Friday, August 26, 2011

The Face of Procrastination

"You may delay, but time will not."
--Benjamin Franklin

Here it is 68 days before Halloween and I'm staring at a bunch of uncompleted projects.

I've only "finished" one of my two cemetery entrance columns (and air quotes are around finished because I haven't attached the lantern yet to the one that's otherwise done); I need to tweak my grave grabber prop to make it operate as smoothly as I'd like...and attach its head; my gravedigger Madog stands as uncompleted as where I last left him, which means just a pair of boots; and right across from where I'm sitting are five tombstones that need to be painted.

"I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours."
--Jerome K. Jerome

As if that wasn't enough, I've also been commissioned to build props for an Alice in Wonderland-themed Sweet 16 party. That means I need to build a bunch of centerpieces for the tables -- two mushrooms, the White Rabbit, Absalom the caterpillar, the Cheshire cat, and some oversized teacups -- a set of giant Hearts cards as guards, and the Red Queen's throne. Not to mention the invitations and a few Mad Hatter hats to boot. And there are some extras I'd like to throw in too, if I have the time. Haha!

Oh, and let's not forget my Secret Reaper gift I need to build too for my Halloween Forum victim. While I could always go with store bought stuff, I prefer hand-made. While I do have some ideas I've got less than three weeks to get 'em done!

Ah, and yes, two family members asked if I could build them a groundbreaker each this year.

"Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried."

Is that enough? That will teach me to put off building props. I had a hard time generating any enthusiasm this summer to build anything. Fortunately I've been bitten by the bug again. I started work on the mushroom centerpieces yesterday and there's something about working with paper mache that gets me excited.

As much as I'd love my patron from the haunted house last year to stop by again and commission some new props for me, I seriously don't know where I'd find the time to do it all.

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."
--William James

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wizard's World

I guess there often comes a time when a pupil surpasses the teacher in depth of knowledge and talent. DaVinci studied under Verrochio and history barely even remembers the teacher's name. Mozart went on to excel far beyond his father's middling talents, even though he was a composer in his own right. And Potter developed more renown in wizardry than did Dumbledore ever did.

Wizardry is a tricky thing, though, and the use of a good wand is paramount. That's why I pleased to be able to highlight some wonderfully handcrafted wands from the workshop of Lignari Woodcraft.

Oh, and did I mention the proprietor is my daughter Vanessa?

I've always had some half-assed artistic talent that I've explored at times. It's part of the reason for my love of Halloween and haunting as it gives me an outlet for my creative side. And while I always knew Vanessa had an artistic streak all her own, the explosion of talent she's showing with these detailed, hand-made wands makes me realize that we've reached the point where pupil passes teacher, child exceeds parent.

Obviously I'm immensely proud she's taken this step on her own, though a bit wistful that I actually concede her skills outstrip my own.

Each wand is painstakingly carved, painted, and sealed by hand to ensure durability. Stock wands based upon (though not copied from) those found in the Harry Potter movies are only $24.95. Custom designs of your choosing are also available with a price to be determined based upon complexity and detail desired.

Feel free to drop Vanessa a note at Lignari Woodcraft via her Facebook page if you'd like to see more samples of her work or would like to inquire about obtaining a wand of your own. She will also soon produce other handcrafted items, such as NASCAR model that's in the works. A website are in the works as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marking His Spot

At first I thought the Bloodshed Brothers were trying to add a bit of realism to their new pro haunt, but then I realized it was probably just a haunter who was simply collecting samples to emulate for his own graveyard display.

Some of us visit graveyards and take pictures of tombstones that we'd like to go back and build out of rigid foam. Others, apparently even meth heads, prefer not having to rely upon a small photo to guide their hand in the process and want the real thing in front of them.

Police find stolen tombstones at California home

Deputies searching a suspected California meth house found some two dozen granite tombstones stolen from local cemeteries in the backyard, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The grave markers found at the home in the Inland Empire community of Loma Linda on Tuesday all had custom inscriptions and had apparently been ripped from the ground, spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.

I realized it probably wasn't Zach or Jeremy when it was revealed the house was located in Loma Linda, some 60 miles from Temecula.

More on the story here.

The Devil Walks Among Us

We all know that debt is a nasty thing, and too much of it can ruin you. Your credit rating, the FICO score which oddly ranges from 300 to 850 (kind of like your SAT scores, where you got 200 points just for writing your name on the paper) can make or break whether you can buy that car, house, or add that "infinity pool" to your deck -- you can afford one of those, right?

Well, now we understand just how truly evil it is. According to the folks at Credit Karma, the average U.S. credit rating is 666. Yes, the Mark of the Beast! According to the Book of Revelations (Rev. 13:16-18):

"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." (emphasis added)

We've all been marked now, and the Antichrist is apparently here. Now go out and run up those credit card bills.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Snack Bar is Killer Too

Next time you and your friends want to go knock down some pins, you might want to consider doing it like these guys in Germany did, bowling with severed heads.

Well, not really, but they spray painted some awesome graphics on bowling bowls to resemble severed heads and they look really cool. Done for Germany's No. 1 horror TV channel, 13th Street, spraygun artist Oliver Paass took three weeks to create some really unique, full 360-degree bowling ball designs. In some cases you hold the ball by an eye socket, in others by a nostril or the mouth. Zombie bowling balls are definitely cool. I want one!

13th STREET – Bowlingheads (Case Video) from RUOK on Vimeo.

Kind of reminds me of that old joke, how can you tell lepers are playing hockey? There's a face off on the ice. For more design images, check them out here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Better Drive a Stake Through His Heart

Vampires walk among us. Or fly. And they're looking for your blood. A 19-year old Mexican migrant worker became the first person ever to die in the  U.S. from being bitten by a vampire bat.

While you may have thought vampires loved to sink their teeth into the carotid artery in your neck, popular culture has it all wrong. Apparently your heel is the sweet spot for these blood suckers. Seems the worker was walking in his home land of Michoacan when the attack happened. Ten days later he came to the U.S. to work on a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana and within 15 days of being bit took ill.

He subsequently died of the bite. No word if they severed his head when he was buried, or stuck a rock in his mouth, both common ways of dealing with possible vampires.

For the record, he contracted bat rabies and developed encephalitis, a swelling of the area around the brain. Having never received a rabies vaccine before, he quickly succumbed to the virus.
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