Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Greetings and Good Advice

My friend invited me to join her for a 'dumb dinner' this Halloween.  She's the most fabulous pagan I know, and refers to 'All Hallows Eve' as Samhain (look it up).  Anyhoo, as I envisioned a scenario straight out of Dinner With Schmucks, complete with a long list of dopes I'd bring with me in order to exploit, she kindly explained what a dumb dinner actually is: everyone eats silently, an empty plate next to each guest, in order to contemplate and honor our ancestors.  The empty plate, I suppose, is for any ancestors who might want to drop by and mooch a meal.  I've already got relatives on this plane who do that, so why invite more trouble?

She told me not to come if I couldn't take it seriously, so I guess I'm on my own the evening of October 31, which is fine by me.

Don't get me wrong - I love Halloween, but I don't necessarily love everything that comes along with it, which includes but is not limited to:

-Sexy Nurse/Maid/Witch/Cat/Etc. Costumes.  How you dress tells the world how you expect to be treated, and this includes your choice of Halloween disguises.  If you want to be treated like a $10 'lady of the evening', by all means shell out $100 on a bit of flimsy fabric, but prepare yourself for the consequences and don't take offense at those who might leer and/or mock.

-Gory slasher movies.  They serve no purpose but to mess with one's head, and quite frankly, we've too many messed up heads among us right now.

-Tasteless Candy.  I splurged and bought a delicious organic brand for our neighborhood goblins.  Mr. Newman is convinced they'll egg our house as a result.  I may throw in travel size toothbrushes and toothpaste just for spite.  I'm doing a lot of things lately out of spite (be ready for my next entry on voting in the upcoming election).

Now that I've rained all over your Halloween parade, let me offer a few suggestions.  These are my tried and true Halloween pick-me-ups.  You're welcome (see 'Tip Jar').

Movies To Watch:
Strangers on a Train
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Young Frankenstein

Music to Excite Your Darker Side (excluding Thriller - that's a given):
Sympathy for the Devil - Rolling Stones
Dark Lady - Cher
Marie Laveau - Bobby Bare
I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow

Spine-Tingling Reads
The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe
The Nightwatchman - David Braly
The Way Up to Heaven - Roald Dahl
Dear Fatty - Dawn French (not scary, but hilarious, plus the title alone might make us all think twice before dipping into the candy bucket...again)

Foods to Fill Your Soul:
Potato Harvest Casserole (email me and I'll send you the recipe)
Zucchini Bread
Pumpkin Cookies
Baked Apples

It is my sincerest hope that you and yours enjoy a safe and fun-filled Halloween.  May your treats be heavy, your tricks be few.  Cheers, Sweeties!

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Stranger to Fiction

A friend asked me recently if I'd ever considered writing fiction.  "After all," she opined, "writing about the drudgery of real life can be, well, drudgery to read after a while."  I gave her my standard line about 'writing what one knows,' and then went on to explain that I'm simply far too lazy to put any real effort into my written work.  With that being said, I've hit a dry well as far as my writing goes these days, so in order to overcome it I forced myself out of my comfort zone and came up with a few ideas.  I've not yet determined whether any of these will come to fruition.  If they do, then I'll have the mundane task of figuring out whether or not they shall manifest into short stories (most likely, see my comment re.:  lazy), novellas, novels, screenplays, or full-on, life-changing epic adventures.

So here's what I've got thus far.  Let me know your thoughts.  If anything strikes your fancy, I might pursue it, or perhaps give you the green light to write it yourself, you freeloader (see 'tip jar').

The Baptists Were Right - Jack finds himself at the Pearly Gates and is greeted by his boyhood Baptist preacher, Brother Con.  Brother Con informs Jack that everything he preached was true, and that the nondenominational spiritual garbage Jack practiced his entire adult life was not going to fly.  Jack must return to Earth and relive his life as a committed Southern Baptist.  He must avoid drinking, dancing, and compassion.  He must shun Catholics and homosexuals as he bellys up to the Sunday afternoon all-you-can-eat Country Buffet.  He must grow a horrible moustache.  Hilarity ensues.

Fashionably Late - Gloria is a fashion designer by day and a crime-fighting superhero by night.  When a Mexican shoe cartel vows to take over footwear manufacturing worldwide, it's up to Gloria (aka Fashion Flash) and her trusty sidekick, Pierre the Monkey (aka Pierre the Monkey) to bring down the cartel and save the shoe-buying public from exorbitant price mark-ups and low quality materials.  She also finds herself wildly attracted to Jose, a cartel henchman with a shady past.  A tearjerker.

Big Man in the White House - citizens of the United States, fed up with the political status quo, overthrow the government and elect Todd, the most popular boy in his high school, as commander-in-chief.  His good grades, athletic prowess, commitment to student causes, and his way with the ladies serve him well until he's faced with a decision no leader should ever have to face:  going to the state championship with the rest of his basketball team, or attending a global summit to stamp out virus-carrying terrorists.  Slapstick at its best!

Don't Cry for Me, Margarita - Charlene, an unhappy housewife, is fed up with her ungrateful family and heads west with her maid, Margarita, in order to find herself.  And find herself, she does - right in the middle of a traveling circus.  Margarita implores Charlene to reconsider her decision to join this team of freaks, even though Charlene has quite a knack for lion-taming (who knew!?).  Will Margarita stick around?  Will Charlene come to her senses?  Will her family even notice she's gone?  Cliffhangers abound!

The Secret Society of the Washed-Up Has-Beens - Former child star Leslie Lawrence, now a thirty-something out of work actress, decides she's had enough of Hollywood and calls on a few old friends to make changes within the entertainment community: there's Steve, an eighties one-hit-wonder who can no longer sing his one hit due to chronic respiratory issues; Midge, the pint-sized star in the 1990 documentary 'Life With Midge' who, at the age of 40, is still too short to ride a roller coaster much less get any work in film, and Glen, the once-celebrated costume designer who was blacklisted when he accidentally spilled coffee on Alec Baldwin's underpants when they worked together on Knots Landing.  Sheer terror.

That's what I've got so far.  Again, your (positive) comments will be appreciated.  Feel free, though, to offer any constructive (ie: positive) criticisms.  Thanks bunches, Sweeties!