Sunday Lowdown #195 🎃


I feel like I’m in a time warp! I’m likely to claim that I’m keeping up on things, but looking at Grab the Lapels, I see I haven’t responded to comments on my blog, and I’m behind on reading other folks’ posts, too. I read several blog posts today and enjoyed myself, especially as the horror “wimps” out there dip their toesies into the spooky pool.

Some events at school this past week include my first time platform interpreting (you’re in front of tons of people instead of a handful of folks). Later that night two classmates and I interpreted Shaun of the Dead (not for anyone, just welcomed in the space to practice) the literary movie club. In case you hadn’t guessed, Shaun of the Dead isn’t literary, but every club enjoys pausing to be spooky. I’m hoping their next movie isn’t Titus Andronicus, though that would have been a good literary horror choice. Thanks, Shakespeare!

All week I’ve been preparing and practicing to record myself interpreting a song. I chose “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Coasters, a song I both dig and for which I could see the benefits for an interpreting assignment. It’s story driven, and there aren’t any deep, significant metaphors or abstract concepts. Fingers crossed for me!

By the time you read this, it may already be Halloween. Since this is the first Halloween during which we have a house, I’m really hoping for some trick-or-treaters. I texted my neighbor to make sure she brings her kids over. Nick asked if I’m going to dress up, and it looks like my options are whoopee cushion or banana. If you’ve been a long-time reader of Grab the Lapels, you’ll remember that for work Nick has been a whoopee cushion and a banana, and I haven’t dressed up in ages. For the kids I got Skittles, because they’re the best, and some witchy-green Twix bars. I also have two sheets of spooky stickers for the neighbor boys.


  • October 24 — The City of the Dead (1960). British, though set in America. I know I watched this one recently, but I wanted to see it again. It’s a lovely, atmospheric film. I learned it’s actually called Horror Hotel in U.S. markets, but it was on Tubi under the British name.
  • October 25 — Terror Train (2022). American remake of the Jamie Lee Curtis film of the same name. Yes, I saw the original first. This remake removes the gross stuff suggesting trans people are psychotic, and the final girl does have a great scream that changes depending on the situation. It addresses the toxic male character and how he longs for the days of hazing and being allowed to abuse people in the name of fun. Overall, I enjoyed it, and it feels current.
  • October 27 — The Descent (2006). A British film, again, set in the U.S. It scared me when I watched it years ago, but had little effect on me this time. I couldn’t tell the characters apart.
  • October 28 — Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988). American. Okay, not really horror, but she’s a horror icon. I found the writing surprisingly fresh and smart, though everyone she hates she fat shames, so there is that.
  • October 28 — Pontypool (2008). Canadian horror, based on a book, and the author wrote the script. Very low-budget and is more like watching a radio play. It’s a zombie movie in which people become infected by hearing certain words in English. A doctor tries to explain, but I wish they used a linguistics person instead.
  • October 29 — Deadheads (2012). A low-budget American zombie-comedy movie. The appeal is I had no clue what the rules were; something was different. Had characters I cared about and great Millennial references throughout.


Heh, I haven’t yet read the comments on my review of The Auctioneer by Joan Samson, but I hope you got something out of my thoughts and consider how a novel about a community that conforms may be a great work for a book club, especially in the age of Brexit and MAGA. This is Samson’s only novel, as she got cancer and died very young, right after it was published.


We’ll be into November, and thus ends the spooky season. On Wednesday I’ll review Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer, whose book The F-Word I enjoyed. Somehow, the book Palmer claims to care about so much, the one to which she relates, veers off an intelligent course and goes wonky on readers.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 193
Owned Books on TBR Today: 192

I saw a CBS Sunday Morning special with John Irving and went and added two books. I learned he has been controversial for a long time, and that he has a trans daughter.


  1. Oh phew, end of spooky month for a year. You did make me laugh with “the horror “wimps” out there dip their toesies into the spooky pool.” But I did enjoy discussing some of the books with you.

    I hope you have lots of trick or treaters … and include a pic of yourself next week.

    Oh, and good on you for doing the platform signing.


  2. Is it harder to translate from a movie than from a person? Did you translate with someone else as different characters? I’m intrigued by how that would be to watch a movie alongside.

    I haven’t read much John Irving but apparently he became a Canadian a few years ago. That surprised me because his writing seems so American to me.

    Hope you get lots of trick-or-treaters! I am crossing my fingers that it won’t be pouring rain when we take the girls out!


    • Typically, an interpreter will work continuously for about 20 minutes. Thus, I had a team. There were three of us, and we’d switch after twenty minutes. You do what is called role shifting to become different characters, and you consider where you set up other characters so you can address them later. I’m not sure we did an amazing job, as this is all practice, but it certainly looked clear in a lot of places to me, and was rather hilarious to watch more quieter peers become zombies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like it would be fun to watch! 20 minutes makes sense, especially in such an active movie. Would there be an advantage for watchers to have a movie interpreted versus using subtitles?


        • If a Deaf person’s first language is ASL, they may not be fluent in English. Some people don’t know any English. Other Deaf people are fluent in both. A lot of people, myself included when I started, think that ASL is basically English with your hands. They’re totally different.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, of course, you’ve talked about that before. I was thinking of ASL as a direct English translation but I know you’ve shared examples of times and people when that’s not the case.


        • What I do thus far is wait for a small break and jump in. Also, you’re always listening, so even as you’re physically switching, you’re listening and then catch up. Or, at least, this is what I’m doing so far! When I watched two interpreters at an event on a stage, they waited until the speakers actually changed.


  3. I hope you get a lot of trick or treaters! Previous to the pandemic, Rob was attempting to make our house THE stop for candy. We give out fist fulls. It’s fun watching the kid’s eyes get super big and yell Thank You because they’re so excited. We’ve even had parents thank us because our neighborhood is pretty stingy (sp?). We took our nephew once and everyone was handing out ONE piece of candy at a time. After 4 miles of walking around, he barely had anything. Unfortunately, this year due to money (we usually spend around $100 on candy), we won’t be giving any candy out. We just rather not hand any out than give out piddly squat. Hopefully next year we’ll be in a better position to come back with a vengeance and spoil the fudge out of some Halloween kids.


  4. Elvira! I used to watch her show on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid. Loved her!

    Good luck with your song interpretation! I went to a P!nk concert, oh gosh, I guess it was 4 years ago now, and sat not that far away from the interpreters. They were amazing to watch and, in my non-professional opinion, did a fantastic job. It was like they were signing with their whole bodies!

    Happy Halloween! I hope you get lots of kids at your door. And you should dress up as a banana since whoopee cushion is something the kids will not know about, but everyone gets a banana imo 🙂


    • I was honestly surprised by just how much I liked Elvira and thought almost all of the jokes landed really well.

      I did the song, we watched it in class, and I got feedback. The main comment was that it didn’t look like I was doing a song because I wasn’t really using my whole body, so that’s funny you mentioned the interpreter at the P!nk concert. She’s so great, I like her.

      I got just the two neighbor kids. Despite living right near a subdivision, none of those houses participated in Halloween! The neighbor kids were lovely, though. I got so anxious about no one coming that I didn’t wear either costume.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well that’s a disappointment to only get the two neighbor kids. Oh well.

        The actress who does Elvira is also a very interesting person. I heard an interview with her once and she is one sharp, smart woman.

        So interesting about the intrepreting!


  5. Hope you get lots of kiddos. In years past we’ve gotten hardly any and then last year we had TONS. Who knows? They’d better come because we have a crap ton of candy.

    I enjoyed both of those John Irving books. Especially Garp.


  6. Oh I hated Garp! Couldn’t finish it. I feel like I have read one of his.

    I hope you get some trick or treaters. I dressed up for parkrun on Saturday. I wasn’t going to, then a chance remark on Messenger scored me a (plastic) scythe from another core team member, so as I was timekeeping at the event, I went as Old Mother Time, with my scythe, an hourglass I drew, cut out, laminated and hung round my neck with some leftover cord from when we had the blinds installed; I had purple lipstick on and smeared dark grey eyeliner all round my eyes and put my hood up. Sort of worked though wasn’t as good as the inflatable pumpkin our tailwalker walked 3.1 miles in!


  7. It’s 31 Oct as I read this. Is that Halloween? It’s evening and I’m having a beer in a very outback hotel. I wonder if there are kids wandering the streets outside collecting lollies. Seems hard to imagine.
    Thanks for the horror education. It has been an interesting month.


  8. I’m definitely a “horror wimp” . I used to like the Dennis Wheatley black magic novels when I was in my teens but that’s been the extent of it. I don’t read horror books or watch horror films – I would spend far too much time hiding behind a cushion!


  9. Ummmm what, green twix bars???? We definitely don’t have that up here in Canada. So jealous!!!

    Did you get any kids other than your neighbors, I’m so curious! First Halloween in a house is fun 🙂


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