Monthly Haiku Corner – July

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toxic air
a new kind of plague
same old death

Recipe of the Month – April

Dead. I’m mostly dead inside, besides a few Frankensteinian moments, brought on either by self-preservation or energy drinks, I’m not sure yet. Point is, the Covid-19 pandemic has made blogging kinda tough lately.  When I realized I missed the deadline to post Recipe of the Month on its scheduled day, I knew I needed to post pronto, with a fitting tribute.  So, where do you put dead things? In a graveyard, of course!  Just so happens, I really love the idea of being buried inside Half Baked Harvest‘s Deathly Chocolate Graveyard Cakes.  Everyone is dying for a good chocolate recipe these days. and this is the one.
Now, if you excuse me, I need to go rewrite my will, again.

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Deathly Chocolate Graveyard Cakes by halfbakedharvest

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua OR caramel sauce OR sweetened condensed milk*
  • 2 oz boxes instant chocolate mousse mix 3 to 4 each
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 6 full-size Snickers bars crushed

DECORATIONS

  • 6 in Pirouette Rolled Wafers or pretzel rods, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate melted
  • 1 pan of your favorite brownies|baked + cooled
  • 4 ounces white chocolate melted
  • 20 Oreo cookies creme filling removed
  • 6 Halloween Oreo Cookies top cookie removed
  • 6 Hershey’s Kisses

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please visit here: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/deathly-chocolate-graveyard-cakes-witches-beware/

 

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Photo by halfbakedharvest

Apocalyptic Planning from the Couch

Pandemics and zombies go together like mac and cheese. Maybe, we’re looking for survival tips. I mean, zombie movies and apocalyptic horror have a special way of reminding us that humanity is worth fighting for, right?  Well, we’re not dead, or undead, yet, so, if you’re not yet ready to build a bunker, start a collection of assault rifles, or learn to love cold chili from a can, here’s a list of my favorite zombie movies to better prepare us for doomsday.

10. Cargo (2017)
“I don’t think normal is on the horizon.”

cargo
Based on the brilliant 2013 short of the same name, Cargo is the story of a father wandering across the apocalyptic Australian wasteland with his infant daughter, searching for help, after he’s been bitten. Sometimes doing right by humanity means not getting caught up in other people’s misery.

9. Re-Animator (1985)
“You’ll never get credit for my discovery. Who’s going to believe a talking head?”

reanimator

Stuart Gordon directs this blood-drenched, nudity-filled horror-comedy, based on the H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, about a group of ethically questionable doctors fighting for control of a glowing green serum that brings the dead back to life. This is quintessential 80’s horror for anyone who believes doomsday starts in a lab.

8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
“In the back of my mind, I was always thinking, better them than me.”

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Director Zack Snyder ups the survivor stakes by replacing slow shambling zombies with a little berserker action, in this retelling of George Romero’s 1979 film of the same name. While it falls short on Romero’s mastery of social commentary, it does have the most thrilling opening sequence of any zombie movie ever and does a good job showing what diversity looks like in apocalypse.

7. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
“As we approach your new home, you will notice a dramatically increased military presence.”

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The US military swoops in to save the day or does it?  This action-packed sequel to Danny Boyle’s horror masterpiece, 28 Days Later, features an all-star cast and another bleak story of desperate, complicated survivors, including two resourceful teens, whose father recently went out for ice cream.

6. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
“Pandora peered into the box and found one more thing in the bottom. It was hope.”

gir

Zombie horror for the thinking man, based on the book by M.R. Carey, with a story set in rural England, where military scientists study an airborne fungal pathogen that turns people into zombies, by experimenting on special children who born with bloodlust but managed cognitive thinking and learning capability. Humans may be willing to do anything to survive, but remember, nature has a way of favoring the dominate of the species.

5. Train to Busan (2016)
“Those of you who just got here, I don’t think you can stay with us.”

busan

This Korean thriller about a group of survivors stuck on a bullet train, trying to make its way to country’s last stronghold before the zombie horde gets to them, is non-stop action from beginning to end. Korean directors sure like using trains to point out social inequalities and class warfare. Btw, Peninsula, Busan’s upcoming sequel set in the same universe with a new kinetic story is expected to be released sometime in 2020.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
“As Bertrand Russell said the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation.”

shaun

Sometimes the only thing to do is go to your favorite bar, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over. Oh, that’s right, we’re on lockdown. Well, I hope you stocked up on Cornettos. The world’s first zombie rom-com is loaded with laughs, but doesn’t skimp on the gore, nor the scares, plus, it can teach us a thing or two about sticking close to loved ones during the bad times.

3. 28 Days Later (2002)
“It started as rioting. But right from the beginning, you knew this was different.”

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The fact that this film shows up on my zombie list sheds light on my opinion on whether this is a true zombie film. Some people debate that 28 Days Later is not a true zombie film because they’re highly infectious cannibals, who are very much alive. But, much of what’s most terrifying of Danny’s Boyle’s brilliant thriller about a military science experiment gone bad is the explanation of the rabid virus is the most logically plausible. Dead, undead, who cares, humanity has collapsed due to hordes of uncontrollable flesh-eating rage-monsters ravaging the London countryside. Sounds like a zombie film to me!

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“Don’t you know what’s goin’ on out there? This is no Sunday School picnic!”

notld

Inspired by political and racial strife of the early 60s, young filmmaker George A. Romero had no idea the impact his little low-budget movie would have on films, much less the horror genre, with a story of a group of complicated survivors holed up together in a farmhouse surrounded by undead corpses preying on the flesh of the living.  The metaphorical snapshot of American society on edge is sadly, still relevant. Clerical errors sent the film into the Public Domain. As of March 2019, the film has been downloaded 3.1 million times. Looks like Romero’s biggest regret of not doublechecking the copyright form has been a true gift to humanity.

1. Dawn of the dead (1979)
“Wake up, sucker! We’re thieves and we’re bad guys. That’s exactly what we are.”

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George A. Romero’s magnum opus is number one on all the zombie lists for a reason. It’s the one that created the most popular subgenre in horror films, for which, all others pay homage to. The film was chock-full of both realism and symbolism. There are unforgettable characters, heroes with real flaws that audiences find identifiable or admirable in some way. Deep down inside, there’s a little fly boy or fly girl in all of us. Then, there’s Romero’s brilliant social commentary, a story that simultaneously mocks and celebrates American society and its insatiable consumerism. Our sanctuary, the American Mall. Our tool for survival, the almighty gun. Our privilege, unimaginable wealth, just behind glass doors. Golly gee, if we only had the guts to brave the hordes of flesh-eating monsters standing in our way. Pssst…all the living dead are capitalists!
We must stop the killing, or lose the war.

 

Monthly Haiku Corner – April

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empty streets
crowded morgues
pandemic

Recipe of the Month – March

This month’s recipe is dedicated to the people practicing physical-distancing during the great Coronavirus crisis of 2020. Panic buying due to the government’s request for multi-week self-quarantine has rendered the store shelves nearly empty, with eggs being one of the hardest items to find.  So, when I came across the recipe over at  Mommy’s Home Cooking for Easy Eggless Halloween Cookies I knew I had to share it.

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Photo by MommysHomeCooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (210g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional)
  • 9 tablespoons (125g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (88g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Glaze:

  • 1 cup (140g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • pinch salt
  • Food Coloring

 

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please visit here: https://mommyshomecooking.com/easy-eggless-halloween-cookies/

Halloween themed cookie cutters can be found just about anywhere. You could always try Cookiecutters.com

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Photo by MommysHomeCooking

Halloween-y Things to Do During a Pandemic Quarantine

Hello, I hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy and staying home. Even Halloween fans must do their part to help to flatten the curve of Coronavirus, in hopes to minimize deaths and buy our overtaxed health workers a little time to get the crisis under control. Since the situation is so fluid, volatile and a vaccine is over a year away, who knows how this will play out, but citizens have a chance to save the day by staying indoors and doing absolutely nothing. It’s not going to get easier than that.

That said, I bet there’s a whole lot of people out there feeling anxious and stressed by the Covid-19 crisis though, so I came up with a list of things that Halloween fans can do during the quarantine to keep ourselves busy.

Write a Short Story

“Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble”

Don’t let anxiety and depression take over your brain! Get those feelings out on paper. Writing under duress sometimes produces the most creativity. Look at Shakespeare, that dude turned out Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and dozens of sonnets during the black plague. Yep, it’s true. The Bard of Avon was surrounded by the horrors of sickness and death every day for most of his life, and yet, he spent his time writing about love. I mean, isn’t that what life’s all about? Death and love?

Witches brew by Ka7 on DeviantArt
Witches Brew by Ka7 on DeviantArt

Binge-watch 14 seasons of Supernatural 

“The road so far”

Coronavirus has interrupted the production schedule of the CW’s Supernatural, television’s longest-running paranormal show. Maybe 2020 is upset as we are that this is the series finale. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to the Sam and Dean, and their angelic sidekick Castiel, which is why we should binge-watch all 14 seasons now, to mentally prepare for the end! It’s a 15-year story that demands closure. Does anyone even remember why the Winchester brothers are hunting demons in the first place?

spn

Create a Spooky Terrarium

“Life springs from death”

Creating a spooky terrarium is a lot like putting together a Halloween diorama. You get to work with miniatures to create a haunted scene, but somewhere in your terrarium, globe, or glass container is a real living plant. The upside is going green for Halloween is always a good idea. The other upside is if you forget to care for your living plant and it dies, well, a dead plant will fit right in with your theme. Win-win!

Work on your Halloween Smash book

“Something wicked this way comes”

Halloween junk journals are still all the rage. All you need is a journal or notebook, and some Halloween ephemera, postcards, printables, or stickers. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, just follow your heart. Make ’em big. Make ’em small. Get artsy or just manage your collection of pumpkin stickers. Since we never enough time to do all the things we want to do with our smash books, quarantine life is like a gift from Father Time.

Halloween smashbook

Create a Witchy Halloween Playlist

“But the talk got shackled by the howls and the cackles
From the bowels of the Black bayou”

Creating your own Halloween playlist is one of those suggestions that always end up on lists like these, but I’m challenging everyone to get specific. When you’re done creating a witchy playlist, with only songs about witches, make a zombie one, then, werewolves, vampires, okay, apocalyptic tunes to dance to, you get the picture. With any luck, the rabbit hole you fall into should last the entire pandemic.

∴∴∴

You’ll notice I left off reading scary books and watching spooky movies, not because they’re not great ideas to keep our minds entertained and occupied during these surreal and unsettling times, but because those are things you should be doing every day anyway.

Let’s practice good physical-distancing, so we’re all here when Halloween 2020 rolls around this October!🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

 

Advice from a Jack-o’-lantern

During these difficult and surreal times, I just wanted to give a shout-out to the Halloween community. We all want to be here this Halloween 2020 because it’s going to be quite the spooktacular celebration and we don’t have time for Coronavirus!  So, let’s do our part and help flatten the curve against Covid-19.  I realize I can’t be the only one suffering from a little anxiety and stress, so, I thought I’d repost my Advice from a Jack-o’-lantern. I hope it helps a little.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home, my friends.

Advice from a Jack o'Lantern 🎃Don’t lose your top 🎃Never let your light go out 🎃Stop worrying about your imperfections 🎃Find your own porch to sit on 🎃Take time to enjoy the view 🎃Greet everyone with a smile
Advice from a Jack-o’-lantern ©Halloweenkristy