Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

In my department at work, there is intense peer pressure to dress up for intense that I had to break out my 24-(gulp!)year-old high school cheerleading uniform today. It fit! (Ok, so I had to use a large safety pin to close the top of the skirt because I couldn't button it, but for gosh sakes, it's 24 years old!!!)
Katie was a little more creative than me, and she transformed into Cleopatra.
We had a potluck at the office. What a crazy bunch, huh?
And another shot when a petite Hannah Montana showed up.
Tonight, Alma invited us all to her house to hang out while hundreds (yes, hundreds) of kids came by her house to trick-or-treat. She lives in an area of Fresno where people from all over bring their kids, and it was a hoot. Lizhu sat at the door for hours handing out candy. Dean, her husband, handed out candy like I would: "One for you...two for me..."
Colleague Rich didn't make it to the office today, but showed up at Alma's in quite the outfit...
...and let Katie's kids know that if they ate all their Halloween candy, their teeth would look like his.
Gary brought Laura, and they were the best looking hippy couple there.
Bullwinkle hung out with Ranger R for a bit.
Until next year .... Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

Just watched this, courtesy of Netflix, and it's a must-see. Beautiful, odd, poignant, and humorously heartwarming all at the same time.
When I first saw that Alan Cummings had a supporting role in it, I was a bit put off. He was a really, really, REALLY bad guy in one of my favorite movies, "Rob Roy," and since seeing him in that, it's been hard for me to see him as any other character. But he does a phenomenal job in this movie as a quirky, good-hearted man, so I was able to get past his previous roles.

I'm no Ebert or Roper, but really ... this is a must-see.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scared *#@*less

It's almost Halloween, and to get in the mood, I went with some friends to Hobb's Grove, an amazing haunted-ranch-of-sorts in Sanger. Here I am with friend and colleague Lizhu, and her husband Dean, at a sign posted near the entrance to the attractions. We managed to avoid alcohol, but, um, I wasn't as successful avoiding profanity as the night progressed.This sweet young thing greeted us while we were standing in line for the first of three attractions, the Haunted Hay Ride.
Lizhu and Dean were settled in on the hay ride, waiting to go. Once the ride started, we weren't allowed to take pictures. A tractor pulled us around through a bunch of scary scenes, such as a hillbilly village straight out of Deliverance, a mad scientist's laboratory, and a small forest complete with really ugly dudes wielding chainsaws. Of course, they chased the trailer of hay that we were on, and it was plenty scary. But little did we know that it was just a warm-up for the next two attractions.
Safely off the hay ride, we waited in line for the Haunted Forest, and this handsome Barney Fife look-alike hung out and chatted with Katie and me for awhile.
You can't take pictures in the Haunted Forest, either, and I wouldn't have tried anyway because I was too busy running for my life. Two young boys went in ahead of the four of us, and we caught up with them pretty quickly, as they were terrified and asked to "hang out" with us. There seemed to be strength in numbers, and added numbers also gave us more people to push ahead and say, "No, you go first!" It was freaky scary in there -- no kidding. There were zillions of twists and turns and dark entryways that you had to go through, knowing darned well that some scary something-or-other would be on the other side waiting to pounce. Honestly, it went on an on, and we all thought it would never end. Finally, we came through what seemed to be a final clearing. Dean and I were in the lead, and Katie and Lizhu were just a bit behind us. Suddenly, one after another, three scary dudes with chainsaws (perhaps escapees from the hay ride) jumped out at us, and we freaked out, running for the opening that looked like the end. I looked back over my shoulder, only to see both Lizhu and Katie literally cowering on the ground in a heap with two of the chainsaw guys over them. And I turned back around and kept running. Some friend, aye?! Katie had been pushing Lizhu forward, and accidentally pushed her right into a tree root, and they both tripped and fell. Thankfully, they were able to get up and join us on the outside.

Safely out of the forest, but easily 10 years older, we found a picnic table to sit at and catch our breath. And make a decision as to whether we could handle the final attraction, the Haunted House. And this guy joined us at our table. And, no, he didn't have a fun cartoon-like voice. He was just as silent and creepy as he looks here. Thankfully, he seemed to be full of whatever he'd eaten before he met us, and didn't need any more sustenance from our flesh and blood reserves.
And this rat! He was really creepy looking, but had a silly cartoon-like voice, so was fun to talk to for a bit. And, no, my camera didn't give him those glowing red eyes.
The Haunted House (again, no time for pics -- too busy surviving) was also amazing, and there were many points in it where we were in the pitch dark, having to feel around on the walls to figure out where to go next. And at one point, there was a mad scientist holding a bloody brain that he waved in front of us, asking us, "Did you lose this?" Clearly, we had -- why else would we put ourselves through this torture voluntarily?!!!

We made it through the house, and decided that the Forest was by far the most frightening. Lizhu, Katie, and I also realized that Dean had managed to keep at least one of us in front of him throughout all the attractions, and NEVER went first! We decided to get even as we headed through the parking lot to the car, and without his knowing, we slipped away behind some cars while he kept walking. He didn't realize we weren't with him for some time, and had to walk around looking for us for a few minutes -- even trying to call Lizhu on his cell phone -- before we jumped out and scared him. Crazy kids.

With all the haunting over, we settled in for the drive home and realized we were not only exhausted but had sore throats from all the screaming. I think I screamed for 90 minutes straight.

Happy Haunting Season!

Darned Good Sports

Last Thursday, my college (College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology -- CAST) had its annual faculty/staff barbeque. There's typically a theme, and since everyone here at Fresno State is still basking in the glow of our 2008 National Champion baseball team, the theme was baseball. The staff who organized the bbq had posters made of the five top administrators as, yes, pro baseball players, superimposing their heads on the bodies of players. The admins had no idea, and were pretty good sports. In fact, Associate Dean Witte (right below) and Dean Boyer (the next pic) not only posed by their pics for me, but spent the better part of the evening passing out peanuts -- just like at the ballpark.
In case you didn't notice, Dean Boyer's bod is really Barry Bonds. Perfect fit, aye?! Ya gotta love bosses who play along with stuff like this.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Abbey's 8!

My oldest niece, Abbey, turned 8 a couple weeks ago -- I can't believe it. She had a bowling party with the fam, and a great time was had by all. The birthday girl did great and can really sling the bowling ball.Littlest sister Emma bowled, too, but took plenty of time to give Mom Cathy lotsa lovin' on the sidelines.
And 4-year-old sis Alyssa was quite the lane queen as well. The children had their own lane, complete with a ramp to roll their balls down and gutter-guards to keep the ball out of the gutter. I really, really wish there'd been gutter-guards on the adult lane ... all four of my nieces (including the 2-year-olds!) scored higher than me. I scored a measly 70! I don't think the Pro Bowling Tour will be calling me anytime soon. Big brother Bill (Abbey's dad) scored 132 -- he must have cheated.
Youngest niece Lacey also got in on the game, and though the lightest ball was almost bigger than her, she insisted on taking it to the lane all by herself each time.
Once there, though, she was willing to let Mom Missy help her out.
Abbey and her two sisters were stylin' in their bowling shoes. There weren't any small enough for cousin Lacey.
Three champs. (Lacey was a bit camera-shy at this point.) Good times.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Carving

Yup, still no time to do a real entry. Thought I'd throw this link up, though, so you can get some ideas for pumpkin carving season ...

Extreme Pumpkins

Don't cut yourself.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Love Them Debates

Really, things here in my return-to-a-real-job world are bound to slow down at some point, enough for me to actually change the name of this blog AND more regularly make entries, but in the meantime, some more election year humor. And be sure to check out the merchandise available at the link at the bottom ... I think I'm going to order the thong ...

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska by J Medkeff.