Entries in zombie shame parade (5)


smeagol is freeeee!

So my hatewatch of the Twilight franchise is officially over and I no longer have to march in the Zombie Shame Parade. When the credits were mostly done, ProcrastiGirl and I turned to each other and said, "Well, we survived it!", then broke down in giggles. There may have been a tinge of hysteria.

This last one was definitely better than the others, in much the same way the first circle of hell is better than the seventh. Although I admit I have a bit of affection for the first movie, just for its endearingly earnest awfulness and for all the hilarity that ensued when ProcrastiGirl first realized that the sparklepires don't have fangs. I seriously haven't laughed like that during a movie in a long time.

The main reason this one was better is because for about 10 or 15 minutes near the end, the movie showed the possibility of what this story could've been, as if the screenwriter snuck in a great big FU as a major plot twist. Before the reveal of the twist, I was suddenly all, "WHAT WHAT WHAAAAAAT THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT COULD HAVE POSSIBILY HAPPENED IF THIS IS REAL I AM GOING TO OWN THIS MOVIE AND JUST PLAY THIS PART OVER AND OVER AND OVER."

And then there was the reveal of the twist and I was suddenly ::sadface:: because seriously, that brief glimpse of kickassery made me long to live in the alternate universe where that's how the Twilight saga really ended. (Although let's be honest: in said alternate universe, Edward would've gotten the beatdown for being an abusive hosebag and Jacob would've gotten kicked in the nutsack when he assaulted Bella and Bella would've realized that they were creepers who didn't deserve the time of day, then focused on her studies and gone off to college and gotten a degree in literature and her happy ending would be teaching classic romances from a feminist perspective by day and staking vampires by night. In that alternate universe? I would've read the shit out of the Twilight books.)


in which we try to save our souls with a good deed

As of approximately 10 PM Saturday night, I'm pretty sure that Sal, Sister, Guy, and I are all going to hell.

We spent four hours playing Cards Against Humanity* (link may be NSFW) and laughed so hard that our faces hurt, our ribs ached, and there were multiple near-choking incidents. This game is seriously demented and wickedly awesome and so very, very wrong. Like, you-need-to-take-a-Silkwood-shower-afterward wrong. We realized within the first hour that A) there's no one else we could play this game with, and B) it will feature regularly in Hall-Smiley family get-togethers.

*(If you haven't heard about it, it's basically Apples-to-Apples, if it had been created by an unemployed alcoholic uncle with a penchant for raunchy, politically incorrect jokes. Apples-to-Apples wishes it were this much fun.)

Aside from playing horrifyingly inappropriate and evil card games until the wee hours of the morning, we also took the Fabulous Miss M to her first-ever movie at a theater. I'd originally wanted to take her in June so her first theater movie would be Brave, but after seeing it, worried it might be a little too intense and scary for her, especially for a first-time theater experience. Luckily, Finding Nemo was just re-released in theaters, which she's seen dozens of times on DVD so I thought that would be perfect since the whole theater-going experience was going to be pretty overwhelming on its own.

We got popcorn with extra butter and introduced her to Reese's Pieces and plenty of sugary drink to wash it all down, because hello, Aunt Bitty and Uncle Sal are the awesomest. (You're welcome, Sister.) She sat wide-eyed from start to finish, enthralled by the huge screen and stereo sound and trailers for movies that aren't even out yet.

So we had a ridiculously fun time and Sister and Guy got a couple of hours of free time. Which would ordinarily earn a nice bit of good karma. I'm afraid, however, that after Saturday night, our karmic debt looks like the Greek government's balance sheet.

lunch, blue bunny & moons

  • stir fry (chicken, onion, garlic, leek, rainbow chard, baby bok choi, orange sweet pepper, fennel, broccoli, corn, secret sauce) with sesame seeds for garnish
  • jasmine rice with carrot hearts for garnish
  • Bartlett pear half and cashews
  • dried cherries

the heart of the earth is emerald dark...

...and pulses beneath liquid crystal...

This is Lake Crescent. It's located on the Olympic Peninsula, between steep sided mountains carved by glaciers. It is 624 feet deep, only five miles from the Juan de Fuca Strait as the crow flies yet contains not a drop of saltwater, and is so clear that you can see to a depth of 60 feet when the water lies still. Storm King, the mountain that forms its southeastern shore, is an ancient Native American god who was angered by fighting between warring tribes and smote them all with a cataclysmic landslide that split the lake in two.

the lodge as seen from a rowboat

(click to see the full set of pictures)

As an early birthday present, I whisked Sal off to a four day getaway to the Olympic Peninsula. First, to Lake Crescent Lodge, where we stayed in a quaint little cabin no more than 30 feet from the lake shore. We dangled our feet over the dock, rowed a boat across the lake to Pyramid Mountain and back, took the self-guided walking tour through the old growth forest that surrounds the Lodge, read books in weathered Adirondack chairs, sipped hot chocolate in the Lodge's enclosed verandah, and spent the evenings curled up in massive chairs made from logs, playing Monopoly and Tri-ominoes and nibbling on the delicious treats we crammed into a cooler for three full days of meals. Fruit and veggies, cold cuts and cheeses and crackers, Sal's homemade rolls, homemade cherry-almond scones, homemade chocolate chip cookies, my own fried chicken and pasta salad. And beer, of course. Never forget the beer.

Our trip began Friday as we made our way to Olympia, then turned westward to explore the Olympic Peninsula, a first for us both. We made a leisurely way along the eastern edge of the Hood Canal, then glimpsed the Olympic peaks as the road turned inland. Closer and closer, and finally to Sequim, and then to Port Angeles. We didn't spend time there, but we plan to go back, with a sidetrip across the Strait to Victoria.

Saturday night from our cabin's porchWe arrived at Lake Cresent early Friday evening, with the sun shining and bright blue sky. The weather held for Saturday, too, so we had plenty of time outside. But of course the rains arrived, as they inevitably do, Saturday night and it came down in a ceaseless downpour all night, and all the next day. We left Sunday a little before noon and continued westward on our planned trek to explore the peninsula.

old growth forest from the "Moment In Time" trail near the lodgeWe had reservations for another Lodge, this one on the Washington Coast, but it was less than a two hour drive from Lake Crescent and we still had hours to kill before check-in, so we decided to take a side road north and far to the west, to maybe see the westernmost point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery.

Perhaps it was the heavy gray sky and the constant rain, but this was not a nice drive. It's beautiful -- thick forest and most of the way, right along the northern Washington coastline, only a dozen feet above the water. But the signs of human habitation here are...depressing. As if the people here have long since given up, and no longer care about the place they call home. The few little towns are empty shops with boarded doors and broken windows, economies far past saving, junk everywhere, and hardly any sign of human activity. It started to feel as if we were at the edge of the world, and it came with a deep-seated panic and disquiet. We turned around before we reached the end.

me doing my best vampire impressionBack on 101, we continued to Forks. Yes, Forks. It's unavoidable if you're making the trip we were, and it's the last chance for a grocery store and (reasonably-priced) gas for more than 100 miles if you're headed south. The town itself is small but nice, and reminded me of a small Tillamook. The drive down their main street was lolarious, as expected, with every business either incorporating"Twilight" in its name somehow (my hand to God, "Twilight Campfire Wood") or proclaiming "get your Twilight [food/shirts/memorabilia/quilts(!)/gear/ etc.] here!" But god bless them for making the most of the tourist opportunity and hey, who can bedgrudge any fans a pilgrimage to their mecca? Whatever floats your boat, even if it's Twilight. (Although I srsly lol'd at the hotel sign on the way into town that said, "Edward Cullen didn't sleep here!" OH HOTEL MARKETING DIRECTOR I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.)

one of several of the "oldest in the country" very old trees in the Hoh RainforestWe stopped at a local pizza place for lunch -- avoiding the Porto"Bella" speciality pizza -- and then next door to Thriftway for some ice and a few items to add to our food stores. Then we were on the road again through forests even more ancient than before, the rain clouds so low we couldn't see any of the peaks to our left. Unlike the Oregon Coast, 101 is inland for most of the drive so you can't see the ocean as you drive. Still very beautiful, though.

gray and rainy at the coast, just the way we like itWe decided to make the 20 mile side trip to the Hoh Rainforest. Well worth the drive and there are several places to stop and see something beautiful and amazing, like enormous, ancient Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. At the visitor's center, there are multiple trail options, both short and long, easy and hard. Unfortunately, it was late in our afternoon and the rain was coming down hard (and it was cold) so we didn't stay as long as we might have otherwise. And honestly, that side trip up north had deflated us both a bit.

some of the great masses of logs along the bluffs of KalalochThankfully, Kalaloch Lodge, where we were staying for the night, wasn't much further down the highway once we made our back to 101. Perched right on a bluff that overlooks the ocean, we were in a genuine log cabin that faced northwest with an unobstructed view of the beach and water below. (It also had a picnic table right outside the door, which was one of the few times I wished it wasn't raining so we could sit out and eat our dinner with the ocean right there.) And although the weather made it too chilly to go down to the beach, it was perfect for curling up for a smorgasbord of goodies* while we soaked up the view just as we had the two nights before at Lake Crescent. Except this time, our cabin came complete with a wood-burning stove and split cedar logs and kindling. Thanks to Sal's superb firebending skills, the stove got so hot that we could crack the windows enough to hear the surf without getting cold. We fell asleep to the flicker of firelight and the steady roar of the ocean.

*(Both Kalaloch and Lake Crescent Lodges feature restaurants with terrific menus, which I'd love to try if we get a chance to go back.)

The weather did finally clear a bit as we were leaving Monday morning, long enough for me to snap a few more pics of the ocean, this time with blue sky and no rain-speckled camera lens. The rain stopped by the time we reached Humptulips (best. name. ever.) and we had sun for the rest of the drive home once we got to Elma. Thanks to our terrific neighbors, we arrived home to find the house still standing and the cats sleeping contentedly on their cushion by the dining room window, with only a bit of shredded paper on the floor as punishment for leaving them.

What an amazing, amazing trip. We haven't done a trip like that -- someplace completely unknown to us and somewhat isolated -- in a long time, now that I think about it, and even in just a span of three and a half days, it disconnected us completely from our daily life and routines. We've gone a little too long without a vacation together, especially without a recharging trip to the coast, and we were reminded why we try to get away every few months, even just for a weekend. How blessed we are that something so vitally important to us both is something we can do.

Happy Birthday, Sally. Every day with you is a gift.

see the full set of photos

a Google map of our route


once you've been to serenity, you never leave

I've been rewatching Firefly thanks to Mark Watches, whom I was first introduced to via cleolinda when she pointed up his Mark Reads series on Twilight. Well of course I had to check out his site because hello, Zombie Shame Parade, and anyway, who doesn't love a good game of Horrify the Twilight n00b? So when he moved on to Harry Potter, I was already hooked. With HP, though, it was a matter of love instead of hate, which is even better. Man, there's nothing like watching/reading someone experience something you love for the first time. It's the closest you can get to recapturing that first-time feeling. It's downright addictive, I tell you.

He finished up Harry Potter a few weeks ago and started his own sites, one for books (he's doing the Hunger Games trilogy right now) and one for TV shows and movies, to continue the project. So, as I said, he's moved on to Firefly, and Eru bless whoever suggested that as his next thing, because as we all know, my love for Firefly knows no bounds and I will be a Browncoat to the day I die.

I was already mulling a rewatch since it's been awhile -- I haven't watched since the last Browncoat Day, now that I think about it. So having that feeling of love refreshed, a rewatch was inevitable.

But it's always a bittersweet thing, because as I said, LOVE, but there's also the inevitable WHY WHY WHY and even eight years on, I'm not over the cancellation. (The hardest thing about the WHY WHY WHY is that even when the show was still on and in danger, we knew they'd eventually regret cancelling it, yet despite a positively Herculean effort, we couldn't stop the cancellation from happening. So to have it so universally loved and recognized in the intervening years is one hell of a Pyrrhic victory.)

Anyway, if you're a Firefly fan and you haven't watched in awhile, I recommend both a rewatch and the Mark Watches Firefly series for a bit of diversion.

lunch, laptop lunch:

  • sandwich of herb roasted turkey breast and cheddar on buttermilk bread
  • steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes
  • celery sticks with a bit of ranch for dipping
  • satsumas
  • chocolate milk in the drink bottle for a special treat

"Once you've been to Serenity, you never leave. You just learn to live there."
-- Zoe, Firefly


Zombie Shame Parade

So this is the tale of the Zombie Shame Parade Newsletter, and how it came into existence. It was prompted by my allusion to a dark and terrible secret in a comment to Cat and to which she replied OMG SPILL IT EMAIL ME NAO PLZ. It is a series of 8 emails that took place between she and I over the course of 3 days, in which I make an embarrassing confession and hilarity then ensued.

What follows are the aforementioned emails (slightly edited, and with permission from my Parade partner) so that you may henceforth understand the concept of the Zombie Shame Parade Newsletter and its meaning: writings on a fascination with something both inexplicable and soul-destroying in an attempt to understand and quantify it, despite knowing that the attempt and subsequent study of said subject will sacrifice many a brain cell in the process.

(my emails are in purple, hers are in orange...oh, and uh, spoilers all over the damn place)


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