Friday, 31 October 2014

Skull Poetry

Lines Inscribed Upon A Cup Formed From A Skull
by Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Start not—nor deem my spirit fled: 
In me behold the only skull 
From which, unlike a living head, 
Whatever flows is never dull. 

I lived, I loved, I quaffed like thee; 
I died: let earth my bones resign: 
Fill up—thou canst not injure me; 
The worm hath fouler lips than thine. 

Better to hold the sparkling grape 
Than nurse the earthworm's slimy brood, 
And circle in the goblet's shape 
The drink of gods than reptile's food. 

Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone, 
In aid of others' let me shine; 
And when, alas! our brains are gone, 
What nobler substitute than wine? 

Quaff while thou canst; another race, 
When thou and thine like me are sped, 
May rescue thee from earth's embrace, 
And rhyme and revel with the dead. 

Why not—since through life's little day 
Our heads such sad effects produce? 
Redeemed from worms and wasting clay, 
This chance is theirs to be of use.

On the bumps in the night...

Something's in the mirror by me
Something's in the attic, it stinks of blood and meat.
Something's in the attic, I hear its scuttling feet.
Something's in the attic, it's whispering to me.
Something's in the attic, I shouldn't set it free.
Something's in the attic, I really have no choice.
Something's in the attic, it's making so much noise.
Something's in the bedroom, my eyes are open wide.
Something's in my mirror, staring from inside.

 - Author

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Anticipation by me
And if you are looking for some spooky Mat Night viewing allow me to recommend BBC's The Fades. Why this award winning series didn't get a 2nd run is beyond me.

If you are a Marvel's Agents of Shield fan you will recognize our hero.

AND you will have also seen Kyle MacLachlan's performance as Skye's father. An inkling of what an evil Agent Cooper may look like in the 2016 episodes of Twin Peaks?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

#5 - It's just not Halloween without this one...

Letting the children inside to drink beers 
Razor blades hidden in 3 Musketeers 
Screams from the basement of kids 
begging to be set free 
That's what Halloween means to me.....


Yeah, ...

's a little dark.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Cats, Bats, Moonlight and Magic...what's not to like?

I found these metal cat heads last year at a Japanese store called Daiso. I had them hanging from a frangiapani tree out in front for Halloween last year. I left them up (adding santa hats to them in December).

Daiso is kind of like a dollar store full of little doo daas, practical things and many incomprehensible labels. It's also fantastic for generating creative ideas. The cat heads were in the gardening section. From the pictographs on the packaging I think they are meant to scare off garden pests...birds, other cats, etc. They do not, however, frighten off children as I discovered one afternoon in March when I arrived home to see most of the marble eyes had gone missing. I brought them to the backyard where they hung, mostly sightless, for months.

Our back window - glass discs are coasters I wrapped in wire to hang 
Clear eyes
Until I finally found a bag of the right sized marbles to use as replacements.

The original eyes were green and blue but I quite like the amber. The clear ones, tho, they seem the spookiest!

And these flying guys, well, they just started showing up the other night while I sat on the couch watching Downton Abbey.

Bats flutter through...

And now, as a confessed Downton Abbey fan, you will understand why I think this will make perfect Halloween viewing.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Halloween party

A party in an old haunted hotel? Watch this video and see just how, ah, interesting this party could be...

Halloween with Arrival from Michael Mann on Vimeo.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Pillow Pal?

Is this thing starin' at me or what?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Haunted Bhangarh

Entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. A signboard posted by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), which is a Government of India organization, specifies the instructions. While the board is written in Hindi, the instructions on it roughly translate into: "Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions." - Wikipedia

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#4 - I put a spell on you...

The version by Screamin' Jay Hawkins was originally on my Halloween playlist but when I heard this version by Natacha Atlas a few years ago, well, it's just more in keeping with where we've been living, right? In fact, when we first moved here you couldn't get away from the more regional version of Arabic pop or Khaleeji. It seemed to be in every mall we walked into. Now, for better or worse, the piped in sounds are mostly global Muzak. I think I even heard a muzak version of Hit me Baby One More Time in the grocery store a while back!

 Although the above is Halloween appropriate one of my favourite tracks of hers is Adam's Lullaby.

Adam's Lullaby by Natacha Atlas on Grooveshark

Monday, 20 October 2014

We've come for the Miracle Whip!

I missed this 2012 commercial...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Ghost Bride of Ridley Hall

The Ghost Bride of Ridley Hall by me

Spooky reading recommendation - The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Strange doodles and empires...

I have been sick with a cold this week and had to dedicate an entire day to sitting on the couch. Ah, yeah, I really had to! So, of course, I used that time to catch up on some tv (see below) and do a bit of doodling. I'm not sure if this would be considered a zentangle or doodle but this is the result.

Skull in web by me
Now, in terms of tv, well, let's see. First, I finally got around to watching the final two episodes of The Leftovers. I have to say I was having a tough time with this one. It was incredibly compelling but also just a wee bit of a downer. I'm glad I stuck to it though because those last two episodes made me very keen to see the next season. Click here and here for reviews.

The rest of the afternoon's viewing was not relevant to the season so I'll skip it. And no, I have not yet seen the new American Horror Story. I'm saving that. But I did see something that I think is worth mentioning.

It's not a horror...well, unless you consider human trafficking/sex slavery in 1870s Alberta horror...which, of course, it is, but you know what I mean. The 'genre' is not horror it's a western. Set in 1869 Alberta, the show focuses on three women--a M├ętis cowgirl, a madame and a doctor--who are all dealing with tragedy while fighting for independence, justice and survival.

As a fan of Deadwood, well, I was interested. And after watching the first episode of Strange Empire (great name!) I thought you might be too.

This is the edgiest show I have ever seen on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). CBC is usually full of safe, middle-of-the-road, family oriented, kind of story telling but this is NOT that.

Admittedly it's not perfect. The first episode attempts to set up a lot of story so at times the cuts from one scene to another are disorienting, almost dreamlike. Which I found kind of intriguing. But it's the promise of ghosts and spiritualists in the scene above that makes me mention it here. I'm really hoping this idea is a featured story line. I have hope because of what series creator, Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, said in a recent interview about the show.

"There was also the Spiritualist movement at that point which was 10 million strong. People believed in ghosts and devils and they were losing children and wives and husbands to terrible, terrible accidents. And the telegraph went through, kind of like the internet actually, the way I was looking at it. The telegraph went all the way across the country and people believed that that wire opened a door to the other world and that to me was absolutely fascinating..."  Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik.

Listen to more from this interview with Finstad-Knizhnik and actress, Cara Gee, here. And for a review that's not by the CBC (who might be biased) go here.

Friday, 17 October 2014

"Don't pay the ferryman...

...till he gets you to the other side." According to Chris deBurgh.

But when you're in the realm of the underworld, well, maybe you should just play it straight with that ferryman. There are consequences otherwise...

According to musician and artist, Jordan Reyne, all she needed for this animation was "a lot of sellotape." But I'll wager it was more than that. Here's the list of supplies as laid out in her newsletter:

1. Random tonnes of packaging / cardboard (easy if you dont leave the house and only ever shop online).
2. numerous rolls of Duct tape and sellotape.
3. Wire
4. Split pins
5. Pliers
6. String
7. Fimo
8. Three pairs of scissors (cos you will always lose 2 in the mess)
9. Endless patience (this i could not find on amazon).
A partner / flatmate who does not complain when the F and C words explode in quick succession from the kitchen at all hours of the night (for an entire fortnight).
10. A hardware shop run by a man of little taste who thus takes a fancy to you and gives you a stack of wood for almost nothing.
11. Neighbors who are as immune to hearing odd nocturnal utterances such as "Death, for f@%ks do as I say" as you are.
12. A BUCKETLOAD of time. If you are "time poor", this may actually not be for you.

The rest - is down to planning.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

#3 - The Vandals sing about it!

This has been on my Halloween playlist for the last several years. Don't get me wrong I am happily married but before this wedded bliss there were others. And a couple of them BROKE MY HEART!

Do I wish they were dead? Of course not! But, when you're feeling that first flash of pain that has no comparison, well, who hasn't had a little revenge fantasy? And isn't revenge a part, just a tiny bit part of Halloween?

Plus this song is just so damn cheerful :)

Thank you Vandals!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Halloween wall art

Put together something for a frame I bought at IKEA a while back. Pulled a few things from the web, fixed them up in Photoshop and made this mock up. Got prints made at the nearest mall and hung it up the other day. It looks great!

Fun with vintage graphics

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Pumpkin of Nyefar

A little pumpkin surprise inspired by folktales from this side of the World.

"The Pumpkin Of Nyefar" from Tod Polson on Vimeo.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Lacock Feature - Chaplain's Room

Hmmm, I never noticed that shadow before....

Naaaah, I'm lying. It does make for a spooky pic tho, right?

Chaplain's Room, Lacock Abbey by me
13th C wall painting in Chaplain's Room by me

Friday, 10 October 2014

I see more pumpkins!

Today we went to a newish grocery store in town, Monoprix. The chain is French like Carrefour (our regular grocery stop). The produce section at Monoprix is quite good and I figured I might find some pumpkins and I did! Quite a selection they were putting together for Halloween!

Pumpkins at Monoprix
Rachel Ray's Every Day

We we didn't pick up any gourds but I did get a magazine with a Halloween feature. 
First I've seen!

I also picked up some Pumpkin Bio bread at their bakery. The pumpkin part is the seeds and the bio part is the 'organic' bit, I guess. I had a couple of slices with my lunch of cabbage and carrot soup. Lightly toasted and drizzled with some olive oil the bread was really nice :)

Monoprix Bakery
Pumpkin bio bread

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Lacock Feature - The Warming Room

Now here we are in the Warming Room of Lacock Abbey. According to some info posted here "This room at the north-east corner of the cloister is the only room where the nuns would have had a fire."!

"The large stone tank, which once stood outside, was possibly used as a fish tank (fish was eaten instead of meat on Fridays)."

Warming Room, Lacock Abbey by me
This is a composite photo so the background in the middle is a bit messy
You may recognize this room from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was Professor Quirrell's, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. Click here for more info.

Now THAT's a cauldron! by me
"The cauldron of bell metal was made in Belgium in 1500 (the Latin inscription around the cauldron records by whom, where and when it was made). When Queen Anne visited Lacock it is recorded that a side of bacon and a sack of peas were boiled in the cauldron."

I love pea soup!

No, really, I do.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

#2 - Channeling Kate Bush

I've always felt the music and performance of Kate Bush to be touched with a little witchcraft. And so I listen to her quite a bit during October. Always looking for more I was happy to recently discover Azar Swan whose vocalist, Zohra Atash, (great name!) sounds uncannily like Ms Bush.

This will make a great new addition to my seasonal playlist!

OVER from STONE on Vimeo.

And while you're listening check out these recent articles on witches and witchcraft:

Where do witches come from? - a look at 'the witch' in art
Witches: James I and the English Witch Hunts – book review
'The Penguin Book of Witches' - excerpt

Monday, 6 October 2014

Green Ruby Pumpkin Treat?

Damn, I thought this was an ad for a Halloween candy I'd never heard of. But it's better than that!

The Green Ruby Pumpkin from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

I see pumpkins!

You don't see much related to Fall or Halloween here. The weather is not the same at all. It's true the temperatures are getting cooler but that means that after sundown the temps are about 30C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) instead of the 40C of summer. The cooler weather also means the plants are less stressed and are beginning to get a bit lusher. By December everything will be growing like crazy and I'll have to get out the pruning sheers. It's more like Spring than Fall.

Still, by the end of October the evening temps will be good for trick or treating. It will be quite comfortable for walking door to door (not too much sweating) AND you never have to worry that your Mom will make you hide your costume under a heavy winter coat!

Obviously there isn't a Halloween tradition here so there isn't too much in the way of decorations in the Malls or spooky things to buy -- though you can usually depend on a few grocery stores to bring in pumpkins from the UK or US.

Hey, pumpkins!
Yesterday I was overjoyed to see these orange guys at Mega Mart (where they specialize in imported foods and cater to the tastes of various expat groups).

Well travelled pumpkins tend to be a bit pricey, however. These were 25QR per kilogram which is about $8.00 Canadian per kg and there are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram so...well, let's just say these guys run from $30 to $50 each depending on weight. 

We contented ourselves with two small mini pumpkins -- one white and one orange -- for a total of about $7.00 Canadian. (What I usually end up carving into our jack o'lantern is the far less expensive red pumpkins from India.)

Grab a couple, would ya?

They also had these little critters on offer...

Pumpkin pals

Lacock Feature - The Cloisters

And here we are back at Lacock Abbey...or should I say Hogwarts. Because through this door we will see bits of the abbey used in scenes from several Harry Potter movies.

Why, I can almost see Professor McGonagall waiting to greet us!

Cloister entrance by me (Professor McGonagall source)

And to the left and down this...uh oh, is that Snape? Someone's in trouble.

Cloister hallway by me (Professor Snape source)

Hmmm, don't see anyone here in the inner courtyard but this whole place was the scene for a lot of Hogwarts action.

The 13th C Cloisters, Lacock Abbey by me

Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Smelly Candle

Woodland Truffle
Yep. I admit it. I do like me a smelly candle now and then. I have a special one, lit only in December, for that other holiday. But I've never found one specifically for Fall or Halloween. While I do love pumpkin I am not a fan of the pumpkin and cinnamon candles that seem to proliferate this time of year. I usually just burn whatever I have kicking around.

The other day, after sniffing around the fancy candle section of a posh home decor place, I found something. Something that put me in mind of the woodsy, smokey, damp-leaves-but-crisp-air smell of Fall. So, I bought it. It's not perfect but as I am far from the lands of Autumn, well, it will definitely do.

My Smelly Candle by me

Lacock Feature - Intro

This time of year I sometimes have a hankering to watch Harry Potter because they really do capture a bit of that Halloween magic that I used to feel as a kid. And speaking of magic, I was lucky enough to be at Lacock Abbey (below) in Wiltshire, England, back in the Spring of 2010.

Lacock Abbey in Spring 2010 (by me)
Why magical, you ask? Well that's because Lacock Abbey, and nearby village, were filming locations for at least three of the Harry Potter series (The Philospher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and The Half Blood Prince).

Hogwarts/Godric's Hollow
Location: Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
Often used for telly costume dramas, the Abbey at Lacock, just down the road from Malfoy Manor in Wiltshire, appeared in The Philosopher's Stone and The Half-Blood Prince. Not only are Quirinus Quirrel's classroom and Severus Snape's laboratory found here, but the cloisters - dating all the way back to 1232 - were stalked by Argus Filch and his scrawny cat, Mrs. Norris. The neighbouring village of Lacock was the inspiration for Godric's Hollow and was used for filming The Half-Blood Prince, although for The Deathly Hallows production shifted to Lavenham in Suffolk (presumably it was easier for Nagini to get to). - Source

Sad to say I didn't see any Hogwarts denizens while there...or did I?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Now Recruiting!

Calling all monsters, ghoulies and creeps!  Every recruit gets one of these amazing cookies!

Halloween Recruiter by me (used that Photoshop oil filter, again)