Thursday, April 30, 2009

Haunted VIDEO Review Thursday

Hello once again my faithful minions to another edition of Haunted Review Thursday. Today we will change gears slightly and review a video from my Hallowe'en collection.


Do-It-Yourself X-treme Haunted House Make-Over

Hosted by Bill Lay

When you say X-treme, you had better be prepared to show Mr. Macabre something that he hasn't seen before and unfortunately, there's nothing here he hasn't seen before on this DVD. However, for the novice or the once-a-year haunter, this would be a good video to have. Hosted by Bill Lay, a special effects expert for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Showtime's Outer Limits, he shows with great detail how to make some simplistic static props, a couple of innovative startle scares and some explanations on lighting and effects that can be achieved with black light and strobes. Everything used is easily obtainable and relatively inexpensive and quickly done.

Aside from the VERY VERY VERY annoying floating disembodied head that is supposed to be somewhat amusing, this is not actually a bad how-to video. Granted, it isn't actually a good how-to video either, being on the simplistic side. Maybe I'm being a little bit of a Hallowe'en snob and trying to find a reason to butcher it to pieces (that comes when my collection of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween books comes up to the chopping block) but I personally didn't learn anything new. However, for the younger haunter (of age or experience), this would be a good starter video, I imagine that when I was starting out I would have played it over and over and over.

My humble rating--for those who are veterans, save the money for the venti Starbuck's Cappuccino, you know everything in this video from scouring the internet for ideas. For those starting out haunting, buy this video, you can get some really good starting ideas from it and to start familiarizing yourself with the art of haunting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hallowe'en Malaise

With all this awful news as of late and coupled with the beautiful weather we've been experiencing (I'm truly sorry my dear northern friends, it has been wonderfully warm and beautiful lately) I have been lax on my Hallowe'en duties. The Hallowe'en garden is growing nicely and I have been purchasing parts for some new props but I've been, well, lazy lately. Tombstones need carving, monsters need mudding, ghosts need risen from the dead and witches need flying. I will try to start conducting myself in a matter more to what is expected of me, my humblest apologies.

In the meantime, I enjoy aiding and abetting the corruption of...KITTIES! This is Alexis getting high off of fresh catnip. Right after we filmed this, she had the munchies, particularly for a pan of brownies.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miracle






I remember planting a dark brown twisted twig of a root to watch it sprout, put forth leaves and finally this delicate, complex, fragrant, magnificent flower.

I can find no other word than miracle.

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Two for one!

I've lumped these two together for the simple reason that they are somewhat similar being that they are more or less written from the Wiccan or Pagan perspective (and please feel free to correct me on any errors at any time in my referencing Pagan or Wiccan beliefs because I am using what little knowledge that I have on them).

Halloween

Silver Ravenwolf, author

First of all, you know that I spell Halloween "Hallowe'en" which should give you a clue that I am drawn to old fashioned Hallowe'en customs and traditions. In the first part of the book, Ms. Ravenwolf goes through a brief but detailed history of Hallowe'en. Her writing style is relaxed and easy to read with humorous touches with annotations to her sources just to let you know she's not making all this up. The book is sparsely illustrated with woodcut style pictures.
Next, she spends some time on customs, traditions and superstitions of Hallowe'en, some I knew and some I didn't. We then go to Hallowe'en foods, mixed with a little bit of magick. The recipes are similar to traditional Hallowe'en foods like cider, apples but Ms. Ravenwolf adds information to the magickal quality of each ingredient which I found very interesting. The remaining parts of the book is magickal practice (for lack of a better word). There is divination, protection, prosperity spells and rituals that I might not understand but do fascinate me.
This book isn't for everyone. There are no props but there are some good recipes and interesting information from a practicing witch's point of view. Hallowe'en was the time in which divination was practiced most often and for the traditionalist in me, it's a good book for insight into these practices.

The rating for this book: You can put it on the coffee table for decoration. I say this because it is your call whether or not this book would be useful to you in the context of it being mainly of the magickal persuasion.

The Real Halloween, Ritual and Magic for Kids and Adults

Sheena Morgan, author

Again, this is another fun book for a select audience, which happens to be me. Ms. Morgan starts out with a short history of Hallowe'en and then branches off to how Hallowe'en was and is celebrated in different parts of the world, with some being on the bizarre side as carrying a barrel full of flaming tar. Not me, no sir! She greets us next with traditional Hallowe'en games (some of them being downright dangerous that our ancestors played) then to modern Hallowe'en games (although the vampire game is so complicated I gave up trying to figure it out). There are some magickal crafts, some good recipes for Hallowe'en food and a little section in the back for some spells, divination and charms. The book is easy to read, a bit more formal writing style with tons of full color photos throughout.

The rating for this book: You can put it on the coffee table for decoration. Again, this book is not a prop book and although it has more crafts and recipes than Ms. Ravenwolf's book, it would be your call if you would be interested in a more traditional take on Hallowe'en celebrating and customs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MACABRE LIBRE




I'll go lay down with a wet washcloth and an aspirin and in a little bit I'll be calm again.

EVERYWHERE you go in Mexico were luchador masks for lucha libre wrestling. I, of course, had to get one.

I'm Back My Pretties!





Mr. Macabre is back from Mexico and it was an absolutely fabulous time. Contrary to what the news media and my mother was saying, it was not a drug-war-torn vision of a post apocalyptic nightmare in which no one returns alive. On the contrary, I could live there, easily. But I went on the prowl for Dia de Los Muertos stuff and it was surprisingly hard to find. I asked one guy about it and he says "Dia de Los Muertos?! The dead day?" like it was something freaky. I did find some cool pieces...

This is Catrina, I saw her in the flea market. One thing about the flea market that I learned VERY quickly is that the price asked is NOT the price sold, you haggled. A lot. It's like buying a car only worse. So I turned it over to the greatest haggler of all..Mrs. Macabre. Catrina started out at 140.00 US dollars and Mrs. Macabre got her down to 40.

This is a Tree of Life. With skulls. I saw this and had to go change my shorts. Started at 140. Ended at 35. Mrs. Macabre was on a roll.

This little guy is great, I bought another one for Ms. M who shares my love of Day of the Dead. Started at 80.00 each, ended getting 2 for 35.00.

The last day I went wandering in a small mall and ran across this guy. 200 pesos which is 16.66666 US dollars. I was at this time wondering where I was going to stow everything amidst the 6.00 a bottle Jose Cuervo and 8.00 a bottle Don Julio tequilas as well as other souvenirs and the many requests for Mexican vanilla (87 cents a pint. We are so getting ripped off on that stuff here in America). Customs must have either seen it all or just took a deep sigh at the weird gringo coming back home when they x-rayed my bags because they didn't say a word.

Mr. Macabre and his happy drink. I actually have the recipe for this pina colada and as soon as I find it, I'll post it. It's Mexican law that you have to drink a pina colada in a pineapple with a little umbrella in it amidst pieces of fruit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Haunted Book Review Thursday

The Davis Graveyard

I not only have one or two books on Hallowe'en, I also have one or two DVDs on Hallowe'en too, about 3 full shelves full. This week brings to us The Davis Graveyard DVD, volumes 2007 & 2008.
Admittedly, I am a fan of The Davis Graveyard so this will be a bit biased. I really didn't know what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised. The main 'movie' is narrated by Christopher Walken reciting The Raven. The photography is gorgeous, simply gorgeous. This is a video that the Davis's give out to friends and family each year as gifts and have decided to make them available to their admiring public. There aren't any how-to's but loads of inspiration and ideas abound as well as news reels and make and a take tombstone party. I'm all about supporting the haunting community and would definitely recommend buying a video from The Davis Graveyard Store for year-round inspiration.




Halloween: A Grown-Up's Guide to Creative Costumes, Devilish Decor & Fabulous Festivities

Joanne O' Sullivan, author

Face it, we adults don't get too many Hallowe'en books each year. One or two at the most if we're lucky which is why I was so glad to see this one when it came out. Its avant-garde approach to Hallowe'en is refreshing. The book is loaded with full color pictures throughout and clear how-to's. The New Orleans Voodoo Cocktail Party idea is worth the price of the book itself (I'm partial to New Orleans and the magic and mystery that town embodies). I also like the Day of the Dead dinner party, I might have to break into her home and steal her skull decorations. There are some templates in the back for some of the projects (although none for the mantle graveyard project which is absolutely wonderful). The only thing that I have issue with is that it is a little heavy on the costume section, about 2/3 to 3/4 of the book. I would have liked to have seen more decor and party ideas (alas, there are only 3)but otherwise what is there is worth having for future reference and inspiration.

The rating for this book: Between-You can get some good ideas and use out of it with a little effort and You're going to need a cigarette after reading it basically because the decor ideas are great and the costumes are very good but the book is a little unbalanced and some people (as I) would have liked to have seen more of the decor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I am prepared to be hated.

I will be a hated man by some. I am going to Cancun for 4 days starting tomorrow. The trip is free courtesy of Mrs. Macabre winning it. I will be hated, I am well aware of this fact so if you make a comment on anything, nothing has been rejected or anything, I'm just not going to be near a computer, but I do have scheduled a Haunted Book Review for Thursday.
I wasn't so excited by the trip because of all the violence happening in Mexico but then I remembered that I can hopefully pick up some Day of the Dead souvenirs there and hopefully some cool pictures to share.
Skulls and skeletons outweigh bodily harm any day in my book!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pot Full O' Trouble




Just finished my Secret Pumpkin gift to my assignee. It's the little gourd looking like it's planted in a tiny pot with some nasty green reindeer moss around. He looks like trouble looking for a place to happen.

Might have to make myself one!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Hallowe'en Garden




According to my grandfather and superstition, you're supposed to plant your garden on Good Friday. I had worked all day and was dog-tired on Friday as well as yesterday so I missed it by two days. Today is absolutely beautiful and I've spent all day planting stuff (tomatoes, peppers, basil and a garden of sunflowers and marigolds). Looking for my trowel, I found George in the shed, the ground swimming skeleton. Ms. M bought it for me a couple of years ago and today he finds a permanent home in the garden.

He says it's about %$#@& well time I put him in the garden. George is quite upset it's taken me so long.

Happy Easter Ya'll!



My sweet elderly next door neighbor made this for me for Easter.

Easter Wrongness Finale!!!



Welcome to the last week of Easter Wrongness! I have enlisted the help of Sausage Von Trapp's two children, Bratwurst and Vienna to act out the anguish and pathos of this week's Easter Wrongness: camouflaged Easter eggs. Who the %$#@*& would do that to a kid (besides me)?




Courtesy of Shellhawk's Nest, we have this delicious piece of uber wrongness! Is it just me or does this rabbit act a little too....excited?! The shape of the chick's head does NOT help (no pun intended)!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Where is my drool bucket?

Oh dearie me oh my.



I think that I just had an accident in my pants. This is gorgeous. If you see my face in on the wall in a post office, you know that I have stolen this chair. It will be worth the jail time.

Via Badder Homes and Gardens.
WARNING! She has a naughty tongue but a wonderful blog! NSFW or kiddies!

CUUUUUUUTE!!!

Courtesy of The Art of Darkness comes the link for the i-toad. Actually it's someone who has felted a horned toad cover for their Roomba.

I worship humbly at their feet for this work of beauty.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pretty!





I'm a big ol' softy. I love flowers. These popped open today in all their glory. I wasn't a fan of roses at one time, I viewed them as the French Poodles of the flower world: fussy, temperamental and has to be groomed all the time. I've since given them a choice: grow or die.
The clematis says "just try and kill me, I'll grow to spite you!"

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Halloween Propmaker's Handbook



Kenneth Pitek, author.

When I first heard about this book, it wasn't even in print yet, I had to wait for it for awhile before Amazon finally got it. As you can see, the cover is cool, and with about 250 pages, it's pretty thick. The book is very well illustrated with black and white photographs and he goes into detail in concise and clear terms that even the novice can fully understand.
I do feel that the majority of projects involve skulls, though, which there is nothing wrong with that (heck, I collect them) but I felt somewhat lacking. I will say that there are some very good ideas in there that I haven't come across anywhere else, like the skull flowers (used Tiny Tim skull from Anatomical Chart Company), the flatware and candy bowl (made one, came out great!). There's a mish mash of other projects from homemade vomit, to half eaten hands, to a primer on blacklight usage and fluorescent items. There's also some great techniques and explanations on lighting, two way mirrors and paper mache.

Overall, it's a very good informative book on Hallowe'en prop construction, although for some reason, I feel that it could have been a little more rounded, meaning a more diverse choice of props. Is it a good book for the novice propmaker? Definitely. What about the regular home haunter? Oh yeah. What about the people who have been doing this for awhile? Wellllllllllllll, it probably wouldn't hurt to have this book, there's at least a couple of things in there that could spur on some good ideas.

My personal opinion: You can get some good ideas and use out of it with a little effort.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Revisiting an old post!

Back in November, I asked a question if I was wasting my time trying to dry gourds and then resolved myself that it was an effort in vain and my little experiment failed.

Wellllll, I was delightfully WRONG! I found those little gourds the other day where I had pitched them out on the ground except they were beautifully tan and dried! It worked!



NOW comes the fun part what I had in my dark, evil little mind all along...gourd gremlins!
If you're on the Halloween-L list, you no doubt have heard of the Secret Pumpkin. In April, midway between the Hallowe'en past and the Hallowe'en to come, you buy or make a little gift for your assigned Secret Pumpkin and send it to them anonymously and someone will send you one too. This one is going to be mine to send. I'm going to (hopefully) rig it into a little pot like a plant and have the light where it can be switched on from the outside. I will document the process in case anyone would want to try it for themselves.



I did one a long time ago that I use as a nightlight...it's a bit bigger and I used a foam pumpkin...I like using natural products when I can much more, they have a more organic and natural feel to them (duh, that sounded real smarts of me, of course they would!). I love the irregularity of natural products.

Weekday Weirdness

Tuesdays are historically boring days. Mondays have the pleasure of being dreaded, Wednesdays are hump days (STOP IT YOU DIRTY MINDED PEOPLE!), Thursdays are gearing up for Friday and so on. Tuesdays are just there. Here's some weirdness I caught while on one of my journeys through the Alabama backwoods...if you're ever on Highway 43 after Forkland but before Demopolis (I know you have no idea where in the world I'm talking about, I'm just making it sound more dramatic), look to your right in a large field there and realize there are people out there with a lot of time on their hands...












Driving to this year round display of hay bales, scrap metal (the tin man is really really cool) and flights of whimsy and paint, are the words on 3 huge billboards
ACTA NON VERBA...act don't talk.

No, I don't know or understand either why. But it's still cool.