December 24, 2008

December 14, 2008

Frightful

 




Just a few pics I took today after a rather substantial snowfall. I rather like how the snow looks on a few of my trees, especially the bare spindly ones. And I love how it covers the bigger conifers and makes the branches appear much more vein-like. You can even see the collateral damage on the front window from the morning's first snowball fight. And, of course, my tiny pumpkins dusted with snow and huddled together against the cold.

Being from California and living in Oregon for only 3 years, I still get a little thrill from seeing my house and yard covered in snow. While snow in Oregon occurs fairly frequently, it very rarely makes it down to my elevation on the valley floor. Nor is it usually this heavy. These shots were taken in the morning and it continued snowing well into the early evening.

I'm happily entrenched by the fireplace soaking up the warmth and it looks like the kids are going to get a few extra days off from school before Christmas vacation starts next week.

I'm sure they'll get over it.
 

December 12, 2008

Hauntcast Goes Live

 
Hauntcast.net

The inaugural podcast from the good folks over at Hauntcast.net is now live for your listening pleasure.

The concept of a podcast "for home haunters by home haunters" has been a long time coming. Having listened to it a number of times now, and though a smidge rough around some edges, I think the future looks very bright for DJ Chris Baker and his cohorts, Revenant and Johnny Thunder. They will definately be giving the more established, though not that much more polished, industry-related podcasts a run for their money. I can certainly relate to it more being a home haunter myself.

I'm honored to have been included, along with Rob of SkullAndBone, as a featured part of the 'Maiden Voyage' of Hauntcast. Revenant's "News From Beyond" Holiday-themed news segment about "The Tale of Two Cities" really captured the essence of our story and the spirit of the holidays. While we weren't recorded for broadcast, I truly enjoyed my conversation with Revenant and hearing his thoughtful take on the story. It's surely something I will never forget.

My thanks to them for including Rob and I, and for giving us all a great premiere. My best wishes go out to Chris and his crew for continued success with the show.

Click the banner at the top of this post to stream it or download it and listen at your leisure.

Enjoy.
 

December 10, 2008

Priceless

 


Truck & trailer rental and gas:
$900

Round trip Portland, OR to San Luis Obispo, CA:
1,700 miles

Total drive time over three days:
31 hours

Coming home with one of the greatest yard haunts ever by one of the classiest, most generous haunters ever:

Priceless.
 

Meet the Kreeps




My son and I with one of our newest family members from our trip to pick up SkullAndBone's Miss Rose haunt.


A Haunter's Tale

 
As some of my fellow haunters may, or may not, be aware, this past Halloween, Rob at SkullAndBone.com made the decision to end the renowned Miss Rose yard haunt that he has so wonderfully crafted over the past 5+ years.

I know a good many people have found his haunt and website to be a great source of inspiration, education and anticipation. Myself very much included. But, he felt it was time to move on to other endeavours.

Rob, being the classy guy that he is, made another decision. He didn't just end the haunt. Incredibly, he sought to pass it on. Preferrably to another haunter. At first he thought to sell it. I can't speak to whether or not he got any offers for the entire haunt, but, apparently, he was approached by some only to acquire a few props and things. He even had one guy act like he was doing Rob a favor by taking the haunt off his hands. Obviously, a less than learned soul. Well, he couldn't stand to see it scattered to the four winds, being sold off piecemeal or disappearing into a larger, already established haunt.

Then, astoundingly, I saw this from Rob responding to another member of the HauntForum...

"I am less concerned about selling props than I am about finding a good home. I have a couple mails out to a few close friends, but I am still looking for the perfect home for the entire haunt. Frankly, for the right haunter, I will be happy to pass along the entire haunt for free."

Insert many excited expletives here. A great many.

After some very brief consideration and calculation, I knew I had to at least attempt acquiring Miss Rose.

So enamored am I of their work, that I tend to regard some haunters as near celebrities. Naturally, some are more approachable than others. Also, having not really communicated with many other haunters pertaining to actual haunting, I was feeling a little trepidation. But, I took a chance, wrote from the heart and fired off an email to Rob.

I won't post the entire email here as this is a long enough story already, but, essentially, I expressed my admiration for the beauty and craft of his haunt. I included some of my personal background and my history with haunting. How, whether through lack of venue, budgetary concerns, or raising a family, it was difficult to start an entire haunt from scratch. How I was more of a detail guy and needed a palette from which to work, allowing me to concentrate on things on a somewhat smaller scale. And, finally, how I would be privileged and honored to carry on the legacy of the Miss Rose haunt.

The following evening, I heard back from Rob.

He was very gracious and appreciative of my admiration and enthusiasm for the haunt. He mentioned that he very much liked the idea of Miss Rose spawning a brand new haunt, and was lamenting it possibly being folded into another larger haunt. Moreover, my timeline seemed to coincide perfectly with his, as the haunt was still up. Perfect. Things were looking good. So, Rob asked to sleep on it and he would let me know of his decision Thursday morning. I made my plans, just in case, and waited for the good word to hopefully come. Friday morning, that good word came.

Rob said that, with a few minor stipulations, he would be very happy for my family to have the entire Miss Rose haunt. The stipulations were three. I had to take it all (not even remotely a problem), I had to pick it up that weekend (fortune favored the foolish) and, if I ever get tired of it, I have to pass it on to someone else (not likely for awhile, but I definately appreciated the sentiment).

Well, I was beyond ecstatic! Talk about a thrill of a lifetime. And the sheer generosity of Rob to just give the haunt away. Especially to someone he didn't even know. Simply amazing. I had never spoken to Rob before that day. And it's not like he was giving away store bought props. This was art. And some artists tend to be very proprietary about their work. So, to me, it was like Da Vinci saying, "Sure, you-a can-a have-a dat-a painting of-a da smiling-a girl." Close enough to that anyway. Needless to say, I was beyond grateful and honored and I couldn't wait to get down there.

We got a truck and trailer Friday morning, packed up and left late Friday night. We live about 20 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. We drove all night and arrived in San Francisco, CA about 12 hours later. We stayed at my mother-in-law's house Saturday night and my son and I left early-ish Sunday morning and drove south about 3½ hours to just north of San Luis Obispo, CA.

We arrived there about noon-ish and I finally saw, in person, what I had only seen in pictures. One of my very favorite yard haunts in all it's spooky glory. And I was very pleasantly surprised to see that it looked as good during the day as it did at night. AWESOME! Beyond awesome.

Then I saw how much there actually was to the haunt. Uh oh. Shades of Roy Scheider: "We're gonna need a bigger boat". I needn't have worried as it all ended up fitting just fine.

It was a genuine pleasure meeting Rob and his wife, the lovely 'Miss Rose' herself. I brought them a bottle of Pinot Noir, from an Oregon vineyard, that was described as being "complicated by rose" and a jug of Oregon-brewed "Dead Guy" ale. They were very gracious and thankful. As was I. I'm sure my lingering thanks and endless praise are still caking the walls of their house.

A quick sidenote, they have an awesome house for haunting. It's a Historical Preservation Society 1912 Colony House with lots of exterior moulding and shutters. That house was built to haunt. As Rob himself said, "It came pre-haunted". Now she's going to a 1980 Crackerjack Box. Heh.

We hung around for awhile shooting the breeze. Rob revealed a few of his secrets and insights and we generally talked haunting and Rose's history with them. It was really cool. He's a very nice guy with lots of talent and creative energy. For my part, I could hang with the guy all the time. He's got a friend for life in Oregon, that's for sure.

Finally, we set about tearing it all down and stuffing 10 pounds of haunt into an 8 pound bag. With Rob's experience at packing it all away, we made fairly short order of it. Though, next time, I must remember to bring enough damn rope. As we were loading, he had a few friends and neighbors drive by, noticing the truck and U-Haul and asking what was going on. Suffice it to say, for opposing reasons, the both of us are going to have some pretty shocked neighbors next Halloween. I felt a little bad for his, depriving them of such a treasured landmark. But only a little. Heh.

Alas, the time came for us to depart. After a few photos and many more thank you's, we said our goodbyes and headed back to San Francisco with Miss Rose in tow. We stayed in SF that night and left early Monday morning for Oregon. We arrived back home late Monday night where my son and I unloaded all that wonderous haunted goodness. Not five minutes after we closed the garage door, it started to rain. The fates, it seems, were on our side for once.

Come the next morning, my younger kids finally got to see what Daddy a-brung home. Talk about bug-eyed surprise. It was really neat to see their reaction. They were almost as excited as I am. Almost.

Epilogue:

I know this was an exceptionally long post to read.

But, to me anyway, it's such a unique occurrence and experience that I felt compelled to share it as close to how it happened as possible. To appreciate and admire something from afar that took countless hours to create and then have it become mine through sheer generosity and willingness to share is something that I will never forget. It is a rare thing in this world.

I also believe that this story is a shining example of the intent of the HauntForum founder(s) and the haunting community in general. The willingness, even desire, to share ideas and knowledge and to celebrate our love of Halloween and the creative spirit. To be around others of like mind and find joy in their triumphs and commiserate in their less-than-successful undertakings.

So there you have it, friends. The tale of the passing of SkullAndBone's Miss Rose Haunt Torch. I am ecstatic, ever grateful and, most of all, excited about Rose's future with us.

And, as always, my profound and undying respect and gratitude to Rob at SkullAndBone for this beyond amazing privilege and gift. I've never met a classier guy and I'm proud to call him a friend. You rule the pool, brother.

As for the Miss Rose haunt itself, it may change in form, but, thanks to one haunter's generosity and another haunter's enthusiasm...

It will live on.

And perhaps, one day, another new haunter will have their own tale to tell.

 

The Inaugural Post

 
Greetings all and welcome to the House Bloodthorn Blog. This is my first foray into blogging, so I hope you'll bear with me as I fumble my way about for a time. I'm not much of a writer to begin with, but I hope to improve in that regard as well as entertain and inform about the things that interest me.

Namely... Halloween, haunting, my haunt's progress, prop-building, movies (horror and otherwise), music, art (love the lowbrow), design, links to other sites of interest, a mild rant or two, or whatever else strikes my dark little fancy. Generally, the things that inspire me and keep the soul of the House thrumming contentedly.

So there you have the guts of it. Thanks for looking in and stop by again. There will be more to come and comments are always welcomed.

Enjoy.