cultural and non-fiction and Weird01 Jul 2013 08:00 am

Cthulhu, Higgs-Boson, Morgan le Fay, Triangulation, Orc, Baba Yaga, Schmendrick the Magician, Kraken: These are all things you can smell like.

See the following description from one of my favorite indie perfume oil sites,

Modesty Cod: The awkward thing about Renaissance Faires is– no, it’s not the people walking around in Starfleet uniforms with tricorders, and how dare you judge my parents. It’s groins. Groins in tights. You know what I’m talking about. Is that guy even wearing underwear under those? Oh god, stop staring, he’ll see you staring.

Most of us are not, ah, exposed to a plethora of foreign groins on a daily basis, and it can be a little intimidating. Luckily, the codpiece exists as an even more obvious crotch thing that it’s totally okay to look at, because that’s what they’re for. You’re supposed to admire a nice cod. They’re stuffed and exaggerated to make fashion statements, and statements about wealth, and nice fabrics, and David Bowie in Labyrinth.

Mmm. David Bowie. …What was I saying? Oh, right. Groins. Stuffing. Modesty! So anyway, we made a scent devoted to the mighty, nay, the noble codpiece.
A delicious, sensual fragrance with some green and wood and sexy in it. Look at my cod, this says. My cod is amazing.

OK, so think about that wonderful piece of writing for a moment. What are they selling? There is a brief mention of fragrance on the last paragraph, but almost no description. What does it smell like? Do you care? Hell, I didn’t. I bought it. What they are saying here is “We are your tribe. We are one of you. You want to buy our stuff because you would really like us if we were hanging out with you.” Mmmm. David Bowie…

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Weird31 Oct 2012 06:47 pm

Saute an chopped onion in some butter. To me, a soup recipe should always start with onion in butter, and then add something, anything, it doesn’t really matter. But for this soup, you’re going to add pork. I don’t know how much pork, as much as you have.  You would be hard pressed to add too much.  Cut the pork into cubes and brown it in the butter with the onion.  Then add water to cover, a teaspoon or two of salt, and bring to a boil.  Add a can or two of pumpkin.  No, I can’t be more specific, you have to see if the stew is thick enough. I suppose it’s better if you have some wonderful pumpkin left over from your carving, but pumpkins good for carving and pumpkins good for cooking don’t always overlap. Besides, one of the messages of Samhain is that life is short, and so we are going to use canned pumpkin.

Add maple syrup, pomegranate juice, and bourbon. If you know your ancestors’ brand of bourbon, get that. The bourbon adds a nice flavor to the stew, but I use it because my ancestors have always liked it and it brings them around. I used about a quarter cup of maple syrup and bourbon and a half cup of pomegranate juice but since I didn’t measure the pork I started off with, that probably doesn’t mean much to you. Use as much as you like.  Lower the heat and simmer for an hour or two or three, or until you’re ready to eat.  This stew can cook for days.  You will see the ancestors gathering around after a while, sniffing the air and gossiping. Just before serving, sprinkle a handful of pomegranate seeds in the bowl so they will still be crisp.

Serve with a side of starch, potatoes or bread or rice.  Serve your family, and make sure to leave a big bowl for the rest of your family, the ones who are gone that you usually don’t see.  Tell stories about them, and wait for them to break in to correct you.  Listen to what they have to tell you. Love them and remember them.

the arts and Weird14 Feb 2011 05:57 pm

monster inspired by JoCo's Skullcrusher Mountain

Looking for something hugely fun and interactive for a party? Try a Monster Mash — cut up bunches of stuffed animals and recombine them into monsters. Plush fabric is pretty forgiving, so you don’t have to sew well to make your monsters work. Mimi Noyes has been running these for a while for house parties on the west coast and at Norwescon every year. I got to enjoy one at Arisia this year at one of her east coast visits.  She suggests using three stuffed animals per monster on average.  Trying to use more monsters can work, but often just leads to a jumble.  Make sure that you have a lot of variety to start off with, more than just teddy bears and bunnies.  Things with tails and wings and horns are good.  Mimi has set up a livejournal community at if you’d like to see more of these.  If you have your own Monster Mash party, add it to Mimi’s page so we can all share, and please comment here so we can see it.

I combined a gorilla, puppy, and elephant to get Loverboy.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the red heart on the tip of his tail, I show him with the only cute couple around, my daughter Alice and her young man. When I made Loverboy, I was tempted to put the elephant face on the other side to make it obscene, but I showed restraint.

Here are some process photos of the carnage… I’m particularly fond of the decapitated heads.

monster carnage

Works in Progress

Leftover Body Parts

Leftover Body Parts

Monster Heads

Oh my god, the heads....