Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween Month Movies

Halloween Month is almost here (Yes, we refer to October as Halloween Month). We celebrate Halloween all month long. October 1st is the day we start decorating for Halloween. We watch horror & Halloween themed movies all month. We read horror & Halloween themed books. We make & eat Halloween themed foods. We make Halloween themed decorations. We play Halloween themed games. Halloween is a big deal in our house.

So, the kids & I came up with our lists of movies to watch during October. Here are our Halloween Month movies:

Jay (since he is only 9, there are limits to what he is allowed to watch):
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Monster Squad
The People Under the Stairs
The Sixth Sense
Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Little Shop of Horrors
Vampire Bats
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Shaun of the Dead
Sweeney Todd
Hocus Pocus
The Lost Boys
Monster House
Little Monsters

Dea (at 15, she is allowed to watch almost anything, with very few restrictions):
The Addams Family
Monster Squad
The People Under the Stairs
Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Little Shop of Horrors
The Crow
Young Frankenstein
The Faculty
The Tooth Fairy
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Elvira Mistress of the Dark
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Nightmare on Elm Street
Friday the 13th
and as many of the movies on my list as I will allow

Me (some are on here with the intent of one of the kids watching with me):
Night of the Living Dead
Trick 'r Treat
House on Haunted Hill
Friday the 13th
Nightmare on Elm Street
The Howling
The Omen
The Crow
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Black Christmas
The Craft
A Tale of Two Sisters
28 Days Later
The Changeling
The Thing
Shaun of the Dead
Sleepy Hollow
Elvira Mistress of the Dark
The Haunting
The Mist
The Lost Boys
Return of the Living Dead 3
Dark Shadows
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Geeky Origin Story

Do you have any questions that you really just kind of hate? I do. In the world of geeks, one of the most asked questions seems to be some variation of "What is your geeky origin story?" What was the first thing you geeked out over? What started you down the path of geekdom?

This is a totally legit question. The reason I kind of hate it is that I really don't have an answer. You see, most people can pinpoint the first thing they geeked out over. They can tell you what show, movie, game, book, comic, etc. brought them into the world of geek. I can't. I can't pinpoint the first geeky thing I watched, read, played, or did. I can't say how old I was, who introduced me, what year, or how I knew I was a geek. It was just always that way.

You see, my geek origin story is simple: I was born. That's it. There was no big epiphany. There was no ah-ha moment. There was no one game, show, movie, or book that started it. My first breath in this world was the start of my geekiness. My first steps were on the journey of geekitude. My first words were likely something geeky.

In all honesty, I cannot remember a time before being a geek. I was born in 1980, so 'Geek' and 'Nerd' were not interchangable words, like they are now, when I was growing up. They had very different & distinct meanings. I was both. Always. I was the smart, nerdy, bookworm who played Chess & loved board games & puzzles. I was the geeky girl who watched Star Trek: TNG every week with my dad, was into Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and was watching horror movies in pre-school. I would rather have my face in a book than be around other people, and had very few friends.

My dad watched Star Trek & Star Wars, so I was exposed to them at an early age. I was an early & avid reader, reading everything I could get my hands on. Can I remember the first Sci-Fi book I read, or the first Fantasy book or the first Horror book? No. I have no idea what the first book I read was for any genre. I just know that those were my favorite genres for as long as I can remember. I know that I was reading SF/Fantasy shortly after learning to read & Horror followed closely after that. I know that I loved learning about Ancient Civilizations in 1st grade & that started me reading every Mythology book I could find. I know that I was in elementary school when I read my first King book, but I can't remember which book it was.

My best Christmas ever was when I got 2 Chemistry sets & a Fossil kit (I was always really into Dinosaurs). My favorite thing about summer break was that my parents would sign me up for Whiz Kids College (classes for kids held at the local Community College). It was at Whiz Kids College that I could take classes that weren't offered at school, even in the Gifted program. I took French, Astronomy, Model Rocketry, a Nature Science of some sort, and a few other classes.

My first games were board games & trivia games. Then, card games were added. Eventually, my parents bought us an NES, and a few years later, an SNES. I never owned a console beyond that. We couldn't afford it. Even now, as an adult, we don't have any video games in our house. I have put it off for years because there are more important things to spend our money on, but every so often I seriously think about getting one. We do have plenty of board games, trivia games, & card games, though, and a few DVD games.

I watched Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. I loved TMNT & generally watched X-Men & Batman, though I never got into comic books/graphic novels as a kid. Honestly, comic books/graphic novels weren't encouraged in our house. They weren't considered real reading. I was always reading something, though, usually several books at once (a habit which has stayed with me & drives everyone around me crazy). My toys were thrown, without care, into a toy box, but my telescope & books lived on shelves & were well cared for.

I always knew I was different (kind of hard not to). I almost never liked the same things my classmates liked (I was Elvira for Halloween in 6th grade while my best friend was Madonna). I listened to different music, watched different movies & shows, read different books, and played different games. While my classmates took dance lessons, learned piano, and did school plays, I tried to blow up my bedroom with my Chemistry sets, memorized dinosaur facts, wrote poetry about mythical creatures, played myself in chess to try to improve (my dad only got as far as showing me how the pieces moved), and immersed myself in my own imaginary world. I enjoyed learning new things, & some of my favorite memories are of visiting museums & zoos.

 My childhood is filled with geeky & nerdy memories. I cannot say where it began, because it was always there. I can't even imagine my childhood without the geeky stuff. What did I geek out over? Mythology, Ancient Civilizations (especially Egypt & Greece), Dinosaurs, SF/Fantasy, Horror, just to name a few. Do I still love these things today? Hell yeah!

I have shared my love of geeky things with my kids. I introduce them to as many things as I can and encourage them to find the things they love. They may love different things than I do, but that doesn't matter. I just want them to know that they can love whatever they want, that I will support & encourage it in any way I can.

If you ask my daughter what she first geeked out over, she'll tell you it was Harry Potter. If you ask my son, he'll say dinosaurs. My husband would probably say Star Wars. As for me, my geeky origin was my first breath in this world. I was pre-destined to be a geek. It was written in my DNA & has always been there.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Movies from Childhood

Early this morning, I was watching Pump up the Volume with my daughter. Just a few days ago, she watched Heathers for the first time. This got me thinking of all the movies I loved as a kid or a teen that I have introduced to one or both of the kids. I decided to compile a list of my favorites.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of 25 of my favorite movies from childhood/adolescence that I have shared with one or both kids:

1. Pump up the Volume - I was 12 or 13 when I first saw this movie. Honestly, it kind of helped get me through middle school. So far, I've only let Dea watch it. Jay still has a few years before he'll be allowed to watch it.

2. The Breakfast Club - Again, only Dea has been allowed to watch this one.

3. The Monster Squad - I loved this movie as a kid & was so happy to find it on DVD a few years ago, so I could share it with the kids. It is now a regular during our month long celebration of Halloween.

4. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark - I have loved this movie since the first time I saw it. I dressed up as Elvira for my Halloween party in 6th grade. Again, so far only Dea has been allowed to watch it.

5. The Dark Crystal - Both kids have watched it, but only Dea likes it. For some reason, Jay just doesn't enjoy it. I adored it when I was a kid.

6. Gremlins - this was one of the first horror movies the kids ever watched. They love it as much as I do & we watch it every year.

7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - One of our favorite Christmas movies. We watch it every December.

8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Another one that only Dea has been allowed to see. I have watched this movie at least once a year since I was 12 or 13.

9. The Last Unicorn - I grew up loving this movie & was so happy to introduce the kids to it. They both love it as well.

10. The Princess Bride - Despite Jay's insistence that he has never watched this one, both kids have seen & enjoyed it.

11. Back to the Future - Both have seen & enjoyed it. I don't remember if they've seen the sequels, though.

12. Jurassic Park - Both loved it, but Jay has been rather obsessed with it.

13. Pet Sematary - Again only Dea has been allowed to watch it so far.

14. The Lost Boys - I loved this movie & could hardly wait for the kids to be old enough to watch it.

15. Beetle Juice - Yes, it's cheesy, but I always loved it, and now so do my kids.

16. Friday the 13th - Only Dea has been allowed to see it

17. A Nightmare on Elm Street - Only Dea has seen

18. Halloween - Again, only Dea has seen (what can I say, I grew up on horror & slasher flicks)

19. Critters - Both kids love this one

20. Cujo - Both kids love this one

21. Edward Scissorhands -  Jay hasn't watched this one yet, but Dea loves it

22. Psycho - Both kids love this one

23. Pride & Prejudice - I love this version. Both kids have watched it, but Jay still has trouble watching it all the way through, because his attention doesn't last that long

24. Anne of Green Gables - Jay claims he hasn't seen, but both have

25. The Secret of NIMH - Jay  claims he doesn't like this one, but I'm not sure I buy that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You Can't Fight the Inner Geek

My husband & I have been arguing debating whether or not he qualifies as a geek. Apparently, he has never thought of himself as a geek. I, on the other hand, grew up knowing full well that I was a geek & a nerd (because when I was a kid, they weren't interchangeable like they are now), and have always seen my husband as a geek. This has been an ongoing debate between us for weeks now, me saying he is & him saying he isn't.

The other day, we were talking about reading, and he was comparing the size of the book he's currently reading to those I'm currently reading. He pointed out that the book he is reading is actually bigger than all of the books I had in my hand combined. Now, yes, since he is reading The Lord of the Rings, I will admit that that book is larger than the books I had in my hand at that moment. However, I was only holding 3 of the 9 books I'm currently reading. Anyway, his mentioning that he was reading LotR brought me back to our 'is he a geek' debate. I told him that the fact that he reads LotR annually is a qualifying marker of him being a geek. He tried to argue against that. It didn't work, because I followed that with these other little facts:

The reason we own a Klingon dictionary is because it was his before we got together.
He is a bigger Star Trek fan than I am.
Star Wars
He used to play D & D
He is the one that introduced me to Dr Who

His only argument was quoting Wil Wheaton, "It's not about what you love. It's about how you love it." He argued that he doesn't qualify as a geek because he has never immersed himself to the point of going to things like Comic Con or dressing up or creating crafty stuff based on the things he loves. Now, that would almost be a good argument, but he was arguing against me, so it didn't work. I responded by pointing out that he has never immersed himself to that level because he can't not because he doesn't want to. If he could afford to make (or have someone make for him) a costume & wear it to Comic Con, he totally would. If we could afford to own gaming systems & buy games for them, we would. He admitted that I was right. So, I have won the argument debate! My husband is a geek!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Here on my blog, I try to focus mostly on the positive. I have to actively work hard to do that, as I am not naturally an optimist. Every so often, I give my readers a peek at the less than great aspects of my life, just so you know that my life is not perfect. I guess it's time for another peek.

I started writing a post lamenting my lack of time for taking luxuriously long showers (you know, the ones long enough to enjoy the hot water & shave your legs), due to the fact that my kids (ages 15 & 9) need 24/7 supervision to prevent things like them getting into a screaming match over terribly important things such as who gets which chair. Though, I suppose that may be slightly better than gong to check mail & coming back in to one of them drawing in salad dressing puddles or building with shredded cheese (they used to do those when they were younger).

Then today happened. I decided that a little info on today would be a far better (or worse) peek at my life. Today, we had to call the crisis intervention hotline because of Dea. She got mad at me for saying she couldn't go to a concert. Then, she blew up at me, and when I told her to go to her room to calm down, she left the house. I wandered the neighborhood looking for her & called friends to see if they knew where she was. I also called my husband & told him he needed to come home from work. Less than an hour later, she walked back in the door.

I told her that her dad was on his way home & that we would talk when he got home, so she should use that time to try to calm down. She screamed at me that she didn't want to talk & went up to her room where she started throwing furniture around. When we all sat down to talk, she screamed & yelled at us some more. She admitted to me that she had considered slamming her head into the wall, to cause herself harm, while she was trashing her room. While my husband was on the phone with crisis intervention, she got worse. She started throwing things at my laptop & screaming. I physically restrained her, to prevent her from causing damage or harm to anyone or anything. While I was restraining her, she bit me.

By the time crisis prevention got here, she had calmed down. She apologized & cried while I hugged her & cried. They decided that she didn't need to be hospitalized today, but her counseling sessions are going from one a month to 1-2 per week & will be more intensive, and her meds might need to be changed.

For those who don't know, my daughter is a 2E teenager with ADHD & Bipolar. This was one of her manic episodes. While they don't always happen like this (we haven't need to restrain her for quite a while & she generally goes to her room to cool down, instead of taking off), this is not an uncommon thing. Raising a child with Bipolar is exhausting & terrifying. On days like today, I have to fight so hard not to allow myself to feel like the worst mom in the world. The rational part of my brain knows this is not my fault, but the mom/perfectionist part says I should be able to do more.