Friday, September 30, 2011
There are, however, some traditions, quite frankly, that I could live without. One that springs immediately to mind is the Old Devil Wind that blows whenever I begin the ritual of putting up my outside Halloween decor. I recognize and understand that this is more of a meteorological occurrence and not really bad luck year after year after year, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. And you can't fool the Old Devil Wind, either. He knows. You try a sneak attack a week early. Old Devil Wind. You're a week later because you're sick. Old Devil Wind. Rain or shine, sleet or snow - as soon as I dig out my box of wicked delights, a slight breeze begins to rustle the leaves on the trees.
I try to placate Old Devil Wind by making an offering in the fields: throwing some ragged corn-stalks to the heavens and letting them be swept to the horizon. Doesn't work. Old Devil Wind can't be bought off. He knows. He always knows. As the props come out of hiding and begin to mount in my garage, he blows more fiercely until I'm forced to abandon my graveyard, scarecrow, or whatever haunted task may be at hand for another, less blustery day.
Traditions can be a royal pain in the...WOOOOOOOOOOSH!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Not this year.
There ARE a few jack-'o-lantern items that are kind of turn-of-the-century retro (including a cookie-jar that matches this mug; something I'll probably pick up the day after Halloween). Overall, Target ranks up there with Hobby Lobby for disappointing seasonal wares. Definitely not their best offering, but I suppose that won't stop me from enjoying my daily cup of morning brew from my awesome mug...
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
If you were a child of the '70's (or have ever read a haunted blog in your life) you probably remember this one. Frankenstein smashing out of a haunted castle, Dracula spreading his cape wide at the top, the Wolf Man looking hungry down below, and a multitude of other ghosts, goblins, and creatures running wild on the album's cover. Now, you must understand, that this is not a record that I simply played on our front porch on Halloween night. I played this record EVERY SINGLE DAY. Until it became so scratched that I had memorized where the skips would occur and would help the needle along so I could continue listening. This went on for years until eventually the album simply would no longer play at all - particularly Side 1, which was a long, continuous track of your journey through the haunted house (Side 2 was isolated tracks of all the sounds effects heard on Side 1).
My older brother and I used to play this late at night when we were supposed to be getting ready for bed, completely terrifying ourselves before the lights went out - especially at the part where the narrator, long an old friend of ours, would implore us: "Don't...look...behind you!" So many great memories from years of listening horror, back before cable TV, video games, cell phones, VCR's, home computers and the internet. It was just a cheap turntable with crummy speakers and a boy's imagination at work.
I'm sure I could track down a CD of this album now - or even the actual vinyl - but for some inexplicable reason I have chosen not to. Maybe I just want to hold on to the memories of those sounds and the narrator's chilling voice...I don't know. I suppose some day I'll break down and eventually purchase a copy - if nothing else it may be worth owning a vinyl copy simply to put its amazing artwork in a frame and hang it on my wall. I often wonder if my folks still have this record (or ANY of their old records aside from Christmas) in a box somewhere in their attic. I haven't seen it in decades, and back then when an album no longer played it was simply thrown away. Now THAT'S scary!
1. A Night In A Haunted House
2. Witch Laugh
3. Count Dracula And His Victim
4. Screams & Groans
5. Moans & Groans
8. Banging Shutter
9. Phantom Piano
10. Creaky Door
11. Breaking Windows
14. Frankenstein's Monster Breaks Loose
15. Hooting Owl
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Ever since reading these books as a kid (I own the entire series - now sadly out of print - in both paperback and most of them in hard cover as well, and have even tried my hand at writing my own many years ago) I knew that someday I would have my own workshop, too; albeit sans secret tunnels - although I do have a hatch in the ceiling that I call 'Door Four.' Am I a dorky kid at heart or what? Let's face it, the odds of living in a junk yard and/or a trailer were always pretty slim, and I don't have the braininess of Jupiter Jones to be a detective or the athleticism of Pete Crenshaw to make a living in sports. If anything, I probably turned out more like the bespectacled records and research man, Bob Andrews...
Here's a link to learn more about this great series of books and to pick up your own copies: http://www.threeinvestigatorsbooks.com
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Originally uploaded by Jacob L Barr.
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
--Robert Louis Stevenson
Thursday, September 22, 2011
P.S. The black Marshmallow fragrance with the spider's web on it actually smells like marshmallows. What marshmallows have to do with Halloween is beyond me.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Caramel Candy Corn
Originally uploaded by m kasahara
Here's a dirty little secret that you probably never knew about me: I hate candy corn. Yes, it's true - this lover of all things Halloween detests those little conical October treats. I'm not sure when this happened - it's been a good two decades or more since I've last tried one. Well, in the interest of mad science, my wife brought home the haunting season's first bag of this stuff (which naturally my kids can't get enough of), so I decided to give the corn confection another try. The result? Nope - still don't like them.
Strange...I remember eating this stuff as a kid myself and not having a problem with it. Maybe too much candy corn at some post-trick-or-treating candy binge in my mom and dad's living room when I was a kid has left me in this terrible condition? I will say that the taste seemed to have changed a bit (or my taste buds, anyway). It wasn't as strong of a 'candy corn' taste that I associated with my youth, but a more mellow, sugary, conr-syrupy taste - disgusting in its own peculiar way. Regardless, the traditional Halloween treat of candy corn still tastes utterly gross and it will probably be another couple of decades before I try this experiment again.
Man - it feels good to get that off my chest...
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Unless, of course, I'm passionate about the subject matter. And - as anyone who knows me can attest - I am extremely passionate about the life and times of Edgar Allan Poe. This should make for a fun and enlightening night of conversation as we talk about MODERN POE: VOL I, the man, his legacy, and his words. More details to come as the date approaches! To pick up your own copy of MODERN POE: VOL I, simply click on the link below to visit my e-store: https://www.createspace.com/3610670
Sunday, September 18, 2011
'Gates of Delirium' easily stands on its own as a classic early release from Midnight Syndicate and for fans of the band, it's extremely interesting to hear the genesis of some familiar melodies that we've come to know and love from 'The 13th Hour.' Full of terrific orchestration and truly pulse-pounding themes, from the opening sounds of the carriage arriving to the sounds of the loonies in the final hidden track, 'Gates' has the expected asylum atmosphere but takes the time to go the extra mile and make what should be cliche into something more due to the top-notch use of sound effects. Running at 54 minutes, I found 'Gates of Delirium' to be a great addition to my Gothic haunting soundtracks, and a sinister companion piece to Midnight Syndicate's epic release - 'The 13th Hour' (plus, for those who picked up up their compilation album 'Halloween Music,' you will find a few sample tracks to whet your appetite). Priced at a reasonable $12.99 (and that includes shipping and handling!) this is a great one to pick up if you're looking for some new music this haunting season! Highly recommended.
You can pick up your copy of 'Gates of Delirium' (or 'The 13th Hour' if you haven't already!) from the official Midnight Syndicate website: www.midnightsyndicate.com
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
P.S. We also stopped by Target last night - they finally have started to put out their Halloween line - but more on that later...
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Didn't Depp already do the Michael Jackson thing with CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY? What is going on here? He looks like an albino Elijah Wood in this pic. Naturally, when it comes to Burton I'm more than willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt, but... what the...
What's with the makeup on Johnny Depp's Barnabas Collins?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
These are very spontaneous when I dirty them up. Whatever is on hand, whatever feels good at the moment, be it paint, jute, fishing line, fire, permanent marker, caulk, hot glue, or whatever. They'll look even better in their proper places surrounded by bones and skulls and what have you, plus when I fill them with snakes and spiders and all kinds of gross fluids...
Monday, September 12, 2011
The nature of the maintenance-free material doesn't allow for carving with a Dremel as it will just crumble, so I couldn't put a name on it. But a glued on cross, a coat of gray auto primer, some black spray-paint for aging, some black and forest green acrylic for effect, and boo!: Instant Gravestone! It took all of 30 minutes from start to finish, and most of that was waiting for the paint and glue to dry. It will fill the gap nicely in the back row where you don't have to look too closely...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
O we will fight, fight, fight for Iowa State,
And may her colors ever fly.
Yes, we will fight with might for Iowa State,
With a will to do or die,
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Loyal sons forever true,
And we will fight the battle through.
And when we hit that line we'll hit it hard ev'ry yard for I. S. U.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I was lucky enough to score a few planks from the haul with the idea of turning them into some cool Halloween-related signs. Here's the first effort. Not sure if it's quite finished yet - it feels like it needs something more - but I'm pretty pleased with the direction it's going. The actual quote reads:
"Those born on Hallowe'en shall see more than other folk."
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
However, it's still early, so hopefully one of these stores - or some of the others that have yet to put out their wares - steps up and delivers some really cool, dark merchandise that taps into the true meaning of Halloween.
Thursday, September 1, 2011