Friday, May 29, 2009

Makeup--Haunted Book Review Thursday

You love her.
You hate her.
You love to hate her.
You hate to love her.
Any way you put it, the Domestic Diva of all time, Martha Stewart, takes the mundane, makes it impossibly complex, romanticizes it and then sells it to her adoring following while all the while making it look exceedingly simple.


Martha's Halloween Ideas DVD

The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Halloween-Delicious Tricks and Wicked Treats For Your Scariest Halloween Ever

Martha Stewart, author, photographer, printer, videographer, chef, producer, food stylist, makeup artist, set designer, aw hell, you get the picture.

I will try to be somewhat unbiased (worship her!) in reviews. Most haunters have this book either in softcover or hardback so I'm probably preaching to the crowd. Granted the kid's costumes were probably done by an Asian monastery monk that spent his life dedicated to the art of origami, you probably couldn't get your little girl to be a flower or a butterfly because she wants to be Hannah Montana. But the possibilities!
Having a pumpkin carving party for 350 of your closest friends on a moment's notice with delicious homemade caramel apples with wonderful details like using a pumpkin as a soup bowl, but everyone will have little league football that night and are just tooooo busy to make it leaving you with 2 tons of food and a gallon of Ben and Jerry's to ease your disappointment. But the possibilities!
The elegant but subtle decorations that you worked for months on, with imported German glass glitter, vellum luminarias with hand cut designs, and Swiss batiste ghosts that flutter ethereally in the wind, only to live next to the person who ran the charge card up on the Halloween aisle at Wal Mart to where the kids exclaim at the plastic mechanical things with the scratchy sound cards, "That's soooo kewl!". But the possibilities!
This book is about possibilities and some honest to goodness old fashioned Halloween ideals. Are you going to be able to do these dinners and make these projects against the backdrop of a colonial home to set the scene for a spooky Halloween party?

Hell no you ain't so just forget it.

The DVD goes along the same lines of the read it and see all the beautiful ideas and wonderful projects and the boundless inspiration that Her Majesty (whoops, slipped out) bestows upon you that is done flawlessly and simply to a grateful and appreciative family and friends.

Should you buy this book and/or DVD? Is the Pope Catholic? In all seriousness, Martha does supply a heaping dose of inspiration and wonderful ideas amidst a backdrop of beautiful photography and set design as she effortlessly shows her loyal/rabid fans how to have a wonderful Halloween.

Both the book and the DVD are (dare I say it?) a Good Thing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Haunted Book Review Thursday

First of all, sorry that I missed last week's review; I was doing the birthday thing. I'll make it up with a Saturday edition....

Affordable Animatronics: A Visual Overview

Robert Van Deest & Harry Lapping, authors

I think that I paid about 35.00 for this book on Ebay a couple of years ago and it's just about taken that long for me to cool down to look at this book with an unbiased critical eye.
Simply put, this book is a glorified user's manual for an electronic animations hardware system by a company called Wizard distributed by Blue Point Engineering. Nothing much more. I do not know anything about these companies and their relation to the haunt industry or the quality of their hardware. If you have used or will think about using Prop 1 from, this will probably will be useless to you.
To market the book as it is currently marketed is misleading. The book is lavishly illustrated with easy to follow directions and diagrams along with pictures of projects...using solely their electronics which for the most part is useless if you do not use the Wizard systems.
Now for some good things that I found by REALLY digging...if you would like to get into animatronic animation, then this book has some VERY good information on servos and their applications pertaining to character movements as in eyes and mouths. There's some LED information and DC motor switching diagrams and a pretty informative reference section on wire sizes, measurements, resistor codes and mechanical gearing.

Now, do you need to buy this book? I just looked at the price on Amazon and it was about $40.00. I will have to sadly say buy some Froggy's Fog Fluid for your fog machine instead and buy the Halloween Animatronics Video that I reviewed here a few weeks ago. Much more information, easier to follow, and less expensive. I have watched the video again a couple of times and each time the techniques and concepts are becoming clearer and clearer.

If you have or are planning to use Wizard electronics, buy this book. If you don't...leave it be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I just ordered a storage shed just for my Hallowe'en stuff. I figured that it could be paid off in about 3 years and I would own it rather than paying rent on a storage building and having nothing to show for it and would have everything close by. It would be dead-icated to Hallowe'en stuff!

Get it? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Dead-icated...dead, as in Hallowe'en humor? Ha ha ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha...

Hmmmph! Tough audience!

Birthday was a B%#*$%@. I worked my rear end off and had to remind SOMEONE in the household that will remain nameless that my birthday was that day. But we won't point fingers or call names. Anyhow, here's what I spent my saved money on:

2.5 gallons of Froggy's Fog Fluid, the low-lying kind
2 sets of wireless speakers (was only going to get one set but then realized that I could spread them out in the graveyard for background music)
5 mini servos for a talking skull I'm working on
1 pound of orange glitter
2 spotlights

The rest paid off my Lowe's card, which sucked since I hate paying bills.

My mom and dad bought me back 2 VERY cool glazed pottery jack-o-lanterns from Tennessee yesterday from their vacation. I think that I saw these somewhere in Mexico while I was there but didn't have any room to cram them into the suitcase. This surprised me since they generally don't approve of my Hallowe'en fascination.

It's sort of a Day of the Dead meets American Hallowe'en. Love them!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2010 Incarnation of The Final Unresting Place Cemetery Information Page

Greetings My Dear Fiends Friends,

You are undoubtedly looking for information on The Final Unresting Place Cemetery and lucky you, you've found it!  Below is basic information concerning this event:

Who:  Joseph Keller aka Mr. Macabre with The West Alabama Humane Society

What: The Final Unresting Place Haunted Yard Attraction, raising the dead and donations for the West Alabama Humane Society

When: October 21, 22 & 23, October 28, 29, 30 & 31, manifesting the dearly departed 6:30 to 9:00 pm each night (weather permitting, haints hate to get their hair wet!)

Where:  3105 28th Street, Northport, Alabama 35476.  The attraction is being held as a walk-through in the backyard due to security reasons.  Look for the huge flaming pumpkin headed scarecrow in the front yard.

Why:  As an avid lover of animals and a haunter, I wanted some way to give back to the community.  Through the kindness of the West Alabama Humane Society, I am going to be able to do both; promote Hallowe'en as it was, the fun, spooky safe holiday that I grew up with and at the same time help those creatures that can't help themselves, namely the many cats and dogs that need food, shelter, first aid and love in hopes that they will one day be adopted into a loving family.

How:  I am sometimes asked how I do these things, to which I reply, "Stay in school.  Do your best. Learn everything you can about math, science, language and the arts and one day, you too can raise the dead...mechanically, of course!"

Admission:  Visiting The Final Unresting Place Cemetery is, and will always be free of charge.  If you would consider a donation to The West Alabama Humane Society, it will be greatly appreciated. 100% of the monies collected will go to helping West Alabama's homeless animals.

Photography is permitted and encouraged. 

Trick or Treating will be held October 30 & 31.  

About The Final Unresting Place Cemetery:
The Final Unresting Place Cemetery displays no depictions or representations of blood, gore, violence or acts of torture.  The display is family-friendly for young, old, living and deceased alike, incorporating completely hand-crafted animatronic characters amidst a foggy graveyard setting.

Won't you stop by and say hello?  My friends have been simply dying to meet you...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stop Motion Rules!

I found this much to my utter delight last night...Mike Jittlov's short: The Wizard of Speed and Time. I saw this back in the 70's and thought it was the greatest, and it still is. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I found it again after 30 years (yes, 30, it came out in 1979). The last one is a special from the Wonderful World of Disney back in the same time...the last of a trilogy in which he thinks he is going crazy and being stalked by little Mickey Mouses. I would love to find the first two parts but will be happy with the finale.

Computer animation is nice but stop motion animation is art.


The original Wizard of Speed and Time...

The longer "Disneyized" version:

Mouse Mania

And the background song is 'Baroque Hoedown', the background music for the Main Street Electrical Parade. Found it on Itunes. I am complete.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Stealing...the 29'er Meme

Sunday Stealing: The 29'er Meme

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?

My storage unit bill, like rent, you don't have anything tangible to show for your money.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?

Lessee, ummm, probably, uh no, it had to, that's not it...Longhorn Steak House I guess

3. How many colleges did you attend?

Two, a junior college and a university. And a trade school

4. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?

I'm having lunch with my folks and skulls would definitely be frowned upon.

5. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?

*&^%$#@!!!! Awake at 5 on a Sunday!!!!!

6. Last thought before going to sleep last night?

Dang I ate too much, I probably won't sleep good.

7. What do you miss about being a child?

Being naive and trusting.

8. What errand/chore do you despise?

Dusting and cleaning the bathroom. Loathe it.

9. Have you found real love yet?

I think so :)

10. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?

Besides a headache, usually a drink.

11. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?

No, I think that it is taken way too casually though.

12. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Dead--Benjamin Franklin or Nicholas Tesla (my two heroes) Alive--Martha Stewart

13. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?

Yes, back when I was learning how to cook I put ALL the cake batter in one pan because it fit so nicely. Batter rises, and burns on hot elements.

14. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?

Would like to visit Disneyland.

15. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?

A new career

16. Do you have a “go to” person?

Sausage Von Trapp, she seems to put things in perspective for me sometimes

17. Are you where you want to be in life?

No, but after many many years, I'm making the moves to go there!

18. Over the years, what about you do you think has changed the most?

I am learning to 'get it' when it comes to life. The more you give the more you get, kindness begets kindness, money isn't everything sort of stuff.

19. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I was terrorized by rednecks and my friends were the only thing keeping me going!

20. Are there times you still feel like a kid?

Every single day.

21. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?

We used to hang out at Ms. M's house. We would make nachos and drink Dr. Pepper and laugh and talk. It was great!

22. Who do you think impacted your life the most?

Ms. M. Without a doubt. She has shaped me over the years to stretch myself beyond what I thought I could do and be more.

23. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?

A chemistry teacher in high school met with me every morning to help me not flunk her class. She also wrote on my paper, 'never put yourself down, people will do that for you for the rest of your life'.

24. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”?

Absolutely not. I will say, 'it used to be that....'

25. What is the scariest thing that has happened to you as an adult?

Realizing that my folks were human and didn't have all the answers.

26. What advice would you give to someone about to get married?

Long, long engagement. Go into marriage with the mindset of never getting out of it and realizing that marriage is about giving, not taking.

27. What advice would you give someone starting their first job?

Do your job the best you can. And if you can't do that, find something else.

28. If you could go back and change one thing you did, what would it be?

I would have gotten an art degree instead of an interior design degree.

29. If you could go back and change one thing someone else did, what would it be?

Hmmmmmm, I don't really know.

I Would Do Little Debbie

I love this woman. Yes, I freely admit it and I feel great about it, I love Little Debbie. Last night someone brought some Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. Greedily I snatched them and held them close to my bosom, petting them while whispering, 'don't worry my precioussssssss, we won't let's the nasty little peoplesssssssss get you.'
Apparently, I'm not alone. There is a cult following of Little Debbie and her confectionaries of trans-fat laden, sugar loaded goodness. So my question to you is....
If you have a preference, what is your favorite Little Debbie snack?

As for me, one of those double decker oatmeal cream pies is akin to sex.

Ed Hardy

I don't know who Ed Hardy is but he makes some bad #@$ clothes. Most of his designs incorporate tattoo graphics and skulls. What's there not to love? Picked these up at T J Maxx last week. I'm still salivating on them.

Birthday Presents

Although my birthday is Thursday, I had a small birthday party last night and it was a lot of fun. Ms. M gave me my presents and I really haven't recovered.

This book gets reviewed soon. This is a sell your spouse into slavery if you have to to buy this book.

I died when I saw this shirt. I double died when I saw how much she paid. She must love me a LOT. This is going to be my Sunday Go To Meetin' Shirt when I want to be asked to leave and never come back. I was and still am speechless.

I love skulls. Have I ever mentioned that fact about me?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dangerous Pie

This pie is killer, and I mean that literally. Let me go on record as saying that I hearby warn you that the technique that I am about to present to you is for entertainment purposes only and I do not and can not recommend any attempts at this recipe as written and if you do choose to attempt this pie, you do so at your own risk.

I ain't kidding kiddies, the technique leaves a ton of ways to get burnt, scalded, bodily and property damage and the like but makes a wonderful...

Caramel Pie

4 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 graham cracker prepared crust

Whipped cream (optional)
Chopped nuts (optional)

Remove labels from cans of milk and place them in a large deep boiler. Add water until tops of cans are covered about an inch. Bring water to a gentle boil and cook cans for 3 1/2 hours uncovered, adding water as needed to keep cans submerged well. At the end of 3 1/2 hours, remove cans from water and place on a rack to cool for at least 45 minutes. When cans are warm but NOT HOT TO THE TOUCH, carefully open lid with a can opener (like you are opening any other can, you will be spooning and not pouring) AWAY FROM YOURS OR ANYONE ELSE'S BODY, just in case there is any built up pressure from the cooking process. Spoon warm caramel into crust and allow to cool. Top with whipped cream and nuts if desired. Serve with insulin because you're going to need it after this!

I have made this pie many times and it always comes out well and I haven't had any mishaps with exploding cans or scalding but I'm always careful and/or lucky. This recipe comes from a local restaurant that quit serving it for some reason or another. This goes well with coffee and is incredibly easy to make...

And did I mention dangerous?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Haunted Video Review Thursday

I asked a day or two ago about and wondered about the haunting videos that they were selling. I decided to risk it and buy the Haunting Animatronics download. This morning, I went ahead and bought the disk. It was good. Very good. A pack of Camels after sort of good.

Now there are different haunting styles and variations in between. Some people haunt with live actors, some people haunt with static characters, some people haunt with animation and there's a mix of all including others who do totally different things with haunting. I personally lean towards animation. I like things to move and I like to figure out how to execute the movement. I do NOT however, have a logical bone in my body, I have to do everything by trial and error. Which brings me to this video, it is a hard core how-to tutorial to making animated characters. Maybe not Disney quality, but dang well close to Six Flags! It promises on the website that no prior knowledge of electronics is needed to which I am a tiny dubious but I was able to follow along fairly easily as he assembled servo and timer circuitry. However, I'm a wimp, I bought talking and programmable circuits already made, although I FREAKING HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THEM. But he does go into BASIC programming for the circuits and gives you some premade programs in the bonus PDF files.

There's a GENEROUS amount of information that you get for your 25.00 (15.00 if you get the direct download) including a bunch of PDF files that assist in programming your monstrosity. The characters that he has constructed are impressive and entirely do-able. I didn't say you could do them overnight under 20.00, I just said that they were do-able. The ideas presented are easily adaptable to most characters. He even includes a section on animatronic hand construction, something that I haven't ever seen before.

If you're a static haunter, this might not be useful to you. He will have an upcoming video in August on Scare Techniques that would be useful to most everyone so wait for that. If you're curious about any sort of animation pertaining to haunting or any other character, then sell a pint of blood if you need to. Seriously, you'll never miss it and some places have brownies and a Coke after you're done and you'll still make the cash.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Everybody loves pie

I really haven't met anyone who doesn't care for pie. Pie is one of those comfort foods that just goes to the soul and nurtures it. One of the wierdest things about me are my tastes in foods: Favorite cookie: sugar cookie. Favorite cake: Birthday cake with white icing. Favorite ice cream: vanilla. Favorite pie: chess.
Plain and simple is the way to go as this pie recipe.

That being said, this is a light and quick pie recipe that tastes fluffy and summerlike, while still retaining all the fat and calories! Yum-O as Rachael Ray says! Annoying catch-phrase as Mr. Macabre says!

Summer Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk (I could simply DRINK this stuff, love it!)

1 tub Cool Whip

1/2 cup lemon/lime/orange juice, your choice (I mix 50/50 lemon and orange sometimes)

1 packaged graham cracker crust (or the new Nilla Wafer crust)

Mix milk, Cool Whip and juice in large bowl until fully combined. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until set (usually overnight).

I have been known to wield a knife at the person trying to take the last piece of this pie from the fridge.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life on the fast forward button

Geeze, they weren't kidding when they said that time goes by faster when you get older. Tomorrow is Wednesday and I'm wondering what happened to the first 2 days. I can't complain, business has picked up some and that's a very good thing. I've been making a couple of extra dollars here and there which is nice, I've been putting it into (you guessed it kiddies) Hallowe'en props. I'm incorrigible, I know.

Something weird happened today, I poured me a bowl of some new cereal, Special K Vanilla and Almond flakes and through the middle of the bowl, I started noticing that I was getting sores in my mouth and tongue. My mouth has been sore all day weirdly enough, like it was blistered. I think that I'll have oatmeal instead tomorrow. I'm not allergic to anything that I know of in the ingredients. Very strange.

Will try to come up with something dark and foreboding to share soon...

Halloween 2 Go

Anybody heard of Me neither. They supposedly have a comprehensive animatronics DVD that shows you step by step how to make an animatronic character. I went for the direct download version and will let you know how it is when I look it over.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last Kiss Comics

I subscribe to Last Kiss comics. Basically, this guy has bought the rights to a bunch of comics from the 50's and 60's and then adds his own spin to them. Today's is darkly funny...

Get your daily dose here!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Little Red Riding Goth

I was in Tuesday Morning today and saw this...

Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?????

Barbie be doin' some role playin', ya'll. Man, fishnet thigh highs with a mini skirt and bustier, I'm looking for Barbie to start saying, "Alright you mangy mutt, Mama wants her shoes shined...with your tongue you worthless dog!" And it looks like Wolfie would have no problem with that whatsoever by his expression! I looked at a couple of the boxes, all of the wolf's eyes are fixed in a lustful stare at Red's boobs. Wonder if that was an accident or on purpose; it DID say 'adult collectable' on the box....

I guess that Barbie could make a little more dough turning tricks than turning burgers!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Screaming Cats

Good for a quick laugh...kind of like me.

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Eerie Elegance: How to Host a Haunt and Other Fabulous Frights

Britta Peterson, author

This is one of those books that almost flew under the radar, my search parameters on Amazon are words like Halloween, Ghost, Animatronics, Haunted Mansion, booger sculpture (ok, I made that last one up), so this one almost got unnoticed but I read about it by chance from a newsgroup. And it would have been my loss, this is one of those worth having.
Ms. Peterson is pretty, reminding me a lot of Sandra Lee on Semi-Homemade Cooking. Her book jacket is EERILY close to the foyer wallpaper in The Haunted Mansion, not copied, but just under the wire to avoid a lawsuit. Works for me. The pages are full color illustrated throughout, not the best quality, comparable to a home printer but good nonetheless.
This book is mostly about hosting a Halloween party, which is just fine with me, because there's nothing wrong with a party. The book is divided into roughly 2/3 decorating hints and techniques and 1/3 cookbook with some really disgustingly wonderful recipes (the brain pate' made me throw up in my mouth a little), but all of them do-able and fairly easy for the novice as well as the veteran. There's a little bit of everything in this book for Halloween parties and decor.

Would I recommend this book? For the beginning haunter/party monger, they should definitely buy this book. This book starts you off with a bunch of good recipes, a lot of good decor tips (including a very good tombstone tutorial), and inspiration to host your own party.
Should the vets out there get this book. I think so, for two reasons, 1) You can never have too many Halloween books and 2) We need to support our own. I think this book is well worth the 20.00 and would provide a lot of inspiration and ideas for dark parties to come.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Question for Ya'll

My birthday is coming up. I will be 45 years young. You say 45 years young instead of 45 years old to try to tell yourself it's not that bad. Anyhow, it really isn't that bad, I feel like I did when I was 16, minus the aches and pains and gray hair covered by Just for Men.
But I digress.
I have a huge pumpkin that I throw all my spare change into daily as well as 1 dollar bills that I have left in my pocket at the end of day and there are 2 times in which I can cash it all birthday and, you guessed it, Hallowe'en. There is usually a couple of hundred dollars in change and bills in there. Birthday is coming up on the 21st, so my question is:

What would you buy yourself?

Mr. Macabre...M.D.

Otherwise known as Mad Doctor. You may feel some slight discomfort and a warm sensation.

I like my Dexter face shield. Should have put on my black work apron too. Hindsight is 20/20.

Haunted Coffin Cam Mechanism

I have tried cam mechanisms before without much luck but I guess I hit the jackpot this time. This is the mechanism for my haunted coffin, a new prop for 2009, it's like the coffin in the Haunted Mansion at Disney, looking like some guy's trying to get out.

Going to build a Styrofoam coffin to use and faux paint it as wood instead of using my heavy-as-lead wooden one that I over engineered to the max (weighs about 90 pounds, what was I thinking?!).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Way too funny

I had forgotten about this. Since I was going to start making props today, I might need this how-to...

I just noticed Igor wiped a booger on the back of Grim.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mr. Macabre Got His Groove Back...

For weeks now, I've been poking around, very sluggish about preparing for Hallowe'en and all. I mean, my gosh, it's May for crying out loud already, time is running out. I figured that I was just going to take a deep breath and pile drive into the workshop and see what happens.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Big goose egg.

Then I got a DVD on the making of the Haunted Mansion that I had been waiting for. I laid in the bed, had me some Dark Candles scents going and allowed the magic to happen. And it did, seeing the epitome of haunting helped. I got up this morning, used my Haunted House spritzer scent (I didn't like it when I first got it but after a while, it's my favorite), and I feel all dark, evil and sinister again. So naturally I have to have a pretty drink to celebrate that I will share the recipe with you:

Mr. Macabre's Pina/Guava Colada

1/3 cup chilled coconut cream
1/2 cup chilled pineapple juice
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup guava nectar (look in the Mexican foods section)
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1 1/2 ounces rum (your favorite kind)

Put it all in a blender and blend until slushy. Pour into 2 fancy glasses. Garnish with a pineapple quarter, a little plastic sword with a marachino cherry on it, a little umbrella and either a small plastic mermaid or little plastic monkey hanging over the rim. Sip with a straw, a pretty straw, one that has the little ridges that allows it to bend.

I think that this is the drink that I had in Cancun served in the pineapple but they might have just omitted the pineapple juice and used all guava nectar. Will have to try it the next batch. The things I do for science....and Hallowe'en.

I was deemed worthy

of the Zombie Chicken Award by Eve Noir of For The Love of Goth

The Zombie Chicken

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the Zombie Chicken, excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

Well, let's see, I personally feel all of them are deemed worthy but....
Creepy Cupcakes

The Captain's Ramblings

Frog on the Pumpkin

Wouldn't You Like To See Something Strange?


Nichols Manor

I...I'm not crying, there's just something in my eyes....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu Mask...

If I find that I need to wear a mask in public, I'm at least going to have fun doing it.