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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Playgrounds Can be Tough

on January 28, 2009 - 8:39am


I'm sure most of us can remember a time in childhood when our parents nudged us out the door to play, even though something - be it the local bully or the crazy neighbour's dog that's always loose - was waiting for us. I can remember many a battle taking place at the local park. Though I will admit, I never had to fight zombies (not real ones, anyway).

This corner snapshot from Jason Chan's "Zombie Playground" sums up a metaphor of what it was like to battle those foes way back when.

Gives a whole new spin on "King of the Castle", doesn't it?

That's What I Call a Pumpkin

on January 27, 2009 - 8:06am


Ray Villafane is a professional artist and sculptor. He's done work for Sideshow Collectibles, Reflex Publications, DC Direct, McFarlane Toys, and Bowen Designs.

Apparently in his spare time, he'll carve a pumpkin or two.

I found these on a flickr account after reading a post by Ray's brother who was bragging (justly) about Ray's talent as a pumpkin carver. I did a little google detective work and found Ray's website.

To see all of the pumpkins and a 'how to' (ha ha ha...right), check out Ray's pumpkin page on his website.

Scaring Ourselves More than the Monsters Do

on January 26, 2009 - 12:42pm

black hand and pumpkinface
While there are many things to legitimately fear in the world, I find that human beings have a tendency to heighten these fears to the point where we lose scope of what we should actually be afraid of; what the original source of fear was, and how to act in order to protect ourselves. If you lose sight of what the original source was, then any action you take to prevent it from happening again is fairly useless.

I just read a news story from last October about a town in Pennsylvania who, after 16 years, lifted a ban on trick or treating after dark. The ban was put in place in October of 1992, after an 11-year-old girl, Shauna Howe, was abducted and murdered by two men.

Death is tragic. Murder of children is devastating. The people who commit these acts are the source of fear, and have nothing to do with a holiday.

I decided to do a bit of digging on the original story, and what I found illustrates my point of displacing fear.

The girl wasn't taken on Halloween. She was actually attacked on October 27th, while walking home from a girl scout Halloween party. On her own.

New Content

on January 25, 2009 - 4:55pm

New propNothing terribly exciting to report today, but I thought I would mention a couple of extra bits of content on the site.

There is a simple article on black lights and materials that glow in the dark for those of you who know little about it.

I've finally started putting together a tutorial on different clays available/commonly used. I only have three written up so far, but will be adding to it in the coming weeks. Next material will be Celluclay.

I've been working on the website for far too long this weekend, so I'm off to work on the first prop of 2009. He's not very impressive yet, but I suppose I wouldn't be either if I didn't have a face.

Aaron Blecha and His Cartoon Monstrosities

on January 24, 2009 - 7:57am

Blecha alien
You may have seen his work on the Cartoon Network or through Warner Brothers. If you haven't, come sit by me and get to know Wisconsin-born Aaron Blecha.

It's the editorial work he's done while living in London that caught my eye (for example, the images posted below).

While I enjoy animated shows, there's something that changes just beneath the surface of a cartoon when you take the same animation artist and apply their skill in a different medium for an older audience: the corners are a little darker; the characters are a little edgier; there is a commentary to the unspoken story.

Rotting Hills: Shea Halloween

on January 23, 2009 - 8:20am


Dubbax3 is the username behind the work over at Rotting Hills: Shea Halloween. He does beautiful sculptural art and some gruesome corpses, along with cuter looking creepers.

blue girl zombie

Besides having obvious talent, I think the reason his pieces are so wonderful is because of the attention to detail regardless of scale; you see it in his small sculptures and you see it in his large corpses/zombies. I especially like the look of the hands in the image below.

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

on January 22, 2009 - 5:06pm


Stumbled across some wonderfully disturbing photographs of Halloween celebrators from the early 1900's. I've posted 3 of my favourites, but encourage you to browse the entire set.

There are additional images from the WIRED magazine article, where they interviewed the the man behind the collection:

...people back then were probably on a more intimate level with death — and that would have affected the way they celebrated Halloween...I am really fascinated by how these photographs of people dressed in primitive, homemade costumes and memorialized in faded, black-and-white photos often seem to have a real sinister aspect to them. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but to me Halloween a century ago looks much scarier than it does now in digitalized color

Archie McPhee: Eating Brains and Taking Names

on January 21, 2009 - 6:03pm


I can blame metalchick666 over at Skulls and Bacon for introducing me to a treasure trove of pointless gadgets I must have and am in danger of wasting money on. I'd followed the link that lead to the cute monster bandages I would proudly wear, and decided to explore the site some more.

It was then I realized Archie McPhee ("Eating Brains and Taking Names for 25 years" - an actual slogan that came up on-screen) is home to endless streams of kitsch and subculture! Including, but not limited to, this fantastic remote control zombie.

And I kept looking. Deeper and deeper I tumbled, loving the tv dinner napkins and other retro gear. But I'll focus on the darker goodies for this post.

Getting to Know Ghoul Friday

on January 21, 2009 - 8:01am


I don't normally post images of myself on the website, but this time I couldn't resist.

I have to get some x-rays done today, which reminded me I had this floating around on my computer.

That's me. No foolin.

I had a bone scan done years ago, and this is a copy of it. I've been meaning to post it (and incorporate it into a Halloween theme) for a long time.

There's something humbling about seeing your own skeleton; of seeing past the flesh.

There's also something really cool about it. Is it me, or do I have a happy evil skull?

I've posted a larger image below, including the scan of me from the back. Enjoy contemplating your own mortality...or mine, anyway.

Panna Cotta Brain

on January 20, 2009 - 3:58pm


My first experiment with a brain mould: a classic panna cotta dessert.

Ingredients for the brain:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin *
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of jam
  • Approx. 1 cup pomegranate or blueberry juice

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