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Throwback Thursday – Jem

Recently, a couple of my friends had a baby. This isn’t the first baby in my life, but it’s the first in our immediate group of friends. The first to directly impact the way I live – obviously not as much as it has for them. Sure, I have a niece and nephews, but they aren’t part of my day to day, or even week to week, life. This new little addition means less jumping up and deciding to do last minute things with these friends. We go to restaurants instead of bars so that we can all still hang out together. I know that anything after 7:30 is probably out. It’s a pretty big change to a dynamic years in the making. But different doesn’t mean bad. Yes, we’ve had to make some alterations, but change is good. New adventures and all that stuff. It’s allowed the opportunity to spend more time with other people and strengthen new and old friendships. And now we’ve got this new little person to watch grow and develop. And he’s a pretty adorable little guy. He’s reached this exactly perfect, chubby, smiley, starting to show his personality stage just in time for Halloween. I can’t wait to see what he looks like in his first tiny costume. That got me thinking about my favourite Halloween costumes from my childhood.

My mom made most of my costumes. Now that I think about it, I have no idea how she did this. She worked full time and often out of town. My dad had many skills. He did almost all the cooking in the house. He built a lot of our decorations. He was handy but sewing has never really been his thing. But somehow, they came up with our costumes. I’m sure my parents have pictures from when we were little, but I don’t have any of those. I have to go from memory. There are two costumes that I remember pretty distinctly. A princess dress. This one I remember because I had to fit it over my giant snow suit for an exceptionally cold winter. But the one I really remember was the year I went as Jem – from Jem and the Holograms. Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday – The Halloween Spirit

Halloween is easily my favourite time of year. I’m not one of those people who go all out with the costumes and decorations and stuff, but I love it none the less. Halloween fills me with joy – and mini chocolate bars. I’ve always felt this way. As a kid, I loved everything about Halloween – except having to have a costume that you could fit over a parka in our truly frigid Alberta winters. Honestly, they were colder back then. I know that’s a thing people always say, but man, it was true. You almost wanted one of those terrible, full-face plastic masks just to keep your face warm. Running from house to house to collect candy and to keep warm was something I waited for all year.

Eventually, this gave way to the teen years of Halloween. This involved a new town that had never seen my adorable Jem costumes and a group of friends who loved eggs. Cartons of eggs that would sit in the upper reaches of the closet, hidden from parents, until just the right time. A town where the local stores that sold eggs (the whole two of them) wouldn’t sell you eggs during the month of October if you were a teen. Bootlegged eggs, people. Turning our spirited teenage youth against us, the school decided to set up a fundraiser where we sold Halloween ‘insurance’ to local businesses and houses. If anyone who had bought said insurance was hit by eggs on Halloween, the high school students would trek out the next morning and be forced to clean off the gunk – which was now frozen to the windows and siding. It really was a genius idea. I don’t know if egging is still a thing, but it was for us.

Now I’m an adult. I love the way everything looks at Halloween. I love the decorations and colours and the spirit. Halloween is the time to be who you aren’t. But I think it’s when people let themselves really be who they are – just for a fraction of a moment, they let a little bit of the person they’re scared to release the rest of the year. Whether that’s a scary thing, a crazy thing, a slutty thing, or whatever. It’s a moment to be something you want to try without having to adopt the persona. And Halloween shit is just damn cute.

Anyway, what does this have to do with books? Halloween is this week’s TTT prompt from the B&B ladies. Books, movies and tv shows that get you in the spirit. I should explain that I don’t love gory, slasher style scares. I like shivers down your spine, waiting for what’s around the corner scares. Good old campfire stories. I also read a lot of thrillers – like a lot. So I don’t really count them as ways to get ready for the season. There won’t actually be a lot of books this week. I prefer visual mediums to get me in the spirit.

 

Authors:

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Edgar Allan Poe

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Clichéd? Maybe. Worth it? Yes. If you’ve never read Poe, or you’ve only read The Raven, expand your horizons this year and read one of his other stories. These are slow burn stories. I’m partial to The Fall of the House of Usher, but there are lots of good ones, and several I haven’t read yet. I picked up a collection on audiobook at the library today and they’ll be colouring my bus rides for the next couple weeks.

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Throwback Thursday – Log Driver’s Waltz

Today’s post isn’t book related. It’s Canada related. When I was a kid, there used to be these shorts released by the National Film Board of Canada. They covered a plethora of topics Canadiana. They were on tv. They were shown in school. They were pretty prevalent. The one I, and most of the people I know, remember most distinctly is the log driver’s waltz. I can sing the chorus of the song by heart and a good chunk of the rest of it. You mention this song in a group of people of a certain age and we will probably start singing it. It’s apparently one of the most requested NFB shorts. This makes me think of a happy childhood.

If you’ve never seen this before, make sure you watch to at least the 45 second mark. That’s when everything changes :)

 

Canadian friends – do you have any other NFB vids you remember?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Series Review

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about series I want to start reading that have come out in the last year or two. I literally have no answers for this week. I could maybe come up with one or two if I really tried, but not enough for a full post. So, instead, I’m going to talk about series in general. Some I like. Some I think are overrated. Some I’ve recommended. Some I started and then stopped.

 

Overrated/Didn’t Finish – These are series that people seem to adore. They rave about them and insist everyone reads them. I did not think they lived up to the hype.

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The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

I actually started this series before it got all hyped up. I like the titles and the covers. There were only three books out. I thought that was the whole thing. It seemed worth it. I actually got them as a gift and I was excited to start them. I enjoyed the first book but I wasn’t blown away by it. It was entertaining enough to read the next one, but they were starting to feel really formulaic and a little more juvenile than I was looking for. I read the third book anyway. When the fourth book came out, it had been a while since I’d read the first three and I’d kind of forgotten why I hadn’t loved them. I decided to read it and quickly remembered. I didn’t bother with the rest of the series or with the movie. Continue reading

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Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey (@_catherinelacey)

Can you ever escape yourself? That’s the question behind Catherine Lacey’s debut novel. I suppose the answer is a fairly obvious no, but Lacey gives it to us in the most depressing way possible. I found this book through a Joss Whedon tweet, second time this has happened, and much like his first recommendation, this book is expertly written. I wish I’d read this book before the Top Ten Tuesday post on October 7th. This is a great character driven novel. There’s almost nothing in this book except character. There is very little action. You’re not constantly waiting to see what happens next. Instead, you’re waiting to see if the protagonist ever figures out her shit. That’s what makes this book relatable, but not necessarily enjoyable. If you’ve ever had someone in your life who suffers from depression, you’ll immediately recognize Elyria’s actions and see how she got to where she is.

I’m not sure I can say that I liked this book. I enjoyed the ideas. I liked the writing – to a point. But man, this book was bleak. Depressing. Depressing. Depressing. The short story – Elyria, a twenty-eight year old woman finds herself in a loveless marriage and decides that she doesn’t want to be in it anymore. Instead of divorcing him, she drops off the grid, takes a one way flight to New Zealand, and ends up at the home of a man she met once. One of the things I really liked about this book is that Elyria’s life isn’t all doom and gloom. She’s not trying to escape a life full of one terrible event after another. Everything isn’t going wrong. Sure, she’s suffered, but who hasn’t. And she’s not just bored and trying to find adventure. Instead, she’s just a person who isn’t sure how her life got to where it is. Continue reading