Fall Begins…In July?

I know it’s early. Hey, I hear ya! It’s not even the 4th of July yet, man. No, that’s tomorrow. Typically I don’t get into a fall mood until after the 5th. But this year, the weather has been fall-like, so I’ve been like, screw it. If I want to be in a Halloween/fall mood in July, so be it. So I went to Hobby Lobby and this is what I found, and I could be more unashamedly happy…

 

Happy fall, ya’ll!

Into The Void…

So, I’ve written a book or three. I’m in the midst of attempting to figure out what I’m gonna do with them. So, I thought I might chronicle some of the process here. It is an interesting quandary – what do I do, once I finish my book?

Writing a novel is a daunting, lonely process. You sit, solitary in a room or out on your back deck or at Starbucks. You have a laptop or desktop or iPad and you type. Sometimes the words come easily. Sometimes you sweat. Your neighbors and friends get really tired of hearing about your plots and characters, but normally are polite. Mostly, though, you are alone.

It seems that even when you have a book finished, it is roughly the same. You are by yourself unless you are Stephen King or J.K. Rowling (in case you didn’t know, I am neither). So I’m posting a question to you.

Now that I have a project or three, do I self-publish, or try and get an agent?

Drinking Out Of Buddha

Holy crap! The family and I went out to one of those “Japanese” cook-at-your-table places for dinner. I’ve been trying to cut back on the ol’ soda, so I was only going to order water to drink. That is, until I saw the mugs.

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Are you kidding me? A phallical Buddha drinking mug? There’s no way I couldn’t indulge! Look at his arms. He’s ready for anything. He’s saying, “have your way.”

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Look at the smile on his face. I’ve never seen anyone so jovial to have a hollow tube penetrating their abdomen. He’s just inviting you to suck him dry. The angle in which you behold changes the overall meaning of your beverage vessel.

The best part is, you get to keep the friggin’ mug! Oh, yeah, baby. This sucker’s going on my mantle. I want to share this gift with every single person that comes by our place. I can’t wait to mix up my own juice, pull out a straw, and watch my company’s face light up in unadulterated glee.
Holy crap!

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Halloween The Movie At Halloween Horror Nights!!!

That’s right, Boils and Ghouls, your favorite boogeyman is back! Michael Myers will be making an appearance at HHN in Orlando, this year. Myers originally appeared in 2009 at HHN Hollywood, in a house called: The Life and Crimes of Michael Myers, which covered most iconic scenes from the original films, and even a nod or two to Halloween 3.

Fans of the series have been waiting for this appearance of their favorite killer, in their favorite Halloween event on the East Coast, and now they have it!

The original film, which was made on a shoestring budget of $350,000 in 1978, went on to gross over $70 million at the box office. It was one of the first films to employ a Steadicam system, and was known for creating audience “empathy” with the killer by giving a first-person POV to the opening murder. It also defined classic Halloween trappings and customs for a generation, by creating a brooding, atmospheric tone which captured the spirit of the holiday.

The film is beautifully shot by Dean Cundey who would go on to shoot Romancing The Stone, the Back to the Future trilogy, and Jurassic Park, and is directed by Master of Terror, John Carpenter, who gave us Escape From New York and The Thing.

But the most iconic reach of the movie is not the amazing featureless mask that was created out of a Don Post Captain Kirk. It is the music. To kids that grew up in the 80’s, that music is Halloween. It is as iconic as the Star Wars or Jaws theme, and just as influential.

http://www.4shared.com/music/ZzvwYKUece/Halloween_theme_song_1_.html

The idea that this pulsing, off-beat theme is going to pump through Universal Studios Florida is enough to make my heart palpate with giddy, galloping skips. This is one of my favorite all-time films, and I am so excited, I might not be able to contain myself. I hadn’t planned on going to Orlando, this fall, but I have been scouring travel websites, all damn day!

Here is a small taste of what the original 2009 Hollywood house was like. If this is any indication, we are in for one heck of a treat.

Look What’s Back At Michael’s!

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I know it’s darn early, but I can’t help it. There’s something wrong with me. Every year at this time I have to wander Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and Party City, looking for the Halloween stuff. It really is some kind of illness, one that manifests itself in pumpkins, skeletons, and stupid childlike grins. And here we are, again. The season on witches is upon us and the trappings of said season are slowly infiltrating…. and I can’t stop grinning…
I know, it’s sick….

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McCraw’s Old Fashioned Flat Taffy

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Ok. So I know that I owe you a blog about circuses. The question is, is it now worth it?

I lost two different drafts due to computer errors. These were full-out brilliant posts that I am not sure will ever be topped and I just am not feeling like trying to recreate them right now.

BUT… There is a new circus coming to town.

So…. I guess I’ll have something to write about after this weekend, won’t I?

To get in the mood, I decided to bring you a review of something that I know we used to be able to purchase at circuses – flat taffy.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of taffy. I like everything from traditional salt-water taffy to laffy-taffy and any taffy in between. But there is something about flat taffy that just makes me salivate.

Flat taffy has been hit or miss on the market, but recently I found that both Cracker Barrel and Michael’s are fully stocked.

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I flat out love this taffy. I remember taking road trips with my family to far away, exotic locals such as Pierre, South Dakota, and Enid, Oklahoma. We would load up the ol’ green station wagon and motor on down the road in full-on Griswold mode. Normally our gas station layovers were more like Indy 500 pit stops. Dad would pull next to the gas pump. Then we would synchronize our watches.

“You’ve got 30 seconds,” he would say, a manic, time-pressed gleam painting his eyes.

We would rush in, head for the urinal, do our business, shake it off, run our hands under gas station bathroom sink water that always was either just above arctic or molten sun mass. Then we would run back to the car, our thongs (that’s what we used to call flip-flops) slapping the tarry, summer stained asphalt.

Dad would have already filled up, paid, and peed by then and he would be waiting, impatiently tapping his fingers on the roof of the car. The moment he saw us, he would gesture to us like a third base coach telling us to steel home. We would pile into the car, and then the tires would squeal, leaving about three pounds of rubber behind and we were back on the road. Dad had these stops down to a artistic science, working them into our travel schedules with meticulous plotting, like Shakespeare working out a sonnet. Nothing would get us off schedule.

But occasionally, things would be different. Every once in a while we entered a magical realm, where schedules didn’t exist and time was on our side, and we’d stop somewhere exciting like:

Stuckey’s. The crème de la crème of highway monuments. A treat fit for a king of the road. These short siestas were probably owed more to Dad’s fatigue than any real sense of parental benevolence. Dad was old school masculinity and mom never drove. That meant that when the freeway hypnosis kicked in, he had little choice other than to pull over for a moment and try to regenerate. But Dad was a master at the game. He always let us know that he was stopping for us.

For those of you who never got to experience these concrete oasis, let me tell you what you missed. It was the ultimate tourist trap. Rows upon rows of trinkets and confections that would cause jaw to drop and chin to shine with silver slivers of saliva. Tacky t-shirts and plastic things made in exotic corners of the globe would call out to every kid in a thousand mile radius, brainwashing them into begging mom and dad to buy! Buy! BUY! I swear, we never got out of one of these without aggravating both parental units to the point of yelling, weeping, and gnashing of teeth.

But the pinnacle, the jewel in the Stuckey crown, was the candy aisle.

Row upon row of glistening, over-priced nostalgia called out their Pied Piper song. What kid could resist? Corn syrup and glucose in every shade of the rainbow and artificial flavors that would have made Willy Wonka kneel at the great Stuckey sandals, shone like stained glass windows in a sugar church.

To give my parents their due credit, we never left without something to pacify. There were fizzy Zots and Bottle Caps and gummy Cola and Gatorgum and Pumpkinhead Bubblegum and Slush Puppy Paws and candy buttons and a host of other cavity-causing friends as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Sometimes I would reach for the Nik-L-Nip,

which always looked so promising but never quite satisfied.

But more often than not, I reached for the flat taffy.

Ah. Flat taffy. There is not a fruity flavor of sugary sweetness that can teleport me back to nine quicker than some good, Old Fashioned Flat Taffy.

Recently, I was out on an expedition and I ran into a box of these babies. Of course I had to indulge. As you can see from the smile on my face, I was really thrilled.

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Now I don’t know about you, but I only remember one flavor. It was kind of a sweet, mixed fruit flavor. Sometimes I could convince myself that the red was strawberry, the yellow banana, and the blue raspberry, but I could never be fully sure that I was really tasting what I thought I was.  Imagine my surprise when I turned the package over and saw:

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What the what? There are flavors? I had no idea. I know they didn’t have Cotton Candy or Grape when I was a kid because I was nuts for those two flavors. In fact, I still think that Grape Big League Chew is the greatest flavor of any candy on the planet Earth. All I knew of, back in the day, was Rainbow.

Being the responsible (cough cough) adult that I am today, I did something that I never had done before: I flipped the package over and looked at the ingredients.

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Awesome. How can candy be any good without Palm Flakes? I don’t know, and quite frankly, I do not want to live in a world where it is any other way. This thing has no saturated far, no trans fat, no cholesterol, and no Sodium. Only 19g of Carbs? Are you kidding me? These things are practically nutritious! They are even gluten free. I love how they had to tell me that their taffy is not a significant source of either Vitamins A or C.

With the guilt of destroying my diet safely behind me, I eagerly tore into the wrapper.

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The smell was an instant time machine. A waxy, fruity fragrance floated toward my nose, sending my olfaction into overdrive. This was the real deal. For a moment, I thought I was wearing my short 80’s shorts, riding in the ol’ green station wagon, my legs sticking to the real leather bench seat in the back. I finished unwrapping and reached for the rainbow.

Okay. I have to admit that my enthusiasm began to dissipate a bit at this point. The taffy looked . . . what’s the word? Elderly? I think that this particular stock had sat on the shelves of this particular craft store since at least last July. Taffy should be soft and pliable without the slightest hint of crunch. This taffy more than hinted.

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Luckily, the stale stagnation appeared to have only effected the ends of the treat. Once I began to mess with it a bit, I found the middle parts to be sufficiently bendy.

 

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The first taste was like the first warm day of spring after a nasty winter full of snow and frost. You roll down the windows and let the breeze caress your hair… if you have any… and you blast Here Comes The Sun, by The Beatles, because, little Darling, it really has been a long cold lonely winter.

To be honest, I really bought three bars of taffy. The first two were gone almost before I knew what was happening. My dog looked at me in absolute wonder as I Scooby Doo’ed the whole bars, as if to say, “Hey man, don’t Bogart those.”

Finally, on the third bar, I could relax a little and enjoy myself. Everyone knows that taffy is not only good for eating, and I had no guilt in making this colorfully delicious elephant.

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I named him Alfred, and he became my good, close friend….

for about ten seconds….

Then I ate him.

He was delicious.

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Time to go get some more taffy. Talk soon.

I Finally Update…

Hi. Hello. How are ya? Been a while, huh? I know, I know, I’m just like that chick or dude that you met at summer camp

that promised that they would write “the very minute I get home and then every day after that.” You waited by the mailbox every day, like Ralphie expecting his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin, and every day you were disappointed.

He/she hadn’t written. They didn’t write. They wouldn’t write.

Every day, that darned ol’ mailman would show up with a stack of gleaming white envelopes and multi-colored glossy magazines and your heart would jump. Maybe today….

Only the letter never came, did it? Instead, it was just a pile of bills and inquiries and none of it was for you.

You cursed. You spit. You punched your pillow. You drafted an incredibly witty, extremely mean-spirited response to your spurned love. Maybe you even mailed it. And what happened, bucko? It came back, didn’t it, with a big blue stamp that said: Return to Sender.  Address Unknown. No Such Number. No Such Zone.

You were heart broken. You sighed in the darkness of your room and every time a sad song like I Ain’t Missing You At All, Someone Like You, or Yoda’s Theme from The Empire Strikes Back

came on the radio, you would turn it up and let your heart bleed.

But you didn’t learn, did you?

No. The very next summer, you went to camp.

You had almost forgotten. Then you were in the mess hall and you ran into he/she again.

They looked surprised. You were shocked. You had rehearsed this scene so many times in your head, you knew exactly what you would say to them when you saw them again. But now the script was gone.

You stood there, babbling like a codfish and your mind was blank and your tongue was dry and thick.

And they were so nice, weren’t they? And they had great excuses. They had missed you. They had wanted to write, but they had moved from Dover, Delaware to Louisville, Kentucky over the fall and they had lost your address and you were the lost love of their life.

And you believed them, you sap.

You were inseparable during camp, smooching beneath the firefly trees and the summer breeze.

You swore you’d write. You were gonna keep in touch, this time. This time, it would work.

And you found yourself standing in front of the damnable mailbox, yet again, flipping through stacks of electric bills and credit card invoices and your mom’s Better Homes and Gardens.

Yeah. It’s kinda like that.

Only this time, I promise I’ll write….

Did Monster’s University Rip Off Monty Python?

Have you seen Monsters University?

I did.

I thought it was a pretty good flick. I liked the college setting, and I would be lying if I told you it didn’t give me a nostalgic tickle or two, reminding me of glory days and gory days. As I watched the flick in a theater crowded with children and merriment, there was something about it that made me uneasy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but for some reason I kept picturing a fat man vomiting in a four star restaurant, a man being chased off a cliff by buxom beauties, and Catholics dancing on a cobblestone street.

Then it hit me.

*Warning, this could be very disturbing to the easily impressionable and those with good taste.*

Monsters University ripped their anthem off of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

I am serious . . . and seriously disturbed by this, and I am wondering what kind of monstrous group would insert such subliminal programming into their “kids” flick in order to attempt to manipulating them in order to forgo birth control and overpopulate this great planet of ours?

Oh yes, it is that insidious.

Let me show you what I mean:

Ok. So that was the Monster’s U anthem. Delightful, no? I mean it certainly sounds innocent and legit. The problem is that it completely rips off “Every Sperm Is Sacred” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Check out what I mean at the :56 mark. (seriously, go straight there or this entire post will make no sense)

I know, right? Shocking.

Now listen to them both again. No, your ears are not deceiving you. They truly ripped off Python. What kind of world do we live in, anyway. Graham Chapman would be rolling over in his grave.

Think twice before submitting your child to this torture…