Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Hauntings

The wind has picked up,
And the skies have grown more gray,
On the edge of storms.


-Haiku #304 by Crysta K. Coburn

Yes, it's that time again. Halloween. October has always been my favorite month because of not only Halloween, but my birthday also falls in October, and the in-between temperatures in Michigan suit me very well. (In San Francisco, October is like summer. The chill and damp of July and August have passed and the weather is finally sunny and warm.) I also enjoy the bluster and the storms, not to mention the gorgeous colors of the leaves. 

My birthday was on the 20th, a Monday, and I decided to take the evening off since I had been working so much, thus I did not update this blog. The day after my birthday, the 21st, marked the 4th anniversary of my father's passing, and I really didn't feel up to updating then either. I decided I just needed to take care of myself and took the whole week off from updating blogs. (For me, October is definitely a time for spirits returning.)

Instead, I played video games (mostly that impossible and aggravating Vagrant Story for the original Playstation) and watched old Halloween movies with Greg. First up was Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), then  Mr. Boogedy (1986) and its sequel Bride of Boogedy (1987). I still need to watch The Worst Witch (1986), The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (1979), and Hocus Pocus (1993).

Do they make kids Halloween movies like these anymore? I'm not sure many of these titles would be considered appropriate for children nowadays. This makes me sad. 

I keep hearing that Halloween is a holiday for kids and that adults who continue to celebrate it are perverse and need to get over it, yet when Greg and I attended to Halloween open house at the Wyandotte Historical Society, we learned that over 100 years ago, during the Victorian era (and probably for some time after), Halloween was considered an adult holiday and festive parties were common with paper decorations, cracker toys, and party foods. I wish had a house where I could host parties again. I used to host (and co-host) parties for all occasions. Alas! Maybe next year.

Greg and I have also been watching a lot of haunted reality TV shows, and I am reading a book called Ghosts: a Natural History: 500 Years of Searching for Proof. This latter has been very interesting! (The shows have also been interesting, but I wish they were more scientifically done.) In it, I've read a number of well-documented reports of hauntings from hundreds of years ago in Europe. The way our forbears viewed ghosts was really only a little different from how we see them today. It's an English book and focuses mainly on that region. I would like to read how other cultures have and do view ghosts. I feel like England has a monopoly on the phenomenon, followed closely by the United States. 

Well, I will stop rambling now and get back to watching Dark Shadows. Greg is gone dog-sitting for the week, so maybe I will even get some more fiction writing done! I find the Fall atmosphere very conducive to writing, especially of the supernatural.

Here's a blast from the past!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shipwrecks in the UP

I wanted to relay another adventure that Greg and I had up north, this time in the UP (again, that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula for the out-of-region folks). After finishing up at Mackinac Island, Greg and I drove north to the little town of Munising. I had been there once before when I was just a wee one and my family took a boat tour of the gorgeous Pictured Rocks Lakeshore. This time around, I wanted to take a different boat tour: a shipwreck boat tour
Since we were there in the off-season, the boat was only moderately full, and there was plenty of room around the two glass-bottom viewing areas for everyone. I cannot tell you the thrill that went through me when the first wreck came into view. It looked so close that we'd scrape across it, but it was actually many feet below the surface. Everything had a greenish hue, which added to the mystique.

Greg later said the whole thing was a bit gruesome, but though three crewmen died on the first wreck, their bodies were removed right after the boat sank over a hundred years ago. No one had been lost to the second wreck, which had simply run aground and was later bombed into sinking by the coast guard because it was creeping other sailors out. 

The company knows next to nothing about the third wreck other than what kind of boat it was. I don't remember what it was called, but the shape was square and horribly inadequate for sailing on the great lakes.  They were only used for a few decades before either someone put together how often they sank, or they all sank and there were no more to send sailing. Someone actually discovered this ship on one of the shipwreck tours! 

If you want to read the full stories of all the wrecks around Munising, check out the tour company's page under the tab "Shipwrecks." And if you ever go near Munising, go on the shipwrecks tour. Not only did we visit three wrecks, but we saw an old lighthouse, some beautiful rock cliff formations, and three bald eagles. It was fantastic! The Pictured Rocks tour is also quite beautiful if you can swing both. Maybe you, too, will find yourself in a debate with a woman from Texas on the proper pronunciation of the word "peninsula." (She said it "peninshula," which I have never heard before. Evidently, neither had anyone else on the tour.)

Keep exploring, everyone! I'll see you next week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gears, Games & Tea

I'm sorry I didn't update on Monday, I was busy co-hosting the inaugural Gears, Games & Tea gathering in the Crazy Wisdom Tearoom! It's a steampunk and board games night that my boyfriend Greg decided to spearhead, and since I work at Crazy Wisdom, I've been helping. 

We had a good number of people respond that they'd be coming on the Facebook event page, but in the end it was only 5 of us who showed up. That happened to be the cap amount of players for the game The Impossible Machine, a quick and easy to learn card-based game that I got for my birthday a few years ago from gaming friends, so it worked out. We got in two rounds before the tea room closed, and I think we all enjoyed it.

The awesome people in the tearoom also came up with a special tea blend just for us. It has been dubbed the Monacle and will probably be making future appearances as we have decided to make this a monthly occurrence. 

So if you have nothing to do on the first Monday of the month (next one is November 3rd), come on down to the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom from 7pm to 9pm for some steampunkery and board games! One young gent brought a steam engine and has promised us a demonstration next.