Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They're Baaaack.... But Not to Cuddle!

Remember when your mother told you to be nice to your toys?

Sometimes, your toys remember these things. Including a line of plush bears called Teddy Scares.

It's a simple concept: forgotten teddy bears back from the dead with an attitude straight out of a horror movie. They were there for you for all those years, and you turned your back on them. Now, they're not so cute, cuddly, and sweet.

The creative folks at the Dave School created a short animation film for the creatures. I love the morbid humor and some of the casting of voices were simply perfect: Linda Blair as Rita Mortis and Clive Barker as Edwin Morose.

Thanks For Noticing Me...

So, this week I'm feeling "eh". That's the only word to describe it.

I feel a bit swept up by things, like a house carried away by floodwaters. Left to the mercy of the current. Pulled in a million directions and tossed into debris.

And that's just the fun aspects of my life!

While working at a small business years ago, I acquired the nickname "slave boy". I was the only male employee so I was called upon for heavy lifting and "butch" activity. It was a joke at the time, but sometimes I still feel that way many times. The work horse dragged from the barn to plow the field, then shut back away behind the doors. Just toss a few oats at me and I'll be happy, right?

Well, no.

That only leads to feeling beaten down. Broken. Awaiting the glue factory.

Well, that sums up how I feel in some circumstances anymore. That I should just deal with everything and put on a happy face. Sure, I find humor in life, but that doesn't mean I can just put on that happy face and be content with everything. Like most people, I need a sense of identity. A sense of self. A sense of feeling loved and valued as a human being instead of a quick pat on the head to shut me up.

Drama is meant for the stage. Cheerleading belongs in a high school stadium. Patronizing behavior is best suited for day care. Facades are fine on houses and in Hollywood.

Life should be an enjoyable experience, not a fun house. I'm still trying to sort through the mirrors to find which ones are true.

The Gay Ghost: A Mockumentary

"They DO exist. And they're fabulous."

Here's another online discovery, brought to you via Super Deluxe. It's a documentary-style look at the haunting of a gay ghost (with a frightening blond wig that makes him look like Bruce Vilanch).

The three-part skit comes from Boston... and a little comedy troop called The Untrainables.

Part 1: Homeowner Interview

Part 2: Neighbor Interview

Part 3: The 'Poltergay' Expert

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Buy, Sell, or Shuffle?

Obviously, we consider banks to be rather meticulous with their money and cautious with what they do with it. Brits may not have as much faith anymore, considering some of the nations largest financial institutions are using an interesting method to play the market.


And they aren't the only ones turning to the stars. Even investment funds and retail companies are turning to the zodiac for major decisions. As the credit crunch worsens, a growing network of discreet astrologers are finding the times very profitable.

And why do they do it? Apparently, it is working somehow. High and Mighty, a men's big and tall clothing retailer, has successfully used readings to make business decisions.

The key is planetary alignment. This principle has been around for centuries in heliocentric astrology. Hitler relied on it to plot moves (but didn't factor it in with the Battle of Britain). Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin planned their travels around the planets. Many celebrities seem to have certain similarities concerning which planets were rising and falling during their birth.

Dr. Percy Seymour, a retired astrophysicist from Plymouth University, claims that after studying the planets for decades, they have a point. Magnetic fields are altered slightly as the planets rotate, and though it doesn't control us "it can influence us."

So, what do the planets say is in store with finances? Things will begin a slight upswing in April, but starting in August, the global economy is expected to be in for a very rough 4 or 5 years. October of 2008 will mark another crisis. And 2012 itself is supposed to be a crucial year of major catastrophe (ironic, since London hosts the Olympics in that year.)

Why can't we ever get good news from astrology?

No matter what you believe, in all probability we are in for a difficult few years. But do I need a chart or book to tell me that?

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Wish I Could Quit You!

Heath Ledger might not be resting in peace after all...

At least that's what Michelle Williams, his former lover, is saying. She recently mentioned to friends that Ledger has visited her twice as an apparition.

Williams was awakened one night to the sound of moving furniture. On another occasion, Ledger's spirit expressed his condolences for leaving Williams to raise Matilda, their two-year-old, alone and without his assistance. Both incidents have helped her deal with her loss and find some peace.

The press is scoffing at these statements, claiming that it's merely a publicity stunt. They may be wrong, though: a few others including medium Bonnie Vent have seen Ledger's ghost and are starting to tell their stories.

This might be only the beginning....

Supernatural Spotlight: Loyd Auerbach

This week, I decided it was time to highlight the man who inspired many paranormal investigators, including myself: Loyd Auerbach... author, parapsychologist, mentalist, professor, and lecturer.

Indeed, Auerbach wears many hats.

He received his Master's degree from John F. Kennedy University in 1981 and published his first and best-known book, ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists : A Parapsychologist's Handbook, in 1986. Only a few years afterward, I bought my own copy which I still have on my bookshelf today (no, not a very common literary choice for a nine-year-old). From there we went on to write a regular column for Fate Magazine and act as a member or adviser for many paranormal organizations across the country. Still, he is probably best known for his occasional appearances of television and documentaries involving ghosts and hauntings.

His newest book, A Paranormal Casebook: Ghost Hunting in the New Millennium, was released in 2005. He is currently offering certificate courses (not like those "certified/licensing workshops" which plague us all, just to clarify matters) approved by the state of California for parapsychological studies.

Whether you're the beginning ghost hunter or an avid investigator, his books and work are not to be missed. With his three decades of work, "Professor Paranormal" has a lot to teach us...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The (After)Life of the Party...

Another long weekend draws to a close.

Yesterday was the party at Chris' house. As we relaxed with some Heineken, the guests slowly arrived. Pizza, cookies, and snack food were devoured. Games were played. Laughter and good humor were openly shared. And there was cake too!

Apparently, a few people felt that my isolated mood was brought on by my quiet birthday. Though I did enjoy the company of Evelyn and Bill tremendously, I would have liked seeing everyone else. Still, I knew that nothing ever works out to plan. Though the frozen ice cream cake definitely did life my spirits... I won't lie! Even after 10 days of being 29, I didn't mind the remembrance. A few issues and thoughts were hammered out and cleared up, making the mood far brighter than it has been in a while. Seeing many faces of the paranormal group definitely helps boost the camaraderie.

After a late night and a miscalculation in temperature which brought me inside around 4:00 AM (note to self: sleeping on a screened porch isn't wise this early in Ohio), we awoke very early for a comatose breakfast. We all went home to prepare for the other party. I showered, baked oatmeal cookies, and brewed some iced tea before joining Evelyn, her husband, and her son to a friend's house for her son's birthday.

I'll admit, he is full of energy! And he also seems to know how to push buttons very well, but I thought he was a nice boy. Perhaps a little eager for attention, but deep down a good seed. We dined on more pizza and snacks before heading out for some mock battles with padded "swords" (I only watched... especially seeing how forceful her son was!). We made it back for more ice cream cake (chocolate this time) and chatted for a while before we had to leave. Some people had prior plans and many of us were exhausted from the whirlwind of a weekend. I must remember to tell Ben there's no need to be so formal. After 5 years or so, I think we're past handshakes. I'll get a hug some time!

I'm in a chipper mood, though feeling a tad bit old from the fifteenth birthday party. Now more than ever, I'm noticing a bit more of the generation gap. Though I don't feel "old", I know I'm not young anymore! Just realizing that many celebrities I recall are lost on teenagers now makes my age show a little more. Then again, I was familiar with comedians, actors and singers from many generations before my own, so I feel ten times older then the average 29-year-old!

Tonight is an early night for me. I'll get a few things finished and get to sleep well before midnight. Another sign of old age: not being able to stay up late.

Yes, it won't be long now before I'm sitting on that rocking chair on a porch, yelling at the neighborhood ankle-biters for playing on the grass.

Senility, here I come!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Those Were the Days My Friend

Alas, I finally realize the days of investigating ghosts with a few friends, having a little fun and unwinding from life's other stresses are far behind me. What was originally planned as a small romp to Lonesome Lock ended up being a dinner/venting fest followed by a long trek in the park with over a dozen people. Going "back to my roots" and leaving all the drama behind just wasn't happening.

Evelyn, her son, and I arrived at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula where we met up with Bill, Chris, and Ben. We grabbed some tables and waited for everyone else so our earlier discussions could commence. Once everyone showed up, the powwow began... and I was left in the corner of the other table. Yes, the "invisible boy" that I am remains my role. A hew people hashed out grievances while I discussed haunted places and ideas with Chris. I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the other conversation here and there, but I was sure to remember my place in it all. Bill passed out the brief historical sketch which I whipped up at the last minute and things started to settle down.

As the dinner portion came to a close, I was suddenly struck with a massive headache in my left temple. We returned to the parking lot where I realized I had left my bag back in the restaurant. I rushed back to retrieve it, only making the oncoming migraine ten times worse. And then, we set out on our journey... with myself following in the back like a tourist. I bumbled along until the gang reached a lock, slamming me with 20 questions: was this Lonesome Lock? What's this over here? Why are we stopping? Ken? Ken?! Ken!!

I sat down near the lock to get a little reiki to try to alleviate the throbbing pain. An angel was called upon to perform a miraculous healing. All I wanted was some extra-strength Tylenol. I attempted to relax and meditate a bit amid the chaos of voices swirling around me. The brief stop did ease my headache, though it wasn't abated entirely. We pressed onward, stopping at the tracks to find the one spirit which lingered there. I filmed some footage in a vain attempt to capture anything, although several people were shouting about different things they were sensing. The pandemonium was a bit difficult to follow.

One of the psychics mentioned to me casually that a psychic in Cleveland is badmouthing me and my book. She claims that I used several of her stories and am basically a rotten person. Later on, I had a chance to think in depth and I can recall two places she did mention to me which ended up in the book, yet I told her about every haunted location I knew of as well as gave her a brief history of each. Of course, she blatantly told me that my name would not be mentioned once on her tour. Even so, in the acknowledgments portion of my book I do mention her. I even Mentioned her tour. So which of us is the horrible one? Two out of 41 legends were relayed to me by her and I in turn thanked her and gave free press to her in my book. Yet my assistance went unmentioned by her.

More drama to stir into a pot which is already overflowing.

A few people left before we reached the lock. they had found a lost cat near the parking lot and wanted to feed the starving feline. We went on to the lock and beyond to the boardwalk over Stumpy Basin. Conversations are difficult to recall through the pounding in my head. Bill provided the much-needed comic relief. The return trip seemed much longer and we lingered in the parking lot until 1:30 in the morning. Finally, I arrived at home, crawled into bed, tossed and turned, and eventually fell asleep while waiting for the aspirin to kick in.

Tonight's a little shindig with friends, which will hopefully be more relaxing. I'm bringing along my book to point out and clarify where I thanked the Cleveland psychic for her contributions (which hopefully will find its way back to her and make her feel a little foolish for her statements). I'm still exhausted and sore. My back feels like I slept on a boulder, yet my head does not hurt.

What I wouldn't give for a massage or a 4-hour soak in a tub right about now...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just Say No to Food Discrimination...

Yesterday, I was killing some time with friends at World Market. We were browsing the international foods section when I felt compelled to seek out Vegemite. After a long search over countless aisles, I found Marmite, but no trace of the Aussie staple!

Apparently, while a US ban on Vegemite was only rumoured years ago, no one imports it here anymore.

Hello! It's made by Kraft Foods! How fair is that?

Supposedly, it's because it contains folates, which the FDA only allows in breads and cereals (and, ironically, my sister was told to take by a doctor because it's good for growing babies). Not to mention the other nutritional benefits of the brown goo...

I did my own digging with the FDA and found that it lacks nutritional information and "the common or usual name of each ingredient"... but US customs makes no mention of a ban on their site.

Not fair! I've wanted to try Vegemite for years! Perhaps someone in Oz will take pity on me and discreetly send a small jar. If it really is banned, I definitely want "illegal importation of Vegemite" on my criminal record, just for a laugh!

Queer Paranormal Road Trip: The George Hotel

Move over, Green Lady. You have some company.

The George Hotel in Dereham, Norfolk has a few known ghosts: The Green Lady, the maid, and the night porter. Paranormal investigators from around the United Kingdom have visited this 18th century inn for many years to find evidence of spirits. Apparitions have been seen on the second floor. Glasses fly off shelves in the bar. People experience pain in their arms on the stairs where a maid fell to her death.

And then someone discovered another presence.

John Blythe of Haunted Weekend stumbled across a spirit in what was once the hotel's bakery. A male employee of the hotel mentioned a chilling experience while in the dry storage room. An unseen force was trying to unzip his pants one day. A medium picked up on a female presence in the area which kept touching her long hair in an effort to lift it up (as you would expect in a bakery... for sanitary purposes). A male medium also sensed a presence, only it kept trying to tug at his belt, much to his alarm.

Later on reviewing an old photograph of hotel workers, the female medium pointed to the guilty soul.

Only it wasn't a woman.

That's right. The ghostly "aggressive female energy" looming in the former bakery was, in fact, a man. The hotel now had a fourth ghost to add to its roster: a gay ghost.

From the sound of it, he's not just looking for bread flour anymore...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For a Good Cause...

Sometimes, the paranormal community gets bogged down in pettiness. Disagreements and conflicts get everyone off track. Arguments over protocol result in stagnant behaviour. A desire for fame and power overshadows purpose and humanity.

Yet occasionally, paranormal investigators band together to do some good in the world.

In Chester, UK, paranormal enthusiasts are doing just that. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has organized an event at the haunted Stanley Place in an effort to raise money for people suffering from the disease. Would-be ghost hunters are asked to raise funds for MD, and in return will be allowed an overnight investigation at the structure, built in 1591, on the 27th of September, joining investigators and psychics in their work.

Another organization, Famous and Frightened, is getting celebrities involved in the same positive mojo. Stars from around the United Kingdom spend a little time poking around haunted locations in pursuit of the paranormal... and raise funds for causes throughout the region at the same time. Their first event, held on the 2nd of April at the London Dungeons, was a great success and raised a hefty sum of money for the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. They are currently planning their second venture.

Who says paranormal investigators only need to concentrate on the dead? Some are actually trying to make the lives of the living a little better at the same time...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sleepless Near Seattle...

Police in Federal Way, Washington, have a bit of a quandary on their hands. Exactly how do you investigate an alleged rape when the culprit can't be caught... literally?

Two women living in an apartment on 25th Place South repeatedly called the maintenance man to complain that a ghost has been raping them on weekend nights for the past two years. Not feeling equipped at handling the situation, he told them to contact the police. Perplexed police officials will not comment on the crime, though they said they have no leads.

One of the victims has stated that the first incident occurred while she was living in Kent. The activity seemed to follow her... and is now affecting her roommate.

News reporters have been unable to track down the women for comment.

Ghost hunter Ross Allison says that with all the paranormal shows on television, paranormal reports are way up... and he doesn't think it's a coincidence. According to Ross, many people "...start to label every little interesting thing happening in their home as paranormal when it might just be a house creaking."

Sounds like the only thing creaking in this apartment is the bed...

Invasion of the Penis Snatchers...

Be careful if you go to the Democratic Republic of Congo. You just might lose more than your wallet.

Thirteen people are currently being detained by police after being accused of black magic. Allegedly, they have preyed on men, shrinking their genitals or making them mysteriously disappear. Supposedly, their motivation is extorting money from the victims to "cure" them.

They aren't being held because the police take these accusations seriously: it's for their own safety.

Once someone is labeled a sorcerer guilty of these misdeeds, the locals mob them. There have been several attempted lynchings already. Such occurrences are common in West Africa: nearly a decade ago in Ghana, a dozen people accused of penile thievery were beaten to death.

No matter how illogical it may sound or how many times the irrationality is explained, many villagers take it very seriously. Especially Alain Kalala, 29, of Kinshasa.

"It's real," he said. "Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny."

Sure, blame it on a witch doctor.

No Signs of Intelligent Life Here...

Are aliens really out there?

Given the odds, it's more than likely that life does exist on other planets. But are they dimwits?

Stephen Hawking, the well-known astrophysicist, posed this question Monday during a lecture at George Washington University. "Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is very rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on earth."

This doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to explore space. Hawking compared space exploration to the voyages of Christopher Columbus. The benefits simply outweigh the risks. "Just think," he said, "we wouldn't have a Big Mac or KFC."

Who new he had a sense of humor?

Intelligent life is a relative term. Who is to say that we're not the idiots? Just because we can't detect "Zongregian Idol" being broadcast over the galaxies doesn't mean there couldn't be a life form out there with more sophisticated knowledge sending out messages that we have yet to comprehend.

To claim that we're the smartest creatures in existence is just as foolish as calling the Titanic "unsinkable". It's just begging to be proved wrong.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Armed and Not Very Dangerous...

I don't want to leave out those of you, dear readers, who could care less about the environment...

Therefore, I thought I'd mention another interesting holiday which we should all keep in mind for next year: the 22nd of March is World Pillow Fight Day.

Organizers in many large cities stage massive pillow fights on this day. Clean-up crews are also asked to bring rakes and trash bags. If there isn't one in your nearest city, you can always schedule your own!

I know a lot of us have some aggression to work out. What better way than bash people with down feathers?

It reminds me of the Absolut vodka commercial riot scene. If only more wars and protests were fought this way: no casualties and a few laughs!

Stop to Smell the Roses...

Once again, it's time to celebrate Earth Day: a day of environmental awareness around the globe. Though it may have come under fire in recent years, its message is poignant. With the current debate on global warming, this is a good time to contemplate the state of out environment and the impact we have upon it.

No, I'm not some insane, radical "tree hugger" who is hellbent on bringing down the corporations and creating hippie communes around the world. Yet I do see carelessness constantly and an very mindful of out effects on the planet. Pollution is still a critical problem and our dependence on fossil fuels is a major issue. We all need to seriously take a look at our lives, and try to do something, however small, to avoid turning the world into our own private toxic waste dump.

We are very much a throw-away society. Everything ends up in landfills. We burn coal, oil, gas, and petrol to an insane degree, forgetting that it isn't replaced overnight. Even if we don't care about the pollutants thrown into the atmosphere and water supply, we'll soon run out of the fuels we use. By the time we wake up to that fact, it will be a desperate scramble to find alternative means of energy.

Of course, there are efforts around us to change. Australia is experimenting with solar power in the Outback, using the heat of the sun to power a wind turbine that could eventually power thousands of homes. On the east coast of the United States, people are using the tidal currents to power turbines to supply power to businesses. Modern windmills are sprouting up all across the globe to harness power for communities. Electric and hydrogen-powered cars are becoming a reality.

If you want to do your part without taking much effort, start small. Instead of driving two blocks away to visit friends or go to a small store, take a walk instead. When going to the grocery store, avoid plastic bags... purchase an inexpensive, reusable canvas grocery bag instead. Replace a few incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. When you're not home, unplug your televisions and electronic devices to save on wasted standby power. Plant a tree.

Take a moment from your day to see the world around you in a different light. Doing little things now just might save you from severe alterations in your lifestyle in the future...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Supernatural Spotlight: Chris Woodyard

Back when I began reading books on the paranormal, Chris Woodyard became a fast favorite. Before stumbling across her first book, Haunted Ohio, in 1991, I hadn't found many stories from my own state to seek out. Her books provided the first locations for my many weekend trips in pursuit of Ohio hauntings.

Chris grew up in Columbus. Her father ran a small printing company. From an early age, she new that writing was her dream. She had some works of poetry published, worked as an editor, and even created a murder mystery novel (which ended up being stolen by a disgruntled secretary). After moving to Dayton with her husband and daughter, she finished her first book about her new hometown.

The librarians in Beavercreek suggested ghosts as an idea for another book. Since there weren't really any Ohio ghost books out there, she decided it was an achievable goal (besides, she had a few paranormal experiences throughout her life). And that started the series of four books on Ohio ghosts, along with a children's ghost book and a few others.

She now operates her website, Invisible Ink: Books on Ghosts & Hauntings, which is the largest seller of diverse paranormal books anywhere. Odds are, if you're searching for that hard-to-find book about ghosts, she has it on her site. In fact, while scouring the internet for new publications, she happened to stop at eBay and purchase a copy of my own work. And she loved it, which made me feel better about a project which had taken almost a decade of searching to finish.

Though some may believe she has faded a bit into the woodwork, she's still out there... doing the occasional lecture and selling ghostly literature. But please, don't barrage her with tales and requests for investigations.

She's still afraid of spooks...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

He's Sasper...

Here's something I stumbled across that's certainly twisted.

Meet Sasper, the homosexual ghost, brought to you by the insane folks at SickAnimation!

The Ties That Bind...

Good people make life worth living. No matter what happens in life, some of the friendships we make outlast everything negative we can go through. I usually don't take the time to thank my friends enough, so here's yet another opportunity... at least for the ones of whom I have photos.

I have to start out with Joel, since he is both the farthest in distance (Australia) and the closest to my heart. I've known him for about two years now (has it really been that long?) and he's been the truest, most incredible friend I have ever had in my entire life. We can talk about anything with each other without fear of ridicule or embarrassment. Never once has he even remotely upset me, nor I him I hope. He has been there through some of my darkest hours with nothing short of awe-inspiring devotion. Because of all of these things, he is like the brother I never had (though far cuter then I would normally have had for a brother). Even though his seasonal bouts of depression may cause him to close down from time to time, he's the one person I never want to lose from my life.

Then, there's Alex, my straight-but-not-narrow-minded ghost hunting friend who moved to Tennessee. Our friendship started out as almost a non-friendship. He told a rude joke that offended me, and I mentioned it to his wife, Theresa. It turned out to be a misunderstanding: they had a lot of gay friends, and he overly apologized for it. From then until the day they moved away, they were my dearest friends. And then, of course, there was that strange and shocking night online which shall remain unmentioned (let's just say he's an unpredictable boy). Even though we aren't close anymore, I still miss the both of them. Good and interesting company is always hard to come by.

I couldn't compose this list without mentioning Bill. After all, he has tolerated me the most over the past few years. I met him through my paranormal website years ago. Since that time, he's become my best local friend, though at times I am the butt of many of his jokes. He's an odd mix of goofy humour and bitterness, with a dash of humanity thrown in every so often for good measure. I've watched him go through some rough times and life changes over the years and have been there as best as I could be. Ans he's seen me through a few colossal mistakes, such as my last ex. Though we may not always see eye-to-eye on matters and we do occasionally need a little time away from one another, he is truly a good friend. I guess you could almost say he too is like a brother to me... a nitpicking older brother, that is.

Chris is the second person I met through my website. Well, technically not the second. I met him before Bill. He was very enthusiastic about the paranormal in a time when I was feeling a tad bit burnt out with paranormal groups. He's been through more than his share of, shall we say "interesting life moments"? We lost touch for quite some time but became reacquainted in the past few years... around the time he began dating Bill. He's the one person I know who tries his best to smile no matter how rotten the situation, all the while wearing his heart on his sleeve. He can be both good-hearted and a tad bit stubborn. Materialistic, yet spiritual. Yet he seems to be growingly more comfortable with himself, which is always a wonderful thing. He is my second 'best local friend'. And just like Bill, we may not always be in agreement or share the same opinions, but I wouldn't have him any other way!

Lastly is my newest friend of the bunch, Evelyn. I met her only within the past few months via the paranormal group I belong to. She's beyond interesting, with more interests and opinions than you can shake a stick at! She can be tough as nails, but she's always a joy to be around. We both seem to use humour in place of sanity... life isn't very survivable without a lot of laughter. Like most of us, she has problems, but doesn't use them as an excuse. We have a lot of similar interests, which always helps too! She's slowly becoming one of my regular local pals, though I liked her from the first moment I met her. Otherwise, she wouldn't be my "date" on so many occasions! No, not in that "pretending to be straight" way... in the "I don't want you to feel like you're going stag" sort of way!

As always, I'm leaving some people out. Colleen, Tommy, Dana, etc. I'll have to work on getting some more photos so I can do a sequel.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Getting That Not-So-Fresh Feeling...

Right about now, I would really like to take a nice shower. Feeling refreshed. Invigorated. Clean.

Of course, there's a bit of a dilemma: no hot water as of some time yesterday evening.

Before notifying the landlord, I did take a cold shower last night (a very fast cold shower...), and as of moments ago there's still nothing warm coming out of the sink. Lovely!

I'm sure if the problem will persist, he'll say something. Right?

If it were raining a little harder, I could at least stand outside for a little while... grab some soap on a rope... be a hippy...

Nothing like spending a Saturday evening feeling all icky...

They're Back...

For those who are yet unaware, on July 25th a new X Files movie will hit the theaters.

Agents Mulder and Scully will once again return to the big screen, though it will be different from the first movie in every possible way. Instead of the quest for UFO proof which dominated the storyline during the end of the television series, the new movie will hearken back to the beginnings of the show. The plot involves monsters and the paranormal instead of aliens.

Just this week, they finally announced the title: I Want to Believe.

Though the series has been off the air for a long time, it remains a bit of a cult classic. At times, it could be a bit campy, though a streak of humor always kept things amusing. And of course, the show was never afraid of poking a little fun at itself.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Queer Paranormal Road Trip: Mile High Grill & Inn

Is there a cold pussy beside you in bed?

Hopefully, that means you're staying at the Mile High Grill & Inn in Jerome, Arizona. What once was yet another ghost town in the southwest has become a lovely, quaint little town. And what better reason to go than to stay at the lesbian-owned-and-operated (and reportedly haunted) hotel.

Owners Jet and Liz are aware of some strange happenings in their building. Unexplained sounds and misty shapes have been witnessed by visitors. The doors of an armoire in the Lariat and Lace Room have mysteriously fallen off their hinges several times. And then there's the feline spirit which frequently sits on the beds.

At one time, the downstairs restaurant was a hardware store. A man purchased a gun and was stopped by a sheriff as he was leaving. The man opened fire and the sheriff shot him dead on the sidewalk. Some believe his presence can still be felt in the stairwell leading to the upstairs hotel.

So if you find yourself in Arizona, looking for a little encounter with the supernatural, be sure to stop in Jerome for a bite to eat... perhaps even stay the night in one of the guest rooms above the Mile High Grill. Who knows. You just might have your first ghostly encounter...

To read one investigator's story, be sure to check out Buck and Michael's stay at the inn...

Oh... and don't worry, boys, they do have pure Angus beef burgers in the downstairs restaurant.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Speaking of Ghosts...

Tonight, I'll be on "Let's Talk Ghosts", an internet radio show brought to you by TOP-Org, an Ohio-based paranormal group. It is hosted by Doc J and co-hosted by Sandy Both. This is actually my second time appearing on the program.

The scheduled topic is my book, Haunted Cuyahoga, though I'm sure it will deviate many times. I know she wants to talk about the recent copyright infringement problems online, and we'll probably ramble on about other random topics including those called in by listeners.

The show will air at 8:00 PM EST (1:00 AM GMT for those in England, 10:00 AM EST Friday morning in Australia). Of course, if you want to listen but won't be able to at airing time, the previous shows are available on the radio show website.

A Small School for Spookery...

Curious about ghosts? Why not attend Ghost Hunter University?

Christopher Moon of Haunted Times Magazine is the creator of this paranormal seminar, held at haunted locations around the US. Among the locations holding G.H.U. this year are Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in Massachusetts, Mason House Inn Bed & Breakfast in Iowa, and The Brumder Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Wisconsin. Participants learn the basics of investigating hauntings and have opportunities for hands-on training during their weekend stay. They also recommend that you bring your own camera, camcorder, EMF meter, and voice recorder.

So far, the past few years have been quite successful. And whether you're a novice or a skeptic, they welcome everyone.

If you're at all curious, just call 1-877-880-6232 for further information... or check the Haunted Times website.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

All Psyched Out Over Nothing?

Psychics in the European Union just might be feeling a bit of performance anxiety in the near future.

Since 1951, the Fraudulent Mediums Act has protected both psychics and their customers. Proof of fraud is required, thus convicting a fortune teller of misdeeds has been so difficult that only ten people have been found guilty in the past two decades. Now there is talk of instituting a new Consumer Protection Regulations. Disclaimers announcing the experimental nature of readings and no guarantee of results will be necessary, thought they will not always avoid civil action by both consumers and skeptics.

Cries of religious persecution are ringing out in England. Essex Spiritualist Carole McEntee-Taylor says these disclaimers require psychics to "lie and deny their beliefs" to avoid persecution and/or prosecution. Her husband David believes the new law " taking a religion... and turning it into a financial transaction."

Others, such as researchers for BadPsychics (who also have a spin-off site, BadGhosts), believe this will bring more good than harm. Countless grieving families spend money in hopes to communicate with the deceased. Now, they will have a platform to fight back.

Honestly, if you're such an incredible psychic that you charge people a hefty amount of money for your time, shouldn't you be willing to defend it... even in a court of law?

All News is Good News...

So it's been a good week thus far.

Last night, Bill kidnapped me for some pizza and television at his house. Evelyn joined us for a good evening... she was even a good enough sport to suffer through the pilot episode of Dante's Cove! We watched American Idol, which is something I rarely do. I've been on this "no television" kick for a long time. Partially it's because I never remember when anything is on anymore!

I came home and crashed without checking my email. This morning I heard from a gay filmmaker who I will be blogging about more in the future. Hopefully his pointers will help me get somewhere with my one script. I'm remaining optimistic about it.

Other than that, I'll be returning to my odd news blog posts soon too. I have several things to write but it may take me a little while to get them all down on here. Plus, I was featured on LGBT Bloggers yesterday (er, today technically... since Australian Eastern Standard Time is 14 hours ahead of ours). Another pleasant surprise from a nice-enough bloke...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Foot Closer to the Grave...

Today, I turned 29.

It has been a decent day thus far. The weather is more pleasant than anticipated by the local news, much to my surprise. I spent part of the morning renewing my state identification, just so Homeland Security won't pester me about having 'my papers'. And so I begin my slow approach to 30, without the risk of being arrested for a lack of identification...

...and unfortunately, without a cake or a stripper... lol

I still don't quite feel older. Then again, I don't necessarily act it either. Most birthdays for me have just been another day. It's not that I'm against the celebratory aspect (sometimes, I seriously am amazed that I've survived life this long), but when you have friends spread out far and wide, one big party just isn't entirely possible.

So far, my life has been interesting... at times tumultuous. Though I often believe I'm boring, I have accomplished much in the past decade. I have been to London; visited Paris twice (though the second time was almost kicking and screaming). I have lived in several cities (including Shreveport, Louisiana) with rather interesting people. I have been on local news several times (and no, not for anything illegal). I inadvertently slept with a celebrity. I wrote and published a book. And above all else, I have made some incredibly wonderful friends along the way.

Of course, it hasn't all been pleasant. The failed suicide attempt years ago which should have killed me. A horrible car accident which I walked away from unscathed. Being on TWA Flight 800 not long before it exploded on takeoff. The loss of a friend to suicide. Losing almost everything I owned twice by moving to a different location. A handful of heartbreaks.

There have been many instances which could have turned me permanently bitter, yet I haven't allowed them. I may rant and rave about life, society, and people, but I still remain optimistic and hopeful.

Where will the coming decade take me? It's uncertain though I do have goals: to see a film I've written made into a movie, to write a few more books, to spend time in Australia and maybe, just maybe, gain citizenship. Most importantly, to live life to its fullest.

The Cajuns are wise people: they cry when you are born to acknowledge all the pain and grief awaiting you throughout life; your funeral is cause for celebration, rejoicing your accomplishments and newfound freedom from worldly burdens. Life is tough. And sometimes we are fortunate just to see tomorrow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Revelations Are Better Late Than Never...

And so, with the whirlwind of drama still buzzing around me in a cloud of gray and less than 24 hours remaining before I turn 29, I have had a bit of an epiphany.

I seriously think the universe is trying to tell me that I need to get back to my writing.

No, I'm not talking about the book sequel. I mean my other writing: screenwriting. You know, my yet-untouched-and-unfinished second movie script... the sketch comedy ideas my friends and I have toyed with and I have jotted down on paper (i.e. "F.A.G.S.")... a few other storylines I've been contemplating off and on...

The writing that made me happy.

Some of the companies I would love to work with don't accept unsolicited submissions and that's been a major hurdle for me. It stopped me months ago from carrying on. But then it dawned on me. Why not just ask them what agencies they work with?


So I sent emails out tonight. In the mean time, while I'm attempting to slay that dragon known as drama which seems to fight ever harder to invade my personal space, I'll get back to the good stuff. I've been off track for far too long lately. I know at least one of my ideas will strike someone as witty. I believe in my work and that's what matters most.

Besides, it just might inspire me to finish the other book and get things back in motion. The wheels might be slightly rusted in place, but they're not frozen for good...