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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Halloween Party (2009 Edition)

This weekend, like many people, I attended a Halloween party. There was the usual fare of candy, cotton spider webs, dry ice creating a nice fog, and black solo cups sloshing with whatever unholy concoctions we made (because, let's face it, after a few drinks everyone is an expert mixologist).

We spent the days before running around the town like mad men to stock up on treats, party favors, prizes for contests (including a 17.5 oz. gummy snake with two heads), and alcohol for everyone. We have a Muslim friend, so mustering all the knowledge we had about the culture (meaning we all watched The 13th Warrior at least twice), we were able to find a nice bottle of mead, so that he wouldn't feel left out for not being able to imbibe "the fermentation of neither grain nor fruit." IT'S HONEY! What god forbids honey?

Once the clock struck 8p.m. people began to filter into the place, introducing themselves, drinking, showing off their costumes, and laughing at our jokes (one of those actions may be out of order, but finding us entertaining certainly came after drinking).

Then came the masterpiece: The Murder Mystery. We worked on this for a long time. The idea was that there are five people - the host (played by yours truly), the murderer, the detective, the medium, and the accomplice. The host's job was to lay down the rules of the game, and announce the victims as they were killed. The murderer had the rather eponymous job of getting people alone and killing them (and by that I mean sending them to me to have a glow bracelet placed on their wrists to distinguish them from the living). The medium would then be given two pieces of information about the murderer as clues to announce to the party. If anyone attending the party had an idea of who the murderer was, they were to seek out the detective (who was also trying to keep a low profile so as not to be discovered and murdered), and give her/him the clues so the fiend could be apprehended. The murderer also had an accomplice wandering around and giving out misinformation to people to lead their guesses astray. If the detective got killed, or two or more people died while someone was the detective, that person would be stripped of the title and someone else would be designated to catch the murderer.

This was a fun game (in theory) and everyone could participate. Participate they did. I learned a lot about personality types that night, specifically because of this event. For any single guys out there, if you ever want to peer into the mindset of a girl, let her participate in something like this before you set your heart on her being "the one." You'll see what I mean in a little bit.

We had the initial cast picked and we secluded them to explain their roles. The detective had been picked, the medium was fully confident in his role, the accomplice fully understood what she was supposed to do, and our murderer had been briefed on her part in this grand dance. They were off and The Great Murder Mystery of 2009 had begun!

Within five minutes, the first victim came to me for her bracelet. This was good! Five minutes later, the second victim, a girl dressed as a bee (but not in the Blind Melon's "No Rain" sense), approached me for a bracelet. I gave her the glowing mark of the dead and went out to see how the party was going.

I refilled my cup, made sure that music was playing, horror movies were playing in background, and that everyone was having a good time. Then I heard my name being called in a tone of slightly worried befuddlement. I turned to see Rorschach from The Watchmen making these wild exclamations  and beckoning me into a room. Seeing as how I knew his secret identity to be that of my brother, I followed to see what was the matter.

I rounded the corner and entered the room to see him surrounded by the recently deceased. Girl in generic black dress: dead. Our medium, the Saudi Oil Baron: dead. The detective: dead. Guy who was on the sofa and surrounded by people: dead. Other girl in generic black dress: dead. The guy dressed as the Grim Reaper: dead. This girl, who was not dressed as a black widow, but who I will now refer to as such, was too efficient as a murderer. She killed goddamned Death! How does that work?

I proceeded to adorn people with glow bracelets, and by the time I was done, I looked up to see most of the rest of the attendees waiting in line. I felt like some heavenly ticket puncher after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. (See how I managed to avoid the obviously tasteless joke? No one gets choked up because their relatives, friends who were pilots, or people working in offices died in the smoke and rubble after the disaster at Pompeii.) 

After I got these poor victims braceleted (because we can turn anything into a verb these days), I went out to get a head (or rather, wrist) count to see who was still "alive." I was alive. My brother was alive. I didn't see anyone else without a bracelet, though. I think a few people showed up to the party while I was doing this and they died before they reached the top of the stairs.

I pulled Death aside (because he was helping to run this thing too) and asked him where the black widow was. All I got was a shrug. We had a mass murderer on the loose at our party and freaking Death didn't even know where the source of his revenue was!

I sought out Rorschach, who at this point had unmasked (because Rorschach with a red punch stain where his mouth should be just strays from the character), and asked him where Lady Deathstrike (also not her costume) was. Again, I got a shrug. Way to protect humanity there, Rorschach. You're not a member of The Obliviousmen.

I got desperate, and asked the girl dressed as Freddy Krueger (also not the murderer, and also not entirely looking like Freddy Krueger, but I was out of gasoline and matches), who I think was the accomplice, but also wearing a glow bracelet (either this was a tremendous ruse, posing as a corpse, or this killer truly had no remorse), and she told me that the black widow had left.

I rushed downstairs to see if she just popped outside for a cigarette (you know, something to relax and take the edge off after leaving no survivors or witnesses at a party that was a few minutes ago packed with living people), but all I saw were two women dressed as doctors (they're going to medical school - but seriously, this is Halloween! Put a little effort into your costume, as opposed to looking like you just got off of work every other night of the week!) who were bragging about how they didn't get killed. In their defense, I believe it took the black widow less time to kill everyone than it did to smoke an entire cancer stick, so it's not like they were really hiding out, so much as fortunate. In fact, our killer left the party and didn't return to the scene of the crime for the rest of the evening. Perhaps she got swept up in the moment and had to find another group of people to exact her bloodlust upon with astonishing efficiency.

I walked back inside to enjoy the company of the dead and grab another drink, when I started pondering the flaws of our little game. The first thing that came to mind was that, should we endeavor this sort of thing again, the murderer should be one of us, as to allow the deaths to be spaced out over the course of the party, as opposed to the "mow 'em all down" strategy our black widow used.

Halloween + Mass Murder = Hallowcaust (I couldn't let this entire post go without a tasteless joke.)

Then (and maybe it was my mind's way of telling me it was officially drowning in libations) I began to think more serious thoughts. What kind of mind does it take to pull off something like this? It's not like we invited Colonel Kurtz or Kim Jong-Il to the party. This was a young woman in another generic black costume (a cat maybe?  Or possibly someone going to a semi-formal affair?) who was more than ambitious and went far beyond what most people would expect from a killer in a room with potential witnesses everywhere.

I tried to rationalize it by thinking if I were a killer in a room full of people, I would probably not want to leave any witnesses alive, either. I would want to take out everyone I could and then leave (possibly after drinking my fill and getting sick on candy corn), satisfied with a job well done. This worked for me, but then I thought a little more, and realized I was reading too much into the pathology.

Then it finally hit me. This person was just dangerous, and possibly very crazy. Or just crazy. Think about it. She was very good at deceiving people to get them alone and then killing them with no clues in her wake. No one knew what she was going to do to them, and then BAM! Take a number, victim! Again, SHE KILLED DEATH INCARNATE!

Undoubtedly, she has people asking her out left and right because of her convincing and congenial manner, and while there's something to be said for having a sweet and efficient partner, there is also something to be said about a partner who can potentially annihilate everything in your world in a matter of minutes, leave a wake of destruction with no witnesses, and leave the scene of the crime smiling and happy that she got her bag of candy.

And that thing to be said is : Keep Away!

I would be singing the praises of the black widow and the event had she revealed to us that she was in fact a robot dressed as a human dressed in a black costume (?) to blend in and really kill us all. But that's why robot chicks are hot, and mass murdering crazies are scary.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Find A Zombie Hunter And Win $1000

It was reported yesterday that a person in Iowa City was accused of being a zombie by a patron at a Panchero's eatery and then punched in the face. The assailant then fled the scene of the crime and the "victim" then called for help. Luckily, the police arrived and the victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, the police are still looking out for the zombie puncher and are offering a reward up to $1000 for information leading to his capture and arrest.

Now, I was not there to see what happened, but accusing someone of being a zombie followed by a physical assault is not something to be taken lightly. No acts of violence are, really, but ones committed under the pretense that the target is in fact the walking dead is a new matter completely.

I can only hope that while the "victim" is in the hospital, tests are run to see exactly how alive this person really is. I mean, what if the person whose fist had the safety off knew something? What if the person he assaulted is infected and was just in the very early stages of transforming into a zombie?

Locking this person away may potentially allow for an undead infestation to grow! And now the dude's in a hospital! It's a closed environment full of helpless people, and I think we all know how this turns out:



If anything, we may at least have patient zero contained. Now, I encourage you to find the guy who punched him. I'm not saying you should do this out of some sense of justice or because you are a zombie sympathizer. I want you to find this man and alert the authorities that he may have valuable information on the origin of this outbreak, how it might be contained, and who else might have been infected!

From the article:

"The suspect is described as a dark-complected white male with short brown hair, about 20 years old, between six feet and six feet, two inches tall and weighing between 200 and 230 pounds. He was wearing a brown coat and blue jeans."

If you know anyone with that description, you are encouraged to contact CrimeStoppers at 358-TIPS (8477). As I said, they will pay you up to $1000 for accurate information, but more importantly, we cannot handle (another) pandemic of brain eating undead in this country.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Often Wondering

I find myself often wondering about many things. Not in the same way that a stand-up comedian from the late '80s wonders about things, but more like a guy who has horrible insomnia, a loaded liquor cabinet, and too much time on his hands with no one to talk to wonders about things.

Case and point, the other night I was staring at the stars on a clear Autumn night, having just seen a commercial for "The Fourth Kind," listening to the leaves gently scrape against the ground in the gentle midnight breeze, and thought I should get back to writing for myself, in addition to the other sites I occasionally post to.

It was at this moment that a strange notion crossed my mind: What if "Trains, Planes, and Automobiles" wasn't necessarily a comedy? (This may be why keep profound thoughts like this inside my head.) So, you get to see the revitalization of this blog with the above pondering.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was, without a doubt, a great movie. Touching, heartwarming, and absolutely hilarious - yet offset with the perfect dash of pathos. But what if it wasn't intended as an outright comedy and buddy film? What if John Hughes, in some warped way, was trying to make a movie about someone with a personality disorder or someone whose internal conflict manifested itself as John Candy? Tell me it's never happened to you.


Imagine Steve Martin's character, caught in the day-to-day business world, seemingly late for an appointment to see his family for Thanksgiving and stressed beyond all belief to the demands and obligations he's heaped on his own shoulders, conjuring up Del Griffith. Del is what Steve's character, Neal, not only used to be, but what he may become.

Del doesn't necessarily take life too seriously, he knows how to talk to people and have fun. He can persuade people without being abrasive, knows how to laugh, and enjoys the company of others.

He also is what most people, caught up in this past-paced world have lost a connection to, and won't realize it until it's far too late. It's very possible that part of Neal's personality realizes that if he keeps up this all-business attitude that he will forget how to enjoy life and those closest to him and (if we're truly going to read too much into this, while we're swimming toward the deep end of over-analysis) those relationships (at least figuratively) will die.

Martin and Candy go back and forth, with Martin begrudgingly putting up with his traveling partner out of reluctant necessity, like his character seems to view everything: like an inconvenience. Candy's character has kept up through similar situations, and has learned to see those aspects to laugh at/with and to appreciate the good in even the worst of conditions. Del Griffith isn't a guy in a pressed suit, nor is he flashy, slick, or overly-determined. He's very flawed in comparison to Neal, but in a very human way.

Neal, on the other hand, has become the very antithesis of Del's persona. Neal is a serious, dry clean only, "get from point A to point B and then move on to the next thing" kind of guy. He sees this journey to spend a holiday with his family as something that, while important on some level, something that interrupts the other aspects of his life (which seems to be a series of interruptions to the point that the character and the viewer sometimes forget what the main purpose of this great adventure really is).

Notice that the movie doesn't start out with Neal and Del traveling together. Del appears after Neal's first string of major inconveniences. Neal spends a good part of the rest of the movie trying to ignore Del, and reprimanding him because things take wrong turn when he isn't keeping Del in constant check. However, Neal leaves Del to his own devices (talking to people in the airport and selling shower rings as jewelry, for instance), or follows Del's inclinations (singing on the bus or getting drunk from the mini bar at the hotel), that fun is to be had, and positive insight is to be gained. If the things and people you hold closest become obligations, then you will be lost in this world.

In the end, we have Neal's wife, Susan (who has some of the most endearing eyes I've seen, and a smile that just conveys that all is right in the world) welcomes both Neal and Del home for Thanksgiving. She treats Del not as a stranger, but as a welcome addition to the household. I will plumb the depth of scrutinizing my notion to the point of exhaustion by saying it is as though she is very happy that Neal is bringing that part of himself that was almost lost back into their lives again.




Sure, this is probably not what Mr. Hughes intended. It probably isn't even a subtext that either Steve Martin or John Candy decided to bring to their respective characters. As I stated, this certainly isn't the last post along these lines. I have a lot of time on my hands. There are those whose synapses come up with cures for things, revolutionary inventions, and wondrous creations. I'm just picking up the slack for them.

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