Thursday, October 29, 2009

Best Horror Movie List EVAH!

Only a couple of minutes before chaos once again consumes my office and my day, but I had to post this ASAP. I heard a piece about this horror movie list today on NPR during my morning commute and decided that linking to it was a must. Why? Two words for you, my friends, "Martin Scorsese." This guy is so cool he even turned a top ten list into a top eleven list! How anti-establishment is that???

Anyway, courtesy of The Daily Beast, is the list to end all lists. Enjoy.

My only dispute is with #10 - The Innocents. Sure there were plenty of creepy moments, and I never read the Henry James novella upon which it was based, but there was a huge logic jump by the protagonist that was never explained - how did she figure out what was going on? - and the ending didn't make sense at all. I would have left that one off. But hey, I'm not Marty Scorsese

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well, I DID Ask for a Quiet Day ...

Nothing going on. I'm all set for tomorrow's clinic. The only interesting thing is that Drink Man just IM'd me and told me that he was quitting to take a job in Charleston, SC. Of course, we've been on this road before and he's backed down / cooled off each time. So we'll see if he's serious. Probably be a good thing, since he's had a lousy attitude which has been bringing me down.

Nope, it's just been the occasional bit of paper work, getting ready for clinic, and this, which I guess qualifies as a different kind of paper work.

According to the book - Crane Origami (translated by Yoko Ishiguro) - this is a "good luck crane." Though, to be honest, I've seen similar designs referred to as peacocks. Oh, well. I made it and it's sitting on my desk below my small Buddha statue.

Time for some caffeine. Heading home in an hour, and One Ring informed me earlier that the in-laws made it into town. So I have to be awake and on my game when I get home!


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Halloween Pumpkin Time!

I am at work, and for once there is nothing going on. And there is much rejoicing. The Doctor is off doing her thing, Annoying Coworker hasn't shown his face too much since our last email battle over policies and procedures, and the boss is off at meetings. Even Drink Man is not in; he's stuck at home waiting on a plumber.

So that leaves me free and (relatively) stress free to post pics from last night's pumpkin carving party. The party was a huge success, although attendance was minimal due to illness and torrential rains - one friend pointed out that whenever One Ring and I host something, it pours. Odd. Still, we carved some awesome gourds, if I do say so myself. But first, a brag from yours truly - The Haunted Mansion model is just about complete!

There are a couple of cosmetic details that need to be added, and it would have been finished in time of the party, but what initially looked like two steps turned out to be roughly 24. So obviously the roof metalwork and some of the masonry was not added. Still, I was able to bring it out and show off.

That being done, it was time to carve up some pumpkins!

One of our friends decided to go old school, as in pre-Christian Celtic tradition of using turnips(the tradition changed to using pumpkins for Jack O' Lanterns when the Irish came to America)! We thought she'd be in for a fight, trying to cut faces into the little things, but she came out with an awesome trio of retro looking jack o' lanterns.

After a minor setback involving the gross discovery that his pumpkin had rotted from the inside and was now populated by a colony of fruit flies and other nasties, another friend switched to his backup - a "ghost" pumpkin. I had never seen one of these carved. Turns out that the interior is a light green, almost melon color. I have no idea if it tastes the same as a traditional pumpkin, and I wasn't about to find out. He followed another tradition - carving a face free hand with only his imagination and a knife.

One Ring joined me in chosing a design from this year's Pumpkin Masters books. I thought she did an excellent job, despite having a massive pumpkin that had extremely thick walls. I like the topic, as haunted houses and ghosts are a few of my favorite things!

I had trouble deciding which design to use at first; this year's designs were really good and there were a few from books we had bought over the last several seasons that looked great, too. But I finally decided on this one, which I thought captured the spirit of Halloween. When I imagine what a personification of Samhain (pronounced "Sow-win") looks like, this is kind of what I see. Of course, others have depicted Samhain in similar ways, so it's nothing original. Oh, I deviated from the traditional by using a craft pumpkin, which is essentially a styrofoam shell spraypainted orange. It is very thin, so carving is easier. The only downside is that I can't use candles in it, since it's VERY flamable.

All of these pictures were taken with my cell phone camera, which explains the poor resolution. One ring took several with our digital camera, and those pictures came out great. They're on my facebook page at the moment, and I'll try to copy them over here if I can remember.

Well, back to the grind. Hopefully more will be posted later.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yes, I Am Still Alive

Insert apology about not blogging and using this site primarily to locate bookmarks to other sites here. Add excuse about being exceptionally busy due to increased work load, fighting with annoying coworker (including an email war that ended late yesterday afternoon), and too many after work activities to list. Include rationalization that it's easier to put things up on Facebook than it is here. And sum up with a short dismissal, such as, "Sorry, but that's just the way things are."

So, with that out of the way, let's get back to the world that I know - it's Halloween time!

Tonight is our annual pumpkin carving party, and we're busy decorating, crafting, and preparing the gourds for destruction. The Haunted Mansion model is just about complete, with only one more, barely necessary addition required before it goes on display. We're expecting 6-8 people, and I'll be posting pictures when they become available.

Speaking of Halloween parties, if you get a chance, see Trick 'R Treat. I won't let on any more than this: we haven't been observing the holiday correctly, and Sam - short for Samhain, the spirit of the holiday - isn't happy. It's a collection of four wonderfully written intertwined stories that all have unexpected twists and turns. It's definitely the best horror film we've seen this season, followed closely by 1408 and Reincarnation.

I won't mention all the horrible films I've sat through this season, but I know I'm not alone in noticing that for every good horror film that comes out, there are hundreds of stinkers. Sad, really. You would think that film makers would invest in, I don't know, maybe scripts? Real scripts, written by writers who have talent? Doesn't seem to much to ask, but apparently it is. Oh, well.

Anyway, I'm going back to sharpening my sword, should Annoying Coworker decide to take another verbal swing at me. Just another day in paradise. I'll write more either today, should my schedule allow, or tomorrow, when I get the pictures of the party up.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

I Want Another Adventure ...

... but I'm too tired!

Seriously, I'm exhausted. I guess I didn't sleep enough last night, or maybe the weather (rain and cold for the last several days) is finally getting to me. Either way, my productivity is way low and my desire to leave work early is way high.

There's a lot I could be doing - not all of it work related. I need to make a copy of the sheet music I've been studying for my guitar instructor (we're on the second solo of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb!). I also smuggled in an origami book, mainly because I'm in desperate need of business card holders and paperclip boxes here.

Of course, there's always closing my office door and snoozing the next hour and a half away!

Today's payday, too, so that means online shopping for important items such as candle making supplies and various non essentials. Plus there's a bottle of rum that I tasted during last weekend's adventures in rural Tennessee (yes, Tennessee has a rum distillery! Only one, though). Trouble was, they couldn't sell it to me there (dry county, just like the one where they make Jack Daniel's whisky), so I need to find a liquor store where they sell it. So far, no luck, as the one right by my house only seems to carry Captain Morgan's, Bacardi, and Sailor Jerry. And since I want to drink rum and not set anything on fire, that leaves the last two brands right out! So it's off on an after work expedition to a couple of shops that I do not frequent.

Outside of the rum, though, there's nothing even remotely pirate-y going on in my life. And that's just too sad for words. Oh, sure I could dress up as a buccaneer for Halloween, but I prefer more ghostly related things for this time of the year. Oh, well.

Speaking of Ghostly things, I am almost finished with the scale model of the Haunted Mansion! Photos to come.

In the meantime, I'm going back to killing time and seeing if I can get off work in 30 minutes or less. It's like pizza delivery, only much better!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

New Additions to the Link List

Today was pretty hectic in the morning, but starting at noon it slowed to a crawl. So, naturally, I found ways to amuse myself by surfing the net and finding new links to put up. I took down several that were no longer fun to look at or had apparently gone defunct (I'm looking at YOU, Supernatural News!). In their place I put up several Halloween related sites that I happen to think rock - especially you're into the decorating / creating a haunted house side of the holiday. If you're just in it for the candy, then I'm afraid I don't have much to offer.

Here are the new stars of my link list:

Carnival of Souls is a blog that is also home to an awesome program called "Imagineerieing." Basically they've created a computer / video program to allow us non-tech geeks to have "magic mirror" effects ("Mirror, Mirror, on the wall ..." type stuff) on video screens that are part of displays. They also have a lot of DIY stuff that is cool to peruse.

Halloween Monsterlist is just that - a HUGE list of links to all kinds of Halloween decoration projects. Want to learn how to create moving ghost window displays? It's here. Want to make a backwards running 13 hour clock? It's here, too. Bubbling Cauldron? Bottomless Pit? Magical Fire? Yep, yep, and heck yeah.

How to Haunt Your House is a website based around a book. Or maybe it's a book that was written after the website. Anyway, they've got a book and an incredible site with video instructions and great ideas. Anyone who wants to buy me this book will be my friend for a long time to come.

And last, but not least, Ravensblight brings a couple of my favorite things together, Halloween and papercrafts. If the designs on Paper Model Purgatory are too complex (it's year 3, and I'm still not done with my Haunted Mansion model!), then you might want to take a look at Ravensblight. They have designs for toys, games, and party fortune telling games. They also have music, art, and short stories - all horror related and all free. Not a bad way to spend some free time this month!

So there you go. Now get out there and start creating something scary!

Oh, and if anyone can find a website that has Halloween and pirates covered, let me know.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Real Quick Note Before the Chaos Begins

I've got a patient coming in just a moment, but I figured I'd fire a couple of items into the ether first.

  • Last night One Ring and I watched Reincarnation, a Japanese horror film which was directed by Takashi Shimizu - the same gentleman who created Ju-On (known in the West as The Grudge). Awesome flick, and definitely disturbing. In one of the bonus features, the director said that he wanted to show that while American horror films often show that a gruesome death is the worst possible outcome, there are worst things - especially when you take Eastern beliefs into consideration. Yeah, this one was CREEPY! Go see it.
  • Over in The Vault of Horror, B-Sol conducted a poll of writers, bloggers, and other literary (and non-literary) types to come up with a list of the scariest poems (yes, he considered poetry), short stories, and novels ever written. The end result is required reading for the Halloween season. So get out to your library or bookstore and start enjoying your sleepless nights!

More later, once the Hottentots stop running amok!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Yeah, These Guys Rock

Now if the rest of us can do likewise, maybe there's a chance we'll all get through this mess alive!

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I Know NASCAR Could Qualify as a Religion in the South ...

... but this might be taking things just a little too far.

I spotted this car in the parking lot of the hospital where I work. Not sure if the owner minds that I took a couple of pictures, but the way I figure it, if you turn your car into a shrine, you should be prepared for odd looks!

Click for the pics.

Part of me wants to look at the original car to see how accurately he (I'm assuming the driver is a man, but I could always be wrong.) got the sponsor stickers, and other details. But a larger part of me just wants to shake my head in disbelief at the amount of money that went into doing this!

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Doom Buggy 2.0

Yes, sadly, my beloved Doom Buggy and I are parting ways. Not that there's anything wrong with her - at the moment - but she's getting a tad long in the tooth (158,000 miles will do that to you!), and I've had to replace the clutch and felt that I needed to move on before anything more costly happens. Plus, I did some research and found that she's only worth about $250.00 as a trade in. And that's counting the new CD player I had installed!

But what was I to do? What car could possibly replace the Doom Buggy?

For the last couple of months, I've been tracking a used Toyota Yaris S at a local Toyota dealership. After all, I reasoned, what would be better for a daily commuter who happened to have a pirate obsession than a Yaaaaaarrrrrrris? So off we went.

Long story short, it was a miserable experience. The salesman knew nothing about the car, which was covered in cobwebs and dirt (seriously, if you're trying to sell a car, wouldn't you at least clean it first? It drove fine, despite having no pickup (105 horsepower at best) and a very cramped feeling interior. The weirdest part, though, was the reaction of the salesman when we expressed our desire to look at other cars. Despite the initial drop in price from the sticker (an outrageous $17,900) to the still too much "internet price" of $15,900, he dropped the price another $1,000. Then, after we told him that we'd think about it, he called me on my cell not 5 minutes after we pulled out of the lot and said that he'd drop it again and add some sort of leather package. I turned to One Ring and said, "What the heck is wrong with this car that they're dropping it over $3,500 without us even saying anything?"

She agreed that something was up, and we kept driving. At the next lot, we met the Doom Buggy's successor.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present, Doom Buggy 2.0!

She's a lovely 2007 Honda (I've moved up from a Hyundai to a Honda!!!!!) Civic with 30,000 miles. She was less than the Yaris, and gets better gas mileage despite being a much larger car. Huge amounts of power. Cannons not included, sadly.

And no, I will not be adding stickers or other graphics to the hood or body of this one. I'll probably move the Doom Buggy plate from the old car (or buy another), though. Oh, and the white marks on the hood and bumper are reflections of the clouds overhead. No damage here!

So I'm doing the happy dance as I prepare to get out of here for the weekend. 55 minutes and I'm home freeeeeeeee!

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