1/22/2006 - I'm a Negligent Blogger
Wow, I haven't updated this thing since before Halloween! I find time to be in high demand that time of year and then just kind of lose my steam after Halloween goes by. Now that the Holidays have come and gone, I've started to get that "halloween tickle" again telling me to build build BUILD!
Ok, so I've started to come up with a game plan of things I'd like to do this year and things that WILL be done this year. What I'd LIKE to do:
Things that WILL be done:
- More tombstones, and to retire some of my old store-bought ones with ones I make myself.
- Weed out some of the problems with my "weatherproof" LED spotlights. I had some leaking issues last year and had to stick with floodlights.
The Comedy Club idea is something I've been scheming for a few months now. I will need to make the interior of the shed look a little spookier and make it look something like a comedy club, probably with a bar consisting of bottles of colored, bubbling fluids. I'll probably use the Scene Setters that I bought (and didn't use last year) for the walls and drape some camo netting inside for the "ceiling". I may also try to have a skull chandelier hanging from the middle.
- Finish the crypt. I just need to skin the outside of the frame with foam and carve it/distress it/paint it to look like stone blocks.
- This year's BIG project... convert the inside of my NEW shed into a comedy club for my skeletons. This is a multi-part project that will involve A LOT of various smaller projects.
There will be three animatronic items in this scene. One will be the comedian, the second will be a heckler and the third will be a deer head on the wall that laughs maniacally at all the jokes. The comedian/heckler will be made from the two talking buckies I already have with the comedian being shackled to the wall with a microphone in front of him and the heckler sitting at a small cafe table in the center of the "club." The interaction between the three will be controlled by a prop-1 board (or two or three.. depending on how much control I need).
I'll be using this blog to report on my progress, as well as posting updated info to my web site in the form of a how-to (more like "How I Did It").
I hope everyone in my friends list is doing well!
9/18/2005 - Feet Dragging
Man, as far as prop building goes, I've
really been dragging my feet lately. I guess I'm just overwhelmed
at the moment by life in general. For one, we're in the midst of
gettign the kitchen remodelled. It's nearly done, so that should
free up a lot of my time and effort.
Secondly, my health has been slipping. I've been seeing my doctor
to figure out why I keep waking in the middle of the night with heart
palpitations. I wore a Holter Monitor to monitor my heart
activity, and it came back fine, so at least it's not my ticker.
My doctor's suspicion is that I may have sleep apnea, despite the fact
I don't fit the profile for it (usually it's with people who are
overweight that suffer from it). So, I have to go in for a sleep
study on September 29th to see what's up. If it is sleep apnea
(an affliction where you stop breathing numerous times during sleep,
depleting the body's oxygen levels), there is a device I can wear to
help me sleep and keep my airways open. I'll essentially be Darth
Vader when I go to bed because I'll need to wear a mask over my nose
Anyway, I still have a few items to finish before October rolls
around. For one, I need to build my LED spotlight system. I
need it to be weather proof, which I think I have it all worked out as
to how I'm going to do it. I'll be posting a how-to for both the
building of the LED spotlights as well as their power supply, both in
weather proof form.
I also have to finish staining bones for various uses, build a frame to
mount my FCG rig to (promised wifey no holes in the new bathroom
ceiling), finish the "In Case of Vampires, Break Glass" box, and build
a pneumatic web shooter.
The vampire box and FCG frame should come along this week. I'm
just awaiting the arrival of the lid for the box (Black Widow, thank
your husband for building it for me), and building the FCG frame
shouldn't take more than one or two evenings.
On the LED front, I'm still awaiting the arrival of the DC connectors
and 24 guage black power cable I ordered. Those, I'm told, WILL
be here this week.
Things should start to come together this week.
9/8/2005 - Zee 2005 Flyer
I worked on the 2005 flyer today and it's
done! My friend and fellow Unpleasant Street Forum member
Sinister concocted the artwork I used. Here, have a look:
8/23/2005 - Bones Galore
*Yawn* I'm sleepy.
I got my ACC order today. One bucky, one bag of bones, and one
bucky skull. I got a bonus bucky skull in the bag of bones.
I also got the barrel I won on ebay
today. I'm going to use it near the shaking skellie in a cage to
better hide the motion sensor that makes it work. I didn't like
having the sensor out in the open on the tree so everyone could see it,
so I'll hide it in the barrel. Oh yeah, and put a bucky skull and
a rat on the barrel for added creepiness.
Off to bed with me now.
8/14/2005 - Another Project
Someone on my Livejournal blog once asked
me "How do you have time to do all that you do?" Easy. I
have no friends.
Well, not many that still live anywhere near me.
I have taken on yet another project. This one isn't a Halloween
project per-se, but it could be considered Halloween-related. A
few of my now out-of-state friends are working on a web comic called
"Monsters Unleashed!" Their only problem is they haven't a clue
how to build a web site. That's where I come in.
Essentially, the comic is going to be an ongoing tale of a group of
monster hunters led by Van Helsing. Think of it as "Van Helsing"
meets the "Monster Squad", but set in the past.
I've started work on their web site today. I haven't populated it
with any content yet and I still have a little more work left to do
before it can be called "done", but I do have enough that I feel like I
could do a little show and tell with it.
Have a look at the design by going to the Monsters Unleashed! Web Site. I'm hoping to have it ready by September so it can be around for this year's Halloween season. Wish me luck!
8/13/2005 - Big Lots Mania
So, WormyT posted her pics from BigLots on
Halloweenforum.com today. Damn I wish there were one closer to
me. They have got some really nice stuff this year including
large SPIDERS that I usually have to pay $20 for at the local party
stores. If my back were feeling up to 100% AND my truck's AC was
working (it is 96 degrees today) I'd take the hour drive to ours and
check it out.
Fortunately for me, Wormy's gonna send me a nice little care package to
tide me over. She's a nice gal for helping out a crippled
I didn't work on much this week. I did start work on the "Vampire
Box" project, but still have a way's to go to finish it. Have a
look at my progress on my Photobucket Album
I announced/launched the "Unpleasant Street Blood Drive Contest"
today. The big prize for the person with the most referrals to my
forums is a full
set of my LED spotlights AND one of my LED lanterns. Hopefully
this will breathe new life into my forums for the upcoming Halloween
That's all that's going on in Zombie-land at the moment. I'm sleepy, so I'll be off to bed soon. G'night everyone.
8/10/2005 - Tattoo
Since Lhallow posted her tattoos to her blog, I'm going to be a copy cat and post mine in my blog.
My choice in tattoo showcases excactly how much of a geek I am.
It's the Imperial Emblem from the Star Wars movies. Have a look:
I also plan on getting a Jack 'O Lantern on my left shoulder
someday. Then I'd have tattoos of the two things that shaped the
madman that you see before you now.
8/4/2005 - Stupid Clumsy Me
So, I started this day out with a bang, or is it a thud?
I got up, gathered up my clothes for the day and headed
downstairs to feed the cat (our black cat Raven) and take a shower and
feed myself. I got to about the seventh step up from the bottom
and slid and fell like a freakin' cartoon character. I landed on
my back on the bottom six or so steps and heard a nasty "crunch" as I
landed. Great. Just wonderful.
My wife called the ambulance and made sure I didn't move out of fear
I'd done some really bad damage. Good thing she's smart for me
because my stupid testosterone/adrenaline was telling me "just get up
and get going again", just like I did when I threw my back out last
October hauling the birdbath (concrete birdbath) around without help.
So, the paramedics put me on one of those hard plastic boards and loaded me onto a stretcher and drove me to the hospital.
Two sets of x-rays and a shot of something for the pain, and I'm
basically ok. They found an old injury that I never knew about...
a previously fractured verterbrae that had long ago healed up.
Thankfully, there were no new problems, so they set me loose on the
world again, with prescriptions for Vicodan and muscle relaxers and
instructions to take it easy for a few days.
I am not one to usually take painkillers, but this time, I hurt so freakin bad I'm just gonna do it.
Looks like no prop work this weekend.
8/3/2005 - Drumming Up Business for the Forums
I'm hoping to drum up some more members who
are _active_ for my forums so things will be booming in there this
October, so I've announced a contest! Well, I've announced the
prizes at least. The contest will start on August 14, 2005, and
the proverbial hoops the members will have to jump through will be
I may do a the classic "Member with the most referrals wins" type of
thing, like I used to do on my old badassuniverse.com forums, but I may
make it a little more subjective like "Most amusing post wins" or
something else along those lines. I'm mainly looking for new
_active_ registrants to join in the discussions and liven things up.
Anyhow, the prizes are as follows:
First Prize: One set of four of
my LED lights (one each of Red, Green, Orange and UV) AND a prop
hurricane Lantern (choice of Red/Green/Orange/UV for color) with LED
Second Prize: A Prop Hurricane Lantern with LED light (choice of Red/Green/Orange/UV for color)
Third Prize: One LED spotlight (choice of Red/Green/Orange/UV for color
What do y'all think?
8/2/2005 - Plans For This Weekend
Ok, provided everything arrives by this
weekend, I plan on building my "In Case of Vampires, Break Glass" box
this weekend. I expect the holy water bottles and cross should be
here Friday (according to UPS) and hopefully my garlic strands will get
here by then too.
I picked up a beefy hammer today to put in there, as well as a tomato
stake I'm going to cut down into three or four shorter "oak stakes" to
put in the box.
Once I have everything to put in there, I can lay out all the items and
figure out exactly how big I need to make this thing and then go buy
the wood to build it. I think to make it look really nice, I'll
use red oak for the box, some plexiglass for the "glass" on the front,
and I'll probably also line the inside of the box with red velvet or
another similar material.
I'll use my technique for transferring letters with paper/spray on
adhesive to transfer lettering onto the plexiglass, and it should be a
pretty cool little prop. One of the "little things" that makes a
display seem all the more "complete". Not that I'll ever be done
or the display will ever be complete.
7/29/2005 - Made Some LED Spotlights Today
Wow, work was boring as hell today. I
had nothing to do, so I ran home at break time and grabbed my
LED-building supplies and got to work. I managed to build four
spotlights this afternoon, to fill an order that grapegrl
placed with me. If all goes well and she's happy with them, I
think I may take some more orders from fellow haunters to help offset
the cost of my own spotlights and to help pay for the web site.
I must say, I'm most impressed with the Green and UV spotlights. Very intense for such a tiny little light.
Here's a photo of the finished project on my photobucket album:
7/25/2005 - Woot! LEDs Arrived
I got my first shipment of LEDs
today. I got the Orange and UV LEDs, so I think I'll try making a
spotlight or two tomorrow to test them out. I only need one UV
and one Orange for myself, so when I get a good grip on making the
spotlights, I'll be offering them up for sale as spotlights, or maybe
even offer them as colors for lantern lights I may make as well.
Gotta fund my propbuilding somehow. Plus, it was more economically sound to buy 50 LEDs than to buy just what I needed.
Now, I think the Red and Greend LEDs will be arriving tomorrow or Wednesday.
7/24/2005 - Need to Update Web Site
I really need to put some more work into
how my web site works. I'm starting to have a lot of information
up there, and I'd love to have a search feature to make sorting through
it all easier, but using the php script my brother wrote for the site
has made searching an impossibility. In light of that, I've
decided to take a few weeks off from propbuilding and put some effort
into updating the mechanics behind my web site. Plus, I gotta let
some money build up so I can build a few more props.
So, I'm currently digesting "PHP and MySQL For Dummies" in an attempt
to get a grip on PHP and MySQL databases so I can do it myself.
Or die trying.
I think I'm also going to change the way I handle the how-to's on my
web site. I think I'm gonna yank them down from the site, and
offer them up in the form of PDF documents so they can be printed out,
have tables of contents (for the longer ones), etc, etc.
Anyhow, that's what I'll be up to for the next few weeks... maybe
longer if it takes me longer to get a handle on this new
knowledge. Wish me luck!
7/24/2005 - Pain
This entry's a little gross, so if you can't handle gross stuff, just skip this one...
Ever burn youfself with a fogger? I did on Friday, and damn it
freakin hurts. When I was putting the final touches on the wood
stove, I clicked on the fogger, which was next to my left leg.
Well, I thought the nozzle was pointing way from me, but found out the
hard way a few minutes later that it wasn't as a tiny burst of hot fog
pelted my leg.
It instantly turned a little circular patch of skin pink and burned off
all the hair there. So, I ran cold water over it, and applied one
of these special bandages my wife bought a while ago that are
especially for burns. It's like a little rubber patch that
adheres to your skin to help keep the burn moisturized.
Well, it worked for about a day, and when I went to change the bandage
last night, some of the dead skin came off with the patch. At
that point, I just put some antibiotic cream on it and put a regular
bandage over it. It looks really gross and hurts like hell.
You may all now call me a dumbass.
7/22/2005 - See How Full of it I Am?
Well, before Empress could say "Yeah right"
to me taking it easy for the night, I didn't take it easy. I
decided to say the hell with it and go outside and finish off (for the
most part) the wood stove. The only thing I have left to do is
stain the bones, and that takes no time at all.
Anyhow, here's the stove as it stands now:
For halloween, I'm gonna hide the fogger much better by running the
inlet pipe in between the deck balustrades and putting the fogger on a
shelf behind the deck, out of site.
7/22/2005 - Started in on the Stove Today
I started working on the Wood Stove
today. So far, I think I have worked out how I'm going to pipe
the smoke in and out the top stovepipe. I have it jury-rigged at
the moment and will harden it all up tomorrow after a quick trip to
Lowe's to pick up a few things.
I also think I'm gonna abandon the flicker flame bulbs idea and instead
go with making faux fire with an extra faux fire "pot" I have that I
never used for anything.
It's hell-a hot out today, so I'm done for the evening, but tomorrow
I'll be finishing this bad boy off (for the most part). I'll be
staining the bones for the furnace, painting the PVC fittings
black to hide them better, and figuring out how to mount the faux fire
in there. I think removing the faux fire from the "bowl" its in
and screwing it to a few black 2x4s should do the trick. Then, I
just gotta order a severed hand to put in the pot I have to put on top,
and viloa! One kick ass prop.
I'll be sure to take pics and a video when it's all done.
7/21/2005 - I Love Free Stuff!
I was driving home for lunch today and saw
something outside a neighbor's house that caught my eye in terms of
"Prop Usability". It was in with a pile of other junk all
labelled "Free". I couldn't lift it myself, so I had to wait
until after work so I could get a little help from a co-worker to lift
it. Thankfully, it was still there and nobody had snagged it yet.
It's a freakin' wood stove!!! It's in pretty decent shape, with
the sole exception being a slight crack in the back of it. Have a
I think I'm gonna load it up with bones from a Bag of Bones I bought
last year, put in some flicker flame bulbs, and remove the access panel
in the back that's meant as an alternative outlet for the chimney pipe
and pipe fog in through there. This is a pretty kick ass prop for
I love props like this. It's something you didn't even plan on,
and one day you see it, the idea is born, and bam! It's
done! Free stuff rocks my socks.
7/20/2005 - Maintenance Almost Done!
So, yesterday I dragged out the Cemetery Columns... they work!
Today, I dragged out the Monster in the Box to re-fit it with its (now)
rusty chains and give it a quick once over to make sure it works.
No surprises this year. The new construction of the mechanism
that lifts the lid works beautifully now.
I also tested out the three foggers. After a few quick bursts from each, I'm confident they'll be fine for this season.
That just leaves me to test the Shaking Skeleton in the Cage. I
forsee no problems with it, but I do want to remove the sound module
from it as I wasn't happy with the effect from it. I may also buy
a better circuit to drive the motor with than the homebrew one I made
for it two years ago.
As promised, I did go and upload my talking skeleton's dialog from last
year. It's about 8 MB, so if you have a slow connection, download
at your own risk. It's a little cheesy... ok, a lot cheesy, but
it worked great. Most everyone that came to see them sat through
the whole routine and even laughed at the bad jokes. The setup
was these two skeletons were grim reapers that got to have the night
off, so they decided to spend it hanging out and playing poker.
Have a listen!
Ooh! The new Oriental Trading Company posable skeleton and crow
that I ordered to use with the big signpost arrived today. I
drilled the holes for the crow's foot-wires to fit into, but I'm still
unsure how I want to pose the skeleton. I may have him stand
under the post with one of my old McDonald's McPunkin pails. I
think that would look pretty spiffy.
7/20/2005 - More Maintenance
I think today after work, I'll be doing
some more maintenance-related stuff. I'll probably break out all
three fog machines and run them for a while to make sure I don't have
any clogged nozzles.
I'll also be putting the chains back on
the Monster in the Box since they've been outside rusting for a few
days now. The muriatic acid worked wonders at removing the zinc
plating and just spraying them with water has put on a nice aged look
to them. It's bothered me since I built the prop that the lock
looked old and beat but the chains were shiny and new. Now that's
no longer true.
I'll also be modifying the shaking skeleton in a cage by removing the
sound effects that went with it. Last year, I added a sound chip
to it so when the cage started shaking, a sound played of the
"skeleton" (me, with vocal effects) saying "let me outta here!" I
didn't like how that turned out and the sound never played quite right,
so I'm just gonna remove it.
If time permits, I'll also take
out the CD of dialog I made for my talking skeletons and rip the track
off the disc and post it to my web site so people can hear last year's
routine. I may change the dialog for this year, but I'm not sure
yet. People seemed to like it, but at the same time, I don't want
to repeat what I did last year because I want to make it fresh for this
year. I guess it all depends if I can write a better routine for
them this year.
I leave for work in a few. Ugh. Wish I could work on props all day.
7/19/2005 - *Sigh*
I did wind up doing *something* today
after all. Lord knows what the hell I was thinking. It was
over 90 degrees with high humidity making the heat index up over 100.
I spent a few hours today taking down the crypt frame so I can get it
out of the driveway. Between the heat and humidity, there was a
mud wasp in the shed taunting me, making it difficult to put the thing
away because he was just flying around where I needed to put the pieces.
Anyhow, I got it all stowed away up in the rafters of my shed.
Then I came in and watched "Dracula Rises From the Grave". Christopher Lee really is one of the best Draculas... ever.
Just me rambling on about my mis-adventures in propbuilding.