Friday, November 07, 2008

Fall Quizzes!!!

I didn't see as many quizzes floating around Blogistan while I was hiatusing (shut up, that's totally a verb), but here's one I saw about a month ago at Electronic Cerebrectomy and Tosy and Cosh. It pertains to fall, which is by far my favorite season; where some people want to live in a place where it always feels like July, my wish is for October forever. Fall seems to have this connotation of dying and waning and the light fading before the dark of winter, but I always find fall a time of renewal, a time when I'm more energetic and the world seems more full of things that are possible. Weird? Maybe. But that's me.

So it's November, which means that the beauty of the season is pretty much past by this time, but we're heading into the first cold days of winter, which are the most beautiful of winter's days anyhow. So, on to the quiz:

Have you ever been apple picking?

Not in a long time. It was probably a field trip in school. But there are few pleasures like a fall apple.

Is there a dish you make/eat only during this time of the year?

The obvious, pumpkin-flavored stuff that you can't get any other time of year. At Pumpkinville we always get two dozen pumpkin donuts and eat one dozen on the spot (they're small donuts, so this isn't as gluttonous as it sounds). Pumpkin ice cream is wonderful stuff, as is pumpkin beer. Apple cider, too, although that stuff is now available year-round. I prefer my cider cold; I've never been a big fan of hot cider.

Like many, the colder weather alters my moods, food-wise, in the direction of heartier fare, so while I'll make a pot of chili at least once a month from October to April, that first pot in October is somehow always the best.

Will you attend a tail gate party this season?

Doubtful. A shame, that, since I'm told that we Bills fans do tailgating better than any other place on the planet, college or pro. Yeah, I'm throwing down the gauntlet.

When do you turn on the heat?

Sometime in October, usually, when the nights get so cold that The Wife orders me to run the heat or endure less-than-optimal sleeping conditions. We have an annoying annual habit – a tradition, I suppose you could call it – of having to call the apartment complex maintenance people to relight our pilot light every single year. Yes, we're making that call this week.

How many sweaters do you own?

Seven or eight. I like sweaters, actually, although I tend to prefer solid colored ones to ones with funky patterns. But I do like sweater weather. I need to get some new sweaters, actually; my favorite ones are all getting old (although not ratty), and they're all too big for my emlittling frame. (Yes, that's word. "Emlittle" is the opposite of "Embiggen", which all Simpsons fans have firmly ensconced in their personal lexicons.)

Are you fond of Nouveau Beaujolais wine?

Never had it, to my knowledge. But there is a wine available from the Johnson Estates, a Western New York winery, that puts me strongly in mind of fall and winter: Red Ipocras, which is a spiced red wine. I love the stuff. (Note to self: buy some Red Ipocras.)

Do you get excited about Halloween?

Yeah, kind of. It's more fun to watch The Daughter get excited about her costume, and I always enjoy escorting her for trick-or-treating. We live around the corner from a fairly affluent neighborhood, so we always walk over there and shake them down for lots and lots of candy. (I do not like the fact that Daylight Savings Time now covers Halloween, so it's absurdly light out when we set out for trick-or-treating. There's a pleasure to walking around with a flashlight on that night, surrounded by hundreds of other kids with flashlights, that's gone now. Daylight Savings Time is shite.)

How about Thanksgiving?

I adore Thanksgiving. It's not just the food, although that's nice. I love that there's a holiday for sitting around with family and/or friends, for enjoying their company, for companionship and no pressure for gift-giving or any other ritual other than to be able to look around a bit and think, once or twice, that maybe I don't have it so bad after all.

Is there an activity you do only in the autumn?

Well, yeah; all the pumpkin and Halloween related stuff. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who didn't seem to think that raking leaves was worth the effort; I've never understood the point of this activity (aside from making the big pile to jump in). Let the leaves fall and stay where they are.

Have you ever burned leaves?

No raking, so no burning. I've burned lots of other stuff, though!

Do you own any ‘scarecrow’ decorations?

No. Maybe someday if we have a house.

Do you plant bulbs?

I refer the right honorable reader to the reply I gave some moments ago. (The previous question, actually.)

Your fondest autumn memory?

For a few years in the 90s, we went to Cedar Point each October. It was the perfect time to go: lines were shorter, the place was done up nicely for Halloween, and it was generally a blast. Snuggling close with one's significant other on a giant Ferris Wheel on a chilly fall evening is a pleasure I wish everyone could have.

When does fall begin for you?

Emotionally, I'm ready for fall as soon as the Erie County Fair wraps up! It used to be held in late August, so it was pretty much the end of the Fair, one more week of summer vacation, and then school started again. This year the Fair was moved to the beginning of August, which screwed everything up.

I always hate that one little stretch of mid-80 degree weather we get in September. It's fine in July (one nice consequence of weight loss has been that hot weather, while still not my cup of tea, isn't nearly as unpleasant as it used to be), but in September, I want low 70s and 50s at night.

Really? Fall begins for me when I can wear overalls the entire day and not feel warm at any point.

What is your favorite aspect of fall?

Doesn't the air seem more clear in October? Doesn't the world just look a bit sharper? Aren't the clouds fluffier, the sunsets wider in their spectrum? Isn't it nice to see women who have tied their hair up all summer finally letting it down? And I'll take the scent of autumn over that of spring any time.

What do you like to drink in the fall?

Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin beer, apple cider.

What is fall weather like where you live?

Fall is the best time to live in Western New York, period. The promise of fall makes our abysmal springs bearable.

What color is fall?

I think of it as orange. I've come to like orange a lot more in recent years.

Do you have a favorite fall chore?

Not especially.

What is your least favorite thing about fall?

We'll usually have to endure a stretch of gloomy, rainy weather before the beautiful fall days break out; that stinks. And in Buffalo, it gets hard listening to the constant reminders: "It's gonna snow soon!" Yeah, so? This is Buffalo! Why can't we just embrace our snow and be happy with it?

What is your favorite fall holiday?

Thanksgiving, because there's no risk of Milk Duds.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?

Apple, probably. But I also like pumpkin and cherry, for fruit pies. My cream pie tastes are pretty much limited to coconut and chocolate; I don't like banana cream. I do love pie, though!

Do you have a favorite fall book?

Not specifically, no. But I have noted that in fall and winter my reading tastes, as far as fiction goes, tends to shift toward fantasy and horror; my SF and space opera moods tend to align pretty well with spring and summer. I wonder if that's a left over association from the Star Wars movies being summer movies, reinforced by the Lord of the Rings films being winter films.

Fall: I like it.

Here's another quiz I found, this one about Halloween in particular, which comes from Jason Bennion also by way of SamuraiFrog:

What were you last year for Halloween?

I never dress up for Halloween anymore. As I get older, this seems to me a pity. The notion of being someone else for a day is more and more appealing.

What are you going to be this year?

See the previous question: I'm myself.

Favorite costume you have ever worn?

The only costume I remember wearing, frankly, is the Captain Marvel costume my mother made for me when I was in kindergarten. The Big Red Cheese was my favorite superhero in my youth; I loved the guy and I couldn't understand that other fellow who had the same powers, the guy from some planet that started with a 'K', but who didn't get to go to the Rock of Eternity or channel the strength of six gods or something like that.

How do you spend your Halloween?

We usually have an earlier-than-usual dinner of takeout or quick eats someplace (this year it was Mighty Taco, yum!), and then we take The Daughter trick-or-treating into the rich neighborhood of palatial McMansions that's right around the corner.

Are you or are you not going trick or treating this year?

We did, yes. Disappointingly, few houses were giving out Almond Joys or Mounds this year, which I always get to eat because The Daughter doesn't like coconut and neither does The Wife. I, on the other hand, adore coconut.

Did or do you pull Halloween pranks?

No, I'm not much of a prankster, although I do enjoy the occasional harmless joke that I always wait around to see how it goes and immediately claim responsibility for. Anonymously egging somebody's house and stuff like that? That's for idiots.

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but that doesn't stop me from wishing that I lived in a world with ghosts.

Are you superstitious?

No, but I do have the tendency to think superstitiously on occasion, before my rational side speaks up and says "Nyet, dummy!"

Do you like caramel popcorn?

I do, and courtesy of an amazing recipe that my mother was able to pry from the reluctant fingers of a lovely woman she used to work with before she passed away (the woman, not my mother), I make caramel corn that just rocks. However, caramel corn snacks that come prepacked in plastic bags tend to be pretty uniformly disappointing, except for the "gourmet" kinds that show up at Christmastime in large plastic tubs and usually include nuts and cranberry raisins and that sort of thing in the tub.

Those popcorn balls that are always out there? Bleech.

Have you ever gone in the country to look for pumpkins?

As noted elsewhere, we go to an attraction called Pumpkinville every year. Of course, that's a commercial pumpkin ranch, which is necessary because it's very hard to hunt pumpkins in the wild anymore. Throughout the twentieth century we constantly encroached on the lands on which the wild pumpkins once roamed, and now, they can only be grown in captivity. Chalk up another natural tragedy to the conquering of the World by Man.

Have you ever been on a hayride?

Yes. I love a good hayride, and the one at Pumpkinville is never long enough for me.

Do you decorate your home for Halloween?

No, but every year I want to and don't get around to it. I don't do nearly enough seasonal decorating, in my opinion.

Have you ever been to a haunted house?

No, either real or feigned-for-the-purpose-of-entertainment.

Have you ever been to a graveyard on Halloween?

No. Maybe I should.

Have you ever attended a Halloween party?

Only one, when I was in college. (At least I think it was a Halloween party – it might have just been a normal costume party.) It was for people in the music department, so everyone had to come in a music-related costume. I went as our college's oboe teacher, whom I was told I bore a passing resemblance.

(Huh, how 'bout that Internet! Here's the guy in question. I don't see the resemblance, myself, but then, I wasn't always long-haired and bearded, either.

Do you watch scary movies on Halloween?

No, not really. I tend to enjoy reading horror more than watching it, for some reason. I've seen relatively few horror films.

Have you ever had your candy stolen from you?


Did you ever steal any ones candy?

You know, if there is a Hell, and if there really are levels in Hell which are assigned accordingly to dastardly people on a heirarchical basis owing to what their evil deeds in life were, then it wouldn't surprise me if the level devoted to people who steal stuff from children, including candy, is below the level where former dictators of Middle Eastern countries are ensconced.

Has anyone ever gotten hurt due to your prank?

I don't do Halloween pranks, as noted above, and any jokes I do are the non-hurtful ones. So no.

Have you ever dressed as a witch/warlock?


Are your parents into Halloween?

Not especially, so far as I know.

Interestingly, I never went trick-or-treating again as a kid after first grade. We moved to a town in second grade that, as I recall, didn't do trick-or-treating at all (my memory could be faulty on this point, though), and after that, I decided it was more fun to just sit at the door and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters (because I would basically sit and eat candy right out of our own bowl). And when we moved to WNY, we lived in a house that was not in much of a "neighborhood" for trick-or-treating purposes.

The most hellish Halloween I've ever experienced, though, was Halloween of 1997, which fell on a Friday night. That was my last Halloween working for Pizza Hut, and because we got flooded with calls for delivery, I had to go out on the road despite the fact that I was a shift manager. On that night we told every customer who called that we were running longer than usual delivery times because of both the unusual level of volume and the fact that we ordered all of our drivers to exercise very high levels of caution what with all the kids out and about. Somehow, on that night, I managed to have to deliver to every customer who was a complete jerk about this (one guy actually said to me, "I don't give a shit about those kids if my pizza's cold), and I had to deliver to every customer who ordered that night who wasn't participating in Halloween, which meant that I had to approach nothing but houses that had all their lights shut off in order to ward off the kids. (This, of course, made it incredibly hard to figure out which house I was going to at all, since when the lights are off, you can't see the street numbers on the houses at all.) And tips that night, for me, were a complete disaster. The other drivers that night were making a killing, so how I managed to get to deliver to every jerkweed hick moron in Olean, NY, I'll never know. By the time I got off work that night I wanted to punch something.

So, how were all of your Halloween experiences?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I think you need to share your caramel corn recipe. Don't make me beg, 'cause I will. ;-D

My kids and I went on an *awesome* hayride at Kelkenberg Farms in Clarence last year... it really had hay in the wagon, both loose on the floor and bales for sitting on, and it was pulled by horses, not a tractor. This year, they didn't have the loose hay for sitting on, so it wasn't quite as much fun... but yeah, I love a good hayride and never think they're long enough.

I love fall.