Literary Inspiration: 20th Century Ghosts

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So the long and the short of it with regards to Joe Hill, son of Stephen King (a fact relevant only in that there’s an inescapable comparison to be made between the two; they are both authors who work in the area of weird) is that I don’t jive with his writing.  And with all apologies to the man, too, because even if it’s an inescapable comparison, it’s a patently unfair one – he is not his father.  But as I mentioned in this post from 2017 about Hill’s book Heart-Shaped Box, I am so well versed in his father’s works that I have a hard time not likening one to the other, and Hill’s writing invariably comes up short.

Heart-Shaped Box didn’t leave much of an impression with me (beyond the memory that it was utterly obsessed with hand and fingernail trauma) and neither did this 2005 collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts.  I read this quite a few months ago, and before doing these nails, I had to go back over all of the stories in order to remind myself of what I had just read.  And then instantly regretted it, because I suddenly remembered the story that kicks off this 316-page book, a grimy little tale about a literary editor caught on the wrong side of a Texas Chainsaw-esque family that itself reminds me of an infamous episode of The X-Files that I in turn will not remind you of, and you’re very welcome.

20th Century Ghosts actually begins with an introduction from its editor (who is thankfully not being terrorized by hillbillies from hell, that we know of) and the not-very-encouraging assessment that “Modern horror is not often subtle.”  Well, it can be, but as presented in 20th Century Ghosts, it isn’t.

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So there’s the story about the folks from The Hills Have Eyes, “Best New Horror.”  There’s “You Will Hear the Locust Sing,” a squicky tale about a teenage boy living on the edge of a nuclear test facility who turns into a gigantic insect.  That was a real WTF-er.  There’s a haunted theatre story, the titular “20th Century Ghost;” “Abraham’s Boys,” a deeply perverted reworking of the vampire mythology; and “My Father’s Mask,” a Wes Anderson-by-way-of-David Cronenberg familial mindf**k.

There’s also “Pop Art,” a melancholy tale about a sensitive young man whose best friend, Arthur Roth, is inflatable.  Yes, inflatable, as in made of white plastic, nearly totally featureless, incapable of speech (though Art is real hell with crayons and a pad of paper) and bearing a little nozzle under one arm that allows him to be pumped full of air.  Art has adoptive parents (humans, both) and interacts with the larger world the way any other person would (save the bit where bullies kick him up onto the roof of the school) although you’re never quite sure if Art is indeed a person, just with a major, life-altering disability, or an imaginary construct of the narrator’s admittedly troubled mind.  It was actually a really heartbreaking story; I liked re-reading this one.

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So much so, in fact, I put it on my nails in service of the theme of “A numeric title” in my friends’ reading challenge.  This is Art, peacefully drifting through the late August sky – just a simple, pillowy figure on a basic blue gradient.

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Tea(cups) for Two

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The nails are new, and better, but the sentiment about the Disney ride on which this manicure is based, The Mad Tea Party (or “That vomitous spinning teacup ride”) remains the same as it was in this post from 2014.  So take it away, Sandra of the mid-decade!

Should you find yourself in the highly enviable position of visiting the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, tread carefully around the ride on which this design is based, the iconic Alice in Wonderland-themed Mad Tea Party. A spinning teacup ride, it’s the single most nausea-inducing attraction across four GIANT theme parks, and the destroyer of more than a couple of post-spin afternoons (no ride, with the exception of Epcot’s Mission to Mars, has ever made me want to toss my Mickey-shaped ice cream bar more.)

But over the years and visits I’ve come to work out a nearly foolproof method for riding the teacups at maximum spinning speed without tossing anything, a little wisdom I’ll drop on all you noobs who would prefer not to be seen vomiting into a teacup-adjacent trashcan while a bunch of children look on – simply lock eyes with your spinning partner, crank the cup’s wheel as hard as you can and never. look. away. It’s the looking to the side (or down or up) that’ll do you in, to say nothing of closing your eyes (don’t do that either.) Just look fixedly (and sort of cross-eyed, I won’t lie) at the person directly across from you and don’t look away until you have safely disembarked the ride, remembering to gather up your children and your belongings as you leave.

This is the advice I had for my husband when we rode the cups during his first visit to Disney World on our honeymoon. Spectators lined up along the edges of the ride no doubt saw two slightly deranged, possibly too-old-for-this weirdos cranking their teacup’s wheel faster than it could keep up and staring dementedly at each other. I’m proud to say those demented weirdos were us. 🙂

I would just like to add that since writing that post five years ago, both Disney AND encroaching old age have called my bluff on which attractions make me sick – that’s now pretty well all of them, to varying degrees.  Motion simulators turn me inside out, backwards coasters make me want to toss my cookies…I was even starting to feel a little whoopsy as we departed the Haunted Mansion following our 13th run on Halloween 2017 (a Doom Buggy is perhaps not the smoothest of ride vehicles.)  Long story short, the Mad Tea Party is now the least of my worries, with or without my sweet ride hack. 😉

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6th Blogiversary Cupcakes

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Yo, check it – Finger Candy is six years old today!  That, according to my site analytics, translates to 70,000 views of 1,634 POSTS (wow, really?) across 37,000 visitors.  Which is actually nothing terribly impressive, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.  I wish I had a count on the total number of words; now, THAT would be impressive, ’cause I be wordy.  Not bad for the little blog that just sort of sprang up out of nothing.  Good on you, Finger Candy, I’m proud of you.  And proud of me, too.

And while we’re at it, proud of you as well, dear reader or occasional dropper-byer!  You’re fun, thoughtful, witty folks, and it’s been a blast getting to know you through this platform.  You’re the audience I always have in mind when I come up with a new idea and think to myself, “Is anyone even going to know what this is?”  Because the answer nearly always is, “Aw yeah, X will TOTALLY know what this is!”  Which really makes it all the sweeter.  So thank you, as always, for being a good neighbour.  I endeavor to continue respecting my side of our shared (Internet) fence to promote harmony in the blogisphood. 😉  To the next six!

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Are These Ugly?

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Real talk, not fishing for compliments – are these nails ugly?  I really think they might be, despite my better efforts to have them, you know, not be!  It might be the colours – we’re all good, looking spacey and/or galactic and/or Pandora Rave Jungle until we get to that green-gold, and then things take a turn for the fungus-y.  Prime example of a mani undone by a poor pick of polishes.  I DO like the reddish-purple bits, though; gives me some good and potentially gory ideas for a mani inspired by a Stephen King book I just finished.  See, creepy lemonade from fungus-y lemons. 😉

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Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

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Because camouflage, get it?  Yeah, I know, that was bloody terrible, sorry – lazy camo humour should be beneath me! 😉

In a few days’ time this blog is going to be celebrating its sixth anniversary, and in all of that time, I have never once done camouflage nails.  Weeeellllll, proper camouflage nails – I *did* once do a manicure with overlapping pigs in camo-type colours, because why would I not?  But I’m following along with this nail art challenge over on Instagram, and the third prompt was for camouflage nails, so here we are – your basic green, green and beige camo print, perfect for keeping those fingernails protected and well hidden. 😉

Succulents, Not Succulent

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Well, trust me to take this floral manicure, which I did in service of the theme of succulents for a nail art challenge I’m doing on Instagram, and turn it into a discussion on Brooklyn 9-9.  Actually, I suspect I could turn just about any subject into a commentary on one of my favourite TV shows, I think about it just that often!

Anyhow, there’s this character named Charles Boyle, who’s played by Joe Lo Truglio, who you may remember as the creepy/skeezy/gross guy from any number of Judd Apatow movies (thinking of his character in Superbad here.)  I was definitely not a fan before seeing his work in Brooklyn 9-9, but as beige pants-loving, foodie cop Charles Boyle, he’s an utter delight.  No one loves fermenting mason jars of unidentifiable foodstuffs in their desk drawers more than Charles. 🙂

But Charles’s taste in food runs quite contrary to his ultra beige, Mervins-clad demeanor – Charles likes it weird, Charles likes it gross, and Charles probably likes it best if he kills it himself (he once fought off a rampaging turkey that had penned the squad into a bathroom with naught but a handily repurposed straightening iron.)  He also likes to discuss his foodie pursuits in THE most repulsive manner possible, always using the most descriptively disgusting language he can find – words like “moist” and “mouthfeel” and in one particularly nasty bit, the phrase “Oh, lucky you, you got the toenail!”  Long story short, don’t ask Charles Boyle to bring anything to the potluck, because it’ll definitely be offal.  Or worse.  And with its toenails still on!

At one point, another character submitted a list of words Charles was forbidden from uttering, and “succulent” was right at the top.  I get it, it conjures up the same sort of images in my mind as when I hear the word “moist” (which is apparently one of the most reviled words in the English language, didya know?)  To my mind, it suggests lush, almost juicy dampness.  Which, when I see it all written out like that, IS rather disgusting!

So it’s a real shame that succulents, the plant, have gotten swept up in the wellspring of negativity towards their name, because they’re so, so beautiful – such charming little plants with their heathered rainbow hues.  So I put them on my nails.  Hey, beats the heck out of trying to recreate one of Charles’s culinary nightmares!  You’re welcome. 😉

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Nailed It!

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There is a show on television – you may have seen it, but I haven’t – called Nailed It! wherein hopeless home bakers seek redemption and cash through a reality TV-style baking competition.  It’s hosted by Nicole Byer, who I DO know from Brooklyn 9-9 as delightful car thief Doug Judy’s baby sister, Trudy Judy (“baby” nothin’ – Trudy Judy takes care of her own business, you simple little barn animal!)  Anyhow, I always see the show’s title and think it’s actually some sort of nail art competition, which definitely falls on the not-so-edible side of things (though apparently so too do most of the baked goods produced by the contestants, hey-oh!)

I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for a show about both baking and nail art, but if there were, this manicure, which was inspired by a gorgeous cake I saw on Instagram, would certainly land me a spot on at least, like, the first two episodes. 😉

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LOVE these nails, gigantic, unwieldy golden charms and all.  If I had any complaints, it would be that the roses are not quite red enough (how very “Off with their heads!” does THAT sound?) and the gold not quite yellow enough.  I used a frosted, almost icy-looking gold here, whereas the original cake used a lush marigold yellow that I far prefer.  Just in general, these nails read far more “edgy tea set” than bitchin’ Queen of Hearts cake, but I love them all the same.

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