Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Oh Happy Day!

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween and Nostalgia

My Heritage Lace bat mantle with twinkle lights
Halloween is, without doubt, my favourite holiday. However, over time my feelings around this time of year have become more... complex.

I've always loved spooky things and what spookier time of year is there? For kids especially. We don't have children but as a grown up I believe I now have a responsibility to pass on the magic of this holiday just as it was passed to me. Which is why I decorate the house (ok, the inside decor is mostly for me) and dress up in costume to hand out candy.  I cherish my memories of being a kid and running round the neighbourhood wearing those plastic sweaty masks with the pin holes you could barely see through yet still being disappointed when the elastic on those same masks inevitably snapped. The costumes, whatever they were, made it special. And being out at night, in the dark, knocking on the doors of houses decorated with ghosts or a glowing pumpkin...that was part of it too. Even that Halloween when the creepy old guy tried to lure me and my friends inside his house with the promise of pennies for our UNICEF boxes. (Did we go in...?) Houses of people you both knew and didn` was all part of the magic.

As I get older along with that magic there has developed a certain melancholy. I invariably end up thinking about the family and friends that are no longer here (in this realm) or near enough to visit. And that makes me a bit sad. I'm not going to get maudlin about it, I just wanted to point that out. So, if you find yourself stressed out by your kids and Halloween (or the weather!) take a breather and remember your inner child. To help you I offer up the following podcasts.

This is the Halloween podcast of a great CBC radio show I've been listening to for years, the Vinyl Cafe. This is not a scary episode but it is about Halloween and the memories made and shared at this time.  Plus there are also some kick-a#@ musical guests!

Or if you are looking for something a bit more atmospheric try one of Blasphumus Radio`s Halloween podcasts. The latest is an Evening with Vincent Price.

Remember the magic.

Stay safe but be spooky!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Mockingbird Lane leaves me wanting more...

Oh Eddie! Make that plural...Oh, Eddies. Because after watching Mockingbird Lane, The Munsters reboot, both Eddies are on my mind. First and foremost is Eddie Izzard. As 'Grandpa' this Eddie was a high point in what was otherwise an imbalanced effort. (The other standout was Charity Wakefield. As Marilyn, the 'normal' relative of the monstrous family unit she shines...although can anyone that attractive really be representative of  'the norm'?) I'm already a fan of Eddie Izzard and am somewhat biased but I'm not alone in thinking he was great! As the old-school vampire who wants to use humans as his blood slaves (one of whom works himself to death painting the Munster's new digs), their body parts in his experiments, and their blood as his dinner, well, he is wickedly sparkling. The very quick peek of the more robust and younger 'Grandpa' at the end, as he finally gives in and drinks human blood (through a straw people) is a huge tease!

Source: abatgirl
The other Eddie is, of course, little Eddie Munster. The family's youngest member, a werewolf (were-cub) who still doesn't know the truth about himself--or the extent of the changes puberty is bringing about. Although the story of  Herman's failing heart was interesting, Eddie's story seemed a little overlooked. As Eddie's true nature begins to manifest itself his parents argue with Grandpa on how and when to tell him the truth. The truth being he is NOT like his 'normal' cousin Marilyn but is, rather, a true Munster/monster. Maybe I was reading too much into the casting of Eddie Izzard and Portia de Rossi but this story line seemed to represent the show's message as a whole...that people broaden their views on what makes up a family unit and on what is 'normal.' Much like in The New Normal and Modern Family there is a reassurance here that the norm may be more diverse than you think.

It's too bad this appears to be the beginning and end of this reboot. Despite the somewhat muddy pilot there is just so much potential here. (Although, personally, I would recast everyone except Izzard and Wakefield.)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Time for a ghost story and costume advice...?

A ghost got stuck on this big mason jar! Must have been the cob webs.
Only days before Halloween and I find myself hankering for a good ghost story. So, if you find yourself with the same need here are a few options to consider.

There are two new anthologies out, The Big Book of Ghost Stories (Otto P, ed.) and The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories (Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds.) Click here for a review. Or you can read what is on offer at Tor books during their Ghost WeekBut maybe you're the more practical type and wish to learn how to survive a vengeful ghost attack. Well then, check out Yurei Attack: The Japanese ghost survival guide by Hiroko Yoda.

AND, this just in from a friend of mine, if you are looking for costume ideas. If some of you 'ladies' out there are tired of / don't want to be a 'sexy' nurse, a 'sexy' waitress, a 'sexy' construction worker (I've always maintained that at Halloween it doesn't matter what you go as but it should at least be a 'dead' version) then check this out

(Don't even ask how the Thriller Challenge is going.)

Friday, 26 October 2012

My Thriller Challenge

Ok. I know I am late to this particular trend but so what. This is the challenge I have laid out for myself over the next few days. I am determined to learn the dance moves to Thriller.

Yes, I know most of you have probably already done this one but I have not. Partly because dancing is not my area of expertise. Now, don't get me wrong, I really like to dance. And I have been known to dance my a#$ off! But when it comes to choreographed moves...well, that's when I suck. Big time. I am forever getting my left and right confused, I miss steps, twirl too quickly, bump into others, sometimes even fall down (ok, maybe I had a drink or two) but you get the picture. Still, this is a zombie dance so maybe my particular awkwardness will bring something new to it...?

This is what I wish my dancing will look like by Halloween night...

But this is more realistic. (I once, long ago, did manage to learn to do the Time Warp so there's hope...)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

My Death's Head project

I take a lot of photos of cemeteries and headstones. I am fascinated with the iconography of death. I think it all started back in elementary school during a history lesson about "the black death" or "the plague." Our teacher used a lot of illustrations in her lessons and I was fascinated with the images she showed us of skeletons cavorting through medieval towns around piles of corpses. From there I guess it was all just a natural progression to the cemetery.

Of all the various symbols and signs used on headstones one of my favourites is the Death's Head. There's just something about it...especially the ones with wings. So it's probably not surprising, given the time of year, etc., to find myself doodling this while watching tv the other night. I'm trying to figure out how to use the design for a felt pillow.

My winged Death's Head

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Halloween Zentangle

My Halloween zentangle pumpkin canvas
A few months back I got into the zentangle thing so with Halloween approaching it seemed appropriate to do something seasonal with my doodlings. I did this oval canvas with markers and acrylic paint. I think my pumpkin looks a little too much like an apple but I still like it!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Fear of the Unknown

Yep, tis the season for spooky tv and I say, Hallelujah!  Season 4 of The Walking Dead premieres in a couple of days and soon after that will be the 2nd season of American Horror Story.

Initially I thought both of these shows were too intense for me. A few episodes into The Walking Dead's first season had me thinking I would never survive the adrenaline coursing through my body while watching. I couldn't take waiting for another zombie attack and losing yet another character. Remember the boy and his father who couldn't leave their infested neighbourhood because zombie Mom still strolled the streets at night? Just get up and leave for pity sake! And who was Lori going to chose? Her miraculously returned husband, Rick? Or the guy she's been spending time in the bushes with Rick's former partner? And then poor Andrea loses her sister and Dale tries to keep her going. And that's what suckered me in...I cared about the characters. I was afraid of what might happen to them but I HAD to know! (At least the zombies were slow moving.)

Then there was American Horror Story. I decided it was not for me after the first two episodes. Too pyscho! I mean, come on, those gruesome murders (especially episode 2), the gimp suit, the young/old maid, the witch next door and don't make me watch those credits! Nightmare inducing. I did not want to know what was coming next in that world. But a few weeks ago I decided to give it another go and I'm glad I did. The series turned out to be a lot more nuanced than I first thought. As the story progressed the line between good and evil (and who was which) became blurred. Jessica Lange was great, as were most of the cast, and I'll never forget Denis O'Hare's "burned guy."

With the news that the 2nd season is going to be a completely new story (set in an asylum with Jessica Lange as a sadistic nun...!!) I admit to being very intrigued. Will they continue to explore a different horror story each season? We've seen the haunted house and we're getting the crazy asylum what could be next? Personally, I'd love to see something from Lovecraft's world (click here for this doc in its entirety).

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Keeping the monsters away...

Like many of you, I imagine, I was once afraid of monsters. In the closet. Under the bed. They tended to lurk in those places you could not see from the safety of the bed. Someone taught me a prayer to say at bedtime, you know the one, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." I don't know if they meant it to be comforting but the whole "if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" part was really no comfort!

So, I offer up this little recitation for those like poor Cole who do see things under the bed:

Monster lurking far and near,
Your jaws of death I do not fear.
There are no children sleeping here,
So scamper off and disappear!
- from Chills and Thrills

Monday, 8 October 2012

Flip the Frog in Spooks - A Discovery

I thought I was familiar with most of the old spooky themed animations from yesteryear, but thanks to YouTube there's always more to be Flip the Frog!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Darkness and Dawn

Source: Morbid Anatomy
My online connections have been, for one reason or another, limited for the last several months. This has meant my internet habits have changed quite a bit. However, I have been keeping up with a few sites like Morbid Anatomy.

Other than the obvious appeal I love it for the occasional old odd bits of flotsam that rise to its surface like this one...a ticket stub from a late 19th C 'exhibit' on Coney Island, NY.

Would make a great party invitiation!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bats in the Belfry

Hey. I'm back. Back in the world of sun, sand, and compound living in Qatar. It's a little more difficult getting into the spirit of the season here. Not as much feedback to amplify the signal. Still, I'm going to try. Already have a few things in mind.

Posting won't be a priority for me so I'm not a crypt keeper this year. Instead I am looking forward to reading the posts of all you returning and new crazy Countdown to Halloween participants. That should help!