Creepshow (2019) PSA and The Coatmaker (Short Horror October post 1!)

Ahem. I have an important Public Service Announcement before I jump into our first Short Horror October post. TAKE NOTE! Creepshow (2019), a Shudder Original Series, has arrived, and I’m sorry that I’m just now telling you about it. You’ll see this anthology horror series listed in my October Favorites post, but what good would it do to find out about it in November? Creepshow is glorious, campy, spooktacular fun that’s perfect for right now, in October, as Halloween approaches.



Shudder gives us new episodes on Thursdays. With two unique stories within each episode, you’re all set if you have just half an hour at a time to escape into a complete comic book horror story. The animated character who presents the stories is quite a character, by the way, and the stories are told wonderfully as comics come to life. We’re so into this series, we’re impatient for the new episode each week. We’re three episodes in as of today.

In case you’re not familiar with it, Shudder is an online streaming service mainly for horror content, but you’ll also have thrillers, suspense, mystery, etc. at hand. A Shudder subscription is only $5.00/month, and less than that if you get a one-year subscription! (This is not a sponsored post. I just can’t keep Creepshow to myself. You’re welcome.)

Now for Short Horror October post number 1!


(Bloody Kisses, haha)


I’m thrilled to finally start posting short horror films again! I’ve been watching them all summer (okay, spring and summer) in anticipation of the decision-making challenge. This year, you’ll find many of my picks to be thought-provoking, layered in meaning, and fleshed-out with metaphor and symbolism… the kind of films you’ll want to give a second viewing. Many of them represent the psychological horror sub-genre.

Today’s short horror film, however, is a simple one, and time-wise, it’s on the shorter end of short horror. It’s best to watch this film – all of these short horror films – in the dark! Dark is more visible in the dark. Don’t ponder that. Just enjoy The Coatmaker:



Happy Friday Eve!



HELLO Geronimo’s pre-hibernation report. (Desert tortoise update!)

You must be wondering where you are, because this isn’t a Short Horror October post. I’m surprised, too. It’s just that Geronimo went to the vet yesterday for his pre-hibernation exam, and I couldn’t neglect to share his report card with you, now, could I? I WOULD BE REMISS.

First of all, we can say with absolute certainty that Geronimo stole every single heart in that clinic.

Initial assessment: Geronimo weighs exactly 13 lbs. His nostrils are “nice and clear,” his eyes are “clear and bright,” and he has no stones in his bladder or elsewhere. (He’s so beautiful! He looks so healthy!) We didn’t have a fresh fecal sample to bring as requested, but once in our room at the clinic, he pooped on the floor, right on cue. You know you’re real parents when you’re proud of your kid pooping.

When Geronimo’s lab results came in this morning, they showed that he’s free of G.I. parasites. No worms! This was the last piece of info we needed to have him officially deemed healthy for brumation (hibernation).

Dr. R. was pleased and delighted overall.

Geronimo did his Geronimo thing and charmed everyone. He easily bewitched Doctor R., who was again impressed with his personable and affectionate nature. She noted how he asked us to pet his head, nose, and neck, leaning into our hands and stretching his neck from one side to the other to get equal attention on both sides. According to her, many desert tortoises don’t care to be touched at all. “They’ll pull their heads in when you go to touch them,” she said. “You must spend a lot of time with Geronimo.” We do, indeed, not to mention AGAIN that we really bonded with the little guy when we had to keep him indoors, entertained, and out of trouble during hibernation season that first year. Last year. Yeah, that was a lot of bonding.

[/medical report]

Geronimo’s been extra active and feisty lately! One morning last week I went out to investigate a commotion I’d heard from my office it sounded like glass breaking, but it couldn’t be that, could it? and found him marching all over the patio amidst furniture he’d moved, yard tools he’d knocked over, and, yes, glass he’d managed to find and break. I didn’t even know there was glass out there. It must have been a jar or something on the table, which he’d pushed over.

You would think we’d have learned by now: we have to child-proof every corner of his domain. Geronimo is like a Roomba tank. He goes where he wants to go and sweeps aside everything in his way. He’s quite focused, though he does deviate from his path when he sees us appear in the yard.

Yesterday, he changed course to greet me on the patio when I stepped out there later in the morning. He stopped at my feet for cuddles before turning in the direction of his burrow. Knowing full well where he was going, I asked the question I ask him the most, a question familiar to him: “Where are we going, Geronimo?” (This is our game – he loves to lead me around.) He headed to his burrow knowing that I was following. When we got there, he stopped for his “good night” cuddles, and then he went into his burrow, all the way in and down into its depths. “Good night, Geronimo,” I said to his disappearing butt, as usual. “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Here are some pics we took after we got home from his appointment yesterday:


My little lap tortoise.


[Note to self: get estimate for sprucing up the patio with pavers]


Eating lettuce on my lap.




Crunchy, watery, cold GOODNESS


Time to wander the yard!


“Where are we going, Geronimo?”








Some pics I took this morning:




(I was sitting on the patio in my usual spot on the ground)








(If we have a theme for our yard, it’s either “Geronimo’s Paradise” or “Edward Gorey’s Evil Garden.” I like them both equally.)









OCTOBER office updates tour! (HAUNTED CATHEDRAL)

Many changes took place in our house over the summer. It’s basically a different house now, in more ways than I care to describe at the moment. This moment is the moment of my office, and it’s about time!

When my office had brown walls, brown carpet, and a brown ceiling fan, I loved having my plant family as my only décor. My desk was in the center of the room, facing the window. I was surrounded by greenery. It was earthy and calming.

After we re-carpeted the bedrooms, re-painted the walls, and replaced the ceiling fans, we had gray carpeting, white walls, and white ceiling fans. Gone were the cozy earth tones that yet made the house feel smaller and my pictures look strange with inconsistent lighting.

Facing the blank slate of my office inspired me to rearrange the furniture, and also to decorate. The changes put me in the mood to create a theme!

I had nothing particular in mind when I happened upon this framed black-and-white print of England’s Canterbury Cathedral at the Goodwill. I was elated. This is a gorgeous interior shot, and I found the picture to be in excellent condition.


Canterbury Cathedral print


Print detail


I carried the $5.00 print to the check-out thinking of the spirits that inhabit the famous Anglican cathedral in Canterbury. I thought of my old copy of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I had all kinds of ideas in mind.

Canterbury Cathedral is a stunning monument of Gothic architecture, so all things considered, the vision came easily: “Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Gothic,” or “Haunted Cathedral,” to get more to the point. The theme also pays tribute to my English side. I’ve recognized my Japanese side in past décor themes, but never my English side.

[My French husband has no comment. He’s always joked that he “only hates half of me” – the half that isn’t Japanese. He’s a bit miffed now that there’s an Anglo-Saxon-themed room in the house, but it’s my office, after all.]

It was early in July when I found this print. I slowly began to collect things. My “Summer office updates” got pushed into the next season, but it was worth it to wait for stores to fill up their “occasion” aisles with Halloween décor. I’m glad that I waited, too, because I was able to find that mysterious antique mirror on Craigslist. The Gothic design-inspired mirror works beautifully in this theme. It matches the architecture of Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral is haunted by the ghost of Archbishop Thomas Becket and those of several others who were murdered there, but I did not create a murder scene in my office.

I do believe that the antique mirror is haunted, though…. (More on this later.)

The first item I picked up for my theme was this cathedral stained glass tapestry from an artist on Etsy. I’ll take you around the office from there, starting with my desk corner and going clockwise around the room. Enjoy!


Cathedral stained glass tapestry


Desk corner


(I stacked my two low bookcases to make a hutch behind my desk. The décor you see here is on the hutch part.)


Desk-facing wall


Relevant texts


(A few of the English literature textbooks I’ve refused to let go.)


Literary skulls


Area behind me as I sit at my desk


Desk corner wall, right side


Antique trunk


(I got this trunk in Germany back when it was West Germany, but we’ll just pretend that I got it in England.)


Skull and crow


Green bat bottle and icy purple pumpkin


Antique mirror with black roses


Clock and more plants


A better look at the clock – 2:45am


(I took this pic at almost three o’clock in the morning. I was still up because I’d decided to make a pie in the middle of the night. I’d just finished it.)

(Also, this was a plain, white clock. I arranged a black satin ribbon around it and made the pendulum with a couple of fake roses.)


Shirt and gargoyle


(This t-shirt currently up on my closet door is one of two departures from the theme. It’s just the message I need to see in my office right now.)


Gargoyle (Grendel)


(The gargoyle above the t-shirt, though, is Grendel from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf.)


Buddha fountain


(Buddha fountain – the second departure from my theme.)


Hats and bags, behind-door hooks


(The two bags between which I’m currently alternating.)


Cat doorknocker


(This brings us back around to the tapestry in my desk corner.)


Desk wall with doorknocker (night)


Center of the room (night)


Desk wall at night


Desk at night


(The only picture I took of my actual desk, I realized!)

This is where I’m sitting right now, and we’ve arrived at The End. I hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you’re interested in where I got some of the décor pieces. It was all very affordable.

Happy Friday Eve, my friends.



Newsflash: It’s October 1st. (September Favorites!)

All I can say about this list is that it means OCTOBER has arrived. It’s already been very Octoberish! September lives on in my continuing love for the items on this list, but OCTOBER, okay.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


1). Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon Prime)



I put Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty (lingerie by Rihanna) Show at the top of this list because it’s the best thing I saw in September, and one of the best things I’ve seen all year, and maybe even one of the best things I’ve seen ever. Here’s my opinion in the wake of our watching this superb and mesmerizing production: Victoria’s Secret should just go ahead and file for bankruptcy, because what are they doing, exactly? I’ve yawned while watching their lingerie fashion show. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Rihanna’s lingerie fashion show. We’re all in it… you, me, everyone. Rihanna wants you to know that her lingerie is designed for YOU, but even if you don’t wear lingerie, you won’t want to miss this magnificent show. Amazon Prime, guys. Go see the Savage X Fenty Show if you haven’t already. (RUN, don’t walk!)



2). Marianne (Netflix)



Here is where September got very Octoberish. We just recently started watching French horror series Marianne on Netflix; we’re only on the third episode, but we’re not sitting around waiting for the series to get scary. We were good and thoroughly horrified one minute into episode one, and that is no exaggeration. October’s off to a great start.


3). Black Spot (Zone Blanche) S2 (Netflix)



Also in September, we discovered that season two of this excellent French thriller series is available on Netflix, and we found that its story’s paranormal aspect has been heightened. Octoberish!


4). Luna Bar in Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter. (Vegan and gluten-free)


Luna Bar Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter


I made a couple of fabulous candy bar energy/protein bar discoveries in September, both from Luna Bar: their Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter flavor, and their Chocolate Peppermint Stick flavor (below). Love these!


5). Luna Bar in Chocolate Peppermint Stick. (Vegan and gluten-free)


Luna Bar Chocolate Peppermint Stick


6). ThinkThin Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal. (Vegan)


ThinkThin Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal


Having cycled back into an oatmeal phase, I’ve been enjoying ThinkThin’s Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal. It’s yummy and wholesome and 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber and what more could you want in oatmeal? It’s great with a spoonful of peanut butter, too.


7). Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce.


Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Sauce


My assessment of this sauce is that it’s basically a thin wasabi based on Jalapeño rather than on horseradish. A dab on the finger suggests more heat than flavor, but added to nachos, it’s great flavor!


8). Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix. (Vegan)


Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix



I love browsing supermarket aisles and discovering convenient foods (aka fast food you prepare at home) of solid nutritional value. Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle mix gives you 10 grams of protein per serving… and who eats just one serving? These just-add-water pancakes are delicious.


9). Snak Club Spicy Party Snack Mix. (Vegan)


Snak Club Spicy Party Snack Mix


This was my latest road trip junk food discovery. This stuff should be called “Spicy Party Crack Mix.” That is all.





Neuropsych eval? What neuropsych eval? (I’m a ditz.)

I had my three-hour neuropsych evaluation at the V.A. last week. As in Palo Alto back in June, it constituted an exhausting mental gymnastics meet from start to finish, though it was even more in-depth. The battery of tests revealed that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my brain functioning.

Looking at a range of results typical for people my age, I came out average to above-average on every section of the evaluation; that is, my brain performs as average in most categories, and better than average in several others. This is a relief.

It gives me no excuse, though.

Having found that nothing is going awry with my brain in any biological sense, I’ve self-diagnosed: I’m a ditz. I’m sometimes forgetful, sometimes scattered; I sometimes get preoccupied and lose things and lose track of things. And here I thought I only had the hair of a stereotypical absentminded professor!

(This last week, I managed to lose a new box of Kleenex. I remember removing the cardboard tab from the box and putting it in the recycle bin. A little while later, I went to get a tissue, and I couldn’t find the box. Going all over the house in search of it led to nothing.)

My appointment was last week Friday. It was September 20th, but the V.A. was already getting festive, I was pleased to find. I happened upon these skeleton earrings for $8.00 in the V.A. retail store. Of course I had to buy them and put them on immediately and take a pic! Incidentally, I’ve discovered that the best lighting for selfies in my house is in the dining room side of my kitchen.

Skeleton earrings, plus the Marilyn Manson tee you haven’t seen:


Skeleton earrings from the V.A. retail store


(Skeleton earrings – a closer look)


At any rate, the case of my brain is officially closed. This is me wrapping it up for you. We can now forget this ever happened. Knowing me, I’ll have forgotten by the time you read this.

Happy Friday Eve… and hey! I just realized that this is my last post of September. I’ll share my September Favorites list on Tuesday, and after that, it’s SHORT HORROR OCTOBER, my friends. I’ll preface the series with my updated office tour… yeah, the one I’ve been talking about for the last three months… but that’ll be appropriate for the season.



Hello Tortoise: Geronimo. (Desert tortoise update!)


It’s fall, and Geronimo’s been out in the mornings. He’s also been out in the late afternoons, except for the one day he was supposed to go to his pre-hibernation appointment at the clinic, of course. We went out to get him, couldn’t find him, and eventually discovered him chilling in the back of his burrow, looking out at us through sleepy eyes. He was too tired to go to the doctor, he said. That’s okay, we’ll re-schedule you, we said. (We made it a morning appointment this time.)

For those of you who haven’t met our silly, feisty, lovable, and ridiculously adorable Sonoran desert tortoise, I’ve whipped up a snapshot in words.

Name: Geronimo

Date of birth: c. 1998

Hometown: Sonoran desert

Likes: snacking; digging; greeting people; taking showers; playing in the (outdoor) laundry room, and getting loved on with lots of pets and cuddles

Dislikes: barriers, car rides, and being told he can’t go where he wants to go

Occupation: armored perimeter guard (works a second job as a greeter)

Special skill: yardwork (mowing the lawn and weeding)

Shoe size: extra-wide

Favorite food: hibiscus flowers and Romaine lettuce

Favorite color: magenta

Favorite band: Soundgarden

Favorite T.V. series: Arrested Development

Favorite movies: The Hunger, Transformers, and Tank Girl

Favorite season: spring/fall

Favorite weather: summer rain

Favorite books: Bunnicula, War and Peace, and 100 Years of Solitude

Favorite sport: climbing

Favorite person: yes

Favorite word: “Hello”

Now I’ve got a series of actual snapshots, all taken this morning. As usual, Geronimo only has one thing to say to you: “Hello.” Greeting people is one of his favorite things to do, after all.






















ETA: Bonus pic! I forgot to include this one.




He has a lot of “hellos” to say after a long summer mostly underground during human waking hours. He’s catching up, though. He’s good at that.

The End.

p.s. I’d planned to include videos in this post, but I’ve been foiled by technical difficulties. Apologies for that! I had some good ones, too. Something’s changed, and I have to figure out what. If I can’t, I’ll find another way. We shall have our Geronimo vid clips!



Mundane but significantly awesome. (Updates of the week.)

This week has been satisfying, as in:

…when you have a Body Pump substitute instructor who allows the class to vote out the shoulder track, and your outnumbered ass leaves feeling like you did an incomplete workout, because you did (you didn’t have time to work shoulders on your own), but then the following week’s sub for the same class makes up for it 500% on account of doing the shoulder track and being one of the best instructors ever, regardless.

…when the changing weather brings your scale-baby out of his burrow twice a day, morning and late-afternoon, and you spend as much time with him as possible because mother/tortoise bonding time is important and he needs to eat all of his favorite lettuce and whatever hibiscus flowers can be found on the bushes this late in the season.

—when you’re on a long drive with your friend and your conversation turns to the critical matter of vampires who unknowingly dine on the blood of humans infected with zombie virus, and you debate whether they’re vampire-zombies or zombie-vampires, and you discuss the details of how they’d do life as double-undeads in either case.

…when you’re feeling festive so you dye your hair darker and polish your nails a celestial shade and pick up an antique, haunted mirror and thrift a fake purplish-black pumpkin coated in fake frost that you know will look rad in your office, and it does, in your opinion.

—when you rearrange your favorite soundcloud playlist as appropriate for the season, because summer is officially over in FOUR DAYS, so it’s already Halloween, and no argument is valid.


Ruella, end of summer


Happy Friday Eve!