Holiday Fun Facts

The winter holidays are here and it’s a great time to learn more about the traditions your familiar with and get to know the ones you aren’t. Here are some facts and stories you may not have known about just a few of the ways people celebrate during December.

Hanukkah: It’s Not All About the Oil

Menorah, a candle holder with nine Branches.

A Hanukkah, a type of menorah with nine branches. Source: Wikipedia

If you have only a passing familiarity with Hanukkah and its associated traditions, you may know it as a celebration of the lamp oil that lasted for eight nights when it only should have been enough for one. But this is only one part of the story, and one that doesn’t show up in the narrative until later versions. The main purpose of Hanukkah is to celebrate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a major victory in the Maccabean Revolt. The temple had been repurposed as an altar to Zeus and needed to be cleansed and reclaimed, which included lighting the menorah. The rededication of the temple does include the story of how a single flask of the kosher oil needed to light the menorah miraculously lasted long enough for a new batch to be prepared, but not in the earliest accounts of the event. Continue reading

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Great Games for Gifting

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Happy Holidays!

     Happy Holidays! Are you stuck trying to figure out a good gift for a family member who has everything? Have you ever considered the gift of gaming? Games make amazing gifts and we are here to help you pick just the right one.  We have taken six styles of games and chosen two of each we think make great gifts.

Cooperative Games

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Cahoots

     This game is one that was introduced to those of us who were at the November game day. There are five piles of cards with numbers and colors. The players must work as a team to clear all the condition cards to win. The number of players determines the amount of conditions. These conditions could include “All piles are green” or “ The green cards add up to half the total of the orange cards”. However, the player’s can not tell each other the cards that they have or discuss a specific plan. All they can do is allude to the fact that they can complete a task. (i.e. “If you can leave the third pile alone I can complete the third condition card.”) This adds a level of complexity that makes the game a challenge. The win condition is to complete the stack of condition cards. It was complex and engaging and left us wanting to play again and we had played twice. This absolutely has replay-ability and is fun for ages 10 and up.

Pandemic

     There are now several Pandemic games out there from Cthulhu (where you are shutting down demonic portals) to Rising Tide (where you are trying to prevent flooding). The Legacy version is challenging, but a limited use game. However for games to give the casual or beginner board gamer the original is probably the best way to start. In the game, the players work as members of the CDC and they are working to stop world-wide epidemics by using their special talents. The game is won by curing all of the diseases before the entire world gets over run with plague. Unlike Cahoots, you can lay out and work on a plan in detail, but there is plenty of challenge in this game. This game is for players 8 and up.

Competitive Games

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Munchkin

     Munchkin is a really funny, tongue-in-cheek kind of game that can get really cutthroat. There are several different versions of it, but I’m just going to talk strictly about Vanilla Munchkin (the original game). In this game, you’re an adventuring party exploring a dungeon without all the hassles of role-playing and making friends. It’s every man (or woman) for himself! You have to kick down doors, defeat monsters, collect treasures, and be the first to get to level 10. You can help others, or help the monsters. As I said, there are several different versions, but that’s the basic gist of all of the games. Ages vary based on the version, but they’re typically around 10 and up. Some versions can get a little racy, so use your better judgement.

Splendor

    Splendor has been a favorite for a few years now. It is a great game help beat the blahs during the mid-winter months. You play merchants trying to court favor over nobles. To do this you must purchase a certain amount of gems in a certain amount of colors. Some of these gems have point values and the nobles are worth 3 each if you can sway them. The first to 15 points wins. The wonderful thing about this game is how easy it is to learn. It is also beautifully designed and the gems are actually chips that you can stack. The tactileness of it is what drew us to it in the first place. It plays in about 30 minutes; so it is a good palate cleanser in between larger games or it is a good game while you are waiting for your kids to fall asleep. This is for ages 8 and up, but Lady Diceacorn’s son was 6 when he started playing.  

Card Games

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If you are stuffing stockings, these make a great addition!

Sushi Go

     Sushi Go is an adorable game that is small enough to toss in a purse or bag to take on the go! You are trying to put together the most appetizing (and high scoring) meal you can over the course of three rounds. The tricky part is you hand the cards to your left or your right every round, so the cards and your strategy has to change quickly. This game has definite replayability factor. Its portability is definitely a bonus. If a challenge is what you seek, try Sushi Go Party. That has interchangeable menus from the “My First Sushi Go” for beginners to a really tough version for experts. This game is 8 and up, but you know any kids you are shopping for better than the box.  

Gloom

     Gloom is one of Meepline’s all time favorite games ever.  It’s a fun storytelling game in which you choose a family, make them as miserable as possible, then kill them off.  The more miserable they are, the more likely you are to win. Like in golf, negative points are the key. The really great thing about this game are the cards themselves.  They’re all transparent plastic, so you can stack them on top of each other and the point amount showing is the one you get. There are several versions of the game, and Meepline owns and enjoys them all!  This game is for 13 and up, due to the macabre nature of the game.

Party Games

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Codenames

     In Codenames, you split into 2 groups.  Each groups has a clue giver, or spymaster, and one or several teammates.  The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames.  The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.  This is a game for 4+ players, but there is a version for 2 players called Codenames Duet. This game is ages 10 and up.

Funemployed

     Improvisers would love this game where each person has turns as an HR director (who has a card that tells them the job the players are going for) and the other players have three cards with items or phrases that they have to work into their interview. Then the HR director chooses who to hire. Then the HR director changes. The game goes for one or two rounds (dependent on the amount of people playing) and the player with the most cards wins. This game has some cards that are not for the really young. It is great for an adult crowd though and it is a hit at parties. This game is for ages 16 and up.  

Family Games

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Outfoxed!

     There is a fox and he or she has stolen the pie. But can you and your chicken detectives solve the case before the fox escapes? This excellent family game is a beginners cooperative game where on a player’s turn they choose whether they will look for clues or reveal suspects. Once they have decided, they roll the dice to determine that they can accomplish their turn goal. If the dice all reveal the symbol of their goal, they are allowed to move toward a clue and look at it if they make it or reveal two suspects. The suspects are eliminated if they are wearing or holding something that the actual criminal is. If they do not roll matching symbols then the fox moves closer to the escape manhole and if they reach it the detective team loses. It is a great way to work on a child’s deductive reasoning skills. This game is for kids 5 and up. (But truth be told, this can be played as young as 3 years old with parents help.)

King of Tokyo

     In this epic battle game players are kaiju who are battling for control of the city. You are trying to get to 20 victory points while attempting to hit the other kaiju and take them out. Three rolls of the dice tell the player what they can do on their turn. This game is fun and great for families who are a little competitive. This is for ages 8 and up.

Roleplaying Games

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No Thank You, Evil!

     Ever dream about the land under your bed, in your closet or out of your window while you sleep? Shanna Germain has, and created a great beginner game for Monte Cook Games. No Thank You Evil! Is a role-playing game for kids 4 and up that not only keeps their imaginations (each session runs about an hour and a half) and begins training them to be storytellers (this game’s version of the GM). Families who already have the base game should check out the supplements. There are story cards and even a book on how to be a storyteller aimed towards kids. This games special talent is it grows as the child does. There are basic rules for beginners, somewhat complicated rules for older kids and a fleshed out set of rules for adults. You can run a game for different skill sets and it still plays really smooth. They have stand up characters for all the pregens and a great character sheet and specialized dice in a box. If you want to see the future of the hobby; kids post pictures of their games on the Monte Cook Studios website.  This game is for ages 5 and up.

D&D 5 E

     Dungeons and Dragons is one of the oldest, and well-known, role-playing games.  Created in the 70s by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, it’s set in a world of high fantasy (wizards, elves, dwarves, you get the gist).  In 2014, Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition was released. It’s a similar, but different, set of rules. Some who have played the game for years say it’s simpler and cleaner, some say it’s dumber, but most agree it’s much better than the 4th edition.  You still get to create a fantastic character (in every definition of the word fantastic), sit around a table with friends (or strangers), and roll some dice. The past couple of years, Wizards of the Coast have been rolling out a bunch of well-made adventures, in case you’re too intimidated to create your own story.  Feeling a little more ambitious? The Dungeon Master’s Guide can give you some great information about world building, and there are a ton of resources available online, from DnD Beyond (the unofficially official D&D website), to the Wizards of the Coast website (where the creators sometimes roll out test materials under the heading Unearthed Arcana), to WotC workers being easily accessible on social media (Chris Perkins, one of the major editors of D&D, is extremely active on Twitter and Reddit).  This game is recommended for 12+, but if your kid is reading and doing math, you can easily start them with a simpler storyline (definitely NOT Curse of Strahd).

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Dice! 

     For role players, there is also always the gift of dice. There are some great sets out there and if you have a friend or family member who plays D&D or Pathfinder, you can buy them special dice. There are sets that are sold that match Paizo’s various Pathfinder campaigns. (The Curse of the Crimson Throne ones are gorgeous.) You can head to Comicazi or your friendly local gaming stores and see them before you purchase. (Comicazi also has great pop culture dice bags.)

     We hope we gave you ideas, and if you have any specific questions, please leave them in the comments and we are happy to answer them. Just call us your elven bards.

     We hope your holiday season is filled with all the warmth and light possible and your new year is filled with much happy gaming and lots of laughter at the table. We hope you game at our table at one of our various ELS Game Days and we will be announcing the dates shortly. We have so much in store for you next year!  

Until then, may all your hits be crits!

 

On Snowglobes

This coming Saturday is our annual Make Your Own Snowglobe Workshop. This is one of our most popular events and one of our absolute favorites. Born out of a crafternoon where we made snow globes for ourselves (my Hawkeye vs. a Minotaur still graces my desk at work), we decided this was something that would be even more fun to do as a group. And we were right! There are few things more enjoyable than sharing your crafts with like-minded folks. Best of all, if you attend our workshop, we provide everything you need, (except the distilled water since your scene will have to set at least overnight before you fill the jar), making it totally easy to get in on the action.

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Hawkeye vs. a Minotaur

This year, we even added an extra earlier session (4-6pm). This is good for families with littles – and folks who want to come to an earlier session so they can get dinner in the square later. We’ve had kids make some incredibly creative snowglobes, so we highly encourage making this a family event. As of the posting, our later 7-9pm session has already sold out.  The good news is that we will have lots of “stuff” for creating your masterpiece no matter which session you go to.

Materials from last year

Truth be told, you could just check out this oldie but goodie post where we first shared both a how-to on our method for snowglobe making, and a little bit on our trip to the Somerville Museum of the Modern Snowglobe , sadly now closed. But….if you are local, coming to do some crafting with us is much more fun!

So, get your tickets now, they’re going fast:

4-6pm session

 

Suggestions from the Manga Maven

The weather is turning cold again and for a lot of us, that can mean fewer spontaneous trips and a bit more time at home drinking warm liquids, watching Netflix, and reading.

In preparation for this, I reached out to our friend and Manga Maven over at Comicopia, Morgana, for some titles that might be of interest not just to me but also for the LOC community.

Most of the titles here are on the newer side, so they should be easy to find. Remember, your local shops can help track these down for you as well. For the titles I’ve already read, I added a mini review for some extra info.

Morgana’s list:

Books that focus heavily on the lives of women:

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Source: Seven Seas Entertainment

Satoko and Nada, by Yupechika; published by Seven Seas Entertainment 

Princess Jellyfish, by Akiko Higashimura; published by Kodansha Comics

Tokyo Tarareba Girls, by Akiko Higashimura; published by Kodansha Comics

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (if you haven’t read it already) and its sequel My Solo Exchange Diary, by Nagata Kabi; published by Seven Seas Entertainment
-This book can be quite brutal in its honesty and might not be an easy read for some, but I’m happy to say that it really left an impression and I’m happy this book exists.

The Bride Was A Boy, by chii; published by Seven Seas Entertainment
-This is a rather sweet and fluffy story that reads like an introduction to transgender and LGBTQIA issues in Japan. An enjoyable and quick read.

Intriguing shonen stories that aren’t super-popular like My Hero Academia but deserve some love:

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Image: Jump Comics/Viz Media

The Promised Neverland, by Kaiu Shirai; published by Viz Media
    -I flew through the first volume of this story in a night. It’s dark, filled with suspense, and had some truly scary monsters. If you like books that are on the darker side, you should look this one up.

Dr. Stone, by Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi, published by Viz Media

Sweet gay stories that aren’t already covered by the first category:

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Image: Viz Media

That Blue Sky Feeling, by Okura; published by Viz Media

Go For It, Nakamura!, by Syundei; published by Seven Seas Entertainment

I Hear the Sunspot, by Yuki Fumino; published by One Peace Books

Like these recommendations? Visit Morgana’s blog at MangaMaven.com for more recommendations and a peek into the life of a comic shop manager.

My Growth with Kpop

It all started in the fall of 2010, my last year of high school. I was bored and browsing a pre-Facebook social media site when I came across a picture of a group of very attractive Asian men. I learned the band’s name, went onto YouTube looking for more, and got my first taste of Kpop. I really can’t say for sure why I liked it so quickly, or why I was willing to give up all the songs in my iPod and start all over again from scratch. My music tastes before Kpop were American pop acts such as Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Pink, as well as rock groups like Skillet, Paramore, and Linkin Park. It felt like there was a big shift in the music scene happening, at the time. There were so many pop songs on the radio and then hip hop came back. The music was good, but I just was not impressed with it anymore. I wanted something more.

When I watched my first Kpop video, “Bad Girl” by B2ST (pronounced Beast, now known as Highlight), it was an instant love connection.

Continue reading

Thankful Post of Thankfulness

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Fall is Here! 

 We know it is Halloween, but we won’t be posting before Thanksgiving and our hearts are just bursting with thankfulness. In celebration of this, we are going to share some of the things that we are thankful for. So here we go…. things we (Lady Diceacorn and Meepline) are thankful for this year in no particular order.

Our Family and Friends

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We love our boys!

We both have big families and we are thankful for them. We are super thankful for our husbands who do the solo parent thing one weekend day a month so that we can go hang out with awesome women and play games. We know how hard solo parenting can be, so we want you to know we appreciate it and we love you tons. We are thankful for our kids, who are cool but also can show us that we have a ton of patience (especially when it comes to hearing about Fortnight dances and Minecraft). We love you guys too.

We are thankful to our friends who fill our lives with happiness whenever the world feels like a dumpster fire. Even just a “how are you?” on a bad day means the world.  

First Responders

We are grateful to those who are trained to run in when everyone else runs out. You are brave beyond measure and we are grateful to you for everything that you do. We also recognize that you sacrifice holidays with your family because emergencies do not take a holiday. Thank you for that sacrifice.

 

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Mr. Meepline and his partner.

   Mr. Meepline is a paramedic, so first responders hold a special place in Meepline’s heart. She’s also thankful to some of his single co-workers who have offered to work a swap for him so he could be home on Christmas with the Meepleteenies.

The Ladies of Comicazi

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     When our game day didn’t have a home and someone suggested Comicazi, we had no idea we would be meeting so many new friends. Tiny Doom, Red Menace, Smalerie and Cartoon Sara were so welcoming and helped us sort everything out. We were so honored when we were asked to be official Ladies. We are thankful for the caring and wonderful women you are. In creating inclusive events like LadiesCon, you are creating a community of caring people. It is a community we are so proud to be a part of.

Game Companies

     There are so many board, video and RPG companies out there and we don’t really have the word count to list them all, so we are just going to say thank you to the collective. Thank you for creating games that capture our imaginations, make us think, make us laugh and bring us together. Thank you for helping us tell a story, be braver than we thought we could and go on adventures that exceed expectations. Thank you for giving kids the environment to do things that they were told they wouldn’t be able to do. This year we learned that some therapists were using role-playing games to work on speech and social skills with kids who needed a place to open up. Games are magic and you are the magic makers.  Keep doing awesome things. We cannot wait to see what is next.

Kickstarter

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We played this deluxe Kickstarter game at our last ELS Day!

     We are grateful to Kickstarter for allowing us to fund a game before it is made. Is the system perfect? Not at all. Lady Diceacorn is still waiting on a game from 2013. It didn’t stop her from kicking in for the new edition of Savage Worlds though. Things that may not have been made otherwise can be made with crowdfunding. We had new Mystery Science Theater because of Kickstarter.

Our Foremothers

    It took a while for women to be recognized for their contributions in history. We are grateful to all the women who took a stand and did something great. We see you and we appreciate you.  Women have been at the forefront of many great things throughout history; from Mary Shelley publishing Frankenstein anonymously 200 years ago, Helen Keller being one of the founders of the ACLU and Nichelle Nichols working with NASA to recruit women astronauts. We walk in the shadows of great women and for that, we are truly thankful.

Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds on Twitter  

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     Twitter can be a hot mess, but one of the best things about the social media platform is whenever a new tweet appears from Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds. First, Chris Evans, who is a hometown boy, loves his dog, his fake Civil War feud with Robert Downey Jr., fall and (as Lady Diceacorn excitedly found out the other day) Christmas. He is also not shy about being diagnosed with anxiety, something that makes him a hero in our eyes. Second, Ryan Reynolds. Well, there’s a reason he was cast as Deadpool. His tweets are irreverent and with a dry humor that makes Meepline chuckle, especially when he’s talking about his wife and girls. There have been several times where they have interacted with each other and it has been magic. It is a smile that we all need right now.

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Bingeable TV Shows

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You can watch TV anywhere now!

     Remember when we were kids and had to wait a week or a long time to find out what happened next on our favorite TV show? Not anymore! DVR’s, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and countless other streaming services allow us to decide what we want to watch, when we want to watch it and where. While waiting at the doctor’s office, watching a show on our phone is something we can do. If the commute home was bad, we can watch our favorite comedy to help us laugh. (Lady Diceacorn loves the fact that Monty Python is now on Netflix, as is Mystery Science Theater 3000.) Kids can watch what they want when they can now too. Most cartoons and shows are available on one of the big three streaming services. We cannot say enough great things about Netflix’s children’s programming. The Who Was show is a staple at both houses and Lady Diceacorn’s house loves Beat Bugs. Beat Bugs tells the story of a group of bugs living in a backyard and each story is told to a specific Beatles song.  (Lady Diceacorn suggests the Eleanor Rigby episode. It is her personal favorite.) At the Meepline House, all of the Meepleteenies have been bingeing some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Netflix has the whole series, all of the Equestria Girls movies, AND the motion picture!

Dice    

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So pretty!

    We love dice. They are pretty and sometimes they roll well for us. We have a lot too. Sometimes we use poor rolling as an excuse to buy more dice. This is why Meepline is going broke. She loooves dice, but the dice hate her.

Podcasts

     Lady Diceacorn is a huge fan of podcasts. They get her through her new much longer commute. Did you know The Ladies have a podcast? We are grateful for the really talented people who display their talents out there on the internet for free. We have a lot of podcasts we love. Lady Diceacorn suggests Thrilling Adventure Hour Treasury, Welcome to Nightvale, History Chicks and Unspooled.  

Comicazi

     Our home away from home! We love you. Thank you for taking us in and embracing our little game day.

ELS Game Day

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     Our beloved game day grew a little bit this year. We are thankful to everyone who has come to our game day and played games. We can’t wait to see what next year brings. Happy Third Birthday ELS!

Finally – Each Other

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Wearing our tiaras at LadiesCon!

Lady Diceacorn: I can’t even begin to count the reasons that I am lucky to have Meepline as my platonic life partner. We met because we needed something different from our everyday life of chaos and ended up finding a true blue friendship. You are always there to hear my grumbles about commuting or share the joy of a new house. You give me pep talks before important stuff and remind me that I always have a friend in you. When I needed a partner in running the game day, you didn’t hesitate and jumped in beside me. May we have many more years that we get to be thankful for each other.

Meepline: Oh, man. So, I never thought I’d ever find a kindred female spirit outside of my family. And yet, here she is. Not only does she share my love of games and all things geeky, but she understands my frustrations as a boy mom. We share all of our annoyances, bolster each other up when we’re down, and gush over how adorable each others’ kids are. (Seriously, we have some cute kids.) I’m glad that you’re the Ethel to my Lucy, the Twilight Sparkle to my Pinkie Pie, basically the sane character to my insane character. May we grow old and be able to pass this torch to ladies younger than us. ❤

Featured Game: Trash Panda By  Gamewright Games

     We are excited to be having Gamewright Games demoing their wonderful games at our game day on November 10th. This Newton based company has been making hit games for as long as we can remember. We love their games because they are engaging from the boxes to the pieces and card artwork.  Some of their games that we have played in the past are Sushi Go , Trash Panda and Outfoxed.

We have picked one of these games, Trash Panda, as our featured game. You play raccoons trying to collect the most trash (like feesh, which is the actual title of the card) by the end of the game. At the beginning of your game you roll the dice to determine what you can do in a round, but if you roll the same thing twice your turn is over. It is fun, fast and great for families and the occasional grown-up game night.

    Come play some amazing games with us at our last game day of 2018 on November 10th from 12-6 p.m. at Comicazi. Our 2019 dates, including another Try an RPG Day will be announced as soon as we have the dates!

From us to you, we hope you had a great Halloween and that your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of tasty food. We will see you at the end of November when we talk great gifts for all ages!

Until next time…. May all your hits be crits!

3 Things to get you in the Halloween Spirit

As the Ladies resident (but not only) lover of spooky things, I wanted to share three things I am doing to get in the spirit for what is my highest holiday – Halloween!

Podcast – Darkest Night

I’ve only recently started listening to Darkest Night having learning about it via Deadly Manners. We’ve mentioned some spooky podcasts before and there are lots of them out there, but this one really distinguishes itself though the sound design. As you are told in the intro, this podcast really is best experienced with headphones, but beware…the experience can become quite immersive. No joke, the other morning I was listening to an episode while walking to work and I literally leapt across the sidewalk because I forgot the sounds were only in my ears.

Darkest Night is a story based podcast that follows Project Cyclops, an experiment where severed heads are sent to a lab for a process that draws the blood from a victim’s optic nerve so the moments before their death can be experienced and documented….but is that all that’s really going on here?

Rating: 4 out of 5 severed heads

 

Show – Haunting of Hill House

Whooo boy, we finished this over the weekend and what an emotional roller coaster. This Netflix show whips you from fear, to sorrow, to anger as it pairs terrifying images with the equally terrifying human condition. The Haunting of Hill House is a modern adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel and a love-letter to the 1963 film The Haunting (also based on Shirley Jackson’s novel). Like all good horror, it’s not just about ghosts or murder. HoHH looks at trauma, obsession, and grief and how the lasting impacts can follow you through life, even if you think you have locked them away.

Don’t get me wrong – this is real deal spooky. As you watch, pay attention to everything, because things happen in the background and in your periphery to keep you as off balance as the characters are. Episode 6 is particularly masterful is how it pulls you reluctantly through long shots that become more and more dizzying to reflect the downward spirals of the characters.

Too late in the series I really started to key in on the color symbolism used in the filming, and now I want to watch it all over again to follow that thread. Seriously, if you haven’t watched this yet, I’m a little jealous of you getting to experience it for the first time.

Rating: 5 our of 5 red doors

Snack – Eyeball cookies

Hopefully some of you were able to make it to the Comicazi Cookie Clash this year. It’s an amazing dessert filled event for a great cause, Boston Partners in Education. While I am not someone who loves or thoroughly enjoys baking (I’m not great at the exactness of it since I tend to like to experiment – not a good idea  in baking unless you are really down with the science), I have competed in the cookie clash every year since its inception. Fun fact: The Cookie Clash started originally as competition between The Red Menace’s cookies made with love (she LOVES baking and is quite good at it), and my Cookies made with Hate™ (recall: I don’t love baking).

But I digress…this year I decided I wanted to go for flash rather than substance and made these gooey eyeball cookies for my baker’s choice entry. While these cookies taste good – sort of a cheesecake sugar cookie, they aren’t super exciting or nuanced. But then again, you aren’t making them for nuance, you are making them because they fun, colorful, and involve so many candy eyeballs.

The best advice I can give it to follow the recipe directly, and that getting the neon food coloring colors is totally worth it if you want that bright popping color. I also got 3 different sizes of candy eyes and found that the mixing of different sizes really adds a lot to the aesthetic. Otherwise, these cookies are pretty easy and a lot of bang for your buck.

Rating: 4 out 5 Beholder eyes

Sparking Joy – Suggestions for Decompression

Today is the last day to register to vote in Massachusetts. Are you registered? Up to date? Good!
With an important mid-term election looming, and the news cycle, well, all the time really, but particularly in the last few months, many folks I know and particularly folks who identify as women have been feeling pretty stressed out of late. The Kavanaugh hearings were difficult for a lot of folks and the results were even more so. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel those feelings and, if possible, use them constructively. But sometimes you just need to take a break and feel some positivity. Here are a few things that have been working for me, lately.

Tussetroll and Tingeling: Fun fact, I am not particularly an animal person. I’m not afraid of them – I’m just…not that interested. However, once in a while there comes a pet Instagram that I can’t help but fall for, and this is the latest. The animals I like have a lot of personality and are usually a little different from the norm, and huge, flat-faced Persian Tussetrolle and his pitch-black, Scottish Fold flat-eared sister Tingeling hit all of the right notes for me.

The Little House, ready for Honk!


Little Allejandro: Another Instagram feed, but this one’s closer to home. The Giant Party should have made it obvious that I am in love with tiny things. I also really love inanimate objects having grand adventures – it’s a little bit of magic in a world that is often far too mundane. Little Allejandro is a doll who lives in a house quite nearby to my own – and the house has a little dollhouse BUILT INTO THE FRONT OF IT. Child-Me would have been obsessed with it – and frankly, adult me is, too. The homeowners change up the scenery of the dollhouse frequently to match the seasons, holidays, and events in the neighborhood, but they also run this Instagram feed for their most iconic resident, Little Allejandro. He accompanies them on trips and occasionally runs into trouble. It’s a brilliant, soothing bit of everyday magic.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Fancy Sprinkles!


Making Ice Cream: I’d never suggest eating your feelings, per se, but this summer I finally broke down and bought my own ice cream freezer and I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how to get the most out of it. So far I’ve mostly made very traditional, custard-based ice creams, largely inspired by http://bravetart.com/, but there’s a whole world of sorbet, ice milk, and other delights waiting to be explored.

Hilda: I don’t want to step on the toes of any other Ladies who might want to do a more comprehensive review of this Netflix gem, but if you’re looking for something comforting to watch, you couldn’t do better than Hilda. Based on the popular graphic novels by Luke Pearson, Hilda is the story of a little Scandinavian girl who has adventures meeting the magical creatures who live in the woods and city around her. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is top-notch, and the whole show is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa. (Hilda herself is voiced by Bella Ramsey, better known as the amazing, scene-stealing Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones.)

Work with the Rage: Finally, sometimes you just have acknowledge your anger to let it go. The Believer published this excellent long read by Megan Stielstra about women’s rage and why we have so much trouble acknowledging and processing it. She’s been dealing with her own anger in part by throwing axes, which you can now do here in the Boston area, if that appeals. However, you can also use those strong feelings to make a donation or volunteer for a nonprofit in your area (here’s my personal favorite), campaign for a politician or cause you believe in, or start a Meetup for folks to come together to share other ideas for engagement, learn more about candidates, or just talk about how they’re feeling.

So that’s how I’m dealing with my anxiety about November 6th. ON November 6th, of course, I’m going to do the only thing I can do – I’m going to vote! What are all of you doing to deal with your hopes and fears? Tell me all about it in the comments.