Tag Archives: halloween

Set Yourself On Fire (Preview)

Started: 19.10.24

Finished: 20.06.12

Words: 843

NFF, 2021’s Halloween story


“You’re late.”

Charlie chuckled, “Oh, yeah, I’m so sorry.”

Bill chuckled as he watched the brunette punch in, before walking with him to the line, “Oh, c’mon, it could be worse.”

Charlie gave him an incredulous look, “How could it possibly be worse?”

Bill shrugged, “At least you didn’t pull the short straw.”

They watched as Anderson walked by, head hanging. He looked up when he saw the two men before letting out a heavy sigh, “Church Street.”

“Oof,” Charlie let out a low whistle, “Sorry man.”

Bill clapped him on the shoulder, “Good luck.”

Anderson let out a dry chuckle, “Oh yeah, cause luck will beat that priest.”

They watched as he walked to the lockers, shoulders slumped. He sighed heavily again before heading for the door.

“He’s been here 20 years, and they just send him out like that?” Bill shook his head as they took a few steps up in the line, “Poor guy.”

“To be fair, it’s not exactly like they could give him a severance package.”

Bill shot him a look, “What’s the matter with you?”

Charlie shrugged, “I just thought things would be different.”

“Funny,” they moved up a few more steps, “I would’ve thought you’d be happy.”

“What?” Charlies’ brows furrowed in confusion, “Why would I be happy?”

“Because you got your wish.” Bill noticed his expression and gave him a sly smile as they reached the front, “More of the same.”

“Alright,” Adam looked over his clipboard, flipping through a few sheets, “What do I have left…” He ran his finger down the page before nodding, “Ah, right. Bill, you’re off to Queen Street and Charlie…” he flipped the page, “you’re going to Main.”

Charlie scoffed, “Are you joking?”


Like the preview? Check out the FULL story (along with all the other full stories) here!

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Skinny Pop! White Cheddar Popcorn Review

I’m gonna be honest, I love popcorn in basically any form. (The exception being that sweet/sticky stuff people put on it at Christmas… I think it’s called ‘kettle corn’?) And I especially love it when it comes with faux-cheese flavour. Before we discovered I was allergic to dairy products, I used to eat Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn when we had end-of-year class parties in elementary school, and let me tell you, I was so into that stuff!

Maybe it’s because it was tied to the end of school/beginning of summer, or maybe it’s because I was just so young I still thought everything was amazing, but I was crushed when we discovered my allergy, and I learned that I couldn’t eat one of my favourite treats anymore.

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Now, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had the ‘real’ thing (I think it’s been about 20 years now [… how old are people in gr. 2?]), and I don’t know if Skinny Pop! was even trying to emulate it, but this tastes very similar to what I remember the Smartfood popcorn being.

Needless to say, I love this one, too!

Not only do these bags of popcorn bring back fond childhood memories with their flavour, perhaps the best part of them? They (sometimes) come in giant bags!

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Seriously, this thing is roughly the same size as my torso! And yes, it still had a lot of air in it, but that’s still a big bag!

One thing I don’t like about this popcorn, is that the seasoning sometime falls all to the bottom of the bag. This has a simple fix, though. Just shake the bag/turn it upside down for a little bit before you open it to redistribute the flavour.

Speaking of the flavouring, it’s powdery, white and sticks to your fingers. Similar to ketchup dust from chips. But it’s so good, I’m sure you won’t mind licking it off yourself when you finish.

Other than that, there’s not really too much to say about this product. It’s vegan and awesome, and I recommend everyone try it. They also have other flavours, though I’m not sure if all the flavours are vegan. I’ve also tried their plain popcorn one (Green bag), that one was good too.

If you like popcorn, you definitely have to try this one!


Like this review? Check out more here!

3 Tips On How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween

With cheap, plastic decorations, bulk boxes of individually wrapped candies and chocolates in plastic, and even the costumes, Halloween (or, any holiday, really) definitely doesn’t spring to mind when you think of ‘zero waste’, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have one!

Yes, it’s totally possible (and not all that much more work) to have a zero waste Halloween!

With just a little tweaking, you can have the zero waste Halloween that your wallet (and planet!) will thank you for having.

 

Tip #1: Make Your Own Treats!

I figured I would start with the hardest tip, and then work our way down. The most environmentally friendly and most zero waste way to still have a kick-ass Halloween is definitely to make your own treats.

Obviously, you can’t pass these out at the door (well, you could, but I don’t think parents would let them eat homemade stranger candy), but if you’re having a grown-up party, or even just your own house party with your kids, this is an awesome tip!

Not only will you get to binge on healthier treats (since you’re buying all the ingredients you need, you’ll know exactly what’s going into them), but I’m sure your kids would love to help bake/create the treats with you. It’s a fun way to spend the day, and you get a reward for all your hard work at the end!

Another bonus of making homemade treats? You can literally make whatever you want! Not that into chocolate? Don’t make it! Really craving a rice crispy square? Get yourself some marshmallows (if searching for vegan ones, I recommend Dandies), and rice cereal and go at it. Want to try homemade chocolate? Go get yourself some cocoa butter and Silk (milk) and go nuts! Rather not eat typical ‘candy’? No problem! Get your bakers hat on, and whip up some cookies, brownies, or whatever other treat your heart desires. And, to make them festive, you could decorate them with the Halloween theme in mind!

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The only limitation to the treats you create is your imagination!

If you want to make actual ‘candy’ at home (i.e. lollipops, hard candies like Jolly Ranchers, etc.) you’ll maybe not want to let the kids help with those. Those items require boiling sugar and that stuff gets super hot/a tad dangerous to work with, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to give some of your homemade treats away (I only recommend doing this to people you know/who trust you enough to actually eat what you hand-make, that way your good intentions don’t end up in the garbage), you can get some jars/containers and decorate them simply before giving them away. Similar to the dry mixes some people give at Christmas. Do them up a little pretty, and people are sure to love them!

 

Tip #2: Don’t Buy a Single-Use Costume

My mom was always really big into Halloween, so maybe this was just my family, but some of my best Halloween memories consist of mix and matching clothes I already had to make my costume. Sure, we had to go buy Halloween make-up (weren’t gonna waste ‘the good stuff’) and maybe a wig, but the majority of our costumes growing up were homemade.

If you don’t want to wear your everyday clothes, check out past year costumes you already have, to see how you can give them a new life as something else, or, go hit up a thrift store (like Value Village), that may have some more specific Halloween-themed pieces. The trick here is to go through what you already have, see what your missing, and then either go get a few choice pieces to complete the look that can be re-used in the future, or change what your costume is, so you can use pieces you already have.

You could also keep a few things from your Capsule Wardrobe purge to keep specifically to wear for Halloween. This way, you won’t care if you have to say, roll it around in the dirt to get the specific look, (we actually did this one year) or cut some holes into it.

Or, you could just forgo the costumes if you’re not going out/not that into it. You could have a house party in your pj’s watching scary movies with family and friends, instead.

 

Tip #3: Buy In Actual Bulk!

If you don’t want to make your own treats, or you don’t have the skills to make one treat in particular that you just absolutely need to make Halloween special to you, try to get it at an actual bulk store!

Here in Canada, we have this place called Bulk Barn, and every year around Halloween, they have a few dedicated bins to Halloween treats. Foil-wrapped chocolates, hard candies, gummy worms with a bat decoration stuck to the bin, etc. Basically they slap a ghost or spider-web on some of their regular offerings and call it a day.

But this is still better than buying those boxes of big-name treats, because you can fill your own container* with the exact amount of treats you’ll need. So yes, this option still gives you waste (depending on what treats you’re buying), but it’s still better than getting a bunch of those giant cardboard boxes (that can’t be recycled! The dyes used to make those silly pictures sometimes prevent the cardboard from being recyclable), filled to the brim with plastic wrappers.

I recommend you go out and buy store-bought treats last, because it will create some more waste than the other options here, but if you absolutely feel you need to, then do it. Zero waste isn’t about denying yourself things you like, or feeling like you have to ‘give up’ things you enjoy, it’s about helping the planet and minimizing your environmental impact.

It’s also impossible to be ‘true’ zero waste in today’s society, so don’t worry too much about trying to be perfect. Everyone creates waste – the trick you need to remember is to create as least as you can, as often as you can. If you create a little bit more than usual once a year, there’s no Zero Waste Police who are gonna show up and fine you, or revoke your zero waste card.

So relax, and have fun!

*Bulk Barn has temporarily suspended it’s BYO policy due to COVID safety practices. Call/check your local bulk store to see if/when the policy will change back


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Blood Drips (PHSH Effect #13)

A quick disclaimer:

While this tutorial isn’t too realistic (we’re not adding this effect to a person or animal), I still want to say that if seeing blood makes you nauseous, faint or is in any way triggering for you, please skip this tutorial, or continue with caution.

The purpose of these tutorials is to be helpful, not to negatively affect a persons’ health or cause anyone any harm.


This is the last PHSH tutorial for 2020, so please feel free to check out the other tutorials while you wait for the next one, which will be coming some time next year.

Keep an eye on my Twitter account for posting updates and anouncements!


Since we’re in October now, I thought what better PHSH effect to teach you then to add blood drips to an image?

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It also just so happened to work out that this is the 13th tutorial – it’s like it was meant to be!

As with most of these other tutorials, it isn’t actually that hard, once you know how to do it. There’s just a few very precise steps you need to follow. And, as always, practice makes perfect, so the more times you do it, the better you’ll get!

Let’s get into it.

Step 1:

This will either work on text or an image, but for the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to stick with a plain text layer. The technique is the same whether you’re doing a basic picture or something more complicated, so it’s best to start simple, and work your way up.

Starting with Step 1, which is opening a new document, and adding some type/a word to a layer. To keep with today’s theme, I’m just going to type Halloween. The colour doesn’t matter, but it may look more realistic to use a closer-to-blood colour.

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Step 2:

Using your brush tool (and a shade of red), hold down SHIFT and make vertical lines coming out of the ends of the words. (Holding down SHIFT will make the lines perfectly straight) You’ll also want to vary the length of the lines and the size of the brush you use, so it looks more realistic.

Tip: Before you use the brush tool on your Type Layer, you may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘you must rasterize this layer before proceeding, and it will no longer be editable as a Type Layer’. Just click ‘Okay’. This just means you can’t use the type tool to edit the layer anymore, but that’s okay. If you mess up you can always delete this layer and make a new Type layer.

Or if you like, you can paint the lines/drips in a new blank layer, so you don’t mess up the text.

Example:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - All the Same Sized Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Compared to:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Varying Length and Size - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

See the difference? The varied length and size already is starting to look like blood!

Step 3:

Now that you have your lines, we’re gonna go up to Filter – Liquify.

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You may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘Liquify supports hardware acceleration to improve performance. Verify that ‘Use Graphics Processor’ is enabled in Performance Preferences.’ Just click okay, and then once it opens, set the following values in the Tool Options panel on the right hand side:

Brush Size: 40

Brush Density: 25

Brush Pressure: 48

Brush Rate: 28

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The lines you made may show up by themselves in the Liquify panel, this is okay! It’s just because I painted them in a different layer than the Type Layer, just in case I needed to change something.

This technique will work whether they’re attached to the word or not.

Step 4:

Now that you’ve set the Tool Options, select the Pucker tool from the left side menu, and drag it down the line you made, stopping just short of the end. Do this for all the lines you made. To do this step, we don’t need to keep the lines perfectly straight, because blood doesn’t drip in a perfectly straight line. So, try your best to make the lines look a bit ‘wiggly’ or just non-straight.

You may also have to hold the brush an extra second above the bottom, just so this part is the most puckered. (You can also change the Brush Size if needed)

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Pucker All Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 5:

Now to make the actual blood droplets, use the Bloat Tool (directly underneath the Pucker Tool) and hold on the ends (or wherever you want blood drops) until you get the desired blood drop size.

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Repeat on all the lines, and then once you’re done, click Okay. If you need to, you can always re-pucker parts of the lines, or if you accidentally puckered part of the line too much, you can use the Bloat Tool to make it more even.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bloat All Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 6:

This is looking pretty good, but they’re still not quite as realistic as they could be. So now, we’re just going to add a simple Drop Shadow to the layer.

If you need help in doing this, head back on over to my Drop Shadow tutorial.

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Be sure to un-check the box marked Use Global Light, and then play with the Distance, Spread and Size until it looks right for your document. You can also change the Opacity to 100%, and the shadow Colour by clicking on the colour square, and selecting a new colour.

I’m going to make the new colour a darker shade of red, instead of pure black.

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Once you’re happy with how the drop shadow looks, click Okay.

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If you did the blood drips on a separate layer like I did, then you will also have to add a Drop Shadow to the word Halloween (or whatever word you typed), because as you can see right now, it looks a bit odd to have a drop shadow on the blood, and not on the word.

These next few steps are optional, but I feel it helps take things a step further, and makes the effect look better. However, this completely depends on what you’re adding blood drips to, so it may not be needed. This is why I always suggest playing around with the effects, so you find what works best for you. That said, this is a Halloween themed tutorial, so I think the extra steps below help add that extra ‘creepy’ vibe.

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Step 7:

We’re going to go back into the Blending Options, and this time we’re going to click Bevel and Emboss.

Set the Levels to the settings below:

Inner Bevel

Technique: Smooth

Depth: 590

Up

Size: 10

Soften: 7

Shading:

Angle: 120, 30

Highlight Mode: Hard Light, Opacity: 63

Shadow Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 80

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bevel and Emboss Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Then set the Contour to the below:

Gaussian (Round one that looks like a hill)

Range: 0

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Contour - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 8:

And finally, we’re going to add a Gradient Overlay, with the below settings:

Soft Light

Opacity: 24

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Gradient Overlay - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And add it to the Type layer as well:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Gradient Overlay Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And to add just that little extra ‘oomph’ to the image, I’m going to change the background colour to black, so the red colour really pops.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Black Background - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

As always, don’t forget to save your work! (Both as a PHSH file, and as a JPEG/PNG)

Then you can use the image to show your friends, and keeping the photoshop file is always a must, just in case you forget how some of the steps, or if the picture file somehow gets corrupt, or you need to quickly go back and change something.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Finished Effect Black Background - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And ta-da! That’s it. Not too hard, eh? I would suggest to practice this technique with different text, and then once you feel comfortable, to move on to actual pictures. Since this is the last tutorial of the year, you’ll have lots of time to practice!


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A Lord and A Loser (Preview)

Written: 20.06.23

Words: 575

Dexter, 2020’s Halloween Fic

This is my first Dexter fic! It’s written from a victims’ POV. I hope you enjoy!


You groan as you come to, rolling your head from one side to the other. Your eyes fly open as you try to stretch out your limbs and feel them restrained. You strain your neck to look at the bonds, what the hell? Is that… plastic?

“Oh good,” a tall man wearing an apron and gloves comes into your field of vision, “I was hoping you’d wake up soon.”

Your brows knit in confusion, “W-what’s going on?”

He lets out a heavy sigh and points to a blank wall, “Usually, I’d make sure you knew exactly why you’re here,” turns away, walking a few paces back out of your line of sight, returning a moment later holding a knife, “But we don’t have time for that.”

“P-please, I don’t-” you cut yourself off as he comes around your head, and you feel a sharp sting on your cheek, “Please, j-just let me go.”

He carefully gathers blood from the cut into a small bulb syringe, before squeezing it out onto a blood slide, “We both know I can’t do that.”

“I,” you swallow thickly, what is wrong with this guy? “I haven’t done anything. Please.”

A faint smile lights up his features as he stares at the slide for a moment. He stays silent, starring at it for a beat too long, and the boulder in your stomach grows. He blinks at you, refocusing his eyes on the now – face going back to being creepily blank as he pockets the slide, “I wouldn’t call killing three children ‘nothing’.”


Find out how it ends here!

Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs Review

These things are amazing!

I’m not entirely sure if they’re supposed to be a straight up replacement for Cheeto’s or something, but I know these are definitely worth trying/buying all the time!

The bag they come in is somewhat small, which I don’t like, but that’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like about these!

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The puffs themselves are pretty big in size, and have a great amount of cheese-y dust on them, that gives them a great flavour. It doesn’t taste like nooch to me, which is good news for all you nooch haters.

They do get pretty dusty, so make sure you have some napkins handy, because that dust gets pretty much everywhere. Also, be sure to have water, because they will dry out your mouth. But, they’re delicious, so it’s definitely an okay trade off!

They have a good crunch to them, too. Again, I’m not sure how the crunch of other puffs compare, but these have a great one-bite crunch to them. It actually kind of reminds me of the consistency/crunchiness of Corn Pops. They have an initial hard crunch, and then almost basically dissolve in your mouth.

There’s really not too much more I can say about these, other than I hope you run out and buy them, because they’re awesome!

This Vegan Rob’s company makes a few different kinds of puffs, not just these Cheddar ones, but I’ve only tried these and the beet ones, and those were…. Well, they tasted like beets, and as someone who doesn’t like beets I did not like them. (They were given to me as a gift, btw) So, I can’t personally recommend checking out their other flavours, because I haven’t yet, but I definitely recommend trying out these Cheddar Puffs, and supporting this company!


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2 Sentence Horror Stories (Preview)

Hey guys!

So for this Halloween, I thought I’d try my hand at some 2 sentence horror stories. Because you don’t need many words to get creeped out/scared. It was a fun challenge for myself, as I’m typically more of a ‘use ALL the words’ writer.

Also, I thought it might be fun to give you 1 horror story for every day from now until Halloween, which is why there is 23 stories below. So feel free to read all at once, or just read 1 a day from now until then.

Either way, I hope you enjoy them! (Also don’t fret – there will be a full Halloween story coming Oct. 23rd)


Started: 20.05.28

Finished: 20.06.09


  1. “Come to bed,” a voice whispers in the darkness.

I freeze in the doorway as I see my dead wife sitting on our bed, dropping the shovel in surprise, how does she keep getting out?

 

  1. Tears were shining in my eyes as I picked up my new born daughter. I held her up to my wife, as I patted her on the head, “It’s too bad you didn’t live to see her.”

 

  1. I stare at myself in the mirror, splashing cold water on my face, you need to get some sleep.

My reflection smirks back at me, before reaching through the glass, “Not tonight.”

 

  1. “Daddy, come play with me!”

I shake my head, blinking back tears as I lower another shovelful of dirt onto the grave, “No, Princess, it’s time for bed.”

 

  1. “Daddy, come tuck me in!”

I rub the sleep from my eyes as I get out of bed, shaking my head as I pad down the hallway, I never should’ve dug her up.

 

  1. I wiped a tear from my eye as I tore up the plane tickets, “It’s okay, we can always get them refunded,” I pressed a kiss to my girlfriends’ hand before getting up, heading for bed, why did you have to kill yourself this week?

 

  1. “There, see?” I open the closet door and give my son a pointed look, “No monsters.”

He smiles in satisfaction before sinking down into his bed as I head for the door, letting out a sigh of relief, thank God he didn’t look up.

 

  1. You awake from a deep sleep to the distinct feeling something is ‘off’.

Then you see the spider crawl out of your mouth.

 

  1. I see the blood on the window sill and immediately begin backing out of the room, I know how this ends.

I feel somebody grab me from behind, chuckling, “Oh, do you?”

 

  1. It’s kind of dark in here, I think as I get up to go to the bathroom.

Then the light clicks on.


Liking the stories? Check out the rest of them here!

Candy Coma (Preview)

Written On: 18.11.02-03

Words: 1,122

Wee!Chesters, 2018’s 2nd Halloween fic (1st is The Tattoo Killer)


“You can not where that.”

Sammys’ face fell, and he took the dollar store fangs out of his mouth, “B-but why?”

“Pfft, what do you mean why? Because we-” Dean caught himself. He took a moment, raking his brain for an acceptable excuse, and gestured vaguely at the costume, “It’s… y’know…”

The youngest frowned and looked down at himself, hands tightening into fists around the cape, “It’s the only costume we have.”

“Sorry, Sammy, it’s just…,” he strode a few paces to one of the beds, trying to swallow down the guilt he was feeling, “Dad would freak if he saw it.”

“Why?”

The blonde flopped himself down, starring at the ceiling while letting out a heavy sigh, “Cause, Sammy he just…” how am I supposed to explain this without telling him? “… doesn’t like Halloween.”

“But why?”

“Because he just doesn’t, okay?” Dean waved a dismissive hand toward his brother, “Now, go… do whatever it is you do.”

His brother cast his gaze to the floor, hands wrapping the cape tighter around himself, “But you said we could go Trick Or Treating.”

Dean ran a hand through his hair, tugging on it, damn it, “I don’t know if I want to go. I’m tired.”

“… You said we could finally go this year.”

“I know, and now I’m saying I don’t wanna,” he paused, lifting his head to look at his brother, “It’s not like the people here will have candy, anyway.”

“But… but,” the disappointment in his brothers’ voice pulled at his heart strings, “You promised!”

Dean shook his head, flopping it back against the pillow, “I know I promised, but things change,” he sat up, “Did you really think Dad was gonna let you go anyway?”

The youngests’ eyes were brimming with tears, bottom lip quivering. His brows creased in anger, hands falling away from his cape, before he stamped his foot, “Fine!” and made a beeline for the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

Dean rolled his eyes and got off the bed, padding over to the bathroom, “C’mon, Sammy, don’t be like that.”

“Go away!”


Will Sammy get to go Trick Or Treating? Find out here!

I post new short stories every 2 weeks!

Surprising Vegan Chips

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d put out the next Surprising Vegan article. I know that you can eat chips all year round, but since I already did a Halloween candy post, and chocolate one, with the addition of chips, you can have the most rockin’ Halloween party snacks around.

No more sitting in the corner crying because there’s ‘no vegan food’ – with this series, carnists have zero excuses.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Surprising Vegan Series - Surprising Vegan Chips - vegan food, chips

In order starting from the top left corner, clockwise:

  • Neal Brothers Easy Rounders
  • Neal Brothers New Classics
  • Neal Brothers Pure Pink
  • Neal Brothers Pure Pink and Vinegar
  • Neal Brothers Sweet and Smoky BBQ
  • Neal Brothers Maple Bacon Forever
  • Neal Brothers Srirachup
  • Neal Brothers Deep Blue
  • Neal Brothers Deep Blue Flax
  • Sun Chips Original
  • Late July Resturant Sea Salt
  • Late July Resturant Lime
  • Late July Purple Corn
  • Late July Chia and Quinoa
  • Late July Cantina Dippers Blue Corn
  • Late July Cantina Dippers White Corn
  • Late July Sweet Potato
  • Late July Sea Salt
  • Late July Red Hot Mojo
  • Late July Sublime
  • Late July Bacon Habenero
  • Late July Jalapeno Lime
  • Late July Sriracha Fresca
  • Late July Blues
  • Late July Crispy Yellow Corn
  • Lays Oven Baked Original
  • Lays Salt and Vinegar (Blue Bag)
  • Lays Classic*
  • Doritos Ketchup
  • Doritos Sweet Chili Heat
  • Old Dutch Ketchup
  • Old Dutch Original
  • Ruffles All Dressed
  • Ruffles Original
  • Tostitos Multigrain
  • Tostitos Restaurant Style
  • Tostitos Scoops
  • Tostitos Rounds
  • Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Veggie Chips
  • Pringles Ketchup
  • Pringles Original

*Lays Classic is made with pork enzymes in the US, making them not vegan. However, in Canada they don’t, so they’re safe to consume. Check out the US list here (at the time of writing, I’ve only been able to find a Canadian and US list, I’d suggest contacting the company for other specific countries)

This list (as well as this series) is always for Canadian ingredients – ingredients may differ (and therefore products may or may not be vegan) in differing countries. Please do your own research and look up the ingredients for specified foods for your own country.

This list also doesn’t mention all the marketed-as-vegan chips (like the Que Pasa Nacho chips – I recommend these btw, they’re so good!) as this is the Surprising Vegan series. If you Google ‘vegan ____’ tons of different options come up, but the point of this series is to find non-vegan-marketed foods that are safe for vegans to eat.

There are many instances where known vegan food might not be available, so it’s always great to have a list of foods that you know you can eat that may be easier/cheaper to find.


Check out the rest of the Surprising Vegan series here!

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Why Jigsaw Isn’t Actually A Horror Movie Villain

Chucky, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Scream – these classic horror movies have one thing in common that, when put against Saw, well, something just seems off. I’ve heard many people complain about the franchise as a whole. People say that it’s not good, doesn’t deserve to be on lists with other classic horror movies, etc. and, they’re right. But not for the reason they think.

People get so irrevocably enraged when they see Saw in lists with other classic horror movies. But why?

Because John Kramer isn’t actually a horror movie villain.

Okay, that may not be their reason, but it’s mine.

And here’s why:

(Spoilers ahead – read at own risk!)

 

1. He’s Never Actually Killed Anybody

Whether you hate, love or love-to-hate the franchise, you can’t deny that, upon watching the eight (yes, eight) movies, you never actually see John Kramer stab/shoot/behead or otherwise kill a character on screen with his own two hands.

He puts his subjects in games and always gives them a way to survive. It’s not shown once that John Kramer himself straight up murders anybody. That’s one of the biggest differences between him and the classics.

The closest John gets to actually killing somebody would be in the first movie, two detectives are about to arrest John, when, he slashes Detective David Tapps’ throat. He does this in a bid to escape, (which works), and though it’s never outright said whether done on purpose, Detective Tapp survived the attack.

 

2. He Doesn’t Condone Murder, Either

There’s a scene in the 3rd Saw movie where it’s revealed that one of his disciples, Amanda had killed someone who had survived one of the traps. At this point, John tells her, he ‘despises murderers.

In the same movie, Amanda designed a trap to kill Detective Allison Kerry. John again, tells her, ‘I selected you for the honour of carrying on my life’s work. But you didn’t. You didn’t test anyone’s will to live. Instead you took away their only chance. Your games were unwinnable, your subjects merely victims.

John also voices his thoughts on intentionally killing again in the 5th movie. John is talking to Detective Hoffman, who had killed a man in a Saw-style trap. John took issue with the fact Hoffman hadn’t given the victim a chance to escape (much like Amanda), as evident by the following:

J: ‘They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I find it somewhat distasteful to be given credit for work that’s not mine. (Holds up newspaper with the headline ‘Jigsaw Killer Responsible for Pendulum Murder’) Especially inferior work. …Vengeance can change a person. Make you into something you never thought yourself capable of being. But unlike you, I’ve never killed anyone. I give people a chance.’

 

3. The Whole Point of The Games Is Rehabilitation

This is something that John has said multiple times throughout the movies, whenever someone asks him why he does what he does, or what the point of it is. These movies aren’t slasher movies! He takes no pride when the people in his traps die, and he doesn’t want them to.

Here are just a few quotes (not including the ones from above) from the man himself on his work:

  • It was the police and the press who coined the nickname Jigsaw. I never once encouraged or claimed that. The jigsaw piece that I cut from my subjects was only ever meant to be a symbol that that subject was missing something. A vital piece of the human puzzle. The survival instinct. (Saw 2)
  • You can dispense justice and give people a chance to value their lives in the same moment. (Saw 5)
  • Until a person is faced with death, it’s impossible to tell if they have what it takes to survive. (Saw 6)
  • Once you see death up close, then you know what the value of life really is (Saw 6)

There are many other quotes, but I feel these are some of the best to represent the point he, and I, am trying to make. He’s not a stone-cold killer – he hates murderers! He believes that if you push a person to the limits, they will have a newfound respect for their life. And, call me crazy, but I can understand that train of thought. Not saying him putting them in life threatening situations is rational or a good idea – just… I can see the logic.

 

4. When People Pass, He Helps Them

Amanda is probably the biggest example of this in the series. Once Amanda passed her test, he congratulated her on surviving, took her in, and gave her life a purpose. She was lost and he gave her what she needed. She’s the one who kept messing it up. He kept testing her, and she kept failing. He was giving her chance after chance, even admits to wanting to leave his legacy to her but no. She went off the deep end and look what happened, she ended up getting killed because of her choices.

Doctor Gordon is similar. After he passed the test, it was revealed John took him, cauterized his leg and nursed him back to health. Both ended up being so grateful, they wanted to help John continue his work. Because being in the traps gave them a new outlook on life. (Aka, his rehabilitation worked.)

 

5. He Has No Signature Weapon

Freddy has that claw hand, Michael has his machete, Leatherface has a chainsaw, Ghostface uses a knife, Chucky is a doll – all the great horror movie villains have that one weapon you see and instantly associate with them. John… doesn’t. Sure, the traps used in the movies are very specifically his, but he doesn’t stick to one type of ‘killing method’… mainly because his objective isn’t to kill.

Even putting the fact he doesn’t use the traps to murder aside, he’s still used everything from an incinerator (Saw 2) to spraying someone with cold water until they froze to death (Saw 3), to a cyclone powered by a motorcycle (Saw 8). Perhaps the most notable trap used during the series was the reverse bear trap, but not because that’s the one John preferred over the others, or that it was the trap that was used the most – it’s just because it’s really friggin’ cool.

You can’t deny you can’t be a notable villain without having that thing.

 

6. He Tells His Victims How To Survive

He literally tells them, every time without fail what they need to do in order to survive the game. He makes it a point to be the first thing that happens when they wake up: the tape/thing with the rules on it plays automatically. He makes it hard, but fair. They always have a way out, every. Single. Time. The only traps in the whole series that aren’t escapable, aren’t even his! And, once he finds out what they’ve done, he yells/reprimands them and tells them that’s not what they’re trying to accomplish.

In what other horror movie does the killer say, ‘if you run this way you’ll escape,’ or, ‘my weakness is *insert random object*,’ ‘I can’t swim! Better hope you don’t head for the lake!’ No. None of them give their victims a chance. The only objective on their minds is to kill, just because they can.

 

7. He Doesn’t Get Pleasure Out of It

Another classic horror villain thing: killing for pleasure. John would probably scoff at that if someone accused him of such things. Just as he never adopted the Jigsaw nickname, he doesn’t put people in traps for the fun of it. He uses it as a learning tool. (Albeit an extreme one) When the people in the traps don’t make it – though he left it ultimately up to them – it’s not hard to see he even looks sad when they don’t make it. You can see it pains him that they didn’t have what it took to survive. Though it’s never outwardly said in the franchise, you can tell in his face when they talk about victims not making it, it pains him.

 

8. He Doesn’t Use His Back Story as an Excuse

Let’s be honest, losing your unborn son and then learning you have inoperable cancer has got to suck, but all things considered, he handles his past pretty well. He doesn’t burn down a school because people were mean to him *cough, cough* Carrie! *cough cough*, he doesn’t blame a voice in his head for making him murder, and he most definitely doesn’t pin his kills on avenging his mother.

It would be so easy for someone as smart as John to use the traps for straight up murder, or, even screw the traps and just go on a killing spree like other horror villains, but, instead, he allows his past to give him a new purpose. He instead, dedicates his life to helping other people. He openly tells people throughout the series his beliefs and what he plans to do. He’s never dishonest or lies to the people in the traps to get what he wants. He omits certain truths, or withholds certain information, but never straight up lies. He doesn’t need to.

 

9. He’s Got a Plan (And Doesn’t Deviate)

If you’re not on his list, you’re most probably safe. He doesn’t suddenly switch targets because that person happens to be closer/easier to kill then the one he was planning on getting. He doesn’t distract himself with people not already on his radar. He’s got a very concrete plan in his head of how everything’s going to go. His plan even accounts for when his disciples inevitably differ from what he expects them to do. He’s ready for it. He’s anticipated every possible angle and outcome and is rarely (if ever) surprised/caught off guard during the series.

Throughout the series, and, perhaps one of the coolest parts about it, is that it’s revealed everything ties together in the end. Even characters you had no idea even knew each other all had an affect on the events that transpired. It’s one of the things I hands-down love most about the series.

10. He Doesn’t Hold Grudges

Most (not all) of the notorious big baddies in horror movies all have the same M.O: Revenge.

You could argue that John does get revenge by placing the people who he feels have wronged him/their mistakes somehow affected his life in his games, but he doesn’t do it from a selfish stand-point. He doesn’t put you in the game unless you deserve to be there. And, almost all of the people he puts in there belong. Throughout the movies it’s always explained, even the seemingly random people at the beginnings who die before the title shows up – throughout each movie, (if you pay attention) they reveal how all the characters are connected. It’s actually one of the cooler aspects of the movies.

 

So, whether you love, hate, or love to hate the Saw franchise, I hope this list has helped you realize that John Kramer doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Freddy, Jason, Chucky or the rest of the horror movie baddies.

He might be a bad guy, but there’s no denying he’s just not a bad guy.


In a horror mood? Check out my debut, text-based horror game Always Check Under The Stairs – it’s sure to leave a chill down your spine!

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