The Art of Darkness

Bluephone Studios

April 16th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Crocheted DinosaurWe’ll pause for a moment to let the utter squee-ness of this image fully wash over you.

Now then.

Talented fiber artist Kelsey creates ridiculously adorable little crocheted critters, including snakes, jellyfish, and various dinosaurs (I think my very favorite are the triceratops). She posts about them and her other artwork on Tumblr and sells them in her Etsy shop, where she also offers a small selection of patterns. I love how blorpy and winsome they all look.

One Halloween* she teamed up with graphic designer Hannah Eaton to present a trio of adorable little portmanteau monsters: The colorful Batterfly, three-headed Tortoisnail, and serene Owlpaca. They’ve sadly long since sold out, but the photos are still an excellent source of inspiration.

I’m not sure if she does custom patterns or not–the site isn’t clear on that point–but I’d love to see a little spider or bat done in this style.

In any case, if you’re a fan of crocheting and/or amigurumi, the site is a great idea resource. So cute.


*Holy carp do I hate Tumblr. Not only is there never an “About” page–I only know this artist’s name because she happens to mention it on Etsy–but none of the posts have dates. So I don’t know offhand which Halloween this was. Just…some Halloween.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Finances of the Undead

April 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Last week’s link dump mentioned Law and the Multiverse, and intrepid commenter xJane noted:

Someone got me the Law and the Multiverse book one year (I’m still reading it—it’s hilarious!). Such a great way of looking at imaginary worlds—it’d be fun to do a fantasy one (what are the legal ramifications of stock portfolios owned by the undead…?).

I replied:*

I assume you mean vampires, since I don’t really see zombies playing the stock market. I’m pretty sure half of vampire literature depends on them building up their fortunes over hundreds of years.

And she responded:

I do, yes.

And that’s my point! Usually vampires are super rich and living cushy lives that do not require that they take jobs that require them to see this side of dawn. Does a vampire’s bite suddenly make you a stock market expert? Because you don’t just have to hang onto the stocks for a long time—they have to’ve been the right stocks in the first place. And this seems like the kind of thing you’d have to prepare for—like retirement. If I die tomorrow, I would still need to work if I were going to entice healthy young coeds into my boudoir (although the not having to sleep might mean I’m better at my job, I don’t work hourly), but potentially, if I buy life insurance pre-bite, I could cash in immediately post-bite and then invest, hoping to take night time lawyer-jobs for the next 60 years or so while my investments mature…

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want to see the legal ramifications of becoming a vampire but the tax and income ramifications.

To which I had to respond:

Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Easy!

And she shot back with:

> Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

File under Things I Often Think About When Watching Vampire Fiction…
>
> 1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

Fair point. I feel like this is mostly beneath your average vampire, but everyone has to start somewhere.
>
> 2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

Good point. I will tell my nieces and nephs to keep an eye out for D.B. Cooper.
>
> 3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

Is it, though? I feel like one would still require a more-than-passing knowledge of the markets…
>
> 4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Hmm, I’d not thought of a corporation, but that’s a good idea. I was thinking some kind of a trust, but if you’ve got enough money—in any century—it ought to be possible to buy appropriate documentation (see, also New Amsterdam).
>
> Easy!

haha, How to Be a Vampire: for Fun and Profit!

And that’s the point where I decided to just turn the whole thing into a blog post.

So yeah, there’s the question: When was the last time you saw an indigent vampire? Why is that? Assuming that a vampire isn’t super-rich when they turn, how do they acquire and then hang onto their wealth?

The issue mainly seems to apply to vampires: Zombies, as I mentioned above, don’t really seem to have the faculties to manage convertible debentures, and presumably anybody who gained immortality by, say, a deal with the devil would also be smart enough to make vast wealth part of the package.

So what do you think? If you somehow wound up undead, how would you go about ensuring your long-term financial security? Would you continue to live where you did, go to night school, and try to work your way up the corporate ladder? Would you be able to play the stock market and strike it rich? Or would you become the first vampire to live in a trailer park? Discuss in the comments.


*Did you know that I reply individually to comments left on this site? I totally do.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 12 Comments »

Price and Poe

April 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

In 1970 my celebrity crush Vincent Price did An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, reading some of Poe’s works in front of a live audience. Kind YouTube user Zombie Popcorn has uploaded the whole thing.

Bonus Links: Here’s “The Raven” read by Basil Rathbone and John Astin (dressed as Poe!)

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Dawn of the Link Dump

April 11th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Law and the Multiverse – Interesting site which explores the legal ramifications of comic book tropes, such as whether mutants would be a protected class and what happens legally when a character comes back from the dead.

Conspiracy Theory Generator – Handy source of high-quality bafflegab.

Derbyshire Mummified Fairy Kickstarter – The guy who did the “dead fairy” hoax has a Kickstarter to create an instructional DVD and kit. (Hat tip to Cookie)

There be Monsters – Lovely illustration featuring a typeface comprised of Medieval monsters. Prints are discounted until April 13.

Partially Clips – The last line made me giggle.

The Curioddities Cabin – Etsy shop featuring “wet specimen” preserved creatures, like bats (Hat tip to Sisifo)

The National Garment Cutter Book of Diagrams – Dressmaking pattern book from 1888, online at the Library of Congress.

Lace Braid Roses – File this hairstyle under “things I will never, EVER have time for.” Still, it’s pretty if you have the time and determination.

100% Soft – Artist Truck Torrence makes adorably cutesy artwork, many featuring horror-movie villains. I particularly love his Bad Guys, Villains, Miscreants & Low-lifes Campout.

DeadAlive – Astoundingly gorgeous sculpted chess set by artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster. (Other parts of the site are NSFW.)

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Creepy Collections

April 10th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Vampire ShadowboxWant a super-easy, super-cheap wall decoration for Halloween that’s attractive enough to leave up year-’round? Look no further than shadowboxes, baby. A shadowbox can elevate a cheap rubber novelty to the status of artwork, and could hardly be easier to put together.

I made a couple as gifts for this year’s Secret Pumpkin exchange using (humanely collected) animal teeth, but the technique is suitable for practically anything small enough to stuff in a frame.

Full instructions and photos are right here.

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

Stuff I Found While Looking Around

April 9th, 2014 by Cobwebs

As usual, here’s a bunch of images I’ve run across which I want to share but might not be able to hang a whole post on. Some of them have no attribution, so if you happen to know the source for any of these please leave a note in the comments. (Click to view larger.)

Skull Cup

Skull Mug

I originally found this at Design You Trust, where it’s erroneously presented as a “design concept.” Sadly, it’s actually a staged photo by deviantARTist CRuS23, so there will be no production. Oh, well; it’s pretty.
Creepy Statue

Creepy Statue

I can’t find an original source for this image, so I don’t know where the statue is located (there’s another photo from a slightly different angle here). Still, I’d be reluctant to walk past it on a rainy evening.
Han in Carbonite

“Han in Carbonite” Refrigerator

This is a photoshopped entry in an image challenge, created by artist Quentin Devine. I am sad indeed that it doesn’t actually exist.
Cat Makeup

Cat Makeup

This elaborate design was created by makeup artist Tal Peleg. She’s got many other amazing examples on her site.
Tim Burton Shoes

Tim Burton Shoes

I can’t find an original source for these; all roads lead to Pinterest. They look suspiciously ‘shopped; yet another crushing disappointment where something should be real and available for purchase but isn’t.
Wall Treatment

Wall Message

Another one with no original source. I adore how simple yet effective this is. It’s just vinyl letters–made even easier by the fact that you don’t have to align them neatly–but the result is creepy as hell. (The message, by the way, is a lyric by La Dispute.)
Halloween Cake

Halloween Cake

Yet another frustrating example of an image appearing in dozens of roundups and Pinterest boards with no original attribution. I don’t know who made this, but I love the elegantly creepy design. (Bonus: Whilst trying to track down the source, I ran into this collection of cakes and cupcakes that seem mostly do-able by the home cook and this collection of cakes that are well beyond the average person’s talents but are gorgeous anyway.)
Hearse with Camper

Hearse with Camper

Another orphaned image. I love that the trailer matches the colors of the hearse.
Until I Say

Until I Say

Hooray! A source! This is by deviantARTist Ryan Alexander Lee, and illustrates the dangers of a mortal falling in love with a dryad.
Halloween Wall Decoration

Spooky Wall Sculpture

I was certain that this was a really fantastic Halloween prop; instead it’s a plastic bag sculpture by Khalil Chishtee (he has a site but it’s all Flash, so I’m linking to an image collection instead. Screw Flash). Something similar could probably by DIY’d as a Halloween prop with cheesecloth and starch.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Modern Twilight Zone

April 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of Instagram and Spotify but of Wikipedia. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of your WiFi signal.

The Twitter feed Modern Twilight Zone offers a splendid glimpse into a world where The Twilight Zone is still being produced and the storylines take advantage of current technology.

Some episodes are technology-dependent:

Others would work just as well as old-style episodes:

Lots of other users have joined the party, offering suggestions of their own:

Some of the synopses are just wonderful and make me melancholy that the episodes don’t really exist. A browse through the feed is a fun, mildly creepy, way to spend an afternoon.

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Lights Out – Who’s There

April 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Yeah, this’ll scare the crap out of you.

It won “Best Director” in this year’s BC Horror Challenge.

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

Killer Link Dumps From Outer Space

April 4th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Stone – Creepy fan-made short film featuring the weeping angels from Doctor Who.

Little Cherry Cake Company – Bakery which creates amazingly detailed, whimsical cakes. There are several spook-themed ones in their gallery.

DIY Halloween Village – This is a forehead-smackingly great idea: Make a miniature Halloween village by painting “Christmas village” buildings black. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Verillas – Expensive but gorgeous steampunk gear.

25 of the Cutest Bat Species – Proposed subtitle: “Bats you will feel compelled to snorgle on their wee bellies.” (Hat tip to WitchArachne)

Hotel Casanus – For reasons it’s best not to consider, there’s a lodge in Belgium shaped like a giant rectum. The comments at the link are entertaining.

rachelliles352 – Artist who makes amazing hand-painted sneakers featuring themes from the Haunted Mansion, Beetlejuice, NMBC, and many others.

Funny Wedding RSVPs – I’m kicking myself for not doing something like this at my own wedding.

Nevermore Corset – Great Poe-themed design.

Calamityware – Tranquil-looking blue willow china plate patterns, each featuring some extraordinary catastrophe like flying monkeys or crashing airplanes. Two of the designs have been turned into real plates via successful Kickstarter campaigns.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Automaton Funeral Parlor

April 3rd, 2014 by Cobwebs

Automaton Funeral ParlorCoin-operated automata used to be a common arcade attraction: When activated, tiny figures would come to life and move through a miniature tableau. Some featured comical domestic scenes: Doors opening in a row of houses to reveal henpecked husbands doing chores, or a bumbling burglar awakening the household. Many, however, featured more macabre content such as haunted houses, torture chambers, and executions.

One such creepy example is the funeral parlor created by John Dennison (who was responsible for several interesting automata). There’s a photo of it at rest here (I couldn’t find an original source for that image), and more detail plus a photo of it during operation here.

The scene depicts a man in his coffin at a funeral parlor. When a coin is inserted into the mechanism, a skeleton head appears behind the coffin, the corpse bolts to an upright position and turns his head. Then, the skull disappears and a devil appears.

An automaton with a similar theme but more realistic figures and miniatures is the St. Dennistoun Mortuary dating from around 1900.

[T]he mahogany cabinet and glazed viewing area displays a Greek Revival mortuary building with double doors and grieving mourners out front, when a coin is inserted, doors open and the room is lighted revealing four morticians and four poor souls on embalming tables, the morticians move as if busily at work on their grisly task and mourners standing outside bob their heads as if sobbing in grief

Although creating a working model might be beyond the scope of most of us, these strike me as a very cool idea for a static diorama. I like the attractive wooden cases used to showcase the scene: Something similar might be done by adding a glass front to one shelf of a bookcase, or using a glass-topped coffee table designed for display. The figures and furniture could simply be dollhouse miniatures repurposed from their more-mundane original intent.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, a quick google will turn up sites and tutorials devoted to the creation of modern automata. Something like this would be a heck of a conversation piece, and the ultimate addition to a collection of curiosities.

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

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