Monday, October 31, 2011


Mom and I put in a raised bed this Fall, and I'd stocked it with the greens that the dogs kept stepping on and also planted two types of kale. I got nervous, though with the approach of this early winter, that I'd lose my seedlings.

So, as the slush was coming down, I was crouched in my front lawn (wearing a down vest under a rain coat) making this awesome hoop house I learned about on the You Tubes. I managed to mis-measure even the few measurements required, but it works nonetheless.

After I was done, I stepped back and looked at it from the street and it looks, well, kinda janky. But, that's why we moved to our particular neighborhood...Alexis and I are, to put it mildly, a little bit country. Stuff we do in the yard is going to look a bit off for the middle of the city. But our neighborhood just isn't as fancy as some of the other places we were looking to live. So, we can pretty much do things the way we want and not be the pariahs of our street...

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Yesterday marked the monumental end of "Alexis and Shana's Shockingly Big, Ridiculous, East Coast Halloween Tour '11" - for time's sake let's call it ASSBRECHT 2011. Turns out it's how Alexis wants to spend her birthday month - catching as much haunted house action as possible. October is a great month for getting obsessed about something, falling as it does between the Board (stand-up) and Board (snow) seasons, but good lord, did we do it up this year:

Pennhurst Asylum
We were waiting for this one. The haunts themselves were alright, but the place was AMAZING. Actually, their tunnel haunt was totally cool, snaking as it did through the underground passages which they had filled with fog, screwed up floors, and disorienting lighting. They had a huge bonfire, we ate really good ribs, and I ran through a rat maze and fell down in the mud. Excellent evening.


Surprisingly awesome! We got there late, so I wasn't sure we'd see everything -- and it was basically pouring and freezing. However, their prison-break themed house rawked - a ton of dark groping, LOUD clanging, and enthusiastic scarers made it totally fun. Also, I met a snake.


Netherworld in Atlanta, GA
We'd heard for a while about this one...we flew to Atlanta - which rocks by the way, we really loved what we saw - and met up with Sarah and Mark. The house itself was pretty good, but PACKED, with a huge, huge, huge line. Their secondary house was basically sewer-horror, which I appreciated deeply.


Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, FL
Oh, man, this was fun. The haunts were alright - not the greatest, but okay. However, wandering drunkenly through a darkened and haunted Universal Studios was pretty feckin' awesome. We tromped through the park for seven hours (from 7p to 2a)-- it was outlandish.

Note to selves: cherry vodka is a GREAT halloween shot.

Did I mention we're nearing 40? It kicked our asses.


Run for Your Lives Zombie 5K
This was possibly the most fun we've ever had. Alexis emitted ear-splitting screams at terrified runners, and still has not fully recovered her voice.


Bennett's Curse
Our local haunt -- just 1/2 hour away and full of DC'ers. Included Howard Dean's 2004 scream as a sound effect. Waiting for somebody to use the Wilhelm, but maybe it's too expensive?


Field of Screams
Maybe our favorite one. Seriously, I thought it was going to suck, so I tried to talk us out of it for weeks. But here's a story for you: when Alexis was little - say 10 or 12, she went through a haunted house that changed her life - she thinks it was called "Fit of Fun" somewhere around SouthEastern Penna. What made it so amazing, she remembers, is that it was built into a big old house, so you had to go through doors, up the stairs into the attic, crouch through small, dark mazes...all the while having to deal with sensory tricks - uneven floors, rooms painted to seem as if they were getting smaller, strange lights, etc. Field of Screams is the closest thing we've ever found, and it may even have been made by the same people. We LOVED it.


The good doctor works the next three nights, so for her that's it. Tomorrow, I am going to the Lantern and Luminaria parade downtown. I'm expecting it to be transcendent, a perfect start to winter.