Archive for July, 2011


What Was That?


Saturday was Laundry Day in the Ghostie household. As a cost saving measure, I follow Mother Dearest’s lead and hang my freshly washed clothing on the lines strung on the back deck.

My attempt to be artsy. You can see how the backyard tends to slope a bit.

As I was hanging a load out, I heard a noise in the trees leading down to the creek that runs behind the house. I saw two animals run by. My first thought was “Huh. That’s a weird-looking dog. Almost looks like a fox.” Nope, it was neither.

It was a pair of these;

Hey there. Mind if I eat your face?

For those who don’t watch a lot of Animal Planet, that’s a coyote.Not the nicest of neighbors to have. Being that we are in the middle of a bad drought, feed is scarce – which makes prey scarce and predators bolder.

The first one I saw had something dark in it’s mouth, probably a squirrel or other rodent. Another followed about ten or fifteen feet behind the first one in a rather furtive manner. Probably looking to steal a meal.

I am very glad my cats are strictly indoor cats.

Combustible Lemons


Today I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes with everyone. It’s from the game Portal 2. In the game as you ascend from the lower levels upward, a series of pre-recorded messages from the company founder, Cave Johnson, play while you navigate the catwalks and testing areas. The lowest, and oldest, levels are much more upbeat as he welcomes war heros, astronauts, and Olympic athletes into the testing programs. A bit higher and the tone changes as he now tells hobos not to use the elevator as a bathroom. In the upper layers, just under the lowest levels of the modern facility, they have had to give up outside test subjects all together and made testing required of all employees. By this point Cave is clearly ill and coughs frequently and asks his secretary to bring him pain pills. It’s from this portion of the game that the following quote comes from. Earlier he had used the old adage ” When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

 

“Alright, I’ve been thinking.When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back!  Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these?!? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s going to burn your house down! With the LEMONS! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!”

 

Cave Johnson is voiced by JK Simmons and he does a wonderful job. You can hear this quote here on YouTube.It’s worth a listen.


Remember to head over to The Library of the Damned for my awesome fic riff of the Portal fanfic ITS MY LIFE! It has zombies!

I normally write my post the night before, trusting my naturally witty self to somehow come up with something. However, I have taken some Motrin to help with a sore tooth so my brain feels conspicuously absent right now.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to retype those two sentences, mostly because I can’t remember. Once again my laughably low drug tolerance comes back to bite me in the well-padded ass.

So instead of coming up with something coherent about laxative yogurts, I’m going to watch an episode of Lost Tapes with Mr. Skully.

"Can you at least adjust my eyes so I can see the TV?" "Quiet, you!"

If you’ve never heard of Lost Tapes, it’s a faux-documentary show that airs on Animal Planet featuring mythical creatures. I seen episodes in the past and disliked the show, mostly because of the “found footage” style in which it is shot. All of the shows are first-person, the characters carry video cameras everywhere with various degrees of believability. After three seasons I think they are starting to run out of plausible ways for people to be toting cameras with them into odd places. If it was on a different network I don’t think I would have a problem with the show; the fact that the vast majority of the shows on Animal Planet contain real footage of real animals could be misleading to some viewers despite the rather vague warning that the show is “inspired by the possibility that hidden creatures exist.”

Ooooh...

If you can push past the fact that very gullible people would believe this show to be real and that most of the reasoning for what is happening is utter crap, there are brief segments of very serious scholarly types talking very seriously about whatever bullshit theory they have come up with to rationalize the show’s plot interspersed with the found footage, it’s still pretty bad.

Each show seems to be variation of the same formula – isolate a small group (less than half a dozen people) in a remote location with no contact with anyone else, introduce monster, monster picks off group members while never revealing itself to the plentiful cameras tossed about like party favors.

I’ll go into more detail in a later post, right now I’m going to rant about the episode I’m watching with Mr. Skully.

Good of you to remember me.

We are watching the episode featuring … Zombies?

What the hell, Animal Planet?

Zombies? Really? On Animal Planet. There better be a zombie giraffe showing up, that’s all I’m saying.

So there’s a bit of backstory, some voodoo priestess/boarding house landlady is murdered by a dead man in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.  Instead of sending in police officers and a SWAT team to capture the murderer, who is still in the boarding house a month later, three people from a private security firm are rigged with cameras and sent in. There’s the leader guy, the tough chick, and the young rookie, whom I predict will die a gruesome death. What do you think,Mr. Skully?
 

He's a goner.

There is a debriefing scene where the plot is spelled out – they are to go in, get the murderer, and get out. These three people go into the decrepit boarding house, at night with atmospheric flashlights to lend an air of mystery and suspense, after the rookie explains that he’s set up cameras outside to monitor the perimeter. No one’s actually watching the feed from these cameras, but by damn they are watching that perimeter! Once inside the spooky and ominously dark house, they split up. There’s a lot of helmet-cam style shots as they spin about searching. Poor Mr. Skully got motion sickness.

:urp: ‘Scuse me.

A scientist explains how zombies work and that the most common way zombieism is spread is by biting.

Gee, like years of zombie films hadn’t divulged that fact.

Tough Chick goes through the murder victim’s bedroom, where there is a voodoo altar set up. More science geek talk about zombie powder (tetrodotoxin) and then the rookie finds a leg, head, and assorted body bits downstairs.

No back-up is called at this point, but they do decide to use deadly force if necessary. Leader guy gets a signal that something has breached the perimeter and sends the rookie out to take a look. He joins Tough Chick in front of the altar, where they are attacked by a rather ratty looking fella wielding a two by four. He is shot and falls dramatically over the stair railing.

He'll be back.

More science talk about how to kill a zombie (headshot) and that a freshly turned zombie will look more like a human.

Well, duh.

Meanwhile, the rookie is outside where he finds the source of the perimeter breach – a young girl wandering around. She, of course, bites him.

Told you so.

While Rookie struggles with the zombie girl, Tough Chick and Leader talk a bit about neurotoxin and are attacked by another ratty looking fella. No, wait; same fella. But it’s not the murderer. There’s yet more science geek talk about how humans are biologically prey. Leader tells the rookie, who is in the van outside with the zombie girl (who is chewing through her own arm) to call for back-up in four minutes. Tough Chick and Leader are attacked by another zombie, who is the murderer they are loking for, Tough Chick beats on him with the butt of her assault rifle but he doesn’t do anything. She then shoots him several times in the chest and can’t fugure out why he won’t go down.

Here’s an idea – shoot him in the head!

A headshot will kill you even if you aren’t a zombie.

Leader tosses a blanket over the murderer zombie and they tie him up. More zombies appear and attack. No one figures out that a headshot will do the trick. Zombie girl shows up after having chewed through her own arm and is shot, again in the chest. Leader and Tough Chick go out the window and meet up with Zombie Rookie, who attacks them as the show fades to black.

There is a prologue that reveals that Leader and Tough Chick survived and attended Zombie Rookie’s funeral.The boarding house was torn down the day after the daring night raid .

I am very disappointed that there were no zombie giraffes.

 

Recycled


I was cruising around my local CraigsList the other day, nosing through the free section to see what craptacular stuff people were getting rid of, when I found something … interesting.

I sent the ad in to my favoritest site of all, You Suck at CraigsList, but alas – it was not up to the standards of the site. I understand, I was a bit hesitant to send it since it wasn’t as bizarre as some of the site’s other offerings, but I thought it was a little odd. Since it’s not quite odd enough for YSaC, I thought I would post it here. Mostly because it’s late and I’m tired and don’t want to come up with something original.

Here’s what I found;

Free plants and containers

Three free white porcelain containers with hostas and monkey grass. We are moving, and these need to find a home. We re-used these containers, which once had another purpose in life.

That seems harmless enough, right? Oh, wait – there’s a photo.

They are toilet tanks.

While I commend them for their recycling efforts, I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t just come out and say “these are used toilet tanks. Please take them” in the ad. Toilet tanks are excellent choices for planters, being nice and deep for good roots and having a drainage hole already installed. It’s not like anything was done to make the planters’ origins.

I can’t help but wonder about what happened to the rest of the toilets.


So a while back I wrote about custom My Little Ponies and that I was going to try my hand at them.

With one thing and another happening in life (you know … ninjas) I have generally just  fiddled around with them but I thought I would post a few update pics of my work.

EYES – I’ve been doodling tons of eyes.

While drinking coffee. Oops.

Having a few Ponies at my disposal  I have discovered that, for the most part, the original eyes are very simple. Most of the eyes I have seen on custom ponies are far more elaborate. I’m not ready to do super-fancy eyes just yet, (and I don’t much care for the overdone eyelashes and curliques) but I can do as well as the factory ones at any rate.

Most customizers just use the old eye as a template and redo the colors or add embellishments. The "spray-paint-around-the-eye" look is called "pop-girl eyes".

REHAIRING –  I’ve been practicing rehairing with unraveled yarn, it’s slow going but not terribly difficult. I haven’t done too much practicing since I’d have to cut off the practice “hair” to put in good hair, but I’ve done enough to have the technique down. It isn’t terribly difficult, just a lot of boring repetition.  I’ve ordered some hair off of eBay; it’s artificial hair used on people to make braids and dreadlocks, so it’s not the really fine, nice stuff sold specifically for doll rehairing. Many of the fora I’ve visited has been filled with nothing but poorly-spelled rants against the stuff, but I figure it’s good enough for a few practice ponies. That said – there may be a post in the future where I curse the day I bought the stuff, but I will try to spell “hellspawned hair” correctly.

ZOMBIE PONY – I’ve gotten the head resculpt for Zombie Pony about fifty percent done.

Grrrrr...

Grrrrr... Again.

I started by cutting away most of the right side of the pony’s face, most of the muzzle, and a bit of the left side. the teeth and some jaw will be visible through the left side, but I left most of it intact since the right side will be the side primarily on display. I shaved a bit if the underside of the chin off, but left most of it to help support the skull’s weight.

Here you can see the bits I cut off and some of the tools I used. The little blue-green sticks are actually cut down cotton swab stems.

Zombie Pony pre-slicing, I used Play-Doh to map out the areas I wanted to change.

The original muzzle was fairly short and stubby, I used my modeling compound (SculpeyIII in Vanilla Creme) to extend it to get a more realistic shape to the skull. Lacking a horse skull of my own to use as a reference model, I used images Uncle Google found for me.

Horse skull neck vertebrae cheval crâne vertèbres cervicales Alfort

This is a real horse skull.

While not completely anatomically correct, I’m pretty pleased with the results so far. Once the head is sculpted, I need to resculpt the left leg (I’m going to make it look broken and have a bone sticking out) and add a few protruding vertebrae to the spine area.  Next  I need to cure the bits of Sculpey, add weight to the back legs to keep it from tipping over from the added weight of the Sculpey skull, and then comes painting and the finishing touches. The Sculpey is proving to be very persnickety, I may scrape it off and start over with Milliput. The Sculpey is just cracking so much I’m worried it will fall apart before I can cure it. Better to redo it now then have to try to fix it later. I might choose another victim from the Bait Pony Bucket and use Zombie Pony as a model.I’m thinking a bigger Pony, since Zombie Pony is a baby, then I can have a little zombie family.

The Bait Pony Bucket. Is there a future Zombie Momma in here?

OTHER PONIES – Darkwing Pony and Harley Pony are still in the planning stages. I will probably do Harley next since she will have fewer accessories that will need to be sculpted. I’m still mulling over the idea of giving her a dual-color mane and tail (dark red and black),  just doing a dual-color tail, or doing without hair all together since the character wears a full body suit and doesn’t actually have any visible hair to replicate.

I really never thought I’d have this sort of problem. Life is a strange thing sometimes.

I recently bought another lot of loose ponies at a yard sale, bringing my total pony count to over a hundred. That’s a lot of ponies. Many are in sad condition, with snarled hair and damaged bodies, from constant play. Quite a few are in pretty good condition, most from the last lot I bought. The girls who owned these Ponies took care of their stuff. The hair is a bit tangled, but I have some ideas on how to clean them up.

Zombie Pony and one of the crazy-hair Ponies.

Mother Dearest has recently opened up a store on eBay and has offered to list some of the Ponies that are in better condition. She’s only going to charge me a  75% fee 😉 (I’m almost sure she’s joking.) I’ll do a separate post on those once I get around to fixing the hair on them. I figure since I paid about fifteen to twenty cents for each Pony, if I sell a few of the nicer ones on eBay for a couple of dollars I can use that money to buy good hair and sculpting stuff. And more ponies, of course.

A basketful of crazy-hair Ponies ready for refurbishing.

Several dismembered and dehaired bait Ponies ready for working. The little white one is the one I've been sketching out Harley on, you can see the mask and some of the lines for her body suit.

You Shall Not Pass!


Nearly every time Mother Dearest orders eggs, she orders them sunny-side up. I can’t stand runny egg yolks, so I never order them that way. Mother Dearest has come up with a solution to the problem of runny yolks.

This.

 

She tears off tiny pieces of toast and forms a little wall, segregating her eggs from the rest of her food. She eats all of it eventually, but she doesn’t want it to touch ahead of time.

I’ve never seen anyone do this before and I just find it odd.


While in Target, A.K.A “the store we do not speak of around GhostDad”, I saw something that struck me as odd.

Hi there!

 

I know Duck tape can be used for all sorts of craft projects and decorative uses, but this was in the hardware section.I can’t see going into a store for nails and coming out with candy-pink Duck tape with little kitties all over it.

When I was younger, before the Internet when the Earth had just started to cool, the only way to get anything with Hello Kitty or any of her little cartoon friends on it was to go to the Sanrio store at the mall and spend a small fortune for a couple of folders and a pencil.

These days she shows up on band-Aids, stationary, stickers, clothing – all of it readily available in regular stores or on the Internet.

Is there anything that doesn’t have that Japanese bobtail’s likeness on it?

 

It's a "shoulder massager." Yeah...right.

 

I withdraw the question. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to update my Do Not Google List.

Active … What Now?


Why is Jamie Lee Curtis so concerned with the regularity of my bowel movements?

For those who don’t watch TV or fast forward through the commercials, for the past few years Jamie Lee Curtis, who one danced a tango with Arnold Schwarzenegger, is now shilling for a laxative-yogurt.

Sing it with me - Ack-tiv-e-ah!

 

The yogurt has some sort of special probiotic bacteria in it that will help “regulate” the digestion of the person eating it. In other words, it makes you poop.

Why are they selling this stuff to people?

Do we really need a famous person (who, I hope, is being paid millions of dollars) and a comprehensive advertising campaign to tell us how often we need to shit?

Is there someone out there who saw these commercials and suddenly realized “Hey! I should poop more often!”

While I may have forgotten most of what I learned in high school biology due to the contact highs I got from my lab partner, Skunky McDoobie, I’m pretty sure your internal plumbing takes care of the pooping thing just fine.

This is the last scholarly work I read on the subject.

 

If you are that concerned about your bowel movements, you either;

A) need to see a gastrointestinal specialist, or

B) visit a psychotherapist to deal with your coprophilic urges.

My grandmother was obsessed with the subject. She would watch GhostSister and I after school and it never failed that at some point she would ask us if we had had a BM that day. (That would be “bowel movement” for those who are a bit slow.)

Grandma at least had a personal interest in the subject of my digestive health, Jamie Lee Curtis has never met me before. For her sake, I hope Dannon pays her in enough gold bricks to build herself a little fort. She’s gonna need the privacy once the poop-yogurt kicks in.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here in the corner, weeping for humanity.


Friday morning I was doing my usual morning shower thing and I heard a buzzing noise. I do have persistent tinnitus, so a ringing or buzzing sound is normal for me. I ignored it and went back to my Head & Shoulders and trying to remember the words to “When Doves Cry”.

Hey, don’t judge me.

Then I saw something move.

As I was in the shower at the time, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and the world was a foggy blur. The movement was coming from a point above my head to my left, where the normally motionless wall should be. I have pretty poor eyesight  without my glasses, but if something is fairly close, as this was, and there is enough contrast I can usually make shapes out. The tiles in the shower are off-white and the shape crawling around was very dark. At first I thought it might be a horsefly or a bee, but then it turned and I saw the distinctive arrowhead shape of the wings.

 

GAHHHHHHH!!!!

 

Fuck. It’s a wasp. There’s a wasp in the shower.

I reacted in the calm and rational manner anyone sharing a confining space with an insect with an unknown purpose would; I jumped out of the tub, grabbed the shower nozzle and hosed that sucker down. While it thrashed in wet-winged impotency in the bottom of the tub, vainly attempting to sting the water, I stabbed it with a fork until it was dead enough to flush down the toilet.

I’m not taking any chances. With my luck it would come back as a zombie wasp.

AHHHHH!

 

Note to self, add “Zombie Wasps” to Do Not Google List.

 

Gold Digger


Astute readers will notice that I have an email address listed at the bottom of my blog for those who wish to stalk me or send me interesting spam.

As yet I have not had to swear out any new restraining orders and the spam I have received has been depressingly normal.

Several have come from what I will assume is the same person even if the “company” name is different. I was not entirely sure what services were being offered when I first read it, as I am not much of an online gamer, but subsequent googling has revealed to me to the interesting practice of something called “gold farming”.

The spam mail I receive is always the same – written in a conversational style with, for spam, decent spelling and grammar. The spam’s author bemoans the fact that she-he-it must play the boring bits World of Warcraft to get whatever the in-game currency is, but that she-he-it has found this wonderful new company, blardi-blar-blar send me money.

The concept is pretty simple – the gold farmer does whatever dull, repetitive tasks have to be done to earn the in-game currency and then sells it to the other player for real money.

Wait – this is a job?

Technically no. Most game companies have banned the practice, getting caught usually means having your profile deleted.

You’ll notice the operative words “if you get caught”

That has got to be the saddest job ever. You spend all day doing the dull, pointless stuff, and instead of moving up to a more exciting level, you sell all your … whatevers and start all over.