Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rondo Awards- Vote for Haunt Cast!

You+your Rondo Award vote for Haunt Cast=Smart reader!

And we know how smart my readers are, right?

From the desk of Chris Baker:

Vote for Hauntcast for this year's Rondo awards category #20 for Favorite Horror Podcast. You don't need to vote for any other categories, you can just write in Hauntcast. Put us on the map and vote today. All entries must be in by April 2nd.
Ripped off from Johnny Thunder's blog. Cause I'm to busy mopping up water damage to know about anything! :o)


Rondo Awards here! Last couple of days to vote!


Seriously-we don't get paid for the hours and hours of hard work we put into every show, all for you! Only for you! The things we do, just for you guys, our listeners! An award would be the least you guys could do for us!

Just saying.

Ahlgrims Funeral Home

Thanks to CalHaunts buddy, Dean, for posting this story. I had to share it with the rest of you.

Apparently, Palatine, Illinois, houses a small secret (not too secret, now) in the basement of one of the local funeral homes.

A miniature golf course.
Yes, when business is dead, and no services are being held, you can trot down to the basement for some family fun time.
If miniature golf is not your thing, you can try your hand and some old-school pinball at the Haunted House.
All in all, it's a fun place to hang with your mummy.
More pictures here. Ahlgrim Funeral Home history here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue

This week, the Nest is getting a facelift. Wood floors are going in, and since the economy is poo, we got a good deal on both materials and labor.

We were delayed by a day due to the contractors having an emergency, but I was o.k. with that since they called early in the day to let us know, rather than just not showing up. Today, they showed up, ready to rock and tear up the carpets, starting in the den/kitchen area. We had them save a few large chunks of the old carpet to have made in area rugs for the dogs and to throw a bigger one down in the garage to guard against leaks. THey moved my husband's great grandmother's two-hundred-year-old cedar chest out of the way. As they lifted it-straight up, mind you-one of the legs drooped, broken. I thought it was weird, and weirder still was that it was wet. I mentioned to John that we couldn't keep it by the kitchen sink island area any more, as it was getting damaged. Problem solved, right?

Minutes later: "Uh-oh."

"What's up?"

"You should look at this."

I looked. The area by the sink was wet and the wall and baseboard was rotten and moldy. (My sensitive nose had been picking up a moldy smell, but I could never track it down.) Mr. ShellHawk, still home from surgery on doctor's orders, looked at it and had a very contained and dignified fit before calling the plumber. He's due here this afternoon. At a minumum, he'll have to tear out that section of wall and we'll have to repair that asap. The guys can't lay floor down until that area is completely dry and isn't leaking anymore, so what worked out perfectly for my stay-at-home Spring Break may start to encroach on school time. Inconvenient, but not life-threatening.

The guys also tore carpet out of the bathroom, where we weren't planning on putting in flooring. *sigh* They will be doing that for free, or they will see my ugly side. The one that advocates using sharp instruments as a communication and problem-solving strategy.

Oh, well. More later.

UPrinting Winner!

Congrats to Tristan Robin Blakeman for winning the UPrinting postcard giveaway!

Tristan-please email me your info so I can get you hooked up with your prize!

Thanks to all who entered. There will be more giveaways here, so stay tuned!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Remember!

The postcard giveaway ends on the 30th, so please remember to enter! Those of you who have become followers since March 15th should verify they want to be in this giveaway, too! U Printing makes some really fantastic postcards that you can use for a number of things.

Visiting exotic places and sending them to people who said you'd never amount to anything comes to mind. But hey, that's just me!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Birthday Dirge

Friday, March 26, 2010

Haunt Cast 17

The new Haunt Cast is up and running! Check it out at http://www.hauntcast.net/.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Birthday

My birthday is Saturday. While at a Crab Feed to raise money for the local elementary school, Mr. ShellHawk bid on a month's worth of art classes for my gift in the silent auction, and won them. He gave me the info today, which included a booklet of class choices for me to look through.(Thanks, hon!) I happened upon this one:
Halloween
Make a Life-size Scarecrow!!! [Three exclamation points? The sure sign of an unbalanced mind!!!]

Come in for the afternoon and make the most amazing scarecrow you have ever seen.
The heads are made out of gourds which are painted and decorated. The bodies are wood which will be clothed and raffia tied.
Your neighbors will not believe what's sitting on your porch. These are the most unique scarecrows ever!
"The most unique scarecrows ever." Really?

Previous three scarecrows: Pumpkinrot.com.
My own offering.

I think I might give that particular class a miss, though it's nice that someone is spreading the Halloween Spirit. The acrylic painting one looks good, though...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off Topic

Most of you are astute enough to guess that I was supportive of the Healthcare Reform our President was trying to accomplish for us. Since Mr. ShellHawk wrote to the White House about this, he got an e-mail back from them stating what's going to happen next, now that the (extremely modified) bill has passed. I thought I'd share it with you guys so everyone would be informed as to what's going on.

Good afternoon,

Since the House of Representatives voted to pass health reform legislation on Sunday night, the legislative process and its political impact have been the focus of all the newspapers and cable TV pundits.

Outside of DC, however, many Americans are trying to cut through the chatter and get to the substance of reform with a simple question: "What does health insurance reform actually mean for me?" To help, we've put together some of the key benefits from health insurance reform.

Let's start with how health insurance reform will expand and strengthen coverage:

This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.

This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.

This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.

This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.

In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.

This year, we'll also establish an independent commission to advise on how best to build the health care workforce and increase the number of nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet our country's needs. Going forward, we will provide $1.5 billion in funding to support the next generation of doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners -- on top of a $500 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Health insurance reform will also curb some of the worst insurance industry practices and strengthen consumer protections:

This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.

This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.

Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.

Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.

Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.

Reform immediately begins to lower health care costs for American families and small businesses:

This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.

This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.

This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.

This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'

Thank you,

Nancy-Ann DeParle

Director, White House Office of Health Reform


I think this plan is a good start to curbing insurance companies' taking advantage of the consumer. Is it perfect, all the way around? No, but it is a step in the right direction.

We now return you to your regular programming!

Nighttime Protection

Spite, Mr. Kreeg's dog, as Hell Hound.
I mentioned to Mr. ShellHawk yesterday that I was trying to plumb the depths of my very foggy childhood memories for where the fascination with Halloween and dark things began. God knows, my mom tried her hardest to turn all my attempts at horror-story-writing into sappy sweet hearts-and-flowers stories, but the only lasting result is that I still struggle to complete the numerous stories (of any variety) that I have written to date.

In any case, I told Mr. ShellHawk that I was an avid watcher of In Search Of... as well as all the horror movies that made it to television. I was bespelled by the idea of vampires, and at age five or six was so convinced of their existence that I would, as part of my childish nightly ritual, lie down to sleep on my side and carefully nestle my Snoopy doll over my neck as a protection against the noctural, jugular-seeking behavior of whatever local vampire happened to break into my house. Of course, if I had realized that vampires can only enter a house with an invitation, I probably would have slept better, figuring that no one in the house would invite them in.
I asked Mr. ShellHawk what he used to do to protect himself at night. He shared that his mother, Mary Alice (who, btw, nearly became a nun before she met his father) was a big fan of horror movies. Like me, his exposure to old horror movies came from L.A.'s Channel 5 and its Family Film Festival host, Tom Hatten, as well as Elvira's Movie Macabre on Channel 9 and whatever was playing on Channel 13 on a Saturday afternoon. Like many kids, Mr. ShellHawk had a lively imagination, and horror movies watched during the day would come back to haunt him at bedtime.
He told me that he would essentially mummify himself in his bedclothes, completely covering his head and leaving only the tiniest little hole by his mouth to breathe through.

How did you defend yourself against the Creatures of the Night?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Search Of...

Growing up, I used to tune in to every single episode of this series. I was a young Trekkie, so Leonard Nimoy's narrations added (to me) a certain cache to each mystery.

I was especially obsessed with The Bermuda Triangle. I wanted to vacation there.




Monday, March 22, 2010

Terror and the Ultimate Revenge

Trick R Treat. Trailer here. Buy the Blu-Ray and digital copy here for $19.99.

I wish these guys paid me for all the times I've  plugged this movie!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Quick Note

The best candle company in the world is having a sale until March 20th-so hurry over to Dark Candles and place your order!

I can't give this company enough positive feedback. I bought the Halloween Collection pack for the first time last year and was hooked. I also received a jar of Slinky Mink sugar scrub as my gift to myself, and boy, does Mr. ShellHawk like the scent.

Support this company so that it stays around for many Halloweens to come! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

News From the Nest

It's been a plague-filled week here at the Nest, which is why my posting has been spotty. I came down with a nasty cold last week, and am still suffering from it and those unattractive side-effects that come with being sick. Sweet Mr. ShellHawk took mercy on me and brought home two bottles of cold meds and a box of lotion-soaked tissues for my poor nose. I want to note here and now: red and green should only be for Christmas, and for Halloween lighting, not-other things that are sort of gross and come out of... Well. Never mind.

I'm starting to get on top of it though, just in time for the next minor challenge. For his 40th birthday-in addition to all the top-shelf booze and dissectable owl barf-Mr. ShellHawk got a surgical consultation and goes in for surgery this week. It's nothing life-threatening, thankfully, and is quite a "routine" surgery, but, well, surgery is still not on anyone's top ten list of Fun Things To Do. I'll be home with him, playing nursie (not in the "fun, roll-playing costume" kind of way), and won't be posting until next week sometime. I'll still be checking for comments, however, so you can still enter the UPrinting giveaway or tell me how very, very cool you think I am.

Just kidding. Sheesh! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

My First UPrinting Giveaway

Here it is, folks! My first U Printing giveaway for U.S. residents: 100 4"x6" postcards-full color, both sides, and free shipping! Design it yourself, as I did when I won Mr. Macabre's postcard giveaway. I have to say I was really pleased with them, and with the short turnaround to receive the finished product.

To enter:

1) Comment on this post, and let me know what you will do with your 100 postcards.

2) Tweet about this giveaway, and let me know you did.

3) Become a new follower if this blog.

4) Post about this giveaway on your own blog, and let me know you did.

That's it! Remember that (sadly) this contest is for U.S. residents only, age 18 and above. The winner will be announced on March 30th, and will have to contact me with an e-mail address so I can forward your info to UPrinting for your custom order.

To order postcards (not for the giveaway), go to: http://www.uprinting.com/Postcards.html
Go to UPrinting http://www.uprinting.com/ to see their other stuff.

Good Luck!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Shining Cuckoo Clock

Graveyard Fence

I figured that since the weather is warming, some of you might be thinking about getting back into building for 2010. Some of you may be thinking of building or expanding your graveyard fence for this year. If you are, I'd suggest going to King Architectural Metals and sign up for their email list so you can be notified of their sales. I just got a copy of their new catalog and found myself wishing for a larger property so I could put in an order for a bunch of cool stuff. I also think I just can't live without a custom plasma cut cemetery sign-I wonder if they do that? Hmm...

I used their plastic finials to top my PVC fence and was really pleased with the results. Their prices were pretty reasonable and the package arrived fairly quickly.
You can get a good idea of how the fence looks at night from the video of my haunt, below. Maybe this year I'll get around to adding some rust and patina detailing to give it a better aged look.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This Too Shall Pass-Maker Version

Yes, I know. You're tired of me posting about this song. I have no excuse. It makes me giggle.

This is the video for the studio recording of it, and I must say that it is amazing-not the least because it appears to be one continuous shot. Watch it, and you'll see what I mean. Double click  below to get the full sized version.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ghosts of Rhyolite, Revisited

I had done a post including a great shot of the Ghosts of Rhyolite, and thought it was worth finding more pictures of this unusual art installation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ghost Town


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