Mansion at Midnight: 2012

This is my little not so scary Halloween blog "Mansion At Midnight"
... Inspired by Disney's Haunted Mansion...
I always wanted to be at the Haunted Mansion at Midnight...

Thanks for stopping by...

In Irons

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scary Snowman

I guess I am always the last to find out stuff on the internets, but here was a Youtube video of a Scary Snowman... very funny!

Monday, December 17, 2012


I have family in Connecticut, its a fine and beautiful state, we are not too far from Newtown.

Tragedy has befallen the most innocent.  Babies have suffered the onslaught of evil. We are heartbroken and asking the questions on why and how this can occur, apparently evil knows many ways.  So God gave us free will, the devil uses this to his advantage and uses any manner and method and thinks nothing of sacrificing innocent children if he can get just one person to deny their faith.  It is the only way I have of being able to explain why things like this happen.

The wonderful Dave Lowe on his blog has created a very moving sentiment....

God bless the children of the world and the families who have all suffered loss at the hands of violence

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Healthy Eating? Mmmm Maybe Not

Ok Pensive Pumpkin has a decadent Guiness Cake recipe at her blog courtesy of Nigella Lawson ... Pensive also had a dream sequence of her being Nigella and paying a visit to her dreamdate Alan Rickman.

So got me thinking a few things....  

First, Guiness cake must be awesome.   

Second, Nigella is a very lovely lady so I googled her.

She is 51 and is a tv cook personality that eats all sort of decadent things and consumes meat, butter, chocalate and desserts.  And she looks awesome:

Then there is this woman who is also 51 yrs old.  She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, and promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet which is high in organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation, and supplements.

I think I know which way I am going ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Funny Cat Pictures...

I dont know where Queen Of Darkness gets these from but I like cats too so am reposting here:

And the only spooky pic:

Its possible that some folks not familiar may not know who Lestat is.... very famous vampire from Anne Rice series of Interview with a Vampire

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Colors

We just got back from New England, visiting family in the north west region of Connecticut.  Absolutely beautiful.

I cannot do any Halloween this year due to work but I can post some fall like pics (taken during a very wet and rainy day) but they came out nice despite the weather.  If it wasnt such a rainy day the colors would be a lot more vibrant. These are pictures from my cousin and uncle's house and on their farm and street they are on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Was in my local Target and they had carving pumpkins for sale.  I looked for pie pumpkins but didnt see any and I didnt have time to walk to other side of the store to see if they were putting any Halloween stuff up

These unfortunately will be rotten to the core by October 31, they just cannot stand up to the weather and climate here in FL for too long.  Cannot grow them here either I checked into it and there are some strange varieties in special circumstances that you can grow them but its just too dad blame hot and buggy and humid here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In Irons Sunset Cruise

Ok so we took 3 hour cruise with the nice Arabella (Funcat 55' catamaran) out of Ponce Inlet FL.   Yes they play the music from Gilligans Island on the way out!  

 It was a blast they do a really good job with their operation.  All the wine, beer and snacks (cheese and crackers, vegies and fruit trays) you desire and they make sure you are well suppiled during the trip.

Crew was very nice, they didnt treat us like Lubbers and they did their best to ensure everyone was comfortable and had a nice time.

Mrs Irons and her sister and hubby and some friends all went, we got a nice Groupon.  Here is some pics from the day, we got out of the inlet onto the ocean for a bit, very light winds, very calm seas with slight ground swell of 2-3 feet coming in but still some folks were feeling a bit seasick.  I am lucky it doesnt affect me.

Just absolutely beautiful day, beautiful sunset.  I have had a few sailboats in my time and its got me thinking again...   here is the lovely Arabella:

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Port view Off Coast of Daytona Beach

And they set sail and turned off the motors...splendid!

Mrs Irons enjoying the breeze, she hates having her picture taken especially with the humidity doing its thing with her hair.  A lovely Lass

Babes on Board

Stern view looking Aft at Daytona skyline

Orientation speech by Captain Sam with Rebecca at the wheel

Start of Sunset as we approach the Inlet

 Rough Video of Sunset and of Captain Sam, Youtube promised to clean up the "shakiness" of the video

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Still In Love.....

Ok not a Halloween related post but I did state that on occassion will post non-related halloween thingamajigs.... thats the beauty of blogs.  You do what you want when you want.

26 years ago today a younger thinner man asked a pretty girl out on their first date.   26 years later with all of life's up and downs I am proud to say I am the luckiest man.

I met Mrs. Irons through the world's second oldest profession....... yep...... Banking

She was a pretty teller that all the single men in our locale was chasing with no success and it must have been in a moment of weakness that she relented and agreed to go out on our first date.

Down to the Inlet to a seafood restaurant on the water (you know where the bathrooms are marked Gulls and Buoys for their representative genders).  We got stuck at a table near the door.  Everytime the front door of the restaurant opened it banged our table.   But we were in love, it was a Friday night, the candle light was magical.  

26 years later I still feel so blessed to have Mrs Irons in my life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Halloween Treasures.... No Seriously I Mean It!

As it looks like with work and a ton of other pressing commitments I may not have the time this year to put up any Halloween decorations. Shameful I know.

So I must live vicariously for my Halloween goodness via the capabilities of others....

I am always amazed at how wonderfully resourceful and creative folks are.... especially with today's installment with Halloween Treasure Studio

Here are some samples of their treasures!  Awesome and creative halloween treasures with a vintage feel!

Major Kudos to the artist Cali Lee at Halloween Treasure Studio, check it out!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Got Tagged By The Punkin....

I am not the sharpest pencil in the pack, but there is a game of sorts where you get tagged to answer 11 questions and then per the rules tag another 11 folks.   I have seen it on blogosphere and Pensive Pumpkin has tagged me.

Here are the rules:

The Rules
Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
Create 11 questions for the people you have tagged to answer.
Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
Go to their page and tell them.
No tag backs.

I dont really know that many folks out in the blogosphere... and with 60 hour workweek this may be difficult to pull off but I can start at least with the 11 things about me and answer the questions:

So... here is 11 things about me:

1. I love my lovey dovey wifey... Mrs Irons is the sweetest thing.  I always joke (this makes her roll her eyes) that I met her through the world's second oldest profession...... Banking! (rimshot drum).  People hear that and after a second or two they then go "Ohhhh and the worlds first profession is..." and I cut them off at that point.

2. I love the Fall (Halloween of course and Thanksgiving and me loves me Christmas)

3. I worked in aerospace and worked on the Space Shuttle, Delta expendable rockets and Space Station program.  I have seen the shuttle Space Toilet.   I would not want to be off my feed and be in space and have to use that thing.  Think of the boxlike toilet structure in a porta potty with seatbelt and foot straps, an ass gasket and a centrifuge with a shop vac... in a crowded space in the lower deck about the size of a large elevator. No. I mean seriously no.   In space no one can hear you....

4. I really enjoy Patrick O'Brien novels (Master and Commander) of the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Marturin series (20.5 books in the really should read them all)

5. I swim at the YMCA where the olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte swims at and grew up.  I got up to swimming a mile and half before I stopped due to a recent injury, but I swim the same way Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte do ....just slower

If you dont know who Ryan is, watch the olympics starting this weekend, you may be going Michael Phelps who?   All the girls think he is dreamy and he really is a nice guy if you ever get to meet him.

6. My fathers side of the family includes an Ebaneezer and Thomas Davenport came from England in 1640 to settle in New England. My great great great great uncle Thomas Davenport invented electric motor and car in the early 1800s (made electric motor windings from the silk of his wifes wedding dress). Yes. Silk is conductive. Yes I can imagine the conversation:
     Honey? You know that old wedding dress of yours.....
     Yes dear what about it?
     How do you feel if I .....

7.  My mother's side of the family settled pioneer Florida in the 1840's.  It was Fort Christmas and was essentially what Orlando is today

9. I really like Scifi movies too.  Mrs. Irons not so much.  Romantic comedies we watch together but I truly love going to the movies and movies in general and the industry as a whole.  

I truly like just about anything that Ridley Scott does.  I am so glad he came back to Alien franchise and made Prometheus.  I really liked it.  Strange as I was leaving I had to explain to folks that it was a prequel to the Aliens movie.  They would then go "OOohhhhh I get it.....".  Surprised that so many people didnt know that going into the movie.  Interesting in the Alien Bluray Quadrology I got the director comments had Ridley Scott alluding to practically a prequel back in 1988

I will admit it.... I like Waterworld. Yep.  The most maligned movie ever but I really do like it. And I have a thing for Jeanne Tripplehorn whenever I  watch it.  Cool trimaran.  Nuff said.

10.  I have competed in BBQ and have some recipes published in some obscure books (see Cookshack website).  I will be creating a blog soon on low fat, low sodium, low sugar very healthy BBQ.  No sense in digging your own grave with a knife and a fork.  Stay tuned for Que Yoda blog shortly

11.  I like to sail, swim, surf and dive.   Its been hard to get back in the water but its on the list of things I HAVE TO DO.

Now to answer Pensive's Questions:

1.  Do you find yourself creepily obsessed with anyone?  I often wonder if I'm the only one who didn't outgrow the adolescent crush thing, since no one else seems to talk about it...

ANS> Hmmm not obsessed.   This varies from movie to movie or tv show to tv show.  I just watched Prometheus and the main character played by Noomi Rapace whom at the moment I found myself attracted to, not obsessed.  Maybe it was the barfing scene of her coming out of hyper sleep.  That just tugs at the heartstrings of any boy.  I just bought the Alien Quadrology and now I am strangely digging Sigourney Weaver

2.  How would you describe your style?

ANS> Style? Oh my gosh I have none.  How I dress? I work from home for software company that has no dress code.  So blue t-shirt from Finish Line and khaki shorts and sneakers.  Drives Mrs Irons crazy.  See? NO STYLE.  I wish I did but I am simply not cool in terms of dress.  Believe me, I have had to survive outside of my looks and style for the past 30 years he he!

3.  If you could change professions without worrying about retraining, startup costs, or similar realistic concerns- what would you do?

ANS>  Build electric cars or retrofit existing vehicles to electric cars, make special effects in movie industry, own a restaurant.... the list goes on and on

4.  If you could go back to the version of you that lived ten years ago what (aside from winning lottery numbers and other financial gimmicks) would you tell him or her?

ANS> That I promised to love you 10 years before that and that I will always love you 10 years from then and on

5.  Do you like your blogs funny or serious?  (I ask this because these question things always make me trend serious, and I'd hate to alienate you all...)

ANS> I like honest, productive, funny, witty, creative..... and there are a ton of folks out there that are just that. There are times for seriousness and there are times for utmost happiness.  I think that is what Blog intended

6.  Shower or bath?

ANS> shower, minimum of 2 times a day

7.  Boxers or briefs?

ANS> Briefs for active living, Boxers for casual and sleeping (TMI?)

8.  Word association:  Halloween

ANS> TOT (Trick or Treaters)

9.  If you had to choose a Nom de Plume (aside from whatever you might currently use on your blog or whatever) what would you choose and why?

ANS> Thats it..... Nom de Plume.  He he.

In Irons has a couple of sources.... of course being clapped in irons if you are a misbehaving sailor and it also means a sailing vessel locked in duldrums with no wind...essentially being clad IN IRONS.  I saw that was the name of a sailboat and I thought oh my gosh what a great name for a sailboat.

10.  What conditioner do you use?  I'm afraid my hair is fried.  LOL

ANS> Follically challenged no need for conditioner.  I used to be a physically cut individual long blonde hair surfer dude in my early 20's.   Then I dont know what happened.

11.  Do you hate me for choosing you?  *evil cackle*

ANS> No not at all.  I am challenged in completing the task and all with my work schedule and all.... but Pensive Pumpkin is one of my favorite bloggers I follow and its a fun thing to do. 

Now I have to find 11 others....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Horror oh The Horror..... the Blog Template Horror

Sitting here minding my own business blogging and stuff and of course Google/Blogger made some sort of upgrade a while back.

WTF?!?  (Why the Face ;)  )

Nothing would align as per the template layout designer. It was driving me crazy.   And the new template layout tool wouldnt let put my sidebar in the right place.... Arrrgggghhh! So frustrating

So I was going in and roughing out html tags and what not by hand.  This went on for the past few months.  Posted blog forum requests for help and nothing other than others reported it as well.

Then just now, all of a sudden... it started working. I guess Blogspot said "Hey Lets Fix This"

I did add a snazzy background which kinda looks like Haunted Mansion wallpaper....well kinda sorta, so all was not lost except hours out of my life, but I guess it is the price we pay for a free wonderful tool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great Disney Pics

Pumpkinrot posted some great pictures from the fantastic photographer Bob Desmond on his blog.  I took a look and was so impressed, here is a couple of samples, if you can check out his Flickr page it is absolutely wonderful!  Thanks Bob!

Here is formerdisneypro's Photostream page please give Bob Desmond great kudos for absolutely picture perfect pictures!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Repurposed Christmas Blow Molds To Halloween

One of the reasons I love Halloween (ok beyond candy) is in the Haunt world the most brilliant people exist and inspire me to no end.

On the Halloween Forum there is a thread where Hilda has taken Christmas Blow molds and stripped the paint and repainted for use at Halloween.   Her work is simply brilliant...

Here are some samples of her work:

Lollipop Blow Molds:

You Gotta Love Zero!!

 Mrs Claus

Here are some other Mrs. Clause blow molds repurposed:

Old DollHouse

New Dollhouse

Simply amazing, when you get a chance, check out the thread on Halloween Forum, genius at work!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Excerpt from a Dog and Cat's Diary

I thought this was hilarious, I dont remember where this came from but kudos to the original authors, all the links I had are now dead 

Excerpts from a Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Diary

Day 983 of my captivity. 

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.  The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. 

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards! 

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However,I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage. 

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe, for now...

Friday, May 18, 2012

New URL Address For MansionAtMidnight

Hi folks, to eliminate some confusion on my blog address I am changing it to:

Even though I liked the concept of the Bittacle (archaic word for a compass binnacle which lends itself to the world wide web and navigation and all) the Mansion At Midnight can now point to the right URL I hope.
In Irons

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Hearts are Broken..

Our hearts are broken, our little girl cat Belle had to be put to sleep due to a "saddle thrombus" which is a blood clot that settles in the rear pelvic region.  Its very painful for the animal and the prognosis is not good and 98% of all cats will have a reoccurrence of it within 2 years (usually less).  Belle had a heart murmur that was undetectable 9 months ago, then 5 months ago it was discovered and then yesterday was found to have grown and damaged her heart.  It was that fast, Monday she was playing and eating and then Tuesday we couldnt find her and finally found her behind the spa on our screen porch (we dont let them out)... I picked her up and put her on top of the spa (favorite spot for her) and then noticed she was dragging her hind legs.

We immediately took her to the vet.  We were all on board for aggresive treatment but this morning it was discovered she had deteriorated, she couldnt even pick herself up and the pain became greater for her. 

We got her because Mrs. InIrons was out numbered by males in the house...but wouldnt you know it, she became my little girl spending the whole day in the office with me (I work from home) and following me around the house wherever I went.  She liked being with Mrs InIrons too and even though she was 2 years old and about 9 months with us, she was adapting to the other 2 rascals that we have.

As I said our hearts are broken...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amazing Haunt - Self Built Dark Ride

As you may well know, Dark Rides are darkened amusement park type rides where riders in guided vehicles move through typically a theme based scenario.  Some of my favorite dark rides are:

I mean gosh here is Disneyland's Snow White entrance:

Wow, doesnt Disney do it good?

Well there are some folks in our Haunting culture that really do it great!  I got the 2011 Home Haunter DVD Collection and came across this one guy doing a smashing job on his own dark ride.  Tons of animatronics and lighting.  It requires a lot of electrical control and instrumentation which is my original background with 16 years of engineer electrical control and instrumentation at Kennedy Space Center on the space shuttle. I simply love this stuff. 

You have to see this, both the ride with some cute kids and then the backstage videos:

Here is the backstage pass:
The cars are driven by a simple portable drill motor and battery.  Good for 3 trips and then they change them out (trip counter built into the buggy)
Amazing, this guy easily has $75- $100K into this..... take a look!

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Plan For Spooky Tree

Found this tree and owl outline decal for a spooky tree on Amazon.  I think this is what I am going to use for my 2012 Halloween Set Design in lieu of the tree I had planned on originally.  I will project the image onto plywood and cut that with jigsaw or saber saw.  Then finish off the plywood with monster mud for texture and a dark gray paint with brownish highlights with a dry brush.

I really like this, its somewhat Dave Lowe-ish in design.   Maybe put some LED eyes in on the OWL and have MP3 player playing back night time sounds with crickets and occasional Owl hoot.

Gee I really gotta get going on these projects!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Funny Cat Pics...

Ok I like cats and dogs, but we have three of the feline oriented furry devils.   I have posted about them before with the problems of lack of sleep that they cause.   But I do enjoy their antics and behaviors during daytime non-sleeping hours.  

So I have stolen from Queen Of Darkness blog several funny cat pics.  This probably certifies that I am strange.