The Art of Darkness

Underwater Miniatures

February 28th, 2013 by Cobwebs

UW Miniature

Photographer Jason Isley does a lot of underwater photography, but recently found himself running out of ways to make the “common macro life” interesting. His answer was to include plastic miniatures of humans and equipment in the shots, resulting in a set of photos which have a wonderful “50s B-movie” feel to them. The arrangements very cleverly integrate the figures into the fishy action. (You can buy prints here.)

This is a splendid idea, not only as a way to add a unique twist to nature photography, but also as aquarium/vivarium decorations. You’d need to make sure that the figures you used weren’t made of any material that might be toxic to fish, but a burned-out cityscape terrorized by giant hermit crabs or innocent beachgoers being menaced by the Plecostomus of Doom would be way more interesting than a plain ol’ treasure chest.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Paint It Black | 4 Comments »

Suggest Some…Stuff That Isn’t Books

February 27th, 2013 by Cobwebs

A couple of weeks ago I asked this site’s readers to suggest books that they thought other readers might enjoy. Intrepid commenter Cookie came up with several, then asked:

***Can we do movies and music too sometime? Please?!!?****

A capital idea.

Feel free to suggest either or both. Here are a few from me:

For movies, assuming that you’ve already seen the obvious ones like Poltergeist (still my single favorite horror movie) and The Exorcist (one of the few perks of living in the DC area is being close to the Exorcist steps), let me recommend The Uninvited–the 1944 version, not any of the remakes or similarly-titled dreck–a wonderfully atmospheric ghost story, Constantine (yeah, Keanu Reeves, but also Tilda Swinton), and Alien, still the classic SF/horror hybrid. Oh, and also Blade Runner, just because.

For music, I have no this-song-will-change-your-life recommendations, so I just hit Shuffle on my iPod and listed the first ten songs that came up (feel free to do the same):

Birdhouse in Your Soul (They Might Be Giants)
London Calling (The Clash)
Robots (Flight of the Conchords)
I’m Afraid of Americans (David Bowie)
Strangelove (Depeche Mode)
Code Monkey (Jonathan Coulton)
The Ghosts That Haunt Me (Crash Test Dummies)
Mowgli’s Road (Marina and the Diamonds) (Don’t judge)
The Dead Heart (Midnight Oil)
Mr. Spock (Nerf Herder)

(Bonus link: The next song that came up, Sisters of Mercy’s This Corrosion, has an unintentionally hilarious music video.)

Your turn–leave your recommendations in the comments!

p.s. – If your comment includes a lot of links, it may be automatically flagged as spam. If that happens, just drop me a line and I’ll fish it out of the spam folder.

Posted in Resources | 12 Comments »

Cutest Bat in the World

February 26th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Video titles don’t lie, you guys.

This is, according to the upload description, a “Kenyan species of false-vampire bat,” which I expect makes it a Yellow-winged Bat. This one has a case of the yawns.

If you can watch this and not be seized with an overpowering desire to snorgle its tummy, I don’t want to know you.

Posted in Whatever | 5 Comments »

Skully Eggs

February 25th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Egg Treat BoxesI ran across this photo the other day and thought, “Aw, what a cute thing to do with plastic Easter eggs.” I eventually tracked it back to a Martha Stewart tutorial on making mini treat boxes and discovered that the instructions call for using papier-mache eggs which sell for four bucks a pop. Really, Martha? The price of two of those will buy you a gross of regular ol’ plastic eggs and you can paint ’em any color you want.

This tutorial discusses a couple of different methods to get plastic eggs to take paint (and as a bonus, it shows how to make pretty faux-“natural” eggs for decorating). You can paint them all white or do some in cream or light grey for a little more variety.

The Martha Stewart instructions use carefully-cut-out crepe paper for the facial features, which strikes me as being entirely too much work. If you want to do it that way, knock yourself out; the suggested glue stick might not adhere too well, so liquid white glue or something like Mod Podge would probably be preferable. A much easier method, to my mind, would be to just cut a paper stencil of the face and paint it on with black paint.

Make a bunch–maybe change a few up by painting them orange and giving them Jack-o’-lantern features–and fill them with little treats. Hand them out to friends or hide them and have a particularly gothy egg hunt.

They’d also look nice arranged in a basket or even hung like an ornament: To do the latter, either attach ribbon to the wider end with a dab of hot glue, or poke a couple of holes in the end using a dremel tool (or a heated-up nail if you’re careful) and then thread fishing line or yarn through the holes.

(Bonus link: Check out this neat skull egg from Skull-A-Day.)

Posted in Paint It Black | 2 Comments »

James and the Giant Link Dump

February 22nd, 2013 by Cobwebs

Giant Glowing Gummy Skull – For all your giant glowing gummy skull needs (although you have to supply the glow yourself).

Spiderweb Nail Polish – Tutorial for a lovely spider-and-web manicure. The same site has quite a few other spooky nail art too.

1922 Kodak Test Footage – Short clip of color(!) film from 1922. The descriptive blurb makes an interesting point about acting gestures. Some great outfits, too. (Hat tip to Bonni)

Pulp-o-Mizer – Really well-done image manipulator that lets you create your own pulp magazine cover.

Bad Children’s Books – Gallery of classic children’s books with reimagined titles. (Hat tip to pdq)

Bat Orphans – A look at bat rescue efforts in Australia. The cute, I am dying of it.

Jean Marc Laroche – Sculptor who seems to specialize in skeletons and other macabre subjects. Gorgeous work. (Hat tip to Cat)

Horrorgami – Book of spooky origami projects. In the same vein (har!) there’s Monster Origami and Zombigami.

Ratvocates – For the Love of Rats has a set of photos that try to rehabilitate ratties’ public image. Part 2 is here. (You guys, rats are the best pets.)

Giant Glow-in-the-Dark Googly Eyes – Yet another way to add eyeballs to the landscape.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Quotation Jewelry

February 21st, 2013 by Cobwebs

BroochI recently stumbled across a photo of what appeared to be antique-looking brooches featuring gothic quotations, but eventually tracked them down to an Etsy shop and found that what was actually being sold were digital collage sheets and the photo was just a suggested use for them.

Fortunately, such brooches–and other jewelry–would be ridiculously simple to DIY. All you need are brooch findings (also called brooch bases and brooch blanks and if you search for “brooch” long enough it stops looking like a word any more), some kind of image-manipulation software, and a color printer.

The bases are easy enough to locate; they can be found in the jewelry-making section of most craft stores, or online: Places like Fire Mountain Gems have pin backs and pendants and even button covers if you want to use short quotes and write teeny. These photo brooches are nice, and you can also finds loads of different styles on Etsy, like this one.

Next, use Photoshop or a similar program to create an image with an appropriate quotations. You can use special-effect brushes to create interesting filigree backgrounds, or draw freehand (you can also do this sans computer if you want to be all low-tech about it). I did a sample up above, using part of a poem by Pablo Neruda. Other ideas might be:

Listen to them — children of the night. What music they make.
— Bram Stoker, Dracula

Now it is the time of night
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite
In the churchway paths to glide
— Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Sometimes human places create inhuman monsters.
— Stephen King, The Shining

Make sure the image will fit your jewelry finding, print it out, and cut it to shape. Glue in place, and if you aren’t using a finding with a cover, give it a couple of coats of a clear sealer like Mod Podge to protect it.

Easy! Cheap! A fun gift idea, and also a good project to do with kids. A bunch of these with different quotations would look good arranged on a purse or jacket.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

February 20th, 2013 by Cobwebs

This entire list is courtesy of Twitter user rolldiggity, who has some splendid ideas about sowing a little chaos.


1. Fill a calendar with the names and dates of recent local murders. 2. Add several future names. 3. Leave it on the work photocopier.

Fun Game: Drive up to a park in a windowless van, jump out the back wearing a mask, aggressively pick a handful of flowers, and drive away.

A good conversation starter is to fill your coat closet with claw-torn shirts and pants labeled “Full moon clothes”.

1. Dress as puppet. 2. Stand in elevator with strings running from your limbs to ceiling. 3. Whisper, “Help me…” as other passengers enter

Fun camping game: Stand in a clearing, and wait for people to catch you in the act of throwing a wheelchair and tiny backpack in the river.

A fun way to rent a car is to say you’ll need 8 child seats and then ask if your car is “easy to crash.”

1. Sit in stall of crowded bathroom. 2. Shout into phone, “Bring the money or the children are dead!” 3. Exit stall and make small talk.

Fun Game: 1. Stand in middle of packed elevator. 2. Murmur, “Please… not here…” 3. Begin shaking live mice out of pant legs.

Seeing how many weeks in a row the grocery store will make me a “Sorry I Killed Your Dog” cake before they call the police.

Fun Game: 1. Walk into Porta Potty with small dog. 2. Hide dog in your backpack. 3. Walk out empty handed, whistling and twirling leash.

Waiting to see how long it takes the library to notice all the books I’m returning have “HELP ME” written in blood on the inside cover.

1. Sit down next to stranger on park bench. 2. Place an envelope beside him. 3. Whisper, “It has to look like an accident.” 4. Walk away.

I had to buy 20 different Golden Retrievers last month, but it was worth it to make my neighbor think his dog was turning back into a puppy.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

Suggest a Book

February 19th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Last week I mentioned the Blind Date with a Book book-swap idea, and intrepid reader xJane commented:

This. Sounds like fun. It also sounds like the kind of thing that Amazon (or the like) needs to enable for ebooks. I have a bunch of books that I think it would be fun to spring upon you and your unsuspecting readers you and your readers might enjoy, but since they’re not physical, it’s harder to share them.

Well, we may not be able to share them, but we can at least recommend ’em. I’ll go first.

I’d like to suggest Dan Simmons as an author whose oeuvre should be up my readers’ collective alley. Some of his novels (there are several more) include:

Song of Kali – An American journalist travels to Calcutta and encounters a horrific cult which worships Kali.

Carrion Comfort – Multiple timelines weave together a story of “mind vampires” who can use their powers to completely control anyone.

Drood – Fictionalized account of the last few years of Charles Dickens’ life, explaining why his final novel remained unfinished.

Prayers to Broken Stones – A great collection of short stories, covering topics as diverse as the familial implications of returning from the dead, a combat theme park in Vietnam, and a barber’s guild with a dark secret.

Summer of Night – A Stephen King-esque tale of five pre-teen protagonists who discover something terrifying in an old school building. Its sequel, A Winter Haunting, finds one of them as an adult encountering something that was left behind.

The Terror – Fictionalized account of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, a lost Arctic expedition.

Now it’s your turn: What books do you think other readers of this site might enjoy? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Posted in Resources | 8 Comments »

Down Among the Dead Men

February 18th, 2013 by Cobwebs

The anthology Zombie Apocalypse! Fightback (which, incidentally, appears to be a sequel to Zombie Apocalypse!) contains a short story by Neil Gaiman. UK publisher Constable & Robinson has an exclusive animated short film of the story:

(via The Bloggess)

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

The Green Link Dump

February 15th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Lady of Orda Cave – Free-diving champion Natalia Avseenko ventured into the underwater Ordynskaya Cave in Perm, Russia dressed as the Lady of the Cave, a spirit claimed to protect divers. The photos are ethereal and spooky.

The Birthday Skeleton – Amusing little animated, um, thingie. (Hat tip to Cat)

Monster Chairs – Probably not terribly comfortable, but undeniably awesome-looking.

Loch Ness Glamping – Now you can search for cryptids from the comfort of a swanky cabin.

Lore Brand Comics – He does have a valid point.

Vampire Reborn Babies – “Reborns” are extremely realistic dolls which look like babies or small children. Some owners have started adding fangs. They’re sort of adorable.

Zombies Hate Stuff – Amusing book detailing the many things zombies hate. Oddly, they’re okay with Canadians.

The Ugly Truth – Photographer Rut Mackel had his subjects press their faces against a pane of glass and then took their picture. It’d be fun to do photos like this of all your friends and use them as the icons in your phone contact list. Then it looks like they’re trapped behind the glass, trying to get out. (Hat tip to pdq)

Beware the Moon – Gorgeous bronze skull wallpaper, if you’ve got a few extra hundred bucks laying around.

dogzillalives – deviantART user who specializes in hideous sculpted light switchplates, jewelry, and other oddities. The stitched eyes cuff is particularly repellent. She also has an Etsy shop.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

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