Archive for the ‘Halloweenish’ Category

October Thanksgiving

November 2, 2011

Y’all. I missed October. I’m still kind of stunned.

I know exactly how it happened. I was working two full-time jobs, making edits to the short stories that are out on submission right now, trying to not ignore my Board duties for the non-profit I volunteer for, helping to run a monumental 15-hour Regatta, and attending my dad’s wedding. Still. October freaking disappeared.

I’m only wailing because October is the absolute best month ever. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply wrong. The leaves are turning, Halloween is coming, the weather is getting cool and crisp, stunning storms and sunsets are prone to pop up, Halloween, and did I mention, Halloween. I first fell in love in October. I discover a new piece of myself every October.

Except for this one. Because I missed it. Damn it.

I did, luckily, have just enough time (one hour, in fact) to throw together a costume and hit both Journey to the End of the Night and my friend Julie’s party. At Journey, my rocket-ship buddy did me a solid and chased a few runners into my camera-sight:
man running through the night in SF

Then at the Carnival party of the century, I snapped a few more:
A clown behind Mo in a carnival ride car

So I got a bit of Halloween. A bit. But. For the first time in over ten years, I did not host a Halloween party. I didn’t even decorate the dang house. And my costume was a pretty severe cop-out; I took the SFist idea of Fisherman’s Wharf Bush Man and threw on a pair of jeans and a BBQ grate threaded with tree clippings.

I didn’t completely miss Halloween, but the entire month did fly past me. As such, I think I need to take a moment and be thankful for the blessings in my life. Yes, I know, most people do that in November. Not me. In November, I’m writing like crazy, and besides, who doesn’t feel more thankful when walking past darkened cemeteries as strains of the Danse Macabre float through the air? ‘Kay, maybe it’s just me. Whatever.

• I’m thankful for crinolines, striped overalls, clown masks, and all types of costumed wonder. (Seriously, people went all out at that Carnival party. Still thankful.)

• I’m thankful for my family, and the fact that I live just a stone’s throw from my sisters. Dad’s wedding was gorgeous (evidence here) but it reminded me that some people only ever see their family at weddings. In fact, there was an awesome cousin there that I’d love to see more of… but she’s, like, four whole hours away. So, y’know, an eternity.

• And, putting those two together, I’m thankful for my sister who got rid of one of her crinolines, and 10 more bags of clothing. Professional attire: check. Why did I need the professional attire? Well…

• I’m thankful for my new job. Really, really thankful. Not only do these guys have a system DOWN (seriously, I’ve never been more set-up to succeed), I get to see pretty much every show in the Bay Area. On my second day, I scored a ticket to Richard III, starring Kevin Spacey, at the Curran. My sisters are already staging mud-wrestling contests and pistols at dawn over the Baryshnikov show. The perks are amazing, the coworkers seem great, and the work itself will be both satisfying and interesting, I can already see.

• While I’m at it, I’m thankful for my old job. It was a challenging, thrilling ride that prepared me for just about anything, and through it, I’ve met some of the best people in the world, who are going to be friends for life. So a win. I shall miss the old place.

• I’m thankful for my first car, a VW Bug named Zsu-Zsu. Likewise, driving her prepared me for just about any other driving adventure. I can heel-and-toe with the best of them now, and now how to push a car down a street and jump-start it.

• I’m thankful for books, and writing, and writers. There is so much of this category in my life, and yet I want so much more. (By the way, I am NOT going to miss November; NaNo might kick my butt, but I will appreciate and savor every second of it.)

• I’m thankful for apocalypse kits. Not sure why writing led into this one, but it did. Maybe because of Aftertime (dude, I know the author! and it ROCKS!) or maybe because of Hunger Games (which also rocks, but I don’t know the author, so fewer exclamation points). Either way, I truly think a life-altering (if not life-ending) event is coming very soon, and I’m thankful that I have a meager preparedness plan set up. Really meager. Dang, I need a water filtration system. Or at least one of those cool filter water bottles.

That’s it for now. Happy Thanks-tober!

Happy October

October 3, 2011

October is here, and I’m sad.

That’s not fair. Now that October is here, I should be giddy. This is the best time of the year, with the smell of leaves and impending rain and first fires and apple cider and fog machines and chick o stix… Okay, chick o stix don’t really have an odor. Laffy Taffy?

October snuck up on me, though. I’m not ready. I haven’t cracked a single box of Halloween decorations, I’ve no idea what my costume is going to be this year, no evites have been sent, and I haven’t even had a chance to bake a pumpkin anything.

Maybe this weekend I’ll find the time. For now, I’m just going to stick my head out and sniff as the rain drips down on me.

In my library

April 25, 2011

I stumbled upon this post on journal writing prompts the other day, and one of them caught my eye. “Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it.”

My first thought was, jeez, how do I choose? I’ve toned it down over the years, since I stopped working retail book shops and toy stores, but I’m still a bit of an acquirer. Right now there is a stunningly soft stuffed bear in a pink bunny jumpsuit above my head, a hard plastic box holding a purple and gold band hat to my left, a framed print of a bear holding a rifle across from me, and a bookshelf full of unread books and Todd McFarlane action figures to my right.

Useless, right? Well, not really. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, maybe it’s because I’m a romantic, but everything I have is useful. It’s fodder. If it’s not outright inspiration, like all the piles of books that I will some day get to, I swear, it’s fodder one step removed.

The art inspires me. The bear is actually a character from Remington Ridge, a picture book by one of my favorite artists, Ben Walker. The bear is staring at the artist with all the seriousness of a Wild West gunslinger facing a camera for the first time. There’s a certain gravitas paired with whimsy to him that I try to inject into all my writing.

me dressed as Adam Ant for HalloweenThe band hat represents the fodder that is my life. I’m a Halloween fiend, and one year I dressed as Adam Ant as I ran around town in a city-wide game of tag called Journey to the End of the Night. The hat came with the jacket that I modded. I’m keeping it, because band hat! Who knows what costume that will morph into come October?

I bought two of the pink bunny bears when one of my best friends had her first baby girl, and kept one for plainly sentimental reasons. For my first Halloween, my loving mother dressed me up in a pink bunny footie pajama outfit. I haven’t been able to top that one yet.

All of these things inspire me. They all represent memories that, as a writer, will someday get chopped up and regurgitated into something new. So, useless? I don’t have anything that’s useless.

I bet a hoarder would say that as well, huh? Don’t worry, I can still see all the walls and no animals or small children have gone missing. Yet.

Turning my friends into ghosts

February 19, 2011

Birthdays don’t do much for me. It seems a bit silly to celebrate something I didn’t really have much of a hand in, except for showing up. More than that, I hate the pressure to have a good time. People seem truly disappointed if I don’t jump up and down with joy when they wish me a Happy one. I’ll have a happy day if I FEEL like it, thankyouverymuch. If, however, a biblical flood turns my commute into 3 hours of backed-up sewers, I’ll thank you to leave me to my misery.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a sister bearing vodka and episodes of Supernatural. Then you’re off the hook.

Today was not my birthday, and I had a very Happy day. As a kind of in-lieu-of celebration that turned into a real celebration, I invited a few folks over to my new place in San Francisco. This place:

old, crumbling columbarium niche

This one's not actually mine. I just liked the little hole in it. Ominous.

I am the proud new owner of a 2 foot square piece of prime real estate. And for some absurd reason, I decided that my birthday was the perfect time to acquaint my friends and family with this unique, lovely spot.

reflection of rachael in the glass over an urn

A reflection of Rachael and a stained glass window

I’ve already gone on and on about the Columbarium in SF, so I won’t say much here. I’ll just say how wonderful it was to share it with friends, most of whom thought I was certifiably crazy for wanting to spend my birthday in a House of the Dead. Then they walked in, and they got it. There were gasps. And giggles. And cupcakes, dim sum, and champagne.

mia on the second floor of the SF columbarium

Mia perusing the history of the place.

For a House of the Dead, this spot is ridiculously full of life. We were the only ones there for a good portion of our visit, but even when we ran into other visitors, they didn’t mind our laughter. This is a place full of memories, good and bad.

blurry girl in front of niches

Okay, and maybe a few ghosts.

Right now, my niche is an empty little thing with a reserved sign on it. The ostensible reason for the visit was to put a little something in there; no one leaves their apartment empty for long. I’d been having trouble coming up with the right mix of loved items and metaphors, so I’m a little relieved that I couldn’t get in without an appointment. I’ll have to go back again, darn it.

In the meantime, I left a toothbrush propped in the flower holder outside. Laying claim, before I’m really ready to move in.

rachel in the doorway

Emmett the caretaker says his apartment's right by the exit, so he can take off anytime.

Halloween Proper

October 31, 2010

Jack O'Lantern

I’m going to work backwards. Tonight, I went to an awesome party with amazing costumes (including an Athena and a picnic table), but I had to cut it short because I was ravaged from the rest of my weekend. Before that, I finally managed to carve my pumpkins while watching the Giants whup some tail.

Earlier in the afternoon, Boonie donned her Supergirl outfit and we headed to Pt. Isabel for some costumed puppy fun. Again, cut it short, but there were awesome costumes. Best of the bunch was my sister’s pitbull Clemmy in a pink tutu.

I woke just before noon. Which was still not enough, since I’d been out until 2ish the night before at the Phenomenauts and Peelander-Z zombie party at the Command Center. Which I again, cut short, because I was wrecked from the Journey, and again, the costumes were amazing. Including a giant paperclip, Cthulhu, a marionette, and a narwhal.

Finally we get back to the reason I’m a broken, broken mess right now. Journey to the End of the Night.
us dressed up as the actors in MetropolisWe were all characters from Metropolis (not counting Jeff, who just went with the era). We were ready to get stealthy.

Unfortunately, we didn’t really need to. It was fun, but not as challenging as last year for some reason. Jeff and I eventually just gave up around checkpoint 4 (we were both idiotically trying to sprint in steel-toed boots), but we had to practically hand our Runner’s tags over to a chaser. They weren’t thick on the ground. I think next year I’ll volunteer to help stage it. Or to chase and terrify Runners. Yeah.



people in costume at the start of Journey

The crowd at Justin Herman Plaza before the starting pistol


There seemed to be a few less people than last year as well, maybe because of the threat of rain that never materialized. There were a few more structural changes that I didn’t love, but it was pretty dang smooth overall, with awesome people behind the scenes making the magic happen. And great costumes. The dude who was the house from Up wins my personal favorite prize.
girls dancingOh yeah, and the reason I was a little weak even before I got to the starting line? A fabulous Halloween party at my place, where the girls (dressed like Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing) stuck it out until 3, singing along to the entirety of Rocky Horror.

I am having a hard time even writing with energy today, which is a shame, because in approximately 12 minutes, NaNoWriMo officially kicks off. Oh man. Why can’t all this goodness be spread out throughout the year? I am one tired, happy lady. And so I shall bid you farewell. One more Buffy episode, and it’s off to bed for me.

Jack O'Lantern

Happy Halloween!



Getting close now…

October 30, 2010

Were you aware I had such adorable friends?

K. & R. as Johnny and Baby doing the Dirty Dance. Oh my gosh, they were adorable.

A treatise on trick or treats

October 26, 2010

This month has been rough. Work has been a bit overwhelming, but I can generally handle that. What bothers me is that it is eating into my much loved early fall season, and my valuable pre-Holiday season. And by Holiday, I mean Halloween. As everyone should.

Seriously. I know everyone has a different favorite holiday, but everyone who favors anything outside of October is simply wrong. Christmas may give us a run for our money, true, but Thanksgiving? New Years? Pathetic.

Who would prefer a hippie “thanks for the world” turkey sandwich or a sad excuses to get drunk and kiss someone over COSTUMES and CANDY!?

Maybe my love is just a natural release to my pent up desires from the rest of the year, spent avoiding sugar and wearing t-shirts and jeans. Every now and then, a lady’s got to get glamorous. And when I say glamorous, I mean bloody. Or foppishly Adam Ant-y.

Or maybe it’s natural considering my slightly morbid tastes. I am a horror junkie. My hour-long commute kinda sucked until I discovered Pseudopod. For some reason, gore-filled short fiction read aloud to me really soothes the road rage as people cut me off in the backup to the Bay Bridge. Go figure.

Becky as Bella for halloweenMore than that, I think it’s my pop-culture obsession. I love people that dress like internet memes, or anyone who simply throws on an “I ❤ Toxic Waste” t-shirt. Last year, my favorite costume at my party was the friend who simply wore jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with a torn-out page of binder paper that said “I love Edward.” So simple. So perfect.

No matter why, I think it’s plain to see that this weekend will be awesome. And I don’t even care to try and understand anyone who thinks differently on the subject. Phlbt. You’re wrong.

Happier at home

October 23, 2010

*sung to the tune of whatever’s in your head*

Days Off!
I have two beautiful days off!
It’s been sooooo long!

Now what shall I do…..

*end joyful singing*

Of course, I have 3 weeks worth of personal life that has been piling up that I should probably deal with. Laundry. A long doggy hike. Remembering I have friends and sisters. But more importantly, Halloween! I still don’t have my costume! So, so wrong!

That’s it, I’m inspired. I’m off to the dog park, followed by the Halloween store for a blond wig, followed by a thrift store stop for 80s clothes. Woot!

Then it’s back home to carve my pumpkin, put the finishing touches on the house decorations, and call myself ready for Halloween. I was researching advent wreathes today, apropos of nothing, but I decided that next year I’m going to create a Halloween advent wreath. With black twigs and candles with little bats on them.

Lost on the interwebs

October 15, 2010

Woke up at 3:30. Tried in vain to distract my brain from work lists and jump back into dreamland for half an hour. Then I gave up. Thank you, StumbleUpon, for saving my brain, if not for granting me sleep.

Now it’s 6:30. Late enough to head into work and get cranking. One more day to our big event! After that, it’s only the normal crazy deadlines stressing me out. Plus my jury duty summons. Yay.

Still trying to find time to think about my halloween costume, though! Leaning towards the simple worker for our Metropolis theme on the 30th, but I have no ideas for the parties on the 29th or 31st. Musician… I think Tom Waits is already claimed by like 3 people, as is Bowie. I did Adam Ant a coupla years ago. Lucinda Williams? She’s not terribly iconic, but I bet I could pull it off. Maybe Patsy Cline. Ooo, yeah, or Connie Francis? Jack White?

Maybe I’ll wait to make this decision on more than 3 hours of sleep.

Stuck in the heat

October 12, 2010

Oh man, am I jealous. Sister Rachael is gallivanting about NY and staying in the cutest hotel ever. I have not traveled in so, so long. In fact, I keep doing things that are pretty much the opposite of traveling. Sinking roots deep into the ground. Signing long-term leases. Buying fancy beds. Purchasing a niche.

Oh yes, you heard me right. Spot F16 on the 3rd floor of the SF Columbarium is now mine. I do, in fact, own a tiny bit of San Francisco. Though it’s truly, truly tiny. And I’ll only get to live there when I’m dead.

I feel insane. It’s not like I’m rolling in the money right now. She just called me at precisely the right time. Plans to move to the city had just fallen through, so I had a tidy little security deposit that I was able to roll into a down payment. They only have a handful of spaces left; within a year or two I’m certain that they’ll even run out of room to add-on. It just made sense.

And it really is the place I’d like to spend my hereafter.

I’m a bit of a ghoul. I’ve been around the country, and have probably visited a graveyard, cemetery, or columbarium in each state, and I’ve never found one like this. A culture has developed in this space, a pretty uniquely San Francisco culture, and the personality of each person just oozes… okay, that’s the wrong word to use for a house of the dead.

Whatever. I’m happy to have snagged that spot. I’m not going to have kids. While I’d love to write the Great American Novel, it’s probably not going to happen. My name will not go down in history for having invented Borax, or splitting the atom, or becoming the first lady president of the United States. But you know what? A tiny little hidden niche crammed full of oddities, in the center of the city that I’ve loved to call home? (Oakland’s awesome, but I’m sorry, I was born on the wrong side of the bay.) That’s exactly my type of legacy.

Now comes the truly hard part. What to fill it with before I’m in there? I think I’ll have a good 30 years or more, so I’ll be able to change it periodically. In fact, I may start an annual niche-decorating/ghoulish dinner party tradition.

What would you put in yours?

(speaking of yours, the spots on either side of me are still open… Can’t you just picture the decorating contests we could get into? I’ll put a live goldfish in a wee bowl in mine; you’ll one-up me by filling the entire space with water.)