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THE HOMESICK MINIVAN

Stuff by Justin Grimbol

LUCKY CHARMS

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My aunt Jacky would ask me if I wanted a snack. Maybe some Lucky Charms. I’d always loved Lucky Charms. The marshmallows were so colorful, and stiff. It was as if they were born stale.

“Damn it!” I’d tell her. “I don’t want Lucky Charms. I’m a full grown man. And besides, I’m way too curvy for that sort of thing.”

“Curvy?”

“I mean fat.”

“You are such a goony woony,” she would say.

And she would wink at me. A hard wink. Rock hard. Like the jaws of life.

It reminded me of the old men at church when I was little. I was the ministers kid and they would put me to the test. They would shake my hand so hard that I would become alert and stare them in the eye. And I would be furious. “Have a nice day,” I’d tell them. And they would smile at me.

Lots of stuff happened in that Church. Our youth group would have sleep over there. We called them Lock Ins. And we would play Truth Or Dare and Spin The Bottle for so long that we would all get chapped lips and have to pass around chap stick.

Besides that kinda stuff, I never liked church much. Too many old people. Too dusty. Not enough colors. Still, my parents were ministers. So I had to go. And, eventually, I got attached. When my wife and I moved out west we tried to find a church. But they didn’t feel right. They felt like a suit that was a little too small and you can’t tell if the shirt had shrunk in the dryer or if you’d just gotten too fat.

But we found an apartment that was cozy and we had access to a hot tub. A real luxury. Sometimes our friends would come over and get naked and fill up the hot tub. It was supposed to be for three people max. But we could fit in five or six. We’d just pile in, drunk and naked, making the hot tub look like a pot of human gumbo. And as we cooked in there I would pray to God our land lord wouldn’t see us. Because she was old and very sweet. Her house was right there. And it smelled like baked bread in there. And I would pray that my aunt Jacky wouldn’t call. Because I had been ignoring her calls and I felt like my heart was molding from it. No, I would have to answer and abandon my naked friends.

Down the street was the Columbian River, which looked calm but people told me was actually one of the most dangerous rivers in world. Beyond the river was Washington and places called Dismal Nitch and Cape Disappointment. Lewis and Clark were feeling grumpy when they got to this point in their journey. They were probably over hungry. A bowl of Lucky Charms would have helped.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

grimbol

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ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL SEASON 7.

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Oh man. This episode is really bad. Most of season 7 is complete crap. But the Halloween episode is especially crappy. Its so bad, its surreal. Did Ed Wood direct this? Its almost so bad its good. But its too heart breaking to watch. The show really fell apart. Anyway. She has a kid. And after talking to Jerry Garcia, she decides to name the kids Jerry Garcia. Spoiler Alert. I guess.

xoxoxoxoxo

grimbol

ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL SEASON 6.

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The whole episode is one long prank. And it makes me anxious. There are some good jokes in this episode. Some great ones even. But something’s missing. The deep warmth of the early episodes just isn’t there. The first five season of this show are like a well built camp fire. Season five is like one of those electric fireplaces you see in cheap motels and Assisted Living Facilities.

I once worked in a assisted living. This one old guy would spend his days walking around saying hello to everyone. Then, when nobody was looking, he would pee on the electric fire place in the common area. I loved that dude. I’d see him doing this and I would smile. “How you doing?” I would ask him. And he would shrug his shoulders and say…”Eh. Could be better. How are you?” Oh man. Thinking about that almost makes me miss that job. Almost.

xoxoxoxoxxoxo

grimbol

 

 

ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL SEASON 5.

 

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Season four is rough on the Conner family. Dan loses his bike shop. Becky runs off and gets married. By Season five, Roseanne is depressed and does not want to celebrate Halloween. So the ghost of Halloweens past, present and future visit and try to remind her of the importance of the holiday. This episode is classic. Probably the most classic of the Halloween episodes.

The best part is the ghost of Halloweens past. The ghost of Halloweens past shows her Dan and Roseanne met at a Halloween dance. It’s a sweet sweet scene. The actors they have playing young Dan and Roseanne do an amazing job. I wish they had made a spin off with these actors where we got to see the Conners when they were first dating.

It all should have ended here. The quality of the show started going down hill(it was more of cliff, really) in season six. But I get why it was hard to end it. Season five is just so damn good.This the season when Darlene gets really angsty and starts drawing comics and wearing all black. When I was young I wanted to be this version of Darlene. I wore all black and tried to be as grumpy as possible. It didn’t work. I ended up way more like DJ. Also… Look you see that picture of Roseanne at the top of this article? I have that exact same shirt and I wear it all the time. Whats going on?

 

ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL SEASON 4.

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In the fourth season, Roseanne becomes a bit more controlling. It adds to her character though. She even makes it seem endearing. During this episode, she forces DJ to dress up as Alfalfa from Little Rascals. DJ hates this costume. He doesn’t even know who Alfalfa is. He wants to be the Terminator. Eventually, they come to a compromise. He puts on sunglasses and carries a machine gun and becomes the Aflafanator. Great episode. Lots of Halloween decorations and costumes and pranks. Very nostalgic stuff.

xoxoxoxoxo

grimbol

ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL SEASON 3.

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In this episode, DJ wants to become a witch. Dan’s uncomfortable with this. Roseanne thinks Dans being macho and annoying, so she dresses up as a man and heads to the local bar, The LOBO. The episode explores gender roll stuff in a way that is impressively unpretentious. Its an endearing episode; maybe one of the best, if the not the best, of Roseanne’s Halloween specials. It makes me wish I had a bar like The LOBO near by. Instead all I got is these heartless college bars. The bars in my town are so packed. Young people think packed bars are fun. Because they don’t ever want to be left out of anything. I hate crowded bars. They make me feel like I’m stuck at the super market during the night before Thanksgiving, or at Wallmart on Black Friday or at the DMV or some horrible place like that.

xoxoxox

grimbol

31 days of Horror. Day 10. ROSEANNE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL, SEASON2.

 

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Roseanne has the best Halloween specials. The first one appears during the the second season. I love the early perm-ridden, puffy jacket Roseanne episodes. Its warm, laid back, and relate-able. Season 2’s Halloween special is so damn good. The Conner’s turn their living room and kitchen into a haunted house. All the decorations look over the top gory and goofy and fun. It’s very nostalgia inducing stuff. And then there is non stop pranking. The Conner family loves to prank each other. And often the pranks are really messed up. Dan pretends to cut his fingers off. Roseanne pretends to choke to death. My favorite scene is where a young Darlene drools blood into her sister’s cereal. It’s not that clever. But it is so, so funny. I tried this prank on my wife. It didn’t go over well. She got really upset.

xoxoxoxox

grimbol

HALLOWEEN SAFETY

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1985 edition

The film starts with funky music and Halloween masks floating in the darkness.

The narrator is a Jack-O-Lantern who is concerned for our safety. He uses a soft voice. I think he might be a poet or a yoga instructor. He is very sensitive.

He says he likes getting his insides scooped out. He says that it tickles. Then he explains how a child’s hand gets gooey after scooping out the insides of a pumpkin.

He gives some other safety advice. It’s boring stuff. He hates vandals. He gets very emotional about kids who stomp on pumpkins.

Most of the movie is filmed at dusk. The shots are dark and confusing and slightly blue, which looks eerie and beautiful. I wish more movies were filmed in this way.

The children in the movie seem worried the entire time. I like to imagine the director was coughing up blood while they were filming.

1977 edition

This one gives a lot of the same boring advice.

And none of the kids have cool costumes. They all look like clowns.

The narrator is a lady with pleasant voice.

Most of the shots at night are so dark you can’t see what the hell’s going on.

1950 edition

Most of this movie takes place inside. The kids barely leave the house. One kids costume is just a paper bag with a cat face drawn on it. He rips it and cries and its really disturbing. To cheer him up his mom wraps a blanket around him and puts a bunch of makeup on his face. I don’t know why.

Finally they get outside. But they don’t go trick or treating. A bunch of kids just skip around in a circle. Blanket boy hands out balloons. I guess that’s how they celebrated shit back in the day.

1890 edition

Film didn’t exist back in the 1800s. So I don’t know how they made this movie.

It all takes place outside. Its dark. The footage looks blue. Its hard to tell whats going on. The audio is bad. An elderly voice warns us about Jack-O-Lanterns. “They will slime us all,” he says. Then he starts crying.

“Where are my balloons?” a kid says. “We need balloons to chase the ghosts. Give us our fucking balloons.”

The footage looks burnt and bubbly for a moment.

Then we are back outside. This old man is leading children through a forest. Its daytime. Colorful leaves cover the ground. The children are dressed in robes. They look itchy. The old man lead them  straight into the forest. They find a swamp. They say it’s not really a swamp though. It’s a time machine. Whatever. They get in.

They head to the future. They end up in a corn field. They make their way through the tall stalks of corn. They find a farm house with another old man sitting on his porch. He is reading Clive Cussler.

The children surround the man.

“Be careful,” the man says. “Its Halloween. Dogs will find you. They will chew on your face.”

The children nod.

“Then again. Everything dies right. I remember most of you. That’s how old I am. The dogs haven’t caught me yet.”

 

 

OCTOBER COLORS

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Fall is full of charming ways of dying.
The leaves have blond tips and look like they are in a boy band from the 90s. Or they look even better at aging and dying and falling onto the ground. They are colored like school buses, or chapped lips, or chaffed legs, or stoned teenage eyes. They are the color of elderly laughter. Or those almost golden cans of caffeine free diet soda. They are the color of hidden butts. Of a dirty diners counter tops. Of us taking a bubble bath in a swamp. They are colored like smokers teeth. Or a hippy college student’s dorm room covered in tapestries and arm pit hairs and humping smells. This is how upside down lightning dresses for Halloween all month long. These trees strip so slowly we can barely stand it. I throw my dollars at trees anyway and cry. And I go on diets.

xoxoxoxoxo

grimbol

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