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What the fuck, Halloween?

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Last night was my first-ever time handing out candy to trick-or-treaters from my own place. Sure, I’d been the one giving kids candy from my mom’s house before, but there was something different about it this time. I wasn’t the girl handing out candy in place of her mom anymore. That made a difference, and I cared.

Mike bought a ton of candy. To be specific, he bought 11 bags of candy. I put aside any multiples and poured everything into a 8-quart stockpot. With two bags of candy missing, it was still overflowing. Awesome, I thought. There’ll be tons of leftovers. Of course, I didn’t want it to all end up being leftovers, so when our first trick-or-treaters didn’t show up until 45 minutes into the time slot, I started giving out fistfuls of candy. See, Mike tends to get excited and buy tons of candy or baked goods or ice cream or what have you and then completely forget and I become responsible for eating all of it. I didn’t want to eat 11 bags of candy. I didn’t want to get diabetes because I was stingy with the kids. However, the kids then started pouring in, and by the end I was almost out and giving out two pieces. Maybe small handfuls next year, Rachael.

At the end of the night, it became clear that my expectations had been too high. I realize now that I shouldn’t have had expectations at all.

Did you, as a kid, hate those houses that made you say “Trick-or-Treat!” to get candy? I didn’t hate it, but I never liked it. I was shy and felt dumb threatening to play a trick on people who didn’t give me candy when, really, I’d just walk to the next house that had the bucket out with the ‘take one’ sign and take a whole handful. (How much do I love that commercial with the little “I can’t read” girl? So much.) But when hordes of children started showing up at my door and staring at me expectantly without so much as a “Hi!” or a “Please!” or a “Happy Halloween!” I understood. I mean, I at least always greeted people. So I became one of those people who makes the kids say “Trick or treat!” before giving them candy. Whatever. That’s not even the point.

The point is this one girl. She ran up to my door with her sister close behind her. When I opened with the pot o’ candy balanced on my hip, she reached up and pulled it down. She didn’t say a word. I was too blown away to hold it back from her. So she runs up to the door, grabs the pot o’ candy out of my hand, takes one piece of candy, and runs off. What the fuck? Okay, one bratty kid. I wonder if her sister told her about the handful I gave her for not sucking.

The parents were the worst, though. Despite the fact that I had a lighted jack-o-lantern at the end of my porch, strings of Christmas lights lit up all along the railing, lights in the house on, and the porch light on, they wouldn’t let their kids approach my door unless they could see me waiting to give out candy. I was doing homework. I had to relocate to the chair in the corner of our entryway so that they could see me if they looked. One mom didn’t look and told her kid, “I don’t see anyone there, but if you want to go knock on the door and see if they’re giving out candy, you can.” Try to imagine the bitchy, skeptical tone of her voice, as if her kid was crazy for seeing a clearly decorated porch and thinking she could get candy from me. Isn’t the point of Halloween to go door-to-door and knock and ask for candy? Should I really have to leave the door open for two hours when it’s fucking cold out just because you don’t want to waste a few steps to see if I have candy when I clearly do? The rule as I always knew it was that if there was a light by the door, the house was giving out candy. Porch light’s on? Cool. We didn’t need decorations.

Who the fuck would put out a Jack-o-lantern and not give out candy?

At one point, a whole bunch of kids approached me in rapid succession. It seemed like five siblings from one family and two from another. They all said trick-or-treat, most of them without needing prompting, and they all got handfuls of candy. Then they all ran back to their parents (or possibly chaperones; I forgot that some kids go with their friends and their parents stay home). When they were out of sight, I could still hear the parents talking loudly to each other. One said something that sounded kind of worried about the candy her kids were getting–I wasn’t sure if it was the sheer amount of it or the fear that it was poisoned.

Another replied. “Oh, there are candy buyback programs.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, there are a couple places in town where you can go and they’ll buy all the Halloween candy from you.”
“That’s great! Where?”

What. The. Fuck. Seriously. That’s all I can say. No wonder kids are such brats–their parents aren’t even letting them keep the candy! Do they even get the money? And how much? At the end of the night, does each kid even have 5 dollars worth of candy? I feel completely ripped off. Do they even realize that Mike and I spent money on this? Would they throw a birthday party for their kids and then give away all the presents people bought?

Are parents treating this as a holiday to parade their kids around in costumes that the kids probably don’t even like? I’m reminded of women who buy tiny dogs and use them as accessories. Oh, look, I’m going to carry him around in my purse with this cute plaid jacket! People will love it! No, they won’t. We don’t want to see kids who don’t give a shit about the candy we’re giving them because you’re just going to sell it back for way less than they think it’s worth. I wouldn’t want to walk around for two hours in the freezing cold in a weather-inappropriate costume and knock on a bunch of strangers’ doors for nothing, either.

There used to be this house that I went to when I was little, sort of diagonally across the street from mine. The woman who lived there gave out candy, but she also invited everyone in. There was always plenty of mulled cider to warm us up from the cold, fresh cookies to enjoy, and I think there were caramel apples a few times. I loved going to that house. Maybe that is an unrealistic dream now, or maybe you’d at least have to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows you for anyone to come in. But the fact that Halloween paranoia has extended to not even keeping the candy is such bullshit.

Everything sacred about Halloween as a kids’ holiday is gone. There’s no knocking on doors, no visiting with neighbors, no saying “trick or treat,” no keeping your candy. All we’re left with, it seems, is awful parenting and the I’m a sexy candy corn movement.

Well clearly, I’m pissed about Halloween. What holiday traditions have you seen completely destroyed as you grew up?

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Things That Are Not Rape

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Dear Douchebags of the World,

I understand that you’re upset about the Netflix price increase. I don’t really understand why, because I’m pretty sure you can still order and stream unlimited shows and DVDs for the pretty damn small amount of money you pay if you take into consideration how much it would cost for you to buy all those things or rent them from Blockbuster, but I get that you are upset.

See, Buzzfeed was kind enough to show me just how upset you are. Don’t you love how being an asshole on Twitter once makes you an asshole everywhere forever?

I feel the need to point out a few specific tweets from Buzzfeed’s list, just so anyone reading this can get an idea of how people are reacting:

@TravisTeachMe: Dear Netflix, I got your email. We trusted you and now you are trying to rape us.

@ctjay14: Dear Netflix, the next time you decide to rape your customers could you at least use KY first?

@Ugo_Lord: Dear Netflix, I get raped when I pay for gas, raped when I buy a plane ticket, & now you want to rape me too. Enough already. #Netflix

Because of both these responses and other things I have heard people say, I feel it has become necessary to point a few things out.

THINGS THAT ARE NOT RAPE:

  • A small price increase in a service that hasn’t had a price increase since it started operating in 1997 but has drastically expanded the scope of what they do
  • Gas prices
  • Textbook prices
  • That test you didn’t study for and failed
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Rebecca Black’s “Friday”
  • Heavy courseloads in college
  • Your Thesis committee
  • New Google features that you don’t know how to use
  • Spam in your inbox
  • Your alarm clock
  • Traffic
  • Your mother-in-law’s cooking
  • The distance you have to travel to get to the nearest Starbucks
  • The lack of express check-outs at your local Target
  • Ads on your favorite website
  • A webcomic creator changing their update schedule/going on hiatus/having a guest week
  • A broken air conditioner

THINGS THAT ARE RAPE:

  • Another person or group of people engaging you in sexual activity despite your lack of consent

Yeah. That’s it.

So, Douchebags of the World, next time you find something frustrating, upsetting, or mildly inconvenient, remember this list before you open your fucking mouth.

Sincerely,
Rachael

P.S. Thankfully, some people have managed to retain a bit of common sense through this debacle:

@halfdaytoday: When I read about Netflix’s $5 price increase, I was so shocked I spit my $6 latte out over the $400 iPhone I pay $90 a month for.

What do you think, guys? Did I miss anything important?

I don’t WANT a damn clock!

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Okay, so this may be a little uncalled for as I am not married or even engaged yet, but someone needs to say something.

(That “yet” there makes me look awfully optimistic, huh? I’ll be optimistic about this. I promise I’ll make it up to you somehow.)

If you’re here and you don’t read The Bloggess, you’re probably going to be at least a little confused, but all you really need to know is that she recently declared that giant metal chickens are the traditional 15th wedding anniversary gift. I can’t argue with her there. I would love a giant metal chicken.

Someone awesome went on Wikipedia to change their list of traditional gifts, and Jenny-the-Bloggess managed to get a screencap and post it before the Gods of Wikipedia changed it back to what they think it’s supposed to be. (Does anyone else feel like Wikipedia is the first step toward living in The Matrix?)

From Jenny-the-Bloggess's Flickr pool, despite the fact that Flickr has apparently done everything in their power to make it really fucking hard for me to grab the image URL.

I looked at this and was happy that someone was awesome enough to change it, but then I got curious. I mean, I’ve heard of traditional anniversary gifts, but I didn’t really know what any of them were. I’d heard it used to be paper for the first anniversary, and I always thought, well, paper is a fucking shitty present, so I’m glad they changed that one.

To a CLOCK? Okay. See, the thing with paper is that while it makes a shitty present, it will get used. I will write things down on it. I will make grocery lists or draw pictures or write stories or make paper airplanes or those fortune teller things. Most paper products? Same thing. Shitty present, but hey, it’s useful. It’s handy to have around. I’m not sure what form the paper is was supposed to be in, but whatever it was, I imagine people got good use out of it.

Clocks, though. See, I use clocks, too. I have one on my cell phone, which is usually charged and goes mostly everywhere with me, so I can always check the time. There is also one on the microwave, and on the stove, and Mike has an alarm clock, and I have an iHome which shows the time. The DVR is also kind enough to display the time, so I know when a show that I’ll watch eventually will start recording. I use clocks. It can be helpful to know what time it is. The thing is.

The thing is.

I’m surrounded by clocks. I don’t need another one. Nobody needs another one. I don’t need a watch because I can check my phone, or the GPS that lives in my purse, or the iPod that lives in my purse. I have three options in a bag that I carry everywhere with me alone. And if all three are out of batteries, I can look at the wall of whatever social institution I’m in, or look at the clock in my car, or safely assume that I’ll soon drive by one of those places that has a big glowing clock LED display outside. I can ask a fucking stranger what time it is. And then, in my home, there isn’t a single room that doesn’t have a glowing clock display that keeps me from forgetting what time it is. I don’t even have to check. It’s just there, seared into my brain. Which leads me to the important thing here.

The only reason I can think of to buy a clock is for ornamental purposes. Decoration. There are plenty of awesome decorative clocks out there.

You could get a gorgeous oversized Howard Miller wall clock, which probably costs an absurd amount of money.

You could get a ThinkGeek Science clock. It also comes in Math.

You could even get a novelty Marmite clock from Etsy!

You might be wondering what my point is here, and I promise I have one.

My point is that, when it comes to clocks, you have two options: practical ones you already have, or decorative ones that you don’t. And nobody wants a new practical alarm clock for an anniversary.

And, women out there: are you really okay with letting your husband make any single decoration decision that does not stay entirely within his ManCave all on his own, and have it be a gift to you?

No?

I didn’t think so. Maybe it’d be a present to him. “Honey, for our anniversary, I’m going to let you buy whatever hideous clock you think is funny and hang it in our living room where all our guests will notice that it doesn’t match the decor at all.”

I mean, look at that list. Who the hell made it up? Did someone really decide that electrical appliances are a good anniversary gift? Maybe from the wife, but most of the list seems to indicate that these are gifts from husband to wife. And if this list is something that you really need to follow, the only anniversaries I’m really looking forward to are 7 and, of course, 15.

Fuck yeah, #7.

P.S. Via links that I tried to put in the captions aren’t working for some reason, but if you click any picture it’ll take you to where I found it and, in most cases, where you can buy it.

You know me, but how fucked up are YOU?

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I found this on another blog and it’s one of the funniest “tools” I’ve come across for a while. It’s a psychological word search. There isn’t a word bank that you have to find all of them–you’re just supposed to look, and the first three words you find will describe your personality.

I found this first on shrimpsaladcircus.blogspot.com, then this particular image on bitsandpieces.us, but it's all over the internet if you search for it.

The first words I saw were “crush fool rageman.” Now, “rageman” probably isn’t a word, but I’m pretty sure Mike uses it sometimes anyway. Usually to describe himself, because he’s as weird as I am. So apparently I’m a robot (because, duh, robots are the only ones who want to crush people) who wants to crush my foolish rageman-boyfriend. I worried that maybe this painted a bad picture, so I kept looking and found “malice,” then “kick,” “flesh” and “secrets.” Secrets might be good with a different group. And my worry wasn’t helped when I saw that the “man” that I’d attached to “rage” was really part of “maniac.”

So, my lovely readers. (Doesn’t that sound creepy after the above paragraph?) What three words now describe your psychological makeup? How do you interpret them, and do you agree? I’d love to know.

Neighbor Theories: The Dude Upstairs

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Do you ever sit and wonder about the people who live near you, but you never actually see or interact with? Maybe you do this so much that you create neat little made-up lives for them in your head. Maybe you don’t do this at all, in which case you are probably more sane than I am. Congratulations. But I have to tell you about this guy.

The facts: He’s lived in the upstairs-from-us apartment for over 10 years now. When we moved in, he saw the Uhaul outside and came down to introduce himself (his name is Mike; there’s also a teenager in the third apartment in our three-family named Mike–it would actually be confusing if we all interacted). He warned us that, when he’s loud, it’s usually in one particular room (and he pointed to the windows so we knew) and told us that if it was ever too loud or bothering us, just to let him know. He doesn’t have a car. (This isn’t an urban area. I don’t think there’s public transportation. I have no idea how he gets places.)

Every once in a while, I look out the front room’s windows and see him step out or in. Other than that, I think he’s pretty much always home. I think this because his music is pretty much always on. It’s not particularly loud or annoying most of the time–just a steady bass that never changes and is quiet enough that if I turn on a fan it drowns out the noise. I’m not entirely sure why the beat never changes, though. Does he just listen to the same song…all the time?

Let me explain this music. From inside my apartment, all I hear is a bass. But if I go outside on a nice day when he’s got his windows open, I can hear a little more. It’s carnival music. Creepy carnival music that plays constantly.

And that’s what got me wondering. Here are my thoughts on Upstairs Mike.

The dude inherited some money, and by “some” I mean “shitloads of,” about 11 years ago. He cleaned up affairs wherever he was and invested in Apple and Starbucks. Ever since then, he’s made enough money off his investments to pay his rent and utilities every month and he’s got plenty of spare spending money. He doesn’t have a car because he never needs to go anywhere that he can’t walk (or possibly bike, I have not confirmed this yet) to. He doesn’t have a job (because if he did, he’d leave the house).

He spends his spare money on LSD. He buys enough LSD that he can also sell LSD, which explains the occasional sound of feet going up the stairs, voices, then feet going down the stairs shortly after. His guests never seem to stick around long. He spends his time dropping acid and listening to his music.

So eventually I thought, I thought, what music might sound similar to creepy carnival music? And my theory came to being. Video game music. I bet, if heard from an open window a floor below where it’s playing, the two sound pretty similar. But this guy doesn’t sit around and play videogames. Oh, no.

Your typical Twilight Princess Goron (via zelda.wikia.com)

Have you ever played the Legend of Zelda games? Specifically, Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess or any other game that involves a Goron temple? You run around the temple killing the bad guys and there isn’t really music. It’s pretty quiet, with a few creepy noises to let you know you’re in an evil place. But every once in a while, you’ll end up in a room where there’s a Goron just sitting there. Suddenly, the normal temple sound effects change to the Goron town’s background music. This Goron inevitably gives Link a valuable piece of advice or weaponry or lots of rupees.

Upstairs Mike puts his music on, drops acid, and sits there like one of the Gorons in the temple, doing nothing except existing in the room that he’s in. When someone comes in, he gives them something of value.

Over time, he has done so much LSD that he is entirely convinced that he is a Goron giving legendary heroes instruments that are vital to their quest to save Hyrule.

What the guy upstairs thinks is happening every time someone shows up. (Via zeldadungeon.net.)

The best part about my theory? From everything we know, it actually seems completely plausible.

I’m either a nerd or a pervert. Probably both.

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Guys.

Guys, this is really bothering me.

Okay. I’ve explained that I’m an English major, right? More accurately, a Creative Writing major, but it falls in the general “English” field. So part of what I do, what I study, et cetera, is knowing how to choose words and arrange them and punctuate them in order to make a logical thing. Sentence. That. So I’m completely serious when I ask this, and if anyone knows the answer, please tell me.

What part of speech is vagazzle?

UPDATE: Okay, I’m pretty sure it’s a verb. I mean, if there’s a vagazzler, then it has to be something you can do. But how do you use it? “Yeah, I heard she vagazzles.” That doesn’t sound right. “Oh, she totally vagazzles herself.” Is that it? Does it have to be reflexive? I feel like “She vagazzles her vagina” is probably redundant. Maybe “vagazzler” refers to the person who does it? “She is such a vagazzler.” But what do they say if, like, someone calls when they’re halfway through? “Can I call you back? I’m gluing rhinestones to my junk.” “Can I call you back? I’m vagazzling [myself/my junk].” I don’t know. This is clearly a problem with Modern English.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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I mentioned that we moved, but I don’t think I was very specific. We moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. People in Massachusetts like to spread rumors about how awful everything in New Hampshire is, but I think that’s just because if everyone knew how cool it was up here there would be no one left in Massachusetts.

The candy shop at the mall sells little bottle-shaped chocolates that are filled with whiskey.

The first thing I saw when we walked into our new local Wal-Mart to get a rod-thing for the toilet-paper-holder-thing because the previous tenants took that with them and seriously who the hell takes that was a rack of what I’m pretty sure were alcoholic Capri Suns. Like, mixed drinks in a bag inviting you to stab a straw into them and drink them.

One of the times I came up here to paint, I saw a school bus pulling out of the state liquor store.

Maybe this “booze is everywhere” thing isn’t quite as novel and exciting to people who aren’t from Massachusetts, but I’m used to having to go to a liquor store to get anything remotely booze-like. A few grocery stores have liquor sections, but that’s about it. This is so…freeing.

So anyway, when we were on that Wal-Mart trip trying to find the thing that makes our toilet paper holder actually hold toilet paper, we discovered a giant wine section. It was confusing. I mean, we must have looked like tourists, except we were at Wal-Mart and I’m pretty sure tourists don’t go to Wal-Mart, but we were just sorta standing there staring like they can do that here? So after a few minutes, we decided to get a cheap bottle of wine (Barefoot Zinfandel, yum) to break in the new wine glasses.

Mike’s (former) roommate got him wine glasses as a graduation present because he had seen, too many times, the results of our guests bringing a bottle of wine with them and us being like oh, we don’t have wine glasses, do you want a small or large glass? They are really nice glasses. They do the whole sing-when-you-rub-your-finger-on-the-edge thing and everything. Mike left the wine glasses in their packaging to decrease the chances of us breaking them during the move, and when I organized our kitchen, I left them in the smaller packaging to decrease the chances that we broke one of them when we were going for a glass for juice.

When we got home, Mike got one of the boxes-of-two-wine-glasses out and washed them. He dried them. We sat down for dinner and ate our meals and each had a glass of wine. The whole time, I’m sitting there like don’t break it Rachael this is a nice thing DON’T FUCKING BREAK IT. We even had a brief conversation in which we agreed that the glasses were a nice gift and possibly even too nice for us because we’re fucking clumsy. Anyway. We made it through the meal. We both finished our wine. I did the dishes. I left the wine glasses off to the side so I wouldn’t break them while washing something else. Finally, it was time to wash the wine glasses.

Oh god, I was terrified. They were so thin and delicate-feeling. I imagine it’s similar to how it must feel to carry a really old person with brittle bones, except I had to shove a brand-new sponge inside them (and brand-new sponges are way firmer than old, worn out sponges) and not break them.

I didn’t break them.

I was so proud of myself every single moment that I was touching one of the glasses and it didn’t break. All, yes, you have NOT fucked this up yet! Keep it up! You have GOT this! So when I got through washing them successfully and put them on the little glass-holder things on the drainer, I was cheering myself. I cheered for myself as I walked back to our room and sat down on my computer and did the stuff I needed to do for my online summer class.

A few hours later, I hear footsteps upstairs. The guy upstairs isn’t loud and doesn’t stomp around like an elephant like the people upstairs from Mike’s old place. It’s pretty nice. I didn’t think much of his walking around or anything, because it didn’t seem like something that would keep me up or disturb my lack of migraine.

I didn’t think anything of it until I heard a tinkling crash from the kitchen.

What the fuck.

The drying rack apparently can’t hold top-heavy glasses if there’s any movement anywhere. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

Until then, this is why we can’t have nice things.

You’ve seen “How to Train Your Dragon,” right? If not, you should. It’s excellent. But I’m really sad that I can’t find a clip of Hiccup saying, “But you just gestured to all of me!” Because we’d use that all the time. “DAMMIT, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.” “But you just gestured to all of me!” And that goes both ways. Mike and I are why we can’t have nice things.

Next time, I’m getting the Capri Sun things.