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Danbury’s CT Horrorfest a real scream!

Me and the Grady twins from THE SHINING. Coolest. Costumes. EVER! Check out the real girls here: https://youtu.be/CMbI7DmLCNI Photo by Jason Harris.

Me and the Grady twins from THE SHINING. Coolest. Costumes. EVER! Photo by Jason Harris.

(You can check out the real girls here: https://youtu.be/CMbI7DmLCNI)

I spent yesterday signing books with fellow Connecticut author Stacey Longo Harris at the 2nd annual CT Horrorfest, which was for the first time held in Danbury.

Not only was it a 15 minute drive for me (win!), it was a day full of magic as I saw many old friends and made new ones. I also wasn’t expecting to do so much signing…I even ran out of a couple of titles, and I met readers from not only all over Connecticut, but from New York City, Maine, and even California.

Check out the pix Read the rest of this entry

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52 Weeks of Spam: Winners, Week of March 19

Winners, Week of March 19:

are you from Danbury?

From:   [Surprise! An AOL address!]

Hello

I live inDanburytoo. Few weeks back I was fired from my job. I needed money so that I can feed my family then I came acorss a news article titled “Local mom fromDanburyreceived $19,716 in grants”. I was in a little questioning when I read it. So I researched about grants & found that these gov. grants are not like loans; they don’t have to be paid back. Gov Grants are paying bills, getting a house, starting your own business, going to school, or even for raising your children.

I asked some of my mates and I found that one of them did received the government grants. Then I thought that I should also give it a try, so I followed the steps given in the news website and also applied for it, and 2 days back I received a check of $11311! Now I can do anything with this money.. In app I mentioned that I need government grants for own edu. Now I am eligible to use it for any purpose you name it and I do not need to pay it back. I guess I will first buy an iPad, MacBook, and few more gadgests 🙂 from it &then, I will use it for the actual purpose. hmm yeah I like such stuff 🙂

The news site where I read the story is [scary link]. I guess the article will be featured on the home-page until tomorrow.

Kind regards

[No Name]

[Check out this Signature Line!]: When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I should admit that I was from Danbury. But then I read further, and I realized that holy crap! A grant isn’t a loan and I don’t have to pay it back! And apparently I can use it to buy whatever I want like an Ipad, even if it’s supposed to be used to feed my starving family! 

Everybody hates Spam—it fills up your Inbox (unless you’ve got G-mail, which does a great job of putting it in an appropriately-labeled folder), clogs your blog (WordPress does a great job filtering, too), and can threaten your computer’s security.

I have to say though, I love my Spam. It cracks me up—it’s poorly spelled, illiterate, and often leaves me wondering who would be dumb enough to click on the link for whatever product/service/lottery winning from mysterious relative in a country you’ve never heard of. So I decided in 2012 I’d go through my Spam each week and pick my favorites to share with the world. I remove the sender and any links that might be damaging (plus, who wants to give them press?).

See you next week! If you get any great Spam, you can post it here, just strip any links and the sender’s e-mail. And be sure to say something in the post to let me know you’re real. Otherwise I might think you’re…well, Spam.

PREPPING FOR HURRICANE IRENE: IN CT, A RUN ON CHEEZ-ITS

The end-cap for the Cheez-Its at the Shop Rite in Brookfield, Connecticut, Thursday, August 25, 2011.

The Northeast isn’t usually subjected to scary weather events like Hurricanes. You’d think, because we’re used to preparing for blizzards and ice storms, we know how to stock our pantries: before a snow storm, you’ll see the shelves for bread, milk, and eggs practically empty (despite the baking jokes, I think in the winter it is probably true that some people bake when they’re snowed in). But water and everything else is usually readily available.

Hurricane Irene is supposed to hitConnecticutsometime this weekend (I say “sometime” because they keep changing its arrival time). As of Friday afternoon it looked as though it’s going to be a Category 1 when it hits us, and so even though it’s not going to be as horrible for us as our friends down South (and may even be, as with Hurricane Floyd in 1999, downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the time it gets here), we are taking it seriously. Shop Rite’s shelves were devoid of water by Thursday night and Home Depot was out of batteries by Friday morning. Offices are distributing copies of Emergency Procedures and phone contact lists, and events are being rescheduled to take place ahead of the storm. New York City is bracing for serious damage, evacuating nursing homes and low-lying areas and even noting the MTA may shut down if Irene doesn’t change course (I have just learned as I’m posting this that they are closing tomorrow at noon, and all five WCS Parks, which includes the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium, are closed for the weekend).

But there’s something to be said for bracing for possible disaster when you’re just not used to it, or when it’s so out of your experience it almost feels like you’re in a bad Irwin Allen film.

You do strange things.

I, like everyone else—because I believe it’s always good to be prepared—drank the Kool-Aid and went to the grocery store (okay, and the liquor store, because I really, really don’t want to be without wine) to get some staples. I wasn’t surprised to see the parking lot jammed; I wasn’t surprised to see very few carts available; I wasn’t surprised to see the shelves where the bottled water is kept empty. And I wasn’t surprised to see people’s carts full of Apple Jacks and Wonder Bread.

The parking lot at Shop Rite in Brookfield, Connecticut, at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 25.

Another shot of the parking lot. Normally there are plenty of spots available, even at peak times.

This is the furthest row from the store to park, and even it was full.

Normally, this area is crammed with carts in neat rows. Shop Rite employees do a wonderful job of rounding them up on a pretty consistent basis, so this tells you how crazy everything was.

Thursday, August 25: The shelves where the bottled water is normally kept at Shop Rite in Brookfield, Connecticut.

A close-up of the signs posted on the empty shelves assuring customers that more water is coming.

I was surprised to see the end-cap full of Cheez-Its almost empty and in total disarray.

For a second, I thought I had missed something: were Cheez-Its on the FEMA list they’d e-mailed me at work? Just as I had that thought, a woman rushed up to the end-cap and threw two huge boxes of the Colby variety in her cart.

I panicked: should I or shouldn’t I? Was it absolutely necessary for me to spend five or ten dollars, or could our household endure the storm without them? If I went home and consulted my housemate and he told me that we absolutely had to have Cheez-Its, and I came back the next day, would they be gone (note: there were no signs signaling a restock of this particular item)? Would our chances of survival decrease if we didn’t have them—and what if I bought the wrong kind? I mean, the Colby variety seemed to be rather popular, as did the White Cheddar. Was there something magical about those types? Would having them in my home ensure nothing bad would happen?

Finally, I decided to take a risk and just say no—after all, it’s my first major hurricane since 1991 (which I spent huddled in a bathroom inNewport), why not live dangerously? A little thrill is good for the soul. I decided instead to get four extra rolls of toilet paper (because we might not be able to go outside and collect leaves), Jiffy-Pop (fun on the gas stove!), and Chef Boy-ar-dee Ravioli (which can be eaten cold).

Many stores are re-stocking their water and batteries before the storm arrives, so you should still be okay with that if you’re doing your shopping at the last minute.

But if you’ve waited this long to get your Cheez-Its, you may be out of luck.

My housemate made certain we have plenty of spring water. We can’t water our plants with what comes from our tap anyway, so if we get lucky and we don’t need it, we’ll use it up eventually.

The extra toilet paper—and paper towels. You know, in case there’s a leak in the roof.

Jiffy Pop and other items we never eat.

The deer don’t appear spooked. Maybe this is a good sign?

The color of the sky at sunset on Thursday, August 25, 2011.

The calm before the storm: my back porch, Thursday, August 25, 2011.

THE VALUE OF THE TWO-HOUR VACATION

This was the view from our table at Down the Hatch

If you grew up on man-made Candlewood Lake, you’re probably familiar with its lore. Its bottom is a valley that was once home to farms and towns, and structures and possessions were left behind, making it a marine archeologist’s dream.[1] Sometime in the 1970s after Jaws made a splash, a local artist (high on something, the rumor goes) took his boat out to the middle of the lake and painted a giant angular rock to look like a Great White’s snout thrusting up out of the water. In the southern end of New Milford, there’s a cliff, and to survive a leap from it is to prove man-hood. And some people have spotted a huge, unidentified creature which has been dubbed “Candy.”

Recently, Nathan and I were looking for a little escape for the day—something nearby, easy to get to, and inexpensive. We thought of all sorts of places—The Bronx Zoo (a frequent haunt), an hour away. Rye Playland, also an hour away. Kent Falls, forty-five minutes away. But all of that seemed like too much hassle, and it was growing late in the afternoon.

We finally decided we’d go to lunch, and then it was the usual “where the hell do you go eat in Danbury that’s even mildly interesting?” Pathetic, I know, but I Googled ‘Restaurants Danbury’ and nothing came up of interest. Then I Googled ‘Restaurants Brookfield CT’—and the first thing that popped up was Down the Hatch, a popular eatery on the lake’s shore that’s only open seasonally.

If you live on the lake—which many tourists, I’m sure, only wish they could live on—you know that Down the Hatch is as much a part of the lore as all those other stories I shared. It’s the best place to go for a cold beer and friend clams in the middle of summer, and I’d been there many times. But what sold me on the idea of going on that day was a phrase on their website: “You will feel like you’re on vacation the minute you step ashore, see the beautiful views, and grab a cool tasty drink.”[2]

The idea of being on vacation five miles up the road appealed to me, although I doubted it would work—I’d been there many times, after all. What was so special about it?

But when we arrived, that changed. I stepped outside of myself and tried to pretend I didn’t live locally, that I’d never been to the place before. We were ushered to a table outside on the patio and ordered a couple of tropical drinks. We had cheap burgers, fed the ducks, and drank in the beauty of the lake. By the time we got back to the house about two hours later, and I felt as though I’d taken a full day off. To sum up—I felt like I’d been on vacation.

So if you can’t get away and are area-bound this Labor Day Weekend, stop and think about what treasures your locale might harbor that you’ve forgotten about, step out of yourself and pretend you’re a tourist.

You might find that a little relief is, surprisingly, just up the road.


[1] Rommie Duckworth of New Fairfield, CT, one of the towns bordering the lake, has written a really terrific summation of the lake’s formation, history, and the treasures that can be discovered beneath the waves. You can read all about it here: http://thescubasportsclub.org/diveInfo/Candle.html

[2] http://www.downthehatchrestaurant.com/

The tables at Down the Hatch feature this logo–surrounded by several local ads (although we’re not sure if they’re outdated or not. The tables look kind of old!) Cool idea, though!

Candlewood Lake’s history is fascinating. This newspaper article helps fill in some details about the actual flooding process.

Also on the tables is an aerial view of the lake which indicates Down the Hatch’s location.

I had a Mai Tai. It was actually stronger than I like.

The lake’s duck population spends a lot of time looking for handouts.

Nathan admires the ducks. Yes, he did throw them a few tiny pieces of potato chip.

 

Nathan feeds the ducks.

 

Here, the bluegills get in on the action. They’re no good for eating, but they are a local favorite for kids learning to fish. These little guys are actually pretty nasty-looking, and have a nasty little bite as well. If you’re swimming with any kind of ankle bracelet on, you’re asking for trouble.

 

He finishes feeding, and the animals are disappointed he doesn’t have more!

Of course, no matter where you go, there’s always some other interesting kind of wildlife that pops up. Seriously, what’s UP with this?

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