Monday, April 29, 2013

Here's Something--

--you don't see every day. Click here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Little Help, Please

As you're all aware, my attempt at a new kiln was thwarted, and I was forced to re-sell it. The problem, of course, is that I'm still in need of a new kiln. The one I have is too small to do larger pieces, and I don't have a digital control, which would broaden my range of glazes and effects exponentially!

Well, I am nothing if not persistent (some call it stubborn, but I call it persistence!), and recently discovered that Intuit is having a $5000 giveaway for fifteen small businesses like mine. $5000 will not only cover a new kiln (helloooo, warranty!), but will cover the cost to install the new electrical for it, as well. 

I've submitted my wish here: http://bit.ly/Zpo8gp, so please, click on the link and vote for my wish. It means larger jacks at Hallowe'en for you, you know! :) 

If you can, please post about my wish everywhere you can think of to give me a boost in the votes. The "wish granting" begins on May 6th, so please, vote early! I'm not sure yet if it's a situation where you can vote more than once, but I'll get back to you on that. Update: Yes, you can vote once a day! So please do! :)

Thanks, you guys! I really appreciate your help!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Art in Davis, California This Weekend!

It's been a hella-busy week here at the Nest, and there's no sign of anything slowing down really soon! First things first, though.

This weekend, starting tomorrow night, there will be a ceramics exhibition called the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art. This is the 25th anniversary of the show, and I've been lucky enough to have one of my pieces selected for it! YAY!

 Here's some of the info:

CCACA brings the ultimate ceramic sculpture event to Davis, CA from April 26 – April 28th, 2013. In an intimate setting, you can interact with top artists in a way not possible at other venues. UC Davis, home to the late sculptor Robert Arneson, was instrumental in defining a new direction for ceramic art. Enjoy delightful downtown Davis and be inspired by nationally recognized ceramic art talents.
Demonstrations, lectures, shows—no other event delivers more inspired knowledge of ceramic sculpture for a better price. Meet face-to-face with distinguished ceramic sculptors you might only read about; see and hear from the artists what makes them top in their field.
45 Major Shows
Local gallery exhibitions and over 40 college shows bring the best work of the year within easy reach.
  • John Natsoulas Gallery’s 23rd annual 30 Ceramic Sculptors
  • The Artery’s California Clay Competition
  • The Davis Art Center
  • The Pence Gallery
  • Ceramics from UC Davis’s permanent collection, featuring Robert Arneson’s masterpiece, The Palace at 9 a.m.
If you're in Northern California and can make it out to these shows, do try to make the effort. I'ts quite spectacular!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

This week, I've not been able to get much done as we're getting a bunch of work done around the house. More specifically, we're yanking out our lawn and Xeriscaping! We're putting in mostly California native plants, and the ones that aren't native are non-invasive species. The first step, of course, is the tearing out part. For us, that involved taking down a tree that was eventually going to push over a retaining wall. Thankfully, a neighbor had a chainsaw, so he and Mr. ShellHawk could pull the tree down, themselves, rather than pay a tree person to do it.
Before shot.
We're keeping all the roses and everything in the rose beds, because I love them!
Definitely a "during" shot, with the tree gone.
There will be more pics as the project goes on, but rest assured, it's going to be nice! More soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's the Twenty-First of April...

Click on the pic for John Houseman's immortal opening monologue for one of my top ten, all-time favorite movies!

Click here for a video dedicated to the locations where John Carpenter's "The Fog" was filmed.

Happy Birthday, Antonio Bay!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Well, That Happened... And Something to Look Forward To

Yes, I know my title isn't grammatically correct, but whatever.

It's been a hell of a week, from start to finish, (for no one as much as those in Boston and Texas) but here I am at the end of it and... Well, it's still going to be really busy but the end result will be cool...

It turns out that my new kiln needs to be sold, because it's not the right type for my work. No, when I researched, no where on the manufacturer page did it say anything about that, so there you go. The woman who sold it to me didn't inform me, probably because she found out the same thing, too.

I'm not liking her a whole bunch right now. 

I need to see if I can place an ad at the local gun shop (apparently it's used in manufacturing guns, somehow, but I'm fuzzy on the details) and maybe it will get to where someone can use it. Meanwhile, I still need a larger kiln to produce more stuff, and I'm back to square one.

Part of my trip to Monsterpalooza was a family visit. The down side was seeing my mom, who's doing very poorly on a number of levels, and my poor dad is trying to see to her needs, pretty much by himself. I helped where I could before I came home, but six hundred or so miles separate us and there's only so much I can do from here.

The up side was that I was able to help him with a garage sale to get rid of a bunch of stuff that had been hanging around for a number of years, and that went pretty well! I also took him to Monsterpalooza and he seemed to have had a really great time.

So I've been feeling down about the family situation (and the thing in Boston, too), and the kiln (an $1100 paperweight, fer chrissakes!), so to try to distract myself, I turn back to business. 

I've been waiting for the wind to die down so I can do a Raku firing of some jack-o'-lanterns (I even have one of them sold, already! YAY!), since giant balls of flame and wind do not equal anything but a potter with no eyebrows and possibly a considerably reduced hairline. Since I couldn't do it, I went back to my wheel to start making some new "stuff" for the upcoming El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire on Mother's Day weekend. 

One pot collapses, but it was my warm up. I threw a pitcher. Yay! Pretty shape, a little larger for a big ol' pitcher of lemonade. Start to throw another and--the wheel just stops.

Just. Stops.

Everything on that circuit that's plugged in and working is still working, so I know it's nothing simple like that. *sigh*

Did I mention the show's in three weeks?! 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! 

The good news is, it's under warranty. Bad news is that the manufacturer was closed for the day (dang East Coasters!). Good news? When I got a hold of them, it turns out it was just a fuse. They're shipping it via Priority mail, and the part is super easy to put in, myself. I should have it by Monday, at the latest.

In addition to all this, we're having the front yard re-done. We're adding steps, tearing out the lawn and doing some serious xeriscaping with California natives. They're finally turning on our water meters, and it's going to make a huge difference in our water bill and the amount of care we'll be giving the garden from here on out. I'm finally going to get a couple of disappearing fountains put in (we've had the pots for it since 2006!) on either side of the new steps, so I'm really stoked about that! Pics will be posted as the project goes on...

Down side? Where is my dang graveyard going to go?!?!

Up side? A possible re-vamping of the haunt. Heh heh heh and mwahahahaha! (Maybe I'll get the mausoleum I've always wanted!)

Other down side? Mr. ShellHawk will be out of town while this is going on, we've got to pick up plants, take down a tree and some other things before he leaves. And this while I need to be at CCACA next weekend with my Jackalope sculpture! And I need to prep for the other show, and make hang tags and price things and put them in my inventory and I really need to get to sittingdownwithQuickBooksandgetthatstraightand..... EEK!

Pass the Xanax, please. My brain is going too fast.

Finally, today is my tiny, tiny puppy's second birthday! (He weighs in at around eighty-five pounds, but he'll always be my tiny puppy!) I can't believe he's two, already!
That's Sam, with the little yellow yarn around his neck, and his proud mommy.
Sam at one week old.
My tiny puppy, at four and one half weeks.
Puppy lovin' my old boy, Gromit. Gromit enduring said loving
with classic stoicism.

Sam torturing Josey, who is telling him all about it!

My tiny puppy in October of 2011, with Josey and me.
Seventy-five pounds of German Shepherd!

video

In January, 2013. My little guy at 85 pounds or so.
Not happy about having his nap disturbed...


 He's our baby! Happy Birthday, Sam!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another Few...

 Can't wait for next year's Monsterpalooza!



Monday, April 15, 2013

Best. Ape. Photo. EVAH, Bitches!

Don't you wish you were Ape?

Thanks to Tom Savini for being gracious enough to take a pic with Chris Aype. Tom, you rock!

Oh, and? Don't you wish you'd taken part in the Chris Aype Celebrity Photo Contest?

P.S. I have wanted this pic for years! I am so fabulously giddy!

Ape's Turn

Skull and Pumpkin blogger, Mike C. and Ape frolic in the Monsterpalooza
Museum.
Ape gets around, doesn't he?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Teasers...

 Extra geek points if you can name them all!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Leeeeaaaaving! On a Jet Plaaaaaane!

And I'll be officially back Monday afternoon, but I'm pretty sure I'll post from Monsterpalooza this weekend!

It looks like it's going to be a pretty busy weekend, too. I get to visit the family, and then, because of Monsterpalooza, a bunch of haunters and other friends whom I haven't seen in forever are coming to Burbank, too. We're going to try to get together for a Sunday lunch thing if we can. I'll be twisting some other folks's arms to go out for drinks on Saturday night, too. ;)

If you're going to Monsterpalooza, I'll be there tonight and Sunday. Look for a Hauntcast or Shocktail Hour t-shirt, which, coincidentally enough, you can purchase for your very ownsome in the Hauntcast Grossery Store!

Please do say hello if you see me. I love to connect with haunters on the west coast!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Horror Game!

Now available from Spinning Hat in England: Horror Trivia!

Now we know what to get Johnny Thunder for a Great Pumpkin gift! Here's the product description:
It’s time to be terrified. Gather your friends for a spooky evening of awe striking terror with Spinning Hat’s Horror Trivia cards- sure to leave you sleeping with the light on! With one hundred cards to choose from, this is a test of knowledge on all things spine-chilling from poltergeists to the Great Plague and from Shakespeare’s darkest plays to the Scooby Gang. Release your inner spiritual curiosity with Horror Trivia cards, ready to reach out to and communicate with now!
This looks like fun!

Monday, April 8, 2013

On Failures

I rarely share my ceramic failures, because I prefer to forget them as quickly as possible. Like Raven's epic fail, for instance, or Gnorman's equally tragic demise. Raven died in January of last year, and Gnorman, my first large sculpt, died in 2009, but their deaths still sting.

The latest failure made it through the bisque (first) firing just fine. He was an example of the pinch pot technique I gave as a student lecture. I wasn't attached to him, and decided to play around with him when he came out of the bisque. I started to play around with a sugar skull idea in order to practice my brush technique. Below is the beginning of the project.
I continued playing with the blue underglaze and decided to fill in some of the empty spots with a rose-colored underglaze. I committed a rookie mistake and forgot to check at which cone to fire it. It turned out to be cone 04 rather than cone 6. The effect is the difference between the warm and hold on your oven, and the self-clean option that leaves piles of ash on the bottom of the oven.

Underglaze gives one the opportunity to use glaze in a more "painterly way," as my teacher, Yoshio Taylor would say. You can use it on what's called, "greenware," which is unfired clay, and then put it in the first firing. Afterwards, you can cover it with a clear glaze and fire it to whatever temperature is recommended.

The problem you can get with clear glaze is that it can fog, obscuring in whole or in part your underlying design. When you use it on bisque ware, which you can, with good results, you can smear your design if you're not careful. 

I was careful, and because this was a new clear glaze to me, I smeared it, anyway. And? I think my old kiln isn't coming quite to temp, which means I have to put in a few pyrometric cones to see if that's the case. I know this because the clear glaze bubbled and didn't smooth out.
As a result of my mistakes, all the rose color completely burned off in the kiln, which was a major bummer, considering how much work I put into it. Additionally, the clear glaze fogged and looks bubbly, like dried resin.
Considering I wasn't all that attached to it to begin with, the results were still disappointing. The up side is, of course, what I learned. I need to test the kiln temperature and change the way I underglaze and see if that helps. Meanwhile, this little guy will get dumped, as I can't have him out in the word representing the quality of my work.

The next one will be better!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Strange Inner Life

It's strange, even to me, and I live it!

It's so strange, I debated sharing here, on the blog. But I finally  feel compelled to tell you one of my secrets.

I'm unfaithful to my husband. With celebrities, no less.

I know it's hard to believe, even though most of you know I grew up in Los Angeles and worked in the Hollywood area for twenty years (I even once threw Jeremy Piven out of my office for being awful), thus having the potential to meet famous and interesting people. But it's true.

When I'm asleep, anyway. Yes, I have dreams of random movie stars and how we're carrying on torrid love affairs behind Mr. ShellHawk's back. 
John Cusack has been a big crush of mine since "Better Off Dead." We've
had several encounters in dreamland.
Pic via The Midnight Compass, appropriately enough...
The down side? Nothing ever happens, if you catch my drift. I'm so busy explaining that I love my husband and would never leave him that we never do the dirty. And they so clearly find me utterly, incredibly hot!

Oh, it's implied, all right, but it's never done. That's either sad or really great, depending on your point of view and, of course the celebrity involved. I say that, because not every celeb is as high on the attractive meter as John Cusack. Sometimes, it's someone like Danny DeVito.
Danny is as surprised about this as I am, I'm sure. Image via Organic Connections.
Of all the people in the world, and no disrespect to Mr. DeVito, I never would have imagined him as the object of my lust. Ever, ever, ever.

This celeb actually elicited a short conversation:
He reads and loves coffee. He also looks like he'd happily pitch both over for
a roll in those nice sheets. I can live with that. Image via Spectacle Provocateuse
Still handsome, even without his
trademark 'stache. Image via
TheGentlemanBlog.

Me: I'm really sorry, hon. Last night, I had an affair in my dreams with Tom Selleck.

Mr. ShellHawk: With mustache or without?

Long pause as I try to remember.

Me: With mustache.

Mr. ShellHawk: Right on.

Last night was actually a double header, which is a first. It was affairs with both Michael J. Fox and Russell Brand, possibly two of the least alike celebrities I can think of.
Image via Style Weekly.
Image via ign.com
But maybe they're not so different after all. Michael J. Fox is a huge advocate for stem cell research to help end Parkinson's and other diseases. And I totally forgave Russell Brand for ruining the original Arthur when he had that great, classy interview with the idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church. So they're both activists, in their own ways.

Although I can't remember every single affair I've had over the years, I can add these two to my list:
Image via Film Hash.
By the way, in my dream, they were the younger versions of themselves. Seventy-something men? Not such a turn on for me.  

My very, very very very best? The geek girl's god:
Simultaneously the best and most disappointing, because of aforesaid
confession of lack of deed-doing. Pic via Film Cycle.
I can't tell you what a nice dream that was. I really can't, because I don't remember. I was just left with a happy heart...

One of these fine years, when I learn Photoshop, I'll have to make a posed pic with me and all my boys. That would be hilarious!
But in the end, I always wake up to my one true love, who puts up with my nocturnal infidelities and loves me anyway: Mr. ShellHawk (and Ape, of course...).

I wonder who's next?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hauntcast 48 - Dial "H" for Hauntcast

The season finale of Hauntcast is free and available for download! Here's what Hauntcast 48 - Dial "H" for Hauntcast, has to offer you:

HAUNTING GURU INTERVIEW:
An exclusive Hauntcast chat with the legendary Queen of Haunts, Cydney Neil of Rocky Point Haunted House.
GHOULIE GROOVES:
Haunting music from the darkness with Grant Smoker of Shadow’s Symphony.
THE BONE PHONE:
Ed Roberts and a preview of the 2013 West Coast Haunters Convention.
THE BLACK MARKET:
A conversation with animatronics guru Jerry Jewell of Skulltronix.
NEWS FROM BEYOND:
Revenant brings you Home Haunters Association awards news, and a HAuNTcon preview.
THE MARKETING MORGUE:
The Voice From Hell urges you to carve this on your marketing tombstone.
THEATER OF THE MIND:
Revenant with how keeping a haunt running smoothly can feel like trying to fend off a Mongol invasion.
THE CHARMED POT:
Our Mistress of Mayhem looks out the rear window of her parlor to give us an in-depth look at The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
THE PROP SHOP:
Denny and Chris smooth it on with Smooth-On’s Free Form Air.
TERROR TURNPIKE:
Vysther with a review of this year’s Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show.
SOMETHING WICKED:
Wick-Ed Gannon reveals what’s under the Pop-Open Staircase.
MAD PROPS FOR PROPS:
We give long, waxy drips of propers to Jerry Sherrard’s Floating Candleabra prop.
PLUS!…
This month we give away a $560 Crusty the Zombie silicone mask from CFX and “Fairvale Funeral Parlor” CDs from Shadow’s Symphony.
Congratulations to our winners this month: Matthew Goeringer (CFX mask) – Kevin Prosser, Ronald Knoblock, Julie Kessler, Robert Gleeves, and Jon Leong (Shadow’s Symphony CDs).
Enjoy the show! Subscribe (or resubscribe)! Stay Scary!
Remember that Hauntcast subscribers enjoy all manner of vendor discounts, and many of our minions have saved the cost of their subscriptions in discounts, alone. Some have even won prizes that far exceed the cost of their subscriptions!

If you like the show, please spread the word. Blog, Tweet, Facebook and whatever else do to share with like-minded haunters!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

By Midnight Tonight...

Eastern Standard Time, the newest, latest, greatest episode of Hauntcast will drop into the hearts and minds of all you folks who love Hallowe'en and haunting when others are just thinking about planting their Spring gardens.

This episode is completely free, so if you haven't listened for a while, please download the show and spread the word. I'll post our list of segments tomorrow when I get done with my boot camp class, so you all have a good idea of what's on the show.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Looks like I get to go visit my family and go to Monsterpalooza next weekend! My friend, Don Waller, whom you'll remember from this post, will be on a panel discussing the original King Kong, so of course, I'll be there to rub elbows with folks high above my lowly station as a podcaster! I will, of course, be sporting my new Hauntcast t-shirt!

I'm pretty sure that among familial visiting, I'l squeeze in a trip to Halloweentown and grab dinner with some haunt buddies. I'm very excited!

I am also very much looking forward to see my dad and grandmother. I haven't seen them since Christmas, and have been missing them a lot, lately. It looks like Oma will hit 104 this July, if you can believe it, but at her age, every visit counts and nothing is guaranteed. Looking forward to this trip!
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