I know it’s supposed to be Blogophilia tonight, but between one thing and another I’m not done yet. I have two of the prompts worked into the story (a continuation of last week’s) but haven’t made the third yet, so I’ll have to do that tomorrow.
Today was one of those one thing and another days. I had company (which I enjoyed, might I add), had to cook, pokemoned for about 45 minutes extra just because it’s the start of the Equinox event (more ice and fire types and extra XP), etc etc. so I didn’t get a lot done. There’s always tomorrow, I guess.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my fun AR shots I took tonight. AR – Augmented Reality – is what the pokemon game is built around; the idea that reality has been added to – aka with the pokemon that pop up in real world places. They have a cool feature that let’s you play that way, or just take photos. I haven’t done much with the photos in the past, but I’ve decided to try to get some fun ones because while catching a pidgey may not be exciting, taking a photo of a pidgey perched on a tree would be a lot of fun.
Taking a shot is actually a bit challenging because you have zero control over where the pokemon shows up in the screen. And it isn’t a matter of, “Oh, he’s at the bottom, so he’ll stay there when I lift my phone up.” No, he stays rooted where he is, as though he was *really* there, and if you move your phone too far he just disappears off frame. SO a lot depends on where your phone is aimed when you switch to AR mode, and then it’s still a matter of getting it lined up by changing your angle, and… anyway, it’s a “thing”.
Also, I mentioned dinner? We had Native tacos, which are so, so good!
Oh, and hubby said the soap from yesterday’s remelt blog worked just fine. he compared it to sandpaper, in fact, so maybe fewer coffee grounds next time. Then again, maybe the sandpaper is a good thing.
And now I am heading to bed and will write more tomorrow. I also need to get my party stuff worked on for Saturday.
Have a pulling Pikachu’s tale at Walmart kinda day!
Continuing the thankfulness thing, yesterday I was grateful that my soap worked.
Awhile ago I ordered some amazing soap from Bubbles Bubble Soap (Click the link, like the page, but know she’s not making new orders until fall.) Among the order was some lovely coffee soap. I’ve been careful and dragged out my bars of Coffee Soap (which I use only on my face) and so have just enough to last me until she starts making them again-
Or I did.
Then hubby inadvertently tried my coffee soap and found out that it takes all the carbon off of him from work. In a week he’s used almost half a bar.
Oh heeeeeeeaaaaaaal no!
So I checked online to buy some from someone else (to give to HIM) but it’s like 5$ a bar plus S&H and as fast as he is going through mine… yeah. That could add up fast. So I looked into making it myself. The idea of messing with lye scared me a bit. I’m not a careful, exacting person. I’m a chef, not a baker. I slop things, I don’t measure, you get the idea.
Then I found the remelt method wherein you’re not making soap, but just personalizing it. It looked a lot cheaper (2$ worth of soap from the dollar store) and a lot safe (no explosions) so that’s what I tried.
I got the initial instructions from Whole New Mom, though her instructions are for any kind of soap, not just coffee. She also calls for unscented, natural, blah, blah soap. Did I mention I got two bars from the dollar store? I just went for the least scented that they had, since we don’t care about making it a certain scent.
So how does this work, exactly? First, if you want coffee soap, you need coffee grounds. I saved them for a few days, because I’m the only one who drinks coffee in my house.
You want used coffee grounds, so the internet tells me, because new ones will “leech”.
On the day if, you’ll want to prepare whatever you’re molding in. The article suggested a loaf pan, but mine are huge, so I ended up using two mini loaf pans lined in wax paper.I tried pressing coffee grounds into the bottom to make the soap look pretty – and it did sort of work, but I don’t know that I’d bother again. Oh, I might.
Now, before you can melt your soap, you have to shave it. The site suggested a cheese grater. This worked well, but it took awhile and left some little chunks. You could probably just chop your soap up, though those chunks didn’t melt as well as the flakes did.
Some time later….
You can see the chunks I mentioned in the photo. Anyway, then you put the soap flakes in a double boiler to melt. If you’re like me, you don’t have a double boiler, so it means you have to put a smaller sauce pan inside a bigger one. Be careful – the water pops up around the edges a bit and could burn you.
Add 2 oz of liquid (I used coffee, of course!), then heat this over low/medium heat (depending on how hot your stove is (mine is super hot). Stir this for awhile and it will start to melt.
Keep stirring and eventually it will totally melt. The article said you’d have a lumpy, translucent substance. I had a creamy, pudding-like texture instead (probably because I melted a different soap than they suggested using). Anyway, when it was all melted I dumped in about three tablespoons of coffee grounds:
Stirred well, and divided between my two loaf pans:
I did sprinkle the last of the grounds on top, but it wasn’t very thick.
In about half an hour the soap had hardened enough I could pull it out of the pan and it held its shape.
It was pretty moist, so I let it sit overnight (as several “real soap making” articles talked about letting the moisture evaporate out, i assumed this is along the same lines, but very truncated.) Then, today, I cut it up:
I wrapped all but one up in individual pieces of wax paper and stuck them in a ziplock baggy for storage.
So, how does it work?
I have no idea. Hubby had to call in today because the truck wouldn’t start and he had to fix it. That means he didn’t get any carbon on him to test it with. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.
And now I suppose I should post this and head to bed. I got some photos edited the last two days that I will share tomorrow or the day after. Tomorrow is actually Blogophilia night, though I want to showcase my cool new art dolls, so we’ll see what ends up where.
Have a melty soap kinda day!
PS – Last night’s axe murder house photo is worth sharing (note the cool blue glow – there were people staying the night):
And the brother has a magician vibe going:
Yesterday hubby and I did our weekly grocery shopping. It was a sunny day:
We went to several places, including the restore where we picked up a couple of ceiling fans, Menards where I finally got a couple of trellises, and we tried Freddy’s (who has frozen custard and steak burgers! I didn’t try a burger but their hot dog was really good!).
I insisted on some pokemon time, but he didn’t want to go back to Omaha, so instead we hit up the Baylis Park area. Normally we just drive around it, but the fountain was working and lit up, so we stopped and I took a bazillion pictures of it because it changes color!!
There’s also a cool gazebo thing there:
Everything is squirrel themed, though I have no idea why. Something to google I guess.
Anyway, I was thankful yesterday for getting to play around the fountain. The wind was blowing the spray around in a fine mist, and I really enjoyed hopping around in it, squealing, and hopping away and such. Like a toddler in the sprinkler. It was a lot of fun.
And now I need to go hand wash my dishes because our dishwasher died. Yeah. Already. Hubby thinks it is the motor. Not happy about it, but I’m pretty sure the warranty is over (we’ve had it for just over two years.). Something else to look into, though.
Have a playing in the fountain kinda day!
The horror movie The Axe Murders of Villisca has finally migrated to Netflix where I managed to watch it the other day. Living in Villisca, here’s my official review.
If you don’t know, there was a famous axe murder in Villisca in 1912 (So shocking it knocked the sinking of the Titanic out of the headlines). While the Moore’s were sleeping, an unknown assailant murdered the husband, wife, and three children with the blunt side of an axe (to really rub it in, it was their own dull axe, used for chopping coal up.) The killer also slayed the two little Stillinger girls who were staying the night (The family had been to a church function called Children’s Night that evening and the girls lived out in the country and did’t want to walk all the way home in the dark, plus one assumes they were friends with the Moore children – weirdly no one ever bothers to mention that angle.) Though there were lots of suspects, lots of finger pointing, and even trials, to this day no one knows who committed the murders, or why. A priest, dubbed “the little minister”, who was visiting Villisca at the time (and in fact spent that night in my aunt and uncle’s house) confessed to the crimes, but was found innocent. Another prime suspect was the senator’s son, and even the senator himself (having hired someone). Adding to it the whole fracas were several weird details, such as the mirrors in the house all being covered, the fact that all but one Stillinger girl was found with the face bashed in (heads covered) but laying in bed, as if sleeping, and of course the bacon (though I’ve since read an article that offers a disturbing idea about it), and the sloppy investigation. Half the town had walked through the crime scene before police ever got there, and people took home souvenirs, including chunks of the dead people’s skulls. The house (Three blocks from me) is now a tourist/paranormal location where you can pay 10$ a piece for a day tour (I’ve done this), or a lot, lot more and stay the night (I inadvertently was in there for several hours one night, but that’s another story). If you google it you can find a lot on the house, the history, and all the rest.
Now that you know the basics, on to the movie!
The Axe Murders of Villisca begins with a quick flash of the past, showing the “little minster” as the killer, and from there hops forward to modern day in the small town of Maryville, Iowa (which I don’t think exists.) It’s fun to note that most of the town shots for Maryville, and later Villisca, are all actually Villisca. (More on that later). We meet our two main stars, Denny, a gay teenager who has graduated school last year, and his best friend Caleb who, for whatever reason, is finishing school up late – this October day is his last, where he will earn his GED.
At the school, we meet the girl of the group, Jess, a Chicago teen who has moved to small town Iowa. Not sure how long she has lived there, but it was long enough to date – and have sex with – the local jock, who then uploaded the video of them online. Of course she is shamed and made fun of for it. Caleb defends her to a jerky bully who has apparently made a career of picking on him and his best friend as well, and school ends.
This is when we find out that Caleb is moving to Omaha now that he has his GED. As a last hurrah, his best friend Denny, one half of the so-called Marryville paranormal society, has planned a trip to “nearby” Villisca. As they’re leaving, Jess shows up (on advice from her friend) and ends up tagging along. To some the scene may seem contrived, but I remember teenagedom well, and some of the weird places I ended up going because of a cute guy, so I bought it completely. By this point there has been some good character development, and some hints that the boys have dark pasts/secrets as well. There’s also an underlying hint that Denny has a crush on Caleb – which gets touched on a bit later but then sadly falls by the wayside.
They get to Villisca, where they get a day tour of a sprawling, huge Victorian house (aka a stand in for the real, and very small house.) The tour ends abruptly when the tour guide’s wife goes a bit batty over Jess touching a piece of candy (going so far as to scream, “You didn’t touch anything?” which gave me the impression that this act of touching that candy is what brought the evil to life and why it suddenly manifests when it obviously has not done so since 1912.)
Kicked out and disappointed, Jess suggests they break in after dark to finish their tour, which they do, by going through the cellar. Playing with their phones, Jess posts a pic of her and Caleb to instagram, which our bully boys (who are parked somewhere getting high) see via their instagrams, which then leads them to head to the house to cause trouble. Meanwhile, at the house the other three set up a seance.
Now from here things start to get a little watery. We find out the secret of the boys’ dark pasts. Caleb helped his father rob a convenience store where someone was shot, and Denny’s parents died in a car crash that he survived. We get to see the ghost of the littlest Stillinger girl (which I thought looked pretty good) but, as it goes along towards the climax, it kind of forgets all that character development – well, doesn’t forget it, but doesn’t give us any of the payoff for it. Which feels a bit like the first 2/3 was written carefully, really developed, and then the ending was sort of rushed. (I did read that they had to redo some of the script because of another movie that came out that was “similar” – don’t know that this is true – so perhaps that’s where the disconnect comes from.)
As far as horror movies, it was good. No “found footage” – which was nice (those are getting old) – good acting, good sets, good makeup. I wasn’t particularly scared anywhere, but then I rarely am (except for Lights Out. Long story.) I think there were a couple of jump spots that I flinched at, though. Nothing that made me cover my eyes over gore, but I find that a plus. Gore can be great but so often it is overused. Their mythos is present from early on in the film, though in a more subtle classic horror kind of way and not overly explained as a lot of modern movies do (A mention that the area used to be a native American graveyard for the insane reasons that the murders took place back in 1912 because that the land was already possessed by crazy evil spirits that could not find rest, and so these spirits possessed the minister who was a lecherous man and had come to see the older Stillinger girl – and had brought her a piece of candy like the one the girl touched in the display. This same evil is what posses our teenagers and makes them try to kill themselves and each other.).
All in all, as a family vote, it got a four star rating from us.
Of nitpicky variety though are three things:
1) they didn’t use the real house – BUT this could be for several reasons. The real house is small, so I don’t know that they could have had the same plot without all the extra rooms, and certainly not without the connecting cellar (though they could have used the house fro a straight on front exterior shot and then done whatever the heck they wanted for an interior, letting you believe the house was narrow but long.) There’s also a chance they couldn’t get permission to use the house, which would be no fault of their’s, so I wouldn’t discount any points from my rating for that.
2) They leave for Villisca AFTER school. The girl has had time to go home, get on her laptop and skype her friend. It has to be getting on to 4pm. They then drive to Villisca, take the tour, and leave, all in daylight. It gets dark here in October at 5pm. No way would they still have sunlight. Again, this is a silly, picky thing that I wouldn’t take any points off for either.
3) They do not show my house! How unfair is this? They show lots of things around me, for instance:
This is two blocks down from us.
That’s the church at the end of our block – it’s also a Pokemon gym. If you look up the street, you can see a light pole. That light pole is on my corner in front of my house. The very square white house next to the church that you can see is two houses down from me.
This is at the other end of my block. We call this Eggsecute corner (as we often catch Eggsecute pokemon there).
This is behind our block (that yard and tree on the left are from the house pictured above). But, the real kicker is…
This is across the street!!! This is the neighbor’s house that gave us cucumbers and cookies! Had they just filmed from the passenger side of the car they’d have had us – but nooooooooooo! And why not? Just because our paint looked shabby? Huh? Huh? Huh?
Here are a few of the other Villisca locations in the movie:
The train overpass – as in the train passes over and cars go down in a very dark tunnel (where my magic shoes came from).
Our “embargoed” bridge – it’s very sad that it is embargoed, but being in a movie has cheered it up considerably.
The grain bins.
There were a few other quick shots, but you get the idea, anyway. Honestly, I think it is beyond cool that they used shots of the real town in the movie. I’ve never seen a movie before and thought “OMG! I’ve been there!” let alone know things about the actual locations. As I commented on another post elsewhere, I know a lot of older Villiscans are unhappy that we’re famous for an axe murder, but I say embrace it. Not like there’s much else bringing people here. (Watch the movie – the part where they say everyone is dead pretty much shows all of main street on it – though the school they show is not here. I have no idea where it’s at, though it does look weirdly familiar.)
Anyway, as I mentioned, for a horror movie, there’s not a lot of gore, mainly because the movie is NOT about the axe murders. It is about the contemporary story unfolding. The axe murders are just a sort of backdrop that show that the evil struck once before. I understand that initially the film was just called Villisca, and though I get why they changed it, I think they’d have been better off to leave it. The unfortunate title of The Axe Murders of Villisca makes audiences expect it to have a lot more to do with the murders themselves than it does. In fact, the house has a bigger role than the murders do.
All in all, it’s worth a watch, just don’t expect a lot on the murders themselves or you will be disappointed.
Have a Your-Town-In-A-Movie kinda day!
Yesterday i watched the Axe Murders of Villisca. I had planned to a review but I’m tired, so I’ll do it tomorrow.
Today I was thankful for game time with hubby and the bro. We played Smashup, a fun game Jonathan introduced us to:
I had Ninja Dinosaurs, which while effective did not have the cards I wanted. (The game is played by choosing two factions such as Zombies and Robots, and smashing them up – hence the name – so you have Zombots. Or in my case, Ninjasaurs.)
Anyway, I was in a bad mood today (I had several rants on FB even) so hubby let me win. Of course he can’t admit he let me or it takes away from it, but I’m pretty sure he did.
In other news the squirrels were crazy here. I should have come in and got my Nikon but I had no idea it was going to last so long. They were busy chasing each other and I got super close to them.
They were making a ton of noise. if you’ve never heard squirrels, here’s your chance:
I tried to live stream in the middle but the quality was low, so I switched back:
And now I am headed to bed.
Have a winning game kinda day!
It’s time again for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where Martien gives users prompts to use in their weekly blogs. This weeks prompts are:
Last week we wrapped up the honeymoon story in a looooong post. This week I’m starting Tales from the Executioners: Cyprus. I had hoped to do the whole thing on one swoop, but I spent too much time working on new covers for older stories, so I didn’t get it done. Oh well. Shorter blog for the three people who read it.
Cyprus looked over the note; chocolate eyes rereading his own slanted handwriting. The introduction was short, followed by a poem:
My lady of light, in darkness I dwell without you,
Black shadows paint the walls of my prison,
From this hell I want to get away, to our sweet escape,
And it ended there. He tapped the pencil against his lip and tried to think of a rhyme. Fizzen? Bizzen? Risen? It was a good line, and he hated to cut it. Maybe if he moved it around… A few quick erases and:
Black shadows paint the walls of my prison,
My lady of light, in darkness I dwell without you,
From this hell, I want to get away; our sweet escape,
To fly to your arms and there forever dwell.
“That has potential,” he mused to the empty room. But would she appreciate it? She’d glanced at the last with barley a comment before turning and running away.
True, but she didn’t hand it back, did she? And you saw the way her eyes warmed, like two pools of summer sky, and the way her cheeks tinted soft pink.
He leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. He was down to talking to himself about Sadihra because no one else wanted to listen.
Some friends I have.
As if summoned by his thoughts, a knock came on the door, followed by Lance’s voice, “It’s me.”
Cyprus dropped the pencil to the desk and pushed back. “It’s unlocked.”
Lance let himself inside. He closed the door and brushed invisible lint from his crimson uniform. “We have an assignment.” He stopped when he noticed the notebook open on the desk. “Please tell me that’s not another soppy love poem.”
“It’s not another soppy love poem,” Cyprus snapped as he quickly flipped it over and stood. “What assignment?”
Lance groaned. “Cyprus, she is with another man. She belongs to another man. Do you understand that? And the captain of the Scharfrichter, no less. Do you think she’s going to trade him in for a lowly guard? Face it. At almost two hundred years younger than him, and lower ranked, you have no chance.”
“So you keep saying.” Cyprus turned cold eyes on his friend. Despite the tidy uniform and polished boots, his dark wiry hair stood at odd angles, as though he’d recently run his hands through it. “What is the assignment.”
“Assignment? Oh! Right. We’ve been assigned to check out a complaint.”
“What else?” Cyprus asked sarcastically. “When do we leave? And who are they sending with us?”
Lance hesitated, and then admitted reluctantly, “Scharfrichterin Sadihra.”
Cyprus stiffen, then melted into a smile. That was serendipity.
“But you need to remain professional,” Lance warned. “If she complains about you…”
“She hasn’t yet,” Cyprus replied. “When do we leave?”
“Now. Get dressed, and make sure your boots are shined. Scharfrichter Wolfe is in charge of inspecting us before we leave. Since you’re trying to steal his woman, I’m sure he’s looking for any excuse to reprimand you.”
Not trying, Cyprus thought as he headed for the closet. I am stealing her. It just takes time.
Dressed, he followed Lance to the Scharfrichter office. Just as he’d warned, Wolfe was there, dark brown hair down to his shoulders and gray eyes like brittle flint waiting to spark a fire. Milkavich was already in place, standing at attention. Lance fell in next to him, and Cyprus took the spot on the end.
Wolfe flipped through a sheaf of paperwork. “There’s been a complaint filed, a local matter. You’ll accompany Scharfrichterinnen Sadihra and Jilsenna. I don’t expect any trouble. You should be back to the stronghold by bed time.” He dropped the stack of papers on the nearby desk and looked them over. “You.” He pointed to Milkavich, a smile playing at the corner of his mouth. “Your boots need shined.”
His mirth turned to something else when a woman walked through the door. Golden hair was pulled back in an intricate braid. A black sweater and dark trousers hugged her curvy figure, while red painted lips lit that fire in Wolfe’s flinty eyes.
Cyprus’ stomach tightened when he met Sadihra’s eyes. Manners said to drop his gaze, but he refused, even as Wolfe moved to put his arms around her and press a kiss to her cheek.
Wolfe noticed her distracted gaze and turned to find the object of her attention. He gave a Cyprus an amused once over, then turned back to Sadihra. “You’re sure you prefer to take your sister on this assignment?”
She tore her gaze from Cyprus and smiled at her boyfriend. “It’s nothing. The time away will do us good. We’d planned a woman’s day before this came up.”
“Yes. I can see you started on the makeup portion already.” He touched under her made up lips. “Red suits you.”
She flushed and stepped back, tugging at her clothes. “Jilsenna went ahead to requisition the vehicle.” She looked at the line of guards and away as quickly. “We should be back soon.”
“I know.” Wolfe caught her hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. “I’ll see you when you return. Safe travels, mein engel.”
Sadihra murmured a suitable reply and hurried out. Lance saluted, elbowing Cyprus with his free arm. He did the same, then the three marched out after the Scharfrichterin.
Milkavich made a point of walking next to Cyprus so he could whisper, “You’re welcome.” When Cyprus only cocked an eyebrow he mouthed, “I got you this assignment.”
Lance rolled his eyes and whispered, “He doesn’t need any more encouragement.”
“I know. But if you and I went with the Scharfrichterin without him…imagine his agony, not to mention the constant wringing us for details of her every word and move.”
Cyprus gave a grunt of disgust and walked faster, leaving them behind. Sometimes their ribbing felt good natured and he could laugh it off, but today it annoyed him.
He fell into step just behind Sadihra. Though she didn’t turn around, he saw the quick half turn of her head, the furtive glance back to see who her shadow was.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly is the complaint? No one’s bothered to tell me.”
“A coven in the country,” Sadihra said, attention still focused straight ahead. “They claim they were attacked. We are to assess the damage and see if their story checks out.”
“Attacked by other vampires?’ Cyprus asked. “If it’s such a simple assignment why are they sending two Scharfrichterinnen and three guards?”
“My sister asked to go along, as no doubt you did.”
Though blunt, the words held no rebuke, so he didn’t bother to correct her.
Sadihra’s sister Jilsenna waited in the garage with the black SUV. Though younger when she’d been turned, they both looked in their mid-twenties. Identical blonde hair was worn in a bun, and blue eyes, darker than Sadihra’s, flicked over them with amusement.
“I see your personal guard is here.”
Sadihra flushed and gave her sister a gentle shove. “Enough, Mausi.”
Jilsenna laughed, then her face turned serious as she addressed the guards. “The driver is ready. I assume Scharfrichter Wolfe explained our orders?”
After a round of nods, they climbed into the vehicle. Lance sat in the front with the driver, while Sadihra and Jilsenna took the middle seats, leaving Cyprus and Milkavich to jam into the back. He settled in as the SUV purred to life, his eyes boring a hoe into the back of Sadihra’s intricately woven hair. Had she done that herself? Had her sister? She’d mentioned a woman’s day. Did that mean playing with hair and makeup? Shopping? All those things women liked to do that men wanted out of? Or that most men wanted out of. If given the chance, he’d happily go shopping with her every day.
With a silent sigh, he watched out the window as Munich gave way to farmland. As Wolfe said, the den they were summoned to was barely ten minutes down country roads. A vampiress met them at the gate, wringing her hands and wailing. She detailed the previous night’s attack and insisted she had no idea who would want to harm them, or why.
Jilsenna nodded and finally broke away to “look around,” leaving Sadihra to deal with the vampiress’ distress.
“You,” Jilsenna motioned to Cyprus. “You can help me.”
Though he’d rather stay with Sadihra, he knew better than to say that, and followed her.
And that’s all she wrote for now. I’ll hopefully finish this next week.
Have a new cover kinda day!
Topic: Barbara Kausteklis
Bonus: Michael Todd & Poppy Ruth Silver
Picture: Tyler Myrth
Guesses: 1 – So tired. 2 – I can’t make it. 3 – If only my legs weren’t broken. 4 – rolling in the hay. 5 – afternoon nap 6 – taking a rest 7 – in the distance 8 – someone needs to mow 9 – Christina’s world 10- Crawling 11- Who left me out here?
Today I am grateful for receiving the first entry in the fan fiction event. Whoo hoo!! I haven’t had time to read all of it yet, but I enjoyed what I did read.
And now, you thought I forgot to bore you with flower photos. Ha ha! You were wrong!
In truth, the base pics were pretty bad ; harsh lighting because they were taken late in the day. So I thought, why correct it when I can tweak it? Using those snazzy overlays I bought a bit back, I embraced the sunset lighting scheme and enhanced it. I’m happy with the results.
And now, bed time.
Have a fan fiction kinda day!