Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, Carroll’s tales will leave you spooked just in time for Halloween.

I have this really awful habit. I really love horror despite that I get just a little too scared for my own good. Whether it’s perusing one of the most talked about tumblr horror blogs, watching horror movies alone at night in my cemetary-facing apartment, or my absolute love for spooky urban legends, if it’s scary and not over the top gory, I’m probably there no matter how many times I sleep with my desk lamp on.

My latest horror geek interest is Emily Carroll’s comics. If you haven’t read her most popular comic, His Face All Read,you’re missing out. Her work blends the perfect amount of mystery, tension and terror into short comics that leave the reader deciding what, or who, the monsters are. Her first book, Through the Woods, tells five short stories accompanied by her incredible illustrations and use of color centered around people who live in the shadows of forests and the things they have to face.

I couldn’t put this book down. The stories lend themselves to reader interpretation on the strange things that come from the woods and therein lies her true grasp of horror. Over the years, I’ve found that the obvious monsters, like Jason in the Friday the 13th series, are just not the kind of  horror that stays with me. He’s big and he has a machete, but you know he’s a monster before you even watch the movie. Sure he’s scary in the always coming after you sense, but if you’re not a camp counselor at Camp Crystal Lake you’re probably safe. The thing that sticks with me about Carroll’s work is that she doesn’t make it clear from the beginning who or what the monster might be and sometimes at the end, you have only caught a glimpse of it.

The Wolf

For me, horror is in the moment where the music goes quiet and you know the jump scare is coming, but it hasn’t yet and you don’t know which direction to run from or to. The jump scare itself is scary, sure, but it’s that split second of knowing the protagonist is about to have another encounter with their foe, but having to wait for it to happen. And in these comics, I quickly got pulled into a world where suspense is built slowly and carefully without always giving you the relief in actually witnessing the jump scare.

Carroll takes folklore tropes like monsters in the woods, and ghostly revenge and twists them into a larger look at not just the monstrous things that scare us, but the things that scare us about the people we know. So this Halloween Week, pick up a copy of Through the Woods, or read her web comics and let me know what you think about some of them questions she leaves you with, or tell me what kind of spooky stuff you love the most in the comments!

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Creepy Geeky: Welcome to Night Vale

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Hello, fellow Geeks and followers of the GeeKon Record. I’ve always considered myself a different kind of geek — aside from the standard, my favorite part of Doctor Who is the dark shadows that must be overcome, and that’s not even getting started on how much I love Lovecraftian horror (how many Cthulhu necklaces do I own? More than most girls, I’ll tell you). Feeding into my interests, as a result, is the recent surge of popularity in the podcast Welcome to Night Vale by publisher Commonplace Books, headed by creator and editor Joseph Fink.

The publishing group was, as Fink puts, it, “an outlet to do interesting work with other authors”. He showed off his own creepy-creative side to the extreme, however, when he started the podcast project of Welcome to Night Vale. Fink works together with Jeffrey Cranor to write the piece. The basic setup is simple; the site itself describes the podcast as “a twice-monthly [piece] in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale”. Each episode begins in the same way: the smooth baritone of voice actor and main character Cecil Baldwin saying, “Good evening, Night Vale”.

I know what you must be thinking. What’s so creepy (and cool) about this, anyway? Well, fictitious rhetorical querier, never fear! There’s so much geeky creepy packed into WTNV (as the fans call it), it might as well be its own genre. Inspired by the dark, Victorian gothic style of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, the ‘town’ of Night Vale is an unsettling mixture of bizarre happenings, monsters walking amongst humans, and realistic reactions to the aforementioned by the only ‘normal’ person in town, a scientist named Carlos.

Each episode really is what it’s labeled on the tin: simply bi-monthly updates on town events, such as book fairs and sports. Sometimes there are other recurring segments, such as traffic reports. There are even advertisements! However, Fink and Cranor work together to construct a strange, twisted take on all of them. Advertisements from the mysterious, fictional Strex Corp mention a “smiling God” who only gets eerier as things progress, while Cecil Baldwin, the upbeat radio host, never seems to think it strange that hooded figures roam the Dog Park, or that his interns seem to mysteriously die or ‘go missing’ nearly every other day.

There’s no way to accurately describe what’s so thrilling about the podcast. Is it that the “weather report” is actually music by varied independent musical artists? Is it that, alongside the podcast itself, there is a Twitter and Facebook account posting all kinds of mysterious, subversive statements? Maybe, perhaps, it’s the strange wisdom offered despite all the weirdness, through statements like “Within our limitations, there is no limit to how beautiful we may become”.

All in all, though, there’s something about the creepy-weird-funny work that keeps listeners rapt, coming to live shows and catapulting Fink’s creation to become the most popular podcast in America, with teens and adults alike attend lives shows and use it as a creative outlet, interpreting the surreal imagery as they will. After millions of downloads on iTunes and even more people streaming the episodes, it’s clear that Geekdom loves Night Vale.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide on your opinions. But for now, in the words of Cecil Baldwin…

Good night, readers. Good night.

RA probs

I’m a resident assistant at the beautiful island getaway also known as Victory Hall. I had the pleasure of combining two things I love last Friday. I took my residents to Denton Thrift to teach them the joys and benifits of making thrift shooping a part of their lifestyle.

I called my program “Ballin’ on a Budget”. I’m a firm believer in looking like a million bucks and spending under five.

We loaded the van Friday afternoon and went shopping. I helped one of my girls find some jeans to cut into shorts and helped my self to the treasures in the store.

Everyone came out with something they were happy with. The program gave one of my residents her first thrift shopping experince. She purchased some jeans and a 90s style Tommy Hillfiger polo.

Next semester when I do the program it will include a fashion show in their iteams followed by an open discussion on how to work thrifted iteams into their closets.
It is rare that I wear an outfit that is thrifted head to toe. On my adventure with my residents I found two pieces that complimented each other perfectly!

 

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The top was $1.99 and the skirt was 99 cents!

My resident found a dress and paired it with items from her own closet which is the best way to make the items look brand new. She also found some jeans to cut into shorts.

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Overall we had a successful trip and my residents not only left with insight on thrift shopping but they left with cute clothes for low cost.
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I got to spend time with my girls and do something that I love. RA probs.

 

Make It So: DIY Pocket Notebook

Hello again! It’s been awhile since I posted here last but I’m back now with a new installment of Make It So, everyone’s favorite geeky arts and crafts feature.

If you haven’t caught on yet from my previous posts, I’m a total geek about paper and notebooks. I have a pen on me at all times, but I don’t always have a piece of paper handy to write down a thought or doodle a doodle. And notebooks can get expensive — even the cheap ones add up when you’re on a college student’s budget — plus I have more paper already on hand than I know what to do with. So if you’re in the same position as I am, today’s tutorial will walk you through creating your own simple little notebook from paper and supplies you probably already have and a method called the three-hole pamphlet stitch.

April: DIY Pocket Notebook

First of all, here are the things you’ll need to gather up for this project:
-card stock or heavier paper for the cover (1 sheet)
-paper for inside (several sheets)
-embroidery floss or other thin string
-embroidery needle
-scissors
-ruler
-pencil
-push pin

And here’s how you put it all together:

1. Cut down your cover and inside papers. I wanted a square notebook 3 inches by 3 inches, so I cut the inside paper down to 3 inches tall and 6 inches long. NOTE: This project works best with thin paper for the inside pages. I cut 9 3×6 sheets for a total of 36 sheets in my finished notebook. The cover is 3 inches tall by 6.25 inches long.

April: DIY Pocket Notebook

2. Fold all the sheets in half, and unfold.

3. Measure and make three marks along the center line (created by the fold) of each sheet. I made one mark in the center of the line and one mark 3/4 an inch from the end on either side. Mark the same spots on the cover, as well.

Hole Measurements

4. Use a push pin to carefully poke holes in all the sheets where you made your marks.

5. Stack all of your sheets together, including the cover.

April: DIY Pocket Notebook

5. Thread your needle with a piece of thread about 2-3 times as long as the height of your notebook. Mine was about 9 inches long.

6. Sew your notebook together using the following diagram. Make sure you tie the loose ends into a knot or a bow!

3 Hole Pamphlet Stitch Diagram

OPTIONAL: Cover the spine with masking or washi (paper) tape. This is a good option if the notebook will be going in your purse or pocket a lot, because it protects the string binding from coming un-knotted!

There you have it! A little book for notes and doodles and whatnot, made by your own two hands. You can make books of all sizes and sorts using this method. For much larger books, try the five-hole pamphlet stitch (there are plenty of tutorials for it online).

As always, if you make it so, let me know. And I’ll see you back here next month!