Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to All!

He looks as excited about 2011 as I do...

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope it brings all of you blessings unlooked-for!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ShellHawk's Christmas Eve Tradition

Sorry for the rough cut! Click on the pic to watch...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Final Rant Before the End of the Year

I was at a Solstice party last night when I head the terrifying news: There's a new "movement", and I was not consulted. Can you imagine?

The new movement: parents of small children will not "lie" to their children about Santa.


Seriously. These people actually believe the studies that "scientists" have made, stating that children won't trust their parents after this "horrible lie."


I'm not scarred from having believed in Santa. I'm thinking most of you weren't, either. In this Hallowe'en fan's opinion, folks that tell their kids Santa is a lie are assholes. End of story.

Really, people? Santa Claus isn't about consumerism, though corporations have taken his image and used it to their best advantage. Santa is about giving to others. Period. Your kids understand this. Why don't you? Oh, wait! Have you been sucked in and deceived?

Is this about you, and not your kids?

Alright. I'm done, though there could be pages and pages of ranting about this topic and the idiocy I feel (very strongly) is associated with it.

Jeez! Next, they'll be saying the Great Pumpkin isn't real, either! Madness...

Anyway... I'll be back after New Year's, unless something newsworthy descends upon me.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And may Santa bless you all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Musings

Pic courtesy of my dad

Here it is already. The Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year, and the shortest day. In certain Circles, today is Yule, with the attendant traditions of gift giving (acknowledging the gifts that will be given to us in the coming year, though we may not realize it) and hanging offerings from trees. Today is the day we pass from death into life, from darkness into light. With today as the sun's "birthday," the days will slowly become longer until the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The Holly King is defeated and transformed, and the Oak King is born once again.

We have two Solstices and two Equinoxes during the year, each of them exactly opposite from each other on the calendar. The gods'/God's/Goddess's (etc.) balance is perfect, our opportunity to contemplate and incorporate this act of nature into our lives perfect, as well.

At Samhain, or Hallowe'en, we celebrated the Return of the Beloved Dead and the Last Harvest. Old ideas and things that just didn't work for us anymore should have been laid in their graves at that time. Traditionally, that is the time when the fields were left to rest, when the Earth appeared dead. Agricultural societies had (hopefully) had a good harvest and enough food put by to last the long Winter, and they would rest, too.

Of course, we now have fresh tomatoes shipped from places that are now enjoying their summer, and with the economy being what it is, we're lucky if we can get Christmas Eve off. Let's put that aside for a moment and enter into the spirit of the season, anyway.

Here at the Nest, it's been storming off and on all weekend. This morning, as I watch the sun rise, more dark clouds are blowing in on an icy wind, but there are still patches of sky to be seen as dawn's glow spreads. School and teaching is over for me for the time being, and it's time to prepare for next year. I'm contemplating what worked and what didn't, which shows are likely to yield fruit for my growing business and what will be the most effective use of my time. Somewhere in there, I'd like to keep my marriage happy, work in friends and family, and get back to regular exercise and meditation.

Once again, I struggle with balance, just like everyone else.

It's an appropriate time to think about these things. (Why do you think there are New Year's resolutions?) Just as the ground seems lifeless on the surface, there is still life beneath, waiting to emerge when the ground is ready and warm, come Spring. Just because I'm not running around like a madwoman for the next month or so, doesn't mean that I can't enter into that contemplative time, reconnect with Spirit, and listen for the new life that lies beneath the altered pulse of my days.

Tonight, if you wish, take a moment to light a candle, either alone or with loved ones, to welcome light back into the world and into your life. Be open to whatever gifts you may receive in the coming year. In some of the more modernized pagan traditions, such as Wicca, most Solstice and Equinox ceremonies end with three wishes. Yes, I know it sounds like Aladdin's lamp, but it isn't. The three wishes are made for oneself, someone you know, and for the world. So maybe before you walk away from the candle and have drinks with friends or share dinner with your family, you can think about the things you wish for others, and say a quiet thank you for what you'll receive this year.

Welcome back, Oak King. It's good to see you again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Catch Up Time!

I'm so past overdue on thank-yous, it's terrible! Here's one thank-you that should have been posted aeons ago!

Months and months ago, Sam Pumpking of the Cult of the Great Pumpkin contacted me for my address, so he could send some schwag. Schwag! How cool! He sent it, I received it, was delighted, and promised to blog about it. I got tied up with life and couldn't get to it.

I'm a bad person. I can't help it. I can only say, "Sam! I'm so sorry!"

Well, I'm doing it now. Better late than never, I guess.

I had no idea he had such cool graphics available, let alone the fun bumper stickers and Pumpkin Cult patch. (I really have to find the perfect jean jacket, now. I have several patches now, needing a home...)
You can head over to his other site, Sinister Visions, to get a gander at the other dark things he makes.

Thanks again, Chad/Sam. Great stuff!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Forest of Souls

A fun walk-through from CalHaunts member Forest of Souls. Click on the pic to watch!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hauntcast Q & A Update

I just wanted to update everyone regarding the Hauntcast Live Christmas Party going on this Friday night.

It's official: through Skype, locate the user name "hauntcast," and basically friend Hauntcast. The Skype program is free, and you just do a Skype phone call to hauntcast, which is also free.

You can start calling at 8:30PM EST, or 5:30 for us West-Coasters-which, of course means you still have time to go to your boring office party. Of course, if you hang around our punchbowl for awhile, there's a good chance you'll get liquored up and Skully might take advantage of you. Just a friendly warning!

We will be answering questions and recording the mayhem live, so if you're in the witness protection program, you might want to change your voice!

See you in the dungeon!

P.S. Today is the last day of voting for the Podcast Awards, so please stuff the ballot box for Hauntcast! Thanks for the support, everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Busy Friday Night? Want Contribute to Hauntcast's Delinquency?

Then send the Scream Team your questions, and we may answer them. You can e-mail any of us or leave them on this post in the "ghostly whispers" section. There has been a rumor that we may do a live chat, but I need to confirm before I give you guys the details.

Looking forward to talking with y'all!

UPDATE: According to Chris, we'll be doing some questions live on Skype Chat. I'll let you know the exact time! Meanwhile, sign up for a free Skype account!

Eighty-Six Days

Yes, folks. Eighty-six days since I heard from Martha's Minions, but who's counting?

No words, yet. I still have hope.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hauntcast Subscriptions Now Available!

For those of you who are interested in doing so, Hauntcast is now offering yearly subscriptions! Chris and Guy have been slaving away, making this happen so listening to Hauntcast will be more convenient for everyone. You also will be able to take advantage of special discounts offered only to subscribers, so amble over to the Hauntcast subscription page and sign up!

I'd also like to remind you that voting on the PodCast Awards continues until the 15th, so please take a minute to head over and vote for Hauntcast. It would be great to have a haunt-related podcast win the best-produced and the general categories!

Have a great Monday!

The End of the Season

Dead Like Me Halloween Episode. Dark. Sentimental. Dark. Did I mention that? Click on the pic, and choose, "Play All."

One of my fave series, cancelled due to intelligence. What a shame. Grim and smart. What a great combo! *sigh*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First the Nobel Prize, Now This

By now, most of you are aware of the hoo-rah surrounding this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. In classic fashion, the Chinese government has taken its collective bat and ball and stormed away in a huff, and started its own "game," in protest.

It seems that Liu Xiaobo is not the only one speaking out for freedom in China, though this gentleman will likely never be awarded the Nobel Prize for speaking out. Thumbs up, Mr. Zhao Dan, for calling attention (and putting yourself at risk) to this other issue created by the repression of freedom of speech.

Doktor Calamari on the Creep Crafters Yahoo Group list posted a link to this article, about the restrictions that horror film makers in China have to endure when writing and making a film.

No ghosts allowed! No spirits of any kind. No Trick 'R Treat. No Ghost Story. No Poltergeist. Hell, for that matter, no Ghostbusters.

Seriously? Wow. "It was all a dream," or, "I was really stoned at the time." Lame.

Remind me not to move to China anytime soon. I can't live without my ghost stories.

Strangely enough-and I know this sounds utterly cheesy-but it made me appreciate the country I live in just a little more. I thought about this one little thing, a little thing that I take for granted: the fact that I can watch a movie that has ghosts and supernatural things in it, and other people in the world can't because of government censorship. I'm not going to start waving an American flag all over the place on you, but something like this makes you think and appreciate what you consider to be ordinary things a little more.

Sure, our economy is in the toilet, and it seems that epic problems crop up no matter who our president is, but we can still watch the movies we like, talk and argue about what we think about God and religion, and have a reasonable expectation that the military won't break down our doors and haul us away for doing so. I gotta say, I'm liking that whole concept a bunch. Way to go, founding fathers! Nice job!

I think I'll plug in The Legend of Hell House. To celebrate my rights.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

YouTube Friday. On Saturday

Those crazy kids at the Garage of Evil Yahoo Group have a "YouTube Friday" tradition. On Fridays, people post links to YouTube videos that they like, either on or off-topic. Sometimes I swipe them to share with you guys.

This is one such video.
Click on the pic to watch.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jack Russell Weekend

After getting rained out last weekend, I'm heading up to Jack Russell Farm Brewery to sell my wares. The first three people to call me "Mistress of Mayhem" will get 10% off on any purchase made from me, so come on up, have a beer, and visit one of the Christmas tree farms while you're in the neighborhood. It promises to be a fun weekend!

I Heart Deathworkz

Click on the pic to watch. They got some really great screams!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Shopping Ideas

First, I'm falling in love with various t-shirt companies, and some companie that have other stuff, but also happen to carry cool t-shirts. You all know about Crazy Dog T-Shirts, and that they've got some great horror-movie-related t's on sale.

I've discovered that I really like the "in-joke" t's best, rather than t's that are just a movie ad. When you run across someone who knows the reference, you feel like you're in this exclusive, "Fight Club" kind of club. I think this adds a level of geeky coolness we never had before.

Think Geek has actually put together a page for those gorram Browncoats who love Firefly. It's got both t's and other shiny Firefly stuff for us. There's also a great in-shirt for Trek fans.

Pumpkinrot was the one who originally turned me on to the U.K. based company, Last Exit To Nowhere. They actually have a horror t-shirt page for us! I particularly love the one inspired by that lovely old film, "The Wicker Man."

Every time I look at that site, I find more t-shirts I can't live without.

Hope that helps with your shopping! Oh, and if you want to head over to the Hauntcast site, I have the list of links for the websites I mentioned on the last episode posted.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

End of the Year Tasks

They've started. Those nasty, horrible end of the year tasks that everyone has to face to one degree or another.

Mine started yesterday, with getting (very belatedly) my Quickbooks program up to date, then plunging forth into getting categories set up, etc.

Yes, I should have started this in January. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Whatever. I'm doing it now, so I have a better idea of what needs doing for next year. January 1, I hit the ground running (unless there's more champagne, then of course, it will have to wait until the second. Let none say I don't have my priorities straight!), prepping for the next show, and working my way down the ever-lengthening to-do list.

I got that together yesterday afternoon, by the way, the home duties and business duties list. Take my advice: don't ever do that to yourself. It's depressing, daunting, and adds to the sinking feeling that you're forgetting something.

I took a break this morning to find this great article from HauntCon's own Leonard Pickel. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

Oh, and the Davis Graveyard has made the announcement regarding the 2010 Haunter's Video Awards. If you haven't submitted for that, you really should do that his year!

Back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Delightful Haunt of Chez Neumansky

Yet another CalHaunts NorCal rock star, Dan Neumansky (and family!), made this great haunt.

 Rock on, Dan! Great work!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big Day, Part One

"Part Two" will hopefully come when I get into the next show, which would be another HUGE milestone in my life.

Until then, I'll give you a few pics of yesterday's festivities.

I'll start by saying I was really pleasantly surprised by the turnout for brunch. I don't think of myself as a big deal in any way, so when a number of folks expressed interest when I put out the invite, I could only think, "Wow. Seriously?"

So, about 20 people showed up, and my dad flew up from L.A. (best dad, ever!) for the event. BTW, if you're ever in the downtown Sacramento area, Capitol Garage is an unbelievably fantastic place for brunch!
Afterward, of course, we all headed over to the Crocker Art Museum to look at my sculpture and have a cultural experience. See how small he is? Now you know why I almost went blind making him!
Below, Mr. ShellHawk and I prove that Vanna has nothin' on us!
In any case, it was a really wonderful day. We took a little while to wander in the "old Crocker" area. The building itself is as much a piece of art as the works it houses. Hand-painted, hand carved everything, it is truly architecture that would cost millions today, if you could even find the artisans to make all the elements. The new ceramics wing was both inspiring and depressing, because I can clearly see how far I have to go before I get to those levels. We had to go sooner than I would have liked, but it gives me an excuse to go back again and examine everything more closely at a later date.

Onward to the next show!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today's the Day!

We're ambling into Sacramento to Capitol Garage for a champagne brunch, and then we're heading over to the Crocker Museum of Art to see my sculpture, in situ, as it were. My awesome dad is even flying up from L.A. for the day to come with us! How great is that?

Here's a re-run of the pic of my piece, for those who haven't seen it, yet.
I have to thank those amazing men, Brian Froud and Charles DeLint for giving me the inspiration to do this piece with their art and writing, respectively.

But, just to show that even after an accident, the piece can still turn out fine (even if you're personally convinced that it's completely ruined), I'm including a couple of pics of "Manitou," pre-firing. I.e., before I knocked his left arm off after he had mostly dried and had to pray that I could attach a new one without the area cracking.

I still like the position of this arm and hand better, but looking at it, it needed a little more work... But then, I always think that of my sculptures!

Have a great Sunday, boils and ghouls! I'm after a mimosa, now!

Friday, December 3, 2010

As Long As We're Talking Christmas Lists

Image by the very talented Aimeescreations4u

I thought I'd spread the love around! I have a list of Etsy Treasury Lists for y'all to check out if you like. There are a bunch of really talented folks out there, slaving away to make things for Christmas gifts, so head over to ShellHawk's Treasury Lists to take a peek. Please feel free to leave comments there, even if you don't buy anything. The feedback for the business owners is very much appreciated!

Just a Couple of Things to Mention

Sorry if this sounds a little like a commercial for a bunch of stuff, but please read through so you're hip to what's happening in not only my world, but another one, too!

As you know, Hauntcast is up for the "Best Produced" and "General" cate-gorys (Get it? It's a play on "gory." Pretty clever, huh?) for the Podcast Awards. Apparently, they're tallying up each day's total votes to get the winner, so please take a minute to vote for us each day. Click on the banner to take you to the site. We really appreciate it! When we win, Chis is buying everyone drinks!

O.k., he's not, but you can't blame a girl for trying.

Next, I wanted to remind you all that I have some nice items in my Etsy store that would make unique Christmas gifts for just about anyone. Since it's going to be raining all weekend, I will not be pulling my items out of the Etsy store to take to Jack Russell Farm Brewery, so you can see what my "normal," non-Hallowe'en stuff looks like. My Hallowe'en items are still listed, too-I actually dropped my price on the pumpkin ghost everyone liked so much, so take a look and take him home! (Please! I need to buy and install a utility sink so I don't have to wash my clay tools off in freezing water outside, in the rain! Can I tell you how much that sucks?!)

If you like, you can take one or both of my banners and post them to your site, linking them with my etsy store address: Here are the images, made by the exceptionally talented Guy of House Bloodthorn:

 Lastly, I ran across this charity event and had to pass it on to you. The Mission Fish part of eBay is auctioning off this original artwork to benefit the Haven Foundation, which helps artists in need. Artist and illustrator Glenn Chadbourne has donated this illustration, inspired by Stephen King's Dark Tower series, to raise money for the Foundation:
Here's the press release:
Now being auctioned through eBay's Mission Fish with proceeds to benefit The Haven Foundation is this signed original artwork by Maine artist Glenn Chadbourne. This pen and ink drawing is inspired by Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga. It has been professionally framed with conservation quality materials. The piece including frame measures 13-1/4" x 15-1/2". 
Chadbourne has also illustrated the limited editions of Secretary of Dreams Volumes 1 and 2 and The Colorado Kid.
You can bid on the piece here, the full Haven Foundation info on this auction is here, and Glenn Chadbourne's website is here. He does some deliciously dark illustrations, so head over there to take a peek at his work!

Have a great weekend, All!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hey! We're Nominated!

It looks like the craven begging we did to get you folks to nominate Hauntcast for the Podcast awards worked! Since I'm a big fan of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," philosophy, I'm here to cravenly beg that you take some time to vote for us in the "Best Produced" and "General" categories. You can vote daily, too! UPDATE: Apparently, you have to vote daily to get the votes to win. Sorry it's such a p.i.t.a., but there you have it!

Please head over to the Podcast Awards website and vote. (You can even click on the cute little banner above and it'll take you to the website.)

If you want to get the word out about this event, take a few minutes to post about it on your blog, or on Facebook, Twitter, or the bathroom wall. (Potty humor does have its place...)

Voting ends December 15th, so don't wait! You might even win a date with Chris Baker. (That blatant lie seemed to have worked last time, so I'll throw it out there again...)
If you haven't listened to Hauntcast, all the episodes are available on for download. Keep in mind: we are definitely not safe for work, small children, or farm animals!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sunday at Jack Russell Farm Brewery

Some of you folks are aware that I work with clay and make some fun stuff. The last several months, I've had a booth at Jack Russell Farm Brewery, which is in Camino, California, in the foothills of the Sierras.

We've had some weather, lately, and Sunday morning when I went up, I found the brewery covered in snow!

Mine were the only footprints in the snow, except for the farm dogs'!

I had popped over to Michael's before heading up the hill to pick up some cheerful Christmas decorations. I nearly choked from the icky sweetness in the store, but recovered after listening to some Nox Arcana in the car. I decided to leave the tarps off the side to let the sun in.

I couldn't help but notice a distinct difference in the appeal of the booth, pre-Hallowe'en!
 It's been a good experience for me to have a booth. I've been taking notes for myself with an eye to improving my displays for next year. It seems like a good idea to find some cases that might survive the uneven ground there without falling on top of someone. From what I understand, that tends to put a damper on sales.

There are changes I need to arrange so the booth looks better and more full next year. It wasn't horrible for a last minute throw-together, though!