The 2019 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts at the Crest Theater

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For years we’ve looked forward to watching the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. Well, I have to say the selection this year was quite unexpected. That isn’t a good thing either. The real show was watching the stunned movie goers stagger out of the theater shell shocked and depressed.

One had a slightly bitter sweet message, but the rest were just depressing and somewhat disjointed.

Skin (United States)
The was the only American film in the group. It was sort of a skin-head white-trash revenge film. It was squirmy and uncomfortable with a totally unrealistic ending that sort of wasted the message of the movie. We came up with a lot of much better endings and resolutions.

Marguerite (Canada)
This was a bitter sweet story of an elderly woman and her caretaker. The message was about missed love and understanding. It had a bitter sweet ending. This was the only one that didn’t make me want to cry, scream, or throw something.

Madre / Mother (Spain)
A woman gets a call from her small child. He is alone on a beach. He can’t find his father. Twenty minutes later they are still on the phone and the tension is high. PANIC time. No ending. Seriously, there is no ending. It was like the start of a movie but nobody was allowed to see the rest of it.

Fauve (Canada)
Two typical funny kids (think of the boys in Stand By Me) go exploring what looks like some sort of mining operation. Bad things happen. I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one. It was well done but odd and disturbing.

Detainment (Ireland)
If you want to have your heart and gut torn out watch this half-hour film  based on transcripts of police interviews with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the English boys who were convicted of torturing and murdering two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. I was in tears after this one too. Yes, it was done well. Yes, it might just win. No I wouldn’t see it again.

I would not show kids any of these films. I wouldn’t recommend this group to any of my friends.

On the way out my husband, daughter, her boyfriend, and I discussed all of the live action shorts we’ve seen in the past. Never have we seen such a depressing selection. And most live action horror shorts I’ve seen are 200% better than any of these. And I don’t like most full length horror films so I’m not playing favorites on the genre. I’m just saying these films kind of left me feeling dead, and that’s coming from me.

We watched the movies at the wonderful Crest Theater in Sacramento, California, a restored movie palace of a bygone era. That made it worth while.

 

 

The Crest Theater was also the inspiration for my story “A Night at the Crest.” Maybe one day I’ll make it into a short film, or maybe a full length movie, or into a full length book (my original plan.)

A Night at the Crest

A Story from Marla Todd  (Juliette Kings)

Dallas Andrews was performing at the old Crest Theater in Sacramento. Jonathan Ward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend Beth told him that this guy was hot. Andrews could actually communicate with the dead. Dallas Andrews said angels walked among them. He claimed to see angels all around him 24/7.

Andrews was the darling of the clairvoyant, medium, mysticism, aura generating followers of spiritual awakening. He had been featured on most major network and cable television stations. He did radio shows, graced the covers of magazines and now was packing in full houses on a nation wide tour. He followed in the footsteps of Casey and Nostradamus. His book was on the best selling nonfiction lists.

Jonathan had tried to talk Beth out of it. He told her the guy was a fake. He told her that all of these guys were fakes, but she insisted. She told him it would be fun and enlightening.

“It would be fun and enlightening to stay home and watch The Wizard of OZ.” he replied, but she wasn’t going to budge.

Jonathan Ward, founder and editor of the West Coast Review, was 5’10 with broad shoulders on his medium build. He was in good shape for someone his age, which appeared to be somewhere in his mid 40’s. According to his drivers license he was 46. His sandy brown hair had soft grey streaks at the temples. His eyes were framed with long thick lashes. His prominent nose was straight and narrow, but it fit with his oval face. He was good looking enough to get noticed by women but not enough to stand out in a crowd, unless one noticed his almost unnerving pale ice blue eyes. He had almost a perpetual and too quick of a smile. “Always amused” is how he was often described.

His companion Beth McAllister was knock down drop dead gorgeous and she knew it. Aside from her occasional bizarre and childish fascinations with freaks like Dallas Andrews, she was also brilliant. Well, most of the time.

Beth chattered away as they entered the lobby of the Crest Theater. Her stiletto heels clicked on the floor. Jonathan always thought of it as her mating call. He slid his hand down over her perfect behind. She promptly slapped it away. “Who do you want to contact?” she asked.

“Judy Garland and Billie Burke.”

“No, it has to be somebody you knew.”

“There are no dead people I want to talk to.”

“Maybe Dallas can contact your parents or your brother.” She said gently.

“They have unlisted numbers”

“You aren’t funny.”

“Bitch.” he whispered then kissed her on the mouth and led her to their seats.

As they made their way through the crowd his eyes met a well-dressed, slightly handsome, thirtyish man in the lobby. Jonathan was sure it was a plant; someone sent by Andrews to listen in to the conversations in the lobby. “My brother was blown to bits in Afghanistan. Pass that one on to your boss.” The man looked calm but Jonathan knew he’d unnerved him.

The restored art deco movie palace was the perfect place for the grand show of bullshit he would witness tonight. The lights dimmed. A woman in a long green dress played a traditional Irish harp on the corner of the stage. At the other corner was a plainly dressed woman signing for the deaf.

“I bet there isn’t one deaf person in this theater.” He said to Beth. She rolled her eyes at him and squeezed his hand. The lights came up on the stage. The crowd cheered. Jonathan sat back with his arms crossed, glaring at the stage.

Dallas Andrews walked causally onto the stage dressed in a white silk shirt, cream colored tie and matching cream colored dress slacks finished off with tan Italian loafers with tassels. He was in his mid-to-late thirties with wavy dark hair and boyish good looks. He smiled sweetly at the audience showing off perfect dimples, practically glowing with goodness and concern.

“How innocent, how angelic, how phony” thought Jonathan.

The audience clapped until Andrews blushed on command and told them to stop. Jonathan glanced at Beth. She was transfixed. He had lost her, to Dallas Andrews, at least for the next hour.

The man in white told his story with all the passion of the finest bard or worst televangelist, depending on one’s point of view. It was all bullshit about dead friends and relatives who’d ended up with tragically only to “speak” to Dallas through his new found gift.

Dallas ended his touching life story with “We can all be at peace with those we love who have passed over. I knew at that time I had to help others to find that peace and end the pain and worry.

It is a selfish thing that we expect the dead to contact us. It isn’t easy for them. But I’m trying to make it easier, as their go between. I channel. I am the messenger. I am merely a vessel to bring the message of love from the other side.”

Jonathan said nothing as the audience sat transfixed. He jotted a few notes then put his pen away. The night might not be a complete waste of time if the timing was right.

Andrews proceeded to ask questions of tearful audience members who wished to hear from departed loved ones.

“I’m hearing from Mary, Martha? I also see black and white. A nun. A policeman.” Andrews said in the most gentle and concerned voice.

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Jonathan swore under his breath. The people around him glared. He ignored them.

They heard from a dead son killed in a car accident, a recently departed grandmother, a young wife who died from cancer, a career Army officer killed in Iraq. Jonathan’s heart broke for those who came looking for answers and the hope of any small comfort. He took notes while Beth wiped tears from her face.

After about 90 minutes Andrews opened up for questions and answers. When called on, Jonathan stood up with his usual amused smile. “Be nice” Beth whispered.

Dallas Andrews saw a familiar face. He knew who the middle-aged man in the expensive black suit and distracting ice blue eyes was. Then he noticed the incredibly beautiful brunette sitting next to him. Dallas smiled sweetly at Beth, catching her off guard. She smiled back then blushed. With any luck he’d she’d be at the reception afterwards and after that in his suite at the Hyatt Regency across the street.

“Yes, you had a question.”

Jonathan addressed the clairvoyant. “You actually see angels? Show me who the angels in this room are?”

Dallas smiled and nodded “You won’t be able to see them. They are spirits who reveal themselves to me, but they are here, all around us. Open your heart and you’ll feel their presence.”

Jonathan didn’t like the answer “Tell me Mr. Andrews, are your angels from heaven or are they from someplace else? It’s often hard to tell the difference.”

The room hushed. Dallas Andrews was obviously annoyed by this man. “I sense you have a troubled soul.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” Jonathan replied in disgust.

Andrews gave a sympathetic smile and help out his hands, palms up. “Let me try to help you find out where your demons come from.” His voice was soothing as if talking to a troubled teen.

Jonathan almost laughed. “Oh you’re good. You’re very good. Mr. Andrews, where I come from we have words for people like you. A few that come to mind are liar, con man, cheat, and oh yes, more importantly sinner.”

“What is your name?” asked Andrews trying to keep his composure.

“You know perfectly well who I am.” thought Jonathan. He smiled at the man on stage. “Jonathan Ward, West Coast Review.”

Dallas Andrews pointed at Jonathan then put his finger to his chin. He smiled again. “I thought I recognized you. You’ve seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears the news I’ve brought to these people tonight. Mr. Ward, humor me for a moment. Think of someone you’ve lost. Your parents were from Alaska. They died in a plane crash, you and your siblings survived. Would you like a message from your parents?” he asked raising an eyebrow at Jonathan.

Beth took Jonathan’s hand. He gave it a quick squeeze and let go. Parents my ass. “Why should my dead mother contact you, a stranger, when she could contact me directly?” he asked.

Dallas toned down his voice. He turned up the gentleness and compassion. “You block out the passage for her to travel with your negativity.”

Jonathan only glared. “You found the information about my mom from the bio on my web site. You’ve been following my stories for the past year.”

“You must have great pain in your heart” replied Dallas in a comforting voice, as he put his own hand over his heart.

“How do you know my mother is really dead or even has a soul?” Jonathan shot back sarcastically.

“I speak with the angels.”

“Really? You not only see, but you also speak with angels? That is truly amazing.”

“It is a gift, a blessing.”

“It’s a lie.” said Jonathan calmly as Beth sunk lower in her seat.

Dallas Andrews smiled sadly “Ladies and Gentlemen, this reaction is common from skeptics. There are angels all around us.”

“Show me.”

“There’s one right next to you.”

Jonathan ignored the comment. “Dallas, do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“Do you believe in hell?”

“I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all mankind. So, no, Mr. Ward, I don’t believe in hell.”

“You will Dallas, believe me you will.”

Dallas lifted his chin in defiance. “Is that a threat?”

“No Dallas, it isn’t a threat. It’s a statement of fact.” Jonathan said cooly.

“What in your opinion is hell, Jonathan?” asked Dallas slowly and deliberately as if he was ready to pull out the big guns.

“I’ll give you a tour,” Jonathan thought to himself. He wasn’t going to take the bait. “I’ve seen enough. Good night Dallas. Don’t forget to check out next week’s issue of the West Cost Review for the end of this riveting story.” Grabbing Beth’s hand, he started to make his way to the back of the theater. Beth stopped and turned back.

“Just like Lot’s wife.” He whispered in her ear.

She pulled her hand away and hissed “Asshole.” He stopped by the exit door and faced the stage.

Dallas Andrews had already started to have a violent seizure. Then he started to scream and fell to his knees holding his head in his hands. Soon he’d feel pain like he’d never felt before. It was an ugly way to end the evening, but the man had to be stopped. Jonathan couldn’t kill, but he could do an amazing amount of damage to the living. Maybe, with any luck, Dallas Andrews would get the message and change his ways.

Jonathan smiled slightly and narrowed his eyes “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Amen.” He said quietly to nobody in particular.

Beth looked at him with wide eyes.

He scowled at her “What? Don’t look at me like a frightened cat. I told you he was a fake.”

“Jon, we can’t just leave.”

“Sure we can. There isn’t anything we can do here except be in the way.” He took out his phone and dialed 911. “My name is Jonathan Ward. I’m at the Crest Theater on K Street. Sacramento. Dallas Andrews is having some sort of attack. Horrible convulsions. Oh my gosh, I think he passed out. Please, he needs help. I’m not sure…there’s a doctor or someone up on stage with him now.” He paused “Yes…you’ve had other calls…help is on the way. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Beth stood in shock. “Oh no, oh no.” she whispered, her eyes still on the stage.

“Let’s go darling.” Jonathan told her grabbing her arm like a vice and practically dragging her out of the theater. She passed a few of her wide-eyed friends, but he didn’t let her stop. She’d be blabbering all night to them about poor Andrews. He wondered how someone as smart as Beth could be so gullible and stupid when it came to crap like this.

They walked across the Capitol Park to his car. Beth was livid.

“We should have stayed. I bet you made him have an aneurism with your stupid questions. I can’t believe how rude and mean spirited you were to him. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She tried to stop him but he kept walking.

He gave her a disgusted look. “I was rude and mean spirited? At least I was telling the truth.”

“No, if he dies it will be your fault.”

“How will it be my fault? Should I have asked for his medical history before I asked him any questions?”

She grabbed his arm. “Aren’t you concerned at all?”

He stopped and pushed her hand away. “Tell me why I should be concerned with a fraud like Andrews? Enlighten me?”

Beth was livid. “Dallas isn’t a fraud. What I saw tonight was real.”

This was going nowhere. Jonathan changed his tone. He ran his hands down her arms and gently took her hands. “Dear sweet Bethany. It wasn’t real.”

“You never respect anything I say or feel.” She cried trying to pull her hands away. “What about his visions from his cousin and dead girlfriend? He couldn’t have been making that up.”

Jonathan held on tight. “His cousin Joyce died when he was two years old. Andrews had seen her once. And there was no girlfriend Patty. She was a girl in his dorm who died of leukemia. They knew each other but they never went out.”

“He might have loved her. He might have cared for her.”

“No Beth, the guy is a liar and a fraud.”

“You don’t know that.”

““Listen to me. Remember the first time you saw the trunk that belonged to May Woosley, in the Sacramento History Museum? You were on a field trip with your nephew’s 4th grade class.”

Beth blinked, her voice turned shrill. “What are you talking about?”

“Let me jog your memory. May died in 1879. She was just a little girl. On the advice of a clairvoyant, like Andrews, her mother sealed a trunk full of May’s belongings in the wall of their home. Mrs. Woosley spent the rest of her life searching for a message from her daughter because she’d listened to the words of a con-artist rather than listening to her own heart for healing. The trunk wasn’t found again until 1979. When you saw it in the museum you cried. You went home and cried all night for the little girl and her family.”

“How did you…that was 5 years ago, before I even met you. I never told you about that.”

“You didn’t have to. Beth, don’t you see. You knew Mrs. Woosley was lied to. Dallas Andrews lies to people too.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. She backed away. “How do you know these things? You always know things.”

“I observe and I guess a lot.” He wiped the tear away and kissed her. “See, you aren’t as tough and shallow as you pretend to be.”

The fog had rolled leaving the night air with zero visibility. He took her hands and wrapped the car keys around them. “You’re driving.”

She took the keys knowing full well that he was practically blind on clear night and completely blind in the night fog.

“Could you even see Dallas Andrews on the stage.”

“I could see enough. Let’s go.”

“If you could have seen his face.”

“I saw his face clear enough to know every single thing he said was a lie.”

She adjusted the seat and glanced over at him. “You’re such an asshole.”

“Just drive.”

“Where are we going?”

“Your house.” Her house was closer and he wouldn’t have to drive her home in the morning.

“You expect me to let you…”

“I love you Beth. Nothing, including your faith in a charlatan like Dallas Andrews, is going to change that. Not now, not ever.” He took her hand and whispered, “You are my soul. And despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy, I need you.”

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she drove in silence.

When they got back to her house and made love to her like she was the last woman on earth. She asked him again about the long thin scars on his back. He told her for the 100th time that he didn’t remember how it happened. It was during the plane crash when his parents died way up in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from anyone. So final. So tragic. It made for a good story, even thought it wasn’t true.

Beth’s amazing body was as fake as the con man he’d just put down. Beautiful store bought breasts, a dazzling smile of the best veneers money could buy, cheek implants and a slightly smaller and straighter nose than nature had given her, violet colored contacts covering her hazel eyes, the trendiest hair colorist in town, a sprayed on tan, artificial nails and a toned body thanks to grueling sessions with a sadistic personal trainer named Bruce. Jonathan thought wistfully that there was an entire generation of American men who had never felt a real female breast.

The sad thing was that at 38 Beth would have been lovely without most of the work. At least her heart was real, despite her tendency to be shallow and superficial.

He knew he scared her. The only reason she kept him around was for the great sex and his political connections. What a joke – there were no real “best” connections in Sacramento or anywhere else for that matter.

Jonathan knew the best people to know where those brilliant folks who stayed away from the media limelight, away from the cultural and political wanna-bees. He often thought, “Give me the rocket scientist next door over those who claimed they partied with Arnold and Jerry, or knew the more influential elected officials and developers at the state capitol. Give me my own friends; the mom who writes historic romance novels, the high school science teacher, the master gardener and the emergency room doctor. These were the people who really know what it is like to be alive and human.”

The next morning the fog had been replaced by a grey drizzle of rain. He left Beth’s in his silver Jaguar XJR, heading off to the airport to pick up Lorna. A few years his senior, she was a golden haired, blue eyed living Barbie doll. She lived in Malibu with a view of the ocean. Tapped into the spiritual rhythm of the ocean, she fit right into the affluent new age lifestyles of her neighbors. They had to be some of the most entertaining and shallow people he’d ever met.

“Where’s the hybrid?” asked Lorna

“Dropped it off for new tires.” He thought of Lorna and her unrelenting social conscience – knew he should have driven the hybrid, then shrugged it off. This weekend he wanted style not substance. In a few hours all the substance he could ever want was going to be shoved down his throat.

“What are you listening to?” she asked in disgust when he started up the car.

“Metallica.”

She turned it off. “Have you heard today’s news yet?”

“No. I’m clearing my mind today. No radio. No TV. No newspapers. No Internet. No phone.”

“Tell me what happened last night?”

“Beth broke up with me. She said I was too intense. I recall she used also used the words weird, asshole and insensitive. Lots of tears so I think there’s a good chance she’ll take me back.”

Lorna grabbed his wrist like a vice. “What happened with Dallas Andrews?”

“Let go, do you want me to wreck the car? Where did you hear about Andrews?”

“NPR, Morning Edition. CNN. Fox. LA Times.”

“Was my name mentioned?”

“They said that in the process of being interrogated by you, Andrews had a violent seizure. He is now is now seeing visions of hell and keeps mentioning your name.”

He changed the music to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Funny guy that Andrews. I heard the story on the way to the airport. Didn’t realize Dallas Andrews was so popular.” He said giving Lorna a wink. “Grab my phone, it’s in the glove box. Check my messages.”

Lorna’s beautiful mouth turned into a slight smile as she listened to the messages. Jonathan thought it was almost a snarl. “You have 22 messages. The first three are from your office, CNN and Beth. She’s hysterical. The rest seem to be people wanting to talk to you about Andrews.” They headed down Hwy 50 towards the hills. “What are we going to do with you Jonathan?” she asked rubbing his neck with her left hand.

“Don’t do anything with me” he answered quietly. “Just let me do my job.”

They went up the hill towards Sutter Creek, to Ruth’s Ranch as he always called it, for the annual, get our heads screwed back on, clear our brains, find peace, drink a lot of great wine and solve all our problems retreat. He was looking forward to it. The past few months had been a major drain on his mental and emotional resources.

He loved the drive through the rolling oak forested hills. He spent every weekend he could with his cousin Ruth. But this weekend might be rough. He was going to ask his family about his latest job offer. This was his dream job. He’d all but signed the contract. Everyone would be there to give him their own jaded opinions. Most wouldn’t be too thrilled.

He looked over at beautiful golden Lorna dozing in the seat next to him. She was his older sister, his mentor, the one who kept him grounded. He imagined her with a halo and beautiful wings spread out in shining glory. Then he wondered if she was sleeping with her new best friend, a plastic surgeon named, Dennis O’Brian. Denny, as she called the man was nice enough, but suddenly Jonathan felt like he wanted to beat the crap out of the guy if he ever touched Lorna. Then he’d torture him and flay off his skin leaving him a quivering mass of, well, whatever. He had to stop being so protective of his sisters.

Jonathan’s mind skipped back Dallas Andrews. He felt sick to his stomach. It had been unpleasant business, but somebody had to do it. After all it wasn’t easy being angel.

Copyright Ó 2013 Marla Todd

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Juliette’s List of Watch a Million Times Somewhat Romantic Movies

On one especially shitty day in 2012 when the kids and husband were busy I sat alone in the dark and watched The Hangover for the third time. I laughed out loud alone in the dark. Then I felt better. At the time it was a movie I would not let my kids watch, but boy did I feel better.

This is not a list of the most romantic, or the best romance movies. This is a list of the movies that I can see again and again and again because all of them touch something romantic and comforting inside of me. I can relate to all of them.

These are the films I can watch when I’m in a slump, or alone, or just have to get my mind out of a funk. These are movies I love that I can watch over and over and over. Of course all of these have a bit of romance in them. Most have humor as well.

Juliette’s List of Watch a Million Times Romantic Movies

  • The Hangover (2009)
  • Bridesmaids (2011)
  • Made of Honor (2008)
  • Leap Year (2010)
  • The Proposal (2009)
  • 27 Dresses (2008)
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  • Shrek (2001)
  • Rebecca (1940)
  • Notorious (1946)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • A Walk in The Clouds (1995)

So what are your Watch A Million Times Romantic movies? Please share. Maybe there is one I haven’t seen yet.

Of course there is a list of movies that aren’t really romances, but that is another post, for another time.

But please – share your favorites. And go ahead and add The Lake House (2006) to my list while you’re at it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Ask Juliette: Popular Culture Edition

Ask Juliette

Ask Juliette (or Ask a Vampire) is a semi-regular feature here at Vampiremaman.com

If you have a question you NEED to have answered, about anything send it to juliettevampiremom at gmail dot com, or put it in the comments here and I’ll answer it on the next Ask Juliette post.

So here we go. I have a lot of small ones this week.

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Why don’t you like the violin player Lindsey Stirling. I think she is awesome.

Good, then YOU listen to her play her magical violin. I don’t know, I just find her extremely annoying and rather weird. If you like her than by all means I’m not going to stop you. Have fun.

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 Why didn’t anyone in your family watch the Grammy Awards this year?

Because it is the same old shit every single year. There are so many talented and fantastic, and original artists who NEVER get recognized. I get tired of the Pink, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, and the rest of the “popular” artists. And I didn’t even mention my shock that the horrible Imagine Dragons song “Thunder” was nominated for anything. Really guys? You can do better than THAT. You used to be brilliant. What the F happened there?

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What movie do you want to win Best Picture at the Oscars?

Unlike the Grammy Awards, I approve of the Oscar nominations. Of course, since Sacramento is my hometown, and I loved the movie, I’d love to see Lady Bird get as many awards as possible. I’d loved that Get Out was recognized. The rest of the films are all deserving. This is one of those years when the choice will be hard, but no matter who wins it will be ok.

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Why don’t you like red pants?

We’ve gone over this before. Only small children (under ten years of age) and really old people (over eighty) should be allowed to wear red pants. Grown men should NEVER wear red pants, especially guys over thirty. So why don’t I like them? Because red pants look stupid on most people.

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What if your favorite Vampire movie?

Nosferatu (1922) because it is so weird and creepy. As a rule I don’t like Vampire movies. I think my next three picks would have to be Love at First Bite, Interview With A Vampire, and of course The Lost Boys.

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How do Vampires find food? It isn’t like you can just go to the grocery store.

Food is all around up. Most of us these days don’t depend on lurking around bedrooms, unless of course we’re invited. We find food at bars, and clubs. We find it at cultural events. Art events are awesome for food, as are concerts.

Most of us have several regular donors we go to. They might not know that they have their own Vampire, but they do. In return for being a regular we give them a certain amount of protection and favors.

Of course we get blood in bottles. Yes we do. And sometimes we DO eat real food. Just stay away from baked goods, sweets, and keep it simple but full of flavor. Poultry doesn’t set well with most Vampires. All things in moderation.

I get a lot of questions about this because everyone is fascinated with what we eat. Seriously folks it isn’t that interesting, but I’ll do more future posts on it.

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What would your exotic support animal would you want to take on a plane?

A fresh water otter. If not that a large goat.

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Alright that is all for now. Vlad’s Vampire Diary is coming up next. And remember if you have any questions about Vampires, relationships, fashion, paranormal stuff, books, following your dreams, anyone I talk about on this blog, parenting, kids, school, travel, cats, ghosts, or anything else you have just “Ask Juliette.”

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday the 13th – Space, Time, Lucky Stars and Vampires

It is Friday the 13th AGAIN. I first posted this on September 13, 2013. And since it is good luck to read stuff for a second time then here you go – all the facts you need to know about Friday the Thirteenth and Aliens! And don’t forget to kiss a Vampire tonight!

 

Friday the 13th – Cosmic Adventures in the Final Frontier!

I wake with a cool hand stroking my hair. He kisses my neck and then covers my mouth with his. I pull the handsome man beside me in my bed closer. “You’re naked.”

He smiles. “I know.” And we both know the kids won’t be up for at least another 30 minutes.

Friday the 13th isn’t all that unlucky after all.

I was thinking about our conversations last night with the kids.

Voyager 1 has left the solar system. About a year ago but the signal is slow getting back to us.

My dad got his first telescope in the late 1850’s and we’ve been watching the night skies with close-up wonder ever since. There is something about being a small dot in a large universe that brings on such a sense of awe and wonder that can’t be explained away by reason or logic. And it is great fun! FUN.

And the speculation continues on what is out there, if anything. I’ve always thought it would be very sad indeed if we were the only planet with intelligent life. I’d like to think there would be more advanced places where every single day didn’t seem like Friday the 13th and ignorance wasn’t King.

So now we just wait for someone from another planet to find the Voyager. I’m hoping it will be sooner or later. I can imagine one of them saying “Hey, they have Chuck Barry too!” How cool would that be. And don’t say it couldn’t be because we have so much to learn – there is so much we don’t know about our neighborhood and the universe we live in.

There was a long discussion about space with my husband and kids. That is one thing the Voyager has done – made people think and talk about stuff. Space, the universe, our roles in it, the idea that someone else is out there… good stuff.

I have to say there is nothing sexier than a man who spends a couple of hours talking with his kids about stuff like space and life and imagination and wonder – or anything.

Finding real life in Space, life we could communicate with would be literally earth shattering, or more human shattering.

I’ve imagined if they knew Vampires and Werewolves were real. Just imagine if someone from another planet dropped by for a visit. It is mind-boggling. It is exciting beyond belief.

Then one of the kids brought up the proposed Mars trip. Those who went would volunteer to never come back.

That would be difficult to leave our home forever. There is an attachment we have that tugs us and keeps us here, like an emotional gravity.

If you die in space will your body rot? Not unless there is bacteria. But I could be wrong.

We can’t breathe the little atmosphere on Mars. It is colder than cold. It is a harsh planet, but then again so is ours – thanks to humans.

But imagine going to live on Mars. How cool is that? It is the stuff of dreams – the ultimate dream. The dreams the cumulate in the reality of great science fiction books and films.

We talked about Vampires in space. That might be a logistical nightmare considering our unique dietary needs. It certainly would be a nightmare for our fellow space travelers.

We need to keep our dreams and work on making them a reality. Dreams of home and dreams of places far away in space.

After the kids went to bed my husband Teddy said “I sometimes feel as if I’m an alien on my own planet.”

“You’re completely normal, for a Vampire. That’s why I fell in love with you.”

“There is nothing normal about us my love.”

Well, I thought, nothing is normal except our kids, thank goodness, but they’re our kind of normal which isn’t a bad thing.

Some random thoughts on Friday the 13th:

  • It is Friday the 13th of September, 2013. 9-13-13 an odd string of numbers. This blog is an odd bit of postings. Something to think about.
  • Hold out your hand and the palm reader will tell you to kiss a black cat, fall in love with a mysterious Vampire and dream of your heart’s desire tonight with 13 wishes and 13 candles blazing on the mantle and 13 kisses.
  • There is no bad luck – only good luck missed.
  • Imagine a literary cat with 13 toes and 13 lives and 13 stories to tell.
  • Yesterday was the 12th, tomorrow is the 14th, today is an odd day indeed.
  • Let us ponder the unlucky. A Werewolf with fleas. A Vampire without passion. A Ghost in an empty house. A teenager without friends.
  • But it is Friday so the Werewolf takes a flea bath and goes on an art show. The Vampire tastes the warm blood of a passionate human. A ghost gets a house full of children. A teen meets kids who think he is really cool.

Favorite movies and books (of mine) about meeting someone from another planet:

  • Another Earth (2011)
  • Star Trek – First Contact (1996)
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth (1996)
  • District 9 (2009)
  • And every Spielberg film ever made even if it isn’t about space.
  • And just read any Ann McCaffrey book. I recommend “The Ship Who Sang” and “The Crystal Singer”.

Then anything by H.G. Wells, Issac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. And of course Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat (because it is Friday the 13th) and Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

This is just a short list (since I have only spent about 20 minutes writing this post and haven’t thought it out too much). Feel free to share your favorites!

Happy Friday the 13th! Reach for the Stars! And don’t forget, even if you have to force them, talk with your kids! It’s fun – and FREE!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Proof of Life on Mars!

Proof of Life on Mars!

Notoriously Hot (ramblings in the heat)

At 108 degrees farenheit it is too hot. Way too hot. It is one of those days where I wish humans were cold-blooded because I don’t want anything that doesn’t have ice in it. At 98.6 degrees the average human is no treat for any Vampire in this weather.

With a body temperature running more than slightly on the cold side and an aversion to sunlight as it is – I am so cranky and bitchy right now I can hardly stand it. Vampires tend to be cold weather creatures so I’m wondering why I’m living in such a HOT place right now.

Then on top of it all I get a call from my mother asking me to do one more thing to help out my brother who is “in an emotional slump” and I explode “He is single and doing FINE in my book. I have two kids, a husband, a business AND I’m taking care of the elders this summer. NO. He can call me but I don’t have time for HIS DRAMA.” My brother Aaron, the other sibling with kids and a business and too much on his plate told her the same thing. There are two other brothers who need to step up to the plate….but…excuse me for the vent. A lot of us, Vampire or not are dealing with the summer HEAT and nasty issues…I am so hot I feel like rotting Zombie.

And no bitching or correcting my spelling or grammar today – it is too hot and my connection is slow and you don’t want a crabby Vampire on your hands.

In the meantime my darling husband finally fixed the air conditioning (yes, it went out just as the triple digits hit) and said “Honey, I recorded your favorite movie.”

We’d planned on going out but we decided to stay in with ice-cold cocktails and one of my favorite movies Notorious (1946) with Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Raines.

220px-Notorious_posterThat movie covers every side of hot and cold that a movie can. Did I mention it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock? It was.

The plot: Alicia is a party girl with a German father and American mother. The movie starts when her father is thrown in prison for being a spy. Later, at a party, with a lot of free-flowing booze, a friend brings a mysterious and ever so handsome man. The attraction is there. He is Devlin, an American spy. To get to the point, the attraction turns to something more. You have to read between the lines, or watch and listen between the lines in this movie because of the censorship laws back then. Anyway, she has a reputation but is in love with him. He loves her but he holds back due to the typical double standard male ego.

Soooo to make a long story short and confusing…They go to Brazil (where the nuts come from) and fall in love even more and are obviously hula dancing (you know what I’m talking about but they can’t say it or show it in old movies – the teens found this very confusing).

But THEN the head spy decides, since she is already a slut (and these guys are so into slut shaming) she should marry or at least sleep with a bad German Sebastian (played brilliantly by Claude Raines) and find out what he, his friends and his creepy mother are up to. Alecia is shocked. Devlin is against it but says nothing, waiting for her to decide for herself. She figures he doesn’t love her and is a cold-hearted bastard so she says yes. What choice does she have?

So she married Sebastian but still keeps in touch with her handler Devlin (who she is still in love with). But wait – she and Devlin discover Sebastian and his creepy friends and evil mother are storing uranium ore in wine bottles. Who would have thought?

220px-Notorious1946Fast forward…the Evil Husband and his Creepy mother find out Alicia is a spy and poison her. Devlin worried that he hasn’t seen her for a week, goes to rescue her and realized in the MOST romantic scene ever that he loves her. LOVES HER in the worst and best possible way. The end.

You HAVE to watch it (just for her clothes and Cary Grant’s beautiful face if nothing else.)

So over ice-cold drinks we (husband, kids and me) huddled on the couch in the dark and watched the movie. The teens quickly left when it was over. I was happy and a little cooler.

Next we’re going to force the kids to watch Casablanca with us. Never has a better movie been made.

Garrett (age 17) asked us (the parents) “What did you do before air conditioning.”

We went to the coast for the summer or at least to San Francisco. We sort of stopped going to San Francisco for the entire summer after the earthquake (1906) but my parents did rebuild and still live there. I was in Monterey when it happened. Teddy (my husband but not yet) was living in Europe with my brother Max. We DO need to start going to the coast  and mountains more to cool off but with two teens and our busy lives…we just don’t do it enough. It was easier when the kids were small, but…you know how it is.

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we don’t wear corsets and a thousand layers of clothing anymore. Not that we always did during the summer months back then.

I called up the elders to make sure they were staying cool. Thank goodness their neighbor checked in on them too.

In this hot weather please make sure that you check in on friends and family members who are elderly or who otherwise might forget to turn on the air conditioning. Some people are like frogs. You a frog in cold pan. It sits there all comfortable cool and happy. Then you turn on the heat and watch as the frog just sits, not even realizing the heat was turned on until it is cooked. That is what happens to some people (and even some  Vampires and Werewolves who don’t know better.)

And make sure your pets have plenty of cool water.

The kids started to ask about the Donner Party but I told them that was a story for another day. The Donner Party on a day like today? Really?

So keep cool. Keep happy. Stay sane.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Lost Boys, Aliens and America’s Got Talent (or an evening with my teenage Vampire son)

imagesSummer is here and so is this season of America’s Got Talent. Yes, it is back along with my weekly update about what your favorite Vampire family thinks of it and our opinions.

For those of you who are just recently following this blog – there is a history here. We did this last year. Usually we added cocktails too but Teddy isn’t here tonight so no cocktails (you’ll have to make your own).

Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA

Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA

Teddy is with Clara on the last field trip of Middle School – ever. They’re in Santa Cruz enjoying the beach and the boardwalk and touring UCSC. And yes, it IS where the movie Lost Boys took place, but that isn’t going to happen on this field trip. The Vampires we know aren’t like that (it is fiction). OK a few might be that nasty but not in our circles. And yes, in the movie they call the city something else be we all know it is Santa Cruz, CA.

So tonight it is just Garrett and me. We’re drinking virgin cocktails of fresh blood on ice with a sprig of mint and a dash of unsweetened cranberry juice. If you’re not a Vampire just try the cranberry juice and mix it with a little ginger ale with the mint. Good stuff (yes, we’re always thinking of keeping our Regular Human friends happy as you keep us.)

Garrett asked me what my favorite Vampire movie was. I don’t know. I don’t really like most Vampire movies (and don’t ask why. Just figure it out.) I guess Lost Boys. Then he asked about Werewolf movies. American Werewolf in London hands down winner. So what about Alien movies? Now that is a difficult one. I know Vampires and Werewolves but I don’t believe I’m ever met an alien (I’ve had my suspicions) but it would have to be District 9 and Close Encounters and ET and The Man Who Fell to Earth and Liquid Sky…but District 9 is brilliant.  And as everyone knows the one thing that gives me the hair stand up on the back of your neck willies is space aliens. It all started the first time I read War of the Worlds (when it first came out).

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So we’re watching America’s Got Talent and so far we’re impressed with the judges. The ladies are great (Heidi and Mel are darling.) And we all adore Howard and Howie. And you all know I adore Nick  – he is as cute as my cat Oscar.

 

 

My cat Oscar (as a kitten)

My cat Oscar (as a kitten)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So on to the acts…

We have a lot of rattlesnakes around where we live so I wasn’t too impressed with the snake guy. In case you’re curious a snake popped a balloon. My girl cat Gloria could do that (but she won’t.)

The country singer was ok. I didn’t see him. Just heard him. Just ok. He will not always be on my mind.

CATAPULT – remember that name. They were wonderful. Dancers who told a great mystery story through shadows and body movements. WOW. Expect to see more of them in the future. They have my vote. And of course we all remember that silly sickening sweet shadow dance troop from last year. These guys take it to the next level without all the annoying kids.

The three guys who danced to Singing in the Rain were absolutely darling. Good job guys (I didn’t catch your name because I was petting the cat.)

The guy with the blow up doll (it isn’t what you think) was fun. I definitely want to see more of him. Another fun act was the kid with the hat.

They had to show Chuck from the Bronx because he was exceptionally stupid eating peppers and snorting salt and sucking eggs. He sucked more than eggs. He just sucked.

Ten year old Anna Christine sounded like a seasoned 25 year old professional – the girl could sing. Oh my goodness. The House of the Rising Sun no less. Wow. She was good – she was amazing.

The 3 Penny Choir and Orchestra was so much fun that we laughed out loud. The did the Call Me Maybe song as a classical number. That was FUN. Really FUN. I want to see/hear more. A lot more.

The Pacific Boys Choir was nice and sweet.

Special Head was a weird bit of smoke and mirrors. I didn’t like him. Neither did Garrett. And his name sounds sort of nasty and creepy.

And just as he finished up I noticed a huge raccoon out on the deck eating the dog food. I have to respect our nocturnal friends. Creatures of the night have a special place in my heart. It ran off as soon as I turned on the light. And yes, I brought in the food dish. Don’t need a critter party out there tonight,

So back to the show…

Angela Hoover did a fine job with her impressions and comedy. We want to see her again. I’d like to see more women in comedy. I’ve always thought it would be fun to do stand-up. It is one of my secret dream jobs.

Tone the one hit wonder reminded me of the scene in the movie the Proposal when the grandma and the boss lady were dancing around the fire. It was that bad and not funny or cute like the movie. It was stupid. Nooooooooooo.

So that is our review for tonight. Happy Tee Vee watching. We make no excuses here for any of our opinions, taste in entertainment or life choices. We are what we are and we like what we like.

After it was over Garrett said, “Maybe the Elders should be on America’s Got Talent. Their voices are amazing.”

“Not a good idea. They might tell everyone they’re Vampires.” I had to be honest about it. I never know what those two old Vampires might do.

Garrett smiled. “Sure Mom, but who would believe them?”

I had to laugh. “You have a point there darling.”

So tune in later for more on Vampire Maman!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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