Monday, October 31, 2011

Top Ten Halloween Movies

The Wife: Happy Halloween everyone! Since today is Monday I am sure that many of you celebrated Halloween over the weekend. I hope it was a great "spooktacular" time. <-Yay for holiday cheesiness! We had a pretty good Halloween. Thursday was Trick or Treat where we live, so that was the day my work had a Halloween costume contest. I got to dress up as a zombie with some of my co-workers as we were "The Working Dead," a play off of The Walking Dead TV series. It was pretty much epic. I didn't think I had it in me to dress scary, but my zombiness was quite frightening! We also attended a Halloween party over the weekend and I dressed as a "Hocus Pocus" witch, while the husband went as Oscar the Grouch. Yes, Oscar the Grouch.

Now that you've all had your fill of candy corn and other Halloween candy treats, it is time for us to countdown our Top Ten Halloween movies. Now, this list is going to be bizarre to some of you Halloween hard core folks. Halloween the movie is not on here as I have never seen the ORIGINAL Halloween all the way through...just bits and pieces. Our movies are ones that we truly find scary or simply convey a Halloween feel. Let's get started, shall we?

10. Underworld series — These movies really aren't scary, but they are awesome! The werewolves and vampires aspect can allow it to be included in our top Halloween films. The storyline and action are awesome. We must note that we can't wait for the next installment of the Underworld franchise, which is coming out this winter!

9. The Amityville Horror — This one has been re-made several times. The latest version, which stars Ryan Reynolds, is pretty awesome. I was on the edge of my seat the first time I viewed this movie and was truly freaked out. It was just so creepy! I've read that the movie is based on true events too, which make it all the more scary.

8. Halloweentown — Ok, here is the first "kids" movie on the list. Halloweentown is a Disney Channel Original Movie that first aired in 1998. Wow, that seems so long ago now! I love the general feel of this movie and it is really cute. I still enjoy watching it to this day. I think the plot is pretty good and well, like I said, it's just cute. Several sequels to Halloweentown have since aired, but the original is the best. Halloweentown also gets the edge over The Amityville Horror because I usually only get to watch Halloweentown during the Halloween season.

7. Psycho — This movie is amazing! If this wasn't just a top ten Halloween movie list, Psycho would be ranked much higher. I need to note that I am talking about the original Psycho film before I continue. Psycho is beyond creepy and very scary! Just writing about this makes me hear the famous music score in my head, which always gives me chills! "I'm Norma Bates!"

6. Silence of the Lambs — Like with Psycho, if this was more than a top ten Halloween movie list, Silence of the Lambs would be ranked much higher! It is probably one of the best films I've ever seen! It is crazy creepy and it is scary in the way that I believe something like this could actually happen. While I find Hannibal Lecter creepy, Buffalo Bill is one of the scariest movie villains of all time! For the sake of keeping this blog clean, I will not even write his famous quote, which haunts my dreams! I am sure you all know what scene I am referring too! Silence of the Lambs, the only Best Picture winner on the list, is just an amazing movie. "Hello, Clarice!"

5. Scream series — I am a huge fan of the Scream series! I love these movies and I can't really explain why! I think most people either hate or love Scream. I find the movies to be hilarious and they are super fun to watch in marathon format this time of year. The latest in the franchise is great and even though the husband doesn't care for the series, he took me to see it when it came out on my birthday in April! If you've never seen any of the Scream films, you should really give them a shot!

4. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown — Does this even need an explanation? Seriously the Peanuts gang is just awesome as is this movie. This movie truly makes Halloween. I love it just as much now as I did when I was a tot!

3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show — LOVE THIS! One of my favorite musicals by far. It has a creepy vibe but is super fun. I love the soundtrack and keep the songs on my iPod year-round! Tim Curry is just amazing in his role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter! He is so good that every time I see him now in Home Alone 2 all I can picture is him singing "Sweet Transvestite." Scienceeee fictionnnn, doubllleeee feature! Yes, that was me just singing as I typed. Winning! This movie is especially great if you watch it at midnight like tradition calls for. My goal is to see a performance live at midnight, and of course, attend the event in costume. I think I could rock the Magenta look!

2. Trick 'R Treat — This is a relatively new movie to the Halloween classics. The atmosphere of this film and the creativity of how four separate Halloween stories connect is really good. Sure, this movie is cheesy, but it is still a favorite tradition of ours. I think all Halloween fans will like or at least be mildly entertained by Trick 'R Treat. The way the town that the movie is set in celebrates Halloween is awesome. I always wished that my area would celebrate Halloween like that. Trick 'R Treat also teaches us to be respectful and follow the rules of Halloween...or else!

And finally...the number one Halloween movie...

1. Hocus Pocus — My favorite Halloween movie of all time! It's not Halloween unless I watch Hocus Pocus! Sure it can be classed as a "kids" movie, but honestly it never gets old! Like I discussed in the paragraph above about Trick 'R Treat, the atmosphere of Hocus Pocus makes the movie! The film is set in Salem, Massachusetts, where the famous witch trials took place. The halloween spirit and celebration in this movie is amazing. I always wished my neighborhood would go all out for Halloween like the town in this movie does. I also love the crisp fall feel of the film. The acting is great too. Bette Midler knocks it out of the park as the head witch, Winifred. Sarah Jessica Parker never looked better. Thora Birch, who is only a child in this movie, was a good actress even back then! I always loved Binks the cat and wanted my own talking cat as a kid. I remember having a crush on the kid who plays Max when I was little too. I also remember asking my mother "what's a virgin?" when I was younger and would watch this. Oh the innocence of youth! My favorite scene in the movie is when the Sanderson sisters sing "I Put a Spell on You."

So before we wrap this post up we give you the following clip... yes, thank you, Max, for that MARVELOUS introduction!

Please share with us your favorite Halloween movies! We'd love to read all about them. Happy Halloween! Remember to start thinking of your favorite Christmas movies as we will be posting our top ten in December!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Relay: Episode 6

Episode 6

The commons cavern reminded Julia of a Moroccan market place she once visited. Everywhere vendors had set up shop for trade. Where they got these items and what value they could possibly hold escaped her. She walked behind her group, watching Avery unsuccessfully explain to Byron the inner workings of the relays and the universe itself. She kept her distance from Quincy, the man fish. Julia also kept a close eye on Wesley, who led them through the commons to a small eatery on the far side from where they entered. They sat at a long table with bench seating. Soon the proprietor brought them some rolls and what looked like beer. Avery quickly grabbed three rolls before anyone else could get one.
“Alright Byron, last try,” He smacked one of the rolls on the table. “This is your world!”
“That roll?” Byron scratched his head. “Earth?”
“No, not your planet; your everything. This roll is your solar system, your galaxy, your universe.” Avery put down a second roll next to the first. “This could be my world. See how close together they are? We both speak the same basic language. Our worlds are both called Earth. They are very similar, but not the same.” Avery held up the third roll. “This is where we are.” Avery tossed the roll across the cavern.
“Hey! I would have eaten that!” Byron snatched the other two rolls before Avery could desecrate them too.
“Do you get it? The reason Wesley is here and in your world is because this universe doesn’t run on the same plane of time and existence as your world, or mine.” Avery searched Byron’s eyes for understanding. Byron looked blank so Avery gave up and took a long drink of the cave beer. Byron felt a tug at his shirt and noticed Lilana had been beside him the whole time. He smiled at her. She smiled back and broke a roll in half then hand fed it to Byron. He took her hand and tried to silently implore her to eat as well and not worry about him. She frowned and attempted to feed him again. Byron took a roll and tried to feed her back. Lilana looked shocked and pleased by his action.
Down the table, Julia sat quietly opposite Wesley who was deep in conversation with Quincy. They both spoke the strange fish language. She took a sip of the beer drink and regretted it.
“It’s a little strong isn’t it?”  Wesley took a drink from his own beer. “I threw up the first time I had it. They make it from this sea weed growing in the lake. They make just about everything from it. Turns your piss green.”
“Thanks for the warning.” Julia bit into the roll and instantly recognized the sea weed taste in it as well.
“I’d actually like to thank you.” Wesley slipped his hands over hers. “I lost hope of ever getting home. But now you say you’ve seen me! I hope I didn’t look too much older?”
“No, no just a little grey in your hair that’s all.” She pulled her hands back, out of his grip. “So how does this place have light and food? It seems so dead on the surface.”
“Ah, well most of the technology was scavenged from the ruined city deeper in the cave.” Wesley drank and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “They built some huge windmills on top of the cliffs, safe from most of the sandstorms that generate the electricity. The food, well the sea seed grows naturally in the underground lakes. There are some eel like creature in there we eat too.”
“And what color do they turn your piss?” Julia asked playfully.
“Ha!” Wesley drank to that. “You know you’re the first human woman I’ve seen in months? Not that there’s anything wrong with some of the alien ones!” Wesley elbowed Quincy who grunted and left the table. Wesley laughed. “So where did you pick up that Avery guy?”
“He kind of helped us out of a bind.” Julia looked down the table to see Avery drinking and laughing with Byron. “You don’t approve of him?”
“It’s not that, he just seems very Vanguard-ish.”
“I’m sorry I don’t follow.” Julia pushed her dirty blonde hair out of her face.
“The Vanguard are kind of a police force for the relays. They are trained to feel the relay and manipulate them to their will. They use bio-tech appendages to further increase their skills. Avery doesn’t seem to have any of those, which means he probably got kicked out. They only kick you out for doing something really bad.” Wesley took a small sip of beer and noticed Julia’s concerned look. She thought back to the large scar on Avery’s back, in the shape of the relays.  “Oh, but what do I know? He looks like a very upstanding gentleman with his scruffy long hair and dirty fingernails and such…” Julia began to smile and then laugh. “Hey, there’s a smile. It’s good to see one of those.”
Behind them a large group of people entered the restaurant area. They were talking and laughing very loudly. When they approached Julia realized they were not humans. They greatly resembled humans, but their face structure was off. Behind the group walked a couple dressed very different from the rest. They all sat at the table and began to eat when one stood and made a proclamation. Julia had no idea what he said, but everyone cheered it and the strangely dressed couple stood and walked into the open area of the eatery. The couple embraced as music began to play from an instrument Julia failed to notice until now, sitting in the corner of the establishment. They began to dance. Soon others from the party joined them.
“Is this a wedding reception?” Julia asked Wesley.
“Indeed.” Wesley stood and bowed to the bride and groom. They waved him over. “Julia, they’d like me to join them. I’d look pretty sad dancing alone. Care to join me?” Wesley walked over the table and offered her his hand. Julia looked at him strangely for a moment before taking his hand and joining the celebration. Lilana also watched the dancing with great interest. Byron offered her another piece of bread, but she declined it. He watched her eyes as they followed the bride and groom. He sat down his mug of beer and stood. Having no idea how to ask, he simply held out his hand. Lilana looked at it, then at Byron. Instead of taking his hand she jumped to her feet and hugged him tightly. Byron patted her on the back and they walked to the dance floor. Avery finished another beer and watched the dancing with disgust. Quincy sat beside him and provided another drink. He took it and continued to hammer away. He did, however, keep a close eye on Wesley and Julia.
That night, Julia, Byron, Lilana and Avery all shared a small tent positioned in a smaller cavern off from the commons. Four cots with blankets awaited them inside it. Lilana made sure to get the cot closest to Byron’s. Avery made sure to get the cot farthest from anyone. When they extinguished the candle the absolute darkness of the cave engulfed them. Byron stared into the blackness for a long time before he slept. He considered Avery’s explanation of the universe and how any of that could be possible. Who made the relays and why? His eyes began to adjust to the dark. He rolled to his side and noticed Lilana looking right at him. Byron smiled at her and closed his eyes. Lilana did the same.
Julia found it easy to sleep tonight. Running through her mind was comfort taken from the wedding celebration earlier. It took her mind off of Mabry and her lost sister. It showed her happiness was still possible in this world, or universe, or where ever the hell she happened to be. She also thought about Wesley. She thought about his awkward lanky way of walking and his kind voice. She thought about the way he looked at her back on Earth and wanted eagerly to know what emotions spurred it. Right before she fell asleep her heart sank a little as she thought, inevitably at some point Wesley would be separated from them. He made it back to Earth and Nathan said he was the only one. Her thoughts also lingered to Avery. Julia pushed both thoughts away as she fell to sleep.
It’s often difficult to discern morning from any other time of day when sleeping in a deep cave. Julia felt rested and awake, yet none of her senses told her it was morning. She sat up on the cot and looked around. In the low light she saw only shadows. One shadow, the one of Avery, was missing from its bed. Julia stood and felt her way to the entrance of the tent. She pushed her head out of the flap. This small cavern was filled with other tents. Snores erupted from some, and candle light from others. Straight ahead she noticed an open fire with chairs around it. Avery sat at one of these chairs, cautiously smoking some sort of pipe. Julia walked to the fire and sat beside him. Avery coughed after a long hit from the pipe.
“Damned sea weed again.” Avery’s cough continued. “They use it in everything.”
“What time is it?” Julia looked into the fire.
“No idea what so ever dear. I hate caves.” Avery added more fuel to the fire. “Wesley said he was going to set up a meeting with their leader, Zachander. That was hours ago, or so it seems. I can’t keep track down here.”
“Will he be able to help us find the next relay?”
“That’s not the problem. They know where it is. Getting to it is the problem. I’m told it’s a three week journey down an underground river. But even before that, getting to the river involves navigating through the ruined city. They don’t like to talk about that at all, which makes me nervous.”
“You, nervous?” Julia looked at Avery and smiled. “We must be in trouble.” Julia laughed at the strange face Avery made. Byron then stumbled out of the tent with Lilana quickly behind clinging to him. He kept politely putting distance between himself and her, only to have her move right by into his personal bubble. They sat around the fire.
“Avery, I’m wondering if you’d be able to tell Lilana I appreciate the affection, but I need some space.” Byron looked at her and smiled. Lilana smiled back and tried to hold his hand. Byron pocketed them.
“Sorry mate, I don’t speak her language that well. You did save her life. I’m guessing she feels indebted to you.” Avery puffed the pipe and coughed some more. “She’s not terrible to look at; you could always just enjoy yourself.” Julia scoffed at this and slapped the back of her hand on Avery’s shoulder.
“He should do no such thing!” Julia looked at Byron, with Lilana hanging off his arm. “Leading her on would be terrible. Just let her be. She is alone and scared and can’t express it to anyone! Not to mention pregnant.”
“Okay sis, chill out.” Byron kicked a runaway ember back into the fire and began to drum his hand on his knees. “Any chance we can get some more food before this meet and greet? I’m starving.”
“Get used to it.” Avery gave up on the pipe and tossed it into the fire. “It won’t kill you to miss a few meals.”
“That was mean…” Byron would have continued, but Wesley approached the group.

“Zachander agreed to meet with you in five days,” Wesley paused for the groups outrage. Avery stood and opened his mouth to yell but Wesley started again before he could. “I talked him down to three. It’s the best I could do. He is very busy.”

“So what do we do in the mean time?” Julia seemed unhappy about staying in the cave any longer.

“I’ll just have to give you the grand tour.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall 2011!!!

Happy Fall everyone!

The Wife: Sorry for the lack of blog last week and the lateness of today. We've been tired and busy. Excuses excuses! Oh well, deal with it!

Well, this will mainly be a picture post. Fall has certainly arrived and we've brought in the season with festivals, apple cider and jack-o-lantern making. The Bob Evans Farm Festival, a yearly tradition, provided us with fall fun. Good food was had there and apple cider slushies were consumed. Apple cider was purchased as well, of course. Nothing says fall like warm apple cider on a chilly evening!

I also visited the Field of Screams for some Halloween terror. Unfortunately terror quickly became annoyance as the maze workers decided it would be fun to manhandle me and my friend. Next time a masked man proclaims that "the short blonde girl" is his, I will give a swift kick and run through the corn! Despite that, it was still a fun evening.

Pumpkin carving has of course been done and the husband insists upon making the traditional jack-o-lantern and as usual refuses to do any fancy designs. One of these days I will win that battle and we will get the carving stencils!
Also, our dog has enjoyed playing in the leaves.

Yes, fall has arrived. What are some of your fall traditions? We'd love to read about them! Also, stay tuned for next Monday's special Halloween post! We will be discussing our top Halloween movies!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Relay: Episode 5

Five episodes in! I hope you are all enjoying it. Remember if you have missed any episodes they are all right here. There is also a tab up above that takes you to them.

Episode 5

The wind shaped and reshaped the tall red dunes. The sand whipped against the walls of ancient cliffs a thousand feet high. The sun baked all of this in an unbelievable heat. A wind storm approached, blocking out the sun’s light but retaining its suffocating heat; creating an oven. The storm was so dense even the flash of light from a relay entrance could not be seen from more than fifty yards away. Avery hit the sand first and rolled to his feet. Julia followed quickly behind and began to vomit as soon as she hit the sand. She was thankful to be fully clothed. Byron, carrying Lilana, landed some feet back from them and screamed in pain; he forgot to drop the metal short sword. Avery quickly rushed through the sand storm and kicked the sword out of this hand. The sword ripped from Byron, the metal had fused to his flesh and resisted this separation from its host. Byron doubled over in pain. Avery dropped beside him and scooped up Lilana. He examined the gash in her neck. It was deep, but missed the carotid artery. He applied pressure and went over his options. Lilana tried to speak but just gurgled blood so she reached into her apron and produced a container with the healing salve inside. Avery decided they’d have to get out of the sand storm to use it, or risk horrible infection.

“We need to move!” Avery yelled to the others. Byron came to his knees, cradling his hand.

“Where? I can’t see anything!” The storm made it nearly impossible to see or hear.

“Over here!” They heard Julia’s cry but could not see her. “Over Here! There is a tall cliff face just up this dune!” She came into view. Avery stood, still holding Lilana’s neck and began to walk with her in his arms. Byron followed, nursing his hand. Julia went a head of them. As she approached the endlessly tall cliff wall, she noticed what seemed to be a cave opening. The sand dune leading to the cave was steep. Julia soon found herself on all fours moving towards the cave. With every movement she sunk into the sand. Avery worked even harder to carry Lilana up the dune and hold pressure on her neck. Byron staggered back and forth, falling several times as he attempted to keep his skinless hand out of the hot sand. Julia reached the cave entrance and turned to look for the others. Avery arrived soon after. He took Lilana into the cave and lay her on the floor. He instructed Julia to apply the salve and went back down the dune to help Byron. When they entered the cave, Julia had just finished putting the salve on Lilana. The blood stopped immediately and she passed out.

“Is she good?” Avery asked Julia.

“I think so.”

“Good.” Avery turned and grabbed Byron by the shirt, shoving him back against the cave wall. “What in the bloody hell was that? I didn’t realize we had a hero type in our midst!”

“You wanted me to leave her?” Byron shoved Avery back with his good hand. “You said yourself they don’t have any respect for their women. What would they have done to her knowing she helped us escape?”

“You sir have much to learn. First and foremost; the moment you start watching other people’s backs over your own, you’ll find a knife in it.” Avery sat by Lilana and stroked her hair.

“You didn’t want her to come in the first place.” Byron sat as well. “That was pretty obvious. You’d rather just let her live like a slave?”

“Byron, I didn’t want her to come because she’s pregnant.” Avery took the salve from Julia and threw it to Byron. He caught it with his good hand and remained quiet. “I have no idea what happens to a pregnant woman when they travel through the relays. Furthermore a pregnant tag-along will be nothing but trouble.” Avery put in a rub of snuff. “Now fix up your hand, I can’t have two cripples following me around.” Byron took a deep breath and began rubbing the salve all over his skinned hand. In a matter of minutes he passed out.

“Any idea where we are?” Julia broke the silence.

“No. I’m a little worried we may be on a refuge world.” He looked at Julia and anticipated her confusion. “Um… Refuges are worlds where the relays are hidden or very hard to get to. You end up with a huge population of people from everywhere stuck because they can’t get to the relay. This one would be particularly bad because it seems pretty inhospitable. Once this storm clears I’ll go out and scout the area.” Julia shook her head in understanding.

“I’m guessing you had something to do with us not arriving naked?” Julia pulled her legs up to her chest.

“Yes. The relays are a lot more organic than people think. You don’t learn to use them as much as feel them. It’s hard to understand really. If you think about keeping your clothes, you will.” Avery spat.

“So think about who you’re following and you will do so?”

“That’s the basic idea. It’s a little more difficult than that, but I could probably give you some tips.” Avery removed his tobacco and went for another. He opened the tobacco container and found it empty. “Damn.” He tossed it aside and brushed Lilana’s hair.

“How did you know she was pregnant?” Julia looked at Lilana. “Any idea how far along?”

“She told me before you two arrived. Can’t be more than a month or two.”

“You’re not the father are you?”

“Oh, no! Hell, no. I think it’s her employer, the doctor. I don’t speak her language well, but that’s the impression I got.” Avery leaned against a rock and shut his eyes. “We should rest while they recover.” Julia found some cooler sand to curl up in and shut her eyes. The relative silence of the cave gave her time to decompress from prior events. Despite her best efforts, she did eventually fall asleep. Outside the wind storm began to abate and a real silence fell over the cave. Julia woke some hours later to find both Avery and Byron gone. Lilana remained asleep beside her. Julia stood and walked to the cave’s entrance to look for them. Before she reached it she heard a noise coming from deeper inside the cave. She turned just in time to see Byron appear from the darkness.

“Where have you been?” Julia questioned as a parent would a child.

“I woke up and had to take a furious piss.” Byron worked the button fly of his pants shut. “But you’ll never guess what I found back there!” Before Byron continued, Avery came in from outside looking downtrodden.

“I hope everyone likes sand,” Avery sat by Lilana. “We could be here for a long time. There is nothing out there but sand dunes and cliffs.”

“I found something!” Byron said. “Back there in the cave. I was looking for a place to pee. There is a light about two hundred meters down to the corridor.” Avery gave Byron a strange look.

“I don’t know what a meter is, but I guess it’s worth a look.” Avery walked to the back of the cave with Byron. “Julie, do you think you could wake Lilana?” Then he and Byron disappeared into the darkness. Julia worked for the next few minutes to bring Lilana back to consciousness. She woke confused and scared. It didn’t help that Julia had no idea what she was saying, and could not answer her questions. Julia attempted to project a soothing mood to Lilana. She wrapped an arms around her and put a calming tone behind her meaningless words. A few awkward minutes later Byron emerged from the cave. Lilana quickly stood and ran to embrace him.

“She wasn’t that happy to see me.” Julia said as she stood and walked to Byron. Lilana continued to hug him.

“You didn’t get mom’s charms, sis.” Byron peeled Lilana off and implied she stand still. “So we found people living down there. A whole makeshift city. Avery is talking with them now. He wanted me to bring you two down.”

“Is this good news or bad, Byron?”

“Avery thinks it’s good.” They began to walk down the dark cave corridor. Soon it was completely black. They walked arms out stretched to keep contact with the walls. “He’s arranging a meeting with the leader to discuss finding the relay. He was speaking about three different languages at once, so forgive me if I’m as lost as you.”

In the distance a faint light appeared. They slowly made their way towards it. The air around them began to cool and turn musty. They rounded a corner and the source of the light came into view. A bulb hung from some wiring. The wire led further back into the cave. They followed until the cave opened up into a small cavern. Avery stood at the far side of the cavern with two other men. As they approached, Julia saw one of the men was not a man at all. The creature had the body of a man, but his skin was a deep scaled blue and his face looked like a catfish. She looked at the other man and stopped in her tracks.

“Sis what’s wrong?” Byron stopped. Avery and the men closed the gap.

“This blue fellow here is Quincy, or at least that’s as close as our language will get,” Avery began. “And this is…”

“Wesley?” Julia looked into his eyes.

“Yes, how did you know my name?” Wesley acted like he’d never seen Julia before.

“I saw you on Earth. In the relay room just before we left. They said you were the only agent to ever make it back.” Julia stepped closer. She searched his eyes, but he did not look at her the same way he did then. “You look younger now.”

“You saw me? On Earth! I made it back! Ha ha! I make it back!” Wesley went to Quincy and spoke a strange language. Quincy seemed to congratulate him.

“Hold on!” Byron stepped up. “This is all a bit much for me. How can you be here if you already made it back to Earth? We saw you there.”

“Byron,” Avery patted him on the back. “Time doesn’t really mean much out here.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Relay: Episode 4

Episode 4

Byron woke in a misty haze of thoughts. Sorting them all out became quite a task for him. Some seemed so real and others like dreams. He heard talking around him, but made out no individual words. His brain worked furiously to connect all the dots, but still came up short. He felt movement. Then he felt a bump, and a bigger one. Then Byron’s head cracked against the floor and he realized he was no longer in the barn. He opened his eyes and bright sun light flooded in. The blur moved away and he saw bars. He lay flat in a cage mounted upon a carriage, pulled by a horse. Julia and Avery sat beside him. They did not notice him. Avery asked Julia a question. Byron didn’t hear it, but as Julia began to speak, her voice slowly came into focus.

“We are looking for someone.” Julia finished.

“Aren’t we all dear?” Avery looked out of the cage.

“It’s a little more specific than that.” A pause. “We are looking for our step father.”

“I see. Is he lost in here? A rescue attempt?”

“Hardly,” Julia looked at Byron who still seemed asleep. “He married our Mother a few years after Dad died. I was eight. Within a year our half sister, Alexandria was born. Mom died two years later.”

“I’m sorry.” Avery failed in his attempt to fake sympathy.

“Don’t be, that’s not the sad part. After Mom passed, I had to care for our sister because her father was too drunk. He started beating us for punishment. Sometimes I think he did it just for fun. He usually gave it to me more so than to Byron. When I got older he started to try stuff other than beating me.” Julia looked through the bars of the cage. “I was fifteen when I decided to leave with Byron and Alexandria. The very day we were to run away, he just disappeared. He took our sister with him. Byron and I were sent to a foster home but as soon as I turned eighteen I took Byron and we went looking for our sister. I can’t imagine her living with that monster.” Julia looked at Avery. “That was eight years ago.”

“I guess you didn’t find her?”

“We came so close. He’d hidden her with another family. We were two blocks away when he returned. He took her and this time left no trail. I was furious. I went crazy with anger. It was a few weeks later when Byron was going through some of his old things that we found a journal. It had a few names and some crazy talk of relays. We didn’t fully understand it, but a lead is a lead.”

“Do you understand it now?” Avery spit some tobacco through the bars.

“More than I did, but my head is still spinning.”

“I’d be happy to explain it all to you one day.” Avery winked at her. “Probably be best if we waited until after we escape though.” Julia smiled.

“So what’s your story?” Julia winked back. “Or are you just a man of mystery?”

“Hardly.” Avery removed the tobacco. “I, like you, came to the relay misinformed and stupid. My world was ending. So we became refugees of the relay, the entirety of my people. I had one singular goal. I wanted to find the man responsible for my world’s death and bring death to him.”

“How does one man kill a world?”

“The relays do a lot more than transport people. With the right training, technology and talent, there are a great many things you can do with them. The least of which is keep your cloths! I was trained by some of the best but I’m nowhere as good as the elite.” Avery looked at Byron. “It seems we’re being spied on.” Avery gave Byron a light kick. Byron sat up and waited for the blood to follow before speaking.

“What happened?” Byron rubbed his eyes.

“The young lass rubbed that salve on your first in command and you passed out from some pain.” Avery started a new rub of tobacco. “All healed up now I imagine.”

“I remember that. But what are we doing now?”

“They are carting us to Rowenhair to be sacrificed.” Julia leaned over and wiped some dirt from Byron’s face.

“Doesn’t that bother you?” Byron sat up fully and inspected his injury. All healed.

“Nah mate,” Avery smiled. “We have a plan.” He winked at Julia again and offered Byron some tobacco. He turned it down. The cart crested a tall hill and the three travelers caught their first glimpse of Rowenhair off in the distance. The city sat in green hills and looked pristine from so far away. Smoke from a thousand chimneys floated up a few hundred feet before being carried off by wind. It looked medieval to Byron. He wondered how a world could be so similar in nature to his home, yet so different in culture. The road bumped again, smashing his head against the top of the cage and suddenly all he could think about were paved roads.

Three hours later the cart passed over a short bridge and into Rowenhair proper. The cart traveled down a narrow street and Byron instantly recognized the smell of human waste. Further into town the smell subsided as they merged onto a wider street, obviously heading toward the center of town. The streets seemed empty considering the size of the city. When the cart rounded the corner, Byron and Julia found out why. The cart pulled into a large square. At the center of this square sat a relay ring. It was surrounded by thousands of people. Byron stretched his head just enough to see the chopping block just in front of the relay. The crowd cheered as a masked man revealed a large axe and began to sharpen it. Byron looked forward and saw they had joined a long line of caged carts. Each had one or two people inside.

“Now would probably be a good time, Avery!” Byron sounded nervous. Avery sat back and smiled.

“Nope; it’s better if they start the ceremony. Then everyone is distracted.” The cart came to a full stop. The crowd cheered even louder as the first cart in line was unloaded. Byron watched as those poor souls were marched to the cutting block.

“Now?” Byron pleaded. Avery just shook his head. The first victim walked up to the block. The masked man bagged his head and forced him on all fours. They made the man rest his head on the block. The horde went insane when the axe fell. The executioner walked over and picked up the severed head. He held it up for the mass and quickly tossed it through the relay ring. A flash of light and the head disappeared. “Where’d it go?” Byron asked.

“Through the relay.” Julia said flatly.

“Yes but where? Are we going to land on a huge pile of heads next time we go through?” Byron hit panic.

“No sir, dead stuff doesn’t travel like the living,” Avery’s eyes caught someone coming through the crowd towards them. “It’s not easily explained, given our current circumstances.” The young woman who’d accompanied the doctor and mended Byron’s wound approached the cart carrying a large sack. She walked around to the rear of the cart and spoke to Avery.

“Ayh. Good. Lilana here has clothing and a place for us to hide until night.” Lilana brushed some blonde hair out of her face and spoke to Avery again. He seemed confused. “She also wants to come with us?” Avery spoke to her again, in a very unsure tone. “Actually she says if she can’t come with us then she won’t let us out.”

“We don’t have much of a choice do we?” Julia moved closer to the back of the cart. Avery continued to speak to the girl. She shook her head and began to cry. Then she walked away. Avery had no choice but to yell for her return. The cheering of the mob muted the sound. Lilana looked at Avery. He nodded his head yes and she returned to the cart and opened the door. She threw in the bag of cloths and walked back to the front of the cart.

“Alright, get changed! We have very little time.” Avery opened the bag and started passing out cloths. They were tattered and stained. Avery tossed Byron a pair of boots and Julia some small moccasin like shoes. Avery removed his torn shirt, showing his muscled, scared chest. Julia got a good look at one particularly interesting tattoo on his back; it was in the shape of a relay ring.

“My boots are too big!” Byron complained.

“Oh, well, let me call a cobbler to have a look at that before we attempt to escape our certain deaths!” Avery pulled on a new shirt and tightened his boot laces. “Just shut up and follow Lilana.” The woman stood at the back of the cage again. She opened the door just as the crowd roared over another beheading. The three prisoners followed Lilana down a narrow ally and into a small hovel. Inside Lilana gave everyone some food and for a while they all sat in silence; eating. Avery finished first and began a rub of tobacco. “Ayh, listen. We will be moving out at sundown. Lilana tells me they post two guards by the relay at night. I should be able to handle them.” Avery spat and made eye contact with everyone. “If we plan on going together it imperative we are all touching. I’ll activate the relay.”

“Where are you taking us?” Julia finished her bread.

“I’m not sure, but I’m still close on the trail of the man I was following so we are going there.”

“You can follow people?” Julia became very interested.

“Yes, it’s not an exact science and we don’t have time to go into it now. But yes.” Avery spoke to Lilana, Julia and Byron assumed he was telling her the same instructions. She shook her head in understanding.

“Question, Avery,” Byron said. “Before we entered the first relay we drank some purple stuff so we didn’t get sick,” Avery scowled at Byron. “Okay, so no on the purple stuff. Got it.” In the next four hours Julia and Bryon tried to rest. Avery kept watch at the window. Lilana was nowhere to be seen. Night began to fall and the large crowd dispersed. The three travelers kept the hovel in complete darkness, so not to attract attention. An hour after night fall Lilana returned and handed Avery two short swords. He took one and gave the other to Byron. “What do you want me to do with this?”

“Do you see that pointy end?” Avery smiled. “You’ll figure it out.” Lilana opened the door and they were off. Just as expected two guards patrolled around the relay. Avery went in fast and dispatched one of them. He was quickly upon the other when Lilana screamed from behind them. A third guard had her in his arms and a forth was heading towards Julia. Byron, acting completely out of character, charged the guard heading toward Julia. The guard parried one attack but could not block a low swipe and fell. Avery killed a second guard and yelled for Julia and Byron to follow him to the relay. Julia did; Byron went after Lilana. The guard held a knife to her throat. Byron saw it as he charged, but did not have enough time to stop. He lunged forward. The guard threw Lilana to the ground, slitting her throat in the process, but could not ready himself before Byron ran him through. For a moment Byron stood still feeling the sweat pouring over his face. He experienced a strange exhilaration. Then he heard Lilana choking on the floor. He picked her up and ran towards the relay. Avery yelled for him to hurry as more guards appeared at the edge of the square. Byron carrying Lilana took Julia’s hand just as archers began to fire arrows at them. Avery reached through the relay and they flashed away. The arrows stuck cold cobblestone, snapping them in half.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Pumpkin Festival

Today we are differing from the usual "Movie Monday" post and are here to tell you all about the awesomeness that is the Pumpkin Festival!!!! We attended this amazing event, which was held in Milton, West Virginia, yesterday afternoon. Read on for pictures and ramblings about the festival's atmosphere and yummy treats!

The Wife: I often claim that summer is my favorite season. This is simply because of the weather. However, it seems that fall as well as the months leading up to the holidays and the holiday season itself is my favorite time of year! So, naturally I really enjoyed the Pumpkin Festival! I had always wanted to go and finally got to this year. The weather ended up being great for my first festival visit! I loved all of the fall decor, including the beautiful mums and well, obviously all of the pumpkins. The food was another great thing. I usually love anything the festival was like a dream come true! Of the pumpkin treats, I bought some pumpkin fudge and then had pumpkin ice cream. The pumpkin ice cream was particularly amazing! I really want some more! The husband and I also snacked on roasted corn on the cob, which was a wonderfully delicious and light festival snack. I've never just chowed down on corn on the cob at an event like that, so it really amused me.

The vendors at the festival were pretty cool too. We ended up buying some WVU stuff and mixes for dips and salsa. Yumtastic! I would really recommend the Pumpkin Festival, especially if you enjoy the fall season, and of course, all things pumpkin! I would rank it as one of the best festivals I've ever attended. Everyone should plan to attend the Pumpkin Festival next year! I know I'll be back *terminator voice*!

Hobo Dan: The Pumpkin Festival was fun. However, I do have a few complaints. First, why do we have to drive three miles through back county fields to park? It doesn't help matters to be following Mr. Glass car who can't imagine breaking five MPH for fear or his car shattering into pieces. Second, and this is a general grievance to all festivals and gatherings, if you have a lot of people coming from far away, put the restrooms close to the entrance. Some of us have to pee. As we walk the Appalachian Trail from the car to the festival The Wife decides to try and hold my hand. I love her greatly but say: "Dear, I'll hold your hand for the rest of the day, but not until after I pee!" Seriously, put your restrooms close to stuff. it doesn't help that the place was more crowded than Disney. I wish I'd had my machete. All and all it was a great day and sometimes I need not complain so much, but then what would I do to fill my time? I did enjoy the roasted corn on the cob. I find it odd I waited until October to have it for the first time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Relay: Episode 3

If you've missed any past episodes find them all right here! Also, I've been trying to come up with some art for Relay. Something simple that has the name and possibly a Relay Ring to use for the header to these posts. Problem is I'm super bad at that kind of crap. If you have any talent in that department and are interested, send me a demo. If I use it you'll get credited, which means nothing more than me stating your name and saying thank you on here. But that's something right? Please enjoy.

Episode 3

Julia landed face down in a hay field. She hit the ground reasonably hard. The hay must have been recently cut; the sharp sawed off straws sliced through her skin. When she rolled over and opened her eyes, she was blinded by the intense brightness of the sky. A short moment of disorientation subsided and she realized she was completely naked. Julia looked around frantically and found a bail of hay to tuck close to. She held her legs tight to her chest. That’s when she heard Byron’s scream of pain.

“Oh! Oh my god! Ahh, I cut myself. I cut my... my junk! What’s going on?” Byron laid face down about ten feet from Julia, also naked. He squirmed in pain and held his crotch. Julia did not immediately go to him. In the distance she saw what seemed to be a full clothes line. Her vision slightly blurred, she stood and walked to Byron. Her legs were shaky. “Julia! Ohhh, is it bad look for me?”

“Byron, I’m not going to look at it. Shut up, get up and follow me!” She started towards the clothes line. Byron got it together just long enough to realize they were both naked.

“Why are we naked?” Byron stood and followed. “Jesus,” He examined the wound. “I’m split like a banana!” Julia looked around quickly and gave him a look of death. Byron dropped the drama and followed her to the line. Julia reached it first and started pulling down some shirts. They were very odd garments. Made from cotton and wool, Julia thought they looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie. Byron carefully pulled on some pants. “What is this Amish world?” He sat by the line.

“I don’t know,” Julia buttoned up a shirt that was far too big for her. “But let’s keep quiet. We are stealing someone’s clothes and I doubt they will be happy about it.” She sat beside Byron and took her first good look at their destination. Before her the hay field ran out into the horizon; strewn with bails. At their left a few hundred yards away stood a large barn. Behind the barn was some sort of homestead. The sky was shockingly blue and without a single cloud. Julia felt as though she’d traveled back through time. “Any idea why we came through naked?”

“No,” Byron cracked his knuckles. “Maybe that bald guy said something about it. I donno, I wasn’t paying attention.”

“Great. So this could happen every time?”

“I don’t know! You weren’t listening either. You seemed pretty happy staring at Mr. Dreamy-eyes.” Byron grabbed a shirt and pulled it on. “What’s up with that?”

“I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know. But the way he looked at me, was like he knew me.” Julia lay back and let the sun hit her face. “Like he really knew me.” For a moment Julia forgot everything. The warm sun felt so good; the air so fresh. This seemed like a good place. Then they heard chatter coming from behind them. Byron looked toward its source; the barn. A small group of men walked toward them. The closer they got, the louder the speaking became. The louder it got, the more Julia realized it was not English. Not English or any other language she’d ever heard. “This could be a problem.” Julia stood. Byron followed just as the men stopped in front of them.

“AHY! Yatham farly snoot?” Said one of the men. “Ahy?”

“Oh man,” Byron looked at Julia. “Not good.” Julia stepped forward and hesitantly spoke.

“Hello. We are looking for a man…” Before she could finish one of the men yelled.

“AHY! Forg shoal ponash!” He stepped forward and struck Julia, putting her on the ground. Byron reacted by rushing at the man. He stopped when another of them came forward and presented a pitch fork. The lead man approached Byron and began to speak. Byron understood none of it, but it seemed the man was scolding him in some way. Julia felt it best to remain on the ground during the tongue lashing. When it ended the man spoke to his compatriots and they grabbed Byron and Julia and dragged them toward the barn. Soon one of them noticed the blood dripping from Byron’s pants and notified the others. One following left the group and headed for the homestead. Julia and Byron were ushered into the barn and put into a holding cell. Another man sat in the corner of the cell. He did not seem to notice their arrival. Byron sat beside Julia and looked at her face.

“You okay?”

“Yes,” she noticed the blood coming from Byron’s pants. “Are you okay?” Before he could answer, the man in the cell with them spoke up.

“You gits speak English?” The man had dark, dirty hair and a scraggly beard. His cloths were tattered, but fit better than Byron and Julia’s.

“Yes.” Julia said cautiously. “So do you.”

“Obviously,” The man sat up and forced a smile. “Names Avery. Honored, ahy?”

“Sure. Any chance you know what in the hell is going on here?” Byron said as he held his wound tightly to prevent blood loss.

“Absolutely not. I’ve been held up in here for two weeks. I’d venture a guess though!” Avery removed a can from his pocket. He opened it and got a large finger full of tobacco. He shoved that in his lip and put the can down. “I’d say this was your first relay jump. You had no idea what you were getting into? I think you landed in ye ole field out there naked and scared. I bet that shiner my lady has is because she tried to speak to them. The men around here don’t take kindly to women speaking up.” He spat on the floor. “Then they talked a bunch of their gibberish to you Sir about not keeping your bitch in line. No offense my lady. So they decided to bring you in here for storage until such time as they can ship us all off to Rowenhair for a good old fashion sacrifice.”

“I followed you all the way to where you started talking about sacrificing.” Byron looked worried.

“Yes, these happy folks worship the relay rings. On occasion they make offerings to them. A simple beheading usually does the trick.” Avery spit again and wiped his lips on his sleeve. Byron and Julia looked very worried. Soon a man walked into the barn, followed by a young woman. The man walked over to the door and spoke to Avery.

“Ahy?” Avery replied. “Ah, I see. Our good doctor wonders if you’d remove your pants… um…”


“Yes, Byron. He would like to see your injury.” Byron groaned as he slowly pulled off the wool pants, exposing the area of interest.

“Good lord man!” Avery seemed disgusted. The doctor spoke some more to Avery. “Yes. Alright Mr. Byron, the good doctor here is going to send in his lovely assistant to fix you right up.” Avery winked at the young woman with the doctor. The doctor unlocked the cell door and the woman walked in. She bent down to Byron and opened a small container. Byron looked into her eyes and instantly felt better. Then she applied a salve to the injury.

“Oh, that’s better. Wow… um, oh, whoa! No, that stings! Holy Shi…” Byron passed out from the pain. The woman stood and turned toward the door. Avery winked at her again as she left. The doctor gave Avery a few more instructions and they both strolled away.

“Doctor said he’ll be fine.” Avery removed the wad of tobacco and threw it to the side.” Probably will sleep through the night. Be a doll and put his pants back on. I don’t wanna look at that mess all evening.” Julia did her best not to vomit at the sight of her brother’s bloody private parts as she slid his pants back up. When she sat back down she looked across the room at Avery. “I didn’t catch your name love.”


“Julia, so formal. Can I call you Julie? Or Jules?” Julia did not answer. “So you’ve chosen a life in the relay. Got off to a good start if I do say so myself.”

“You’re so clever,” Julia said sarcastically, her eyes never leaving the form of her unconscious brother.

“Course I am,” he said slightly offended at her remark. “You’re off to a good start because you’ve met me and I have a plan to get out of this little mess.” Avery winked at her and presented a genuine smile.

“Why would you help us?” Julia thought even further. “And why should we even trust you?”

“I don’t see you have much of a choice really.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: Abduction

Hobo Dan: I'm embarrassed we went to see this movie. The Wife wanted to see a movie to celebrate her new job. We should have seen The Lion King 3D like my wife wanted to. Before I get into how truly terrible this film was, I'd like to address the title; Abduction. As far as i can see there was not one single abduction in this movie. I guess that name is better than "We don't know what the hell to call this crappy movie!" This movie is the perfect storm of terrible writing and acting. I'm going to spoil the crap out of this movie, but don't worry, you do not want to see it. So instead read my intentionally funny version.

That werewolf kid from Twilight stars. The film starts off with him riding on the hood of his buddies truck going down the highway. They are all laughing like idiots. They arrive at the party and suffer through line after line of terrible blood curling line of dialog before they all get drunk and pass out in the yard without their shirts on. Then werewolf's dad drives up and is really mad about the drunken shirtlessness of his son. He is so mad in fact that when they get home he forces his hungover son into martial arts training? Before long the training has lead to the father and son straight up beating the crap out of one another. Mom's just watching from inside the house smiling. I'm sitting in the audience thinking "So is no one else considering a call to child protective services?"

Later the kid goes to school and gets a totally unfair homework assignment where he is paired with some chick he likes. We will call her 'eyebrows' because it looks like she has two chipmunks glued on her forehead. They go to her house and look on the internet for help with the homework. A ton of boring crap happens to lead our werewolf hero to the conclusion that his parents are not his real parents. Meanwhile the movie begins flashing to show us some Russian guys who are really bad actors. Twilight boy confronts his mother and she caves in but our emo teen doesn't let her explain. Then the terrible Russian actors show up and starts killing people, mostly his parents. He escapes with eye brows into the woods where they sleep. Some how they get to a house and steal a cell phone that has a bunch of CIA information on it. Then he finds out his parents were really CIA agents meant to protect him. Also Ripley from Alien shows up for a while as a CIA agent. It was weird. I thought she died in Avatar?

Apparently Doc Ock also works for the CIA and enters the film to find them. A lot of really boring conversation takes place in a dinner. Werewolf's real dad is a rouge CIA agent and his mom in dead. Sad face. Werewolf and eye brows run away when the Russians and Doc Ock get into a fight over a cookie. Werewolf decides he is tired of running so he calls the head Russian and tells him to meet up at a baseball game. Okay? They have a chase scene at said baseball game and Werewolf's dad shows up to save the day by shooting the Russians and reveling that Doc Ock is really bad too. Like the eight robotic arms didn't give it away. Werewolf doesn't get to see daddy though because he is a super douche. So Werewolf and eyebrows walk back into the baseball stadium (which is now over) and make out. Confused? I was too. What a waste of resources.

The Wife: Wow! This movie is simply terrible. I am not going to write much because the husband did such a good job explaining it above. It may appear that his review was exaggerating, but it is pretty much right on the money. Doc Ock, please go back to Spider-Man. The love interest girl, please tweeze or wax your eyebrows. You are not Brooke Shields and cannot pull the full brow look off. I could go on and get into the scattered plot that read more as a poorly written fanfic, but like I said, the husband covered that in detail enough.

So I will discuss the few good points. Taylor Lautner = eye candy. Also, the Pittsburgh setting. I enjoyed that the last action scene took place at a Pirates game and that Taylor wore a Pirates jersey. GO PIRATES! Ummm I think that pretty much covers the good points?

We should have seen the Lion King 3D like I wanted, but even though this movie was terrible it was pretty fun to mock it! At least there are some decent movies coming out soon!