Dear R.L. Stine: Thank you.

Well, well. Mr. Stine. Can I call you R? No, that sounds silly. I’ll just call you what I’ve always called you: R. L. Stine. I’ve been meaning to write you a “Thank you letter” for nearly 15 years. Now that I’m turning 30, I’m realizing just how important you were to me growing up. I wanted to write you a little note of gratitude.

I remember seeing your books, the “Goosebumps” series, for the first time in the book store. I must have been 8 or 9, and I knew that those books would be different than all the other books that kids my age liked. Boxcar Children and Baby-Sitters, bah, well. They were neat, but they weren’t exactly relatable. Your books set off a cobweb-covered light bulb over my head the first time I saw them. After my wonderful mom begrudgingly bought me my first Goosebumps book, “Welcome to Dead House,” I knew it was the start of something… interesting. No other book spoke to me on a ‘weirdo level.’ In fact, I didn’t even know a ‘weirdo level’ existed, until I saw your books.

“Goosebumps” really struck a chord with me. The bright-colored covers with textured spooky dripping font, always featuring very creepy scenes. Your covers scared me for a long time, if you didn’t know. But I knew I had to read them – the books that seemed meant for strange kids, like me.

I grew obsessed with each story. Each kid, in the center of a world where they didn’t belong, but could somehow always figure things out. Parents, who just didn’t understand. Unusual happenings, ghostly friends, monster blood, ancient relics, werewolves, haunted houses, and sometimes an alien or a shrunken head, to add flavor to the poisoned soup. I could relate to these kids, overcoming odds in an odd world. So unlike in the real world (which was so boring!), I felt right at home in your unhomely books.

You’ll get a real kick out of this: When I was 21, I took college courses to become a school teacher. One class, “Children’s Literature,” I’ll never forget. Our teacher went around the room asking us what our favorite books were as children. Books that we would recommend to kids in our own classroom, were we ever to teach one. My answer was obvious. “The Goosebumps books,” I said proudly, eagerly awaiting the nods of gratitude, cheers, and high fives my classmates would surely be giving me. But, to my shock, the teacher quickly dismissed my answer. “I don’t think those books would be appropriate for children. Those books are too scary.”

“Those books?” I thought through my arched eyebrow, my curled upper lip. “Those books meant a hell of a lot more to me as a kid than I think you would ever understand, lady.” Needless to say, I dropped the class and left a Haunted Mask on her desk.

Those books gave me the go-ahead to be me. Those books showed me a world of kooks, creeps and ‘cabres. (That’s short for macabres, if you didn’t know.) Those books made me confident that, no matter how different I thought I was, there was at least one person who gave me permission to be me. That was you, R. L. Stine.

Thank you for creating a series of books that, at the most impressionable time of my life, when I felt like an alien among my peers (or perhaps I was but still hadn’t figured out how to contact my home planet yet), made me feel like someone out there understood me. It was okay to be a freak – curious, mysterious, and totally out there. Thanks for the “Goosebumps” books.

Looking at the haunted house I live next door to, my own collection of creepy toys much like Slappy the dummy, and my love of cheesy horror movies, I’ve no doubt they are certainly a tribute to you and your gateway into the land of weird.

Thank you.

Yours in weird-ness,


Thanks for reading! If R. L. Stine, or another author, greatly shaped you as a kid, post a comment to let me (or them) know!

This post was #4 on my list of 20 things to do when you’re down in the dumps.

I have learned that there will be a Goosebumps movie, starring Jack Black as R. L. Stine coming out in 2015. Look out for it – you know I will be!

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Incorporating toys into a small apartment design.

stewie-floor

When Mark and I visited his parents last week, and they kindly tried to send us home with all of his childhood toys, how could I resist! Mark has a large collection of 80’s memorabilia… Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Pokemon, Power Rangers, and so much more nostalgic goodness. My challenge was to incorporate them into the design of our home, using the walls, and so it wouldn’t look too cluttered. In a 600 square foot apartment, using wall space in the design is key.

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I had Mark install a long shelf along the ceiling so I could display all the toys. It’s hard to get these little guys to stand up, let me tell you. The mini-bar is one of my favorite parts of this room, of course. The IKEA Poang chair with red cushion and shiny pink pillow add the perfect pop of modern and color to the more classic design of the shelves and wall art.

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Mark also put up another shelf for more toys, over my desk. So many toys! I got the disc wall clock from Fab.com and the awesome Carpe Weird print from HelpInk.org.

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Here’s a peek at the other half of our living room, which is where we have a bit of a renaissance theme going on. My father painted this epic shield containing our family crests, and of course, animals in human clothes are always awesome. The important things I tried to do to incorporate the shield into the room was adding splashes of color found in the shield, like the red fireplace, the blue ox figurine, and the green cup for bottle caps on the table.

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I made sure to hang everything in the apartment at that 57″ sweet spot, while getting a little bit chaotic, in an organized way. I included works by MC Escher in our collage, as it’s Mark’s favorite artist.

Overall, I think it’s a good start to our home design, but I kind of wish I had a better quality camera for these pictures. Someday!


Post a comment to let me know your must-know tips for home design, or show me pictures of your homes!

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Boots, and too much cutes.

How is everyone’s Saturday going? Mark and I are going to be spending time with friends tonight, sitting around a smoky campfire, making s’mores, drinking beer, and having an awesome time. I hope you get to do some amazing things too this weekend, but in the mean time I’ve selected some cute items to show you guys that I just love!

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1. I am on a serious mission to bring fanny packs back. Pastel Bunny Rabbit Party Fannypack by imyourpresent on Etsy. • 2. I’ve been longing for an actual official pair of Dr. Martens boots – more specifically these shiny patent ones. Come to me, pretty pretty boots. Women’s 1460 by Dr. Martens. • 3. I would rock the crap of this dress. Ugh, so kawaii! Melty Castle Circle Skirt Dress by roxiesweetheart on Etsy. 4. 626 might be terrifying, horrible, and a monster, but… aw, no he isn’t! Just look at him!!! Disney Lilo & Stitch Tongue Girls Pullover Top from Hot Topic. 5. Thanks to Toasty, I want to go bankrupt buying all these cute My Little Pony chibi vinyls from We Love Fine. Much too cute! My Little Pony Chibi Vinyls from We Love Fine. 6. Literalz Moon Prism Power Make-up. Get it? Do you get it? Because make-up? Do you get it? Moon Prism Power Make-up Bag from Dolls Kill.

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5 Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done

I’ve done lots of normal nerdy things: been obsessed with video games, cried at the end of a good fantasy novel, cosplayed at nerd conventions – the list goes on. But these are the dirty secrets of the nerd, the things that some nerds might even say is nerdy. Let’s get down and nerdy.

1. Dressed up as Moaning Myrtle to go to the book release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Nerds everywhere can relate to a love of dressing up. Cosplaying at conventions or even on Halloween (I guess maybe that’s just called “wearing a costume”). I took it a step further, and dressed up during the release of the 7th Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows… at Barnes and Noble. My sister dressed up as Hermione Granger and I dressed up as Moaning Myrtle, complete with crying and moping role-playing, and we went to wait in line for the book. With other people. Who were wearing regular clothes. We got a lot of funny looks.

2. Ran around in the woods dressed up as an elf, hitting skeletons with foam swords.

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Larping is definitely in a class all its own when it comes to nerdy things. I began Larping in 2003. Larping stands for live-action role playing, and as it was explained to me at that time, it’s when “You dress up as a character, like an elf or something, and it’s mostly renaissance costuming, and you go around fighting zombies in the woods with foam swords.” I imagine when most people hear that, they would be both confused and terrified. To me, however, it seemed like the coolest and most fun idea I’d ever heard of. You could create and craft your own character, personality, back story, and costume, and actually enter a fantasy world for the weekend where everyone else plays along. I ended up creating a True Elf Cleric who wore a blue velvet dress and had big pointy ears. I could probably ramble on about Larp for another 3 paragraphs, so I’ll just stop here.

3. Confused a water fountain for a pensieve in the Harry Potter theme park.

When Mark and I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and waited in line to get on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, it was a long wait. About an hour at least. And the WWOHP is in Orlando Florida, where, if you don’t know, it can feel the like the sun is burning you alive. So they have water fountains in the line while people are waiting – you know, so people don’t die. I saw a giant silver dish from afar and screamed “Is that a pensieve?” No, no, Stewie, you idiot. It’s a water fountain. Nerd.

4. Played tabletop role-playing games that weren’t Dungeons and Dragons.

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Most people think of tabletop RPG games as being, well, Dungeons and Dragons. And certainly that’s the most popular one. I played a lot of D&D, don’t get me wrong. But I also explored the nerdy world of many other role-playing games. 7th Sea, Star Wars: The Role Playing Game, Call of Cthulu, Firefly/Serenity Role Playing Game… I’ve played a pretty big variety of role-playing games, gorram it.

5. Role-played in an online Furry community called Furcadia.

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This may be the most embarassing and nerdy thing I can confess to, but hey, I was 13… that’s my excuse. I covered my adventures in Furcadia in this post, but really, it has to remain on my list as being super nerdy. In the game, you create your own anthropomorphic animal character and you walk around a pixel world, role-playing with other animal people. Yup. I did that.

*BONUS* 6. Gotten fandom related tattoos.

sailor-moon-luna-tattoo

I saw this on @youthinkmemad‘s Fandom 5 post and realized I’m guitly of it too, so I’m going to use it as a bonus. I recently got a Luna from Sailor Moon as a maneki neko to add to the collection of kawaii tattoos. Oh, and my next nerdy tattoo will probbaly be Jiggly Puff from Pokemon. Jiggly puffffffff…. Thanks for reminding me of my nerdy ink, B!


Let me know how nerdy you are by leaving your nerdy confessions in a comment!

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