, darn, Locke, I wish I would have known you left something here.  I would have given it to Irving since he came back this morning and said he dropped his ring down in the wine cellar!"  Suspicious!  Since Jim also rolled semi-decent during this conversation he also got to have Lindsey tell him, "Yeah, ever since you guys left the energy has really changed.  It's seems so much lighter and brighter in here."  Hmmmm...

After this conversation Locke decides (well, rolls to be able to) do a little sleuthing and thought back to all the other investigations Irving had gone on with them and happened to show up with a new trinket or piece of jewelry.  He then matched up these incidents with the place that was investigated and called the corresponding location.  All the current owners or caretakers also claimed that there was a distinct change in energy, be it good or bad, depending on what kind of ghost was haunting the place.  For example, this group had investigated a nursing home that had been haunted by a kindly, helpful spirit who kept the energy light and friendly, and ever since this group came it's now more like a place people come to die, like a bummer nursing home.  After getting about four or five of these confirmations, Locke was starting to becoming very suspicious of Irving.

Locke decided to called Susie.  Susie was sitting in her apartment wearing Juicy Couture pink sweats, eating popcorn and watching Sex and the City reruns ("You're just the worse kind of person." I was told.)  Creating a terribly trustworthy and honest character, after first hearing this I was like, "Well, maybe we are just helping the spirits move on to the next plain."  I also decided that I liked Irving and thought him to be sort of grandfatherly.  Locke suggested we go visit him and ask him what he thought about all of this, I said sure.  At this point, Jim and Derek both laughed and looked like I just signed my death warrant.  Gee whiz, I didn't realize in role playing that I was suppose to suspect that everyone who isn't me is up to no good, where is the fun in that?  Jim said, "It is called World of Darkness for reason." I also told Locke to come and pick me up but I had to throw some jeans on first.  They were Seven For All Mankind jeans.

Locke and Susie arrived at Irving's home.  While surprised to see us, he still invited us in.  I, just being silly, asked if I could have something to eat.  Irving told me to help myself in the kitchen, but Derek decided I got lost on the way to the kitchen and happened across Irving's study (who has a study?  If you have a study, you are automatically a villain.) In this study, I see sitting on his desk the ring we had in Fargo that I wasn't suppose to notice, along with various other pieces of jewelry.  I rolled to be able to pick the jewelry up and examine it closer.  While I was holding one of the rings I was suddenly over taken with a desire to own things, but I knew that this thought was not my own.  I set the ring down and picked up another piece.  I was also overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, but I knew it wasn't my feeling, and it quickly went away when I set the ring down.  Also on the desk was a small, black, leather-bound book written in handwriting, each different passage written by a different hand.  I tried to read on of the passages out loud. Just then, one of the rings on the desk shattered.  Out from the stone came a mist that was immediately trapped in a glass of water sitting on the desk.  In the water, where the mist went, was a confused, angry face of a woman.  I, having lots of dots in the occult (dots are good, where I have no dots is the lying, thinking people are bad, etc.) I quickly pieced together that it was a spirit that was trapped in the ring that I shattered and now it was trapped in the water (believe me, when I figured this out, the "ripping off Harry Potter" accusations went flying in Derek's direction.  Horocruxes, anyone.  But, in his defense, he said he never even was thinking about that.)  So then, in my panic state, (I said I figured out what was going on, not that I was calm about it) I grabbed the water and ran over to the window with it.  I then commanded the spirit to leave.  Which it did, and then the glass shattered loudly.  Meanwhile, Locke and Irving hear the glass shatter, Irving calls to see if Susie is alright.

Since I am a terribly liar I almost immediately admit to not only being in his study but that I also broke the glass.  However, I got to roll one die, and lo and behold, it gave me the ability to to one little lie that was actually believe.  I said I was taking a drink of the water and my fingers slipped and it fell out of my hands and shattered.  Quickly after that, Susie suggested that her and Locke GTFO. Irving then "put a mind whammy" on her and decided, oh, no wait, let's stay for a little bit. What gave him the ability to "whammy minds?"  I think it was a roll Derek took for Irving...I think.  Unless he just started pulling this stuff out of his hat which I'm sure he didn't.  That's one thing with RPG, you really have to trust your GM, otherwise they could just eff with you the whole time.  Locke, however, was still like, "Oh, dear, this isn't good."  Irving then suggested that all three of us go to the study.

Once in the study, Locke then noticed all the things on the desk, along with the broken ring an odd book.  Irving asked Susie if she looked at the book.  "Sure did!"  Said the World's Most Honest Gal.  Irving said that was okay, and then asked her if she wanted to live forever.  Susie said, "No, thank you." To which Irving replied, "What a shame." And reached for the damn gun in his pocket.  To which, I, not as Susie asked, "Who the hell keeps on gun in their pocket when they are hanging out at home by themselves?!"  To which Jim and Derek answered in unison, "World of Darkness people!"  Locke, fortunately saw the weapon, rolled to see if and how well he could attack Irving and he managed to kinda sorta hit him on the shoulder with his camera (don't all cameramen constantly carry cameras around with them?) and somewhat knock him to the ground.  Locke told me to repeat the incantation I said the first time I released the spirit from the ring and see if I could free any other from the jewelry, which was all now quivering on the desk....the spirits were hungry for Irving's blood.

Jim and I took turns rolling to see how badly we could attack Irving and see how many spirits I could release with my spell shouting and Derek rolled to see if Irving got any shots in (he did!  Susie got shot in the leg, Locke in the arm) eventually, between all the angry spirits now passing through Irving and causing internal bleeding (could you imagine if that really happened?!) and Locke's attempts at hitting him with his camera (he's not weak, you guys, I'm just rolling bad) Irving eventually died.  And Susie and Locke lived!  Hooray!  I guess that is a pretty big deal to live through your first World of Darkness game since I even made such an inept character who made stupid decisions!

Turns out, that book was a Grimoire, Irving was a lich (which I guess is a "soul vampire") and he was going back to the locations after the investigations under false pretenses and sucking the ghosts out of there and locking them in his flashy jewelry.  Apparently, Susie and Locke were like his tenth paranormal investigation team.  I asked Derek, "Well, what happened to the rest of them?"  "Well, that's a whole 'nother game."  Aha.

Also, there was a Gentlemen's Club called The Pink Salmon.  What a game!

Would I play again?  Oh, for sure.  Like I have stated in my previous blog post about playing RPGs there is math, and math kind of scares me.  I know all you people out there who are good at math and it comes easy to them are like, "Pish posh," well, adding makes me nervous, so there you have it.  So, the ability to glance at my little worksheet and add up my dots to see how many dice I need to roll and then add up my dice rolls and all that jazz would be my only real drawback.  I loved the story, I loved the fact that you really have no way of knowing which way things could turn out (like us getting no evidence, I thought we were in for a Dullsville game) and we did have a very good time, but I'm sure it helped that I played with two funny guys.  Do I still think it's for nerds?  Oh, my yes.  But the best things are!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Halloween Hottie of the Day-Male Edition

A bit of a '90's throwback, but David Duchovny was my first celebrity crush.  I was 11 and The X-Files was appointment viewing in our house.  He, like most good-looking men, has only gotten better with age.

 As I was typing his name into Google to find a picture, I thought to myself, "David Duchovny's name was more than likely the most popular name of all time ever punched into an internet search engine long before the internet was cool."

Halloween Hottie of the Day-Ladies Edition

We will forgiver her for that time she was married to Marilyn Manson, after all, we've all made poor decisions in our lives.  Aside from that mis-step, Dita Von Teese is pretty damn flawless.  Not only is she beautiful and elegant, she is quite possible the classiest naked person this side of Michelangelo's David.  Her dark hair and pale skin simply scream Halloween Hottie!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Halloween Hottie Of The Day-Male Edition

Eli Roth. Because not only is he foxy he's also blog worthy! 

Halloween Hottie Of The Day-Ladies Edition

Welcome to a brand new feature here on The Halloween Honey, the Halloween Hottie of the Day! For our very first Hottie I present to you the cutest, sexiest vampire to grace television this summer, Jessica from True Blood. Who doesn't love a redheaded, perpetual virgin bloodsucker, after all?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RPG-ing With Ghosts

As part of my goal to "make my world bigger" as the psychic told me to do, I somehow got suckered into playing a Role Playing Game.  No, no, it's not as sexy as you think.  It's all dice and books an pencils and math.  My husband Jim is an avid player, as is my brother-in-aw Derek.  So, Derek thought it would be fun if he could write up a game for us to play!  About ghosts!  Because I am into that sort of thing!

Here is what I don't understand.  He wrote the game, he named it and all that jazz.  But we create the characters, which is what we did tonight before we went out for my birthday dinner (today is my birthday!) And also, he wrote the game, but he used the World of Darkness set of rules.  None of this I understand, but whatever.  I'll sure I will learn quickly on Friday night when we actually play.

In the game, Jim and I are a two-person paranormal investigation team who have a very local TV show.  I am the on-air personality while Jim is playing some gruff, anti-social camera guy.  I even gave my character a cool TV name, Susie Cross.  Ha!  So, anyways, I made my character tonight filling in a bubbles on a  worksheet not unlike the ScanTron sheet of yore with a pencil.  I haven't used a pencil since, well, since the last time I filled out a ScanTron sheet.  Derek has written four possible scenarios for us to choose from.

Below, you can listen to Derek lay out all the possible scenarios Jim and I get to choose from.  I recorded this mostly because, A. I got a fancy new iPhone the other day and wanted to play with the recorder feature, and B. I am trying to be more diligent about remembering thing and since I drink too much wine sometimes I have decided to start recording certain things.  Take a listen and enjoy!  The dude talking is Derek and the chick with the thick Minnesotan accent is me.  Oh, and never mind the babbling and sometimes crying toddlers in the background, those were just our children we were neglecting.  J/K!  We were taking care of them, my niece Evie was getting mad because Derek kept taking her out of the dog's water dish.

I'm also pretty proud-y pants of myself for making this Audio-Visual project all on my own!  Maybe since I am now partaking in such a dorky activity such as RPG I am now absorbing all other kinds of other dorky knowledge.

Oh, and the pic: Jim, Derek and Yours Truly.

Also, this is a ridiculous amount of dice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Roth-A-Thon

I usually handle horror movies well.  I find them appropriately "scary" but they rarely keep me up at night.  Not saying they aren't scary enough, because at the time, I am freaked the heck out, but they don't linger with me.  I went and saw The Ring with my sister, and at the climax part of the movie, when the little girl is dripping wet and evil, climbs out of the TV screen.  I sat there thinking, "Well, this is silly" and looked over at my sister to give her a knowing shoulder-nudge.  She had her hood over her head, hood-strings drawn and knees at her chest.  What a baby.  That movie, in the moment was scary, but I like movies like The Ring, they usually steer clear of the robust Italian meal that is the inside of the human body.

I hate gore.  Can't stand it.  I think it's not only disgusting, but super unnecessary. and not in the least scary.  Like, "Oooo....intestines..." okay, super.  That's gross, but I'm not scared.  I'm well aware that I contain intestines, so it's expected that intestines is would be pulled out when the evil clown cuts you open and starts monkey-ing with your innards.  The main sub-genre I tend to stay away from the most when it comes to the horror genre is so called "torture porn."  I have proudly never seen a Saw movie (even though it is pretty fun to say, "Did you see Saw?") I didn't check out the remake of The Hills Have Eyes or The Devil's Rejects or whatever else would full under that sort of offshoot of the horror genre (full disclosure: I love Rob Zombie.  And his foxy wife Sheri Moon.  I don't know why, I just find them to be terrible enduring, but I just don't want to see any of their movies.) I usually tend to shy away from anything where women are raped and tortured.  That's just me.  So colored me surprised when I chose to host something called "The Roth-A-Thon."

In early 2010 I saw the Quentin Tarantino movie Inglorious Basterds on DVD with my mother.  We loved that movie, mostly because we are hardcore Germans and found it to be terribly entertaining.  Mom loves Quentin Tarantino, her favorite movie is Jackie Brown.  Upon seeing this movie I found the character of the Bear Jew to be foxy as all get out and was interested in who played him, turns out, it was horror director Eli Roth.  He is most famous for directing the movie Cabin Fever, and the movie Hostel, and it's sequel, Hostel Two.  Like any good, diligent fan, I sought out his movies.  I watched Cabin Fever and LOVED it.  I thought it was going to be cheesy (it starred the side kick from Boy Meets World after all) and full of cliches and what not, but I thought it was really well-made, scary and not too gory.  The Hostel movies, I was less-than-enthusiastic about.  According to the media (said like Chris Rock.  Have you guys seen his stand-up?) the Hostel movies are straight-up Torture Porn, and I was not all that interested in seeing them, but my love for Eli was too strong, and from Netflix, I got them.

I invited my dear friend Kristi over to watch them since she was well aware of the hotness that is Eli Roth, so we declared the evening a Roth-A-Thon.  We were going to watch both Hostel movies and Inglorious Basterds.  I didn't have my daughter at the time (pregnant the Very. Next. Month!), my step-son was at his mom's for the weekend, and my husband was closing at his work that night.  It was just us girls and I used to be able to stay up until 3am in early 2010!

So, Kristi came over to the apartment me, my husband and step-son were living in at the time and we were going to have out Roth-a-thon.  I will admit, I watched the first Hostel through my fingers, but found it more funny (purposely) than anything.  I even made a sauce-y pepperoni pizza for me and Kristi to eat during the movie and we were super proud of ourselves for eating the pizza while watching this blow-torch-y, flesh-melting movie.  It was delicious.  I was a little more apprehensive to watch the second Hostel movie.

For those of you unfamiliar, the first Hostel movie revolves around a trio of American travels staying in a youth hostel in eastern Europe that farms it's customers out to rich guys so they can torture them in various ways for their enjoyment.  Rich guys, always torturing poor backpackers, amirite?  I'm sure Donald Trump has the head of a Peace Corps worker or two in his gold-plated closet.  In the first Hostel movie all these travelers were young men, in the second movie, they were all young women.  Featuring Wiener Dog from Welcome to the Dollhouse.  I was really nervous about this movie because I thought it would just be rape, rape, rape.  Ugh.  I was not looking forward to this.

Imagine my downright delight and frankly, giddiness when not a single young woman was sexually assaulted in any way in this movie!  "Eli Roth is a feminist!" I declared!  "He loves women!"  Sure, some died in gruesome, horrible circumstances, but their vaginas weren't the target!  Oh, glorious day  How refreshing!  If this is what "torture porn" is then I guess it's not all that bad.  It's kinda funny.  Like how America Psycho is funny.  American Psycho is one of the funniest movies of all time, if you have a sense of humor.  I even have a Patrick Bateman doll that says, "Don't just look at it, Sabrina. Eat it."  Lol-cano!

I am now trying to branch out in my horror movie viewing.  I am mostly interested in the classics, Frankenstein, Dracula with Bela Lugosi, etc.  I don't know if I'll ever make it a point to see the Saw movies (even though I have an undying love for Cary Elwes) but I try to convince myself that I can handle it, and I may even be pleasantly surprised like the way I was with the Eli Roth movies.  As for the Zombie family of films, I'm not against them, per se....I just wish there was less general "icky-ness."

So, now I am seeking out more modern-day horror movies to see, and I am looking for your recommendations!  What is my time worth?  And what should I skip all together?  Ideally, these would not involve dolls that come to life, because that's just silly.  Please, let The Halloween Honey know!

 I am usually available to watch movies anytime after 8pm, when my daughter goes to bed.  Ah, parenthood....      

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Girlification of Horror

If you know me in real life (or follow me on Twitter) you probably know that I have an affinity for weird things (hence the existence of this entire blog, I guess.)  Lately, my ridiculous obsession has been with these silly Monster High dolls.  I suddenly want to collect them all and make a grand room devoted to only them a la Waylon Smithers and Malibu Stacey.  I am on my way to making it my life's work to track down the Spectra Vondergeist doll, At. All. Costs.  Yes, I could easily go on to Ebay and pay 50 damn dollars for her, but no!  I want to walk it to some nearly condemned Kmart and find her stacked in the toy aisle, dusty from neglect, run the the check-out, tell the clerk I'm sorry their Kmart is shutting down and run out to my car in the parking lot right at the wrecking ball meets the building with Spectra in hand.  Then, and only then, will I have won!

But, I'll probably end of getting her on Ebay eventually...

In my habit of looking up things I enjoy on the internet, I was poking around and came across an article from "reviewing" the Monster High dolls and claiming that the "girlification of horror continues" with the debut of these dolls.  What?  What does that even mean?  When did the "Girlification of Horror" start?  I was happy to read in the comments below people were as irritated at the writer of that particular piece as I was.  God forbid you take something only boys are suppose to like and make it somehow accessible to girls, asshole.  Yes, yes, I know not all girls play with dolls and it's an ignorant remark to say that girls only gain access to certain things through fashion dolls made by the same company that made the Devil herself, Barbie (I HEART Barbie) but without getting into a whole Jezebel-esque discussion about gender roles and nature versus nurture and all that crap, I am going to do a huge disservice to the female gender and over-simplify a plastic toy.  Monster High dolls are made for girls.  They are.  You brush their hair, you put them in cute outfits, they have "ghoul"friends, the whole nine.  Girls, girls, girls.  And yes, I am sure some young girls who play with these dolls will grow up fondly remembering their Frankie Stein doll and perhaps seek out what her origins are and become a fan of the classic horror genre.  Is that such a bad thing?

Now, to the earlier question I asked.  When did this "Girlification" start?  I am thinking all signs point to Twilight.  I won't do you the displeasure of re-hashing that whole plot line, but that is also something FOR GIRLS.  But, other than Monster High and Twilight, I am failing to see what else is out there that is taking away the brutal masculinity horror is so identified with.  And a lot of females like that sort of thing, too.  If I am going to see some crazy serial killer wearing his mother's underwear as a mask, I want to see him kill lots and lots of people in very gross and disturbing ways.  I expect that.  I personally, don't seek out that sort of thing, but a lot of women do.  Are they not allowed to enjoy that because someone's hair isn't getting highlighted and the killer is handsome when he takes of his mother's underwear and doesn't secretly feel bad about being so evil?

But, like everything that attracts the rabid fan, some horror fans won't like any change or any new take or re-appropriation of the thing they love.  The writer was probably irked that monsters were being made "cutesy" and that's fine, he is entitled to his own opinion.  I just ask that when something is made for little girls that isn't usually "for" them, let it be.  Girls are going to run into a lot of things in the world that aren't "for" them, and are going to run into a lot bigger problems when they try to access these things then they are wanting to think her Daughter of Dracula doll is pretty and sweet. 

Horror is something that isn't just for boys, nor was it ever, I think.  I mean, girls have always been there to scream, get murdered, be prostitutes, act scared, be killer mothers, brides of monsters...wait....hmmm....



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wheelchair Ghost

I just came from my sister's house to tend to her papillions while she is enjoying time at some lake somewhere with her in-laws.  As I sat on her deck with her pups I watched her neighbors tend to their soon to be garden.  It was Wheelghair Ghost's house.  Who's Wheelchair Ghost?  Well, let me tell you!  

I originally wrote the following as a Facebook note in April of 2011, when Wheelchair Ghost first captured my imagination:

Next door to Cori and Derek's house is some jalopy that was most likely used for a crack den the better part of the late-2000's.  It's kind of sad that this house was left in such poor condition since it is one of those Anoka homes that dates back to the 1880's.  It could be a beautiful historic home if someone had cared enough to, ya know, lock the doors, mow the lawn and keep the general riff-raff out.  When Co and D first moved into their home the house next door was a bit of a novelty.  They learned from their nosy neighbor that it had been sitting empty for a while because the owner had died, and his adult children didn't want anything to do with it.  The home, which at this point was converted into a duplex, sat empty.  One day my ever-vigilant sister noticed that there was a child's bike leaning on the back of the house.  She did not care for this one bit.  Being a Law and Order watcher, she knew that this could very well be some sort of child molesting shenanigans.  So, she sent Derek over there to check out the situations, shirtless, and armed with a can of half full Coke.  Derek went up the outside stairs that led to the upstairs apartment.  The door was unlocked, he poked around and saw no one.  In the meantime, Cori had called the police to come over and make sure nothing was a-foot.  A few minutes later Cori and Derek watched from there front step as a police officer did in fact show up, look around, and decided to enter the premise, weapon drawn.  Upon seeing the police officer brandish her gun Derek only then realized how inadequate his half full soda can would have been.  Long story short, the weapon being drawn was merely precautionary, and someone probably just stole that bike and decided "Hey, I'll just dump this at that dumpy dump of a house on 7th Avenue."

Derek did learned something that day, however.  That door upstairs ain't locked.  So, when we all came over the next time we deiced to check out the house and pretend to be toughies for entering a house that maybe onetime housed drug-types.  Needless to say, the house was something to be desired. 

Again, Cori, a concerned citizen, was tired of this shanty driving down her property taxes and wrote the city of Anoka asking about what they planned to do with that eyesore.  Within months of Cori not getting a response from the city, the home was purchased by a nice carpenter named Jason who bought the property for around $70,000.

Last weekend, I went to visit the Sebesta's when Jason happened to be outside, eager to show-off what he had done to the place.  Being game Derek and I went over there to check it out (Cori was too busy breastfeeding at the time to come over, tsk.)  Jason had done a wonderful job making a mess, as far as I could tell.  I am not one to visualize a project, so I'm sure when he's done it's going to look amazing but now it's just a pile of....well, a pile.  He was able to convert it back into a single family home and rip out some horrid flooring.  He added a ton of square footage to the place, and couldn't have been prouder of the headway he was making.  He showed us the upstairs, the main floor, the converted bathrooms and enlarged living room.  He did not show us the basement. 

Jason would have shown us the basement.  We even walked by it and I said, "Hey, you even have a basement!" as I poked my head around the corner and looked down the stairs.  "Yeah!" he said, "It's really creepy down there!  I'll show you it if you want!"  Having been employed in Anoka on and off for the last ten years I have seen my share of creepy Anoka basements.  "Oh, are they shooting the next Saw movie here?  It's sure damp and scary enough!"  I politely declined.  And thank the heavens above I did!!!

We entered the kitchen and Jason prefaced his next statement as such, "Okay, don't think I'm crazy or anything..."  Uh, this point I think I had just noticed the handgun he keeps on the kitchen counter and resisted the urge to pick it up and say, "Oh my god, is this a real handgun?!"  "But, this place is haunted."  Jason finished.  Okay, that's not so crazy.  Lots of places in Anoka are haunted, that's what you get with an old town.  Derek and I nodded, keen to hear his ghost story.  "I was in the basement when we first bought this place and I was taking pictures with my camera, and I took a picture and I looked at it, and I noticed this guy in a wheelchair.  So, you know, I took another picture.  And he was closer."  At this point I resisted the urge to pick up the handgun and start shooting into the basement.  HOLY CRAP!  I told Jason I would be out the door in seconds.  Jason, being the brave house flipper he was said, "No.  So I went upstairs and I said 'Look ghosts, this is my house now, and if you haunt me you can haunt an empty lot for all I care, I'll burn this place to the ground!'"  Good threat.  Not sure if the ghosts will buy it.  If you sank 70 grand into a house would you be willing to put a match to it because a poor old guy in a wheelchair is stuck in a basement for all eternity due to the lack of handicapped accessibility? 

Derek and I stayed for a little while longer pretending not to be fucking terrified and then went merrily back to the blissful new construction of Cori and Derek's house.  Before we got in the door, Derek asked, "Hey, Jason!  Do you have those pictures of the wheelchair ghost?"  He shouted back that his ex in West Virginia had them, but he would get them from her and show us. 

And now, because of this story, Cori can't look at this house in the middle of the night. 

This particular house has actually been sold by Jason and a nice new family moved in next door to Cori and Derek.  We had a snowstorm here in Minnesota last week and Derek went over there to snowblow them out.  He failed to mention the tale of Wheelchair Ghost.   

Addendum:  Cori was up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and she looked at her neighbors house, and the light in the basement was on.  Cori was hoping it was accidentally left on....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kids of the Paranormal

In May, my step-son Quinn went on a three-day school sponsored field trip to a nature preserve in northern Minnesota.  It was all the the 5th grade in his school, roughly, a hell of a lot of 11-year-olds along with the three 5th grade teachers and a handful parental chaperons.  These adults, along with the staff of this nature preserve was "going to be plenty" of adults for adequate supervision for all these kids.  Well, surprise, surprise, it wasn't.  They regulated about 5 or 6 kids of the same gender to a room that contained bunk beds.  I wrongly assumed there would be an adult with all the kids in the room.  I did a similar trip when I was in sixth grade and us girls were forced to bunk with our teacher who snored so frickin' loud it shook the whole cabin.  Quinn's cabin contained 6 boys and no adult.  The closest adult was in the other cabin room "just across the hall" I was told by the principal.

  Long story short, three of the six boys in the cabin decided it would be super funny and awesome to repeatedly pants one of their cabin-mates.  And not only pants this poor kids, but then tell all the girls on the trip that they did pantsing and aren't they super funny and awesome?!  Quinn was not the pantsee, nor did he participate in the pantsing.  He, unfortunately, was a by-standard, since this was all taking place out of sight of any adult.  The final pantsing incident got a bit rough, the kid being pantsed tried to get up, fell, hit his head on the hard floor as the boys continued to pull his pants and underwear down.  After they accomplished this, the boys doing the pantsing left the room in hysterics.  Quinn, another boy, and the kid who was pantsed and now injured, where left in the room.  Quinn and the other boy tried to calm the pantsed kid down, tell him it's no big deal, they did their best to diffuse the situation.  Well, this poor kid was so embarrassed after having this happen to him more than once of this trip, he made a rash decision to wrap the cord of the blinds in the cabin room around his neck.  Quinn and the other boy quickly gathered other STUDENTS into the room, to stop him from going any further.  No adults found out about ANY of this until the day the kids came home and one of the teachers finally asked the kid who was injured, "How did you get that welt on your forehead?"  Good job, everyone.

The pantsed kid finally told an adult what happened and who did it.  Those three little punks were suspended (for two days...) and Quinn and the other boy left in the cabin where called to the principal's office, praised for "making good choices" and not participating in the pantsing but then got a 45 minute lecture on the importance of telling an adult when things like this is going on, "If Quinn or the other student would have said something we could have stopped this before the student went too far and tried to hurt himself."  That's all fine and good, and when the principal called me and told me about the conversation her and Quinn had I got a little...cranky.  Quinn has been my step-son for the last 5 years, he lives with me and my husband, I know he is a smart, sensitive, empathetic kid, so I got a little annoyed when she tried to shift blame onto Quinn and the other by-standard, so I asked her, "Why wasn't there a chaperon in the room with the kids?"  She steadily explained to me how the male, 5th grade teacher was JUST across the hall.  Well, busllshit, lady.  Not good enough.  I wasn't about to pick a fight with an elementary school principal about how her staff dropped the ball....

I reiterated to Quinn that I was proud he knew better than to, ya know, assault someone, and that the "see something, say something" mantra is something to be followed, but he didn't do anything wrong, and now it's important for him to be a good friend to the kid who was pantsed, because Quinn told me he is a bit of a target for these stupid bully kids.  Quinn has been an excellent friend to this kid, all year, especially at the remainder of the school year, and now this summer.  Quinn and him have started a paranormal investigation group!  Kids of the Paranormal!

(Thanks for sticking with me, I was getting there!)

Quinn and his friend's group, while I think it is adorable and I am encouraging it, makes me laugh.  Smart kids are the best kind of kids.  Quinn has seen me doing work with Anoka Paranormal Investigations, watches Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters with us (but has to sleep in his sister's room after a particularly scary episodes...) and was convinced his school was haunted.  The interest is there, man!  And so is the willingness to work.  I even drove him and Marissa another member of Kids of the Paranormal  (his other friend couldn't go, "Dude, I gotta go to Como Zoo with my family today...") to the Historical Society so they could research the pantsed kid's house (I shouldn't refer to him at the "pantsed kid" but I would rather not use his real name...) which is going to be there first official investigation, since they all think it is very, very haunted.  Oooo....turns out, where this kid lives, used to be a nursing home!  Those K.O.P kids might be on to something!  After we discovered this, Quinn and Marissa were forced to watch me dork out over various Anoka History related things, "Look, you guys!  This is what your school used to look like!  Look at Main Street in 1890!"  They were polite enough to be like, "....neato...."  We left there and I took them to a certified haunted location in Anoka, Colonial Hall, which is a house from the early 1900's that is now an antique shop.  While Quinn and Marissa swore up and down that they saw appiritions, mists, obrs...felt cold spots, felt sick to their stomachs, couldn't breath, claimed "Zak should come here!" and took pictures of just about EVERYTHING, I got to look at antiques!  That was fun!

Here is some of their "evidence":

 Marissa claimed she felt a "cold spot" right here!

Quinn "couldn't breath!" in this room.  I think the wood paneling was killing him.  Yikes.

There is something here!  The light!

"Rox," he said, "Quick, take a picture, I feel something RIGHT HERE!"

  I then kicked them outside so I could take a picture of the two of them...they're just so cute.

Oh, and Quinn wants me to make sure to mention the third member of the Kids of the Paranormal is not pictured.  Not pictured, Pantsed Kid.

I told Quinn if he was serious about learning about this type of stuff he needed to get reading.  So I gave him a stack to get started with:

I'm sure that Witchcraft book will come in handy at some point, right?

Hey man, this is the best kind of activity a tween can get involved in, I think.  These kids start middle school next year, and if I can help steer them in any kid of not-doing-drugs-or-having-sex direction as best I can, I'm gonna do it.

Do I worry that this type of hobby or interest will make the kids even more targets for bullies (or even religious zealots...) or label them as weirdos?  Yes and no.  Kids (an some adults) don't like things they don't understand, so I can see certain classmates being a bit, prickish, for lack of a better word, about having interest in this sort of thing, but then No, because if I can teach my children anything in this world, it's to teach them not to care what other people think about them.  And I plan on dragging Quinn to the YMCA with me all summer long so he'll be able to hold his own, physically, if need be...

God, you couldn't pay me enough to go through middle school again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Original O.G. (Opera Ghost)

I am a nerd.  Not, in like, the Star Trek sense of the word (I do love some TNG, however) just in general.  I usually get into things via the cheesiest way possible.  And tonight, I realized my gateway drug into all things dark and moody.  It's Phantom of the frickin' Opera, you guys.

Yes, I am ashamed to admit this because it's a Broadway show.  I don't know if it's considered a good Broadway show or not, I am not a theater snob or anything, but Dear God do I love it so.  When I saw it on Broadway in NYC in 2005 I nearly burst into tears.  But, it is considered a "horror story."  Certainly the 1925 version with Lon Chaney as the creepy-as-hell-not-at-all-sexy-why-isn't-he-singing Phantom.  I actually tried watching that version of Phantom years ago, before I was the sophisticated lady I am today, and declared it "icky" and changed the channel.  I wan't ready for it, man.

 My parents bought me the soundtrack for my tenth birthday in 1993.  That year in school the choir did a Broadway theme concert around Christmas time and we had learned all kinds of Andrew Lloyd Webber spawned show tunes and all the girls loved The Phantom of the Opera songs the best.  Even at ten, girls wanted brooding, disfigured (secretly handsome) weirdos to be obsessed with them.  Mom and Dad picked up on my constant off-key singing around the house and bought me the soundtrack, probably in hopes I would sing along to it and it would drowned out my terrible voice.  I wore that CD down to its proverbial bone for the next several years.  I knew all the words to all the songs by heart and imagined in my head what the stage show looked like, since I had only seen super '80's still photos from the original stage production with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford (who, I am convinced, as one of the best male singing voices of all time. Of. All. Time!)

It wasn't until the movie came out in 2004 that I got a real, actual sense of what the story was all about.  I was able to piece together a few things here and there through the lyrics and what I read on the internet, but I never had the entire picture.  The movie version, with Gerard Butler (I know, right?) and Emmy Rossum was something I dragged my sister Cori to...and she walked away a Phantom superfan.  We know the movie isn't good, the acting is atrocious, Gerry Butler is not a good singer, but boy, is he handsome.  Cori even declared, "Who cares about the deformed side?  The other half rocks!" Which lead us into a long discussion about how we would just request him to sleep on his bad side at night, and really, when he took the mask off...c'mon, guys.  It looked like he was having an allergic reaction to a bee sting or something.  Nothing jaw-dropping horrifying.  But, anyways, enough about that.  The story!  Yikes!  Creepy old man in love with a child!  News at 11!

The movie tamed down not only the creep factor of the Phantom, himself.  In the movie he was much more of a misunderstood soul, a tortured artist who loved Christine, but would never do anything to harm her....'cept try to kill her fiance, no big.

The Broadway show not only ramped up the freak factor on the Phantom, but also his general creeper status.  There is a scene in the Broadway show where Phantom straddles an unconscious Christine and moves in a fashion that can only be described as "thrusting".  This scene was virtually absent from the movie.  In the film version, it comes across as if Phantom is adjusting Christine, trying to make her a little more comfy while she sleeps.  Wouldn't want to vilify the villain or anything.  Especially since he's so handsome!  Whatever, Movie Version.  I could go into a diatribe about how it's easier to think ugly people are horrible creatures, but I think I've made my point.

Despite the Phantom's completely inappropriate behavior, kidnapping, convincing her he is the ghost of her deceased father and murder attempts, Christine still falls in love with him.  He writes her beautiful music and heaps praise and flattery upon her, and she's sixteen.  Phantom and Christine sing lovely, swirly, romantic songs together, it's all very corsets and gauzy skirts.  There are other characters who aid Phantom in his, ahem, pursuit of Christine and cave to his blackmail and threats to make sure Christine becomes the star of the opera house.

Aside from her being taken with the Phantom, Christine also hooks up with a friend from her childhood who now has all kinds of money and bankrolls the opera house.  He too falls in love with Christine (gee whiz, I can't imagine why little girls would be so crazy about a story where just about every guy falls in love with them?) and since he doesn't live in a basement, wear a mask, or have homicidal tendencies, when he proposes, Christine accepts, and this makes Phantom go cuckoo bananas.  Phantom ends up kidnapping Christine and spiriting her away to his lair.

The story ends with an epic fight between Phantom and Christine's fiance (the character has a super French name that I don't feel like looking up the spelling of right now, oddly enough, I took the time to look up fiance vs. fiancee...) and Phantom ends up realizing the best thing for Christine is not to be kept as some weird singing/sex slave to a guy with half a face and a whole lotta crazy.  Christine and her fiance leave Phantom alone in the basement of the opera house, singing alone to his monkey music box.  It's actually quite heartbreaking, even after I made the Phantom out to be a total potential murdering rapist monster, you still kinda feel for the guy.

So, that is the story.  I did NOT get the majority of it from the music alone.  I grasped the love triangle easily through the lyrics, but the other story lines and subplots I missed, and the Phantom's, er, poor choices.

Like I said, me and Cori, along with our Mom and aunt Carla were able to see The Phantom of the Opera in NYC in 2005, and it was such an emotional experience for me.  It was music from my childhood, it was a story I had only seen in film, which is easy to disengage from, and seeing live theater is such a jolt on it's own, no matter what show you are seeing.  I welled up good for about the first 20 minutes.  Then I was able to relax and really enjoy it, and realize what a poor adaptation the movie is.

Of course, I will still pop the movie in every now in then, to hear the music alone.  Yes, I own it.  No shame.

There is also a Monster High doll, Operetta, who is the "daughter of The Phantom of the Opera" (the Universal version) but of course, to me, she is Christine and Phantom's daughter.  Because I am a nerdy fangirl.

I guess that is why, on one hand, I like my monsters to be haunted creatures, looking for redemption and love.  But on the other hand, if you are meant to be a bad guy, then be a bad guy.  Hmmm...paradox.

Commence The Halloween Honey Summer Road Trip!

Well, next month.  But today our first stop has been booked, much thanks to the awesome Christy doing all leg work!  Along with Chirsty and my sister Cori, I am going to spend July 13th overnight at The Palmer House, a historic an very haunted hotel in the cute little town of Sauk Centre, MN. I am wicked excited!  Not only because I get to hang with my actual sister and someone I consider a sister, but because the morning of Saturday the 14th is a gallery reading with psychic Tiffany Johnson and us crazy girls are attending that as well!

As you may have read in an early blog post, Christy is working on cultivating her medium skills and we are now actively seeking out well-known haunted places for her to go to and see if she picks up on anyone (remind me to tell you all about the time she saw the little blonde woman while on the bus going to work, looked down at her phone, and when she looked up again, she was gone) so this is a perfect first-time outing that my sister is getting dragged along with us.  Cori is not a huge paranormal enthusiast, but there's a bar!  And me and Christy!  So, what's not to love?

The Palmer House, located in Sauk Centre, is not a far trip at all and I have been to Sauk Centre several times since my family is from up that way.  In fact, my Grandma used to work at The Palmer House in 1949 as a cook...she thinks.  She was only 15 at the time and many years have passed so she doesn't remember trivial things like what job she had at 15 so...but after I told her our plan of staying at The Palmer House she consulted with her younger sister, who said, "Oh, that place is very haunted!" I asked her if she herself experienced any paranormal activity while working there, "I don't know..." she answered.  I asked her how far she lived from The Palmer House at the time, "Well, I was living in the farm, you know."  I don't, but I assume she means the farm in either Spring Hill, MN or Melrose, MN, both neighboring-ish towns of Sauk Centre.  Thanks for all the info, Grandma!

The history of The Palmer House is a little better remembered, however.  It was built in 1901 after the Sauk Centre House, the city's first hotel, burned down in a fire the year prior (fires destroyed all kinds of things in the early 20th century, didn't they)  Apparently, the townspeople of Sauk Centre were relieved when this happened since they hated that grungy ol' Sauk Centre house and wanted something fancier anyways, and Ralph and Christena Palmer delivered!  They even made sure their spiffy new hotel had electricity, which was quite the luxury!  Also, when the hotel was new, many people decided to live there and raise their families in the hotel itself.  One of the most famous hauntings of The Palmer House is that of a boy standing at the top of the stairs on the second floor.  There have also been incidents of balls bouncing down the hallways, and voices of several children being heard.

The Palmer House has also been said to house the ghost of Sinclair Lewis.  I call slight shenanigans on this mostly because Lewis died in Rome and I read somewhere a long time ago that he wasn't all that keen on his hometown of Sauk Centre, so much so he left as soon as he could and didn't look back.  Until his remains were brought to Sauk Centre, buried there, and now there is a street named after him.  So, maybe he does haunt The Palmer House out of spite?  Like, "Take this, ya hunyuks!  Boo!"  Could be!

The Palmer House also claims that there is quite a bit of spirit activity in the bar too!  So, see ya there, ghosts!  

The Palmer House does allow paranormal investigations to happen, they charge you 250 dollars to do it, but it's cool that they not only embrace their history, but they also encourage others to seek out the paranormal occurrences in their hotel, instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.  We aren't going to pay the 250 dollar fee to conduct an investigation, we feel our money is probably best spent hanging out in the bar most of the night, then waking each other up every ten minutes with "Did you hear that?!"

Can't. Wait.

*I was trying to find a picture of me, Cori and Christy to post but I can't find one of the three of us together where all or one of us looks totally bombed.  I see a pattern emerging here...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Seifermann Family Reunion

Today I attended the Seifermann family reunion in Lake Henry, MN.  Population 103.  The reunion attendees alone doubled that number today.  It was so fun to go to since the Seifermanns are my Grandpa Roman's family.  Roman passed away in 1991 at the age of sixty-three from a brain tumor, I was eight and have only a few memories of him that I hold very dear.  I actually researched the Seifermann family tree about six months ago and it was an incredibly easy undertaking since Roman and his siblings were second-generation American.

The get-together had your typical LOLs.  Like, Ambrose, an elderly relative with a familiar name who is now in need of a walker.  On his walker was a colorful sign with the words "Ambrose!  Don't Forget Your Walker!" in large, bold, black type taped securely onto his walker.  I'm sure that sign is useful, but only if Ambrose is standing directly in front of his walker, in which case, you would think he wouldn't forget to take it with him...paradox.  And my mom's cousins referring to each other as "old hag" which is something they used to do when I was a kid, the quick German spoke between each other than I am pretty sure isn't real German, more of a slang created by the immigrants to speak among themselves.  I would attempt to type what the words sounded like, but it would just end up looking like this: "Kuuuttglickkitz" or some variation of.

But the best, best part was seeing my Grandpa's siblings.  They all look like each other!  My Grandpa's parents, Martin and Anna Seifermann, had ten children.  Loretta, the eldest girl, died when she was 15.  She died, no joke, from a piece of corn husk getting stuck in her ear.  Apparently they couldn't remove all of it and an infection occurred and she died from it.  Something my sister Cori remarked today as, "something really preventable."  But they were dirt poor German immigrants living on a farm, they did what they could.  So, out of the nine remaining, who would be Theresa, Sylvester, Margaret, Roman, Herb, Celestine, Martin Jr, Joseph and Alois, only Celestine, Martin Jr, Joesph and Alois remain.  Martin Jr. stopped me today as I was making my way back to the food table, "Are you Roxanne?"  "Yes I am!"  I said.  He then told me a story about how he used to come and visit "Roman and Lillian" (my Grandparents) all the time and he remembers me and the time we went to claim a lottery ticket no one else wanted to cash in on.  I don't recall this AT ALL, but I enjoyed hearing about it.  He then told me how he was tired because he missed his afternoon nap.  I hear ya, man.  His wife, Louise, then walked by me, smiled, grabbed me by the shoulder and said, "You little turd."  Aww...I must have made an impression as a child.

I didn't want this moment with Martin Jr. to slip away so before I left today I asked him if he would take a picture with me, he obliged.

In the background sitting is Joseph, another one of my Grandpa's remaining siblings.

Someone also but together a beautiful scrapbook of the Seifermann family tree.  My sister Cori and I were looking over it and she was snapping pictures of the photos with her iPhone so we too could have a copy of them when we were suddenly surrounded by a swarm of elderly relative looking over our shoulders and pointing themselves out in the book:

That arm in front of me is my Grandma Lillian's sister Jane's.  Lillian and Jane married bothers, Roman and Herb, respectably.  Jane is now covered in tattoos, marking each time she has beaten a bout of cancer.  I asked her why she decided to get tattoos.  She told me, "I told my kids, 'I have never done anything unusual. So what the heck?'"  Right one, old lady.

Those pictures in that book where remarkable.  My mom gave me a photo book she had with a lot of the way back relatives in it, but these are some pictures I have never seen before!  Like this guy!

Cori and I dubbed him There Will Be Blood since he looks just like Daniel Day-Lewis from that movie.  I believe this is my grandpa's grandpa.  So, great great?

Then there was this photo of all the Seifermann children after Loretta died.  

Cori also had the smarts to take a photo of who's who:

Looking through this book made me want to dive back into the history I discovered about my family only a few months earlier.  I don't really know much about record keeping at the time the big push of immigration from Europe happened, but if I'm not wrong people of English, Scottish and Irish heritage have an easier time tracing their ancestors since those countries were so diligent with record-keeping.  I don't know why some countries like Germany weren't, but I feared I would be a little overwhelmed when I went to trace the Seifermann's route to the United States.  I was pleasantly surprised!

Without getting into too much tedious detail, (I won't tell you the name of the ship they came over in or anything.  It was the Zeeland.  There, I told you.)  But that family's origin is in Buehlertal Baden, Germany, which is located in the Black Forest region of Germany (where the ham comes from) that is most famous for its cuckoo clocks (and ham).

It all started with Christian and Gertrude, in Germany:

My God, that's a handsome couple.  Why aren't wedding pictures staged like that anymore.  No touching, look like strangers, with no real affection for each other.

These two happy folks came to the United States on the Zeeland and settled into Spring Hill, MN in 1880.  They had two kids, Martin and Agnes.  Martin went on to marry Anna Eichers, a good girl from Cold Spring, MN and they had the boatload of aforementioned kids.  Here are Anna's parents, Paul and Appollonia, on their what I'm sure was incredibly romantic wedding day:

Can I just lay claim to the name Appollonia right here and now?  Take that, Prince.

One of my favorite pictures I have in my possession is the one of Christian Seifermann and his family in Germany:

  If that isn't a grim snapshot of life in Europe in the 1800's, I don't know what is.  From my understanding (I could be wrong) I believe Christian's parents, Agnes and Ignatius (Ignatz) later came to the United States once their son was established.  Like I said, I could be wrong, but I remember hearing the name Ignatz a lot when I was younger (that's not a name easily forgotten) and I think my relative spoke of his as if he were here.  I would check with my mom on this but I'm pretty sure she's in bed by now.

I did attempt to trace the family tree of my Grandma Lillian's family, but her last name is much more common (Klausen) and her family history isn't as easily traceable as the Seifermann clan was.  I will one day divulge into the Klausens as best I can, but until then, I still have this picture of my Grandma and her sisters at their First Communion:

The Klausen's are another pair that had a bajillion kids and one or two died under unfortunate circumstances.

Overall, the reunion was a blast, and there was this cool car there!  My husband informed me it was a Model T.

The best part of the reunion though, aside from all the funny incidents and silly stories and seeing old relatives was telling people I was Roman's Granddaughter.

Love you, Grandpa.

**UPDATE**  My aunt Carla just called me and informed me that Loretta indeed did not die from a piece of corn getting stuck in her ear.  She, along with my mom and just about everyone else, was under the same impression that that was what happened, when in fact Loretta had some sort of sore in her nose that she was picking at while the kids were working out in the cornfield and THAT is what became infected.  No mysterious monster corn chunk got jammed in her ear or anything, it's something much less unusual, but none the less sad.  Thanks Carla!