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The Crimes We Commit in Others’ Minds

YorickLast night I was out in the garage pulling a paper mache skull from its form. You really have to work it sometimes with a screwdriver to pop the paper off, and I had been at it for a while.

At 8 o’clock it was getting a little chilly, and the sun was already painting the hills pink and orange.

Since Sunday’s Wind Event, big piles of limbs and even whole trees lined both sides of the road in front of the house. Chainsaws buzzed in the distance and a large tractor “chuffed” up the road. The aroma of fresh-cut wood, campfires, and drying leaves filled the air.

Open Mind with Bill Jenkins“, a KABC show from the 80s, was playing loudly on the CD player on the workbench. UFOs, Bigfoot, astral projection, talking bananas, all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s like listening to Coast to Coast AM, but without the annoying political commentary. Great listening for an early Fall night.

I didn’t notice the car in the driveway until a door slammed. I stepped out of the garage to see who it was. Almost dark now, and with headlights shining in my eyes, I couldn’t make out the faces of the three people standing and staring at me.

“Can I help you?” I called out.

There was a lengthy silence, then a woman’s voice said, “W-we heard your water was out, so … we brought you some. We’re from the LDS church.” She gestured toward her two companions who were struggling with a heavy package. They were young girls, probably 11, and their eyes never left me. They looked like they could bolt at any second. That’s when it struck me.

There I stood, bathed in the cold harsh light of the car headlights, leaves skittering in circles around my feet, holding a skull in one hand and a long screwdriver in the other. I’m sure it was the very last thing these good Samaritans expected to see on a Tuesday evening.

Laughing, I put my project away and took the case of water from the girls, thanking them and blessing their little hearts the whole time. It was really very nice of them to drive through the neighborhood and give out cases of water.

As they pulled down the driveway and disappeared behind a pile of brush, I stood waving and smiling. Smiling because of the warm gesture and because of the story they’ll have to tell their friends about the crazy man with the skull.

Hurricane not a sign of the apocalypse

Walking trees are another story, though.

I love a storm. I love the texture of it, the taste, the energy. Nature unleashed to remind us who’s really in charge around here.

But I got my fill when the remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through Indiana on Sunday. The wind began to freshen at around 11:30. By 1:00 it was too late and too risky to walk the length of the driveway and take down the flag pole. 75mph winds tore up everything it could grab.

There was corn in my front yard. Corn! Where did corn come from?

Above the constant roar was “Crack! Pop! Pop! Crrrack! Screeee…booom!” Over and over. I’ve never seen trees walk before. They’re not very good at it, and kept falling over.

Sustained hurricane-force winds are unheard of in Indiana, and if this was just the last echo of what a real hurricane is like, then I don’t ever want to be caught anywher near one. This coming from a guy who has always wanted to be a storm chaser and take pictures of a tornado.

We were lucky to only have a mess to clean up and nothing poking out of the top of our house.

Spookyblue at Psychomania

The dilapidated Trans Lux theater is tucked in beside the Green Tree Mall in Clarksville. I saw the original Willy Wonka movie there when I was a kid. Its glory days were well behind when it became the “Greentree 4” dollar-cinema, and then it closed for good some 10 years ago. Since then, it has fallen into serious disrepair and was slated for demolition.

That is, until Matt Kemp, Phil Grainger, and William McHugh of Fright Night Productions talked the owners into a lease and began a major renovation that would turn the once crumbling building into “Psychomania – Theater of Terror”.

That was nine months ago, and despite having to fix a leaky roof, screwy electrics, exploding plumbing, and even being harassed by real “live” ghosts, they just kept working. And now it looks like they’re going to pull it off.

On Saturday night, Psychomania – Theater of Terror opens its doors for their “Press Night Gala”. A couple of Spookyblue props will also debut, and I’m looking forward to seeing everything up and running.

Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures. I’m not giving anything away, and there’ll be more to post later. This is what you can accomplish if you work really hard and aren’t afraid of a dumb ol’ poltergeist stealing your hammer when you’re not looking.

Evening News : Greentree 4 theater being turned into haunted house
Theater of Terror website

Note: You have to be as old as Spooky Blue to refer to the old Greentree 4 Theater as the Trans Lux.


Scarecrow in Taipei, Taiwan

Something creepy about this guy. Like, if you walked up and swiped his hat, there would be a three-second Samurai Jack blur, then you’d be on the ground looking up at the headless remains of your body for about another second before it collapsed into the grass.

I love the undefined suggestion of a face. Blind, but all-seeing. Silent. Implacable. The Grumble would love him.