The Art of Darkness

Fun with Digital Doorbells

July 17th, 2012 by Cobwebs

TommyknockerHere’s a thing you might not know existed: Doorbells that you can load with a sound file of your choice.

Just like a phone ringtone, you can use your favorite sound effect, song, or movie clip, and change it as often as you like. That means that your doorbell can scream like the one in Murder by Death, or say, “You rang?” like Lurch. (If you don’t think that’s hilarious, you may be on the wrong blog.)

There are a number of manufacturers, and prices vary significantly. The cheapest that I could find is Honeywell’s My Chime, followed by Swann’s MP3 DJ Doorbell. Other options include Kakadu (a UK vendor, although I take mild exception to their assumption that the customer is male), YourBell, iChime, and The Tommyknocker, which wins the “best name” category.

This would, obviously, be a splendid novelty item for Halloween, but there’s no reason why visitors shouldn’t be treated to banshee wails or rattling chains year-round. I’ve wanted a screaming doorbell for years, and there’s no way I’m going to limit its use to one day a year.

Posted in Bad Things | 6 Comments »

Ballad of the Centipede

July 16th, 2012 by Cobwebs

We find these suckers in the house constantly, and it’s likely that so do you. I’ve been squishing them with extreme prejudice, but apparently they deliver enough of the old ultraviolence on roaches and other less-desirable guests that I might turn a blind eye to them from now on. As Maggie at BoingBoing relates:

Originally native to the Mediterranean, they now live … everywhere. (And please, feel free to imagine these buggers speaking in comic, stereotypical Italiano-Greek accents from now on. God knows I will.)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

The Link Dump in the Iron Mask

July 13th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Somnia Romantica – Some lovely Victorian mourning-inspired clothing.

The Nails of Sauron – This may be my favorite manicure idea ever.

Alternatives to Nickleback – Some excellent snark from the Boise Weekly’s entertainment section.

Music for the Zombie Apocalypse – Apparently the Apocalypse will be set to classical music.

A Softer World – The sentiment amused me.

Mischief Boutique – Splendidly surreal Etsy shop specializing in costumes for rats. If your pet rat is hankering for a hoodie or wants to dress like Tinkerbell, this is the place for you.

fab ciraolo – Artist who mashes up old and new pop culture, resulting in things like Dali in a Vampire Weekend shirt and a rather hipster Edward Scissorhands. (Somewhat NSFW)

Vintage Gothic Dessert Table – Stunning setup for a wedding reception dessert table; it’d be appropriate for any fancy party.

Art Abandonment – Facebook group which encourages artists to leave random works for others to find. An interesting idea, although there’s probably a fine line between “art” and “littering.” (via Cat)

10 Bizarre Bats You Won’t Want To Meet on a Dark Knight – A base canard. I might not want to snorgle all of them, but I’d happily meet them.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Unspooky Thursday

July 12th, 2012 by Cobwebs

so there’s this girl named Oksana
who is sweet and kind and clever
and lives in a small house with her father
and her stepmother
and her stepsister
and already we can see right where this is going

OF COURSE Oksana’s stepmother doesn’t like her
and makes her do all the housework
and wear her stepsister’s old clothes
her stepsister is named Olena by the way
which sounds like a brand of margarine

somewhat unusual for this type of story
is the fact that the heroine’s father is alive and well
instead of nobly dead somewhere and unable to defend his daughter
he just doesn’t give much of a shit
parenthood fail

so one winter the snow is particularly bad
and Oksana’s family runs out of money
the story just presents this as fact
without stating the connection between deep snow and insolvency
so your guess is as good as mine

and to nobody’s surprise
Oksana’s stepmother insists that she be sent away
so her father
who is really whipped
takes her to a cottage deep in the woods
and says he’ll see her in springtime
when the money thaws out

and although Oksana is very frightened
she is also brave and resourceful
because when was the last time you heard a fairy tale
where the protagonist was an idiot
and totally unable to cope
that would be a very short fairy tale
because the protagonist would wind up as troll snacks
or be turned into a newt and NOT get better
or otherwise meet a messy end
let’s see Disney make a heartwarming movie out of THAT
woo tangent


so Oksana collects wood and builds a fire
and makes a snare out of branches and catches a snow rabbit
and digs under the snow and finds roots and berries to eat
and melts snow for drinking water
Oksana may be distantly related to Bear Grylls

when night falls Oksana lays down near the fire and goes to sleep
but in the middle of the night
there’s a knock on the door
man, the jehovah’s witnesses are everywhere
no wait
different story
there’s a knock on the door
and Oksana gathers up her courage
and a big stick
and answers the door
instead of doing the sensible thing and hiding in a closet until morning
fairy-tale protagonists may be plucky and resourceful
but they don’t have the common sense that god gave a doorknob

and there’s nothing there
and just as Oksana is breathing a sigh of relief
she looks down
and there’s a cow head on the doorstep
looking at her expectantly
as they do

so Oksana gasps and says “who are you?”
and the cow head says “I am Cow’s Head”
because it may be supernatural
but it is not very creative

so Cow’s Head says it is cold and hungry and would like to come in
and Oksana
whom we have already seen is a little light in the common sense department
says sure
and Cow’s Head asks her to lift it over the threshold
and place it near the fire
which she does
the story does not address how it made it to the front door and knocked if it can’t move

then Cow’s Head tells Oksana that it is hungry and asks her to feed it
which she does
and the story also does not address where the food goes
inasmuch as there is no stomach attached to the head
so use your imagination

and finally Cow’s Head wants to sleep
so Oksana covers it with her blanket
it is essentially the creepiest babydoll ever

Oksana falls asleep in the corner of the cottage
and when she wakes up Cow’s Head is gone
but where it had slept was a large trunk
full of beautiful clothes and gold and jewels

and at that very moment
her father appears at the door
having nutted up and come back to get her

so Oksana returns home
rich and happy
and soon marries her true love
and lives happily ever after

and as a postscript
the story notes that Olena decided to try the same thing
and went to sleep in the cottage
but when Cow’s Head showed up
she was too lazy to serve it
and when she woke up all her possessions had turned to dust

the moral of this story is when a disembodied cow head shows up on the doorstep at midnight you should make it comfortable

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

The Curio Emporium

July 11th, 2012 by Cobwebs

CorsetOne of the wonderful things about the Internet is the freedom it gives niche businesses to reach a wider audience. A company peddling the odd collection of goods found at The Curio Emporium might not have enough appreciative customers locally to buy their coyote skull nightlights, brass telescopes, and Gorey parasols, and that would be a great pity.

Their stuff is wonderfully eclectic, ranging from taxidermy to corsets (I’m particularly taken with their Ripper and Halloween models), and their prices seem quite competetive. They do ship worldwide (with the usual exception of natural/taxidermy items), and their “free shipping” policy doesn’t appear to have a geographical limitation.

If you’re looking for an especially unique gift, or just want to drool on the merchandise, this is the place for you.

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Console to Closet

July 10th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Amanda McGinnis, known online as LadySnip3r, loves video games and fashion. The obvious thing to do was combine them, and the results are splendid. Console to Closet is a collection of outfits inspired by video game characters.

So she might take the dragon Alduin from Skyrim:


and put together an ensemble like this:

Alduin from Console to Closet

This outfit is inspired by Alduin of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I chose a black cocktail dress with tons of textures that imitate his scale-y exterior. I also chose dark grey accessories that compliment the dress’s texture. Lastly, I chose silver hoop earrings with a tooth on each which reminds me of dragon’s teeth.

Each ensemble is accompanied by a description of how the elements pay homage to the original, and also includes information on where to purchase the clothing and accessories.

Her inspiration is wonderfully far-ranging, covering everything from a World of Warcraft Night Elf to one of the Sunflowers in Plants vs. Zombies. (As a long-time Monkey Island aficionado, I also love her take on Guybrush Threepwood.)

Despite many items being inspired by male characters, the collections are currently female-only; her FAQ apologizes for gender lopsidedness, citing a lack of “guy clothes” on the sites she uses to assemble her outfits. Also, although she doesn’t accept submissions of the Polyvore-esque collections that she posts, she does welcome photos of people in their own game-inspired outfits.

Since the emphasis is on fashion rather than cosplay, this is a splendid, subtle way to incorporate an appreciation for gaming into one’s everyday wardrobe.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Resources | 3 Comments »

You Can’t Handle the Cute

July 9th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Baby rats are just ridiculously squee-worthy.

Bonus! Here, have a baby bat with hiccups.

Bonus bonus! And here’s a snail taking a shower.

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

A Link Dump on Elm Street

July 6th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Spiky Mug – Wonderful black spiked ceramic mug.

Dreadline – This upcoming video game sounds intriguing.

Zombie Attack Prank – Here is a man who is simply begging to be shot.

Stupid New Domain Names – ICANN is going to open up a large number of new TLDs. This amusing article discusses a few of them. Two of them are .boo and .rip, so start planning for your new domain now.

Oldest and Fatherless – A rather wonderful fan theory that Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil was actually evil.

Alien and Predator Get Married – Splendidly-detailed wedding cake. I think the li’l facehugger just hatching out is my favorite part.

Noel Cruz – Artist who does custom repaints of “celebrity” dolls, with astoundingly lifelike results.

A Boy and His God – Short story by Charlie Stross (who also writes the “Laundry” stuff). Now I want a pet god.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – I’d watch this.

Eyeball Cupcakes – Effective and fairly easy cupcakes featuring gummi eyeballs, which I wasn’t aware were a thing. Neat. (via Maven)

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Woven-Paper Patterns

July 5th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Space InvaderMinico has a tutorial (which is almost too easy to deserve the name) for weaving paper strips into pixellated “Space Invaders.” They’re cute and certainly simple–and cheap!–to make.

Something else that translates well into pixels are cross-stitch patterns, with the single caveat being that this paper-weaving method only allows one color per line. Simple designs like skulls and spiders are readily adaptable, and you could either weave with a single color of paper or alternate colors on each line for an interesting striped effect.

These would add a decorative touch to all kinds of things; they’d be nice as a gift topper or homemade greeting card, or just frame a bunch for a quick and interesting accent. You could also use ribbon instead of paper strips, carefully iron the result onto a bit of fusible webbing, and use it for everything from decorating clothing to covering the lid on a jar of preserves. Varying the width of the strips will change the size of the finished piece, so you can make something as large or small as desired: You could, for example, use wide fabric strips to decorate the side of a tote bag and then do the same design with much narrower strips to make a matching wallet.

Making these would be a fun group activity, especially for kids, since the only real skill required is the ability to count.

(via Geek Crafts)

Posted in Bittens, Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

Seen Online

July 4th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Dionysus is a fertility god most associated with wine and its cultivation, but really he is a manifestation of the untamed urge inside all living things to grow and reproduce. He is the god of mistakes you made in college.
Burgeoning Lads of Science

I put suicide notes next to roadkill so their animal families have some closure

My famous last words will be words no one ever heard before, like “clarf” or “putesnix.”

My bet is that every painting has a metaphysical twin, a combination of Dorian Gray and Pickman’s Model, moldering in another place. With the artist gone, the linked pairs will start to turn… here people will slowly start to notice new tentacled figures emerge from odd shadows in their favorite works… and elsewhere ancient old ones will curse light stains seeping across their own loved paintings, as hip young sarcastic shoggoths smirk and roll their thousand eyes.
Jim Saul, commenting on Thomas Kinkade’s death

Stupid people aren’t flammable enough.

apparently “finders keepers” doesn’t apply to corpses

Some times I eat stale bread just to prove to the rest of my groceries they should never stop fearing me.

So weird to know Santa Claus is hibernating in a coffin right now.

“Ic i stille þære worulde and mielte mid sīe” –Old English. “I wilt stoppe ye world & mealte with thee.” –Middle English.

Such a beautiful day in London this morning. After so much wind and snow: sunshine, at last. They say Aslan is on the move.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

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