Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm An Idiot

...but that's no secret. 

I'm talking about a very specific shortcoming, however, and that is that I somehow come into possession of amazing crap that I promptly lose.  Things that are pretty cool to begin with, and then within 10 years become ridiculously valuable.  Things I've loved and lost, and will never stop kicking myself over include:

Joan Jett Barbie
This was a 30th birthday gift from my now ex-girlfriend's older sister.  I'd like to pretend that this was a token of her acceptance of our relationship (it wasn't) or a subtle nod to her own deeply closeted homosexuality (How're your shoes doing in there Champ?), but it was neither.  Turned out she had no idea what I'd like, and her sister helpfully pointed this amazeballs toy out to her.

About a month later, my girlfriend and I had a major falling out and temporarily broke up.  In a fit of vindictive assholery, she chucked Joan Jett out with the garbage.  I'm actually a little (a lot) sadder about the fact that she felt some foolish need to toss my An Amphigorey by Edward Gorey out as well, or at least I was until I saw how much Joan is going for on eBay.

Image courtesy of Girl Meets Tennessee

Friday The 13th Pumpkin
Back in the roarin' 80's, my mom owned a video store.  She got a lot of promotional crap whenever new releases hit the shelves, but didn't display all of it.  She'd had some grand idea of suspending our Friday The 13th pumpkin from the ceiling, but for whatever reason couldn't make that dream a reality.  So I inherited it.  We'd had a compressed air pump from our giant inflatable dinosaurs, so I blew that sucker up and played giant beach volleyball in my livingroom.  I kept it in my bedroom, to look at and devise weird games involving it.  I probably named it.  I have no idea what happened to it, but it was either cat related or my mom got tired of my shit (there'd be an outright ban on all horror related things during high school).

I haven't been able to find it on eBay, which leads me to believe that it's now worth a million bajillion dollars, and that no one who still has one is willing to part with theirs.  Fuckers.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Where do I even begin?  So, I'm not really going to get into the gory details, because there are a few detours in this story that lead straight into territories that I don't get too much into on here.  For reasons.  But, needless to say, at one point my stepfather found himself banished from the family home.  He did what he often did when he found himself in this predicament:  he ran off to California.  It was, in fact, during one of these stints from his first ex wife that he met my mom. 

He made his way back out to the Los Angeles area and found work as a night security guard at a local junk yard. 

Hey kids, have you seen The Dream Master?  If you have, then you may recall a scene in a junk yard and there was some flamin' dog pee.  If you haven't...actually, that's fine.  I mean, I have a soft spot for all the old Freddy films, but I know that Dream Warriors was better.  I'm ok with that.

I'm not really sure if Robert Englund is just that magnanimous, or if it was the fact that my stepdad resembled Freddy Krueger (a horrible irony, again, reasons).  I have no idea how it came to be that when my mom (stupidly) let him come home he brought a signed-by-Robert Englund copy of the script with a short storyboard for that junkyard scene.  That scene was shot in a real junk yard in North Hollywood - the very one that Stepdouche worked nights at.  And I had a copy of the script with Robert Englund's fucking signature on it. 

When we fled Tennessee a few years later, it was left behind.  I don't think anyone thought to grab it, and it fell by the wayside along with other important documents and a family photo album.  In 1998, my (at that point) ex-stepfather died.  Under normal circumstances we'd have just gone down and collected what needed collecting, and I might not be including this in this post.  But normal isn't a commodity I'm accustomed to dealing with.  His brothers and sister descended on the house like a plague, and burned everything that was burnable in it.  They'd had a notion that there'd be a will naming his children (my sisters) as beneficiaries of any wealth he may have accumulated.  They'd also figured they'd be able to seize control of the house and property from my then underaged sisters.  So, if the script was still in the house, it went up in flames - much like Freddy was wont to do.

And now I'm sad, so I'll stop now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Murphy's Law

What's that old saying, if it can go wrong it will?

The Fixer has been fixing the Jeep for my long-anticipated trip to that ice covered hell I like to call "Ohio".  Only, for once, he's not fixing so good.  He's usually quite a good Fixer, but he's hit a wall of obstinacy that he can't overcome.  So we get to shell out Christ only knows how much to have a "professional" do the fixing.  The fact that The Fixer used to be a "professional" isn't lost on me.

I seriously considered just saying "fuck it" and leaving all of my and Stinkbug's clothes behind, and hopping a Greyhound.  Then I remembered that California has screwed me out of a valid ID, and I don't have Stinkbug's birth certificate.  These are obvious problems when taking a plane, well, the ID part, but the thing is that California (and the surrounding states) are sort of a hot-bed of contention right now, concerning immigration.  This isn't to start a conversation about immigration.  But the fact of the matter is that I'm Latina.  In Middle America, at most people assume I'm Italian or possibly very light skinned Middle Eastern.  I've got very unassuming features, and I pass for whatever is the average wherever I am, with obvious exceptions.  But in California, black hair, dark eyes, olive-toned skin, and a Spanish last name equal...well, people assume I'm Mexican, because most Americans don't seem to know that there's a whole continent right below Mexico.

And, without fail, every time I've gone through an immigration checkpoint on a bus, I've gotten a ration of shit.  In Texas I even got screamed at, "WHAT IS YOUR NAME?!  SHOW ME YOUR IDENTIFICATION!!!!  WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!?! ¿TU HABLA INGLES?" all while having a flashlight shined in my face in the middle of the night.  Considering that child immigration is the hot-button issue du jour in these parts, I'm just not.  I'm just not.

Hey Rachel, why the fuck don't you have a valid ID?

That's an excellent fucking question!  As if people need more reasons to hate the DMV, they've graciously provided at least one more for me.

I went in for a regular state ID.  Not a license.  An ID.  I don't drive.  It's not that I can't, I just don't, for the safety and well being of other motorists.  If I ever kill someone with a car, it will probably have been on purpose.  I'm just saying.  The last car accident I was involved in, I was rear-ended by some dumb schmuck who wasn't fucking paying attention, and I think I scared her so much she peed herself.  Rage, I has it.

Anyway, I waited in line for over an hour, filled out the paper for a non-license picture ID, waited another two hours, payed for my ID, got my picture taken, and then was told to step over to the computers for my test.

My what now?  So I was like, WTF?!  I went back to the lady who processed my application, asked her what the actual hell? and was told, "Oh, gee, I can't fix it. I guess you'll just either have to take the test or get back in line and pay for another ID."

Are you fucking kidding me?

So I took the stupid test.  But I can't have a valid picture ID until I take the practical test, which isn't happening because I'm moving in fucking three days!  You have to schedule the test weeks in advance!  All I have is a slip of paper that clearly states that it is NOT AN ID, and my old ID, which is expired.

The state of California wants to issue drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants (I sort of understand that) but I can't have a card stating that I exist?!?!!?

I think I'm really down-playing my hatred of California when I say I won't be sad to see that "Now Leaving..." sign.  California is like that ex-girlfriend who I really loved.  I loved her enough to stay for several years of her abusive bullshit, because I though she needed help and if I just loved her enough she'd get better.  Until I woke up one day and realized that I'd either kill her or myself, and I was leaning toward her.

Living in California is like being in an abusive relationship.  Also, palm trees.

Fuck you Palm Tree.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Horror Block February 2015

We got our Horror Block on Friday, and I promptly didn't film an unboxing.  I totally have an excuse though!  The Fixer had to take the iPad and the camera to work, and trying to use my phone is just booty.  But I took some beautifully grainy "art" shots (I took some shit cell phone pics) for your pleasure.

For real guys, do I need to keep telling you how fucking awesome Horror Block is?  I had to cancel my subscription for March, and possibly April, because I'm moving.  This will be the last of these posts for at least a couple of months, so if you've been coming to look at my groovy swag, the well is going to run dry for a while.  More on the move after the picture show.

This month's block promised items that would be werewolf, zombie, and vampire related.  Technically they delivered, but if I'm being honest, I was a little let down.  I kind of knew what the werewolf item would be because they'd been teasing it for over a month.

They'd outright said they'd partnered with Kelley Armstrong for the month, and since there's no merchandising for the series, I'd guessed (correctly) that the novel would be included in the Block.

To say that I was less than excited would be an understatement.  I'd never found a reason to be disappointed in Horror Block before, and I'm not going to call the whole box a wash over this, but there's very little room in my heart for what amounts to supernatural soft-core porn.  I have a fairly strange relationship with sex, so using it to help drive a narrative bores the living shit out of me.  If you're going to go that route, it better get real fucking weird real fast.  The fact that MLM(IL) speaks highly of the series bodes not well at all for me.  We have disparately unmatched expectations in our reading materials, and I already have a hard time convincing her that not everyone enjoys the type of books that she does.  Horror Block's inclusion of this one only cemented her conviction that everyone shares her opinions about everything.  I couldn't even pawn it off on her because she owns the entire series. 

This was the lone "vampire" item in the block.  I hadn't had my heart set on vampire stuff, not really, but with the recent resurgence of horror vampire love (opposed to romantic vampire love), I had had a certain amount of expectation for something...good.  Considering the "werewolf" item, I should count my blessings we didn't get a Twilight item.

If you can't tell, it's a slap watch.  This hearkens back to 1991, when I was ten, and loved slap bracelets.  I don't love them so much now, because all wrist adornments make my arms look fat.  I know this is 100% in my head, but I already feel like I have tiny t-rex arms, I don't want to feel like I have fat t-rex arms.

The watch works, so that's cool I guess.  The image is meh.  The whole concept is meh.  I will probably give this to either my sister or my niece, after I've moved.  I have to keep telling myself that not every block is going to be gold.

Ok, now we're back on track!  I have a soft spot for The Bride in all of her many incarnations.  It's nearly impossible to tell from this picture, but this is a t-shirt.  I really dig the retro tattoo design, it's got a little bit of that rockabilly or horrorbilly vibe.  Neither of those are exactly my scene, simply because I'm too lazy to make sure my eyeliner is even, but I like the aesthetic.  The people who take the time and care on their look are like walking works of art, and I'm pleased to have this tiny chunk of fashion.  Things are looking up in this block!

This is the first block that included something I'd give my son.  He's a little more than a year old, so most of the items aren't age appropriate.  But plush toys are always in with him, and this was no exception.  If anything, it fit perfectly with what I usually get him anyway.  This little critter is a Giant Microbe representation of the "zombie virus".  He fits in very well with Stinkbug's Zombie Pets, which are getting harder to find.

This was the final item in the block, other than the Rue Morgue magazine.  Short of cracking this sucker open for the sake of photographs, you can't tell that it has a little zombie trapped inside a viscous fluid.  I'm not sure if it was meant to be ooze, or gel, or liquid.  It seems to be all of those things, plus some glow-in-dark powder floating around in there.  And it leaked.  Not as bad as some I've seen online, but bad enough that I'm going to have to super glue it shut before displaying.  I suggested that it would make a fun dust collector on The Fixer's desk at work, but he never remembers to make his own coffee -- let alone take extra stuff with him -- so it sits on the kitchen table for now.  The same fate befell the anti-zombie hand sanitizer that came a few blocks back, which sort of pissed me off because I asked him to get some fucking sanitizer so that he'd stop bringing home the fucking plague his co-workers keep spreading around his office and shop.  I'd figured that nifty-fun packaging would finally persuade him to fucking keep his fucking hands clean, but no.  But I digress.

Both Horror Block and Nerd Block have promised that they will be including more books in their blocks.  I'm very much on the fence about this news.  On the one hand, yay books!  On the other, Bitten.  I'm really hoping that they can steer this ship back to horror that is actually horrific.  I don't know what kind of books to expect from Nerd Block, because I haven't subscribed to their classic block.  I'm finding I kind of wish I had, because March is supposed to include some Simon Pegg items, of whom I'm a big fan.  But I can't for sure know where I'll be when the block would ship, so I have to take a pass.

So, yeah, moving!  I'm moving in a few weeks, because I miss my family and my mom has yet to meet her youngest grandchild.  I'm also moving because the work situation out here is a bust.  While I'm no longer willing to return to the public service industry, I am willing to return to manufacturing or something else not dealing with the public.  Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods currently, there really are no jobs to be had that aren't behind a cash register or manning a deep fryer.  I wouldn't mind working in a proper kitchen; I've always like working in restaurants, just not the ones with drive-thrus attached.  Am I being selective?  Yes.  But I have the luxury of being able to move to a part of the country where the only viable work options aren't limited to Taco Bell, so I'll be picky if I want.  Not everyone has that option, and it's not an opportunity I'm willing to squander.  So posts may become more sporadic than before.  I don't know how you feel about that, but I'm a little bummed -- I like writing this blog.  It's a fun break from the minutiae of my day-to-day.  I hope to get a little more regimented, once the move is over and I've gotten into a working routine.  For anyone who reads this regularly, thanks for bearing with me! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Was A Teenage Monster

Ever since I was a kid, I've had a hardcore obsession with monsters.  I drew them, I daydreamed about them, I worried teachers and psychologists.  I could blame a (probably) way-too-early exposure to horror films, or I could blame TV.   Of course, to "blame" would imply that my life is worse for my fascination, which it isn't.  Poorer financially, but certainly not in any other respect.

I recently succumbed to the siren's song of Monster High merchandise.   I know that a certain segment of society wouldn't call Monster High "real" horror, and I'd totally agree.  The toys call to me on a different level altogether.  You see, I'm a child of the 80's and 90's.  More specifically, and big fat duh, I was a girl of the 80's and 90's.  The plain and simple truth of the matter is that the things I loved weren't being marketed to me.  During Saturday morning cartoons, when I indulged in a plethora of monster-themed cartoons, commercials would loudly proclaim the latest, the coolest, the most amazing toys ever injection-molded in China.  And, almost invariably, all of those commercials featured boys playing with those toys.

Intellectually I know, and knew then, that just because boys were the ones shown in the commercials didn't mean that I couldn't have those toys too.  And my mom, when she could afford really cool (read expensive) toys seemed to understand that too.  I knew that I wasn't confined to Barbies and those dolls that folded up into cupcakes.  But no one else seemed to have gotten the memo.  When I received gifts, without fail I would get at least one Barbie.  Sometimes several.  Except for the year I got this:

'Sup girl?

"Hey Rachel, just give your shitty Barbies to your sisters, and rock out with your awesome cool toys!"  I hear you say.  Now I get to the real problem.  I wanted the bitchin' boys' toys and the Barbies.  I wanted my Barbies to look like Morticia and Elvira.  I despaired that the only black haired dolls I could get had tan complexions.  Actually, their complexions caused a great deal of inner turmoil and strife because while I wanted my dolls to look like Death, I was also keenly aware of the fact that the toy industry was slow to make dolls for sullen little Latina girls with two annoyingly white sisters. 

So Barbies got makeovers, complete with sharpie makeup and tattoos.  I took up sewing, destroying a lot of mom's lingerie in the process, to make vampire bride costumes for my dolls.  I wish I had pictures of these early endeavors, but people didn't take the ass-ton of photos then as they do now.

So now we circle back to Monster High.  I mean, let's be real, they're glorified Barbies.  But they're the Barbies I longed for in elementary school.  And, even better, they're in high school - which speaks to another obsession of mine as a kid.  Monsters in high school.  I often have a hard time pinpointing where certain fixations begin for me, but I can on this one, and with laser precision.  During Saturday morning cartoons, before or after the New Kids On The Block animated series that I had to sit through as a trade-off with my sisters, there was a show called Gravedale High.  I loved that show with a burning passion.  I wanted to go to that high school when I got old enough.  It was stupid, it was hokey, it was a poorly written, and despite banking on Rick Moranis's fame from Ghostbusters (another awesome thing seemingly targeted toward boys), it genuinely seemed aimed toward girls.  Story lines focused on the interrelationships of the teenaged monster characters, and female monsters got as much, if not more, screen time as the males.  I wanted to be a monster.  Granted, I was a senior in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred, so teenaged monsters were much realer than I'd anticipated. 

Sorry to be such a buzz kill.  Let me make it up to you with pictures of monsters.

Also, I'm really sorry if you clicked that New Kids On The Block link. No I'm not.