Random Thursday: Random Costumes and Zombified Love Songs

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

I wish I could blame more of you for more of this . . . but most of it is my fault.

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Vampire slaying kit from 1890s

Vampire Kit 1890

“Cased vampire killing kit, in a rosewood and ebony case with inlaid silver stringing and mother-of-pearl inlaid plaque. Contents include a black powder percussion 2-barrel pistol, a powder horn and bullet mold, bone handled dagger with crucifix, three small crucifixes, mallet and two wooden stakes, book of common prayer, two small framed portraits of Jesus, holy water and four glass vials with crystals.”

(from Dangerous Minds: thanks for sharing this on Facebook, Paula!)

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Parsing the Uncanny

Why Poe’s Raven
(not to mention the tintinnabulations of those danged bells, bells, bells)
gets us every time.

(Thanks Watson!)

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Why did the Turduken Cross the Road?

To get away from the Cthulken:

Cthulken

I don’t blame it one bit.

The brainchild of Rusty Eulberg who hails from Lubbock, Texas (at least on this plane),
the Cthulken combines all the flavorful weirdness
of crab, turkey, octopus, bacon,
with just a soupçon of existential dread.

The story of its conception is here.

You may be thinking
(supposing you’ve recovered from the horror of imagining the carving)
that this is really more of a Thanksgiving random bit.

Maybe so.

But forewarned is forearmed.

(photo borrowed from @damana, which is as far back as I was able to trace)

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Fair’s Fair

Funny-Halloween-constume-for-a-horseoooooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooooo

Earwoooorrrrrmmmmmzzzzz . . . .

I know I’ve shared this once or twice before,

But this song just won’t die . . . in my heart.

Aren’t these the most adorable zombies ever?

I mean, the benchmark’s pretty low, but still.

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Brilliant

‘Cause they probably haven’t eaten all the good candy, yet.

Better go back to last weekend, just to make sure.

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Duuuuuudezzzzzz

Another tender zombie love story,
from a Martian’s POV

Unplanning My Day

Nothing Happened

I’m taking the day off today for no reason.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have reasons.

There’s a list of errands I’d like to get done before Saturday.  I need to do a couple ten loads of laundry, write some e-mails, fills out some forms, meet a deadline or two.  And perimenopause—which is what this had better be, or I’m quitting the biological lifestyle for good—is making certain things suck in a truly sucky way that makes me want to build a statue to the creators of Midol, sit on the top of it, and keep the pigeons away with the sheer power of my unreasonable irritation with everything ever, and also Jane’s marshmallow gun, because pigeons are not only naturally immune to annoyed glares, they appear to thrive on them.

But what I really need a day off without expectations.

I don’t have any appointments today.  The children are at school.  The library patrons are at the library. My MIL has no appointments she needs to be driven to and my husband is teaching classes.  The cat, who has developed the nasty habit of howling in the bathrooms at 3am, has fallen silent.

Nobody needed me this morning.  I didn’t have anything I needed to do.

So I slept in a little, got up to take a shower in a pre-warmed bathroom, dressed in my ugliest Not Leaving The House separates, and bestowed hugs and lunchbags on the kids before my husband took them to school (the kids and the lunches, though I hope the hugs went, too).  I sat down with a mug of coffee and a slice of homemade rice bread and did the sudoku in the paper, something I never have the time or the pencil to do in the morning.  It took me a while without the help of the familiar electronic grid, but that was fine.

Just in case I might want to go out to lunch somewhere when my husband returns from his morning classes, I started a load of laundry. I read a little, which led me to edit a bit I’m doing for a new Round Robin project, which led me to write a letter—a real one, longhand, with an envelope and everything—to a friend.  I put the laundry in the dryer, brushed my hair, and then chose to brush my teeth over having another cup of coffee.

I turned on the computer, wished my SIL a happy birthday on Facebook, finalized my Halloween costume, and brainstormed the next couple of steps on two projects, without worrying about carrying out any of those plans, and ended up with several pages of notes.

I didn’t quite sign up for Nanowrimo, but I thought about it.

And now I’m here, writing a blog post that might be the closest thing to a Must Do I’ll have until the kids come home at four.

For someone who had no To Do List, I seem to be compiling a pretty good Have Done List.

Funny how that works . . .

 

Too Tired to Type

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Cleaning Up)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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Between last week’s snippet and this, Sergeant Janet Kyle of the Talbot City Police left Tom Mahon’s detective agency to cart away the werewolf assassin (which is too refined a word for him, if you ask me) whom Tom shot multiple times (and cuffed in healing-retardant silver) during the course of the first chapter and whom his partner, Turner, tossed out of a fifth story window (in order to avoid  nosy neighbors in the elevator—mostly).

I skipped a little banter among Kyle, Tom, and Turner that didn’t readily fit into the eight sentence limit.

I’m mentioning  all this so you won’t have to go back and read through all the Sundays from here to make sense of the sentences below—though you’re certainly welcome to!

Mop

“She thinks you’re trainable,” Turner said. “That’s a step up.  So, where do we start?”

“With the floors, before the blood sets,” I said absently, “and it’s your turn.”

“You made the mess,” he said.

“Not on the pavement, I didn’t.”

“Forecast says rain tonight.”

I sighed and went to get the mop.

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Thus endeth chapter one.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue sharing bits from this particular WIP; this seems like a good enough place to stop and I’m leery of sharing too much.

I may be taking the month of November off anyway to do Nanowrimo (or maybe a half-Nano) but I haven’t decided anything for certain.

For those of you who are doing Nano—are you going to keep up your Sunday snippets as well?

Should we maybe try a NanoSnippet November?

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And while we’re figuring that out:

A good friend of mine is a member of The Hamilton Writers Guild
(that’s Hamilton, Ohio)
and she asked me to mention their annual Harvest Gold General Fiction Writing Contest.

All fees go to the prizes
and no Hamilton Writer’s Guild members past or present can enter.

It’s absolutely legitimate and at 2000 words,
absolutely doable for most of us, within the extended November 24th deadline—
even for Nano-ers!

Take a look below and if you have any questions, click the image (or here) for the Writers Guild website.

HWG Harvest Gold Contest November 201410222014_0000

(Thanks for the heads-up, Terry!)

Random Thursday: From the Library of Random

It’s Random!  It’s Thursday!  It’s . . . you know the drill.

By the time this post is up, I will be at the state library conference, attempting to ingest enough caffeine to compensate for waking up at 4:30am in order to leave the house at 5:30am to get the library van at 6am so my fellow zombies librarians and I can arrive at the conference around eight.

That’s a lot of am to overcome.  Wish me luck.

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Meet Kuzma

Russian Library Cat

Click the image for more adorable photos and a video.

Kuzma is the new library assistant at a children’s library in Novorossiysk, Russia.

He wears a bow tie and is paid in cat food and skritches.

I’d wear a bow tie, too, if I could sleep on the job . . .

Kuzma, by the way, means “order” and “arrangement”, which isn’t a bad name for a library cat.

Library Cat

We totally would, too.

(I don’t remember who sent me this first, but thank you Dee, Lisa and Vannie!)

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Speaking of Librarians . . .

What did you think we do all day?

Shelve books or something?

(Thanks, ‘firstmausi!)

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All the World’s a Library

You know those Little Free Libraries popping up all over the place?

They just went free range.

BookCrossing Logo

BookCrossing is the equivalent of literary geocaching
or the environmentally sound equivalent of releasing a balloon with a postcard on it.

It’s simple:

Select a book from your own vast collection.

Go to BookCrossing.com and

BookCrossing2

I’m told that there are a couple of  “official” BookCrossing stations around,
but most of the time, people just leave them on buses, street benches, coffee shop tables, airplanes, wherever.

Since I tend to do that anyway, I might as well tag ‘em first!

I’ll report the results . . . once I can choose a book.

Who’s with me?

If you try this, let me know how it goes!

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Be Honest

All you library staff out there:

When you’re alone at home, do you do Dewey?

chickendeweys

Or do you just say, “Chuck it”?

Shelf Reading Cat

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Again!  Again!

If only because of Christian Kane’s “fraud” line—if you’re a fan of Leverage, you know why.

I wonder if this show will help fill the hole in my heart where that one used to be.

Nah.

But I’ll bet it finds it’s own place in there somewhere.

Passing Glasses

dorothy-parker-quote-men-seldom-make-passes-at-girls-who-wear-glassesI was four or five when I started wearing glasses.

I hated them.

They were heavy—this was when glasses were made of Real Glass—and made my nose hurt and my eyes look too small and they lost themselves twice a day and  broke about twice a month.*

But it was either wear ‘em or walk through a world that looked like it was covered in soft-lit fuzz, but still hurt when you tripped over it or walked into it,

So I endured steamed up lenses and sweat-slick frames and clip-on sunglasses and the conviction—supported by my gleeful sister, who didn’t have to have braces, either—that Dorothy Parker was right, until I turned fifteen** and my mother took me to an optometrist who specialized in contacts.

molested1

I was overjoyed.

Contacts hurt at first, but not as much as being the weird kid with the glasses.

Turns out, I was a weird kid anyway and it would have saved time and endless agony if Dorothy Parker had offered a longer list of all the other qualities boys passed over *** or wrote a pithy poem about how to overcome one’s crippling self-esteem issues enough to notice when a boy was making a rare pass.^

But I was unwilling to give up on my Dreams of Normalcy—as defined by my assumptions of what other people assumed it was—and somehow ended up with the core belief that I Could Not Wear My Glasses In Public, lest dogs howl, small children cry, or well-meaning adults say things like, “Smarts count more than looks, anyway.”

It didn’t matter that some of the popular girls  in high school and some of my cousins and friends wore glasses and looked really good in them—they had attractiveness to spare and obviously weren’t  battling my natural deficits.

So I wore contacts—or sometimes just one, if the other escaped down the drain or disintegrated—outside the house or in front of anyone outside of my immediate family, or my ophthalmology clinic, for twenty-eight years.^^  I could go months without wearing my glasses at all, especially when I switched to extended wear disposables, bless them.

But then some things happened.

I finally met some of my favorite online friends face-to-face and (reluctantly) agreed to have my picture taken by and with them.  I survived the experience, and so did the cameras.

My doctor told me that some of my headache problems were most likely caused by eyestrain from wearing contacts for too many hours at a time in front of too many electronic devices and backlit rolls of microfilm.  Since the lenses on my glasses are anti-glare, she suggested that I wear them more often.

I set a new personal budget that is a bit stricter than my previous non-existent one.

And I ran out of left contacts.

According to my budget, contacts are luxury items.  And until I save up enough to get more,^^^I’m stuck with my glasses.

Oddly, at this point, this was more of an annoyance than a devastating tragedy, maybe because I know have family and good friends  and a husband who don’t care what I look like—or actually think I look pretty good.

Or maybe I’ve matured along the way somewhere.  Or at least run out of non-essential give a damn, which appears to be much the same thing.

Regardless, I started wearing my glasses to work.

It’s been a surprising experience.

I’d already figured out that my teenage paranoia was unfounded and my glasses aren’t a sign that the Ugly has finally claimed Its Own. I knew my colleagues wouldn’t point and laugh or call me four-eyes, at least to my face. And I’m so used to thoughtless comments from patrons I wasn’t especially braced for ‘em.

But I never expected all the compliments.

Glasses

Apparently, my big, black rimmed frames, chosen because they were cheap and relatively comfortable, aren’t considered BCGs¹ anymore—they’re retro.  In a good way.

In fact, according to most of the people who bothered to notice I was wearing them2, they’re flattering. They pull my “look” together.

How cool is that? I had no idea I had a “look”, let alone one that could be pulled together, but it’s a relief to know the specs don’t clash with whatever it is.

I even wore them to the Piano Guys concert, where I met another wonderful online friend, who looks awesome in her glasses.

So here I am.

Wearing glasses.

Having a “look.”

And yeah, these things still weigh on my nose and they steam up and slide down and smear and I can’t stick pencils behind my ear anymore, no matter how hard I try.  Chopping onions for the first time without the protection of contacts was definitely a Learning Experience™, as was opening the dishwasher, right after it stopped.

So was trying to put on sunglasses, which I attempted a few times before it dawned on me that the reason it wouldn’t work is that I hadn’t removed my pair.

I’d forgotten I had them on.

dorothy-parker-quote-i-shall-stay-the-way-i-am-because-i-do-not-give-a

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*Could someone please tell me why items made to assist people who can’t see well are held together with screws so tiny that fully sighted people have trouble manipulating them without the aid of a powerful magnifier and the devil’s own luck?  And heaven help you if you lose one in a carpeted room . . .

**Barring a brief time around fifth grade when something—probably the dawning of acute astigmatism—warped my eyeballs into something that approached normal until it went too far.

***Or perhaps added a simple couplet:  “Because, until they mature, / They’re asses.”

^ Or so I was told about twenty years after the fact.

^^ The one time I did wear my glasses out—I was off sick, but still had to drive the kids to school—I received my first and only traffic ticket for nearly sideswiping a county squad car during an improper lane change.  It wasn’t the 102-degree fever, you understand—it was the glasses.

^^^Or decide to rock the eyepatch look—or squint like Popeye—until I run out of righties.  Halloween IS coming up . . .

¹Birth Control Glasses.  It’s a military term, like SNAFU.

²It took my sixth grader three days.  My second grader immediately started wearing her lens-free fashion frames so she could be as “pretty as Mommy.” I feel like Queen Lear.