“Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”
The chain we use to hang our hammock has gotten tight as the trees have grown. I decided to replace them with webbing. So, along with a number of other items, I ordered two climbing slings at the same time.
I received a few boxes including one each for the webbing slings. It was actually depressing: I felt like I burned an acre of rainforest.
“Thus mystery is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
I’ve been doing some significant reorganization which has required combing through lots of stuff I haven’t looked at for ages. Among some of the containers I found old drawings. Here are two that I did – probably when I was in eighth grade. I’m pretty sure that the drawings that I did then would not pass the new ‘zero-tolerance’ standards of today’s schools. but I turned out alright. Mostly.
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
Happy 17th Anniversary my dear old website.
Another year and this website will be the age of consent. They grow up so fast.
“I still blog, but I do think blogging will become obsolete, as there are more ways of interacting on the Web with low barriers to entry for people to engage and participate.”
~ Biz Stone
“I think blogging, by and large, is basically therapy. And I’m sure, and I know, that there are some terrific bloggers and some legitimate bloggers. But I think, by and large, a huge percentage of people who are blogging are doing it for self-therapy.”
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
I love the little oddities that get uncovered by watching old TV shows. On the treadmill the other day, I was watching an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Andy has an argument with Peggy and Barney tries to make things better by setting him up with another girl. Naturally, the girl is a train-wreck mismatch culminating in this line of dialog which caused me to stop my run and take a photo of the screen.
“‘Time does not tarry ever,’ he said; ‘but change and growth is not in all things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves, and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift, because they themselves change little, and all else fleets by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not count the running years, not for themselves. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an end at last.'”
The Great River
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings
I like watching old TV shows before I got to bed. Something about them helps me relax. So, I’ve been queuing up random shows in the DVR including Hogan’s Heroes, Columbo, Different Strokes among others.
The shows are wonderful time capsules: often with hidden marvels. – Sometimes the shows are remarkably clever, others are so bad that it’s stunning to imagine how many people tuned into these shows for years. This latter point brings me to The Love Boat: a show that ran for nine years – from May 5, 1977, until May 24, 1986 (with three-hour specials aired in 1986–87 and 1990).
The episode that I recorded had a trifecta title, “Miss Mom/Who’s the Champ/Gopher’s Delusion“. It was first released on February 1, 1986.
The cast was surreal. My, how some things have changed…
IMDB credits Caitlyn Jenner as the wrestler “Lover Boy Bob” (as Bruce Jenner).
In the story arc, “Who’s the Champ”, Lover Boy Bob is wooing another wrestler’s sister. And both wrestlers Lover Boy and the ‘The Mangler’ Sharkey (played by Tim Rossovich) are smacked around by none other than Hulk Hogan before the sister, Linda Sharkey (played by Jennifer Holmes) settles the dispute by locking them into a steam room together.
And of course, the show wouldn’t be complete without the patron saint of shark jumping: Ted McGinley.
“Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We’re expecting you.
And Love, life’s sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
And Love won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.
Welcome Aboard. It’s LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!”
“The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”
Doing some more organizing around the house which means more bins and labels!
I have to say, this warning label has saved me from a lot of embarrassing situations…
Seriously though: every hospital should have to show this label to every parent of a newborn before allowing the parents to take the baby home. The parents should be asked if they find the label useful. If the answer is, ‘yes’, then they should not be allowed to take the kid home. *
* Editorial Note: Yes, I’m being glib about a warning that almost certainly has arisen from some very sad circumstances. – I’m just not sure that such a label is ever going to make a difference in such cases.
~ Editorial Note 2: I think I may have written about this before but it never ceases to strike me as surreal. Apologies for any redundancies.
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”
Three of my favorite things: organized Sterilite and Hefty containers, my Model PT-D40 Brother Label Maker and Halloween severed heads.
“National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.”
~ Carl Sagan, Cosmos
I wanted to write a post expressing my frustration and outrage at the train wreck of modern conservative politics, but I just finished a long post on my password protected Friends and Family section and I’m out of steam. These things need said: flares of distress need sent up. Spotlights of attention must be shone. Drums pounded. Voices raised.
But we must also breath… And so, here at the end of the year, I share with you a moment of Zen and I hope that the New Year sees a turn of the tide.
This is a photo I took of Rainbow Bridge this September. – A rainbow of stone that is surely weathered but that stands in the sunlight in spite of the time. Perhaps a metaphor for our hearts.
“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
As IMDB says about this humanist movie, “Two teenage Brooklyn Hasidic schoolgirls, unable to live under the strict rules of their community take the family car and run away across America to find what they assume will be the life of total freedom that lies beyond their insular world. They discover that a world where they don’t understand the game is more dangerous than a world with too many rules, and they try to make their way in a new context, under new identities, and within an entirely new lifestyle.”
I’m looking forward to the next movie by from the same directing, writing, producer team.
“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
~ Albert Einstein
Corpsing a Skeleton
“Corpsing” is the Haunters’ verb for taking a skeleton and turning it into a corpse – something with a little skin on the bones. (And while we’re handing out definitions, “Haunters” is the name given to those of us who have a fixation with Halloween – specifically with the creation of haunted houses, fiendish home decorations and costumes.)
Even though I’m not having a Halloween party this year, I’m already planning for one next year. So, with many stores displaying their Halloween goods, I’m compulsively buying decorations. This means, for example, that every time I find myself at Home Depot these last couple of months, I’ve purchased a skeleton or two. (Home Depot and Walmart have the best prices. Sadly: Spirit Halloween is almost twice the price of those stores.)
Once I got my latest skeleton home, I laid it our on a work table and surrounded it with paints, sprays, stains, plastic sheeting, plasters and all manner of chemicals.
My goal for this project was to experiment with different methods to create a ‘juicy’ corpse with many organs still in tact.
I wanted to create a simple set of organs: faux lungs, tracheal tube, intestines, liver and heart.
I used plaster cloth bandages that I purchased from Amazon to wrap some packing bubble bags as a form for the lungs. For other organs, I used roughly formed tin-foil bases. I kept the organs simple and undetailed because much of their presence is buried under layers of plastic ‘skin’.
I’d thought to use some ping pong balls for eyes, but the ones I bought were too big for this particular skeleton. Besides, this model had glowing red L.E.D. lights and the addition of eyeballs may not have obscured those lights too much.As I formed the plaster coated organs, I tested them within the chest cavity to ensure that they’d fit.
In order to give the corpse some more form, I also experimented by adding some plaster cast to the hands. In the end, that probably wasn’t required and could have been just as well executed with built up, melted plastic wrap.
The plaster cloth is great for creating sturdy structures, but the results look very much like pock-filled cloth. I mitigated this with heavy does of glue, plastic, paint and glossy paints to give a more organic material feel.
I painted the organs with a combination of fluorescent and standard paint. Throughout the project, I tried to walk a line between realistic colors and fluorescent that would at least partially glow in black-light.
Before I started to layer in the organs and skin, I gave select portions of the skeleton’s torso a red and black spray-paint job to emphasize its depth.
I covered the eye’s LED lights with electrical tape before spray painting the sockets, thinking that I’d later remove the tape. In the end, I kept the tape in place after a test revealed that the red light behind them gave an eerier glow.
Once I had a base level of bloody color on the skeleton itself, I laid down cut painters plastic tarp within the chest of the skeleton. I pulled portions of this up through the neck hole so that it would appear as remnants of tendons, sinew and veins once melted.
Organs were laid in next before they were in turned covered around with plastic.
Once all of the organs were wrapped, I melted them selectively with a heat gun.
– Note: This task (and others) were done outside in an attempt to offset inhalation of noxious vapors.
The whole project involved may layers of plastic and paint, as I felt my way to a look that satisfied me. But quickly, with even minimal layers, the organs were quickly buried under paint and melted plastic.
The paints looked best when they were fresh and wet. I used reds, blues, purples and pinks. The reds and purples looked best, but I was glad to have hints of other colors.
On my initial pass, the intestines appeared insufficiently connected to the rest of the body, so I added more layers of plastic across the torso, trying to get a cohesive look.
I love the organic holes that form when the plastic melts: creating the look of body fibers disintegrating.
It’s hard for me to muck-up the skull. I love their ‘unskinned’ look. Nonetheless, in order to obtain the look of a fresher corpse, I added plastic wrap which I melted with the heat gun.
I added a lot of melted glue to simulate layers of sinew and veins. (Again: bulk glue sticks bought from Amazon). On top of all of this, I used stain from Home Depot to paint the melted plastic ‘flesh’.
I was actually happy with this version of the corpse, but it was too similar to another one I’ve done, and I felt that much of the blue, purple veins and organ details were lost.
I also found this version too symmetrical, and at the prompting of friends, I added more layers of plastic muscles to the left arm to imply a corpse that was decomposing asymmetrically.
All of the glue and plastic had buried the teeth, making the skull look too much like a blob, so I took a Dremel to the teeth and did some creative dentistry.
I revisited the skull throughout the project, and added some more character with subsequent layers of paint and plastic. The glowing L.E.D. eyes had a surprisingly good effect as they glowed behind the layers of glue and paint. (Not shown illuminated here.)
I dribbled layers of blue and red veins and arteries across the body. I’d tried painting them on with a brush, but the texture was too rough and failed to provide the organic look that I could achieve with the less work intensive effort of pouring paint right onto the body.
The paint looked too bright and 2-D for my tastes and the body was still looking too symmetrical so I added another layer of 3-D sinews but this time rolling the plastic into long tubes before hitting them with the heat gun.
I was also not satisfied with the default flat hand pose, so I bent back select fingers and blasted them with heat and held them in place with tape while they re-hardened, giving them more of a sinister pointing look. For my next corpse, I’ll do this process before the body is covered in goo.
Still, I found the body too symmetrical and too much of the organ details were getting lost, so I ripped back the plastic skin on the right side of the torso and even went so far as to cutting a couple of ribs, bending them outwards under heat, simulating some unfortunate trauma.
The final corpse had the majority of the rot on the body’s right side.
I finished it up with high gloss clear enamel, concentrating on the goriest bits for that fresh, moist look. I think that, when actually staged for Halloween, a good touch would be the inclusion of crows, rats or bugs.
For my next body, I may try a dusty, ancient partially mummified corpse for one body or perhaps a burned body. Alternately, I may build up more of the face and body with plaster cloth before corpsing the body.
The funny thing is, there is an aspect of this that isn’t easy for me. Ever since I was a kid, I kept my toys fairly pristine. – For example, I was never one to put stickers on something I owned. Even now, I like the look of the untarnished original skeletons. But clearly, I’ve not left this compulsion hold me back.
As I gleefully work on these projects, I’m left to wonder why I get some fiendish enjoyment from creating Halloween spooks. But truly, one of my ideas for fun in distressing and gorifying the pile of prop bones and skeletons that I have piled in my house in the hopes that I can scare the bejeezus out of someone.