Maybe I’ll Catch Fire

Three years ago today is the anniversary of the phone call I got informing me my house was burning down.

That early morning conversation that woke me from a restful slumber is still vivid in my memory. The sight of flames engulfing my house, the smell of charred wood and the sound of the firefighters calling to one another as they sprayed water over every inch of the structure.


Then the one room untouched by the fire was robbed as we stood outside the house with the insurance adjuster after taking a brief walkthrough. The thief got away with a laptop and tv that were in the back bedroom. A sign of how low some people really are.

A few hours after that smoke started coming out of the roof line, apparently the firefighters hadn’t fully put out the fire and it has been smouldering along the roofline the entire time. By the time they arrived again there were open flames visible in a gaping hole in the roof. They were extra thorough the second time, every inch of the main floor and second level were covered in flame retardant foam. Every window smashed, every appliance previously undamaged was knocked over and destroyed. Nothing but the untouched boiler in the basement could be salvaged now. Total loss.


It was the epitome of a Halloween trick. A punk kid who was pissed we called the cops on him after he stole a car so he lit something on fire and threw it through our mail slot and into a pile of flammable junk mail next to oil based primer and some couches on our enclosed front porch. At least that’s what we think happened, they didn’t really try to investigate very much, they wanted husband to say he was smoking on the front porch or something and they seemed annoyed when he wouldn’t agree to lie.

Luckily the sound of the paint cans exploding woke husband from his slumber in the back bedroom, that and the plastic vapor barrier he’d put up in front of the bedroom door saved his life or he would have died from smoke inhalation long before the flames got him.

No one ever took the blame for this and I couldn’t even tell you if the investigation was ever closed out because we are never told anything when it comes to things like this. I just know that each Halloween this has become the predominant memory that stands out in my mind.

Happy Halloween, stay safe today.



Halloween Hysteria

First it was the threat of strangers snatching up your kids, then it was razor blades in the candy, now…well now the newest Halloween outrage (at least in my general area) is all about how a woman from the Fargo/Moorhead area is planning on refusing candy to certain kids she deems obese and instead giving out notes to the “fat” kids telling their parents to do better and modify their children’s diets to help them get their weight under control instead of sending them out to get more unhealthy edibles. I am all for more parents instilling good eating habits in their children, however handing a small kid a note telling them they appear to weigh too much to deserve a Snickers bar while their svelte friend is loading up on sweets isn’t going to convince anyone of anything other than that lady is an insensitive boob.

There is a better way strange lady and it doesn’t involve a passive aggressive note.

Homemade Fake Flesh

I had heard that you could use gelatin combined with makeup to create your own homemade fake flesh to use when attempting to transform yourself into the walking dead. In my normal style I failed to pay attention to a crucial step in the process, namely that being not to use very much water when you mix the gelatin or it will not achieve the desired texture when heated. Instead I made the gelatin according to the instructions on the gelatin package. Later when I went to heat up my very fleshy looking gelatin it immediately turned to water after a couple of seconds in the microwave. I didn’t have the time or resources to create a new batch (once I referenced the tip and realized my mistake) so I did what I always do and I improvised. I know that you can thicken things with flour so I added flour to my liquid gelatin until it became thicker. I refrigerated it for about 30 minutes and then spooned some out and microwaved it for about 15 seconds. I slathered it all over my face and used a hair dryer for a couple of minutes to speed up the drying process. Once the fake flesh was dry I put a thin layer of liquid latex over it and when that had dried I had super amazing craggy, wrinkled flesh that felt like real flesh. I was able to create wounds with realistic looking depth and even used it to make the end of my nose appear to be rotted away. I later made a batch according to the actual directions (four packets of gelatin to 3/4 cup water) and it made fake flesh but I realized my gelatin flour concoction produced better “dead” flesh results than the gelatin alone. I think next time I need to “zombie-up” I may tint the fake flesh a greenish gray instead of skin colored to save time on makeup application. Also another added bonus to the flour flesh is that the very inside layer doesn’t dry all the way so you don’t have as much trouble with pulling out all your facial hair or eyebrows when you go to pull the stuff off your face. I was able to take it all off with one quick shower.