Friday, October 31, 2014


While out and about doing my normal thrift store shopping, I happened upon an old roll of 110 Kodak film. Mind you, I've been looking for 110 film for quite a while.

This roll was thankfully still sealed, but definitely old stock. It had an expiration date of 1998 and was most likely produced in 1995. For only $0.69, it was worth the gamble. Old film will still shoot correctly, but may have odd color variances or "moods" as I like to call them. It's great for shooting artistic photos where the randomness of the potential developed image is all the fun! You can purchase new 110 film from modern companies like Lomography (bless them for producing it), but new film stock can take the fun out of snapping pictures if you're going for a result that's more artistic.

The roll has already been loaded into my Kodak Cameo 110 Camera. I have twenty-four chances to make lo-fi magic happen!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin carving.

All Hallows' Eve is almost upon us, my friends. Halloween is a special time of year for many people, myself included. I consider it the gateway to Autumn. The odd, unique and macabre can be openly celebrated, as they justly should be. Our section of the globe becomes more frigid and Mother Nature begins to pull back for the long winter. A foreboding sense of dread and darkness begins to creep in, making the end of the calendar year all the more solemn and revered. This is MY time of year, just as it may be for you as well.

Crystal and I carved our pumpkins this evening. They're absolutely magnificent, don't you think?

The first pumpkin is the one Crystal carved. It has a really cool scar on its cheek. She said it was a "bad-ass" and just broke out of prison. I tend to agree.

My jack-o-lantern this year has a face of total fright. It's shrieking in complete horror and looks totally absorbed by some unholy terror. I debated putting a giant butcher knife in it for added dramatic effect, but thought it might be overkill.

Hahaha... I said overkill.

What does Halloween represent to you? Any fond memories from your childhood? Perhaps a special costume? Please share!

Keep it spooky boils and ghouls!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carolina Sphinx Moth.

Upon looking out my bedroom window this morning, I was lucky enough to spot this insect on one of my last surviving tomato plants of the year.

This is the larva (aka caterpillar) form of the Carolina Sphinx Moth (Manduca sexta). I've heard of this creature before, but never had the pleasure of seeing one up close. It really is as gigantic as it looks -- roughly four inches long and as big around as my thumb. Let me be clear - this caterpillar is totally harmless. The horn on it's tail is purely a defense adaptation. You can not be poisoned by touching this larva - I did so myself and was surprised at how soft and smooth the larva was.

While still in the larva form, many refer to it as the tobacco hookworm. As the name suggests, it can be found feeding on tobacco plants, as well as tomatoes. It processes the nicotine found in tobacco as a form of defensive mechanism, making it one of the few beings in the animal kingdom that can do so. The nicotine is then released from its body, much like a skunk whom sprays its foul stench for defense. This process is called toxic halitosis. Thereby, predators are less likely to target the tobacco hookworm as prey. Chief among its typical predators are spiders -- especially Wolf Spiders.

This larva will soon dig into the ground around the area of my tomato plants. Once situated in the ground, it will morph into the pupae form and enter into diapause (a type of hibernation).

Photo Credit - Peter J. Bryant

In the spring, it will emerge as an adult and take part in breeding the next generation. It really is a beautiful moth and one that I'll be happy to see around my home.

Photo Credit - Peter J. Bryant

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Curious Case of the Honey Badger.

I watched a documentary this evening about nature's most lovable jerk... the Honey Badger.

Photo Credit - Will Benson, Oxford Scientific Films

The Honey Badger has no natural predators in the wild. Hyenas, porcupines, snakes, lions, rhinos... they are all afraid of the ferocious creature. Nothing in the wild preys upon the Honey Badger. Yet, it generally can only grow to roughly thirty-five pounds in weight and forty-five inches in length at maximum.

The question I'm left to ponder is this -- How does an animal with no known natural predators remain so small in size? The vast majority of creatures with no predators on this planet are much larger. This role is classified as an Apex Predator. As such, the Honey Badger is in league with Kodiak Bears, Killer Whales, Saltwater Crocodiles and the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. That's some pretty lethal company to keep, wouldn't you say? Can you imagine all of these animals coming together for a meal? Holy Schnikes!

Let's just marvel at how truly wondrous the Honey Badger is. Let's also hope that it never acclimates to North America and completely takes over our continent. There's plenty of easy prey here for the Honey Badger to eat. It'd be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Photo Credit - Will Benson, Oxford Scientific Films

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Annabelle Doll.

Do you believe in haunted dolls?

No, of course not. Only simpletons believe in such nonsense. You're reading this blog, so you are obviously intelligent. But, I digress.

I recently learned of a supposedly haunted doll called Annabelle. I frequent a number of classic horror film related blogs. One such blog recently made reference to a new movie hitting theaters, also called Annabelle. This film claims to be based on a totally true story, to which my Fraud-O-Meter began to go off. Here's the scoop.

Photo Credit - Soles Denounce, New York Post

Annabelle is a doll in the possession of Lorraine Warren. She's the widow of longtime paranormal investigator Ed Warren. Lorraine herself has claimed to be a medium and to possess otherworldly powers. The Warrens claim to have received this doll from a mother and daughter in the 1970's. The doll would make small, gradual movements around the daughter's apartment, eventually moving from one room to the next. Upon holding a seance, they learned that the spirit of a deceased child named Annabelle inhabited the doll, hence the name. This child was found dead on the grounds of the apartment building long before it was built.

As if the story wasn't total donkey crap already, the silliness continues...

Once the Warrens began to investigate the doll, they determined that the information learned in the seance wasn't "true". Human spirits of the deceased can only possess other humans. Inhuman spirits, such as demons, are apparently allowed to possess inanimate objects, though.

Apparently the Warrens have a rule book for ghosts in the afterlife...

As the Warrens continued to study the doll, they found that it had the tendency to be present when other people had fatal or near-fatal accidents. Based upon their "evidence", the demon was in the second stage of infestation. Had the doll been allowed to continue to reside in the apartment, it would have evolved towards higher levels of infestation and eventually possessed a human being. This, most certainly, would have lead to full on possession and a murderous rampage. The Warrens took the doll to their personal museum of haunted paraphernalia, where it resides to this day. The doll sits behind a locked glass case, with a warning not to touch or taunt it. Visitors to the museum can see the doll on display.

There are so many holes in this story, I could pilot a sailboat through it blindfolded.
  • If the doll really is possessed by an inhuman demonic spirit, couldn't it "leap" from one inanimate object to the next? Say from the doll to a cell phone. Or perhaps into a lamp post? Nay... even better - an automobile!
  • The information made public by the Warrens provides no source material or physical evidence. All references to the involved parties are ambiguous. No explanation is given as to whom the victims were, nor how the doll appeared to be moving.
  • If a powerful demonic spirit resides in the doll, then how in the holy hell does a glass case prevent it from causing trouble? Do you really think a demon would claw its way up from the depths of Hell... only to be stopped by a single pane of glass? If the doll can move, then couldn't it break the glass?
  • How come no one else but the Warrens have claimed to have seen this doll move?
  • Why didn't the doll reflect the demonic spirit it contained before the Warrens learned of it? Don't you think a doll moving on its own would have made international news in the '70s?
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. This whole story is a sham of epic proportions. A film has finally been produced about this doll, relegating this entire hoax into the category of snake oil. I would suspect that this was the intent all along. Maintain the story long enough and surely some producer would come along to create a major motion picture about it, right?

Here's a link to the official Annabelle Doll page at the Warren's website -- The New England Society for Psychic Research. As you can clearly see on their webpage, they were already geared up and ready for the film's release. The story of the Annabelle Doll is littered with grammatical errors and logistical inaccuracies. It is as if a child wrote the story for English class at the last possible moment.

For my older or more studious readers, you may have heard of Ed and Lorraine Warren before. In fact, you most certainly have. They were the "lead" investigators of the real (and I say that loosely) Amityville Horror home. During their analysis of the Amityville house, they claimed to have been pushed around by demonic entities. History seems to repeat itself over and over -- create a story about ghosts, claim it's true, then wait for a movie to be made. Got it!

The Amityville Horror House, formerly 112 Ocean Avenue
Photo Credit -

And yet, this same plot invoked itself AGAIN with another case the Warrens "investigated". Ever heard of the horror film "The Haunting in Connecticut"?

Yep, the Warrens had their hand in that story too. They apparently contacted the Snedeker family, whom rented a home in the mid 1980's and encountered ghosts there. Through the Warrens, a book was published that detailed the events in the home (just like had been done previously with the Amityville House). The book's author has since recanted the information contained within, stating that it was mostly made up to make it scary. Here's a great article about the entirety of the Snedeker case at Live Science. I could at least respect the Warrens the slightest bit more if they tried something original with each new tale. But no... they just keep going back to the same old well.


I can't make this stuff up, folks.
(But apparently the Warrens can)

Get Haugh.

The most dreaded of all days is right around the corner. Evil lurks behind every curtain. Ghosts from the past appear out of nowhere. You just can't seem to escape the dreaded horror, no matter where you go. Television, radio, the newspaper... it's everywhere!

That's right... Election Day 2014 is almost here!

Here in North Carolina, there's a heated Senate race between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis. Obviously, both of these candidates are hollow 'yes men' for their respective party. They have nothing to offer our democracy and the citizens of North Carolina will clearly lose no matter who the victor is. Yet, I've taken notice of a particular set of online ads that I've heard and watched over the past twenty-four hours. They concern third party Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh. Of course, I'll be voting for Haugh simply because he's the only other candidate on the ballot. I don't trust anyone with a [D] or an [R] behind their name. But... the motivations behind this particular ad campaign surrounding Haugh are troubling. Here, watch for yourself.

Basically, this ad is linking stereotypical stoners to Haugh. I've seen multiple versions of this ad in various places around the internet. "More Weed" and "Less War" they chant, invoking the hippie aesthetic of the 1960's and 1970's. There's no real content to the ads - just mindless jargon that conservatives would clearly blast as irresponsible and amoral.

Sean Haugh, whom will most certainly not win the election, is a very average fellow. Haugh is from Durham, drives a 2005 Kia Spectrum and delivers pizza for a living (he's retired from his professional life as a former head of the Libertarian Party). His platform includes ideas like ending the War on Drugs and ceasing endless funding to other countries, such as Israel and Egypt. Fairly logical concepts, if you ask me. Currently, most polls place state-wide support for Haugh between five and seven percent. While that's not a lot, it's definitely enough to decide the election for Hagan or Tillis.

Photo Credit - Claire Collins,

Here's the trippy part to this story - Haugh has no connection to this ad campaign. The Libertarian Party did not fund production, either. Who paid for these ads, you're surely asking yourself?

Well, the answer can be found in small print at the end of the commercial. If you look closely, you'll see that a group called the "American Future Fund" created the ad. Just what is the "American Future Fund"?

Wait for it...

Surprise - the Koch Brothers!

The American Future Fund is a 501 (c) (4) tax-exempt non-profit organization established during Mitt Romney's campaign for President in 2007 and 2008. It's a wing of the Center to Protect Patient Rights, a directly funded Koch Brothers group that dumps millions into our American political process.

How insulting that the Kochs and their cronies want to alter the outcome of the NC Senate race by trying to sway on-the-fence conservatives to Thom Tillis? The motivation behind these ads is ingenious and dastardly. The race between Kagan and Tillis is extremely close, so they know Haugh will split support from conservatives and ultimately hand Hagan the win. By labeling Haugh as a weed lovin' hippy, they hope middle of the road conservatives will vote for Tillis. Instead of presenting the facts about the candidates, they decided hippies were the way to go. I can imagine the development meeting for this ad campaign now.

"So... we've got to obliterate that Kay Hagan."

"Yeah... damn limp-wristed Libertarians are eating up too much of the conservative pie. Gonna kill Tillis, I say."

*unintelligible grumbling*

*Snort* "We've got to paint that pansy Haugh as a real loser. That'll bring everyone back into the fold."

"Good idea... but how..."

*Rolls comatose love dumpster over, beckons for another*

"I've got it... hippies. We hate those bastards as much as anyone. Paint the bum as a pot-smoking idiot."

*high five*

Whether you support Hagan, Tillis or Haugh, this type of campaigning isn't the way to go about it. Using fear and treachery to incite negative feelings in voters isn't just dishonest... it's downright disrespectful. If those whom pour millions into elections look at the American public with such disrespect, shouldn't we be terribly worried about why they're spending all that money to begin with?

Fresh face.

Just a small update, folks. In an effort to better accommodate the modified format of this blog, I've given the page a fresh face. Gone is the original drab and dreary exterior. In its place is a vibrant teal color palette! I hope you enjoy the new look. If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Hello everyone. How are you?

If you've followed this blog long enough, then you've seen the progress I've made in improving myself, both in mind and body. I began this journey in a very dark place -- a condition I would wish upon no man. Over the course of this journey, I came to let go of my anger. I've been able to work through my issues in a very public way. You, my audience, have played just as much a role in my recovery as I have. Reading this blog is a method to which I must be accountable for my feelings and thoughts. Putting these thoughts into words is no small accomplishment. It keeps me honest, to say the least.

That being said, long time readers will also know that I'm not the man I once was. I'm simply not filled with deep-seeded anger any longer. A transformation has taken place.

From this point forward, I'll be making changes to this blog. Gone away will be the drab design and singular focus on my internal thoughts. That's not to say my personal blogs will disappear -- I will still write about my feelings when I feel the need to do so. But what you will see is an increased output of blogs concerning things I like. I want to write about my life -- my interests, hobbies, travels, adventures and so forth. For example, you will see blogs concerning (but not limited to)...
  • Cinema Reviews - My take on classic films, as well as the occasional modern picture show. I also really dig monster movies and cult movies.
  • Hobby Talk - If you know me well enough, then you're quite aware that I'm a toy and video game collector. I might want to review a particular Transformer or classic Nintendo game. The occasional blog about comics or art may also appear.
  • Travel Updates - When I go places, both near and far, I want you to go along with me (in your imagination of course... unless you're buying the train ticket).
  • Internet Culture - I was around when the Internet was just a wee virtual baby. I've seen it all in Cyberspace... and I like to talk about it.
  • The Writing Process - Believe it or not, I do a fair share of writing behind the scenes that never gets read by the public. Perhaps I'll start to pull that curtain back.
You get the idea, right? I'm a Jack-Of-All-Trades by nature... and my interests reflect that. In all sincerity, I want to continue this blog. It must reflect who I am and what I enjoy in life. I won't remove any of my older blogs. They reflect where I came from and are vital to my current well-being. I accept my past, but cherish my future.

What will this blog not reflect from here forward? Anger.