Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve, here come the stories!

Update (14/11/2007): I received a story from Mary on the 8th of November, and I've only just remembered to put it up. My apologies, Mary. Sounds like a creepy house to have grown up in!

It was a little quiet here but Gen from Collateral Damage jumped in with one, and then the RedBubble forum thread got three new ghost stories today.

As I promised, here are my and Gen's stories, in the order that they've appeared on the web:

1. CHOKED

This one happened to my cousin, C. We were only kids at the time, she was about twelve and I was ten.

Her family used to live in a block of flats, on the ground floor. Rumour had it that the flats were built on land that used to be ancient jungle--so who knows what went on there before? There was also a rumour that before the flats had been built, there had been a house there, where a woman was found hung from the beams. This sounds like standard horror story fare though, so I don’t think that part was true.

Anyway, strange things would happen in that flat. Like the doors slamming themselves shut, even though there wasn’t a breeze. (It would get very hot during the day so the windows and outside doors were closed and air-conditioning turned on.)

One day C was alone in the flat, and decided to read a book in her parents’ room. She sat on their comfy bed and leant back against the wall.

Suddenly she felt a pair of cold hands around her neck. They started choking her.

C tried to grab the hands and make them stop, but her hands passed right through them.

She started saying the, “Our Father” prayer but nothing happened. Then she remembered something from school (she went to a Catholic school) about how you need real faith to make the “Our Father” work.*

But apparently, Mary is a little more forgiving, and will help you even though your faith isn’t strong**, so she started saying some “Hail Mary”s and she could feel the hands loosening their grip.

She yanked herself away, ran from the room, and bolted out the front door.

Then she sat on the front steps until her parents came home.

When I got older, I thought that this just some story to fool the kiddies, since C was a very good storyteller and had a vivid imagination. I asked her some years ago (we were both in our late twenties by then) if it really happened or if she was making up stories.

She said, soberly and with complete conviction, “Angie, I swear on the Bible that it really happened.”

“To this day the thought of it scares me. Look, I have goosebumps just talking about it.”

And she did.

* I am anticipating the scoffing in advance and I’m just saying, I’m telling you the story the way it was told to me. Let’s not start any religious debates here, for goodness’ sakes.

** Seriously, dudes, read * above.

2. HAUNTED HOTEL

Ooh, I just thought of another one. It's more about Canada Most Haunted, really.

In August I went on a trip to North America, and in Ottawa we stayed in a three-star hotel near the city centre.

Our hotel room had a really creepy bathroom, it was tiny, with white tiles, stark, fluorescent lighting, and a toilet facing the mirror. The worst part was a small, dark shower-bathtub combination that had a dusty, sinister-looking vent at eye-level. I was almost too scared to close the shower curtain because it made the enclosure even darker. There was another dark vent under the sink. You know, in just the right position for someone to grab your legs. Gah. I could never stay for very long in that bathroom and used to have lightning-fast showers.

One night we went to a comedy show in the basement of the hotel, and stayed behind till 3am to talk to the comedians (lovely guys). There was a cleaner hanging around, doing the vacuuming and I said to him, “Sorry we’re here so late. I hope we’re not getting in your way.”

He nervously pushed his glasses up onto his nose and said, “Oh, that’s no problem. In fact, I’m really glad you guys are here, because this hotel is haunted.”

ARGH.

“Oh, really?” I said, a lot more nonchalantly than I felt. “Have you ever seen anything?”

He might have nodded slightly.

“Why is it haunted?”

“Well, there have been suicides on two of the floors.”

“Which floors?” I asked. I thought he would hesitate, but he immediately blurted out, “11 and 18,” and kept vacuuming.

Phew! Neither of those was the floor that we were on.

But I still felt like I was being watched when I went to the bathroom.

3. GEN'S STORY

oo! oo! i have SO MANY ghost stories but here's my scariest one:

when i was 14, i was in my bed laying there. i couldn't sleep because i have really bad insomnia. suddenly my bed shook. it knocked against the wall. i shrunk under my covers, wondering what was going on. it shook again. i shrunk lower. it started shaking and knocking against my wall really hard- i thought i was going to fly off my bed. i shrieked and hid completely under my covers. it suddenly got ICE COLD in my room and my covers were completely ripped off me. i shot up out of my bed and grabbed the door to run out. the door stuck for a second while the bed continued to knock against the wall. finally it opened and i ran out, screaming up the stairs and into my parents' room.

i never slept in that room after that. i took over my sister's room and eventually moved upstairs. i never went in that room after dark and only went in there when someone was with me and during the daytime. after that, it was always REALLY cold. we even had a renter down there and he said creepy things happened in there and it was always really cold.

4. THE ACTIVE HOUSE.
A story from Mary T, of Monroe, NY.

This story arrived from Mary on the 8th of November (many thanks, Mary!) I've left it pretty much verbatim, except for masking Mary's phone number, which she may not want bandied about on the Internet :)

Hi! My name is Mary n I have grown up in a very active house. My father,mother,grandmother,4-brothers,2-sisters n I have all experienced many times sightings thru out our home in Norwood,N.J. There were 5 that we knew of very well. Once in awhile a passer thru was sighted.I can remember when I was a small child, my bottle being pulled out of my crib along with my blanket. As I grew older I would tell my parents what I would see. I remember "8-Tracks" being thrown at my sister when she entered our bedroom! I use to get tucked in bed at night n then my blanket being pulled off me. My bed would levitate some nights. My sister woke uo one night n saw a man caressing my forehead while I sleep. Creepy - Huh? there r so many more stories to tell,but I'd be here all night. Just wanted to share. If u want to here more, give me a call -***-***-****. I now live in Monroe,N.Y. n still experience things but, THANK GOD not as much. Take care!

Any ghost stories to tell?

Update (25/10/2007):

Update ends here.

With Halloween around the corner, someone in the RedBubble forums has started a thread called "Your scariest real ghost encounter".

Head on over and read my entries, if y'all feel like some light relief. Go on, I'll wait.

But then you have to send me all yours!

Have you (or a "friend") had a ghostly encounter?

E-mail me the story by heading to this link, or post it in the comments, or in your own blog, and let me know the link. Then, on the 31st of this month, I'll put up a mighty post of collective ghost stories that we can all enjoy.

I'll also include my stories from that thread, for anyone who missed out on this post and didn't go to the Bub (what we call RedBubble when we're too lazy to type the full name out).

Whee! At the very least you'll have ample fodder to frighten the kiddies with.

Mmm, frightening children, one of my favourite pastimes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yep, still old

MFC will be going to a weekend-long house-party thing in the South West in a few weeks. I was invited too, but quite frankly, I would rather have a triple Brazilian and roll around in salt before sharing a house and bathrooms with thirteen other people. And some of them will be vegans, heaven help me. Loud, militant vegans.

I don't know when I became this fussy--perhaps I've always been this way. If it were me and five or six close girl friends (and that would never happen, because I have only two close girlfriends), fine. But to share a house with acquaintances that I don't have very much in common with sounds like the twelfth level of hell.

Oh, and also, being the only sober person at a party sucks. Big time.

So imagine being the only sober person at a four-day-weekend house party. I'd have to bring razorblades and morphine (for myself. The drunks can get their own damn morphine.)

When I leave my house, I need a nice, comfy bed. I need a clean, private bathroom. I need quiet at night and the ability to avoid people I don't like, because I'm too passive-aggressive to be rude to their faces.

What I don't need is drunk, screaming people dancing provocatively to loud music, loudly berating non-vegans for their brutality etc., while I sit there with my soft drink and bacon sandwich, gritting my teeth and wishing I was dead.

MFC is fine in these situations. He's a boy, so he doesn't particularly care as long as he has beer, his toothbrush and his sleeping bag. He'll be having a grand old time with the other boys (whom he knows very well) and will get so sloshed he'll sleep like a baby.

Which is why he is going alone, and I am having a nice quiet weekend at home with my family and my drawings and my books and a Sunday buffet breakfast with an old friend.

Sigh, I am officially an old party-pooping grandma.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In which I meet Neil Gaiman and do him a favour

I'm wandering around a deserted cafeteria, when who should appear but ...

Neil Gaiman: Oh, an9ie, I'm so glad you're here!

an9ie (OMG it's Neil Gaiman!): Hi Neil! What can I do for you?

Neil Gaiman (hands me a bulky text): I've just finished writing a brand new book that NO ONE has ever seen before. I really need you to read through it and see if you like it.

an9ie (OMG a new Neil Gaiman graphic novel!): Um, o-okay.

So I start reading it and it doesn't have a lot of words but there are all these incredible pictures.

I turn page after page, awestruck. I'm pretty sure it's Neil's finest work*.

Something about ancient islands appearing somewhere, except I can't go into too much detail in case I decide to steal the idea and use it later in a book.

I'm halfway through, I must finish it. I will never forget this incredible day.

Dingdongadongdong!

an9ie: &*^%-ING ALARM!

* Mind you, thinking back, all I can recall now (apart from the island-thingy) is that there was a Viking in it who looked like Izzy Sparks** from Guitar Hero II.

** Izzy looks like the gay love-child of Axl Rose and Jon Bon Jovi. In the game, he's described as something of a ladies' man *chortle-chortle-snigger*

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Geek Disease #247

I think I have carpal tunnel from playing too much Guitar Hero II.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Say hello to today's RedBubble Community Featured Artist!

Everyday the RedBubble Community page selects an artist to feature on its front page - and today, it was me!


This is a wonderful opportunity to get some free publicity for your portfolio. Not only have I been getting lots of new comments on my work, but I've also sold a canvas print (Camouflage) and a t-shirt (The Wrong Unicorn) since yesterday.

Thank you, RedBubble!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shoes! AKA Friday night out with the family

Frugal, but fun. We all like cheap shopping, and we all like cheap food. So it's win-win for everybody.

We met at a central (free) carpark outside of the city, and went in one car to Harbourtown (a huge outlet mall, for the non-Perthians) and found free parking outside. Mission: to stock up on bulk discount vitamins (Blackmores, but pretty cheap nonetheless - Seatone ... Vitamin E ... B Complex ... placenta - just kidding about the last one).

I saw colostrum capsules for sale in that store.

Colostrum, people. That's the thick clear liquid that lactating mothers produce in the first few days after giving birth. The stuff their boobies leak before the milk sets in. (Yes, I'm very romantic about childbirth.)

What animal did they get that from? And how?

The mind boggles. Also, yech.

Then to Taka's for cheap Japanese. I had a large tori karaage (essentially fried chicken) with soup, rice and salad for $7. Mmm, delicious deep-fried battered flesh. Green tea is free.

More free parking, even though it was late night shopping and the city was crowded. My sister knows a "secret place" tucked away in an alley somewhere.

Can't tell you, sorry. Family secret.

And finally to the charity stores, where I found FOUR pairs of shoes for summer in almost new condition.

And brand names too, from the left, clockwise:

  • Diana Ferrari - leather, smart-casual,
  • Stegmann sandals - made in Germany, leather soles and uppers, casual-casual,
  • Shoo Biz/lipstik shoes, office-casual,
  • and some brand called "r" - brand new, with unmarked soles, party-possibly office.

Mao gives his stamp of approval to my purchases.


All for $51
. Never before has a vice been so affordable.

I also bought two skirts, one of them Esprit, for $7 each.

Dad and Glen bought a couple of books, and my sister got some shoes, a couple of summer frocks, and a leather Sachi handbag. Mum just enjoyed herself giving unsolicited advice.

"Stilettos? I don't care how cheap they are! My friend broke her ankle wearing those and the tendons still haven't knitted together after 6 months!"

Oooooooookay.

Update (10.26pm): Heavens to Betsy - I've been walking around in the all-leather Stegmann sandals (the ones at the top of the picture), and let me tell you - those Germans really know their stuff! It's like walking on fluffy clouds stuffed with kittens, lined with baby swans--cygnets, I mean. My feet actually prefer to wear these rather than going barefoot. I can see what's going to get a lot of wear this summer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meme-ing Mangie

A little something I received from juliness at Fresh and Sassy this week.

"Links to posts inside your blog are more important than links to your home page. The players of the SEO meme select three posts they want to promote, and add their name and chosen posts to a list of links in their "taggers" post, then post the whole list inside their blog. A minimum of 5 people are tagged by each new player. The new players are encouraged to read posts from everyone so that the work of fellow bloggers can be discovered and enjoyed."

Mahala - Uncle Hubert's Custom Cows, Pray For The Child At Big Lots, The Legend Of Saushie's Crotch

TIFF - How I Am Like Ron Weasley, A Social Experiment, Absolutely Boring Entry 101

Renn - Mum, Horror Story, Die, Frau, Die

Cravey - One Foot In Front Of The Other, Madline, A Wee Confession

No Celery Please - Sometimes You Just Gotta Meme It, I WON! I WON!, Closest Thing To Hell On Earth

Tracy - An Interesting Life, Tracy's House Of SUCK, Nature Kicks My Ass and as a special bonus, The Monkey Should Pull Through

A Day In The Life, Dog Poop, Hot Sun And Pure Meanness and Why Children Are Like Tuna Casserole

--------------------------------

Juliness's picks were: Angie (oo - that's me! - Angie), the fabulous (and newly engaged) Courtney, the intriguing Ms. Horrible Warning, creative and curly-headed Jes, and the awesomeness that is Tex.

--------------------------------

Update (20/10/2007, midnight): Oops, Sophie in the comments had the right of it, I'm mean to promote three of my own posts. Sigh. This is what happens when I don't read the instructions properly.

The posts that I can think of right now, just when I want to go to bed, and can think rationally, are:
Any ghost stories to tell?, because I really would like to hear your stories, Conversations with my sister, because it makes me laugh, and I love doxies/Meeting Chopper - how I loved that little guy (even though he hated me on sight)!


Angie's winning racers are (and I'm including posts as well, even though I don't have to):
Fell by Blandwagon,
What's the sound of a feeling? by Genevieve from Collateral Damage,
Random Ranting by Sophie,
and Music is Life by ThickBlackOutline, because I really want to buy the t-shirt in yellow.

A very, very special mention must go to #59: Pauline Hanson, by the political cartoonist Jon Kudelka, whom I know from RedBubble.

Not just for the cartoon, even though that is good too, but for the hilarious comments, especially comment number 7 and number 30. Seriously, I couldn't stop laughing when I read these.

Feel free to continue this meme or not, as you wish :) The easiest way to copy and paste the code is to view the page's source and then copy and paste the html into your blogging software's html editor.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yep, getting old.

I was on a train today. Unfortunately, so were all the school kids in Perth.

Ah, teenage youth, full of arrogance and angst.

And B.O.

How I wish I had had a cone of silence and some deodorant to spray around.

Things that irritated me:

- Skirts that were so short I felt like a mobile gynaecologist service. Seriously, honey, is that skirt short enough for you? I can't quite see your uterus but I can make a good guess about the interior decorating!

- Boys being loud and stupid. Once a kid threw an orange in my direction and nearly hit me. I should have tanned his hide with my extra large golf umbrella.

- Teenagers owning tiny, expensive mobile phones that make mine look like a giant plastic Duplo(TM) toy.

- Emos who think they are different from everyone else, when, actually, they're not. Wearing black all the time just makes you part of another herd of sheep. A herd that gets very warm in summer. Unfortunately, not warm enough to make you extinct.

- A not-too-small-herself girl who stared at a large man at the other end of the carriage and said loudly, "I hope I never get that fat," while shoving a sandwich down her maw.

- Aforementioned girl pointing the finger at other people, when she has a moustache AND eyebrows so thick, that, if I were her, I would wear a very large hat outdoors so that birds don't swoop me looking for delicious, fuzzy caterpillars.

- Same girl sitting with her legs wide open (a sign of things to come?), and then pointing (doesn't she know it's rude to point?) and yelling out the window because she saw her friends in another train carriage (tiny brain?).

Grandma out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thank you so much, Daz Studio

an9ie: Sweetie! Sweetie! You must come and see! I've made a present for you.

MFC: (Wearily) Do I have to?

an9ie:
Yeah! You know how I've met all these cool people on RedBubble, and some of them make really awesome 3D art scenes? Well, this lovely lady called Rose Moxon told me that I could go and download Daz Studio* for free and make my own! It's like posing your Barbie dolls and dressing them up, and changing their faces, and making 3D pictures of them, and you must come and see, because I've used it to make a lovely surprise for you!

MFC:
(With apprehension - and so he should, my friends, so he should) A lovely ... surprise?

an9ie:
Yes, made with love. Just for you. Come see!


an9ie:
AHAHAAHAHAHAA!

As you can see, it is a powerful tool that has no business being in my hands. I fully intend to use it for the forces of evil and mayhem.

* When you install Daz Studio, they ask you to please tell at least two other people about the software and its free goodness-happy-fun-times), so I am.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mundanity

Quite frankly, this is the kind of entry that only I would read, about 40 years into the future.

I'd be reminiscing to the grandkids about how exciting my thirties were, then go through my blog to show them, and realise that not much has changed, except that most of my parts are now bionic and rust-proof.

Item 1: Hallelujah! I can hear again!

I saw the ENT surgeon today, a very nice guy, but a mumbler, so I had no idea what he said most of the time. After a 1 hour wait and $250 (consultation fee plus something called "ear toilet" - I presume this was the cleaning procedure plus hearing test), my right ear is now free from granulated debris.

Also, I apparently have excellent hearing. So, woo to the hoos all round.

Item 2: I haven't been sleeping so well lately.

We have some family friends over from New Zealand who are staying in my bedroom, so I've been bunking at MFC's place. I can therefore blame my strange and vivid dreams on his tossing and turning. That and the mugfuls of dry Nutrigrain that I like to inhale while watching TV before bedtime.

Healthy breakfast cereal, my arse. Well, healthy compared to heroin or a mug of sugar, I suppose.

On Monday night I had an awful, awful dream.

I was wandering along an open-air corridor in this apartment/business complex, and on the second floor these enormous women wearing singlets were walking around doing their shopping.

Except, their singlets were so small that they just wore them along the middle of their torsos , between their cleavage, and their giant boobs were peeping, actually, that's probably too mild a word - their giant boobs were glaring at me from either side of the singlets. And there was a bra shop on the corner, but none of them were buying bras.

I ran downstairs, whimpering, and for some reason my family were strolling past. I immediately went over to them and cried, "Guys! Guys! You'll never believe it! There are these huge women on the second-floor with their boobs hanging out! AND there's a bra shop just around the corner!"

I told MFC about this dream and naturally he thinks I'm insane.

Last night, however, I dreamt that I stayed in the same hotel as Nicole Kidman and Claudia Schiffer, so I suppose it all balances out.