Dec 24, 2016

Almost There ...

It's Christmas Eve and I thought I'd share a few of my favourite Christmas carols:

Carol of the Bells - Celtic Woman

I Believe In Father Christmas - Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

Drummer boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Where Are you Christmas - Faith Hill

Dec 21, 2016

Christmas Prelude

So ... a week or so ago I made the off hand comment that I'd be posting the occasional Christmas video and it's been brought to my attention that I haven't done so yet. Oops! My bad! But even though I'm knee deep in Christmas baking and crafting, I figure I should get on that. 'Cause you know, Christmas is coming! ;-)

First, I thought I'd start with the traditional tree picture. Aside from the Hello Kitty on the top, the lights, and the two cats jockeying for space underneath it, all the ornaments are hand made. This was a tradition started many years ago by my daughter and I - we'd make a new craft each year and sometimes we'd even make enough to give to friends.

For my first Christmas video, I present the other reason we have hand made, and far less fragile, ornaments:

These others are just for fun. :-)

Dec 12, 2016

Metrophobia Monday

metrophobia ~ fear of poetry

I’ll bet you thought that since NaNo is over with now I’d be back to my regular blogging schedule, didn’t you? Well I have news for you. In case you haven’t heard, Christmas is only TWO WEEKS AWAY

And therein lies one of the major drawbacks of NaNoWriMo. It happens in November. At the beginning of November Christmas is still weeks away so you can pretty much ignore it (like you do everything else for the month so you can get those precious words in).

But suddenly it’s the end of November and before the ink has dried on the winner’s certificate you’ve just printed out, you’re hit with the realization that Christmas is almost here! So then you’re making a face like this one:

That’s the grandbaby, in case you were wondering. ;-) Hard to believe she’s not quite two, eh?

While she recognizes cartoon Santas and will be the first to tell you Santa says “Ho ho ho” apparently she wasn’t impressed with the real deal. In fact, I’m told that when he said “ho ho ho” to her, she responded by giving him a dirty look and then screamed right in his face (like most toddlers, she’s developed a patented ear-splitting screech to show anger or frustration or sometimes just for fun).

That was pretty much my face yesterday when I made out a list of all the stuff I still have to do before Christmas. Actually, it turned into three lists. One of stuff to do, one just of cookies I need/want to bake, and one of stuff I still needed to buy.

We got about half our Christmas shopping done on the weekend, and came up with a few ideas for people still on the list. But unfortunately, other than getting my lists made, that was pretty much it for me. Oh, no it wasn’t. I dragged out my huge bag of Christmas craft stuff, put the wreath on the front door, and found the Christmas penguins - which the grandbaby loves but her mean mommy won’t let her take them home. Okay, so one of them plays Jingle Bells obnoxiously loudly, but still... ;-)

The hubby got the outdoor lights done last weekend - and he didn’t even cheat! He’d sprung for one of those light projectors that are so popular now, but he also put up the strings of lights around the windows and in the shrubs like he usually does. The projected lights are a lot cooler than I thought they’d be and the way he has it set up it looks like there are lights in the tree in front of our house. Unfortunately, some idiot from the gas company was marking where the gas lines go, wasn’t watching where he was going and knocked it askew. Hubby still hasn’t been able to get it quite right again. It still looks good, just not as good.

Anyway, there’ll be no movie reviews for the rest of the month, but there will be random posting of Christmas videos. Just because I can. :-D

Ho ho ho

Dec 5, 2016

Marchpane Monday

marchpane ~ old name for marzipan

It’s been an exciting 30 days, but I’m happy to report I have yet another NaNo win under my belt. I admit that there were days when I had serious doubts about finishing, but I was blessed with some hefty word counts towards the end there.

I’m not going to go into any more detail than that here - but if you’d like to learn more you’ll need to check out my Other Blog. There's even an excerpt from my story. :-D

But winning NaNo did not come without a price. Save for my daily babysitting, I became a virtual hermit for the last couple of weeks of November. And I missed my sister’s birthday (sorry sis! There’ll be a little something extra in your Christmas parcel). And suddenly it’s December and I’m totally unprepared for Christmas.

So ... other stuff happened during the month of November ...

One of the biggies was that we got a new (to us) car. The old car had a few problems - okay, a lot of problems, one of which was how it would shudder when you came to a stop and often times stalled - but we were hoping it would last at least until the spring. So we took it into the car place and they had a look to see what needed to be fixed immediately and what could wait. AND they finally identified the shuddering/stalling problem.

The problem was, it was going to cost more to fix everything than the car was worth. So in less time than it takes for you to say “It’s going to cost how much?” we found ourselves the proud owners of a 2012 GMC Terrain. It has six cylinders, low mileage, and is fully loaded. And I mean fully. You need to take a course to operate this thing properly.

You can control the volume of the radio - and change stations - from the steering wheel. It has heated seats; a remote starter; memory settings for the driver’s seat. The guy at the car dealership even synced my phone to it - if I want make a call while I'm driving I just press the phone button on the steering wheel and I can call using a voice command. But best of all, it has electronic windows that work! I don’t have to get out of the car to get the ticket in parking lots. I can go through drive-thrus now! It’s awesome.

We also bought a car seat for it so now the grandbaby and I get to go on road trips. Mostly to Walmart and the Dollarama, but we’ve also started going to a drop-in play group. Good times are had by all.

In the building and constructing department ... The hubby finished building the washstand for the bathroom and painting in there has commenced. He also finished the toy chest for the grandbaby - it looks amazing. And if anything happens to her crib her parents can just put a mattress inside the toy chest and let her sleep in that. LOL Sorry I don't have a picture to post but they're on my phone and they need to be cropped and lightened up and it's really late as I type this. ;-)

The other big thing that happened was the hubby gave me a surprise early Christmas present - tickets for us to see Loreena McKennitt at Massey Hall in Toronto. It was an awesome evening.

Unfortunately, the brownie points hubby earned from that were short-lived. It was after this that he decided to use an electric sander on the walls of the bathroom. To be fair, had he continued to do it by hand he’d probably still be sanding, but still ... even with the door closed we have drywall dust everywhere.

For those of you unfamiliar with the dry wall dust phenomena, let me explain. Imagine, if you will, powerful fans blowing throughout your house. Now imagine someone emptying a bag of flour in front of those fans. I think you get the idea.

One of the worst hit rooms with the dust was my office, which is almost right across the hall from the bathroom. Since the danger of more dust is now past, I started the cleanup in there today. I managed to clean the curtains, window, window wall, the top of my bank of three bookcases, and the top shelf of said bookcases. That was it. Have I mentioned I have a lot of knick knacks on those bookcases?


I’m thinking this is a job that can wait until I get some time off between Christmas and New Year’s.

Ho ho ho.

Nov 21, 2016

Mystacial Monday

mystacial ~ having a mustache-like stripe

Yeah, that’s pretty much me lately.

I know other stuff has been happening, but I haven’t really been keeping track of it. It’s all about the words.

The good news is, I’m slowly catching up.

The bad news is, as I type this I’m still about 6,000 words behind.

It’s still a crap shoot whether I’ll finish on time or not.

Stay tuned ...


Nov 9, 2016

Movie Time ...

. . . Is kind of cancelled this week.

There are actually two reasons for this. First of all, we usually watch our movie Saturday night, but this Saturday I volunteered to babysit so the daughter and her hubby could go see Dr. Strange. But even after the their movie there would have been time to watch ours, except that they got a flat tire on the way home and, well, you know how it is.

And then there's also the fact I'm doing NaNo and I'm, uh, about 10,000 words behind. So I really need to buckle down and focus if I'm going to make it to the finish.

So unless I put on an enormous spurt of words over the weekend or something, you can pretty much count on there being no movie review posts for the rest of the month.

Sorry about that.

Nov 7, 2016

Megistotherm Monday

megistotherm ~ plant requiring very high temperatures

I have to tell you, week one of NaNoWriMo did not get off to an auspicious start. I did attend a write-in at a local restaurant on November 1 where I met some fellow writers and knocked off about 1400 words in 2 hours, and that was pretty much it for the bulk of the week.

Wednesday, after I got home from babysitting, my health took a turn for the worse. I don’t know if it was food poisoning or an really bad IBS attack, but I was really sick. Wednesday night was a total write-off, the hubby was lucky I was able to make him dinner.

Thursday and Friday I managed to babysit, but I have to admit that I was rescued by the Paw Patrol. For those who do not have access to small children, Paw Patrol is the animated adventures of a team of puppies in Adventure Bay to whom everyone turns to if they have a problem. “No job is too big, no pup is too small!” The grandbaby would quite happily watch it for hours, not that she’s allowed to. But she may have got a little extra TV time for those two days.

Excessive tiredness was part of whatever I had, so I also spent a lot of time napping, when I wasn’t babysitting. Saturday I was starting to feel a little better, but it wasn’t until Sunday that I started feeling like my old self.

I got a few words in for NaNo on Saturday, but by Sunday I was 8,000 words behind. So naturally I decided that would be the day I needed to clean out my closet.:-) To be fair, it’s a job I’d been putting off for a while now and it seriously needed to be done. And it also included cleaning out my dresser and reorganizing everything.

It’s been pointed out that I haven’t made a report on the progress of the bathroom renovation lately. That’s because there’s really not much to report. Hubby’s still filling and sanding to make the walls level (for want of a better word) so he can prime them and start putting the tile up.

In the meantime, he has two other projects on the go. One is the stand for the bathroom sink:

Okay, so it’s upside down and a little hard to judge from the picture, but trust me, it’s going to be really cool. Picture it right side up, with another shelf, and painted an as yet to be determined colour. LOL

And the other project, as I believe I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is a toy chest worthy of a pirate for the grandbaby. As you can see, it’s almost finished:

This week I’m hoping to at least start catching up on my NaNo words. Every day I fall 1667 words behind, so I need to write better than 2000 words a day to even keep my head above water. Will I reach the 50,000 word goal? Only time will tell.

Nov 2, 2016


Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

I’ve seen many vampire movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular version of Dracula. As with Frankenstein, my review may be coloured by the fact I’ve read the book. In fact, after reading the book I did a lot of research trying to figure out how the vampire went from being the loathsome creature depicted in the book to a romantic hero. I never did find a definitive answer, so in the end I abandoned my research. But I think Hollywood had a lot to do with it, although perhaps not with this particular film.

The movie begins with a carriage travelling along a mountain road. They’re in a hurry to reach the next village before nightfall because of the nosferatu. One of the passengers, a solicitor named Renfield, insists that he needs to keep going to Borgo Pass because he’s meeting another coach there. The villagers try to warn him about the danger, but of course he doesn’t listen, and the innkeeper’s wife gives him a cross to wear for protection.

As the sun sets we’re treated to a shot of inside the castle where rats and possums and insects all scurry for cover as a coffin begins to open. Out climbs a woman in a long, filmy dress. Dracula is seen just standing on the stairs and we get a close-up of his intense stare.

Renfield and his luggage are practically thrown from the coach when they reach the Borgo Pass, but Dracula’s coach is waiting for him. He continues his journey at breakneck speed and as they drive up a long, narrow mountain road we see a bat flying over the heads of the horses. When the coach stops, Renfield starts to scold the driver, then realizes the driver is gone.

The door to the castle opens by itself. For some reason there are a couple of armadillos wandering around, and three very cheesy looking bats hover by a stained glass window. Dracula glides down the long staircase to bid Renfield welcome and leads the way upstairs.

They discuss Dracula’s intention to lease Carfax Abbey in England. Renfield has brought the papers with him for Dracula to sign, and Dracula tells him he’s already booked passage on a ship. After pouring Renfield a glass of wine to have with his dinner, Dracula takes his leave. Needing some air, Renfield opens one of the French doors leading outside and then promptly faints. Dracula’s three wives are closing in on him when Dracula himself appears and shoos them away.

Next we cut to the ship that’s being tossed about by a storm at sea. When it reaches port, the only one still alive is Renfield, and he’s now batshit crazy (pun intended). He’s taken to a sanatorium run by Dr. Seward that just happens to be adjacent to Carfax Abbey.

It’s a foggy night in London and we seen Dracula strolling about. After draining a flower seller, he ends up at the symphony, were he ingratiates himself with Dr. Seward who introduces him to his daughter Mina, her friend Lucy, and Mina’s fiancé Jonathan. Lucy seems especially smitten with Dracula.

Late that night Dracula pays Lucy a visit and the next day we catch a glimpse of the operating theatre where Lucy is pronounced dead from blood loss. This is where we first see Van Helsing, who points out that there’s been several victims all dying of the same thing, and all with two small puncture wounds on their necks. He tells them they’re dealing with a nosferatu.

Meanwhile, at the sanatorium, Renfield begs Dr. Seward to send him away so he doesn’t “give Mina bad dreams” with his nightly cries. Van Helsing wants to help Renfield, but Renfield gets very upset when Van Helsing shows him some wolfsbane, which is known to ward off vampires. Van Helsing tells Dr. Seward to keep an eye on Renfield, especially at night.

That night, Dracula pays Mina a visit. The next morning she’s describing the dream she had about the mist to Jonathan and Van Helsing insists on looking at her neck. There are two marks on it, just like the others had.

When Dracula comes to pay a social call, Van Helsing glances at the mirror in the music box and Dracula has no reflection. He does this many, many times, just to make sure the audience gets the point, then shows it to Jonathan. Dr. Seward sends Mina off to bed and Van Helsing turns the music box so Dracula can see it. Dracula sweeps it from his grasp, then apologizes and leaves.

Van Helsing tells Dr. Seward and Jonathan that Dracula is the vampire they’re looking for. Meanwhile, Mina sneaks out to the garden where Dracula is waiting to bite her again. She’s found later by a maid. Then we hear a report of a woman in white luring children from a park and biting them. Mina believes it’s Lucy, who’s risen as a vampire.

Jonathan is all for taking Mina away, but Van Helsing convinces him that she’ll be safer under his protection. He hangs wolfsbane in her room and a wreath of it around her neck. The men discuss vampires and Van Helsing says they have to discover Dracula’s resting place if they are to save Mina.

Van Helsing is alone when Dracula comes in and tells him that Mina is his now and he should go back to his own country. Van Helsing in turn vows to destroy him. Dracula tries to mesmerize him but Van Helsing’s mind is too strong. He pulls out a crucifix and Dracula is scared off.

Later (or maybe it’s the next evening) Jonathan is sitting with Mina on the terrace and she’s telling him how much she loves the night. Dr. Seward and Van Helsing are off to the side discussing how best to help her. A bat flies overhead, squeaking, and the next thing you know, Mina is leaning into Jonathan trying to bite him. The other two men pull her off.

That evening Dracula hypnotizes the nurse looking after Mina and she takes down the wolfsbane and opens the window for him. He comes in and bites Mina (who’s already taken off the wolfsbane she was wearing).

Van Helsing and Jonathan follow Renfield to Carfax Abbey and then see Dracula there with Mina. They call out to her and Dracula, assuming Renfield has led them there, kills Renfield. By the time Van Helsing and Jonathan are able to break into the abbey, Dracula has carried Mina down to the crypt.

The sun is coming up and the men find Dracula in a box full of dirt. The other box holds nothing but dirt so while Van Helsing makes a wooden stake Jonathan goes looking for Mina. Though we don’t see Van Helsing actually stake Dracula, we do hear a lot of groaning. Mina is off standing in a corner and with Dracula’s death she regains her senses.

Van Helsing tells Jonathan and Mina to go ahead without him, he “has things to do.” They leave and that’s the end. Seriously, what is it about these 1930s movies and their abrupt endings? Hubby suggested that it was like Bela Lugosi died during the filming of it and they couldn’t finish it.

The underlying story in this film is rather choppy. After showing Dracula’s wives at the beginning, they’re never mentioned again. We have no idea who Renfield is when we first see him. We have no idea where Van Helsing came from or why he’s there . . . And we never find out what happened to Lucy or even if that really was her wandering around the park. And what the heck was with the armadillos wandering around Dracula’s castle?

The original Nosferatu, which closely followed the book, did so without permission. Stoker’s estate sued the filmmakers for copyright infringement and won their case. All the copies of the film were to be destroyed. However one copy survived and was duplicated over the years and was restored in 1996.

The producer of the 1931 version was wise enough to legally obtain the rights to adapt the book to film. It’s just too bad he didn’t stick closer to the true story.

Oct 31, 2016

Maschalephidrosis Monday

maschalephidrosis ~ massive sweating of the armpits

Continuing on the theme from last week of mother’s curses . . . The daughter had another convention she had to attend last week, so I put in some extra babysitting time. But unlike the previous week, this time I had the use of the daughter’s car, and more importantly, the car seat.

Wednesday was story time at the library and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get out and be sociable. Unfortunately the woman in charge of the program was not very friendly and the kids were kind of standoffish. So afterwards we indulged in a little shopping therapy to make us feel better. :-)

Thursday we decided to give the drop-in playgroup at the YMCA a try and had a much better time.

The people running it were friendly and welcoming. There were just enough kids to make it interesting and an endless supply of toys. The grandbaby’s favourite was the playhouse in the picture. And the small, indoor slide. It may take some finagling with the car seat, but we’ll definitely be going back again.

In fact, there’s a Halloween party there today that we’re planning to attend. And yes, I’m dressing up too. If I can find my witch’s hat. Grandbaby, of course, will be wearing the Ewok costume her doting Grammy made her.

It’s not the best picture of the costume, but the smile says it all.

On the weekend I finally started catching up on my book reviews so I could log the books I’ve read into my Goodreads account. Fourteen down and six to go. I’ve been meaning to do this since July, and to keep better track. Like, update once a month or so.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here or not, but I’ve decided to do NaNo this year. NaNo, for those of you who are new, is short for NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November.

This will be my tenth year, but my eighth win (if I complete the challenge). I did not win the very first year I did it - my story ran out at 30,000 words and try as I did, I just couldn’t make it any longer. And I didn’t do it last year, and really missed it. It just didn’t seem like November without those massive word counts.

To be perfectly honest, the writing hasn’t been going well lately. I haven’t been writing much of anything, other than blog posts. And yet I’m starting to feel pretty excited about NaNo. I’ve even ordered a NaNo tee-shirt online - this will be my third one, but I’ve already got the thermos, travel mug, hoodie, and USB bracelet.

There’s just something magical about NaNo, although you really can’t understand it unless you’ve tried it. But it’s so magical that I was even able to persuade three out of four friends (who’ve done it before) to join me.

Tomorrow night I’ll be attending a write-in being thrown by our official Municipal Liaisons and hopefully I’ll be meeting other like-minded writers. I may end up being a crazy person for the month, but it’ll be fun.

Trust me. :-D

Oct 26, 2016

The Wolf Man

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

Even a man who is pure of heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this movie. While I hadn’t seen it before, I have seen The Werewolf of Washington, which was just plain stupid. So I was pleasantly surprised - I really enjoyed this movie.

There were a lot of big names in this one: Claude Rains, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi. And as a refreshing change, we’re introduced to them all during the opening credits - a quick clip from the movie with a label to name them. It made it a lot easier to keep the characters straight.

The story begins with Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney), returning to the family estate after the death of his older brother during a hunting accident. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter why he’s been gone for 18 years or what he’s been doing, what matters is that his father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Rains), is happy to see him and wants them to be closer. To that end, Larry helps him finish building a telescope up in the new observatory.

The first thing Larry observes is the nearby village, specifically, a pretty girl primping in her room over a shop. Not wasting any time, he goes to the shop where she’s a clerk and asks to see some earrings, describing the ones on her dresser. That’s not creepy at all (said with sarcasm). He ends up buying a cane that’s topped with a silver wolf’s head and she recites the werewolf rhyme for him. He finally leaves, insisting that he’s coming back later to go for a walk with her, and a group of gypsies pass by on their way to set up camp.

Later the girl, named Gwen, waits outside the shop for him, wearing the earrings he liked. Joke’s on him because she has a girlfriend with her. They're going to the gypsies to have their fortunes told. The trio walk through the dark woods where the wolfbane is growing and Jenny (the friend) goes in first to have her fortune read by Bela (Bela Lugosi).

Larry and Gwen go for a walk in the fog and he admits to spying on her through the telescope. She’s not impressed (but not creeped out by it either), and tells him she’s engaged. Meanwhile, Bela is not happy about whatever he sees in the cards for Jenny. As he brushes his hair out of his eyes we see a pentagram mark on his forehead, and then we see the same mark on Jenny’s hand. He tells her to run away, and she does.

Outside of the wagon a black horse pulls at its tether. A wolf begins to howl. A woman screams.

Larry ditches Gwen to run to Jenny’s aid. She’s being savaged by a wolf and he starts beating on it with his walking stick. The wolf turns on him but he beats it off. Gwen arrives on the scene to find Larry barely conscious. An old gypsy woman from the camp - who just happens to be passing by with her horse and cart - helps Gwen get Larry home.

A group of men - including gamekeeper Frank (Gwen’s fiancé), Colonal Montford (an old friend of Larry’s who’s now the police chief), and Dr. Lloyd (a friend of his father’s) - find Jenny, her throat torn out, and nearby is Bela, whose head has been bashed in. Larry’s cane is found close at hand.

Next morning Larry wakes up in bed, a little confused and a whole lot frightened. His father, the Colonel, and the doctor pay him a visit. Larry identifies the walking stick as his, and tells them he used it to kill the wolf. But although the clothes he wore the night before are torn and bloody, there’s no sign of the wolf bite on him nor were they able to find the wolf. Larry is even more confused and frightened.

Gwen’s pretty upset over her friend’s death, and she’s in the backroom of her father’s store when Jenny’s mother enters with a few of her cronies and starts mouthing off. Enter Larry, who chases them off and tries to comfort Gwen. Enter Frank, Gwen’s fiancé, who doesn’t seem to like Larry much. Gee, I wonder why?

Now it’s later that evening and the gypsies are holding some kind of a carnival at their camp. Frank and Gwen are there having a good time. Larry’s there too, only not quite as happy as everyone else. There’s a lot of music and dancing and general merriment.

Larry crosses paths with the old gypsy woman who tells him that he killed the wolf and the wolf was her son Bela. She also tells him the wolf can only be killed by silver and “whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives will become a werewolf themselves”. She gives him a pentagram charm to wear for protection.

Larry leaves, then the old woman comes out of her tent and whispers to another gypsy, who whispers to another, and whatever’s being said spreads like wildfire. Larry runs into Gwen, and tells her about the old woman and how she said he’s a werewolf now and gives her the charm.

Next thing you know, the gypsies are packing up and leaving. Gwen leaves on her own and Larry has a mini melt down. He thinks he’s becoming unhinged and doesn’t know what to believe. Back home he strips off his shirt and is relieved to see he’s not sprouting any extra hair. But then he takes off his shoes and we see his legs and feet are getting really hairy.

Now we have a completely transformed Larry wandering through the foggy grave yard. He attacks and kills the grave digger. Wolf howls wake up the villagers and some men go to the grave yard and find the man with his throat torn out.

Larry wakes up sprawled on his back across his bed. There’s a pentagram tattoo on his chest and he’s horrified when he sees the animal prints leading from the window to the bed. Clearly he’s having some kind of mental breakdown, which is why his father disregards his concerns about werewolves. Off they go to church together but Larry doesn’t stay. When he arrives home, his father and their friends are discussing the wolf problem. Larry insists it’s not just a wolf, it’s a werewolf.

That night, Larry (in werewolf form) is caught in one of the wolf traps. When he hears Frank and the other hunters he struggles until he passes out. The old gypsy woman finds him and he turns human again. Freeing himself from the trap, he wanders barefoot into the village to talk to Gwen. He tells her he’s going away, and even though he’s positive he’s the killer, she wants to go with him. As he holds her hand he sees the pentagram appear and he runs away.

He ends up back home where his father tells him he’s just suffering from mental stress, brought on by the gypsy woman and her fantastical stories. To prove it’s all in Larry’s head, he ties him to a chair while he goes to help with the wolf hunt. Larry begs him to take the silver headed cane with him and he does.

While the hunters lay in wait for the wolf, Sir John crosses paths with the gypsy woman. They’re arguing when they hear shots being fired. The hunters are positive the wolf was hit, but can’t find it. Gwen’s running through the woods looking for Larry and encounters the gypsy. Against the gypsy’s advice, she keeps looking.

Of course she runs right into the werewolf, who attacks her. Sir John is the first one to the rescue and hits the werewolf with the cane to get him away from Gwen. The monster then turns on him and he keeps beating it, in self defense. Then Sir John watches, horrified, as the gypsy woman speaks her blessing over the beast’s body and it transforms back into his son. She drives off in her cart and the others come running up.

The Colonel takes charge and it’s decided that the wolf attacked Gwen and Larry died defending her. Well done Larry.

At first I thought Lon Chaney’s portrayal of Larry was a little over the top, but actually, it helped show the mental breakdown of the character. You begin to wonder yourself if there really is a werewolf or if it’s all in his head. This movie really is a classic.

The only version of this movie I could find on YouTube is pretty dark, but if you can lighten up your screen this would be the perfect movie to watch while you’re passing out Halloween candy.

Oct 24, 2016

Megathermic Monday

megathermic ~ surviving only in tropical climates

Are you familiar with “the mother’s curse?” It kind of goes like this: I hope when you grow up you have kids just as bad as you.

Well, I have learned to be careful what you wish for. Especially when you end up babysitting the child of your child. *sigh* She looks so sweet, doesn’t she? Sitting on the coffee table with her stuffed monkeys:

That picture was taken just before she stood up on the coffee table and booted the monkeys off, one by one. Monkeys flying everywhere!

Thursday and Friday last week the son-in-law had to fill in for someone at work, so my babysitting time doubled. What’s cute when you babysit for 2 ½ hours (which includes the beginning of nap time) is exhausting when you babysit for 5. And to make matters worse, it was too wet and cold to play outside.

On a whim I Googled “mother’s curse” thinking to discover the source of it. Imagine my surprise when the feed filled up with all this scientific jargon regarding a real mother’s curse. It’s some kind of genetic anomaly that’s passed down from mothers to their sons - only the sons, not the daughters. I didn’t understand a fraction of what it’s all about, but if you’re interested in the science of it all, you can learn more at Phys Org.

This week the daughter is off to another convention, so it’ll be full time babysitting for most of the week. But the upside is I’ll get to use her car, so even if the weather’s bad we can still go to story time at the library and play group at the YMCA.

And you’d think I would have had enough of the kid with the extra babysitting, but no, I went with her to our local comic con on the weekend. She wore her batman outfit and she and her trusty monkey were ready to protect us from the Daleks that were wandering around causing trouble.

Other highlights of last week include going to Oshawa to meet my favourite author, Charles de Lint. It was an amazing experience and I’ll be writing a separate blog post all about it soon.

And finally, yesterday I spent the day working on the grandbaby’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be the cutest little Ewok out there. I was able to get the main part finished in one go - basically, a brown sleeper made out of arctic fleece with a hood (with ears on it) and feet. The pattern turned out to be a little trickier than I expected, but it turned out okay. Now I just have to figure out how to do the head scarf.

Sadly, I didn’t get much writing in over the last week, but at least I kept busy. :-D

Oct 19, 2016


Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

Right from the start, there were two things that bugged me about this movie. First, in the credits they called the author Mrs. Percy B. Shelley instead of Mary Shelley. Yes, she was married to Percy Shelley, but seriously! Second, they changed the name of the lead character! Instead of Victor Frankenstein, we have Henry Frankenstein. They gave the name Victor to his friend.

I’m going to be generous here and pretend I haven’t read, and enjoyed, Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a man slowly driven mad by obsession. The only thing her book and this movie have in common is the fact that it’s about a man named Frankenstein, and he brought a dead man back to life.

The movie starts old style, with a narrator in a tux, on a stage, introducing the story. This fades into a funeral at a cemetery with one of the cheesiest back drops I’ve ever seen. Creepy looking Fritz (not Igor) and Frankenstein are lurking behind a wrought iron fence (like the bars would really keep them hidden).

If you’re the least bit observant, you’ll see that the portly grave digger throws his hat and coat on the ground before filling in the grave (after the funeral goers have left), but when he’s done they’re hanging off the handle of a shovel that’s stuck in the ground. Same thing happens when Fritz and Frankenstein dig the coffin up again.

As they’re on their way home with the coffin in a hand cart, they pass a cross with a body tied to it and Frankenstein makes Fritz cut it down - mmm, fresh meat! - only to reject the body because the man’s neck is broken. Apparently a broken neck means the brain’s no good.

Now we see a doctor giving a lecture on the difference between a normal brain and an abnormal one. Fritz is peering in through a window, and after everyone leaves sneaks in to steal the normal brain. A noise startles him and he drops the beaker it’s in, so he takes the abnormal one instead (anyone else hear Marty Feldman’s voice saying, “Abby Normal?”).

Next we visit Frankenstein’s fiancée, Elizabeth, who’s reading a letter from him telling her all about how his experiments are so important they come even before her. Frankenstein’s friend, Victor, commiserates with her and promises to help. They go to the doctor and convince him to come with them to visit Frankenstein.

It’s a dark and stormy night. Frankenstein and Fritz are in the ultimate mad scientist’s lab high up in the falling down castle. They’re preparing for a great experiment - a lot of electrical arcing going on as they test the equipment.

Suddenly there came a rapping, as of someone gently tapping, tapping at the castle door. Frankenstein sends Fritz to send whoever it is away, but they’re not budging and start yelling for Frankenstein. He yells down at them to go away but they won’t, so he reluctantly lets them in.

Frankenstein tells them that he’s discovered a ray beyond ultra-violet on the spectrum and that this ray is the source of life. He allows the doctor to confirm the body he has on the table is dead. The storm continues to rage as Frankenstein turns on the equipment and uncovers the body. He raises the table up through a hole in the ceiling and begins counting. Lots of thunder, lots of lightning, lots of static. Slowly he lowers the table again - the body’s hand moves!

Apparently Frankenstein has a bit of a God complex and goes into near hysterics at his success.

Leaving the castle behind for the moment, we next find Elizabeth and Victor visiting with Frankenstein’s father, the baron, who’s complaining quite vociferously about his son’s continued absence. Thinking his son is holed up with another woman, the baron decides to go in person to bring him home.

Back in the lab, the doctor advises Frankenstein to lock the creature up because it’s dangerous - the stolen brain was that of a criminal, not a normal brain. The creature wanders in and appears somewhat harmless until Fritz rushes in and starts waving a torch at it. The creature’s frightened and reacts accordingly - Frankenstein and the doctor manage to subdue it and chain it up in another room.

We aren’t told what Fritz’s problem with the creature is, but he seems to enjoy tormenting it with a whip, and when Frankenstein takes that away from him, he uses a torch again. Frankenstein and the doctor are in the lab when they hear a scream and they rush into the creature’s cell to find Fritz hanging from the ceiling. Serves the nasty little worm right.

Frankenstein manages to give the creature a shot of something that knocks him out. At this point Victor arrives to warn them that the baron is on the way, and helps them hide the creature’s body. The baron is kind of pompous, demanding entry, and then he and Elizabeth go up to the lab. Frankenstein opens the door and promptly faints. They revive him and the baron tells him he’s taking him home.

Despite the fact the doctor promised Frankenstein he’d dispose of the creature humanely, he spends the next few days performing his own experiments on the creature, having to use increasingly larger doses of drugs to keep him unconscious. Unfortunately for him, he misjudges the dosages and the monster wakes up and kills him, then escapes the castle.

Meanwhile, Frankenstein is recuperating with Elizabeth at his side and they’re making wedding plans. Fast forward to their wedding day - the whole town is celebrating.

Out in the woods, the creature is wandering around and stumbles across a little girl playing by a lake. She invites him to play with her and they have fun floating the heads of daisies in the water. The creature gets a little too enthusiastic with the game and tosses her in too.

Back to the wedding. There’s celebrating in the streets, but Elizabeth has a really bad feeling and talks to Frankenstein. He brushes it off as wedding jitters. Victor interrupts them to tell him the professor’s been murdered and the creature’s on the loose. Frankenstein locks the door to Elizabeth’s bedroom as he leaves.

Suspecting the creature might be in the house, the men search upstairs. And while they do so, the creature climbs into Elizabeth’s room through the window. By the time the men get the door to the bedroom open, the monster is gone again and Elizabeth’s in a swoon on the bed.

The father of the little girl walks into town carrying her body, putting a damper on the festivities. The crowd follows him to the baron’s house and he promises that justice will be done. Elizabeth’s still in shock, so Frankenstein leaves her in Victor’s care so he can help search. The Burgomaster separates the large, angry mob into three smaller angry mobs to search for the creature.

The backdrop for the searchers is even worse than the one at the cemetery. You can practically see the brush strokes on it. Frankenstein gets separated from his group and the creature knocks him out and drags him off. The mob sees them and chases the creature to an old windmill. Still carrying Frankenstein, the creature climbs to the top where he growls at the mob below from a balcony.

Frankenstein regains consciousness and he and the creature struggle - the creature tosses him off the windmill. He must have had a soft landing because he’s still alive and some men carry him off. The rest of the mob set fire to the windmill and watch it burn. The monster is screaming as the entire thing is engulfed in flames.

They really could have ended the movie right there. But instead the tacked on a scene with a group of giggling maids with a bottle of wine on a tray. They knock on a set of double doors - the baron opens up and we can see Frankenstein in a bed with Elizabeth at his side. The maids suggest the happy couple might want the wine to celebrate but the baron decides not to disturb them, he’ll drink it himself.

I actually did find a copy of this on YouTube, although it’s only 49 minutes instead of 71. The beginning has been chopped off - it starts after the grave digger is about to leave the cemetery. I haven’t watched this one, so I have no idea what else may be missing.

My advice? Skip the movie. Read the book.

Oct 17, 2016

Mundificative Monday

mundificative ~ a cleansing or purifying medicine

In late August/early September, while we were still suffering a heat wave, there were all kinds of dire predictions about how cold October was going to be, and how we were going to have snow early in the month.

Well, it’s mid-October and as I sit here typing this (late Sunday night), I have the deck door open and a fan blowing in the living room. Not only is it rather warm, it’s humid too. What the heck is going on?

Last week was pretty warm too, at least during the day. At night the temperature would dip low enough that we had frost warnings, but once the sun was up it would warm up fairly quickly. Which of course let to my favourite fall game - musical wardrobe.

I’m sure most of you out there have played musical wardrobe before. You know, where you check the weather forecast the night before, set out your clothes, but end up having to wear something completely different because the weather’s not as predicted.

Or you dress for the temperature you wake up to, have to change into something cooler by lunch time, and change again when it cools off in the evening. This is the time of year when layers are your friend.

Not much progress on the bathroom renovation. A lot of sanding and filling, waiting for the filling to dry, and more sanding. Hubby's started working on the stand for the sink, but there’s not much to see yet. And ... we discovered that the taps we bought are not exactly the best ones for a vessel sink. The faucet’s okay, but the taps themselves are a smidgeon too low, so he’s going to have make a little mini stand for them too.

Once the filling is finished, then it’s primer time. And once the primer is dry it’s paint and tiles. So looks like someone better get off her lazy butt this week and pick out the paint she wants. I’ve got a bunch of little paint samples and once I narrow it down to my favourites, I can exchange them for the bigger paint samples.

Well folks, it’s the end of an era. I finally broke down and got a cell phone. It was time. I’ve been putting it off because I’m surrounded by people who have an unhealthy attachment to their cell phones and I didn’t want to turn into one of them. However, the daughter gave up her land line, so if there was ever an emergency when I’m babysitting I’d be in big trouble. Also, part of the bundling of our TV/internet services included switching our phone to cable as well. If the power goes out (which it tends to do occasionally) or even if it's just the cable that goes out (which happens more often) then we’re without phone service.

The kid who set me up with my phone was great - he was very patient and made sure I was comfortable using it. So far I can make calls, send texts, and take pictures. However, I might have to pay the kid another visit because I have yet to figure out how to set up my voice mail.

But no games! That’s what I have a tablet for. LOL

Oct 12, 2016

The Mummy

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

When I was a kid, I used to get into trouble for watching the Saturday afternoon monster movies. Or to be more precise, my father used to get into trouble for letting me. I adored the mostly science fiction, usually black and white, B movies, but they’d invariably give me nightmares. LOL

But that’s probably when my love for the creature features began. Two in particular stand out in my mind. There was one about a meteor that crashed on Earth, and when it got wet it grew. But then one of the heroes discovered that salt water would harm it, so they loaded up a reservoir with salt and then blew a dam to stop it. The other was the original Invaders From Mars where it begins with an alien craft landing in a sandpit during a storm. To this day I still don’t like walking on a beach or any other bare earth in the dark. :-)

I don’t recall seeing any of the classic horror movies during my Saturday afternoons, but at some point did see Frankenstein, Dracula, and one of my favorites, The Creature From the Black Lagoon. I never did see the original Mummy back then, although I have enjoyed the franchise staring Brendan Fraser.

The 1932 version of The Mummy begins with the discovery of the mummy of Imhotep, a high priest, during an archeological expedition lead by Sir Joseph Whemple. They also found the Scroll of Thoth and when Sir Joseph’s assistant reads from it, he unwittingly brings the mummy back to life. When Sir Joseph returns, it’s to find both Imhotep and the scroll gone, and his assistant gibbering in a corner, quite mad.

Ten years later, Sir Joseph’s son Frank and Professor Pearson are at the same field office when they received a visit from an Egyptian named Ardath Bey, actually Imhotep, who tells them were to find the tomb of an Egyptian Princess named Ankh-es-en-amon. This is an amazing find, but of course they turn the whole works over to the Cairo Museum.

Once the princess is on display, Ardath Bey sneaks into the museum to visit the princess, whom he loved when he was alive. As he reads from the Scroll of Thoth, a young woman named Helen, the ward of Dr. Muller, an Egyptologist who was with Sir Joseph when he discovered the original mummy, is drawn to the museum. Joseph and Frank are just leaving and spot her trying to get into the closed museum. Naturally they take her back to their house.

Ardath Bey is caught by the security guard at the museum, and when he flees after killing the guard he forgets to take the scroll with him. Sir Joseph is called to the scene and is surprised to find the scroll, which he takes home with him. Meanwhile, Dr. Muller has arrived at the Whemple house where Helen is still lying semi-conscious on a chaise, murmuring the name Imhotep. When she awakens she’s confused, remembering nothing about what happened. Frank is immediately smitten with her, and she seems to return his feelings.

Leaving Frank to sit with Helen, Sir Joseph and Dr. Muller move into the study and talk about the original mummy, Imhotep. He would have been a priest when the princess was a Vestal Virgin, and they never did find out what happened to his mummy. Dr. Muller advises Sir Joseph to burn the scroll.

Frank leaves Helen resting and joins the others in the study just as Ardath Bey arrives at the house. He seems to hypnotize the servant who opens the door, and as he stands over Helen’s sleeping form, she awakens again, but she isn’t scared. In fact, she seems mesmerized by him. Dr. Muller asks Frank to take Helen back to the hotel - she’s acting a little loopy and at first she doesn’t want to go, but Frank convinces her.

Dr. Muller confronts Ardath Bey about the scroll and the mummy coming back to live. Ardath Bey demands the scroll back and leaves in a huff when they won’t give it to him. Once agin Dr. Muller advises Sir Joseph to burn the scroll, and then leaves to see to Helen.

This time Sir Joseph listens, but as he’s about to start the fire, Ardath Bey is watching through a scrying pool and uses magic to cause Sir Joseph to have a heart attack. As Sir Joseph dies, the servant takes the scroll out of the fireplace and takes it to Ardath Bey.

Later, we get a creepy close up of Ardath Bey’s eyes and the next thing you know, Helen is on her way to his place, dragging her very reluctant dog. She and Ardath Bey sit in front of the scrying pool and he shows her her past life as a Vestal Virgin, and how much he loved her. She sees him kneeling beside her as she lay dying and the big procession when they entomb her. Then how he stole the Scroll of Thoth so he could bring her back to life and got caught trying to cast the spell, and subsequently buried alive with the scroll.

He awakens her from her trance and she hears her dog cry out and goes to find him. She arrives home to find Frank waiting for her. At first she’s a little annoyed, but then she realizes she left her dog behind, because it was dead! Frank comforts her and professes his love. She’s really confused and afraid she’s turning into someone else. A nurse Dr. Muller had hired gives her something to help her sleep and Frank volunteers to keep watch until the doctor returns. He wraps a charm of protection he’d been carrying around the knob of her bedroom door.

Once he’s done that, Ardath Bey begins casting a spell to kill him. He manages to make it to the charm so that he only passes out instead of dying, and Helen walks right over him in her trance to go to Ardath Bey.

She awakens dressed in the clothes she wore as Ankh-es-en-amon, Ardath Bey beside her. They’re in the museum where he sets fire to the princess mummy, explaining that once it’s destroyed its soul will be free to enter Helen. They go into an embalming chamber where he tells her he’ll have to kill her and then bring her back to life as Ankh-es-en-amon. She’s not on board with this at all but Ardath Bey uses his magical mojo to make her more compliant.

Dr. Muller and Frank arrive as Ardath Bey is about to sacrifice Helen on the altar. They distract him and Helen wakes up. She remembers her past life and prays to a stature of Isis. Ardath Bey is using his magic to stop the men and Isis answers Helen’s prayer, burning the scroll which was Imhotep’s only link to the mortal plain. Frank saves Helen with his love. The end.

The great part about buying the DVD versus watching it on YouTube is the bonus features. Here’s some interesting facts I learned:
- the original story was not Egyptian but inspired by a story about Alessandro Cagliostro, an Italian occultist. The story was about a man 3,000 year old magician.
- Imhotep was a high priest of the temple of the Sun in Karnak
- the original name of the movie was Imhotep
- supposedly, the guy responsible for the mummy makeup studied Egyptian embalming methods
- the mummy makeup took longer than the makeup for Frankenstein
- because of the way the makeup was applied, it was painful to remove

This movie was a classic in every sense of the word. At its heart it was a story of eternal love. There were no CGI effects, and the black and white leant an atmospheric creepiness to Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the mummy. His eyes spoke volumes all by themselves. One of the things I found really interesting was how much of the original movie made it into the remake with Brendan Fraser, including naming one of the main characters Ardath Bey.

If you enjoyed the remake, I highly suggest you pick up your own copy of the original. Currently it’s available at Walmart for under $10.00.

Oct 10, 2016

Monopolylogue Monday

monopolylogue ~ dramatic work in which one actor plays many roles

It’s officially fall.

Yes, I know, the calendar said fall started a couple of weeks ago. But this morning when I got up I actually turned the heat on in the house. Me, the woman who’s perpetually cold. There was frost on the ground outside and according to the Weather Network it was all of 3 degrees Celsius outside (that’s in the high 30s for those of you using Fahrenheit). It was around 10 C (50 F) according to the thermostat inside the house. So yeah, an extra sweater just ain’t gonna do it any more.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! And a Happy Columbus Day to my U.S. friends.

I believe I mentioned last week that I cooked a turkey dinner last weekend to both use up my excess turkey and to give us leftovers. I didn’t get any pictures because although the build up to dinner was leisurely, the actually serving of it was not and there just wasn’t time for a picture.

Yesterday we went to the in-laws for a big family dinner. We all take a dish or two, mine were glazed carrots and sweet potatoes. A long time ago I used to just take carrots, but they’re not a sweet potato bunch and I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes, so ...

The daughter brought a pumpkin pie and I believe she called it a bourbon pecan pie. It was so pretty it was almost a shame to cut into it, but at the same time it was really, really too yummy to let just sit there. Which is how I ended up spending most of last night in a food coma. ;-)

Thanksgiving is a time for family, and for feeling gratitude for all the things we have. We may grouse about our families the rest of the year, but we still move heaven and earth to be with them at Thanksgiving. Often it’s not just over the hill to grandma’s house, it’s way across county.

Despite the fact that we all live in the same town, we don’t get together with the hubby’s family that often. Sometimes we’ll have dinner with his parents, but with the siblings and their kids, not so much. So for me the highlight was seeing the granddaughter playing with her cousins - one smaller and three bigger. It was pretty crowded and there weren’t a lot of toys, but they had a blast.

This year I’m grateful for friends and families, the food on our table and the roof over our heads. I’m also grateful for the kids. They may be a rowdy bunch, maybe a little head strong, but they’re healthy and happy, and that’s what counts.

What are you grateful for?

Oct 5, 2016

Oops! The Film Broke

I had a wonderful plan for October. I was going to spend the month watching and reviewing the classic creature feature horror movies: Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula ... You know, to get everyone in the Halloween spirit.

Alas, YouTube was not my friend on the weekend. I spent so much time trying to bring one of these up that I had no time to watch one. And for the record, these movies are not available on YouTube. Nor are they available through Netflix. *sigh*

So then I had the half-hearted idea of just talking about some of these movies, not reviewing them but maybe discussing why they made such a mark in the film industry. Maybe even doing a poll on Facebook to see what movies people think of when they hear Classic Horror.

BUT ...

Yesterday I was in Walmart (looking for a stylus for my tablet) and lo and behold they had my movies on sale. Sweet!

However, I did not have time to watch any of them last night, and I’m not sure if I’ll have the time today either.

So the weekly review is coming, I’m just not sure when.

Oct 3, 2016

Muller Monday

muller ~ flat heavy stone or iron pulverizing tool

Wow, can you believe it’s October already? September sure left in a hurry - must have had an important appointment to keep.

For Canadians, October means Thanksgiving. The local grocery stores have had turkeys on sale for the last couple of weeks so naturally I took advantage of the low prices to pick up a turkey to replace the emergency turkey I was going to use for Thanksgiving.

Yes, that’s right. I keep an emergency turkey in my freezer. You know, in case we’re ever invaded by a ravening hoard. Although it’s to be hoped the ravening hoard isn’t in a rush for dinner because it’s a frozen turkey after all, so it’ll take a while for it to cook.

I also have a large, emergency ham in the freezer for the same reason. I won’t bore you with the tale of my food hoarding tendencies, suffice it to say I must have starved to death in a previous life because in this one I live in fear of someone leaving my table still hungry. :-D

But I digress.

It wasn’t until after I’d already bought my secondary turkey that I learned we were having Thanksgiving at the in-laws this year. And since I’m only allowed one turkey at a time in my freezer and I didn’t want to miss out on the leftovers, I decided to do my turkey dinner yesterday.

Now, if you’re going to do a turkey diner, you have to do it right. That means fresh, not frozen veggies. And lots of them, that I cooked early in the day to make dinner itself less stressful. I even went so far as to buy a couple of those little pie pumpkins to make my pie with.

Actually, I figured I’d be making a couple of pies and maybe some pumpkin bread, but I was wrong. My two little pumpkins resulted in three measly cups of puree. Not sure if it was worth the trouble or not, although the pie did turn out rather well (if I do say so myself).

And I also did something I’ve never tried before - I saved the pumpkin seeds for roasting. It’s a little messy, and I have to admit to having mixed feelings about the results.

I actually divided them in half and did one batch of onion/garlic, and one with Italian spices. Definitely not like store-bought, but I think I could get used to them.

Anyway, dinner was a great success, and it was a trial run for the grandbaby for real Thanksgiving. Without a doubt her favourite part was the turkey - which I don’t think she’s ever had before - followed by the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. Not the pie itself, mind you, just the whipped cream.

But the main thing is, I have my leftovers. Club sandwich anyone?

Sep 28, 2016

Teenage Zombies

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

I don’t know whether to applaud or curse the fact that we were able to access YouTube through our TiVo to watch this movie. Though it was released in 1960, this black and white film looks like it was filmed in the early ‘50s. It begins with three kids meeting at the soda shop (two malts were a total of 50 cents). They’re wondering what kind of clean cut fun they could have - Morrie leaves to go horseback riding, but arranges to meet the others in a couple of hours. Stick with me here because that’s important to the story.

Cut to a boat where Reg, Skip, Julie, and Pam are all set to go waterskiing. They discover an island (that apparently was really hard to find) and land to have their lunch. Since they’re already there they decide to go exploring for a bit.

Nothing much to see here and they keep going and are surprised to see a building in the distance. Even more surprising is the line of workers shuffling down a path. There’s a woman in an evening gown that appears to be overseeing the procession and when she catches sight of the kids she halts the parade, but the kids get scared and high tail it back to the boat.

Oh, no! The boat is gone! Figuring they might have just misplaced it, the start following the shoreline to see if it magically moved somewhere else. They wander for quite a while before finally sitting down to rest. The girls decide to keep resting while the boys mosey on up to the house they saw.

Being the polite sort, they knock on the door. The woman they saw earlier, Dr. Myra, opens the door and invites them in, offering them a soft drink. They ask about their boat but she plays dumb. She tells them they have no boats because no one ever leaves the island. The guys get kind of cranky at this point and threaten to go to the sheriff - an empty threat without their boat to back them up.

Suddenly, they hear a couple of screams! This hairy hunchback named Ivan has the girls in a cage down in the basement. Dr. Myra takes the boys down there and has Ivan throw them in the adjoining cage. She tells them if they behave, Ivan won’t hurt them.

Back at the soda shop, Morrie is getting a little worried about the others because they never showed up like they said they would. And because this is the ‘50s, a teenager being a couple of hours late is something to worry about and the soda jerk advises Morrie to talk to the sheriff. So off Morrie and his girl Dottie go to the sheriff’s office.

The kids get kind of panicky as they tell the sheriff how worried they are about the other four, and convince him to send out a search party (which consists of the sheriff and a deputy tooling around in a boat). They meet Morrie and Dottie at the dock and tell them they didn’t find anything, so after the adults leave the kids liberate a small boat and go looking themselves.

Big surprise, they go almost directly to the island, even though the sheriff missed it after being out there for hours. Of course they go exploring instead of going back for the sheriff, and the first thing they see is Ivan lurking around. They manage to avoid him and follow the path to the house. They knock on the door and Dr. Myra (wearing a different evening gown) lets them in.

They ask about the four missing kids, but get kind of nervous and skedaddle out of there when the good doctor tells them that no one ever comes to her island. Their boat is waiting where they left it, and as they’re pulling away from the island, two men in suits are pulling up to the beach.

Turns out Dr. Myra is a mad scientist and the suits are there for a progress report on their plans to conquer the United States. She takes them down to the lab for a demonstration of the mind control gas she’s been developing. Her victim of choice is a gorilla because “unlike a man, he’s not human.” Once he’s gassed, the gorilla is docile and obedient and the suits are impressed.

Meanwhile, the boys have managed to pick the lock of their cell, but they’re having trouble with the girls’ lock. They have a bit of an argument with the girls, but decide to leave them behind and go look for a boat or help or something and promise to come back for them. Of course they don’t find anything helpful, not even the boat the two suits came in. Just as they’re about to give up hope they get the brilliant idea of building a raft, but they don’t get much of it done before it starts getting light and they figure they’d better get back to their cell.

Back in town, Morrie and Dottie tell the sheriff about the suspicious island they found and how the woman lied about living in isolation. It takes a lot of convincing, but finally the sheriff agrees to go have a look.

Dr. Myra tells Ivan to bring the two girls - he drags them in kicking and screaming and the boys follow surreptitiously behind. The girls are shoved into the testing chamber and the boys don’t know what to do. At this point the sheriff and the other two kids show up and it looks like the sheriff is in on Dr. Myra’s evil master plan.

Ivan corrals Morrie and Dottie. The boys look for something to pry open the door to the testing chamber, the adults start arguing, the sheriff goes off in a huff and one of the suits shoots him in the back. Ivan is forced to let go of the kids so he can dispose of the body, and once he leaves all hell breaks loose and it’s a free-for-all fight between the adults and the kids.

Oops! Dr. Myra managed to release the gas into the chamber and the girls are doused with zombie gas. The kids win the fight and make her open the chamber, but it’s too late. When she refuses to produce the antidote, the boys put her in the chamber and turn her into a zombie. Unfortunately, she’s a little too zombified, so they threaten to put the men in the chamber next. One of them caves and points out the antidote.

After pouring some of the liquid into two glasses, they set the beaker down on the desk. They try it on Dr. Myra to make sure it works, and the first thing she does is sweep the beaker onto the floor. Good thing they poured two glasses of it. The boys de-zombify the girls and a scuffle breaks out. While the boys are fighting with Ivan and one of the suits, the other suit and Dr. Myra escape. But the gorilla (no idea where they were keeping him) wanders into the lab and licks up some of the antidote from the floor. He takes care of the suit and Ivan, allowing the kids to escape.

The other suit and Dr. Myra reached the boat the sheriff came in at the same time the kids do, and the adults prove to be no match for the determined kids. The kids deliver their prisoners to the sheriff’s office and the deputy tells them the military will be very grateful. It’s implied that they’ll get to meet the president himself for this. They’re heroes.

This was kind of a fun movie, set as it was in a simpler time. You couldn’t get away with a story like this these days. Well, you could have the mad scientist trying to turn the U.S. into zombies, but you wouldn’t have anyone blink twice at teens being a couple of hours late meeting a friend. And I think kids themselves are a little more savvy today.

The hubby says, “It wasn’t the worst bad movie we’ve seen, but it did have its dumb moments.” I think that’s supposed to be a good thing. ;-)

Sep 26, 2016

Monadism Monday

monadism ~ theory that there exist ultimate units of being

We had a stealth cricket in the house last week. I call him a stealth cricket because normally the first indication there’s a cricket in the house is the noise, followed by hours, if not days, of searching to find the culprit. However, this time first indication was the june bug sized black body creeping across the floor.

He was so big even the cats didn’t want to mess with him. Armed with a glass bowl, I turned on all the lights to try and find him, but didn’t have any luck. So I left the bowl in the kitchen and sat back in the living room and the little bugger, clearly mocking me, went from the bookcase to under the hubby’s recliner. I went back and got my bowl, just as he was traversing the carpet back to the bookcase, but before I could lower it over him he started to jump.

Do you have any idea how high a cricket can jump? Almost as high as I can. ;-)

We did spy him again later that evening and managed to relocate him outside without causing him any harm. You do know it’s bad luck to kill a cricket in the house, don’t you? This is a superstition passed down to me from my mother. She never killed a cricket in the house but always live-trapped them and released them back into the wild.

I can’t really blame him for wanting to be inside though. It’s like Mother Nature flipped a switch or something. After the first day of Autumn it became cool enough we didn’t need so much as a fan, let alone the air conditioning, and Friday I even wore a jacket when I went grocery shopping.

Saturday I spent most of the day huddled under an afghan as I relaxed in my recliner - although part of that could have been because I was sick from the cold the granddaughter gave me. Hers was mostly in the chest, mine was all in the sinuses and the first medication I took was an extra-strength, all purpose one. Did you know that extra-strength usually just means double the Tylenol? And I guess I don’t handle Tylenol well because it made me feel worse than the cold. So I switched to that super-duper decongestant I had from before and it seems to be doing the trick.

Saturday night I went to bed forgetting that the window was open in my office, and the temperature went down to the single digits (Celsius, which would make it the mid to high 50s Fahrenheit) so it was a mite chilly in the house Sunday morning. Even after shutting the window and keeping the deck doors shut all day, it still wasn’t overly warm. Which, to be perfectly honest, was okay by me. I’d rather be too cold than too warm any day.

Not a lot to report on the bathroom. Hubby got the first coat of filler on to make the walls all nice and smooth, and worked on some electrical stuff. It doesn’t really look all that different from last week’s picture, but you can see the drywall dust footprints he left on the carpet in the front hall. :-D

Because I just know you’re all wondering about the cricket superstition thing, I decided to do a little research, and here’s what I found out:

Superstitions regarding crickets come from all over the world, but only the Chinese kept crickets in tiny bamboo cages for luck.
For generations, the cricket has served as a watchdog in many Asian countries - at the first sign of danger, the cricket’s chirping will stop.
Almost every Native American tribe believed the cricket brought good luck, and it was considered disrespectful to try imitating one.
It is considered very good luck to find a cricket in your house, and very bad luck to kill a cricket, even by accident.
If you want to know the temperature, count the number of chirps a cricket makes within fifteen seconds and add the number thirty-seven. (I’m assuming this would be in Fahrenheit).
In Brazil, the chirping of a black cricket is taken as a sign of impending illness, that of a grey cricket money, and that of a green one hope.
A constantly chirping cricket foretells pregnancy.

Unfortunately, it does not say what happens to the good luck of finding a cricket in the house if your cats eat it. Guess I'd best stay vigilant ;-)

Sep 21, 2016

The Incredible Petrified World

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

Once again hubby and I fell victim to false advertising. I mean, look at that poster. Octopus getting over-friendly with a woman, the weird creature with the spear, the volcano in the distance - it looks like it has all the makings of a good creature feature, right? Yeah, that’s what we thought too.

This black and white movie, filmed in 1957, begins with footage of what we’re supposed to believe is a storm tossed sea. Cue the suspenseful music. Now we see a squid and a shark duking it out on the ocean floor while the storm rages above. And I feel the need to point out, this was the only appearance by a squid in the whole movie. The suspenseful music speeds up - looks like the shark won.

The narrator starts talking about a “phantom layer” in the ocean that rises to the surface at night, and descends back to the bottom during the day. It’s filled with luminescent fish that apparently have the ability to turn their glow off and on at will.

La la la - boring description of these black and white fish that look like they’re swimming around in some big aquarium. Okay, now the lights come up and we see the narrator is actually a rich dude showing a film in a library. He talks about this diving bell he’s financed, to be used to explore the ocean depths and how there’s another one being tested in the Caribbean as they speak.

This diving bell was created by Dr. Wyman, and he’s really excited that the divers will be going deeper than anyone has ever gone before. The bell, which is pretty much a big water tight metal sphere, is manned by two men, Paul and Craig, and two women, Lauri and Dale (because you have to keep the numbers even, right?). Paul, Craig, and Lauri appear to have some kind of scientific background, and Dale is a reporter.

Down, down, down they go. At 1700 feet the lights start to flicker and the diving bell is rocking. Communication between the ship and the bell is lost. Dr. Wyman feels really bad because, you know, it was his bell and all and was lost so deep there’s not a chance of rescuing it ... or the people inside it.

Meanwhile, the bell is resting on the bottom of the ocean and the groggy crew are just waking up. Dale immediately goes into hysterics until someone slaps her. They realize the cable the bell was attached must have broken, but they couldn’t be as deep as they thought because there’s light outside the bell. If they’re high enough to see light through the water, then obviously they’re high enough that the pressure won’t kill them, so they get into their wet suits (which they just happened to have packed in a suitcase), and abandon ship - or sphere.

They start to swim slowly (VERY slowly) to the surface. The radar on the boat actually picks them up, but Dr. Wyman doesn’t think they have a prayer of making it to the surface, what with the pressure and all. They’re just too deep. More footage of them slowly swimming. La la la. Oops! They surface in a cave. I’m kind of impressed. Despite hours of swimming, the girls’ hair is not only dry, they retained their fancy hair-dos.

Meanwhile, on the boat, the captain asks Dr. Wyman how long it’ll take the bodies to surface. They decide to wait another five hours. The men from the sphere decide to leave the women in the cave and go back to the bell for their shoes so they can climb to the surface through the cave system. They go pick up shoes for everyone and one of the guys sharpens a stick to bring back with him.

On the way back to the cave, the guy with the stick manages to kill enough fish for them to dine on for dinner. Then they all take a nap. The next day, dressed in perfectly dry street clothes (no idea where they came from), they begin wandering through the caves. They see a lizard that hisses at them (showing us how loudly Dale can scream) and continue to wander. It didn’t occur to them that they could have eaten the lizard, but they do stumble across a small spring to drink from.

Leaving the women at the spring to rest, the men wander off to explore a bit. Lauri wants to be friends, but Dale is a bit of a snarky bitch. It’s at this point I have to wonder where the light in the cave is coming from. I mean, in the ocean we could say it was the luminescent fish the narrator made a point of talking about, but the cave is pretty well lit without there being a source.

Wandering, wandering, and more wandering. It all looks pretty much the same to me. Ruh, oh Shaggy, the gang found a human skeleton. Eek! There’s an old bearded man spying on them through a hole in the rocks above them. They yell up to him but he doesn’t answer, so they climb on up to see him.

He tells them he’s the survivor of a ship wreck and he’s been there for 14 years. There’s a volcano nearby that provides air, but there’s no way out. Not sure why the volcano means they can’t escape, haven’t any of them ever read Jules Verne’s Journey To the Centre of the Earth? Everyone settles in to make the best of things.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wyman has gone to the rich guy from the beginning. He heard he cancelled the launch of his own diving bell and persuades him that he knows what went wrong with the first bell and how to fix it on the second one. Blah, blah, blah, way too much technical explanations. Wyman’s younger brother worked on the second bell, and together they fix the new bell.

Lots of machinery spinning, lots of consulting. Finally they’re back on the boat. The second bell has launched, just in time because they spot the two guys from the original bell as they’re swimming back to scavenge for parts and one of them has run out of air. They make it to the second bell where the guy is revived by a cup of coffee from a handy dandy thermos.

Back in the cave, the creepy old dude is putting the moves on Dale and he must have angered the volcano gods because the earth starts to shake and an eruption is imminent. He gets buried by rocks and the two women run back through the tunnels. More running, more rock falling. The guy who came back for the women gets knocked out slightly. Now we’re seeing some really fast moving lava and the earth pulling apart.

Um, I guess he’s okay because they’re all aboard the second bell now and before you know it they’re back on board the ship. Happy, happy, joy, joy - smiling faces all around. As the ship powers off into the sunset I’m left wondering two things - if they really were on the bottom of the ocean, as we were led to believe, why didn’t the pressure kill them? And where the heck was the volcano that erupted? There wasn’t so much as a hint of it on the surface of the water - no rock sticking up out of the water, not even a puff of smoke.

This movie wasn’t even that bad, it was just incredibly boring! The incredible part of it was that we sat through the whole 70 minutes.

Sep 19, 2016

Milleflori Monday

milleflori ~ glassware made of coloured rods embedded in clear glass

I’m late! I’m late! At least I’m late with this post. Still, at least I’m here now, unlike my update post on my Other Blog. I missed that post altogether because there just wasn’t enough to report. But that’s my writing blog and this is my regular blog, so I’ll save that rant for another time. ;-)

As expected, the bathroom renovation has slowed somewhat. It’s a little hard for the hubby to work in the bathroom when he has to work all week. And bowling season’s started as well. Still, there wasn’t much he could do in there until the plumbing for the tub was put in, and the plumber wasn’t able to come until Friday morning.

Friday mornings, for those of you who are new to the whinings of my life, are my busiest mornings because that’s when I grocery shop. And along with the plumber we had a guy coming to do a house inspection for our mortgage renewal. And I had to go in to babysit early. So you can imagine the amount of fun I had that day.

However, the plumber and his handy assistant did their thing, and now the rest is up to hubby. Unless he decides to replace the window with glass blocks, in which case we’ll get a contractor in to do that. But he made good progress putting the dry wall back up, and it’s even starting to look a little bit like a real bathroom again.

You can see from the picture just how tiny that bathroom is, made even tinier with the bigger tub. Now imagine being closed in there to work, without so much as a fan to give you some relief. That’s a south facing window and it’s painted shut, so that small space heats up pretty quickly. Kudos to the hubby for working with the door shut (both to reduce the mess spilling into the rest of the house and to keep the cats from getting into stuff they shouldn’t. I suspect the sun coming in that window would make it hot even in the winter.

I seem to talk an inordinate amount about the weather, but I can’t seem to help myself. Last week the weather was fabulous. Clear and cool and sunny and did I mention cool? We didn’t need the air conditioner at all, and only used the fans some of the time. And I spent one whole night without the fan at all. Sheer bliss!

And then ... the weekend. The humidity rose faster than the temperature, so even when it wasn’t exactly hot, it was really, really damp. I hate the damp worse than I hate the heat. And I hate feeling damp even more than that.

Today is starting off a little cooler than predicted, but it’s supposed to warm up again this week, then back to something a little more seasonable for the weekend. Ha! Just in time for the changing of the seasons, so it’ll be official.

Speaking of seasons ... I’m sure by now everyone has noticed this is the time of year when we have pretty much pumpkin spice everything available. While I enjoy a pumpkin latte every once in awhile, along with a piece of pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie, even I have to admit things have gotten a little out of hand this year.

We have Frosted Pumpkin Pie Poptarts, Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Pumpkin Spice Peeps, Jif Whipped Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Pie Spread (that even sounds gross!), Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese (actually a good idea), and Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice Bagels or English Muffins. And let’s not forget the Lindt Lindor Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles, Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, Pumpkin Spice Malted Milk Balls, Dreyer’s Slow Churned Pumpkin Patch ice cream, Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds, Nestle Toll House Pumpkin Spice Refrigerated Cookie Dough, Barbara’s Pumpkin Puffs, and Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini Wheats,

But for those of you who just aren’t into pumpkin, don’t worry. Peppermint season is just around the corner. ;-)

Sep 14, 2016

Monstrosity the Atomic Brain

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

As much fun as shark month was, it was kind of nice to get back to our normal bad movies. This turkey lemon bad movie was filmed in black and white in 1963. It runs for 64 minutes which is plenty long enough, I assure you.

It begins with our mad scientist (c’mon, you had to know there’d be a mad scientist) breaking into a mortuary/cemetery to steal the body of a young woman who’s just died. After his henchman (who kind of looks like a wolf man and the narrator tells us he’s one of the doctor’s “mistakes”) kills the poor, clueless security guard, they load the girl’s body into the back of their station wagon. If they wanted a fresh body, why didn’t they take the security guard? Ah! Because he wasn’t a woman! ;-)

The scientist, whom we’re told is Dr. Frank (the hubby claims he’s not sufficiently evil enough to earn the “enstein” part to the name) is working for this very rich old lady who wants her brain put into a much younger and prettier body. Wouldn’t we all like that?

The machine Dr. Frank built to do this is atomic and as he explains to the old woman (Mrs. March) and her henchman (Victor) it has a radioactive failsafe. In case the police or anyone ever want to search the place, he can set off an atomic explosion to destroy all the evidence. Okayyyy.

Dr. Frank demonstrates his machine for Mrs. March and Victor, using the, uh, fresh body. The room is like a big iron boiler with a viewing window - to enter it, Dr. Frank has to wear a radiation suit but no such precautions are needed for visitors to his lab. The woman he’s experimenting on is naked (of course she’d be naked!) but has two strategically placed straps holding her to an upright table.

Now despite the fact that this whole thing is to put Mrs. March’s brain into a fresh body, he brings this girl back to life without finding her a new brain first. Apparently, once the brain is dead you can’t bring it back to life. No idea why not. So now we have a sexy, brainless zombie to wander aimlessly around.

Nevertheless, Mrs. March is impressed enough that she hires three girls from Europe as servants because there won’t be any embarrassing questions when they disappear. Of course it’s pretty obvious right from the start which one she’s going to pick - the hot blonde with the huge rack and the jiggle butt.

Mrs. March has the doctor examine all three (which makes one of the want to quit on the spot) and he discovers one of them, named Anita, has a birthmark on her back. The old lady tells him he can do what he wants with her. Anita gets a room in the basement, Bea (the blonde) is given a room on the second story, and Nina (the one who wants out of there) gets a room in the attic.

The next day, Bea and Nina wonder where Anita got to and Mrs. March tells them she left - funny, since they were told no one gets to leave. The girls sneak down to Anita’s room and all her stuff is still there so they decide they need to escape. They wander around the basement some more and find a door they’re able to jimmy open but they hear someone coming and don’t go through it.

These girls are so dumb they almost deserve to get used in Dr. Frank’s experiments. They don’t leave through the door they jimmied open, they don’t leave through the freaking front door, they go back to Bea’s room to make plans.

Mrs. March goes down to the lab to see how Dr. Frank’s latest experiment is going. He successfully put the brain of a cat into Anita’s body. Anita not only acts like a cat, she makes pretty authentic cat noises too and even kills an eats a mouse. Mrs. March is impressed.

Meanwhile, the wind blows open the door the girls jimmied and the zombie girl wanders out to walk aimlessly around the estate. The girls, who are cleaning one of the sitting rooms, catch a glimpse of her through the window and see the wolf man attack her. The good doctor beats him off with a cattle prod but it’s too late. The wolf man ends up being chained up like a dog.

The girls realize they really have to get serious about escaping, and Bea decides to seduce Victor for the keys to the car. She seeks him out and because the wolf man is safely chained up, they go for a walk through the gardens. Before they get very far (or should I say, before Victor gets very far), Mrs. March summons him. Bea wanders over to a stone gazebo and sees Anita perched on the top of it. Anita springs on her and we hear screaming.

Nina, not knowing what happened to Bea, also catches a glimpse of Anita, who’s up on the roof now. You’d think if someone’s up on a roof they’re there for a reason, but no, Nina decided she needed to rescue Anita. Anita does NOT want to be rescued and Nina chases her across the roof where Anita falls to her death.

Running down to the lab to tell the doctor, she finds everyone in the lab with Bea, who’s still alive but badly hurt. One of her eyes had to be removed but the doctor has it in a big beaker of some kind of solution and he’s quite excited about the prospect of putting it back in her.

Mrs. March gives Victor the heave ho. Once she’s in her new body, she’s not going to need an old fart like him. Later, Nina finds him in the study, drunk as a skunk, and he spills his guts - tells her how Mrs. March has made her heir, but it won’t really be her it’ll be Mrs. March in her body. She agrees to make him rich if he helps her, but then she goes off to pack or something and Mrs. March stabs him in the back with this really, really long needle.

Nina tells Bea (who’s in her bedroom now) that they’re going to escape, and then goes back downstairs to find Victor’s body. Mrs. March keeps her busy while the doctor chloroforms her.

Cut to the lab where the two women (Nina and Mrs. March) are strapped to gurneys. Dr. Frank asks Mrs. March why she had to go and kill Victor - she tells him “he was a fool.” You can almost see the wheels turning.

Nina wakes up alone. The doctor figures if a deal was good enough for Victor it’s good enough for him, and has put the brain of Mrs. March into his cat. As he contemplates what he should do with Eva, he goes into the atomic chamber. The cat (Mrs. March) presses the button that seals the door and then turns on the machine.

Bea, sensing something’s going on (gee, ya think?) gets out of bed and pulls off the bandage around her head so we can get a good look at her scratched up face. She makes her way down to the lab and frees Nina. They turn for one last glimpse and we see the doctor become a skeleton inside the machine. Bea sees her eyeball in the beaker and turns to rescue it. Of course she’s killed.

Eva runs into the night, the cat following her, the mansion being consumed by flames behind them.

The end.

I can’t believe I actually paid money for this DVD! Fortunately, you don’t have to: