Sunday, October 28, 2007
Graveyards for Dummies, Pt. 2
ok -

So I started with
  • 8x5 feet of polystyrene Insulfoam (Lowe's)
  • wooden garden fencing (Lowe's)
  • black felt (Michael Levine)
  • plastic chain (Target)
  • some skewers (had in my kitchen)
  • a ton of gray and black spray paint (Michael's)
  • some gauze (Michael Levine)
  • one very large spider (50% off at Great Indoors)
  • some foam craft letters (Target)
  • Malibu solar lighting (Home depot)
  • Solar flicker candles (I hope to find a better and more honest supplier before next year)
One great thing about the Santa Ana winds is that trees come down the weeks before Hallowe'en. This gives me plenty of opportunity to grab tree branches full of dead leaves and twigs for witches brooms and leaves for the graveyard. I take full advantage of the free stuff, yo.

Once the spray paint on the tombstones is dry, I used black foam lettering for the epitaphs. By the way, I didn't get nearly enough black letters and found that a little black acrylic paint adheres to the foam just beautifully - even over fluorescent yellow letters. You can't even tell they were yellow. There are some great epitaphs on the net - though I chose dead people I actually know. Way more realistic that way. Put the letters on before you stick 'em in the ground.

I inserted the skewers into the lawn (heavy duty ones are best) and then inserted them into the polystyrene tombstones. Trying to do it the other way will make you cry.

I stapled some gauze - which was heavily discounted due to holes (woot!!!) onto the beam above my front door for some curtains through which my treaters have to walk through. Muy scary!!! Then I took my 6 foot spider and staple gunned him to the outside of the house. He kinda freaks Michael out a little bit.

Next I took some felt and measured the mantle and the side windows seen below. Remember if you're doing two of something, especially symmetrical, just fold the fabric in half and then in half again. Just cut out the center and you have two perfect window silhouettes seen below. I did the same thing with the mantlepiece.

Now for the lighting. Solar is your friend. My house was built in 1951. I have no outdoor outlets so I got solar lighting and hid the lights behind the cheap tombstone I bought at Target to light up the others. Then I bought some solar flicker candles (loooong story) and hung them from the trees with heavy duty black upholstery thread. They look like they're floating in mid air. Spooky. Also, I can leave them on all the time and they don't wear out like battery powered candles would.

For the final piece, I have a bit of spider webbing which I will use SPARINGLY!!! and I'm going to hang some super light white threads in front on the door step so they tickle people's faces as they come up to the door (feels like a spider web!).

Here's the finished product.
Happy Hallowe'en!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Carnival of the Liberals #50!!!!!
My sincere and pathetic apologies to the estate of Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious blog of liberal lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As if some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember, year 2000 month November,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From CNN, surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Al Gore -
For the bold and brainy candidate whom the angels named Al Gore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And each sad flickering account of the horrors of miscount
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I blocked the cheating
Noting: 'Tis some visitor screeching hyperbole at my chamber door -
Ann Coulter entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Shakespeare's Sister trolls the mire; and annoyance turns to ire,
`Damnit,' said I, `Madam, truly your abrogation I implore;
But the fact is I am a Jew, and offended at your world view,
And so please woman I ask you, leave evangelistic leanings at the door,
Though I tried to ignore you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, The Whited Sepulchre, clearing,
Up the dogma that surrounds her bleating drama I abhor
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken were the whispered words, `Media whore!'
”Ann?” I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, `Media whore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
I sat down to o’er The Primate Diaries pore.
`Surely,' said I, `surely Eric knows that these comments are barbaric;
Let me see then, the hysteric, and intelligent design explore -
Hypocrisy he has chosen as his writing chore; -
'Tis the truth and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped Greta Christina of her self-named blog before
Not the least obeisance makes she; not an honor played she;
But, anger did display she for the honor of the atheist does she implore -
Over fifty reasons she gives for the atheist to stand for
All of that, and a little more.

Greta continues in beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Of the thought of epidemic through the decades I sailed past its ghastly shore,
`Though thy memory is not past, thou,' I said, `I come to lambaste
HIV denial leaves me aghast wondering what it all is for -
Tell me how many need to wither and die before!'
Quoth denialists, `Clearly, more.'

Much I marvelled next quite vainly at Fred who spoke not plainly,
Reported by Abyss to Hope – she, prudery does deplore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with abstinence being any way to score -
Abuse can be countered teaching sex education and rapport,
This the parties should explore.

Then Jon Swift, sitting lonely on the outskirts, spoke only,
Of that Frost boy, as his need for SCHIP he did cry for.
On a radio address he uttered – conservative blogs were all afluttered -
Till Limbaugh merely muttered - Children have been used before -
As suicide bombers in the East children have been used before
Then I fell straight to the floor.

Startled as I did awaken by No Right Turn I was shaken,
New Zealand a land I have rare dwelled on before
A new law did they pass just meant only to harass
Tourist, travel’r and alas even residents must pay for this new war -
The scourge of hidden terrorist on which we blame this war
That is fought on distant shore.

But the story still beguiling my sleepy brain into smiling,
Straight I found a cushioned seat at computer to explore;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to thinking
Larry Craig must be drinking, to stand upon the Senate floor -
I gleaned from Evolution…not just a theory anymore
On his restroom paramour

To keep us engaged in guessing, while voters are expressing
Either move on or vote a Democrat to Idaho’s floor;
This and more I sat divining, as carnival spots I was assigning
When I notice who’s been pining for the Republicans of yore,
Those small government Republicans with family values of yore
It’s Dr. Biobrain galore!

`Prophets!' said I, `all among you! - prophet still, if dark or pale blue! -
I present the best of those submitted to this humble door
Tired yet all undaunted, just a democrat we wanted -
By Florida we’re still haunted – these are truly the hardcore
These 10 blogs are all worth looking through and more
And now I hit the liquor store.

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Monday, October 22, 2007
October in Los Angeles
Photo credit Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles smells like a campfire this morning and the surface of anything sitting still for more than 10 minutes is covered in a fine veil of ash. There is about 3% humidity right now and it feels like I have had a gallon of water before 10 a.m.

None of this is new to me. I grew up in the foothills of Los Angeles. Many a Hallowe'en night was spent trick or treating as my father stood on the roof with a garden hose. In other cities, the leaves turn orange. In our city, the sky becomes pumpkin colored and thick every October.

It starts every year with the Santa Anas. These are the driest of hot winds that come in devouring the moisture from the air, our skin, every living thing. Then, whether by cigarette flung out a window on the side of the 405 or an arsonist or a kid with firecrackers or just a freak occurrence of nature and the sun, a fire erupts. Suddenly 4 or 5 counties are ablaze and we are glued to our TVs watching the pageant of water-dropping helicopters and beautifully formed cyclones of flames whipping around the chaparral.

Not a thing is safe from the embers that float like bitter snowflakes down on cars and homes and businesses across freeways and firelines to touch off another storm.

It is fire season in Los Angeles.

Don't tell me we don't have seasons.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Graveyards for dummies, Pt. 1
OK - so I've started my Hallowe'ening. It is undoubtedly my favorite holiday of the year.

  1. I get to craft my ass off
  2. I get to give away candy
  3. I get to dress up
  4. It's very morbid and dark (I was soooo goth in high school.)

Now that I have a house, all of this has been cranked up a notch or two.

No way in hell am I going to be that lame ass house that gives out pencils. I bought candy. Real chocolate name-brand candy. Ohhhhh yeah.

Of course, husband has been picking through the bags, so no doubt I'm going to have to go back to Tarzhay in the coming weeks.

Two weeks ago I pulled out every Martha Stewart Living October issue. Since I own every issue except the premiere, this was not an exaggeration (dirty little secret!!!).

I sat on my couch, post-its in hand searching for all of her best and creepiest ideas, because frankly, if Martha knows anything, it's how to do creepy.

I decided I would do graveyard this year.

First: purchase polystyrene insulation at your local building supply/garden store (OSH, HomeDepot, Lowe's, etc.). It comes in sheets of 8' x 5'.

An 8x5 foot sail is neither easy to get to the cash register nor into one's car. I broke it up into quarters in the parking lot. This is a very noisy activity (sounds a lot like a gun) but well worth it. (By the way, if there had been photos of me trying to get it to the cash register, they would have been priceless. Thank god the only cameras were store security and I'm sure they've seen worse.)

Trace out the shape of your tombstones. I looked online and found some awesome stones at this website. Also, just a google image search for gravestones is a great resource.

Polystyrene is very, very messy. Cut the polystyrene with a drywall saw. Quick and super easy. Cut out your tombstones in a place that you don't care about having little white styrofoam thingies all over (grammar much?). I worked in the alley behind my house.

Martha recommends using sandpaper to smooth out the edges once they're cut. Personally, I think leaving them a little raw looks more authentic.

We had some left over gray latex concrete paint from home improvement projects. It was perfect. Sponged it on with one of those loofah looking sponges. It dried quickly and very easily. You could leave it like that and it would look OK in the dark but you know I gotta go one or two steps further. I added stone texture spray paint in a gray stone. Perfection on a stick!

While all of this was drying, I got out the three rolls of flower bed fencing (had for 10 bucks also at Lowe's). I laid them out on the concrete also in the alley and took a can of black spray paint to them. I didn't get every nook and cranny because it actually looks a little more spooky sort of done haphazardly.

These dried super fast since it was a nice day and I only sprayed a thin layer of paint.

Next: decorations, epitaphs and setting up the boneyard!

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Monday, October 15, 2007
Ookie, Spooky and Kookie

It's a spooky Edition with ghosts and ghouls
Filled with shrieks and terrors and creeping fools
All the uglies will be doing a Hallowe'en dance
Whilst Senator Craig demonstrates his stance

Zombies crawl from their decrepit graves
As Cheney ascends from his labyrinths of caves
The AG will be there, his eyes a bit shifty
So join me here for Carnival of the Liberals #50!

The Carnival is on October 24, which means, get your scariest, ugliest, most horrifyingly gruesome posts up at the submission boneyard by Saturday, October 21st.

  • I'll look at anything.
  • I'll read it if you've got a scythe-sharp liberal mind.
  • I'll select the 10 spookiest posts.
  • I'll see y'all in hell....

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Friday, October 12, 2007
Dude. I was so going to post my enchilada recipe today but instead, I am going to either scare the shit out of you or bore you to death depending on what side of the emotional spectrum you sit on.

It's getting close to Hallowe'en and so the ghoul had to come out to play.

I won't type her name but here she is rising out of McCarthy's grave. Apropos, no?

The incarnation of evil appeared on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, who happens to be a practicing Jew.

Transcript by Media Matters

DEUTSCH: Christian -- so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?

TIOE: Yes.

DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?

TIOE: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?

DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?

TIOE: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you're not.

DEUTSCH: I actually am. That's not true. I really am. But -- so we would be better if we were - if people -- if there were no Jews, no Buddhists --

TIOE: Whenever I'm harangued by --

DEUTSCH: -- in this country? You can't believe that.

TIOE: -- you know, liberals on diversity --

DEUTSCH: Here you go again.

TIOE: No, it's true. I give all of these speeches at megachurches across America, and the one thing that's really striking about it is how utterly, completely diverse they are, and completely unself-consciously. You walk past a mixed-race couple in New York, and it's like they have a chip on their shoulder. They're just waiting for somebody to say something, as if anybody would. And --

DEUTSCH: I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that at all. Maybe you have the chip looking at them. I see a lot of interracial couples, and I don't see any more or less chips there either way. That's erroneous.

TIOE: No. In fact, there was an entire Seinfeld episode about Elaine and her boyfriend dating because they wanted to be a mixed-race couple, so you're lying.

DEUTSCH: Oh, because of some Seinfeld episode? OK.

TIOE: But yeah, I think that's reflective of what's going on in the culture, but it is completely striking that at these huge megachurches -- the idea that, you know, the more Christian you are, the less tolerant you would be is preposterous.

DEUTSCH: That isn't what I said, but you said I should not -- we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or --

TIOE: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Really?

TIOE: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

TIOE: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.

TIOE: Yes.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly -- you're too educated, you can't -- you're like my friend in --

TIOE: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean --

TIOE: We have the fast-track program.

DEUTSCH: Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can't believe that.

TIOE: The head of Iran is not a Christian.

DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, "Let's wipe Israel" --

TIOE: I don't know if you've been paying attention.

DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?

TIOE: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

TIOE: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners --

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued -- when you say something absurd like that, there's no --

TIOE: What's absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I'm going to go off and try to perfect myself --

TIOE: Well, that's what the New Testament says.

DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans, and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I'm offended by that personally. And we'll have more Big Idea when we come back.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Get your hair did and your craft on
I have been a total flake.

(That's all the apology you're going to get.)


So, in the last couple of weeks I have found some new and noteworthy items that I just can't wait to tell you about.

First off is Frenchy's Beauty Parlor in Beautiful Downtown Burbank (thanks, Johnny, R.I.P.).

Here's the story.

It's Friday.

I'm annoyed that I have spent the entire damn day trying to convince "the bureaucracy" that two dying gay men won't get pregnant so I can get them drugs (I PROMISE GODAMMIT!!!).

I leave work.

I get into my fab-ass PT Cruiser and I am on Barham when I realize (not decide) I'm going to cut off all my hair.

I am on Olive Avenue when I realize I should have someone else do it for me and didn't I see that really freakin' cute pink beauty parlor on Magnolia only 1/2 mile from my house and catercorner to my fave bbq joint the famous (and independent) Handy Market?

I drive straight to Frenchy's.

I walk in and Striptease: From Gaslight to Spotlight is on the table.

They also have a stack of Barracuda magazine.

I am in the right place.

Every stylist in the joint has loads of ink, piercings and hair did to the nines - piled up chopped up ratted up pomped up.

One fab chick had cat-eye glasses, bright red hair in a big bouffy ponytail, a tattoo behind her ear and a lip piercing.

"I want her to do my hair!" went through my head but I didn't say anything because I had walked in and asked for someone (anyone!) to cut off my hair right NOW before I take my sewing shears to it.

Her name is Amber. She is smiling as she asks me to come have a seat. Yay!

Frenchy's is the only place I am ever going to have my hair did ever again and Amber is going to be the one to do it. Damn, is she awesome!

What a great place. Very friendly people, definitely not too cool to be nice, good prices, excellent cuts and fab reading material. What more could I possibly ask. Oh yeah - before your cut you have to pick out an essential oil for your scalp massage. Hea-ven.


Urban Craft Center
. LOVE.IT. The place is owned by one very cool chick (whose name I cannot freakin' remember! Please email me your name!). I went for a Gocco class - just what I needed! A new craft!

Anyway, the owner and manager were super-nice. This is a very big deal because what often happens is people will open a yarn store or another cool idea and I can't wait to go spend all of my hard earned green there and they are craftier-than-thou with a really shitty attitude (no names/places mentioned). These girls are not at all like that. They are fun and really friendly without knowing that I'm the moderator of SnB or any shit like that.

Anyway, this class was awesome and I can't wait to sign up for more!

Here's a sample of the work I did.

Anyway, I'm back from self-imposed exile. Yay!

By the way my mother-in-law reads this blog and as I'm writing about getting my "hair did" and my "fab-ass" car, I'm thinking about her and what she might think. She was a journalist and my slang must grind a bit.

Sorry Fayenola!

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Monday, October 08, 2007
Go on Dove wit' yo bad ass self
I spent Saturday night with my beautiful niece. She is perfect. We played and read books (Goodnight Moon!) and she slept and ate and walked (holding on to everything in her field of vision).

Here is what I don't want for her or any other girl.

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