Wednesday, 26 October 2016

October Horror

It seems like lots of people try to do a "31 Days of Scary Movies" in October, or something similar. It's fun! Those dark, cool nights just make you want to stay inside and cuddle under a blanket. Dustin and I started having scary movie nights back in the summer, since the list of movies I haven't seen is woefully long.

Here's the thing - I like scary movies. I've always liked them. But I don't like watching them by myself. It can be hard to find someone who wants to watch them with you! And I'm not big on slasher movies, but I love cerebral/psychological/thrilling/thought provoking/artistic/creative scary movies. So if anyone is looking for me in the evenings this month, there's a good chance I'm hiding my eyes with a blanket, cuddled up with some wine and some Dustin watching a scary movie.

Just in case you're doing a similar marathon, here's some of my favourite scary movies so far. Please give me your suggestions!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Yes, not exactly an original pick. BUT, I recently watched it for the first time and was so impressed with it. It does so much with such a simple premise - and I love how much scarier things are when they're shown during the day.

Paranormal Activity - Again, not exactly a groundbreaking choice but I have such a soft spot for this series! What can I say, I love a good jump scare.

The Conjuring 2 - The Conjuring was okay. I love Patrick Wilson (see also: Insidious) but I was kind of annoyed that nothing was actually conjured in the movie. The sequel though? It's awesome. It was clever and creative and restrained and brought genuine scares.

Grave Encounters/Grave Encounters 2 - Probably my favourite of what we've watched so far. The first one starts off kind of predictably - found footage of some people from a ghost hunting show who spend the night in an insane asylum. But I promise - keep watching. It is SO SMART and SO FUN, the action really ramps up in the third act and totally won me over. Amazingly, the sequel has an even more clever premise. It falls apart a bit in the third act, but the monsters and scares are still so fun and creative that you totally forgive it.

The Neon Demon - Is this a real horror movie? I think you could argue it a few ways. It's Nicholas Winding Refn (of Drive fame) at his most insane. Pretty people doing terrible, terrible things. It's not for the faint of heart.

Insidious - The sequel was pretty brutal, but I have a soft spot for the original. It's creepy and atmospheric and I love how they explain the hauntings that are occurring. Plus, Patrick Wilson is super dreamy.

The Shining - Yes, another heavy hitter. But this one tops so many lists for good reason. Watching Jack Nicholson unravel into madness in the hotel is truly terrifying. Visually, it's arresting and beautiful. Of course, I'm partial to the book (those topiaries scared me so much!) but the film stands on its own merits.

Saw - Yes, Saw. We watched this one recently because Dustin had never seen it. It was interesting to watch it again after the sands of time had passed and you realize how much influence it has had. If the ending hasn't been spoiled yet, it's still a good twist.

Goodnight Mommy - Nothing like a messed up foreign movie to mess with your mind a little.

Suspiria - Honestly, I'm not sure if I totally understood what was happening in this one. But it's gorgeous and haunting and the music is incredible.

Would you Rather - Alright, hear me out. It starts out kind of lame and cheesy, but then it totally embraces the cheese and just becomes crazy fun and really makes you squirm. 

Housebound - Like a little comedy with your horror? This Australian horror movie manages to balance comedy and scares without going to goofy territory. Plus, just when you think you have the movie figured out it totally takes a twist. Really keeps you guessing.

The Innkeepers - Super simple concept - an inn is closing down so there's only two people working for the final weekend. This one is really atmospheric and a slow burn, easing you into the scares and creepy feeling before the awesome third act.

We've watched a lot more, but those have been my favourites so far.  Let me know your picks - it's almost Halloween so the time is right for more movie marathons!

Friday, 21 October 2016

A Complaint

You know that shopping trip that you have to make every once in awhile? The one to the pharmacy or the grocery store where you end up dropping an insane amount of money on things that are going to be thrown away basically immediately? Paper towels, toilet paper, wet wipes, Kleenex, tampons, and the worst of the absolute worst - RAZORS.

I hate buying razors. In fact, if I ever won the lottery the first thing I would spend money on wouldn't be a new house or a fancy new car or anything like that. No, it would be a bunch of money on electrolysis so I wouldn't have to spend any of my newfound fortune on razors.

They're so expensive. I mean, things at the grocery store shouldn't have to be kept under lock and key like that. And then there's all the options! Two blades is a thing of the past - things need to have a minimum of three blades, if not five. And do you go for disposable? It seems like a waste, but I'll be damned if I can remember what kind of handles I have sitting at home. Thanks to product samples I have a lovely collection of dude razor handles at home (let's be honest, the dude ones are always better) but I should probably start carrying them around with me so I stand some sort of chance of actually pairing blades with the handles.

I'm pretty sure that the increase in the "lumbersexual" bearded dude is in direct correlation with the increase in razor prices. Dudes can't afford to be clean shaven! 

Maybe if they lasted a little longer it wouldn't be so bad. I mean, I shave my underarms every day. (Oh lord, why do I share so much?) I shave my legs almost every day if you average it out over the whole year. I shave other areas on a frequent enough basis, thanks very much. So it seems like a razor only has that wonderful sharp and fresh feeling for like a day before it ends up just dragging across my skin as I stubbornly continue to use it for weeks on end.

Occam's Razor states that the simplest answer is usually the correct one. (It's also an excellent name for a razor company, which is apparently what I should be starting to build this fortune.) Following that, I should probably just stop complaining about the cost of razors in my budget and just start waxing or something else. But try as I might I'm just not a fan of ripping hair out with hot wax. I'll tolerate it on my face, but I just can't get on board with it extending south of my neck.

Basically, I'm a giant whiner and I'm poor, but at least I'm smooth.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Treats of the Week - Typical October

It's my birthday soon, so true to form I'm starting to get sick.  It's pretty common for me to be sick for my birthday.  I'm not sure if it's seasonal allergies or that I just get run down in October or what, but what started as some sneezing at work this morning has morphed into my sinuses being packed and me waiting for my head to explode.  Hopefully it clears up quickly!

  • I have been desperately needing to mow my lawn lately, but haven't had any luck in fixing my lawn mower.  Luckily I have awesome neighbours who lent me theirs!
  • I saw a bald eagle on Sunday - the first time I've ever seen one out in the wild.  I thought this was a big deal, but anyone who I've mentioned it to has said that it's pretty common around here.
  • It's been a long time since I've picked anything up off the side of the road, but I found this chair on the weekend!  I have a red one just like it, and there's a green one at my work that I've been trying to get my hands on for years.  It's a little grimy looking, but nothing a Magic Eraser can't take care of.

  • On the weekend I finally made my way to Reaper's Realm!  I had no idea what to expect, so when we pulled up and saw the crowds it was a little overwhelming.  A 90 minute wait later and we were on the bus for the haunted forest ride!  Then it was on to the haunted houses, where Dustin and his friend Hank decided that it was far funnier to have me go in first so they could listen to me yelp my way through.

  • It was also the Friends of the Library sale on Friday and I scored some great stuff!  While Dustin was waiting for me to finish finding stuff, he took a seat on the steps to guard my pile of books and to check out one of his own.  I walked back to him planning to take a picture of him quietly reading and watching my books, but he caught me in the act and I ended up with this picture instead.  There's so much going on - I love it.  The look of surprise and confusion.  My pile of books on the floor.  The fact that I disturbed him while he was reading a book about Phil Hartman, and that this was the moment when he was reading about his untimely end.  His cellphone sitting next to him on the step, which would be left there until we drove back to retrieve it.

  • It wouldn't be fall without a trip to Twin Pines for some pumpkins!  I met up with Amanda and Emily and their crews of children for some pumpkin action, and of course to take pictures of the kids.

  • The other night Vivian wanted to try her hand at Guitar Hero.  I thought I would be really impressive and show her how it's done but it's way harder than I remember it being.

  • If you follow me on Instagram (or on Facebook) you'll see my new little project.  For years I've been wanting to take pictures of my favourite signs in London.  Just the weird, random ones that show their age and have something special about them.  I've always chickened out though because I didn't want to be a weirdo taking pictures of storefronts.  Even in the last couple of weeks I went to McCulloch's probably four or five times to take a picture but ended up chickening out each time.  I finally did it though, and it's actually been really nice.  So far I've taken pictures of about eight different places and am enjoying posting them and taking little walks to track them down.  You can find them all with #isawthesignlondon and let me know if you have any favourites of your own!
Those nighttime meds are calling my name...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Treats of the Week - What's with today, today?

Is everyone just anxious for the long weekend or what?  It seems like everyone is cranky and tired.  Or maybe I'm just cranky and tired so everyone is getting on my nerves WHO CAN TELL.  I'm definitely looking forward to the end of the week though - just one more day of work to get through then a little roadtrip on Friday!  Hooray!

  • It's been a couple of weeks since I've written one of these, so I don't think I've mentioned the London Comicon!  We had a great time again this year - Vivian went for her Princess Leia costume again and managed to spend all my money in record time.  We're so lucky to have two awesome comicons in London, and I'm happy to support them both!
  • This isn't really a treat, but a WTF.  I was out on my lunch break the other day when I saw this lady out in traffic at Wellington and Commissioners rearranging pylons.  I don't even know.

  • If you're not watching You're the Worst, you really should be!  I love the show - not only is it funny, but it's also a really important portrait of mental illness.  The most recent episode focused on a character's struggle with PTSD and it was so well done.  
  • Having a dude who works at a comic book store definitely has its advantages - like when he gets me a Pacific Rim Kaiju toy!

  • Vans has come out with a line of Toy Story shoes and they are so freaking cute.

  • When Dustin is over at my place I get a real insight into the creative artist process.  Sometimes you have to look at a piece from a new angle, apparently.

  • One of our interpreters at work sent us cards for Thanksgiving.  It was definitely a pleasant surprise!

  • I got a new tattoo last week too!  I know, I know.  It hasn't been that long since the last one.  It's actually kind of funny though - I had been planning this one for longer.  The artist who did my hawk and typewriter works in Barrie now.  We had talked about me wanting a flamingo tattoo, which he was really excited about so he told me that he would let me know when he was back in London for a guest spot.  He emailed me about a month ago to let me know he was in town so I took the chance!  I love what he drew up - now I just have to wait a few months until he's in London again so we can add some pink to it!

  • My friend Amanda came across this old picture of us and I can't really tell if it makes me happy or depressed.  Look at us - so young and without children or mortgages or any real worries!  Ah youth!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Fall is Best

Let's be honest - October is the best month.  Not only is it my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but the weather is perfect and there's sooooooo many cool things happening!  Here's what I'm looking forward to - let me know if you're doing anything cool too!

Reaper's Realm
I've never been to Reaper's Realm and I definitely want to make the trip this year!

Lost Soul Stroll
London's spooky history walk took a little break last year, but it's back this year!

Phantom of the Paradise
I've already got tickets for this event - yes, I'll go to Toronto just to watch an old movie.  It's a pretty rad movie though, and I love being able to see things on the big screen.

Halloween Comicfest
Check out your friendly neighbourhood comic book store on October 29th for free comics and fun surprises!

Storyspook Village
From October 21st to the 30th you can go to Storybook Gardens at night for Storyspook!  We took the kids last year and it was so much fun.  The volunteers do a great job of interacting with the kids and having skits and activities that are fun and spooky without being scary.

Kangaroo Variety
Kangaroo Variety is back after a summer hiatus.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.  Live interviews, storytelling, music, you never know what's going to be there!

RetroMania at the Hyland
I love the Hyland Cinema RetroMania nights.  They've got some great ones coming up too - this Friday is Conan the Barbarian and the October showing on October 21st is a Stranger Things-inspired double feature - E.T. and Poltergeist!

Giant Book Sale
Need I say more?  The Friends of the London Public Library book sale is an event not to be missed!  Similarly, the Strathroy Public Library book sale is happening this weekend - September 29-October 1.

Behind the Ropes
Want a chance to see Eldon House up close?  Check out the Behind the Ropes tour on October 15th.

Doors Open
One of my favourite fall events!  Doors Open is your chance to check out some of the most interesting buildings in London.  Best of all, it's free!  This year I'm hoping to see the Roundhouse, Normal School, and Grand Theatre.

The Great Ghost Hunt
What happens when you combine the Lost Soul Stroll, Behind the Ropes, and Doors Open?  You get the Great Ghost Hunt!  This is your chance to tour the Grand Theatre and Eldon House, hear the ghost stories and maybe even see one of their ghosts yourself!*
(*Ghosts not guaranteed)

Oh Wonder are awesome, and they're coming to London on October 25th!

If you venture out of London, the Port Franks Optimists are hosting a Free Halloween fun event for kids!  Unfortunately Vivian is out of town that weekend, but it's a great event for the community.

Want a sneak peek at what's cool and happening in November?  How about Atmosphere on November 5th, Face to Face on November 6th, and the Forest City Comicon that same weekend!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fall TV 2016 - Better late than never

Yeah, so I'm nowhere near being on the ball.  I'm pretty sure the ball is like, across the street at this point.  I usually do a nice Fall TV post in August to outline all the new shows I'm going to watch, but I just didn't get to it this year.  This makes sense since I'm basically behind on everything.  There's still lots of stuff I'm planning on watching though - although there's a good chance that I'll end up just marathoning through them a season at a time for the most part.  In any event, here's what I am/will be watching this fall.

Quarry (Cinemax, premiered Friday, September 9th at 10 p.m.)
Okay, I'm not entirely sure what this show is about, but it seems to be some sort of dark, violent, vigilante justice type dealio which seems cool enough.

Son of Zorn (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 8:30 p.m.)
Cartoons interacting with live action characters?  Sign me up.

Masters of Sex (Showtime, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 10:00 p.m.)
Okay, I'm still a season behind on this but I have high hopes that I'll get caught up.

American Horror Story: Roanoake (FX, premiered Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 p.m.)
So far I'm really digging the format of season 6, and apparently episode 6 is going to turn the whole show on its head.  I'm all in.

High Maintenance (HBO, premiered Friday, September 16th at 11:00 p.m.)
Want to know more about the world of bicycling pot dealers?  Yeah you do.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS, premiered  Monday, September 19th at 8:30 p.m.)
Everybody likes comfort food TV, right?

The Good Place (NBC, premiered Monday, September 19th at 10:00 p.m.)
I wasn't really expecting much from this show, but it's really great.  Kristen Bell's character is in heaven but shouldn't be.  It's pretty great seeing her play against type as the awful Eleanor trying to figure out what's going on.  It's got a real Pushing Daisies vibe to it.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:00 p.m.)
Can Terry Crewes be in more things?

New Girl (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 p.m.)
This show went a little off the rails last season but I still have hope for it.  I'll probably end up letting it pile up and watch a bunch all at once though.

Scream Queens (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 9:00 p.m.)
I LOVE THIS SHOW.  This is probably the one show I really look forward to watching each week - clever, quick, and lots of twists.  Love love it.

This is Us (NBC, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 10:00 p.m.)
You know about this show, they've been pushing the trailer down our throats since the Superbowl.  It's supposed to be pretty great, but I haven't tried watching the first episode yet.  Get your tissues ready.

The Goldbergs (ABC, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
Oh the Goldbergs.  This show makes me giggle like crazy - I hope it stays the 80s forever.

Empire (Fox, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
I still need to watch the second season, but I'm sure the third season is going to be great!

Pitch (Fox, premiered Thursday, September 22nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Pretty interesting concept here - the first female pitcher to play professional baseball.

The Exorcist (Fox, premiered Friday, September 23rd at 9:00 p.m.)
I don't know why I'm even considering watching this.  I've only seen the movie once, and it scared me enough that I don't really want to watch it ever again.  I've heard pretty much zero buzz about this, which is a bad sign.

The Last Man on Earth (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 25th at 9:30 p.m.)
Oh man, I love this show.  The winter finale last year made me cry.  If you aren't watching it you should definitely try it out.

Saturday Night Live (NBC, premieres Saturday, October 1st at 11:29 p.m.)
Pretty good hosts lined up so far this year - Margot Robbie is hosting the season premiere, and they're going to have lots of material with the election.

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 8:00 p.m.)
This show is pretty goofy, but in a fun way.  Looking forward to seeing what Ash gets up to this season.

Westworld (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Westworld is basically what HBO is hoping we all fall in love with to replace Game of Thrones.  It looks incredible - I can't wait to watch it.

The Mindy Project (Hulu, premieres Wednesday, October 4th)
I don't watch Mindy in real time anymore - it's so much better to binge!  They seem to post it quickly on Netflix too, which is perfect.

Frequency (CW, premieres Thursday, October 5th at 9:00 p.m.)
I love the movie, so I'm hoping the show is worthwhile!

Divorce (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 9th at 10:00 p.m.)
Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO - but not as Carrie Bradshaw.

Black Mirror (Netflix, premieres Friday, October 21st)
Oh man, I freaking LOVE Black Mirror.  The original BBC run is some of the smartest TV I've ever seen.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next - and just in time for Halloween!

What's coming up for midseason?  I'll be adding Scandal, Emerald City, Powerless, and Riverdale!

Friday, 23 September 2016

One Nightstand (Get it?)

I like nightstands.  You know when you see a magazine spread or a blog where they show you a nightstand and it's like a plant and a small lamp and that's it?  That's not a real nightstand.  I like seeing what people keep within arm's reach of their bed.  I spend a lot of time in my bed.  Many nights I eat there and watch TV there and basically live as though I have a bachelor apartment.  As such, my nightstand serves many purposes.  I love this little end table - I have two and have used them as nightstands since university.  They rotate around the house sometimes, but ultimately they are my favourite here beside the bed.  In university I used both - one as my "real" nightstand and one as an overflow for my school stuff.  Now the second one resides on the other side of the bed where Dustin covers it in coffee rings, DVDs and books.  

So what do I keep next to me?  Books, of course.  This is stage two of my TBR (to be read) pile.  These are the books that I'm planning on reading next.  I keep them organized into a pile of fiction and a pile of non-fiction since I like to bounce between the two.  The little owl dude was from Lucas, and I like to have candles around even though I'm pretty sure that the cats will set their tails on fire.  My earrings, which are rarely worn, hang out in the little egg carton tray.

The little campaign-style jewelry box houses the backs of my pins, along with bracelets.  On top is another tray (I like trays, okay?) for brooches since they don't work well on the cork board with my pins.  My anxiety meds hang out there too, because if they're not right in front of my face I'll forget to take them.  I'm 90% sure I forgot to take it this morning.  I also have an EOS lip balm hanging around back there.  They're my absolute favourite and are everywhere.  I keep bookmarks there too, and always have some sort of water glass or bottle hanging around.

The lower shelf is where my wrist braces usually hang out, since I wear them at night.  I don't see them in this picture though.  I know what you're thinking - wrist braces AND anxiety medication beside the bed?  HOT.  I also keep my comic books down there, I tend to wait a few months and then read a bunch at once.  There's also a workbook down there and anything else I might be working on.  It's not in the picture, but right now there's an adult colouring book and pencil crayons down there.  The spray bottle is glasses cleaner, and the shoebox at the back is for notes and cards since I'm basically still in high school.  The kettlebell typically is used as a doorstopper, although Vivian likes to lift them.

I feel like nightstands are kind of this little microcosm of ourselves.  Like the things that are closest to us at our most vulnerable state are what really define us.  Probably why the remote controls are nearest to the bed.

I know what you're wondering - no goody drawer?  You gotta work a little harder than that for the goody drawer.