Author Archives: Megan

Dia De Los Muertos

La Calavera Catrina

Or, the Day of the Dead to us Americans. I first learned about this holiday when reading Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” (which, if you haven’t read it, I suggest going out and getting a copy ASAP). Although we usually associate this holiday with Mexico, it actually is found throughout Latin America. It is closely tied with the Catholic holy day, All Soul’s Day, which falls on the day after Halloween, and is celebrated throughout the world (albeit, a little less awesomely, IMHO). Dia de los Muertos is centered around one idea- to honor the dead. This is done by giving presents to children and other living family members, as well as preparing special types of food, such as sugar skulls or pan de muerto (a sweet egg bread). It’s traditional to leave food out for the dead, either by offering them a literal place at the family table, or by leaving offerings of food on their graves. Figurines depicting skeletons (calaveras catrinas) in everyday situations are made and sold to be displayed in the home.

Instead of the same old Halloween party, try throwing a Day of the Dead celebration. Dress up like calaveras, make some delicious Mexican food, and raise a toast to those who have gone before us. However, be careful. You may get some visitors that you didn’t expect. ;)

Pan de Muerto (Thanks to Allrecipes)

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Directions

  1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
  6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

For The Love of Elvira

As a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was exposed to a lot of Elvira, no pun intended. There is so much to love about Elvira- not only is she a very attractive lady, but she’s witty to boot. One of my favorite movies was/is Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The synopsis basically is as follows: Elvira is sexually harassed by her boss and quits her job. She finds out that she has inherited a house in a conservative town in Massachusetts. When she arrives, she is not accepted by the community due to her eccentric lifestyle, but eventually wins over the younger crowd, opening their minds up to new possibilities. Basically, it’s “Footloose” with more boobs and less good dialogue. I highly suggest checking it out, if only to see this amazing outfit:

Speaking of amazing outfits, did you know that Elvira’s costume is one of the best-selling costumes of all time? Continue the trend and pick up one at FrightCatalog tonight!

5 Awesome Costumes for Men

I’m feeling a little inspired by a previous post. Being rad on Halloween is not limited to the ladies only- men can join in, too. Here’s a list of my favorite costumes for men.

METALLLLLLLLL! *guitar solo*

Milady, may I interest you in a glass of absinthe before the fire?

One man, hundreds of women.

Androids are robots that look like people. Cyborgs are people with robot parts. Whatever.

Pizza rules.

Wedding Belles

I just got back from my best friend’s wedding in Maryland. During my time there, I learned some very strange things about weddings. Firstly, everyone knows that the modern reason for bridesmaids is to get drunk and embarassingly hit on the groom’s brother. However, the original reason is a little more badass and less known- back in Olden Times, people believed that the devil and his minions only existed to muck up people’s lives, especially the lives of happy folks. So, what makes people really happy? Getting married to one another. To solve this problem, the bride surrounded herself with other young women in fancy dresses in order to confuse any imps or devils about, and prevent them from doing any devilish deeds to the bride to be. Hence, bridesmaids.

Also, tossing the bouquet has some interesting origins (I mean throwing flowers. Get your mind out of the gutter.). Since a woman’s sole purpose in life is to get married and sire non-bastard children for her husband, a bride was considered to be especially lucky. Flowers symbolized fertility and were a piece of the bride’s good luck, so when the bride threw the bouquet to one of her single friends, it was God’s way of saying, “Hey girl, stop talking to your cat and get yourself a man.” Obviously God has never seen 9 to 5, but I digress.

Despite the annoyingness of modern weddings, let’s be thankful that some traditions died out, like hanging the sheets outside the window after the wedding night to prove virginity, having to eat fruitcake, and the bride turning into a zombie. Wait…

Jersey Shore

After a horrible week, I decided to spend my Friday night relaxing with a bottle of white zinfandel and my favorite cast of ethic stereotypes on the Jersey Shore. I had been lax in keeping up with this season- somehow watching a bunch of people talk about tanning is seen as less worthwhile than doing homework. After a 4 hour marathon, I am finally caught up, and I have a few observations I would like to share.

1. Smash vs Smush: At first, I thought that these terms were interchangeable. However, I have learned that “smushing” is done with someone who is “wife/husband material” and smashing is done only with sluts. An important distinction!

2. The only difference between “grenades” and “hot girls” is based solely on their willingness to touch a boner, not physical attractiveness.

3. There is a “G” in “sandwich”.

4. If you want to become wife or husband material, you must: 1. Be from Eastern Europe or Latin America, 2. Have interests outside of wearing stretch jersey and binge drinking, and 3. Buy your paramour something desirable, such as a Fossil watch. However,

5. If you buy a girl a Fossil watch, she will not have sex with you. Talk about a Catch-22!

6. Uncle Nino.

7. Pads and tampons are the same thing, especially if they belong “a dirty little hamster”.

8. J-Woww’s boobs do not follow the laws of physics.

9. Getting into a fistfight is an acceptable way to say goodbye.

10. “Tan” is an ethnicity.

After Apple Picking

It’s finally fall, which means it’s about time for my favorite fall-related activity, apple picking. I know you are saying to yourself, “But Megan, you can buy apples in the grocery store. Why would you want to pick them yourself?” I’ll tell you- it rules. There is nothing like climbing up in a tree to pick fruit, dodging angry bees, and trying not to get pesticide in your face that makes you feel quite so human. Also, they charge you only for the apples that you bring after you’ve picked them, not the ones that you eat on the way out. So economical!

So what do you do with the 10 lbs of apples that you spend the day picking? Thankfully, apples are an extremely versatile fruit. Chop them up and put them in a salad, bake them whole, or just eat them raw. One of my favorite apple recipes is apple crisp, which I’ve decided to share with you all (this one is adapted from the Betty Crocker recipe, which is also delicious).

Apple Crisp

4 c. tart apples, sliced

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. flour

1/2 rolled oats

1/2 c. butter, softened

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch baking pan and set aside. Spread apples in pan. Mix together oats, sugar, 1/3 c. butter, and spice in a medium bowl. Dot apples with small pieces of remaining butter and spread oat mixture over them. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Laughing in the Dark

GIVE IT BACK

I’m not sure if you young’uns remember Nickleodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark, but it was one of the most awesome shows of the early 90s. For those unfamiliar with it, the basic premise is that a group of preteens form a club, called the Midnight Society, and take turns telling scary stories around a campfire. Each show has a dramatization of the story being told.

As much as I loved the show, it had a tendency of giving me some pretty terrible nightmares. One of the episodes in particular stands out as being particularly creepy, due to its gratuitous use of carnival music and scary clowns. Here’s a synopsis of the episode provided by toplessrobot.com:

“… The clown in this case, Zeebo, worked in a carnival during the Great Depression. Desperate for money (like every other schlub during this time), Zeebo stole the park’s payroll and hid out in the spookhouse. But Zeebo was careless with one of his cigars and the spookhouse caught fire; burning Zeebo to death. As a memorial to the thieving bastard, the carnival rebuilt the spookhouse and put a dummy of Zeebo inside, dooming the place to be haunted. Years later, Josh (Christian Tessier, who would go on to play Lt. Tucker ‘Duck’ Clellan on Battlestar Galactica) decides to prove how tough he is by stealing the red nose off the Zeebo dummy. Urban legend turns into reality as Josh is visited by the ghost of Zeebo. Everything works out in the end (seriously, where the hell does a 12-year-old purchase a box of cigars?) but not before some seriously scary shit goes down. Everyone remembers the laugh, the balloon, the phone call, and all the other nightmare-inducing tricks that drove many to check our closets before bed. It’s like the writer of this episode was pissed at his kids and decided to scar them and the rest of us for life.”

Things I learned from this episode (video below).

1. “It’s a spookhouse, lameball. It’s supposed to be spooky. You’d gotta be some kind of doofus to think it’s real.”

2. Do not be a ginger. Especially not a ginger who steals stuff from scary clowns.

3. Give it back. Always give it back.

4. Following any childhood dare will always lead to bad things.

5. Do not trust carnies. They will sell you out to their scary clown friends in an instant.

Have a look and tell me what you think. You might want to keep an extra clown nose around, just in case.

Laughing in the Dark, Pt. 1

Laughing in the Dark, Pt. 2

Laughing in the Dark, Pt. 3

Hornet Horror

Reason 1,203 why the Midwest is scary: The European Giant Hornet.

The European hornet was introduced to North America by colonists from Europe. It is almost twice the size of a regular hornet (about 1 1/2-2 inches), and are a reddish-brown color. Queens lay eggs in the spring and summer, and the new wasps mature by late summer and early fall (in other words, now). They are identified by their loud buzzing, which kind of sounds like a chainsaw cutting through a steel pipe. They are less aggressive than other wasps, but will attack to defend their nest. Where do they like to build their nests? Inside houses. Oh, and they are the only wasp or bee that comes out at night and during the day.

I discovered these existed the other night when I plucked one out of my hair. Thankfully, it was more concerned with flying into the wall than with stinging me all over my face. I’m thinking about getting this prop to teach them a lesson. Fighting giant bees with giant bees!