Monday, October 31, 2011

Antique Show Creepshow!

I love going to estate sales and antique shows, but let's face it, there's some creepy stuff out there.  The eeriest of items usually fit into one of four categories:

-Toys that used to be quite normal-looking but have deteriorated over time.

-Items that were designed to be creepy (ie scary masks.)

-Things that were generally acceptable back in their day, but freak out modern shoppers because we just don't know how to deal with them.

-Plastic-faced dolls that look to the side.

So yesterday I went to the tri-annual antique show at the Portland Expo Center, where I came across many things to fit the above examples.  Below is a photo gallery for your nightmare fuel enjoyment.

The thing that gets me about this bunny is that it is an actual toy that was designed for actual children to actually play with. I mean, what the h?

 Annnd it gets worse. Augh. Ever since I watched Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders I've been frightened of chiming monkeys. (And Ernest Borgnine, but can you blame me??)  Meanwhile, what exactly do they mean by "multi-Action?"  It claps, and....?  Oh no, please, PLEASE NO!

 "Honey, can I get you a cup of coffee this fine morning?"
"Sure, dear!"
"In a mug?"
"Sounds good."
"Here you go."
"Mmm, nothing like a good cuppa joe t--WHAT THE FRIGGIDY FUDGE!?!?!?!??!"

 "Why hello, Grimace! I, Ronald McDonald, can see that you are riding a merry-go-round, but I can ALSO see that you are thirsty, and so I will come aboard and pour you a cup of boiling hot coffee! And the fry guy will watch. Won't that be just grand?"

"I'm a little teapot, sick and twisted..."

 Dolls. Nuff said.

 Buxom dolls.

 Bare dolls.

And this.

 Once upon a time this doll may have been loved. But now her hair is fried, her eyes have fallen back in her head, she's naked and she's holding out her hand in a desperate gesture.  You may ask yourself, What happened to this poor doll?  But a better question might be, Why is this for sale??

 Lollipops are all well and good. It's when you throw that extra "L" in the second part that things get iffy.

Happy HalloDEATH!

 Can you spot the possessed kittycat?

This is the kind of bathroom where toilet seat covers and a travel-sized can of Lysol are a must.

Why is this creepy?  It's got something to do with the juxtaposition of the mother bear bottle-feeding her cub while next to her is another bear's head on a pole. Although that might be a mouse, and that might even be a lamp, but still. Something's just not right.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Scary" Movies (Halloween Blog Part 1)

Want to watch a movie this Halloween that'll leave you haunted, depressed, and frightened out of your wits? Forget ghosts, vampires, zombies, and werewolves... those are sooo cliche.  Get on board with TERRIBLE MOVIES instead!

Here are some recommendations from the one- and two-star section of my Netflix Ratings History.  I'm not saying there is nothing redeeming about these films.  All I'm saying is that I will never go near them again.

Annnnd spoiler alerts, because... I spoil stuff

Annie Get Your Gun

What makes a good musical? An interesting story? Great lyrics? Tolerable characters?  Whoops, missed the boat on that last one: yikes.  I get that there are people out there who love this musical.  I also get that those people and I can never be friends.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

What could be worse than hiring a creepy-looking actor to play an Oompa Loompa?  How about hiring a creepy-looking actor to play NINE THOUSAND OOMPA LOOMPAS???

Oh, you're so creative, Tim Burton.  I WANT MY NIGHTMARELESS SLEEPS TWO HOURS BACK!!

27 Dresses

Katherine Heigl is ever so popular!  Why, she has been asked to be a bridesmaid 27 times -- and has the dresses in her closet to prove it!  BUT as they say... three times a bridesmaid, never a bride.  Which, according to my calculations, means that Katherine is doomed to "never be a bride" nine times.  Oh, wasn't that joke funny?  Didn't think so.  Neither is the movie.

The Bounty Hunter

Imagine that, for two hours, you are forced to be chained to someone you loathe. Think of how much that would suck. Now you can imagine what sitting through The Bounty Hunter feels like.  Then add more suckage.  Even Gerard Butler's hotness can't do a thing for this car crash.

Superman III

In its defense, I think they were trying to make a cheesy movie.  It is laughably terrible.  According to one YouTuber, this is the best scene in the film. Make of that what you will.

The Three Musketeers

It's 1993, and you've got Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Chris O'Donnell in the same movie?  How could that possibly go wrong?  Well, I'm still not entirely sure, but let's just say it does.

Home Alone 4: Taking Back The House

Hey, we're back! Macaulay Culkin's been replaced, the parents have been replaced, Harry and Marv have been replaced (BY THE MOST ANNOYING PEOPLE ON THE PLANET), the siblings have been replaced, and oh yeah -- two siblings are (apparently) dead annnnd the parents are divorced.  Merry Christmas, you filthy screenwriters!


Hi.  I'm John Travolta.  I can do awesome things with my mind and inspire people and chay-ay-ange the world... BUT WAIT.  The real reason I'm so awesome is because I have brain tumor.  Gotta go die now, cya! 

Go ahead and defend any of the above. I don't care. Or add your own "scary movies" in the comments section! Let me know what I should avoid and never, ever put in my Qwikster Netflix queue.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Talk

On this, the One-Year, Three-Month, Seven-Day Anniversary of my book's publication (a momentous occasion, to be sure), I present you with: Half A Dozen Ways You, Too, Can Get A Copy Of The Book, If You Have Not Done So Already, And If You Have Not Done So Already, For Pete's Sake, WHY NOT?

Six ways. Pick one!

The name is Just South Of Normal.  It's a novel.  Here's a picture:

This is me finishing with the novel pimping. Good night. 

Friday, October 14, 2011


A few weekends ago I decided to pay a visit to the campus of one of my former colleges, Western Oregon University. This is where I attended school from 2001-2003, earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Humanities, and had a lot of crazy times. I wasn't into the party scene, but my roommate and I did watch a lot of cable TV, rent numerous VHS tapes from the local mom & pop video store, and make many trips to Wal-Mart. So, you know, crazy times.

Even though the campus is only about an hour and a half away from where I currently live, I've only been back twice since 2003. Which is lame of me, because there are many reasons to visit, not the least of which is the food court. But more on that later.

I now present to you a pictorial account of my recent visit to WOU, home of the Wolves.

WOU has a fun history! It has gone through more name changes over the years than Prince: Monmouth University, Oregon Normal School, Oregon College of Education, and Western Oregon State College are its previous monikers. Fun fact: Beverly Cleary's friend went here!

Ah, Main Street. Home to classrooms and bricky buildings. A lovely place.

This is the Administration Building. Once, during my first year, I joined some of my professors and fellow students in a "march" where we... well, marched... outside this building, chanting things about fairness and equality. And we got to wear buttons. It was exciting! But mostly it scored me points with my profs. Maybe it was my imagination, but they were nicer to me after that. I still have the buttons somewhere.

Okay, so there's this tree. And it's a big deal around there because it's the tallest of trees, and possibly the oldest. At Christmas time, it has lights all over it and they have a tree lighting ceremony and it is very special. But this tree isn't perfect. That's because the top's gone. It was struck by lightning. How cool is that? So now, no point. It is the Mt. St. Helens of trees.

This is Campbell Hall. Allow me to tell you about Campbell Hall, though not about that blue thing in front because I have no idea what that is. No, but about the building. It used to have a bell tower on top, but then, during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, it fell down.

Exclamation point!

When it fell, two things were destroyed. One, the bell tower. Duh. So they were like woe, no bell tower, BUT we miss the bells so let's build a bell-tower-ish thing on top of the building next door and play RECORDED BELL SOUNDS!

See that brown thing on top of that other building? That's a bell tower, but I'll be darned if there's an actual bell in it. But that didn't stop us from being treated to bell chiming on the hour and olde tyme music three times a day.

The other thing that was destroyed in the Storm was the left side of Campbell Hall. I guess it was totaled. So they walled/bricked it off, but you can see where the doors used to be.

Or, you know, there's probably some other reason why it's like that. I'm no architect. All I know is that door-looking thing creeps me out.

Speaking of creepy...

This is Todd Hall, named after Jessica Todd. Beverly Cleary's friend and her classmates used to call it Jessica Todd Hell. Apparently nobody liked Jessica Todd. Which may be why some say the building is haunted. By HER, naturally.

Now, I don't know if it's true, but I do have to say there's something about the exterior...

...that strongly suggests "Nefarious after-hours doings." It is definitely the creepiest-looking building on campus.

This is the University Center, home to the bookstore, dining establishments, a mini-mart, a coffee place, offices, computer labs, and a "game" room, which, when I went there, had a foosball table and video games that ate your quarters. It's actually one of my favorite places on campus (not counting the food court). I can spend hours in the bookstore. It's probably a good thing it was closed when I was last there, or else I might've spent a pretty penny, and me without my 10%-Discount Alumni Card!

Now heading toward the dorms. A mere ten years ago, there were just 5 dorm buildings and now there are eight, I think. Mine was Gentle Hall, and I was in room 121.

Yep, there it is. Top floor on the right. That was "home" for two years, and it kind of weirds me out that other people dwell in it now. Yeah, I'm weird and possessive, what?

This is the Gentle Hall lounge. The RA's were always trying to get us "involved." So there were parties sometimes. Getting-to-know you extravaganzas. I remember everyone gathered to watch Friends when Rachel had her baby. I also carved a pumpkin in that room, made a decoupage box, and celebrated Mardi Gras for about an hour before returning to my dorm room to watch a Cosby Show marathon on TV.

Well, I promised I'd talk about it, and here it is...

 The food court. Valsetz. It was actually attached to Gentle Hall via a series of walkways. If you lived in the dorms, you could have a food card which was like a debit card and it meant that whenever you were hungry, all you needed was that card, and you could get anything you wanted. They had a soda fountain, a bagel station, a bakery, a pizza place, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, a grill, a waffle stand, and oh so much more. In the mornings you could get an omelet for a dollar; in the evenings you could get a Boca Burger and fries for less than $2. Once a month, they served lasagna, and it was so delicious we'd often buy 2 or 3 pieces and keep the leftovers in the fridge (for all the good it did; we still had them devoured in a days' time.)

And yeah, one time I did get food poisoning from their lettuce, but no hard feelings.

Valsetz was also the place where the dorm association would sometimes sponsor Bingo nights. My roommate and I were unusually adept at winning prizes. I actually won a 23" TV, a serious upgrade from the 13" one we'd been using. I still feel kind of bad I didn't act more excited when I won, like jump up and down and scream, but that isn't like me. I hope they realize I was, indeed, grateful. A big TV made watching Gerard Butler movies even better!

Another place to get snacks on campus was this little mini mart inside the Werner Center. We called it either the Wolf Store or the Candy Store. I am only slightly ashamed to say that candy was most often purchased here, though a few Icees and Jones Sodas were procured as well. The Food Court was awesome for everything except having candy. So we got it here. And we got it often. It's a wonder we still have all our teeth.

This is the library, and it is fantastic. It opened right before I started at WOU. It has three floors, and in my quest for a quiet corner, I would often make my way up to the second or third floor to find a comfy chair on which to study. One day, I accidentally stumbled upon a section full of children's books. I love children's books! It was like my own personal Room of Requirement. So whenever I wasn't studying or involved in various shenanigans, I may have been found curled up on a cushy chair, nibbling Skittles and reading Judy Blume.

And now this tour must come to an end. I want to visit again soon -- if anyone wants to go with me, I'm taking applications. Kidding. Sort of.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So then there was the time I tried to save $1.

I don't mean in a piggy bank. I mean in life.


It cost $23 to order a college parking permit online and go pick it up myself.  $24 to have them mail it to me. So you know what I chose?

Yeah. The cheaper one. Because I'm so darn thrifty!

When I went to retrieve my purchased permit, I couldn't find the correct building.  Signs and maps led me astray, and so I gave up that night, thinking for sure I'd get it the next week.  (That first week, they were being lenient with the parking thing, since it's a new gimmick and all.)

Before the next class, I studied a map of the campus online.  I knew right where the building was.

But I take evening classes. And by the time I made it to campus, it was 5:14pm and the parking permit building's door was locked. There were signs posted outside about contacting this or that number "after hours," but absolutely no indication of what those hours actually were.  So I had no idea if 'd be okay if I got there at 4:30 next week, or if they kept some weird schedule, because I couldn't find that info THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

And because I still didn't have a physical parking pass, and because I didn't want to risk getting slapped with a fine (or "citation" as them fancy shmancers call it), I shelled out $3 at a kiosk for a "day pass" to park my car that evening (which I may have neglected to mention was tonight.) And with just seven classes left... Well, you do the math. Nah, I'll do it. Seven classes times $3 is only $21.  Add tonight to that mix and that's... $24.

Exactly what I would've/should've paid to begin with, if I had half a brain.

Next time, no doubt about it, they are getting that darn dollar... and I'm getting some peace of mind!