What I am. Or Who I am.

And the result is….

Should I change my name to Ragnar? Bjorn? Eric the not-so-red?

Should I change my name to Ragnar? Bjorn? Eric the not-so-red?

Turns out I’m mostly Scandinavian!

Yup. Viking blood flows in these veins.

Vikings… you know, uncouth barbarians. Beserkers. The Scourge of Europe.

I think my mom would not be surprised.

So how does this change my life?

Or why my life makes sense, now…

A Top 10 List

  • First of all, I love the show The Vikings. So, yeah, that makes total sense, now. However, if I based my ancestry on the shows I like, I’d be a Dothraki. Or a hobbit.
  • Due to my heritage, it turns out that I’m not a hoarder, I am a collector. My people, the Vikings, believed that you needed to collect things. Sure, some would call it ‘looting’, but collecting is really what they were all about. So that’s why I have a love of gathering things up and keeping them forever. It’s harder to explain my love of books as my people basically burned them or ate them.
  • I have always loved the legend of Valhalla. I love the fatalistic end to that saga where every great warrior goes out to fight one last battle, a battle they are destined to lose. How epic. How sad. Well, at least now I know why I root for England in the World Cup.
  • I don’t rage-quit games, I am actually feeling the beserkergang fill me. When some asshat shoots me from some hidden sniper position on Call of Duty, I’m not being a sore loser, no, I’m calling upon my Viking ancestors to fill me with the anger of Odin so I can have my revenge upon them!
  • Crepes, croissants, ah the French do know a thing or two about food

    Crepes, croissants, cheese! Ah the French do know a thing or two about food

    It’s why I like to eat. See, my people didn’t have a lot. It’s why they raided other people. All we had were pickled fish, the odd, sad-looking turnip and mead. Now, while I do like pickled fish, turnips and mead (oddly enough, that should have been a sign of my heritage right there), imagine how my people felt when they sacked Paris and ate croissants, brie cheese and crepes. At that moment, a love of food was burned into their DNA.

  • I love to travel. See, contrary to what most people think, the Vikings loved to go sight-seeing. Everywhere. They got to the Black Sea, cruised the Mediterranean and even snuck out to see Canada. Sure, they went there to loot stuff or trade, but it’s still basically the same – My people NEEDED to see the world. Like me.


    Thor or me, it’s hard to tell sometimes.

  • I kinda look like this guy. (if, you know, you drink a lot and forget your glasses at home.)
  • My favourite character on the Muppets was the Swedish Chef.
  • My second favourite NFL team is Minnesota.
  • Scotland was ruled by the Vikings for so long, that if you say you’re Scottish, odds are you’re the result of the Picts and Gaels, well, let’s say ‘intermixing’ with the Vikings.  And that means,  I can still be Scottish!  Whoohooo!

So, there you have it. I know what I am. I’m oddly very excited by all of this.

The actual results are below.

58% Scandinavia – Vikings!

The Muppet's Swedish Chef. How poetic.

The Muppet’s Swedish Chef. How poetic.

28% Finland/NW Russia – Kinda Vikings!

4% Asia (think Uzbekistan) – Errr, maybe where the Vikings pitched a tent once?

4% Irish – cuz, you know, as Silk said, everyone has a bit of Irish in them.

4% English – Due to the fish and chips which my people would have loved.

1% Iberian (that’s Spain) – ah, who knows what happened here.


So that’s it. I will still own my Scottish heritage and proudly wear my kilt, but knowing where I came from has anchored me in the world in a very unexpected way. So if you’ve ever wanting to sort out your true DNA history, I say give Ancestry.ca a look.

What are you?

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Who Am I?

Braveheart, you can take our lives, but you can never take our freedom.

Braveheart, you can take our lives, but you can never take our freedom.

Since I’m adopted, I never knew exactly where my people were from. So, I adopted my family’s history (proudly Scottish). Kilts.  The Loch Ness Monster. Braveheart.

I went all in. I said ‘wee,’ a lot, I learned to recite Robbie Burns poems and I got all weepy when I heard Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. Although, seriously, who doesn’t?

When I was younger, I actually went to my adopted ancestral home. North Queensferry. Scotland.

We went into the local bar, asked if they knew anything about my family, and, being from the Old World (and a pub in Scotland), everyone seemed to know something.

Not that I could understood much of what they said (hey, it was a bar in Scotland where people speak a very strange version of English), but they knew about my family, my history and the lore of my home. Back in the old country, they nurtured a great love of ancestry and history.

It was one of my most favourite memories. But that’s another blog all together.

However, I always wondered… what was in my DNA? Where did I really come from? Are all the silly things I do and love determined by my blood? Am I an alien?

ancestry.ca where you come from

ancestry.ca where you come from

Now, sure, I could have searched my adoption records, but that’s a can of worms I’d like to leave unopened and buried in my backyard of avoidance. So when Ancestry.ca offered a service that would explain what I am, I thought, why not?

So, for Christmas, The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world bought me a kit. I gathered a sperm sample, a lock of my hair and a pint of blood. After filling the sample tube with all three, I read the instructions and learned all they needed was a bit of spit.


But after cleaning out the tube, I gave them what they needed, sent it off and waited. 7 weeks later, I got the results.

I would have guessed 50% Northern European due to my ability to endure sitting in a freezing ice-hockey arena for hours without getting cold. 25% Aboriginal due to my facial bone structure. 10% English due to my love of fish and chips. 10% German due to my love of organizing things and wanting to conquer the world. 5% Irish due to a weird spiritual experience I had with the smell of burning peat.

I could be 100% ferengi

I could be 100% ferengi

Anyone want to take a guess?


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Keeping Score – Playing Hardball

Take me out to the ball game.

Take me out to the ball game.

So now it’s time to learn me some baseball.

In the future, I think I’ll volunteer only for things I like to do (or can, actually, do.) Something like official team pizza eater. Or World of Tanks Game adviser. Or napping manager.

Even though being the hockey team treasurer took way more time than I thought it would, I wasn’t too stressed out about it, especially after The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world helped me through relearning Excel.

But this whole score keeping thing, man, that was turning out to be hardcore.

So, what do I do when faced with something hard?

First, I curl up into a ball and hide under my writing desk. I have worn a special place in the shag carpet there. It’s where I go when I receive a rejection letter.

But after that, it’s time to figure it all out.

Here’s my top 6 ways I will use to learn me some baseball.

  • Find baseball movies. Bad New Bears. Bull Durham. League of Their Own. Sadly, none of them deal with being a score keeper, though.
    There's no crying in baseball

    There’s no crying in baseball

    One might ask why? Maybe there’s a movie there. Maybe I’ll get Ryan Reynolds to play me. We kinda look alike. But the things I’ve learned so far…. there’s no crying in baseball. I learned sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. And I learned that this quitting thing is a hard habit to break.

  •  Look up score keeping on You Tube. Ok, I did that. I found a great site that explained a lot of it. I even found another one that had a clearer explanation of the terms and abbreviations and what exact is a ‘fielder’s choice.’ Never doubt the internet, folks. It’s just jammed packed with truths and explanations, and for some reason, lots of pictures of naked girls wearing only baseball caps (though that could have been a search problem).
  • Read the official scorekeeping book. Actually this didn’t help much. I think they keep it deliberately vague because only a moron who doesn’t completely understand baseball would ever volunteer to be a score keeper.
  • Ask for help. Ok, for me this is the hardest thing to do. But I emailed one of the parents who seemed to know a thing or two about the game. He agreed to help me out. He was even super nice about it.
  • Talk to other parents who’ve done this before. This, oddly, yielded some of my best information. I mean, sure, I got less pictures of naked women, but I did learn that I don’t have to sweat the more complex part of the game. Not at this level. There simply isn’t such a big concern with errors and RBIs and that mysterious passed ball thingee (which I still believe might be someone pooping a ball out.)
  • Go to a game. And bring a score sheet. I’ll see if I can figure it all out on the fly. Oh, how I wish I was in Victoria. I know a couple of people who could school me on this whole baseball thing.

So that was my plan.

I did my best studying everything that I could ahead of time, and then the game came. I was in a full body sweat, but everyone there was so nice, mostly because either they have done it before and remember the terror of that first game, or they haven’t done it before and hope I don’t bugger it up so badly that they have to do it next week.

horrible scorecardAll in all, with the help of my experienced baseball buddy, I did ok. I didn’t make any huge errors and recorded 99% of the game without any confusion.

But, ah, that 1%. Oh my goodness. When there’s actually a hit and then the fielders miss it, then mis-throw it, then mis-catch it, and the runners all get confused and run into each other and no one is sure where to go or where to throw and then, all of a sudden, it stops and one of the runners is walking off the field and another looks like he’s tagged the plate and I had to turn to ask,

“What the f*%# just happened?” I asked my guru. A zombie melee looked less chaotic.

“One run. 6-4 out at second. Runner one advanced to third. Hitter got a double. No errors.”

“Oh. No errors? Really? What abou…?”

“It’s ok. You got this.”

Thank God I had help. I would have either recorded that as 42 errors, one run and someone out somewhere, I’m still not sure where.

But I survived my first game.

Not that I won’t keep learning.

Wait is there an f…ing app?

Oh and for anyone interested in one of the great speeches of all time. Please be aware, there’s some NSFW language.


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Striking Out – Scorekeeping 101

No one gets me like the Simpsons.

No one gets me like the Simpsons.

As I get older and older, I believe less and less in trying new things. I have to fight hard to get out of my comfy-cozy fortress of solitude (like Superman’s fortress only less ice and more big screen TVs).

But once again, I’m going to try something new.

I decided it would be good to volunteer to be a baseball scorekeeper.

See, after hockey ended, the-Youngest decided to try something new, too. So I decided that I hadn’t had enough torture after being the hockey team treasurer and signed up.

I thought I was being all kinds of clever. In my day, it was pretty simple. The pretty red-haired girl would put up the numbers on the board and smile at me. No wonder I took so many balls in the face. Oh sure I was a catcher, but I was also easily distracted by a pretty girl smiling at me. Still am.

But that was it. We scored a run, and the pretty-red-haired-girl would put it up on the scoreboard. The umpires kept track of the strikes and balls and, I think, secretly, how many balls to the face I took. They shouted a lot and told us who was out (and for me to stop shouting ‘swing batter, batter, batter, swing!’.

I assumed it would be the same only with less pretty red-haired girls and more electronics.

My first clue should have been how all the other dads looked at the grass or stared up at imaginary stars and whistled to themselves when the coach asked, who wants to scorekeep?

When no one leapt at the chance, he looked at his clipboard and said a couple of families had volunteered to be scorekeepers. Ours being one of them.

I corrected him on this point. The sign up website would not let you sign up unless you chose some sort of volunteer work, the sneaky bastards. So, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world chose score-keeping. I suspect for the same reason I did (minus the red-head).

But that being said, I’d give it a whirl. How hard could it be?


F…ing hard as it turns out.

Apparently little league is now like the majors. It’s up to the scorekeepers to record EVERYTHING.

I went to the meeting where they said they’d teach you all you needed to know about score-keeping. It reminded me of a test I took in Business school, where I didn’t understand a flipping thing and got 12% in the test. It was my first failing mark ever and it traumatized me forever.

So when they began to explain how to record a hit, then an error, then a pitcher’s ball, which I think is a kind of error, and a forced play, which I had no idea what the hell that is, and a double play with a sacrifice fly, my hands began to shake, my eye twitched and I broke out in a full body sweat.

A churro dog? OMG why I have not found this and eaten 10?

A churro dog? OMG why I have not found this and eaten 10?

See, I’m not a big baseball fan and the few games I’ve been to, I’ve spent more time finding where the churro vendor is than figuring out how to properly score the game.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the basics are kind of easy. The pitcher throws the baseball. A strike or a ball. I record that. If the batter hits it, I record that as well. It’s when other stuff starts to happen or things that only people with heads full of baseball knowledge understand start to occur, that I get all confused.

Basically, it’s when a whole ton of things happen at once. It’s that hit that gets dropped, then someone throws to second who misses the ball and the runner heading to third decides to go home while the pitcher rushes to get the missed ball and somebody in the stands is shouting, throw to 3rd dammit and in the distance a plane is roaring overhead and my phone is ringing and I need to pee.

How do you record all of that, cuz I’m pretty sure I have to?

As I left the scorekeeping meeting needing a drink, it occurred to me that the reason baseball is akin to watching a glacier melt is because the scorekeeping could take forever. At least with all the erasing I’ll have to do.

My brain just bled a little even looking at this.

My brain just bled a little even looking at this.

If you doubt how confusing score-keeping can be, look at that sheet. It’s now important to know errors. What’s an error in little league? From what I saw at the meet-and-greet game, pretty much every play has one error or another. Many plays seem to have about 20. With one hit.

Then there’s all the odd stuff that can happen, like a forced play on a Tuesday when there’s a full moon and a left handed batter with a hunchback. I think there’s some sort of code for all of that. And I have to record it.

And here I thought being the treasurer was a bit on the challenging side. It doesn’t even come close. I came home from the meeting completely disheartened. This will be absolutely at my limit of my well-padded comfort zone. Like telling someone to take over flying a helicopter while the pilot jumps out the door.

I can just imagine the first game.

“So,” says the other team’s scorekeeper, “I score that inning 14-4 with 17 unforced errors, and three fielder’s choice outs, two forced plays and one wiggle-dee-diggle-dee-do. What did you get?”

“A migraine.” My score sheet says 1 hit, 3 balls, and scribblings about a pizza order.

I pray it won’t be as bad as I fear, but looking at that sheet, not knowing all the codes and having to see everything and understand baseball like someone who, you know understands baseball, may be a disaster in the making.


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10 Best Kid Smells

Calvin and Hobbs. Calvin knows something about bad smells

Calvin and Hobbs. Calvin knows something about bad smells

The list of bad kid smells could fill a book, but maybe there is another side – Smells that are awesome and you pretty much only get them around kids.

  • Crayons. Ah, crayons.

    Crayons. Ah, crayons.

    Crayons. Now this could just be me, but opening up a drawer filled with used crayons smells wonderful. Maybe it takes me back to my childhood. Maybe I like the smell of wax mixed with whatever yummy, sticky food the boys had on their hands while using them. Maybe I’m just suffering from a stroke.

  • Baby shampoo. (No more tears, stuff.) Now THIS reminds me of childhood for sure. But in an age of tangerine-oatmeal bodywashes and pear-jasmin shampoos. and moisturizing, organic, stress-relieving body butter made from the sweat of koalas, that no more tears stuff still smells the best to me. A part of me wants to go back to that, but I believe the ads that say I will get a hot woman if I use Axe (and clearly it worked!)
  • bubblegumBubblegum. Ok, adults can totally get bubblegum vodka and bubblegum flavoured condoms, apparently, but there’s nothing like the smell of bubblegum out of a pack of hockey cards or brought fresh from the local convenience store. That’s total kid stuff right there. Pure as it comes. Sometimes squishy and sometimes hard as a frozen sheet of steel.
  • New Plastic. I can’t explain why this smells so good, but open up a new lego box or tank model or the latest plastic toy and you’ll see what I mean. Was it because that new plastic smell meant I got something cool to play with back when I was a kid? Or did all the glue fumes from making models severely damage some part of my brain?

    Ah, model glue. Is it the smell or the fact it't toxic and addicting?

    Ah, model glue. Is it the smell or the fact it’t toxic and addicting?

  • Plastic Model Glue. Ok, I get why this one smells so good to me. I got high off it for years before I ever knew you could get high off it. I guess it’s like the smell of cigarettes to former addicts – it just kinda hits that part of your brain that says more please. Luckily, that addiction has now been replaced with donut cravings.
  • Pools. Now this isn’t a particularly kidish smell, but let’s face it, we don’t go to the pool that often unless we’re taking the kids. But that toxic smell of chlorine… Oh so good. But it’s a smell that could have been a total nightmare, too. I mean, my brother and I learned to swim in a chlorine pool and back when we were taught such things, they literally tossed us in the deep end, and there we were, desperately dog-paddling to stay afloat and gulping down gallons of the stuff. So it is a little odd I love the smell. It could have easily been something that sent me to therapy.
  • Playdoh.


    Play-doh. It’s in every box in which the boys have stored their toys. Little blobs of it at the bottom. Small jars underneath their cars. Giant globs stuck the sides of the Rubbermaid containers. I don’t honestly recall playing with it that much, but that smell… like cookie dough. Or an almond-vanilla thing. The more I think about it, the more likely it is that I didn’t so much play with it as eat it. I wish my mom was here to tell me what happened.

  • Cookie doh. Ha, cookie dough. Not that I haven’t eaten my weight 200 times over in cookie dough over my adult life, but it’s still a kid smell to me. I’m not talking those super-good-for-you cookies, though. Nope. We’re talking chocolate chip cookies. Maybe smartie cookies. But that sweet, doughy smell is hard to beat. Personally, I think Sesame Street should have made a cookie-dough monster except, you know, for the fact you shouldn’t really eat raw cookie doh,
  • School Books. No other book smells quite like a school book. Maybe it’s the smell of despair or panic that’s put into all of them. Maybe they use a different paper or a different binding than the Stephen King books. But there’s that new text book smell that’s just kind of hard to place. Inky. Something chemical-like. Probably the glue. Wait. Dammit, did they make those things with the same stuff I made models with?
  • Sharpies. Not only fun to draw with, but fun to smell.

    Sharpies. Not only fun to draw with, but fun to smell.

    Sharpies. OMG sometimes I think that when I’m down, I should just take off the lid of a sharpie and sniff, sniff, sniff. I’m not sure how healthy it would be, but there’s an intoxicating element to that pen. I don’t recall sharpies from my childhood, though, so the smell is a great 21st century kid smell. Probably done deliberately. Probably tested on rats or kids in China.

Oh, hey, but that’s not all. There are a lot of other smells associated with childhood or kids. Campfires. Burnt marshmallows. Fresh band-aids. Wet dog. Wet kid. Cold water on hot asphalt. Rubber dodge balls (I took a lot of those off the nose in my time.) Mothballs. Leather baseballs.

Oh the list could really be endless, as is the list of horrible smells. But as the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world reminded me, focus on the positive (and not the smell of vomit that you can’t get out of the car.)



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Piano Man

A Delicate Little Flower

delicate flowerNow the last thing The-Oldest would want me comparing him to is a delicate flower, but that’s how I feel about his latest and most amazing endeavour. Learning to play the piano.

First of all, much to my horror, like most kids, the more you try to push him into something, the more he resists. As evidence, I point to jujitsu. To his credit, he stuck with it to the end of the session and tried his hardest while there, but he wanted to do it about as much as I would want to take dancing lessons (which, FYI, I’ll have to do for the wedding since I dance like a elephant with its feet in cement.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, pushing kids.

In my dream world before kids, I thought, hey, if you’re just encouraging enough, positive enough, made it seem like fun, kids would want to do it. Simply put, they’d want to do it cuz I said so.

Seems me saying it’s cool or fun does not, in any way, make it cool or fun.

Who knew?

pianoSo, when The-Oldest became interested in the piano, we had to tread carefully. Like keeping a delicate plant alive, we had to water it just enough to keep it alive and not too much so it would die and wither and exude a sulfurous stench.

We had to be interested, but not overly interested. We had to be excited, but not too excited (like new Avengers movie excited, not new Star Wars movie excited.) We had to be there to help him and not there to show him how to do it.

The last part would be the hardest to balance. Not that I play the piano in any way, shape or form. I would be better off simply banging my forehead on the keyboard for all the talent I have, but The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world has some skill and has done her best to guide him and show him proper fingering.

It’s not easy, especially since (if I continue with the plant metaphor), we have pretty much killed every plant in our house. So, yeah, we have to be REALLY careful here.

But so far he’s continued to be interested and he’s done remarkably well. Better than well.

His fingers are blazingly fast. He can pound out the first part of the moonlight sonata like a pro. He’s learning to play funeral dirges cuz, you know, he’s a teenager. He plays the cello suite #1 with feeling and rhythm.

And he seems to love learning to play!

He comes home from school, does his homework and then sits in front of the piano. Not in front of a TV. Not in front of a computer screen or his phone. In front of the piano.

How cool is that?

I can’t tell you how impressed I am at his commitment. At his skill. At his natural talent.

But now we have to find a way to get him lessons. Without them, he’ll never really be able to play. His fingering will be so off that he wouldn’t be able to use both hands. He won’t be able to progress farther in many of the concertos he wants to play.

I know he knows there’s a limit he can do without assistance. But it’s like me knowing I shouldn’t eat a whole bag of yummy caramilk chocolates – knowing is not everything. Knowing does not overcome fear or a deep love of chocolate.

So how do we shift him towards that? How do we add more fertilizer so he will continue to grow? How can we make him a part of this decision-making process? How do we do that without him hating the piano?


To be continued.

In the meantime, Moonlight Sonata.








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Oh the Horror – A Movie Review and More

Still one of the scariest movies of all time - Exocist

Still one of the scariest movies of all time – Exorcist

At some point in a boy’s life, he becomes… well, let’s say ‘interested’ in horror movies. ‘Obsessed’ might be a better word, but ‘interested’ will do.

The-Oldest has reached that point. He’s read It. He’s watched movies like Nightmare on Elm St and Exorcist, which, FYI, is still one of the best horror movies of all time.

So while the Prettiest-Girl-In-The-World took The-Youngest to his first baseball batting tryout, The-Oldest and I decided to watch a movie. I wanted to make sure I got quality time with him as well. I greatly fear that The-Youngest, being a little more sportsie and challenging, tends to take up nearly all my time.

So I hoped I’d be able to do something fun with The-Oldest.

Hence a movie.

A movie I’d not heard about.

At all.


How did we choose it?

Well, we did what we do. Both The-Oldest and I won’t use a Kleenex until we’ve researched which ones last the longest, which ones are the softest and which ones are the most environmentally friendly.

So we looked into the best horror movies of all time.

There are many lists out there. There are lists of lists. Seems everyone and their demonic dog has a thought on this subject. Most included movies like 6th Sense or Silence of the Lambs which are not, in and of themselves, actual horror movies.

We’d looked at the lists from Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb. Metacritic.

Sadly, we’d seen most of the movies on most of the lists.

Child's Play.

Child’s Play.

Now, currently, The-Oldest’s favourite horror movie of all time is Child’s Play. He admits it isn’t the best movie ever made, nor even a particularly good movie, it’s just that he likes it. At his age, I thought Phantasm was the best movie ever made, so maybe at 13, our minds see things in a totally different way.

So I was a little leery when we found this Babadook movie. It’s Australian for one. It didn’t have any talking dolls or demons brought back from dreams or slashy serial killers. On top of that, it was written and directed by a woman.

Jennifer Kent.

And it had a silly name. Babadook? WTF???

It was, however, the winner of 49 awards!

Here’s the pitch… “A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.”

A scary house. A monster. A sinister presence.

Sounds ok, right? Sounds like something I’ve seen a hundred times before, right?


It was the most terrifying movie I’ve seen in awhile. Quite awhile.

It was the type of movie that stays with you for a long, long time.

Babadook. Holy hell, scary.

Babadook. Holy hell, scary.

The visuals were perfect. I mean, freaking perfect. The acting was so un-Hollywood that you thought you were watching a real family in crisis. The pacing was agonizingly tense. The music so creepy, I had to claw a blanket over me.

But the true genius was in the characters, their struggles and the ambiguous nature of the ‘evil’.

Without giving much away, the child wasn’t a lovable waif who said ‘I wove you momby’. No, he was deeply damaged by what happened in his past and was, to quote The-Oldest, “one tough kid to like.” He screamed a lot. Obsessed a lot.  Needed his mom A LOT.

And his mom, well the best that can said about her is that she was having a complete mental breakdown. Who could blame her? A huge trauma in her life. No sleep. A spooky book that she couldn’t get rid of. And a crazy? son.

I don’t want to reveal everything, but jezzus was this a great movie. I could not guess for a moment where they were going from scene to scene and, even after watching it, I’m still not entirely sure what happened. I mean, what REALLY happened, especially with her being a writer and all (they’re messed up people.)

The-Oldest, however, loved it. Even though he’d never admit it, it scared the pants off him, and there’s nothing a teenager (who hasn’t discovered girls, yet) likes more than having his pants scared off. Nightmares will come. Some of those images are burned into his brain. And that music…


So, yeah, a total success.

I’m super glad I didn’t have to see it alone.







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