Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello from Buffalo!

hubbyYesterday it was rain-slushing. There were puddles of water in the streets, and melting snow on the grass. There were people raking leaves, and everyone was wearing hoodies and fleeces. Last night the snow started a little bit more in earnest.

The flakes fell a little bit faster, and stuck on the ground longer. This morning when Chris and I woke up, we were in the process of being snowed in. Now it's 2 minutes shy of 3pm, and snowed in we are. Neither of us went to work, and most of my coworkers called in as well. There is a driving ban for all points starting in South Buffalo. (Chris and I live in what is known affectionately as "The South Towns"). A few hours ago, Chris tried to go and chew us out of the snowdrift. Yeah, that didn't happen. We don't have  the ability, and more snow keeps falling. The photo to the left is Chris making an attempt. About another foot has fallen since then.

Let's make the most of it! Chris and I are working our way through our series (currently catching up with American Horror Story), and drinking hot cocoa. As far as I'm concerned, we have food in the house, and the power is still on, which means my zoo survives (orchids, snakes, and fish).  To be continued...

...it's 8:15 the same night. The snow has continued falling. Chris and I went out to uncover our exhaust pipe for our furnace, because high efficiency furnaces are notorious for getting covered and causing carbon monoxide poisoning (so keep yours clear!). We barely made it around the front of the house. I was climbing over the snow drifts and using my shovel to balance my weight out (like a freaking crab.) We will try again tomorrow, and tomorrow there will be more picks.

For those of you who might be snowed in (or just want to pretend you are), here are my picks for a fun snowed-in day (or week, as this isn't supposed to let up until Thursday or Friday):cookies

1) Candy Cane Hot Coca - Oh man! This stuff is the bomb. It takes about 2 packets to make a decent cup, but it's great. Highly recommended!

2) Snowcone Cookie Mix - The flavor is blue raspberry. And they're amazing.

3) Z Nation - If you haven't been watching this, well, get on it! It's a really great show. It's pretty traditional, but has some really poignant and funny moments. Plus the characters are multi-faceted. That's always a bonus.

4) American Horror Story - My personal favorite is Season 1, but Season 4 is picking up nicely.

5) The Thing - Both the John Carpenter version, and the "prequel". Either works just as well - even though I will always have special love in my heart for the original. (Go, MacReady, go!)

6) Dreamcatcher - So sue me! I freaking LOVED the movie version. The book was ok, but the movie kicked some serious ass! (And it starred Timothy Olyphant, which never hurt anyone.)

7) 30 Days of Night - HELL YES. Now THAT is being snowed in.

8) The Shining - Yes, you knew that was coming. A classic tale of being snowed in, and the damage an alcoholic can do when influenced by bad spirits.

9) The Mist - Ok, ok. So not a snow movie, but creepy as hell. And, if you're from Buffalo like I am, the wall of white outside the window doesn't really matter does it. Mist, snow. It's white and you can't get through.  (Oh, and Thomas Jane is spectacular in this one! Not to mention three Walking Dead alumni are in it - Carol, Andrea, and Dale.)

 

Whatever you're up to, and wherever you are, be safe and be warm. I'm off to watch some TV with the husband, and then get my crochet on. Afterwards, I might keep reading a really awesome book - The Undead Haze, by Eloise J. Knapp. My favorite literary sociopath, Cyrus V. Sinclar, is back at it again. As an added bonus, he's slogging through a winter wonderland too. (If you're new to the series, start with The Undead Situation first!)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Buffalo Haunts 2014: House of Horrors / Haunted Catacombs

House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs used to be two separate haunted houses. They joined together to bring people an enhanced scare experience, and in many ways, that's worked hoh and hcgreat for them. This is another house that Steve and I try and visit every year. Sometimes the houses change, and some are the same title and theme from year to year, but with noticeable differences.

One of my favorite things about HoH and HC is the interior decoration, before you even get to the haunted houses. They have an animatronic torso that is suspended from the ceiling by two chains that it holds. It whips its head back and forth and see-saws with the chains. In the low colorful light it almost looks real. This year, a guard post was added with zombies and human dummies, which was a nod to their two Walking Dead themed haunted houses. On a big screen commericals for old horror and sci-fi movies play. If you're not careful, one of the myriad fiends in costume will sneak up on you, or you can take a picture with them for free. There is also a concession stand for candy, popcorn, and soda.

leatherfaceSteve and I started with Killer Theater, which was a favorite from last year. The premise is pretty basic - you go from movie set to movie set. You encounter Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. Last year included Pinhead, complete with his spinning pillar of body parts. This year, thankfully, Leatherface was without his chainsaw. Say what you will about me - I'm fearless until the chainsaws come out! Killer Theater certainly didn't disappoint this year either!

We went through Zombie Apocalypse Paintball, which was like walking through a Resident Evil set. At two different points, we were instructed to walk up to a window where we could shoot zombies wandering back and forth. Pretty fun - not exactly what I expected. When another visitor accidentally shot me in the back with the paintball, I understood why there were designated shooting spaces! It sucked being shot without armor! Overall, it was a very interesting house.

Dragged into the Grave was extremely disappointing. The facade was a tomb, complete with a leering gargoyle larger than a grown man. It was very realistic and intimidating. And it led to - nothing. Absolutely nothing. The entire house was a dark maze. It didn't even have any actors. Fumbling in the dark quickly became tiresome, and when it was over I was pissed.

The Walking Dead: Prison Break and The Walking Dead: Escape From Woodbury were both pretty cool. They closely mirrored the television series. Prison Break featured a walk through the prison where the characters made their home in the TV series, complete with Rick and Carl statues. Escape from Woodbury had Michonne, Rick, Carl, and even the Governor, with his aquariums full of heads. It wasn't so much scary as it was really cool to walk through what felt like scenes from the movies.

HellHouse was, by far, the best. And it always is! It's not analogous to the Richard Matheson masterpiece, unless you go by the fact that both are haunted houses. The facade is the most highly decorated, and looks like an old Victorian house. The inside is also the most well-furnished. There was an animatronic demon-head goat-monster that reached out to bite you on your way out. There are was even a child's room filled with creepy dolls galore, and the kitchen. Oh man the kitchen! That's where my nightmare man with the chainsaw was waiting.

Love...With a Dark Twist

I love anthologies! It's like eating at a buffet. You get to sample all sorts of delicacies - enough to whet your appetite, but not so much that you get tired. In the horror genre, it seems the list of rom zom com pictureanthologies is never ending. There are carnival zombie anthologies, animal zombie anthologies, Victorian zombie and ghost anthologies. And now this. Rom Zom Com. It's an anthology chock-full of zombie stories based on romance and comedy.

Yes - I know exactly what you're thinking. And that's definitely a crazy mix. Some of the authors pulled it off beautifully - and some delivered romantic zombie stories with sharp biting irony. My favorite story is about a guy trying to impress the girl of his dreams - while she only has eyes for another. The beauty of the story is that just when you think you know everything, the author pulls the rug out from under you, and the story takes on a whole different perspective. I guarantee you won't see it coming! Another favorite is a story of two lovers who are separated, and reunited during a chance meeting. So far, not so exciting. But the way they hold the zombies at bay is one of the most unique I've read yet! In another story, a man does everything he can to keep his friends from finding out the truth - and someone else will pay the price for his hidden identity. In yet another, a family struggles to keep it together while one hides their true identity.

The only fault I can find in this book, is that it's heavy on romance and short on humour. But that's only if you're looking for traditional comedy. The stories contained in Rom Zom Com lean more towards irony and sarcasm. They flip the viewer's perceptions and play with them - turning everyday courting and marital situations into something altogether new. It's an interesting and cheeky read, and I recommend it to everyone - but especially those who favor their zombies a little more light-hearted!