The Art of Darkness

Call in the Night

July 17th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Call in the Night LogoThis is one of those situations where I’m teetering between, “This is a really neat idea!” and “This would make me incredibly stabby.”

Call in the Night is an experimental radio show and quasi-research project which aims to document “the nighttime experience.” Participants register their phone number and then once a week they get a call in the middle of the night, hear a short prompt, and then are connected to another random registrant to discuss “your night, your dreams, or whatever comes to mind.”

The calls are recorded and may be selected to use in the CitN podcast. Here’s a sample:

The site notes that the calls are anonymous, so I’m assuming that callers are connected through a central unit that hides their number from the other party. There’s also an area where you can review and share your recordings.

Comments on the SoundCloud page seem to indicate that the participants have fairly positive experiences, so if you don’t mind the occasional middle-of-the-night call this might be an interesting experiment.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

How the Other Half Lives

July 16th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Riis Photo

In the last decade of the 19th Century, a police reporter named Jacob Riis set out to make people in New York’s upper- and middle class aware of the squalor of their city’s slums. The result was How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, and it’s considered to be a landmark of social reform.

The book was filled with photos, sketches, and graphic descriptions of the wretched daily lives of the poverty-stricken. And, wonderfully, it did what it was intended to do: The public was galvanized by Riis’ muckraking and there were sweeping reforms which helped to improve the lives of the poor.

It’s a fascinating glimpse at the underbelly of New York at the turn of the last century, and it’s in the public domain so it’s readily available from a variety of sources. Authentic History has the book’s full text, plus a handy image index. There’s an audio version free at LibriVox. Museum Syndicate has a gallery of Riis’ photos. And there are several hardback and e-book versions available, many with endnotes and other expanded material. Really interesting stuff.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Alt-Country Cover of “This Corrosion”

July 15th, 2013 by Cobwebs

This fan-made video done for Lambchop’s cover of “This Corrosion” isn’t half bad.

The song, incidentally, appeared as a bonus track on their “Is a Woman” album. For some peculiar reason it’s not available at the U.S. version of Amazon, but you can get it at Amazon UK or Amazon DE

Someone in the comments over at BoingBoing also pointed to this “folk metal” version by German band In Extremo.

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The Fellowship of the Link Dump

July 12th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Hell is Other People – “An experiment in anti-social media.” Phone app which helps you avoid running into your friends. (via Cat)

Running Vampire Bat – These little suckers can really skitter.

Elizabeth Parker’s Sampler – Details of a haunting vintage cross-stitch made by a troubled 19th-Century nurserymaid.

Morbid Merry-Go-Round – Etsy store featuring “dark spooky art” with a whimsical side. My favorite is Corgi-thulhu. In his house at R’lyeh, he waits dreaming of tummy rubs.

The ‘Geisters – Spooky new book about a woman haunted by a poltergeist. BoingBoing has a short review here, and the author discusses his work here.

The Penitent Damned – Free “flintlock fantasy” short story.

Boggle! – “Boggle is worried about you. Boggle is also an owl.” I particularly like this one. (via The Bloggess)

The 1860s Bar – A recent Improv Everywhere “mission” involved transporting a bar back to the 19th Century.

Yule Ball Cosplay – deviantART member TheDeluxeWar made Ron and Hermione costumes for her boyfriend and herself to wear to their prom.

Rad to the Bone – Cute hostess dress featuring glow-in-the-dark bones.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Vegan Black Metal Chef

July 11th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Vegan Black Metal ChefCook and metal enthusiast Brian Manowitz has combined his interests into what is probably quite accurately described as “a vegan cooking show like no other,” in that he does the show dressed in full costume and features custom heavy metal tracks (downloadable for free).

The Vegan Black Metal Chef Project has 2 main purposes.
1) Help answer the question “what do vegans eat”/show vegan cooking in the most informative and fun way possible while making some great music to go along with it.
2) Help people bring consciousness to their lives and actions.

He’s done a number of interviews which expand on his philosophy further. All of his videos are available on his YouTube channel, and a DVD of the first season is also available for purchase.

(via Laughing Squid)

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Garden Spiderweb Frame

July 10th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Garden Spider FrameHere’s an interesting addition to a garden or yard: A wooden frame that encourages spiders to build their web in its center.

They’re reasonably inexpensive (available at Amazon and Newegg, amongst others), but if you’re handy with a hammer you could make one from scrap wood even cheaper.

There’s also a different square design which would be even easier to DIY: It’s pretty much just a wooden picture frame stuck on a post.

Both types say they feature a “spider shelter” to give the spider a place to hide: I assume it’s the triangular bit on the right of the square frame and at the top of the hexagon. All you would need for that is a couple of pieces of thin wood that the spider could get between.

In addition to encouraging spiders to build their webs where you can admire them, the frame would make it much easier to preserve and save them as decorations.

(Incidentally, the manufacturer’s ad copy tries to suggest that the frames are useful for keeping your environment bug-free; I would say that’s just a teensy bit of an overstatement unless you had several dozen of these in the yard. On the other hand, having several dozen of these in the yard would be sort of awesome.)

Spiders, like bats and snakes, are wonderfully helpful and terribly misunderstood creatures. Encouraging them to hang around where they’re welcome seems like an excellent idea.

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 6 Comments »

Death Cafe

July 9th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Skull TeacupIn 2012 Jon Underwood founded a not-for-profit social enterprise called Impermanence, out of a belief “that if we were more sorted about death, the world would be a much, much better place.” The organization currently has three active projects: Dying Matters, a resource site for people who expect to die within the year; Funeral Advisor, aimed at helping the consumer make informed choices about the funeral industry; and, particularly intriguing for we memento mori types, Death Cafe, gatherings where “people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake.” Sign me up.

The stated objective of Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” The Cafe isn’t a fixed location, but rather a moveable feast; Underwood has hosted several, but has also established the gatherings as a social franchise and encourages others to host their own. He and his colleagues have put together a free guide to holding a Death Cafe, with the main points being:

  • On a not for profit basis, though to be sustainable we try to cover expenses through donations and fundraising
  • In an accessible, respectful and confidential space, free of discrimination, where people can express their views safely
  • With no intention of leading participants towards any particular conclusion, product or course of action
  • Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!

If you agree to these principles, you can have your gathering listed on the site’s schedule of upcoming events. (And, obviously, if you don’t want to hold your own meeting you can check the schedule to look for Death Cafes in your area.)

This sounds like a really interesting, convivial way to discuss a subject that many people find uncomfortable. Even if you don’t want to hew to their exact format, a tea party with death as the primary subject matter would be fascinating; subject matter could range from historical funeral customs to the meaning of symbols on gravestones.

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Dr. Who Meets Metal

July 8th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Eric Calderone does metal covers of all kinds of interesting things on his YouTube channel, including lots of TV themes: Game of Thrones, Dexter, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock. Here he is doing the Doctor Who Theme/I Am the Doctor:

(Hat tip to Spooky Seamstress)

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Link Dumps of London

July 5th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Walktopus – Rather wonderful and surreal octopus sculpture by Scott Musgrove.

Jacob’s Ghost Whiskey – This “white whiskey” by Jim Beam would be a nice addition to a spooky bar.

Re-nesting Baby Bats – The Conservancy of SW FL saved nearly 150 baby bats after their home was destroyed by a storm. These are some very snorgle-able batlings. (Hat tip to Cat)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Wedding Photos – Amusing photo shoot inspired by the book.

Medieval Weapons Ice Tray – I’m not sure how practical these would be for keeping drinks cold, but they’re pretty neat anyway.

Boogeymen – Part of a 1923 set of “eerie stereoviews.” A couple of these are genuinely creepy.

PowerUpCollage – These collages made of old comic books are quite striking.

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas – Ursula K. Le Guin’s beautifully depressing classic short story.

You’ll Be Safe Here – A lovely image which pays tribute to all of geekdom.

Tentacle Door Stop – Slithery tentacular decor.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Tattoo Show and Tell

July 4th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Flock of Bats TattooI’m feeling silly today, so I’m declaring a reader interaction day.

I see a lot of posts about tattoos in my Facebook feed,* from friends either showing off their latest acquisition or planning their next piece of art. If you have tats, tell us about them in the comments: What are they, and why did you choose them? If you’re planning a new one, what do you want to get? Feel free to post links to photos (although a “NSFW” warning, if appropriate, is appreciated).

I’ll go first: I currently have none, because although my husband has many wonderful qualities an appreciation of tattoos is not amongst them. Someday, however, I shall have bats; either a flock of the friendly little creatures as shown above, or a nature scene like this one. (I can’t find an attribution for the flock; the sleeve is by Matthew Amey.)

Now it’s your turn: Tell us about your inky aspirations!


*Are you on Facebook? Wanna be my friend? Find me here.

Posted in Whatever | 11 Comments »

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