Tag: halloween

Boosters and Dr. A’arqueAngel: A Halloween Tale

jack o lantern
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently got my COVID-19 booster. I headed to the local Safeway appointment and vaccination card in-hand. The process was easier than the original vaccination. Gone was the paper form I needed to fill out for the first two shots. I was able to complete the form online and had only put my signature on a printed copy that they had ready for me at the pharmacy in the back of the store. No need for a waiting room. No need for a group briefing of what to expect. I sat in a chair and before I got comfortable the injection was in and out and I was on my way with some new scribblings on my vaccination card indicating that I’d been boosted.

Then the countdown began for the side effect. I had meticulously tracked these after my 2nd vaccine dose in April. But the booster was mild in comparison. A few aches, some hotness behind my eyes, tossing and turning at night, but nothing more. I felt back to myself relatively early the following day. Now, we are just waiting for word that we can schedule our 5-year old and 10-year old for the vaccine. When that’s done, I’ll breath a little sigh of relief.

Coincidentally, as I waited in the Safeway, I sat reading “appreciations” of Frank Herbert in my leather-bound Masterpieces of Science Fiction Edition of Dune. Ray Bradbury, who I had the great fortune of meeting on December 12, 1998, had an appreciation. Harlan Ellison, who I had the equally great fortune of meeting on too many occasions to recount here, had a longer appreciation. Interestingly, both their appreciations centered around the same event: Bradbury, Ellison, and Herbert were on stage together lecturing, and started batting around a story idea. They all agreed to write it, but only Harlan kept the bargain, writing a Faustian story titled “The Diagnosis of Dr. D’arqueAngel.”

I have a lot of Harlan Ellison books, many of them signed. (I have quite a few Ray Bradbury books, as well, fewer signed.) I’ve read a lot of Ellison’s stories, but I couldn’t remember reading this one. Perhaps I had, but it was lost to the occasionally emptying of the recycle bin that my brain does from time-to-time. In the programming world, we call this “garbage collection.”

I found the story (and so can you) in Ellison’s collection Strange Wine. It is, fittingly, the final story in the collection. Without giving too much away, the eponymous Dr. D’arqueAngel has an innocuous for death itself. Like most vaccines it requires the injection of very small amounts of death to build up the immune system. And once built up, the treatment must be boosted from time-to-time.

I returned home with a (slightly) sore arm and the hubris of Vaccination in my blood. I pulled Strange Wine off the shelf from its place between Deathbird Stories and Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled, and sat down to read the yarn. So should you. But wait until after you’ve been fully vaccinated.

Happy Halloween!

Did you enjoy this post?
If so, consider subscribing to the blog using the form below or clicking on the button below to follow the blog. And consider telling a friend about it. Already a reader or subscriber to the blog? Thanks for reading!

Follow Jamie Todd Rubin on WordPress.com

Haunted, House, Halloween

We put on our haunted house at work this afternoon and it turned out really, really well. There were 3 “tour guides” that would lead groups of 5 through the house. In my role as a lurker (dressed all in black and with a scary Halloween mask–pictures to come), I would pick a person in the group and stalk them. I’d stand close behind them. I’d follow them around, and in general, be creepy. It was a lot of fun. There was an office-wide happy hour afterward with lots of candy and chips and beer. A definite success!

When I got home from work this evening, I stopped at the vet to pick up some more dry cat food for Zeke. I got 2 5-pound bags this time. On the way there, a serious of police cars went zooming by on Riverdale Road, so fast they went airborne when they crossed the railroad tracks. I don’t know what it was all about but it was the closest thing to a TV-style car chase I’ve ever seen in person.

I watched last night’s TiVo’d episode of House this evening and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was the best so far this season.

It’s strange, but every house in my neighborhood seems to be shunning Halloween. Lights are off, doors aren’t being answered when the 3 kids that I’ve seen in the streets have knocked. (They didn’t come to my house for some reason, but that’s good because I didn’t have a chance to get candy. And my lights are off.) It made me feel bad for the kids. But it seems different now than I remember Halloween when I was a young boy–or maybe it’s just my neighborhood. I don’t recall going Trick-or-Treating when it was dark. It was always in the evening when there was still light. It was always with my parents. And everyone else was out and about at the same time so that the neighborhood streets were crowded with ghosts and superheroes. My fondest memories of this type of Halloween were in Somerset, New Jersey. I remember going through the sack of candy afterward to see what I got. It was pure bliss. Strangely, I never remember eating any of that candy.

November 1st tomorrow and that means the first day of NaNoWriMo. I’m kind of excited about it. I think I’m going to try writing during lunch on occasion, even though that means giving up my lunchtime nap during November.

Weird issue with my iPhone today. Videos were not playing. They’d play for a while and then get all wonky, like a bad DVD. I think it’s something about the episodes of 30 Rock I downloaded from the iTunes store the other day. I had some problems with them on the new laptop as well. I’m not too worried about it at this point. Episodes of The Shield played just find on my iPhone last week.

I had a phone call from kruppenheimer last night, but it was after I’d gone to bed. I’ll call you back soon, Lisa, I promise!

Off to bed…

Et cetera

Veterans Day weekend, Kelly and I are heading up to Stony Point, New York to visit with vickyandnorm as well as strausmouse and rmstraus. Since it’s a long drive, and since it’s about that time anyway, I made an appointment at Saturn for this Saturday for my next regularly scheduled maintenance. I’ll be there bright and early at 9 AM.

AJ and Denisse invited us over for a Peruvian dinner Saturday evening. Although neither Kelly nor I have any culinary skills to speak of (we can both make grilled cheese, PB&J and Kelly can make fish on a George Foreman grill), I think we can combine our talents to produce Dirt. I’ve only had Dirt once before, back when I lived in L.A., but I loved it so much that it has stuck in my memory to this day. I think we might give it a shot.

The Recreation Committee at my work is having a haunted house tomorrow and I was asked to be a “lurker” in the haunted house. I have to dress in black. I will be given a scary mask. It is then my job to walk close behind visitors to the haunted house in an effort to freak them out a bit, and in general make them feel unsettled. Sounds like a lot of fun.

I received the November 2007 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today, which means I am now about 4 issues behind. This seems to happen every so often. The problem is that each of the 4 issues looks equally interesting so that it’s not even possible to skip one.

Zeke cornered another mouse last night so I was awakened at 1:30 AM to the sounds of squealing. I managed to liberate the tiny mouse from Zeke and get it out of the house. This time, however, I watched Zeke afterward and sure enough he went right to the space in the back wall of the kitchen from where the mouse emerged. It came in through a small space from under the house and that space is now blocked off by a piece of furniture that I don’t use. Hopefully that puts an end to it.

The Yankees announced that Joe Girardi would be the new manager. He signed a 3-year deal. Don Mattingly decided not to return to the Yanks after the announcement was made. I don’t blame him. Girardi is a great guy and a good manager, but Donny Baseball was the fan favorite. I’m not sure I understand the point of winning championships if you lose fans in the process.

I’m hitting the shower and calling it an early night tonight. I have another busy day at work tomorrow, this time writing SQL stored procedures and C# code, but I also get to play around with AJAX which is a terribly geeky thing to be excited about.

The dinner I had tonight was so bad for me, so utterly inappropriate that I’m not even going to mention what it was. Someday, I will get back to the gym.

The Great Halloween Party, Charlie Brown

[We didn’t get back from the party until 2:30-ish in the morning, but I’m dating this entry on the 27th because the bulk of the events took place on the 27th]

Today was the day of Kelly, Carmen, and Jesseca’s halloween party. It’s been in the planning phases for weeks, but today it all came together. Kelly and I spent the latter part of the morning and early afternoon at my house. We watched The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart, while I did a number of odd chores. Kelly headed over to Old Navy while I rested up some in preparation for the big party. Finally, around 2 PM, we headed out to run a bunch of errands we needed to do before the party.

We headed down to Potomac Yard and picked up a wireless router for Kelly. We stopped in the Barnes & Noble to see if they had an October issue of LOCUS, because that issue has a review of the July IGMS and I wanted to see if my story was mentioned. We met Carmen at Target and then headed over to Shoppers where we bought beer and ice for the party. Carmen took the beer with her while Kelly and I headed into D.C. to pick up a cooler from her friend. From there we headed into Arlington to pick up liquor for the party (Vodka, Rum, and Tequila–thanks to Doug for the advice). We made a brief stop back at Kelly’s place and then headed over to Jesseca’s to set up for the party.

We arrived at Jess’s just after 5 PM. The party was to start around 8 PM. We spent those 3 hours getting set up, decorating, and dressing in our costumes. (I learned how to tie a noose in order to hang a skeleton from the ceiling.) By 8 PM, I was in my full Bing Crosby getup. Kelly was dressed as a kind of vampire. Carmen was a black-eyed pea. Jesseca was a geisha. Guests started to arrive. At the peak of the party, I think there were around 30 people. Some pretty clever costumes, too. Todd came as Le Chifre, from the latest James Bond movie. Kristy came as a fallen angel. There was little red riding hood, attacked by the big bad wolf. There was another geisha. There was an ice queen. A marine. The best costumes, perhaps, were Paraag and Sam’s. They cross-dressed. Paraag came as Pocahontas and Sam came as John Smith. She’d made both costumes, and she really looked like a conquistador in hers.

We had a fire pit in the back yard, music and scary movies playing, lots to drink. We had snacks and eventually, ordered pizza too. The weather cooperated. It had stopped raining in the morning and was clear and sunny most of the day. It was a little cool at night, but the fire helped.

It was after 2 AM when Kelly and I finally left. I think we were both exhausted, but Todd, Chris and Jesseca were heading off to another party.

I have some pictures from the party that I will post but I haven’t uploaded them yet so they will have to wait until later.

Happy Halloween!

My Halloween costume

I’m going to a Halloween/birthday party Saturday night. I haven’t worn a costume since junior high school, but we are supposed to dress up for this party. Originally, I planned on going as a baseball player, but this morning, I came up with a better idea. I’m going as a circa 1950 Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. After a little searching, I found a good fedora-like hat at Macy’s this morning. I need to get my dark suit pressed. Then I need to pick up a black bow-tie and a pipe. I have a picture of Bing with the kind of hat I’ll be wearing:

Anyway, I should be able to find a bow-tie and get my suit pressed before Saturday. So I will at least have something.

Halloween morning

I didn’t have the greatest night’s sleep last night for the first time in quite a while. I had “fever dreams”, even thought I have no fever and am not in any way sick. I just kept waking up from the same set of strange dreams throughout the night, and though I went to bed with time to get over eight hours of sleep, it seems as though I got far less than that.

Nevertheless, I was up and logged into work first thing this morning. I am waiting for the DirecTV service people to show up and I’m hoping they show up closer to 8 AM than noon, but what are the chances of that?

All Hallow’s Eve is this evening, and that means lot of kids running around in costume. Grown-ups too. At work they encourage people to come in costume and they even have “trick-or-treat” stations on each floor of the office. Strangely, it seems as though I am rarely in the office on Halloween. I was on vacation last year so I wasn’t in the office. I am working from home this year. Ten years ago, I was in the office. According to my diary, “I told everyone at work this morning that my costume was Mel Gibson on the cover of GQ.” I imagine that was funny back then, but I can’t recall why. I was also in the office nine years ago today but the only thing I say in my diary is that one of my coworkers dressed up as Dilbert, which is funnier to me now than it was then. In 1998, 1999 and 2000 I was not in the office for Halloween. Anyway, you get the idea.

I probably won’t be around this evening as it is the only chance I have to get to the gym to day. That’s a good thing because I forgot that Halloween was this week and I don’t have any candy at the house.