Date Archives November 2011

Peter Pepper, the Pepper-Spray Cop

We wereI was hungover from Thanksgiving Part II yesterday and lazed about while playing NES games. Suddenly, I realized I could add to the pepper spray cop meme.

In other news, there was an Amish beard cutting spree which is odd enough by itself, but made more curious by the fact that it was perpetuated by other Amish wielding battery powered trimmers. This article doesn’t even begin to address the important questions, for instance, why has the lord taken a stance against buttons and electricity, but not batteries?

Black Friday, Black Friday, gettin’ trampled on Black Friday

If I could pinpoint the thing I hated the most about working retail, it was the inevitable Black Friday ritual of getting up at 3am to be at work at 4am when the doors opened to the pushing, shoving, rude masses who would elbow-drop their own grandmother to save a buck. There are plenty of professions that make their employees work shitty hours, but very few will pretend to give you a holiday off while taking half of it away with a shift that starts five hours earlier than normal (or now, a shift that starts at 9pm on the same day), just so the guys at the top can make some extra money and then still let you go at the end of the season. Why even bother to leave the house? Some dingleberry who set up camp outside the store a week ago is going to get all the stuff at the low advertised prices, leaving you sleep deprived and caffeine jittery to pay full price because you feel like you’ve got to justify why you’re out instead of eating pancakes while wearing a fuzzy robe.

If the day after Thanksgiving isn’t complete for you without shopping, why not try shopping online at some of these awesome indie shops?

Firelight Fusions: This indie perfumier is inspired by classic games, movies, anime, and comic book characters. The perfume oils are carefully blended by hand and react with your skin’s chemistry to make a scent that’s uniquely yours. Best of all? She makes custom orders for special requests, so if you need something reminiscent of space and time for a Dr Who fanatic or a zesty scent inspired by the Pepper Spraying Cop meme, you know where to go.

Batgirl Designs: One thing I’ve realized after living in the pacific northwest for a while–not nearly enough coats have hoods. Particularly the cute, stylish coats. This seller makes an ingenious product that is a hood, scarf, and handwarmer, all in one, in a variety of colors with geeky/cute embellishments to match any winter ensemble. She also takes custom orders!

Shanalogic: There are about a million things I love here, made by a network of over 100 artists from around the world. But everything is packed and shipped from one central location so it’s one-stop indie shopping!

Fomato: For when you don’t want to get someone a gift, but you do want to get them a card. An awesome card.

More serious, less fun

Everyone deserves to get paid for their work. SOPA, funded by movie studios, tv studios, recording studios, and big pharma*, is not the way to accomplish it. H.R.3261 is so broad that any number of websites can be blocked, including sites like this one. The links and content you share will be monitored. Regular users, like you or someone you know, can be sentenced with a felony with up to five years in prison for recording a funny video of your dog with music playing in the background that you didn’t pay to commercially license. Even though you’re not selling it. Even though it’s incidental to the video. Possibly even if it’s a parody. Sure, it will cut down on the number of awful karaoke videos you see online, but it’s still not worth it.

Aside from the negative side effects of someone being able to slap you with a felony record when you’ve done nothing wrong, loss of privacy, and changing the face of the internet, H.R.3261 also stands to have a major negative effect on tech sector jobs. This bill is so far reaching that even even libraries are at risk. If you like this site or any other site on the internet or if you think the library is nifty or that karaoke is awesome, I would encourage you to please contact your congressperson and tell them that as their constituent, you don’t support H.R.3261. The sooner, the better. You can find out more information on the bill and how to contact your congressperson on americancensorship.org.

*This is what happens when you throw congresspeople thousands and thousands of dollars. They fall all over themselves in a rush to serve the needs of the few, to count corporations as people, to make pizza a vegetable. They will not look out for our interests unless we stand up and ask to be recognized. And when you do make yourself heard, try to be polite about it–no one wants to listen to or help a jerk.

“Well, I believe you’re required to provide a vegetarian alternative.”

I’m pretty excited by the news that Congress has declared pizza to be a vegetable. It’s always been a struggle for me to meet my daily vegetable requirements, but not anymore! In a world where two tablespoons is equal to half a cup, I can eat veggies for lunch, dinner, and have cold leftover veggies for breakfast the next day. Can burgers being declared vegetables be far behind? How long until I’m applauded for stopping at a McDonald’s for lunch to buy a double quarter pounder with cheese, because everyone will know that I’m only in it for the three servings of vegetables included: ketchup, pickle, and minced onion? I know that late at night, especially after some drinking, there’s nothing that I crave more than four servings of vegetables in one handy place, which is why I stop at Jack in the Box and load an ultimate cheeseburger up with onion rings and jalepeno poppers. If I’m feeling extra ambitious, a side order of fries deep fried in vegetable oil will count as two more servings, for nearly an entire day’s worth of vegetables in one meal! I may even take up eating vegetables for mid-day snacks, especially if strawberry basil ice cream is declared a vegetable.

Being healthy is AWESOME. I may even become inspired to spread this healthy lifestyle around by becoming a pizza farmer. Any idea where I can get some pizza seeds?

Nom or Vom: Babe, Pig in the Costco

“There was a time not so long ago when pigs were afforded no respect, except by other pigs; they lived their whole lives in a cruel and sunless world. In those days pigs believed that the sooner they grew large and fat, the sooner they’d be taken into Pig Paradise, a place so wonderful that no pig had ever thought to come back.” Until now, molded into the shape of piglets for your oven-roasting pleasure and Thanksgiving delight.

Pros: This is probably the only time you’d be able to say “Oh man, I’m so hungry I could eat a whole pig” and actually be able to do it, you don’t win friends with salad, as far as hog faces go the molded piglet face is cuter than the porchetta face.

Cons: Would you even be able to take a bite without hearing “Baa Ram Ewe”?, once you’ve started on the molded food craze your table will be covered in turkey shaped butter and jello molded into hooves, also kind of looks like a naked puppy which adds a whole new dimension to your holiday table.

Would you eat this?

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Victoria. Not the Beckham. Not the Queen. The other one.

Way back when my dad was in town, we took a daytrip to Victoria. This entailed getting up at an ungodly early hour in the morning to take a long ride on the Victoria Clipper to our destination. We were all a little overtired and punchy, and thus took to telling hilarious stories and became THOSE cackling people. The glances we got from other passengers were signs, I’m certain, that they were envious of our free spirits, and not “sweet jesus, please shut up” death glares, though I have been known to be wrong from time to time.

Although none of us had eaten, we decided we’d be sorry if we ate aboard the Clipper, as the inclusion of Craisins with every meal was a sure indicator that everything there was terrible. By the time we arrived in Victoria, we were quite hungry, and we voted that our first task upon arrival at the Butchart Gardens would be to cram some food into our faces. Unfortunately, before the gardens came a bus tour of the area. An incredibly boring bus tour. If you think listening about politics in your country is boring, it’s even more boring listening to a conservative nutbag bus driver go on and on about taxes and public spending in some OTHER country. Every time I would get a pleasant nod going, he’d hit the brakes and I’d smack my face against the seat in front of me–I’m guessing this is a technique he’s developed over the years to ensure people listen to his awful jokes and rambling bullcrap.

By the time we arrived at Butchart, we practically fled off the bus. There were a few different places to eat inside the Butchart Gardens. We immediately decided against the cafe as none of their premade cold sandwiches appealed. We made our way to the next place…and the menu was exactly the same. Apparently, crummy premade cold sandwiches were our destiny that day, though we did manage to avoid Craisins. Seriously, does anyone eat really eat those? They’re like tiny wrinkly balls of tastebud poison! The Butcharts were cement barons, which is not quite as grandiose sounding as oil barons, but at least a half step up from styrofoam baron or balsa wood baron. Upon exhausting a limestone quarry on their property, Jenny Butchart used her gardening hobby to spruce up the place, creating the sunken gardens.

“Jesus Christ, it’s a bear! Get in the car!”

By the time we got to the Asian gardens section, I was feeling more awake and clever, so I began to play tour guide. However, since I didn’t know what I was talking about, I made things up. “Over here, you will see the rare Japanese “luminous blossom”; these are native to the southern regions, and, via the process of photosynthesis, they are able to convert light into clean, usable energy. However, the oil lobbyists have grouped together and convinced Congress to ban their import into the United States.” A few tourists I didn’t know had been listening to my spiel, and when they looked over my shoulder to where I was pointing, they realized they’d been had and laughed when they saw I was indicating a raised electrical plug. I’ve used this “just make something up that sounds halfway believable” method before, especially when I worked retail. I vividly recall working a cash register on a busy day at World Market when a customer asked me what made the candle scent “Mexican Pumpkin” instead of just pumpkin. I told her with an absolutely straight face that pumpkins grown in Mexico tend to have an earthier, spicier scent profile than those grown farther north. She completely bought it, and every once in a while I wonder if she informs people of her worldly pumpkin knowledge. On our way out, we checked out the guestbooks. Most people had written variations on a theme: “Beautiful!” “Very nice!” “Wonderful!” However, I saw one that made me do a double-take: “This is how Jehovah’s New Kingdom will be” …I sincerely hope that if this is the case, Jehovah works a little on his food offerings. This musing was expressed by MY guestbook comment: Then, I fulfilled my urge to ride everything by straddling their foal statue. I’m as surprised as you are that it didn’t crumble under my ass.

We wasted some time in the gift shop, looking at the sort of assorted crap that none of us wanted to buy–none of us except John, who is drawn to gift shops as if by the world’s largest magnet. After rearranging some salt and pepper shakers in a semi-obscene manner and checking out some tiny statues of Mounties and a section of glass angels with what I suppose was intended to look like dark, curly hair but gave the effect of a head full of dog turds, I realized that it was getting quite late and we were almost going to miss our bus back to the city. We hustled back to the bus and arrived on time, only to have to wait for two ladies who had evidently found some excellent deals in the selfsame giftshop and were not about to be hurried away by the time constraints of anyone else. On the way back, the bus driver told us the road we were driving on had been given historical status and could not be fixed or replaced, so we had a rather bumpy ride–thanks, Canada. The bus driver again began to drone on and on about crap even I could not make entertaining, and thus I drifted off to sleep again. By the time I’d really settled into my nap, however, we were back in the city, and I woke up just in time to hear the bus driver ask us for tips. I’ve got a tip for you, buddy: Get a job that doesn’t involve interacting with the public.

We got some more coffee and then wandered to Chinatown, stopping along the way to do a little souvenir shopping. I got a cozy owl tuque, and enough Canadian candy to choke a horse (but not me, even though I did try to cram it all into my face at once). I’m sure the guy working at the 7-11 had a few choice thoughts about what comprises the bulk of my diet when I plunked thirty bucks worth of delicious candy in front of his register.

The bus driver told us the lions are supposed to come to life when an honest politician passes through them, but as you can see, we haven’t found one yet. Oh, ha-ha, bus driver. Ha. Ha.

Fan Tan Alley used to be used for gambling and opium and all sorts of interesting things. Now it’s merely famous for being a narrow thoroughfare, paralleling the career of Kate Moss.

After some more wandering around the city, we found ourselves with just enough time to inhale a street sausage (not THAT kind of sausage, perverts) and some ketchup chips before heading back to the Clipper, where we waited in a waiting room for approximately forever, and then we had to wait standing in line outside in the cold air for another time period approximating forever while they loaded more sandwiches and Craisins no one was going to buy onto the ship. We were among the last on board and had difficulty finding a group of seats together that additionally wasn’t adjacent to a screaming child. We settled in, my dad got ripped off on some duty-free cologne which, as it turns out, he could have purchased more cheaply online, I stuffed my face hole with candy, and sometime between Victoria and home, we got to watch large swaths of water behind the boat glow and shimmer in the night. “Ain’t it just beautiful?” a stranger asked, in between handfuls of Craisins. I had no choice but to agree.

17 years later…

I was saving this photo from Universal Studios to do a before & after style post–I’d had my picture taken in much the same position when I was twelve years old, visiting the Florida park with my family, but I looked through my photo album and that picture is missing for whatever reason. I’ve done my best to recapture it here, in the bright purple leggings my mom always bought for me because apparently she didn’t believe in jeans for girls (I’m pretty certain the amount of leggings and stirrup pants I wore throughout elementary school and junior high kept a number of manufacturers in business, not to mention makers of beaded vests and turtlenecks), the electric blue t-shirt, and the super-cool hot pink fannypack. You’ll have to imagine the totally cool matching pink terrycloth visor I was wearing, along with the owl glasses and mouth full of braces plus headgear and a poodle’s worth of hair up top. Man, was I ever awesome.

Some things just don’t change.

Edit: So I posted this, and Jason basically called me a liar, saying there’s no way I was out in public wearing that outfit, that no parent would ever purposefully dress their child so hideously*, especially a pudgy child. So here are two other pictures from the same day as proof. No, I have no idea why that Rescue Ranger appears to be strangling me.

*I can’t wait until I show him my yearbook photos.

An Evil What?

I’ve long suspected that there is an evil puppeteer pulling strings in my brain behind the scenes, working to make certain aspects of my life as miserable as possible. Getting sick when it’s least convenient? Evil puppeteer. Low self-esteem thoughts just before having to do some manner of public speaking engagement? Evil puppeteer. However, the field in which it performs its best (worst) work is ladybusiness.

I first began to suspect the presence of the evil puppeteer in the summer of 2000. I had just graduated from high school, and my family had moved across the country three weeks before I was scheduled to fly overseas for a year. After a lot of “never going to forget you” melodramatic teenage sex in Wisconsin, in California I realized that my period was late. Very late. And there I was, trapped in my grandparents’ home with no social network to speak of, parents who didn’t know I was sexually active, no way to get my hands on a pregnancy test, and no way to privately take one if I HAD managed to get one. I left for Taiwan, fully convinced that I’d be bringing home my parents’ three-month-old grandchild by the time I returned. The day after I arrived in Taipei, I got my period, and had to pantomime to my new host parents that I needed tampons. There’s really nothing like bridging a culture gap by sticking an imaginary plug in one’s vagina in front of people you’ve known for less than twelve hours, especially when you barely know the word for “hello” and the people in question may suspect that you’re looking for male companionship instead of sanitary products. I concluded there was some sort of evil presence in my brain, trying to mess with me as much as possible, though I was relieved about the whole not being knocked up thing.

The evil puppeteer (let’s call him Balthazar) has been messing with me more lately. Sensing that one of his final ladybusiness opportunities was coming in August, Balthazar yet again convinced me that I was pregnant, days before my operation, sending Jason out to the store to buy pregnancy tests while I cried and chugged water at home. When the test came up negative, I cried some more relieved tears and then immediately started my period. At least no pantomime was involved this time.

Since I’ve had my tubes tied, I thought Balthazar would have less power over me, but so far this does not seem to be the case. If things were proceeding on schedule, I was supposed to get my period just in time to ruin our Halloween Horror nights trip to Los Angeles…and it seemed like it was going to start, but then stopped suddenly. Tubal pregnancies aren’t entirely unheard of, so I took a pregnancy test when we got home: negative. Balthazar had evidently decided that wasn’t the event he wanted to ruin. Instead he was shooting for the next weekend, Carrie’s wedding, in which I was set to be a bloated bridesmaid. Things ramped up, but when her wedding got canceled, they stopped. I took another pregnancy test: negative. Balthazar then could have taken the easy way and tried to ruin Halloween weekend, but in his evil wisdom, he realized that if he held off for just one more week, he could wreak even more havoc: he could ruin our one year anniversary. So, sure enough, three weeks late and the day before our anniversary, he threw the gears in motion and unleashed the worst period I’ve had in years. Cramps so painful I could hardly breathe without moaning, so bad I couldn’t sleep, so bad I had to keep a heating pad strapped to me at all times. The day of our anniversary, I was determined to get dressed up and enjoy the fancy dinner we’d been planning on having, so I tried to kill the cramp pain with some of the pain pills I had leftover from my surgery. While they didn’t take away the pain, they did make me nauseated, leaving me dry heaving and crying over the toilet an hour before we were supposed to leave, weeping that I still wanted to get dressed up and go because it wouldn’t be the same if we celebrated on any other day. So we did get dressed up and went to dinner at John Howie Steakhouse. I was only able to have a few bites of everything since Balthazar clenched my stomach every time I took a bite of anything, but I can tell you that tempura fried bacon is amazing, lobster mashed potatoes are equally so, and the only way I can explain why my steak was so tender was that the cow it came from must had died of happiness. I wasn’t feeling up to having any dessert, but the waiter insisted and sent us home with some meyer lemon pie and chocolate truffles, since he felt we could not properly celebrate an anniversary without it. Even the leftovers the next day were amazing.

Screw you, Balthazar.

Pumpkin Stabbing 7…IN SPACE

This year, we hit the pumpkin patch the day before Halloween–we were late enough in the season that we missed the Triple Crown of Pig Racing (The PigTucky, The Boarmont, and The Squeakness), but we did manage to be there for the very last races of the season.

The girl who was called upon to bless the race by kissing a pig was less than thrilled about her new duty–nor was the pig, judging from the high pitched squeals.

This year, I again wagered on Arnold Schwartzenhogger, who failed to come through for me. However, given the small betting pool owing to the drizzly day, a few members of our group ended up winning pig racing t-shirts, suitable for nearly any occasion, from church to fundraising dinner to couch with ease.

Afterward, we went to visit the tiny pink horses in the barn to congratulate them on a job well done. The larger pigs were eating, but the smaller pigs were curled up in an adorable pig pile under a heating lamp. I could almost, almost taste the hot dogs in the air.

Awww, look at those cute faces! Wait, what? Let’s look at that sign a little closer:

Sponsored by Bacon Forever!? Well, I guess if they’ve got to go, at least it will be as something delicious. As opposed to “Sponsored by Dry Pork Chops” or “Brought to you by the amazing odor of Stankwurst” or “Presented by Bluudenhoxxencakes”.

We ended up only doing half of the corn maze this year; the ground was so sloppy and muddy and we had to concentrate so hard on simply not wiping out that it was less fun than it should have been. The mud, however, only enhanced the monster truck ride.

My hair was caked with mud, mud was splattered up Aisling’s back, and a large splotch nailed Jason on the head. While getting muddy was fun, trying to clean off chunks of it when I’d already connotated mud with poo in my head meant I spent a decent amount of time trying to hold back my urge to vomit, smelling poo when there was none, and retching deep in my throat while wiping it off.

Daniel and Rebecca had walked the pumpkin patch and found that the few remaining pumpkins were all moldy, so instead of buying an already-decaying pumpkin, we stopped at a grocery store on our way home and bought our pumpkins there. Lots of people helped out with the party this year by bringing food, and we all ate until we were stuffed to the gills and we STILL had more food leftover. Jason ended up bringing the majority of the leftovers to work, because while I enjoy pumpkin cookies, I don’t want to eat an entire batch.

Although this year didn’t end with a vomit contest or a leaking garbage disposal or a broken dishwasher, I’m still going to confidently declare this the most successful pumpkin carving party yet!

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios is supposed to be one of the premier horror events in the country. Accordingly, when we packed our bags for LA, I brought an extra pair of pants, in case I had a fear-related accident. However, I should have checked to make sure the extra pair of pants actually fit me. When we went swimming earlier in the day, I’d worn my pants over my suit going to and from the pool so that no one would have to look at my see-through leg skin, but this plan backfired as my pants got quite wet on the way back to the room, creating the appearance that I’d already had a fear-related accident, and my backup hipster pants were too tight to the point of severe discomfort. So I spent the minutes before we were off to CityWalk furiously blowdrying my crotch in the hotel bathroom with the provided hair dryer.

Waiting to get into the park, Jason had his first experience with a Southern California Bro waiting behind us in line. “So, bro, get this, I was dating this chick who turned out to be lame, and she was like, I thought that The Simpsons ride was too long but that the King Kong ride could have been longer and I was like, what, the Simpsons ride is like, a perfect length, and really, how much longer can a gorilla fight a dinosaur? Man, the best part of The Simpsons ride is like, when you go down to hell, I was all like WHOOOOOOA!” …he was suitably impressed with the guy’s bro-itude.

Immediately upon entering the park, it’s clear this event isn’t intended for children, with made up girls in short shorts grinding and writhing in cages to rock music. Once you’ve passed them, you’re into the Klownz area, overflowing with chainsaw-wielding clowns and geysers of flame shooting into the sky. There were so many clowns, in fact, that it was very easy for one to sneak up behind you while you’re distracted by another. One clown was very, very determined to try and get a squeak, a squeal, a screech, something out of me as he followed me through the area, blowing into my hair and dangling some sort of furry mass of something in my face. Really, the one he should have been going for was Jason–there were only a couple of times I was genuinely startled all night. Overall, the actors were very good at finding people who were totally engrossed and scaring them back into the moment.

Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life Our first stop was the Terror Tram, as it stops running a few hours before the park closes. We had purchased front-of-the-line passes, which meant that the most we had to wait for anything was a few minutes (compared to the 100+ minutes everyone without a pass had to wait for damn near everything), so we weren’t concerned about having to pick and choose the things we wanted to do most out of fear of not being able to see and do everything–but we didn’t want to get caught up elsewhere in the park and accidentally miss the two things that closed early. The Terror Tram bills itself as a behind-the-scenes look on the Universal Studios backlot of four horror movies currently in production; it’s essentially Universal Studios’ unbranded horror maze. I’m glad we chose to do it first, as it set the scene for the rest of the night. I’m not necessarily certain what I expected Halloween Horror Nights to be, but the Terror Tram absolutely blew all of my expectations away. The only word I can possibly think to use to describe it is “elaborate”. One of the movies was “Zombiez on a Plane”–and we walked past an entire plane ripped up, with bodies dangling out of the seats. I was so impressed by the work and money pumped into this event that I would forget that I was supposed to be scared. One girl was having her face ripped off, and as I was gawking at her makeup, she squirted water “gore” into my face and my reaction was not “ewww”, but “Wow! Awesome!”

The Simpsons Ride Our next stop was The Simpsons ride. It was hard enough for Jason to drag me away from Krustyland the first time to go to the Terror Tram: there was no way he had the strength to resist me again, especially since I’d been wanting to ride this ride ever since I’d first heard it existed. Everything about the area was spot-on perfect, from the references to the “Tooth Chipper” to schlocky Krusty-brand merchandise to the fully-stocked Kwik E Mart. The ride was charming, funny, and had a number of unexpected surprises. Afterward, my cheeks hurt from smiling.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure was an excellent (wait for it) respite for my smile muscles, because it was the only down note of the evening. It was a bunch of juvenile racist jokes with some song and dance numbers…and the main villain was Osama bin Laden. Really, Universal Studios? Wow. Pretty tacky. It did have some pretty attractive scantily clad young people, but I can get that elsewhere, without jokes about Mexicans and leaf-blowers.

House of 1000 Corpses in 3D Zombievision

I’ve always been a fan of Rob Zombie’s horror work, particularly House of 1000 Corpses, so I was definitely looking forward to this maze. Before we went through, we were handed a pair of 3D glasses to wear, which made the maze even more disorienting than it would have been otherwise. They managed to touch on nearly every area in the movie, from Captain Spaulding’s store to the Murder Ride to the house of the Firefly family to the underground tunnels where Dr. Satan resides. The colors, the tone…everything was spot-on perfect.

The Thing: Assimilation The Thing was one of our favorite mazes of the evening. Not only were the special effects amazing (they were created by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, two people who worked on the film), but they managed to create an atmosphere in which you felt like you may have possibly stepped through a portal into Antarctica, your breath fogging from your mouths on what you know is a warm Los Angeles evening. One of the only downsides is that, unlike the film, you aren’t threatened by the menace that anyone around you at any time could turn into The Thing (which could have been fixed with some line plants…but then again would have increased wait time so I don’t know if the payoff would have been worth it).

Jurassic Park: In the Dark This is the same ride as it is during daylight hours, except in the dark, it has a little more punch. We were told that you would get drenched on this ride, and since we wanted to do everything but didn’t want to spend have the night shivering in wet clothes, we bought two of the ponchos that were available for sale. I recalled all too well the time I’d gone to Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest (located in Gurnee, Illinois, home of chilly to downright freezing temperatures in October) and ridden the Roaring Rapids ride, certain that all of the water geysers had been turned off, and discovering far too late that I was wrong and ending up soaked to the bone and colder than the White Witch’s nether regions. So I was insistent upon poncho purchase. …we were the only people in line in ponchos. When we got off the ride, our ponchos were barely sprinkled with water.

At least we looked cute.

Alice Cooper: Welcome to my Nightmare This maze was designed with the help of Alice Cooper himself, and contained a lot of references to his music, some of which I caught, and some of which went straight over my head as I’m not the biggest Alice fan. I’m guessing I would have enjoyed the maze more were I a huge fan, but then again, the dingleberry teenagers behind us were clearly fans, and one of them kept shouting at the actors that they weren’t so-and-so, that they weren’t doing such-and-such right, so they couldn’t have been having a great time. Unless they enjoyed taking some of the fun out of it for me, in which case I guess they had a blast. I certainly had fun mocking them afterward. One of the actors in this maze got me good, as he came crawling at me on the floor and I only saw him coming out of my peripheral vision: I tripped over my feet and then Jason’s feet while scrambling away.

Revenge of the Mummy This ride was ok. I mean, I enjoyed the Mummy movies (up to a point), and I always dig rollercoaster-type rides, but it wasn’t anything special or particularly horror-themed. It’s certainly not something I would have waited an hour and a half to ride.

Hostel: Hunting Season On our way into this maze, a group of girls came screeching out of the end, running and screaming well into the night. I thought for SURE this meant that something at the end would be beyond terrifying, but it didn’t end up scaring me, though overall the maze was one of the most gruesome. However, one of the actors squirted me and caught me off guard with more water “gore”, and the guys in the next room must have heard my “EWWW” because they nailed me, too. Or maybe they all like taking shots at girls in glasses, I’m not an expert.

La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas La Llorona is a widespread legend in Mexico about a woman who drowned her two children for the love of a man, who subsequently rejected her, and she now roams the afterlife in ghostly purgatory, weeping for her lost children and seeking to drown other children to join them. I was distracted by the dudebro in front of us who was masking his own fear by walking behind his girlfriend with his arms around her, penguin waddling through the entirety of the maze. For the amusement of the people walking behind us, I did the same thing to Jason, which encited some laughs from the people behind us. Though the legend doesn’t really resonate with me personally, I thought the makeup and everything was very well done–there were a lot of cemetery settings with gravestones and weeping angels, and the actors were painted to resemble stone so realistically you could not tell which were the people and which were the props. At one point during the maze, they had an extra-large Maria head devouring a child in his bed (Freddy Krueger style), and when I drew Jason’s attention to it, saying “I don’t recall that being part of the legend”, an actor crept out of a hiding place, so when Jason turned back, he was so startled he nearly jumped through the ceiling, getting brays of laughter from everyone including myself.

The Wolfman: Curse of Talbot Hall This was the perfect maze on which to end our experience. Not because the maze itself was particularly outstanding, but the people around us enhanced, rather than detracted from, our experience. I’m not easily scared, but if someone fails to scare me, I won’t fling insults at them or be a jackass, and I was surprised to see that so many people WERE jackasses about it. But this time, it was perfect. Just before entering the maze, the group of girls in front of us screeched and said “You please go first, I can’t go first, I’m so scared”. I laughed and said “No fear, ladies, I will hold your hands” and led the way through the maze. I had my fair share of people jump out at me, but there were also some people who targeted the girls at the back, one of whom ran forward into me, screaming “BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLS”. I turned to her, confused, and said “Excuse me, but did you just scream “balls”?” Yes, yes she had. Apparently this is a thing among the youth these days. This maze also contained my maze kryptonite: mirrors. Unless someone shows me the correct way, I will walk back and forth between two mirrors and spend the rest of my life in the maze, often walking into them face first.

Wrap up After we’d seen everything there was to see, we decided to hit the Kwik E Mart and head out early–our front of the line passes got us to the front of every line once, but if we wanted to see or do anything again, we’d have to wait the full time, and there wasn’t anything I was willing to wait in line for that long to do again. While at the Kwik E Mart, we bought some plastic glassware for the house because I can’t be trusted with real glass, a “Duff” and “Flaming Moe” energy drink to go with my Buzz cola, and a big pink Simpsons donut. How big, you ask? Big. Really big.

Delicious, too. We’re already talking about going back next year.