Monday, October 31, 2016

Hark Or Treat! 2016

Like last year, I (for some reason) kept track of all of the costumes that came to my door. I have no idea why I do this, but here you go:

  • Wraith
  • Witch (x3)
  • Tiger
  • Lion
  • Skeleton
  • Hippie (I think)
  • Grim Reaper
  • Princess (x8) (!)
  • Teddy Bear
  • Captain America (x3)
  • Fireman (x3)
  • Unicorn (x2)
  • Rey from Star Wars
  • Pastel Cowgirl
  • Cat (x2)
  • Cheetah
  • Monk
  • Cowboy
  • Emoji
  • Ghostbuster
  • Flamingo
  • Soldier
  • Robber
  • Olaf from Frozen
  • Weird Blonde Pop Star
  • T-Rex
  • Leopard
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Raccoon
  • Cowgirl (Regular, not pastel)
  • Iron Man
  • Cheerleader
  • Fox
  • Student
  • Dancer
  • Fairy
  • Ladybug
  • Creepy Thing With Mouth Sewn Shut
  • Robot
  • Detective or possible background dancer to a Robert Palmer video
  • Pumpkin Princess
  • Morlock-Style Vampire
  • Pirate
  • Power Ranger
  • Butterfly
  • Hulk
  • Sorceress
  • Construction Worker
  • Nerd
  • Police Officer
A few notes:
  • Oddly we had about the same number as last year, even though last year it was pouring down rain. We used  to get 120-150. Maybe this is the new normal.
  • Top costume was by far Princess. No Elsas this year!
  • I won't lie--it was cold, and a lot of kids had jackets on. Some of these costumes were basically a hat with a big bundled coat on. So a few of these are educated guesses. 
  • A surprisingly low number of licensed costumes. Less than a dozen, it seems. 
  • There were also quite a few homemade costumes that look pretty good.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thanks, Facebook

I know Facebook is trying to be helpful...but I could do without their "Trending Stories" sidebar.

I mean, in theory, it's great. I try and keep up with stuff, but I know there's often a lot of (usually pop culture related) news that goes under my radar. And I want to be, uh, hip for the kids and all that.

And yet that feed is usually a breakdown of:

1) Some young celebrity that I do not recognize and after clicking I realize I don't care
2) Some old celebrity that I assume just died but turns out it's just their birthday
3) Sports thing I don't care about
4) Clickbait that got through the filters
5) A very, very local news story that makes me think my location is set up wrong somewhere
6) A boring but probably important story that I get way too exceited about because I misread it (Tesla won the Powerball? Oh, Powerwall.)

I usually find that I'm less informed after I read it. Thanks, Facebook!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The David S. Pumpkins Anti-Proliferation Association

This past ween, Saturday Night Live aired a sketch called "Haunted Elevator" which utilized guest host Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins.

Watch it. Go ahead. I dare you.

I've been a critic of SNL for years now--I haven't found it particularly funny for years, if not decades. I say that knowing full well that everyone says this--when you first watch it, like from ages 12-16 or so, it's the greatest thing ever, then you still like it in your 20s, and then you age out of it and don't understand it. Like Mad Magazine, this isn't new. Sure, an iconic sketch here and there is clearly good and many hold up, but when you're eking out one or two sketches out of 90 minutes every week, that's not a very good track record.

And yet the reaction people have borders on insane. The David S. Pumpkins sketch is all over the place and all over the internet. I watched it, didn't find it funny at all, not even ironically as you're supposed to, and yet people keep talking about it seeing SNL at its peak. This was a third-rate skit at best.

Humor is subjective, of course, but I sometimes wonder what on earth is going on when I'm so obviously out of step with the zeitgeist. It happens, of course--there's plenty of iconic movies and TV shows and especially music that I don't appreciate at all--but it's sometimes weird to be the only guy in the room shrugging when everyone else is busting a gut. (see also: Bo Burnham, John Oliver, Will Ferrell.)

At the very least, we'll all get to see plenty of David S. Pumpkins costumes this year--or, better yet, slutty David S. Pumpkins costumes.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Dare You

It looks like the classic children's game show Double Dare is coming back! Well, for a one-off half hour special, anyway.

Although it makes for good blogging fodder, believe it or not, I'm not much into nostalgia wank. I mean, it's nice to remember stuff like that, but now that the internet has cracked open the availability of almost everything culturally able to be uploaded to YouTube, it's easier than ever to remember how that stuff you remember as a kid actually wasn't all that great.

Still, I won't lie; I was always charmed by the conceit of Double Dare.

I didn't grow up with cable, so the only Double Dare (normally on erstwhile kid's network Nickelodeon) I got to watch was some bastardized family version on the local station. Even then, I was probably a bit too old for it--this was well after its heyday, and it probably just missed that glorious time between 8 and 10 where shoving your hand up a big nose full of fake snot was fun. As always, I was the weird kid who found answering the trivia questions more fun than the physical challenges.*

In fact, I kind of hated the "gross" parts of DD. I don't really like people making messes for the sake of making messes--my long-standing hatred of smash cakes is well-known--and DD was predicated on basically using any excuse to make said messes. The physical challenge of the physical challenge was interesting enough, but when the end result was almost certainly a floor covered in that off-white milklike substance I always got squicked out.

Still, there were two things that kept me coming back. First was my love of game shows; I have a deep-seated desire to be a game show creator/host, which is an admittedly weird aspiration. Second, it was the charm of Marc Summers, who somehow managed to be simultaneously good with kids yet not condescending towards them. 

I rewatched some old episodes a few months ago, and like most things from our childhood it was almost unwatchable. The kids are shrill, the pacing off, the color scheme neon and garish, and even my boy Marc Summers was a little more grating than I remember--although not as bad as it could have been. The end run was still fun to watch, but, man, kids can be dumb.

I will say this--I'm not sure if there's any way to improve on that. An adult version of this would just be sad--I know they do a "drunk" version of it once in a while, but watching adults do this sort of things would just be depressing. And if you're gonna have kids, the visual stimulation of garish colors and obnoxious presentation is pretty much par for the course. So while it doesn't really hold up in my book, I'm glad it exists in its nostalgic form.

*Weirdly, I very specifically remember one question--what letter doesn't appear in any state? (Q, if you don't want to look it up.) Not sure why that stuck out or why on earth I remember that 30 years later.