The Halloween Hell Show continues a today I want to share some items I found at Big Lots that will make the season a little more spooky. If you are a YouTube watcher and have seen these reviews you know they get pretty silly but these items are definitely worth getting your hands on. Except the candle which smells amazing and mysteriously doesn’t smell at all after it is lit. But what can I say, Big Lots is known for a bargain and just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. ALWAYS!
Tonight I take a random five items I bought for the Halloween season and give a quick report on them. I only chose five because if I was to review the twenty other items this video would be longer than the Godfather because brevity is not something I am familiar with. Each of these five really spoke to me and if you they speak to you too, hurry up down to your local Big Lots and grab them up before the non-believers of Halloween scoop them up the last weekend before Halloween. I look at those people like a pious Catholic looks at the parking situation on Easter and Christmas during mass. They aren’t real Halloween fans, the fakers!
So kick back and watch me ramble on about Halloween items made on the other side of the world by people who have no idea why we would celebrate the macabre amazingness that is Halloween.
Note: I want to mention that this post deals with the topic of suicide. Mental illness is a disease that comes with an unfair stigma unlike any other disease. Those that suffer, do so silently and often the way out is of their own accord. Please, if you feel this way talk, reach out and ask for help. It always gets better. Always.
Over the years I have visited many spooky places across the country and all but a couple have left something to be desired. I am a big optimist and fall for folklore and urban legends because I want to believe. I love the stories of the lone tragic dead bride who is cursed to wander the halls of a Holiday Inn for all eternity. So many places jump on the ghost story wagon and when you’re a gullible tourist, like myself, you should walk away disappointed when you don’t get the willies even though almost all the stories are greatly exaggerated.
There is a place, however, which exceeds any folklore or spooky yarn. It is so dark and disturbing, Hollywood and authors alike have tried to capture the essence of this destination but have not even touched what I experienced. Even the Japanese people themselves do not talk about it and if you, as an outsider, bring this into conversation you will be met with judging eyes and uncomfortable body language. This is the place people enter and they do not plan to come out. It is said to be cursed and full of vengeful spirits that float on the periphery of the eye to lure visitors to their doom. It’s name is the Aokigahara Forest but is also called the Sea of Trees, Sea of Forest, Japan’s Demon Forest but is most commonly referred to as the Japanese Suicide Forest.
I spent an entire day inside this forest and even though I successfully found my way out, it has not left me. I do not believe it ever will.
The dark history of this forest goes back to almost twelve hundred years to a period of famine in Japan. To reduce the number of mouths to feed, families would abandon their elderly in the forest knowing they would have no way of finding their way out and would eventually die of starvation or exposure. In the sixties, a the book Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) became a very popular story which ends with the two lovers in the story committing suicide inside the forest. This is speculated to be the reason many people sought the forest to be a final destination and the book, itself, has been found many times inside the forest.
The Japanese government would post the numbers of deaths inside the Aokigahara Forest but after the financial crisis of 2008, there was a dramatic spike that only increased over the following years. After 2013, it was decided the stats were not to be published for fear it would only draw more attention to this macabre destination. As of this year the average is thought to be as many as two per day.
The Aokigaraha Forest is located at the base of Mt. Fuji and has the most insane topography because the floor is formed from lava flows from the volcano. The trees are lush and grow in twisted, odd formations and thick moss covers almost everything. It is so dense that in the middle of the afternoon it can feel like the middle of the night so shadows will not cast. And the sound! I have never to an outside location where your ears feel almost compressed and it feels absolutely deafening. Your breath sounds like waves of noise and you have to stop to get your heartbeat under control just to listen for anything in the woods. I can understand the what those who come here might feel. The forest surrounds you and every sense you have is taken over.
As you will see in the video below, I get turned around a few times. It is about fourteen miles of forest and most of it is almost impossible to get to. If you leave the path it can be extremely dangerous because of the lava flow rock floor, caves and deep pockets are everywhere. You could be walking through and drop into a cavern, never to be heard from again. Also, hundreds of years of fallen foliage makes traversing the area a knee-deep slog what could hide almost anything underneath. I left the trail only a few times but just feet away, I lost my orientation and came close to my way losing the trail. The forest and trees have a way of wanting to keep you.
I did my best to keep track of where I was through simple land navigation tricks like measuring my stride and footsteps to figure out how far in I was and how long it would take to get back. The trail map, however, was definitely not calibrated to exact distance so a few hours in, it was clear I really turned around. To add a little stress to the situation, I had a bus home scheduled for 7pm. By the end of the day it was a race to not only get out of the forest but get out as close to where I started from. Not easy when all the signs are in Japanese characters.
There were times when I could not tell if my mind, ears or eyes were playing tricks on me. I saw absolutely no one the entire time I was in the forest. There were no hikers, workers or even the tourists with a curiosity like myself. I moved with a quickness to see as much of the forest as possible in the six hours I was in but occasionally I stopped dead in my tracks because I heard people having conversations off the trail. Knowing the dangers of leaving the trail I would quickly look in the direction I thought the voices were coming from and there was nothing. This seemed to happen more frequently the longer I was in the forest.
They say, if you follow ropes in the Aokigahara, it will lead to something. It does. I made the decision not to publish completely what I found to show respect for whoever was there, the Japanese culture and the topic of suicide. I did not find a body but I did see an abandoned tent, blankets, empty pill cases and looped rope tied high in a tree. It was the most sinking feeling of utter hopelessness I have ever felt. And I don’t think that feeling will leave me for a long time. That’s all I have to say about that.
Eventually I made it out of the forest, though it was a little stressful finding the right stop that still had an active bus associated with it. When I realized the one I waited for was not an active stop, I had to go back into the forest to make it a stop that had a bus. That’s when my mind was the most paranoid and I really felt hundreds of eyes on me as I moved with a quickness to escape the dark. I can still distinctly remember hearing people out there but I know there were none.
Well, spoiler alert, I survived. I found my way out and made it home but even as I write this, I know that forest came with me. I think about it all the time and the feelings that permitted the trees, the ground and the silent air. Even I write this, I can hear that split second chattering out beyond the trails. There is something there. That I know.
I kept this video pretty raw because any music or editing would detract from what was happening. I am a bit annoyed by the GoPro Hero 5 I was using because apparently there is an audio port I couldn’t see so there is a lot of accidental finger rubbing over the microphone. To be honest, that camera is a pretty big disappointment for the cost.
I hope you get at least 1% of what I experienced from this video. It’s shaky and raw but hopefully it can bring you a little closer to the Sea of Trees: The Aokigahara Forest. With much respect to the culture of the Japanese people, thank you.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The Burger King Crown.”-Shakespeare (Henry IV: Bill and Ted’s Midlife Crisis)
Burger King has done it again! I know I am a little late to the party and other sites which aren’t in a zombie state like mine have already covered this week-old pop culture phenom, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw my hat into the ring of fire. And that fire is the new and limited time only, Burger King’s Angriest Whopper.
During last years Halloween season, Burger King shocked the community of Satanists and Halloween lovers with a black bun-ed, horror burger called the Halloween Burger. It had an A-1 steak sauce infused black bun and made the season 1000x more special because horror can be translated into bat shaped Reese’s cups pretty easily but burgers? That, my friends, is something amazing. Too bad it made people shit green.
But beware of the ides of March, dear readers, because on the last day of that month, Burger King gave us a new weird Whopper and this time it’s pissed off, so look busy! The Angriest Whopper is brilliant red from the hot sauce infused in the bun. It has fried and pickled jalapenõs accompanied by some weird spicy yet sweet mustard sauce along with bacon because even if it really sucked, bacon is the extra credit to save the moron. Nothing has ever completely failed with bacon on it.
When I review these weird limited-time-only items from fast food restaurants it is rare that I will eat the whole thing. As a guy in his mid…late thirties who hurt his back sneezing last week, eating a 900 calorie burger is just not in the cards. But, for preservation sake, I will eat half. 450 calories can happen at Starbucks if you don’t pay attention.
I must say, for a fast food burger it is not too bad and *gasp* a little on the spicy side! I know the hot sauce infused bun should add to the spice but I really couldn’t pull that away from the sauce and the jalepenos because the overall construction was pretty damn complimentary to one another! It really seems less of a fast food burger but more of a dine-in chain restaurant burger and that is like the golden prize to fast food joints. I don’t know what is going on in the Burger King lab but I have a feeling it is involving the revitalized head of Andy Worhol and Walt Disney.
So, while I crawled out of the grave to review this Angry Whopper, I feel it deserves a pretty good grade. I will give it an B+. The only reason I am giving it a B instead of an A is because it had a typical fast food presentation and it reminds me of the time my lunch was smashed and leaked juice all over other kids back packs on a field trip and the teacher made a huge deal about it. Every time I see a smashed sandwich I think of Mrs. Tanner’s smoker’s pucker and lipstick covered coffee mug. So, sorry Angriest Whopper. It’s not you. It’s me.
Well folks, parting is such sweet sorrow so it is back to the coffin with me on VeggieMacabre. If you still want to follow my antics and read/watch about silly stuff, checkout the Tumblr site, VeggieMacabreTV until I make a new and better place.
If I can say one thing for certain, it is that I will always be late to the main event. When something is at its most zenith, the top of popularity, the thing to pay attention to, I will usually catch up with it a year or two later. It happens with almost everything that the populace is engaged with. For example, I just finished The Sopranos on Amazon Prime last month. This show had references to Netscape, for Christ Sake! I loved ever minute of it and have been bring it up in social events only to be left empty of witty dialogue because most of my friends where finishing college in the heyday of the HBO classic. Shit, I just recently became an Amazon Prime member, too!
With that in mind, (I am not a hipster) it is no surprise that I am rolling in Star Wars novelty junk like my dog Theodore rolls in cat puke. With the year leading up to one of the biggest movie events in modern history, The Force Awakens jammed the stores with all sorts of silly shit from a galaxy far, far away. Not to mention the franchise is now owned by Disney who is only second to Gene Simmons when it comes to branding merchandise.
This is kind of why I blog, really. I blog to talk about or review the items that makes us smile not because we need them but because it’s just there. And with the new Star Wars movies slated to be pop-culture fodder for the foreseeable future, I will say that VeggieMacabre should never run out of silly things to talk about and perhaps smile over.
So, with that being said, let us chat about the Star Wars R2-D2 Pizza Cutter! This is not just your ordinary pizza cutter because when you divide up the pie, you get delighted with a series of “bleeps” and “blurps” as authentic R2 sounds emanate from the tool. It’s pretty loud and if someone wasn’t a huge Star Wars fan, I could see them committing mass murder in a Pizza Hut. For one pizza on a Friday night and a movie, however, R2-D2 would be an awesome droid to pretend he is approving of the topping selections.
Come and watch my quick video, review and demonstration of the R2 series Astromech Droid pizza cutter. It is sure to leave you saying, “He paid $24.95 for that?”.
Hey folks, guess what? I bet you can’t guess. Well, try at least.
You’re right! I am starting another web series and this time it is more than just my ugly mug you will have to stare at. The great Thomas Boatwright of BOATWRIGHT ART will be joining me in a fun little web show called “13 0’Clock”. The schtick is it will air every 13th of the month! Pretty neat, huh?
Also! While we chat about relevant pop culture news and topics of fun interest like how friction’ cool Peter Cushing was, Tom will sketch a piece that YOU, that’s right, YOU can have for your very own!
Now I know this was supposed to be on the 13th of this month but Final Cut was being a real little bitch with exporting error codes that took a whole two days to figure out. The crazy thing was I never could figure out the error code 1001 and the twentieth time I tried to upload, it did. That I cannot stand in the least. BUT, it is finally up so pretend it’s Saturday, February 13th and I am right on schedule.
Enjoy our intro, episode 0.0 of 13 0’CLOCK! Thanks Thomas for being a good sport.