Equinox greetings – and hello, Halloween season!

Exciting times! It’s fall, it’s autumn, it’s Mabon (if you follow the Wheel of the Year). I wanted to post here yesterday when it was officially the first day of the new season. It was the start of the dark months – for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, anyway. But this transition being an equinox means that in both the northern and southern hemispheres, whether we’re moving into the dark months from the light, or into the light months from the dark, we’re all balanced at the edge of one as we move into the other. I love this. I love the equinoxes.

For me, personally (and somehow in the fall more than in the spring), the equinox is a time to energetically perceive and appreciate the balance of light and dark… and so it’s a time that has me feeling an especially deep connection with the divine in nature. I think this is because the temporal balance between the light months and the dark ones inspires me to examine what’s balanced in my life; I find myself in a place of introspection where I can evaluate what changes I need to make in order to achieve balance as a whole. I know that I’m imperfect and I always will be, but still, I try to be a better human being as I walk this Earth. The angst that comes with surviving the trials of this mortal coil comes to light as the year turns dark, and I look inward in search of ways I can even it all out. It’s like a sort of quieting-down as I assess and reflect.

On a different note, there’s another hallmark of this equinox that has me all excited: Halloween Season!! All things horror! We’re coming up on SHORT HORROR OCTOBER, my friends. I’ve been viewing and vetting tons of horror shorts so I can share my favorites with you every day that I post in October. I can’t share my favorites if I haven’t seen them ALL, now, can I? But to watch all of them is an outright impossibility. There are thousands.

Not going to lie. I put this little living-room corner together the day after Summer Solstice. Haha!

The End, and the beginning. Happy new season to you!

Halloween 2020! “Happy Halloween,” “Wet Willy,” and “Dinah” (Short Horror October, post 9)

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween a second time today! In case you missed it, I posted briefly this afternoon to share my Halloween playlist with you.

We’re past the witching hour. The last of the trick-or-treaters have long gone. This was the first year families brought their kids to this street! As a just-in-case, I bought a small bag of candy in the 11th hour this afternoon and filled up a caldron/bowl thing from a previous Halloween and set it outside on the wooden beams next to Michael Myers. I wrote HELP YERSELVES on a piece of cardboard and set that in there, too. The families still rang the doorbell, though, and I opened the door so the kids could scream TRICK OR TREAT!!!!! before I directed them to the caldron of candy.

Not going to lie, guys. Costumed children joyfully trick-or-treating brought a little tear to my eye as our country struggles with the pandemic under what seems to be the penumbra of a civil war. The children’s exuberance drew an emotional response from me. It’s like for one night before potential chaos ensues, they got to skip down the street in costumes, laughing and shrieking and collecting candy as their parents stood by having just as good a time.

It just made everything seem so normal.

But why was everyone shrieking when they arrived, you might be wondering? Because of Michael Myers. Ol’ Michael was a huge hit out there. The reactions were priceless! I could hear them as I sat here in my office, shrieks and laughter and loud exclamations in front of the house, and I knew that trick-or-treaters were afoot.

Tonight was beautiful. As I’d rhapsodized in a previous post, our Halloween moon is a full, blue moon in Taurus, a special astronomical and astrological circumstance. On a personal level, the full moon in Taurus resonates especially deeply, I think, because Taurus is my rising sign.

Of course I went outside and tried to take pics of the moon with my cell phone! There was a cloud cover that obscured it, but my phone is a Google Pixel, so I got some pics that I like nonetheless. This pic is raw and untouched, as usual:

 

Halloween 2020, full blue moon in Taurus

 

I love the history of this holiday, too. It started in ancient times as Samhain, the Celts’ seasonal celebration, and then the Romans came along and conquered Britain and imposed their Autumn Festival revelries onto Samhain as they wanted to do away with the native Celts. (A familiar story, this business of conquerors on a mission to destroy the natives.) In turn, the Pope eventually crashed the party and insisted on giving the day a religious makeover by dubbing it “All Saints Day,” because he wanted to convert the pagan Romans to Christianity. (Another familiar story, this business of The Church on a mission to Christianize the pagans by taking their holidays and renaming them to fit with Christianity.) But this, as you probably know, is how we got this holiday. “Hallow” is another word for “saint,” so All Hallows Day, November 1st, is just All Saints Day by another name. The night before All Hallows Day is All Hallows Eve, which was popularly shortened to “Halloween.” Thank you, 7th-century Pope, for giving us this holiday!

In their celebration of Samhain, the ancient Celts respected that the end of summer brought in a transitional time of the year during which the veil between worlds was the thinnest. Spirits of the dead could slip back into the world during this time.

This year, I’ve really been feeling the ancient holiday of Samhain. My nods to it were simple, following the Celts’ cautionary practices of dressing up in scary costume, setting out a Jack-O-Lantern, and offering up treats. The Celts dressed up to be scary on Samhain in order to ward off the darkly mischievous spirits. With respect to this tradition, I dressed up to be scary on Friday and went in to work as a psycho surgeon:

 

Yours Truly, at work

 

I then went home and took some selfies. We had half the day off in observance of Halloween… another holiday first for me!

 

Halloween 2020! Yes, I’m wearing a wig.

 

Halloween 2020, in character as a psycho surgeon.

 

Now for the moment I’ve been dreading: our final horror short films of Halloween 2020. I’ll start with this little gem: Happy Halloween, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 3:49.

 

 

This next one isn’t what you’d think it’d be; I’m still scratching my head over its title. Here’s Wet Willy, Gore score: 3. Run-time: 4:28.

 

 

And for tonight’s feature presentation, I bring you Dinah, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:05.

 

 

The End, until 2021! I’m about to get busy watching all the short horror I can in the next 365 days so I can stash away my favorites to share with you in next year’s Short Horror October.

Happy November, my friends. Until next week!

 

 

The penultimate! “Rickety Lady,” “And the Baby Screamed,” and “Skickelsen” (Short Horror October, post 8)

Halloween is three days away! I’m all the way into it, starting with the music I’ve been listening to the most. The Halloween 2020 playlist I put together on Spotify is short and basic, but it does the job.

Let me tell you what music really spooks me, though. (Because there’s music for enjoyment, right, and then there’s music for getting creeped-out.) I discovered one playlist out there that makes my spine sweat ice, and that would be “Blair Witch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).” I don’t know whether you have to have seen The Blair Witch Project in order to be provoked by the film’s soundtrack album, so I can’t say objectively that it’s a spooky set of sounds. How about for a fun Halloween experiment, click “play” on the soundtrack I’ve handily provided here and just have the sounds going in the background as you do your things.

 

 

Let the festivities begin, yes? No? I find it to be spooky, anyway. I love this soundtrack. It makes me want to watch The Blair Witch Project again.

As for dressing up, why yes, I have a Halloween costume this year. I won’t say what it is yet, but I took a pic of these props:

 

Pens. Clearly, I’m easily amused.

 

And about today’s films, already!

To my exaggerated dismay, only two Short Horror October blog posts remain in this year’s series. There’s this one and there’s Saturday’s and that’s it for 2020. I’m going to double or triple the films in these remaining posts so I can share more with you. Two of the three I’m posting tonight are short-short. Let’s start with those!

Together, these first two films amount to a mere six minutes. I’ll start with The Rickety Lady, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 2:30.

 

 

Next up, we have And the Baby Screamed. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 3:27.

 

 

Moving on to our superb feature presentation, we’ve got Skickelsen. If you’re not Swedish, you’ll want to turn on Closed Captions, as this is a Swedish film. You might want to dim your lights, too; this short film is dark in its lovely Scandinavian noir way. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 13:51.

 

 

Happy almost-Halloween Eve!

 

 

Oh, Michael. “Lane 9” (Short Horror October, post 7)

It’s Saturday night on the 24th of October. Halloween is one week away. Saturday the 31st will arrive under a full moon, and a full moon in Taurus, no less – our first Taurus full moon on All Hallows Eve since 2001. I can already feel and rejoice in the charge of this powerful, impending full moon that will oversee 2020’s ancient celebration of Samhain. What a magical thing to occur in the middle of a pandemic that’s stolen most of our year!

And I’m feeling it. Every day is Halloween for the next seven days. To start, I finally got Michael Myers where he needed to be. It was somewhat of a journey for him that started in my living room one week ago, as you’ve already seen (unless you haven’t):

Greetings.

Michael was originally going to come to work with me, but that idea went horribly wrong when I tried to put him in my car in the dark of night on my dimly lit street. The length of him fit in the car from the very end of the trunk to the front seat, but I couldn’t get his heavy base all the way in and his leg detached from his pelvis as I struggled with him, so when I finally gave up, I had to wrestle him out of the car backwards with his slippery leg dangling loose inside his thin, slippery mechanic’s suit and I eventually managed to get my left arm around his torso and my right arm up in his crotch so I could try to grip his butt that was the only remotely grippable thing on him and extricate him from the trunk that way while I prayed the neighbors weren’t watching the spectacle of me wrangling with a body in the trunk of my car, and just then, his head fell off and rolled a little ways toward the sidewalk. I gathered him up as best as I could and dragged him to the front of the car, and that’s how I found myself looking down at a partially dismembered and decapitated Michael Myers lying on my driveway in the white glare of the motion-sensor lights above the garage door, and I was done dealing with him for the night. I left him there.

You’re welcome, Jamie Lee Curtis.

The next morning I brought him into the house, undressed him, and detached his remaining limbs before I dumped the lot of him on the bed in the spare bedroom with no plan for him whatsoever. I was on my way to work, and he wasn’t coming with me. I hadn’t thought about his future beyond that original idea.

He was probably more comfortable here than on the driveway.

One week later, he’s standing in front of the house looking out at the street, as Michael Myers does.

He came home.

I moved Michael in a little closer to the door, figuring that a post further away from the driveway would make things more daunting for the fool who considers stealing him.

Honestly, I’d be amused to see anyone try to take Michael. Their attempt would surely end in the same frustration that befell me. His limbs don’t lock on tightly; if you hold him the wrong way while moving him, they fall off. He’s about 6′, 3″ when he’s attached to his base. He’s slippery, bottom-heavy, and ungainly.

He has one job: greet the mail carrier.

For tonight’s brilliantly crafted horror short, I wanted to share Lane 9 with you. In addition to being done very well, it’s one of the most original films I’ve seen. This is Lane 9, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 14:52. Settle in for 15 minutes of some truly unique horror content!

The end… until Tuesday!

Laughing all the way to the blood bank. “Facility 4” (Short Horror October, post 6)

You know what has me worried where this whole COVID business is concerned? My blood. I have Type A blood, aka Type Higher Risk of COVID Infection with Severe Illness and Organ Failure.

Type O blood, the most common type, is Type Less Likely to Get Infected with COVID and Less Likely to Experience Severe Illness and Complications.

Type A is at higher risk of getting the virus, longer time spent in ICU, and interventions such as kidney dialysis. Type O is greater resistant to the virus, milder symptoms, less time in ICU, if any at all, and easier, faster recovery.

[::shakes fist at genes::]

I’ve also read, though, that these findings are not a reason for blood Type A people to freak out, or for blood Type O people to drop their guard. Everyone still needs to Keep Calm and Wear Their Masks and Wash Their Hands and Practice Social Distancing.

There. Now that I’ve thrown my little woe-is-me fit, we can…. Oh, wait, there’s more to this that makes me nervous, which I’ll share for those of you following my health adventures:

My lungs still haven’t fully recovered from the pneumonia I had back in January. Ten months later, my doctor found lingering tightness in my lungs when she listened to my breathing. (This was a couple of weeks ago when I went in for my flu, pneumonia, and cortisone shots.) She now has me using a nebulizer four times a day to help with my breathing, though I’m a terrible patient and I only do it once or twice.

For the most part, I’ve been ignoring my ridiculous lungs. I’m still going beastmode in my workouts, as I enjoy doing. I grabbed these screenshots from today’s self-critique video clips:

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Regardless, with my age (50+), Type A blood, and long-term effects of pneumonia going on, I’m feeling a little vulnerable to the virus right about now. Doctor’s orders are to take extra precautions while I go about life. Stay home as much as possible. Avoid hanging out with people outside of my “bubble.” Avoid going out to eat, or anywhere else unnecessary, for that matter. Avoid being stressed out as much as possible.

To follow that last bit of advice, I’ll move past this topic and get on with Short Horror October, already! I’ve got your excellent horror short of the mid-week sitting right here.

This is Facility 4, Gore score: 3. Run-time: 14:53

 

 

My little rant was somewhat related to the film, wasn’t it? That was the idea.

Thank you for reading and watching and hanging out with me here, my friends.

 

 

Mannequin shenanegans + “Vexed” and “The Cost of Living” (Short Horror October, post 5)

As of a sort-of collab with my friend, there is, as of today, a mannequin dressed as Michael Myers standing in my living room.

 

Michael Myers in the house

 

He’s nowhere near as creepy as the mannequin without the mask, though, in my opinion.

 

Maskless mannequin

 

This mannequin is just a little too intense for me with that piercing stare. You have to be standing in front of it at my height in order to fully appreciate this. I was relieved to put the Michael Myers mask over its head! I’ll be further relieved when I get the mannequin to its final destination in the next day or two. For now, I’ve got Mr. Myers standing in front of the living room window.

Nenette was very suspicious just now when she walked out to the living room to inspect him, but she wasn’t too spooked. I have a little video that I took of her doing the inspecting, but it proved to be too large when I posted it here – it takes up too much space on the screen. You can’t see the top and bottom of the video without scrolling up and down, and then what’s the point? So I’m thinking that maybe I should post my videos to YouTube so I can share them here the way I do the short horror films.

Speaking of, I have two for you tonight. Have at it!

The first excellent horror short is Vexed. I’m not going to say a word about this one, because anything I tell you might ruin it for you. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 12:59

 

 

This next one’s called The Cost of Living. I wanted to include a film in the genre that it represents (you’ll soon know which one that is), and it’s less than five minutes long, so it’s a good complement to Vexed. They’ve got it labeled as a horror comedy. Honestly, I don’t see the comedy in it, but you might! Gore score: 1. Run-time: 4:27

 

 

Farewell for now, my friends!

 

 

Monster Mash. “Latched” (Short Horror October, post 4)

We had Monday off from work in observance of Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples’ Day, so today feels like a Tuesday. This is not a bad thing. Nenette also had the day off, though she didn’t know it. We’ve never had this particular holiday off from work before. It was good to reflect on it at home.

 

She was too chill to be mad when she woke up with a camera in her face.

 

I must say that I’m feeling a bit off my game right now, because I just spilled an enormous cup of water all over my desk. The water spared nothing in its path: computer, speaker, mousepad, floor, wall, etc. I’m actually surprised that I’m sitting here in front of the same laptop. It was thoroughly soaked, as in, I lifted it up from a puddle of water. The real horror involved in this post was watching water drip from the vents. Honestly, I’m not sure how this thing is working right now, but it is, 30 minutes and five rags later.

[NOTE TO SELF (that I shouldn’t have to make, because duh): a large, ill-placed black cup on a black desk in a dimly lit room = high disaster potential. Don’t be a dumbass.]

So let’s get straight into today’s Short Horror October selection, shall we? You’re in for something different this time, my friends. The films I’ve posted thus far have been of the paranormal horror  sub-genre, whereas this one, Latched, is a creature-feature. It’s quite original for a monster movie, or for any horror flick, for that matter. You’re not going to win any prizes if you play horror trope bingo while watching it. Also, I was impressed by the unusually sound choices made by the unusually quick-witted heroine. But enough of this! I’ll let you discover it for yourselves.

Without further ado, here’s Latched. Gore score: 3. Run-time: 16:38

 

 

Until Saturday night, then!

 

 

Taurus rising + new Pacifica perfumes. Most importantly, “Vicious” (Short Horror October, post 3.)

Beginning with random: Have you ever noticed how a pink Himalayan salt lamp resembles another planet?

 

A planet with its interior sun

 

First, I wanted to say that Pacifica’s new Natural Origins line of vegan, cruelty-free perfumes are quite spooky and evocative. I tried out three of them today, as I’m looking for a new fragrance. They’re lovely. I’ve never written a perfume review before, and I’m not writing one now, but I’ll share my thoughts upon experimenting with these three. I jotted some short notes:

“High Vibration”
This smells like good luck.
It smells like sandalwood incense at midnight in a jasmine garden
It smells like somewhere you’d go to get a tarot reading
It smells like secrets

“Cosmosis”
This smells like my forgotten dream entombed in a bottle.
It smells like a forbidden carnival
It smells like sugared violets and berry-infused sweet cream
It smells like an afterthought

“Kindred Spirit”
This smells like an attic haunted by the ghost of an incurable romantic.
It smells like a sachet you’d tuck into the satin lining of a coffin
It smells like an immortal grandmother
It smells like a Victorian death

I can’t decide which one I like the best. They’re all beautiful as they dry down and warm to the body, and they’re so light and close to the skin that likely no one but me would be able to smell them.

~~~~~

Now! For tonight’s Short Horror October selection, I’ve got Vicious for your creepy viewing pleasure. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:53

 

 

Until Wednesday, my friends.

 

 

 

There wasn’t even a moon to blame. “Klown Skool” and “La Noria” (Short Horror October, post 2.)

“Every day is Halloween!” I came home from work today and changed my t-shirt and put a little make-up on my face and did my go-to vampire lipstick to take this derpy selfie for you:

Left the lipstick on my teeth because vampires don’t care if they get blood on theirs. [7 October 2020]

I took this pic out in my laundry room. I love it in there, and the natural lighting is ideal. I persist in my apathy when it comes to adjusting lighting and whatnot in pics. I don’t care to learn it, so I go where the light is good.

Also in the spirt of the season, let me tell you…

one of the creepiest sounds I could ever hear is that of my doorbell echoing through the house in the middle of the night, followed by the quick, rhythmic rap-rap-a-rap-rap, rap-rap! knock, and then by evenly paced, louder pounding. I’d been asleep when this happened two nights ago. I live alone. I do not answer my door when someone pounds on it after ringing the bell well after midnight. The urgency of it heightened all of my senses and propelled me out of bed.

I walked swiftly down the hallway and stopped where it opens into the living room. I waited. Nothing further. After standing on alert for a good few minutes, I went into my office and carefully raised the window blind just enough to see out from the bottom. I didn’t find anyone on my front patio, but I noticed two guys walking onto the driveway of the house directly across from me, coming from the side. They were preceded by the light of their bright flashlights, targeting the windows of the house across the street and the one on the other side further down. They also went around to the sides of the houses.

Ringing my doorbell and knocking and pounding and then walking up the street shining flashlights into my neighbors’ windows in the dead of night? Yeah, I got on the phone with Tempe Police.

The person who answered the phone told me that it’d probably been police officers at my door. She said that an intruder had broken into the house next door to me… the bro house… and the cops probably wanted my permission to enter my backyard to see whether the intruder had jumped the wall between our yards. She said that they had several officers on the scene, and she advised me to stay up and stand by in case they needed to come back over to question me.

I hung up and went back to my office window to continue spying. I did indeed count four police vehicles parked along both sides of the street, and a fifth one on the street perpendicular. I watched the cops canvassing the area, and other cops standing around in discussion. Then I went back to bed.

The next morning (yesterday morning), I drove my sleep-deprived ass to work and walked in feeling totally alert and awake, because on my short drive there, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe the person ringing my doorbell and knocking and pounding wasn’t a cop. Maybe it was the intruder, themselves! Wouldn’t the cops identify themselves with “TEMPE POLICE” while trying to get me to open the door? The woman on the phone at the station had said that it was “probably” a cop at my door. She couldn’t know for sure.

Whatever the case, the whole incident left me thinking that maybe I should get window coverings for the window and sliding glass door in my kitchen and dining rooms, because what if someone ever does jump the wall or the fence? Last thing I want is to be watched from my own backyard. My kitchen and dining room comprise a brilliant fishbowl when it’s dark outside. The situation is bad for my PTSD, in general.

~~~~

Let’s get on with today’s Short Horror October film selections, shall we?!

One of these two short films made my scalp prickle with the creeps, and the other one made me cry. It’ll be obvious which one was which after you watch them both. These excellent films are low on the gore-score.

First, I’ll present you with Klown Skool, if I may. Gore score: 1.5. Run-time: 5:47

Next, we’ve got La Noria. This one is a proverbial feast for your eyes, my friends. It’s an animated film, and it is absolutely breathtaking. I recommend that you watch this film even if you’re not a fan of horror. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 12:59

See you again late on Saturday night!

Let the ghoulfest begin! “Oscar’s Bell” and “Not Alone in Here” (Short Horror October, post 1 + little life updates)

October got off to an auspicious start when, at work, a couple of co-workers and I speculated as to whether you could claim workman’s comp for demonic possession. We weren’t even talking along the lines of October or Halloween. It came up naturally in brief, in-passing conversation. We were laughing and joking about it, of course, but in retrospect, it was a little spooky.

Here at home, I changed out the t-shirt on my office closet:

 

Michael Myers, my favorite boogeyman of lore from Halloween (1978), my favorite classic horror flick

 

Speaking of, you know how your phone will periodically display a message about system updates ready to be installed? And you can either click to start the process, or click to delay it by setting a future time? On my old phone, I could delay it as often as I needed to. On my new phone – the message recently came up for the first time – I was able to delay the updating maybe three or four times before it stopped giving me a choice. The last time the notification popped up, there was no option to delay, no way to bypass the message. The only thing I could do was click to start the system updates installation process, and my phone was out of commission until it was completed. It took a good while.

Over my annoyance, I could only think but what if I was in a horror movie with Michael Myers stalking me in the house? The updating took long enough that if I needed to call 9-1-1 in the event of a deranged intruder creeping around with a weapon, I would be dead before I could get into my phone to place the call. My phone will have decided that I delayed the system updates installation too many times, and my punishment was murder.

Truly a dangerous idiosyncrasy of the phone, if you ask me. It’s the only thing about this phone that I don’t like, but it’s an important thing. We need our phones in case of emergencies. If the phone insists on installing system updates before you can place an emergency call….

But I still love my phone. And now that I know how it is, I’ll allow the updates sooner. I’ll set it to install them while I’m sleeping. Lesson learned, Google.

Little life update: I took yesterday afternoon off to go to the V.A. to address my hand issue, and I managed to get everything done! I didn’t have to make another appointment with orthopedics after seeing my primary care doctor, after all. Ortho took me as a walk-in. All told, I got my annual physical, a flu shot in my left arm, a pneumonia shot in my right arm (recommended because I had pneumonia back in January), and the cortisone injection in my left thumb. I got stuck with all kinds of needles, and I was so happy about it. (More on the cortisone injection forthcoming.)

~~~~~

On that note, let’s talk about short horror films! I’ve been watching and selecting these excellent titles for months upon months in anticipation of Short Horror October, and today, I’m posting the first two for your spooky viewing pleasure. This year, I’m going to give each short film what I’ll call a “gore score” (on a scale of 1-10, with 1 having little to no gore, and 10 being extremely gory) as a warning to you who may not be into gore. Today’s films involve no gore at all. Turn your lights off – or down, at least, so you can properly see the pictures – and enjoy!

This first one is called Oscar’s Bell. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:57

 

 

Next, we have Not Alone in Here. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 6:18

 

 

More to come, my friends. Stay safe out there!