Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 115: Camp Crystal Lake in Wessex, NJ


Horror t-shirt fanatics like myself never have to worry about not having enough tees to fill their wardrobe. With online shops like Fright Rags and Rotten Cotton and horror conventions across the country, you can easily buy multiple shirts based on all of your favorite horror films. Today's entry continues with the long line of awesome Friday the 13th shirts floating around waiting to be purchased on the Internet.

The Camp Crystal Lake t-shirt from Beware the Moon Clothing Co. is truly right out of a Friday the 13th fans wish list. The shirt references the fictional town of Wessex, NJ. There's nothing geekier than discussing a fictional town barely mentioned in a horror movie and eventually emblazoned on a t-shirt, so let's discuss the shit out of it right now.

Although the first several films in the franchise were set in New Jersey (you can see evidence HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE and HERE) Wessex is not exploited much except for the morgue/medical center that Jason is brought to in The Final Chapter. Later, Jason Goes to Hell changed the location of Crystal Lake to Cunningham County and the Friday the 13th Wiki considers the geography change in that film it's own entity. Screw Jason Goes To Hell, it's easily my least favorite of the entire series and it's disappointing because F13 is hands down my favorite horror franchise.

Beware the Moon Clothing Co. has a bunch of excellent horror, wrestling, TV, and movie t-shirts for sale. The only downside is that shipping is a bit steep since the online store is based in the UK, so you'll have to kick in some extra coin for shipping, unless you're actually in the UK, then you get FREE shipping.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Mood Table 2014!

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For several years during my childhood, my mom would keep a medium sized artificial Christmas tree up year round. No, she didn't leave the Christmas decorations on it the whole time, she would decorate it with whatever coincided with the season. Summertime usually had things like American flags and beach décor, and Halloween, of course, had pumpkins, ghosts, and witches, etc. As offbeat as this seemed to people who came over at the time, it was truly a conversation piece. Personally, I thought it was a lot of work because I would help her put the ornaments up. Although it didn't last more than a few years, it was certainly a memorable way to celebrate holidays and the changing of seasons. Since we're deep into the Halloween season, if you don't really want an artificial Christmas tree taking up space in your living room just yet, you can create a Halloween Mood Table.

The pioneer of the Halloween Mood Table, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula, has been doing these for eons and so many of his readers follow suit each year to usher in their own personal Halloween celebrations (this year even Jorge Garcia, star of LOST, got in on the fun!) Surprisingly, up until now I only admired Matt's Mood Table as well as photos of the tables that were sent in to him. I finally decided to get into the game with my own assemblage of spooky crap to create my own Halloween Mood Table!

There's a few reasons why I never took part in the festivities.

Perhaps the most prominent reason why I never created a Halloween Mood table of my own was because I've always kept so much of my Halloween and Horror stuff displayed all year that I never had the motivation to dust it all off and relocate it to another spot. If you are drowning in knick-knacks like I am, you know what a pain this is! This year, it dawned on me that if all this stuff sits in the same spot all the time and collects dust, it's making things stagnant! I figured, why not take a stab at finally making a Mood Table to infuse my surroundings with a shot of Halloween spirit?

First, my September and October months have always been packed with events and trips well before I ever had my first website, so this left little time and motivation to work on the mood table. Then when I started doing the Halloween Specials, that ate up much of my time in September and October as well. It dawned on me recently that if I have time to put up a Christmas tree, then why the hell can't I make some time for a mood table? Since this year's Halloween Special is now available for all to see, I finally had time to dedicate to making this monstrosity!

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The minute I started conjuring up this mood table, I was immediately overcome by the exact feeling that Matt described that one should get after admiring what they designed. It's true too, because the table wasn't even complete and I felt a surge of Halloween spirit, instead of butterflies in my stomach, I'm pretty sure they were cheap rubber bats. The fact that I haven't done this in the past is ludicrous.

Let's take a closer look at what I slapped together fairly haphazardly.

The table itself is a black wrought iron accent table that has to date back to the late '60s. It was a gift to my parents after they got married and it had plant on it. It's simple, and I've always loved it. It was probably because it was always there in my house, whether it had a spider plant sitting on it or a few coffee mugs, an ash tray, and some random uncles bifocals. It's heavy, black table and it's pretty timeless. When we moved into a smaller place, I lobbied hard to keep the table, I even said I'd keep it in my small bedroom. So, with us it came. Then when I moved out into my own place, I brought it with me. There was no doubt that it was screaming to be the official Mood Table from now on. It was fate. It travelled all these years and through all the different homes and has finally found it's place in this world holding random Halloween related junk. I hired a table whisperer and he said the table is so happy now, it may want to keep that crap on it all year long, but mostly because it knows I probably won't move it off until late November.

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I threw together a lot of stuff that I've procured recently myself or as gifts and have mentioned here on the blog along with some other items that I've had for a long time.

There's an illuminated pumpkin, a few Reaction figures, the vampire Monster in My Pocket that I picked up at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, Halloween edition Toxic Waste candy, Halloween 3 Glow art from Bob Burke, atrocious Halloween art that I made with @DinosaurDracula and @FreddyInSpace, a mummy pooper, the Librarian Ghost from Ghostbusters, the Krispy Kreme GhostBusters pail, a couple of styrofoam headstones, Halloween Gak (thanks to Ipoisonthenachos) Frankenstein LED color changing candle, Jason goblet, a packet of Ghoul Aid, a skull, pumpkin candle, a wind up zombie, a Rockin' Solar Buddy, Blair Witch Sticks and Stones VHS tape, Clarence, Prime Evil who was my costume inspiration last year, the Dino Drac 2014 Halloween countdown print, a Miller Lite Scary Pumpkin Coaster, Ghosts of Central New Jersey book, and one of the horns used to make Mike's Jersey Devil getup in this year's Halloween Special.

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Wrapped up sloppily and helping to create the ambience underneath the table are orange and purple rope lights that I was about to take back because I didn't think I needed them this season, but it dawned on me that this is the perfect way to put them to good use. After nearly impaling myself on their sharp plastic packaging, I wrapped them around the legs of the table and plugged them into a step-on light switch for easy access. Not sure if that's the technical UL certified name for it, but step-on light switch works just fine for me.

To take this a step further, I wanted to connect my iPod speaker dock underneath the table as well, but there were no more outlets. It was best to avoid a Darren McGavin fuse moment in A Christmas Story. I'll save that project for the weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Special 2014

I invite you to kick back, turn off your brain for a little while, and enjoy The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special 2014. If you enjoy it, it would be awesome if you could give us a thumbs up on YouTube! Thanks for watching and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Production Blog 4: The Halloween Special 2014 Premieres FRIDAY!

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In case you haven't seen it around on social media, The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special hits YouTube on Friday night!

My previous production update included the colossal bummer of discovering that a full days worth of footage we shot didn't come out. That's the less technical way of putting it, and to keep this post from being 6 pages long, let's leave it at that. Things are a lot more upbeat this time around and I'm psyched to announce that the Halloween special premieres on YouTube this FRIDAY night!

After having our schedule pushed out a week, I can still say that even after getting thrown off by a full week, I am planning on premiering the Halloween special a full week ahead of last years premiere date!

Aside from our schedule being thrown out of whack, I was equally as concerned that the video would surpass 30 minutes. Fortunately, it's not 30 minutes, but it's about as long as a TV sitcom. Now, this would all depend on the way you look at things, but some fans and friends of the site, and even I could lodge the argument that even if we did come in at 30 minutes, it would be 30 minutes of free, independent Halloween goodness that you won't see anywhere else. Plus, it has some of our online cohorts in it as well. Most of the time I prefer 20 minutes to be the absolute maximum, but this time there's more of an actual fleshed out storyline to get wrapped up in.

If you enjoyed our previous 2 Halloween specials, you won't be disappointed! From a personal standpoint, I can't yet comment on which one is my favorite until I watch the finished product on the big screen TV with friends and family to really capture the feel of it. As it stands now, last years Halloween special is my favorite, and possibly my favorite video I've ever made, but in only mere days I'll find out if the 2014 installment edges it out.

For your Halloween enjoyment, I highly recommend you try to watch it on your TV, whether it be a Smart TV or if you have a PS3/4, XBox, Apple TV or Roku. I feel like Michael Cole berating you with information, but in this case, I have this feeling that your experience will be so much better than watching it on a tablet or a phone.

I thank you for reading along with the production updates, and I appreciate all of you who showed support on Twitter, IG, and Facebook! This whole thing, including my site, videos, and everything means so much more when I run into people who legitimately enjoy it. This year the special has been a lot more work and sucked up way more time than ever, but I am proud of it. It gives me the chance to present you with a little something extra during my favorite time of the year. Literally several quarts of sweat went into this video, and I also stained my face, pissed a lot of people off, burned the entire interior of my mouth including my tongue, almost had the cops called on me, and probably gained 7 lbs sitting on my ass writing and editing, but it was worth it.

A huge thanks go out to our small crew of friends (you know who you are) and loved ones who helped make this special happen. Whether you're here with me driving all around New Jersey or you sent me a recorded part your part from across the country, I have nothing but immense appreciation for you.

I haven't had much time to do anything except work on this film for nearly 2 months. It's hard to imagine the amount of hours we've spent making this film, and to consider that I've spent almost triple the amount of hours editing it than we took to film it is pretty nuts. It seems totally preposterous, and even though it's a silly YouTube video, it's still incredible time consuming. Getting back to a normal existence will be welcome. Next year the special is going to be 4 minutes lol.

What's next for me? Most important, I am going to enjoy the rest of October and get right back into the Halloween countdown. I'll be reading your blogs as well. Come back soon for a few more cool posts for the countdown and at least another video, maybe two if I have enough horror and caffeine in me!

BE HERE FOR THE PREMIERE:

FRIDAY NIGHT 10.10.14
THE SEXY ARMPIT HALLOWEEN SPECIAL!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

AD JERSEUM 18: Ballantine Ale Halloween Party!




We all know there's nothing scarier than...OLD BEER!

Growing up in the '80s, there were plenty of Halloween and Beer ad tie-ins. We were pretty spoiled in that regard, although it's been going on for many moons before Elvira showed up in a Coors Light ad. Above, you can see an example of such a thing from 1943, except without a beehive haircut and cleavage.

Today's ad features one of the oldest beer brands in the country, Ballantine Ale, which is deeply rooted in New Jersey. I wasn't around during it's heyday, but growing up, we had a few pieces of Ballantine paraphernalia in my house, so I was familiar with it, even as its popularity throughout the country waned.

In the house I lived most of my life in, we had an actual bar in our house, not one that you would buy at a furniture store or at a place that sells bars, but an actual bar complete with leather stools transported from a real bar in Newark.

It was permanently installed in our den, which was basically our play room. Yes, we played in a room that had a giant full wet bar. Once the huge family gatherings started to become a rarity because family moved away to various parts of the country, the bar room eventually evolved into my own personal play room and wrestling arena for the better pat of my childhood.

We didn't change anything in the bar so it pretty much stayed the same way since the late '70s. There were colored lights and lots of authentic liquor trays coasters, branded glasses and mugs, and lighted fixtures with various brands of beer and soda like Schaefer, Carlsberg, Heineken, 7Up, and others.

I can't really say I ever cared to sample anything until I got older. Maybe crème de menthe because it was green and looked somewhat more appetizing than say, Seagrams 7. The Frangelico bottle in the monk costume didn't look to shabby either, mostly because it reminded me of the figural shape of Mrs. Butterworth's, but I hadn't developed a taste for it yet.

Trust me, just because this thing was in my house didn't drive me to boozin' at an early age. If anything it removed the temptation that a lot of my other friends had. Why would I beg my sister or ask an older friend to go to a liquor store for me when I stared at these dusty bottles that no one ever drank every day of my life? Eventually, as I got a little older, there were a few times when I had to enlist some help, similar to the Goldslick Vodka fiasco in Superbad.

While clicking through eBay, and definitely not intentionally looking for Ballatine Ale memorabilia, I came across a vintage Halloween themed ad for this beer which is perfect for our column AD JERSEUM. Print ads are rarely this enticing anymore and finding one oozing with so much old school Halloween spirit makes it even more tremendous!

The ad is pure persuasive Halloween magic. The kickass bar didn't drive me to drink, but this ad makes it seem like the most fun and appealing activity that anyone could ever take part in. Whenever a product or company completely embraces holidays and makes them the basis of an entire ad campaign, that's gold in my book.

The ad recalls a time before I was born when parties with a slew of guests were a common practice and entertaining on a weekly basis was the thing to do. Finger foods were a hot commodity and quirky adult beverages were always on the menu.

Let me break this scene down for you. A spooky witch, A knight, and Mr. Pumpkinhead with the argyle shirt are all at a dinner party. It looks as if the witch is attempting to scare the letters in the word BOOO and those letters are shooting back sarcastically with one of those "shakin' in their boots" mocks back to her as if her attempts are not really scary at all, cause he knows the drill. Boo has been around the block many times with this witch. Cannot pull the wool over his eyes anymore...or the sheet.

The main focal point, of course, is the beer, which looks so damn appealing. It almost looks more like an ice cream soda with whip cream swirled on top than a plain old beer. And look how this brew is making these m'fers HAPPY. You can almost hear Pharrell Williams singing the background song of this ad.

The Knight is completely psychotic and will without a doubt KILL Mr. Pumpkinhead after the first round of hors de ouvers. Hopefully he'll let everyone grab a cocktail wiener on a toothpick before he chops this poor guys head off and puts it over his head to reenact the legend of Sleepy Hollow out front to the delight of the snobby drunk well-to-do folks who attended this soiree. I just realized, cocktail wieners were completely out of the question for this party, CORRECTION - Crab Puff pastries, my bad.

If you can read the very tiny verbiage, it describes talking with our hands as if it was an ancient thing, which is interesting. Jerseyans and New Yorkers are often described as people who talk with their hands, so this part of the ad works on two levels. Here, hand gestures are referred to as a "Handy." Stop smirking. This is serious beer business.

The handy mumbo jumbo doesn't make much sense to me, but I chalk that up to it's age. Maybe at one time it made perfect sense to readers. We don't really need to connect with this lingo, because apparently, all we need to know is that the "OK" hand signal means this Ballantine stuff is a superlative beer.

According to Wikipedia The new Ballantine is not the same exact brew as it once was because the original recipe from over 100 years ago has been lost to the ages. Presently, it's been said that the brew is reminiscent of it's original flavor. I've tried it actually found it enjoyable, and easy to drink. If you want to add a vintage flair to your Halloween party this year, give Ballantine a shot, look how happy it made the Knight and Mr. Pumpkinhead!

*Long after I wrote this, a coincidental thing about this beer happened. I was driving home last weekend from Weehawken, NJ on the NJ Turnpike with Miss Sexy Armpit and we saw a giant Ballantine billboard. It looks like this beer is attempting to make a comeback! I had no clue about that either because this post had been in the can for about a month before I even saw that billboard!

Facts about Ballatine from Wikipedia:

- Founded in Newark in 1840, the company stayed in the Ballantine family until the brewery close in 1972.

- Ballantine, based out of Newark, exists in name only nowadays. The brand is owned and marketed by Pabst while the actual brewing is outsourced to Miller.

- Ballatine was a longtime sponsor of the New York Yankees

- Martin Crane on Frasier was a fan of Ballatine beer
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