In honor of Halloween I am putting up a post about of one of my *bestest* friends who has a rather odd career... a rather odd obsession. He has since childhood.
"Growing up in Detroit, I lived on one of the most dangerous intersections
in the city. Fatal accidents were normal. There was a family ritual -
we were jarred awake from our slumber by that horrible noise of a car
accident. One would call the police, one would grab the towels, etc.
One night while I was asleep, a car hit a lamp post in front of our
heard the sound of slamming brakes, the impact, and the live wires of a
fallen street light zapping away. I got out of
bed, looked out the window, yawned, and returned to bed. You get the
Scott has the infamously popular site called Findadeath.com and runs *Dearly Departed: The Tragical History Tour in Hollywood*. People either love or hate what Scott does, but most people who actually know Scott, love him. When I told him I wanted to do a post on his site, he warned me and said not to. He said there are a lot of people out there who don't care for him. I don't care. He's my friend and I love him. What he does may not be everybody's cup of tea, but he does it with wicked humor and believe it or not, the majority of the time, he does it with kindness.
Where else can you find out the particulars of Milton Berle's private parts? Where else can you find out about the nasty habits of Albert Dekker? Scott is a font of sick knowledge that he is more than willing to share. He most recently shared it on the E Network's "20 Most Horrifying Hollywood Murders".
Scott not only talks about the dead, but also has plenty of run-ins with the living. He is a walking pop culture encyclopedia. When he and I used to live in the same city, Scott often escorted me to odd yet interesting events. It was due to Scott that I was able to meet John Waters, see Tiny Tim perform at Yvette's Winter Garden and ended up in Russell Johnson's book about his time on Gilligan's Island. But the most
Halloween-appropriate meeting would have to have been the one with Butch Patrick of Munsters' fame. Butch was a good sport and seemed to be taking making his living as a pop culture icon in stride. I have to say though, I felt a little bit sad for him.
Butch and many other interesting characters, both living and dead, can be found at Scott's warped site. Remember, it's not for everyone. I'm not always sure it's for me... so proceed at your own risk! And... Happy Halloween!
Last night Grizzled and the girls had a father/daughter Halloween function where costumes were required. Grizzled, not sure what he wanted to be, flippantly said he thought he'd go as a big, fluffy, white rabbit. He says I don't listen to him, but he was wrong. Yesterday, via the wonders of FedEx, the rabbit suit was delivered. I'm usually one who prefers to make costumes, but time was of the essence.
Grizzled's costume garnered many comments. My oldest daughter said Dad had *hare* on his head again. I told him he looked more like a Yeti. This led to a streaming commentary while he was getting ready... "He's wearing a rabbit costume, yeti looks manly!".... "People would think he couldn't carry the costume off, yeti looks good!" You get the drift... and so did Grizzled. He's a good sport, yeti he was seeming miffed!
FYI- no, that's not a purse, it's a camera bag. Not much ruffles Grizzled, but I'm not sure I could see him carrying a purse... yeti he might!
They say a dream is nothing more than your mind burning off excess steam from the day kind of like a garbage disposal gnashing through bits of leftover dinner. Some people thinks dreams are windows to our souls, some think dreams are windows to our future. Whatever they are, we all have them. I look forward to my dreams. I dream a lot and tend to remember a lot. I find them entertaining. Sometimes they give me answers I was looking for and sometimes they give me a good idea I didn't know I had. And sometimes they let me know I am stressed...
Everyone seems to have their own recipe when it comes to the anxiety dream. The ingredients may change a bit, but the end result is usually the same and we churn it out night after stressed-out night. My adult anxiety dreams tend to fall into two catagories: 1)Transportation run amok and 2)some form of final exam hell. In my transportation dreams, I can either be driving myself or on some form of public transportation, but in the end, the transportation has turned into an amusment park ride with me disembarking only to find out I am standing stories up on scaffolding in my bathrobe.
As for my *final exam hell dreams*, those usually consist of me finding out it is final's time and realizing I have been enrolled in at least 5 classes and I've never been to one. My variation on this dream is getting a letter from my high school informing me I've never taken Home Ec and need to return to complete the class even though I have indeed graduated from college.
As a child, my anxiety dreams usually included the cast of Dark Shadows. This was probably not helped by the fact that my sister would hum "Quentin's Theme" as I was falling asleep...
My oldest daughter's anxiety dreams tend to be about vampires as well. I wonder if Barnabas Collins is now a part of my DNA and has been passed on to her? I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of years ago to hear that she had again had a bad vampire dream, but this time I was the vampire! Grizzled had woken up before I had and got to her first. I could hear him calming her fears and busting her faulty logic. It went something like this:
"Your mother's not a vampire! It's dark out and if she were a vampire she'd be out right now, but she's not... she's asleep!"
Nice save Grizzled! Never mind telling her "Mom can't be a vampire since there is no such THING as a vampire!!!"
Grizzled's stress dreams tend to be about *bad guys*... bad guys with chains breaking through our windows. He said they are usually have a comic book feel to them.
Last night I had only good dreams... tonight I could be back on the El with it whipping my bathrobed-self around to yet another impossible destination... most likely the final exam I forgot I had...
I just took my garbage out and it's still dark. Thursday is garbage day. Out here in the burbs, you are allowed to put your garbage out as early as 4pm the day before and I see plenty of people just waiting until the clocks strikes 4 and out they go, wheeling their carts with determination. We lived in the city too long, we take ours out in the morning out of habit. In the city, if you took your garbage out before the morning of pick-up, you would most likely have your garbage ripped apart by man or beast and would have to pick it up and repackage it again. Dealing with garbage once is enough for me. Hats off to the men and women who take it from here.
Garbage smells bad, but I would have to say one of the things that smells the worst in the world is a rotten, liquified potato. How a plant can smell that nasty is beyond me. I opened the cabinet yesterday where the potatoes laze and knew we had a problem. I won't even go into a detailed description. I'll trust that anyone who has dealt with a liquifying potato will know what I am talking about. I've had the experience of smelling what a dead, human body, not found for 3 days, smells like and I would have to say, a rotting, liquified potato has to rank (pun intended) right up there.
It is after 7 now and it is still DARK. I'm talking about 8pm dark. We've had two days of sun in a row. I guess that's enough for us for the month, possibly even the year. We're obviously heading back to a schedule of dark gray and rain. I need more coffee.
I was just talking with a friend about the horrors of cold calls. She and some co-workers were discussing their dread of the cold call and how they aren't even that effective. Another co-worker came along and said he used Monk-E-Mail and that he got a large number of responses back from his calls.
With Monk-E-Mail, you choose a chimp, the clothing, the props and then you select a pre-recorded message or record one of your own. It's quite funny. I just sent one to Bluegirl...
I was just listening to the Presidential address when I heard him say we were "setting the course" in Iraq. Is this the new catch-phrase? Is this the way we will get off of "staying the course"? "Setting the course" sounds so proactive whereas "staying the course" sounds old and worn. I am guessing soon we will forget "staying the course" was ever a part of the lingo and will swear that it has been "setting the course" all along.
I just did something I would tell my kids never to do… I ate a Peep that was at least 18 months old… possibly even older. While going to get the box of remaining Halloween decorations (okay, I’m a little late) I noticed the Easter box was open. Its contents being too jumbled to close properly, I had to take out the box, rearrange the baskets, etc, but what did I find while sorting? I found a Peep… a post-Easter Peep. A Peep that somehow never made it down anyone’s gullet.
Now I know there are various schools of thought on the proper aging of a Peep for the utmost Peep pleasure. They fall into roughly 3 categories. 1) There is no Peep pleasure! People who do not like Peeps and would never eat one no matter what their age. 2) People who like them as fresh and squishy as can be, and 3) People who like *stale* Peeps. I fall into category 3 and prefer to think of them as aged.
A fresh Peep to me tastes just like a marshmallow coated in sugar. What’s the point? I like my Peeps to be leathery, to have not been sealed up in a plastic-coated box, but rather to have lived a little. It is after a Peep has been exposed to the air and to time itself that Peep magic takes place and a Peep starts tasting like a Peep. It’s a combination of taste, texture and even scent. They start smelling like Peeps, not just sugar.
Well, today I found the Extreme Peep. I found one that had to have been at least 18 months old, but was more likely 30 months old… it was blue (yes, it was originally blue, it was not blue with mold!) and I don’t recall the rabbit delivering blue Peeps last year. I think he opted for the more classic yellow chick. I have to admit, I was torn. I stared at the Peep for a good long time, noting its surface. It appeared to be intact. I then gently tapped the Peep against a tabletop, listening to its sound. It was definitely not fresh. If you hit a fresh Peep against a tabletop, you get a *thwumph* sound if any sound at all. A staler Peep is more of a sharp *THWACK*. This was definitely in THWACK range, but was not the *WHACK!* I was expecting. I poked, I prodded, and then I thought… for the advancement of Peep culinary science, I was going to have to taste this. I was going to have to see if aging a Peep, like wine, increases its nuance and complexity. Of course wine is aged in specially prepared wooden casks. My Peep was aged in plastic grass and cardboard. Oh who cares! Surely it can’t be *bad*. It’s sugar! Sugar doesn’t really rot. It’s not like eating an egg that’s been sitting in the attic for over 2 years. Besides, I was guessing the heat of the attic in the summer might have desiccated it a tad. It could be Peep Jerky. On the other hand, this could be the Holy Grail of stale Peeps. This could be leathery Peep heaven! I took a bite.
I am slightly saddened to say that it was not the Holy Grail of leathery Peeps, but it had instead veered into the textural category of a Circus Peanut. Not bad… not *spit it out asap* bad, but it wasn’t really *good* either. Apparently Peep magic has a shelf-life. This was returning to *tasting like sugar*… like a semi-crystallized marshmallow. The Peep nuance I had hoped for was not there. And even though it had the texture of the Circus Peanut, my brain now expecting that unique petro-chemical banana flavor, that flavor was not there. It merely tasted old and tired. I suppose spending a few seasons in the extreme temperatures of the attic had not been kind to the Peep. Perhaps I should do a more controlled study. At which point does Peep magic truly start to fade and the leathery quality break down?
I’m still walking though, so at least the antique Peep was not poisonous… I think I may have to make a 1 year rule for myself much like the 5 second rule for food items that fall on the floor… Don’t eat anything that has been in your attic for over a year, no matter how innocuous it might seem.
I've been having a hard time keeping a post idea in my head. I've had numerous ideas, numerous gripes, numerous thoughts, but they flew right through my brain and are now floating around the house with no hope of being caught until they want to be. Still, I felt I should put something up... prime the pump so to speak. A friend suggested a painting. If I put up a painting I would find something to say, something to talk about, so here it is... a painting I did of my mother... a painting of her in the early 60's. I have the actual photograph, but had felt the urge to paint it for some time. I don't generally paint people, at least realistically. Skin, for me, is hard to paint. Skin has so much going on that it is hard to capture. But, for some reason, with this piece, I figured I'd give it a try. I am happy with how it turned out. I am especially happy with the arm in the foreground. It's probably my favorite part of the painting.
Paintings are funny... they can have so much meaning to the one who paints them and it can be totally lost on the people who end up buying them. I suppose that is how it is meant to be. This piece, which I won't ever sell, means so many things to me. I see my grandparents' home and curtains that I loved. I see my mother in her first trimester of pregnancy and yet dressed to the hilt. She made the dress as well. When I think back to my first trimesters of pregnancy, I think of sweatpants, nausea and knowing my bod was no longer my own. How she got the moxy to not only get dressed, but make the dress is beyond me, but I know her so it's not surprising. No one ever got in between my mother and an idea. I see all of my technical flaws in this painting and yet they are muted by the good I see. I see what I was able to accomplish even though I am not quite sure what it was. I just know I feel satisfaction even with the mistakes.
One thing I set out to do when starting this painting was to have it look like a photograph. I know there are schools of thought that think painting from a photo is cheating since the photo is already in 2-D format. I suppose that's right. What you gain in something being forshortened by the camera, you do lose in depth. On this piece though, I did not care about the lack of depth and I wanted the shadows created by the flash. I wanted it to look like a photograph because that is what my memory of this time is. I was not alive so the colors in my memory are fully created by Kodak. I imagine everthing having a slight purple edge to it. I imagine reds and greens as being more vivid than they probably were. I imagine people walking around being followed by the intense shadows that were created by the flash. The fact that this painting looks somewhat like a photo is a success to me. I have recreated my created memory of the time.
A year or so ago, I had this painting in an art fair. I don't do art fairs, but had a photographer friend who wanted company and asked if I would join her so I did. It was an interesting experience, not one I think I will do again soon... I had this painting of my mother up and it by far got the most attention. Many people said they couldn't take their eyes off of it and that the eyes would follow you. Many people said they remember curtains like that in their parents' or grandparents' houses and many women said they had a similar dress. I talked to many people that day about that piece including a few people who wanted to buy it, but Mom was not for sale. Towards the end, when the judging was taking place, a number of the judges were going to single that painting out for honorary mention. I thought that would have been nice. Mom would have gotten a kick out of that after she gave me grief. (She would see the flaws in her dress-making, would remember the feeling of the first trimester... ) But one judge just could not get behind it. I sat there quietly, listening to her dismantle all I felt I had succeeded at with this piece. It looked too much like a photograph... it was "retro", not classic. She might consider a mention if they had a "novelty" award. (Ouch!) I believe in the end, the oil painter who got recognition for her work was the woman who did endless paintings of Victorian women with 1960's make-up. I try not to be harsh because I am sure her paintings meant something to her that I could not see. Art means something different to everyone. No one will ever truly know what the artist was trying to portray. Heck, most of the time the artist doesn't even know what they are trying to portray, they just know they have to do it and in a rare instance, even with all of the glaring mistakes, they know they succeeded and they are satisfied no matter what anyone else says.
(Please excuse the bad flash reflection on my photo... I could not get a good angle and could not get enough light to not use the flash. My daughter, who walked in while I was photographing it said, "Okay Mom... you're taking a picture of a painting of a picture??)