Guest post: Abney Park Cemetery, by Juliet

June 18, 2009

My friend Juliet spent some time in England earlier this month and came home with a gorgeous passel of photos. I thought these pics of Abney Park in Stoke Newington were particularly beautiful- love the cool greens and mossy stones- so she let me re-post them here, along with her captions. The small-size photos don’t do justice to the gorgeous setting- make sure to click them to see the large versions.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This place is 100% amazing. Abney Park was in its heyday (1840s) a non-denominational burial ground, the first cemetery in Europe to be combined with an arboretum. For the last twenty years, it hasn’t been used for burial. Instead, it’s now treated as an open space, and the natural landscape is taking over the gravestones in a really dramatic way. You can wander far off the main trails through row after row of gravestones, many lopsided or somewhat uprooted.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

You can read more about Abney Park Cemetery here and here.

- Juliet is an editor who lives in Brooklyn.

Gorgeous pics, hey? Thanks, Juliet.
The rest of y’all, I’m still happy to get guest posts.
Send ‘em to stamperoo at gmail dot com, yeah?

Fish eulogy

June 18, 2009


Goths in Hot Weather

June 18, 2009

No blue satin sashes here, o Dark Lord Yogsoggoth.

What better place to read Dune?

What better place to read Dune?

Thanks to Kelly for the tip.

Photoshop Fun: Arms on Birds!

June 17, 2009
I think you're supposed to use a salad fork for walnuts, you barbarian

I think you're supposed to use a salad fork for walnuts, you barbarian

Pretty tough there, guys.  Except.... uh, you're budgies posing in a cage... a cage lined with pink carpeting.  BadassFAIL

Pretty tough there, guys. Except.... uh, you're budgies posing in a cage.... a cage lined with pink carpeting. BadassFAIL

More here- some really good ones if you click through to other pages. Thanks to Ryan for the tip.

What a lovely couple

June 16, 2009

The NYT does lots of lifestyle profiles of really likeable, down to earth, upwardly mobile couples- the kind of people who really appreciate artisanal cheeses after a good reiki session- all playfully underscored by some nice progressive jazz music. This is pretty much the best one ever.


There’s lots more of this awesomeness at the website of comedy troupe KasperHauser.

Oh, and thanks to Elliott for the tip.

Foot Model, Part One: The Moldening

June 15, 2009

My friend James is a prosthetist who makes body parts, either for people who need extra body parts, or for moovies who need extra body parts.

He asked if he could make a cast of my feet, and I pretty much threw my socks off in about 0.05 seconds and screamed HELL YEAH and he was like, well maybe in a few weeks when I have some materials and stuff and I was all yeah, I know, I was just feeling warm in here.

Anyway we finally got around to it. And I documented the hell out of it.
So, for your edification, here is how to make plaster feet!

Basically the procedure is to mold the feet in something soft (in this case, alginate gel). You make a negative mold- basically a hole shaped like a foot- in that material. Then you fill that soft, flexible negative mold with something hard and durable (in this case, plaster) to make the positive model of le foot.

This entry will show part one: the soft mold.
I’ll do the second step later in the week.

First, you need feet! Here are two! They are brown and oddly featureless, like tanned piglets.

feet womens brown tanned

I rubbed vaseline all over them to make them slip out of the mold better. This also had the effect of making Maybe The Adorable Boxer Dog desperately want to lick my toes. She stared at me with ridiculous longing, wishing and hoping for just a taste of my delectably oiled tootsies. But I refused and took some crappy grainy photographs of her emotions instead.


Meanwhile, James prepped a mold and mixed up the molding gel, which is called Alginate.


It’s essentially seaweed jello, and it’s pretty much edible (although, ew). You may in fact have tasted this stuff yourself, as it’s used for dental molds. Since it’s food-safe, James used his beer cooler as a container.

He built two little compartments inside with aluminum flashing and some duct tape. Then he poured in a 1-inch layer of alginate and laid in a piece of burlap netting to form a sturdy bottom layer for the mold.


He rubbed my feet all over with cool, gluey alginate, taking care to get it between my toes. This tickled tremendously and I squealed like a small hog and thrashed like a carp in a sandbox.


He covered the netting with another layer of alginate, and then in went my feet, and on went more alginate, until I was buried up to my ankles in cold, slimey, stiffening glue.


Then it was time for some waiting.
We played trivial pursuit while the goo dried.

This is a little chunk of gelled alginate. Its texture is like a cross between silly putty and feta cheese- smooth and flexible, but if you bend it far enough it breaks and some water leaks out.


Within about 20 minutes it was set enough for me to start working my feet loose. James used a popsicle stick to cut the gel away from my ankles, which let in some air and loosened things up. Air squeezing into the miniscule space between a moist jello block and a greased foot feels weirdly like a high-pitched toot, I’m just sayin’.

I wiggled and shifted my feet very gently to help- just hard enough to help the alginate weep a bit of water to lubricate my feet, but not too hard, or the alginate would crumble and the mold would lose detail. A few minutes of wiggling, and we could gently slit the alginate so I could start giving birth to my own feet.

It felt to me like a clean job- I predicted that the alginate hadn’t broken at all inside. If we were lucky, the texture of my skin would be captured in the mold, and in an ideal world, each of my toes might even be separated, creating a very lifelike foot model that could be used to make a realistic-looking prosthesis…. but there’d be no way to tell until the plaster molds were done.


I expected my feet to come out all naaaasty but they weren’t at all. In fact, being rubbed with vaseline then soaked in wet alginate actually left my feet almost perfectly clean, not to mention baby soft and reeeally smooth.

In fact if there was a smoothness competition between my feet and LL Cool J, my feet would kick his butt in the smooth department. Oh crap he heard me.


Well I’m SORRY LL Cool J, but look how smooth they are.


LL Cool J, come on. You can’t argue. Those dawgs are smooth. What? Smooth and adorable? Why, thank you for noticing, LL Cool J. It’s gracious of you to concede.


Oh, yeah, LL Cool J, of course I’ll keep it on the down-low. You’re totally still smooth, guy. The smoothest. We cool?


A’ight, man. Let’s talk later. Bye LL Cool J.

God he gets so defensive. Anyway here’s the cooler with the hollow alginate foot-holes all ready to go.

That brown stuff in the right foot is a little hint of the burlap layer poking through the alginate.


Next step: fill the alginate negatives with plaster, let that harden, then pull off the mold to get the finished cast, or model, of my feeties.

Stay tuned for Foot Model, Part Two: The Sequeling… coming later this week, or whenever I drink enough coffee to write it in a caffeine-fueled evening haze.

Update on Fake Black Dad

June 15, 2009
Is it just me or does that dude's expression remind you of CeilingCat?

Is it just me or does that dude's expression remind you of CeilingCat?

Some updates to my previous musings about the Fake Black Dad on the cover of the Toronto Fun Guide:

My downstairs neighbour and all-around funny guy Charles picked me up a copy of this wonderful publication, placing it delicately on my doorstep a mere day and a half after I wrote that post. Thanks, Chuck, you da man. The Photoshop job doesn’t look as bad in person as it does in the image above, although it’s still noticeable if you’re lookin’, which of course I am.

Also, I found out that the person who noticed the bad P-shop job and found the original stock image in the first place is my friend Chip Zdarsky, a talented writer & illustrator who has this uncanny knack for making every interaction sort of moist and uncomfortable. Way to go, Chip, you got a graphic designer fired, probably. Also, please respect my personal space more.

And finally, the city fun guide magazine contains a photo that I can only assume is of two versions of me as a child in an alternate universe.


Seriously, what the heck? My hair was exactly like that. And one of those little girls has my close-set eyes and ready-to-rumble facial expression, while the other is evidently dreaming of a Chicken McNugget; also a recognizable Stamper trait. Amazing.

Clearly I need to figure out which Toronto-area summer day camp this uncaptioned photo was intended to promote, and avoid it, lest I meet my wee doppelgangstas, our timelines collide, and we rip the 1980s right out of the space-time continuum. What would happen to Scott Baio then? Best not to find out.

This is Why You’re Fat

June 14, 2009

This is why you’re fat. A website with really ridiculous photos of fatty foods. Bacon and/or batter play starring roles on most of these dishes:

Battered & deep-fried Cadbury Creme Egg

Battered & deep-fried Cadbury Creme Egg

This is why you’re thin. A website started in retaliation by the elaborate lunch-making mom from Vegan Lunch Box:

Uh... this weird candy I found that wasn't as sweet and had a crappy shelf life.

Uh... this weird candy I found that wasn't as sweet and had a crappy shelf life.

So far the fatties are totally winning. A butter-drenched cheesy bacon corn muffin kicks the ass of steamed tempeh loaf so damn hard.

Best Wedding Invitation Ever

June 13, 2009

I don’t know these people at all, but Andrea sent me a link to their wedding invitation, and isn’t it the awesomest?


Such great writing & design.

One more reason to love Obama

June 12, 2009

He’ll help you skip school.
Make sure to watch the video. This man is seriously the awesomest.
Thanks to Shannon D for the tip!


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