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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

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

Self-Indulgent Mutterings: Updating the Website

on January 20, 2009 - 2:47pm

You know that feeling of accomplishment that follows the completion of a menial task? I'm talking about mundane things like cleaning out a closet or sorting out the overflowing junk drawer. No one else really cares that you've done it, but man, are you ever chuffed. And if it was up to you, you'd get some sort of reward like a gold star.

For me, it was finally getting around to fixing some small details on the website. For instance, I replaced the bullets in the menu. I'd always hated the ones originally there, but hadn't come up with a new image to replace them with.

Captain Company

on January 19, 2009 - 2:47pm

magazine ad of child with projector, creating a skull image
Look at that image. I feel like a budding paleontologist spying a treasured dinosaur fossil for the first time. It's like documenting the history of haunting.

That is a classic example of the Captain Company collection. This one is courtesy of toyranch's flickr account where he has kindly shared a tremendous collection of these vintage ads.

So what is (or sadly, was) this Captain Company? Here's a very simple history from someone who just missed this cultural gemstone.

Horror movies really hit their stride in the livingrooms of the late 1950's, and UHF stations entertained audiences with classic films. Riding the monster popularity wave into the 1960's and 1970's was Famous Monster's of Filmland Magazine, in the back of which you would find Captain Company ads.

Captain company was a Philadelphia-based mail order business, and the merchandising arm of Warren Publishing. It specialized in horror movie related products including masks, model kits, rings, posters, Super 8mm name it.

Skulls, Bacon, and USB Keys

on January 18, 2009 - 8:57am

skull rings
There's a blog I've been meaning to talk to you about called Skulls and Bacon. The author is a big fan of - as you may have guessed - skulls and bacon (and muppets, but I suppose 'Skulls, Bacon and Muppets' is just too wordy a title for a blog). You can find some interesting blog posts covering items like a Skull Sensory Deprivation Chamber or the Skull Ring USB Keys pictured here.

The skulls offer 2GB of portable memory for ghoulish geekory. While the price tag is high ($204.60 on, the idea is great. Perhaps someone will come along with a more reasonably priced version.

If you're not scared off by the price, you'll find an assortment of colours - from pink to pewter - to suit your personal taste.

Excuse Me While I Geek Out: Battlestar Galactica

on January 15, 2009 - 6:54pm

No, you're not on the wrong website. I've just changed gears for today. Forgive my lapse into nerd-dom, but I am a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica, which means it's an exciting time for me.

Starting tomorrow (Friday) morning, the Space channel (Canadian version of the Sci-Fi Channel) will be starting a BSG marathon, playing Season 4 episodes back to back, leading up to the new episode tomorrow night at 10 pm.

To celebrate this, I've started throwing together an impromptu Battlestar Galactica themed mini party for Yetch and I (Yetch, you need to stop reading this post now. Spoilers ahead).

Cereal for a Frosty Morning

on January 14, 2009 - 12:28pm


I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but here with the windchill it's -30 C (that's -22 F for my American friends). Too cold for a creeper like me to leave the cozy confines of her home (I've been out there once already. That's enough thanks).

As a tribute to the ghastly weather, I've chosen some bone chilling (ha ha, punny) art for your enjoyment.

Headed by Doktor Viktor Von Kreep of Kreepsville Industries (the man responsible for such great things as Headless Spectre Records), a group of talented cartoonists came together and created "Cereal Killers":

Kreepsville Industries presents Cereal Killers. A spooky, kooky coffin table cartoon art book that has been in the works since 2006. This creepy, crawly treat features over 70 terrorfying takes on some of your favorite breakfast cereal's, and some original ones by some of the top animation artists and illustrators from today!

Shag and Disney's Haunted Mansion

on January 12, 2009 - 4:16pm

wolfman drinking martini
I've been a stressed out little spirit recently, dreaming of running away from it all. Usually I am prone to travelling to distant places that can be rather challenging - physically or mentally - and exciting to a Westerner; places like India and Japan. I'm a backpacker, not a suitcase toter. I've never done all-inclusive packages nor am I usually interested in paying a lot of money to sit on a beach while ignoring the rest of an unexplored country beyond the resort compound. I don't think talking to the waiter who brings you another margarita counts as 'getting to know the locals'.

But recently the idea of a classic vacation has appealed to me. Instead of looking into Vietnam or Cambodia (which I thought would be my next destination of choice), I've been drawn to Disneyland (oops..have been corrected. Disneyworld in Florida, not Disneyland) - the ultimate in indulgent, mind-numbing relaxation. And in pursuit of my new obsession, I came across an artist who goes by the name of Shag.