Boo-ya! Hallowe’en Traditions and Spaced Invaders!

Before I start, let me give you a head-up on today’s noteworthy blogs. My partner in crime, William Kendall, always delivers at Speak of the Devil–and at his new photoblog, Ottawa Daily Photo. PK Hrezo has a fun Haunted House blog today–and is celebrating her new novel, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. which is now one of Amazon’s Top 100 time travel novels!

For years after my dad passed away, Mom, Collin and I spent Halloween watching appropriately-themed movies. The Universal Studios horror films from the 1930s were among our favorites. Occasionally, we’d have a Crapfest and watch the worst of the worst, like Plan 9 From Outer Space (for those who haven’t seen it, yes, it really is that bad).

After Mom died, Collin and I winged it. Sometimes we watched horror movies, sometimes movies and TV shows with Halloween themes–like Roseanne‘s hilarious Halloween episodes and my personal favorite, Spaced Invaders, a comedy about a group of IQ-challenged aliens who, separated from their invasion-bound fleet, pick up a radio transmission of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds and assume they’re supposed to attack Earth.

Hiding out on a farm facing foreclosure, the alien idiots, whose leader wears LA Lakers attire and sounds suspiciously like Jack Nicholson, plan to take over the small town. Somehow, though, some of them end up being mistaken for trick-or-treaters and are stuck in a car with the kids and a mom who doesn’t appreciate the attitude of the most aggressive of the aliens, who threatens to turn her to toast–“or in your case, a whole loaf of toast!”

Guess who ends up kicked out of the car?

These aliens couldn’t take over a station wagon, let alone a planet. As the town sheriff’s young daughter puts it in her attempt to get her dad to give them a break, “They’re not bad. They’re just…stupid.”

If you’ve never seen it, check it out. It’s funny. Really.

And then there’s the one Halloween tradition we always observe: buying the candy at half price the day after Halloween!

Saw this on I Love Minions’ Facebook page and though it would be the perfect way to wish everyone a Happy Hallowe’en….


A Celebration…and Revelations

First, the celebration. Some months ago, I entered Collin’s cover design for my reissued novel The Unicorn’s Daughter (previously published by Berkley Books in 1990 as A Time for Legends) in a cover art contest at AUTHORSdB. I entered it…and promptly forgot about it, until I received word a couple of days ago that it had made it to the semi-finals!

I’ve been hoping he’d work at making it a full-time business. (I had to promise to never again ask him to do freebies for authors in a financial bind–I did that twice for authors who took their business elsewhere when they could pay for covers. It would have been one thing if they had just been clients–but they were supposedly my friends! With friends like that…you know the rest!). Maybe, if he wins the competition, he’ll pursue it as a career once again. I hope.

As for the revelations…I’ve been working on a memoir for a few months now. It’s not a writing memoir, but one of a very dark time in my life, something I’ve only discussed with my closest friends. It was one of those friends who encouraged me to tell my story, suggesting it might help others in a similar situation. I’ve kept it under wraps until now, wanting to be certain I could do it. Nonfiction isn’t exactly my thing–the truth requires coloring inside the lines, so to speak.

No title yet, and no cover…but soon. Very soon.

Movie Review: GRAVITY

 grav·i·ty  (grv-t)


1. Physics

a. The natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body.
b. The natural force of attraction between any two massive bodies, which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
c. Gravitation.
2. Grave consequence; seriousness or importance: They are still quite unaware of the gravity of their problems.
3. Solemnity or dignity of manner.

I wondered about the title–but there you have it.

This is a movie that must be seen, at least the first time, on the big screen–and the bigger the better. Seeing the visuals of the earth from space makes me long for a journey into space, but that’s not going to happen. I’d never pass the physical. So I’ll have to be content to be an amateur astronomer and enjoy the awe-inspiring view from the eyes of filmmakers.

Gravity has only two actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, onscreen, and three voice actors at the beginning, including Ed Harris (Apollo 13). The story opens high above the earth, where the crew of the fictional shuttle Explorer is attempting to make repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Clooney is cocky mission commander Matt Kowalski, joking about being out to break the space walk record, while Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, is a medical engineer, a first-time astronaut suffering from severe anxiety.

In the middle of their space walk, the crew receives an emergency transmission from Mission Control. A Russian satellite has exploded, and the remnants are headed their way. They’re ordered to abort the mission–but it’s already too late. When the debris hits the shuttle, it’s also destroyed. Kowalski and Ryan–the only surviving crew members–are stranded in space.

With Kowalski leading, the two of them make their way toward the International Space Station, where a Russian Soyuz capsule is docked. The plan is to board it and head for home…but it’s also been hit by the satellite remnants. The pair are running out of options…and oxygen. They have one last chance to survive in the most hostile environment imaginable and make their way home.

Ryan–who says she was so named because her father wanted a boy–is a woman who doesn’t feel she has much to live for. As Kowalski tries to engage her in conversation, she reveals that she had a daughter who died after a head injury “She hit her head, and that was it”). I found it a little puzzling that her commander didn’t already know this–don’t astronauts get to know each other pretty well during their mission preparation? Though noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson found several flaws in the film, for me, the flaws are minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of it.

The earth from space and George Clooney–come on, the view doesn’t get any better than that!