Friday, October 31, 2014

Today is the Day

OK, I admit it, I slacked off on the countdown, afraid I would not get today off as requested, but I did.  But other things kept me from blogging the last week.  I've noticed every year during the countdown my posts get repetitive--quiz results, photos of my and others decorations, Netflix envelopes (but there are two more I have to share) and ranting about displays at stores. And trying to blog everyday with a grueling work schedule gets pretty hard. Nonetheless I still love the holiday and will be celebrating tonight as I always do.  

Just to let you know, it is raining today in my neck of the woods.  The first rain this year in months.  it's been coming down very hard since this afternoon.  The weather on the local news has been predicting rain for today for the last week and they were right.  It's like a triple whammy being Friday and Halloween as well as a a rainy night.  And the police will be out in full force being that's it's both a holiday and Friday.  They obviously worry about increased activity and will have to go through this again when the holiday is on Saturday next year.   If you're going out tonight, be careful and have fun.

Last Saturday I bought the Zombies lotto ticket and got $10.

And here are the two most recent Netflix envelopes I received.  Just had to share them, especially the one I got today.

More to come about tonight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nothing new for today

Sorry to say.  Been feeling a little out of the Halloween spirit as I do not know if I'll get next Friday off as requested.  Asked over  a month ago, but they ddi not do anything till now. Will leave at that for now though.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Easy Halloween Costumes for Children, 1987 Style

Near the entrance to the local library after the alcove in front, there is currently a display of  holiday-related books. Among them was this rather odd book titled Easy Halloween Costumes for Children. It was written and illustrated by Leila Albala, and is the third printing, from 1987.  A bit outdated, you all are likely thinking and yes that is true.  Seemed a bit random, so I decided to check it out just for the fun of it.  

Here is a scan of the orange cover with the black-and-white illustrations seen inside the book.

Along with the costume ideas and instructions, the books includes safety advice, Halloween history and fun facts, and instructions making accessories such as wigs,  wings, makeup, among other things.  

A visual index of the costumes is included with a reference number and the number of the page on which it is found.  

There are also black-and-white photos of kids wearing the costumes given in the books.  Some can be seen on the page facing the visual index (in the photo above).  Another in the photo scan below:

The costumes for which constructions are given include all the standard ones that are popular even today such as princess, skeleton, pirate, witch, angel, clowns, devil, cowboy, pumpkin and the like.  No vampires, however--very surprising.  There are 60 costumes total, and 14 others  that can be made at the last minute including a nurse, vagabond, paper boy, balloon tree and old woman, among others.  Some very bizarre ones include something called a Halloweener. Not sure anyone would have ever done that one then, let alone now.  It's one of those things that would take a lot of explaining.  It's described as following;

Make a helmet from a large plastic container and cover it with orange adhesive vinyl.  (Or make the helmet form orange from orange poster board: Glue ends of rectangular piece together into a circle around the head; cut face opening. Cut top circle, clipping around outside edge and glue clipped edge under lower section.)  Antennas from long, black pipe cleaners. Add elastic chinstrap. 
Poncho: Cut a large circle orange vinyl or plastic to reach from wrist to wrist between child's outstretched arms; cut a hole in the middle for head and cut a fringe all around lower edge. Zigzagged strips of black construction paper are taped around helmet and onto poncho's shoulders.
Make a drawstring bag from orange fabric circle, padded with batting, glue or sew on facial features made form black felt. 
How bizarre is this? Would you have done it in 1987 or even now?   This costume illustration can be seen in this photo:

And no surprise that there ethnic costumes included, seeing as this book was published in 1987.  Indians (Native Americans) not surprisingly are included. Along with a Mexican costume.  Such costumes still are made today, even though they incur the wrath of the "politically correct police."  A vagabond costume is included as well, another not considered "PC" today, but which can still be seen these days.  I do not personally want to invoke this PV nonsense, but costumes such as these have never been of any interest to me.  The page with the Indians is on the right.

And the vagabond can be seen in the page scan on the left, along with two "Strangers from Mars" costumes, one for a boy and one for girl.  These are among the "last-minute costumes."

And one more page scan on how to make cat, bunny or mouse costumes.  These would definitely be more appropriate than what you see in that infamous Halloween party scene in the hit film Mean Girls. Even though this was from 1987, there is no reason they can still be done this way:

And here is scan of the back cover:

What do you think?  is this book too outdated, or can the ideas still be used?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Fun Size"

Picked up the DVD of "Fun Size"  from the local library.  I have seen it twice already since it was released in 2012.  Even tough I get Netflix, I figured it would be on  long wait, even though I was able to get it from Netflix a year ago.  And since it happened to be at the library, I thought why not get it?  I'm going to try to watch it tonight or tomorrow since we only get seven days for DVDs and cannot renew them.  It's a very fun movie and everyone should see it at least once.

25 Years Ago Yesterday

If you lived anywhere in or near the Bay Area of California in 1989, you will remember what occurred 25 years ago yesterday.  At 5:04PM on October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, causing damage to the San Francisco Bay area and surrounding counties, including Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito, whose county seat, Hollister, is where I have resided for most of my life.  The quake hit just as game three of the 1989 World Series was getting underway.  It thus became the first earthquake to be announced on live TV.

I had graduated from high school in June 1989, and was now attending community college.  I'd arrived home from my classes about an hour before the quake hit and was listening to music when I felt the ground beginning to rumble under my feet.  It  then hit me (no pun intended) that an earthquake was occurring.  It got longer and bigger.  It was only two weeks before Halloween and I was already feeling spooked.  As was everyone else I can bet.  It was soon revealed that the quake was a 7.1 magnitude.
Damage was everywhere that was hit by the quake and electricity was out for the next two days or so.  My town was devastated, and a lot of buildings were forced to be torn down.. A local movie theater that had been around for years sustained damage.  It was closed down and later burned down in a fire around June of 1990.  Only one place had an electricity, a local grocery store with its own power generator.  People from all over town were at the store, which had its workers gathered on tables in front of the store.  They were trying to buy emergency supplies.  My college classes were cancelled for the rest of the week.  The school administration then debated on whether we should make the days up, but eventually decided we would not have to.

Here is more on how Hollister was devastated by the earthquake.

The building on the corner of Fifth and San Benito was damaged in the quake, but was saved from demolition. Photo courtesy of

I was still shaken (no pun intended) in the days and weeks that followed.  Some people were fearful of possible aftershocks.

Here is yesterday's article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the 25th anniversary.

How do you remember that day in 1989?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stop Light Costume

Spotted this the other day at Goodwill.  Looks like a lot of fun. If it had been in adult sizes, I may have been tempted to buy it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Missed yesterday--again!

Again, I missed getting on yesterday.  Work is throwing my blogging off, and I try to get on as much as I can.  I don't know how much longer this temp job will be.

Quiz: What Does Your Favorite Candy Say About You?

You are a Secret Weirdo
You are a very strange character. Much stranger than people realize at first.
Like candy corn, the more people think about you - the weirder you seem.

While you are quite quirky, that's what is lovable about you.
You are bright, bold, and simply happy. What could be better?
Blogthings: 100's of Fun, Free Quizzes!

Almost every year I get several bags of candy corn as the holiday approaches, but this years I've only gotten one bag so far. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Really a Costume

I know I've asked this in the past, but just why do things like this get thrown into the Halloween display racks at Goodwill? The people working there seem to think this is some kind of costume just because of the "blingy" decorations.  Just about anything that seems unusual for normal wear gets thrown into these displays. But what would this costume be?  

And do they think someone is going to wear a plastic raincoat with an animal hood to be that animal?  And why is this the only time of the graduation robes are prominent at thrift stores? Do schools not allow students to wear used ones for their various graduations (usually in June).  

I've also seen nursing student uniforms form a nearby community college in these racks.  That would make a depressing costume--a nursing student?  Then again, I guess it would be more appropriate than the usual sexy nurse costumes that always appear this time of the year.

These are just some of the odd clothing times inserted into the costume section at the Goodwill each year.  And on a side note, once in a while regular clothing gets misplaced among these items.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back to the Countdown

OK, I'm resuming the countdown with this shot of the Halloween envelope from Netflix on the DVD I received in the mail today.

I Loved "Gone Girl"

Gone Girl

Last weekend was when the movie based on the novel Gone Girl came out.  After reading the book for my book club in February, I became eager to see the movie.    My book club made plans to see it this Wednesday, but I can't do movies then, and I was too eager to see the movie after waiting for several months, so last Saturday I saw the movie and I absolutely loved it.  I was sure it would be dark like the novel--it definitely was.  A lot of people I know had never heard of the book. My stepmom, however, had read the book (I saw a copy of it at her house)  but was not aware it was going to be a movie.  I asked someone I saw in the theater last weekend if she'd read it, but she said no.

Ok, here is my opinion of the movie as I posted on both Netflix and
I read the book on which this movie is based in February and could not wait till the movie came out. For the next few months I watched trailer for the movie and was even more excited for the movie to come out. When it came out this past weekend, I went in excited and left enjoying it. I believe Ben Affleck was perfect for the male lead. And though I'd seen Rosamund Pike in only a few other movies, I though she was great as the wife. And the rest of the cast was great, too. It was a very suspenseful movie as was the book which I'd read in five days. It's been some time since I'd seen a movie that was two-and-half hours long, but this was worth the long running time. After months of waiting to see this, I was as pleased as I'd hoped I'd be. I will definitely be getting the DVD of this one. If you read the book, you must see the movie.
I may not a be the greatest critic as I only so often review both books and movies on sites such as these.  But I had to one for this one.  I tend not be lengthy when reviewing things such these.  And as I said, I will be getting this one on DVD.

Farewell to Cartoons on Saturday Morning

Last weekend on the Yahoo homepage I stumbled onto an article that began like this:

So, I was potty training my daughter this past Saturday. Going outdoors was not in the cards -- I wanted (needed!) her within 20 feet of a potty at all times. But what to do?  How to entertain an ornery toddler for hours in a city apartment on an unseasonably warm day?
And then it hit me -- Saturday morning cartoons.
I turned on the TV only to discover that the beloved product-placement-heavy 'toons of my own youth were no longer on the big networks. In fact, they weren't anywhere. While the cartoon exodus has been going on for years, this past Saturday morning was the first weekend in 50 years with no morning cartoons of any kind on American television's major networks. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The rest of the article is here. 

I just had to read this article.  I'm not a parent and gave up on cartoons in the mid 1980s as I entered adolescence, a time I felt was too big for such things, notwithstanding later on in my life when I would watch an occasional cartoon movie or show from Disney or Nickelodeon or the animated Sunday night shows on Fox. I mean, who hasn't been able to resist the long-running antics of The Simpsons?   But watching animated shows on Saturday mornings was something I did until around 1983.

 As anyone who grew up in the 1980s (and earlier) can attest, Saturday mornings  were the time for watching animated shows for several hours while eating Lucky Charms or Cheerios.  In between, you would catch commercials for the latest toys that you would soon be begging for as Christmas approached.   Some toys even became popular enough to gain a cartoon series on Saturdays.  Remember when the famous Rubik's Cube got a cartoon show?

And remember Saturday morning cartoons based on prime-time series? Shows from the 60s and 70s such as The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch,  and Gilligan's Island all had animated Saturday morning counterparts.  This phenomenon became especially popular in the 1980s when shows such as Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, The Dukes of Hazard,  ALF, and Punky Brewster  all gained animated counterparts on Saturday mornings.  And in 1983, Mr T, star of the hugely popular show The A-Team, was also the star of his own Saturday morning cartoon.

But Saturday mornings weren't just about the cartoons. On ABC, in between the cartoon shows, there was the famous animated Schoolhouse Rock, which consisted of three-minute segments that taught us (through animation and song) about grammar, math, science and American history/politics.  And NBC would have the One to Grown On segments, in which stars of then-current prime time series on the network, would show a scene in which a child faces an ethical dilemma, followed by the actor telling the audience what the child should do.  These were replaced by the current The More You Know PSAs starting in 1989.  And as I stated earlier, the commercials for toys and cereals were also a part of Saturday mornings.

This is how I remember my Saturday mornings. I'm sure other will have similar memories, especially those who like me who grew up in the 1980s. Though I'd long given up cartoons by then, I was aware the NBC gave up on animation on Saturday mornings in 1992 when they began airing a Saturday edition of the Today show as well the TNBC lineup (aimed at teenagers) that lasted until 2002.   They currently have the NBC Kids lineup, so they apparently haven't given up on the kids on Saturdays yet.

The Yahoo article above stated that CBS gave up on Saturday morning cartoons not too long after NBC did, and that ABC followed suit in 2004, Fox in 2008, with the CW as the final holdout.  CW aired its final Saturday morning animated shows on September 27.  It's a shame that kids today won't have these experiences.  They can watch DVDs, but won't have the memory of snapping on the TV on Saturday morning and watching animation.  They also have to settle for cable stations showing animated programming, again, not a bad thing, but that's the only option they will have.

Farewell to one of my childhood memories.  To have been a child of the 1980s was good for some things.

Missed yesterday

... because of unforeseen circumstances.  My work schedule keeps me from writing lengthy posts on weekdays, so that's why I've been posting the quizzes.  Sorry if that bores you.  I wanted to participate in the countdown though and would do so when ever I can each day this month.  I was supposed to be off yesterday but it got changed, so I was unable to get on my computer at all yesterday, thus missing a day of the countdown.  I'm off weekends, but sometimes I get too tired to blog then.  Before resuming the countdown there are a few things I want to blog about that aren't Halloween related.  First up a few things today and another to come soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Sugar Skull Test

You Live a Unique Life
You are attracted to counter culture and new ideas. You like to work to change things instead of just complaining.
You will work with others to advance your goals, but you prefer to work alone with possible. You take on big personal projects and don't mind being a bit of a hermit.

You would like to be remembered for your individuality and refusal to go along with the crowd.
You hope that others will see that you tried to follow your dreams, even if your family, friends, and society didn't approve.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quiz: Are you Secretly a Vampire?

You Are a Vampire
Right? You seem like a vampire. Pale? Check. Strong? Check. Nocturnal? Check!
There's a good chance you even like the taste of blood, and that's just down right creepy.

The funniest part about you being a vampire is that you haven't seemed to notice it yet. You must have some pretty weird habits to let the news slip by you like that.
Stay out of the sunlight, and avoid Italian restaurants (too much garlic). And if you have to feed on a human, please be gentle!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Halloween Cupcake Test

You Are Compassionate
You have deep and genuine feelings. You are a very caring person.
You're the type not to make a fuss. You're more likely to sit back and figure out how you can help.

You're not looking for a lot of attention on Halloween. You're just happy to put a smile on someone else's face.
You believe that Halloween is mostly for kids, and you want to make it as special for them as possible.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Quiz: What is Your Halloween Sugar Binge?

Your Halloween Sugar Binge is Candy
You don't need pumpkin flavored sweets or anything fancy. You're easily satisfied by Halloween candy.
You're the type of person who takes their sugar straight - maybe with a dash of food coloring or chocolate.

You don't really care for baked goods, especially on Halloween. You don't want your sugar weighed down with all that flour.
You're the type to pick the candy off the cupcake, maybe lick the frosting, and be on your merry way!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quiz: What Animal Should You Dress up As?

You Should Dress Up As a Butterfly
You are an interesting, somewhat detached person. You may be flighty, but people are attracted to your colorful ways.
You dream big and fly high. As far as your life goes, the sky's the limit.

You didn't always have such a charmed life. In fact, when you were a kid, you were a bit of an ugly duckling.
You transformed and changed, even though it was difficult. You're hardly the same person anymore.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Trying on Outfits the Spirit Store tonight.  I'm still deciding--something that has never been easy for me to do.  But I have it narrowed down a few ideas--stay tuned. I've been to the store several times since it opened in September.  But tonight was the first time I tried on anything.  I know I'll be back. And the girl working at the store said more stuff is ion back waiting to be stocked. So there might be more in the days to come.   I will decide on something soon.

I rarely go out to stores like this at night time, even on Saturdays which I generally have off from work.  But today was very hot and hot weather makes me rather sluggish.  I went to see "Gone Girl" today as I had planned, and I really loved it.  It was two-and-half-hours long and I came home feeling tired.  Once it got dark I felt less sluggish and more ready for some store browsing.  Yes, it can get very hot this time of the year where I live.  Still wondering what the weather will be like on the 31st.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Countdown to Halloween Opening Day

It's that time of year again.  Signs of Halloween have been in the air for the last month or two as stores began stocking the merchandise, but today is the first day of October.  I will be participating in the Countdown as I have been since 2009.  It's always fun.  I'm waiting to see what other participants come up with as well.

My town got a Spirit store this year. I was shocked when I first learned of this, as our town is not known to get things like popup retail, except the fireworks stands for the 4th of July (which are usually put on by local sports teams and nonprofit organizations).  So I was more than excited about Spirit coming. I have visited the shop several times since it opened, but still haven't made any purchase.  I have some costume ideas in mind but am still narrowing them down.  I noticed how the cheeseburger tunic is the same price at both Spirit and Kmart.  I've considered that one, but will probably decide against it.   I'm planning to decide soon.   The store incidentally took over  the town's old  Staples building as the office superstore exited our town at the end of June.

My decorations at home went up this weekend in order to be up for all of October.  Started on Saturday night, stuffing the pumpkin bags with crumpled newspaper and rigging the lights over the kitchen window with suction cups (I'll leave the cups in the window for the Christmas lights in December).

That's it for today.  Let the Countdown begin!