Nipple hats for cats.

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club then maybe last month you joined us for our online craft hour where I made a man (sort of) and taped myself to him (accidentally) and his arms kept falling off (embarrassingly)?  Well it was so much fun that we decided to do again, so check your email for the link if you’re already a member or click here to join the Strangelings if you want in.

Last week Vicky was crafting pasties (which makes sense because she’s a burlesque dancer in addition to being a consummate book monger and event manager) and I was like, “ Send me the recipe because I have to make those for my cats.”  Turns out it’s just 3D printed cones from Etsy and then you add your own rhinestones and tassels and when it all arrived Victor was like, “Wtf is this?” and I explained that I was making pasties for the cats and he acted like that was insane and so I explained that that I wasn’t making them for the cats to wear on their nipples obviously, and that I was making them for the cats to wear as hats.  And then Victor was like “Obviously?” and I was like, “Yeah.  I’d need SO MANY pasties to cover all the cat nipples.  They’re practically crawling with them.  Nipples, I mean.  Not pasties.  Obviously.”  And then Victor was like, “Please stop using ‘obviously’ when you are talking about crafting nipple covers for cat hats” but honestly, I think he was just embarrassed that he hadn’t done the math on how much it would cost to cover all the cat nipples in the house, so I just let him have that one.  

Obviously.

Also, remember Kate Winkler Dawson?  She was one of our first Fantastic Strangelings authors way back in Feb 2020 (PRE-PLAGUE!) who wrote American Sherlock.  Well, her newest book just came out (All That is Wicked: A Gilded-Age Story of Murder and the Race to Decode the Criminal Mind) and it is fabulous so she’s going to join us as we craft so we can talk about old-timey murder and forensics while we craft, which feels very fitting on spooky season.  

I tried to put the pre-decorated nipple cover on Hunter S. Thomcat and he was unimpressed.

But probably just because it wasn’t all blinged out yet and he has fashion standards.

Also happening this week? Remember how amazing book fairs were? Us too. Which is why we’re having a haunted book fair at Nowhere on Friday night. Spooky books, haunted elixirs, slap bracelets and erasers and book marks and the smell of new tomes. (And also non-spooky books and non-alcoholic drinks and all the normal stuff that you already love about bookstores if you are anything like me.)

And on Saturday we’re having (lightly) spooky story time for kiddos, complete with a costume parade and trick-or-treating for books:

Come join us, huh?

PS. When I went to school our book fair was actually just everyone getting the book catalogue and then ordering books based on the pictures and then a month later a big box would arrive and the teacher would pass out the books and if you ordered more than one you’d get a poster of a deer or a cat hanging off a tree or a scented eraser. Was it like that for everyone in the 70s/80s or was it just like that for rural schools? Anyway, that might be why I’m so excited about this and why I am currently tying dozens of ribbons on creepy bookmarks to tuck into your books. YAY FOR RELIVING YOUR CHILDHOOD IN VAGUELY HEALTHY WAYS!

Honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to get a 12 foot skeleton because shit like this is kind of made for me.

If you are halloween-obsessed like I am you probably already know that Home Depot makes this 12 foot tall skeleton that always sells out immediately so when I saw that they opened up preorders a few months ago I immediately ordered one and then promptly forgot about it again until a 100 pound box was lugged to my door by two men who looked very impressed with my order or very impressed with the fact that they weren’t married to me.

Victor was a little overwhelmed but I figured I could do most of the assembly myself by using the skeleton song (“The arm bone’s connected to the…hand bone!”) but this was more complicated so instead I ended up singing “The leg bone’s connected to the…other leg bone. But first you connect it to the…metal thingie. Wait, no, I think I used the wrong…metal thingie. Why are there so many…metal thingies? Why do the arm bones look like…leg bones?” And then Victor was like, “Stop singing or I’ll kill you”” which felt aggressive, but in his defense the song was surprisingly unhelpful and also this was a jigsaw puzzle he never wanted to be involved with:

He was a bit grumpy but tried to stay in good spirits. For example, he found this humerus.

(I think this actually might be a femur but that’s not as funny. Sorry.)

Here is where I would put a time-lapse video of us putting the skeleton up on the porch but I had to keep turning off the camera to look for building tutorials because we misplaced the directions, but if you had been here you would have seen the skeleton bent over it’s box while I pushed its pelvis with mine to lock the ribs in place, which looked very much like I was shooting a doggy-style skeleton p0rn as two different sets of neighbors drove by. They did not wave. I told Victor that if I was shooting a skeleton p0rn I’d call it “BONED” and he just sort of stared at me, which is fair because that’s pretty lazy writing now that I think about it.

Nonetheless, we persevered.

I decided to name her Bone Crawford but now I’m leaning toward Scary Connick Junior so please help me make my mind up.

Her power source is in her pelvis (a slightly more poetic p0rn title) so I had to climb up and shove a bunch of C batteries in her butthole and then to turn him on you have to push him in the butthole and OMG THIS SKELETON EROTICA WRITES ITSELF.

In the end (also a valid title) it was totally worth it…

…although, when I mentioned how hard it was going to be to take it apart and carry it up to the attic later Victor said, “I’d rather just burn the house down” which is helpful because it falls in line with my plan to keep them up for as long as it takes the Home Owner’s Association to complain. Bone Crawford can carry offer a cornucopia at Thanksgiving, Scary Connick Junior can wear a Santa Hat and brandish a menorah in winter. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

Close-up of the butt-action:

I’m too uncool to know which thumbs-up emoji is uncool so someone help me.

me: So apparently we’re supposed to stop thumbs-up emojying young people at work.

Victor: I don’t even know what that means but it sounds like something I already don’t do.

me: According to the internet Gen Z finds the thumbs up emoji passive-aggressive and hostile, but Gen X uses it all the time because they don’t understand.

Victor: I don’t understand.

me: Fucking same, dude. But we’re Gen X so I guess we’re not supposed to? But I don’t know if I’m still cool because I never use the thumbs-up emoji but I’m always using the thumbs-up reaction and I don’t know if that’s different.

Victor: Aren’t those the same thing?

me: The thumbs-up emoji is yellow and stand alone. The thumbs-up reaction is blue and is attached to the person’s text bubble.

Victor: I’m so confused.

me: BECAUSE WE’RE OLD. Apparently we’re also supposed to stop using thumbs-up, okay fingers, kissy face, red hearts…

Victor: Eggplant emoji?

me: Eggplant emoji did not make the list. But please don’t send it anyway.

Victor: Huh. Can I still do thumbs up in real life?

me: Just to be safe? I’d say only if you’re Fonzie.

Victor: What if I’m ironically pretending to be Fonzie?

me: Does Gen Z even know Fonzie?

Victor: Fuck. We’re old.

This is where I’d put a thumbs up emoji but I literally don’t know how to do that in wordpress and Hailey isn’t home to help me so I texted them for feedback:

Need something creepy to read? I’VE GOT YOU COVERED.

This month the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club is reading Lute by Jennifer Thorne and it is just the haunting, atmospheric folk horror weirdness you need for October.

It’s about love, duty and community and it’s a bit like Wicker Man mixed with Midsommar and Final Destination.

Want more details?  

On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less.

Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored.

Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It’s all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line.

Then The Day begins. And it’s a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina―and Lute―will never be the same.

It’s officially Spooky Season so this small piece of folk horror satisfied my craving for strange and fascinating, while touching on so many aspects of responsibility, fate, sacrifice, duty and love.  It has a Shirley Jackson-esque sort of slow burn quality that I really enjoyed.  And I need you to read it as soon as it gets into your mailboxes because I have feelings and need to discuss them.

Need more than one book to get you through the month?  I HAVE YOU.

October has some amazing new releases, especially if you’re looking for something to fit the season. A few of my favorites are:

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd – This epic historical novel illuminates the lives of a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.  This one is dark as hell and based on a true story I’m shocked I’d never heard of before.  If you have the stomach for it I highly recommend it.

I’m Wearing Tunics Now by Wendi Aarons – A memoir about second acts, self-acceptance, and celebrating what happens when a woman gets older, wiser, and a lot more excited by sales at Eileen Fisher.

Ejaculate Responsibly by Gabrielle Blair – a provocative reframing of the abortion issue in post-Roe America that directs the focus on men’s lack of accountability in preventing unwanted pregnancies.  People are going to be talking about this one, for good reason.

All That is Wicked by Kate Winkler Dawson- The fascinating true story of a serial murderer who was called “too intelligent to be killed”–and the array of 19th century investigators who were convinced his brain held the key to understanding the criminal mind.  If you listen to Kate’s podcast you may think you know this story but there is so much more in this book.

Malice House by Megan Shepherd – A gothic sort of haunted house mystery about the power of stories.

The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett – A forlorn forest fabled to have a witch’s curse and a mythical evil creature known as the Corrigal roaming about it.  A bit like Blair Witch Project mixed with The Others.

The Hollow Kind by Andy Davidson –  A tale of the Redfern family’s battle with a cosmic horror in Empire, Georgia through two different timelines. A novel about legacy and the horrors that hide in the dark corners of family history.

Bad Vibes Only by Nora McInernyFunny and relatable. So good.

I’m opening up the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook Discussion page for last month’s book, The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh but in case you don’t do facebook I’ll put my thoughts in the comments.

And I’m always looking for more creepy so if you have some suggestions for good horror books, let me know.

Until next month, happy reading and don’t forget to support your local indie bookshop!

My real house is a mess but my haunted house is…well, it’s actually a mess too.

If you’ve been around long enough you know that I’ve been building a haunted dollhouse for the last 19 years and it’s still not done because I have ADD and don’t have the ability to finish a project. Today I added a ghost to the house but I can’t tell where I should put her so I need your advice.

The house in question:

Should she be floating through the walls of the rooftop greenhouse:

Or patiently await the next seance in the parlor?

Or drift down into the witches kitchen?

Or be forever plummeting to her death?

Or be levitating in the mad scientists lab/dungeon?

Or be reading over the shoulder of the conjuror?

Or be levitating in the library?

Or be doing a full exorcist (sans pea soup vomit)?

Or does she look too glossy for the dollhouse altogether and should live somewhere else?

Happy birthday, Victor.

So every single fucking year Victor insists that I have not bought him an ice cream cake even though I TOTALLY HAVE and it’s sort of a running joke because he insists that “It’s all I’ve ever asked for” while looking off into the distance like a wounded puppy, but then on his actual birthday he always insists that he’s just been messing me with me and tells me to not go get him an ice cream cake on his birthday because there are only three of us and it’s a waste of money and then the next day he’s like, “SIGH..NO ONE EVER GETS ME AN ICE CREAM CAKE AND IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED” so today I tried to sneak out to get him an ice cream cake and he heard me and threw himself behind my car while yelling, “SERIOUSLY, DON’T GET ME AN ICE CREAM CAKE. I SWEAR I’M JUST MESSING WITH YOU” and so I pretended that I was giving up and when he moved I gunned it and went to the store and he was texting me “Seriously, we have no room in the freezer. Don’t get an ice cream cake” but it was too late because I got this single-serving ice cream cake push-up and Victor was like, “I’m not sure this counts” but it totally does and I sang happy birthday to him and was very self-satisfied until he was like, “I can’t even get it to push up” and then suddenly the whole thing popped out of the plastic and fell in the sink and Victor was all wide-eyed and was like, “I SWEAR TO GOD I DIDN’T DO THAT ON PURPOSE. IT JUST FELL” and I suspected that he did it on purpose so that he could continue to complain about not getting an ice cream cake for his birthday but jokes on him because I bought 5 of those fucking cake pops and then Victor was like, “Oh, touché” and he ate some and then he was like, “Well, you finally got me an ice cream cake but you didn’t sing me happy birthday” but I totally did and recorded it and then he was like, “You didn’t sing happy birthday dressed as Batgirl” and I stared at him and he was like, “That’s all I’ve ever asked for.”

And honestly I could not stop laughing and I hope this goes on forever.

Happy birthday, Victor.

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