Lazy Sunday CXXXVII: More Halloween Hijinks

I’m getting a late start tonight, as I’m recovering from last night’s Spooktacular.  It was a good night overall, though attendance was down somewhat from last year.  Still, we had tons of trick-or-treaters (they literally came by the truckloads, with kids dangling off of truck-pulled trailers), and some good music.  I’ll have a full rundown later this week.

For now, it’s HALLOWEEN!  As such, here’s a collection of some recent Halloween-related posts for your delectation:

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Halloween—and that I don’t get any more truckloads of trick-or-treaters, because I am all out of candy!

Happy Halloween!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:


SubscribeStar Saturday: Spooktacular 2021 Preview

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It’s hard to believe, but tonight is another Spooktacular.  It’s technically the third Spooktacular, but it’s the second conducted from my front porch.  The very first “official” Spooktacular was held at a coffee shop in Darlington, South Carolina, in October 2019.  The following October, that coffee shop—along with many others—had shuttered during The Age of The Virus, or had not reopened for live performances.

As such, I decided to try something different:  instead of finding a venue to take me in, I made my home the venue.  I have a front porch that is just big enough to hold four musicians and their gear comfortably (albeit a tight comfort, like a college girl wearing yoga pants to her 8 AM class).

I’ve documented all of this elsewhere, but I will confess I am proud of myself for making it happen (with a follow-up front porch concert in May 2021, the TJC Spring Jam).  It’s not a completely original idea, but I’m glad I was able to turn a bad situation into an opportunity for everyone to have a good time.

Well, tonight is the big night, and I’m not sure what to expect.  Some of my major contributors are not able to attend this year, but my opening act, Jeremy and The Blissters (named in part for Jeremy Miles, no stranger to this blog), possess a dedicated following and should bring out a good crowd.  I’ve also heard from a number of folks who are coming tonight, so I think we will have a good crowd.

All that said, I have the inside scoop on what’s going down tonight, and big crowd or not, it’s going to be a fun time.

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Supporting Friends Friday: Son of Sonnet

The other day I wrote about Quiz Bowl, and briefly mentioned my glory days on middle school Academic Team.  Some things about ourselves never change—I’m coaching quiz bowl over twenty years later—but many, thankfully, do.

For me, an important change is my attitude towards poetry.  As a doughy middle schooler, I thought poetry was terrible.  To my chubby past self’s credit, a great deal of what is presented as poetry is terrible.  Indeed, much of it is worse than bathroom stall doggerel, which at least has to rhyme; possess a sense of rhythm; and be funny.

My appreciation for poetry began to turn around sometime in high school, and continued through college, but even after I started writing my own songs, I still mostly thought poetry was garbage, even as I snapped along politely while waiting my turn to play at various open mic nights.  A few important people helped change my mind:  Jeremy Miles; the folks at Dragon Common Room; and the subject of today’s Supporting Friends FridaySon of Sonnet.

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TBT^2: Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween is nearly here!  This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday, which has thrown everyone into a state of chaos trying to figure out when to trick-or-treat (the correct answer is “Saturday”).

October always passes by so quickly, no matter how much I try to savor the season.  Predictably, it’s gotten warmer here again after a week or so of blissfully autumnal weather, though the forecast for the Spooktacular is looking appropriately cool.  If it gets cool enough, I’ll brew some coffee and make some hot chocolate for guests.  As long as it doesn’t rain, I’m happy!

In the tradition of the last two “Happy Halloween!” posts (the original and last year’s TBT), here is this year’s Jack O’Lantern:

Jack O'Lantern 2021 - Lit on Front Stoop

I don’t have much more to add, so with that, here is 29 October 2020’s “TBT: Happy Halloween!“:

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Quiz Bowlin’

When I was in high school, I played (poorly) on our school’s Academic Team.  Academic Team basically consisted of answering questions about topics that one might learn about during the course of a college preparatory high school education, covering everything from literature and mathematics to history and sports.  It was basically Jeopardy! for high schoolers.

I was—in all humility—a bit of a phenom in middle school, and was the high scorer for Aiken County, South Carolina my eighth grade year.  Then I went to high school, and the difficulty of the questions and the intensity of the practices increased dramatically.  Turns out there is a huge gap between what a kid is expected to know at the end of middle school versus the end of high school.

Still, my love for Academic Team never waned.  When I started teaching, I immediately volunteered to coach my school’s High School Quiz Bowl team (South Carolina Independent School Association [SCISA] schools call it “Quiz Bowl,” rather than “Academic Team”).  I’ve been doing so for ten years.

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Halloween and Spooktacular Preparations

It’s Halloween Week!  Besides Christmas (and probably Spring Break), it’s quite possibly my favorite week of the year.

It’s also the week of my third annual (and second on the front porch) Spooktacular!  As such, I spent a good portion of the weekend making the preliminary preparations for having lots of people sitting on my front lawn for a couple of hours or so.

Among the myriad tasks I completed (such as some long overdue weed eating, and applying more ant bait to the lawn), I engaged in my favorite Halloween season ritual:  carving a Jack O’Lantern!  I picked up a couple of massive pumpkins from Sam’s Club for $7 each, and this one made for particularly attractive gourd.  Just look at its perfectly jaunty, stout stem!

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Dracula (1931)

My local library has been screening the classic Universal Monster Movies every Saturday night this month, which is just about the greatest thing any library has ever done (besides, you know, storing all of that knowledge).  They kicked off the month with 1941’s The Wolf Man, but I think they saved the best for last—1931’s Dracula (this weekend they’re showing a non-Universal Monster flick).

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Lazy Sunday CXXXVI: More Movies IX: Movie Reviews, Part IX

We’re just one week from Halloween, and it looks like some serendipitous timing for this next filmic installment of Lazy Sunday, as the three films this week are either horror films or “horror-adjacent” in nature.  It’s perhaps a bit of an underwhelming example of serendipity, as I now pretty much exclusively watch horror movies on Shudder, but these reviews were from my pre-Shudder days, when I was watching most stuff on Hulu.

Of course, you don’t care about all of that.  You just want to read about movie reviews you probably already skimmed through months ago.  So, on with the retrospective!

  • Monday Morning Movie Review: The Wailing (2016)” – Asian horror is really where all the fresh stuff in horror flicks is coming from these days, or so it seems.  Asians harbor way fewer hang-ups than we do about politically correct stuff, so they’ll make movies that aren’t just agit-prop for Cultural Marxism and Grievance Studies majors.  2016’s The Wailing was a pretty good example of this phenomenon of East Asian horror, but there are far better ones (like 2017’s One Cut of the Dead, a brilliant zombie film that is really a film-within-a-film about making a film).  Also, the movie is excruciatingly long, especially if guttural Korean wailing isn’t your thing.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Color Out of Space (2019)” – My blogger buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire and I published our reviews of The Color Out of Space simultaneously.  You can read his screed against this cinematic butchering of the Lovecraft story here.  We both drew the same conclusions:  it was an insufferable movie, which was really unfortunate because of its Lovecraftian source material and the presence of Nicolas Cage.  Those two combined should make for an insane experience.  Instead, this movie felt like a chore to watch, and none of the characters came across as likeable or sympathetic.  What’s funny, too, is that when I subscribed to Shudder, they were making a big deal about having this film on the streaming service.
    Even Nicolas Cage was bad in this film, and that’s hard to write as a Nick Cage fan.  Here was my assessment from the original:
    “It’s like the uncanny valley:  at a certain point, robots, animatronics, etc., are so realistic, they’re unsettling.  The viewer can tell that something is off, despite the enhanced realism.  In Color, Cage gets so crazy it loses its impact; instead of creating the unsettled feeling one gets around a raving derelict at a late-night bus stop, one gets the unsettled feeling of seeing a robot trying to be life-like.  It’s an unsettling portrayal, to be sure, but not in the way the filmmakers intended.”
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Life Like (2019)” – I watch so many movies, I forget about most of them, even the ones I review.  That was the case with Life Like.  It was a decent film with an intriguing premise, but the wife came off as completely ungrateful for the incredible life she literally had fall into her lap, resulting in a near affair with a not-quite-android.  Yeesh!  I ended my review thusly:  “As Proverbs 21:9 says, it is better to live on the roof of one’s house than with a riotous woman.  We could probably add “hunky robots” to that, too.”

Well, that’s it for this last film retrospective before Halloween.  Here’s to a spooky, fun week!

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Trick-or-Treat When You Want

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One of the more interesting aspects of serving as a Town Councilman is discovering the kinds of matters residents really care about.  While they tend to worry about big issue things—fixing the water system, for example, and keeping their water and sewage bills low—most of their day-to-day concerns are smaller:  getting lawn waste picked up in a timely fashion; being able to pay their water bill conveniently; requesting information about upcoming events.

That’s to be expected:  people have busy lives, and one reason we have representative government is because most folks want someone else to take care of the delivery of basic services.  Just as we expect the electric company to keep the lights on and our ISP to keep the YouTube videos piping in over high-speed connections, residents want their water to flow when they turn on the spigot.  I don’t lie awake at night wondering how to generate electricity because a lot of other capable people are involved in doing just that, and I’m happy to pay them to do it.

But one thing that I have noticed is that there are some matters that people really can figure out for themselves, but they still want some official guidance or direction.  I’ve noticed this most with questions about the time-honored Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating.

The issue is straightforward:  Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, which throws everything into chaos.  Here in the South, our relationship with Halloween is sometimes tenuous at best, although most everyone I know loves it and celebrates it in some way, including trick-or-treating.  But Sundays are for church, not for dressing up as witches and devils and ghosts.  Also, more practically, there is work and school the next day, and no one wants to be out too late.

The big question, then, is, “when do we trick-or-treat?”—or, as I have been asked by residents, “when does the town observe trick-or-treating?”

The Town of Lamar has answered that question:  Saturday, 30 October 2021, from 4-7 PM.  But I am still getting questions about trick-or-treating—more than about any other piece of town business.

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