Through the Lens: photos from October

Month in photos - October

The last time I did a photo roundup, I was gearing up to leave for L.A., so I figured it was time to bring back my favorite monthly post. Sadly, I haven’t taken any film photos in a while simply because of the high costs, but I’d like to come up with a specific project to break out the analog again. I took a ton of digital shots in October, though, so here are a few that didn’t already make it onto the blog:

Witty Title Here stamp Cassie and John tree roots pumpkins flower palm tree old door tiled stairs berries sticker stop sign chalkboard brewery art building Griffith Park El Rey theatre The Dodos palm trees at dusk Halloween

Notice how Witty Title Here got its very own stamp? Guess who’s going to be making her mark all over town. (But nowhere illegal, wink wink.) Coolest birthday present ever. Other highlights from October include two concerts at the gorgeous El Rey Theatre, lots of walks in the ‘hood, and a Halloween celebration at a Jurassic Park-themed haunted house. This weekend, John and I are headed to the coast for a much-anticipated camping trip. I’m SO excited to spend a couple of days away from the computer and fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean. (We’re actually camping ON the beach!) November is promising to be yet another busy month, but I’m already thinking about the different stuffing recipes I want to try out. What are you looking forward to this month?

Fall weather (and Halloween!) in Los Angeles

halloweenpumpkingourds halloweentree

It actually feels like fall in Los Angeles this week, and instead of being bummed about it (like I would at home, where it’s cold for a solid six months out of the year), I’m actually sort of excited. Call it nostalgia for changing seasons, but I’m happy to break out the long sleeves and boots in late October. Especially since it’ll get warm again anyway, and then I’ll laugh all the way to the beach.

For tomorrow’s Halloween festivities, I’ll be donning a headdress and my mom’s circa-1988 dress that I wore a few years ago:


Yes. I packed both of those ridiculous things and brought them all the way across the country with me. And tomorrow, I will justify my having done so. (I don’t feel the need to justify repeating this costume. I think the outfit speaks for itself.)

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays (though nothing tops Thanksgiving), because it’s exactly two weeks after my birthday, and it’s something to look forward to when the days start getting shorter and colder. It’s a day when a semi-introvert like me can wear something as ridiculous as the above with abandon. And, uh, the candy. Let’s not forget the candy.

So, I want to know two things about you:

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? And what’s your favorite candy? (Mine’s Reese’s cups.)

Have a happy Halloween, and I’ll soon have more pictures to share with you in this space.


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Interweb Finds: Spooky Island of the Dolls, controversial “art” & more

Griffith Park Amir's Garden

 Happy Hallo-week! It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve spent more time on the computer than off—I wish I could say I was kidding. I did, however, manage to pry my carpal-tunneled hands away from the laptop long enough to grab drinks with a blogger-turned-real-life friend, catch a free show at the El Rey Theatre, and hike up around Griffith Park (pictured above). I’m surprising myself with everything I’m capable of accomplishing. (I just can’t let only four hours of sleep become a regular thing.)

Web finds time!

This writer lost a husband and got a (long-lost) daughter in the same year.

Banksy’s latest creation is funny, weird, and mobile.

NSFW: A photographer takes pictures of his mother having sex with young men. (And in this article, The Guardian tries to make sense of it.) It seriously begs the question: is this “art”?

I’m on a Guardian kick: Japan has a population crisis. Young people there aren’t having sex (and, subsequently, they’re not having babies), and the population is projected to decrease by a third by 2060. What’s going on?

The incredibly spooky “Island of the Dolls” will put you in the mood for Halloween. Read the fascinating and sad story about a mourning father who decorated an entire island with mutilated dolls.

This will make you very happy. Just click the link.

Again, dunno whether this classifies as “art,” but who cares—“Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style” is funny as hell.


That’s all for this week’s interweb finds. I’m still looking for something to do on Halloween, but I’m sure there’s plenty around L.A. What do you guys have planned? And what are you dressing up as?

Words and things

It’s November, and I’m making moves. With an internship almost over, a novel to write (here’s lookin’ at you, Chapter Two), and a spur-of-the-moment job application, I’m feeling good and am completely determined to ignore the fact that it is now officially dark outside at 6 p.m.

With that lame attempt at an update in mind (remember, I’m trying to pull 50,000 words out of my butt), here are some fictionalized words and Halloween photos to keep you mildly entertained. Don’t steal– this stuff is copyrighted. Oh, and the kicker? My protagonist is a dude.


It was Tuesday in the band room when Tim suggested I come with him to Tyler’s place that Friday.

            “It’s gonna be sick,” he said.


            “Sick usually isn’t my thing, Tim,” I said.  “Maybe ‘under the weather’ or ‘contagious,’ but—”

            “Dude, do you ever listen to yourself?” Tim was packing up his tuba after an intense band rehearsal of a John Williams medley.  Somehow, no one ever questioned the fact that Tim Wheeler played tuba.  My playing the clarinet, however, only led to the occasional joke about my sexual and racial preferences.

            “Whether you like the guy or not,” Tim continued, “you have to admit that you want to party at his place.”

            It was true, even though I kind of hated Tyler Young, I was curious to see his McMansion of a house.  That’s what you get for being a professional football player’s son.

            “What if I have a lousy time?” I said.

            “Then we leave, simple as that,” Tyler said.  We were standing side by side now, waiting for the second period bell to ring.  I was not looking forward to psychology—our teacher was getting lazy during our last few weeks of class and was encouraging us to “meditate” while a woman on CD instructed us to focus our consciousness on our elbows.

            “Whose car?” I asked Tim.

            “Jordan’s.  Meet us at my place at eight?”

            I pondered the possibility of them completely forgetting about me on Friday, but then I figured what the heck.  In addition to all my classmates, I’d probably never see Tim after that night, either.  Might as well hang out one last short time.

            “I’ll see you then.”


A gothic ’80s punk star, a sad hipster and a BONUS drag queen with a wig even greater than mine makes for a fabulous night in Baltimore.

October Bloggerstock – a guest post from Risha

As promised, here’s a guest blogger for your spooky entertainment this Halloween. Meet Risha, who is awesome. I like her style (and Are You Afraid of the Dark), so I hope you do, too. Remember to check out my guest post on something that really creeps me out over at My Jagged Blathering.

Hi, I’m Risha from You Can Read Me Anything, and I’m possessing Cassie’s blog for this month’s Bloggerstock. I admit that the “possessing” joke was beyond lame, but I had images of Exorcist-styled walking-down-stairs creepiness in my head.

You see, I love the Exorcist. It cracks me up, makes me laugh until I fall off the couch. It’s the same with Nightmare on Elm Street or The Shining or Poltergeist or pretty much any horror movie I’ve ever watched. I’m not easily creeped out by stories of the otherworld, I don’t get goosebumps and I certainly don’t lose any sleep because of it.

I’ve been told I’m the worst possible person to take to a horror flick on a date. The only clutching I do is to my tummy from laughing too hard. The jumping I do is the shifting around from being uncomfortable in the seat. It’s not a nervous laugh or a nervous shifting. It’s just how I react to this stuff.

I blame my brother. I did everything he did, you see. He read Goosebumps? Well, so did I. He watched Are You Afraid of the Dark? Well, so did I!

And I was hooked. I don’t think I’ve ever missed an episode. I loved the (now cheesy) intro with the flickering candle and the, “Are You Afraid of the Dark” title capture. The “spooky” music/opening credits track with the swings and the giggling helped too.

I really wanted my own Midnight Society complete with firelight, “submissions” and screams to scare each other silly with. Considering I (mis)spent my childhood in the Middle East, it wasn’t very likely that we’d be sneaking off into the woods (!!!) to swap stories. So I watched and re-watched AYAotD instead…which makes me an expert on the awesomeness of the show instead of a complete loser. Thankfully the ’90s are “cool” now.

The wonders of the Internet will allow you to share said awesomeness with you- so here are my favourite AYAotD episodes of all time:

1. The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

See, I wanted to go the Playland. Playland sounded like everything I always wanted: I could laugh, I could scream and I could scare myself to death on rides. Perfect. It’s what any kid would want. Especially the Ditch Your Parents part of it.

This scared the crap out of me. A trapped ghost… of a clown? Clowns make me super uncomfortable…and this episode just made that feeling that much worse. I refused to go anywhere near clowns for years… and that includes MaccyD’s.

2. The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float

Not only was Stig a complete badass, “Grunge Boy” (HA!) had an awesome story to tell! He had me hooked at, “…and if you go making changes that shouldn’t be made, you could end up with a whole mess of trouble.”

I’m sure we’ve all had the “Did you know our school was built on top of a graveyard?” story. I went to 11 schools and every single one of them had that rumor floating around. And this story? This one tapped right into it… in one of the scariest places possible: the swimming pool. C’mon, how many horror flicks have the swimming pool scene where shit goes down? It’s for a reason, you know.

3. The Tale of the Frozen Ghost

So even though Melissa Joan Hart was in this and then she became all Good-Witchy, this one freaked me out. That little blue kid around the house saying, “I’m cold” was terrifying. I saw him around the house for aeons after…and it didn’t help that we had air-conditioning and my brother constantly walked around saying, “I’m cold.”

Clearly, Are You Afraid of the Dark has made me immune to scary movies and even scarier books- this stuff scared the crap out of me as a kid and none of today’s “scary stuff” can scare me more than this did. It’s the best thing (IMHO) to have come out of Canada after maple syrup and Ryan Reynolds’ abs. You know it’s true.

And? I’m cold.