UPDATED FOR THE 2014 SEASON
I’ve eaten THREE full-sized candy bars today, and I’m going to go prowl the seasonal aisle of the local drugstore as soon as I get done with this post so I can buy more. You see, I’ve spent the last too-many hours thinking of nothing but candy. For you. Always for you.
Perhaps because I’m hopped up on sugar and caffeine, (more than usual) today’s post comes to you in the form of loosely related list items … think of it as my way of tossing treats into your loot bag.
I’ve gathered most of my information and inspiration (and photographs) from the following vendors:
This is fun. At Old Time Candy, you can pack a personalized bag of candy, piece by piece, for yourself or for a friend.
Retro Candy Timeline – Some snippets of candy history. ‘Found this commercial (which settles a debate between Ogre and me) over there too.
Remember Brach’s Dem Bones? They were in a little coffin shaped box that you could get at Halloween. They were simply bits of bone-shaped, smarties-tasting candy. You could fit the pieces together to make a whole skeleton. (Sometimes you had to nibble away little spurs of candy to help them fit together better.) They’re gone now, but another company has stepped in to to fill the void. You can buy a case of the new Scary Skeletons at Candy Warehouse. (I’m hoping to find some for sale at the drugstore so I’m not forced to buy a whole case.)
Many online candy stores sell decade-themed gift boxes of candies. Each company’s selection varies, of course, and all the companies offer multiple decades. For more detail of any given decade, try these links:
( NOTE: Nostalgic Candy appears to be out of business as of 10/2014. All linked shops have by-decade candy selections.)
Now that I’ve got you remembering all the goodies you used to get when you were a kid, why not pop over to
The Paranormalist Portal to
UPDATE: No really. Go vote – the fab folks at Ranker.com are participating on thier own …
and right now they have red licorice, fancy gum and a sucker ranked 1- 3.
Who will champion Nik L Nips, wax vampire fangs and Chuckles?
Photo note: The photo of a candy haul, which appears above, and on the Ranker list itself, is by Vu Nguyen who shared it via Creative Commons.
NOTE: If you’re going to have a Halloween party, you should issue invitations now.
HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN QUICK LINKS:
In the last week, my life has been very, very simple. I have worked at the hotel, come home and watched some TV (until my brain relaxed enough to allow me to drift off,) slept for many hours, awakened, tended to basic needs (like eating food I couldn’t taste and taking long, hot baths that my husband had to supervise so that I would neither scald myself nor drown,) then headed back to work.
It was nothing serious, just a cold from hell (stacked on top of a down-swing in my mood.) I still don’t feel 100%, but I can breathe again. I am fully dressed. And, for the first time in a few weeks, I am getting started on a full two-day weekend that does not include working.
My plan is to aggressively re-engage with Halloween, the blog and life in these last few days of October.
This weekend, my son and I plan to go to Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, MN. It’s a petting zoo and pumpkin farm we have been visiting faithfully for more than ten years. They also have a Dead End Hayride in the evenings. Right now we’re thinking we’ll go to that on Monday. As for Halloween night itself, we were pleased to find out that our building allows trick-or-treating. Our intention is to create a haunted treat station – complete with fog machine and spooky music – just inside our door. I’m tempted to buy a cheap set of basic makeup too, so that we can cobble together some spooky characters for handing out treats. Beyond that, I have a couple of pumpkins to carve and some traditional movies to watch.
Here at the blog:
Getting back on the blogging horse always feels awkward, but I have the advantage of (too) many planned topics to choose from. The Courting Creepy movie lists have been popular and I have a couple that I really want to get up before Halloween. Tonight or tomorrow I will pick up where I left off – with zombies. My daughter’s beau agreed to construct the list, because I just had to concede that I am no zombie expert. Jason, on the other hand, is a connoisseur. All I have to do is format his work, which will be an easy task. It makes for a smooth transition into getting my head back in the game. (Thanks, Jason.)
When it comes to ghost stories, I feel fully qualified to make recommendations, so expect that list soon too – and it will be escorted by the long-delayed telling of what I saw in room 217, at the old hotel.
Obviously, I failed NaBloPoMo miserably. (Literally.) Still, I feel good about what I achieved, and I’m eager to continue a consistent – if less demanding – posting schedule.
And for those that worry about my bipolarity:
As the mad month of October winds down, I know I have to turn my attention to surviving the winter. Even though things haven’t settled as much as I’d hoped, and nothing big has been resolved, I have to establish some healthier routines. I need regular sleep, decent food, sunlight, exercise, social time and music. (Right now I’m listening to an old playlist. Yes, I’ve caught myself dancing in the chair as I write. It feels good. How dated – and ridiculously appropriate – is it that the current song is Wheel in the Sky by Journey?)
Perhaps more important than all those things, though, is writing – especially returning to writing fiction. I am contemplating a run at NaNoWriMo. Considering the experiences I’ve had at the hotels, I think that getting 50,000 words down, of an entirely new story, might be possible. Lately, while folding sheets, I’ve been putting together a straight-forward story in my head. Historically I’ve worked best with a detailed outline, but maybe something crazy like this would be an invigorating change. Or maybe it’s just insane. I’ve got a few days to think about it.
Who amoung you are thinking about plunging in? Are any of you veterans with advice to share?
During Christmas vacation, I succumbed to a New Year-driven frenzy of tidying and fussing over my blog.
I tweaked my backstory (about) page, and created a sidebar graphic that links to it. Notice that it prominently features my name. The name I’m planning to publish under. The name that potential readers will need to remember when they want to buy my book. Thank you, Kristin Lamb – author of We Are Not Alone – for making me realize that my platform needs to be branded with my name. (Yep, I did some reading over vacation too.)
If you tour my freshly scrubbed blog, you’ll see all sorts of small changes. For example, thanks to more of Kristen’s advice, I took a deep breath and joined Twitter. Which I really don’t get yet. But I will. Let me know if you’re already out there, so I can follow you. You can find me @RRudeParanormal.
I also have a YouTube channel all to myself. Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/RRudeParanormalist to view a little video snippet of me talking to a tree, which you haven’t seen. (Unless you followed the link I posted at The Paranormalist on Facebook – where I’m resolved to posting some little “bit ‘o creepiness” most every day from now on.)
Probably the most exciting thing I did during vacation is this:
Part of the process was determining the rough equivalent of NaNoWriMo when one is trying to develop an ongoing writing career, (as opposed to to simply getting 50,000 words written.) Looking at those numbers sobered me. The following chunk of text comes at the end of the WrMoProg Homepage, but I thought I’d share it here too.
If you look at the WrMoProg Challenge button/badge, you will see I worked up some numbers that might be equivalent to a successful NaNoWriMo stint. Because writing speed varies so much, I made my best guess as to the amount of time writing a manuscript page takes.
My numbers are otherwise based on this equation:
Word count: based on 25 lines per page in Courier New 12 pt. averages approximately 250 words per page. 20 pages, an average chapter,=25,000 (sic); 200 pages=50,000. Most books are between 50 and 100,000 words long. Publishers estimate by pages, including the white space. A computer count of 50,000 words may be 65,000 in publishers’ terms.
–Daphne Clair/Laurey Bright
So, here are some additional factoids to help you set your writing goals:
- Full time writer = 40 hours per week / 160 hours per month
- Half-time writer = 20 hours per week / 80 hours per month
- Average non-fiction book = 50,000 – 85,000 words = 200 – 340 hours
- Average novel = 50,000 – 110,000 words = 200 – 440 hours
- Ideal FIRST novel = 80,000 – 100,000 = 320 – 400 hours
- Average Novella (good for e-books) = 20,000 – 50,000 = 80 – 200 hours
- Average short story = 1000 – 7500 words = 4 – 30 hours
I followed my own instructions and set up a page to track my progress. If you want to see my plan develop – and how I’m doing on meeting my goals – check in at The Paranormalist’s WriMoProg Page once in a while.
Next post: back to paranormal stuff, I promise. Thank you for your patience.
Secret WriMoProg note: 0 + 7 = 7/200
I have less than an hour to get something down today. I feel compelled to write something “really good” which isn’t helping. I could have started writing an hour ago, but I’ve been reading everyone else’s posts instead of coming up with something to say. I suppose it’s best to just let that go, and finish this the way it wants to be finished.
I should be pretty tickled with how well this has gone. It was nice that launching my blog coincided with the challenge. NaBloPoMo provided just enough pressure to get me to really dive into the blogosphere and figure things outs. I am pleased I managed to do ANYTHING for 30 days straight. (Consistency is not my strong suit.) I’ve made new friends. Overall, it’s been a good experience, even when it was tough to force myself to deal with the commitment.
Despite all those positives, I’m feeling a little sad and lost. What happens tomorrow?
I know only two things for sure:
1) On my 101 in 1001 list, item # 48 says: successfully complete NaBloPoMo once each season. Next year, I’ll do the autumn run in October – which should be pretty darn easy, considering my theme.
2) I’m hoping to participate in National Novel Progress Month for December, and beyond. Even if the group doesn’t tackle the task again, I will absolutely set a goal for myself and track my progress.
Oh. I know one more thing:
BONUS THOUGHT) I will be writing – something, somewhere – tomorrow. Because that’s what I do.
So. That’s it. Congratulations to everyone who finished any of the November writing challenges. And congratulations to everyone who tried.
Last night, as the midnight NaBloPoMo deadline approached, I was completely caught up in a rollicking game of Catch Phrase. Unwilling to step away from the game, I begged my great-niece to write a blog post in for me. She is the only person in my family who shares my fascination with creepy things. (This fact amuses me because she is also my namesake – her middle name is Renae.)
She had no idea that I was going to ask her to do it, nor any familiarity with my blog. Of course she knows I’m a horror writer, and that her mother and I are preparing to do paranormal investigations together – so she wasn’t too startled by the request. She did have to think on her feet though, because I gave her almost nothing to go on. I merely pointed her at my blog, told her to read a few entries to get a feel for the theme, showed her how to add a new post, and let her go.
I was surprised by what she wrote … but not shocked.
I suppose I was about Chammi’s age when I experienced my own nocturnal visitation.
(Forgive the picture quality. This a snapshot, taken with my cell phone, of a snapshot taken when I was 14.)
I remember coming awake slowly in my twin bed, turning from my habitual fetal position onto my back. As usual, my nightgown wrapped uncomfortably around my legs. (I still hate to feel constricted or constrained when I’m sleeping.) I decided to get out of bed – I suppose intending to stand up and straighten out my bedclothes – but when I opened my eyes, I froze.
A figure was leaning over my bed. Its featureless “face” hovered inches above mine. I did not get the sense it was a solid thing. I did not feel any malevolence from it. When I think of it now, I conjure a mental image of a tall, willowy, feminine … presence. And I think of the color blue.
Like Chammi, I didn’t scream or freak out. I think I just went back to sleep. Of course it could have been a dream. I dreamed a lot when I was a child and teenager. Most of my dream images were recurring. (There was one in which I saw the shadow of a wolfman on my bedroom wall, another in which I bounded through an endless meadow.) The Blue Lady, though, I saw only once. Like Chammi, I can’t exactly articulate how or why I became convinced that this single event was not a dream – if it wasn’t, however, I don’t know how to explain it. It doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any of the most common paranormal categories. (Ghosts, apparitions, poltergeist, grays, etc.)
The phenomena which seems most similar is called sleep paralysis – which occurs when a person retains a type of consciousness even though the brain/body is in a REM sleep state. It can occur either at the beginning or end of the REM cycle (when falling asleep or waking up.) Sufferers of sleep paralysis report sensing an evil presence or feeling watched; feeling pressure on the chest / suffocated; being unable to move (which is accurate – the body does enter into a paralyzed state during REM, so that the sleeper doesn’t injure themselves or others during dreams;) feeling panicked or threatened; and seeing hallucinations.
I’ve been lazy for the last two days. And that’s okay. It was nice to take some time to celebrate my son and tend my cold-stricken husband. It was also nice to watch some TV, get some extra sleep and prowl some new blogs.
Tonight, however, after my men-folk went to bed, I decided to make a to-do list – to capture all the little tasks I’ve accumulated in relation to writing and investigating … and reluctantly preparing for winter. (Now that it has snowed, and I can no longer deny its arrival.)
It’s 2:41 am. I just finished making the list. I am a bit overwhelmed. I won’t bore you with the details, but I have a couple of writerly things I wanted to share.
Many of us are doing NaBloPoMo. I discovered a fledgling movement to start a National Novel Progress Month. I LOVE this idea. Even though there isn’t much time left in November, I jumped in. I hope the group decides to continue in the upcoming months. (Click the picture to go to the site.)
On another blog, I discovered Authonomy.com – a writers’ community sponsored by Harper Collins.
I am intrigued, but I haven’t spent a lot of time looking around yet. Do any of you have experience with it?
My impulsive decision to participate in NaBloPoMo has been good for my fledgling blog and for me. It has forced me to fling myself with abandon into the blogosphere – and into my freshly re-envisioned and re-defined lifestyle. I have spent many hours exploring the mysteries that have always appealed to me, and learning of a few new ones, like Black-Eyed Children. I’ve watched some great old movies, and have been directed to several more, which I somehow missed:
But tonight I am tired. And I am preoccupied with the parts of my life that are not related to bipolarity, writing, or the paranormal.
Tomorrow is a big day for our family – my 16 year old son will be testing for his advanced brown belt in Karate. It will be at least a year before he tests again. When he does, it will be to earn the coveted black belt that seemed so improbable six years ago, when we finally agreed to let him try Karate. Since then, he’s earned his gold, green, purple, blue, advanced blue, red, advanced red and brown belts. Since then, he’s grown up.
Tomorrow, I will post a photograph of this same ritual – except the ceremony, the testing venue, and the boy will be … bigger.