Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fright Night

What is it about haunted houses?  Knowing full well they are fake and what to expect we still scream and holler and jump and hide our eyes.  A park nearby has been advertising for a haunted house over the last few weeks, and every time I drive by I think, "It might be fun.  We should go.  Are we too old to go?"
And then I wonder why in the heck do I think I want to go to a haunted house!?!?  I don't even like people sitting behind me in a staff meeting so self inflicting pretend horror shouldn't be appealing.
The most incredible haunted house experience I have had was in Salem, Massachusetts.  The site of the Salem Witch Trials, Salem goes all out for Halloween.  One year, right after college, a group of friends and I spent a frightening evening touring haunted houses.  Up until that point, my experience with them was Disneyland's Haunted House "ride" and the local parks & rec kid-friendly versions in the neighborhood where I grew up.  Neither prepared me for Salem.
Salem is hardcore.  I've seriously never been so afraid it my life.  The actors (is that what you call them) jump out at you from the front, from the side, and worst of all FROM BEHIND!  While that is plenty scary, they also get THIS close to you.  The plus about the whole thing is that they are not allowed to touch you, but instead they pretend they're going to touch (or attack) you, which is almost worse.  It's truly horrifying.  And it's not just A haunted house.  We roamed the city streets going from one haunted house to the next.  By the end of the night with a house or two left to go I relegated myself to holding onto the waist of the person in front of me, face buried in the hood of his jacket, screaming bloody freaking murder.  It was exhausting.
I was not aware of this until I saw the video, but Ellen Degeneres (from The Ellen Show) sends one of her writers to a scary haunted house every Halloween.  There are 4-5 years worth of videos on YouTube and they are fantastic.  As someone who scares easily, I can identify with Amy the writer but they still made me laugh out loud.  How do the "actors" not burst out laughing?
This is one from last year...
And the year before...

Why do we do this to ourselves and call it fun?!?!  And who wants to go with me?!?!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Curses

After my nail appointment on Friday afternoon, I left the salon which sits right next door to a sandwich place.  At the exact time I walked out the door, a dad and his two young sons were leaving the sandwich shop, and I found myself right in the middle of a parenting moment.  "You better get your act together and show me some fucking respect!" he hollered at one of his sons.  It's never a good sign when someone is yelling AND swearing so I tried to make myself very small and hustle to the car.  I think the dad realized I heard him as he said the whole thing again when he walked to the care, but switched to "...show me some freaking respect!"
Isn't it ironic that he was demanding respect and showing his kid such little respect at the exact same time.
When did swearing at your kid become ok?  Back in the olden days when I was young like these boys, I didn't know any adults who swore...in front of me at least.  It just wasn't done.  Like everything else, times have changed and those taboo words have certainly become more mainstream. We hear it in a lot of music and on tv, and the movies put them in like their trying to win a contest.  They've even become a part of our regular vocabulary.  I've been known to drop an f-bomb or two when I'm angry.
But I'm having a hard time with it being used so freely, or at all really, around little kids.  There's no way to shield children completely from the "bad words" as the entertainment business doesn't really care about them, but with that being said, shouldn't the people who are supposed to care be a bit more conscientious about keeping them small and innocent for a little while anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This Might Be Futile

Midterm elections are in a couple of weeks.  My absentee voter ballot arrived on Saturday, and I've spent the better part of the last three days researching and trying to figure out who/what the heck I'm going to vote for.  
In the mail alone, I've received a General Election booklet, and General Election Supplemental booklet, a sample ballot, a guide to voting in the election booklet, and absentee ballot booklet, and various partisan-based literature about the propositions on this year's ballot.

One would think with all this literature, navigating what to do based on my ideology would be easy.  No such luck.  I felt like I was reading tax code for all the good these documents did. An "Elections for Dummies" guide would have been much more helpful, so I headed to the Internet to see what kind of information I could find there.  Even sites written for the common person made no sense for what I should do.
And then I was stumped.  The nominees for my District's State Representative are both Republican!  Where is my other option?  After some research, I found this is a byproduct of our Open Primaries which were adopted in 2012.  I'm frustrated about my lack of choice for a Representative to Congress (who have been an utter disgrace over the last few years).  I'm voting in the hopes to make a change and my only two choices are the status quo.  Humph!
Our country has such a low voter turnout, and after hearing about Scotland's recent 85% turnout in their independence election, I'm ashamed.  It's our duty and a right that we shouldn't take advantage of. In the past, I've always felt empowered and accomplished when I voted.  I was enacting change!  But I will say, it was a lot of work to fill in my ballot this year and after all is said and done, I'm not terribly convinced that I voted correctly nor that anything will change for the better.

No wonder Americans don't vote.  On the other hand, since I am voting I'm allowed to complain about my government.  So at least there's that.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pattern Therapy

This afternoon, I finished my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project.  There were not plans to do one this year.  The blank book is often a stressful deterrent.  Usually more time is spent staring at it and wondering where to start than actually working in it...too much pressure. However, they were offering a discount on it via Facebook over the summer, so I caved.  It arrived in mid-July and sat on the table collecting dust while I worked in a sketchbook that wasn't getting sent in for others to see.  Then August came.  With school starting it got buried underneath other books and projects.  Then a few weekends ago with work being over-the-top busy and my mom being in town (since the middle of August by the way) I went into the art room, closed the door, and tried to find some semblance of serenity.
I was inspired by some patterns I had seen recently and just started playing around with my watercolors.  The paper in these books is terrible - it buckled and didn't hold water very well.  I was limited to mostly drawing with the brush instead of using washes and had to skip every other page due to bleed through.  But it didn't matter. The time spent mindlessly creating these patterns made me so very happy.  In fact, I think I'd like to quietly draw watercolor patterns in the art room with the door closed as my full-time job.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oh, What's the Point

By the time I left school and headed home tonight a total of five people told me "how cute" my hair looked today.  On one had, that is so very kind, and if I knew how to take a complement I'd appreciate it.  On the other hand, I didn't really do my hair today so I'm left wondering why I even bother anymore.
My morning routine is as follows...
5 - 6 Walk the dog
6 - 6:40 Shower and start getting ready for work
6:40 - 6:45 Choke down breakfast
6:45 - 7:15 Finish getting ready for work
7:15 - 7:20 Fill up water bottle, make coffee, and head out
While I am truly not a vain person it takes me SEVENTY MINUTES to get ready in the morning - maybe 10 of that is showering, maybe 5 of that is brushing my teeth and putting on make up, and maybe 3 of that is actually getting dressed (including shoes and jewelry).  So that makes what, about 20 minutes (for good measure).  The remaining 50 minutes is spent doing my hair.  It kills me to say it, but I spend 50 minutes on my hair.  FIFTY MINUTES ON MY HAIR!?!?!  The hair on my head is very fine but there is a TON of it.  It literally takes me 25-30 minutes to just get is dry using the hair dryer.  Now that wouldn't be so bad, but said hair is bone straight in some places and slightly wavy in others so simply drying it doesn't do (think lion's mane).  After breakfast I spend another 20 minutes styling it - straight if the weather is dry, wavy if the weather is humid.  It's the bane of my existence most of the time - a slave to my hair and its whims!
So back to today.  This morning it was necessary to get into work a little earlier.  Work has been CRAZY with non-teaching stuff and some extra time in the classroom was necessary.  Since I already wake up at 5 in the morning (and when I say morning I really mean the middle of the night), starting any earlier isn't an option for my sanity.  So something had to give today.  I wasn't quite sure what that would be as there were no intentions to bypass the hair.  After breakfast though, I put part of it up in this half pony-half bun thing that I do so I'm not styling all the hair at once, looked in the mirror for a few moments,  said "F@$& it!", and left it the way it was. After throwing on some make up and getting dressed I was ready to go about 17 minutes earlier than usual.  
This uninspired, unstyled mess on the top of my head was unsolicitedly complimented multiple times today.  Which leaves me to ponder the time and effort put into this morning routine.  I'd love 17 extra minutes of sleep!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Anticipation

About a year and a half ago, I read the book Gone Girl.  It was a book club book, and I downloaded it before I left on my trip to Portugal.  While I don't tend to read a lot when I'm traveling (there is just too much to see and do), it rained and rained and rained, so I read a lot more than I normally would have.  And really, I could not put the book down.  Gone Girl - a little bit love story, murder mystery, and suspenseful thriller - is quite clever and takes twists and turns never expected.  By the time the book was over I both loved and hated, commiserated and despised the two main characters.  And I hate to say too much more than that in case you've not read it yet, because it would be a shame to spoil such a fun read.
Because I enjoyed this book so much, I was thrilled to see it was being made into a movie earlier this year.  I was excited to see Hollywood's take on the movie, even though I'm usually disappointed.  But for this film, the author also wrote the screenplay and David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - US Version) directed it, so there was a chance it would be good.  The previews began a couple of months ago, and remembering how crazy the book is, I got almost giddy when I saw them.
Finally, after months of anticipation, Gone Girl opened this weekend to decent reviews, and I got to go see it.  My first reaction?  It was well done, and I don't think once I was irritated about how the book was handled (and that's rare when it comes to books made into movies).  The actors chosen played their characters well, and the screenplay was fairly true to the book.  I read an article earlier today that contrasted the book with the movie.  The differences were minute - when turning 450 pages into 150 minutes something is bound to be left out, but overall it followed the story quite well.  But that is why I think I'm a bit indifferent about the film.  This book threw a lot of curveballs at the reader.  I had formed opinions about characters and situations that were completely turned on their head from one chapter to the next.  I spent many moments gasping about this book across Portugal on trains, buses and airplanes.  And in the movie I KNEW THEY WERE COMING!  Someone who hasn't read the book yet would probably enjoy the movie very much. It was very comprehensive and the twists and turns were all there.  Knowing all the twists and turns made it a little less exciting the second time around.
With that being said, I'm glad I saw it.  The story is cra-cra and that was done flawlessly in the movie.      I wonder if I'll ever think a Hollywood movie based on a book is WONDERFUL.  Probably not, but this one is probably the closest they've come.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When It Comes to Kleenex, I Feel Like I'm Losing My Mind

I woke up with a terribly stuffy nose this morning.  It cooled off enough this weekend to open up the windows at night, so I'm hoping I'm just suffering from allergies rather than actually sick.  That's what I keep telling myself anyways.  But that's not my point tonight.  What I'm really going on about...I can't find my freaking Kleenex!!!  Every time I come down with a bug or these darn allergies, I head to the store and buy some Kleenex.  And, because this is America, I can get 3-5 boxes for the price of one.  From there, part of one is used for the duration of the illness and then sporadically after that.  The remaining boxes are stored.  Where?  I don't have a clue?  I know for a fact that I have at least two boxes sitting in a cupboard somewhere in this house, but for the life of me, I can not find any of them.  So how do I know they are here?  Because I found the ones I couldn't find last time over summer break while looking for something else, saying to myself, "Ah!  There they are!  At least I have them for next time."  Well, it's next time, and they are NOWHERE!!  I may have to resort to paper towels if I run out before I can get to the store tomorrow.  That's hard on the nose!
It's been a few months since I've seen a movie...summer break is the worst time of the year to see them unless you're a 10 year old.  Now that fall is here, the quality of films has improved, and I've seen three over the last three weekends.
The Drop, which was James Gandolfini's last role...
but Tom Hardy was amazing in it.  It was intense, but well done.
This is Where I Leave You - a good cast and a ton of laugh out loud scenes.  The reviews were so-so, but I really enjoyed it.
Makes me wish I had a large family...and then maybe not.
A Walk Among the Tombstones - based on Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels, with Liam Neeson...
Holy cow!  It was suspenseful and kind of creepy.  It wasn't what I expected it to be, but it was good.