Archive for October, 2013

As Halloween is right around the corner, here’s a guest post to get you in the mood. Today’s contribution comes from Rachael Largent who is a content creator that enjoys writing about Halloween decorations and clever crafts. Enjoy!

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Trying to make your own Halloween decorations? Trying to decorate your house for the upcoming holiday without going over budget? It can be done and it can be done well. You can have fabulously spooky and scary Halloween decorations and stay on your budget.

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Haunted Library Books
    Using simple colored paper, pens, markers, Sharpies, and crayons you can create haunted Halloween based library books. Write the words “Spooky,” “Scary,” “Haunted,” and “Hocus Pocus” on the spines then try to add fun little pictures of bats, pumpkins, spider webs, black cauldrons, and witches.
  • Pumpkin Flower Vase
    Use hollowed out pumpkins as Halloween vases to place orange, red, and yellow fake, or real, flowers. They work great because they serve as a vase and as a Halloween decoration.
  • Spooky Halloween Lantern Jugs Create fun Halloween lanterns using milk jugs. Simply save and clean out a couple of milk jugs, then get a black marker, a craft knife, and a string of holiday lights. Draw mouths and eyes using the black marker and on the back of the jug cut a hole to stuff the lights into. Make a strand of these fun spooky Halloween lanterns.
  • Scary Skeleton
    Scary skeletons can also be made with plastic milk jugs and pipes. These materials might seem cheap but the results are astonishing. They make a larger-than-life skeleton that can be easily positioned inside or outside. It’s ideal for those terrified trick-or-treaters at the front door and is also a fun project to do with kids. The steps are simple and the skeleton is designed to be taken apart for easy storing. It also recycles old milk jugs.

 Skeleton Instructions

Eight things you’ll need: 7 Clean and Dry Gallon Milk Jugs, Wax Pencil or Crayon, Craft Snips or Scissors, String or Fishing Line for Hanging, Approx. 40, Yards of String or Yard to Ties all the parts together, Glow in the Dark Paint, Paint Brush, and a Hole Punch.

Eight Easy Steps:

First, save seven milk jugs and make sure to clean them out thoroughly. Second, take four jugs and cut out the hands and feet, make sure to use the hole punch at the top of the feet and hand jugs; or towards the area where you know you will connect the jugs with string. Third, two jugs then need heir handles cut out to make the shoulder of the skeleton. Punch a hole at the jug side (this will connect to head) and then two more holes on the other side. (This will likely be on the side that will connect to the body). Fourth, grab one plastic jug and draw a face on it that you will be able to cut out ­later. Once that is completed punch two holes at the milk jug tip…Or otherwise the skeleton’s neck.

Fifth, take another milk jug and draw the rib cage on it. Then cut it out and punch two holes in each side of the opening. Sixth, now for the hips. This part is a little tricky. Take one well cleaned milk jug and cut out a big opening in it to look like a hip. To make the process easier use a marker to draw the outline of the hip. Seventh, have two jugs ready for cutting. Take one and cut out four long bones, this will be the arms of the skeleton. Now take the other jug and cut out four long bones for the legs. Lastly, punch a hole in each end of all the bones you cut out. Eighth, use sixteen pieces of string to tie all the pieces of the skeleton together.

  • Halloween Paper Chains Halloween Paper Chains are commonly used to count down to Halloween. Make the chain with fall/Halloween colors and then chop one off as it nears the night of frights. The only materials are art paper (colors of your choice), scissors, and tape or stapler. Simply cut the art paper into a total of thirty strips into approximately 2” strips. Round a strip into a circle and tape or staple the ends where the art paper comes together. Take another strip of construction paper and loop it through the other finished circle and repeat the process. Happy chaining!

 

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Well there you have it – a whole heap of ideas to turn your house into a spooktacular haunted house! Why not have a go at making some of Rachael’s creations, then posting a picture of it hanging up in your house?

TIll next time,

Tom

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This is the first guest post I have featured on Twisted Fish and I hope to include many more. It was written by Justin Martin, an entertainment blogger with a passion for technology and science. For more great articles like this one, Justin recommends checking out this blog.

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Like many young people, I became fascinated with science at a very young age. My prized possessions were my rock collection, star charts, and dinosaur books. I put boogers under a little microscope whenever my mom left the room. Everything was an experiment. It all started with that baking soda and vinegar volcano in kindergarten. The world became a little more interesting that day.

I had a hard time with math in school, so my dreams of becoming a mad scientist never came to fruition. No matter how many times I watched Bill Nye , it didn’t seem like it was for me. However, at the beginning of 2008, I realized I don’t need a degree or fancy job to be a real scientist. Anyone can gain international prestige and make big bucks in the field. All you have to do is make really good meth.

This generation has forsaken Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan in favor of someone a bit more down-to-earth. Most viewers of the television show Breaking Bad have never heard of the Uncertainty Principle, but everybody knows Heisenberg. In the show, actor Bryan Cranston plays Walter White (aka Heisenberg): chemistry teacher-turned-druglord. Teaming up with a drug-dealing former student (Jesse Pinkman), Walt takes the lessons from the classroom to the streets. These two guys made history with little more than a makeshift lab, a handful of volatile chemicals, and a bit of basic knowledge. You can too!

One thing I have learned from Breaking Bad is that anyone can “do science.” It is doubtful that most makers of methamphetamine have the same type of training and experience as Walter White. It’s usually just a couple tweakers experimenting with household chemicals and allergy medicine. These guys are far from professionals, but are they not scientists? They have a searching, inquisitive spirit, and can be both resourceful and adaptive. Can’t get your hands on red phosphorus? Just crush up some match heads! No access to hydrochloric acid? Maybe mixing bleach and ammonia might work. Nope. Just killed yourself with nerve gas. Oh well. That’s science. Better luck next time!

Breaking Bad goes out of its way to get into the real science of the underworld. The producers even hired a special science adviser to maintain consistency. Professor Donna Nelson made sure every one of Walt’s chemistry rants was completely factual. The only real error on the show is the trademarked blue meth! Although the DEA censored many details of the actual synthesis process, they did help with recreating real-to-life meth labs.

I still talk occasionally with my high school chemistry teacher, and he told me that Breaking Bad has actually motivated several of his students to become more involved in class. Seeing another side of the coin was enough to break their negative opinions and open their minds to new ideas. Whether or not they plan on using this knowledge for good or evil remains to be seen. Luckily, the show does a fine job of presenting the dark side of the business. It doesn’t exactly glorify the lifestyle.

Another thing I learned is that nothing beats experience, training, and knowledge when it comes to science. You can’t just dissolve a body with hydrofluoric acid in the bathtub. You gotta think things through! Breaking Bad also shows us that it’s damn hard work to be a scientist. Either you become an under-appreciated high school teacher, or you have to get shot at, threatened, and blown up on a regular basis.

The greatest idea that Breaking Bad presents is the value of breaking boundaries. No one makes history by teaching high school science. You won’t get anywhere by following the rules. Old formulas can always be improved upon. Great risks are necessary for great rewards. We don’t condone illegal behavior, but do what you have to do to put yourself on the map. Think outside the box, and never look back. Every problem can be solved…so find your own solution.

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I’m hoping to include more guest posts in this blog (and that’s not just because I’m too lazy to write my own material…honest!), so let me know if you want to see more of them!

Tom

Great. More creepy children.

You might have noticed something strange about October this year. That’s right: there’s been no Paranormal Activity film this year! What began as a Halloween tradition to replace the Saw franchise has apparently fizzled out of existence. Or has it?

A couple of days ago, a trailer was released online for the up-coming Paranormal Activity spinoff film entitled Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Give it a watch below.

The trailer shows the same ol’ story that we’ve come to expect from the franchise: there’s a party in a block of flats; a woman dies in the flat below the party; some young virile people explore (with a camcorder…*sigh*) the dead woman’s apartment; they find creepy stuff; one of them starts experiencing…wait for it…paranormal activity! And they’ve thrown in some creepy kids, a weird Latino séance and more shaky footage.

At first I thought that this is the end. The franchise has gone kaput. If you’ve seen my post ‘Paranormal Activity 5: What They Should Do Next‘ you’ll see that they’ve pretty much done the exact opposite of every single one of my points. Geez, did they not read my article?!

But, as many people on the Internet have pointed out, this could be the ‘umph’ that the franchise needs. The producers of The Marked Ones have explicitly stated that this film is NOT Paranormal Activity 5 and that we can expect that (fingers crossed) October 2014. Personally, I think it’s a good thing they’re keeping the two films separate. See, the problem I had with PA4 is that to me it seemed lazy. It seemed as though the producers were desperately trying to think of a way of advancing the ‘Katie/Hunter/Kristie’ story but through a new pair of eyes. There was no character development as the scriptwriters knew the audience were more concerned about the main story arc than what was happening to the other characters. So by the time it got to the woefully inadequate ending I just sat there thinking to myself ‘Oh no, that blonde girl might be captured…meh.’ (N.B. I genuinely had to Google the name of the blonde girl in PA4: turns out it’s Alex). By making a spinoff, they can tell a new story (about characters that we will, hopefully, care at least a little about by the end of the film) whilst weaving in the central ‘Katie/Hunter/Kristie/demons/weird women/Toby’ storyline. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I really hope that each one of these VHS tapes is a potential spinoff…

In terms of relating back to the ‘main’ franchise, it seems as though The Marked Ones is doing this very well (that’s what I can gather from the trailer). There are quite a lot of references to Katie/Kristie and their shenanigans. Just look at those two creepy black-eyed girls above – they look an awful lot like Katie and Kristie from PA3. Remember Ali from PA2? The daughter that was away whilst the climax of the film took place? Well she’s back! I’m not entirely sure how the two storylines will weave into one another, but I certainly look forward to finding out!

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones will be released in cinemas January 2014.

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Let me know what you think of the trailer, and whether or not you’re looking forward to cowering behind your hands when you go to watch this at the cinema.

Tom