Urban (mis)Advantures

Mother Nature is at it again…. — October 31, 2011

Mother Nature is at it again….

I used to live in Colorado, so chilling weather and snow before or on Halloween is not unusual to me.  Therefore, my beef is not really with the snow. 
But it is still lovely fall here in Massachusetts, and we live in the woods (which my friends call ‘the Boonies’).  So the red, yellow, and orange leaves are still on the trees. 
Therefore when only about two or three inches of snow fell upon the trees, they bent under the weight of the wet (not powdery) snow and many lost their battle of staying in one piece or upright.  Branches, limbs, and even a couple of smaller trees lie amongst the snow or hang from drooping power lines.  During the night of the snow, I kept waking up from the ‘crack’ of branches and bang against the roof of the house or the ground.  Throughout yesterday, snow thundered down the roof and thumped to the ground. 
So here my family is again, for the third time in four years, without power.  Fortunately, work is up and running so I am able to sit in a warmer office, wash my hands with water instead of sanitizer, and flush properly flush a toilet. 
Halloween is canceled for Chelmsford, MA and other towns and cities.  No big deal for me, as I will be heading up to a generated powered home to shower tonight. 
The bright side is that the food in the fridge won’t go bad because it’s cold.  And we can still cook on the gas-powered stove top.  But we can’t wash the dishes as the well is electronically pumped.  And the boy can enjoy the bag of Skittles I got for the trick-or-treaters.  Good thing none of us bought a Halloween costume this year.

Favorite Frightful Quotes — October 29, 2011

Favorite Frightful Quotes

Here are a handful of my favorite quotes from television, movies, and books from the morbid side of life. 

“What did she mean by Eddy’s ‘strange habit’ of howling at the moon?” Lily Munster.

“Then the Devil CHAINSAWED them to bits.  Then he sewed them back together.  Then he CHAINSAWED them again.  Forever.”  Shirley Bennett,  Community.

“There are children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads.” Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

“Can a heart still be broken once it stops beating?” Lord Barkus, The Corpse Bride.

Girl Scout: “I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they’re real lemons?”
Pugsley Addams:  “Yes.”
Girl Scout: “I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?”
Wednesday Addams: “Are they made from real Girl Scouts?”   —The Addams Family Movie

“Don’t torture yourself, Gomez.  That’s my job.” Morticia Addams.    

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”  Night of the Living Dead.

“When there’s no room left in Hell, the dead shall walk the Earth.”  Dawn of the Dead, 1978.

“Such joys are scarce since the good Lord saw fit to close the gates of Hell and doom the dead to walk amongst us.”  Mrs. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 

Kenneth:  “Is everyone at Fort Joseph dead?”
Steve:  “Dead-ish.”    Dawn of the Dead, 2004

“It’s all because those zombies ate her brain.”  The Creepshow (the band)

“Do not go into the city.  It belongs to the dead.” Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead. 

“I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that a weirdo wearing a hockey mask is never friendly.”  Friday the 13th, Part Six. 

“There are certain rules to abide by to successfully survive a horror movie.  For instance, number one:  you can never have sex.
Number two: you can never drink or do drugs.
And number three: never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, “I’ll be right back.” Because you won’t be back.”  Randy, Scream

“My best-case scenario, Eleanor, is hair everywhere but my eyeballs, elongation of my spine until my skin splits, teats, and a growing tolerance, maybe even affection for, the smell and taste of feces – not just my own – and then, excruciating death.” Bridget (describing turning to a werewolf), Ginger Snaps Unleashed  

“A naked American man just stole my balloons.”  a little British kid from American Werewolf in London. 

“I shall cut off her head and fill her mouth with garlic, and I shall drive a stake through her body.” Van Helsing, Dracula 

“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.”  Bela Lugosi as Dracula



Barbie Has Tattoos… — October 25, 2011
Scream Queens — October 23, 2011

Scream Queens

It’s that time of year that we look past the family oriented DVD’s and seek out the ghost flicks and slasher films.  Although the movies are scary enough as is, many thrills and shocker moments are greatly intensified by the shrill scream from the damsel in distress.  Here are some of my favorite Scream Queens who frightfully took on monsters, psychotic killers, and the walking dead.   

Fay Wray (1933) and Naomi Watts (2005) in King Kong

   Imagine yourself as a young and adventurous buxom blonde woman who is traveling to a mysterious island to shoot a film.  How exciting!  Well, it was exciting for character Ann Darrow until she was kidnapped by the locals and tied to a couple of posts.  The ground shakes and everyone scatters, as the eighth wonder of the world strolls up and beholds the golden-haired beauty.  Both actresses, Fay and Naomi, belt out screams that perfectly tell how it would feel to be snatched by a giant ape and carried into a jungle full of giant bugs and dinosaurs.    

Janet Leigh, Psycho.   
“The Shower Scene” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a pinnacle moment not only in horror, but in all cinematic achievements.  Janet Leigh’s character, Marion, was already a bit tense after stealing thousands of dollars from her employer.  A hot shower in a remote hotel run by a smiling and seemingly nice guy (Norman Bates) should help calm her.  Until he donned his dead mother’s threads, tore open the shower curtain and stabbed Marion to death.  The music, the close up Norman’s massive blade, and Janet’s ear-splitting scream put spectators in the shower with the doomed Marion until she falls to the wet tiled floor, blood spiralling into the drain. 

Marylin Burns as Sally Hardesty, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Tobe Hooper’s Chainsaw is one of the most nightmarish movies of all time.  Five college aged kids travel to their grandfather’s gravesite and stumble upon a maniacal family that decorates their house with human bones.  And Sally is the only survivor.  Her expressions of shock and horror mirror the watcher’s own looks while she witnesses her brother and friends fall prey to the squealing Leatherface and his chainsaw.  Her cries resound in our minds when she wakes up nailed to a chair at the Hewitt dinner table.  And in this scene, Marylin belts out a blood-caked, screaming laugh as she escapes.   Also deserving of a Scream Queen award would be actress Terri McMinn as Pam, who met her unfortunate end on the meat hook.  Her agonized face is forever captured on the airbrushed movie poster.

Susan Baklinie, Jaws. 
I don’t care what anyone else says…”the shark is fake,” etc.  Jaws is the scariest movie ever.  The first victim is Chrissie, who gasps, chokes, and sputters when the great white bites a chunk out of her leg.  Then, as Chrissie is dragged to and fro, she cries, shrieks, and begs for help as she is devoured by an unseen monster of the deep.  And, this horrific death is number one on the 100 Scariest Movie Moments. 

Girls, you think your babysitting jobs were horrible?  They were nothing compared to Laurie’s (Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween).  She was stalked by a young masked man who stabbed his sister to death fifteen years ago when he was just six years old.  Jamie is the Scream Queen of the seventies and early eighties in Halloween saga, except for the third installment.  Though it has been many years since I’ve seen the movies, images of her screeching heroine antics as she stabbed and beat Michael Myers still resonate. 

Kim Piorier, Dawn of the Dead, 2004
Okay, so I’m skipping ahead a few years, but the 1990’s were a drought when it came to horror flicks.  So here we are in 2004.  Sure, there’s plenty of shrieks when the dead walk the earth and dine on our flesh.  But in the excellent remake of Dawn of the Dead, one of the mall’s residents does not fall prey to the zombies’ infectious bites.  Monica, seen here holding the door open, meets her demise in a car accident when a horde of zombies topple their van as they attempt their escape.  Car wreck? you say.  Pretty tame for a zombie movie.  Well, the van held people trying to fend off the undead with a variety of weapons, including a chainsaw.  And when the van goes, its wielder sways and the blades sink into Monica’s left shoulder.  In the seconds it chews through her, her face twists in agony and her blood is slung by the running chains.  I recall those seconds seeming to last for minutes and I could not take my eyes off the screen.  And I covered my mouth and screamed right along with Kim/Monica.  

Jennifer Carpenter, Quarantine. 
I really enjoyed this scary flick about a news crew, fire fighters, and residents who are trapped in a building with infected people.  The telephones and cable are shut off, then the lights go.  Jennifer Carpenter (of Dexter and The Exorcism of Emily Rose fame) brilliantly lends her panicky lungs as she hollers at those quarantining the building and tearfully screeches for her camera man to “turn the light on!!!”  In fact, given her background as serial killer Dexter Morgan’s sister and a young woman possessed by the devil, I dub Jennifer Carpenter as this decade’s Scream Queen. 

I am absolutely positive there are plenty more shrieks that ring out in our memories of favorite horror movies.  I may add some more if I think of them.  In the meantime, feel free to suggest others.     


I Hate X-Box Live — October 13, 2011

I Hate X-Box Live

I know.  Hate is such a strong word.  Maybe I really dislike the X-Box live ordeal.  Sure, it keeps my child entertained, and he can chat with his friends via the headphones without hogging up phone lines or running out of phone minutes.  But this phenomenon is wicked annoying.  Maybe I’m just a grumpy old woman. 

He gets excited and frustrated when playing online tournaments, especially if his team loses, therefore his speech is pressured and loud.  He constantly calls his friends’ names to get their attention over all the others jumbling about in the conversation.  I feel like I have to tiptoe around him because he’s talking to his friends like one would on a phone.  Then I remember that I am the Mother and I pay the rent.  To heck with tiptoe-ing around X-Box. 

When I ask or instruct for something to be done, I mean it to be done now.  Such as turning off the game and eating.  Eating kind of important.  But I am met with opposition because the kid is in the middle of some match with a team, and apparently the team will hunt him down in real life and assasinate him if he leaves the game.  Well, I don’t care.  Shut it off! 

And it the is the latter issue that irritates me the most.  The argument is no longer “I need to find a saving place!” which usually takes a second.  The argument is “but I’m in the middle of an online match!”  Grrrrrrr!

My argument back is pointing out that if I am at the stove, dinner will be ready soon.  Don’t get online!  If we need to leave in fifteen minutes, don’t get online!  In fact, don’t turn on the game system!  Please child, just think!

Wednesday’s Wigged-Out Moms — October 6, 2011

Wednesday’s Wigged-Out Moms

ABC’S Wednesday night comedy line-up is the best on TV.  You totally know it.  At least from the 8:30 to 9:30 times with The Middle and Modern Family.  And this Wednesday, the Moms’ sanity was challenged to its end by their children’s’ and/or husband’s antics. 
Let’s begin the maternal meltdowns with Frankie Heck from blue-collar working The Middle (who does normally freak out on the show).  She boiled with jealousy when a woman in the neighborhood won big money on Wheel of Fortune.  Her youngest son, Brick, fixated on catalogs.  Her oldest son, Axl, left his nasty shoes on the kitchen counter top.  Her daughter, Sue, shrieked that Frankie ate Axl’s toenail clippings when he idiotically left them in a potato chip back.  This drove Frankie to leave the home, causing her children to burn dinner, argue over whose fault it was, and panic.  At the end, it was Frankie’s incredible husband Mike who convinced her to return home by reminding her of how beautiful she is. 

On to Clair Dunphy from the not-so-blue collar Modern Family.  This stay-at-home mother went on a mission to petition for a stop sign at a dangerous intersection after nearly getting into a car accident, then hitting her own pedestrian husband, Phil.  She needed help getting 50 signatures in a couple of days.  Did her nitwit oldest daughter help?  Nope, she was caught in a lie about an essay.  How about the brainiac middle child.  Naw.  And Clair’s son, Luke, and Phil attempted to bounce a basketball off Phil’s head into a goal all afternoon.  And Phil didn’t do his one chore of switching out the dead light bulbs.  Thus Clair went into her hissy fit, pointing fingers, and scolding her family with her lovely blonde locks flying away like Medusa’s snakes before she, too blazed out the home to complete her stop sign mission.

And I cheered both Mothers.  For these episodes depict how suddenly the every day habits and idiocracies of our own children, families, co-workers, and neighbors can drive us into a frenzy until we snap and storm out of the home, leaving our loved ones to wonder what just happened.  Yet honestly if they thought about it just for a second, like Axl, Sue, and Brick did in the Middle, they would figure it out.  And even if we leave the house to go sit quietly at the library, coffee shop, fast food place, or our own Mother’s home, the snapped pieces of our sanity usually do mend together.  And we remember that deep down inside, we know that these frustrating behaviors will pass….. when our kids move out. 

Watch full episodes on www.abc.com

I Want to Live At Ikea — October 2, 2011

I Want to Live At Ikea

For the Mister’s birthday, he went on art supply shopping spree at Ocean State Job Lot (and I got a hard cover book for $1.50).  Since we needed lighting for the old house, we skipped over to Ikea.  It was my first trip there. 

We only found two small lamps we liked, but a bunch of other fair-priced items that are making life a bit easier and colorful.  We pointed out what kitchen cabinets, sinks, and stoves we would like to have.  I crooned over the cool bookshelves, as I have many books still in boxes.  I was tempted to lie down and chill in the deep purple bedroom and watch people go in and out of the neat bathroom set up.

And as we ate a decent lunch at the cafeteria like we were in college, I decided I wanted to live there.  I could recline in many dens and write my novel at a variety of desk designs.  That kitchen is dirty?  No problem.  I’ll go cook at another kitchen.  But I can’t have hundreds of people wandering into my new home, so I settled on something more practical.

Ikea is  now on my list of places to camp out if the zombies start to invade.  And I made a mental list of furnishings I want for my new house if I win the lottery.