Category: Spare Bits

2012 in review

Kinda cool, isn’t it ?  Thought I’d share it with you!  Thanks everyone for a great year!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m baaack!

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier (Photo credit: Artbandito) (Not my Boston, but still pretty darn cute!)

Sorry for the long absence, I just recently switched jobs.  I’m now teaching almost full time at a new school.  For those of you who noticed the name change, sorry about that.  Being a teacher, I’d rather not share my personal life and all my interests with my students.  They’re good kids, but I’m an only child and I adore my privacy.       🙂

In any event, I’m back.  You can expect more regular reviews and such.  And yes – if you’re an aspiring author, feel free to make your mark on the page.

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

This is the car, moments after the crash.

Sorry for the lengthy wait before the new post.  I’m finishing a semester in grad school currently, which I can’t wait to end!  I’m only taking two courses, but one of them is considered to be the hardest class in the program.  I will be super glad when that class has come to an end.

This past Wednesday, I got into a car accident.  I rearranged the front end of my car on the back of a truck.  On it’s tow bar, to be exact.  The car in front of the truck did a sudden stop, and I’d have had time to stop if it weren’t for the slick road.  It had been raining for a few days, and that morning it was cold.  In any event, I have a concussion.  Last night was the first night that I was able to bear staring at the computer screen for any length of time.

Today, I figured I’d toss a post up real quick to let anyone visiting the site know that yes, it’s still very much active.  Once my semester from Hell ends, you can expect many more posts, and certainly on a more frequent basis.

In any event, just wanted to let you know where I’ve been.

P.S. Upcoming posts include reviews of a few haunted house attractions, and books by Paffenroth and del Torro.

I’m a traitor.

Cover of "The Dead Zone"

Cover of The Dead Zone

I vehemently refused to go to another bookstore after Borders started it’s closing.  I wouldn’t go – none of them appealed to me.  I complained to everyone I knew about the “loss of my favorite place on Earth“…and where was I yesterday?  Barnes and Noble.  Looking for a specific book (incidentally, they don’t have it and I very well may be returning to another location of the same store in a few hours).

I fell from grace over a discussion of  a Patrick Wilson film.  Apparently, he survives an accident and upon waking, discovers he has a connection to the world of the dead.  My dad started talking about Stephen King‘s “The Dead Zone” which had a similar plot.  I was surprised that my father was going on about what a great book it was, because he isn’t as much of a reader as my mom or myself.

So now begins my feverish hunt for “The Dead Zone”.  My mom has a copy in hardcover, but I don’t want to read hers because I read in all the oddest places, and if something happens to her book I’m dead meat.  Plain and simple.

This may also be the start of another Stephen King hitch.  I have read tons of his books, but there are several (including the entire Dark Tower series) that I haven’t read yet.

Gadzooks !


Image via Wikipedia --> Yarn ! OMG !

Ha ha !  Chris and I just came back from a stroll among the shops and I saw my first yarn bomb!  For those of you who don’t know what a “yarn bomb” is, it’s a random piece of knit or crochet that covers something.  This particular yarn bomb was a bit of crochet around a pole.  The pole was part of a gate, and the yarn bomb covered the bottom.  It made the pole look like it had a claw foot.  So cool!  If you’re unfamiliar with the results of yarn bombing, then check out this link to my search: yarn bomb.

We tried Moxie – the much maligned soda of Maine.  It was touted by our Duck Boat tour guide as a mix of “dirt and cough syrup”.  Apparently us Buffalonians are more resillient – it tasted like thin root beer with a hint of anise.  Not bad.

I thought I would throw that out there – just saying.

P.S.  Here is a link to some other Maine Monster Foot Yarn Bombing. The pictures are from Freeport, Maine, where I was staying.  Maybe next year I will yarn bomb my own city.  🙂  Thanks for the comment, Rose !  I never would have looked that up if you hadn’t mentioned the holiday.

The Street in Freeport, Maine

Image via Wikipedia --> Freeport, Maine

I’m writing this post from Freeport, Maine.  The Harraseeket Inn, to be exact.  I’m on a few day vacation with my boyfriend Chris and his parents.  I figured it would be blasphemous not to write a post from the state that spawned the great Stephen King.  In a totally personal side note, I have wanted to visit Maine my entire life.  When I was a kid, I dreamed that I would move to Maine, live in a house by the sea, and write.  I would also speak loads of Spanish and wear cable knit sweaters year ’round since it’s always winter in Maine.  (Ha ha – it’s about 78 degrees out today, and I keep hearing French – proximity to Canada has that effect.)

The first stop of the trip was Portland, Maine.  According to my internet research, Portland is the city in which King was born.  During the amphibious Duck Boat tour, they pointed out an island that King frequents, and has used as his muse for some time.  Other highlights of that particular city include the house of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and of course, the ocean.  The city is really beautiful, and unlike my hometown of Buffalo, New York, there aren’t very many chain stores.  The streets are populated by independent shops, one of my favorites being Fetch – where you can find unique dog and cat items.  We had burgers at Silly’s, which boasts a “Zombie Burger” – vegan burger with a boat ton of spicy sauce, pineapple, and assorted veggies.  (Sorry folks – I’m a wuss when it comes to spice, so I had the regular burger and the to-die-for sweet potato fries).

Our next stop was my current location – Freeport, Maine.  According to the maps, I am 117 miles away from Stephen King’s current residence in Bangor, Maine.  The Harraseeket Inn offers an afternoon tea service, and pristine rooms.  Chris and I took advantage of the indoor pool last night – which was heated, thankfully.  This morning while walking the streets we came across a dog parade heading into the L.L. Bean‘s store.

Maine has been everything I wanted it to be, and even a little I wasn’t expecting.  I didn’t expect to find a place that was virtually untouched by chain stores.  Don’t get me wrong – I do like my Tim Horton‘s, but it’s nice to see new places and try new foods as well.  Being an avid plant-watcher, I noticed the roadside bushes are different here.  They are heartier, and look more like pine trees.  Speaking of which, this place is covered in pines!  I think I prefer it to my own state, which is populated by scruffy looking trees during the summer.

On a horror note, last night I ate the peach and raspberry crisp at the tavern in the Harraseeket Inn.  It tasted divine, but I had trouble swallowing the crisp.  I kid you not – it looked like it came straight from the special effects department that had worked on Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive”.  Egads!  Also on the topic of food, there is an ice cream shop down the way that serves authentic lobster ice cream.  Worth mentioning, but I’m afraid I lack the stomach to be able to try it (for once having an allergy to milk and all milk products seems to be worthwhile).

Maine is a great place to go if you have food allergies.  They are very accomodating to those suffering from gluten issues and also from milk issues, like me.  The menus here offer a plethora of gluten-free and vegan options.  It would be nice if some of the other states would catch on to this idea.

The Borders Bookstore up here is well-stocked.  While Chris and I were perusing the shelves, I found a few items that I didn’t know existed.  Chris picked up a few items for me – “Songs of Love and Death” (a star-crossed lover’s anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), and “20th Century Ghosts” (a Joe Hill anthology – also fitting as he is the son of Stephen King).  I miss Borders already.  At an independent bookshop in Freeport, Chris gifted me “Henry the VIII, Wolfman” (an A.E. Moorat tale).  Apparently he’s aware that the way to his lady friend’s heart is through the bookstore.

Maine is a city I recommend everyone visit at least once in their lifetime.  Where it feasable for myself and for Chris to move here and take up permanent residence, I would certainly pack today.  Unfortunately, I need to get a master’s degree soon, and neither Chris nor I have any interest in moving so far away from our families.  It was about an 8 hour ride up here.  I’m glad to have been able to scratch the “visit Maine” article from my bucket list.  Now on to the next one – become a writer!

Zombie 5K ?!

Original caption from American army: "Cam...

Image via Wikipedia

As none of you are probably aware, I am on a kick trying to lose some weight.  I find it hard because there really isn’t a goal other than “stop being unhealthy and big”.  Pretty nebulous, isn’t it?  Today my boyfriend showed me a website that has me thinking in terms of a reachable goal: survive a 5k populated with zombies, that also happens to be attached to an obstacle course.

If you’re like me, those last few words most likely dropped your heart into your stomach, and your stomach somewhere in the vacinity of through the floor and out the other side of the world.  The website with all of the information is  It posts information on when the run is, and where it will be.  This year’s run is October 22 in Baltimore, Maryland.  I live in New York State, so I won’t be present.  However, don’t give up hope!  The website states that “the infection is spreading in 2012”, so maybe I will be able to drive to the nearest location.  Let me know what you think !

Bird brained over Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I am sorry in advance.  This post has absolutely nothing to do with horror cinema, literature, art, food, or culture.  It’s just something I was ruminating on while laying in bed last night.  I had the urge to say it somewhere, if only just to get it out.  Bear with me.

I withheld the urge to join Twitter for awhile.  Really, I did.  When I joined, it was at the behest of a communications guru at one of my jobs.  She said it would improve visitor numbers at my blog.  Needless to say – I joined toute de suite and here I am on Twitter.  I did my thing – found a bunch of celebrities and other people to follow, and I write my own messages.

Last night I had the craziest epiphany.  I know nothing about Twitter and the Digital Age, despite having lived through the inception of the internet and the rise of the home computer.  Or should I say, the rise of the ubiquitous computer?  Anyway, I thought that with Twitter, one was supposed to be out living their life, occasionally posting a message about what they were doing, or had done.  It seems I am beyond gravely mistaken.  While reading several accounts I follow, it dawned on me that I’m supposed to be living my life around my Tweets, and that life is what happens while you’re updating your status.  Apparently, Ed from “Shaun of the Dead” had the right idea.  Who knew?



Aloe aristata

Image via Wikipedia

Just a head’s up to everyone…my family and I just moved into a new house yesterday and we’re still unpacking and such.  The internet is not up yet – I’m using internet pirated from my boyfriend.  Hopefully within a week or two I will be up and running again.  I can still get e-mail via my phone if anyone needs me.  Ciao!


P.S.  The 17 houseplants moved without incident as well.