{More Catch-Up} R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ll be honest here: as a pre-teen (because “tween” did not exist in the late 80s), I was a Christopher Pike girl. Chain Letter got me hooked. But my husband has a crazy love for R.L. Stine that didn’t start until he was in college. It’s a long story involving his band, someone’s girlfriend and R.L. Stine’s book The Girlfriend. We had a huge box of Fear Street novels in our attic, our boys both enjoyed the “Goosebumps” series, and Laura likes watching the likewise-named TV show on Netflix. So the excitement level at our house when I learned that R.L. Stine was coming to Rhinebeck was seriously off the hook.

At first, Drew hemmed and hawed a little. I love going to author events. Sometimes, though, the reality of who that author is can disappoint. There can be an attitude that shatters your image of how awesome they are. But I convinced him đŸ™‚ So after the Sheep & Wool festival back in October, we headed over to Oblong Books for this super-cool Halloween event! R.L. Stine is rebooting “Fear Street” and has been making the rounds to promote his new book.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ve been to a lot of signings in my day, but this was certainly one of my favorites. Stine didn’t just read from his new book and answer a couple questions. He told stories. Stories about growing up. Stories about how he thought of book titles. He took tons of questions from kids in the audience. He connected with everyone there. And not only that, but he was willing to sign anything that people brought up. Sometimes there’s a limit, sometimes it’s just the author’s latest work. But R.L. Stine signed a stack of books for us (including some really old twist-a-plots that Noah adores).

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Drew told him the story involving his band, his friend’s girlfriend, and the book. Mr. Stine seemed amused.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

The kids had such a great time, and what a thrill to meet such a prolific writer! 

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Thanks, R.L. Stine and Oblong for hosting an event that my kids (and husband!) will remember for a long time!

Mad about Mad Science the Card Game

Some of you may have noticed the widget over there to the right, the one about something called “Mad Science the Card Game.” If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then chances are you’ve heard all about it, but in case you haven’t, let me tell you!

Several months ago, my husband came up with a concept for a card game. It involved funky creatures, a diabolical scheme, and many cheesy puns. He drew everything freehand (and had some help from our boys, too), and we did a lot of play testing to make sure the game played out the way it should. Then he decided to put it up on Kickstarter to gain some interest.

Basically, it’s a way for him to pre-sell the game. When you pledge your support, there are a variety of incentives (including the game itself, optional expansion packs, and tee-shirts… sorry no golf ball logos though). Here’s a video we made gives you a better idea about what Mad Science the Card Game is all about:

We’re getting close to our goal of $1,500, which isn’t a lot — there’s no profit at this level. All the funds will go toward ordering game packs for our backers and to place in retail outlets, for marketing, and for other related expenses. Although it’s not a “kids game” per se, it is definitely family-friendly!

It’s so exciting when people are interested in something you created from scratch! Drew was interviewed for a locally-based podcast (I’ll put up the link when it’s ready), and he was also interviewed for the super fun blog All Geek to Me.

We’re really hopeful that we can make this happen. Please check it out on Kickstarter, and help us spread the word!

step right up!

I’ve always loved circus imagery. There’s something magical about the acrobats, the big top, even the creepy clowns. So as I was trying to plan Lulu’s 2nd birthday party, somehow I came upon some circus party ideas and decided that this was the theme for the day!

Luckily, my little peanut prefers that I hold and rock her while she naps, so that leaves me with a solid hour and a half of surfing time when I can research ideas. Already my inspiration file is full! I think this just might be both the prettiest and the easiest party I’ve ever pulled off (aside from our wedding). The food will be simple and reminiscent of the circus of course: hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn. I’ll add fruit salad and a nice veggie tray so there’s something at least a little healthy. The color scheme will be red and light blue (I prefer the vintage look to the crazy bright colors). And this gives me the opportunity to finally sewing some pennants! I’ll use them as party decorations and then I can hang them in Lulu’s room (as I’d originally planned to do).

I’m early in the planning stages, so you can come along for the ride. I’ll be sharing photos, links, and ideas as I come up with them. Circus and carnival parties seems to be quite popular now, and why wouldn’t they be? It’s such a fun, happy way to celebrate!

her bright smile haunts me still

cordelia's dad at the iron horse

What a super amazing weekend! Friday night Drew and I went to see Cordelia’s Dad play at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. They’re one of my favorite bands and I’d never seen them live. Drew, on the other hand, actually toured with them back in the Rosemary Caine days. We met up with Drew’s friend Jeremy (who we haven’t seen since our wedding 10 years ago!) and had dinner at Bueno y Sano (a mainstay of my college diet years ago) before the show. It was as delicious as ever. Then we headed over to the club for the show.

I also got to see my friends Jess and Chris who I haven’t seen since the Sheep & Wool Festival last October. It was awesome seeing all these great people — it just made a fantastic night even better! The show itself was as amazing as you’d expect. If you’re not familiar with the band, Cordelia’s Dad is kind of hard to explain. They have their own body of 100% original work, but they might best be known for taking traditional early American folk songs, stories, poems, and so on and setting them to music which more often than not could be described as indie/punk. If you want to take a listen, I found this video of their rendition of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” from Friday’s show. It gives the uninitiated a great sense of what they do.

Here are a few more photos:

cordelia's dad at the iron horse

cordelia's dad at the iron horse

cordelia's dad at the iron horse

The first set was acoustic, and the second set was electric. Both rocked! They don’t play together all that often because individually they’re very busy with their own projects these days, but hopefully they’ll reunite again soon. I know I’ll be there.

amazon gift card deal

It’s cold and icy again today. I don’t know about you, but this kind of weather makes me want to curl up with a good book. (Of course it also makes me consider purchasing an appetite suppressant because all I want to do is eat brownies and cookies and scones!) Anyway, while I do try to purchase my books from my favorite local bookseller, let’s face it — sometimes you just can’t pass up an online deal at Amazon. Today Living Social has a great deal — you can purchase a $20 Amazon gift card for just $10*. I snatched one up and you probably want to, too!

*Disclosure: this is a referral link. If three people purchase their deal through my link, I get it for free.

popcorn and the movies

The boys spent last weekend at my parents’ house so Drew and I indulged in some movie-watching during Laura’s afternoon naps. The first one we watched was “The Expendables.” It was OK. I know a few people who love, love, love this movie, and I’m not really sure why. It was fun and entertaining, but… I don’t know. The acting was bad (except for Mickey Rourke), the plot was weak, and there just wasn’t much to it. Still, if you like seeing things get blown up, you’ll probably like this one, LOL! And don’t forget — Jason Statham is in it, so he is reason enough to see this movie đŸ˜‰ I don’t know what it is about him, but he is definitely one of my favorite action stars.

The next movie we watched was Jonah Hex. I see the comic book all the time at the store, but I’ve never read it and I was intrigued. Plus, I happen to think “Johah Hex” is a cool-sounding name. Now, sure it looks like our main character here needs some acne scar cream, but actually his scarred cheek is due to something a little more frightening. His family was killed and the murderer branded him. Jonah Hex disfigured his own face to remove that brand. I thought this movie was really good. It’s not a Western — it takes place in the South — but it has that vibe to it. Plus, there’s some supernatural stuff going on (Jonah Hex can communicate with the dead). It made me want to read the comics, so I think that’s a good sign.

What movies have you watched lately?

american pickers

We don’t have cable or satellite TV at Chez Carol, so I’m really out of the loop when it comes to TV shows. However, over the last couple days my dad got me hooked on American Pickers on the History Channel. It’s way more interesting than Antiques Roadshow ever was, and the two guys have very likeable personalities. Basically, they drive around looking for old barns full of junk, yards full of junk, or houses full of junk. They do get tipped off for some visits, but a lot of times seems to be spent on cold calls. I love when they spend time talking to the people who own this stuff. I heard some great stories on the few episodes that I saw; I can only imagine how many amazing stories don’t make it into the show.

They types of things they pick out are interesting. They go after a lot of old signs and motorcycle/car parts, but I do think anything goes. Who knows — maybe one day they’ll pass through New York and they’ll try to talk to the guy down the road that has the Kohler kitchen sink next to the rusted-out station wagon in front of his house. At any rate, if you have any interest in antiques, Americana, or vintage items in general I think you’ll like this show!