The Art of Darkness

A Little Holiday Music

December 19th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Much better than “Feliz Navidad.”

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Naked Came the Link Dump

December 16th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Edible Thing in a Jar – Some brilliant ideas for desserts and other edibles that look disgustingly like preserved biological specimens.

Yuletide Tales of Horror – Just in time for the holidays, an anthology of spooky Christmas-themed short stories. That is one disturbing-looking Santa on the cover.

Does Whatever a Spider Can – Gallery of spiders with unusual behaviors.

EBPearce – Etsy shop whose entire inventory consists of real beetles dressed as characters from Jurassic Park. Blame it on the Voices has a couple of side-by-side comparisons. I…got nothing.

Skullflake – Tutorial for making paper snowflakes with a skull design.

I’m Okay with This – Amusing riff on those stick-figure “family” decals often seen on car windows.

Bolognese Machiavelli – Short “recipe” with instructions like, “Perhaps, in a dark place without witnesses, the tomato shall meet with the knife.” Heh.

Abbyshot – Purveyor of wonderful (albeit expensive) screen-accurate clothing from movies, TV, and video games. If you’ve ever wanted Neo’s Trench or Martha Jones’ Jacket, this is the place.

Skeleton Apron – Kitchen apron with a cute skeleton print.

Possessions of a Lady – Blog with “an 18th century obsession.” Lots of neat information about period fashion.

Posted in Link Dump | 5 Comments »

This Pumpkin Pie Will Change Your Life (Possibly. Could Happen.)

December 15th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Jarrahdale PumpkinHey, kids! I don’t post recipes too often, but I think I might have inadvertently created the Holy Grail of pumpkin pies and I wanted to share.

I’m going to be honest right up front and say that achieving the very best results is going to take a little bit of work, because it involves making your own pumpkin puree instead of using the canned stuff. However, that’s really quite easy–just a bit time-consuming–and holy moses is it worth it.

And if that sounds entirely like too much effort, you can cheat and use canned pumpkin and still get a pretty amazing pie. I won’t tell.

To make your own puree, for pie or other purposes,* you’ll need a pumpkin in the 6-10 lb range–preferably of a variety that’s meant for cooking. Pumpkins called “sugar” or “pie” are fairly widely available at grocery stores and farmer’s markets in the fall, but also look for heirloom varieties like Jarrahdale (above), Queensland Blue, or Cinderella’s Coach.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all of the seeds–save for toasting–and stringy stuff. Place face-down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for about an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Cool, then scoop out the flesh with a big spoon or an ice cream scoop or whatever sort of utensil makes you happy.

Now for the boring part: Run all of the scooped-out flesh through a food mill. You can puree it with a food processor or blender if you have to, but running it through the mill makes a much finer puree, and the resulting pie is almost mousse-like. After it’s smoother than a stripper’s legs, line a strainer with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or a few disposable coffee filters (which is what I use), put it over a bowl, and drain the puree in the refrigerator overnight. You will be astonished at how much liquid comes out, so make sure whatever bowl you use will handle at least 3-4 cups without overflowing. Throw this out or use it to water houseplants or put it in a smoothie or whatever.

At this point, you can optionally concentrate it even more by putting it in a saucepan over very low heat and stirring it occasionally to prevent scorching for half an hour or so, to drive off more moisture. Cool, and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to six months.

And now for the pie.

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Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Bedrock Bones

December 14th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Bedrock BonesThe marvelous xJane recently pointed me to this post about “Bedrock Bones,” a line of hairties, necklaces, and other accessories that look like brightly-colored bones. She lamented that they don’t seem to be available in the US, which most likely is partly due to the fact that they’re all handmade (here’s the artist’s Facebook page) and partly because New Zealand is apparently beyond the grasping clutches of Hanna-Barbera’s legal department.

Fortunately all is not lost, since these should be easy to DIY.

At first glance I thought that the bones were made of hard rubber, but I suspect that instead they’re molded out of polymer clay. The shape of the bone is simple enough that even a beginner should be able to make something similar. You can search for “polymer clay tutorials” for tips on working with the clay, making holes for stringing (which you’ll need if you make a necklace), and so on. I couldn’t find any photos of the hair ties that showed how the elastic was attached, but it doesn’t look like it’s actually baked into the clay. A couple of sites on making clay hair accessories suggest attaching the elastic with a bit of hot glue, which should work well.

If you aren’t up to sculpting your own, you might try spray-painting little Halloween prop bones with plastic-safe paint and stringing them on a necklace or attaching them to a hair clip. I have to admit, though, that I’m much more taken with the shape of the Bedrock line, so taking the trouble to make them out of clay would probably be worth it.

These would be a cute stocking-stuffer, and would also be attractive as toppers for gift packages.

Thanks, xJane!

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Secret Santa Can Suck It: My Gift

December 13th, 2011 by Cobwebs

The matches for our Secret Santa Can Suck It exchange have been made and sent to their assignees. After everyone posts about their “gift,” I’ll list all of the entries to peruse. To kick things off, here’s mine.

My giftee is Sisifo. She is a stay-at-home mom, which means that she would probably kill for some “alone time” to relax and read a good book. My gift is to turn a room in her house into her own personal library (if she doesn’t have a room to spare, we’ll build on an addition; having an unlimited imaginary budget is nice).

Library

We’ll start by having a cabinetmaker come in and line the walls with coffin-shaped bookcases. Then we’ll add a few other gothy touches like a coffin couch and bat pendant lamp. We’ll fill in the rest of the decor with an antique Victorian desk and chair, vintage botanical prints depicting poisonous plants, and a few exotic details like a luxurious Oriental rug and some Asian sculpture.

And now to the books. We’ll stuff the shelves with the collections of spooky writers both classic and modern, from Edgar Allan Poe to Neil Gaiman. Since our budget is quite large, many of these will be signed first editions. We’ll throw in a few unusual volumes just for curiosity’s sake, like a set of leatherbound encyclopedias from the 1800s and a rare treatise on alchemy.

Any extra room on the shelves–there shouldn’t be much–will be filled with the sorts of items one might find in a wunderkammer: A goblet made of agate, a hand of glory, a string of snake vertebrate, a large stuffed bat, and whatever other unusual object catches our fancy.

Finally, we’ll arrange periodic visits from a babysitter and a maid service so that Sisifo can retire, guiltless, into her very own library and relax.

Happy holidays, Sisifo! I hope you like what I “got” you!

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Musically Scary Solstices

December 12th, 2011 by Cobwebs

An Even Scarier SolsticeThe thing that I love most about The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is that they take Lovecraft’s oeuvre of eldritch horror and make it…whimsical.

A couple of years ago they recorded the wonderful A Very Scary Solstice, with professional singers performing such marvelous tracks as The Carol of the Old Ones and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-Men.

And now they’ve released An Even Scarier Solstice, which is even better. They’re offering Blue Solstice as a free download:

There’s still some time before Christmas. I vote that we all buy the albums, learn the lyrics, and treat the neighbors to some caroling that they’ll never forget.

Reminder–today is the last day to sign up for the Secret Santa Can Suck It virtual exchange. C’mon and join in! It’s fun!

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

The Link Dump Always Rings Twice

December 9th, 2011 by Cobwebs

The Death Psychic – Site which “predicts” how you will die. If you e-mail the Death Psychic with unique death suggestions he may favor you with a free T-shirt.

Anton Semenov – This artist’s illustrations are creepy as all get-out.

Blood Red Hot Chocolate – “Coffin Cafe Vampire Brew” hot chocolate mix, in a coffin-shaped tin, that turns blood-red when water is added. Awesome. The same site has some other neat Halloween items too.

So Now You’re a Zombie – “A handbook for the newly undead.” (Hat tip to Empress Pam)

Weirdly Cute – Etsy shop which sells jewelry that makes you look like your head has been stitched on, or that you’re dripping blood, and so on.

Add Punkness to Your Tank Top – Easy way to customize a tank top. (“Punkness?”)

Tattoo Watch – Attractive sugar-skull “tattoo” wristwatch. I like that the time is displayed on the skull’s teeth.

Hankering – One of Dooce’s “style” posts, featuring lovely artwork of ravens and graveyards.

Snowmen vs. Gnomes – Adorable little crocheted snowmen and garden gnomes…locked in a battle to the death. I particularly like the snowman that’s smothering a gnome with a snowball.

You’ve Lost That Lovecraft Feeling – If you don’t read Wonderella, you really should.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Super Terrific Musical Thing

December 8th, 2011 by Cobwebs

You guys, have I mentioned how very, very much I love the Internet? There’s a site called 8tracks, whose tagline is “handcrafted internet radio,” which allows users to create their own music mixes and share them online. So you can search on tags like horror or cult soundtrack or Halloween and find things like this mix curated by ghoulnextdoor.

Each track displays a link to purchase it on iTunes, which is handy if you find something you really love. The service also has apps for iPhone and Android, so you can listen to it anywhere.

As with any free service, there are limitations, including the ability to skip more than a few tracks in a given time period. (On the other hand, it’s, y’know, free.)

I’ve already found a bunch of music that I believe I need to add to my collection. Check it out!

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Demotivational Amusements

December 7th, 2011 by Cobwebs

I keep running into entertaining Demotivational posters* and since I’m not sure what else to do with ’em I figured I’d just stick them all in one big post and amuse you guys too.

Peter Cushing

Coolness

Prayer in School

I Don’t See Anything**

Goth Chicks

Zombie Apocalypse

Halloween

Albus Dumbledore


*And I wonder how many younger readers have even encountered the motivational posters that these things parody; I haven’t seen one in years, but they used to infest every corporate office.

**I promise this is not one of those images where you stare at it for a few seconds and then it animates and becomes something scary; I hate those.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 6 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

December 6th, 2011 by Cobwebs

(No prizes, but if you can answer them all without googling you get bragging rights.)

  1. What is the title of the classic Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone in which Art Carney is a drunken department-store Santa who finds a magic bag?
  2. Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa, comes to town on a boat from his home in Madrid. He’s always accompanied by this dusky sidekick, who will scoop bad children into a bag and take them back to Spain.
  3. “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, a creature was stirring” was a tagline for what horror movie?
  4. In the X-Files episode “Christmas Carol,” who does Scully originally suspect is the mother of Emily Sim?
    A) Scully’s sister
    B) Scully’s mother
    C) Mulder’s ex-girlfriend
    D) Mulder’s sister
    E) Sasquatch
  5. This actress, who also starred in Beetlejuice, was the voice of Sally in A Nightmare Before Christmas.
  6. During Christmas in this northern country, a horrible ogress named Gryla emerges from her cave to plague (and occasionally eat) naughty children.
  7. In Futurama’s only Christmas episode, what does the 8-foot-tall Santa robot do if he finds you on Christmas Eve?
  8. Instead of Santa Claus, Italian children try to stay on the good side of this broomstick-riding old lady.
  9. In this 1964 movie “classic,” the Martians kidnap Santa because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.
  10. Around Christmas in Austria this terrifying, hairy, horned monster keeps children in line by stealing their toys, smacking them with a birch rod, or tying them in a sack and throwing them in a river.

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Trivia | 3 Comments »

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