Tuesday, October 6, 2015

All Hallow's Read - Day 25

Last year I bought my niece, Mia, a book for All Hallow's Read, a tradition started by Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman series and lots of other wonderfulness. I think it is a brilliant idea for kids, first, just to read something slightly spooky in October and to associate Hallowe'en with storytelling. So I gave her this year's read this weekend. It was The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. It's a book laced with fairy tales starring two strong young female characters. I think she'll love it.

If you were going to buy a kid a book, what book would it be - let me know the age range of the book and the title and author.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lists of lists - Day 26

Hallowe'en is in less than 4 weeks. I have about 10 weeks of work.

Last week I hung out with the niece (who is 9, so I can't really say "babysat") and she asked how it was going. I said I was way behind. She asked how I could possibly be "way behind" when I started in July. It's a good question.

Anyway, NO MORE COMPLAINING! More down to brass tacks (by the way, Joann's has brass tacks in the shape of skulls, which I almost bought, but I am trying to work on the projects I have).

So, one of the things I did last year was learn, thanks to Derek, how to make lighting, which, on Hallowe'en night, didn't work. This year I have already pre-checked the lighting and repaired any bad connections, so the lighting should be set for this year. Fingers crossed.

The list of what I have to do still is a mile long and mostly consists of:
  • painting
  • sanding
  • dremel work
  • staining
  • foam carving
  • and a lot more painting - pretty much everything needs to be painted. 
As you can see, all of that needs to be done outdoors. Pretty much finished all of the Dremel work this weekend. Today after work I'll probably do a bit of foam carving (with my new Hot Wire Foam Factory carving tools) because I can do that without having to move anything outdoors -- I can do it all in the open garage. Hopefully I'll get quite a bit done after work this week but painting is more involved and will probably have to wait for next weekend when I can spread out in the alleyway behind our house.

Friday, October 2, 2015

2014 Drama - 29 days

So, I've mentioned that I've participated in the Countdown for the last 4 years. Last year was a doozy. I actually managed about 16 posts when suddenly, work kind of exploded, and not in any sort of good way. I thought I was going to have to cancel Hallowe'en and my party and everything that went along with it. So, so glad that didn't happen, but the blog suffered and I never really finished my fence posts. Either literally or figuratively. So here's the follow up on the fence.

I actually did finish it with the help of many, many friends. The fence went up, it was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was AWESOME. Here are two photos of last year for your perusal.

PVC, furrings and caps. Finally together.
All set up in the front yard with an ozone layer's worth of spray paint.

I have every intention (ha ha ha!!!) of fixing up the fence this year so it's not quite so wonky, but we'll actually see if that happens. It's definitely going to be a last minute thang.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Countdown - 30 days.

Countdown to Hallowe'en is a super-fun blog carnival that happens every October where you get to read about everyone else's Hallowe'en obsessions as if you had time for that while feverishly building all of the last minute props for your display.  Just me?  OK, whatever.

Anyway, on this, the first day of the Countdown, I implore you all to visit some of the fine sites curated by artist and Hallowe'en enthusiast John Rozum. Perhaps next year, you'll be one of the participants.

This year, the theme of my yard haunt is my favorite - The Haunted Mansion.  While as a theme, it is well worn, I do adore my Disney and I especially adore the ride, so I wanted to see how much I could honor all of the men and women artists of Disney. Over the month, you'll see how I do, and you'll get a peek into the workshops of other freaks who possibly love the Haunted Mansion more than I.

I went to Disneyland quite a bit as a kid as I grew up in L.A. and it's really only a 45 minute drive down to Anaheim. Especially for a family with not a huge amount of disposable income, Disneyland was quite a treat. Of course you had to buy individual tickets for rides back then and the E ticket rides were always limited. In 1972, during my first trip to Disneyland, a 15 ride ticket book which included 5 E tickets was $5.95 for adults and $4.95 for kids.  Adding in admission ($3.50 for adults/$2.50 for kids) plus food and drinks and the absolutely required Minnie Mouse hat embroidered with my name could put each family member back a good 20 bucks. That was a lot of green in those days, but totally reasonable. Hence, I have quite a number of photos of my siblings and me at the park (mostly on the teacups) from 1972 onward.
Probably 1981 at Disneyland Park

Of course, the Mansion was absolutely an E ticket ride and I loved the Mansion. Later, as the ticket books were phased out (1981) and the admission became a one price deal, we kept going to Disneyland and the Haunted Mansion. Somewhere in the deep recesses of memory (which are few and far between) I'm pretty sure either my siblings and I or a very good friend had the Haunted Mansion board game by Lakeside, as the images cause olfactory flashbacks.

Throughout the 80's, tickets were still under $25 so I definitely went in middle and high school, including my Grad night at Disneyland in 1988 where Expose and Men without Hats played.

The older I got, the more the Mansion spoke to me. From goth high school grad, to writing my thesis on memento mori, I was fascinated with our fascination with death and the afterlife. Hallowe'en was a natural extension of all of this. I was primed to being a Mansion fan from way, way back. 

Come back often to see progress throughout the month.

Happy October, Foolish Mortals!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tick Tock Motherfuckers.

Holy crap. Tomorrow is October.

The weather in Los Angeles, specifically in the San Fernando Valley, sucked in August and September. I procrastinated because I figured the heat had to abate eventually.

It didn't. Therefore I have about 30 days to get almost everything done. I'll be enlisting my niece, my reluctant husband, the UPS guy and anyone who happens to come over for a visit in finishing up my craziness.

Tomorrow, the Countdown to Hallowe'en begins, of which I have been a participant since 2010. How have I been doing this for 5 years (and how have I never accomplished a post every day???)? Perhaps this will be the year I succeed in posting once a day. We can only wait and see.

Visit early, visit often.

Hurry baaack.....hurry baaaack......

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Oh shit!

How is it even possible that Hallowe'en is just 36 days away? I am so screwed.

I basically have everything left to do. I've started everything and finished nothing. Damn it!!!

I have found it is especially hard to finish projects when it is 105 freaking degrees outside. This weekend it's going to be 99 degrees. Next weekend it may get down to 89. Yikes.

Thankfully, the plan is to take 6 days off prior to the big day, so I will just not sleep for the entire 8 days prior to Hallowe'en. That should be fun. I'll be nice and ghosty for the big night. Not to mention covered in foam, paint, lacquer and bruises.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Countdown - 9 Days!!! (the Pinterest Edition)

There have been two things that have been a catalyst to upping my Hallowe'en game in the past year.

1. SoCal Valley Haunters.
A group of nutty Hallowe'en addicts in Los Angeles valley areas that do random make-n-takes, eat snacks, teach skills and drink more than is probably recommended with all the time spent using power tools. People call my obsession severe. People talk about how crazy my prop building is. They have no idea. Compared to some of these people, I might as well put a 99 cent store pumpkin by the door and be done with it, but everyone is so generous and encouraging that no one feels like a Hallowe'en loser at the events. They're awesome. If you're in the L.A. area, especially in the valley, and you're a Hallowe'enie, come join us.

2. Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.
I'm an early adopter. I like to check out new things. I had two profiles on Ello that I've already deleted, because, what.ever.Ello. (seriously). I actually stood in line for a phone once (it was a Droid X and it was awesome).

I like to check out the new shit.

When I saw Pinterest, there was never a moment when I thought, "What am I going to do with this?" or "I'll never use this site." Oh, no. I pretty much became a full on addict the minute I got started. Yes, they were still in Beta.

I'm cool like that.

Anyway, my Pinterest pages went from 6 or 7 to 15 to 25 to 35 and now, 3 years later, I have 106 boards and 5,400 pins or so. Again, I'm not the worst. I have friends with 31,000 pins (I'm looking at you, Sandie). But granted, I have a little problem.

Of my 106 boards, 19 of them are Hallowe'en related (a couple of them are secret boards).

It's a great way of keeping track of ideas I want to use. I feel as though I have a Hallowe'en catalog on hand at all times. Which can be a tad scary because starting in August (as one fine Mr. Landsman will tell you), the packages start coming, and the UPS guy is kind of a constant presence.

I get inspiration from Pinterest

I learn stuff...
I plan what I'm going to make for parties

 I laugh. (Man, he even got the side curl hanging down. Dave Lowe is awesome.)

I laugh some more.

I think, "I could probably, maybe do that next year..."
Rhyolite Ghost Town

I think, "Have I got time to pull this together in the next 8 days?"

 And I wonder....