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Friday, October 31, 2008


Em wanted to be 'dead Hannah Montana,' and Mo wanted to be a Lego.

Mo's costume is pretty straightforward: red sweats with red Gladwares hot-glued to make the knobs. Unfortunately, pulling them off was irresistible to her.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get Em's and my makeup done on the fly while handing out trick-or-treats to the early comers.

She started out with eight knobs, and was down to five (despite orders to sit on her hands) by the time we left.

Luckily, she showed interest in me and Em's makeup and let me put some on her. I get enough dirty looks for taking adult-sized kids trick-or-treating without also having one of those kids appear not to have bothered with a costume.

The Kansas City Scar ran a piece on how to do the Joker makeup like Heath Ledger's. And I had everything they called for: rigid collodion, Ben Nye grease makeup, etc.

The collodion works, but it'd take some practice to get really good scar tissue from it. Plus, I probably don't have enough slack in my chubby cheeks for it to really do its thing.

The grease makeup, well, getting it on smooth isn't the point with the Joker, but getting it on passably is still a bit of a trick.

And then, I bought the set powder to keep it from smearing and running and then forgot in my haste to use the stuff.

So with our compromised makeup, we set out to beg for candy.

The weather was awesome. Last year, I thought a lot of people had scrooged out, but I think maybe it was just nasty weather. Because people were out in force tonight.

One of our neighbors was giving out hot dogs and nachos in addition to candy. And several had set up stage sets in their front yards.

I'd told Em this was her last year to trick-or-treat. She's in seventh grade, after all. That was the cut-off when I was growing up: my parents quit letting me trick-or-treat once I was in junior high. I have a friend who said she'd gone until her senior year in high school, but I can't picture it. Though some of the houses we went to, people tried to press candy on me for having makeup on and being at the door. I'm just an escort, and 39 is definitely too old to beg for candy, but a couple of folks seemed disappointed I wouldn't take any.

Em was definitely in the spirit, though, bursting with 'Happy Halloweens!' for people and skipping about. If she keeps having fun with it, I guess I'll keep taking her on the rounds. Mo, too.

And when I thought we were a little far afield, more than a block from home, I was stunned at how many people opened the door and immediately knew Mo. The kid barely speaks sentences, yet she seems to know everyone.

We finished up at the house of a guy who turns his whole front yard into a display, with upwards of a dozen blow-up figures. He was giving hay rides on a wagon towed behind a golf cart, too. But as I photographed his yard, Mo went into a seizure.

We've adjusted her meds, she hasn't had as many lately. But they still break through. Makes for a long walk home, even when that walk is all of a block and a half.

Halloween from Chixulub on Vimeo.

I bought six bags of Reese's cups. They were on sale, 2 for $2.99, so this was under ten bucks but I thought I'd overbought. Last year I was stuck with a lot of Mary Janes that I don't really like, so this way at least the leftovers would be something I like.

Which might not, really, be a good thing being as I don't really need candy calories.

This was 84 pieces of candy. And we ran out with trick-or-treaters still streaming into the driveway despite our being gone an hour or more on our own begathon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Punkie Night

Well, according to the Oxford Fact of the Day email I got today, tomorrow is Punkie Night, a strange English cousin to Halloween. A Punkie being a 'hollowed out mangold-wurzel.'

I had to Google that one. Turns out its sort of a beet. A big one, that can be hollowed out and basically made into a jack-o-lantern. And then carried door to door begging for candy on the last Thursday in October.

I didn't have any beets, but I did have Mo faunching at the bit to carve pumpkins.

Em refused to carve hers, insisting the paint job she gave it Sunday was too good to mar with a knife. Plus, I had the Broadway production of Sweeney Todd on DVD. Since I so far have decided against letting her see the Tim Burton adaptation (too grisly and realistic), despite her begging, this was a real treat as far as she's concerned.

I'm not nuts about George Hearn or Angela Lansbury, but at least you don't wonder if they used actual cadavers in the chute to get a realistic impact.

I hadn't realized, too, how many numbers had been cut in the production at my nourishing mother. And it was still a two hour (plus intermission) show. It's been so long since I'd seen this version, and the Burton version cut all kinds of stuff, so I'd forgotten the City on Fire number and a few others.

But back to our punkies, in this case actually pumpkins. Mo about couldn't wait to get a knife, but I don't let her use one. I got the lid off hers and told her to get all the seeds and string into the bowl. Thing is, she likes the feeling of her hand in it so much, she doesn't make much progress. I hollowed out mine, a big 'princess' pumpkin and finished carving the face before finally finishing the scoop out on Mo's for her.

That and she was eating bits of the hull and seeds raw. The kid's eaten weirder things, and I guess if I eat the seeds roasted and the hull baked into pies, it's not likely she'll poison herself with a few morsels of raw pumpkin.

Then I let her play art director. What shape for the eyes? Triangles, she said. That size about right? Yes. What about the nose? Small triangle. Like that? Bigger.

What about the mouth? Triangle! You want the mouth to be a triangle? No!

Triangle teeth? Pointy teeth? Yes!

So there you have it. Then I realized I don't have any candles. Last birthday cake candles I didn't lock up and Mo ate them.

So we made a quick run to the drug store where I found battery powered tea lights, a package of six for five bucks. And they even get brighter and darker to mimic a real flame's movement. Awesome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Little Priest

Okay, it's ground pork. Made into chili, but priest is funnier.

I sauteed an onion in olive oil, and a lot of garlic, dumped a thing of ground pork (about a pound and a half) in and browned it up. Then with the tomato puree and the Ro-Tel, big cans. And the Six Guns mixed in water.

And six cans of beans, two kidney, four black beans, undrained.

And some flour to thicken it all.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Punkin Party

So we didn't carve this year. Last year, there were more kids and the knives were a bit much. This year, one of the responsible adult-types was on baby-patrol with his seven-month-old, so given all that, how about paint?

Mo, fairly predictably, was not satisfied until her pumpkin was covered entirely.

Em, maybe as predictably, embraced her rebel side by making hers a KU pumpkin. I have no four-year dog in the fight, but her Mom's family is 99.5% K-State and generally allergic to KU. Naturally, Em has decided it's the place for her.

I think it bothers her that I don't have an NCAA rooting interest she can go against.

Pound Foolish

This all started because I was trying to save gas. Gas that has, just lately come down to a price that borders on reasonable.

Of course, the jackals who used gasoline futures as a place to shield their money from banks they knew were on the brink of failure made out like bandits, as did the petroleum companies themselves. And the latter gets a bonus: they had gas between $3 and $4 a gallon for so long people pay $2.25 a gallon and do a happy dance as if they'd won something.

I'll bet if you took the chicanery out of it, a gallon of unleaded, taxes and all, is still probably worth about a buck and a half.

And yes, I understand that futures markets actually serve valuable purposes in the economy. I think if you stripped away the bullshit, you'd find out that while there has been some gaming of the system, what is more at play is that people managing money were moving to hard commodities like gasoline because they feared the house of cards at places like Lehman Bros. Now that Uncle Sam has nationalized the problem (not fixed it, just nationalized it), all these goombahs have said to themselves, 'Why would I want 800,000 gallons of November unleaded? I only own three cars.' So they've sold off and exited a market they didn't truly belong in.

So anyway, this isn't all about the foolish money management of titans. This is about my own stupidity.

We had a pumpkin party to go to, at a house that's not far from church. There was a pancake breakfast at church, so we'd just eaten prior to leaving the place. I figured we could count a breakfast that late as brunch and avoid driving all the way back home between church and the party.

Plus, we had pumpkins to buy. Which took a lot less time than I'd expected. It happened almost instantaneously, really.

My plan was, as last year, to hit the Nelson to kill the rest of the time. But Mo wasn't just averse to this, she was actually weeping. I couldn't make sense out of her answers to my questions, but I decided not to lead her wailing through the galleries.

Crown Center was a fall-back position. Mo wasn't happy about being there, either, but Em needed a restroom so we had to go in at least.

Over and over, I said, 'No, whining isn't going to get you want you want.' This as Mo said 'Go to car' through tears.

We passed by Chip's Chocolate Factory and the whining stopped. I know, well, yeah, that's chocolate. But spider-senses or whatever, I could sense that Mo was trying to marshall every communicative cell in her body and not just because it's sweets. She got very, intensely, calm.

Are you actually hungry? I asked her. Not just for sweets, but for lunch?

'Yes!' She said it like it was a huge relief.

So Crown Center isn't the cheapest place to eat on earth. I looked at the menus of a couple of places, and Fritz's seemed to be the most reasonably priced. I didn't have time at this point to go clear back home, and it looked like Fritz's wouldn't be much worse than driving through somewhere.

Well, it was a little worse than driving through when I got the tab, but the food was delivered to the table by a train. And the girls ate ravenously, so I'd clearly underestimated the value of a big brunch.

Fritz's Delivery System from Chixulub on Vimeo.

Once fed, Mo was much more receptive to the joys of Crown Center. Both honyocks were generally less pickle-butted at that point, really.

Thing is, what I spent on lunch, I could have driven home and back probably three times.

The O Shop

Wonder what they sell in there...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daddy Date

Em has been on me to see Sweeney Todd since we watched Jersey Girl a couple years ago.

The Tim Burton film is great, but the death in it is a tad too realistic. It was jarring for me, and Em's a sensitive kid.

But the bloodless deaths of the production Shawnee Mission North is putting on, perfecto.

Except it's sold out, of course. We got there early and were the first on the standby. First act we sat in separate sections because the standby seats were apart, though the seat next to Em was empty. The thing had started by the time I realized, but for act two we got to sit together.

And she's enthralled with it.

At intermission, we hit the concession stand and I got to try a bit of Priest. I wouldn't have eaten anything, but that was too clever to resist.

These kids do a great job of it. Of course, getting to do material this cool, that's guaranteed to get high schoolers to work harder. I lucked into a good villain role as Owen Musser in The Foreigner, but I'd have cut off a testicle to get to be Sweeney. That's as cool as roles get.

And I wonder, how come so many schools seem to rotate Oklahoma, The Music Man, and The Sound of Music in a three year cycle?

Blowin' In the Wind

This afternoon, we stopped back by Shawnee Mission Park to maybe launch a couple, but the wind had kicked up to where the club's launch stand kept blowing over. People's rockets were blowing off the table, way too much wind for my comfort. I lose enough in good flying weather.

But Em had fun playing with an enormous puppy and admiring Bucher's Holy RPG of Antioch.