Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Platonic Valentine's Day

This year, Dipper and I celebrated Platonic Valentine's Day. We got each other
cards, he got me a candy bar (it was DIVINE! Chocolate and crystalized still my beating heart!) I can't tell you what I got him just yet, as it hasn't arrived. midnight blueBut he had apparently been searching high and low for a particular book to give to me. It's called Midnight Blue, by Nancy Collins.

There's a couple reasons why this is such a noteworthy gift, not the least of which is that he described it was one of the two most important books he'd ever read. (The first, Norwegian Wood, was my Christmas present. And it's going to get it's own post. When I'm over the extreme trauma of reading it. I'm not even kidding. If you ever want to have your heart torn out, slowly, surely, and page by page, that's the book for you.) The next is that he found me the omnibus edition. I'm a completist. If I start a series, I like to be able to read all of them. With this particular edition, I don't have to hunt down all the volumes. It contains Sunglasses After Dark, In the Blood, and Paint It Black.

I'm on a big werewolf kick at the moment, but I am deeply intrigued by the title and the character. Apparently she's a vampire vampire slayer. No, that wasn't a typo. And she's badass. I'm going to try and chew through the few books I'm working on now and then start this. CANNOT. WAIT.

BoOk CrAwL!

This past Tuesday's BoOk CrAwL was extra special. During one of our first few BoOk CrAwLs, we met a girl from Barnes & Noble who we had asked for some recommendations. Her name is Liz and she's super awesome. She's an avid reader, environmentalist, and all around fun gal. She came along with us to Crazy4Books. As the weeks go on, it would appear that we are well on our way to having a BoOk CrAwL posse. I am more ok with that than I would like to admit!

I didn't know if we'd be able to find much this run, considering we had just gone to Crazy4Books last week. But boy was I wrong! All three of us wound up with arms filled. It was fun to go from aisle to aisle with Liz, grabbing at books, reading them, shelving them, and running onward. Dipper, on the other hand, takes a more measured approach to the used books. As he does in most things. He carefully peruses the aisles, and if you look, there appears to be a method. My method, on the other hand, appears to be "shiny shiny". As in "OH WOW! BOOKS! WHERE DO I BEGIN?!"

My shining achievement was finding an Umberto Eco for Dipper that he didn't have before. (If you're wondering, it was The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.) In hardcover. Spotless, no less. Score!!! As for me, it was all about the fluff reads this time, I'm afraid.crawl

  • The Secret World of Teddy Bears - This is a super cute book featuring poems about the daily activities of silly, dressed teddy bears. Chris' mom is going through round two of cancer, and I thought it would make a super cute pick-me-up from him to his mom.

  • Geisha: A Living Tradition - My mom LOVES Geishas. This coffee table book was pretty much a no-brainer.

  • Martin Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker - Mom used to play guitar in coffee houses. She'd play Joan Baez and other folk singer covers. Her favorite (and only) guitar is  Martin D28.

  • The Nameless Dead - Liz and I were in the paperback section making fun of some of the titles, and I happened to take a peek at this one. I read the back of it, and was pretty much sold on the idea that there is possession involved.

  • A Treasury of Great Science Fiction - Liz grabbed one copy. I grabbed the other. I'm a sucker for older anthologies. Especially science fiction or horror! She grabbed volume 1 and 2, and I grabbed the first volume.

  • Gumbo Ya-Ya: Folk Tales of Louisiana - How could I not?! I love Louisiana, and have always wanted to walk the streets of New Orleans. Maybe some day. But for now, I'll cozy up and read this book and all about the loup garou, voodoo, and the other practices and traditions of Louisiana.

  • Love is Strange: Tales of Paranormal Passion - I can't help it. Pure fluff. Whatever. But fluff can be fun, am I right?

  • My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding: A Collection of New Short Stories - Fluff, fluff, and more fluff. I think, if I were to be brutally honest, I picked this up only because of the cacophony of groans from Liz and Dipper when I announced the title. (If I were to tell you my darkest secret regarding this volume, I would tell you I can't wait to see exactly how bad it can get!)

I'm not sure when I'll get to reading the books on this list. To be honest, there's nothing here I absolutely HAVE to start tonight. But it does feel good to have them in my possession. After all, one can never have too many books, can they???

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My New Favorite Movie

All apologies in advance to Dipper, who is going to read this post soon after publication. (I can see the eye roll in my mind's eye.) Why the apologies, you ask? Because he rues the day he showed me this film. You see, Dipper and I bonded over horror movies and paraphernalia. It quickly became clear that I was not as up to date on all the horror movies that I should be. (Which will be the subject of subsequent posts - of which this will be the first.) what we do in the shadows

I have been absolutely positively stuck on What We Do in the Shadows since November/December. By "stuck on", I mean Dipper and I can't have a conversation with another human being where we recommend movies without it coming up. "Stuck on" as in my poor husband is sitting at his computer watching it with me on our TV while I write this post. It's really getting to be quite a thing. "Stuck on" as in we had a guest in from Kuwait and I flat out insisted on showing him this film. (Poor Pickells - though he did enjoy it immensely.)

That isn't necessarily unwarranted though. I've just burned them out on this movie. I will be counting for hours if I count all the ways that I adore this movie! It's a send-up of everything vampire. Nosferatu. The Lost Boys. Everything and anything vampire. The catch is that they're all really out of date, and each one is a caricature of a popular vampire stereotype. Petyr lives in an upright sarcophagus in the basement (he's Nosferatu-based) and they pass him chickens through the opening. Viago is my favorite. He's a dandy, based on Anne Rice's characters in Interview with the Vampire. Deacon is a Nazi Vampire, and if he is based on anything, it's nothing I'm aware of. That being said, he likes to knit and is very petty. Vladislaw is the Vlad the Impaler/Dracula mix. He thinks he's ultra sexy, and favors lap dancing.

It's also a send-up of housemate comedies, as the vampires are living together in a sort of vampire frathouse. The movie is a faux documentary, in which an unseen documentary crew follows the vampires as they go about their business. They hold flatmate meetings, have victims over for dinner parties, and attempt to go out on the town. No matter what they're doing, it's always one step away from a total disaster. There is not one competent vampire in the whole bunch. Despite a lifespan of several hundred years, they are not able to easily kill and drain their victims. They have "batfights" (a send-up of cat fights). And in general fail at everything they try.

Yes, I can almost hear what you're thinking. Trust me - this movie is worth it in every sense. It's by the people who ares responsible for Flight of the Conchords, and it's very reminiscent of Shawn of the Dead. They're lovable in their incompetence.

What We Do in the Shadows is a movie that bears watching multiple times. Each time you'll find a subtlety that you missed the first time, and that only adds to the experience. It's also a nice compromise for people who love horror, but have friends who aren't exactly into it. There's just enough general humor that anyone can appreciate it. (Unless their favorite movie is The Notebook - in which case there may be no hope for them.) My husband has seen this movie about four times and he's still laughing as I'm writing this post. It holds up to multiple viewings, and it's pretty much the greatest movie ever.

Book Crawl - Crazy4Books

Every Tuesday, Dipper and I do something we call Book Crawl. Basically, we meet up, pick a bookstore to haunt for a bit, and then find lunch. It's the day I look forward to all week - because there is nothing better than wandering around the stacks upon stacks of books in a used bookstore. Don't get me wrong - I love new bookstores too. Hell, I love books. But there's something about discovering books discarded and looked over by everyone else that is amazing. And doing it with someone who is just as excited as you are? Absolutely priceless.

That being said - let's get to the finds! (Mostly because Dipper reads this blog, and I know he's already rolling his eyes.) He took me to a place called Crazy4Bookz, which is deceptively large. It's a small storefront tucked in between two larger buildings. But when you get inside, the bookstore is quite deep. It's got the usual and comfortable used book smell, and every wall is covered in shelving and books. It's an absolute heaven! IMG_8385

  • Crochet Gifts to Go! - If I've never mentioned it before, let me mention it now. I crochet. Wherever I can. And with terrible reckless abandon. And since this is full of hideous
    patterns, well, I just had to have it.

  • Not Your Mama's Crochet - I have no idea why the hell I bought this. (But let me take a moment to defend myself, saying yes, I have a cat. And yes. I am married.)

  • The Zom-B Chronicles - It's three books in one, and I love series! It looks like it might be young adult. I love stories about kids adapting to - and surviving - the apocalypse. Despite it's size, it should be a quick read.

  • Carnival of Souls - I love movies that get turned into books, and I prefer to read the book first. Not to mention, this looks trashy-scandalous and absolutely awesome.

  • Midnight Fright: A Collection of Ghost Stories - I bought this solely for the cover. I love the terrifying clown looking out from under the bed. Scary stuff! The stories aren't bad either - Man-Size in Marble and The Yellow Wallpaper are just two of them. I will say, they're strange picks for a young adult book listed as reading level 6.5.

  • The Amityville Horror - A first print hardcover edition of this book. Because - OH MY GOD THAT'S AWESOME! Squee aside, I love hardcover first edition books. And I've been looking for this one for quite some time. There it was, laying on a shelf in between some other books. The dust jacket is a little beat up, but not bad at all for a book from 1977. The first page has the name of the previous owner scrawled in pen, but what do you expect?

I absolutely loved hitting up Crazy4Books. It's the kind of used bookstore that you want to spend hours in, because that's the only way you'll be able to truly appreciate all of the bookcases and the nooks of the shop. After I had paid and was waiting for Dipper, I discovered a whole other room in the back of the shop that I hadn't even noticed. Apparently the shop is double the size I thought it was. A handy lesson for the next time we happen to Book Crawl.

If you're wondering, on the off-chance, what lunch was - we happen to favor a nice little teriyaki place in the mall. Not too greasy. Good portion size. And good grief is the food amazing!

Horror Block - January 2016

Everyone at my call center is obsessed with subscription boxes - most notably Loot Crate. Those items are hit and miss for me. I don't play most of the video games they reference, and some of the other nerd references are lost on me. Then, my brother Dipper mentioned that there's actually a crate for people like us - Horror Block. It's by the same people that do Loot Crate, but it's all horror. All the time. And let me tell you, it's fabulous!

Horror Block is $29.99 a month, but it's really a steal. There's always a t-shirt and a copy of Rue Morgue magazine, both of which will cost you more to buy separately than if you just get the box. Then there's always 3-5 other items included. Sometimes there's a cohesive theme, but more often than not they're just random items. Past boxes included Freddy Kreuger and Chucky plushies, as well as a really cool zombie hula girl that's supposed to go on your dashboard. (The hypnotic sway of those undead hips is quite distracting, so she's on a shelf in my library instead.)

Most of the items are awesome, but occasionally there are some that aren't quite my style. That's where Dipper comes in. He's an even bigger horror afficionado than I am (and has been showing me all the horror movies I'd been neglecting over the past few months). Sometimes items come in the box that either are more in his vein, or I look at it and just KNOW he has to have it.IMG_7996

January 2016 was an exceptional block. The Rue Morgue magazine centered on horror comics - which is something I am definitely interested in experiencing. Additionally...

  • Gravestone Cell Phone Charger - It's a plot of land with a zombie hand and a daisy, with a crooked tombstone in the back. You place your phone on it, and slip the cord underneath the plot and your phone charges discreetly. LOVE IT!

  • OBEY t-shirt - From John Carpenter's They Live! This one immediately went to Dipper, who cut off the design and attached it to his leather jacket. (It looks awesome, by the way!)

  • Cleaver keychain - A hefty metal keychain. Sturdy and amusing tucked among your keys. Except I hung it on the bulletin board in my library.

  • Carrie Film Cell Bookmark - The iconic image of blood-covered Carrie makes up the majority of the bookmark. Above is a film cell. It's almost too cool to use.

  • Baby Eat You Alive - (I shit you not!) This item went immediately to Dipper. SO CREEPY! I'm not a fan of dolls to begin with, and this one was no exception. He kept it at work for a bit, but now it perches on top of the main bookcase in his living room. And it follows you around the room. Again, it bears saying, SO CREEPY!

I can't wait to see what the next Horror Block will bring, but it's due to come soon. It's literally like a little slice of Christmas every month. (Except everything in the box is awesome, either for me, or my brother.) I'll keep you up to date on the next block, and all other blocks thereafter! And if you're serious about horror, it bears repeating that you need this unique subscription.