Month: April 2012

April Preservation

– Price Rite has had roma tomatoes on sale for under a dollar a pound. I made several quarts worth of sauce and froze it.

– 2 quarts of applesauce (1 pint, 2 half pints, 1 quart)

– 2 pints of pickled jalapenos

– 5 half pints spiced grape peach jelly

– 3/4 pint winter salad pickle

4/20 batch- radishes, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash with apple cider vinegar

-3 pints garlic dill pickles

4/21 batch- 2 pints cucumber, 1 pint cucumber/green bean, made with white vinegar

-3 quarts refridgerator pickles (1 quart winter pickles, 2 quarts dill pickles)

– 1 1/2 pint strawberry jam

-1 pint apple/pear sauce

total quarts put up this month: roughly 11

6 months ago- Sunday Legends: Killer in the Back Seat

1 year ago- Happy Beltaine!

Sunday Legends-The Ebay Haunted Painting


The claim was that the painting was cursed. When it was placed on Ebay for auction, the owners claimed that the subjects of the painting (a child and a doll) would move around the painting at night and sometimes would even leave it entirely. Sometimes just looking at the painting was enough to cause discomfort.

There was a warning on the listing. The piece was said to be cursed, and those that possessed it were said to have tragedy follow them.

The Ebay haunted painting itself may be an elaborate form of a creepy pasta- an Internet-born urban legend style story that circulates virally. However, the story reflects much deeper, older themes.

The concept of cursed or haunted objects is by no means a new one, or limited to a specific region. The idea that an object can become haunted, possessed, or cursed can be found throughout various world cultures. One of the more common themes is that the objects more likely to be possessed would be those with a human shape- including dolls, paintings, or photographs. This could be an extension of that particular fear.

Haunted New York- Buffalo and Ley Lines

I want to build on this later but I wanted to get this on paper while I was thinking about it.

This is pretty much a word of mouth legend, but it is mentioned in passing in print (see Shadows of the Western Door, for one).

The first time that I heard this, we were driving down Elmwood Avenue when it was casually said to me that Buffalo is as strange as it is because it’s built on ley lines. The major roads are spokes that lead off of downtown. The energy channeled by this alignment makes everything in the city…weird.

It should probably be stated that I thought that this may have been the stupidest thing that I had heard in months…and completely fabricated, until I started hearing rumblings and hints at this story in different sources.

Ley lines, for those who may not know, are a controversial concept that places can fall on a series of lines and conduits that channel metaphysical power into areas. Part of the controversy is that when the concept was originally developed in the 1920s, even the man who generated the idea attached no significance to these lines other than being a type of ancient roadway to places of importance.

As the idea developed throughout the 20th century, it took on new significance. In the 1970s it was suggested that ley lines contained a metaphysical element- that the localities connected contained some amount of spiritual or magickal importance (think Stonehenge). However, again, it should be stressed that the original concept has nothing to do whatsoever with power and everything to do with traveling through the English countryside.

I can provide no real explanation why Buffalo would be considered an area of great enough power to warrant a ley line, and if that’s true, why (or how) the builders of the city knew enough to do this to build diagonal streets channeling this power. I can’t even begin to speculate what this is supposed even have accomplished. However, a google search on the term buffalo ley lines will bring up a series of random hits. What’s worth noting is that there’s references through several of them about Central New York, through Buffalo, is a nest of the things.

Whether or not it’s true, it seems like this is a legend (urban legend?) that seems to have some sort of appeal.

More Reading

Ley Lines

6 months ago- Homemade Candy Corn

A Series of Short Reviews

Forget Me Not

If you like teen horror, or bad horror, you’ll probably enjoy this film. The premise is interesting at least. A group of teenagers, freshly graduated from high school, begin to realize that the spirit of a girl they harmed years before has returned to harm them in return. At least these are teenagers that aren’t acting like 18 going on 38, though there’s still plenty of teenage horror stereotypes.


I admit that it never occurred to me that I have never watched an Australian horror film. At least, nothing comes to mind. This wasn’t a stellar movie but it wasn’t a complete dud either. A single mother movers her children to Australia, and discovers that her home is full of energies that may overrun the family. It’s a fairly quiet, underwhelming example of cult horror-but it’s worth watching regardless.

Satan’s Playground

Squee! I’ve started watching whatever movie Netflix suggests next. Satan’s Playground amuses me. There’s something morbidly appealing about the characterizations. The acting isn’t that great, but the characters themselves amuse me on some fundamental level. And…well…I don’t want to say much about the monster because I think the title is slightly misleading but Weird New Jersey would be amused (+3 points to the filmmakers for completing my ‘underused horror movie monster’ challenge).

Trick or Treat

Solid, solid film. This one probably deserves a full review of its own, but trust me, well worth a watching. And it is re-watchable- this wasn’t my first viewing, and I found a much deeper level of subtext and playing with symbolism on the second watching than I did on the first, but I did greatly enjoy the storyline on first watching.

The Exorcist

There’s a certain group of films that transcends genre and that you just have to see, if you can. Their impact on popular thought is just that great and the movies are just that good.¬† This is very much the former, but as a confession I’m not certain it hits the latter- I’ve neither read the book straight through or seen the entirety of the movie in one sitting. But now I can say that I have seen the entire film in its obscenity ladden, pea soup hurdling glory.

6 Months Ago- The Gravedancers

1 Year Ago- Count Your Blessings, One Box At A Time

E is for Emotion

Yes, I know that this one is trite. But. I’m not really good at this whole, come up with a topic for every letter in the alphabet thing.

I believe that in order to experience life fully, you need to feel it fully. I think that every emotion has a place in the human experience and to deny that anger or jealousy have a place in our lives is short sighted.

If we weren’t meant to feel these things, then we wouldn’t. I believe in the idea of free will, but I can’t make the jump from love is an ingrained emotion to we choose to be angry or we choose to be jealous. I think that it’s possible to learn to change our reactions and patterns of behaviors towards those feelings, but I think to deny them outright is almost dangerous.

I don’t think that it’s possible to split the world into white and black, or light and dark and then pick sides. I don’t believe that you should embrace nothing but fluffiness and light and just go through life petting puppies and eating nothing but sugar– but you probably shouldn’t be running around in a black rage all the time either. I think that there are times to heal the people around you but you need to learn when it’s time to push back too.

6 months ago- terror technologies and scarves

1 year ago- happy Easter!


Red is a power color.

It doesn’t really matter what the association is, it’s going to be intensive. The color of fire, red is used in combination of strong emotion- lust, love, rage, destruction. In some cases this is cleansing, in others, it’s destructive. Red can be used to either draw up or tamp down any of these, depending on motive, since red is also a purifying color.

Red is a very primal color. The root of the word may even be related to blood. Its connection to life makes it a very dominant color and should be used with restraint. Because of its connection to life and the life force (…I really dislike that term…) red has traditionally been given a dual natured meaning; on one hand, the color is associate with love, sexuality, and passion, and on the other, the color is also used to represent sin and guilt.

Red superstitions are hard to pin down, since red varies so much in meaning from culture to culture. Red hair is often quoted as being bad luck, or red heads are seen as ill-tempered- this may be a throwback to when a red-headed individual may have been invading. In some cultures red is seen as lucky and is connected with money. The Greeks have a superstition about touching red to avert bad luck or fights.

6 months ago- Sunday Legends- Woman in White/La Llorona

1 year ago- I don’t see why he doesn’t agree with me

The Kuchisake-onna

A strikingly beautiful woman wearing a surgical mask appears out of the darkness. She stops you, wondering if she can ask you a question.

She almost perfect, from what you can see. You are both flattered and nervous that such a beautiful woman would want to talk to you, since you are not often noticed by such a person.

The woman pulls down the mask, and you have to choke back a scream. Her mouth is cut- slit almost to each ear. She asks you if she’s beautiful. Be careful how you respond.

The kuchisake-onna is actually a fairly well established urban legend, dating back to the Edo period of Japan. Older variations of the legend have the ghost appearing with her face covered with a kimono. The surgical mask is in relation to modern hygeine concerns, with people frequently using surgical masks to prevent the spread of airborne virsuses.

The legend reappears every few decades, with victims varying from resurgence to resurgence. Sometimes explained as the ghost of a scorned wife, the victim is an adult male. In other cases the ghost targets children. Regardless of victim, the ghost is seen as violent depending on how the meeting goes.

The story varies as to how the interaction will play out. The ghost will always ask if she is pretty, but she may or may not pull her mask down first. Regardless, it is said that if you answer her question with a yes, she will cut you in the same manner she is cut. If you say no, she will kill you.

However, there are tricks around the violence. Answer that she is average and she’ll be so confused you can run away. If you throw small treats like candy she will pick them up, thus giving you an avenue to run away. The last way is to turn her question back onto herself which confuses her so much that you can run away and live through the encounter.

6 months ago- a texas funeral

Playthings of the Cosmos

Let me take you on one of my patented rides down memory lane.

I was five. My father was stationed in northern California (I’m a Navy brat). Somehow I got ahold of the TV remote.

The movie I managed to find was Magic with Anthony Hopkins.

To rely on Internet slang- my mind was blown, bricks were shat, and I was given my first phobia in the space of a 5 minute clip (maybe it was longer, but that’s all I really remember). The idea that a doll could make people hurt other people? Even kill them? That was literally too much for my mind to handle.

Even now, I think that’s a pretty heavy concept.

There’s something about tiny little (anthropological) fetishes that drives people crazy. How many times do people reference voodoo dolls? Remember Chucky? The fact that there was even a movie to spawn reoccuring nightmares for the next decade says a lot (I said that the scars of that movie run deep).


I like poppets.

Poppets are cool.

(…random dr who reference).

Poppets are what voodoo dolls want to be.


A poppet is a doll, generally about the size of an adult hand though that’s not set in stone, made for a distinct purpose. The point here is that it’s a) handcrafted and b) made with intent.

Poppets are used for a range of purposes. Sometimes treated as a form of sympathetic, they take on the purpose of the oft-quoted voodoo doll; the doll can stand in for an intended individual. What happens to that doll is supposed to extend into the person it’s representing. In some cases the doll can be charged to protect the entirity of the hearth that it’s placed within. It’s slightly more uncommon but not unheard of for the poppet to be an actual protective ward, charged with a particular job to respond to- for example, if the hearth is suspected to be under attack from an entity, the doll can be used to respond to that energy by packing it with specific items or herbs.


Kachinas are technically spirits who if treated with respect, can create effects in the world around them. Kachinas are not gods, but they do hold a major place in the Hopi cosmology (among others). With over 400 identified, they can represent everything from elemental forces to animals and other natural features. A similar idea would be animism, where inanimate and/or natural features such as geological formations have souls.

Kachina dolls were used to teach children the various kachinas. Each doll represented a different kachina and were used to familiarize the next generation with the role of each.

Hinamatsuri-Doll’s Festival

Also referred to as Peach Festival, Hinamatsuri is held on March 3rd in Japan. The holiday is held to ask for the safety and success of young girls. It is suggested that it is linked to historical beliefs surrounding the ability of dolls to absorbed and hold onto negative spirits- at one point dolls where actually placed on mats and floated down rivers until it began to negatively impact fishing practices.

Food Waste Friday/Save Some, Loose Some

-I manged both make a large pot of tomato sauce and get it frozen when Price Rite had tomatoes on sale for less than a dollar a pound. I put up a quart’s worth of applesauce, and made several batches of stir fry and put food in the freezer for back up lunchs. I also finally finished off the bag of subpar carrots from awhile back- I really love my ninja chop. We finished off the jelly that didn’t fill a full jar from the cider canning.

Week 1

I’ve been in the apartment for a year now, so it was time for a deep clean in both my cupboards and the freezer- especially since my dad sent home upwards of 10 pounds of venison. I actually found a lot less food in either that needed to be tossed that I thought I would. And best of all, no meat. I think it came in under $10 because it was mostly left over rice and cake mixes. I didn’t think you would want to see pictures of that.

Week 2

– a tray of mostly left over bits. mid’s generally pretty good about eating leftovers but he hasn’t been home at night this week (yes. he’s working something like 85 hours this week…). rough estimate? $5-$10, but honestly? not nearly as bad as I had feared but I’m not sure what’s up with that sandwich.

– sandwich bag full of homemade apple chips- I finally admitted to myself they were just not going to get eaten

-a random orange that was looking a little weird

nice cleaned out fridge