Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve at the Nest

When I was a young witch-in-training (Or was it spelled differently? Hmmm.), my mentor used to tell me to make sure that on New Year's Eve, I had my house in order. That meant a fully stocked kitchen, gas in the car, and everything clean and tidy for the New Year. She told me that if I did that, then I would have prosperity throughout the coming year-always enough to eat, gas in the car, etc. (She forgot to mention to have the bar stocked, but I forgive her!)

Years later, I came to the belated realization that New Year's Eve wasn't the same as the pagan New Year's Eve, which is Halloween. No wonder the damn theory never worked!

I still do it, though, and make sure to make lentil soup on New Year's Eve, for good luck, per my grandma's instructions and my dad's recipe. If you want to make lentils tonight or tomorrow, here's a good recipe.

I spent much of yesterday in the Garage of Doom, cleaning and reorganizing. Some of you will remember my previous post on claiming space, and man, is that what I did yesterday! I found a space for my cauldron in the ever-shrinking attic space, and found some space for a couple of blow-mold pumpkins that were hanging around in my studio space. I moved the wine fridge (had to empty the damn thing out first, too!) out of the space where my utility sink will go and put it only a few steps away. I was concerned that if I parked the Dodge there (yes, she's still here, as I haven't had time to deal with her, yet.), we wouldn't be able to open the fridge door, but there was space to spare and the garage door closed easily behind her. The 10' ladder got hung up in its place. Stewie had already found a home, though I'd like to find a spot for his base.

What's amusing to me is the concept that the Universe abhors a vacuum, and no sooner had I sat down for dinner, there was a knock at the door. It was my neighbor, Bud, with two female dummy torsos that were a gift from a friend of his who came to visit me this summer during build time! I don't know what I'll do with them, but I'm sure I'll find a use for them in the haunt.

Clear your space, kids! You never know what fun thing is going to come in to fill it!

Anyway, all the Christmas totes came down from the attic, and I'll attack the task of putting Christmas Crap away today and get the tree out of the house, too. It's going to be another exhausting day, for sure, but I love that smug feeling of accomplishment when everything is in order!

Happy New Year to you all, and thanks for hanging around this year. Whether you know it or not, you've made a difference in my life-even the silent lurkers!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Loot

Christmas was a pretty good one this year. I got lots of useful loot! Aside from my husband, my dogs, and Christmas Ape getting some great ceramics-related stuff (plus a Blu-Ray copy of Nightmare Before Christmas) for me, I got some other great treats!

My Haunt Cast schwag- the best stein EVER! I have to say, I really love this thing, and it will have an honored place in my bar when not in use. You can buy your own Haunt Cast schwag here with that Christmas check Uncle Bernie gave you.

At my brother-in-law's request, I made him a garden gnome. His was stolen from out of his yard, probably by some drunken college kid. It took longer than I anticipated, as I'm an expert at making skulls, but not so good when there's skin on them. The first three heads I made looked an awful lot like Uncle Fester, then this one came out just fine. I was up until 1:00 AM the night before I left for L.A. getting him fired with his glaze applied, then the next day was all about painting his face and hands.

Brother in law was thrilled, then gave me a great gift!

Because, let's face it: a girl can never have too many Buckys!

It was great to go to L.A. for Christmas and see everyone (not to mention share drinks with insanely cute famous people!), but it was really great to get home, see our friends and dogs, and sleep in our own beds. This week's tasks include putting away the Christmas stuff, clearing out and arranging my studio space in the Garage of Doom, and getting back to finding a job and working in the studio. I'm hoping this will be a banner year for us, and for all of you, too

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Haunt Cast 14 is Up!

Haunt Cast 14 is now playing, with me and all the other members of the Scream Team!

Give it a listen-it's the best antidote for the in-laws who won't leave!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Wish You Were Me-Update

I was really excited to hear from Lynn over at The Vault, asking if they could re-post my post about my chance meeting with Nelsan Ellis. The Vault is a fan site for True Blood junkies like me, so I gave them permission to re-post.

What they couldn't know, is that in a secret location somewhere in L.A. county, I was to have a chance meeting with the gracious William Sanderson, aka Sheriff Bud Dearborn. I really wish it weren't taboo to leave an e-mail address and stay in touch with folks like this, because he just seems like a guy I'd like to sit down and share drinks with, talk about his career and life, and just pick his brain. He seems genuinely interesting, and I love to talk with interesting people. Thanks, Bill, for being so nice and not being afraid to talk to strangers. And I still love your hat!

As I drove to my favorite knitting store, I thought that since meetings like this usually come in threes, that I might meet Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) or Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton) there, but I didn't. I guess they don't knit. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

My Secret Santa Can Suck It Gift To ME!

Some of you will recall the Secret Santa Can Suck It post, as you're probably not still drunk from your office Christmas party. Well, I've had a random thought about it-I'm well known for my random thoughts-and thought I'd share how it came about.

I was sharing the Secret Santa Can Suck It concept with my dad the other day and told him that if I were to get a Secret Santa gift for myself (Not so secret, I admit. I'd act surprised, though.) and money were not an issue, and there was nothing but cooperation all the way with the other parties involved, I'd get an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland to see the Haunted Mansion, (during the Holidays, so I could see Jack Skelington) ride the ride as many times as I want (no one to say "ARE YOU DONE, YET? I'M BORED!"), and get a leisurely backstage tour of the mansion, and maybe the animatronics shop, too. Oh, and a Disney's Haunted Mansion Game of Life. The only thing better than that would be to take a trip to all the Haunted Mansions, worldwide, but hey, I'm not greedy! The one in Anaheim will do just fine!

As the last few days have gone by, I thought of one more twist to this gift, one that would make it even more fun: Share the whole package with CalHaunts (NorCal and SoCal) members, and whatever members of the Garage of Evil want to participate, complete with babysitters for their kids so Mom and Dad could enjoy themselves and not feel rushed. (You who don't belong to either of these groups had better sign up, and fast!)

So once again, your dear Mistress of Mayhem, ShellHawk is sharing her (virtual) bounty with you. Give, give, give! Never take. That's me.

Merry Christmas,all of you! Hope you liked your (virtual) gift!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You Wish You Were Me

Another lovely night at my fave dive bar. Visits with friends not seen for six months. The lilt of English spoken with a Dublin accent. A pint of Guinness-a five-minute Guinness, the way God Himself meant it to be poured. Unpretentious and relaxing. I had a report that a bunch of teachers had come in and torn the place up to celebrate the last day of school, and drunken singing of "Schoooooool's out for TEACHERS!" a la Alice Cooper had rung to the rafters.

I enjoyed a pint with friends, and heard a voice next to me. A rich, distinctive voice, one that I really love to listen to. I listened, thinking I must be wrong, and fought the urge to whip my head around, partially because my neck was sore, and partially because seeming uncool in L.A. is asking for trouble, like bleeding in shark-infested waters.

I listened longer, turning slightly in my chair to bring my peripheral vision into view. Yup. It was he. Black nail polish on lovely brown hands, a glimpse of a profile as I tried to get a look without seeming like I was looking. I was born in L.A. I had experience at this. I know he didn't see me looking, though his buddy might have. They started to have a slightly heated discussion of who was going to pay for drinks, along the lines of "I am!" "No, I am." I took the opportunity to butt in and mentioned that sometimes, the most gracious thing to do was to say "Thank you. I'll pay for the next round." I got a momentary blank stare, and one turned to the other, and repeated, gracefully, what I had just said, only a twitch of a smile on his intense and very serious face. "See how easy that was?" I asked. They both smiled and were kind enough to include me in their conversation for the next hour or two.

I am proud to say that I did not geek out in front of them, though I did run into the bathroom to call Mr. ShellHawk and tease him with my (then) current circumstance. It was a good minute of "No way!" "Way!"

Who was it? This man, who is as smart, funny and sexy in person as he is on screen. And no, he's not really gay, though he plays one on t.v.

Nelsan Ellis, also known as Lafayette on HBO's True Blood. His friend Jay (sorry-I didn't catch a last name, and he probably would have thought it creepy if I had asked) was absolutely a delightful conversationalist, and I really enjoyed my time with the both of them. I hope to see both of their careers soar, mostly because they were both really nice and down-to-earth people (and they also have real talent), unlike some other actors I have met-or is that tangled with? And before you rush off to the bar to star-search, he isn't a regular, so you won't see him there.

Nelsan, if you read this, thanks for a fun and relaxing evening and great convo. You're a doll! Oh, and to be really Hollywood- Love you! Love your show! *air kiss*

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Produced By" Book Review

Most of you are by now aware that my dad has a new book out. I know there are a few of you in the entertainment industry, so I thought I'd follow up on his book release.
Good things are happening since the release! Today, "Produced By: The Official Magazine of the Producers Guild of America/Winter 2009" is coming out, and has a glowing review of my dad's book. I scanned and copied it-hopefully the print isn't so microscopic that you can't read it.
I'm very happy for him and very proud of him too. I liked the part in the review where they talk about how to talk to people who don't create the effects, who expect miracles and can't understand why they are hard to produce. Sounds like the guys that create the magic have the same problems explaining to the "muggles" why magic isn't instant that the rest of us do!
Oh, and? Please buy his book. It makes a lovely Christmas gift, and that's my inheritance you're supplying. Thanks!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Off!

And I'm leaving, too! Heading down to L.A. for the Obligatory Family Visit and expect to come home with an eye twitch that should last a few days before it wears off. I may or may not post while I'm there.

I just finished recording my portion of Haunt Cast, which will be out on the 26th. Be sure to tune in! It's just the remedy you need for the post-Holiday twitching.

Wishing you all a lovely Holiday Season! Thanks for joining me this year in the crazy little world I live in!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Secret Santa Can Suck It!

I got an e-mail yesterday from the FAB Shadow Manor, aka The Art of Darkness, reminding me that I had signed up for the "Secret Santa Can Suck It" virtual gift exchange, and giving me the name of my poor victim.

I've been so busy, my first thought was, "I did? When did I do that?" But there I was, first on the list to be Santa. Astounding!

So David of Dark Artifacts is virtually receiving from me fencing lessons from Club D'escrime Olympia Longueuil right there in Quebec, where he lives. At least, I think that's what I'm giving him, since the entire site is in French, and I speak NONE!

I decided to give this to him because he says on his profile that he spends way too much time alone with his computer, so I thought he should get out more and use that brain of his to figure out how to meet new people, whom he can then beat black and blue with a fencing foil. I think that truly defines friendship, which is the very essence of the Christmas Season.

Have fun, David! And do get out more and live a little. Life goes by too fast to be stuck behind a computer!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Clementine! Please e-mail your address to me at as soon as you can, so I can get your prize out to you!

And the prize is...

The Limited Edition Dark Holiday Collection Pack from Dark Candles!

All of you who didn't enter are jealous, aren't you? Well, maybe next time!


Today is the last day to be entered into my "I'm Curious" giveaway. I'll be choosing a winner after 3:00 PM PST and let you know tomorrow who the winner was!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And the Fog Rolls In

St Augustines in the Fog

Cambridge Graveyard in the Fog

More Fog


Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funny

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Curious-A Giveaway Opportunity

I know that with the magic of the Internet, many people have access to my blog. What I'm curious about is this: Where do you live?

I'm so curious, in fact, that I'll make this a giveaway. If everyone who frequents this blog will leave a comment on this post telling me what city, state, and country (if outside the U.S.) you live in, I'll randomly pick someone on December 15th and I'll send you a something. I haven't figured out what, yet, but it'll be good. If you're not comfortable revealing your city, your state is fine. And please, no made-up cities, o.k.? I know that's what you were thinking!

Looking forward to finding out how far my evil influence has spread. Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For Pumpkin Rot-Feel Better!

Man flu instructions here. This is serious, ladies! Take it seriously...

Haunted Car

All I want for Christmas...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Day

I woke up around 3:30AM for a minute and looked out the window of my bedroom to see this:
Though it may not be very visible from these pics, it's snow! Now, while all you Midwesterners and other snow aficionados can curl your lips and say, "So?" those of us who live in areas where we grow citrus crops don't usually get to see snow. In fact, I've been told it's been years since the snow line dropped this low, which is about 218 feet above sea level. Needless to say, we're not exactly prepared for this.
Our Shepherd, to my knowledge, has never seen snow, and once she had her morning piddle in it, she was ready to play. You can't see my other dog because, well, he's not a morning dog and was still in bed.
I'm pretty sure it'll be melted by the end of the day, but right now, it's fun! I might actually get to wear my Irish fisherman's sweater this Winter!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


This looks interesting. I haven't heard anything about this movie at all-it may turn out to be a total piece of crap. I hope not, though.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dark Candles

Just a reminder to those of you who are still looking for that special something to give your loved ones. Tomorrow is the last day you can order the Dark Holiday edition candles from Dark Candles to get them in time for Christmas.

I learned about this place through Pumpkinrot's blog and bought for the Halloween Season. I was delighted with the products and delighted to find that the proprietress hand-makes all the candles herself. I can't tell you what I've ordered for Yule, but it will be fun to hand out presents this year!

Get it here.

ELE Approved

I turned some of my art classmates on to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog yesterday. Made them watch some of the extras, too. Here's my favorite Evil League of Evil application. Happy Friday!

I really should get my application in...

Kool Killer

Gotta watch out for this guy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

News From the Nest

It's been a pretty eventful week around here. Finals are coming up, a research paper needs to be written (which will count as a final), dogs need walking, house needs cleaning... Oh, and did I mention the Bomb Squad showed up the other day?
Yup! A concerned citizen called the cops about a "suspicious package" (please, no dirty comments here!) left on top of the mailbox bank, so the Boys in Black brought along their little robot buddy to check it out. (You might be able to zoom in to see the little guy at work.)

Turns out it was only a box of books someone was too damn lazy to take to the Post Office, but at least the guys had a chance to play with their toys. It's a pretty quiet town, so I don't begrudge them the opportunity!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Muertos Christmas

Morning Moon

Took this shot around 5:30 A.M. It has been really bright at night around here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


There's a tree along one of my dog-walking routes. This time of year, it's stunning.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dr. Frankenscream's Belwood Manor

Another fun haunt from one of our CalHaunts members.

See his photostream here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's Up!

The latest edition of Haunt Cast is up, starring yours truly-with the rest of the Scream Team.


Scaredale Animation

This year, I had planned to do a Pepper's Ghost illusion in my husband's home office window. Like many of you, the best-laid plans blew up in my face and I couldn't get it done in time. Then, I saw this on the Creep Crafters Yahoo groups list, and may consider this as an alternative.

It looks amazing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


From the exceedingly clever and funny Dave Lowe. I give thanks for Para Abnormal Comics. My preferred funnies, every day.

Pumpkin Carving

Wish I'd had this for Halloween!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody

Via Mighty God King.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it's Orson Welles and frozen peas. I was first exposed to this apparently infamous attempt at recording a frozen peas commercial by Mark and Brian when I was still living in the Los Angeles area. Orson Welles is asked to read some nonsensical copy and gets so annoyed, he walks out of the recording session. Yes, the man responsible for the great War of the Worlds broadcast walked out of the recording studio. I love it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winter Skulls



I honestly hope this movie lives up to the trailer!

I always wondered why no one had covered the topic of what would happen if vampires did win. No one had seriously explored the geometric progression of the vampire population and the ramifications of it.

Could be fun!

Monday, November 23, 2009

CalHaunts NorCal

We had our yearly wrap-up meeting on Saturday at my house. Every meeting is a potluck, and this meeting, of course, everyone brought their videos or slideshows of their haunts to show off. Here's one of the YouTube contributions from our group.

One of our members does a puppet show for the kids.

We had such a great time, ate far too much, had too much sugar and killed off two large bottles of champagne. We usually don't have the opportunity to socialize so much, because our meetings are make-and-takes and we're building a project, so the wrap-up meeting tends to be more of a party than a meeting. I'm good at parties!

Below, the rogues who made it out to my place. What a great group of people!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Few That Remain

Cleanup at the Nest went slowly this year. Oh, well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Are the Haunters

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fog Chiller Mod

Last year, I built a fog chiller using Got Fog's project plans. I liked the results, but I wanted to tuck my fog machines out of sight this year, yet still be able to pipe the fog into the yard.

I came up with this simple idea. I took a section of dryer vent, which you can extend and bend the way it best suits your situation. I like this, because once you bend it, it stays that way. I then purchased a guide for a downspout, which is also available at Home Depot or Lowe's.I extended the dryer vent and primered it, but used the wrong primer, unfortunately. (That's what I get for not paying attention and listening to the guy at Home Depot, who said I could use anything to primer.) If you try this, be sure to use metal primer.I didn't get around to stripping it and re-primering it this year, but if I had, I would then have painted it over with a flat black paint. The color really didn't wind up mattering this time, as I had it tucked among the bushes so it wasn't too visible. I also took some plastic paint and painted the downspout guide black. I then attached it to the vent with a 4" abs pipe fitting and some duct tape. I duct taped the other end to my fog chiller. I then filled in the gaps on the downspout end with Great Stuff. Below is the result. Not pretty, but effective on Halloween night.
This was all before I saw this video on using an irrigation pipe as a chiller. I might drill a few holes in my dryer vent pipe next year and see how it goes.