Archive for December, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! from The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

Verse One
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld Lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Verse Two
And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld Lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Podcast: C&L Interviews Joe Dante

25 minutes-worth of John Amato from Crooks & Liars talkin’ with Joe Dante, here. MP3 format, with some of John’s questions to Joe edited out in the interest of space…

CSI: Kindergarten

So, what with this being winter break and all, we signed The Boy up for 2 weeks of science camp at the Pacific Science Center. Each week has been loosely organized around a single theme, and the second week’s been mostly about light and sound. They’re covering some basics about optics and acoustics, and part of what the camp does during the day is to go on mini-field trips to the part of the science center that most closely relates to whatever the topic of the day is.

This week, they’ve been drawing largely upon the Whodunit exhibit:

Visitors walk into a robbery scene at the Memory Diner. When the police respond, the short-order cook is the only witness. How reliable is he? Are the crimes related? Did the suspect leave clues at the diner? Visitors gather evidence at the scene and visit hands-on stations to solve the crime. Stations throughout the exhibit have activities geared for all ages of visitors.

One of the stations within this exhibit is a virtual autopsy: an abstract, stark white mannequin lies on a table, while a video of a post-mortem being performed on a murder victim (small caliber gunshot wound to the chest) is projected upon its chest. It looks pretty cool, but the last time I was at the Science Center with The Boy, it was getting late, he was getting overtired, and I wasn’t sure how he’d deal with the autopsy (I was pretty sure he’d be okay with it, but you never know) so I heeded the “Not recommended for small children” sign and gently steered him on to other things.

So yesterday, I’m picking him up after camp, and as we’re driving away, he says “Dad, I don’t know why you didn’t let me see the body being cut open – it was really cool.”

Well, scratch that parenting effort…

“Oh? Did your teachers take you into it?”

“No. But the older kids went in there, and I’m sure they had permission.”

Hmmm. I’m not, but, hey… okay. As a result of his self-selected learning experience, on the ride home we discussed (at his prompting):

  • Why people are squeamish about the insides of bodies
  • Why people are squeamish about the outsides of bodies (he didn’t understand why the lower half of the corpse was covered by a sheet)
  • How guns work – what makes the ‘bang’, what pushes the bullet out
  • How bullets kill people if they’re so small
  • Those were the in-depth discussions; we also touched upon ballistics and the forensics of tool marks (rifling on bullets). How’s that for an afternoon discussion with a 5 1/2 year old? I’ll say this – he certainly doesn’t have a one-track mind…

    [x-posted from my blog, protected static]

    Vincent Schiavelli, RIP

    One of the great character actors, Vincent Schiavelli, died Monday at his home in Sicily. He was in many of my favorite films, the George Zucco of my generation if you will. He was 57.

    Schiavelli played parts in Blade Runner, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Lord of Illusions, Lurking Fear, Corpse Killer, Ghost, Amadeus and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

    But my favorite role of his was playing the alien John O’Connor in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He was wonderfully quirky.

    John O’Connor: They’re only monkey-boys. We can crush them here on earth, Lord Whorfin.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Schiavelli.

    Posted in Horror | 4 Comments »

    Texas grass fire

    From The Associated Press:

    The hardest-hit community during Tuesday’s blazes was Cross Plains, a West Texas ranching and oil-gas town of 1,000 people some 240 kilometres from Dallas. It lost about 50 homes and a church. One person was killed and at least three were unaccounted for after the flames raced through brush dried out by the region’s worst drought in 50 years.

    “We had a tornado here years ago and we thought that was devastating. This lasted for hours and hours,” said Patricia Cook, a special education aide whose home was saved by her 18-year-old son, J.D., and a friend. They saw the flames approaching the house from across a field and ran to save it.

    “The fire was literally nipping at their heels,” she said. “He just picked up the hose and started watering things down.”

    The fire spared a town landmark: the nearly century-old house, now a museum, of Robert E. Howard, author of the Conan the Barbarian books.

    Here’s the official Robert E. Howard web site.

    Condolences to the families of the dead.

    Posted in Horror | 1 Comment »

    Blood: The Last Vampire

    The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reviews the anime Blood: The Last Vampire:

    eighing in at 45 minutes, this slim anime from the producers of Ghost in the Shell has impressive production values, with well-rendered 3D backgrounds and atmospheric settings.

    On the eve of the Vietnam War, teenaged slayer Saya hunts down the shape-shifting monsters that are haunting Japan, their latest target an American army base on the night of their Halloween party.

    Saya is deployed by an unidentified organisation and it transpires that she is the last of an original race of vampires. The plotline is way too short and linear to engender much suspense but hints at a curious conspiracy involving the American presence in post-World War II Japan.

    Going into my Netflix queue.

    Blood-drinking robber nabbed

    Paging Inspector LeGrasse. Inspector LeGrasse to the white courtesy phone please. From of Mumbai, India:

    He didn’t just loot homes, but also drank blood. Depending on his booty, the robber sacrificed animals before a deity, drank its blood and even feasted on its meat. This, he believes, keeps the gods happy.

    This is what 33-year-old Suresh alias Surya Baburao Shinde, leader of a robber gang, said in his confession to the anti-robbery cell police of Mumbai’s crime branch.


    The police have filed nearly 30 cases of against Shinde, including robbery and attempt to murder. Shinde was released from Arthur Road jail in 1997, after serving a five-year term for the murder of two constables and a watchman during a robbery in Santacruz.

    I’m no crime expert, but a five-year term for the murder of two constables and a watchman does not seem like a long enough sentence.

    The Coylet Inn investigation

    Ghost Finders Scotland has the report on The Coylet Inn investigation up. This sounds like one of the team’s better locations. The Coylet Inn is a 17th century coaching inn about an hour west of Glasgow.

    Make sure you check out the team’s report of using a communication board. But the most exciting events seemed to happen in bedroom 4.

    This bedroom has had several reports of activity in the past, including unexplainable wet footprints that have been seen on the floor. We all got ourselves comfortable and began asking out for some communication. One of our team saw a greenish light outside in the corridor, but unfortunately this was not captured on camera. Several team members reported hearing loud bangs and also what seemed like a mumbled conversation going on nearby. We can verify that no other people were in the building at the time. Using voice recorders, we were able to pick up some responses to the questions we were asking. We captured a voice saying “Make the plan” (click here to listen) and another saying “We’re gonna get you” (click here to listen). We also caught some flashing lights on one our camcorders. We kept an EMF meter switched on during the entire vigil, but no unusual readings were detected and temperature readings remained unchanged. Several light anomalies (click here to view video file) and a bang (click here to view video file, speakers required) were picked up on a locked off camcorder in this area while we investigated another part of the building.

    Is it just me or is “We’re gonna get you” something you don’t want to hear during a paranormal investigation?

    A milestone

    One year ago today, I put up the first entry on The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire blog.

    When I hit “publish post” this will be the 1,297th post.

    I thought a lot about how I’d mark the blog’s first anniversary. But when it came down to it, this is what I wanted to say:

    Thank you for visiting.

    Posted in Horror | 4 Comments »

    The blog of a teenage ghost

    Via Bella Snow, here’s the blog of Horace Finkle: Teenage Life In Limbo.

    A teenage ghost blogs a daily comedy serial chronicling his family’s hilarious misadventures as they attempt to assimilate themselves into a small town neighborhood as the new family on the block.

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