From the monthly archives:

November 2007

Appetizer: What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?
Rollercoasters are great and everything, but the rides I remember most fondly from childhood is the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Disneyland in Florida. It’s been gone since the early nineties, now replaced by Ariel’s Cavern or some silly thing. It’s not even a ride, apparently. I bemoaned the loss of this excellent attraction, based on first live action movie Disney ever did which in turn is based on the Jules Verne novel, at length in a post a couple of years ago that still hold a lot of water, no pun intended. OK… maybe a little pun. My original 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride article seems to be missing at the moment so check out the following video for more information on this once mighty giant squid extravaganza.

Soup: How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?
With humor, of course. Diffusing tense situations is probably why humor was invented in the first place. There’s a hidden camera show on MTV called Boiling Points where actors put unsuspecting civilians in ridiculous situations that are designed to infuriate them. A waiter who farts and puts his thumb in their coke, a creepy guy who follows you around a flea market, A guy steals your coffee off the counter and an employee who won’t give you another unless you pay again – you get the picture. If the target of the bit keeps their cool for a certain number of minutes they win $100 when the caper is finally revealed. I enjoy watching this show because so many of the victims get insanely angry that it’s refreshing and impressive when one of them starts making light of the situation and looks for the funny side. Realizes the ridiculousness of the situation and pokes fun at the actors, etc. These are the sorts of people I’d want to have a beer with. Most people suck.

Salad: On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?
I’d say it’s a solid 3. If you seek out conversations of that sort, you’re either a priest, a physicist, a shaman or a pretentious asshole. I’ve never been a big fan of recreational drugs,but there was that one time when a big old bag of magic mushrooms found its way into my dorm. There were many deep, philosophical conversations taking place that weekend, I can tell you. Come Monday, I don’t think any of us could remember or care less about a single one of them, and that says it all for me right there.

Main Course: Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?
I’ve had my annual dose of excruciating strep throat all ready this year, thanks. And I’ll be very surprised if I get laid up with anything again. The small extent to which I get sick was always a big disappointment as a child. I once tried to pull off the E.T. thermometer against the light bulb trick which my mother caught on to in a matter of seconds. “According to the thermometer, you’re… on the surface of the sun right now, or Satan”. My poor diet may be my undoing this winter, however. I am keeping healthy eating in mind when I shop and prepare meals, but it’s just no fun to put a lot of effort into cooking when you’re alone. I’ll take another Velveeta slice covered in sub sauce in hand and maybe get around to something a little more complicated, like Kraft Dinner, tomorrow.

Dessert: Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?
Technically at the moment, a shitload. The TV keeps me company in the background all day every day while I work. Considering I haven’t watched a lick of TV for the 5 months prior, I’m not losing any sleep over my recent saturation. I think I’ll devote an article soon to all the interesting crap I’ve discovered. You can also check out my recent bad movies and reality TV posts which go down the same road. Yeah, quizzlet. I’m brushing you off. I have a 4 hour drive ahead of me today. I’m looking out the window right now, and I feel like I’ve just come out the backside of the Wardrobe. Thank goodness my snow tires were put on yesterday.


Meet Shepherd Pye

by Dave on November 29, 2007

in Animalistic,Heartwarming

My little, hairy bundle of joy was delivered yesterday to his proud parents Pixie and Oscar. I had first pick of the litter and I chose Shepherd Pye, or ‘Puppy C’ as he was formerly known, based on his classic Boston Terrier markings. The breeder herself said that if she was going to keep one of the litter for herself, Shep would have been the one. All of the puppies are cute, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re going to pay the purebred price you want the animal with the best stud value, etc. Click here for a photo of proud little Pixie and her litter, and here’s the wee man of the hour himself.

Boston Terrier Puppy

I’ll be picking Shepherd up around the 14th of February and am allowed to go and visit him as of January 23rd (7 weeks from now). It’ll be a long wait, as the breeder is just down the road from me, but she is very serious about protecting the puppies from diseases and meeting too many new people before they’re of a very specific age. As this is my first dog, and I’m only half way through the first of several dog books I’ve collected leading up to this, I will defer to her in all matters of dogginess. Wow – this is really happening.

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“Cindy tells me she’s had fun sitting backstage, someone’s plus one. Up in her room the records spin, needle in the grooves that she’s worn thin. She lifts a sleeve and sees a name, and she’s got a smile on her face, and she’s got a story you can’t see: it’s just between that name and Cindy“.

I wrote about Okkervil River’s 2005 masterpiece ‘For Real‘ about a year ago and I have to give them the floor once again. Their latest album is called The Stage Names and it’s solid from beginning to end. The song that really jumped out at me, which I’ve sent to all my friends – that I listen to daily, that I’ve learned to play on the guitar, that I’m currently obsessed with – is ‘A Girl in Port‘. I found an excellent live video version which I’ll post below, but I also encourage you to download the MP3 here (free) as it took me a few listens to fully appreciate and is a definite keeper.

The song is a sort of ode to rock and roll groupies and each verse sees the protagonist describing his relationship with a different member of someone’s road harem. But the harem isn’t his – rather Will Sheff’s lyrics seem to bemoan the emotional states of Marie, Holly and Cindy more than anything. The narrator distances himself from from “the lady-killing sort” and stresses that he has no desire to “hurt a girl in port”. The way I see it, he is secretly in love with the three girls, but is either in the “friend zone” or romantically invisible to these doomed women who have nothing but rock stars in their sights. It’s a touching piece of work with a great, erratically appearing chorus which doesn’t follow the structure of most tunes. I love it, have a listen.

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Guiltless Movie Pleasures

by Dave on November 26, 2007

in Movies

When my parents left for Florida last month I moved my office down to a fold-out table/desk thing on the main floor. I keep the TV on all day (surprisingly, the background noise helps me concentrate) and between working and chilling spend the vast majority of my time on the same couch in close proximity to the idiot box. I ordered a big cable package and the possibilities when it comes to movie channels are painfully endless. I don’t envy the people who have to program these channels. Filling 24 hours every day of the month with enough unique content to keep subscribers happy must be a daunting task. Not surprisingly, I have watched some pretty obscure and forgotten movies recently that I’d like to discuss. BTW – my country ass connection won’t let me upload photos today, so no quotelet.

Andre (1994): This sea salty tearjerker, in the tradition of Flipper and Free Willy, tells the tale of an aquatic creature named ‘Andre’ who becomes a pet to a small family in Maine (I think). The little daughter becomes the mischievous seal’s biggest fan and after it bugged me for a half an hour I finally realized it was a 9-year-old ‘Deb’ from Napoleon Dynamite. Anyway, not to put too fine a point on it, I largely ignored the movie until I started to hear the fart sounds. If I had a nickel. The seal, who is actually a sea lion playing a seal, gives a big old raspberry to anyone who is mean to a family member or with whom he is otherwise displeased. I watched the last 45 minutes intently, patiently waiting for the Bronx cheers which would then have me laughing hysterically. And you won’t believe how cute the whiskers on this thing are. I’d definitely pick this up for my younger cousins. Cute, funny and a little naughty, tee hee.

Alien Nation (1988): When the TV series spin-off hit Fox in the early 90s, I used to watch it on Monday nights without fail. But I forgot how… good… the original movie is. The cast is solid: James Caan plays the tough-as-nails cop who has to partner with a ‘newcomer’ the day after his partner is killed by one. Mandy Patinkin plays ‘San Francisco’, the new partner and new resident of Planet Earth who stares adversity in the face and all that good stuff. The slang term for a newcomer, “slag”, is an obvious nod to your pick of human racial epithets and the story hinges heavily on Detective Francisco’s ability to rise above the human scorn and become an excellent lawman. Terence Stamp rounds out the cast as the main baddie and the flick is an action-packed slug-fest with great, funny dialogue between Caan and Patinkin and a slanted take on the buddy cop movie.

Ghost Dog (1999): I think the very definition of ‘suspension of disbelief’ is accepting a chunky Forrest Whittaker as a sort of lithe urban samurai. Unless the ancient code has somehow been changed to “my sword must taste blood every time it is unsheathed… and then I must eat 6 corn dogs.” A good friend of mine has sung the praises of this film to me for years, so I sorta paid attention when it ran on TMC this very afternoon. The narrative structure pulls chapters from the samurai creedo which act as… chapters, applying to the Dog’s adventure and actions along the way. I knew the soundtrack had been produced by the RZA before I looked the movie up as the gritty beats are unmistakable and lend themselves well to the tone of the movie. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of a 70-year-old mobster dancing around to his bathroom to ‘Cold Lampin’ With Flava’ and reciting it word for word while dumping talc in his ass crack. A truly unique movie and I done liked it.

What’s the ‘worst’ bad movie you’ll admit to loving? This site used to get lots of comments from many different people every day – and I know most of you are still reading. How about a little give and take here? A little tete a tete? Some cinematic back and forth, perhaps? Where is Alexa, Cato, Mike, Kellie and Janet? Where’s DVS, Smash and Timmy the Keyhole? Where’s Greg, Duck, Watergirl and Loo Loo? Who can forget JV, Monster, Hammer and Heather? Come back to me, my children of the night.


Appetizer: What was your first “real” job?
When my family moved down to Massachusetts in 1988 it was at the very beginning of the summer holiday. I had no friends, nothing to do around the house and a father who grew up hard and had worked since he was old enough to walk. It wasn’t long before I was gently “encouraged” to find myself a job. I started working at the Concord Stop N’ Shop and actually kind of enjoyed it. I met Doug DeRome, who was older than me but would go on to be a friend through high school and beyond, and he taught me everything I needed to know about taggin’, stackin’ and stockin’. The manager called me into his office one day and told me he had checked with the head office and since I didn’t have a proper green card they had to let me go. “When you get permission to work in the States I’ll hire you back in a second.” It was all babysitting, snow shoveling, grass cutting and landscaping after that until I got my proper papers courtesy of Digital 2 years later. Needless to say, I did not go back to being a grocery clerk but instead started working in the service industry which would help put me through University and become a big part of my life for the next decade.

Soup: Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
Short of an opium den, I find blog memes like this very Friday’s Feast content-inspiring. A little prod can really open the floodgates and get you writing. I’d much rather have a proper muse, though. Albert Brooks had Sharon Stone running around naked in his guest house. Dudley Moore had Bo Derek. Damon Albarn had Justine Frischmann. John Lennon had Yoko O… scratch that last one. So basically, a hot and most certainly scantily clad woman running around the house repeating “You’re not getting any of this fat ass until you finish one more song/chapter/painting.”

Salad: Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…
People whom I respect want to discuss their opinions with me which, unbeknownst to them, I vehemently disagree with. My embarrassment doesn’t stem from feeling sorry for them – it’s nowhere near that simple or shallow. Rather, I feel uneasy because I have to ask myself: Am I getting something wrong? Do they know something I don’t? Am I ignorant, foolish or poorly read on this topic? If they’ve touched on an issue I feel strongly about, and I am confident in my knowledge of and ability to argue for it, I become uneasy because I’m then torn between keeping my mouth shut and avoiding a silly debate I’ve had a million times before with a million people before or nodding my head in faux-agreement like a eunuch and saying something like: “You’re right. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11“. I am embarrassed for having the audacity to think I know more about something than somebody else – when neither of us, short of reading a newspaper, have any divine source of intelligence on the matter. All you can do is keep reading those newspapers and put yourself in check when you’re simply repeating someone else’s dead horse rhetoric over flat beer. Stay current, and above all else discern unique, personal insight from the party line. If more people questioned their perception of reality on a daily basis, allowed themselves to feel a degree of embarrassment and always considered both sides of the coin instead of settling into a comfortable viewpoint that will never change – we’d all be a lot closer to a tolerable, excuse me, tolerant planet.

Main Course: What values did your parents instill in you?
For reasons I’ll probably never fully understand, my father had an incredible hatred of thieves. He went out of his way to hammer this into me (literally), and to this day I can honestly say I’ve never stolen anything – save for maybe a pack of gum when I was 13 and trying to be cool. But even that is a fuzzy memory that I’m unsure really happened. My father spent a good part of his youth pulling my Grandfather out of gambling dens and bars until he eventually died when Gordo was only 13. Pop then dropped out of school to help take care of his Mother and 3 siblings. Now that I see my extended Canadian family frequently I am learning more and more about the father I am quickly losing. I’ve long since forgiven him for any and all of his parental missteps over the years, should he care. He did a great job in spite of severe emotional disadvantages I can only imagine.

Dessert: Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
Here’s a fun one. This is hard to pinpoint or rank, so I’ll perform a brain-dump and hope it comes out kinda legible. Manchester music, definitely. So much of my Junior and Senior years revolved around a culture, city, record label and nightclub that was 3,000 miles away. Odd in retrospect, but then so is the fact that I still listen to and love all of those bands to this day. Tecmo Bowl was insanely popular and I spent many hours sending Bo Jackson up the middle of the gridiron with his four available running and passing plays when I was supposed to be studying. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out ran a close second. Concert t-shirts – I couldn’t get enough of them. Sometimes I think I went to concerts just so I could get a t-shirt and then wear it around school the next day. “Yeah, that’s right. I was at the Divinyls show last night. Jealous?”

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Pigskins and Puppies

by Dave on November 22, 2007

in Animalistic,Sporty

I commemorated the holiday this year by sleeping until 11am, finally finishing the massive Brother Fish and then cleaning up my house. As all of my clients are American, no one noticed or cared about my personal day, and I hope everyone is currently gorged on turkey and watching TV with a glass of dry white left over from dinner in their hand. It snowed up here in Portland for the first time this morning and I realized since this house was built in 2004 no one has actually lived here late in the season enough to see snow. I am going to take some photos for my folks tomorrow and I’m sure it will be as strange for them as it was for me. Raise that glass to me at this point and toast to my not freezing to death in a couple of months only to be discovered come spring sitting upright and bearded in the filthy dining room with a half-finished letter bomb in front of me.

OJ Thanksgiving

Does anyone know who won the Concord / Bedford football game today? I couldn’t find it mentioned online. I did get one especially exciting piece of news, however. Pixie, the mother of my soon to be puppy, is almost ready to drop. The breeder sent me some adorable new photos and poor Pixie looks fit to pop. She is due by the end of the weekend, apparently, so I may be making a trip over to Seeley’s bay to see my future best friend very, very soon. Wee Shepherd Pye cometh!


It’s sad and quite a bit shitty to be sitting alone on what is usually my very favorite night of the entire year. The night before American Thanksgiving is when you’re supposed to travel back to your home town, hit a local bar or house party and get sillier than a horn of plenty with your high school friends whom you only ever see once a year on this night. When I returned from England in 1999 after about 5 years away from the Concord scene, I thought the tradition was long since dead. Little did I know the fun we had yet to have over the next 7 years. The Red House, the reunions, the Razzi. Many of my contemporaries couldn’t care less about staying in touch with their old school crew and that’s their prerogative – God forbid I should someday have a family and “normal life”. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, and I sure miss y’all tonight.

The best Thanksgivingy passtime I could come up with for my self this evening was to sift back through folders and folders of old photos and assemble my favorites into a 60-deep Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past gallery. I hope you laugh if you were there and snicker a little bit even if you weren’t. At the very least you can watch us lose our hair. I’ll surely be tasting Jimmy’s deep fried turkey tomorrow as I catch up on work while all my American clients take the day off to stuff their respective faces. Great memories, great friends and trust me kids – there’s no way I’ll miss it two years in a row.

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I’m not trying to be obscure. I’m not trying to be retro, kitschy or cool. This song made it onto my iPod courtesy of the Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels soundtrack and it’s been haunting me in my car for a few weeks now. Guy Ritchie effectively took a page out of Scorsese’s book with his uncanny ability to dig up obscure old music and give it new life at the movies. After you get over the shock that the first part of this Castaways classic is actually being sung by a man you’re in for an ethereal masterpiece of ‘Garage‘ rock – a genre of which bands like The White Stripes and Hives are direct descendants.

I’m pretty sure that the song is firmly lodged into my subconscious because it was a favorite of The Pill DJ at the night’s various locations around Boston. When it was held every Friday at the Upstairs Lounge in North Station my friends and I were frequent and loyal attendees. What a delightful little moment in Beantown nightlife that was. Sigh.

The song reached #12 on the Billboard 100 in 1965 and made the band the epitome of a one hit wonder. They still exist with one original member intact, and in addition to Liar Liar they’ve apparently added ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ to their repertoire and are available for weddings and bar mitzvahs throughout greater Minnesota. You can legally download a full MP3 version of Liar Liar from the Castaways’ website, and if you like what you see in the video make sure that you do – as the compressed audio really doesn’t do this remarkable little song justice. Please listen and enjoy.


Reality Bites Itself in the Ass

by Dave on November 21, 2007

in Television

I finally got Direct TV… any TV… and the holy grail that is American reality television is once again mine after 7 long months of seclusion. I don’t watch a whole lot of it intently, but I do tend to keep it on during the day while I am working and soak a lot of it up through some sort of crapola osmosis. As you can imagine I have made some observations.

People who write MTV in the hopes of getting their ride pimped seem more interested in possessing a reliable car that doesn’t have to be hotwired or towed on a daily basis than having a tropical fish aquarium with a blacklight mounted in their back seat. It’s all well and good to have 6 high definition flat screens in your hatchback, but they won’t really help you when you when you’re stalled at 3am while a meth addict taps at your windshield with a hook. The guys who soup up these cars are extremely good at painting an intricate spider web on the hood of a car, but I’d rather see them get under it. How about a spinoff starring MC Serch entitled ‘Fix my Transmission’?

There’s Something About Miriam is a tipping point. A frightening one. I think the show was inevitable, it just took reality producers 15 years (the genre was technically born in 1992 with the first episode of The Real World) to find a transsexual that could actually fool anybody. More shows are going to feature shocking twists the contestants didn’t sign on for and more humiliated people are going to sue, kill themselves – and even kill others like the guy who’s best friend came out and professed his love for him on Jenny Jones a few years ago. After they got back to their small town, the crushee whacked the crusher. There’s a difference between introducing a surprise guest and introducing mental anguish – and the backlash is coming.

A PE fan since the day in 1986 when I first heard Rebel Without a Pause pumping out of a boom box at JV basketball practice, I have been glad to see Flava Flav’s fortunes increase via his second wind on Surreal Life, Strange Love, Flava of Love and his Comedy Central roast. Let’s face it, the man has a financial responsibility for every sperm that’s ever swum through his sack. I hear that “My 13 Children and Their 5 Mothers Thank God Everyday for Introducing me to Brigitte Nielsen” is currently in development.


Monday’s Quotelet: Bennett Brauer’s Baby

by Dave on November 19, 2007


The Chris Farley Baby

“Mom? I wish you could just shut your big YAPPER!”


Mike vs. Gore Vidal

by Dave on November 16, 2007

in Politics

I have been aggressively trying to keep the site up to date (Wadio, Quizzlets, etc.) but to say it has been a difficult week would be the understatement of the year. I do, however, have a treat for you today. One of my very best friends, and Concord boy, Mike M. is debating Gore Vidal on BBC radio at 1 p.m. today. Click here to listen to the broadcast online – and good luck buddy!


Mayberry Moments

by Dave on November 13, 2007


After 10 years of living in the North End, small town vignettes are not something I’m particularly accustomed with. That is probably why they stick out to me like sore thumbs. I drove in to Portland today for two purposes – to send a package at the post office and pick up some groceries. I decided to hit the post office first and walked into the foyer to discover they were closed. Yesterday was Remembrance Day so I knew it wasn’t a holiday-related closure. And the hours clearly read 8-5 so I was perplexed. There were two old men in the foyer opening their respective mailboxes and one of them finally muttered “something… something… 1:30“. I nodded like I’d actually understood what he’d said and walked back to my car.

After putting the items to be shipped back in the Charga I walked over to the little Grocery store on the main drag. A nice lady greeted me and I quickly asked her if there was any reason the Post Office was closed. Without missing a beat she replied “Mike’s on his lunch break until 1:30“. As I only had 15 minutes to wait I did my shopping and by the time I had put my groceries in the car I could see Mike, whom I’d never met before, puttering around with the post through the front window. I walked in, selected a big padded envelope and wrote out the destination and return addresses. I handed it over to Mike who glanced at it and asked “Did your parents get off to Florida like they’d planned?” I was shocked as I live a good 10 minute drive away… in the woods. But that’s small town life for you, and it’s growing on me.

I can’t help but wonder who I’d be speaking to if I ever had to call 911. The O.P.P. polices towns like mine which are too small to warrant their own forces and the closest station I know about is 15 minutes away in Smiths Falls. Would Gomer Pyle be the responding officer who arrived half an hour after my cat and I had already been hacked into a dozen pieces by an escaped lunatic? What if my imaginary girlfriend’s period attracts bears? I think Pumpkinhead may also be buried in the mound which makes up a good chunk of my mother’s garden. Good heavens, I need me a 12 gauge if I’m ever going to build that still.


Monday’s Quotelet: The Limb-Berg Baby

by Dave on November 12, 2007


Laskshmi Indian Girl

On the eve of Lakshmi’s 27-hour surgery to remove her 4 extra limbs, Indian officials intervened in the hopes of her becoming the country’s first handball champion.


Earlier this year I took my cat, Boss, to the vet to be tested for diabetes. The reason? His incessant fascination with, and imbibement of, water. He’s always been fascinated with the stuff – when he was a kitten at our house in Guelph he’d charge into the bathroom whenever anyone got out of the shower and sit in the tub watching the faucet drip. We nicknamed him “the inspector” and chalked it up to that old kitty curiosity.

Now that he’s 10 years old, 27 trips to the water dish, faucet, shower or sink a day is a little unsettling. Hence the visit to the vet. His bloodwork came back completely normal and I was told he is exceptionally healthy for a creature of his age. I suppose then that his water OCD is just that – the same fixation he’s had since his inception. In which case, it’s kind of cute. I made this video last Sunday, edited the clips together and set it to a classic Tom Jones tune. It turned out remarkably cute and funny, so have a gander.

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Yesterday I took my oath and was sworn in as a United States Citizen in Boston’s awesome and historic Faneuil Hall. I sat in the main gallery with nearly 400 other people from every corner of the world who, like me, had decided to go through the long and arduous nationalization process. I sat near a friendly Russian and had a great conversation with my new buddy from Ghana who’s name I have no idea how to spell – so I’m not going to insult him by trying. Hopefully he will check in here himself and set me straight. We told many jokes, poked fun at some of the more breathtaking patriotic apparel and shared a real awe of the absolute hell many of the people in that room had to endure to get there. Congratulations to us all, and good luck in Texas, buddy. I’ll see you in Canada when you come to visit.

Tonight we’re having an informal gathering to mark the occasion of Citizen Pye at Silvertone in downtown Boston. If you’re not looking to shoot me for any reason, I invite you to drop in. We’ll be in the back room after 9pm. Here is a photo taken by my sister outside Faneuil after the ceremony yesterday. The document I’m holding cost me roughly $3,000 in terms of fees, plane tickets and lawyers – but it is beautiful and worth every cent. I only wish the passport photo used wasn’t taken so soon after I bashed in my face last December. I’m lucky for that reason my application wasn’t tossed into the circular file in the Tip O’Neil Building.

United States Naturalization Document

While we’re on the subject of photos, I have added a few new galleries to the site. Check out the rest of the photos from yesterday as well as various other shots from my latest Boston trip: Dave’s a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Then have a gander at the photos I took last weekend when Jason and Amy came to visit me in Portland. It’s a beautiful part of the country and the leaf peeping was sublime: Best Buddies Awesome Autumn Invitational. Also feel free to politely peruse photos from a Halloween party where I appeared as Indiana Jones, as well as a collection from another recent jaunt to Newport Rhode Island: October 2007. And finally, you might just find a picture of yourself in my tribute to the last few Halloween celebration ingeniously entitled: Ghosts of Halloweens Past. Having read and viewed all of the aforementioned, if you’re not thoroughly sick of my nutty life – you really should be. Looking forward to seeing many of you tonight.