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There are 317 days in August

Giant Paper Mache PumpkinsAsk any parent waiting for the first day of school.

Summer, while not yet officially over, and seemingly unwilling to leave the premises without a police escort, is nevertheless finally winding down. Shadows grow bold and come out a little earlier each day. This is their time to sniff the air, check the alarm clock, strrrretch, and roll over for another catnap.

The aromas of baking asphalt, grape soda, earthworms, fresh tomatoes, and hot canvas will be gone soon and followed by the unmistakable fragrance of a freshly sharpened pencil, new sneakers, and old library books.

School’s in session, and we’re gearing up to teach a series of paper mache classes that begins on September 16.
Grue the zombie enjoys daisiesAnyone living in the Indyucky (Kentuckiana) area who is interested in attending must register before the September 10 deadline. Clarksville Parks & Recreation is hosting the class and handling registrations.

Classes will be 6:00PM-8:00PM on Sept 16, 23, 30, and Oct 7.

In this 8hr course, we’ll start with the basics, explore paper clay that you make yourself, and then tackle giant Jack-O-Lanterns, gargoyles, and more.

GrumbleFor more info…
Clarksville Parks & Rec “Things to Do”
Registration Form

Note: We’re third down on the list, so make sure you’re signing up for the right class. I know almost nothing about belly dancing.

Preservation through self-embalming: Step 1…

Free snacks & embalmingThere’s really nothing like a cool, damp, gray Saturday morning spent nosing through boxes of dusty relics at an outdoor auction. The coffee-flavored air tells dozens of little stories of excitement, disappointment, victory.

It was neither gray, nor cool, two Saturdays ago at the Shrader Funeral Home in New Albany where folks gathered (closely) for a very special estate auction. “Flavored” is an accurate, if unfortunate, word to describe the still air as temperatures remained in the brutally hot top-rafters-of-the-hay-barn range.

Patented 1903 - The Embalmer's Supply Co.Mrs. Spookyblue and I, Although dehydrated and toasted like a couple of campfire marshmelons,

“Well, I’ll be damned. A marsh melon.” *

walked away with (staggered, actually) this vintage embalmer’s table. Its stainless steel top and cast iron base weigh in at roughly a VW Beetle, but it looks really cool.

In its upright position with all the mechanicals underneath, this thing reminds me of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab table. Some penetrating oil is all that was needed to free up the mechanisms. I have no idea the most efficient way to safely remove the years of paint layered over everything. How much lead can one absorb before renting himself out as a dental X-ray smock?

Layers of paint over cast ironIn any case, someday this will make a fine buffet table.

* One of the few memorable highlights from “Star Trek V”
Kirk: What are you doing?
Spock: I am preparing to toast a marsh melon.
McCoy: Well, I’ll be damned. A marsh melon. Where’d you learn to do that?
Spock: Before leaving the ship, I consulted the computer library to familiarize myself with the customs associated with “camping out.”
McCoy: Well, tell me, Spock. What do you do after we toast the marsh – er, marsh melons?
Spock: We consume them.
McCoy: I know we consume them. I mean after that.
Spock: Oh. I believe we are required to engage in a ritual known as the “singalong.”

It’s a trap

 Bowl a perfect score and you get to keep your soul.
Haunted Skee Ball

The Ambush Arcade at Snug Harbor is getting an overhaul. This project has been brewing for some time, but it officially hatched the day after I stumbled over (literally) an excellent deal on a dozen or so boxes of vinyl VCT floor tile. Never be afraid to investigate the drearier, dustier corners of your local flea market. But wear shin guards.

We ripped up the carpet last week. After the concrete is prepped, I’ll start putting down the tile. You’re so ugly, whenever you go to the beach, cats try to bury you!

Experimenting with different patterns is fun, and I’m envisioning Space Invaders marching across the floor. I just haven’t figured out the best way to cut out the shapes. That CNC machine I keep dreaming about would be perfect for the job.

One evening last week, whilst I was locking up for the night, I had to pause and appreciate just how creepy the room looked with everything gone.

Von Charon Productions

'Psychosurgical Coat' - Von Charon Productions
Picture a lunatic doctor with glowing spectacles, elbow-length black rubber gloves, and a “vee haff vays uff makkink zshyou tolk” accent.

Now button him up in a “Psychosurgical Coat” from Von Charon Productions and then try to get it back without a crowbar.

We met the Von Charons, Tom and Anita, at Indy Haunt Fest in Indianapolis, and they were as friendly and hospitable as their products are creepy and unsettling.

If you’re in charge of outfitting the staff and clientele for your local haunted asylum this year, it would be worth the time to look at Von Charon’s “Insane Ensemble” haunt costumes. Each piece is made, according to designer and chief fabricator, Tom, “from the first cut of fabric to the last stitch by yours-truly, right in our own little shop of horrors.”

“These are not your average home haunt costumes,” Tom said. “They are designed and constructed of materials that will be comfortable and still stand up to the nightly abuse given them by professional haunt actors. Our restraint jackets are NOT fetish wear and are completely escapable.”'Relapse Jacket' - Von Charon Productions

Curious about what inspired Tom’s work, I asked where he got his ideas.

“True story … one of my earliest childhood memories was that of being trampled by two guys in a cow suit on trick-or-treat night. I can still recall being amazed and terrified at an age before I could even comprehend what that meant. I was two years old.”

You still wake up sometimes, don’t you, Tom? You wake up in the dark and hear the cows.

In any case, these costumes look great, and the folks at Von Charon really couldn’t be nicer. Discriminating psychopathic doctors wouldn’t be caught dead -and mutilated by their deranged patients- wearing anything else.

Proofreader: Are you sure it’s a good idea to poke fun about the cows?
S. Blue: He won’t come after me. He would consider that rude.