Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Shoes Make The Pope

Last night at a Halloween party, I noticed a millieu of people dressed as religious figures, including the Pope, an archbishop, some wayward clergymen and a few nuns as well as angels, devils and iterations thereof.

It made me think back to a comment I made to my friend the other night as we drove home after seeing The Grudge. To me, it seems like when things are really weird in the world--with wars; presidential administrations gone awry; and a jittery economy, we tend to focus on all things "spiritual"--regardless of what that means to us as individuals and I used this as an example: do you ever notice that some of the best horror movies are made during some of the lowest points in history? When things happening in the world leave people feeling about as insecure as they do when they sit through stories about the supernatural?

To be more specific, The Exorcist came out in 1973--the same year that OPEC hiked oil prices tremendously in retaliation for Western countries' involvement in Yom Kippur War; Nixon resigned after the Watergate scandal; and granted, the Vietnam war ended for U.S. troops--but only after 23 years of wasted involvement and nearly ten years of outrage and derision from Americans. According to "InfoPlease" the Violent Crime Rate in the U.S. was 41.5 per 1,000--which was double the Violent Crime Rate 10 years earlier.

I'm not saying The Grudge was as good asThe Exorcist;but it was definitely one of the better scary movies I'd seen in ages. Forget about the slasher movies like Scream or its lame-ass sequels...I enjoy movies that touch on the supernatural--"spirits" that could quite possibly exist, like ghosts and demons. Both movies did quite well at the box office, too--so it isn't just that filmmakers are picking up on the scary vibe. People are flocking to see movies about things they aren't sure are real.

Maybe watching scary movies helps us deal with all the scary things in the world that are real; but just like the victims in these films, we have no control over who's going to do what to us next.

Please get out and vote tomorrow. It's your right to choose who's in charge!

Monday, October 25, 2004

I've just returned from the Surrey Writers Conference. It was my first time there but my third writers conference and I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop going to these things until I have a finished manuscript. I'm not learning anything new and I can't really make a connection with someone until I've got something to show. Needless to say, it was inspiring in that regard and I've made myself a promise to write new pages EVERY DAY come hell or high water. I've also vowed to have my ms finished by the end of the year--a lofty goal, but one I'm very serious about.

Anne Perry, Michael Slade and Elizabeth George were great keynote speakers. I jumped for joy when Elizabeth George announced that she thought The Davinci Code was one of the worst novels ever written. I was standing in the back of the room when she spoke, and some asswipe turned to me and sighed and said, "Just another jealous writer..."

I couldn't believe all of the groupies who followed Diana Gabaldon, Don Maas and Michael Slade around like puppy dogs. That was just about the silliest thing I'd ever seen.

But the best part of the conference was rooming with two of the loveliest women in the world! Our conversations about writing, ghosts, siblings, parents, significant others, the silly writer groupies, and hormones lasted well into the night and I swear it was the best time I'd spent with two women--ever! We talked about an idea to get all of our writer friends together for a weekend writing retreat somewhere very fun like on a coast or like in Savannah so we could do what we love doing together--writing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mad Monster Party

I'm a sucker for the old Rankin/Bass TV specials, but my favorite--which happens to be my favorite Halloween movie--is Mad Monster Party?
The "animagic" in the show is a little clunkier than, say, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but the characters are so awesome and the soundtrack is pure kitsch from the late 60s.

The legendary Boris Karloff lends his voice as Baron von Frankenstein and Phyllis Diller voices "Thang's" wife, who has that unforgettable laugh and is decked out in Go-Go boots.

Someone actually gave me the movie on VHS as a gift several years ago and when I saw that it had been reissued on DVD, I couldn't wait to get it and watch it with Mr. Na--who's fast becoming a fan! The DVD version is amazing, too, which makes watching it even more pleasurable!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I think I'm the only person I know who gets stressed out over Halloween, and it's been that way for me for as long as I can remember. I usually have a tough time trying to pick out a suitable costume--and then I create one out of a hodge-podge of crap which is usually what I end up looking like.

I think my hodge-podge tendencies stemmed from my parents. In 1974, they dressed me in a wig, put bright red rouge circles on my cheeks and some gawd-awful skirt and blouse combo three-sizes too big so that I could march in the annual Ragamuffin parade. Unfortunately, they took the name of the parade literally and dressed me up as a frigging Ragamuffin. If you're unsure what that looks like, here's an example:

So to carry on with my inherited hodge-podgerie, one year, I decided to go as a housewife, only to have the cold cream on my face freeze into a solid mass, while my skin itched uncontrollably underneath.

In 1982, I decided to go as one of these chicks:
from A Flock of Seagull's "I Ran" video. I used a black Glad trash bag and red lipstick on my face--creating an oily mess, which, again, felt uncomfortable in the cold air.

Manufactured costumes were not much better than the shit I threw together, either. I can remember the Frankenstein costume I had as a child. It doubled as pajamas that glowed in the dark and came with a plastic mask that made me drool from behind the tiny slit used as a mouth.

It's interesting trying to teach our two year-old about Halloween. At this point, all he knows is that there's quite a bit of candy sitting around the house that gets used as negotiating tools when he refuses to eat his dinner. But today, he sensed something was up when Papa took a few Huggies boxes and began cutting and rigging them together. He immediately recognized the shape of a choo-choo and shrieked with delight as Papa fitted him for accuracy. Yes--we're slapping shit together, just like we did when we were kids; only this time, my incredibly talented husband is going to make the best costume on the planet for a toddler: Thomas the Tank. God willing!

Meanwhile, I'm struggling with our costume idea: going as Dexter and Dee Dee. It sucks, too, because we've been invited to a few costume parties this year and while I really don't want to go as Dee Dee, I'm too exhausted to think of anything else.

Maybe I'll snack on a few negotiating tools while I brainstorm.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

More Jabs From Jib Jab

If you thought Jib Jab's "This Land" short was funny, you should check out their latest endeavor, "Good to Be in D.C."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Tickle me, Elmo

Ever wonder what you could do if you beheaded and skinned a whole bunch of Elmo dolls? Here's an idea.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Picture of the week

This is just the coolest!

Bill Shatner with Ben Folds and Henry Rollins

I'm looking forward to William Shatner's new album "Common People" featuring Ben Folds, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Adrian Bellew and Joe Jackson. It'll be out on October 5!

I have a running list of who--if given the choice--I could have chosen to be my Dad and Bill Shatner's in the top 10!