Ingredients For marinade
1 C apple cider vinegar
1 C red wine
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 C finely chopped celery
4 scallions, halved lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 dashes of Tabasco
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 sprig Italian parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp whole juniper berries
Bring marinade ingredients to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan; turn off heat and let cool. Place rabbit pieces in a glass baking dish or ziploc bag; pour marinade over. Cover and chill for 48 hours.
Remove rabbit from marinade and pat dry. Strain marinade through a sieve and set aside; discard solids in sieve.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot. Dredge rabbit in flour, shaking off excess. Fry rabbit, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side; work in batches if necessary. Transfer rabbit to a plate and discard drippings from pot (leave the crunchy brown bits). Pour reserved marinade into pot and bring to a simmer. Add rabbit pieces, cover, and simmer gently until rabbit is tender, 1 1/2–2 hours. Serve with boiled potatoes or noodles.
Just look at this gorgeous thing. It’s called a Metallic Tarantula, and is found in only a small area of India. The species is highly prized by collectors, and it’s easy to see why.
The photo is from the blog Kodune eksootika, which Google Translate is telling me is Estonian for either “homemade exotics” or “exotics at home” (that latter seems slightly more likely). From what I can gather, it’s following the blogger’s excursion into tarantula ownership. There are only a few posts, but they contain loads of gorgeous photos.
Tarantulas make lovely, low-maintenance pets. They’re quiet, clean, and don’t take up much space. New World species (such as the Chilean Rose and Mexican Redleg) are docile enough to be handled, and they’re all fascinating to watch. A couple of drawbacks are that they are wild animals and can tend to be, y’know, bitey; many species throw tiny irritating hairs when they feel threatened; and some can live up to 30 years so there’s definitely a time commitment involved.
There are plenty of resources to help you explore whether tarantula ownership is right for you: Cornell University’s Spider Outreach program has some good tips (plus dynamite commentary like, “This is only a species to get if you feel calm about dealing with a fast spider that will eventually run up your arm.”), and tarantulas.com and Tarantula Guide are sites dedicated to tarantulas as pets.
Sure, dogs can do tricks and cats are snugglier, but neither of them have electric-blue fur and you never have to change a tarantula’s litterbox, take it for a walk in the rain, listen to it bark all night, or worry about it scratching the furniture. If you’re ready to care for a live thing only slightly more complicated than a houseplant, tarantulas are an excellent option.
Intrepid reader Sally pointed me in the direction of a new series for kids in the the 10-and-up range. Tales from Lovecraft Middle School follows the adventures of seventh-grader Robert Arthur as he discovers that his new school is somewhat…unusual.
The series kicks off with Professor Gargoyle, where Robert learns that his science teacher may be a monster in disguise. The second book, Slither Sisters, picks up where the first one leaves off:
Robert has discovered that two of his classmates are actually sinister snake-women in disguise. Even worse, his new middle school is full of “gates” to a terrifying alternate dimension – a haunted mansion full of strange spirits and monstrous beasts.
Other books released so far are Teacher’s Pest (student council president is actually a bug-monster) and Substitute Creature (a mysterious substitute teacher may have “a sinister secret”).
The overall plotline sounds as though it was ripped directly from the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but these look like spooky fun for kids who have outgrown Goosebumps but aren’t quite ready for Clive Barker. The books also each have a lenticular cover so the image morphs from “normal” to “monster” and back, which is kind of a neat touch.
The series has an amusing promotional Website, and there’s also a short book trailer for Professor Gargoyle:
You may have seen this “eyeball mouth”, since it recently went viral (it’s the tear duct on the side that really sells this). It turns out that this is not a one-off, but instead is the work of Swedish artist Sandra Holmbom and she’s got lots more where that came from.
Her blog is a treasure trove of great ideas, for both dramatic “every day” makeup and fairly hideous special effects. She has tutorials for a number of designs, and even the ones with no instructions have enough closeup photographs to make replicating them possible. Some of them are surprisingly simple (like the googly-eye nails; others would definitely take time and patience, but the finished look is a-ma-zing. I particularly like her “hazardous” eye makeup and the puzzle lips; the metallic lips are nicely steampunky, too.
A lot of her older posts are in Swedish, but the most recent few months also have an English translation. She’s been blogging prolifically since 2008, so there’s a satisfying number of old posts to dig through. If you’re looking for makeup inspiration, be sure to check this out.
BoingBoing recently pointed to the German company URB, who specialize in tights and socks that appear to be melting.
It’s a neat idea, but the prices are pretty cringe-inducing: $55USD, plus shipping. For that price you could buy a whole lot of liquid latex and roll your own.
Liquid latex is available at a lot of party stores around Halloween–it can be used for special-effects makeup like wrinkly skin–and can also be found in a wide range of colors online: LiquidLatex and Liquid-Latex are two sources, but there are plenty of others. The online sites also have guides for using the material, so you can refer to them for the best way to apply the latex to clothing.
You can wear the socks/tights and have someone else make the latex drips, but a more convenient way is to stretch them over a piece of PVC pipe (or, in a real pinch, a can of tomatoes) that is the same circumference as whatever part of your leg you want the drips on (thighs/calves/ankles). Brush on a thick layer at the top, then allow extra latex to drip down as far as you want. Set aside to dry, then carefully peel off of the PVC. Distress further with holes and runners as desired.
Easy! Much cheaper than buying them premade, and if you somehow manage to ruin them it’s easy to make more.
They’re available in an astonishing range of colors, as hairsticks or pendants, and you can even get matching tentacle earrings. The shop isn’t currently accepting custom orders, which is a pity, because I bet they could turn out some fantastic eldritch horrors. Still, the li’l octopi are reasonably Cthulhoid if you squint, and they so clearly want to be friends with you.
Oh. Wow. This dress with added spidery goodness is amazing.
The mechanical dress prototype was featured at EU Robotics Week in Prague last year. It’s described (sadly, rather vaguely), as “sensoric, servo controlled, mechanic, microcontroller based.” Which means that, despite its apparent intricacy, if you know your way around a servo motor you could probably do something similar.
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories should have the necessary supplies. Programming the “legs” to do some sort of complicated routine might be tough, but having them periodically stretch out and then curl back up should be fairly straightforward. (It’d also be lots of fun to do this as a hat.)
As long as we’re trundling along recommending things like books and movies and whatnot, I may as well continue the trend and suggest some Webcomics that y’all might find appealing. Or not. They amuse me, anyway. (Comics with an asterisk have additional text if you mouse over the image.)
Please feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments!
Liō – Pantomime strip involving the adventures of a little boy for whom weird, dark, supernatural stuff is loads of fun. Sample Comic
Oglaf!* – NSFW. The setting is kind of a quasi-D&D milieu, with the occasional monster and barbarian warrior and whatnot. Mostly hilariously dirty. Some storylines are multi-page, so keep an eye on the navigation. Sample Comic