Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chris Ape Celebrity Photo Contest

Christmas Ape, kicking it with pal Jack Nicholson at the Overlook Hotel.
And I really hope that a bunch of people enter into this with the spirit I intended! (That's a plea. Don't leave me hanging!)
It's been quiet here in Halloween land, with not many comments and not much going on, so I thought I'd insert some mid-Winter silliness into a dull season...

My readers know of my dear friend, Christmas Ape, a.k.a. Chris Aype or just Ape, who flies around the world with us and gets his picture taken in the coolest places. Great fun, right? There's only one problem:

Ape has no celebrity photos.

He almost did. Twice, in fact. Once, over Christmas, with Joe Mantegna, and once with Jon Favreau at Monsterpalooza a couple of years ago.

I chickened out, both times. I just couldn't walk up to either of them and explain the magic that is Ape, and ask for a photo for his Facebook page. And I really wanted to, because it would be awesome!

That's where this contest comes in. Chris has requested that I get him into some pics with celebrities, and I thought that given my lack of spine, Photoshop might be the answer. I figured that if this guy could Photoshop celebs into his party pics, someone could Photoshop Ape into a celebrity encounter of some kind.

So there's the contest. Grab a picture of your choice of Christmas Ape off his Facebook page (or you can search this blog) and give him his celebrity picture! He could be chatting with a supermodel, giving advice to President Obama, having drinks with Mila Kunis, skiing with Vince Vaughn, or whatever fun situation you can dream up for him. The celebrity can be living or dead. Use your imagination! You can create and enter as many pics as you like.

Mr. ShellHawk, Ape and I will narrow entries down to the top five, which I'll then post here for a reader vote. (Aren't I an optimist? I'm assuming I'll get more than five!) The deadline for entry will be February 18. The top five will be posted by February 22, when the voting will start. Send all entries to me at shell hawks nest at ya hoo dawt calm. I hope you can figure out the email address from that!

So here are the rules:
1) No naughty pics. Suggestive, o.k. Porn, not o.k.
2) By sending these pics to me, you agree that I can use them in whatever way I choose, including posting them on Facebook or making millions in a tell-all book. (Like that would ever happen...)
3) You must name the celebrity with whom he is pictured. (Because I just don't know them all!)

Extra credit for the story of how Ape and his celebrity ended up in the situation pictured. Keep it short and sweet. The cooler and more far-fetched, the better. 

What do you win? I'll tell you!

First Prize is one of my jack-o'-lanterns. My choice.
Second prize is a trick or treat bag with a softcover edition of  Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living and a copy of  Make: Halloween Special Edition.
Third prize is one of my mini-boos.

Please spread the word! Tweet it, blog it, Facebook it. The more, the merrier, and I might start posting entries in the intervening time before the contest entry period is over.

Let's have some fun with this, gang!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Search of...

I've been thinking about this recently, so I thought I'd share. After all, if it wasn't for people wondering what comes after, we wouldn't have a Hallowe'en, now, would we?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Tease

There's a giveaway coming soon, for those who are good with Photoshop...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why is Hallowe'en Such a Big Deal? Especially in January?

Image via Make Magazine and Kevin Smith's Facebook page
I think it boils down to people's innate need to create. 

I tell my beginning ceramics students that everyone is born creative. Hand a five-year-old an open can of Play-Doh, and they grab it and start making stuff. Hand an adult that same can, and they say, "Oh, I have no artistic ability," or run to check the instructions or the how-to page. (I find the idea of needing instructions for Play-Doh pretty weird, myself.)

I think it's because around age thirteen or fourteen, people start telling kids that art is only for "special people" and to start getting ready for their college careers. Everyone knows that art isn't a valid career, right? If it were, there would be funding available for it in a down economy. But that's a rant for another day.

Hallowe'en is a different animal. Hallowe'en, perhaps because it's "a kid's holiday," gives us permission to create whatever we like. We can be an artist, if only for the time it takes to make a prop or a costume.

Make Magazine had a nice little blurb about this concept. Head on over and read it. Then go make some truffle skulls. You won't regret it.

What's your idea for Hallowe'en this year?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shocktail Hour News!

Our new t-shirt design and blatant play for beer money.
The new Shocktail Hour episode is up and ready for subscriber download! 

Join JT & Baker at the Last Bar on the Left as they tip back a few cold ones and BS about the world of horror! 
The boys will give you the poop about Macabre Faire Film Festival and Halloween Party & Expo shows, blather about the Walking Dead and Season 4 of Face off. 
JT digs deep into his bag of tricks with Flashback reviews of House at the Edge of the Park and Beyond the Darkness. 
The dastardly duo also review Silent Night, Millennium Bug, John Dies At the End & Texas Chainsaw 3D. Taking you to the bridge, JT interviews band BlakOpz and spins a few tracks from their album Blood, Sweat And Fear.

The new Shocktail Hour and Hauntcast t-shirts are available for order, too, so support our beer budget and buy one! And subscribe to Hauntcast, already. Sheesh.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Skull and Bone 2006

Click on the pic to see video.
I really wish I had been able to see this one while it was still up! Skull and Bone tutorials here.

I've been gettin' the itch to re-do the haunt, but reality is telling me it likely won't happen unless I get a crew of volunteers. I just have too much to do in the "adult" world this year! Phooey.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pesky Spiders

Don't you just hate it when you go out to your car in the morning and you have to get through all the spider webs to open the door?

More pics at Hoover's Corner.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Hump Day

Because you needed to spit coffee out of your nose, that's why.

If anyone can find the original link to this, I'd appreciate it. Love to see if they have other shows like this!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina!

But do send a flower car...
Hand-carved Argentine flower car
Other images here, via Hemmings Daily.

The Grim Rides Facebook page is another great place to get your hearse on, but if you're not on Facebook, you can head over to the Grim Rides website, which is a load of fun, too! 

I have to admit, with the Mighty Dodge gone, I have been browsing the hearse ads...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hauntcast Magazine is Up!

After a long wait (hey, Grimlock was viciously attacked by Sandy, and had a lot of stuff to deal with!), the first issue of Hauntcast Magazine is up! 

Hauntcast subscribers need to scroll to the bottom of the loyal minions page for the link to download. This also is my debut as a writer of horror; Squee! (I hope it doesn't suck!)

Subscribe. Just do it. You know you want to!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Productive Week

This week was the week I started to make some inroads to being a grownup, although I'm sure I'll be setting aside some time to remain a kid.

It was cleaning and organizing time. When I clean and organize, I go all out, and the area afflicted will look even more like a bomb went off than it did before I started cleaning. Tunes blare out from the stereo, like this one and this one, because I like to keep my energy level up while getting things done. Earlier in the week, I tackled my home office, and while it's not completely done and immaculate, as Mr. ShellHawk commented, "Hey! You can see the floor!" That's a big win in my book.

Yesterday, it was studio/garage cleanup day, and I made some pretty major inroads. I have a sculpture I must have completed within the next couple of weeks so I can submit it to the America's ClayFest, which used to be Feats of Clay. Feats of Clay closed down because of lack of funding and a few other factors, so there went that avenue of exposure. 

Anyway, I'm re-making Raven, who had the nerve to blow up in the kiln. He'll be a little smaller this time because I'm building him on one of my kiln shelves to ensure that he'll fit into the kiln when he's done. (Last time I made him, it suddenly occurred to me I needed to measure and had to ask my bosses at Parks and Rec if it would be o.k. if I borrowed their kiln for the purpose, because he was too big! They were kind, but I really can't ask again...)

I also got together on a Skype call with my friend, Bill, who designs web pages and does all manner of cool business stuff for people like me. (And I am very grateful he took time out of his busy schedule to help me out!) I now have a to-do list and some serious studying to do. I also have to do one of my least favorite things. No, not eat Brussels sprouts, although that is in the top ten.

I have to start doing math. And numbers. And start paying attention to all those crazy business things like time, materials costs, fuel costs, etc. (To be fair to myself, I had already started to pay attention to those things while still clinging to plausible deniability of anything that might be something I don't want to know in any concrete form... Hey, it worked for a while, so stop judging me! ;o))

To say that I don't like math much is like saying that Hitler had minor issues with Jews.

Math makes me sweat and cry like a baby. I admit it. I hate it, and it hates me right back, and I've been that way since 2+2=4.25, or whatever it equals. I jokingly told Bill that I'm an artist, not Warren Buffett, and he smiled and sent me a list of things that included math, anyway. I still love him.

While I know I'm overdue for everything on the list, the creative side is whining, "Hey! I just want to make stuff! Why can't I just make stuff?! Why do I have to waste time on all this stupid admin?!"

 I've had to tell her to shut up rather firmly, because if we can't work together on this, there will never be the bigger studio, front-loading electric kiln, gas kiln, or anything else on the list of ceramics playthings I'd like to have.

She's still whining, but not as frequently. And we're trying to figure out some kind of income without having to go back into dentistry.

It will come. Of that I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Paper Skelly

"Looking Back" by Peter Callesen.

Other great paper art at

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don Waller, or, I Meet the Most Interesting People!

"Deputy Sheriff Dawg" (He was eventually promoted and upgraded with better law enforcement equipment)
Those of you who have been readers of mine for a few years know that my family Christmas Eve tradition is to have a party and wait for the Magical Christmas Caroling Truck to go by. This year, my dad invited a couple I hadn't met before. He told me he had met them through working with The Visual Effects Society, so I knew that meeting them was going to be a bunch of fun.

What I did not realize at the time was how talented both of them are!

I'm not going to talk about the lovely woman I met, because I haven't asked her for permission, I will talk about her husband, Don Waller. Here's the bio he authorized me to post:
Don Waller hails from Pennsylvania and has lived in LA for 26 years. He had many artistic inspirations as a child, with his older brother Harry being the person who taught him how to draw. In later years, Don discovered the work of Ray Harryhausen and became hooked on stop motion animation. Moving to LA in 1986, he has since worked as a freelance animator on many feature films, television programs and commercials. Jurassic Park, Pee Wee's Playhouse, The Addams Family films, Robocop 1 and 2, Peter Jackson's King Kong and many others. Don continues to work in the field of CG animation and in his spare time, does his own personal art projects.
 "Miller Mouse" (This illustrates that even cartoon characters can go through a mid life crisis!)
"Bob meets The Beatles" (We never saw THIS episode made, did we?! Ha! And it's based on the TRUE account....)
 "Dennis, the Public Menace" (After all, he always was sort of a problem child. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell lost complete control of him during his teen years!)
Don and his wife were kind enough to let me natter on about my ceramic art, and he and I even got to talking about tombstones! (He uses insulation foam, too!) He's a very low-key, self-effacing kind of guy, so while I knew he had done some pretty cool stuff in the industry, it wasn't until he later sent me the link to his demo reel that I got a true sense of how amazing his track record truly is!
"Casper's Halloween prank"
"Mr. Magoo's Sci-Fi special"
"Bad day in Bedrock"
You should check out Don's IMDB page if you want to get a better sense of how much work he's done.

Anyway, it was a great experience to connect with both him and his wife. They're both just delightful people, and I'm so glad my dad has friends like them to visit with. Don was kind enough to ask me to send along any pics of new artwork I do, so I'll definitely put that at the top of my to-do list once my new stuff starts coming out!

By the way, I've used all of his images with permission, so please be sure to respect his copyrights on them! Thank you, Don, for being gracious enough to share your work with all of us!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hauntcast 45-Room 237

Hey, kids! The new episode of Hauntcast has dropped like a teenager's panties on prom night! In the newest episode, you'll find:

HAUNTING GURU INTERVIEW: Mike “Beaker” Parpovich of Terror on the Fox and Pale Eye Productions visits the dungeon.
GHOULIE GROOVES: Singer, songwriter and Midnight Syndicate vocalist Destini Beard.
 THE MARKETING MORGUE: Dick Terhune with the Lucky 13 strategy of making   your own luck.
THE BLACK MARKET: Bobbie Weiner of Bloody Mary Makeup bloodies up the dungeon.
THEATER OF THE MIND: Revenant explores using the concept of Group Think in your haunt.
THE CHARMED POT: The Mistress of Mayhem pays homage to Stephen King’s masterpiece The Shining.
THE PROP SHOP: Denhaunt and Chris compare their tools.
TERROR TURNPIKE: Vysther goes batty for The Haunted Cave in Lewisburg, OH.
SOMETHING WICKED: Wick-Ed Gannon drops some knowledge about the Drop Panel.
MAD PROPS FOR PROPS: The maddest of props for Brad Goodspeed’s Berstuk creation.
We give away an awesome $660 “Boogeyman” silicone mask from Composite Effects.Congratulations to our winner this month: Jim Transue.
Enjoy the show!
I did a special blog post over on the Hauntcast "News" section that includes a bunch of links on "The Shining," so if you're interested, click here.

If you've never listened to the show, go to the Hauntcast home page and click on the old-timey radio on the upper left section of the page to download free episodes. If you have listened to the show and are balking at investing in your 2013 haunt by purchasing a subscription, then head over to the "News" page and click on any entry that has a sample of a current segment from the show. It may convince you to subscribe and take your haunt-home or pro- to the next level! 

For instance, a segment new to Season Four of Hauntcast is "The Marketing Morgue," with The Voice From Hell, Dick Terhune. Even though I'm not promoting my haunt in this way, I've learned a bunch about marketing from this segment that I can apply to my ceramics business.

Previous listeners will remember Revenant's great segment, "Theater of the Mind," in which Rev discusses the psychology of haunting and how to include it in your haunt. I swear, his segment gets better, every time!

O.K., I'll stop with the ad for Hauntcast. But before I do, know that we have been green-lighted for a fifth season, and that we're the best possible way you have to spend your Christmas money...

Bloody kisses, darklings!

Friday, January 4, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Wannabe Hawaiian, Christmas Ape, at the Nakalele Blow Hole on Maui.
Confession time: Hawaiian music? I freaking love it. Whether it's in the Hawaiian language or in English sung by a great big Hawaiian guy (he happens to have passed on to the great Luau in the sky, so maybe that's sort of topical to a Hallowe'en blog...), I am a total sucker for it!

Since I've been listening to this music off and on since I got back from our fantastic Hawaiian vacation (in which Mr. Ape, above, made BFFs with a real dolphin), and I know many of you are stuck in snow right now, I thought I'd offer you a moment of paradise.
Sunset on the Big Island
Someone was thoughtful enough to put together an Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole playlist on YouTube, which I think is full of all sorts of fabulous. Just between you and me-please don't tell  anyone; it would totally ruin my reputation-his voice is so beautiful that some of his songs just bring tears to my eyes! (If you spill the beans, I will totally deny it, as I am a Hallowe'en person, and a completely bloodthirsty and not at all sentimental or sappy in any way imaginable!) I am also once again amazed at the difference in appearance vs. voice. You would think this man would have a basso voice to rival my beloved Thurl, but no!

There's another great Islander and very talented guitarist by the name of John Cruz, who is fairly legendary in the Islands and massively underrated everywhere else, as far as I can tell. I just made a John Cruz YouTube playlist with a few of his tunes for you to get a sense of his talent.

I'm thinking about getting a Hawaiian language learning thingie so Mr. ShellHawk and I can learn it and talk smack about just about anyone without their knowing about it. Of course, then, we wouldn't be practicing Aloha (I'm pretty sure it translates to, "Don't be an a-hole"), which would make me feel somewhat guilty--unless you really, really deserved it!

I really am ready to head back over there for just a week or three... I'd move there if I didn't have to put my dogs in quarantine for six months. And if I could afford it. And have a gas kiln.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January, 2013

Image via BFI.
Hitting the ground running is the goal this week. January, the traditional start of planning and resolutions, is here, and I'm running with it, in spite of the cold. (Though there are no blizzards here, as in the above pic...)

I have my home office to clean up and organize, clothes and Christmas to pack away, a studio to clean and organize, a sculpture to work on for a fine art show. Oh, and I have to track down both fine art shows and craft shows to get into!

Maybe this will be the year I get into Halloween and Vine. (Oh, yeah. One more thing for the to-do list: develop a more folk-artsy style to get into Halloween and Vine.)

It's actually amazing how many of my goals keep rolling over into the next year. And the next. And the next. Some of it, I admit, is not putting it on the calendar and saying, "On this day, I will do this." And as we all know, goals are not achieved without either a schedule or a plan in place. So that's going to be January for me, along with getting everything together for taxes and mundane house stuff.
Sam's first trip to the snow, with friend Josey behind him.
And then, there's Sam. He's a teenager now, and is in that stage where he thinks rules don't apply to him. Additionally, he's got some fears that I haven't been able to eliminate yet, and is due for some more trainer time. He's overdue for some long walks, on which, if I get cleared by my doctor (in addition to the broken toe and twisted ankle last year, I fell hard on my knees and now have a popping sensation in one, every time I bend it! Joy.) I will start taking him again. He has far too much energy to be cooped up in the house, and needs a firm dose of Cesar Millan's mantra: Exercise, discipline and affection, in that order!

Once again, I'm convinced I need to be cloned in order to get everything done. Did I mention that balance is on the list, too? XP

Whatever your resolutions or goals may be, I wish for you the gumption to sit down and list them out, and start checking them off, one by one.

Happy New Year, everyone! May it be a lucky 2013!