Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween: Featured Artist William Bezek

I stumbled upon artist William Bezek's Etsy shop Wormwood Hollow when browsing through Etsy, and I pretty much love his work, especially his Halloween pieces.  Then I find that though formerly of California, he now resides in the Cleveland area, and peppers his blog William Bezek the Artist with occasional photos of my beautiful hometown which I miss terribly during the Autumn season.  My main problem in posting his work was that I wanted to post like 30 pictures and had to limit myself.

Scary, right?  Well, not this last one which is called "Hello, Goodbye" and is quite lovely.  

Alright, lambs, I need to sign off for the night.  I am in the middle of reviewing the Alien quadrilogy.  I know, that movie was not on a single one of my Hallowe'en movie lists, but they had to be watched nonetheless.  I have a crush on Sigourney Weaver, so my traumatization via Psycho will have to wait another weekend.    

Ciao, and a Happy Hallow's E'en to you!

Images reproduced with permission by the artist. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween: Keep Your Pets Indoors

Dogs Looking Depressed in Their Halloween Costumes from NYMag.  I am usually not a supporter of the mistreatment of animals, but this is mostly harmless and all hilarious.  Halloween: the holiday excuse for girls to dress slutty and pet owners to mentally torment their animals.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Peppered with Crazy

I had a minor triumph today.  For several weeks I have been trying to figure out how to reuse my store bought pepper grinder.  This oughtn't be an issue, I agree, but McCormick has designed their grinders as one-use going so far as to type on the label, "do not reuse".  Being told what to do by McCormick's (and that is to buy something I already own) has for some reason possessed me and insulted my sporadic thriftiness because ever since, when reminded of pepper by a recipe or some such, I have tried to coax the top off the grinder in a rebellious attempt to flout McCormicks.  This is much more difficult than it should be because when McCormick says one time use, they do their damnedest to make sure it is one use.  Allow me to paint the picture of increasing frustration as we have whole pepper in one bottle and a steadily decreasing supply of pepper imprisoned in a bossy and wasteful One-Time-Only grinder.  Anyway, the pressure was on this morning, as I had a bison brisket to get together and the grindable pepper had finally met its bitter end.  Clearly you cannot make a brisket without pepper.  After several minutes of various attempts, the use of kitchen scissors, leverage, and a bruised tummy (don't ask...OK fine, I managed to pinch myself with the scissor handles.  I told you not to ask) I was able to pry off the top of the grinder and refill with the whole pepper, thus saving my brisket from a pepperless existence.  I told you it was a minor triumph.

In conclusion, while a creative career from home may be fine still, corporate work as a technical writer from the home seems to be melting my brain like plastic-ware accidentally left on the stove.         

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vespa Bags

I love quirky bags, especially ones that look like they have been plucked from a picturesque second-hand store or a movie set like Wonder Boys.  I found these Vespa bags on ModCloth.
Is it weird that I have no interest in an actual Vespa, but I want one of these?

Gift Card, Anyone?

If you make a purchase on Piperlime today in celebration of their birthday, you get a $25 gift certificate.  I'm sorry I'm enabling you!
Happy Birthday Piperlime! Today only, get a $25 gift certificate!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Violet Cow

Our weekends are usually cut from the same pattern: sleep indulgence once free from the tyranny of the alarm clock, a few requisite errands to maintain order, a movie from the Film List, leisurely conversations over beers,  etc.  This is how we recharge and we are very fortunate as a couple in that, even though he is a total extrovert and I am an introvert, we naturally fall into the same daily rhythm for our free time: sleep + music/film/literature + booze + conversation.  That commonality is not a requirement for a happy couple, but it sure is pleasant.  This weekend was especially great, not because we did anything out of the ordinary, but because the awareness of our good fortunate was heightened.  It's funny how something like the drudgery of work can be thrown over perception like a wet blanket.  For whatever reason, all those distractions were brushed away and we could just experience how happy we are.  Things are of course far from perfect, as they always will be, but it's amazing how different your life can look from two different angles: focus on money struggles, job less than perfect, friends and family far away, missed opportunity in your career, a plan falling through, buttons missing from your coat versus being newlywed to your soul mate, employed in a difficult economy, living in a pretty apartment, having two great families, blessed with wonderful friends, inspiration.  It's amazing how much that can change your perception.
I browsed through my blog from five years ago and found this Chesterton quote from the William Blake biography that is just perfect:

Impressionism is skepticism. It means believing one's immediate
impressions at the expense of one's more permanent and positive
generalisations. It puts what one notices above what one knows. It
means the montrous heresy that seeing is believing. A white cow at one
particular instant of the evening light may be gold on one side and violet on
the other. The whole point of Impressionism is to say that she really is a
gold and violet cow. The whole point of Impressionism is to say that there
is no white cow at all. What can we tell, it cries, beyond what we can
see? But the essence of Mysticism is to insist that there is a white cow
however veiled with shadows or painted with sunset gold. Blessed are they
who have seen the violet cow and who yet believe in the white one.

~William Blake by G.K. Chesteton 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shabby Apple Design Contest

Shabby Apple is running a design contest that is just brilliant for aspiring designers: submit a design following the standards for Shabby Apple; readers vote on their favorite; the winner is responsible for creating the pattern and sample; the dress will be featured in Shabby Apple Spring collection and the winner will collect 3% royalties for every dress sold.

The contest is now open for voting so you should check out Shabby Apple's blog and place a vote for your favorite contestant.  Here are my four favorites:
Number 2
Number 12
Number 3
Number 8

Piperlime Style Competition: Results!

Guys, guys, guys!  Remember that Piperlime Style Contest from way back?  I won!!!  I was always a Piperlime fan, and now I have a prejudiced preference for them.
So this license to shop might be the gateway to a very serious shopping addiction.  Like heroin, it's free the first time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Psycho Shower Curtain

And I just found a hand painted Psycho shower curtain on Etsy by CustomShowerCurtains that is way scarier and thus way awesome-er than the Plasticland one below (sorry, Plasticland), so you should check that out for kicks.  It actually is really freaking me out right now.  I have no earthly clue why I am so freaked out by hotel showers since I only watched the seconds of the shower scene in Psycho that are always included in those Best Film Scenes montages and thus missed the horrors of the dramatic build up, but there you have it.  I feel that at least I am in good company.  Janet Leigh adamantly refused to shower after watching the completed film because she was so terrified by it, and obviously since Jamie Lee Curtis is the progeny of Janet Leigh, Ms. Leigh must be made of awesome.  It's just logic.

Here is an interesting article in MovieMaker about the effect Psycho had on American film-making and Janet Leigh.    

Hallowe'en: Decorations, Etc. from Plasticland

I have been sifting through a variety of Hallowe'en stuffs and was happy to find Plasticland, a resource for WalMart priced items without the horrors of the ridiculously cheap and tacky.  Plasticland is more on the kitschy side, but fun.  I went to town on this little blogshopping trip, but Halloween decorating and costumes is all about the accessories:
Mercury Lithograph Candleholder/Vase
These curtains are kind of meh but I liked that I could not tell that it has a cobwebs and skull pattern on it at first.  Halloween decoration by stealth.
Batty Skulls Black Lace Curtains
Glass Skeleton Serving Platters
This one kind of reminds me of Scared Stiff the Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin Halloween vehicle which is an awesome movie I totally forgot to mention before.  Hi-larious.
Baroque Noir Candlestick Lighter
A skull is just a great decoration to have all year round, as a Byronic salute to the darker aspects of the Romantic period.  
Glossy Black Human Skull
I love Lewis Carroll-esque decorations, again more an all year round sort of thing:
Oversized Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock 
This one would give me nightmares, but since my readers largely agree on Psycho as a Hallowe'en classic:
Psycho Shower Curtain
Again, not particularly Halloween, but this mannequin is just vaguely creepy:
60s Style Mannequin Head
Costume accessory for your legs, that I would totally want to wear with a normal outfit:
White Jersey Spat Legwarmers
 Beverage decorations:
Frozen Smiles Ice Cube Trays
A disguise for your food:
Cakewich Bread Shaped Cake Pan
These are just adorable:
Creepy Cute Crochet Craft Book
And a random awesome book to give to a hypochondriac:
The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shabby Apple

I heard of Shabby Apple after they asked if I wanted to join their affiliate program, and I went to their website.  Company owners Emily and CK were tired of dealing with dresses that were just a little too short or always required a tank top under or a cardigan over for fear of being a bit too, shall we say, hello there, and wanted to provide dresses that managed to be an actual one-piece outfit.  Not only that, they are very new-designer-friendly and are even running a design contest right now.  I haven't seen their clothes in the flesh so to speak so I can't personally vouch for the quality but the styles look adorable.  Plus, I love dresses-with-enough-coverage-not-to-require-additional-modesty-garments.  I am so tired of clothes that your girlfriends tell you are "totally cute, and in style right now" in the mall, but make you uncomfortable to stop at a 7-Eleven for fear of a guy getting the wrong idea and following you to your car.

Here are two of their LBDs as an example:
Marco Polo
Black Oak

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Most Unusual Engagement

In keeping with the Harvest Hallowe'en theme, here are pictures from a thematic engagement session which I found through AriaDress's Twitter.  The session was done by Nashville photographer Stephanie Saujon Baltz of La Photographie before their October wedding this year.  I love peculiar people.

Session also featured on Style Unveiled.
All images reproduced with the artist's permission.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Readership Poll: I Want You!

Arsenic and Old Lace is without doubt my most favorite Hallowe'en movie. 
I adore Frank Capra, Cary Grant, and Peter Lorre, and this movie is as soothing to me during Hallowe'en as a chocolate binge is to others.  When I am in no mood for scary movies, the completely unhinged behavior of Mortimer Brewster as his wackadoo family increasingly befuddles him always makes me happy and gets me in the holiday spirit. 

Likewise, The Evil Dead Marathon I went on a couple of Hallowe'ens back with my roommate, sweetheart + friend fills me with nostalgia and warm fuzzies...and grosses me out a little as is appropriate.

So, my lovelies, what I want to know is: what is your favorite Hallowe'en movie and why?  Let's discuss and perhaps have a vote on the Ultimate Best Hallowe'en Flick in a day or two.

Historical Note: As pumpkins are native to North America, Celtic Hallowe'en celebrators actually used turnips for their jack-o-lanterns.  My questions is, how?  I kind of want to experiment with turnips...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Danse Macabre, Follow-Up

What I value most from my little blogging experiment so far is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones through the bonds of similar interests.  One new friend, Lyda82 whose jewelry was featured here, blogged about her culture’s version of the Danse Macabre, their relationship with the dead and what it meant to her own family, in The Killing Fields, Dia de Los Muertos, Death and Love. « Lyda82.  Her blog on her own family's past difficulties and triumphs leaving Cambodia made the whole Danse Macabre very personal and was a lovely mediation on why cultures think on these things.  It is a great blessing to be able to enjoy the peace and freedom of the United States (or any time and place that is peaceful), but it is something that is very easy to take for granted.  Many people initially immigrated to the U.S. because they were fleeing some type of persecution in their homeland.  Most of us are much further removed from the persecution previously suffered by family, but it is a good reminder, both as a means of increased respect for the sacrifices made by ancestors and to get a better understanding of the weight of history to recall the past.  As Lyda says so well this can be done as a celebration of victory.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre

Best Hallowe'en Song:

My favorite song for Hallowe'en is Charles Camille Saint-SaënsDanse Macabre, and the medieval story behind it is so interesting I thought I would inflict it upon you, dear lambs, for further Hallowe'en study
The Dance of Death (or Danse Macabre in French) was a late medieval allegory involving a personification of Death who summons an assortment of people (pope, king, duke, laborer, child, etc.) to dance with him to the grave, as a reminder to the audience that death comes to us all.  [Picture a very rotund, crabby Orson Wells quoting in a grumpy snarl: "Death comes to us all, yes, even to kings he comes." from A Man for All Seasons.  Best Orson Wells line ever.]  Now to modern people, who act as though they have a severe allergy to the inevitability of death, this sounds hideously morbid and depressed; they would probably imagine dung-covered peasants wearing hair-shirts living in mud huts rhythmically beating themselves on the head with planks of wood wailing about their End or something, but this is only because "modern" minds do not understand the medieval era (not to say the cast of Monty Python didn't know...terribly well-educated.  But watch the wretched Sean Bean movie Black Death - they took so much of Monty Python and the Holy Grail as deadly serious academic research).  People of the medieval period were not Neanderthal cave-men picking their rotting teeth with a stick whilst a swarm of cartoon flies buzzed around their heads waiting for them to drop dead from the plague.  We are talking about the period of Dante and Thomas Aquinas and the dawn of Renaissance art.  Charles Camille Saint-SaënsDanse Macabre is a brilliant musical translation of the allegory: beware of the inevitable end, avoid actions that would bring you shame, but party hard, my still-breathing friends.  There is a mad, joyful abandon in the music.  A very apt Hallowe'en song.

Wikipedia goes on somewhat pretentiously that the allegory "always had a subtle socio-critical element" to it, which I think is a ridiculous observation.  I get annoyed when people, in the middle of a perfectly rational discussion, slap a redundant, vapid, and inherently modern sociological phrase onto everything.  If by socio-critical, the writer meant critical of human frailty then yeah, sure.  The whole point of the Dance of the Dead being that NONE OF THAT MATTERS AT DEATH SO QUIT ACTING LIKE A DIVA ON A RAMPAGE!

Anyhoodle, as our Celtic ancestors advised, this is the best time of year to light a truck-load of stuff on fire, drink a bunch, and dance like mad to great music.

Here is a gorgeous version of the Dance Macabre.