Monday, January 31, 2011

Return to Monkeyhead Rock

Monkeyhead rock 1973
Terry toweling bucket hats in 1973

My family recently had a nostalgic reunion holiday at Pearl Beach on NSW's Central Coast and we undertook a quest to find the elusive so-called "Monkeyhead Rock" (above), which we'd nicknamed way back in the 1960s.

At first, while searching on my own, I worried that Monkeyhead Rock may have dislodged itself, like so many other rocks on both of Pearl Beach's headlands:

Fallen rock 2011

But we were successful! I was looking on the wrong headland. It was on the way to neighbouring Flathead Beach, not Umina.

Here is our recreated pic, 38 years later. We had expected a lot would have changed, but perhaps more elements had altered than we'd anticipated:

Comparison pics - Monkeyhead rock
Monkeyhead Rock, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A thong for Australia Day

Grass thong

A bizarrely Aussie way to celebrate Australia Day...

I had just walked past the taxi rank, up and over the railway station, and was halfway along a looooong, lonely bitumen road, which was melting in 42 degree C heat, when one of my thongs had a blow out. The only way to walk home was to tie it to my foot with strands of buffalo grass and stalks of paspalum.

The strap on these Kenji flip flops is fabric and there was an almighty snap yesterday! Not sure the fashion will catch on, though. The new strap is rather scratchy, attracts stray cows, and requires mowing (or is that mooing)?

What made it all worse was that, while I was limping home in the heat, a stoic young guy in his late teens went striding by in bare feet, carrying his thongs in his hand. I swear I almost considered offering him cash for his footwear, especially since He Wasn't Using Them!

Happy Australia Day

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lion around

Lion Island
Lion Island, as seen from Paul Landa Park, Pearl Beach (2011).

And a recent trip with the school choir, into the recently-revamped Sydney Town Hall in the CBD, had me noticing these stone "lion head" gargoyles (below). I guess I'd always known they were there but I hadn't really examined them closely before, nor noticed that each one had a different expression!

Lion 1whiteLion 2

Lion 3whiteLion 4

Lion 5whiteLion 6

Then, of course, there are two lions in the school library:

Lion tamers 3
Alex from "Madagascar" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa"

Alex and friends

Lion and Returns box/>
Library lion

And, it's almost Chinese New Year!


Chinese lion

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Holy fine finny fiends, Batman!

Shark fin

Okay, I know they found a bullshark swimming in a flooded Brisbane street this week, but I found *this* in my garage yesterday! It took me a while to work out exactly what it was - but it's the interactive shark fin prop I made when Hoyts Cinema Centre in the Sydney CBD asked us to dress up and do a series of weekly "Rocky Horror Picture Show"-type events for the 60s' "Batman" movie revival in January 1987!

As Robin, I ran across the screen with this "fin on a stick" just before the famous "rubber shark scene". Ah, fame is so fleeting sometimes.

Me as Robin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ghosts of Christmases past presents

GolliwogGolliwog skirt

I raced around the house today with my iPhone, snapping pics of Christmas gifts I remember receiving over the decades.

I've dated this little woollen golliwog (above) as being from Christmas 1963. Not so PC in the 21st century, but I recall watching my grandmother make a similar one for my younger brother; it is a similar method to making pompons. The golliwog just gets tied off differently, and then is cut free from his cardboard frame. While looking around today for something to give a sense of scale to the photos, I remembered how we often used to beg for a spare paper patty case, when Mum was making cupcakes, so we could allow our golliwogs a little crossdressing freedom.

Wooden monkey

Predating the popular "Barrel of Monkeys" by at least a year, this wooden monkey (above) came to me at Christmas 1964. I remember seeing chains of them hanging from the shelves at an import gift and caneware shop in the Imperial Arcade in the Sydney CBD. Their curved hands and feet allowed them to be contected, just like the plastic game pieces in "Barrel of Monkeys". Some of the monkeys had long, curvy, cane tails (and mine does have a hole where a tail would have originally been inserted). My brother had a matching monkey, in a slightly darker colour of wood stain, but the elastic holding his monkey's limbs in place perished many decades ago. My grandfather repaired his, to an extent, with rubber bands.


A hand-knitted red and yellow gonk (above) from Christmas 1965. His name is Messy Hair and he has a few moth holes these days. My friend at school, Jean, had a sewn one, made of red, white and black satin fabric, and I pestered my Mum and paternal grandmother - for months! - for a gonk of my own. My brother received one in reverse colours to mine, and our younger brother received a similar, hand-knitted Humpty Dumpty. I think it must have been in the same pattern book. My grandmother knitted our gonks in secret (and sent them off to Santa to bring back on Christmas night).


This "monster" (above) was given to me at Christmas 1982 by a friend who'd heard I was "into The Lord of the Rings". She bought it in an Australian giftware shop and it carries a label underneath, "Made in Canada". It appears to be made of clay, and is studded with coloured "jewels", but it is actually carved from some kind of plant root, probably azelea (I have a carved wooden tiger which is definitely azalea root - and I just realized it seems to be the same texture). It's almost as light as cork; some sections are polished smooth, while other parts are the natural surface of the root. The plain corrugated cardboard box it came in was crudely labelled in felt pen: "Sauron".


"The Herculoids" was a classic animated series from 1967, but these very cool Toynami retro action figures are from 2003. You can bet they were brought to licensing life by some guy who loved and wanted such a set in 1967. I bought the "Zok the dragon with Zandor" boxed set (#1) new, and only ever saw one other of those sets in the shops. No locations near me ever imported the other two huge sets. I found all three sets, loose and second hand, in Brisbane at Christmas 2008 - and bought them all as a gift for myself. This gave me a spare Zok to take to the school library, where he continues to enthrall little kids, and a spare Zandor who may be useful customizing fodder some day. When you open up the blobs, Gloop and Gleep, there are unopened packets of a white, Pla-Doh like, compound so that one can emulate the creatures' stretching abilities during play.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Greeting Geisha Ghost

Customised Geisha Ghost

I finally found a tiny sketch of the Kooky Spooky design known as Geisha Ghost, who eventually evolved into Grandma Macreak. Since I still had an unbaked batch of the lemon/nightglow Fimo modelling compound, I figured I still had one more custom left in me.

Kooky Spooky prototypes
Early "Kooky Spooky" designs (Geisha Ghost: middle of top row).

Created by Patti Peticolas (1968) for Hasbro. Baby Boo (became Baby Spook'em), Shirley Shriek with pendant (evolved into Mama Kaskit), Geisha Ghost with fans (evolved into Grandma Macreak), General Booregard with gun (eventually dropped), Gaston Ghost with foil and shield (became Daddy Cadava, then dropped), Teena Terror. Note: the banjo went to Vincent Van Ghost (who became Rigor Mortimer, and finally Brother Mortimer). Cousin Gilghouly evolved into Daddy Booregard.

Geisha Ghost - backwhiteGeisha Ghost - top
Geisha Ghost from the back, and from the top.

Customised Kooky Spooky trio
A trio of customs: General Gilghouly, Geisha Ghost and Cousin Cadava

Haunted house with Kooky Spookys
The whole gang!

I also made a slideshow to celebrate. View it at PHOTO PEACH!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Watchu tolkien 'bout?

Framed Middle Earth map and photos
Framed Middle-earth map in my school's new BER library.

Hahaha. A friend just compared me to the Valar of the JRR Tolkien books. Tolkien Gateway, the Tolkien wiki, says: "The Valar (like any of the Ainur) have no fixed shape."

Especially after Christmas, methinks.

I do like the sound of Irmo (aka Lórien), "Master of Dreams and Desires".

Something to keep in mind for the new year.

Friday, January 07, 2011

When you're on a run...

Customised Teena Terror and Mama Kaskit
Customised Teena Terror and Mama Kaskit "Kooky Spookys"

I made customized Teena and Mama ghost figures today. I was walking through a stationery store yesterday, and found little pink, heart-shaped, split-pin fasteners, and thought they'd look good as the pink hearts on their cheeks. (I'm not quite happy with the heavy eyeliner, but I'm going to try scraping away excess paint when it's dried.) Their signs were cut out with cookie cutters I happened to have on hand.

Kooky Spookys plus Gilroy
Extended Hasbro "Kooky Spooky" family - plus Avon's Gilroy the Ghost

See the previous customising venture HERE!

Kooky Spooky - Boxed Mama KaskitwhiteKooky Spooky - Teena Terror
Elusive: Boxed original Mama Kaskit; opened, original Teena Terror.

Customized Mama Kaskit and Teena Terror
My Fimo customs!

My PhotoPeach slideshow about Kooky Spookys is HERE!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A corella epiphany

Corellas attack!
Epiphany 2011

Today is the traditional day for taking down Christmas decorations. This year, I didn't actually get around to decorating the outdoor pine tree, but I did notice it had a very healthy display of pine nuts. Until yesterday.

I had heard some happy parrot noises out in the yard, but it was only later in the day that I noticed that some galah had been munching on my nuts, to coin a phrase.

Today, they're back! Six corellas have returned to the scene of yesterday's crime! When I snuck out with the iPhone, the "boss cocky" flew up into a neighbouring tree and kept watch for his mates, sending chirpy noises to them, warning that I was still approaching. It was a textbook assault, obviously planned well since yesterday. They started at the top and are slowly working their way down, like a well-oiled machine.

Outdoor Christmas tree and Aquarius
Epiphany 2008

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Welcome to the family!

Kooky Spooky welcome

This morning, I tracked down my several-hairs brush and some suitable highlighting paint - and finished off my two "mash-up" Kooky Spookys, based on unused Patti Peticolas designs from 1968.

Cousin Cadava and General Gilghouly
Cousin Cadava & General Gilghouly.

Cousin Cadava's fencing foil is made out of a barbeque skewer, painted with chrome nail polish. I've also used that silver on his "hero" medal. His moustache is said to be reminiscent of David Niven's. The General's nose was described as being red and bulbous, like WC Fields'. His (temporary) gun is actually an uzi, borrowed from an "Austin Powers" fembot. (The original "General Booregard" design had a bluebird perched on the gun, so I guess I need to find my blue Fimo.)

Baby Spook'em's death rattle

With a little spare bit of the yellow/glow mixture of Fimo, I also made a little skull on a stick (above) to create a "death rattle" for signless Baby Spook'em. (When I saw a reference on the original "Baby Boo" model sheet, I just had to create one! Also love the skeletal rocking horse, which Patti seems to have crossed out as too gross for little kids? Eventually, I'll make that, too.)

Kooky Spooky family 2

My PhotoPeach slideshow about Kooky Spookys is HERE!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Customising Kooky Spookys!

General Gilghouly & Cousin Cadava
General Gilghouly & Cousin Cadava

I'm halfway finished!

Based on two actual, unused, early designs of Patti Peticolas' "Kooky Spookys" (1968), I created these two new ghosts today by combining equal parts "lemon" and "nightglow luminescent" Staedtler brand Fimo Soft modelling compounds - and baking them in the oven for 30 minutes each.

Next I have to add painted facial features, again working from the original designs. Gilghouly (who originally name-swapped with Daddy Booregard, and was also described as a cousin) will carry a shotgun(!), and the one I'm calling Cousin Cadava (originally Gaston Ghost and then Daddy Cadava on paper) already has a "Hero" medal pinned to his chest and will hold a fencing foil. These two designs (of eight) were dropped when Hasbro committed to producing the family of six final Kooky Spookys (below).

Kooky Spooky (1968) retailers ad
Kooky Spooky (1968) retailers ad.

With thanks to the gang at the Universal Monster Army BBS.

UPDATE: The completed customs are HERE, HERE and HERE!

My PhotoPeach slideshow about Kooky Spookys is HERE!