Category Archives: Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff

Lines on the loss of Steve Manzino

Manzino Balloons Xmas Cocktail 2002

Manzino in the smoking jacket, A Christmas Cocktail, December 2002.

My dear friend of twenty-three years, Steve Manzino, lost his battle with cancer on December 4, 2018. I am absolutely devastated, and my life will never be the same, but here is how I choose to remember him.

Steve Manzino—I called him Manzino, though, everyone in our group of friends did—and I used to have the strangest and most entertaining conversations, especially when we were prepping in our dressing rooms for whatever show it was we were acting in at the time.

“When I die, I just want people to get up and tell the truth about me.” He shrugged into the tweed jacket he was wearing in his role as Frank in Educating Rita. “Because I hate Read the rest of this entry

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It’s finally hit me: I miss record stores!

Recently, a friend and I were going to spend some time in the car driving to an underwater archaeology lecture at a nearby college. We had just seen Bohemian Rhapsody and were dying to listen to Queen.

The only Queen music we both owned was still on cassette, believe it or not.

“So…how are we going to listen to it in the car?” she asked.

I went through a whole thing about streaming on the phone and hooking up the Bluetooth and all of this other complicated stuff. And then it occurred to me, for the first time in probably years, that I could just go to the mall on my lunch break and get a CD!

Then I thought…wait, who still sells CDs around here? FYE is gone, Best Buy’s selection is nil if it even still exists at all, and there are no more specialty stores like Record Town (remember THAT?) or The Wall. I called my housemate Charles, but he really didn’t have too many ideas either—except for Gerosa Records. That was probably worth a shot, but it was too far for me to go on a lunch break.

In the past few years, I haven’t really missed being able to just run out and buy a CD; I’ve gotten incredibly used to Amazon Prime and having them arrive in a day or so or downloading an MP3. I like the new way of doing things: yes, there’s instant gratification, and yes, I can simply purchase only one song and not all of them (there were singles and Cassingles, but most of those were for the popular tunes only. You wanted something that wasn’t released as a single? You had to buy the entire album). But it’s not the same as getting into your car, unwrapping that cellophane and inhaling that plastic and new disc smell, slipping it into your stereo and mmmm.

What did I end up doing? I dashed home after work, downloaded some MP3’s, and burned them to a CD. But I gotta tell ya—nope, just nope. Nothing would have been more magical than to go to a record store at lunch and pick up exactly what I wanted.

Bummer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m grateful fo all of my readers! Thank you so much for supporting me.

From our house to yours … wishing you a happy day spent with loved ones.

~ Krissi, Charles, Nathan and the cats, Poe & Mikey

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Celebrate with me!

Writer John Palisano recently posted the following on Facebook:

Just got an email from NanoWrimo stating that ‘every’ writer would rather ‘have written’ than ‘write’ and that writing is painful and such.

I disagree. I love being in the zone. I love tapping away at the keyboard, the story flowing out like music. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not painful. It’s not a struggle to make happen, most of the time.

I’m not the only one, am I?

No, he’s definitely not the only one. There is nothing like being in that zone. That vanishing into a world in my head and staying there with my characters, living out whatever fantasy I want (no matter how outlandish), the words just flying out of me as easily as drunken conversation. It’s almost like being on a magical vacation; the outside world recedes. I obsess over whatever topic, setting, or interesting object that the story is about. I avoid bills, cleaning, laundry and just about anything else I can get away with for the sake of art, and hey, if I have to function because I can’t get out of something, it’s an excuse to mentally tune-out.

On the flip side, if the fiction is really just a channel for something sad, stressful, and overwhelming I’m trying to process, it can be gut-wrenching. I fail to eat for however long it takes to get it done, I avoid correspondence or contact with anyone as much as I can, I question every single choice I’ve ever made in my life or even why I exist at all. And I usually cry a lot.

This isn’t the case with every piece I write, but it was the case with a piece I finished this morning. It’s been the greatest week of my life in a long, long time, but it’s also been balls-on anxiety and other not-so-pleasant emotions since Tuesday.

A few of you out there are aware of this. It’s official–the first draft is done, and I have set myself free! I’ve not only written a very solid story (yes, it still has to go through revision and critique, but I don’t invest in that on a spiritual level), I’ve emotionally worked through what I was processing. I feel completely unburdened and can have some fun now—I can focus on cleaning my house, doing the shopping for Thanksgiving, and wrapping some Christmas gifts (I shop all year, so it’s never really too early to start).

I’m having a glass of wine in a nice hot bath to celebrate. I encourage you all to celebrate with me in whatever way you see fit! If you’re waiting to hear from me, you will soon. And oh my God, where are the cheese and crackers because I’m starving.

Have a great week!

Jinkies! It’s a haunted toaster oven!

Haunted Toaster Oven

The toaster oven in question. I have no idea how old it is, but it’s…OLD.

Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve probably had at least one thing happen to you that defies explanation.

Do I believe in the supernatural? Yes, I do. I have since I had something I had no explanation for happen to me in college back in 1989 (which is too terrifying for me to write about. I think there’s maybe one interview someplace in which I bring it up, but that’s it); and in 2007, on a dark road late at night, a person in a white runner’s outfit ran in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, and, heart racing, I leapt from the driver’s seat to find out if the person was okay.

There was no person in white runner’s shorts, and there was no sound of the crunching of leaves in the nearby woods.

I called “hello?” without response.

There was no one on that road but me.

No head-scratching experiences since then—until last week.

I was with my sister and brother and their families at my aunt’s house for what you might call an early Thanksgiving. In its glory days, the three-family house was the social center of a large Italian family. There were Sunday dinners, all-nighter New Year’s Eves, endless pinochle games, summer picnics in the screen house, fresh vegetables from the garden and jugs of plain awful homemade wine. The generations that were responsible for all of that are pretty much gone, but the house, built very early in the 20th century, still stands.

So does a bunch of stuff in the basement.

My brother and his family were rummaging around down there, finding things like original Burger King Star Wars glassware in mint condition, century-old cookbooks, and Disney board games no one’s seen since the 1950s.

I was standing in the kitchen. Just as I saw them emerge from the basement, I heard the bell on the ancient toaster oven go off.

My first thought was that my aunt—who is now suffering from a form of dementia—had perhaps gotten up and come into the kitchen and turned on the toaster oven. I knew, though, that this wasn’t possible—I’d just spent the past hour with her, and she hadn’t moved from her chair.

I said something to Maryanne. She said, “Sometimes that bell just goes off.” And it is possible someone could have jostled it earlier in the day, when we were all cooking in the kitchen.

Then I touched it, and it was hot.

Which would’ve been fine—except that it was unplugged.

I called my husband Nathan, who’s a retired paranormal investigator. He gave me a list of things to check, so we all discussed the possibilities: was it sitting in direct sunlight? No. It’s over the spot in the basement where the furnace is, so are the cabinets underneath hot from heat that could be coming up through the floor? No. Did Uncle Lou, who came over to the area a few minutes prior to get a glass of water, use the toaster oven? We asked; the answer was no. Had either of my brother’s sons played with it? We asked; no, and anyway, they were down in the basement the whole time. A toaster oven might retain heat. Has it been used in the past twelve hours? No; its last use was two days prior, and no toaster oven retains heat for over 48 hours. Could it have a short? Well, sure, yes, but how does a toaster oven, which doesn’t have any battery back-up, have a short and get hot when there’s no power source?

So there you have it. Absolutely no explanation. If anybody has any ideas, I’m all ears. Otherwise? I’m chalking this one up to the supernatural.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Puffer Fish Tank Cemetery

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s home for puffer fish and horseshoe crabs gets a sprinkling for the season.

…Oh no! Scary panties…

SHINING PANTIES 1 - Label

Halloween may be all about showing off your best costume…but that doesn’t mean the parts of you people don’t see shouldn’t scare up some fun, too!

I was surfing around on Hot Topic and came across this irresistible The Shining hipster panty set: https://www.hottopic.com/product/the-shining-hipster-panty-set/11428991.html Read the rest of this entry

A Watery Halloween Treat!

Creepy stuff at bottom of lake

These are plants at the bottom of a lake, but look closely at the one on the right — it looks like a skeleton clinging to something.

I got a very special treat recently—I95 Rock’s Ethan Carey, who’s probably just about the only other person as obsessed with Candlewood Lake’s creepy legends as I am—cited a blog post of mine on his blog here:

http://i95rock.com/those-that-stayed-behind-beneath-candlewood-lake/ and here: http://i95rock.com/dont-panic-stories-of-a-candlewood-lake-monster-are-simply-urban-legends/

It’s great to know these legends are being shared—it’s what keeps them alive. The original post about all of the legends is here: https://wordpress.com/post/kristipetersenschoonover.com/9576 or where it was originally published at the New England Horror Writers blog here: http://nehw.blogspot.com/2016/08/legends-of-candlewood-lake-guest-blog.html

I have plans, eventually, to put together an entire short story collection based on these urban legends, but at the moment I only have a few pieces. The good news is that the drowned souls legend to which Carey refers does have a short story based on it: it’s called “Rightfully Mine,” and it appeared in Sanitarium Magazine Issue #49—which is out of print, so if you’d like to read it, just send me an email on my Contact page and I’ll send the story straight to your Inbox!

Kristi and Chuck Candlewood Lake

Me (left) and my brother Chuck swimming in Candlewood Lake. This was taken in either 1981 or 1982, so I would’ve been 10 or 11.

My Odyssey with 2001; see it in IMAX through November 11!

2001 50th anniversary Film Poster

I wasn’t born yet when Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey changed the world, but thanks to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, I was able to experience what it must have been like to be there—and I even got to meet the film’s star, Keir Dullea!

Kristi in Front of IMAX

Me, outside the IMAX theater entrance at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

When my housemate, Charles, heard this was coming, he was excited…not that he hadn’t already been to a few showings in New York and elsewhere this year already. But it is a film that had a profound affect on him. He saw it multiple times when it opened in 1968, and he not only has the program that he bought the first time he went to see the film, he has other ephemera as well. And there was also something special about this presentation in particular.

IMAX ad placard

When 2001: A Space Odyssey opened in 1968, it was shown in 70 mm Cinerama. I’m no film history expert, but Cinerama in the late 1960s was shown on a large, curved screen and is considered a lynch pin in the development of the widescreen format we have today (if you’d like to know more about this, visit here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/movies/long-before-imax-the-curious-tale-of-cinerama.html)

As far as I know, the MA’s presentation may be one of the closest anyone will get to experiencing the movie the way it was intended: Read the rest of this entry

What the hell is Disney Bounding and can it be practical?

Alice in Wonderland Melissa at The Attic

Me and Melissa at the Farewell Brunch at The Attic at Disney’s Boardwalk. I’m in my Alice in Wonderland Disney Bound. She made her dress herself!

Let’s face it—we Disney fanatics love to play dress up. Disney Bounding—the art of dressing to suggest your favorite character without copying it directly—hit my radar shortly after, a few years ago, the Disney Parks didn’t want adults going to the parks in costumes that were too close to the “real thing,” which might confuse guests (truth be told, it was probably around way before that, but that’s when I became aware of it).

I’d been to the parks a few times and seen some pretty amazing and creative outfits, but they were mostly pieces that Read the rest of this entry

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