Tag Archives: scary stuff

Ender’s Game

enders game

I just finished reading Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel Ender’s Game. It was great, on many levels – plot, characterization, evocative imagery, insightful commentary on the nature of the human condition. Aside from all that, though, one of the other aspects of the novel that I really enjoyed was the character names. First of all, ‘Ender’s Game‘ is a seriously kick-ass title for a book. It just sounds cool. The fact that Ender is the name of the main character is a bonus. And the entire story is populated by characters with interesting names. Here are a few of them:

  • ★ Ender Wiggin
  • ★ Valentine Wiggin
  • ★ Petra Arkanian
  • ★ Carn Carby
  • ★ Crazy Tom
  • ★ Sargeant Dap
  • ★ Dink Meeker
  • ★ Julian “Bean” Delphiki
  • ★ Rose the Nose
  • ★ Hot Soup
  • ★ Fly Molo
  • ★ Pol Slattery

I mean, would you not want to hang out with any and all of those dudes, based solely on their appellations? And sure, yeah, a couple of those are Battle School nicknames, but most of them are their legit birth names. Awesome.




A movie theatre downtown is playing Ghostbusters a bunch of times over the next two weeks, I guess leading up to Hallowe’en. I am definitely planning on going to see it. I remember watching it in the theatre with my friend Arwen when we were little kids, and being so scared of that freaky ghost in the library.

I also loved ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ cartoon on Saturday mornings. The best part about it was that, unlike in the movies, Slimer was their pal! In the cartoon he was a lovable, mischievous green blob with a cute squeaky little voice.

Check him out here, eating 100 boxes of cereal in order to get enough tickets for a mail-in spy kit. He just wants to be a super duper spy, you guys! I love him.

Wishful Skillin’: On Top of the World

Look, I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no way that you could ever get me to climb Mount Everest. First of all, I have better things to do with my money (or lack thereof) than spend the small fortune necessary to embark on such an adventure. In fact, you couldn’t pay me to do it. Like, seriously, if someone offered to cover my costs — even if they offered me double the cost, and I could pocket the change — there is still no way. $100,000 is a lot of dough — but my life is worth more than that, thank you. And with a 1 in 20 chance of not making it back down the mountain, I think I am perfectly justified in this decision.

Having said that…it would be nice to stand on top of the world, wouldn’t it?

Therefore, I present to you today’s edition of ‘Wishful Skillin’:

skillin' on everest

The view’s great from here! Bonus: 0% chance of falling into a crevasse or freezing to death.

This is one adventure that I am perfectly content to dream about rather than actually experience.

The SkiFree Monster

SkiFree Monster

Do you remember this guy? The little monster who would always run out from behind a tree and gobble you up at the end of a game of SkiFree? Well, he has his own facebook page now.

I used to play this game a lot when I was a kid, and I could never seem to avoid being eaten. But maybe I will see him in the woods the next time I venture out…I think we’re due for a re-match.

skifree vs skillzy

TV Stalkers


Okay, just for the record, right off the top I would like to say that I do not condone real-life stalkers. That shizz is crazy, and super scary!

There is, however, one kind of Valentine that I love…which brings us to today’s topic: Emily Valentine! And TV stalkers, in general. Just ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you that I always say there’s nothing quite like a good stalker storyline to make a TV show more interesting. Movies too, I guess — but TV is better because most of the time the stalker gets a good 3-5 episode arc, which gives them just enough time to terrorize the bejeesuz out of their stalkee and generally wreak havoc in their life and the lives of their friends and family. So fun!!*

*For me to watch, from the comfort of my safe, stalker-free** living room.

**(I hope)

Since I like to default to Beverly Hills, 90210 to prove many of my points in life, and since they featured a number of stalkers over the years (to be fair, it was a very long running show, so a certain amount of storyline recycling is acceptable in my view), let’s examine some of the show’s key stalkers:



Trapped in a fire with Kelly (in the basement of the house where Steve and Griffin throw a holiday-themed rave), Allison suffers the more serious injuries of the two and later becomes obsessed with Kelly, dumping her girlfriend in the hopes that Kelly will fall in love with her.

Stalker Scale: Benign. Really more of a lovesick fan.



Another Kelly stalker! Man, people just loved to obsess over that Kelly Taylor, didn’t they? (You could argue that Valerie was low-level stalking her throughout the entire show, since she was basically consumed by everything Kelly did and tried to steal every dude she was involved with). Anyway, Kelly and Tara meet in rehab where they bond over their mutual substance abuse problems. After checking out, Tara moves into the Beach House and goes full-on SWF on Kelly. Her story arc culminates in an attempted murder-suicide plan, but fortunately Kelly manages to convince her that life is still worth living even if she’s not blonde, rich, and perfect, like her idol.


"I just want to be you, Kel!"

Stalker Scale: Scary. Single White Female stuff gives me the chills, y’all!



Not to be outdone by Kelly, Donna gets her very own stalker in Season 7 (I am not counting the creepy dude in Season 5 who tried to attack her at the Beach House, since that whole scene obviously goes way beyond fun-and-games TV stalkerism). Evan is a camera man at the campus television station where Donna works as a weather girl (of course). He sends her disturbing fan mail, tries to run her over with his car, and eventually holds her hostage at gunpoint on live TV. As you do.

Stalker Scale: Psycho. Guns are NOT COOL, Evan.



We’re into the new 90210 territory here. The updated incarnation of the show is obviously far inferior to the original (and not only because of its’ tragic dearth of stalkers), but obviously I still watch it. You can imagine my delight when Annie’s first love Jasper turns into a raving stalker in Season 2, torches Liam’s boat in a jealous rage, and threatens to take his own life by throwing himself off the Hollywood sign! That there is some serious style and panache! Way to go, kid.

Stalker Scale: This one’s tough. Annie and Jasper were in love, after all. She even lost her virginity to him. He just got a little too…intense. To put it mildly.

And then – sigh — there is the queen of them all…

Emily Valentine

emily valentine

You guys, there really are no words to express how much I love the whole Emily Valentine story arc. My friend Caroline and I are obsessed with the episode where she goes full-on psycho, basically roofies Brandon (I think it was actually supposed to be ecstasy, but whatever), plans to burn down the gang’s homecoming float, and threatens to kill herself if Brandon doesn’t love her back. And also! She bakes him a cake and leaves it on his front porch! I don’t know why that part seems so crazy to me (except for the fact that I have never baked a cake in my life, and if I ever were to do so it would be consumed very quickly by me before it had the chance to grace anyone’s doorstep) but it always struck me as a hilarious detail. Like, let me just take some time out from my busy stalking and float-destroying schedule to do some baking! It’s kind of endearing, no? Just me? I felt bad for old Emily though…it can be tough moving around a lot as a kid, and having to make new friends every time you change schools. I suppose that could lead to some pretty crazy attachment issues. My high school was full of kids who were toted all over the world, though (not just from San Francisco to L.A., thank you very much Emily), and (as far as I know) there were no major stalking tendencies that manifested themselves as a result.

Stalker Scale: Amazing. Obviously I’m biased, though. The girl clearly had serious problems, but I love her storyline so much that I cannot be impartial.

Well, that’s my list! Are there any 90210 stalkers that I missed? Who are your favorite TV stalkers?

The Bloor Street Viaduct

bloor viaduct

I’ve mentioned that I occasionally suffer from panic attacks. The most recent ones I’ve experienced have occurred when I’ve been travelling. I have taken literally hundreds of flights in my life (my family moved around a lot when I was a kid), but for some reason about 3 years ago I developed a fear of flying. Go figure. Now any time I get on a plane I have to take lots of drugs (legal ones!) so that I don’t start freaking out as soon as we take off. I have also had random panic attacks on the subway. I think it has something to do with being in an enclosed space underground. Makes sense, I suppose, and I’m sure it’s not uncommon. Anyway, when I moved to my neighborhood a few years ago I started taking a new route to work which involves crossing the Bloor Street Viaduct every morning. It’s a beautiful bridge, and you get a pretty cool view of the city, but the first few times I was on the subway crossing over it I started to get those very bad panicky feelings. I also have a fear of heights which undoubtedly played into it. I felt disconnected from my body, like I was floating away – and when that happens I honestly feel like I’m about to die. Sounds totally melodramatic, I know, but seriously — it seems so real.

Anyway, I realized pretty quickly that I was going to be in big trouble if I couldn’t handle taking the subway across this fucking bridge every morning. There are alternate routes to work, of course, but I didn’t want to give in to those kinds of avoidance behaviors. That would only strengthen the power of the panic attacks. I knew I had to take charge and be decisive! No time for cowardice.

The next few times that I crossed the bridge, I forced myself to stand right up next to the glass, looking down at the river and trails below. I was shaking at first, scared, because I could feel the panic rising. But after about a week, a funny thing happened. I started to like the sense of vertigo that I got from staring out over the bridge. Now, it is the thing that I enjoy the most on my way to work. I always move to the window when we get to the crossing, and allow the feeling of disorientation to take a hold of me. I’m not scared of it at all any more — in fact, it’s kind of a thrill.