Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not Your Granny's Jack O Lantern

When I was little, my brother and I picked our pumpkins at a school fair. We would use markers to decorate them at home. There was no such thing as pumpkin carving. Since I met Eddie, there has been pumpkin carving, and even some seed baking. We took it a step too far with the baking; that shit came out nasty. Otherwise, our pumpkin skills have been honed to perfection, or so I thought until we went to RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns in Westbury Gardens.

You know when you're watching a horror movie and yelling at the screen, Don't go down that road!, and the idiot goes down that road and gets dead? Yeah, well, that's the same kind of feeling we had while driving to Westbury Gardens at night. It's in a spooky part of the middle of nowhere. Sure, during the day, it's not in the middle of nowhere, but at night, there are no lights. Since it's a garden, there are also no lights once you go through the gates. There are less lights. There are giant looming trees instead. We were sure we were going to get murdered when all we wanted to do was see some carved pumpkins.

We did not get murdered. Instead, we saw some pumpkins. Before the pumpkins, we parked on the grass (free parking! free is for me!), walked through the tent in which vendors sold fall-related treats like cider and light up swords and a carver was showing off her skills, carving a witch onto a pumpkin. It's not the kind of carving you do at home by stabbing a gigantic knife into a pumpkin and hoping for the best. This kind of carving involves layers and different kinds of tools. It also involves talent.

After the tent, we waited on a line. There were children running around, fighting with the swords. One was a very small boy whose father chased him over and under the ropes that were set up to keep the lines in order. He continuously recorded his son's every move, including the move in which he ran by and almost clocked Eddie with his stupid light up sword. I asked Eddie, who's going to watch this video when they get home? Eddie did not have an answer. The other kid's parents I guess love him less because they were not recording his every move even though he, too, was swinging his sword around. Actually, come to think of it, he might have been a bit too old for a light up sword, so maybe they were embarrassed. In which case, they should not have bought him the sword. Once inside, we scurried away from these particular children.

The trail is dark, of course. The pumpkins shine bright. Lots of pumpkins. Too many to count. Everyone was taking pictures, and some hadn't figured out that you can't take a picture of a jack o'lantern with the flash on if you want to see its full effect. Most people bunched up on the left side of the trail where most of the pumpkins were. I, of course, dallied on the right side where the famous paintings had been carved. Eddie, the tall one, got lots of the pictures on the crowded side while I took over on the right. Several times, I lost him in the dark and just stood there until he found me and laughed.

The themes ranged from scary movie to baseball to New York New York to tv shows we don't watch to gardens to outer space to homage to dead celebrities. Really, we were in awe.

And then came the part I did not ask for. There were creepy woods and creepy music and a sign that said Ghost Walk -- No Photos. So I took a video and prayed that nothing would jump out at me. I mean, who sets up a spooky ghost walk thingie in the middle of a Halloween event? Jeez.

Fortunately, we made it to the other side unscathed and found more carvings. It was much longer than I'd thought it would be, which made it even better.

Inspired, we came home and carved our own images in our own pumpkins. Okay, fine, we did not do that, but we did almost buy a carving kit at the CVS but then decided against it since we have knives that work just fine for what we have to offer.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Should Have Called It Blood and Torture and More Blood

Saw the commercials. Saw two interviews. Heard the buzz. I knew Prisoners would be a psychological suspenseful thriller of a movie. I did not expect I'd be watching the movie by half-watching, cringing, and watching S completely hide her face from the screen and practically climb behind R for ten minutes at a time. There's graphic and then there's graphic. As much as Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal want to stress how it's really about how far you'd go to protect your loved ones and how much the mind struggles with itself, it's still about icky things that are beyond disturbing. A gal could use a warning beforehand.

Not sure what I mean? Okay, during one scene, the detective goes into the house of one of the weird guys and finds all these locked totes. S covers her face completely. I look at the bottom of the movie screen so I can kind of see the movement without actually watching what's on the screen and I half watch Eddie as if I can figure out what's going on through him. The detective starts to bang at the locks and slowly opens the tote. Everyone in the theatre yelps. S starts cracking up because she's watching everyone's reaction. I turn to her and say, Snakes. She laughs at me. I say, Just don't look for the next fifteen minutes.

Also, to the movie theatres showing Prisoners: do not hand out the snack packs that have the maze on the bottom for those who are seeing this film. That shit ain't right.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Just Janis

Mom and I get to the VS train station on our way to see A Night With Janis Joplin. We sit in the waiting room that smells a bit like pee and hear lots of announcements going off at the same time. There's a prerecorded announcement and something less prerecorded. One sounded like it said there was a delay. The other sounded like it said trains weren't running on that particular line. After some deciphering and wandering around the platform, asking people what they heard and what they knew, I hopped on the Twitter to find that there was a fire somewhere on the tracks and that the line wasn't running. Then I put my brain to work and figured, if trains are diverting to Lynbrook, that line must be running.

Mom and I go down the steps from the platform to the lot, and I drive to Lynbrook with about two minutes to spare before the train is scheduled to leave. We park in a space that seems to be parkable without being ticketable. We go up one of the two sets of steps as neither is labeled as "Go Here If You Want To See Janis Joplin Today." We see most people are on the other platform. The woman standing on our platform says that both have trains going to the city. However, she's the only one on our side.

Mom and I go down the steps from the platform and up the steps of the other platform where we can see the digital sign saying that a train will be arriving two minutes ago. So the schedule was all messed up but that was working to our advantage. Then a single announcement came on saying that a train to the city would be arriving on Track 1, The Most Northern Track. No clear sign saying Track 1 was around, but Mom knows North, South, East, West. We are on the right platform. The train finally arrives.

We make stops along the way, stopping a particularly long time at Jamaica where we see people running down the steps, some carrying children scooped under one arm, rushing to a train that was not leaving. Finally it leaves. On the train? A jerky guy with an 8 year old boy, and I know he's 8 because his birthday was yesterday and I know that because Jerky Guy is loudly talking into his cell phone about the birthday, going to the Nickelodeon studios, and something about guns. The 8 year old boy seems slightly mortified when the Jerky Guy insists he talk on the phone about his birthday, telling the Jerky Guy, It's not my birthday anymore, in a very low, very appropriate voice. Next to us is a man eating nuts out of a can who has fingernails longer than any woman I know. It's that kind of train day.

Oh, and we mustn't forget Meredith. Meredith likes to stand when she's supposed to sit. Meredith likes to wail loudly when she's told to be quiet. Meredith likes to turn around in her seat and stare through the seat holes at other people for too awkward an amount of time before being told to stop. How do I know all this? Every minute or so: Meredith? Meredith! Sit down. Meredith? we will turn around and go home. Meredith? Meredith, you need to sit down. Do you want to go to the party, Meredith? Meredith, sit down. Meredith, you need to sit down. Turn around, Meredith. Meredith? Look at me, Meredith. Sit down, Meredith. Meredith, sit down. Yes, that kind of train day.

The subway thankfully runs on time. Up the steps from the train. Down the steps to the subway. Up the steps to Times Square where Mom decides it's a good time to befriend the characters and say, "Hi Spidey!" to which I respond, "We do not have time for this!" Across the broken and hilly and cratered street, up Broadway where construction abounds, to finally finally finally find the theatre after weaving through tourists and other people who do not understand the meaning of urgency.

In the lobby of the theatre, the man looks at us with disdain as we show him our tickets. The usher inside is nicer, saying to me, I'll take care of you in a few moments and it's easy because you're on the end. We walk into Janis on stage, backup singers and band behind her, flipping her hair and drinking her drink and wailing, not in the way Meredith was wailing on the train, but in the way that makes music move you.

Mom and I were able to sit right after the song. The guy next to me cramped my seat and at one point hit me in the head because he tried to get up to join in a standing ovation but lost his balance and fell back down. Mostly everyone in the theatre had gray hair or dyed their gray hair, but this guy had no reason to be off balance because he was like my age. There were several standing ovations. There were several sing alongs. There was a lot of rocking. There was some rolling. No one keeled over. (Safety first!) It was a scene.

At the end, we all sang Mercedes Benz. Talk about an encore. I'm not really sure if the woman who plays Janis can talk between shows because her voice is amazing and she goes full force on every song. And it's not only her. The show includes her influence, all of whom seem to be amazing black lady singers, so when she wasn't singing, one of them was, and they are all equally as powerful.

After the show, Mom and I had a more leisurely walk through the city. We went up to the M&M store to visit S. We chatted for a while, and then S suggested to my mom, Why don't you take a picture with Blue? She motioned behind me so I turned not even a quarter of the way around when I saw BAM BIG BLUE! Not knowing that thing was behind me combined with my general loathing of adults in character costumes, I had an almost-fainting-palpitations moment, during which S was holding her stomach, doubled over from laughing so hard. This? Is friendship.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ahimsa Much?

Ahimsa is the sanskrit word meaning non-injury, or do not injure. It's one of the main tenets of yoga.

So...I killed a bug during yoga class. It was tiny and I saw it creeping towards my mat bag. It wouldn't stop moving, and I was getting distracted by it, so I got up, got a tissue, and squished it.