Horror Fan

I’m a horror fan and have been for as long as I can remember. In fact, some of my earliest memories are either watching my dad play NES (Fester’s Quest, Zelda-Gold Edition) or watching horror films.

I remember being a little kid and hiding behind a pillow or under the coffee table (yay for being small enough to where one movement could hide the television and some villian coming out of the darkness with a chainsaw), watching these while the only time my mom was telling me to cover my eyes were the “older kid” parts (needles, boobs, that kind of thing). I was introduced to Vincent Price this way, I was given a love of black-and-white films this way, and, oddly enough, a desire to seek out the “really cheesy bad horror flick.” I got to watch the Must-See things of that time period (yay slasher flicks) and to this day I still cannot watch Child’s Play.

At the impressionable age of…whatever, there was a period of a couple months where I could’ve sworn one of my toys had come to life, stolen a huge knife, and was keeping it hidden in my closet so that when I least expected it, it could kill me in the middle of the night. This belief somehow morphed into not being able to sleep with a closet door open for years (now, our closet has no doors so there’s not much of a problem). By the time I was able to sleep with a closet door open, I was around 12 and the toy in question was gone.

The cause of this…nightmare was this: Patty Play Pal (link goes to a woman’s photo, the best one of the box I could find that shows the doll the best). This is, apparently, the 1987 version of the doll. Stick a few DD batteries in the butt and it moves its mouth, blinks, and moves its head. It “talks” in sync with the little tape you plug in to its awesome little lunch-box looking tape player (that only had stop, play and either rewind or fast-forward. I think it was fast-forward because it was weird).

In my skewed memory, I distinctly remember this doll as being part of a horror movie. Then again, I only saw a very small portion of the movie and was strictly informed to not tell my cousin (who wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies, her first scary movie was when we rented Jurassic Park when it came out on VHS) because she had the same damn doll too. Through searches, the closest thing I can find is Dolly Dearest, a film I have yet to see (I blame Chucky) but that doll has long brown hair. And the photos from the film are kinda creepy.

Anywho.

One of the great things about growing up with parents who love horror, was that I was encouraged to like what I like. So my small collection of books was a smattering of fun mixed in the weird. I had more scary-story anthologies than most kids around my age. I believed more in ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and other things that go bump in the night than I did in your average childhood beliefs of the tooth fairy and Santa. I had the Goosebump books (and I have half of the original series along with bits of the other RL Stine series on our bookshelf), I had Deadtime Stories, I had Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In fact, I still have my original copy of the first book. It’s bent, it’s worn, it’s torn, and very much loved. I was the envy of kids because I had a scary story book between ages 7 and 8 while the back explicitly stated it was for kids 9 and older. I got into an argument with a “teacher” (that’s what they called the glorified baby-sitters of the after school daycare center I was in for a couple years) over whether or not the Goosebumps television series was scary.

Of course, the downside to growing up with parents who love horror and *gasp* one television, was that if they wanted to watch something you either watched it or went into another room to do something else. So I ended up with my fair share of traumatizing events (like Freddy at age 4), but I also ended up with fun memories like defying my mom and watching the needle part of Dr Giggles while we sat in the theatre (for you local folks, this was when The Grandin was cheaper than Salem Valley 8 and gas was still around 80-cents a gallon). I still hate needles.

I also got into an argument once with a neighbor’s kid on whether or not I really did watch Tales from the Crypt. After it boiled down to “uh-huh” and “nuh-uh” back and forth, I pointed out I didn’t even know there was a cartoon. Eck. I tried watching the cartoon and, I’d rather stick with the live-action show. It was fun, it was cheesy, and for a while my dad used to tell my mom that he’ buy the life-size replica of the Crypt Keeper and set it up in the living room to scare people. (back when Spencer’s was hilarious and did ear-peircing, they had a giant blow-up chair set up with the Crypt Keeper hanging out on it. He was about $300, so we never got him)

As I’m growing up and simply becoming a “big kid,” the whole horror-fan thing has just increased. Most of our films are horror or deal with supernatural things (vampires, werewolves, aliens, etc), most of the films we put on our Netflix list are horror. It’s been interesting to watch the whole genre/fandom evolve from little splots here and there or only being able to be found around Halloween and if you’re very lucky you get one splatter-flick every summer to this year-round semi-gorefest. We find ourselves anxiously awaiting certain films to be released so we can see them, I started doing film reviews so we could simply keep up with all the horror films we watch (which still has the most reviews as the film-review thing has evolved to include more than just horror and supernatural stuff), and our bookshelves have a rather large amount of thrillers, horror, true-crime, etc (and anthologies! most of which are horror based).

With this love of horror, we find ourselves pointing out different little things. Going to a friend’s house turns into “I think of serial killers,” and declining a hiking trip with acquaintences with a simple “It’s a horror movie waiting to happen” is all pretty normal. And every so often I find myself being paranoid of what exactly is in the dark waiting besides the evil, demented cat we named Snooch.

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I had planned to go a bit further in depth with films and books, but it looks like this has gone on long enough for now.

Would you loan books out?

I ran across a blog post that was half a thought, or a whole thought that seemed like an unfinished post. It brought up the idea of do you let people borrow your books, if you’ve had a bad experience, do you still let people borrow your books?

Being the kind of person I am, even with bad experiences, I am more willing to loan friends books. I know that we’ll either get the book back eventually or have to buy a new copy depending on who gets it and what happens after the book is loaned out.

For instance, we gave about 10 or so books to a friend of ours a few years ago and pointed out that whenever she’s done with one, put it up and next time we see her we can get the book. No set time limit, she has little free time for reading and we’re aware of that. Besides, we joked, we know where she lives so if we really want a particular book back, we can call her and let her know. She has the books she has borrowed up on a shelf away from her little boy (as adorable as he is, she doesn’t want him to accidentally rip up any of our books.)

We’ll get them back eventually, and if not, well, then if it’s more than what I remember (two books, but even with those I’m not too sure), then I’m sure we’ll get another copy eventually. We also loaned those books out to her before we realized we need a list of the books we have so we can keep track of them. That was when we only had about 200 books (now, we’re hovering somewhere between 1,012 and 1,025–the 1,012 was the last count before we got more books).

Then again, we have a friend who borrowed a book and has gone through both losing and finding the book numerous times. I don’t even really remember what book it was (it was one of Jamie’s large tomes of oddities…I think). But, we’re understanding. The guy’s house is a vortex of being able to lose stuff only to find it months later. Last we heard, he was still working through the book and that’s cool. Sometimes it takes a while to read through something. I think Jamie just told him to keep it last time we talked to him. He’s an awesome guy and we trust him.

On the other hand, we let someone borrow a book of ours to read and told them “you have to get it back to us when you’re done.” Because a) I was still reading it and wanted to finish and b) the book is damn expensive, even when listed as “used” on Amazon. Shortly after letting this person borrow this book, we had to come to the conclusion that we will never get this book back. Or, if we did ever get this book back, it would be destroyed worse than when Fly and Bug decided they wanted to taste literature and destroy about 20 books (most of which were first printings and are almost impossible to find, two of which we know for a fact we will probably never find again. I have only myself to blame for this mess. We are working through getting the books back). Why do I say this? The person we loaned it to, in good faith and a benefit of the doubt, gave us the impression that they were a responsible young adult before revealing their true nature of a whiny five year old with a driver’s license.

Though that’s not the most “damaging” to an actual book, it’s still the worst experience of letting someone borrow one of our books. That experience is worse than getting Jamie’s book back from a friend of ours, which we don’t blame at all for what happened.

Jamie let a friend of ours borrow this really bizarre book. At the time she also had a psychotic kitten (kind of like how we have Snooch), this psychotic little kitten found where she had put the book (to save it from him) and he ripped it all to hell. Currently, we are still looking for a replacement of this book. It’s not a huge deal if we don’t find a replacement as it’s already been about 4 years since this happened and it’s not her fault. Jamie had to reassure her many times that it was ok. He was sat that it happened but shrugged it off and pointed out it’s a book, shit happens.

I don’t think I would want anyone that I work with borrow a book from me because then I really do not know when I would get the book back and there’s always that chance (because I’m a pessimistic realist) that they would still have it when I leave the company (whenever that is. no idea when, but that notion/thought is always there). And, even though we have a vast array of books (from children’s books like Richard Scarry and I Would Really Like To Eat A Child to college texts like biochemistry and genetics), I highly doubt many people I work with would be interested in the books I read. I get more “I don’t like to read” comments than anything.

As for loaning certain books out to people:

There are certain books I will not loan out to people for very simple reasons: they are Jamie’s and he doesn’t want anyone to borrow them or they are from my sub-category of “Before 1960” (which ranges from 1881 to 1960) and they are too fragile to loan out to people. But, if one of those people happened to know how to fix the binding and safely take off masking tape (I did not do this, the people I bought the book from put it on there) because I am terrified of ruining the book more than it already has been.

I would even loan out my much loved, and very worn, copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. But I would probably tell the person that I have to have the book back in the same shape it came in (I know all the creases and bends and markings. I have had this book since I was 8).

If someone were to borrow a book and destroy it, probably depending on who it was and what they did to it I would request they buy me a new damn copy.

I borrowed a book once and accidentally got thumb prints on about twenty pages before I realized what had happened (it was a really good book so I didn’t notice.  but how I managed to miss neon purple thumbprints are beyond me). The next time I spoke with the book’s owner I had told them what happened and offered to buy them a new copy of that particular book. They declined the offer but was happy that I let them know instead of them finding out about it later on.

A book’s a book, and depending on what it is there’s always the chance you can get a new copy. Most of our books are purchased second-hand so we get the chance encounters of under-lining, highlighting, and writing in the margins. If a book really irks me, I’ll start writing in the margins (usually in pencil).

Even with the knowledge that there is a chance I may never see my book again if I let someone borrow it, I still bring up the offer to friends if they ever show interest in any of the books. What’s the most that’ll happen? I’ll have a bit more space on our shelves (woo!), I won’t be able to read that specific book (still have about a thousand others to choose from), and we may never see it again. But that’s ok, we have an updated list of the books we own and if it’s something we really want, we’ll put it back on the Amazon list and buy it again.

 

The short answer: yes, I would still lend people books. Half the time we probably won’t notice for a while unless we really want it.

dogs. dog dog dog

(I am attempting to stick with my goal of 1 post per week at minimum, so I am going to talk about the beasts)

This past Sunday, Jamie brought up that we need to give the dogs a bath. Firefly and Hobbes were starting to smell like dog drool and Izzy was becoming very sticky from the puppy wipes we use. And I have come to the conclusion that the Puppy Wipes that we bought, for the purpose of wiping the icky off of her really sucks. I told Jamie we’re buying the Kroger brand baby wipes again because, even though they’re scented, they work so much better and don’t leave a residue that makes us wonder if it’s puppy wipe residue or dried/sticky dog pee.

So, since we’re going to bathe the dogs, we agreed that we should wash the rat cage (the whole thing instead of the bottom tray and levels. we do this about once a month when it’s warm and we can go outside with the cage and hose it down) and wash the cat boxes as it’s been like three months since the boxes were scrubbed.

Being the evil person that I am, I decided Hobbes should get his bath first. He’s actually pretty good about getting baths for the most part, unless he really does not want to get a bath which is normally the last bath of the year before it gets too cold. He did really well, and when we were done he sauntered into the house wanting to rub all over the couch. He was unable to get on the couch because we had shut the dog-gate that partitions off the living room.

Next was Firefly, who does not like water unless it is in a water dish. She does not like bath tubs, water hoses, sprinklers, and will hide under the porch if it rains after you push her butt out the door so she can go pee. (yes, if it rains, we have to literally push this dog out of the door. though, it has gotten better, at least now one of us doesn’t have to stand in the rain to make sure she leaves the porch)

Firefly is not the smartest dog in the world when it comes to tethering or sticking her head in things. She spent the entire time at the end of the “tether” (our awesome purple leash which needs to be replaced that is wrapped and tied interestingly in the chain-link part of our fence for dog-washing purposes) giving the sad-dog monkey-face that she does really well. She did surprise us by attempting to break free during her normally favorite part of being rubbed down vigorously with a towel.

I managed to get Bug on the porch before she sat down and refused to move, so we gave her love, told her she was awesome, and put her back to bed. (We’re working with her, we only give her a bath if she absolutely needs it because she freaks out and she’s had enough stress as it is)

Lastly was Izzy. In between the time I took Bug out and brought her back in, Izzy got so excited, she peed her crate. Jamie got to give Izz-butt a bath by himself while I cleaned out her crate. When I got back outside, all I was able to do is help keep the pup up while he dried her belly.

Later in the afternoon, after the dogs had dried and we had cleaned the rat cage and cat boxes, the dogs were let out for play/pee time but not too terribly long since it’s July in Southwest Virginia so therefore instead of just being fucking hot, it is fucking hot and muggy as hell. Yay.

When the beasties got back inside, Hobbes pranced right into Bug’s crate and started snuffling around. About a minute later, Firefly went straight into Bug’s crate with Hobbes and they hung out for a bit. If I had moved to get the camera, they would have both gotten out of the crate and would have pranced around the kitchen doing the “no” dance.

Speaking of Hobbes, he decided he was going to surprise Jamie…Saturday while I was at work. He went into Bug’s crate and stole her elephant! Hobbes has never shown any interest in stuffies, but for some reason he just had to steal her stuffie and prance around with it in her mouth. Sunday evening, Hobbes and Izzy played tug in the kitchen with Bug’s elephant. I guess it’s a sign that we need to get Hobbes his own little elephant. It may be because the toy is a roundy ball kind of stuffy instead of the ones that Fly loves (anything, especially if it’s lightly stuffed and floppy).

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On an unrelated note: I am working on film reviews. I have approximately 8 left so yay! Then I’ll be able to work on book reviews, which includes all the anthologies I have read anything in (which is like…almost all the anthologies we have). And I am working on ideas for comics. I have a lot of bits written down, it’s just that whole sketch part that I haven’t gotten to yet, which is ok. I’m hoping to have some new stuff up soon so I can make a friend of ours splee because he loves the little comic and it cracks him up.

I get to spend time today setting up the art stuff down in the basement since it’s my day off and it needs to be done. This should be interesting.

Ummm…I’m reading Game of Thrones right now. It’s a neat book (approximately 200 pages left) and strangely enough, I find that watching episode 1 of the series really helped with how to say some of the names in my head and give a better face to the character. Now I’m just reading because I really want to watch episode 5 (I want to know how they do the crowning of “cart king.”) and I’m curious as to what happens next. Jamie’s working on book 2 of the series and swears I’ll want to read book 2 as soon as I’m done with book 1, but I have to wait for him to finish. Hey, that’s cool. We still have a thousand other books to choose from (not including the Song of Ice and Fire series, and all the ones we’ve loaned out to people, we have around 1,012 books. Yes, I have a book problem. No, I am not stopping.)

dog-post

So, a dog/pet update is in order I feel.

Bug is doing pretty well. Overall, she’s happily psychotic; bouncy, snuffly, and constantly demanding belly-rubs. Izzy’s a bit much for her right now so we’re keeping an eye out on everything to make sure that whole vomiting blood thing doesn’t happen again.

She was supposed to go to the vet last Monday to be weighed, but we currently don’t have the funds and this will have to wait until I get a refund on something that I had purchased before this whole thing happened.  We’re also getting low on her Super Special dog chow (I am hoping we can put her on normal dog food soon).

Izzy’s getting a little better with the whole peeing in the crate business so that’s a plus. She had an accident last night that caused Jamie to give her a bath while I cleaned the crate.

 

I brought them back inside this morning and now Hobbes looks like a wet gremlin since it started raining again. Firefly gave her signature Monkey Face to Jamie when he went to say bye to them all this morning.

 

So, apparently it stormed rather badly last night. We were woken up by Snooch making his little weird kitty noises and the bedroom door wide open. Snooch, being a cat under 2 and therefore still insane, is not allowed in the bedroom when we go to sleep because he will instigate play-fights with Ugly and keep us up all night. Ugly, being the awesome cat that he is, gets to snuggle with us at night.  If he does anything to wake us up, it’s because he wants to get under the blankets so he can snuggle  and be rumbly.

We had to get up, find Snooch, put him outside the bedroom and shut the door. He gave me enough time to lay back down before he  started clawing the bottom of the door and hitting the door. Eventually he gave up and we had sweet silence. For about a minute.

Then he decided to scratch the bottom of the water dish (it is a large metal mixing bowl, it works great for 4 dogs. Snooch loves it more than his regular water dish). The sound of cat claw against a metal container is about 1 octave lower than that brain-shattering claws-against-blackboards sounds (do people even use blackboards anymore?), it is also damn annoying at 3 am.

We gave up at 3:30 am and surfed the web, did the normal morning routine, and realized that my neck is killing me so I have happily swiped Jamie’s heating pad.

 

Oh! We also hit the fair. Pretty shocking on our part, especially so since it was Jamie’s idea. We got there, took two steps past the gate and Jamie stopped and said “Oh fuck no.” as his anxiety shot through the roof. We met up with Moms and went inside where they had a Sunfire Beardie! (probably not its actual…doohicky, but he looked just like Lunchbox and our awesome vet pointed out that Lunchbox was a Sunfire, which is pretty rare) They also had Kookaburras, which Jamie happily pointed out gives the same look I do when I’m annoyed. Moms laughed an agreed. They also had a wallaby (his name was not Rocko, sad to say) and I got a little stuffy wombat! Wombat!