The Good, The Bad, and The Really Bad: Staying Home, Parenting, and Too Much TV.

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Stay at home

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School, Kids, Staying At Home, Zoom

Once again I send my love and admiration out to all of the teachers, students, and parents who are attending class at home through Zoom and other online magic. The same goes to everyone who is working from home.

To those who are complaining bitterly about our Governors, in my case Governor Gavin Newsom, shutting things down: GET OVER IT. To those who complain and while about how much YOUR kids are missing out: GET OVER YOURSELF. From pre-schoolers to graduate students they are ALL missing out. My kids are doing online college. Yes, they worked hard to get into top universities and now are hunkering down in their apartments with Zoom. You want to complain? Don’t. Get over it.

So many students, and everyone else have had to deal with cancelled classes, graduations, sports, dances, weddings, birthdays, concerts, museum days, vacations, and everything else. SO GET OVER YOURSELF. Most people aren’t complaining. Be like them. Don’t complain. Just do what you have to do and make the best of it.

Spend your energy THANKING the teachers who’ve had to suddenly switch their classes to online. THANK the medical professionals, grocery store workers, farmers, and others who are still working on the front lines so you can be ok during this.

Come to think about it the people who are whining now are the ones who always whined before this all happened. GET OVER YOURSELF.

Also, please don’t go into a massive panic over Zoom. Yes there are hackers and jerks, but that is the exception rather than the rule. My daughter told me that hackers just start putting in random numbers and when they get to a meeting they post porn or start being disruptive. This is rare. More than anything, as in the case of one of my child’s classes, you find bored 18 and 19 year old boys. One came to a statistics class without clothes and from his bathroom. The professor told him to get dressed and get out of the bathroom. Another creeper started to try to pick up on girls and make rude sexist comments about them. The professor shut down all audio and visuals except for himself. All interaction with the professor was then private. None of her other classes have had problems. I’ve had Zoom meetings and they were delightful.

Don’t get caught up in panics. Take a deep breath. It will be ok.

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And no whining. You aren’t special.

Be Creative!

Look what you can do with felt pens and your own fingers. Fun stuff.

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What Not to Watch on Netflix: Badland

A few night ago Teddy and I thought it would be fun to watch a movie. Badland, a Western, was #4 in popularity on Netflix. Hey, everyone else was watching it so it must be good. It had a good cast that included Bruce Dern, Mira Sorvino, Amada Wyss, Trace Adkins, and Kevin Makely. Holy shit this movie was bad.

Dialogue: Melodramatic at best. It seemed the writer was trying to make an attempt at making the characters speak as if they lived in the 19th century. It came off as stiff, and sort of stupid.

Plot: A Pinkerton Agent is searching for bad former Confederate officers to bring in to be hung by the neck until dead. There is a sort of side story with a Pinkerton boss and his son that really doesn’t make sense but hey, nothing else in this movie does. In the first part he meets with an old Indian friend/rival just because there has to be an Indian friend/rival. Then he kills a bunch of criminals and gets beat up. The Pinkerton hero meets a woman on a ranch, sort of falls in love, saves her ranch, doesn’t kill her war criminal dad. Then he moves on like Shane and rescues some whores and saves the day in a town fill with people who are really stupid. He gets stabbed. The Indian friend/rival saves him, then he goes back to the woman he loves on the ranch.

Acting: Two out of five stars. Most porn actors do dialogue better (this is before the sex.) With such an experienced cast you’d think it would be better. You’d think. I know that none of these actors will be putting this one on their resume. They’ll be begging IMDB to remove it from their listings. I believe Kevin Makely wanted to be good but with that script and direction he didn’t have a hail stone’s chance in Hell.

Directing: This movie was written and directed by Justin Lee. Hey Justin USC and CSU Long Beach both have great screen writing programs. Maybe you should sign up and learn how to write a real movie script. I COULD DO BETTER. Seriously, I could do better. YOU could do better. But hey, he pulled it off getting such a great cast. Then he wasted that cast.

Sets: Looks like they are all cast offs from other old Westerns. Nothing interesting.

Costumes: Just about the worst I’ve ever seen. EVER. It was like he told the female members of the cast to just find something from the local Goodwill store or from the back of their closets. There must be something from the 1970’s you have hanging around. 1970’s, 1870’s same thing.

Out of five stars I’d give this move a 2 at best. Maybe a 1 because it looked like it might be a lot better. It was awful to the point we were laughing and saying rude things at the screen.

But the joke is on us because everyone is watching it on Netflix. Ugh.

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This is the poster for Badland. It had a decent cast. I should have known by looking at the poster it was a disaster.

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How the people who made this movie thought women dressed in the Wild West. Notice her hair is expertly highlighted and DOWN. Excuse me. Her hair would have been UP. Adult women of the time always wore their hair UP. For Pete’s sake even when I garden I put my hair up.

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What she should have been wearing if the costuming staff would have done their jobs rather than jacking off and saying “oh just bring something from your closet at home.”

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Pioneer Women

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Pioneer women.

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These are the costumes from Badland. The women look like they were told to dress like pioneer whores so they dug whatever they could find out of the backs of their closets. Bad Halloween costumes at best.

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A real 1870’s Madam. No nonsense. Note that despite her small waist she does not look like she is ready to go out for trick-or-treating. No puns intended.

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Soiled Doves. They don’t look much like the whores and dance hall girls we see in a lot of movies. What the hell is wrong with people who create movie costumes?

 

Movies and TV We’ve Liked

Hawaii Five-0 ended on Friday. I will miss Alex O’Laughlin’s and Ian Anthony Dale’s gorgeous faces. As a side note: I’m not overly fond of most Vampire movies or television series. I absolutely adored Alex O’Laughlin in Moonlight. It might have been because, well, isn’t it obvious.

Know Hawaii Five-0 wasn’t the best and never won any Emmy Awards but it was a fun Friday escape. We got some great drinking games out of it.

Now that we’re all home everyone is watching a lot of TV. Too much, but hey, I’ll be creative and productive later today.

What we’ve watched at my house in the past week:

  • Better Call Saul
  • Ozark
  • Briar Patch
  • Unorthodox
  • Tiger King
  • Expedition Unknown
  • 100 Humans
  • The Sinner
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • The Black List
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Pioneer Woman
  • My Lottery Dream Home
  • Twilight Zone (the original black and white from the 60’s)
  • Alaska State Troopers
  • The Curse of Oak Island which has been a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME this season #OakIslandCursers. It isn’t quite as bad as Badland but almost.
  • Lots of car shows. Lots of prison shows.  Lots of Food Network. Lots of nature shows. Lots of science shows. We finished all of the paranormal type shows we’d been watching.
  • Don’t judge me. Put suggestions in the comments if you have them.

Movies we’ve watched in the past week and liked:

  • JoJo Rabbit (5 stars)
  • Peanut Butter Falcon (4 stars, a exceptionally cute and sweet movie)
  • Rashômon (5 stars)

If you get really bored I have over 150 short stories posted on this blog.

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Getting Out While Staying In

I’m staying at home but sometimes I do get out for a walk around my neighborhood. I’m fortunate enough to live near a parkway and my home backs up to parkland. I’ve posted before about night walks. Here are some photos of yesterday’s daytime walk.

 

You might be wondering what ever happened to Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, my brother Aaron the Vampire and the rogue Vampires. Nothing so far. They’re headed out to the hills today to take care of the problem. I’m not going with them. Nope, not today. No no no no. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

I’ll be visiting Eleora and Tellias the ancient Vampires later today. Someone needs to check in on them and bring them some supplies. They also need the company and a little comfort.

My daughter asked me to do some art for one of her roommates so I’ll be working on that today too. I’ll post photos of what I come up with.

Thank you for dropping by. Feel free to leave a comment, share a movie suggestion, or let me know what you’ve been up to.

Stay safe. Stay chill. Wash your hands. Stay positive.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Vampire Hunters, Staying at Home, Online Learning, Keeping in Touch, and Rolling My Eyes as Usual.

My brother Aaron called me. “We need your help,” he said.

“No. Absolutely not. You need to hire a professional. I am not doing this.” I was not going to do this.

“I am hiring a professional. I’m going to see Durant right now. Will you go with me?”

“Sure,” I said.

We were on our way to see Austin Durant, History Professor, restorer of historic buildings, and Vampire Hunter.

Aaron is an attorney and, well, it is a long story, but he deals with rogue Vampires. That includes Shadow Creepers, who are those who no longer have a trace of a soul and are loathsome creatures. The others are Vampires who are over the top predatory,  cause violence against others and kill. I wish this list included bores and total jerks but unfortunately that isn’t a crime, just bad manners.

Let me clarify, Aaron takes care of ridding the world of Rogue Vampires. We could do it ourselves but that would too much bad juju for us. After all, Aaron and I are also Vampires. If you’re new here and don’t already know it go back and read my older posts. I’ve been blogging about it since 2012.

Anyway, we hire Vampire Hunters to help us. Not just any Vampire Hunters. We hire those who are experienced, friends (if you can call it that) of the Vampire community, and aren’t just hacks who’ve been watching too many old Hammer films. Seriously some people grow up seeing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee movies and think they’re ready to go out and save the world. They know nothing and are more likely to get themselves killed or at least in serious physical and emotional trouble. Jeeze they’re already fucking nuts.

Austin Durant is from a long line of Vampire Hunters, who’ve been taking out Rogue Vampires for centuries. He has a second sense about this sort of stuff and knows how to deal with the world in which Vampires and others who are not like him live. But enough of that.

I told Aaron that I was tired of crawling under floor boards and getting rid of dusty old  dried up Vampires. I’ll work with Austin but I’m tired of hearing, “You’re the smallest Juliette and you’re so good at talking to them.” Ugh.

Our current situation involved a group of nasty disgusting Vampires who’d camped out in an old abandoned ranch house in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the old Gold Country, along highway 49 in the California Gold Rush country. They’d taken advantage of people sheltering in place and self quarantined, especially those who were alone. They’d already gone into Stockton and were working their way up to Sacramento. It was ugly. They were making people sick. Not sick with Covid 19, but we were sure they were carrying it. They were endangering people and of course they never treated their food sources with respect.

That wasn’t so eloquently said, and it isn’t even the point of this story. I’m a mom. Mom stuff  is mostly why I write this blog.

We got to Austin’s house only to discover he’d taken in several students to shelter in place with.

Two were undergraduates. Grace was a third year English Major. Allison was a third year Engineering student. They were sharing Austin’s downstairs bedroom with the twin beds and their own bathroom. Kayden was a graduate student in History. He took the small spare upstairs bedroom.

For one reason or another they had found themselves without housing. Classes had all gone online, but other aspects of student life, like a place to sleep, had become more problematic.

Austin lived in a rambling five bedroom Arts and Crafts home he’d restored a while back. It would be a perfect place for out of place students looking for comfort and a bit of security while they were taking online courses and away from their families and friends.

When we arrived Aaron and Austin immediately went to Austin’s office to talk about the Rogue Vampires and bull shit about whatever it is they talk about. I went to the kitchen for a drink of water.

I overheard the students talking in the family room.

Grace: “Would you change your religion for someone you love?”

Kaden: “Like convert to her religion even if I didn’t really believe in it? No.”

Allison: “Fuck no. Holidays maybe but no, I’m not going to convert to some weird ass religion for some guy.”

Grace: “Would you become a Vampire for someone?”

There was a pause.

I walked into the room. “Vampires?”

“Would you become a vampire to be with someone you love?” Grace asked the question as if she was auditioning for the role of Elizabeth Bennet.

I answered, as if I was auditioning for the part of a warm blooded human. “It depends. Would they become a Vampire for me? What brought on Vampires?”

“Austin was telling us about the raise of religions and cults in 19th and early 20th century America. Then he told us about a group of Vampires who came to California during the Gold Rush to get away from the oppressive culture of the East Coast and Europe.”

“He said he was thinking about writing a book about one of them and her brothers. She’s a Vampire mommy blogger.”

“Really?” I said, then quickly changed the subject. I didn’t change the subject because I wanted to kill Austin Durant right at that moment, or at least rip his throat out, but because I was looking at three young people, the same age as my own children.

Because I’m not some shadow creeping undead ghoul I am also staying at home during the Covid 19 outbreak. I don’t know if I can get this thing. What I do know is that I can carry it. I’m a physical being so I can carry it around until it does land on some unsuspecting soul. Like everyone else I, and those like me, need to be responsible.

I also miss my own children to the point I sometimes feel physically ill. I know they’ve been successful at being adults despite their age. I raised them to be successful adults. I did my job. Bingo. I succeeded beyond expectations. Yet, no matter how much I pat myself on the back, and no matter how proud I am, I worry about them. I love them beyond anything I could ever imagine. That is one thing about parenting that one is never prepared for.

I talked more to the kids about their families, their classes, and their concerns. They made me laugh.

When I could hear the older boys were done with their discussions I invited myself into Austin’s office.

Of course Austin had to ask the one burning question that every Vampire Hunter must be wondering about. “So what are you doing for food these days?”

“Dave’s Bottle Shop is open with a good supply. We also have our regular donors. Don’t worry about it Austin. It isn’t any of your business,” I said.

Then I stepped closer. “Austin, if you ever write about us, or even THINK about writing about us the consequences will be extremely ugly.”

I could almost hear him thinking so I went ahead and answered his internal fear. “Yes, Austin, I would turn you into a Vampire so fast you wouldn’t even know it. Your worst nightmare would be a reality.”

“Juliette,” said Aaron. “Don’t say things like that.”

After rolling my eyes at my brother I just gave Austin a slight smile with the smallest bit of fang.

We’re still figuring out how to deal with the Rogue Vampires. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime if you’re not with your kids keep in touch. Text, FaceTime, FaceBook, Zoom, call, email, or whatever works for you. Don’t just do this for your kids but for everyone you know. Also please check in on the elderly and those who need a little bit of extra help. Keep in touch with those who might be alone and experiencing anxiety or depression.

  • Shelter in Place
  • Wash your hands
  • Keep in touch
  • Write
  • Be creative
  • Get sleep
  • Read
  • Be careful
  • Be nice
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Don’t take any chances. I want you to be here this time next year.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

A Whisper In the Night

Quiet words

A whisper in the night

The cracks of twigs

Wind sings

Through the

Oaks and darkness

A faint flash

From an overhead plane

The light of a porch

In the distance

You are not alone.

 

~ J aka VM

 

Staying in with the Ghost

Ghosts.

“You can’t get this,” he tells me.

“I don’t know that,” I said. Vampires never know what might or might not make them sick. We’re usually ok but you never know. Hell, nobody even knows how long we live or who is the oldest among us. Seriously, we don’t know squat about our own existence. On the other hand we seem to know everything about everyone else.

“Werewolves can,” he tells me.

“Tell me something I don’t know. Of course they can get it.”

“We are already dead. Nobody wants that,” says The ghost.

“Is it so bad being a ghost?” I ask.

“It is that bad. It is worse than that bad,” he says not worried about keeping any distance. “I never saw anything like this when I was alive or dead. There are old ghosts who experienced things sort of like this, but it was different back then. They didn’t even use soap or have indoor plumbing. I died in 1986. This is just weird.”

“I know,” I said to Nigel, the Ghost. Nigel isn’t always friendly or polite but he makes some good points now and then.

“So now that everyone is staying in where are Vampires getting their food?” Nigel asked me.

“Here and there. We have our regulars. We get what we need at places like Dave’s Bottle Shop.

“You’re staying in too,” he said in the most accusatory way.

“Yes, we are,” I said. “Even my brother Andy is staying in with his girlfriend. She’s sixty now and not a Vampire. She teaches college in Southern California and her classes are all online now. Andy decided to hunker down with her and help out. He even had a piano brought into her house so he could play while he is down there.”

“She’s my age, or the age I would have been,” said Nigel, who doesn’t look a day over twenty six.

I didn’t say anything. Nigel tends to brood when reminded of what-could-have-been.

“I’m making coffee,” I said. “Would you like some?”

He started to smile, then stopped and just gave me a slight smile. I ground some good beans (Chocolate Fish) and made a few cups in the French Press.

I sipped my coffee, while Nigel put his transparent hands around his cup and took in the smell.

We didn’t say much else. When his coffee grew cold he mouthed the word, “thanks” and vanished in a wisp of blue and purple vapor.

Maybe he’ll be back tomorrow. I don’t know. Nobody knows these days what might happen tomorrow.

Take care. Keep in touch with loved ones. Wash your hands. Keep a safe social distance. Thank your friends on the front line who work in the medical field, retail, law enforcement, EMTs, or other helpers during these weird times. Keep in touch with those who are elderly, need extra help, or are alone. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

 

 

As We Shelter In Place

Why is it that those of us who’ve written apocalyptic fiction are the ones who take apocalyptic fact the most seriously? It seems that way doesn’t it?

I told that to a writer friend of mine tonight. She was frustrated by all the stupid people who won’t stay in place and insist on doing stupid risky things. I’m frustrated by it all as well as baffled.

Like most of my friends and family we have been keeping to ourselves. That means keeping a limit on the news.

Never the less we keep hearing of people flaunting warnings. We see people on the beach and out at large social gatherings. We see politicians thinking that nobody should stay home. We hear preachers aka conmen saying they can protect their flocks. We hear of them believing conspiracy theories and other insanely stupid shit they hear from their usual stupid and insane sources. What the fuck is going on in Florida?

Tell those who think they are safe “It is not about you.” It is about all of us. It is about those who are at risk – which is ALL OF US.

This isn’t the flu. This is more like the plague. But it isn’t the plague. It is something that is it’s own pandemic.

Look up the word exponentially. That is what the the coronavirus COVID-19 does – it grows exponentially.

Whenever you have exponential growth, whatever it is that’s growing will double its presence/population in a given amount of time. Let’s say you start with a population that has just one infected person on January 1st, and the number of infected people doubles every three days. 

Here is a link to an article that will explain this more. Please have any nonbelievers you know read it. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2020/03/17/why-exponential-growth-is-so-scary-for-the-covid-19-coronavirus/#7725ac144e9b OR just CLICK HERE.

To all of my friends who are still working in the medical field, in grocery, drug, and hardware stories, to first responders, police, and all of are keeping the rest of us going: THANK YOU.

For everyone who has had to close their business or stop working and is now sheltering in place THANK YOU.

You know what you need to do. Do it. I want to be seeing you hear in the future. I want to keep reading your blogs. I want to know you are alright.

Keep writing / blogging both fact, fiction, and that wonderful something in-between. Just keep the facts when writing about COVID-19.

Keep entertaining us with your work because god knows we all need a good laugh now. Share your art, music, and cat pictures. Share, share, share.

As a final thought PLEASE keep in touch with your friends and family, especially those who are fragile or might need extra help. We don’t want to lose anyone.

Sending out love and common sense to all,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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