Electricity and Crystal Pepsi Both Suck

It is 2016 and I am still doing this dance. That slow waltz, yapping about horror films, weird travels, crappy food and silly observations of life. I have had huge aspirations here with not-so-hot results. I know, the Halloween Show fizzled and Christmas was just a disaster. I even tried to do a thirteen day give-away and truth be told, only half the winners have gotten their winnings still and its halfway through January. They will but I managed to drag this gift thing out long enough that I should just put “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” on the box.

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So what’s up? Everything going well? Did you see that Dustin Diamond (Screech) had to report to jail for stabbing some guy in a bar? It seems that dude had some pent-up aggression from being portrayed as a goof for ten years. What were we talking about again?

So, things have been changing for the better over here in VeggieMacabre land. Work damn near killed me but dawn has broken. My career can be described like…imagine you are a professional juggler. You can juggle anything; bowling balls, tennis rackets, chainsaws, knives…anything! Now, imagine you are performing and you are mid-juggle and ask an audience member to toss something into the items you are currently juggling. One person tosses in a soda fountain drink. That is how these past few months have been. Expected to do the impossible because people are fucking dicks.

By the way, I am not a professional juggler. I can’t even juggle tissues.

So, I am here to say, I miss this place. I love writing about the dumb things in life and reviewing things no one cares about. It’s a strange hobby but it allows one to live in the moment and share it with someone in Romania. I get a lot of inspiration and if I am being honest, even imitation of other sites and blogs. I guess that is the greatest form of flattery.

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So I am going to tell you a little story of my dumb childhood. That is, after all, the foundation of VeggieMacabre. It’s about Crystal Pepsi, Faces of Death and electrocution.

Back in middle school, I hung around the pretty much everyone but I felt more comfortable with the nerds than the athletic types. My friends Ben and Brendan where the two I spent the most time with and during the weekends we would always be at one of our houses. Those days were filled with comic book shops, Street Fighter 2, Blockbuster and any stupid adolescent food a kid could ingest. It was a great time to be thirteen.

This particular long weekend we lucked out and had a snow day. It was a typical snow day in Georgia which meant enough snow to cancel school in the morning but gone by 2:00 in the afternoon. No matter because the three of us were content to indulge in the finer things in a young dork’s life. Like reading Lobo comics, doing a blind fold taste test of Crystal Pepsi vs regular Pepsi and rent movies with suggested parental consent.

That day I found out three things about myself:

  1. Yes, you can actually be disturbed enough from a film that it ruins a weekend
  2. Crystal Pepsi is not good
  3. Electricity is pretty damn scary

We were at Ben’s house for that snowy Friday. He was my British buddy whose Mom was sweet as could be and his father was the size of dumpster and could possibly punch through a fridge. He was a professional rugby play in his youth back in England and you could tell from the fact he only had ONE EAR!. He had only one fucking ear because it was ripped off in a game against Norway back in the late seventies, before protective headwear was made mandatory. Watching him wear glasses was something of great mystery.

That aside, Ben’s father was a jovial man who joked with us kids and no longer a rough and tough rugby player, he was a rough and sweet CPA for some firm in Atlanta. He used to have weird nicknames for us that didn’t really have any meaning rather it just rhymed. For example, my name was “Willy-McBilly” and Brendan was “Brendan My Friendan”. Silly, I know, but at thirteen you just thought it was a normal part of being a kid when interacting with parents.

The three of us always hung out in Ben’s semi-finished basement. It had everything we needed like a TV, a Super Nintendo, a crappy couch and a poker table behind it. Ben’s dad was finishing it bit by bit, doing all the drywall, pluming and electric work himself and it didn’t matter if we were down there, fully engrossed in Diehard, Ben’s dad would be drilling away.

The movie of choice for that day was somewhat taboo back then and was the talk of every recess since I could remember. Every kid with a jerk older brother had been told about this and whether they had seen it for themselves or just by word of mouth, they captured the attention of an entire lunch table. You know the movie. Faces of Death Vol. 1-3.

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Faces of Death was a macabre documentary of people being filmed in there last few minutes of life. A morbid fascination to horror loving creeps like us, it was narrated by a coroner named Francis B Gröss, who showed us everything from real autopsies to a parachutist landing in an alligator farm to a real electrocution/execution. It was graphic, grainy and completely disgusting. It made us feel as if there was a dark film covering our skin and the paranoid reflections in our own mortality encompassed our thoughts for possibly the first time in our life. It would be an exaggeration to say this was as far away from a feel-good film as you could get. A better example would be to say White is to Black as Care Bears: The Great Happy Snuggle Nubbles is to Faces of Death.

To be honest, I don’t think we even made it through volume one before we had to turn it off and focus on something that didn’t involve awful people hammering open live monkey heads. It was time to find something more productive. A taste test.

Now I don’t recall how long Crystal Pepsi aka Pepsi Clear had been on the market when we decided to do this blind taste test but I do know I was no stranger to the product. In fact, I remember being very disappointed my first time trying the “uncola”. It had an after taste that seemed almost soapy. Besides Van Halen, I really didn’t care for the drink and didn’t understand why drinking clear soda was such a big buzz. Obviously I was oblivious during the eighties and early nineties because these campaigns with silly color changes were everything to people. (Google “purple ketchup”)

Trying to focus our attention away from the awful deaths of 1978, we laid out the little plastic cups across the poker table and used a rolled up t-shirt for the blind fold. Each of us would take a turn guessing what was regular and what was clear.

Meanwhile, while we were hard at work doing a fake marketing test for our own amusement, Ben’s dad was hard at work installing a light switch on the wall approximately ten feet away. A tough guy, knowing how electricity works was mere elementary science and turning off the breaker would be for amateurs or ninnies. He had been finishing out this basement for the better part of the fall and winter so by this time, little things like safety were just annoyances.

It was finally my time to test my senses and see if these taste buds could tell the difference between Crystal Pepsi and boring ol’ regular. With sight removed I raised the first cup to my lips and took a sip. Undeniably , it was Crystal Pepsi. At this point it dawned on me we were really bored and needed to go outside or do something more productive. But, like a good sport, I still had three more tastes to complete. (We did two of each to make sure we just weren’t lucky guessers)

As I took the second sip I smelled something strange, like a battery operated toy that was red-hot from running too long. The hairs on my arm raised and it felt like I could have touched someone and possibly blown a finger off from the charge in my body. I lifted the blindfold and saw both Ben and Brendan looking   passed me and I turned around to see Ben’s dad rigid and holding a screwdriver inserted in the switch on the wall.

Almost the instant I looked over at Ben’s dad, he made what I can only describe as a muffled Grandpa Simpson scream and he broke the circuit with a loud *POP*, the electricity went out and he collapsed to the floor.

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Holy shit! Right after watching Faces of Death, we saw Ben’s father get electrocuted in real life! We were frozen in shock and looked at him for a second before realizing we needed to do something. But before we could even get to our feet we saw Ben’s dad sit straight up and exclaim, “Bloody dickens! I just shocked me fuckin’ self!”

He looked over at us and to see if we had seen his brush with death and he could tell from the horror on our faces, we saw it all. Never breaking a moment from character, he laughed loudly and fell back on the carpeted floor. It was almost a gesture to reassure us that he was okay and a little sorry for scarring us for life.

After a brief moment of levity, we helped him up and Ben ran up to inform his mom that her husband shocked himself and smelled up the basement. She, obviously, went screaming down the stairs and made a huge scene (rightfully so). I had never heard such a wonderful array of British loving profanity.

Ben’s mom carted him off to the emergency room to get looked over. At 49, you don’t take a shock like that and not at least make sure it didn’t toast your heart. Electricity is a funny thing; a lightning strike could just knock you out while a getting toast out of your toaster with a fork could kill you before you hit the floor. Since that innocent, I don’t mess with it. I don’t even trust myself jumping a car and a few years ago I installed a ceiling fan and texted a friend goodbye before I started.

So, that was my dumb story. I will always link to Crystal Pepsi, Faces of Death and electrocution and with the reintroduction of Crystal Pepsi this June. I hope that doesn’t prelude to more electricity incidences.

I am back! Currently I am snowed in so this whole weekend I will be posting videos of me slowly going insane.

 

 

 

13 Days Of Christmas

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It’s 13 days till Christmas! It’s practically here!

That’s right, you freaks, we are creeping our way down to the day of Christmas when we get loaded on eggnog, open gifts and watch The Christmas Story 12 times in a row and smash the hand of anyone who dares change the channel. (Sorry about last year, Grandma) With the busy life and time of your’s truly and the crash landing of the Halloween Hell Show, I figured committing 13 days is way more doable than an entire month. But don’t fret, we have lots in store and 13 videos too! I can say that with certainty since most are already shot.

OH! I am also doing a few horror gift giveaways to brighten your Christmas season. Each will be different and announced on Twitter so if you don’t follow me, you might want to. Details will follow on the first prize announced tomorrow.

So, get ready for the unholy number of days as we countdown to Christmas day and have the time of our life doing it. Bring it in. I have hugs for you.

Until the official start (late tonight) spread your love of the holiday and checkout Matt’s annual holiday fantasmo over at DinosaurDracula. It’s tradition, mang.

 

 

A Revisit To The Sorrel-Weed House

Much like a NASA space launch, the Halloween Hell Show had a few delays but the countdown continued and here we are on launch day! A successful one at that. For the next 25 days I will bringing you Halloween fun like guest appearances from amazing people, reviews on all things macabre, movie chats, travel locations and even trying a live broadcast on Halloween! Not sure why I am doing this on Halloween since everyone will be out but my buddy Travis and I are committing.

I recap all of this in one breath at the beginning of this video. I strive for brevity because watching a twenty-minute video of me should include sharks, lasers, a questionable parachute and puppies. I do have puppies, though. (So much poop)

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Tonight, I am bringing you with me as I revisit a location that actually made me change my opinion of what goes bump in the night. I wrote about this particular experience a couple of years ago and ever since I have had this weird fascination to….haunts? I don’t know. All I do know is I had something happen to me, it was witnessed by people and I was able to take a picture of it. Read the original post here to get caught up.

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I lucked out and got to take a private tour with a few people and talk with a young tour guide who knows all too well the dark history that the Sorrel-Weed house has. In fact, just a week before she was scratched while giving a tour in the basement. It was nice being able to candidly speak with someone who not only was an expert in the history of the property but had first hand accounts of what lurks in the basement.

So, now that you think I am crazy, please watch the first of many Halloween Hell Show videos as we travel around the country celebrating the macabre of this 2015 Halloween season. Also, a big thanks to Thomas Boatwright and his incredible artwork. He created and animated the intro video for the VeggieMacabre’s Halloween Hell Show. I also got to hangout with him and he’s a pretty swell guy.

Enjoy the show because this is our time of the year! Add a pumpkin beer while you’re at it.

A Visit To Camp Crystal Lake

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A few weeks ago I took a trip up to North New Jersey for a meeting with a client and was able to tie it into an awesome weekend visiting Jay from The Sexy Armpit and Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. I have been buds with these guys for years and now that I think about it, a whole decade! Jay was such an incredible host and the fun we all had together really can’t be matched. There is some kind of magic that takes place when three Halloween nuts get together with booze and tacos. A lot of tacos.

While getting to see the magic behind Jay and Matt’s genius was something that can keep a long time fan on a high for quiet some time, I want to talk about a trip we took that Saturday. The season had not officially begun but the Purple Stuff podcast was well under way entering its third show that evening. The air was still summer but in our hearts it was cool, gray and a touch spooky. We were on our way to the filming location of a much-loved movie, Friday the 13th which was located about an hour northwest in  a town called Blairstown.

On the way there we listened to Jay’s amazing Halloween soundtrack and I was able to geek-out listening to Matt and Jay discuss ideas, Halloween news and nostalgic stories. Without getting into details, it was a treat for a longtime reader. We took the rental car and Jay was able to fight the notorious New Jersey drivers without incident and got us to the little town unscathed. And looking back, it was a pretty easy drive in comparison to other places I have lived, especially on a Saturday afternoon.

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Right away we started to recognize certain buildings and landmarks from a visual study Jay and I did earlier in the morning while watching Friday the 13th. One of the first spots was the diner which was a biggie on the list. Before we left, we all agreed that pie and coffee had to be eaten there, preferably in the spot where the camp head counselor sat before he was gutted. But that goal proved to be a little lofty. When we pulled in to the parking lot we could see a silhouette of a waitress waving us off. Jay was only trying to turn around but still there was something weird about that diner and although there were definitely people inside, it didn’t seem open.

Pulling out of the parking lot everyone decided we would hit the Diner on the way out and head to the town center to take photos and talk to the locals. But that’s when it started to get even weirder. There weren’t really any locals around to talk to! It was as if there was a huge festival in a neighboring town and everyone went there. It was a few days after I finished reading Stephen King’s Salem Lot and brother, it was almost identical to the description. Walking past the empty little shops and business, I couldn’t help but imagine sleeping vampires covered in musty tarps slumbering in the back rooms. I am sure everyone else was thinking the town was just boring.

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Nothing has changed since the filming back in 1980. NOTHING! The bank is still in stone, the little road that the doomed hitchhiking girl strolled down is there and even the store front Crazed Ralph gummed, “You’re all dooomed!” is still there in an untouched perfection. It was everything a fan of the Friday the 13th fan could ask for.

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While taking an uncomfortably quiet stroll through the fifty yards of the town center we did come upon a thrift shop. Bingo! Well, kind of. It was a weird little shop and only certain things were for sale. Judging from the quality of the stuff, I don’t know what they were holding out for. But it was still neat to see Matt and Jay do their thing which make great future posts we all love.

We got some pictures, I took video but really, within thirty minutes we saw it all. It was time to try the Diner again. As strange as our first encounter was before, it got even stranger when we tried to go in. There were clearly people inside but the doors were locked. It actually didn’t even seem like a fully operating diner but rather a crappy rundown place full of crockpots and hotplates to appease the ragged local. Again, the jerk of a waitress shooed us away from the window. So we just walked across the street to a tavern.

This was a welcome break but when we walked in it felt like the record scratched and everyone turned around to see the “outlanders”. We sat down and ordered a few drinks and fried artichokes while conversing with a sweet waitress. Again, our eyes scanned the surroundings for signs that this place was in the movie and Matt brought to mind that this place could be the tavern from F13 Part 2. A quick search on the phone led to nothing because there was absolutely no service in the bar. So I ventured outside to find out that no, F13 Part 2 was filmed in Connecticut. Bummer.

After a rest we returned to the car in search of the crown jewel, Camp Crystal Lake! The real spot is a boy scout camp called “Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco” and believe it or not, parents send their kids there. All we wanted to see was the lake and possibly recreate the Jason/canoe scene. But there was a problem.

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The winding road through the dense woods soon became littered with “No Trespassing” signs as we got closer to the camp. By the time we reached the camp entrance it was as welcoming as Check Point Charlie dividing East and West Europe. It was evident that if you even thought of getting out of your car, there was a good chance of getting shot, arrested, eaten by a bear or having your arm ripped off and beaten to death by Jason. All things that we were not willing to spoil the weekend with. But we did find a creek that certainly came from the lake! That is something, right?

Did I forget to mention we were quite possibly chased out-of-town by a crazed person in a pickup? That happened too. Jay is a pretty big dude so at least if things turned sour he was on our side. Still, it added a bit of psychopath to a setting that needed one.

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So, we left the sleepy little town of Blairstown and headed back to civilization richer for having seen the location of one of our favorite movies. On the way home we stopped at a dollar store and I saws in person Matt and Jay and their search for Halloween gold. The day was one to remember and started this Halloween season off with a bang.

Later that night, after a few hundred drinks, I tried to film an intro for the video from earlier that day and boy did I muck that up! I could not for the life of me remember the name Blairstown. I kept wanting to say Birketsville or Blairsville or Chicago. Anything but the right name, Blairstown, so Jay came in and saved the day. What a natural.

Big thanks to Dinosaur Dracula and The Sexy Armpit! Fantastic people and great friends. Now watch me fuck this video up six ways to Sunday.

 

 

Summer Evening Storms: Ain’t What They Used To Be

Middle school is a tough time for many kids, especially boys. I say boys because the transition from elementary to middle requires something that we, as a male species hate, and that is results. It’s true, little boys go kicking and screaming when it comes to the period of growing up. I know I did.

The summer of 1991 was a pretty huge change for me. I left the comforts of a cush’ fifth grade life to that of an accelerated sixth grader who, in reality, probably shouldn’t have been. A standard sixth grader would have been just fine. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, my family got transferred to Phoenix, Arizona smack in the middle of the school year. It was a royal suck.

Being the new kid, I didn’t really have any friends besides this kid named Reed, who was the most popular kid in school and lived down the street from me. During school he would pretend not know me but after he would always show up at my house ready to talk me into some sort of mischief. And when I say mischief, I mean stuff that would end up on Fox News today because, lets face it, we live in a shaming society. Let me list a few activities for you because we were complete little assholes.

  • Throw oranges from the citrus trees over the highway barrier into traffic.
  • Get into ROCK WARS in the desert with other kids
  • Snipe small animals with BB guns
  • Roll smoke bombs into garages of those who kept them cracked open for their cats
  • T.P. teacher’s houses
  • Hit golfers with water balloons launched from a water balloon launcher
  • And much more

So, when peer pressure got old I would retreat to the house and build monster models while watching movies that I knew would haunt me as soon as dusk came. I believe that is sort of the way I have always run my life. Sure it feels good now but damn if I won’t pay for it later.

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My love of the macabre would rear its head especially during the Arizona evening storms that would light the sky and rumble the foundations of the house. The heat of the day with a mix of northern cool air would produce some of the most fantastic electrical storms I have ever seen and while most kids probably thought nothing of it, I was buried under my blankets, counting the distance of the storm by the Poltergeist method of seconds between lightning and thunder. And we all know what happens when the storm got closer.

I remember riding my bike home for dinner and staring off into the distance over the mountains and seeing the ominous clouds build in the distance like billowing army, marching closer and closer as the afternoon-evening transformed to night. The wind chimes would clang as the wind slowly increased force until it sounded like a spectral howl, wailing with creepy peaks and valleys. As the sun set, an orange hue set upon the whole house and the distraction of dinner in front of the TV was welcome but in the back of my head, night was coming and soon the storm would be here.

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My Mom hated these electrical storms and would demand the TV be unplugged at the first rumble of thunder for fear of a power surge. It supposedly happened to my parents back when I was an infant and ever since then, no matter what size surge protector we had, the TV was going off. That meant off to bed to dwell in my thoughts.

You see, I didn’t have any brothers or sisters growing up and with my Dad always gone on trips, it was just me and Ma at the house. With a Mom who was as nervous as a dog on the 4th of July, I was pretty much left to my own overactive imagination. And as a horror goon, that was pretty grim. Constantly I would see images of Regan’s horrid face from the movie The Exorcist as she would peer from the window when the lightning lit the sky. Why oh why did I watch that from the hallway when Dad had it on HBO earlier in the year? (That’s a rhetorical question because back then, that’s how every sixth grader saw The Exorcist.)

These nights were pretty tough because every ghoul and spook seemed to creep into my thoughts and cause me to hear and see things that just weren’t there. Even passages of books read for fun at the pool would come to haunt me these evenings. “We dare not look out the back window of the house for that’s where the dead wander and rap upon our door.”- Bell Witch

I really hated myself during those few agonizing nights but as soon as the sun came up, I would completely forget the terrors which plagued me just hours before. Nope, it was a new day with no cares in the world. That is until four o’clock came again.

Today, I am still the twisted little kid who loves to get spooked by movies and stories but I have come to love these evening summer storms. Like Eddie Rabbit says, it washes my cares away and even relaxes me into repose. My dog, however, doesn’t agree but I can be the comfort to whatever he is thinking. I am sure it’s not the Tar Man coming out of the closet but who knows? He watches all these silly movies with me now and I don’t know what damage that has done.

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I hope you get these summer storms and if so have grown to appreciate them as much as I have. Just remember, the little things in life are what makes everything worth it.

FYI, big stuff coming and as a hint, REVIEW THE WORLD is visiting again! Badda Bing! The What The Hell Show begins!