Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Construction of the Haunted House

I teased you with this last time, and here it is: the MASSIVE and AMAZING Haunted House! At over 2000 pieces, this is far and away the biggest Lego set I've ever owned. Nearly all the ones I had when I was a kid were dinky little $5 sets; I couldn't even dream of getting something like this back then! Cindy wanted to help, so we put on a succession of classic horror movies and spent the next eight hours building!

Here are all the parts! I didn't count exactly how many bags of parts the box contained, but it was around twenty.

The three instruction books...

... and the decals.

First floor done!

Some interior rooms. Note the ship in the bottle.

Two floors down!

Completed! A couple of days later, I modified the top so that it can spin, based on a suggestion I saw somewhere on the web. I had actually been looking for ideas for a weathervane, but came across that and liked the idea.

One side of the attic. I friggin' love that it has a Victrola!

Yeah, it's a pretty nice house, but can it really be called a home with no coffins? (Note the mid-day snack in the jar next to the bed.)

Make sure you squeeze all the flavor out of that spice serpent! (The organ is an original creation I whipped up a few weeks earlier.)

The entry room and staircase.

A little office area, complete with desk and stationary!

"Here's a little number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean..."

Here's the hearse. As a potential future project, I want to build a garage for it in a matching style.

Brick-Ho-Tep swings by for a visit.

Gill Man and Scarecrow hanging out next to the tree, in which dwells...

... the Wolf Man! The tree is significantly modified from its normal version, and I'll mod it further as I acquire more branch and "leaf" pieces.

"I bid you welco-- RARRRGH! FIRE BAAAAAADD!!!!"

Cindy was sold as soon as she saw that it had this widow's walk! Love the zombie faces carved into the columns.

Full shot of the house, with Man-Bat stopping by to hang out.

Yeti in the ice cave I whipped up for him. If you look closely, you may be able to see the dismembered Lego body parts he's been snacking on in the cave behind him.

The spire, post-modding. It's pretty cool to spin it and watch the ghosts swirl around the witch.

The mad scientist hanging out by the porch, possibly drinking a urine sample.

Sweet liquor eases the Frankenstein Monster's pain.

Full shot, with all minifgs added.

These are the minifigs that actually came with the house(there were two ghosts). Cindy is holding them; my nails are not that fabulous.

Circa 1931

I can say without a shred of doubt that, of all the Lego sets I've lusted after over the years, this one is my favorite. I'm very glad that I got back into the Lego addiction in time to get it before it's discontinued and the price skyrockets. (Seriously, if you wanna invest some money with no risk, buy some of these. They'll be going for 2 or 3 times the retail price in a couple of years. Lego sets are never worth less than you pay for them, provided you get them at or below retail.)

The Haunted House occupies a place of honor in the house, and will be the centerpiece of my Halloween decorations in the years to come. I'd still like to get the castle that is part of the Monster Fighters line, but if and when I do, it won't displace the Haunted House. This thing is simply amazing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Falling Back into Lego: A Tale of Addiction

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook have surely noticed that I've become hooked on Lego again the past few months. The movie apparently recaptured many people, but I had actually become ensnared a few months earlier. Like most people, I had been bitten by the Lego bug when I was a kid. Even when I started buying stuff like action figures again as an adult, I resisted buying Lego stuff because I was well aware that it's a bottomless pit of hellish addiction. The very nature of Lego means that every little thing you can get integrates with everything you already have, so even sets you may not be interested in are still tempting simply because of all the parts you can add to your existing collection. So, for years, I stayed strong. I even resisted the Lego Batman line, reasoning that I already had so much Batman stuff that I simply didn't need Lego-fied versions of it all. My will grew shaky when I saw things like this, but I managed to stay strong and resist temptation.

Then, last year in Target, I saw this.

Just an innocuous, innocent little thing. And only $7, which made it ever so easy to impulse buy. I let out a deep sigh when I saw it. I knew then and there that I was back in, because there was no way I was walking out of there without it. And this thing isn't a one-off deal, it's part of an entire line of classic monster-themed sets.

So, over the next few months, I wound up getting this.

Then this.

And this, which I simply adore.

Then this thing, which I got for a very nice price on ebay since it only included the train itself(which was all I wanted, I already had all the minifigs from other sets, and could do without the plane).

Then the  topper, the king of them all, THIS. (Cindy included for scale.)

It deserves its own post. You'll get it in a few days.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Poetry Month: Solomon Kane's Homecoming

In observation of National Poetry Month, I present one of my favorites: Solomon Kane's Homecoming, by Robert E. Howard. Even if you loathe poetry, read it. It's awesome.

The white gulls wheeled above the cliffs, the air was slashed with foam,
The long tides moaned along the strand when Solomon Kane came home.
He walked in silence strange and dazed through the little Devon town;
His gaze, like a ghost’s come back to life, roamed up the streets and down.

The people followed wonderingly to mark his spectral stare,
And in the tavern silently they thronged about him there.
He heard as a man hears in a dream the worn old rafters creak,
And Solomon lifted his drinking-jack and spoke as a ghost might speak:

“There sat Sir Richard Grenville once; in smoke and flame he passed.
And we were one to fifty-three, but we gave them blast for blast.
From crimson dawn to crimson dawn, we held the Dons at bay.
The dead lay littered on our decks, our masts were shot away.

“We beat them back with broken blades, till crimson ran the tide;
Death thundered in the cannon smoke when Richard Grenville died.
We should have blown her hull apart and sunk beneath the Main.”
The people saw upon his wrist the scars of the racks of Spain.

“Where is Bess?” said Solomon Kane. “Woe that I caused her tears.”
“In the quiet churchyard by the sea she has slept these seven years.”
The sea-wind moaned at the window-pane, and Solomon bowed his head.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and the fairest fade,” he said.

His eyes were mystical deep pools that drowned unearthly things,
And Solomon lifted up his head and spoke of his wanderings.
“Mine eyes have looked on sorcery in dark and naked lands,
Horror born of the jungle gloom and death on the pathless sands.

"And I have known a deathless queen in a city old as Death,
Where towering pyramids of skulls her glory witnesseth.
Her kiss was like an adder’s fang, with the sweetness Lilith had,
And her red-eyed vassals howled for blood in that City of the Mad.

"And I have slain a vampire shape that drank a black king white,
And I have roamed through grisly hills where dead men walked at night.
And I have seen heads fall like fruit in a slaver’s barracoon,
And I have seen winged demons fly all naked in the moon.

"My feet are weary of wandering and age comes on apace;
I fain would dwell in Devon now, forever in my place.”
The howling of the ocean pack came whistling down the gale,
And Solomon Kane threw up his head like a hound that sniffs the trail.

A-down the wind like a running pack the hounds of the ocean bayed,
And Solomon Kane rose up again and girt his Spanish blade.
In his strange cold eyes a vagrant gleam grew wayward and blind and bright,
And Solomon put the people by and went into the night.

A wild moon rode the wild white clouds, the waves in white crests flowed,
When Solomon Kane went forth again, and no man knew his road.
They glimpsed him etched against the moon, where clouds on hilltop thinned;
They heard an eerie echoed call that whistled down the wind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nightmare Escapade is now available on Smashwords!

My first book, Nightmare Escapade: A Horror Anthology, is now available via Smashwords! Your purchase of the book gives you access to it in various formats, so it'll work on most any electronic device you may have, including your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Ipad, smartphone, etc. You can get it right here! Of course, if you prefer to get a physical copy of the book, you can always order the trade paperback here, and get the Kindle version for free!

Just for fun, here's a screenshot of Nightmare Escapade on the Smashwords front page: