Make Your Own Spooky Books

Last weekend we did a fun project.  Spooky books.  Good for Halloween, or anytime.

1-altered-halloween-books

What you’ll need:

  • Old books
  • Paper towels
  • Small plastic Halloween paraphernalia – spiders, skeletons, etc. (Ebay)
  • Letters – either scrapbook stickers, foam letters, card stock cutouts, etc.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue N’ Seal
  • Black craft paint (can find in Walmart in the arts & crafts section for $1)
  • Metallic craft paint (can find in Walmart in the arts & crafts section for $1)
  • Paintbrushes

halloween-books-before

Step one: Hot glue everything in place on your book cover the way you want it.  For the skeleton book, I cut the wings off the bat and hot-glued them on first, then the skeleton right over that.  I also hammered thumbtacks into the corners for extra detail. I bought these toys on Ebay.

Step two: Once you get everything glued into place, spread a damp paper towel (it’s best to separate it into one-ply) over the book and glue over everything. Make sure it’s damp! It will stick much easier that way, and then you can just brush the Glue n’ Seal right over it. Don’t try to make it perfect, the creases and wrinkles are what give it that leathery look. Use a small paintbrush to really jam it into all the crevices nice and snug.

Step three: When the Glue n’ Seal dries, paint the whole thing black.  You will be distressed at this point, because your book will look super lame.  DON’T WORRY!  The next step is the best part.

Step four: Once the black paint dries, lightly brush the metallic paint over the details.  This is what really brings the book to life. I just dab a tiny bit on my fingertip and rub it in. A little goes a long way.

spooky-altered-halloween-book

Fun!

Incense

Yesterday I made my own incense!  A woodsy scent of Frankincense and Sandalwood.  A friend posted directions on his blog, and I followed them.  Here’s his blog entry:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/stderr/2016/09/29/incense/

These are the quantities that are suggested (once you read the blog you will understand):

2 heaping tablespoons of Sandalwood
1 heaping tablespoon of Frankincense
5 or 6 tonka beans
1 teaspoon of black pepper corns
1 heaping tablespoon of benzoin

Then add about twice that much makko.

A fun project!

 

Kick Ass Egg Salad

I combined and modified a couple of recipes for this.  The end result is the best egg salad I have ever had.

  1.  Place 8 eggs in a saucepan
  2. Cover eggs with cool water one inch above eggs
  3. Place lid on pan
  4. Bring to gentle boil
  5. Turn burner off
  6. Let eggs sit for 7 minutes with lid on
  7. Make bowl of ice water big enough to hold eggs
  8. Pour out hot water and place eggs in ice bath for 5 minutes
  9. Crack eggs and peel
  10. Place in large bowl
  11. Add 3 tablespoons of mayo
  12. Mash eggs and mayo with fork (make pieces as large as desired)
  13. Add pepper
  14. Add 1 teaspoon of sweet relish
  15. Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion salt (I make with 1 part onion powder and 3 parts salt)
  16. Add 5 drops of yellow mustard for every egg
  17. Mix all together
  18. Let chill for 30 minutes in refridgerator
  19. Toast bread and enjoy!

    Yields 4 sandwiches.

Poet I Like

I recently came across a poet whose work I really like:  Charles Bukowski.  I realized that my style of poetry is very similar to his.

From Wikipedia:

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.[4] His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City.[5][6]

In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”.[7] Regarding Bukowski’s enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, “the secret of Bukowski’s appeal. . . [is that] he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”[8]

Here are a few poems to give you a taste of his writing style:

Alone with Everybody

The flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

Be Kind

We are always asked
to understand the other person’s
viewpoint
no matter how
out-dated
foolish or
obnoxious.

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
with
kindliness,
especially if they are
aged.

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
badly
because they have
lived
out of focus,
they have refused to
see.

not their fault?

whose fault?
mine?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
fear.

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life

among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives

is.

Consummation of Grief

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines. . .
it matters little
very little love is not so bad
or very little life
what counts
is waiting on walls
I was born for this
I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.

Decline

naked along the side of the house,
8 a.m., spreading sesame seed oil
over my body, Jesus, have I come
to this?
I once battled in dark alleys for a
laugh.
now I’m not laughing.
I splash myself with oil and wonder,
how many years do you want?
how many days?
my blood is soiled and a dark
angel sits in my brain.
things are made of something and
go to nothing.
I understand the fall of cities, of
nations.
a small plane passes overhead.
I look upward as if it made sense to
look upward.
it’s true, the sky has rotted:
it won’t be long for any of
us.

Washington National Cathedral

On February 3, 2016, I was given the opportunity through one of my Meetup groups to photograph the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  We were given special access to photograph the part of the Cathedral that is normally not open to the public during tours.  During what they called “Seeing Deeper”, they removed the 2,000 chairs that are normally in the church.  From their pamphlet:

“We draw from the medieval tradition of cathedrals where there were
no chairs, and the vast open space served different human needs and
activities.  Worship took place at the high altar and the rest of the
space was used for community gatherings – merchants selling goods,
people sharing ideas and taking shelter, pilgrims seeking spiritual
strength and solace – it was sort of a medieval community center and
indoor town square.  ‘Seeing Deeper’ offers an opportunity to simply be
in the empty space, to be enveloped by sacred music, to consider
important issues of our day, to pray…”

There were other groups there to photograph the space, so sometimes having someone in your shot was unavoidable.  I decided to leave the people in my shots instead of removing them in Photoshop because it helps demonstrate how vast the space is.  Here are my chosen shots:

middletwo

middle

lotsofwindows

five

fivecolumns

fivewindows

ceiling

singlewindow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Crime

I’ve been reading a lot of true crime books as of late.  It’s a genre I used to really be into, until I read The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule and was so negatively affected by it that I didn’t read true crime for years afterwards.  What creeped me out so much about that book was the random selection of Bundy’s victims.  (Well, they weren’t exactly random, as most of the victims had attributes closely resembling Bundy’s ex-girlfriend.)  The idea that any one of us could fall prey to someone like him is very unsettling.

Reading these books, I am alarmed at the depravity of the killers.  One book I recently read, Cruel Death, discusses the murder and dismemberment in Ocean City of a couple from Fairfax. VA.  It was a random encounter with the killers that lead to this very normal couple’s demise.  The killings were gruesome and brutal.  Shocking.  The murderers were a former Navy SEAL and a college graduate.  Seemingly normal people.  But sociopaths in reality.

There are sociopaths among us.  There is a lot of evil in the world.  You really can trust no one.  Always be on guard.

 

Dead and Company

We went to see Dead and Company last night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  It had been a while since I had seen the Grateful Dead (what is left of them) – since the late 90s. John Mayer is the guest musician, filling the role of lead guitar and vocals. He did a good job. I was thrilled that they played Scarlet Begonias. It was a great show.  Here is the set list and some photos.

Set List:

Set 1:

Truckin’ (Grateful Dead cover)
Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed cover)
Brown Eyed Women (Grateful Dead cover)
West L.A. Fadeaway (Grateful Dead cover)
Loser (Jerry Garcia cover)
Lost Sailor (Grateful Dead cover)
Saint of Circumstance (Grateful Dead cover)

Set 2:

Bertha (Grateful Dead cover)
Eyes of the World (Grateful Dead cover)
Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover)
Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead cover)
Drums (Grateful Dead cover)
Space (Grateful Dead cover)
The Wheel( Jerry Garcia cover)
Looks Like Rain (Bob Weir cover)
In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett cover)

Encore:

Touch of Grey (Grateful Dead cover)

steal your face modified

stage from back modified

john mayer modified

audience modified