Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween is STILL Sunday

Halloween with monster

Just a couple more Halloween related issues before finish setting-up for the holiday:

1. Enough already with one more stupid controversy. Of all the dumb-ass things to be worried about the people in this area are now all spun-up about Halloween being on a Sunday. I became aware of this about a month before Halloween LAST year. If you haven't made-up your minds about this matter yet, do us all a favor and DON'T freakin' celebrate it AT ALL. Rumor has it that locally children may be trick-or-treating TONIGHT -- SATURDAY -- which just chaps my ass. Look, I don't get dressed-up like Elvira and show-up at your church on Easter Sunday, so politely STAY HOME and keep the kids there with you. (They probably need to catch-up on some home schooling any way.) These kids show-up on my doorstep tonight and they will be getting the B-List candy. If I wasn't too lazy to run to the store -- AGAIN -- they'd be getting nothing but those sorry ass "Smarties". As it is, if they want a Snickers bar they can come by here on the right damn date. I'm not running the fog machine or strobe lights until tomorrow night, either. If you want "Halloween Lite" I will give you "Halloween Freakin' Lite."

2. You dentists and other spoil sports out there offering to trade in children's trick-or-treat candy for money, I have got a beef with you, too. We all know you are paying off the children, going into the back room stuffing your mouths full of Twizzlers and Baby Ruth bars. You aren't fooling anybody. Stop sucking the joy out of and be content to fill the subsequent fillings. Children will have to worry about calories and fat soon enough -- give them one night for a little fun. Nobody pulls this sort of business with Christmas. You want a nutritional nightmare -- pass the pecan pie and egg nog!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Official Last Minute

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: A Dorothy Gale look-a-like poses as Harrods opens their Wicked Witch Of The East display on December 1, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)

In case you were wondering NOW is the official last minute before Halloween. Good-luck if you haven't planned your Halloween costume yet because you are pretty much screwed. I had to pick-up a pair of emergency devil horns yesterday and what is left in the stores is pretty awful. Retail establishments specializing in this holiday have, for some reason, decided that what women really want to be for Halloween is a skank. There are mountains of leftover skank costumes, but not much else. You might also find a few wigs that look fried because they have been tried on so many times and some busted-up stuff they STILL haven't put on sale because the stores can smell your desperation.

Speaking of which, I went to Wal-Mart yesterday. Lawd have mercy!!! I cannot buy candy until the last minute. The doctor has pretty much forbidden me from doing ANYTHING remotely fun and those Snickers bars curiously wind up in my mouth at an alarming rate. Wal-Mart was out-of-control and it was only Thursday. Wal-Mart employees were furiously unloading candy and couldn't possibly keep up with the volume of consumers furiously loading it into their carts. I can only imagine what that place will look like today and tomorrow. Good-luck you procrastinators!

No matter what I do there is only so much planning ahead I can do. After putting together a brilliant front yard display here at Kelleywood, the yard got whacked by two days of storms. To top it off, my damn camera is malfunctioning. I ordered stuff Kodak said would fix it -- and it didn't. What it did was waste even more of my precious Halloween prep time. I tried to get a camera sent express from Amazon. I missed the fine print when checking-out and discovered TOO LATE that their so-called express shipping is when their marketplace vendor says it is. Long story short, it isn't really express delivery but IS a big freakin' rip-off. I called Amazon, they referred me to the vendor. I called the vendor, they referred me to Amazon. The circle of blame. Disney needs to make a movie about this. I swear every one in customer service these days was raised by parents who were not hip to the "If Dad says no, ask Mom" routine practiced by cunning youth throughout the ages. Business schools must be teaching students that if you advertise enough that you provide good customer service, it absolves you from actually having to provide customer service.

Where was I? To add to all of this confusion, one of Atlanta's T.V. news stations is announcing that trick-of-treating is Saturday, the unofficial implication being that if you trick-or-treat on Sunday, you will be going to hell. You thought you had two days to get ready for Halloween -- hahaha! -- you only have ONE! Especially if you plan on getting into heaven. I am STILL celebrating Halloween on Sunday, because within my lifetime I have screwed-up so much stuff that the I figure the very least of my worries is celebrating Halloween on the wrong day. When I die, I plan on just BEGGING for forgiveness. I will be like a celebrity caught with his/her hand in the cookie jar:

"Yup. I did it. I celebrated Halloween on a Sunday. Forgive me. I signed-up for Halloween rehab at Betty Ford and will never eat a "Funsize Snickers" again. I promise."

In case you haven't figured it out already, there is no point to this post. I am avoiding paying bills.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last Minute Halloween Rescues

Tontite, a Pomeranian dressed as Zorro , the Spanish masked swordsman in the movie The Mask of Zorro , models its costume during the Scaredy Cats and Dogs Halloween fund-raising event at a mall in Quezon City October 23, 2010. Some 70 pets participated in the event to raise funds for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)'s Animal Rehabilitation Center, a temporary shelter for more than 100 dogs and cats which were either abandoned or rescued from cruelty or neglect. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY ANIMALS)

Holy Moly! Halloween is almost here! Where has the time gone? I had a nasty run-in with some defective spray blood already this year, and when I went used fabric paint to style my Halloween dress the thing started looking like roadkill. In a knee-jerk response, I ordered a back-up costume for overnight delivery, but if I can be caught off-guard by Halloween, what about the rest of you with jobs and stuff? So here are a few Halloween ideas for you last minute revelers:

1. Dust Bunny: This requires a pair of bunny ears and a feather duster. With all the skanky costumes Halloween stores stock this time of year, you should be able to get these with no problem.

2. Spider Web: This is a take off on the classic ghost costume. Get a big piece of cheese cloth, rip, shread, and tear. Make sure you put some holes in it for your eyes. Glue plastic spiders to it. Allow it to dry. Toss it over your head.

3. Crazy Cat Lady: This may take a little more time to execute, but is damn fabulous. Get a pile of toy stuffed cats. Those Beanie things look like they might work well. Take an old bathrobe. Attach cats to the robe. You may want to put a few catsup claw marks on your legs for realism.

4. Jewelry Box: I stole this one from my mother-in-law. Go to your jewelry box. Pile on every piece of jewelry that you own. Viola!

5. Middle-of-the-road: Dress in solid black. Use duct tape to tape a centerline down your center.

6. Zombie-Anything: With a few simple tools you can pretty much Zombiefy any outfit. You should ALWAYS have these on hand. (Even when vacationing.) Go with a gray, green or whitish palor make-up base. Use black, brown or grey eyeshadow for that sunken eye, skeletal look. Go outside. Roll around in the dirt. Have sissors on hand to rip tear, and trash whatever you are wearing. Food-coloring, paint, catsup anthing red for blood -- apply liberally -- BINGO! You are a Zombie.

7. Bag-Lady: Take a pile of plastic grocery bags. Safety pin them to your clothes.

These are just a few of ideas. Please feel free to share any of your last minute costumes ideas. The world needs your input!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yet Another Piece of Halloween Crap-O-La

Halloween woman opening curtains

In case you wonder where I have been I've been nursing a nasty kidney infection, while still trying to get the yard decorated for Halloween. This would be MUCH easier if vendors would STOP trying to selling such major CRAP-O-LA for Halloween decor.

This year with it started with the demise of Target as purveyor of cool, cheap Halloween goodness. I am not supposed to be shopping there for a whole bevy of political and personal reasons, but I'm sort of a sell-out when it comes to Halloween. This year they made it easy buy purchasing a bunch of crap and selling it at highly inflated prices. The first thing I purchased was a Zombie. On sale he was around eighty bucks. At one of those Halloween mega stores I would expect anything this large at this price point to be junk, but in years past Target has pulled through for me. Not this year. This Zombie was eight kinds of crap. It had shoes made out of that cheap Styrofoam that sort of sheds and crumble. The bastards that manufactured this thing wouldn't even spring for plastic. I felt like I'd been punked.

I carted the thing back to my local Target where upon I was met by a very pious clerk working the the returns counter. She glared at my purchase. I said: "I need to return this Zombie." The clerk gave me a look of extreme disapproval. She said: "I don't have to like it, but I guess I have to take it back." She scanned the item and I swear she harrumphed. She then peered over the top of her glasses and said: "You do realize Halloween is on a SUNDAY this year. What do you suppose they going to do about THAT?" Hell if I know. Not my call. If they want to stretch the holiday out for two days by some people celebrating on Saturday and some people on Sunday, fine by me. Just don't sell me junk at primo prices. O.K.???

Not having learned my lesson early on that Target was selling extreme Halloween crap this year, I got sucked into their web once again. It was a mummified cat. Oh, yes! I needed a mummified cat! Once again I took their bait, and once again they burned me. The cat arrived with not one, but two broken legs, but the real tragedy was that it had never been much to begin with. It was the most depressing piece of Halloween merchandise I'd ever seen. It made me sad. Is the economy THAT bad???

Halloween costumes are notoriously cheap and horrible, so I dodged that bullet by making my own this year -- or so I thought. I purchased some stuff called "Fake Spray Blood" to give my Zombie Prom dress that "died-in" look. Previously I had shredded and dirtied up the dress with brown ink for that dug-up look. What the dress needed was a little gore and I would be set. I sprayed the "Fake Spray Blood" on the dress and I must say it looked fabulous. I was so excited. Once again, my joy was dashed when I allowed the dress to dry overnight. When I looked at the dress this morning, all the fabulous red had turned brown. I couldn't tell the difference between the blood and the dirt. Now I am going to have to go with Plan "B" -- I just wish I had some idea what that was. MAJOR disappointment, once again.

Undaunted, I installed my cemetery this year and decided a grim reaper lurking in the shadowy background would add to the creep factor. Then I did something totally insane and ordered off of EBay. What was supposed to be an OUTDOOR, free-standing item, was stamped all over with "Indoor Only", and the skeleton head flopped around like a rag doll. The screws to attached the shoulders to the stand were missing, one arm were broken-off at the shoulders, and it can't be sold in California because of the lead and formaldehyde content. I hung the damn thing up in a tree and lodged a complaint with the seller, but the whole neighborhood has stepped-up the Halloween decor and I NEED that damn thing if I am going to compete.

I actually LIKE a little cheesiness at Halloween. But this year they have gone just too damn far with their brown blood, Styrofoam feet, busted-up cat mummies and defective skeletons. I'm tired of it and I am not taking it anymore. Who is with me?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lights Out for Martha. Almost.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31:  Martha Stewart (L) and Bette Midler pose together at Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project's Annual Hulaween gala benefit at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel October, 31, 2006 in New York City.  (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Back in freakin' August, I got my coveted "Grandin Road" Halloween issue. This is ALWAYS a very happy day for me. Martha's has a line of "good things" exclusive to Grandin Road. To a Halloween junkie like myself, it's the best damn thing since candy corn. Last year, in an effort to pace myself and depressed by the endless rain that turned my lawn to mush, I exercised some restraint in my lawn decor. I like Halloween, but I did not want to play out a live electrocution on the front lawn. (Although it would be a really fabulous, appropriate, yet tragic way to meet my demise.) The Grandin Road catalog had these FABULOUS flicker lights put out by none other than Martha Stewart. Apparently, these things are harder to get than Osama Bin Ladin, because I had to pre-ordered in August for delivery in mid-September. While gently stringing the lights across the porch here at Kelleywood, a slight gust of wind caught the dangling sting lights and smacked the bulbs against porch railing. One bulb smashed to bits. Crap. I looked in the box the lights came in. No extra bulb. I blamed Martha.

A few blogs ago (in case you haven't been tuning in and only view my blog when you want to complain about the music) I discussed how my rift with Martha had healed over the years. I even suggested how other celebrities (eh hem, Lilo, Paris) might aspire to Martha's example and start behaving like human beings. No whining and crying from Martha in the slammer, she took it like a champ and emerged a more admirable, humble human being. It was impressive. It helps that I am a complete sell-out when it comes to Halloween and NOBODY does Halloween quite as well as Martha.

Until this year. I was a lee...tle disappointed when the Fall issue of "Living" gave a lackluster rundown on this years Halloween. Instead, Martha had rehashed her Halloweens of Yore into a shiny book/magazine at twice the price of "Living". Martha is getting a little up there in years and probably has a lot on her plate with changing networks and all, so I was resolved to let her have one so-so year. I let it slide. This year. It is nice to have all the primo Halloween stuff of yore in one place. Then that light bulb smacked-up against the railing. True to form, the lights still lit (like Martha promised) even with a broken bulb, but one had to wonder if they presented a fire hazard. Especially on a porch swathed in cheesecloth like some sort of suburban mummy.

Cursing Martha under my breath, and trying to remember when I'd paid our last insurance premium, I tried to find a replacement bulb. Ever try to find a ONE watt, candelabra replacement flicker-bulb online? Who has ever heard of a ONE watt light bulb? Nobody. NOBODY. Not even the "1000 Light Bulbs Superstore". I gave-up and called customer service at Grandin Road in search of a replacement. Surely purveyors of such high quality Halloween stuff would know of a replacement. I felt sort of stupid contacting "tech support" for a friggin' light bulb, but I soon realized I was in over my head when I got the feeling NO ONE had ever requested a replacement bulb before. Surely I couldn't be the only person to smash a light bulb? Suddenly I felt very alone in the world with my singular smashed light bulb. Grandin Road was equally stumped. They told me they would "research the issue" and be back with me within 24-hours. Sure, right. I thought. I continued to search for the bulb online. After all, this was a Halloween emergency. Much to my surprise, less than an hour later, Grandin Road called and told me they would send me an entire new string, no charge on the fifteenth of October when their new shipment arrives.

A whole new string. Wow. I don't even have to send the old one back. It is a Halloween miracle. Martha and Grandin Road had come through for me. But, seriously, next year could you toss in an extra bulb? Please?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to the Halloween Edition!

Welcome to the Halloween Edition of "Joannafesto" which promises to be SPOOKtacular! I have put together a playlist of music to get you in the mood to haunt your 'hood which I believe may very well be definitive. Or not.

First, poll results are in on the hot topic of the "Snuggie". Only one person considers the "Snuggie" a friend and three of you think the "Snuggie" is a foe. The majority of my readership -- all eight of you -- have not been fooled by the clever marketing campaign and believe that the "Snuggie" is, after all, just a backwards robe. What this all means in the greater gestalt of things, I do not know, but when I figure it out I will let you know.

On to my next issue of business: I have been working on the genealogy of my family, which is a bit like hanging-out with dead people. Since this is a more than appropriate activity in preparation for the season which will soon be upon us, consider getting in the mood by taking a stroll through a virtual cemetery at my new favorite website:

I do love an old cemetery. One of my favorites is the famous Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. It is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I have ever been. Haunted by a group of etheric revelers from a plantation home that long ago burned to the ground the place echoes with the sense that even after death, the party in Savannah goes on. Take a seat on the park bench that is poet Conrad Aikin's memorial. It reads: Give my love to the world. Cosmos Mariner -- Destination Unknown. If it is Friday, meet there for martinis and stroll past composer Johnny Mercer's grave, with your "traveler" in hand and maybe hum a few bars from "Moon River".

An Open Letter to Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

I haven't felt much like writing lately. Some of it is because the Bulldog is deployed and Halloween will soon be here. I love the Bulldog. I love Halloween. But one without the other just seems sad. Like Alka-Seltzer with "plop" and no "fizz-fizz". I was going to be a Zombie Prom Queen this year for Halloween, but my enthusiasm has waned. Much like my enthusiasm for writing this blog. Lindsay's back in rehab, Paris can't tell the difference between coke and gum, two situations which would normally provide me with beau coup inspiration, yet I find myself somewhere between "ho-hum" and "who-gives-a-shit?". I haven't bothered with my blog in weeks, and when I do check on it, of course it is you, my dear Anonymous, bitching about the music. Again.

Here is the deal "Anonymous" (If that is your real name): I ran a poll about this very same issue months ago. My Festos spoke and the music stays. Find the goddamn mute button or find another fucking blog. SERIOUSLY: I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!!!! Something tells me you are just another tool with an agenda and an axe to grind, who has some problem with music on ANY blog. Bottom line: You don't REALLY read this blog -- or any other blog -- you just roam the Internet, looking for blogs with music -- so you can BITCH about it!!! You don't give a crap about what anybody has to say, you just want to flap your own yap about your own opinion and your stupid, fucking, pathetic AGENDA. If you enjoy your own music so much, please devote 100% of your attention to it and NEVER READ THIS BLOG AGAIN.

Writing this blog is nothing more than a hobby to me. My husband, the aforementioned Bulldog, is in a combat zone and HE likes to listen to my play list when he is online. So hell can freeze over and I will NOT remove the music from this blog. In fact, if things keep going the way they are going, this entire blog may soon be devoted to nothing BUT music. I am thinking of show tunes and punk. And just to make sure EVERYBODY can find something they don't like about this blog I may even bring in a few mimes! That should pretty much piss off EVERYBODY.

I get nothing, nada, zero, zip, squat out of this blog, but the pleasure of writing it, and the joy of annoying self-important douche bags, such as yourself, who have nothing better to do than whine about the play list.

Very truly yours,