Day 31 of 31 days of horror: Beetlejuice (1988)

Adam: What are your qualifications?
Beetlejuice: Ah. Well… I attended Juilliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT… NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU’RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY… NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I’m qualified?

I watch this every Halloween.

Normally I would have lots to say about Beetlejuice, but not tonight. Tonight I just want to go to bed.

Monthly roundup – September 2022

September reads. So many good ones, it’s hard to pick favorites…but I will anyway! Uzumaki, Future Skinny, The Obituaries, and Motherthing were soooooo good. Highly recommend them to lovers of all things weird and creepy. Also super excited that the author of one of my September favorites, Peter Rosch, shared my post to his insta story. I write my reviews mostly because it helps me remember the books better, and I like to share the ones I loved. I know most of the time I’m the only one reading my full posts. But I get a little thrill when an author I like takes notice, even if it’s something as minor as a like on my post. Shout out to Peter Rosch, both for his fan interaction and his mad storytelling skills. Anyway, here’s a breakdown of my September reads.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Uzumaki, by Junji Ito
The Obituaries Issue #1, by Aron Beauregard, Kristopher Triana, and Daniel J. Volpe

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Future Skinny, by Peter Rosch
Motherthing, by Ainslie Hogarth
Flor’s Fiasco, by Ruby Dixon
The Alien’s Mail-Order Bride, by Ruby Dixon
Heartstopper Vol. 2, by Alice Oseman
Like Me, by Hayley Phelan
Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse, by David Mitchell
The Way Back Home, by Courtney Peppernell
The Magpie Coffin, by Wile E. Young
The Creeper, by A.M. Shine
The Librarian and the Orc, by Finley Fenn
Heartstopper Vol. 3, by Alice Oseman
Unknowing, I Sink, by Timothy G. Huguenin

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Everything else. Well, most of them.

A couple of those ratings are spoilers for reviews I haven’t finished yet. I got distracted for a couple days, then sick for a couple more, and I fell way behind my self imposed review schedule. I may not meet the deadlines I laid out, but I’ll make an effort to catch up before the end of the month. This is the busiest month for my NetGalley queue.

So you may notice that some of my favorites were not top rated. I have to say that most of my 4 star ratings are actually pretty close to 5 stars, but I am sometimes a bit judicious with my stars. Sometimes less so. I mean, splatterpunk and orc porn aren’t exactly highbrow literature, but they make me happy. I guess what I’m saying is take my star ratings with a grain of salt. A 4 today might be a 3 or 5 tomorrow, but I’m not going to go changing my posted ratings every time I think about it. What you get is my initial reaction. Pretty much all of the books on my collage were pretty great. You should read them.

On the agenda for October? Six horror ARCs, one poetry ARC, two book club reads, two more Cool Ghouls books. A deeper dive into the monster romance genre. It’s about to get weirder ’round these parts.

An ode to Ozzy

When they call your name, bettеr run and hide

So Ozzy has a new album called Patient Number 9 out.

Apparently there was some kind of hubbub over his performance at a football game not being aired in full. Ozzy’s YouTube channel posted the full video and it’s just great. The man is 73 years old and still cranking out awesome music and performing his heart out. So what if he’s moving a little slower or lip syncs some of it. He’s out there doing the thing he knows best and putting on a hell of a show for the fans.

I gotta say, the titular song is fire. It is a haunting earworm, exactly what we expect of the Prince of Darkness, and the music video is spot on as well. Pandora has been pimping this album hard. One of the new songs came on my classic rock station while I was out with my parents. They’re not really metalheads, but they’re cool with Ozzy. I remember pointing out that this was new music and Mom saying that it sounds just like his old stuff. I may have gushed a little, telling them about Ozzy’s age and Parkinson’s and how he’s still putting himself out there. Ozzy’s career has been impressive and he just keeps going.

I tried listening to this a week ago when I was newly enthralled with the newest Megadeth album and couldn’t get into it. Now that I’ve put a little space between the two and focus on this one, I find myself really loving it. This album features several guest guitarists, each song seemingly tailored to the guitarist’s strength. One of my favorite guests is Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on Immortal. Filthy grungy riffs from an unexpected collaborator. It’s so good.

I suppose this is less of an ode and more random gushing of an aging metal chick. Anyway, don’t write off new albums by old beloved musicians. Sometimes they’re really good. Give this one a chance. And when you do, take note of the guest guitarist for each song. You’ll hear what I’m talking about.

Love letter to Megadeth

The sweet smell of rosies, a pocketful of posies
You can’t mask the fragrance of death in their beds
There’s typhus in the air, and ashes everywhere
Amongst the sick, the dying, and the dead

I love Megadeth.

There. Got that out of the way. I love Megadeth.

Megadeth released a new album, The Sick, the Dying…& the DEAD on September 2. I listened to each single as the band released them and honestly loved them all. Yes, even the one with the Ice-T cameo. Some people think that was a weird choice, but I dig it. Ice-T has his place in metal and I thought the cameo was a cool addition. I listened to it twice in full back to back and twice more over the course of the last week. I’m listening to it as I write this post.

I’ve seen some harsh critique of some of the lyrics, but to that I have to say it’s Megadeth. If you’re looking for poetry, you’re in the wrong place. They have their share of songs with strong meaningful lyrics and plenty with silly lyrics without much depth.

A good chunk of it is reminiscent of old Megadeth, which I love. As soon as I heard Dave whispering his version of a nursery rhyme, I knew my kid would love it as well. She loves all the ones where Dave has conversations with himself (hello me, it’s me again). I have shared my love of metal and Megadeth with my kid all her life. The first song I ever sang to her was Use the Man, a song that converts to lullaby with surprising ease. While Megadeth has been in my rotation for as long as I’ve been aware of their music, I was listening to a ton of Megadeth when the remasters were released while I was pregnant in 2004. Naturally, those were the only songs I could think of when I had the impulse to sing to my newborn in 2005. She grew up listening to my favorite music and regularly chooses Megadeth when we’re listening together in the car.

Is it the best Megadeth album? Nah. But it is really good. The Squid agreed with my assessment, but she thinks Dave sounds old (Happy birthday, Dave!). I thought he sounds damn good all things considered. Dude is 61, had throat cancer, went through chemo and all that and kicked cancer’s ass. If he doesn’t sound like he did 30 years ago, that’s okay. He still sounds like Dave Mustaine and Megadeth still sounds like Megadeth. Dave’s vocals are great and the riffage is amazing, as usual. CDs and vinyl sold everywhere, though I did look at my favorite Target because there’s bonus material in the Target version, but they didn’t have it in stock. This is the first time I’ve thought about buying a CD in ages. Anyway, if you like Megadeth, check it out. The entire album is on their YouTube channel.

Bring out your deeeee—aadddd!

Monthly roundup – August 2022

August reads. So many good ones this past month, I can’t pick a favorite. I am pretty partial to the Murderbot Diaries series though. 22 total, my least favorite two not pictured because only 20 fit in the grid template.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Dad Jokes, by Justin Hunter
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The First Day of Spring, by Nancy Tucker
Artificial Conditions (The Murderbot Diaries #2), by Martha Wells
Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3), by Martha Wells
Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4), by Martha Wells
These Alien Skies (Black Stars #4), by C.T. Rwizi
Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5), by Martha Wells

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Left to You, by Daniel J. Volpe
The Lady and the Orc (Orc Sworn #1), by Finley Fenn
Or Else, by Joe Hart
We Travel the Spaceways (Black Stars #6), by Victor LaValle
Heartstopper: Volume 1, by Alice Oseman
Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6), by Martha Wells
The Heiress and the Orc (Orc Sworn #2), by Finley Fenn
Hidden Pictures, by Jason Rekulak

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Everything else in the collage.

Let me start by saying that some of my favorite reads this month won’t have wide appeal. Dad Jokes was short and not particularly well written, but it was a wild ride that had me laughing and WTFing, typical of the bizarro genre that I love so much. Full review incoming. Left to You was dark, combining the real world horror of the holocaust with fictional extreme horror elements. I’ll think of Josef every time I shit my guts out. Thanks for that, Daniel J. Volpe. Read my full review here. And the Orc Sworn series, well, orc smut. It’s not for everyone, but it is for me. ‘Nuff said.

I can’t say enough about The Murderbot Diaries, so I won’t say much. I loved the whole series. I have a little crush on Murderbot. Not sure what that says about me.

Two titles not pictured were ⭐️⭐️ reads for me. I didn’t call them out on the ‘gram or Book Lovers Cafe, but I did rate them on Goodreads and I will list them here. The first ⭐️⭐️ was The Vital Function of Constant Narrative, by Marlys West. This was an ARC provided by NetGalley. You can read my complete review here. The second was 2043…a Merman I Should Turn to Be (Black Stars #3), by Nisi Shawl. I am only now learning that this was based on a Jimi Hendrix song. Most of the stories in the Black Stars series left me wanting more of the story and more from the author. This one just left me wanting.

On the agenda for September? More orcs. One Book Lovers Cafe book club read. Two Cool Ghouls Book Club reads. The Obituaries. Heartstopper 2. Hunger Games 2. Maybe I’ll make a dent in the ever growing TBR. Maybe I’ll even complete some more of my review drafts. I’ve got lots of them in the works.

A woman cannot survive on books alone

She also needs a cat. And at least one solid friendship.

A while back, I was asked to choose between a couple colors. I didn’t know what I was choosing, but if green or grey isn’t an option, I will almost always choose yellow. I had honestly forgotten about that conversation, so it was a nice surprise when this package showed up at my door.

I don’t have a lot of close friends. I’m not good at connecting with people. I’m terrible at reinforcing those connections over the years.

And yet somehow I do have at least one solid friendship. A few actually, but this is about one specific person. We met in a place unlikely to produce real friendships. We’ve have had our share of disagreements and drama and learned to trust that we could lean on each other as that superficial in world friendship turned into something real and lasting. We’ve watched each other grow as people, offering guidance along the way. We are very different people in a lot of ways, but I think those differences are what helped us grow over the years.

14 years.

Love you, bestie.

Monthly roundup – July 2022

I didn’t get to most of the books that I planned to read this month. My TBR is fluid and ever growing. Still, I read some amazing books and some mediocre books.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
The Visit (Black Stars #1), by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Legends & Lattes, by Travis Baldree
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), by Martha Wells
Tears of Amber, by Sofia Segovia (BLC Book Club)
Corsairs: Mathiras (Corsair Brothers #4), by Ruby Dixon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
The Undead Possession Series (book 1: Infestation), by Justin Boote
The Half-Orc’s Maiden Bride, by Ruby Dixon
High Plains Cyborg (Cyborgs on Mars #0.5), by Honey Phillips
Captive of the Horde King (Horde Kings of Dakkar #1), by Zoey Draven
The Groomer, by Jon Athan (CGBC)
Fucking Filth: An Extreme Gross Out, by Matt Shaw
Beth and the Barbarian (Alien Abduction #2), by Honey Phillips

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
One Day in December
The Good, the Bad, and the Cyborg (Cyborgs on Mars #1), by Honey Phillips

Anything not listed I rated at 3 or below. The first four of the Digital Desires series were hilarious. Three stars for entertainment factor. The last couple didn’t have the laugh out loud moments so I rated them lower and decided against reading more of that author’s work.

On the agenda for August are the group’s book club reads, more of the Black Stars and Murderbot Diaries series, and whatever other weird stuff KU suggests.

Have you read any of these? Do you have recommendations similar to anything I’ve listed?

Letters to the dead: Silver Autumn

Dearest Silver Autumn,

It’s been so long since we last spoke. We once had a very special bond, complicated and forbidden, hence your chosen moniker for me. Sub Rosa, Latin for under the rose, denoting secrecy.

I held on to your letters. They reside in the same box I kept them in so many years ago, a box plastered in band picture and electrical tape. Your emails remain in my inbox. I read them every few years and I think of you with fondness. I’ll hold them always, and you’ll hold a piece of my heart always.

I will end this with your own words: I’ll see you when we are meant to meet.

Ex animo,

Sub Rosa

Small comforts and missed connections

I love Star Trek.

I have watched and rewatched every series, with exception to the new ones hidden behind the Paramount+ paywall. I’ve watched every movie multiple times. Futurama, with its abundance of Star Trek references, is one of my favorite shows. Star Trek (and Futurama) isn’t just a bunch of great shows, it’s a small comfort. You know that tweet about the connection between rewatching shows and anxiety that makes the rounds every so often? That’s what I’m talking about.

It’s also one of those things that I feel like I can connect with people on. So when someone muses about watching together, I get a little fluttery in the tummy and think yes, I can connect with this person.

I watched the first three movies today, after several months without that connection and without Star Trek. I am certainly not dwelling on anything, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it had been so long. And I feel…better.

I love Star Trek.

Compartment E – Family

My aunt died last week.

Truth be told, I don’t really know how to feel about that. Family has always been a weird subject for me. Family to me has always been the four people I grew up with and the one I spawned. My father came from a large family with many siblings, so I have tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins. But I don’t really know any of them. I mostly feel for my father, who despite being one of the first to visit her in the hospital, was left off the approved visitor list on her last day. And then indirectly scolded in a Facebook post by one of my cousins. He was ready to write them off because he felt he’d been written off. But then my uncle went into the hospital after suffering a mini heart attack and Dad had a change of heart, because he always comes through for his family, even if they don’t do the same for him. I guess that’s where I get it from. The difference is that my family circle is much tighter because I didn’t grow up with any expectations of my extended family.

And though I didn’t see her often, she was always present. I could always count on a social media reaction for every meme shared and a comment on every picture I posted. She came up in conversation every time we cooked out. She was not this happy jolly friendly picture that’s being painted of her, as happens when most people die. She was not that. But she was honest and real, and you could count on her not to be one way to your face and then talk shit behind your back.

I will miss her.