Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Delilahween

Ugh, Halloween. I am not a fan of Halloween. Which is to say, I loved it dearly as a kid, yet find that none of this joy managed to follow me into adulthood. I wonder — at the risk of stepping on the toes of 100% of my friends who think this holiday is the absolute shit, as opposed to just absolute shit — exactly how repressed you have to be to find Halloween fun past the age of 18. “But I can wear funny outfits! I can stay out late! I can eat AAAAALL THE CANDY AND DRINK AAAAALL THE SCHNAPPS I WANT HAHAHA.” Congratulations. You’re a grown up. You can do whatever the fuck you want. I myself frequently sit around in my Slytherin cape drinking boxed wine while watching A&E, and I call that “Monday night.”

Granted, many of you are also fans of the horror aspects of Halloween, which is just fine for you, but I think we’ve thoroughly covered why that is not okay in our house.

Anyway, so those feelings plus the pressure of coming up with an outfit that combines being sexy, smart, timely, mobile, and cheap enough to justify only wearing it once proved way too much for me — I mean, I already HAD a wedding this year. And I already got scared and cried in public once this year too, when I got lost at the museum. So: staying in, obviously.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really occur to me until this morning that now that we live in a real house in a nice neighborhood, if we stayed in then we would actually be getting some trick-or-treaters. And that was a problem because we are the laziest bastards on the planet. We do not have Halloween decorations, or St. Patrick’s Day decorations, or a Christmas tree, or an Independence Day flag, or even Garbage Day lights. We do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. Neither of us even knows when our anniversary is. Two years ago we kept driving around to stores one day, frustrated and unable to figure out why nothing was open, and had to go home and check the Internet just to find out it was Easter.

But the much bigger problem: Delilah and the doorbell. That was written when we didn’t HAVE a doorbell...AND NOW WE DO. She has broken windows and knocked out screens trying to lunge at people who make the mistake of ringing our doorbell. We could shut her in somewhere, but I’m certain she’s capable of breaking down a door. So I get this brilliant idea to fix my two problems in one: I tape up a sign in the front window that says “Beware of flesh-eating zombie monster dog.” There, now we have a Halloween decoration AND we’ve given everyone fair warning about Delilah. I station myself on the couch in front of the window, armed with my laptop and a bowl of Kit-Kats (and a second bowl, to give to the trick-or-treaters) and I’m ready to go.

Guys, this turns out to be the best idea I have EVER had. Inevitably, a group would come up to the door—to the boring House of No Funnington, with no pumpkins, no cobwebs, no scary light displays—and they would see my little sign, and you’d see the parents’ faces scrunch up and their lips moving slightly as they read the sign and looked around in confusion, seeing nothing indicating a monster decoration of any sort. And then they’d ring the doorbell and WHAM CRASH BARK BARK BARK SNAAAARL ROWF ROWF CRASH THUD THUD THUD this crazed beast would appear out of nowhere and SLAM into the window and everyone would scream bloody murder, one Cinderella would start sobbing, a Frankenstein would go sprinting out the gate, and at least two Spidermans would wet their pants. My GOD it was entertaining. This was WAY better than the guy down the street who sat motionless on his porch dressed as a scarecrow and then jumped out and grabbed people who came by. For one thing, his was a cheap scare, but ours was real danger. Delilah really would eat a trick-or-treater if we let her. Also, we got to keep all our candy. “Trick or treat!” we’d say, our eyes gleaming evilly. “Would you like to pet the flesh-eating zombie?” People seemed to forget about their Snickers and leave in a hurry for some reason.

I should probably leave the sign up year round, shouldn’t I.


(I tried to get a video of this hilarity as it appeared to the trick-or-treaters, but I, being Mommy and therefore unexciting to her, utterly failed to ignite her into a frenzy. It was less “I WILL CONSUME YOUR ETERNAL SOUL” and more “Hurrr durp, Mom, why you outside?” On the upside, I got a decent Fail Video out of it.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Milo's Eyebrows Are at Least 75 Words Each

I can't believe what a neglectful blogger I've been recently, but I have a good reason - I was last seen flailing into the night wearing a bedsheet and shrieking, "I am the Queen of France!" No, seriously, I decided to focus my energies fully on my book for a while, which is coming along just FINE, Mom. Most of you know that I quit my job when I moved to Madison and, with Milo's blessing, made it my full-time career for the short term future to actually finish writing a whole book that didn't have a 25 page interlude in the middle reading nothing but "PEAS PEAS PEAS PEAS PEAS." (It was an artistic gesture, clearly meant to convey "I have no idea what happens next in this plot.") As such, all the ideas, energy, and mental flow I'd normally have stuck up on Livejournal without so much as a cursory proofread instead gets put down in The Book, meticulously shaped, read, reshaped, tinkered over, and eventually deleted when I read it back the next week and decide it couldn't be any more crap if I were possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood.

Anyway, I've finally hit the point of complete despair that happens when you've worked and worked for months on end - promising your husband that yes, very SOON I will have a handsome cash advance in hand for my writing, and yes, I'll stop shopping online until that happens, unless I find a really fancy pair of boots - and my word count is still short. Like, really, REALLY short. I'm working off the rule of thumb that 50,000 words is the bare minimum most publishers will consider, because they cannot justify a $24.95 hardcover list price for a book the size of a grocery list. I just can't seem to reach that number, like someone keeps getting up in the middle of the night and deleting vast swaths of dreck. (Okay, that one's me. But in any case, I routinely read fanfic longer than 50,000 words. How the HELL are you guys doing that and working day jobs and writing your own novels besides?)

Anyway, I was reading Hyperbole and a Half earlier (go forth and cackle until your vocal cords tear, then continue that heaving noiseless laugher until your front is soaked with spittle and blood) and suddenly thought - yes! YES! A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS! All I have to do is include pictures! I mean, I can't draw to save my life, but that hasn't stopped xkcd or Cyanide and Happiness from becoming wildly popular, right?

So, for example, an anecdote about my rogue TomTom can suddenly be made fifty percent longer simply by adding a visual effect:

You'd pay $24.95 for that, right?

Now for a brief teaser of NEVER BEFORE SEEN material, to appear in my upcoming book, coming to your local bookstore just as soon as I finish it, convince an agent to represent me, sell it to a publisher with a reasonable marketing budget, and spend my handsome cash advance on funny hats.

That's $24.95. Tell your friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mallory and the Dream Horse

Does Mallory really need a calendar to prove Saturday doesn't coincide with Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Is it just my imagination, or does this book lightly hint at bestiality? For the love of god, how many people are in Mallory's riding class?

Answers to these pressing questions and more in my recap of Mallory and the Dream Horse over at Baby-Sitters Club Snark!