One holiday at a time, please

It’s Halloween night; so naturally, I find I’m a little sick of Christmas commercials.

Not even lying.

christams-fries
Merry Christmas!

This weekend, in the midst of a marathon horror movie session, I got just a bit tired of watching Best Buy’s Christmas commercials. Apparently, nothing says Christmas like going into debt to buy another meaningless gadget.

Unless it’s Rent-A-Center’s new living room or dining room ensemble. God knows your family will look down their nose at you if you don’t have the newest sofa, or the perfect dining room table with that extendable leaf.

And major retailers weren’t the only ones in on the Holiday Cheer. Cable channels got their Ho Ho Ho on too… The Food Network was already promoting its Christmas baking competitions – the ones where you too can feel inadequate over brownies, cookies and themed cakes you never knew anyone wanted or needed.

And The Hallmark Channel was gleefully showing “Love’s Christmas Journey” and “Hitched for the Holidays,” among about a million other sappy syrupy sweet movies where everything ends happily in a quiet snowfall that makes you want to curl up in your snuggy with hot chocolate and a peppermint stick.

Bleah.

IT’S HALLOWEEN FOR CRIPES SAKE!!!!

This is not the time for glittery white snow or elaborately decorated cakes or even sappy feel-good movies.

StampaThis is the time for scare-me-out-of-my-pants horror movies, binge eating trick or treat candy and dressing up like something other than yourself. This is the time to be lost in the crisp cool air hitting your face while leaves crunch underfoot and the smell of burnt pumpkins as candles sear the insides of jack o’lanterns permeates the air. That’s my kind of pumpkin spice.

This is the time for fake blood, pasty grey skin and fake teeth that mimic anything from a witch, to a zombie to a dead illegal voter.

Can we not, for once, just celebrate one holiday at a time though?

I went to the store on the way home this afternoon and all the Halloween candy was gone.

All.

Gone.

Okay, there were some orange pumpkin peeps and blackberry cobbler candy corn, but who wants to hand that out to a trick or treater? Can you say “Egg me, please!”???

In its place was an aisle of candy canes, egg nog, gingerbread flavored biscotti and snowmen Tic Tac dispensers.

I preferred the Halloween themed orange monster Tic Tac holder. But then again, Trump was probably still on the campaign trail…

gingerdead_man_3_saturday_night_cleaverAt least the guys at the cable channel El Rey got it right by running “Gingerdead Man III, Saturday Night Cleaver” a horror movie about a killer cookie come to life who travels back in time to the 1970s to wreak havoc at a roller skating rink.

I’m not sure whether I’m impressed by the melding of the two holidays, or of the fact that more than one of these movies was actually made. There were four in fact. Proof positive that people will watch anything…even Christmas commercials in July.

Why, I have to ask retailers, do you insist on putting out Christmas decorations in August? Do you think we don’t KNOW Christmas is coming? Do you think we’ve somehow forgotten that we’re supposed to be budgeting to spend a small fortune on presents that will be forgotten, broken or out of fashion come February?

(Note to friends who don’t follow the news – Pokemon Go is dead and a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 should only be given to those you really want to burn your bridges with… literally)

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend on average more than $935 this holiday season. In their opinions, we (the public) need holiday commercials because our minds are way too concerned with the election to pay any attention to the holidays right now.
“Everywhere you turn — whether you’re picking up a newspaper or watching television — political advertisements are taking up ad space that retailers typically use to get holiday shopping on the minds of consumers across the country,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Once the election has passed, we anticipate consumers will pull themselves out of the election doldrums and into the holiday spirit.”

REALLY???? ct-debate-prep-clinton-vs-trump-20160827

Do you think we’ve forgotten that there are major holidays that don’t revolve around this fiasco of an election? Do you honestly think we’re all not frantically looking for an excuse to NOT think about who is running for President?

I think that’s what Halloween is FOR!

I mean, sure… getting scared by a flesh-craving zombie may be scary, but not half as much as the idea that one of these people will actually become president on Nov. 9.

We need scary movies and cute trick or treaters and eerie music to take our minds off of the horrors that the first post-election days will surely bring. Subconsciously, I think, scares remind us what we’re all really thankful for – family, friends, full-sized Snickers bars from the good neighborhoods and clown-proof security systems.

But NO! You all have to fill your shelves with sugarplums and wreaths and jingle bells.

My husband went into Party City and Michael’s on Oct. 21 to buy Halloween decorations for our Zombie Pub Crawl.

There weren’t any.

easy-fun-crafts-to-do-at-homeThey had all been replaced by Christmas decorations and craft supplies.

Then again, we bought some of our Halloween decorations in August, right around the time we should have been shopping for back-to-school, so we should have been prepared.

But aren’t we missing something?

It’s bad enough that we’re practically skipping Halloween to market Christmas, but have we all forgotten there’s another holiday in there that needs attention too?

What the heck happened to Thanksgiving?

thanksgiving-hero-banner-091316You know, turkey, family, football – all the good stuff that we really need now more than ever?  I haven’t even started to stress that my house won’t look like a Norman Rockwell picture after I spend six hours in the kitchen to make a dinner that will last about 15 minutes before everyone goes back to video games and football yet and you want me to fret over $75 full-action Barbie Doll Commandos? Whatevs!

Sure, it’s hard to make a buck off of Thanksgiving if you’re not a grocery store, but it’s still an important holiday. It’s the one where we’re all grateful for all the things we have.

Maybe that’s why they want us to overlook it… if we’re thankful for the things we have, perhaps we won’t be as inclined to go out and buy more.

black-friday-wembl_3121002k-large_transqvzuuqpflyliwib6ntmjwfsvwez_ven7c6bhu2jjnt8Seriously, retailers, you all have come together and realized we don’t like the idea that you’re open on Thanksgiving and more than 40 of the big chain stores have decided that they won’t be taking part in Black Friday on Turkey Thursday.

Now, do you all think you can get together and make a pact to not put up Christmas decorations and sale items until the Christmas music starts?

Which, of course, will commence first thing in the morning on November 1.

 

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016. All images remain the property of their original owners.

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Why I’ll NEVER Watch Walking Dead Again

Okay.

Fine.

I’m done.

I will never watch The Walking Dead again. After last night, I’m done with it. Really.woman-looking-away-strikingAnd spare me your sanctimonious uber fan status with “It’s just like in the comic book.” I didn’t read the comic book. I don’t care what happens in the comic book.

I’m just not interested in seeing what happens after last night’s season premiere.

No,… I take that back. I’m not just “not interested.”

I’m unsubscribed to my weekly AMC Walking Dead email. I’ve unfollowed them all on Twitter. I’ve deleted the apps and pages on my Facebook page. I don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore.

And I know I’m not alone.

I’m not just “not a fan” anymore.

I’m repulsed.

I know, I know – we’ve all seen violence and gore on the show before. I can hear some of you now… “God, it’s just fake. It’s entertainment.” Or “What kind of a wimp are you if you can’t take this? Maybe you should go, because it gets much worse.” Or “Jeez, you hyper-sensitive liberals, what’s next? Zombie rights?”

Please.

By the way, spoiler alert

It’s not about Glenn. It’s not about Abraham. It’s not about Negan.

It’s that I’m not a fan of all of us somehow deciding that sadism and snuff films are now quality entertainment.

Here’s the thing – this isn’t a comic book. It’s a television show. It’s real and it’s moving and it’s graphic. It’s happening right there in your living room. It’s viewed and taken internally in a different way than a comic book. It becomes a part of your home.

I don’t want that in my home.

We’ve watched for six seasons as the violence on TWD got increasingly more intense. The gore got gorier. The deaths became more shocking. The attacks got bigger and bigger.

So… of course, they had to amp it up this year, right? It’s all justifiable in the name of “good TV”, right?

Not in my mind. It used to be about the zombies. It used to be about the human condition and the will to survive. It used to be about wrong vs. right.

Now… not so much. What I saw lat night, was a film maker daring me to continue watching.

As I’ve said to film makers who make films like “Saw” and “Hostel” who seem to get gorier and nastier and more sick with each film, all of the following ones getting worse than the first, each daring us to not get sick, to not look away, to not be disturbed by the content, I will now say to Nicotero and company…. “Okay. I won’t watch anymore. You win. Happy?”

The ever up-ticking episodic violence has reached a level where it’s not just disgusting, it’s disturbing. What’s next? A slow painful disembowelment? Death by gang rape? Draw and quartering someone? Will that be shocking and awe-inspiring enough for viewers? Where will it end?

I guess the idea that these were not zombies that got hacked to pieces, but people we’ve come to love, is what made my stomach churn. I’m no big Glenn fan and I’m certainly no Abraham fan. Heck, if they’d done the same thing to Michonne and Eugene, I would have said the same thing. It was just too much.

And the story lines used to be about how the group helped each other, not how one man bent another to his will in the most sick and sadistic ways possible. Since when does sick and twisted have a place to sit around our living room table.

I’ve long had a problem with television news showing the last moments of someone’s life. Whether it’s a train wreck, a police shooting, a video-taped terrorist attack, or people falling from the World Trade Center towers – I’ve taken issue with using someone’s death to hedge up ratings as they continue to do on the nightly news. It’s a snuff film. Only, it’s news, so it’s legal.

And this was no different. We watched Glenn die. When I looked at him and saw the divot in his head and his eye bulging out while he tried to speak, I decided I was done. It’s not heart-breaking or gut-wrenching… it’s a moment-by-moment play of a man dying in the most brutal way imaginable for “entertainment.”

You realize that is what they say about snuff films too, right?

Entertainment for me was when I watched in the beginning and there was spirit and the drive to survive and create a new place to call home. Entertainment was the fight inside ourselves when faced with a gut wrenching decision to kill someone who looks like a loved one. Entertainment was seeing how horror didn’t kill the desire to be human.

Entertainment was not watching a man grapple with whether or not to cut his own son’s arm off or watch seven people die. I find no joy in that. It crosses a line for me.

And maybe it’s just my line and my little judgment call and my little sense of what’s right and moral. But at least I have a line.

As I’ve watched all these seasons cross lines and break barriers and push further than any other series has, I could never help but wonder – when will it stop? What will the next crossed line be? Where will the go with the violence and the gore? When will enough be enough?

Fortunately for me, I won’t be around to see it.

Sorry, Kirkman. This Kentucky girl is done.

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

How are we supposed to take Curvy Barbie?

This weekend, I watched a story on the new Barbies.

Apparently, you can now get Barbie in sizes other than “bone thin and completely unrealistic.”

people-barbieAccording to Mattel, Barbie will now come in four different sizes, seven different skin colors, 20+ different eye and hair colors and, presumably, an inordinately large number of coordinating outfits and shoes, some of which you will even be able to find after you open the package.

There’s Tall Barbie, Petite Barbie and Curvy Barbie to go along with “regular” Barbie – still super model on crack thin with annoyingly perky boobs.

The new dolls are a response to concerns that Barbie promotes an unrealistic body image to girls and add to body issues.

And it only took 60 years – go figure.

As near as I can tell, Curvy Barbie consists of thunder thighs and small boobs. I would put her at about a size 12. Granted, I’m about as fashion conscious as a linebacker for the Houston Oilers, so I wouldn’t take my word for that.

Petite Barbie is just shorter with the same sized boobs and Tall Barbie is just Barbie after a few hours on a Medieval rack.

But the thing that struck me was that after the piece on Barbie was over a Weight Watcher’s commercial came on….starring Oprah.

Huh.

So, the goddess of the television, whom we’ve all watched struggle with her weight is now hawking Weight Watchers.

What does THAT say to girls about body image?

oprah-winfrey-weight-watchers-commercial__oPtFor most of the women I know, they related to Oprah because she wasn’t perfect. Oprah had curves. Oprah looked good despite her curves. Oprah succeeded in spite of her curves, not due to her lack of them. Oprah was, and still is, funny, savvy, smart and compassionate. No one looks at Oprah and says, “She would get so much farther in life if she’d just drop 10 pounds.”

Trust me, I’ve heard that in my life.

She was perfect because she WASN’T perfect.

And we all related to that.

But now, are we saying “not perfect” isn’t enough?

I know the commercial says we should want to find our “best” us, but damn… isn’t what they’re really saying is that the “you” that you are right now ISN’T your “best” you.

I wonder how that makes women who’ve identified with her for such a long time feel.

About the same time, a friend sent me the daily diet of California juice guru Amanda Chantal Bacon as published in Elle magazine.

Af285f930090179560c060802ef21f5fapparently, this female entrepreneur’s diet consists of mostly teas, peppered with the occasional zucchini ribbon, and a bevy of other ingredients of her own discovering like brain dust, vanilla mushroom protein, coryceps and activated cashews.

God knows, nothing is worse than eating those regular old, lazy, inert cashews.
Now, let’s not forget that this Bacon girl, whose name is only slightly ironic given her air-based diet, is the guru to the star whose mere existence makes the rest of us look pallid in comparison – Gwyneth Paltrow.

According to Goop, Paltrow’s … jeez, I don’t even know what the hell to call Goop… other than the only place I know where vapid blog posts about how you, you lowly earthly scum, can’t even boil an egg right, and need this web site to learn how to do it better than Martha Stewart, all while buying $5,000 juicers and $1,800 sweaters to go along with your $400 lip balm.

Anyway, apparently, Goop says G.P. went to Bacon in the throws of a “Brain Fog”, only to have Bacon sell her a full supply of $65 jars of Moon dust and some activated fermented sea vegetables to nibble on. Seems it not only cleared up her brain fog, but helped her extra sensory perception as well.

I swear, I really wish I were making this up.

So, Elle – a magazine whose media packet boasts that the majority of its readers are 18- to 49-year-old women who are, according to Robbie Meyers, editor-in-chief, “the first person to try something and she brings all of her friends along on her fantastic journey” – decides to publish a diet for a woman who believes in Cosmic provisions and preventing your body from having to actually chew anything as disgusting as, well, … food.

How does THIS help women’s body images?

How in the world is a fat doll supposed to help girls with their body image if everything around them says “Hey, it’s not enough to be thin, you need to live off air, and if you’re not skinny, you should be ashamed of yourself no matter how successful you are because it’s not your ‘best’ you”?

Why even worry about putting out a fat doll, at all?

Until everything else changes, nothing Curvy Barbie says to girls is going to make a bit of a difference – except to reinforce for girls who don’t fit into regular Barbie’s image that they’re somehow not as “good” as the original.

When I was a little girl, I had Barbie. I got the airplane for Christmas along with Barbie, Ken and Skipper. And Barbie’s horse. I distinctly remember Barbie pushing the serving cart around the plane while Skipper headed off on the horse to see what was going on with my Star Wars figures.

Barbie looked really pretty in her clothes, when I could get them on her. Although I have to admit she spent a lot of time sitting around looking pretty while I played with my science kit or my Dad’s microscope (with my hand-made slides of squooshed bugs, blood and the occasional booger).

apollo and starbuckShe always smiled politely while Skipper and I battled Darth Vader, or occasionally joined Captain Apollo and Lt. Starbuck in some attempt to outwit and evade the Cylons.

And I’m pretty sure even Skipper wasn’t around the day my friend Claire and I decided that all of the floors in my mom’s house were lava and the ottomans were our only way to get from room to room. Traveling down the stairs and into the hallway to the guest room on that ottoman is an adventure I will never forget.

Yeah…. Sorry Mom.

But still, for YEARS, I struggled with who I was, based on who I was not. I didn’t even LIKE Barbie and I STILL compared myself to her. I had a picture of what I thought were the perfect Barbie-esque thighs hanging next to my full-length mirror in my closet from the time I was in junior high until I graduated high school. As a matter of fact, they are still there.  As a swimmer and a curvy girl, I was never going to have that kind of thigh gap. But I still felt like that was what would make me popular/datable/attractive/successful/perfect.

I’m not Barbie. I’m not like the women I see on TV. Hell, I’m not even as skinny as “plus-sized” models!

And that’s okay.

Now.

It wasn’t okay for a long, long time. Truth be told, I still have trouble with it sometimes – breaking down in tears because I don’t look like what women who are not the butt of jokes and wisecracks are supposed look like.

I wonder what’s going to happen to those little girls who get curvy Barbie?

Are we still telling them at an early age “You’re just not measuring up, honey.”?

What are we telling girls if on the one hand we’re telling them “Here’s a doll that looks more like you,” and on the other telling them “You know, honey, being a successful multimedia mogul isn’t enough. You have to be thin too?” What are we telling them when we glorify a woman whose whose $700 a day diet has fewer calories than Gandhi lived on?

Why not just tell them it’s okay to be who they are and what they are?

Girls don’t need a doll to tell them they don’t look like other girls in school. Trust me, they know already.

And they don’t need idols telling them you can have everything, but it’s not enough if you’re not thin.

Girls need other women telling them to be who they want and be proud of who they are. And they need guys in their life telling them they like girls with curves too.

 

Copyright © Liz Carey 2016

Images remain the property of their respective owners.

Horror movie quandries

I’ve never really understood a few things about horror movies.

Really.

falling victimI mean, why is it that there is always a stupid girl who tries to run away and then falls? Obviously, it’s because they’re wearing heels while running, but who goes into the woods wearing high-heeled shoes?

Not a smart girl.

We don’t go into the woods. Period.

And why do these stupid girls always make the worst possible decisions when faced with a life threatening situations?

It’s like they are begging to be a victim.

“Oh, wow. I heard a weird noise in this crazy, desolate house we just happened to find on a rainy night… I think I’ll go in the basement and check it out.”

Who actually does that?

No one with a brain, that’s who.

chattanooga choo chooWhen my husband and I got married, we honeymooned across the Southeast. We spent our first night in a bed and breakfast in Lexington, Ky., then hit the Chattanooga Choo Choo to stay in one of their railroad cars. After that, we headed south through Huntsville, Alabama and stopped at Space Camp before hitting the local Piggly Wiggly and to grab something for dinner that night.

After that, we realized that our car’s taillights were out while driving to New Orleans on the Natchez Trace. At that moment, it really made sense to camp out and cook out.

Really.

It wasn’t until after we set up the tent, put our sleeping bag in place and organized all of the camping equipment that we got around to eating our crawfish dinner. It was dark. The sky was filled with stars and no sound. It was heaven.

Until we realized we were the only ones in the campground.

As the campfire started to ebb, I heard weird sounds. Surely, whatever was in the woods right behind us had caught the scent of our crawfish cooked over the open flame and wanted a little taste.

Apparently, the carcasses and shells of the little critters we had flung into the forest weren’t enough for them.

Which led me to announce to my new husband the only thing I knew to say.

“Honey, this is how people die,” I said. “This is the type of setting where the serial killer comes out of the woods and slaughters the unsuspecting couple and they don’t find their body for forever. I don’t want to rot away in a swamp somewhere and have no one finde us for decades ’til some kid decides to take a leak.”

So, we did what any sane couple would do – we up and moved.

I mean, we packed up everything, tent and all, and we got the HELL out of there.

If we hadn’t, we’d have been the anonymous couple in the horror movie that gets killed before the real cast shows up.

Isn’t that what anyone would do?

haunted disposalWhich leads me to my other horror movie question – why do movie producers continue to create this sense of foreboding and terror when people in an obviously haunted house reach into a kitchen drain with a garbage disposal in it?

Usually, up until that point, there hasn’t been a time when the ghosts have done anything physically threatening, but still the scene will cut away from a close-up on the distracted Mom, to a shot of her reaching into the drain to get a spoon or fallen wedding ring or  whatever is making that unnatural sound, and then immediately the scene cuts to an even closer shot of the gears of the disposal ready to spring to life and tear her hand to shreds, ostensibly pulling the her hand and the rest of her body into the great unknown.

Has this ever happened before?

Seriously, is there some supernatural phenomenon that I’m not aware of that helps ghost make disposals spring to life when they can’t even move a chair on command or be in the same room with more than one person?

It’s not a fear I understand completely.

Yesterday, I was quietly washing the dishes while everyone else in the house played video games or watched TV. When it finally came time to clear out the sink, like any other Mom, I shoved everything into the drain, turned on the water and flipped the disposal switch on with my foot (since it’s located under the sink).

For a few seconds, that disposal grinded and cranked and did whatever it is that disposals do.

Then, all of a sudden, it started making this weird clunking noise – like there was a spoon in it or something.

And, of course, I did what any other sane Mom would do, I leaned back and started to lift my foot to turn off the switch and see what was wrong. About that same time, something shot out of the disposal and landed about where my head would have been if I hadn’t.

It was a penny.

A mangled, sharp-edged, chewed up penny that had all the harbingers of death via copper. One cent of shrapnel delivered via electronic gears.

That thing could’ve sliced my ear off, or worse, taken an eye out!

And my house isn’t even haunted!!!

But did I peer into the disposal and see what was wrong? NO! Did I reach into it to investigate? NO? Did I hang around when it was making weird noises and wait for something ominous to happen? Uhm, NO!

I got the hell out of the way!!!

CorrodedGarbageDisposalWikimediaCommonsI’m still not sure how anyone can think of disposals as gears of death via spirits from the great beyond. Heck, they could be deadly without the help of electromagnetic frequencies and Great Aunt Tilda holding a grudge against your redecorating the house.

But just like the camp ground, if that thing starts making noises, I’m getting the heck out of Dodge.

Let the plumber get hacked to pieces for a change.

It’s what a smart girl would do.

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

Not so “Gaga” over the Golden Globes

Yesterday, my topic of choice for my blog was my family’s unnatural obsession with hoodies.

But then the Golden Globes happened.

gaga upset
Pensive Gaga

Or rather, Gaga happened.

It’s no coincidence that Gaga sounds a lot like “caca” in my mind.

Really.

As I normally do when I wake up on a Monday morning and don’t want to work, I was browsing through Facebook and saw people commenting on Lady Gaga winning the Golden Globe for “Best Actress in a Limited Series or Miniseries.”

Initially, I figured it was a joke and someone was pulling the Onion over our eyes.

But no, it was true… the Golden Globe went to a woman who destroyed a series.

Let me explain…. I am an American Horror Story fan. I love horror and I love the idea of something for grown ups on television that isn’t sappy, sarcastic or insipid.

But, this season’s American Horror Story? Not so much. In fact, I’m really looking forward to the finale this week just so I don’t feel compelled to spend any more time on it.

The first season of American Horror Story, I was hooked. I loved it. Wouldn’t miss a minute of it. Evan Peters, Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto? Yes, please! Throw in some of that McDermott guy and I could sit there transfixed all day. With all the plot twists, shadowy figures, ghosts, suspicions and blackmail, I couldn’t wait for more.

But when the second season came around? Ehhhh. Not so much. Once we got to the sadist with mommy issues and the serial killing Santa Claus, I was pretty much done.

When the third season started, I was skeptical, but the coven, the New Orleans location, Delphine LaLaurie and Stevie Nicks pulled me back in. So too did season four, where I simultaneously felt sorry for killer clowns while finding my irrational clown heebee jeebies suddenly justified.

But this season?

gaga intrigued
Smoky Gag

Gaga me with a spoon.

Between the gratuitous sex and graphic drug use, the proliferation of blood during sex, the confusing and uninteresting plot line and the lack of any chemistry/dynamic tension/range of emotion from Gaga, Wes Bentley or Chloe Sivigny, I really didn’t want to watch it.

However, my 15-year-old son was watching it and I wanted to make sure that I was okay with him seeing whatever they decided to show.

To be completely honest, I almost didn’t let him watch it. The graphic drug use and sex were a little over the top for me. But he pointed out that everyone who did drugs died, so I relented.

Every week I slogged through it, waiting for it to get better.

But every week, it just got worse. Gaga awful, in fact.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

Let’s see if I can wrap up the plot in less than a 40-page dissertation….

gaga happy
Stoic love-sick Gaga

“Recovering alcoholic cop John stumbles into the Hotel Cortez while working diligently to solve a serial killer case and has a complete mental and emotional breakdown when he develops a relationship with a dead drug addict hooker with an insatiable desire for eternal love, Sally, who, in turn, introduces him to the true evil behind the hotel, a glamorous movie starlet turned vampire, the Countess, who has a love/hate relationship with clothing (on, off, on, off, on, off and covered in blood, on, off, on and covered in blood, off), and the sadistic murdering hotel owner and builder, J. P. March, who is madly in love with her. Along the way, the cop finds his missing six-year-old son, and when his soon-to-be-ex-wife finds out, she abandons John and her other child to be a vampire buffet for a flock of night-crawler Stepford children whose lives revolve around intravenous blood infusions, candy and video games, but not before she, a pediatric doctor, manages to infect an entire classroom of pre-teens and create a “lost boys meets lord of the flies” band of merciless killers.

Meanwhile, a black-plotation actress decides to seek her revenge on the Countess for something that happened 30 years before and finds herself locked in an abandoned area of the hotel waiting for the day she can attack her nemesis, while a cross-dressing receptionist and an aging female hotel manager (who gives new meaning to the term helicopter parent) join forces with her to rid the hotel of the Countess. Somewhere along the way, John has a complete break with reality and realizes he is the serial killer he sought and falls into the clutches of Sally, whose solution to her abandonment issues looks like something akin to the Human Centipede, only vertical.”

Whew…. And that’s just the highlights… seriously.

Again, here we go with the mommy issues with the over-protective mother, and the love triangles – only this time, we get to see the love triangles up close and personal-like in what I assume is the first graphic threesome ever broadcast in a limited run television series that involved a sewing needle. There were times I wasn’t sure if I was watching a television series or soft-core porn on Skin-emax.

And we got to see Lady Gaga.

gaga sad
“Look! I’m almost naked without my make-up” Gaga”

A lot of Lady Gaga… a lot of Lady Gaga covered with blood, with pasties, with long blonde hair… More of Lady Gaga than I personally ever wanted to see.

If her acting had been good, I probably wouldn’t have minded. But her onscreen emoting reminded me of lawn furniture in winter – the dressing may change, but it’s still the same uncomfortable chairs.

And, since her expression is the same whether she’s happy or sad, or excited, or mad, really it was kind of difficult to figure out why she was undressed in the first place. Did she think her hair was going to do her acting for her?

I finally realized that when she opened her mouth it was a sign she was really happy or really sad. It’s when her mouth was closed that she was pouty, promiscuous or petulant.

So, we’ve got a bad plot line, bad story and bad acting all of which left a bad taste in my mouth, and you’re going to give the worst actor in it a Golden Globe? What the ever-loving heck?

And I’m not the only one, I promise. Just a quick perusal of the web and Facebook and you can see, a lot of people weren’t happy with her getting the award.

None of us, of course, reacted like Leonardo DiCaprio, but then again, not many of us could pull off a cringe like that in a tux and still look dashing and debonair.

A lot of people that I saw weren’t happy that she was in American Horror Story in the first place. I can’t say I blame them.

I don’t watch a lot of television – shows with seasons like this are one of the reasons why – so I don’t have any clue whether any of the other nominees were any good. I’ve seen Kirsten Dunst in other things though and I know that she can at least act. I can’t imagine that all four of the rest of them were so bad that Gaga was the best of the crop.

Gaga said she always wanted to be an actress… as far as I can tell, she’s still wanting… in a lot of ways.

I hear she’s been asked to be in Season 6 of the series. I sure hope she figures out how to say “No.” Or if she can’t and ends up in the cast, at least maybe she can get some acting lessons from Jessica Lange. Are you listening Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk? Are you paying attention to the falling ratings – this season’s ratings looking worse than those of season one, and only doing marginally better than the dismal season two… trust me, it’s all Gaga-induced.

One thing’s for sure, if she’s a part of it, I doubt I’ll be watching… once you’ve found yourself watching a really beautiful train wreck, you find it’s a lot easier than you thought to look away from the next one.

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

All images remain the property of their owners.

Working on myself

Every year starts out the same.

I get this burr in my bonnet to be better or learn something or find some new thing to master.

One year, it was brewing beer.

kozmodemyansk_museum_13Of course, once I had done it and realized I wasn’t going to be immediately able to play with ingredients like I do cooking, it lost its appeal. Not that that was a bad thing, cause my husband took over the brewing supplies and magic was born.

Another year, I decided to learn Italian. I am killer at asking where Marco is, but after that, things get a little shaky. Scusi, moi!

This year was no different. I decided tonight to not only restart my social marketing specialization class, but, quel suprise! restart learning Italian. Ciao Bella!

It made me think about all the other things I would like to learn too.

Like baking.

I would like to learn how to bake.

tumblr_my9mo9XUsV1t0gs1do1_1280I can make a mean potato leek soup, and my soufflés are pretty good, but I can’t bake. Really. My cakes turn out flat, my biscuits turn out like hockey pucks and let’s not even start on my breads.

I think it has something to do with needing to really follow a recipe.

My mom used to tease me that I only knew two temperatures to cook with – high and off. I’m thinking I also only know two ways to cook – wing it or order out.

Following a detailed recipe precisely aside, I think I’m also pretty tough on doughs when you get right down to it. I mean… I don’t think something is mixed properly until it no longer resembles a group of ingredients, but rather one big mass of other stuff. Like, when I make eggnog, I don’t necessarily FOLD the egg whites into the rest of the mixture… I keep stirring it in until the whole thing looks like yellow fluffiness. It just makes sense to me to do it that way.

But apparently, you’re not supposed to do that with all doughs. Who knew? And then there’s this whole “let your dough rest” thing… what a crock! It’s just sitting there as it is while I do all the hard work of kneading and rolling and cutting and mixing – heck, I’M the one that needs the rest!

Speaking of resting, I think I also want to learn how to workout without actually working out.

I know that sounds stupid, but since I have to have my hip replaced sometime this, I need to figure out a way not to balloon up to a million pounds while recuperating without starving myself to death.

844b145108ea4aa566cb5478a1efe3a3Surely there is a way to do something resembling exercise while lying in bed. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, I won’t even be allowed to reach down and grab blankets from the end of my bed, let alone cross my legs, so I’m just wondering what I’m going to be able to do that is going to burn off any appreciable amount of calories. Other than eating celery all day, I’m stumped.

I think I would also like to learn how to make my own cheese and sausage. These two have been goals of mine for some time, but I never really got the chance for one reason or another.

For one, I haven’t been able to find unpasteurized cow’s milk to make cheese with.

10.Mixing2.jpgMy husband got me a meat grinder/sausage making thingy to go on my mixer, but the only clues I can find to make sausage are kits from Academy sports – and honestly, it just seems like this whole sausage making thingy shouldn’t be so complicated it needs to be dumbed down and in kit form.

Of course, I haven’t really looked that hard either.

I mean, how difficult can it be to insert meat and spices into a blender and come out with yummy goodness?

The impetus for all this cheese and sausage making came from a dream where I was stranded in the wilds of North Dakota trying to make my way back home from Vegas after a terrorist invasion of the U.S.

It was a very vivid dream and the sausage and cheese making came in handy when the troop of stragglers I was with landed at an abandoned farm.

In hindsight, I hardly think that cheese and sausage making would have helped me and my little posse of survivors flourish. Instead, I am thinking it would have led to heart disease and high cholesterol, resulting in our untimely deaths, meaning, of course, the terrorists would win.

But, if I recall the dream correctly, it did engender me in the eyes of the rest of the merry band of troopers, making me the important one that must be kept for their culinary prowess.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

I still want to learn how to make them though. How cool would it be to serve an anti pasta platter and say “Oh, DO try the mozzarella – I just made it last week. I’m working on perfecting the capicola, but you MUST try this summer sausage I put up last year. It’s simply divine with little hints of wood mushroom and arugula…”

I used to put up a list of some 734 impossible things I’d like to accomplish each year like write a novel, or get more involved in your community.

I’ll write regardless. And I’ll find ways to get involved and make a difference, so putting that on a list of accomplishments is like putting “write to do list” on your “to do list” just so you have something to cross off.

Italian-Popular-Gestures-277x300So… let’s limit it to things I can learn. Italian. Baking. Exercises that aren’t exercises. Making cheese and sausage.

Seems easy enough. Right?

Lo capisco! Arrivederci e buona gianata!

 

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

All images remain the property of their owners.

If you say you’re going to do something, do it

If it’s true that “what you do on the first of the year is what you’re going to do for the rest of the year,” I think I may be in trouble.

wpid-confusedSo far today, January 1, I’ve managed to clean, nap, cook and walk into another room four times, forgetting what I was there for and then working on something else, until I walked back into the kitchen and remembered what it was I intended to do originally.

This does not bode well.

In fact, it took me looking at the stove four times this afternoon before I realized that it wasn’t 4 p.m., but that the oven was on and cooking at 400°.

Does that mean for the rest of the year I’ll be dazed and confused, or that it will just take me longer to realize what I’ve actually been accomplishing?

I feel like I’m getting old and forgetful.

In my defense though, it’s been a long couple of weeks.

Really. Long.

There have been numerous holidays, lots of stuff going on, one huge party, a few set backs and disappointments and a ton of work commitments to get thru. It didn’t feel much like a vacation, even if I was “technically” off work.

Come to think of it, with 70° weather and rain, it didn’t feel much like Christmas either.

o-UNWINDING-facebookAt one point last week, I was given the opportunity, several actually, to walk away from a commitment. It would have been the easier thing to do. I would have disappointed others, but it would probably have been easier for me to just walk away from what I had said I was going to do.

Then, I thought about what my friend Steve has said to me before. “If you say you’re going to do something, do it.”

And that’s what I did. I kept my word. I, along with several others, threw a huge party and while it wasn’t the overwhelming success we thought it would be earlier this year, it was still a success.

Which got me thinking.

Maybe if I said that I was going to do something today, and then did it, it would be a better indication of what the rest of my year would be like.

As such, I’ve decided to start the year off right writing.

refashionistaInspired by my blogger girl crush, the Refashionista, I have started a challenge for myself. While she will do a post a day for 366 days (leap year, you know), I will do a post a week. That’s a big leap for someone who has not really posted anything since before Halloween.

I think I will do them on Mondays. I always hate Mondays, so maybe writing for myself on a Monday will make it easier for me to face them.

And I’m going to work on other things too.

I’m going to finish my cookbook for my sons – all of our family recipes, interspersed with some of my old columns, and a few of our old family stories. I want to have it ready to give to my oldest son if and when he moves out.

I’m going to seriously work on getting my children’s books published – starting with “My Little Zombie” for which I found an illustrator recently.

I’m going to focus on finishing my novels and getting down to the editing process.

I’m going to write about the Children of Clay – a project I’ve wanted to work on for almost a year now.

I’m going to write a history book about Anderson.

There’s also a lot to look forward to this year.

200020892-003

I’ll get my hip replaced in April or May. Little Mason will graduate in June. Max will start working  – if all goes well and the Hot Topic angels are smiling on him. And in October, Pints for the People will enter its fifth year of giving away money to charities.

That’s a lot of good stuff.

And I’ll write about it all.

One week at a time.

If I can remember what I’m supposed to be writing about when I go into my office, that is….

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

All images remain the property of their respective owners.

 

Scream Queen – My Halloween Advent Calendar

I’ll admit it, I’m not like most girls.I-love-weird-quirky-girls-300x245

Wanna take me to a movie? Make sure it has some good car chases and things that blow up. Wanna curl up on the couch with me and watch some Netflix? Better tune into the thriller/suspense/psychologically-messes-with-you-from-the-first-scene section. Wanna make me swoon? Bring over a zip drive loaded with your favorite slasher flicks, some popcorn, lemonade and maybe some JuJuBees.

Wanna go see a Rom Com?

Ask your sister.

No, instead of wanting to watch some dork sweep a girl off of her feet by somehow deciding not to date her best friend, I want to see something that really moves me.

I want to see a good horror flick. Or a good thriller. Or a good adventure flick. Heck, there are even a few Tom Cruise movies that I almost don’t hate with a passion.

If it's good, my fingernails will be chewed down to the nubs.
If it’s good, my fingernails will be chewed down to the nubs.

But my favorite, my absolute favorite, is a good scary movie.

If I’m cringing under my blanket, barely peeking out between my fingers, I’m in heaven. It’s kinda like riding a roller coaster – you know you’re safe, but it scares the crap out of you anyway and gets your adrenaline pumping and your heart thumping. There’s nothing like it.

Periodically, Max and I will curl up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and experiment with some new scary movie we’ve heard of, or one he’s never watched. With some popcorn and a blanket, it’s an afternoon made for this Mama.

batesMotelThis all started last year when we got this light-up sign for Halloween that said “Bates Motel – No Vacancy,” but the “No” part wouldn’t light up. Max insisted it was broken.

So, of course, you know, in true Uber Weird Mom fashion, I had him sit down with me on the couch and watch the original “Psycho.”

I’m sure it didn’t result in any permanent psychological scarring.

It was in black and white after all, which is about as scary to them as Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Still, since then, we’ve watched “Silence of the Lambs,” “The Babadook,” “Scream,” “Children of the Corn,” and “The Sixth Sense.”

Dinocroc_vs._Supergator_DVDI did the same thing with his older brother Mason too. Of course, those were more B-movies that we watched and laughed at, late at night after everyone else had gone to bed. We got through at least three of the Godzilla franchise movies, “Lake Placid” (1 and 2), “Piranha” (in 3D), “Jaws” and any number of really awful creature vs. creature flicks.

Think Dinocroc vs. Supergator… yeah… we made our own little Mystery Science Theater:3000 in the living room on those.

I consider this doing my part to enhance their cultural education.

This year, however, I’m doing something different. Instead of just binge watching scary movies from October 23 to Halloween, I think I’m going to count down the days to Trick or Treat with a movie or five a day. I’m thinking it will be my own personal Halloween Advent Calendar.

With the help of some trusted friends, and a few online lists, I’ve compiled a list of scary movies to watch everyday this month.

Overweight Woman Relaxing On SofaHopefully, on November 1, my hair won’t be white, and my waistline won’t look like I’ve swallowed a pumpkin whole.

Because there are so many good ones to watch, I’ve added a few theme days on Sundays so I can fit them all in. And I’ve tried to avoid the ones I’ve either already seen.

See one or two you like? Let me know when you watch them what you think, and I’ll try to do the same.

I think it’s going to be a killer month… Get it? “Killer” month???

Jeez. Some days I just slay me…

  1. Halloween
  2. Oculus
  3. Human Centipede
  4. tumblr_mga07o7N6O1riz051o1_500Classic Movie Weekend – Nosferatu, Cat People, Ghost Story (Fred Astaire), Creature from the Black Lagoon, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things
  5. You’re Next
  6. Eyes without a Face
  7. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
  8. Creep
  9. Monkey Shines
  10. The Uninvited
  11. House movie weekend – House, House on Haunted Hill, Haunting of Hill House, House of the Devil, House with laughing windows
  12. The Strangers
  13. Sleepaway Camp
  14. Maniac
  15. Madman
  16. Event Horizon
  17. tumblr_n00r3mVljv1t0demio1_500American Psycho
  18. Surreal weekend – Jacob’s Ladder, Inception, Angel Heart, the Changling, A Tale of two Sisters
  19. Repulsion
  20. The Innocents
  21. Suspiria
  22. The Haunting (1969)
  23. The Sentinal
  24. Halloween-rob-zombie-209651_1280_1024Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  25. Modern Classics – Exorcist, The Omen, Alien, Chucky, Salem’s Lot
  26. The Host (Korean version)
  27. Severance
  28. Black Death
  29. Starry Eyes
  30. Scarecrows
  31. Halloween H20

sinfulcinemahalloweenh20_2Stay Creepy!!

Copyright 2015 (c) Liz Carey

Pancakes for lunch, anyone?

Okay, so my son's not Iron Man, but still...
Okay, so my son’s not Iron Man, but still…

For the first time since he was in fourth grade, I’m making lunches for my youngest son.

Did I mention he’s a sophomore now?

Yeah.

He’s 16.

And I pack him a lunch every morning.

Because he’s 16, I cannot make all those cute little things that other mommies try to make you feel guilty for not making, like lunches that look like Legos, or Star Wars themed sandwich sets, complete with Yoda shaped homemade potato chips.

Seriously, who has that kind of time? It would take me 20 minutes just to find a straw, let

yes, you're seeing that right... the circles on the legos are glued on with ranch dressing... someone has WAY too much time on their hands.
yes, you’re seeing that right… the circles on the legos are glued on with ranch dressing… someone has WAY too much time on their hands.

alone cut out cute little circles on a square of bread to make it look like a building block…

He’s too old for that anyway – too old for cute shaped cheese slices or ants on a log (peanut butter filled celery) or packets of fruit snacks stapled to little “I love you” notes.

But I’m still packing his lunch.

The reason for lunch packing mania is simple – it’s cheaper.

And since I’m working from home now, it is just easier to make lunch for him instead of buying something from school that he won’t eat.

On the flip side, whatever I make for him, I make for everyone else, as well, so, really, lunch for all four of us is typically done by 7:30 a.m. SCORE! That means I can go back to sleep and work through lunch, right?

(Uhm, no, but it’s a nice thought)

I’ll not say it’s been easy – we’ve had our ups and downs with the menu over the past three weeks.

At first, it was chicken quesadillas, with a container of tortilla chips and fire-smoked salsa (no, not homemade), some grapes and a small bag of cookies.

Pretty cool, huh?

He was ecstatic.

I mean, who in high school gets quesadillas in their lunch box?

I’ve done yogurt with mini M&Ms, paired with veggies and dip, cheese squares and apples… oh, yeah… and a brownie. That was a hit too.

One day, it was ramen noodles with chicken and green onions. Another it was hummus and pretzel chips, tuna in a pita pocket and a Nutty Buddy bar.

Ramen noodles? He was in love. Tuna fish and hummus? Not so much.

Pancakes for lunch
Pancakes for lunch

Then there was the day he asked for pancakes and bacon.

Usually, when I make pancakes, it’s after I get up around the crack of 10 on a Saturday, to make it for the boys and whoever of their friends has stayed over the night before.

Now, he was asking me to get up at 6:45 to make pancakes and bacon, stuff it into little Tupperware containers and make a healthy lunch out of it.

Instead of rolling my eyes, I did it. And I’m not talking pop a few hockey pucks of dough out of the yellow box in the freezer and throw them in the toaster. I’m talking mixing the batter from scratch, and plop in a few fresh fruits just for good measure. All before my morning coffee…

He was thrilled.

I worried a bit about what everyone else at the lunch table would say – you know, kids can be mean at that age. Okay, at any age.

But what I found though was that everyone was jealous. He says everyone wants to see what he gets to eat for lunch. One girl even tries to steal his lunch every day and trade him her school bought lunch. He won’t have it.

_I_ liked it, but the boy? Not so much.
_I_ liked it, but the boy? Not so much.

There have been some slip-ups… the chicken schwarma salad with lemon basil vinegarette? Not a hit. The homemade pimento cheese? Good the first time, not so much the second. Pitas and pita chips are not a favorite. Peanut butter and jelly on honey wheat with potato chips, always still a go-to selection.

For him, packed lunches are great. He gets what he wants to eat, every day is a surprise and he gets something to look forward to at lunch.

For me, it’s good too. I know he’s eating, instead of throwing away what someone else puts on his plate. I know he enjoys being a little different and having everyone want what he’s got for a change. I know he knows I care – which can be pretty important to let kids know when they get to high school sometimes.

And it’s good for the two of us, as well. We spend time talking about food and about what we’re going make for future lunches, what is healthy to eat, as well as about what he really likes and doesn’t like.

For instance, he really likes grapes. He’s a little ticked at me right now, because I haven’t had the time to go to the store to get more grapes. He ate an entire 3-pound bag of grapes in a week, and that was WITH me telling him to cool it so he’d have some for lunches.

A teenager… eating grapes… like they were candy… Who knew?

We decided that this weekend that we’re going to make homemade pretzels together, so

  1. He will know how to make them, and
  2. We can experiment a little with them for lunch. We were thinking maybe we’d try making some with pepperoni and parmesan, and add to it a container with some marinara sauce for dipping.

And I found a few recipes using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls that I think I can turn into some fun stuff, so we may make something with them too. Heck, just flattening out biscuits and turning them into pizzas is an option. Won’t THAT make him the hit of the lunch table?

Notice how none of them have packed lunches? And yet, every parent of a teenager I know complains about the quality of school lunches.... there's a weird correlation there, I'm sure.
Notice how none of them have packed lunches? And yet, every parent of a teenager I know complains about the quality of school lunches…. there’s a weird correlation there, I’m sure.

For now, packing lunches works. He’s eating. He’s eating relatively healthily, for a teenager. He’s being looked up to, instead of looked down on. And he’s happy.

If any of that changes, I suppose I’ll change too and figure out another way.

But for now, I’ll go on packing his lunch with a little creativity and a lot of love.

Tomorrow – peanut butter and jelly. And on Friday? It looks like I’m making pancakes – for lunch.

Copyright © Liz Carey 2015

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