Wandering through the past with Weird Al

Weird Al cassettes

My original Weird Al cassettes. Missing from this photo is WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN 3-D. I’m pretty sure it’s down there in those bins, but I couldn’t find it. Now that I think about it, I also have ALAPALOOZA. I didn’t see that one down there either.

It’s been said that smell is the strongest of the human senses in terms of its connection to memory; that a smell can bring back a person, place, or emotion more effectively than any of the other senses.

But I’d argue that music is right up there with smell in terms of evoking certain memories. How many times have you heard a song and thought, “oh man, every time I hear this I think of [insert memory here]”?

While my mother was a musical person (this is really an understatement since music was her career), she was also very careful about what kinds of music she’d let her kids listen to. We were pretty much relegated to show tunes, orchestral and choir pieces, film scores, and the Maranatha! brand of Christian music that was on the rise in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Anything outside of that—and especially secular rock music—was pretty much a “no-no.”

This doesn’t mean, though, that we kids didn’t find clever ways to get everything from Madonna to Def Leppard into the house. We used to put the stuff on cassettes and give it some moral-sounding label, like “Children’s Hymns.” No one had any idea.

Until one of our babysitters gave us the cassette Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D and someone didn’t hide it well.

Weird Al cassettes

My original Weird Al cassettes. Missing from this photo is WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN 3-D. I’m pretty sure it’s down there in those bins, but I couldn’t find it.

Somehow—perhaps it was because I was the oldest—I was the one that was responsible for smoothing the waters. I explained to her that this was funny; that it was completely innocent because it made fun of modern songs. She not only bought it, she was open to listening to it.

To my surprise, she enjoyed the album. What shocked me most was that her favorite song was “Nature Trail to Hell”; the tune not only had the word ‘hell’ in it, it was pretty graphic in skewering the gory slasher movie phenomenon that was all the rage in the mid-1980s.

There was some kind of irony Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

What I learned as an obit writer

Mass cards

My first job out of college was as an obituary writer for the Putnam Reporter Dispatch in Carmel, NY.

Obituary writer! You’re thinking, “like someone who writes those long things in The New York Times!” Well, you’re right, but not really. I was more of a compiler than anything else. Nowadays, it’s more common that the families write up a tribute, give it to the funeral home, and then get charged to run it in the newspaper.

Back in the early 1990s, nearly all obituaries were put together Read the rest of this entry

Well, THIS was hilarious!

If you know me personally, you probably know that I don’t do well with math; thanks to my dad realizing I’d never be a rocket scientist, he put me in classes that focused on what I’d need to balance my checkbook, pay my bills, and function in life.

Although I’m glad he did—and I have a solid handle on basic skills—sometimes I still have issues, particularly spatially. If something is described Read the rest of this entry

A look back at DEATH IN THE ICE: THE MYSTERY OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION

All Well Sign

This is, perhaps, the most haunting tale surrounding the lost expedition: this message was in a letter left in 1847 on King William Island, and its contents hinted nothing, of course, of what was to come for the unfortunate crew.

If, last year, you watched the first season of AMC’s The Terror, then you have an idea of what this post is about: an exhibit about the mysterious fate of 1845’s vanished Franklin Expedition, the most infamous of Britain’s attempts to find the Northwest Passage.

For those of you who don’t know, the NP was a fabled Read the rest of this entry

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!

From our house to yours, a very happy Fourth! Here’s to celebrating with the people you love most!

Fourth of July Whaling Theme Idea

Todd McGrain’s LOST BIRD PROJECT sculptures at Norman Bird Sanctuary

Norman Bird Sanctuary Lost Birds - Heath Hen Collage

Here’s a collage my phone put together for me. I love this. I think the heath hen was my favorite due to its tragic final cry before extinction.

There is something about the overwhelming sadness of extinction that has always sucked me in.

So imagine how excited I was when, recently, I went to bird watch at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, Rhode Island and discovered something called Read the rest of this entry

Meet Stacy Horn…and read the Foreword for THE SHADOWS BEHIND

Stacy, Charles, me on Roosevelt Island

From left, Stacy Horn, my housemate, Charles, and me on Roosevelt Island, May 2018. Horn hosted a walking tour of the site following a signing event for her book, Damnation Island, at Astoria Bookshop in Queens, NY.

I was incredibly honored that Stacy Horn wrote the Foreword for Read the rest of this entry

Sinister Settings: ATALAYA

Atalaya Castle Side Shot

At first glance, the exterior of Atalaya looks like an abandoned fort.

Myrtle Beach has always been a favorite destination for me and my husband, and in June, 2013, we went down for a week for his family’s biannual reunion. I’d just been asked if I’d like to submit a story to an upcoming anthology, the theme of which was Mummies and Canopic Jars. An “Under the Boardwalk” setting seemed like an odd backdrop for a story about ancient Egyptian curses, but I was excited. A visit to a different place always gets my creative wheels turning.

Canopic Jars

A set of Canopic Jars, which the Egyptians used to store the innards someone who had been mummified (presumably so the individual had access to them in the afterlife). These happen to be very plain. There are some that are much more colorful and decorative.

Although we’d been there before—we even have a favorite Read the rest of this entry

Spend five minutes with me at GINGER NUTS OF HORROR

 

I’ve rarely gotten to spend more than five or ten minutes with anyone lately because I’ve been so busy … but now I might have the opportunity to spend time with you vicariously!

Ginger Nuts of Horror Logo

Ginger Nuts of Horror has featured me in an interview in its “Five Minutes With” series. I have to admit, some of these questions were tough and not of the usual variety, which was a refreshing, fun challenge! I dish on the term horror’s sometimes negative connotations, how the socio/political climate is affecting the genre, which of the characters I’ve created is my favorite, which cliché/trope I’d eliminate if I could, and much, much more. You can read the full interview here: https://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/five-minutes-with-kristi-petersen-schoonover

Ginger Nuts of Horror Five Minutes With Custom Logo

Peele’s film US gets released today!

A family is terrorized by strange beings in Jordan Peele's latest film, US.

A family is terrorized by strange beings in Jordan Peele’s latest film, US.

Jordan Peele’s latest psychological thriller, Us—about a family terrorized by strange beings—gets released today on Blu-Ray, DVD, and 4K. It is also available to rent on VOD. You can pick up the hard copy here on Amazon here, or rent the VOD on Amazon here.

Dark Discussions US collage

Hear what we have to say about Jordan Peele’s film US on DARK DISCUSSIONS. Photo collage by Philip Perron.

Dark Discussions covered and reviewed this film shortly after it came out. After you see the film (if spoilers bother you, then definitely wait until you’ve seen it before listening to the episode), you can hear what we said about it on Stitcher, Itunes, and here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_378.html

Personally, I loved Get Out, but I thought Us was even better. I’m hoping to see more films from Peele. I love his sensibility and layering, and I have to be honest—Us had moments that scared the crap out of me. If you’re looking for a disturbing thriller with depth, this should fill the bill. Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: