Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions and Living in Tomorrow...a kind of rambling

Howdy ya'll!
Today is New Year's Eve, 2009 (thank goodness it's almost over!) and I'm sitting here pecking out the last blog entry of the year before 2010 is ushered in.   I used to make a list of resolutions to faithfully follow that I would end up butchering a week later whether it would be saving money, losing weight, eating healthier, bla bla bla...I was never really good at keeping resolutions.  Last year I remember resolving not to make any resolutions, maybe I jinxed myself by doing that so I'm going to make one resolution this year...

I, Mr. Bellasarius Macabre, do hereby resolve for the year of our Lord 2010, to henceforth live not in tomorrow, but to live in the today.

Now, what does that mean?  I was thinking while driving the other day about a resolution, should I go vegan?  Should I join a gym?  Should I go all organic?  Lots of things that are truly good things, but then I realized that I would envision myself doing those good things in a future life, ie: tomorrow.
Therefore, nothing would ever happen because I would do it tomorrow.  I started thinking again, that it's kind of like living in the "if onlys", 'if only I had this tool I could build that', 'if only I had a weight set I could train', 'if only I were, had, yadda yadda yadda, then I could la tee da'.


If I wanted to lift weights I could fill 2 milk jugs up with water and that would work.  I realized that procrastination is my bedfellow and he lives in tomorrow.  I'm reminded about my late aunt Flora who died of cancer 2 years ago, she always lived in tomorrow.  We hauled out 50,000.00 dollars worth of clothes to the Salvation Army (her wishes) that still had tags on them.  She had stacks and stacks and stacks of magazines neatly categorized for when she would use them...tomorrow.  I was given a complete set of expensive china for 8 that was going to be used someday and when I took it out of the pasteboard box, it was wrapped in newspaper from 1976.   It hadn't seen the light of day since then, and the company has long since folded.  But someday it was going to be used, but I doubt she expected it to be by her eccentric 40-something macabre nephew.

My resolution is to quit procrastinating and living in tomorrow and someday and to start doing and living today.

I'd like to hear some of your resolutions too!  One of mine is straightening up and organizing the shop...

Aw #@$%&, I'll do THAT next week!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Sentiments Exactly Your Majesty

From The New Adventures of Queen Victoria, one of my favorite comic strips through, where you can get your daily fix of comics delivered to your inbox.

Friday, December 25, 2009

2 in the morning on Christmas day

What am I doing up?  Oh yeah, couldn't sleep.  I must be going through menopause or something because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night for no reason absolutely roasting alive.  Anyone else have that problem or more importantly, have a solution?

I was thinking back a bit about 2009 and all in all, it was a dang weird year and I'm glad it's just about over.  Maybe this year was the year everything was a bit crappy to lay the groundwork for 2010 being great.  I wondered why money was a bit tight this year and my business was off by about 45% and I was down about 9000.00 overall from last year.  That was a bit scary but we made it OK.  I missed Hallowe'en this year, it just didn't happen which I don't know if I regret it or not, I don't see how I could have done much anything differently.

On the upside, I have met some wonderful people out in Blogland, some that I have the honor to call friends.  I have read their blogs and learned of their ups and downs and gained insight to my own life through their experiences and that has been richly rewarding.  One blogger inadvertently has made my relationship with Mrs. Macabre a whole lot better by allowing me to understand and accept that differences in two people that love each other is just fine (thanks Peter!).

As 2009 draws to a close, I think that I will remember this as being a more difficult year but one that can be looked back on to say we got through it. 

Now it's 3:05 and I'm finally cooled down and am going to saunter back to bed...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good fright night (sorry, couldn't resist).

Mr. Macabre

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Your Home For Fantastic Bad Crafts! Craftastrophe!

I love bad arts and crafts. I can't help it, I just do. There was this lady in our mall with a kiosk that would draw your picture for 20 dollars and I believe her guarantee was that your eyes wouldn't point in the same direction in the drawing. They were bad but like a horrible accident, I could never avert my eyes from them, I kept trying to repair the drawing in my mind and I always failed. She was there for years before she retired.  I hate myself for not buying something from her.

I present to you Craftastrophe, your home to all crafts that aren't quite right, or downright wrong.  This site is like crack, or peanut M & M's, once you start, you're addicted.  The fun part is that a vast majority of the products are still for sale!  You see something like bedazzled bikini briefs made of beef jerky, you can buy them!  or this...


I'm going to go get my Snuggie and turn all the lights on in the house now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just a dang cool picture

Don't know what I like about this picture, I just do.  Took it with the cell phone in the Piggly Wiggly.

I collected saint candles at one time but had to give up, there was just too doggone many of them to keep up with!

Christmas shenanigans and a new tradition is born

Sausage Von Trapp and I exchanged ornaments for Christmas this year.  We went to our local ceramic paint-a-plate studio and made an ornament for the other one but we didn't show each other what we were working on until today when they came out of the kiln and were finished.

Mine to her

Christmas Drives Me Crazy!

And her's to me, that's her alter-ego, Cheesecake Charlene, chawing on a chicken leg.

I then had an eyeball laying around my van and decided to desecrate Sausage's sweet Advent calendar door thingy (what the %$#@ is that thing called?  an advent box, a Christmas cabinet?)

A quick little story and the 21st of December will not be the same.

*UPDATE* just got a text that the Christmas eyeball will be a tradition in the Von Trapp household.  We are going to do the ornament thing each year because it was so fun.  You might want to think about it too!

Goths and Baseball

Found this accidentally and can't stop watching it.  Some of the looks these guys make are priceless!

The Sequel!

Makes me want to go to Spencer's and buy some black lipstick.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Techno Grim Grinning Ghosts

Why do I have the sudden urge to throw my hands in the air and spin while wearing a crop top and tight leather pants after hearing this?

Haunted Book Review Thursday

(no, the link doesn't click, go to Amazon for the preview)

Give Them A Real Scare This Halloween-A Guide to Scaring Trick or Treaters and Haunting Your House, Yard or Party

Authored and Illustrated by:  Joseph Pfeiffer

This is a deceiving book.  Upon first glance, the cartooned cover as well as the profusely cartooned illustrations would lead you to believe that for the more advanced haunter, this book would be of little use.

Au contraire mademoiselle et monsieur!

There's a lot of information and more importantly, ideas for Halloween costumes, decorating and haunting in this book.  I've had this book for a number of years and I still find myself flipping through it for ideas and inspiration.  I can see the train of thought in this book, a veritable haunting brainstorming session that was put on paper and published.  And that's ok, no, that's good!  He doesn't tell you HOW to use pneumatics, control circuits, or carpentry skills (although, there are some elementary molding and prop construction instruction overviews that are quite valuable to get a start on construction) but gives you ideas on how you can make and use a prop in a haunt.  I want to do one of the first ideas in the book:  sit in a wheelchair with a blanket over the lap.  When the trick or treater comes close, rip off the blanket to reveal two skeleton legs and start wheeling towards them saying "I want your legs, give me your legs, I need your legs!"  I would think that would be instant mental scarring.  The idea is in the book but the execution instructions for this isn't, which is ok, you purchase two bucky legs off of Ebay, tuck your own legs under the seat of the chair and away you go!
Well, maybe a little more than that, but not much!

Three words, get this book, great ideas when you're feeling mentally dry and need an inspirational jump start.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Does Captain Crunch make your mouth raw!?  I had a bowl this morning and the top of my mouth is raw and my tongue too!  Do they put sandpaper in the crunchberries?!

Enquiring minds want to know!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dr. Steel

I was looking for Voltaire on Bing, found a website, scrolled down and found Dr. Steel.  Isn't randomness on the internets fun, you find all sorts of cool things!
He's insane and evil, bent on world domination and enslaving humanity.  I like him!

See more of Dr. Steel HERE and become a Toy Soldier...I am!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rennovation of a haunted house

I was scared to death that they were demolishing the haunted part of the house but it's the adjacent building to it that's getting the wreaking ball.  The haunt is listed in the 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery, documenting Alabama ghost folklore.  This house is still haunted, firemen keep getting called on a WEEKLY basis to investigate mysterious 'flames' and lights from the top arches.  I'm glad to see it getting a well-deserved facelift.

From the Tuscaloosa News:

The Drish House, one of Tuscaloosa’s most prominent “haunted” houses, is being returned to something approaching its original appearance this weekend.
Early Friday morning, a crew from Arrowood Excavating began tearing down the large red brick church building that had been added to the 174-year-old home by Southside Baptist Church in the 1950s. The church building is adjacent to the house.
James Arrowood, the owner of the Romulus-based company, said he hoped to have the job finished today.
The Drish house was built on 17th Street around 1835 by Dr. James Drish, who died after falling off a balcony in the house. His death, and that of his wife, Sarah, led to several stories that the house was haunted by their ghosts.
Over the years the house passed through many hands and at one point during the Depression was an auto parts store, captured in a famous photograph by Walker Evans.
Two years ago the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society bought the house from the church and has been working to stabilize it, according to architect Evans Fitts, a member of the preservation society’s board of directors.
Southside Baptist had used the house for Sunday school classes and added a small addition to the east side that was demolished last year. Tearing down the sanctuary of the church is a more complicated job.
“The church is attached to the side of the Drish House and we don’t know yet what it will look like when this demolition is finished,” Fitts said. “Hopefully, there won’t be too much work to be done to the side of the house to stabilize it and make it look something like it did in its heyday.
“But the inside still needs massive renovation and the preservation society does not have the money to do much other than repair and stabilize what’s inside. Hopefully sometime in the future some one will come forward with an offer to renovate the house completely.”
The claw of a large bulldozer made its first incision in the south side of the church building Friday morning, and by noon the bulldozer was still at work, sitting on a large mound of rubble.
Arrowood was keeping a close eye on the project.
“We’ve torn down several buildings this size before, but not one that was connected to another building that needs to be saved,” he said. “My main concern is that we don’t do any damage to the house itself.”
Katherine Mauter, the executive director of the preservation society, was bundled up against the cold weather and keeping a close eye on the work.
“I’m here to document the process,” she said, holding up a small camera. “This is a big project and just the latest chapter in the Drish House history.”
Arrowood said he was well aware of the stories about the house, but said he noticed nothing out of the ordinary as the demolition work began.
“Yeah, I know all about the ghost stories,” he said. “I’ve even been in the house at night alone and you can bet that I had those stories in mind while I was in there.
“But I didn’t see anything unusual.”

TUSCALOOSA - Of all the allegedly haunted houses in Tuscaloosa — and there are more of them than you might think — the Drish House on 17th Street near downtown has been the holy grail for those looking.

“We’ve been waiting for years to get to go inside the Drish House,” David Higdon, one of the co-founders of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group, said last week, as he prepared for a night of investigation. “The house has so many stories associated with it, maybe more than any other house in town, but it has been off-limits forever.”

All that changed last year when the last remaining members of Southside Baptist Church, which for 70 years owned the three-story mansion built by Dr. John Drish around 1835, signed the deed over to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society. The society has been cleaning and stabilizing the deteriorating building ever since.

“We’ve finally got all the trash out of the house and even though there are still some places in the floors you can’t walk because of termites and a stairway that is too unstable to climb, we think it is safe to enter now,” said Susan Haynes, the executive director of the society, as she joined the members of the paranormal group in their three hours to look for, well, the paranormal.

“We’ve worked with this group before,” she added, “and I kind of think it is fun to investigate places like this just to see what we can find.”

The tragic beginning

While there are several versions of the story behind the ghosts in the Drish House, they all revolve around Drish himself, who was also a planter, gambler and, by all reports, an alcoholic, Haynes said.

“The story is that one night when he was trying to dry out, but had the shakes and was seeing things, he leapt up out of his bed upstairs and charged right over the banister, falling to his death,” she said. “But maybe sensing something, he had left elaborate instructions for his burial, and they included lying in state upstairs in the home surrounded by candles.”

Drish’s widow, Sarah, lived in the house for several more years, becoming increasingly unstable as she grieved for her husband.

“She wanted her funeral to be just like her husband’s and became obsessed with preserving the candles that were used at his bedside,” Haynes said. “But when she finally died, no one could find the candles — she had hid them too well — and she lay in state without them.”

That’s when the strange occurrences began, Haynes said.

“There are numerous instances of people reporting seeing the third-story tower on fire and calling the fire department,” she said. “But each time when they got there, there was no fire and no sign of fire.

“The lore is that the light people saw was from those candles that Sarah, or her spirit lit. Even in recent years, there have been reports of strange lights coming out of the house.”

There are several other stories of the supernatural elements in the Drish House, including some about Drish’s daughter, Katherine, said to be insane, and runaway slaves who hid in the house only to die of starvation.

“But Dr. Drish’s violent death and his widow’s sorrow and what happened after she died is the story most people know best,” Haynes said.

The Drish House also achieved some notoriety in the mid-1930s when Walker Evans photographed it while it was being used as an auto parts store and wrecking company headquarters.

“That’s really a famous photo that hangs in a museum in New York,” Haynes said. “It was part of Evans’ documentation of the South during the Depression.”

Night in the haunted house

As Haynes recounted the stories surrounding the Drish House, a white half moon set behind the old mansion as more than half a dozen members of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group unpacked their equipment. Unpacked were three infrared cameras that attached to a digital video recorder and a monitor that showed scenes from all three cameras at once, several digital tape recorders, highly accurate thermometers, hand-held video and digital cameras along with other sensors.

Mike Corley, who co-found the 20-member group with Higdon about three years ago, didn’t bother hiding his excitement as the equipment was being unloaded and investigators waited for their first glimpse inside the mansion.

“The story of the Drish House was told in Kathryn Tucker Windham’s very first ‘13 Alabama Ghosts’ book,” Corley said. “I know that a lot of groups all around the country have been interested in getting in this house for years, but its never been available until now.”

Once inside, Higdon and Corley set up the DVR and monitor in the small kitchen the church had built on the ground floor, while cables were run to the infrared cameras placed in the main ground floor room, looking down the stairwell where Dr. Drish plunged to his death, and vertically on the second floor looking up into the tower where the “fires” were often reported.

“Once we get everything set up, we’ll all gather in the big room and have what we call ‘lights out,’ which is when we will see if any of our equipment can detect anything or we can hear or see anything ourselves,” Higdon said.

Both he and Corley shrugged off any suggestion that the 30 members of their group are “ghostbusters.”

“We don’t mind anything people might think of us,” Corley said. “Look, I’m a skeptic myself, but I do know that in some of our investigations we have come on things we can’t explain.

“We’ve recorded some very unusual lights and sounds with our equipment, and I have even felt myself physically pushed by something on one of our investigations.”

Higdon said his group has investigated more than a dozen structures in Tuscaloosa County, including Smith Hall at the University of Alabama and the original site of Bryce Hospital on University Boulevard.

Questioning the ghosts

By the time “lights out” finally came at 9 p.m., the group gathered in the front room of the old mansion had swelled to about a dozen. Many sat on the floor, a few stood and a couple of people sat in folding chairs they brought with them.

After a few moments of silence, punctuated only by the sound of a nearby train whistle, Corley began to ask questions of the darkness, pausing for a long time between each inquiry.

“Is there anyone here who would like to contact us?
If there is someone here, could you tell us your name?
“Is there anyone here who might want to communicate by knocking on the wall or floor?”

After several more questions and seemingly no responses — at least none that could be detected by the people in the room — the group went upstairs, where the ritual was repeated, again to no obvious paranormal reaction.

But Higdon said he was not discouraged, that the data collected from the various sensors had to be analyzed before any judgment could be made.

Later in the week, he said that while the data had yet to be assessed, there did appear to be some anomalies detected both by the infrared cameras and some of the audio recorders.

“There were some lights floating around the room,” he said. “Now whether that might just have been dust, or even a bug, we can’t say yet. And there did seem to be some response to some questions that we couldn’t hear, but that was picked up by our monitors.

“But I think Monday was a good start — we usually visit a site three or four time before we’re through,” he said. “I’m just glad somebody finally got in the Drish House.

“There is just so much good lore there.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's scarier than Christmas decorations in August

A call from the Feds!  I get a call today from an agent of the USDA on my cell phone (my cell phone number isn't published).  Agent Scully (of course not her real name) asks about a plant purchase I made on Ebay from Thailand (hair starts standing up on my neck, oh great, the lemon grass was actually opium poppy or pot and they're after my haunted @$$!).  I said yes, I purchased 3 red lemon grass plants that died immediately and they were disposed of.  Scully isn't satisfied; how were they disposed of, landfill, compost pile, etc.  I said I threw the whole pot in a black garbage sack and threw it in the garbage months ago.  Scully was then satisfied.
And by the way, Scully was at my folk's house and before that was at my house looking for me.  She had looked me up and traveled about 300 miles.   She had undoubtedly gotten all my account information from Ebay and government records.  Scary.
What had happened was that a seller on Ebay was selling plants...without going through customs.  I remember going through the wringer through customs in Atlanta coming back from Cancun as they were looking for any items that weren't allowed into the US.  I remember getting the package early this spring and wondering how that was possible but didn't give it a thought after that.  She then gave me some sobering facts that if certain plants were introduced improperly, it could be disastrous (read: kudzu), turning into a agricultural nightmare. She said that even something as simple as a bark birdhouse manufactured overseas and brought in could harbor some sort of horned beetle that could hatch and attack hardwood trees.  They wouldn't have any natural enemies over here and the only remedy would be to destroy any infected trees with the beetle.  She then asked me if I had citrus trees and I said yes.  She asked where I got them and I said "Lowe's".  I was safe, it seems that Florida is under an agricultural quarantine for citrus plants and can't be exported out of the state because of some disease on them. 

All kidding aside, Agent Scully was very nice to talk to after she realized that I was COMPLETELY cooperative and had no idea what I had done and that the plants in question were buried in a black bag in a hole halfway deep to China.  She said Ebay was being cooperative in their concerns against unauthorized plants being brought into this country and left me her card in my mailbox in case I had any questions.

On behalf of Agent Scully and myself, please be mindful about buying or bringing items that the customs people frown upon.  It's for our own good.  There's probably a freeze-hardy kudzu out there that will take over the US if given a chance that must be kept out at all costs!

Haunted Book Review Thursday

It's been awhile hasn't it?  Let's crank back up with a book given to me by another blogger weic? and his great blog when is evil cool?.  It's one that I know will have worn covers...

Halloween Vintage Holiday Graphics
Edited by Jim Heimann

  I'm old school Hallowe'en, and happily so.  My memories of Hallowe'ens past keeps the passion alive in me.  I'm constantly searching for items from my youth or beyond that brings back those innocent fun days of Hallowe'en fun and this book helps.
Besides the brief forward, this book has no text aside from incidental text from copies of vintage cards or advertisements in the book. Lavish illustrations of Hallowe'en iconography from the turn of the 19th century to the 70's is displayed throughout.  There's no rhyme or reason or order, just page after page of vintage products, cards, photographs, costumes, decorations from an era unfortunately past.  Although there's no how-to's, commentary or instruction, this book is a wonderful romp through the days when everything was a little slower and simpler.  This is a truly fun book if you like vintage graphics as I do.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Can you get any more Christmas Goth than this?!

I like Voltaire, a lot.  He's learned, witty, talented, and multifaceted.  I would have seriously hated him a few years ago because I used to dislike anyone that I viewed as talented/beautiful/smart/gifted at one time in my life because of jealousy and severe insecurity, but thankfully I've moved on from that neurotic stage in my life.  Everyone has different talents, everyone is gifted differently in their own way. And you are also, don't let anyone tell you differently.

I like him a lot more since I saw this...

Powerful message.  I personally like it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I want to have this man's baby

Meet Thomas Kuntz, master automaton artist, with a flair for the dark side and an inspiration for me.  I love automatons, kinetic art, anything that moves and this first piece is well worth selling one's soul for....

This one is creepy in a sort of wonderful sort of way, love the shifty eyes...

An interview with Thomas Kuntz...

Can you imagine what possibilities this man would have if he decorated for Hallowe'en?!  I would freaking MOVE just to live next to him to see what he put in his yard!

Then again, he probably just puts out a pre-carved pumpkin from the WalMarts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The food of nightmares

Why do I do these things, someone please tell me.  While channel flipping (I'm a guy, I channel flip) I zip by the Travel Channel and watch this guy eat a barbecue sauce with habanero extract in it (he was sweating like a pig, he was insane for doing it!), and then another show he tries to eat an 8 pound hamburger (didn't do it, looked like he was going to throw up) but in between, there was an ad for some guy that eats weird @$$ food, food being a very loose term.

He had a *&*;$#^% big @$$ spider on a stick.

After I crawled down off the ceiling when I had finished screaming, I took my masochistic self to the computer and verified what I thought I had seen...

I'm Southern. As a rule, we fry everything, salt it and then put gravy on it. I haven't heard of any Southern recipes calling for big @$$ spiders and Mazola.

This makes every fiber of my being cringe in abject terror, so naturally I had to share.  The question remains...ranch dressing or honey mustard dipping sauce?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Confession

I'm coming clean for ya'll.  I have a confession to make and it isn't pretty.  I have to face your rejection, ridicule and ostracization  because of this deep dark secret of mine.  I'm sorry for the hurt that I will have caused you, my dear readers, it was nice knowing you all.

I have a Snuggie and I like my Snuggie.

There, I've said it and I'm proud of it.  My world was grainy black and white as I struggled to answer the phone on the sofa with a regular blanket until my Snuggie from the CVS came into my life.  And yes, I am well aware that I look like a tool when I use it.

This cracks me up (has some naughty words in it so just to let you know)...

Told my dear friend Sausage's husband that I had a Snuggie.   He said that he was embarrassed for me.  Sadly enough, I want the Snuggie 2.0; it's 40% heavier and has a place for your cough drops and Kleenex!

Something tells me I'm going to regret pushing the 'PUBLISH POST' button...