Help me choose…

…what movie I’ll use to torment my long-suffering life partner this Halloween.

We have a little tradition in our household: Every Halloween I choose a horror movie to watch, and Lennox actually watches it. He doesn’t care for the horror genre, and never really gets anything out of it, but he’s an excellent sport and gives me 1 1/2 to 2 hours of his life every year just to please me. Nice chap, that one.

Anyway, I have no idea what to watch this year. Previous selections have included The Ring (US version), The Exorcist (original theatrical cut), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Evil Dead (1981), and oddly enough, Pumpkinhead (because I love it, love it, love it).

Some possibilities for this year include: Halloween, Fright Night (2011), or The Others. I really loved The Conjuring, too, and it’s out on DVD just in time to be another possibility.

The problem is that I know I’m missing obvious choices, and need some help. I prefer our Halloween movie to have some sort of redeeming quality — great acting or script, for instance — and I also prefer to keep the sexual violence to a minimum. (Oh, also: No zombies this year. Just not in the mood.) New movies, old movies — anything is cool, as long as it’s scary. I have no problem with gore (as long as it’s not straight up torture porn), and although I personally prefer supernatural horror, I like a lot of different scary things.

Any suggestions?

Television gold from my subconscious.

Last night I dreamt that a new version of “Unsolved Mysteries” came out — and it allowed you and your friends and family to do the recreations at home!

Imagine the possibilities: Get your parents to reenact that bank heist, your best friend to reenact a UFO sighting, and then you can reenact the mysterious disappearance of a small town girl with so much potential and love for life. You can have reenactment parties. People could record their reenactments, and post them online to compete for prizes!

This is gold, I tell you — television gold!

And people think voting on who gets eliminated on some silly talent show is the pinnacle of participatory television. Haha, no.

I almost can’t believe this isn’t a real thing in the world.

Web peeping.

There’s a crafter’s personal blog I really like because the photos are amazing. But they’re so intimate — cooking family dinners, pets, her daughter & partner — that they sometimes make me feel like a spy.

I mean, I know she puts this stuff out there on purpose, but sometimes I click away from her blog feeling like a straight up web-peeper.

It’s a weird feeling.

How to be silly and confessional at the same time.

Whether you’re joining a new Meet Up group or looking to bump into that hitman you found on Craigslist, you know that it’s always tricky to figure out who your contact is when meeting a stranger in public.

I propose a better, more honest standard of description — something that goes far beyond “I’ll be the one with the rose and the Jane Austen novel” or even the classic “I’ll be wearing a red hat, you won’t be able to miss me.”

Here are a few sample descriptions to get you started:

  1. Look for a fat lady in a green dress with a giant pimple growing directly over her third eye.
  2. Look for a woman sitting alone in a corner with a truly terrible haircut that somehow has not damaged her self-esteem.
  3. Look for a thirty-something redhead with a facial expression like someone who actually smells what The Rock is cooking.
  4. Look for a jauntily dressed woman hyperventilating and crying in the parking lot.
  5. No description needed. I will not be able to leave the house, so I will not be there.

Guess which one most accurately describes me at this time?

Creative cross-training.

Amateur line drawings of a cat.

I’ve been working through the Drawing Our Lives course on Sustainably Creative, and though I have not really drawn since I was a kid, I’ve really been enjoying it.

I decided to take the course despite not being much of an artist, because I felt like it could shake up my creative habits and help me improve as a writer – sort of as a form of “creative cross-training.” And, to be really honest, I do really like to draw, even if I will never be a “real” artist.

It’s sort of like bowling for me. I really love bowling, and I have never scored above a 72. Seriously. But that has never stopped me from going bowling. Hell, rented shoes don’t stop me from bowling, and that’s one of the grossest publicly accepted things ever. Yet in my creative work, I have a terrible perfectionist tendency. I have a habit of not doing things at all that I cannot do perfectly – and though I have made great progress in working though that tendency in my writing (and in my housekeeping, oddly), it’s still there in other areas. I wanted to find an enjoyable activity at which I could be a rank amateur – but in a safe space that would allow me to share and grow, even if I don’t improve much. I’ve really found that in Drawing Our Lives.

I highly recommend this course, even for armchair doodlers like me.