Elf on the Shelf

th-1When did Elf on the Shelf become a thing?  I never even heard of this growing up.

I remember having an elf.  I called him Mischievous, and I made up stories about him.  I remember riding the bus with a slightly younger girl and telling her stories about the magical elf.  I have no idea where I got it or where it went.  This wasn’t a Christmas thing; as far as I recall, I did this year round.

I think elf on the shelf is a cute idea, and Pinterest has some great ideas on how to do it, both nice and erm… naughty.

I asked my Facebook friends about Elf on the Shelf and got quite a few mixed reactions.  So what do you do when you need an answer?  Ask Mr. Google, of course!

According to Mr. Google (and Wikipedia), Elf on the Shelf came about because of a  2005 book by the same name, written by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, and illustrated by Coë Steinwart.  The book came with an elf, and al la Cabbage Patch Kids, had a section where you named your elf to “adopt” it.

The original idea was that the elf was to play hide and seek, hiding and spying on kids for Santa.  Pinterest makes it look like a lot of people set up scenes with what their elf was doing and how it got in trouble.  Either way, I find the idea both cute and creepy simultaneously.  Apparently my Facebook friends are pretty evenly split too.  Big Brother was mentioned numerous times.

So where do you weigh in… cute or creepy?

Haunted Houses

Photo credit: RJS Photography

Photo credit: RJS Photography

Going to haunted houses is one of my favorite things ever.  I wait all year for Halloween season.  In years past, I’ve had more or less friends willing to go with me.  When I first met my husband, he wasn’t “into” Halloween, but as time has gone on, he’s gotten more and more excited about it with me.

Last night we went to Nightfall at Old Tucson Studios.  By day, Old Tucson Studios is town that’s appeared as a set in many movies, such as The Quick and the Dead, Rio Bravo, and the Outlaw and Josie Wales.

It’s a perfect place for creepiness, and they did a great job.  They had a lot of different monsters circulating, and didn’t just rely on the typical chainsaw stuff.  They had a gnombie, a bad rabbit, and a really tall creature, among others.  There were three houses: Revenge of the Blood Witch, The Mine Shaft, and Dia De Los Muertos.  Although Revenge of the Blood Witch was the scariest with the best scary effects, my favorite house was Dia De Los Muertos.  We liked it so much that we did it twice.  It was all neon with black lights and they played mariachi music as we walked through various rooms with a dead mariachi band and sugar skulls.  This is a great bargain for people living in Arizona who love Halloween.

In previous years, I’ve enjoyed 13th Floor, Arizona Scream Park, and the Crypt.  I’m going to give the Chamber of Fear a try this year.  The only local attraction I don’t like is the Nest.  Lots of people love it, but I find it overpriced and lame.  If you can only do one thing this year, I’d recommend either Nightfall or Arizona Scream Park.  They both give you a nice bang for your buck, and you can spend a few hours enjoying either one.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

In the desert, we so seldom see any real color on the ground.  During springtime, flowers do sprout, and for a few weeks, the cacti have pops of color.  Most of the time, the landscape is mostly brown and red, with spots of low green.  However, the sky is one place where we see color; I try to forget that it’s a direct result of the pollution in the area and just appreciate that it’s pretty.

As a bonus, here’s a picture I took while I was in PA.  I was outside and looked up at the creepy sky.  Between the full moon, the trees, and the way the sky looked purple, I took maybe a dozen pictures, trying to get this one right.  This was the best I managed.  Not perfect, but still creepy.

(Just a Little) Paranoid

“Big brother is watching” is something I say often.  I admit it; I’m a little paranoid, and I don’t like the idea of being watched.  It’s not that I have anything to hide; in fact, outside my head, I lead a fairly boring life.  It’s the idea that someone could watch if they wanted to that freaks me out.  It’s not enough to stop me from doing certain things.  I carry club cards and let stores collect info on my purchases.  I have a Facebook account.

However, I’m not so sure about this new Google privacy policy. Starting March 1, they will be collecting information on your searches.  You can disable it, and I’ll include the instructions in a link below.  On one hand, it makes good sense to allow companies to collect information.  Information helps them make better products and target the consumer.  On the other hand, do I want to allow Big Brother in my business?  Is this an inevitable result of technology?  Or something I should do my best to block?

The fact is that I don’t have the answers, just lots of questions.  I’m sure Google doesn’t mean to be nefarious, and that the information that I spend waaaaay too much time looking at the various “fail” websites isn’t exactly something to be ashamed of, but…  I’d find it nearly as creepy to have some guy with bad breath and a Steve Urkel laugh standing over my shoulder looking at what I’m going on my computer.  Just sayin’.