I had big plans to write about a bunch of stuff last November to put a wrap on the 2014 season. I never got around to it.
So why not?
I love to write, but I don't always have the time to write as much as I'd like. Writing is what I do for a living, sort of, and it's usually not a lack of desire at the end of the day that keeps me from writing. It's everything else in life.
Some people love to play video games. They can spend hours trying to defeat an impossible enemy in some sort of complex video game. Some people love watching TV shows and movies, and want to keep with Game of Thrones, and the Kardashians. Some people like to write, and would rather write than watch TV or play a video game.
But I don't always make time for all everything I want to do. There just isn't enough time some weeks. And every time I take an hour to write, I take an hour away from something I should be doing. As much as I love to write, it's a luxury I don't always find the time for.
I've made time in the past. I had a blog for nearly four years, full of anecdotes and observations that had nothing to do with Halloween. Some of the things I wrote were damn near brilliant. Some of it was weak and uninspired. I shared that blog with but a few people. It wasn't about generating an audience, it was for me, much like this blog.
While I've written my blogs for my benefit, there is something to be said for having an audience and receiving feedback to my writing. I did kinda, sorta try to promote this blog a little bit back in 2006, but it wasn't that important to me as time passed. I thought it would be fun to have a Twitter account for this blog, and I use it, but I really only interact with a couple of people, and it's rather infrequent interaction.
I wrote dozens of entries for this blog over the years, and I'm glad I'm able to look back upon the highs and lows of years gone by. But I've had a harder time finding things worth writing about the past few years, and I think the lack of an audience has limited my incentive to put thoughts into words, at least when it comes to the Halloween season.
Am I finally done writing for this blog? Maybe. But I learned long ago never to say never. I made this prediction on Oct. 5, 2007, as I was about to begin my second year at ValleyScare and my first working in the asylum: "This will be my final season at ValleyScare."
I was wrong. Very wrong.
We'll see how I feel about writing come this fall. Perhaps I'll be busy with the new blog I launced not so long ago. Perhaps I'll finally work on that book I've wanted to write for about seven years. It's hard to know right now.
What I do know is that there are a few thoughts about 2014 I never chronicled, so here they are:
It was cold
The final weekend at ValleyScare was much colder than it had been through October. Halloween was on a Friday night and I remember checking the local temperature readings via my cell phone throughout the night. I remember it being in the mid-20s that night, and not much warmer on Saturday night. We had decent weather for the 2014 season, and it's not uncommon for it to be that cold at night by the end of the season.
The crowd was decent both Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, but given how cold it was and the fact that Halloween is not the busiest night, it wasn't ridiculously busy that weekend.
I feel sick
The park was open all day Saturday, Nov. 1, and the annual award ceremony for the ValleyScare crew was held at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Yep, we worked until midnight on Halloween, some of us went out to a co-worker's party after work, in Crystal, and somehow we were supposed to be back at the park at 9 a.m. Saturday if we wanted to attend an awards ceremony? D'ohkay!
I must have went to bed about 3 a.m. that night, and I got up at 8 a.m. in order to attend the ceremony. I've never attended the awards ceremony in the past, because it's always early in the morning, before the park opens. That's the only time they can hold the ceremony, evidently, and they don't pay me to attend, so why would I get up early, drive out there for an award presentation when I'm dead tired? I did so in 2014 because I knew who was going to win our best monster award for the asylum, and I wanted to be there to congratulate him. It was a well-deserved award, and there's a back story I won't get into. I was happy that he won, and I wanted to be there for it.
After the ceremony we were allowed to hang out in the park and ride rides. Some of them were open, others weren't because it was so cold. The one coaster I wanted to ride was Steel Venom, but it wasn't running because it had been too cold. The hydraulics on those rides don't always work when it gets cold, and Steel Venom was a victim of it.
I rode a few coaster rides that morning with a couple of co-workers, and after we rode the Corkscrew one time I thought I was going to throw up. I hadn't eaten breakfast, but I felt like I was going to lose my previous day's lunch.
I can still ride a roller coaster, but as I get older, my tolerance for such rides is diminishing. It sucks. It makes me feel like I'm getting old. I've never imagined myself being some 80-year-old guy riding roller coasters, and fear hasn't kept me from riding a roller coaster since I was a youngster, but it's motion sickness that is bringing my roller coaster days to a close.
Dead End Hayride
A small group headed to the northern fringe of the metro for a night at Dead End Hayride. This is the one haunted attraction I go to every year. They put on a good show, and the word is out. The wait for the hay wagon on a Sunday night was longer than I've seen in the past, although I did go later in the season than I usually do.
One of my asylum co-workers started working up there last fall on his off nights at ValleyScare. He lives about half way between the two, and the hayride is open nights ValleyScare isn't, so he was able to put in hours at both places. He liked it, and I know most of my co-workers would enjoy it, too, we just don't live close enough to justify working there.
I spent Halloween at ValleyScare for the first time in several years. It was the first time in four years I hadn't spent Halloween in Vegas. I spent Halloween 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Vegas. For multiple reasons I decided Halloween 2014 wouldn't be spent in Vegas. I was fine with that, but I did check the current temperature in Vegas more than a few times on Halloween night as I was watching the temperature in Shakopee drop into the 20s.
Several years ago a former manager hosted a post-season party that was a lot of fun. I miss those days.
One of my co-workers decided to organize a post-season party at a Bloomington hotel. It worked out well and we had a lot of fun. It included a costume contest, and most people participated. I always wondered why our post-season parties of years past weren't costume parties. It would seem like a given, wouldn't it? But it never happened. So in 2014 we finally had a costume party to celebrate the end of our season, and I was too lazy to come up with a costume. How lame am I?
I'm trying to drum up interest in a Vegas trip for Halloween 2016. Halloween will be on a Monday night, and we should be done working on Saturday, Oct. 29, so I hope I can convince a few people that the Halloween fun of Vegas is worth planning and saving for. I have ideas, lots of ideas, for how my co-workers can make it happen without having to sell their soul next summer for a plane ticket. It takes a little discipline and effort, but it really wouldn't be that hard for most of them to earn an extra $300 by January of 2015. Can I convince anybody of that? Is anybody that interested in a group trip to Vegas? Perhaps I'm just wasting my time.