The Art of Darkness

Cubicles and Careers

August 18th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Fantasycon’s Murray Triplett and Greg Johnson have a new webseries about monsters and heroes playing an RPG where they pretend to be office workers and make saving throws against being noticed by their bosses when they sneak in to work late.

Although this is not exactly a new idea (the original AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, printed in 1979, included this cartoon), the series looks like a lot of fun.

The first episode is below; the rest are in their playlist.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

The Old Dark Link Dump

August 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

It’s Just Wood – Nice little meditation on the liberation that comes from knowing how to make things.

Sock Holder – Splendid addition to a laundry room.

Peter Dinklage – This is oddly compelling.

Death Wooed Us – Interesting photography project which “catalogues places where people have taken their own lives and the views that may have been the last things these people saw.”

Floral Skull Shower Curtain – This “beautiful death” shower curtain is a bit pricey, but lovely. It’s also available on the Society6 site as a print.

Rafael Silveira – Painter of surreal art with a comic-book vibe.

Monika Horčicová – Sculptor who creates macabre but oddly soothing pieces from cast-resin skeletons.

Stones and Bones – Project by illustrator DZO featuring intricate drawings on animal skulls and smooth rocks.

Death Eater Mask – Nice tutorial from EPBOT.

Boo! Cubes – Ice cube/gelatin molds shaped like li’l three-dimensional ghosts.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

2,000th Post Extravaganza

August 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

If by “extravaganza” you mean “mildly interesting giveaway.”

I started this silly blog clear back in February of 2007 and began posting every weekday in June of that year. The ol’ blog statistics tell me that this is my 2,000th post. That seems like it should be worthy of some kind of celebration, so I am going to give away a Surprise Box o’ Gothy Stuff to three lucky(?) commenters.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Friday, August 22. Specifically, you have to tell me something nice about yourself. Doesn’t matter what; could be, “I didn’t kick any puppies today. Yet.” Just something you like about yourself or that makes you happy. Three commenters will be chosen at random.

(Non-U.S. folks are more than welcome to play along, although shipping might be slower.)

Thanks for hanging out on this blog with me, for however long you’ve been here.

Update: – I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed everybody’s comments, and wish I could send everybody a prize. I have the best readers in the world.

As for the winners, random.org spat back numbers 32, 4, and 23. Those folks will be emailed separately for their snail-mail addresses. Thanks to everyone who commented!

Update the Second: – After multiple attempts I can’t get in touch with one of the winners, so I re-picked. This time random.org gave me #19. That person has been mailed separately.

Posted in Whatever | 34 Comments »

NASA Scarves

August 13th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Witch Head NebulaDesigner Celine Semaan Vernon has created a line of gorgeous organic silk scarves and clothing using open-sourced images from NASA’s Hubble Telescope.

Everything is consciously made in collaboration with craftspeople using sustainable practices: Our natural fabrics are sourced from a socially and environmentally responsible company in India, and each limited edition piece is handcrafted in Montreal and New York from NASA’s open data collection of satellite images.

These are the perfect intersection of “goth” and “geek” because many of the photos are nebulas like the Witch Head (pictured above), the Tarantula, the Caterpillar, and the Cat’s Eye.

In addition to astronomical images there are designs based around high-altitude photos of sea ice, lava flows, and plankton blooms. There’s also a neat series of “cities by night,” showing London, Paris, and New York all lit up in the dark.

The collection really is lovely, and is a splendid, subtle way to let your geek flag fly.

(via Laughing Squid)

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Lovecraft Storage Box

August 12th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Lovecraft BoxThe fabulous xJane, arbiter of all things stationery-related, recently pointed me to this Facebook post about a DIY Lovecraft-themed stationery storage box. It was made by a crafter named Al Rio; for the Facebook-impaired, I’m copying the photo (click to embiggen) and her comment here:

Typhoon season here in my country. By candle light in this stormy weather, the things we can make and do. How about a hand-made Lovecraftian box to store your favorite pens?

Materials: lots of craft paper, vinyl stickers, thermoplastic adhesive, foam board, sintra board, acrylic paints, costume prop accessories

xJane noted that it looked pretty DIY-able, and I agree. Wooden boxes of various sizes are widely available at craft stores and online; and you could even cheat and get an inexpensive decorative box from an import store that already looks exotic and spooky.

A design of your choice can be applied pretty easily with a stencil. Rio’s box uses the Necronomicon Gate, but you could do an Elder Sign, a simple Cthulhu, or google “Lovecraft stencil” for other examples. (That Cthulhu link, incidentally, also includes simple instructions for making your own stencil in case you aren’t sure how to proceed.)

If you want to use the box to store stationery supplies, check out this tutorial for repurposing an antique box; it includes instructions on lining the interior with decorative paper, and the final step includes making a DIY pen-and-pencil holder. Also take a look at Cigar Box Pen Storage for lots of additional inspiration.

The rest of the decoration can be as you desire: Leftover supplies from other craft projects, orphaned earrings, paint, and anything else which will lend an eldritch vibe. I like the “treasured reliquary” look of this box, but you could go in the opposite direction and distress it to look like something that had been buried in an ancient tomb and only recently unearthed.

Obviously, the same idea has uses beyond stationery storage. Depending upon the size of the box, you could use it for anything from holding jewelry to hiding your wireless router (be sure it’s adequately ventilated). Little individual treasure boxes would be interesting gifts for a bridal party. You could also make a set of varying sizes as office desk accessories; it’s much more fun to store paperclips in an artifact from the Mountains of Madness than a boring plastic cube.

(Thanks, xJane!)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Premier Automne

August 11th, 2014 by Cobwebs

The title means “First Fall,” and this animated short is simply lovely.

Abel lives in the winter and Apolline lives in the summer. Isolated in their “natures”, they never met each other. They are not even supposed to meet. So when Abel crosses the border and discovers Apolline, curiosity is overwhelming. Their encounter soon becomes more complicated than they could imagine. Both of them will have to learn compromise to protect the other…

(via Beans)

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

The Night of the Link Dump

August 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

BACK – A western/fantasy webcomic “about the end of the world. Not post apocalyptic just the end of it all.” There’s an alternate Tumblr feed.

Christopher McKenney – This photographer calls himself a “horror surrealist.” His works are both lovely and really unsettling.

Les Vampires Oracle Cards – “Ancient Wisdom and healing messages from the Children of the Night.” Doll-like vampires with beestung lips help divine your future. There are other decks by the same artist: Oracle of the Shapeshifters and Oracle of Shadows and Light.

Zombie Apocalypse Engagement Photo Shoot – Fun themed photo shoot.

31 Days of Halloween Parties – Site with a couple of years’ worth of party ideas; it hasn’t been updated since 2012, but there are some useful links.

55 Words – I sort of love the idea of dinosaur ghosts.

Eye Heart Spleen – Pretty photo series of flowers arranged to look like human organs.

Improved Thrift Store Paintings – Artist Chris McMahon buys cheap paintings and “improves” them with monsters. They are utterly wonderful. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – There is going to be a Harry Potter spin-off movie. Color me unsurprised.

Biology of Mermaids – Famed oceanographer Karl Banse has written a “serious” (in the sense of humor written with a straight face, rather than actual belief) scientific treatise on mermaids. A PDF of the full paper is here.


p.s. – I’m going to be dragged, kicking and shrieking, away from the computer for a week. Due to the magic of advance scheduling blog posts will continue as usual, but if you email and I don’t respond I’m not ignoring you. (Or am I? Muwahahahaha.)

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to be a Movie

August 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Scary Story IllustrationIf you were a kid in the early 80s you might have been permanently scarred by Alvin Schwartz’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or its sequels (1, 2). The stories were creepy folktales and urban legends; spooky enough for kids, to be sure, but what really turned their Chill Factor up to 11 was the horrifying and surreal illustrations by Stephen Gammell. (There’s a sampling of those here; when a 30th anniversary edition of the books was released with the work of a different illustrator there was an uproar from fans.)

Deadline is reporting that CBS Films has accepted a pitch from Saw writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan to adapt the short stories into a film which centers on a set of outcast kids who work to save the town when their nightmares become reality. I’m…pretty sure that was a Buffy episode.

There’s no word on who’ll star in or direct the film, but it could be a lot of fun. Seen through an adult’s eyes (and studiously ignoring the illustrations), the stories are more campy than creepy; however, for kids the books are high-octane nightmare fuel: There’s an amusing discussion of that here. The movie could thus be a family-friendly romp through urban legends or a straight-up horrorfest. And if Stephen Gammell’s work doesn’t get incorporated somehow I’m going to be sad.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Modest Urns

August 6th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Modest UrnNovelty purveyor Archie McPhee has just released its “modest urn;” an inexpensive cremains repository for the thrifty.

Everybody has a cheap relative and death can be expensive. You know when they die they’d be mad at you if you spent thousands of dollars on a fancy urn! That’s why we made our Modest Urn for the frugal. This metal can, which mysteriously resembles a coffee can, comes with a sticker sheet so you can customize it for the deceased. It’s 5″ tall, 4″ diameter and has a volume of 62.8 cubic inches. In addition, there’s a reusable interior metal seal and an exterior plastic cap to keep the ash from falling out. Includes a fill-in-the-blanks eulogy for easy mourning.

The coffee-can resemblance is more than accidental; the urn is labeled “Hallowed Grounds.” They also have a pet version bearing the legend, “Freshly Roasted.” The backs of the urns also have an Ingredients label listing the contents as “Dearly Departed” and “Beloved Companion” respectively.

Here’s their promotional video:

If the deceased had a sense of humor, this would be sort of an awesome receptacle for their ashes. You could also just use it to store coffee and make guests vaguely nervous.

(Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

August 5th, 2014 by Cobwebs

  1. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories was written by this director of offbeat films.
  2. What is the name of Voldemort’s mother?
    A) Bathsheba
    B) Alecto
    C) Merope
    D) Hepzibah
    E) Andromeda
  3. This French aristocrat’s novels are often classified not as “Gothic” but as “Libertine” and include Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue; Juliette; The 120 Days of Sodom; and Philosophy in the Bedroom.
  4. The film Grindhouse was a “double feature” with one segment directed by Robert Rodriguez and the other by Quentin Tarantino. What was the title of Tarantino’s segment?
    A) Thanksgiving
    B) Death Proof
    C) Werewolf Women of the S.S.
    D) Machete
    E) Planet Terror
  5. Which movie has Beetlejuice seen 167 times (and it keeps getting funnier every time he sees it)?
  6. “Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.” This is the opening line of which Stephen King novel?
    A) Needful Things
    B) Firestarter
    C) ‘Salem’s Lot
    D) Cujo
    E) It
  7. The “penny dreadful” The String of Pearls: A Romance introduced the world to this murderous denizen of Fleet Street.
  8. Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead purports to be a translation of an old manuscript describing a 10th-century Muslim’s travels with a group of Vikings. It’s actually a re-telling of this classic story.
    A) Beowulf
    B) The Odyssey
    C) Sigmund
    D) The Mabinogion
    E) Orlando Furioso
  9. “It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” What is the Lovecraftian creature described here?
  10. In Game of Thrones, what is Hodor’s real name?
    A) Hodor
    B) Hodor
    C) Hodor
    D) Hodor
    E) Walder

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Whatever | 5 Comments »

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