Friday, 31 October 2008

Phone It In Friday: Happy Halloween!

We sure do love All Hallow's Eve here at Collective HQ, but the one thing we love even more is you. Yes, YOU, our super awesome Collective readers. Thanks go out especially to Ashley, Candice, Bertha, Sarah, Scott, and Tamara for making us giggle all week with your most excellent Halloween pictures. Don't believe us? See for yourself:

Ashley 1

Ashley 2

Ashley 3

Ashley 4

Candice 1

Candice 2

Candice 3


Sarah 1


Tamara 1

Tamara 2

Tamara 3

Thanks again friends for, well, being a friend. And while you're at it, how about joining our Facebook group? Upload some more pictures, tell us what you'd like us to write about, or heck, just tell us how much you love us. Because we sure love you.

Now get out there and trick or treat, and don't forget to vote (for Obama*) on Tuesday!

*3/4 of us are. The other quarter is old fashioned and doesn't tell.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Great Wiener Mystery: Part IV


[Part I, Part II, Part III]

The dinghy hovered in mid-air and Danny lurched forward to grab the purple bag of candy corn. The three animals shared a quick look before the dinghy zoomed away, into the dark. They grasped the edges of the boat and closed their eyes.

"Where are we going?" Bartleby shouted over the wind.

"I think I know!" shouted Danny.

"Will there be pie?" asked Tomás.

The boat came to an abrupt stop, throwing the friends into the air. They landed in a pile in front of a small patch of dirt and grass that was surrounded by miles and miles of sand.

"What do we do now?" Bartleby gulped.

"We bury the candy corn," Danny stated. "Right here in this grass."

"What?!" shouted Tomás. "Bury perfectly good candy? Are you crazy?"

"You have to trust me," said Danny.

"I trust you!" Bartleby exclaimed. Danny and the grinning cat looked hopefully at Tomás.

"Of COURSE I trust you, I just want some candy," sighed Tomás. "There's pie everywhere! And I'm not allowed to eat any! I JUST WANT SOME FOOD." Bartleby and Danny took a step back.

"How about we don't bury all of the candy," suggested Bartleby.

"Excellent idea," said Danny. "I'll start digging."

The trio dug deep into the ground, pulling out wet dirt and piling it behind them. When the hole was deep enough, Danny poured half of the candy corn into the hole, and filled the it with the displaced dirt. They patted the dirt to pack it down and sat back. Soon the ground started to rumble. They backed away as a small plant erupted from the ground, growing bigger and bigger, stretching and reaching for the sky. Danny, Bartleby, and Tomás craned their necks, but could no longer see where the giant plant ended.

"What IS that?" asked Danny.

"Ooh, I know!" said Tomás. "It's a bean stalk!"

"No," said Bartleby. "It's a pumpkin stalk. And I have a bad feeling about what's up top."

They looked at each other, shrugged, and started climbing. When they reached the top, they all flopped on the ground to catch their breath. That's when the ground started shaking. They jumped up and looked around them. They'd climbed into a huge room with an orange and white checkered floor. A giant piece of candy corn was propped up in the corner, decorated like a Christmas tree.

"FEE FIE FOE FUM! I SMELL THE CANDY OF SOME PIRATE SCUM!" a voice bellowed. The animals ran and hid behind the Candy Corn tree as the ground started shaking harder than ever. The three shivered with fear.

"RAAAAAAWWWWWWWRRRR!" the voice growled, and then they saw it. The most horrifying specter ever spectated. A giant pumpkin was lumbering toward them, like the Koolaid man but not as friendly, his arms spread wide and his terrible teeth gnashing in anticipation. He stopped in the middle of the room and looked all around him.

"I know you're here," he said. "Show yourself."

Danny turned to face his newfound friends. He reached into the purple bag, took out the remainder of the candy corn, and gave it to Tomás. Tomás looked at him with wide eyes and Danny nodded, then jumped out of their hiding place into plain view of the pumpkin monster.

"Here I am!" shouted Danny. The monster turned to face him.

"Hmm," said the pumpkin. "I expected someone less wiener-like."

"Well . . . too bad," said Danny. "Are you the Great Pumpkin?"

"Indeed I am! Are you a fan?" asked the Great Pumpkin.

"Ha!" shouted Danny.

"Is that a no? It doesn't matter. I'll have to eat you now, as well as any friends or candy you have with you."

"I have no friends or candy!"

"How bothersome," said the Great Pumpkin. "Any last requests?"

"Could you let me go?" asked Danny.


"Well, I had to try," said Danny.

"Of course. Let's get this over with," said the Great Pumpkin, and walked toward Danny.

"Not so fast!" shouted Bartleby, as he ran behind his friend. "WE are here, too!"

"We?" asked the Great Pumpkin. Danny and Bartleby looked to the tree, where Tomás was bent over his paws, nibbling something.

"Tomás!" shouted Bartleby. "Did you eat the candy corn?" Tomás looked up guiltily and nodded. Danny smiled.

"Now you're in for it," he laughed. They all turned to Tomás, who was grasping his stomach.

"I don't feel so good," he said. His whiskers were getting longer. His ears and paws were getting bigger. And then suddenly he shot up, taller than both the Great Pumpkin and the Candy Corn tree.

"Whoa," said the Great Pumpkin. "That is the biggest mouse I have ever seen."

"I AM NOT A MOUSE!" yelled Tomás and stalked up to the Great Pumpkin. "I am a RAT!" He bent down and picked up the Great Pumpkin with his giant paws, twirled him around his head like he'd seen the wrestlers do on TV, and tossed him in the air. When the Great Pumpkin came down, he rolled to the edge of the giant room, teetering over the precipice toward the dark ground below.

"Help!" he shouted. "Save me! I'll be good, I promise!"

"I don't think so," said Bartleby, and the little non-fraidy cat gave the pumpkin one last push. "See you in Hell." The Great Pumpkin slipped over the edge and fell out of his sky-high house.

"Wow, Bartleby," said Danny. "You're kind of scary."

"Yeah," said Tomás.

They climbed down the pumpkin stalk to the ground, stepping around the pumpkin guts littering the area, and were surprised to see the Dread Pirate Roberta looking down at them from the helm of her ship.

"I see you've taken care of my problem," she said. "Thank ye."

"No problem!" said Danny. "Can we become part of your crew now?"

"I always keep my promises," she answered. "Only Tomás there will have to wait until he shrinks back to normal size before he climbs aboard."

"When will he shrink?" asked Bartleby.

"Should be just a few minutes," said Dread Pirate Roberta. "How about some pie while we wait?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Great Wiener Mystery, Part III

[Part I, Part II]

Night was falling fast, the gloam engulfing the ghostly pirate ship so quickly the vessel might have been sailing full speed to the bottom of a well. The sudden darkness was as thick as Bartleby's black coat, a black coat that, if you looked closely enough, you would see was trembling in fear.

Sensing his companions' distress, and figuring it was as good an opportunity as any to distract the Captain's attention long enough to steal some delicious pie, Tomás ventured forward. "Excuse me, kind, gracious, beautiful lady sir, b-b-b-but, who are you? And what is this ship?"

The pirate captain flashed a wicked smile, her jagged teeth pale with reflected moonlight, her one bright eye shining with vengeance. "I am the Dread Pirate Roberta," she said, "and this is my ship, the Jolly Blogger." Her haughty voice hung in the air, now filling with fog, as though it had been building up inside her this whole time, waiting for its chance to escape the foul trenches of her lungs. "Every hundredth Halloween my ship and I sail the seven seas in an eternal quest to hunt down and kill the Great Pumpkin, who has neglected his duty faaaarrrrrrrr too long."

Her longing was palpable; faced with such a terrifying specter Tomás forgot about the pie as the dog, the cat, and the rat huddled close together.

The Dread Pirate Roberta quickly shook off her reverie and turned to the stowaways before her. "Aye, pray tell, who are you, and what are ye doing on me ship?"

The Dachshund took a timid step forward and bravely proclaimed, "I am Danny, and I don't want to be a Hallowiener anymore."

Cowering slightly behind Danny, the cat raised his voice and declared, "My name is Bartleby, and I don't want to be a fraidy cat anymore."

Emboldened by his new friends, the smallest of the three yelled to the night air, "My name is Tomás, and I am not a mouse!"

The Dred Pirate Roberta eyed the dog, the cat, and the rat before her as the mist continued to thicken and swirl around the Jolly Blogger. "Arrrrgh, you yellow-bellied landlubbers," she barked, "if ye hope to join my crew you'll have to earn your stripes."

"Shall we batten down the hatches?" asked Danny.

"Swab the poop deck?" interjected Bartleby.

"Eat that pie?" Tomás suggested hopefully.

"No," the pirate answered sharply, sending shivers down the young animals' spines. "No, to join my crew you must go on a quest, one that will test your courage and committment to the Halloween spirit." With a snap of her long, bony fingers the ship was instantly illuminated, every torch and lamp mysteriously igniting at the sound. But rather than lifting their moods and brightening their spirits, the ship's lighting somehow made the looming darkness beyond the bow far more brooding and oppressive.

"Come with me," the Dread Pirate Roberta commanded, and the dog, the cat, and the rat had no choice but to obey. The Captain led the trio to a moldy, storm-weathered dinghy and gestured for them to take their seats. Immediately the small craft floated into the air, hovering before a purple velvet bag that had magically appeared from the fog. "Take this candy corn," the pirate instructed. "Look deep into your heart, Danny, and you'll know what to do."

Without another word the boat sailed gently through the air, landing with a soft thud upon the surface of the dark and roiling ocean. And as quickly as it had first appeared, the Jolly Blogger beside them vanished, taking every last flicker of light with it....

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Great Wiener Mystery, Part II


[Part I]

"Oh, noes!" said Bartleby.

"Oh, yes!" said Tomas.

And Danny just had time to cover his face before they were overrun with the zombie cats.

They all fell over again, but this time Bartleby's brothers were the fraidy cats. First they jumped at Danny (a dog so small!) and just as the returned to earth--with a four-footed landing--they bounced right back up again, hair on end, eyes bugging out as they made eye contact with a one-eyed captain at the helm of ghastly pirate ship.

Tomas hadn't seen the captain though, he'd seen the giant (giant!) slice of pumpkin pie resting beside the captain's wheel.

Tomas had a choice: be eaten by zombie cats in a brawl or get some more pie. With his mind quickly made up, he wriggled his lithe body out of the mess of fur and ran up the rope tied to the cleat just like those rats that carried the bubonic plague, that's how efficient he was.

They say there is nothing like the sound of cat on a hot tin roof, but "they" have never heard the sound of a Dachshund trampled by cats. Danny hollered and hollered and hollered, but it was no use. The cats had gone crazy.

All of them except for Bartleby, who realized that for the first time his brothers were scared of something he wasn't. Bartleby whispered to Danny. Danny, filled with equal parts curiosity and fear followed Bartleby and ended up on the dock, nose to nose with the sea-faring vessel. With the manic fraidy gang rumbling towards them, Danny and Bartleby hastily joined Tomas aboard.

"Now!" Tomas yelled and the ship pushed out from port, making quick work of the ropes with his miniature rat teeth.

"Welcome aboard!" the captain said. She spun around to face her new friends. "Well, what do we have here? A dog, a cat, and a rat?"

Danny looked down. Bartleby looked down. And Tomas jumped right for the pie.

"Not so fast!" she grabbed the pie and Tomas landed head first on the deck. "Before pie, I must know, arrrrrrrrrrre ya committed?"

"Committeddd emmm to whatttt?" Danny asked, shaking in his little hot dog booties.

"Halllllllloweeeeeeeeen of course!" she bellowed into the night and spun the wheel. The trio slowly nodded ascent.

Danny hoped he could be a pirate instead of a Dachshund. Bartleby hoped he could hide out from his spooky brothers, and Tomas hoped he could eat enough pie to hold his own.

But the captain had bigger plans...

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Great Wiener Mystery, Part I

heather Danny wanted to be anything but a Dachshund.

Danny's legs were short: he couldn't run as fast as his Labrador friends. His body was long: he couldn't maneuver as quickly as his Yorkie friends. His ears were wrong and his nose was long, and the very worst part about being a Dachshund was that every time October rolled around, Danny's classmates started calling him the Hallowiener.

Each year Danny tried to dress up as something that would give him a different shape, but he always ended up looking like a hotdog in a cape. Danny hated Halloween.

What Danny the Dachshund didn't know was that this Halloween was going to be different from every Halloween before it, because this Halloween a family of black cats had moved into town.

The youngest of the black cat family was named Bartleby, and unlike his brothers, whose favorite pastime was spooking humans, Bartleby was what is commonly referred to in feline circles as a "'fraidy cat."

Bartleby hated Halloween as much if not more than Danny the Dachshund. Danny might have been a Hallowiener, but at least people weren't shooing and scatting and chasing him off with a broom because they thought he was bad luck.

Underneath the black cat family's house, there lived a family of rats. Tomás was the smallest in the family. He was so small that his brothers called him a mouse.

You've heard it said, I'm sure, that dogs hate cats and cats hate rats, but that's because you've never seen them work together to solve a Halloween mystery.

One Autumn evening near Halloween, just as the sun was beginning to make the leaves look like they were on fire, Danny was running as fast as he could (which, admittedly, was not very fast) away from the playground because he'd had enough name-calling. Bartleby the Black Cat was running as fast as he could toward his house, looking over his shoulder because his brothers were chasing him and acting like zombies. And Tomás the Rat was running as fast as he could, though he couldn't see where he was going because his hands were full of stolen pie.

All at once, the dog, the cat, and the rat collided. There was growling and hissing and clawing before, finally, the three animals managed to disentangle themselves from one another. Before they could even introduce themselves, they saw it: the thing that would change their Halloweens forever...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Phone It In Friday: Results!

Abs heather Jennie

The winners! These are based solely on guessing the right person.

First Place: 7/10
Jenn the Not

Second Place: 6/10

Third Place: 5/10

and Bertha & Sally... who didn't get in Thursday votes in on time, but we counted anyway because we're nice.

Consolation places go to Sarah G, Scott, and Candice who played all four days but didn't make the leaderboard. Vahid and Jamie participated some of the days. If any of them had a higher percentage than the above, we would have had a prize for that, but this contest was a little hard. Sorry.

We also suggested you guess the costume. We didn't give points for those because, honestly, we're not even sure what some of the costumes are. However, GSR successfully guessed the second picture from Day 3: Heather Anne has Richard Simmons. Yeah, just let that soak in. (And you were all right about Abigail as the iPod dancer too. When she wore the costume nobody got it.) So, he'll get a prize as well. GSR and Jenn the Not, watch your mailbox for prizes!

Now! Our next contest! Please send us your costume pictures from any year! We'll be making up categories so if you've got a most embarrassing costume, or perhaps a most revealing (...Scott), or maybe best couples costume, or home-made costume, or--you get the idea. Send us your pictures and you might totally get a prize! Send your photos to canardcollective[at]gmail[dot]com ASAP.

And here is who's who. Two of us used to be blonde.



Halloween 2006 (iPod Nano)

HAH oc17-001 (Small)





halloween 003

halloween 002

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Halloween Contest: Day 4

Abs heather Jennie

Only two in the lead right now! And the race is very close so get in your votes! Voting on all posts will be open until midnight EST tonight. Winners and answers (and prizes!) will be announced Friday as well as why we need YOUR Halloween pictures.




Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Halloween Contest: Day 3

Abs heather Jennie




Four of you are in the lead now. No one has scored 100 percent. Get your guesses in!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Halloween Contest: Day 2

Abs heather Jennie

Good show yesterday, folks. Three of you are in the lead. Voting will continue all week so you've still got a chance for points from yesterday if you haven't voted yet. Theme today: EARS!



And don't forget to keep digging up your own photos. We'll tell you why on Friday.