Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Bid You Velcome ...

Welcome, my pretties ... All Hallows' Eve is finally upon us, and as the insomniac  appears to be on some sort of vampyre kick this month, she thought to continue today's blog post in the same vein. See what she just did there? Vampyre. Vein. Get it? Ha. Hahahahaha.

Let us pretend you are Jonathan Harker, en route to pay a visit to Dracula the insomniac  at Castle Dracula The Little Gothic Cottage this evening. You arrive at Bistritz just as darkness descends and the foreboding full moon begins its ascent into the night sky - a very interesting old place, being practically on the frontier (truth) - for the Borgo Pass leads from it into the Spooky Forest.

As you await the arrival of your horse-drawn coach (also an accurate statement), you'll see your driver has not yet taken his seat and is talking to the landlord, Dwayne. They are evidently talking of you, for every now and then they will look your way, and some of the people seated on the bench outside the door will come and listen also, and then look at you, most of them pityingly.

Look closely and behold how the landlord, Dwayne,
has decorated the Bistritz General Store especially for your arrival ...

The time will seem interminable as you start on your way, now in almost complete darkness, for the rolling clouds obscure the full moon. Suddenly, the driver will pull up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined cottage, from whose tall black windows come no ray of light, and whose broken battlements show a jagged line against the moonlit sky.

As you stand close to a great door, old and studded with large iron nails and set in a projecting doorway of massive stone stucco, of a bell or knocker there is no sign; the time will seemed endless, and you shall experience many doubts and fears crowding upon you. What sort of place have you come to, and among what kind of people? You'll hear a heavy step approaching behind the great door, then the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back; a key being turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door will swing back.

Within stands a short, dumpy old woman, clean-shaven save for a few bristles sprouting from her chin, and clad in black from head to foot without a single speck of colour about her anywhere. She holds in her hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burns without chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickers in the draught of the open door. The old woman motions you in with her right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation:—

I am the insomniac, and I bid you welcome to my cottage. Come in; enter freely and of your own will. The night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.

Death the Bride, Woman Mourning Dead Child, Death of Beatrice ...

Hey there, welcome to our house! 

Your hostess suggests that you will need, after your journey, to refresh yourself by making your toilet. She trusts you will find all you wish. When you are ready, she bids you come into the other room, where you will find your supper prepared.

Oops. Forgot to mention you should probably avoid the outside toilet.

That's where the spare Home & Garden decor is stored
until such time as it finds a permanent resting place.

After completion of your ablutions you return to the Great Room, where you find your hostess standing to one side of the great fireplace, leaning against the stonework amidst a collection of her favourite things which she has gathered together in one central location, specifically for your enjoyment. Or perhaps they've been gathered together in preparation for the photographer's arrival ... who can say for certain.

She makes a graceful wave of her hairy-palmed hand, with its long sharply-pointed black nails, towards the table and says:— I pray you, be seated and sup how you please. You will, I trust, excuse me that I do not join you; but I have dined already, and I do not sup.

But I may just have a teensy sip of that absinthe, if you'd be so kind as to pour.

After supper, you retire to the Library where your hostess joins you, explaining she has learned English through careful study of the newspapers, magazines, and other literary output of that country. And she will casually drop today's issue of the Calgary Herald on the table beside your chair, not coincidentally opened to this very page:

Not an expert, by any stretch of the imagination ...

But thanks for that, Shelley!

At this point in our story, the insomniac  completely steps out of character and starts dancing around your chair, fist pumping and high five-ing the taxidermy while emitting ear-shattering squeals of excitement that sound something like, “thank you Shelley for thinking of me for this article thank you Tom for being so patient trying to get a picture of someone who detests getting her picture taken thank you Calgary Herald for publishing the article thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

Oops. Probably should have warned you to cover your ears before that outburst. What, you have to leave now? So soon? But you haven't seen the rest of the cottage yet, decorated in all its Hallowe'en finery!

Might one tempt you with a snack before commencement of your return journey? Or perhaps a toy to provide some small measure of entertainment during your lengthy coach ride home?

No? Well if you feel you must, then go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring!

And as your driver jumps into his seat and shakes the reins, the horses start forward and you all but disappear down the dark drive under the light of the full moon, the insomniac  will slump somewhat forlornly in the projecting doorway of massive stone stucco, sadly muttering, “Well, I guess we'll never see him  again.”, turn the key in the door (which is old and studded with large iron nails) as she firmly swings it closed behind you (accompanied by the sounds of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts). A solitary tear drips messily from beneath her wrinkled eyelid.

And ... scene.


PostScript: Practically every word of this post has been cribbed from Project Gutenberg's online version of Bram Stoker's Dracula - names were not changed to protect the innocent (sorry, Dwayne). There simply wasn't time to compose something from scratch, being as ill-prepared as ever as far as blog posts, impromptu meals for unexpected guests, Christmas Markets and Hallowe'en costumes are concerned.

And as the afternoon draws to a close, it's looking more and more likely that this evening's attire for the Hallowe'en festivities at the local saloon will be Something That Clawed Her Way Out From Underneath a Rock - a costume requiring very little in the way of preparation on the insomniac's  part, but one suspects will become increasingly difficult to verbalize coherently as the evening progresses ...

Happy Hallowe'en, everyone. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to Survive to the End of a Horror Movie. Or Not.

Earlier this week, the insomniac  received an email from a new company called Man Crates. This company creates unique gift packages for men in custom wooden crates that require opening with a crowbar. Astonishingly, they felt her blog would be a perfect fit for their Horror Movie Survival Kit campaign.

Reaching out to various bloggers, they asked what they would want in a Survival Crate to help them make it to the end of the movie. She read a few of the posts and their lists of indispensable items - swords, knives, guns, first aid kits, water, food, flashlights - all very practical and well thought-out.

But let's be realistic. In any horror movie the insomniac  were in, she'd be the very first one picked off. As she swiftly approaches a fairly advanced Milestone Birthday, suffers from a bad back and arthritic knees, couldn't run more than five steps without needing to stop and gasp for air, and is not generally known for being the sharpest tool in the shed, it's practically a certainty she WILL be the one who trips over the non-existent root while ever-so-slowly fleeing the werewolf in the Spooky Forest; she WILL be the one who decides it's a brilliant idea to descend into the basement alone without a flashlight in the middle of the night after hearing an unusual noise emanating from the cellar; and she WILL be the one who stands mesmerized and immobile as a vampyre climbs through the Little Gothic Cottage's leaded glass window and lunges for her throat. After she's cluelessly invited him in for a glass of wine. Which he won't even drink.

She decided to participate in the campaign, but to write it armed only with the knowledge that she will perish. And probably horribly. Although, if she has a choice in the matter, she would like to request Death by Gary Oldman (see previous post for further clarification).

* * * 

The following items are those the insomniac  has deemed necessary for her Non-Survival Crate, to help her prepare for her inevitable demise with the Grace and Dignity she is so well known by. Well known for. Whatever.

*** A Comfortable Chair ***
Preferably with her favourite Death's Cameo Lumbar Coffin Pillow, in case it's a long movie and her back starts giving her grief.

*** A Decent Ottoman ***
And not one of those adorable Victorian beaded footstools, either ... the kind that barely raise a person's feet two inches off the floor. As attractive as they are, the insomniac  requires a real ottoman, so that when Mr. Oldman finally arrives her legs aren't numb from being incorrectly elevated, causing her great embarrassment as she attempts to stand and meet her executioner with Grace and Dignity but instead crumples to the floor at his feet in an untidy heap whimpering, “Help. I've fallen and I can't get up.”

Should a decent-sized Victorian ottoman be as difficult for the staff at Man Crates to find as it's proven to be for the insomniac, then one could always kill a few hours modifying the crate itself with a staple gun and a piece of damask. Still, it would be nice to leave just one more piece of antique furniture for the offspring to deal with after her departure, along with all those knitted goods she's in the process of creating and accumulating in a box. In the basement. Underneath the stairs.

Eldest:  Oh look. Mum's favourite chair and ottoman. Shame it's covered in blood and ... good Lord,  what is THAT? Okay, those are yours.

Youngest:  I'm  not taking them. took the armwarmers and  the stupid slouchy hat with matching mittens and  the twenty-three pair of socks she knit last Christmas.

*** Snacks ***
This is one item the insomniac  completely agrees with the other participants is essential in anyone's Crate - whether it be Survival or Non-Survival.

The Snack Sensei Crate. Enjoy with courage and bravery.

Hot and Spicy Crate. Proceed with Caution
Not this.

No sense embarrassing herself even further
with ... gassiness ...  while laying there in a
crumpled heap at Mr. Oldman's feet.

*** Light Reading Material ***
Any of the following magazines - Victoria, Romantic Cottage, The English Home, Period Living UK - basically, anything with pretty pictures and very little text. Seems rather pointless to start in on an epic novel if it's unlikely one is going to live long enough to find out how it ends.

*** Alcohol - And Plenty Of It ***
Because it IS important to remain hydrated. Any of the Mixed Drink or Whiskey Crates would fit the bill nicely; none of the Beer Crates, please. One would assume Mr. Oldman prefers his victims to not be ... er, gassy.

Classic Moscow Mule Gift Set

The Personalized Oktoberfest Stein is your passport to the greatest state of mind.
Probably not this.

Now should the folks at Man Crates have zero control over how the insomniac  meets her doom and, instead of her preference of a semi-civilized exit by exsanguination via Mr. Oldman, she perishes in the Zombie Apocalypse while being used as someone much faster and smarter's meat shield, is chewed to death by a rabid dog when she trips and falls as she's “running” to the safety of her vehicle, or is slashed to bits by a chainsaw-wielding maniac **waves to the spouse** as she unwisely chooses to enter the obviously unsavory abandoned cottage, then she would like to add the following item to her Non-Survival Crate:

*** Depend Briefs ***
Two pair should be sufficient. Unless it's a really ghastly ending, then best to make it three. If it's going to be completely horrific, don't even bother adding them to the crate. Probably not going to matter that much anyway.

* * *

To be clear, this is not a paid-for post. At the time of this writing, no one from Man Crates has reached out to the insomniac  to ask for her mailing address. However, should any of the aforementioned crates accidentally wind up on her doorstep, it's unlikely they'd be returned “Addressee Unknown”. One is quite sure the spouse would enjoy the contents immensely, while raising a toast to his late Gracefully Dignified wife ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Hallowe'en Tag and The Insomniac's  IT (Alternative Title: IT'S ALIVE!)

You know how when you've stayed away too long, the thought of returning is rather frightening?

Like when you've gone to the loo at a party and start imagining everyone's thinking you've been in there an awfully long time, even when you haven't been. And then you start imagining they're probably all wondering what exactly you're doing in there, even when you aren't doing anything - or, at least, nothing out of the ordinary. But by this time you've pretty much worked yourself into a lather and are practically forced into staying locked inside that washroom until the last guest has gone home. Even if it is the only one in the house and people are frantically banging on the door begging you to come out. 

Been pretty much that same scenario here lately - minus the part about the loo though. And nobody's been begging anybody to come out. After Horror Con there were a few random ideas tossed around for potential blog posts, but as summer slipped into autumn the ideas became fewer and fewer until eventually the insomniac  managed to get herself so worked up about how long it had been since she last wrote anything, she questioned whether she'd ever blog again and gave serious thought to giving the whole thing up.

So although she had no intention of participating when Goth Gardener tagged her, nor even when Mourning Glory Designs tagged her, it seems this Hallowe'en Tag just might be the proverbial fire needing to be lit under someone's heinie that will hopefully get her back into her regular blogging routine of one post per month (rough estimate). The alternative scenario being to stay locked in the loo 'til the last guest has left ...

The challenge is to answer the following thirteen questions, then tag five more bloggers - which is the one part of the tag the insomniac  won't do, as she couldn't possibly be expected to remember who's already been tagged and who hasn't. Please feel free to copy these questions to your blog and tag yourself if you'd like to participate, okay?

1. Favorite Halloween song?
2. Witch or Vampire?
3. Favorite thing about Halloween?
4. Halloween party or scary movie marathon?
5. Skeletons or Zombies?
6. Favorite Halloween candy?
7. Favorite Halloween movie?
8. Favorite Halloween costume?
9. Favorite Halloween store?
10. Jack-o-lanterns, yes or no?
11. Bats or Black Cats?
12. Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
13. Pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate?

Okay. Here goes nothing.

1. Favorite Halloween song?
Anything off Midnight Syndicate's “The 13th Hour”, especially Fallen Grandeur.

2. Witch or Vampire?
Most definitely Vampyre ... especially Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Mmmmmm. Gary Oldman.


Not this.

3. Favorite thing about Halloween?
It used to be decorating the Gothic Mansion for the offspring and the many (six) children who would come trick-or-treating on Hallowe'en night. But since it doesn't appear as though we'll get many of the latter now we've moved out here to the Middle of Nowhere, the former has lost some of its appeal. Which feels kinda sad.

4. Halloween party or scary movie marathon?
Well, since you now know the insomniac  has a tendency to end up in the loo at most (all) parties and since she hasn't been able to watch anything but very old horror movies for years (the new ones are far too scary for someone with an overactive imagination who is now living in the Middle of Nowhere), the correct answer would probably be to hit the sack around 8:00 p.m. with a good book. Or a tablet.

5. Skeletons or Zombies?
Unequivocally, skeletons. One has NEVER been a fan of zombies even before they became popular, especially since one is quite sure there is a family of the living dead inhabiting the dilapidated building on the property next door. Out Here. In the Middle of Nowhere. Where we enjoy Extremely Limited Cell Phone Reception.

This was two years ago. It looks much worse now.

Unless you're a zombie, in which case
it looks pretty darn hospitable.

6. Favorite Halloween candy?
Those old-fashioned Hallowe'en molasses kisses - the kind that most kids threw out back in the day, and for which the insomniac  would gladly exchange all her chocolate bars for in return.

7. Favorite Halloween movie?
The original Dracula with Bela. Or the one with you-know-who. Mmmmmm. You-know-who.

Sorry, where were we?

8. Favorite Halloween costume?
The insomniac's  or somebody else's? Nothing memorable in her own personal costuming repertoire sadly, being the sort of person who always waits until the last possible second before starting her Masterpiece of Costumery.

9. Favorite Halloween store?
Home Sense, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma. One has finally come to the long overdue realization that the cheesy fare offered at most Hallowe'en stores is the same stuff generally tossed into the Goodwill Donation Bag at the end of the season; if it's not nice enough to leave up all year round, then one doesn't (or, perhaps more accurately, shouldn't) spend any money on it.

10. Jack-o-lanterns, yes or no?
Pumpkins, yes. Cutesy jack-o-lanterns, nope. If they're very scary looking, it's okay.

11. Bats or Black Cats?
Bats. But only by a narrow margin, and only because one is awfully allergic to cats.

12. Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's a pretty safe bet someone who chooses to open a year-round online Hallowe'en store is probably fairly enamored with the holiday.

13. Pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate, preferably spiked. Although she fully expects to be stoned for this statement, she really doesn't care for Starbucks and all their flavoured coffees. Blech.

Until next time, and which hopefully won't be another three and a half months from now, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.