Dryvember Day Two: Nice Day For A Walk

As I enter into the evening of Dryvember Day Two, I wanted to say that I am feeling pretty good. I had trouble sleeping last. Whether that was due to the lack of alcohol or just my normal insomnia, I don’t know. Regardless, I fell asleep late and woke up early. But, even though I felt sleepy, I wasn’t hungover. I didn’t feel bad, and that felt great.

This is not some huge revelation: of course hangovers don’t feel good, and of course you don’t get them if you don’t drink. Still, it was nice not to start a Saturday that way.

Instead of lamenting my choices from the previous night and battling a headache, I drank some coffee. And basked in the feeling of sobriety. Then I watched the San Jose Sharks play a great game and still lose. They’re just not getting any luck this year. I am happy to report that even this loss did not make me want to renege on my Dryvember day two progress. Another small victory for the list.

After the game, I needed something to do. First, I thought about writing. I have a short story I need to write for an upcoming competition. Also, I am working on a short film script for another competition. Wait, there’s more: I’m writing some comic scripts for open submissions. Plus, I still have to watch and review the final episode of Creepshow. I plan on doing the latter. The point here, is that I have plenty of things to keep me occupied and away from the sauce. Oh, and I really need to clean my apartment because it’s filthy and driving me crazy. If anything makes me want to drink, it’s that.

Instead I went for a three hour walk.

Dryvember Day Two Saw Me Wander Around Jinan

I knew I had things to write. But, I also knew that I wasn’t in the right mindset for it. It’s not so much that I wasn’t in the mood as I didn’t have the focus for it. Sure, I probably could have typed my way into focus, the click clacking of the keys guiding me toward the path. But, it was a nice day and it’s supposed to get real cold here real soon. I figured I’d enjoy the sun while I could. Besides, my knees been hurting a lot, and today it wasn’t. Another reason to get out and move around.

I ended up walking to a store that sells foreign goods. While there I got some good cheddar (difficult to find here in China), some herbal tea, and some soda. All of it overpriced, but whatever. I’m not spending money on booze this month, so I may as well find my indulgences elsewhere.

On my way to the shop, I saw this building, which tickled me so much I had to take a picture. I don’t know why I find it funny, but it probably has something to do with the juxtaposition of the words. Mutton Soup, Print Shop, Cigarettes and Wine, Pork Chops and Rice. It’s all so eclectic. Add to it what you can’t see, a clothing shop, and a fruit store, and it’s got nearly everything you need. Ha ha.

The image shows the side of a building in Jinan where I spent Dryvember Day Two walking around.

I’m home now, drinking some water and contemplating what to eat for dinner. I have some frozen dumplings to steam, and some fresh veggies. Sounds like a nice light meal. That about does it for my Dryvember day two. Thanks for reading.

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Dryvember Dispatches Day One: No Drink November

I have written a little before about my battle with depression, as well as my propensity to drink. Not to worry, dear reader, I am not depressed. Well, at least not any more than normal. In fact, I feel pretty good with things in my life. Also, I haven’t been drinking too much lately. Mostly just on the weekends, though then yes, it is too much at one time. I’m working on it! Anyway, I decided to stop drinking alcohol for the month of November, and I decided to write about it. So, without further delay, here is Dryvember Dispatches Day One.

So, if I am not feeling down, and I have my drinking under control, why did I decide to do this to myself? The main reason is simple: to see if I could. I don’t often go out of my way to challenge myself with things like this. Though on occasion, I do. I did a 30 day squat challenge on year, and I have done a dry November once before. But, this year, I figured what the hell? Why not prove to myself that I can do this? I thought about it for a hot second and then realized there was no good answer, so here I am writing my Dryvember Dispatches day one of thirty.

I don’t know if I will post updates every day, or a few times a week. It probably depends on if I think I have something to say. Also, depending on how I feel. If I feel the need to share my experience because I’m particularly proud or in need of encouragement, then you can count on a dispatch.

Dryvember Dispatches Day One Started Stong

Today is the first day, obviously, and so far it’s gone well. It’s almost over for me, actually. And despite not being able to fulfill my normal Friday night ritual of pizza and beer, I still managed to get the pizza. I’m counting that as a win.

The image shows the Queen Barrata pizza, which is what I chose to eat for Dryvember Dispatches Day One
The Queen Baratta Pizza. It usually has more peppers and fewer mushrooms. It was still tasty, though.

I haven’t felt the need for a drink, which isn’t all that surprising. I did drink last night in preparation for taking the month off. Still, it’s nice to not have the craving, desire, or need for booze here at the beginning. Work’s going to get busy soon, and the days are turning cold, but for now all is well.

I did have a bit of an emotional wave crash over me while waiting for my pizza, but I attribute that to the stress of the day more than anything. It was a long day today; classes, lunch with colleagues, and a work meeting. None of these things individually add up to anything tough. But, put them all together and stress is the result.

The spell passed, and I didn’t end up crying in Pizza Hut. Another win. So, yeah, that’s Dryvember Dispatches Day One. Thanks for reading. If you have suggestions for getting by without booze, let me know in the comments. And if you’ve done something like this, let me know that, too. Hell, if you just want to chat with an internet stranger, I’m fine with that as well.

Oh, one more thing; before I wrote this post, I knew dry November was a thing, but I didn’t realize it had official connections. More info here.

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Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween Movie

Apparently there is some debate about whether or not The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween Movie. Well, I am here to tell you that it is. How do I know? Well, Danny Elfman said so. But even if he hadn’t, I would maintain that this stop motion animated masterpiece is for the spooky season.

The image shows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is a Halloween movie.

Despite the focus on the Yuletide, and the appearance of Christmas Town and Sanit Nick himself, NBX screams Halloween. It begins in a town full of ghosts, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and other beasties. Jack Skellington rules the town as the Pumpkin King. He’s not the Mistletoe King, nor his he the Tannenbaum King. No, Jack’s title is Pumpkin King. And aside from pies featuring that fruit, there’s not much Christmasy about pumpkins.

Nightmare Before Christmas is full of Tricks, Making it a Halloween Movie

Okay, so we’ve established one reason why Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. But don’t worry, there are others. The movie is all about tricks and treats. Are those a feature of the Yuletide season?

Jack first tricks the townsfolk by pretending to be into his holiday when he isn’t. No, Jack is tired of scares and spookiness, but he can’t let the others know that. Soon, he finds himself in Christmas Town, where he gets the idea to steal the holiday and replace Santa.

Upon his return to Halloween Town, Jack has to trick his friends. He first tries to sincerely sell them on the idea of Christmas, but they’re not buying it. Or at least, not getting it. They don’t understand the concept of Christmas, and how could they? They’ve never visited it and only have Jack’s description. Plus, they’re monsters so they naturally focus on the scary stuff. And then Jack gives them what they want by telling them of the monster Santa Clause, painting the kindly old gent as a ferocious creature.

Soon, Jack decides to steal Christmas, and begins plotting. This involves yet another trick. Kidnap Santa Clause. And how does he implement this plan? Well, he hires Oogie’s Boys (costumed trick or treates) to kidnap the “The Big Red Lobster Man,” which they do, after accidentally snatching the Easter Bunny. So much trickery.

And then of course, there’s Sally. Sally is the heart and soul of the film, and even she gets in on the trickery. She tricks her creator Doctor Finklestein several times, and even plays a trick on Jack when she makes the fog because she knows what he’s doing is wrong and a disaster.

Far too many tricks in this movie happen to make it a Christmas movie.

Yuletide Elements Can’t Be Ignored

Of course, people who deny The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie point to the title. It has Christmas in it, so how can it not be a Yuletide movie? Admittedly, this looks like a good point, but it really isn’t a strong one. Yes, there are X-Mas elements in the movie. And yes, it mirrors It’s a Wonderful Life in the sense that Jack learns to appreciate the life he has rather than pine for a different one. There’s even a little but of How the Grinch Stole Christmas in there thanks to Zero, and the residents of Halloween learning what Christmas is all about.

Still, a word in the title and a few connections to Christmas stories are not enough to make this a Christmas movie.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch it during the Christmas season. In fact, it’s a good choice because it does remind us of the power of friendship and loved ones. It just does so with zombies and mummies and skeletons instead of family and angels and such.

I say the Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie that you can watch any time of the year. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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