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Scary Stories

But first….

And now. A distant memory came back today from many years ago. When I was a kid I had a copy of The three Scary Stories books by Alvin Schwartz   and the crap-your-pants illustrations still blow me away. I’m not sure precisely when I became a horror obsessive, but I believe Stephen Gammell is partly responsible. Thank you, Sir. Only a few illustrators stand out in my world. Gammell, Kay Nielsen and Quentin Blake are fine examples.  And me…I stand out…in my world. 

 

So as the day went on, ideas went flat and creativity dwindled. I decided a massive pot of chili needed to happen with homemade tortillas (can’t find that shit on etsy)  a few dozen cups of tea and I was back in action. 

I searched for the Scary Stories trilogy on Amazon to see if I could find cheap used copies and I did, in fact, find the original publication for not the kind of cheap I had in mind. I also discovered that at some point, someone else decided they could do a better job illustrating *folklore.

 (*regurgitated folklore, albeit, in an interesting way.  Take cat up-chuck,  have you not seen cat puke? Once there was a mouse, and there are elements of the same mouse still in it, just ..)

My heart broke a little bit. I couldn’t explain why, but I can only imagine this is how some people feel when a film is remade for the 10th time in 20 years, or a bad cover song is rendered from someone who only recently left the womb.  I suppose this hits a nerve.  I don’t blame people for wanting to ride the familiar tasting gravy train.  That’s why nearly every pop single, despite the genre, seems to be going down the dance road and featuring  David Guetta or Calvin Harris. When something works, it’s worked to death. Fair enough, but for the love of Christ, why replace THOSE illustrations? You cannot top them. They’re near enough to perfectionI’ve had a brief glance at Brett Helquist’s work, and while he clearly has talent and ability, I’m not sleeping with the lights on.  All I can think of is that the publisher thought too many soccer moms were hesitant to let their delicate clones be exposed to something that might taint their minds (after filming those same children singing Nicki Mirage and posting it on youtube).  Perhaps it is just business.  I don’t really care.



I rarely opened those pages for the stories. They were stories I had heard a million times before around a campfire (hahahaha no, not a campfire, that’s silly..did you ever watch “are you afraid of the dark” though? ). Come to think of it, I can’t remember one story, but I recall my heart pounding when I saw this image.

 I’d stay awake for hours, too frightened to move. I consciously ventured into this world of horror only when I knew there would be someone awake.

These have influenced me tremendously and I feel disheartened at the idea a generation of miniatures will miss the frightening, sleepless nights, peeing your pants because there’s no way in hell a foot touches the floor. I think a good scare is as healthy as a good sneeze, or a good night’s sleep (haha), a good meal and a good laugh. The art of Stephen Gammell works. His wispy ink lines, figures of an implied shape but without sharp definition or blatant gore, landscapes that float, electrified hair, and sunken eyes. It is an image of fear itself (not the not-so-impressive hour long tv program)


I’ve noticed that I am not alone in this heartbreak, though i’m late to find out.  Many who have been touched by the Gammell Terror also speak up about those HarperCollins bastards. SEE?

-J

Coast to Coast AM with Linda Stasi

That’s totally real, btw.

 It was all just too ridiculous for me today. It was too much the other day when a guy named Cobra was on the show speaking through a voice modulator. Nevermind he was asked by the aliens to do it, I couldn’t understand a damn thing he was saying. Today, it was just silly. I am pretty sure Mr. Noory started playing a prank on the poor woman by saying something about her book in an evil voice. There was some nonsense about the Veil of Veronica and cloning Jesus. But it wouldn’t be the real Jesus, it would be Evil Jesus, without a soul. Like Dolly, the evil soulless sheep that went around terrorizing all the other sheep and making piles in the water dish. Actually, I think a movie was made about her, only, to protect the identity of Dolly, they made it about Cows. (ISOLATION)

There was actually a good bit on the show about a group of paranormal investigators going into a gold mine somewhere in america. GHOST MINE
  
I don’t get The Science Fiction Channel.   I wouldn’t be leaping over the couch it if I did get the science fiction channel, but compared to the woman who thinks her dead friend came back to sit in front of her house for three hours in the cold, it was….golden.
Anyway, you can see Jesus, the dead friend and a smug moustache here —–>C2CAM

You can listen to coast to coast via the website for a price (you can also do other things if you pay for it) , but you can also tune into radio stations around the US during broadcast. Tune In Radio is superbulous.  It’s 1am to 5am Eastern standard time, I know that much.  Good luck. 

-J
 

Django Unchained

I had to leave the kitchen for a moment. The leek soup smog is fogging up my glasses,  I can’t take it anymore.  I thought I’d make myself useful and share my thoughts on this film. 
It’s fantastic. Go see it. Spend money on this one because you shall not be disappointed. I don’t think I can fault it for anything.  If you enjoyed Inglorious Basterds, this is, like, another installment of the “Getting back at serious bullies”  type thing. Maybe even slightly better.  This is the kind of film that reminds one why cinemas exist. Why we spend a ton of money to get in, why women have big purses,  why flasks were invented, why keychain flashlights are actually helpful,  why being tall is great if you are because big hair still exists, where only cinema popcorn lives and the smell makes you drool, where fires are deadly,  standing up to let people get into their seat makes you despise them for being alive, crunching is annoying and slurping fills you with blind rage, cell phones should be shot, deodorant helps, but not too much perfume,  where being in the front row is bad, and using the facilities before going in is essential, so don’t arrive late and get ahead. 
Enjoy
-J

Burning The Candle

What I want to say has nothing to do with Midnight Oil, or this song. However, it just came into my bed..head…it came into my head. My mom loves this tune, and I remember grabbing the cassette and listening to it. So I kinda dig it, if for no other reason than nostalgia, but I think it’s a good listen, nonetheless. 

See, what i originally wanted to share was this. I burn candles, shit ton loads of candles. Tealights, votives, pillars,  the tall thin ones-dinner candles or whatever, I forget the term. Tapered or stick, candle stick.  If they exist, I burn it. Summer, winter, spring and fall, day or night, night and day. Again, it’s probably a nostalgic thing growing up with incense and candles all the time. Candles differ in the quality of wax and the ratio of ingredients. Long gone are the days when life was simple and candles were made from pure ingredients by one man candle factories like Father Jack.

So one will notice the wick burns straight through the middle or very faintly. Even in really nice candles, especially in pillars, there will be a large stub of wax left over. Sometimes the wax smells so lovely that I keep them for a while just until I can figure something out, but eventually throw it away during a clean up frenzy. So, I said, “F That” I’m going to do something and here is what I did. 

In a pot I poured some water, and then, I took a pyrex bowl and sat it in the water. I turned on the gas and let the water gently simmer. I cut up the wax and I dropped it in.
This is like a double boiler, similar to melting chocolate. 

When the wax was melted, I poured it into silicone ice trays shaped as apples. I’m showing you one with hearts…awwwwww.

Silicone Ice Tray

 

I popped them in the freezer for 5 minutes just to set and then dissected the molds.

Bully for you Jenny, you have little shapes of wax”
I said.
However I remembered my good friend Cora and her parents back in the states gave me a little electric wax burner once that came with blocks of smelly wax. It was great because I could burn something without setting anything on fire. Then I thought, “well, what’s the point of saving wax if I’m simply going to burn fossil fuels in order to do it”  and then it hit me, the old school potpourri burners or (midnight) oil burners one can use with a tealight. Et Voila!!! resolution achieved.

Tealight Wax Burner

 So now, you can listen to midnight oil, melt wax, and save the whales. Oh shit…..

-J