Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Although, this looks a bit like Mardi Gras to me, but hey, I pilfered it from the tubes.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time to Get Started!

I've started my first ghost of 5 for next year.  Hey the holidays are almost officially over, so its time!
I'm just getting started.  I'm also weaning myself off using the tubing for ribs and using old newspaper instead. I had a ton of fun in the freezing garage with the heat gun bending the 1/2 PVC.  What a fun night!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going LED

Ah, the LED.  What a money saver, that is, if you have the cash up front.  I do not.  I currently use two strings of 3 par 38 cans because I started all this in 2009 with zero electrical know how.  For 2010, I attempted to make three flickering flame LED lanterns that turned out O.K.  Each run on a 9V battery that lasted through the several evenings that I had them lit.  You can see the 2010 lighting in my You Tube video here

As you can see, I had a lot of colorful light that doesn't necessarily do justice to the level of detail I put into my props.  I'm sure most of the haunters out there are familiar with Skull and Bone who has a great tutorial on the dynamics of lighting.  If you haven't seen Pumpkinrot's masterpieces do yourself the favor.  The Davis Graveyard is a great example of using very natural looking lighting.  

My goal for 2011, in addition to adding at least 12 more props (ooh, that's one a month-damn! I'm already behind), I want to go at least mostly LED with homemade LED spotlights and mini spots that aren't all battery powered because that can be wasteful, and a pain in the as if you have to turn on 50 batteries an evening.  In 2010 I was up to 41 batteries to turn on between my flicker lantern and the Costco LED candles.  I would like two spots for each character prop to create depth, one for each tombstone, and minis to highlight little details that would otherwise be missed.  I also plan to hack the 38 LED candles into pillar candles running off a 12V DC converter.  Actually, the whole thing can technically be run of one 12V converter.  

The good news is that at least the power supply from my old PC will get new life.  The bad news is that I only have this about half comfortably thought out.  The LED flicker lanterns were a great intro to LED circuits, so I have a lot more confidence this time around.  

I understand the want to use all the colors we can get our hands on because a lot of people have seen this place:
Click photo for a huge photo
In reality, my yard isn't anywhere near as big, nor do I need the power to light a facade that big for really big effect.  I don't know how large that elevation of Disney's haunted Mansion is, but my largest prop is the size of a shortish human being.  I have several that size.  What happens if I go with a more natural looking light with just a few hints of the amazing technocolors?   It might look like crap but that is the effect I am setting out to reproduce for 2011.  

Two places to learn from will be Christmas lighting forums and modeling forums, such as doll houses and model railroads.  I'm sure there is so much out there that I haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg.  
This would be a great Halloween costume.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cutest Reindeer Evar. Merry Christmas to All!

Random lights around the 'hood.
Looks like somebody had a couple before hanging their lights.  I've had locals tell me that this place is owned by Val Kilmer.  I don't believe it.  
You were all warned about gratuitous pictures of the dog.  Kyle however...
That's my baby.  Merry Christmas Everybody!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This is simply the neatest gift of the season.  I finally met Emily from Your Apples are My Oranges who has been a blogger friend since this past spring when we met via the net and watched each other's gardens grow through our posts.  Let me tell you, she is one neat person.  I hope to have lots of time to become friends.  It felt like I'd known her for ages.  To top it all off, she brought me a Christmas present.  Check this out:
She actually made this! I love the tag:
And there's more:
I found this bag inside.  Day of the dead skulls!
I love the lining of the tote.  This was in the DOTD bag:
These are seeds, check out that pumpkin.
I must say, this is in the top three presents I ever got.  Its up there with the nice watering can and bike "trunk" bag Kyle got me for a birthday, and a very old skirt from Indonesia with quite a story behind it I got years ago.  Wow, thanks so much Emily!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four Pines Five Strings

Emily and I have become blog friends since meeting via our garden blogs.  Her posts include her beautiful photography and talented writing.  She did the photog and art direction for this C.D. that I can't wait to get my hands on.  Click the photo for the link to her blog.
Check it out to read the great story from the liner notes.  Photo courtesy of Emily Ryan.  The coolest thing is that we will hopefully meet in person this week.  I love the internet.  

Solstice Pics

These aren't the best, but still pretty good for a point and shoot.
Now, the days get longer.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red Moon Rising

Happy Winter Solstice!  The shortest day of the year is upon us with a rare lunar eclipse.  Hopefully a few of my photos will come out.  Here is a stock photo in the meantime.
What does this sign mean?  The spring growing season is on it's way and Halloween is a little bit closer.

On the Lighter Side???

It is that time of year again.  The seed catalogs are arriving in the mail!  And believe it or not, I am already planning on the next summer's gardens.  I tried growing the tomato Black Krim:
Yes, a "black" tomato.  I wrote that I tried, because, well I mislabeled all of our tomato seedlings and my two plants didn't get put in the right spot resulting in about only two ripe tomatoes.  Let me tell you something.  I don't care for tomatoes.  I'd rather look at dead bodies than take a bite out of a whole tomato.  I love ketchup, salsa, spaghetti sauce, bruschetta, etc... but I've never been a fan of the BLT, I always order hamburgers without that pale mealy slice, and in last years, my only interest was in making sauces and bruschetta.  Let me tell you, those two Black Krims were really tasty.  They had a much richer flavor that needed no salt.  the dark flesh was enchanting.  This year I plan to grow three kinds of "black" tomatoes.  I will try Black Krim again, as well as carbon, and Black Cherry.  I also swear to not mix my seedlings this year.
To all the haunters out there, I bet you are impressed that I found a black veggie to grow ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I have been following the updates on this site for quite a while.  The Chernobyl disaster has been a fascinating topic to me since I was a little kid.  Her site is a bit outdated as far as slickness goes, but the story remains enlightening.  Click the photo to reach her site.

Sad News

This stuff doesn't happen every day.  I hope they start putting the evidence together to catch the guy.  Click the photo for the link to the story.  

I Won't Be Growing Any of These

Click the photo for a humorous story about a brave soul that actually planted one of these suckers.  

What The???

Why do I find this gross?  Click the photo for the link.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fashion and the Funeral

This is a fashion magazine shoot photo depicting a funeral scene.  Click the photog for the link to the story on The daily Undertaker.

Ghost Urns

Neatorama turned me on to this link at The Daily Undertaker.  Click the photo for the story and more photos.  I think I have a new blog to follow.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Case Made the News

Click the photo to click the link for some rare video footage of me in "action".  I'm the ginger with the group behind the really nice Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit that brought me up the hills.  My heart goes out to the family.  Today was a long day.  

Friday, December 10, 2010


Anyone interested in what happens after you die?  I see it all the time.  It is gross, but it is a part of being human even if you get embalmed.  I've learned that the aversion to dead bodies and decomposition are due to fear of the unknown.  Once you learn there is nothing to fear, the badly decomposed are no different from your kid pooping, your cat with a fur-ball, or my fave, the dog licking her butt.  -We have a 5 min rule, the dog licks her butt, 5 min until she gets to kiss us-  It is gross, but something you have to deal with.  If there is any interest in this subject I can post more.

Seriously, for all the haunters out there-what are you emulating?  Why not deal with the reality.  It is a natural process.  Bwaa Haaa!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cabrini Green

Click photo for the story.
I grew up hearing stories about Cabrini Green, a lawless place, the ghetto.  I watched the demolition of some of the ghetto high rises in Chicago beginning in the late 90's.  This will be the final high rise to be demolished.  If anyone ever watched the movie Candyman, this is the place they portrayed.  Gang riddled, drug infested, welfare, and dismal futures were what most residents faced.  Where will they go?  Will they fare any better?  It is a sad ending to a sad beginning.  Poverty propagating poverty.   I remember waiting at the bus stop on the way home from work years ago, next to Cabrini.  I always brought a full pack of smokes and shared with the toughest dude to make sure someone had my white butt if things went south.  Years later, I had nightmares about  what could have happened.  I thought I was pretty tough back then.  I feel sorry for these folks, and also blame the system for creating their plight.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Strain

I got my copy of the first book in the trilogy a week or so before I took my first ever trip to Manhattan NY for a week long training in death investigation at the NY Medical Examiner's office July 2009.

Click the photo for the website.

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

I read about a plane that had landed at JFK and it went dead two nights before my flight and instantly sell in love with the book.  We students got a full tour of the Manhattan morgue as I read about the "dead" from the ill fated flight were brought there.  I saw the old autopsy tables and the bug zappers on the walls in the autopsy room that is no bigger than our in Boise except that it has six stations in a row.  I imagined six doctors up to their elbows on six autopsies at once with the assistants sawing away.  It couldn't have better timing to read that book.  I enjoyed the story and was thoroughly entertained.  I've shared the book with two coworkers who also really enjoyed it.  Why not?  There is a very brief encounter with our twisted reality.   We knew something was wrong from the start.

I recently picked up book two: The Fall.  It carries on the story as the vampire conquest/war continues.  The problem is that there are several plot flaws.  Sometimes plain editing errors like using the word dusk instead of dawn even popped up, making me a bit frustrated.  I have about 20 pages left to finish the book, but it just wasn't as well researched as the first and simply seems to try to carry the story on so that we readers buy the third book.  I will probably buy a copy when it comes out.  We'll see what happens then.  


Click the above image for a story about vampires associated with the black death.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rock the Vote

Click the upper image to check out Hauntcast, the lower one to vote.  You can vote every day.  To find a winner they take a tally of each days votes.  They are nominated for the categories of General and Best produced.  Go vote now!  Pretty please.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm on a roll.  These are some things I've been following for years.  This is real.  I find it amazing and so very interesting.  Wow, truly amazing the body looks like he went down a minute earlier.

Lee Harvey Oswald's Coffin