HALLOWEEN’ING 2016: Day 11 – Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

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Spooky Reads:

scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

You may have noticed that I’m using a stock photo of the cover of this tome, instead of a picture of my copy. That’s because I don’t actually own this book; I do, however, have some very very fond memories of having the stories read to me in grade school, and checking it out from the library back in the day, curled up and taking in all of the stories that are contained within, helping to nurture my growing love of the macabre with a touch of whimsy, tempered with danger. And just a hint of cheese.

For those of you not familiar with the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series, these were three collections put out in the years 1981, 1984, and finally 1991, all written by one Alvin Schwartz with illustrations originally done by Stephen Gammell. The stories themselves are based on various folklore and urban legends, researched heavily by Schwartz, which managed to capture the imagination in and of themselves. But, the real terrifying frosting on top of this already delicious cake are the original illustrations, which are surprisingly nightmarish even for a children’s collection. Which, for me, just made things all the more interesting. I was a weird kid.

If you’ve never read these collections, you were clearly deprived of one of childhood’s great joys. I’ve seen these sold as a boxed set and in omnibus form, and while I have yet to own them outright, I figure on rectifying this oversight as soon as possible.

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Obligatory Thanksgiving Post (2015 Edition)

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turkey-carcassHere we are, the week of Thanksgiving. Which means that I’m in the midst of the Holiday Edition of my periodic Downward Spiral, something that begins when Halloween breathes its last at the strike of Midnight, and continues steadily until some time after New Years. By that time, I’ve blocked all of the light emanating in the domicile I reside in, and have a special soundtrack that features the likes of Dead Artist Syndrome, L. S. U., Saviour Machine and other darker stuff playing on an endless loop, while I sit on the couch and read ancient Gothic literature to the candle light to stave off the creeping darkness. Fun times.

But, if you’re worried you’re about to read a bunch of self-pity-ing whining that you would normally find on a blog of some emo kid, far from it. I’m currently at the part of the overall Holiday Clusterbomb where I like to refer to my level of depression as “whimsically melancholy”.

This year, due to the scheduling algorithm, I work on Thanksgiving. Which, for me, is fine. I fear that, in my middle age, Thanksgiving–along with Christmas–have lost all cohesion for me in terms of celebratory importance. They’re just days on the calendar for me.

Certainly, I enjoy gathering together with the family, sharing in a meal of some sort, and enjoying everyone’s presence. All of my memories of Thanksgiving gatherings with the family have been pleasant ones, and I actually look forward to any time we can spend together in that capacity. Only…we can do that at any other given day out of the 365 that comprise the year, and not just on one Thursday at the end of the second-to-last month of the year.

However, instead of focusing on the secular trappings of the holiday, let’s focus on the spirit of the day. And by that, I mean the “Thanks” in “Thanksgiving”. And thus, I share with you all a bit of a list of things I’m thankful for, things that may not be on your typical “I’m Thankful For…” lists. Also, they’re in no particular order, as these are more brain droppings than an actual structured list (as most of these blog posts are):

– ATHEISTS
Without them, I wouldn’t be challenged into thinking logically as to why I believe what I believe. You might say my Christian faith is stronger because of my unbelieving friends. And I’m stone-cold serious about that. No sarcasm whatsoever.

– HORROR MOVIES
Contrary to popular belief, horror movies don’t cause fear, but releases our fear. It’s the perfect genre for Christians to get creative in. And no, I’m not going to explain myself. It would take too long.

– GOTHIC LITERATURE
The old stuff, from the mid-18th Century to the early 20th Century, have a certain charm to them that seems to appeal to me more than a lot of modern horror literature. And I can look pretentious reading them, too.

– SCI-FI
Such bloody good yarns, such imaginations, such thinly-veiled commentary on present issues done in future tense. Also, robots and space ships and aliens, oh my.

– BOOKS
Do I even need to explain this one? Physical books; old, new, paperback and hardback, of all shapes and sizes…er, that didn’t sound as weird in my head as it does written down…anyway…

– QUORN NAKED CHIK’N CUTLETS
I’m no vegetarian by any means, but at those times where I need to cut back on the tender flesh of the innocent, I find the Quorn brand of meatless products to be more agreeable with faking out my brain into thinking I’m still consuming meat. And their “chicken” patties are the best ones going.

There we are, a lovely list to contemplate for our thankfulness of the season. Or whatever. I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good things and happy memory-making. Me, I’m going to catch up on my reading and some writing at work. It’s dead, I’m told. Maybe pick up some pre-prepared turkey to at least overdose on tryptophan. Some traditions I like.

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SUNDAY A’LA CARTE’: February 8, 2015

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2012-01-16-beetlejuice

Greetings and salutations, everyone. It’s Sunday again, in case you may have not found out yet. Or, unless you’re on the other side of the planet–say, Japan–and it’s Monday. Which means, if I call someone in Japan right now, I’ll be talking to someone IN THE FUTURE! Wooo, mind-boggling. Yeah. Anyway, at the moment, I’m going through some issues with WiFi connectivity here at the new-ish abode. Meaning, the WiFi that’s set up by the landlord is…I have an inkling of what is going on, maybe due to my dwelling right next to the bathroom (for reasons, nach). Point is, with the setup, I have to constantly reset things on the computer to get things to go through. Like, every other minute. Literally. And even then, it kind of takes its time to decide whether or not to let me through. So, today I went and invested in one of those Mobile Hotspot thingies that Straight Talk puts out. They were having a half-off sale at the WalMart, so I didn’t pay the full $100 or so dollars it would have cost. Went with the 2 gigs, for hooking up with the posting and general reading of a few web pages. I usually do my video streaming on the Android, anyway, as well as anything I download on Play. Interesting place to get my television fix, that.

Last Thursday, I let slip around a few people at the gathering of the Exalted Geeks that I have yet to watch the movie Beetlejuice. After all the gasps of shock died down, it was decided that it was in my best interest–after we had to talk a certain person out of demanding my Geek Card be revoked–to watch the movie today. So we did. This afternoon, a couple of us gathered together at the home of one Nex Nocturnum, and watched the movie. Interesting flick, that. It’s one of Tim Burton’s earlier works, obviously, so the whimsically morbid glee is still very much apparent, rather than glossed over in his recent outings. Certainly not what I was expecting. Considering my admission to not having watched the movie in the first place stemmed from talk about a sequel, I have to wonder how in the world this could be coming about. And will that head be all shrunken still.

STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: In this hear YEAR OF METAL, we kicked off Hard Rock + Proto-Metal FEBRUARY with bits on Motorhead, AC/DC and KISS. I also reviewed the book Brave New World, the movie Lucy, and a couple of Pantokrator albums here and here.

Gonna cut it short this week. Mainly due to still figuring out the configuration of this hotspot thingie. Seems to prefer Google Chrome over Firefox, so I may have some browser adjusting to do. Until next time, cheers all.

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Sunday A’ La Carte: January 25, 2015

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all about that grace no devilGreetings and salutations, my wonderful freaks. It’s once again Sunday night, so I now dispense with a bit of the ol’ weekly brain droppings I cheekingly call A’La Carte. Of course, you may have noticed that I skipped doing this last week. Or, maybe you didn’t, I don’t know. Point is, I took a bit of a breather last week due to a couple of things: my Aunt Jan’s funeral, and my final move to the old haunted Victorian house in Omaha, referred to lovingly as “The Vic”. Although, I personally like using the full Victorian when referring to the house, as it sounds much more…I don’t know, British? “I’m headed back to The Victorian.” Cue ominous minor-key chord.

Concerning the funeral of my Aunt Jan: it was lovely. Very touching. Got a bit long at the end, when the Eastern Star group she was a member of gave us an interesting ceremony chock full of symbolism, plants, and bad dry readings. Sad she’s gone, but given the circumstances, at least her suffering is done. The family reunions on that side won’t be the same, though.

As to my new place of dwelling: let’s just say, it’s very fitting for a reclusive, curmudgeon-y old recluse like myself. It’s a good place, very atmospheric, very much fitting for my writing sensibilities, and it’s in an area that I find ideally isolated while being nearby places to go. Which, of course, I will probably never really utilize to its full potential, but then again I’m not planning on going anywhere else any time soon. Especially after lugging all of those boxes of books to the second floor room. Gads, that makes a strong case for getting a Kindle or something.

nq150117As a third point of issue: Apparently, today was the day of something you…er, I mean we humans (I’m not an alien) celebrate by pitting our nation’s finest warriors to a battle to the death over an leather egg-shaped item of questionable inflation and size. I believe it is called the Superb Owl, and its acolytes mark this day of jocularity (pun unintentional but nifty) by feasting on copious offerings of adult libations and what are referred to as na-choos. It’s not the same as the roasted tender flesh of the fearsome Kryack washed down with a goblet of the fermented urine of a Kraphlar beast (what you…er, we humans would call “Mountain Dew”), but it is sufficient. Also, the commercials are delightful. I didn’t watch it. I was busy…not watching it. I’m not an alien.

hEAD850A3Do you ever find yourself getting confused when it comes to deciphering the coded language we Christians sometimes use ad nausium called Christianese? While I personally have made conscious efforts to not use it in my daily conversations with anybody, after over twenty-five years, I am fluent in the Charismatic, Non-Denominational, Baptist (both Southern and Independent Fundamental strains), and General Youth Group and Bible Study dialects. Which leads into this blog post here that deciphers Christianese for the common English speaker.

nq150116STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: The Year Of Metal continues on with some posts on the NWOBHM bands Jaguar, Raven, and Saxon, then I post reviews for the movies Knights Of Badassdom and Annabelle and the Star Wars zombie novel Death Troopers, and last but not least I posted the praise and worship playlist I listen to at church every Sunday in lieu of the music played by the contemporary worship band.

So, that’s all for this week. Tomorrow is another day, but I still have a bit of writing to do before succumbing to the siren song of the bed, there. Until next time, leave your comments, suggestions and rebukes down below, and I shall see you all next week. I leave you now with your nightmare fuel, brought to you by one of my surrogate nieces. Cheers.

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Sunday A’La Carte – November 16, 2014

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tesla is metalHello, everyone. And welcome once again to another Sunday night, courtesy of the theory of Relativity. Meaning, the older I get, the faster the days seem to zip by. This phenomenon is linked to me being able to blink, and suddenly the weekend is gone, and I’m here once again typing out my various brain droppings and inane ramblings for another weak on this exorcise in blogging I like to call the Sunday A’La Carte.

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way: The reason why I didn’t post last week’s A’la Carte on this blog was because I was blocked from making posts for a bit, until things could get straightened out. By that, I mean that apparently I’ve been scheduling far too many future posts, mainly reposts from the previous defunct Blogspot sites of mine, in one setting, and that hoisted a red flag to the moderators of Word Press. Fair enough. I do tend to power through things in one setting, and while I find being able to schedule posts to be automatically published onto the blog to be very helpful to get something out every day of the week, I do tend to overdo it. I’m rather prolific with my writings, I’m afraid. But, things were taken care of, and I’m able to post things once again. Which means, you can all ignore my whiny over-reaction from last week. If you haven’t already.

metalcore clownFor the past couple of months, now, my trusty LG Android has been showing signs of derping. Well, it’s always had its moments of derp, but more recently it has been exhibiting more concerning signs of possibly a massive DERP that it cannot recover from. Eh, it’s been two years with the device. And while it’s been wonderful (though the 3G on the thing was laughable at best), I decided today to get a newer Android to replace the old one. This time I got the Moto E, which was still under $100, bigger screen, and sleeker looking. I’ve named it the Pandorica. Because, when switching over the service from the LG to the Moto on the Straight Talk page, it asked me for a nickname. And I tend to name all of my things (my skull-topped cane is named “Johnny”, for instance), so I decided to name the new multi-media device that can also make phone calls the Pandorica, after that weird boxy contraption the Doctor’s enemies stuck him in. Yeah, it’s a geek reference. What else did you expect from me? Moving on to other geek stuffs…

tumbe dryIn the Wacky World of \,,/METAL\,,/: Do you remember that probe that landed on that comet? It was all over the news, there. You know what I’m talking about, it was buried underneath Kardashian news, there. I find news involving space much more interesting than Kim’s photoshopped butt. Anyway, one of the head scientists who worked on the Rosetta mission is a Cannibal Corpse fan. All of you other science geeks can keep Neil deGrasse Tyson; Dr. Matt Taylor is my science boy, right behind Nikola Tesla. Then, we got (c)rap artist Nicki Minaj blaming citing the show Metalocalypse as one of the influences on her controversial new video. Haven’t seen it, personally. The Nicki Minaj video, I mean. I have better things to waste my time on. Like these motivational posters using \,,/METAL\,,/ lyrics. See what I did, there? Yeah, boy.

thisJust got done reading the Philip K. Dick Reader, a collection of some of Dick’s short stories. Very fascinating stuff. Makes me hungry for more. But, it’s going to have to wait until I’m through my reading cue. Started up with the book Damned by Chuck Palahniuk—you know, the guy who wrote Fight Club. I’ve described Damned as kind of like what Dante’s Inferno would be like if it was more like The Breakfast Club, and filtered through the mind of Clive Barker.

worst alternate endingSTUFF I’VE WRITTEN: Well, rather large load of stuff this week, as the repostings continue on: Movie Reviews of the vampire flick Southern Gothic, the stinky Spider-Man 3, the Blair Witch rip-off The St. Francisville Experiment, the original mini-series of Stephen King’s The Stand, the rather awful 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives, the bio-pic of pro wrastler Sting, and Dee Snider’s opus to body mod horror Strangeland. In music, I review three Extol albums here, here and here, an album from hardcore band Focused here, a Faithbomb album here, some Forsaken Lemonade here, something by Fasedown here, a bit of Forevertree here, a dash of Forthwright here, a little grindcore by way of Frank’s Enemy here, the two-song EP by black metal band Frosthardr here, the three albums by Frost Like Ashes here, here and here, three albums by the Galactic Cowboys here, here and here, some industrial goodness by way of Generation here and GlobalWaveSystem here, and then rounding things off with reviews from Gnashing Of Teeth here, and Goliath here. *phew* And last but not least, I share my brain droppings on trying out Chick-Fil-A for the (alleged) first time, the night I waxed nostalgic over the album Dark Side Of The Moon at a bar, some randumb thoughts, and a funny little list for those who may or may not go to a Christian college.

That’s all for this week. I have to go in early for some Mandatory Over-Time, so I thought I’d curl up with that book I’m reading for a bit before knocking off for my beauty rest. Thus, I leave you with what can only be described as Vulgar Display of Cuteness. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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Sunday A’La Carte – September 21, 2014

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daily lobsterman hangover bathSUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY! Ah, yes, that time of the week again. I just got back from the yearly end-of-summer church family picnic. This was my first year going, as the entire time that I’ve been attending Country Bible (since 2006, in case anyone cares), no one has clued me in to where this so-called “Grandpa’s Farm” was. It was always “Grandpa’s Farm”, like I should automatically just know where this place existed. Or stumble upon it after wandering inside an old Victorian-era wardrobe. Finally, after nearly ten years, I figured I would at least show up once, and to do that I had to socialize with someone at the church to give me an actual address to work with. And not just general directions, like the farm folk community around here tends to do (“You drive down on that highway there, turn left-ish at the water tower, and keep driving until you come to old man Rutherford’s son sitting atop that fence post. He hasn’t been quite right since the accident, there. Anyhoo, you turn right, and pop in this here copy of Deep Purple’s greatest hits, and when it just gets to “Smoke On The Water”, you’re there. That’s if you have it on side one. If you’re listening to side two, then it’ll be halfway through “Highway Star”…what d’ya mean, ‘What’s a cassette tape”?”). Sorry about that mental detour. It happens. Anyway, I found the place–surprisingly easy to locate, really–and partook of the massive amounts of seared cow and pork flesh, and what you humans refer to as “side dishes”, and “macaroni salad”. Also, there was pie. For the evening’s entertainment, there was a gospel cowboy band playing. Not a Country Band, a Cowboy Band. There is a difference. Like you half expect Graham Green to show up from beyond the grave and say, “Life’s a true bonanza,” at some point. Talked with the scant handful of people I knew, and spent the majority of the time watching people meander by. Also, there was a couple of air castle jumping-thingies. I should have brought the two youngest nephews. I would have looked less conspicuous. Though, wearing all black and a Megadeth shirt to boot, I’m certain that maybe wouldn’t have helped. Still, at least Dylan would have had a blast. And made new friends. He does that. And now I’m really off of course, here…

Then again, this is the Sunday A’La Carte, after all…

Due to a link in this week’s Saturday Ramblings (which was part of the inspiration of me doing this weekly post, by the way) on iMonk, featuring this hi-larious Onion-like news piece, I think I have found a new thought-provoking and snicker-inducing time waster…

Because of a family gathering of sorts in Grand Island Saturday morning, and because I really needed to walk around a bit after we all went to Valentino’s buffet afterwards for lunch (“dinner” if calling the Noontime meal “lunch” makes you twitch pedantically), I went to the local Conestoga Mall in the afternoon. I did need to pick up a more portable external hard drive to replace the bulky MyBook that I’ve had for a few years; but, I decided to do a bit of Halloween’ng and check out this place in the mall that my cousin’s wife (“cousin-in-law”? I never really know how to address that) tipped me about, one of those seasonal Halloween costume and brick-a-brack stores called Halloween Spirit. And oh my, was this place fantastic to look around in. Not only was there the standard costumes, accessories and fun stuff to be had, but they really went out of their way to build some very fun and effective animatronic displays, including a video-based one right in the front entrance that was very nice. Alas, I figure this will be my only time to go there, as I rarely am out to Grand Island, but I did take some pics in the store, of which I shall share with all of you now:

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Click to embiggen…go on, you know you want to…

STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: I review the fourth in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary series of re-released novels, and I give my thoughts on how Season Eight of Doctor Who is going so far. Yeah, it’s a bit Who-centric this week. Blame my obsessions, I guess…

It’s a bit short this week, as I’m still fighting off a bit of fatigue due to the change in seasons (always happens this time of year, nothing to get worried about). I leave you now with this video I stumbled upon while watching a video someone in my youth group showed me. I like to think of it as “Cosplay Metal”. These guys are now my new METAL obsession. Cheers, all.

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Sunday A’La Carte – August 10, 2014

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stary night

It’s Sunday night, there’s the fifth season of Angel on the bigger monitor as background noise (probably my favorite season of the series that I considered to be better than the show it spun off from), and my shoes and pants are off for the day. Sorry about that mental picture, there. Shall we dish up this week’s A’La Carte?

First, from the People In L. A. Are A Special Kind Of Crazy files, there’s this piece here I found interesting. Amusing as well. Way to perpetuate the whole “self-absorbed L. A. socialite” stereotype, there.

save the twinkee

From the Death Is The Only Happy Ending (de)Composition Book: “Friday mourning. Death and decay permeate the land, the sky gloomy and overcast, the angry Day Star obscured by the grey mist covering the sky like a humid funeral shroud. The zombies shuffle to work, mindless consumers rotting away, slaves to their nature with the delusion of freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom.” Not a morning person, in case you were wondering.

flirting with death

So, I keep hearing that Guardians Of The Galaxy is far better than I have given it credit for. I haven’t seen it, and I wasn’t really planning on seeing it (due to my lack of really not being interested, despite the current track record Marvel movies have been getting)…until I kept reading and hearing everyone else rave about this. Fine. I may have to break my strict “Wait for it to show up at the Second-Run Theater” rule, and watch it at the mainstream cineplex. With the caveat of watching it on one of those Five Dollar Tuesday nights that Marcus does. Maybe. Haven’t decided.

One movie I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I will never see–in the theater, on DVD, or otherwise–will be the third Hobbit movie. I have no vested interest whatsoever. The only reason why I actually saw the other two (the first on DVD, and then the sequel on the big screen) was because of my love for the individual who has since left me an empty shell of the man I once was. She loved them, therefore I watched them, because I loved her. Now there is no obligation for me to care.

I’m only bitter because I still love her, you know. Moving on…

stars are dead, just like your dreams

In my ongoing wanderings as a self-described post-Evangelical (I really need to finish up that piece I’m writing about that sometime, mental note), I found this piece from the Internet Monk rather insightful.

Stuff I wrote and posted this week: I took a look at a Stupid Witnessing Trick, had a High School flashback thanks to a Prius, and I read and reviewed another Doctor Who novel.

And as always, the new Session of NECRO SHOCK RADIO was posted today as well. This one features Abolishment Of Hate, Becoming The Archetype, Chosen Stranger, Demon Hunter, Exorcist, Fit For A King, Forevermore, Frost Like Ashes, Godfear, Hail The Blessed Hour, InnerWish, Justice For All, Living Sacrifice, Martiria, MANDITORY MORTIFICATION, My Heart To Fear, Nahum, Officer Negative, The Ongoing Concept, The Overseer, Prayer, Random Eyes, Sacrificium, Take It Back, Ultimatum, and Wolves At The Gate. Check it out, eh?

Time for beddy-bye. It’s another Monday mourning tomorrow, which means I need my beauty rest. Cheers, all.

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