Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hmm...

Maybe I'll do a pumpkin pot giveaway when I reach 140 followers...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strange Gift

One afternoon, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find one of the neighbor kids standing on my porch with a bag in her hand. She handed it to me and said, "My mom sent these over to you. She thought you could use them."

Huh? A Ziploc baggie of miniature handcuffs?

Apparently the mom, who's a teacher, had the local police come out for a safety lecture or something like that and they left the mini-handcuffs for her to give to the kids. She decided it would be inappropriate, so took the bag home to give to me.

Makes me wonder what exactly her perception of me might be...

For Folks In VFX Production

For you folks who are living in that strange world of visual effects production, you might be interested in my dad's newest project: his webinar! If you're in the field and want to keep up on production support and all things related to visual effects production, head on over to his Visual Effects Partners website and sign up for the webinar he and business partner Susan Zwerman have put together. Both of them have been working in the field for quite awhile, and my dad alone has been in the movie industry for over forty years. This webinar seems to be unusual in that once you pay for it and get your password, you can his the site as many times as you like within your three-day period. Miss something or think you needed to see something again? You're golden!

I hope this helps those Industry students or experienced professionals who are looking to increase their knowledge of this field. Enjoy! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pumpkin's Progress-The Boys Are Back in Town!

A whopping five days since I last posted about my pumpkins, and wow! What a difference in size and development in such a short time! I can only hope that the rest of the growing season is as kind to them! The second picture will clearly show that Wyatt's Wonder is continuing in his plan to take over the back yard. Perhaps the Universe is next!
A closer glance revealed that the boys are back in town! Yup, I have a few flowers starting, and the first flowers on pumpkin plants are always male. The females should be showing up in a week or two, and then-the pumpkins will begin!
I can't wait to see what they do in the next seven days!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rot's Crows Redux


Strublay was kind enough to send be the URLs for a couple of Pumpkinrot's works that were made into Demotivational posters. Thank you, Strublay!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Elvira: Back From No-Man's Land!

I can't wait! Heard about this on Johnny Thunder's Blog and found the vid. FAB-U-Lous news!

What Day Is It?

It's the day the new Hauntcast comes out!

News, horror reviews, how-tos, and me! Your very own Mistress of Mayhem. Join da crew of Johnny Thunder, Chris Baker, Revenant, Dr. Morbius, myself and special guest, Ralph "Ironman" Mitchell,  founder of the now defunct Ironstock.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Getaway Pics

I have a few more pics from our Point Reyes trip for you!
Mr. ShellHawk took a few pics of me taking pics of the lighthouse. In the pic above, you'll see me down towards the bottom of the stairs, by the rocks.
Me again, in the black pea coat.

I managed to get a few shots without other people in them. I was actually pretty surprised not only to see a huge amount of tourists there, but also to hear all the different languages spoken. I hadn't realized the lighthouse was such a big draw!
Above are some of the innards of the larger rectangular building you can see in the first pictures. While Point Reyes lighthouse isn't officially "in service" since they put in the new, improved lighthouse a little ways up the coast, they still had the horn going.
While I couldn't actually go up the stairs to the lens, I did manage to get some cool interior shots. I was told that each lighthouse has its own light code, so that the ships' captains know where they are.
Actual innards of the light-turning mechanism. Very cool to see!
Mr. ShellHawk, birding enthusiast, got this great pic of a Peregrine Falcon. It's nice to see them in the wild, slowly coming back from the huge DDT poisoning problem they had. I actually ran across a guy on our trip who said he was sick of hearing about "organic this and organic that." I wanted to crack him one for being stupid! I mean, hello? Birds are crushing their eggs because they're ingesting DDT from when it was used in 1939, and you really think there's no problem with chemical fertilizers and pestisides? Seriously? And he reproduced, too. What a shame.

Sorry for the rant.

Anyway, there may be more pics of the trip. I'm heading out tomorrow for L.A., so I probably won't be posting, so I'll see you guys Monday or Tuesday!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And the Winner Is...

GVWYS! Yup, GVWYS has won the My Printing Postcard Giveaway. Please contact me with your email address and I'll forward that on to the company so you can get your postcards.

Congratulations!

Pumpkin Progress

Young's Beauty on the left, Wyatt's Wonder on the right. I planted them at the end of April.
Another Young's Beauty. My "Jack o'Lantern" is struggling, as one of my dogs has dug it up several times. Rotten dog! It happened after I threw in the chicken manure compost, and she just loves the smell. I'll keep updating you on the great Pumpkin Growing of 2010!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mrs. Kobritz? Are you home?

All right. It's not really Stevie Wayne's house, but it's probably in the neighborhood. This is the Sea Star Cottage, and that's Mr. ShellHawk unlocking the door to our anniversary nest this past weekend.

My darling Mr. ShellHawk arranged for us to head for Inverness and Point Reyes, California, because he heard my April Hauntcast segment on John Carpenter's The Fog. In case you hadn't listened to the history on that movie, a lot of the exterior shots were filmed in the area, and the lighthouse that Stevie Wayne broadcast from is the Point Reyes lighthouse. (It's also on a soundstage, but the exterior shots were Point Reyes.) If you hadn't guessed, the picture in the previous post shows the Ape in the front of this lighthouse. The bay you see behind the house is actually Tomales Bay, and if you're a fan of oysters, this is the West Coast location to go gorge yourself on a bunch of the little beggars! You can actually go to some of the farms out there and have a little picnic while you munch on the oysters they pulled out of the water about fifteen minutes ago. Mr. ShellHawk and I stopped at Drakes Bay Family Farms on the road back from Point Reyes Lighthouse and the Mr. had himself about a dozen oysters for a good price. If you go, I'd recommend getting your oyster fix this way, because the restaurant prices are outrageous.

I'll post more pics of the lighthouse and our getaway this week. Right now, it's laundry time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

KA[pe]B Radio on Top of the World


KAB Radio, Antonio Bay. Your night light...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friends...

So these serial killers had a poker night...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

News From the Nest

It's been busy at the Nest. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, and quite recently, but it remains true. I'm busier now than when I had a full-time job, and I'm still looking for one of those.

Some folks have contacted me for special orders of my pumpkin pots, which is great! Even better is that I've managed to throw some larger pots without them collapsing, so once I can do that consistently, I'll be offering them in my Etsy store. It shouldn't be long. I've also been working on some small, hand-carved pumpkins that I'll fire and either paint or glaze; I'm not sure which one I'll do yet. Maybe I'll do some of each. Since both Pumpkinrot's beloved Bean and Ghoul Friday also do tiny pumpkins, I made a conscious decision not to look at their little guys so I'm not copying their designs or faces by accident. It's kind of tough to avoid similarities, since jacko faces can look very much alike, but I think they hold my style, rather than others'. I'll do a reveal soon, and you can let me know if I've succeeded.

The reason I decided to make some tiny pumpkins is in preparation for a show I hope to be accepted into in September. (It's the Folsom Fine Arts Festival, so there's a chance my stuff won't be considered "artsy" enough, but I'm crossing my fingers.) I wanted small, inexpensive things that folks can buy in addition to my larger pots, and I think if I make enough of them, they'll move. I'm working my ass off to make sure I have enough different products to fill a 10'x10' stall. If all goes well (i.e. if I can get a few people to help me), I'll set Stewie up in the back of the stall as a draw. I'm hoping they have electricity so I can plug him in.

Teaching has been going well. Last week I put together an idea/resource guide for them as a handout, since it seems they needed one, and I found out that the Parks and Rec department has a projector that I can use and I can hop onto their Internet. So, I got to show a couple of videos to them last week, and plan to show them another one today: Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned Wood in these pages before, but for those who don't know why she's such a hero of mine, it's because she was already forty years old when she started to learn ceramics and she continued to work in her studio until she was 104. She passed away at age 105. (Considering my grandma is turning 101 next month, I'm hoping that continuing in art and ceramics will keep my mental acuity up for a long time, in case I make it as long as Oma!)

I'm in process of writing my Hauntcast segment right now, too, and managed to justify buying a book I needed for research. (I've had a bit of a shift in attitude about book purchases. Since I've made a major effort to get rid of many of the books I've been schlepping around for the past thirty years or so, I'm very picky about the books I purchase these days. They have to meet certain criteria, and this one fit the bill.) I had another topic in mind initially, but wasn't able to find as much research material on it as I would like, so I'm bumping that topic onto the back burner for a couple of months until I can find what I need. July's segment topic has already been decided; I just need to get it written up and recorded in the next couple of weeks. I'll probably be asking for your help in finding that elusive information for my August segment, so stay tuned!

Lastly, please remember the postcard giveaway that's going on right now! Rules here. I include my postcard from My Postcard Printing in every package of pumpkin love I send out to people, so they have my various haunts right there for them. I only have one contestant right now, but I'd like to see more. Good luck, all!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vote For a Haunter to be On TV

I saw this over on the Frog Queen's blog, and I agree. We gotta vote for this guy, so we can have a home haunter tv show. Go, James!

Maybe he needs a Mistress of Mayhem on the show, too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

FangAgra

FangAGRA

Thanks to Papa McCain on Garage of Evil for this juicy bit of weekend advice!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Poison Oak Street Haunted House

I really like this haunted house, and I love the narrator's voice! Double click on the pic to watch.

But seriously, what is he doing in there?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Only 142 Shopping Days Left Until Hallows!

A few new guys in the shop, and I've created the "Hanging" section. You really, really, need one of these! And my Raku guys need new homes, too, so take a gander and fall in love!

Bodies Revealed


This is an exhibition I really need to go to. Real human bodies, displayed in such a way as to the structure, musculature, etc. Here's a quote from the exhibition:
BODIES REVEALED lets visitors of all ages explore deep within the human body in a way that informs but doesn’t overwhelm.

As the visitor moves from gallery to gallery, the exhibition uses 14 full body human specimens and over 200 organs to tell the story of the miraculous systems at work within each of us every second of our existence. Rooted in the historical precedent set by such great anatomists as Vesalius and da Vinci, each full body specimen is dissected to best reveal the function of a complete anatomical system and to show that system’s relationship to the body as a whole. The full body specimens are complimented by presentation cases of related individual organs, both healthy and diseased, that provided an even more detailed look into the elements that comprise each system.

Our bodies are our most important possession. They are intricately developed machines; more complex and wondrous than all the computers and gadgetry we surround ourselves with today. Yet many of us do not know what makes us tick—how we function, what we need to survive, what destroys us, what revives us. Bodies Revealed, made possible through the process of Polymer Preservation, is an attempt to remedy that lack of knowledge by presenting to the lay public material that was previously only available to the medical profession: a three-dimensional tour of the human body.

Countless visitors have remarked that the knowledge gained from the experience has provided them with a new connection to their own bodies. Others claim a new reverence for life and a desire to take a more preventative approach to their health care. To quote writer and philosopher John Conger whose words are displayed in the exhibition, “Without the body, the wisdom of the larger self cannot be known.”

About the Polymer Preservation Process


The Polymer preservation process is a revolutionary technique in which human tissue is permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber. This prevents the natural decay process, making specimens available for study for an indefinite time period. Polymer preservation provides a closer look at the skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, endocrine and circulatory systems by unveiling the mysteries of the human anatomy. The end product of the Polymer Preservation process is a dry, odorless specimen that resists decomposition thus allowing its user to create a unique collection of permanently preserved human specimen for public exhibition.
Bodies Revealed
Alta Arden on Arden Way: Across from Arden Fair Mall

2040 Alta Arden Expressway
Sacramento, CA 95825

Click on the photo to go to the website for more info on tickets, etc.

Vintage Universal Studios Hollywood

I swear, I never worked there in Food Service as a teenager. (O.K., I did.) I also swear, I never was caught sneaking onto the back lot and into the tour, either. (Never convicted, Sir. Never convicted...)

But Pumpkinrot's recent post brought this to mind, and being as how this is Summer (though not the 4th of July weekend), and the last "living" Bruce has been found, I had to share this, circa 1989:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Postcard Printing Giveaway


It's time for a postcard giveaway from My Postcard Printing!  It's going to be:

100 4x6 Flat Postcards
14pt Cardstock Gloss
4 Color Both Sides Printing Limited to US residents; 18 years old and above

Here's how to do this thing:
Become a new follower (sorry "old" followers!) and tell me you became one
Leave a comment on this post
Post about this on your blog
Become a new Twitter follower
Tweet about it
Do a status update on Facebook mentioning this giveaway and give me a link so I can go there
Tell me what city, state or exotic country you live in

Let me know that you did any or all of these things and you get one entry per thing done. The Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 22.

I have had online postcards made by My Postcard Printing and have been very happy with the results!

Good luck!

John Stuart Berger

Saturday night is "Second Saturday" in Sacramento. Mr. ShellHawk and I are getting together with some friends (one couple is very nearly about to spawn and will be on restriction after the spawnling comes) to have some pizza and drinks and stroll downtown Sacramento and have a Cultural Experience. It turns out that one of our buddies (a very cool herpetologist and fantastic Sponge Bob imitator) is friends with an artist who will be showing at the Solomon Dubnick Gallery on 25th street.

The artist is John Stuart Berger, and after reviewing some of his paintings and ceramics, I've decided I like him and I can't wait until Saturday night to pop into the gallery and look at his stuff in person. If I don't get to, I will have a completely childish fit in a public place.

More photos here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cute Little Cthulu


Etsy seller Ugly Gerbil has a perfect companion for your backpack or briefcase. Cthulu babies! Onna keychain!
Ugly Gerbil has a multitude of fine monsters for sale, including his Little Blue Devil Sock Monkey and must have FrankenGerbil Amigurumi Doll. Flipping adorable!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Head Waiter

You may remember I'm not a huge fan of Martha Stewart. However, her minions know how to find and invent cool stuff for Halloween. This "Head Waiter" tray qualifies as cool, I think. It will certainly impress your in-laws the next time they come by for dinner. Unnanounced. Again.

With that horrid little nephew who keeps destroying everything in sight. Maybe you could use his head as a base-wait! I didn't say that!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Love My New Look

I'm sure by now, you've all noticed the blog has a new, cleaner look. Some things have been removed entirely, some things have been rearranged and compressed, and the whole thing has been given a new look. (Hmm, facelift and liposuction for a blog?) The result is what you see, and more tweaking will be done over the next little while.

The credit goes entirely to Guy over at House Bloodthorn. While we were at WCHC, we chatted a little about my blog and the changes I was considering, and later we talked on the phone while online to hammer out more of the details. I'm really pleased with how everything looks, and that's because Guy not only listened to what I wanted, he intuitively sought out the details that would pull everything together visually. Only a fellow haunter could have pulled it off without making it look cheesy, or like every other "dark website" out there. (You shouldn't be able to glance at a site and know that so-and-so did the graphics work, unless the artist owns the blog.) He was worth every penny!

Guy is also the man responsible for the coordination of the Hauntcast website facelift. It's Guy's "real job", and his prices are reasonable, so if you're looking to do an upgrade on your blog or site, please contact him. Tell him I sent you!

Cherries for Summer

Even though this is further off-topic than I usually go, I thought I'd share this with all of you. Maybe I'm hoping for more Summer-like weather!

Every summer, my little Austrian grandma (the one who's turning 101 next month) would make this recipe, and it would disappear faster than Britney Spears' undies for the paparazzi. One of these cakes would show up, and I'd know for sure it was Summer! While she called it a cherry torte (or sometimes cherry pie), it's more like a cherry cake. It's very delicious, and when I made it last year for Mr. ShellHawk, he loved it.

I swear, it has no calories at all!

Oma's Cherry Torte
Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs cherries, pitted
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) sweet unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon zest of one medium lemon
2 Tbsp. ground hazelnuts or ground almonds
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9" spring pan form, like you use for making cheesecake (I use butter, myself.)
Sprinkle the ground nuts evenly on the bottom of the pan.
Beat the butter until smooth, add egg, and then sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla extract, and then add the lemon zest.
Mix in flour well with a spoon.
Pour 1/2 the batter into the pan.
Add the cherries and spread evenly across the batter. (This batter is thick*, so it will be a bit sticky.)
Sprinkle cherries with a little sugar.
Pour remaining batter over the cherries.
Bake 1 1/2 hours. Torte is done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let it cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. (We always left it on the bottom of the springform pan and removed the springform part. You might also want to line the bottom of the pan with baker's parchment, but you don't have to.)

Prior to serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. (If you're an overachiever, find a nice stencil and make some patterns on top of the torte with the powdered sugar.)

Since I'm a childless adult, and can eat what I want without having to be a good example, I sometimes will have this for breakfast with a large cup of coffee.

*I'm considering adding 1/4 cup milk to the recipe, just to see what happens...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weekend Potty Humor


Sometimes, I just can't help myself. Sorry.

The Dream

I had The Dream the other night. Again. The tombstones hadn't been set up. The fog machine in the witch's cauldron wasn't plugged in, nor did it have fog fluid. No lighting, music, or sound effects.

It was Halloween night, and I could hear the  kids shouting "Trick or Treat," next door. I was screwed.

I suppose I had The Dream because I haven't even started on my new tombstones. Because I've been busy with the rest of life. The haunt has been popped onto the back burner, because other things must take priority.

But I miss it so very much.

I hate not being independently wealthy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hungry Fang, Too...

I took my Hungry Fang design and treated him to a Raku facial. You can pick him up for cheap, since he's a "second" and has a couple of cracks in him. Click on the Etsy badge and check him out!

The Mitchell Cemetery

Simply lovely haunt! Click on the image to watch.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From Student to Teacher

Although I woke up this morning feeling behind, I find myself looking forward to today's teaching. It's a little bit of a shift in gears, going from student to teacher (and what is a teacher but a slightly more experienced student, anyway?). I'm teaching a 55+ class at the local Parks and Recreation Department, and apparently, the same ladies sign up over and over again.

It could have gone two ways, really. One direction could have been the "I'm doing my own thing. Leave me the Hell alone," vibe. The other direction was the "We're stuck. Please help," vibe. I was lucky to get the latter.

I used last week's first session as a sort of barometer for the class. Since the last "teacher" didn't actually teach, but used the class as time to get her own stuff done, I was a definite step up. I had a warning about this before walking into class, as the previous teacher had been the same woman who taught the beginning class Mr. ShellHawk and I had taken together a few months ago, and I had a neighbor complain about the lack of teaching and leadership, too.

As might be expected, I have one hard case in class; the one who eyeballs you with stern judgment written all over her face and may or may not officially sign up for class. Depending if you prove yourself worthy, of course. I decided she'd be my best friend, instead of being offended or nervous. At the end of class, she threatened to sign up, so I guess I measure up.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have a gal who has never taken ceramics and has always wanted to. I love her! She's so open to new things and really wants to be there. I can't wait to give her some new things to do today.

I've used this week to comb the 'net for images to get them inspired. After I finish this post, there will be a bit more surfing before I head out to prep some clay for their first throwing lesson. I think housework will have to go on hold until I get home today.

Mr. ShellHawk and I are going to put our heads together to see if we can help to grow the program a little. I get paid a percentage of the registration, after kiln fees, so you can imagine with a small class that I'm probably making minimum wage, if I'm lucky. Don't get me wrong, though. I love that I get to teach what I enjoy! With any luck, word of mouth will help to get more people interested.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Faces on Etsy

I'm in the process of posting some new pots on my Etsy store, so amble on over and snag yourself one! Click on the "ShellHawk on Etsy" badge on the upper right corner and buy to your little heart's content!

Thanks, House Bloodthorn!

Ape and Mom on the lake. Mom models her Iron Fist swimsuit won from Skull-a-Day.
So this is what happens when I go away for Memorial weekend: a little internet gnome comes along and gives my blog a facelift! Thanks, Guy!

We'll be playing with the look a little, so if you have suggestions or comments, please feel free to make them.

Oh, I've been having trouble with posting authorized comments, so if you made one and it's not up, please re-comment so I can attempt to put them up again!
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