Friday, October 31, 2008

Within Temptations "The Howling"


Due to popular demand, I decided to end this month with the Dutch symphonic metal band, Within Temptation's "The Howling." It is an intense song that fits the mood of the day and will leave you wanting more. Sharon is the beautiful, lead singer. She has such a wonderful melodic voice that is hypnotic and sweet. She doesn't disappoint her fans in this song. (You can find this song on the 2007 album, "The Heart of Everything.")

Note: Click on the link below to read the lyrics.

Have a safe and happy and exciting Halloween!





We’ve been seeing what you wanted, got us cornered right now
Fallen asleep from our vanity, might cost us our lives
I hear they’re getting closer
Their howls are sending chills down my spine
And time is running out now
They’re coming down the hills from behind

When we start killing
It’s all coming down right now
From the nightmare we’ve created,
I want to be awakened somehow
(I want to be awakened right now)

When we start killing it all will be falling down
From the Hell that we’re in
All we are is fading away
When we start killing...

We’ve been searching all night long but there’s no trace to be found
It’s like they all have just vanished but I know they’re around
I feel they’re getting closer
Their howls are sending chills down my spine
And time is running out now
They’re coming down the hills from behind

When we start killing
It’s all coming down right now
From the nightmare we’ve created
I want to be awakened somehow

When we start killing it all will be falling down
From the Hell that we’re in
All we are is fading away
When we start killing...
When we start killing...

I feel they’re getting closer
Their howls are sending chills down my spine
And time is running out now
They’re coming down the hills from behind

The sun is rising
The screams have gone
Too many have fallen
Few still stand tall
Is this the ending of what we’ve begun?
Will we remember what we’ve done wrong?

When we start killing
It’s all coming down right now
From the nightmare we’ve created
I want to be awakened somehow

When we start killing it all will be falling down
From the Hell that we’re in
All we are is fading away
When we start killing...
When we start killing...
When we start killing...

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!


Happy Halloween 2008!

Here is a list of links that may interest you as you plan to celebrate Halloween! You may also check out the links on the right-hand column of this blog. Many sites have access to ghost stories, videos, poetry and more!


Let's not forget Disney Fantasia's rendition of the "Night on Bald Mountain" by Russian composer, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky. The second video is the opening theme, "This is Halloween," to the Tim Burton film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Enjoy the videos!



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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

City of Austin Breaks "Thriller" Dance Guinness World Record

When you think of Michael Jackson's 1983 smash hit revolutionary music video, "Thriller," you would never think generations would still sing and talk about it 25 years later. It has become the unofficial Halloween dance song. Approximately 800 people (yes, Thriller fans dressed in their zombie-like costumes) in the city of Austin, Texas broke the Guinness World Record with their dance routine.

You can watch the group dancing in the video below.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: Smoke and Mirrors (Tony Foster #2)

"...things have been quiet since the defeat of the shadows. Then Chester Bane, head of CB Productions, rents Caulfield House, a long-deserted, turn-of-the-last-century mansion, to shoot an episode about a haunted house. It should be an easy week, with a perfect setting, the cast all in place, the script ready to go, but there's one little hitch that no one's counted on. Caulfield House really is haunted!"

Smoke and Mirrors, by Tanya Huff, is the second book based on Tony Foster, a reoccurring character from the highly popular Vickie Nelson/Henry Fitzroy "Blood" series. The setting is contemporary Vancouver, British Columbia where he relocated with ex-lover Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old bastard son of King Henry VIII of England. Once a homeless kid living on the streets at the age of 15, Tony returned to school for his GED and has his own place. Now at the age of 23, he landed a job as a Production Assistant at CB Productions for the syndicated TV show, "Darkest Night", a vampire-private investigation series. He discovered he was a real wizard after battling evil shadows in the first novel, Smoke and Shadows,. He thought his life could not become more complicated than it already is.

His boss rented a haunted house for an episode of his TV series. It look like the perfect place to film. It was old and no one was living there anymore. Surely, no one would be harmed in the production. However, Tony noticed strange things. People who were actually dead ghosts replaying their deaths continuously. When the actors and production crew become locked inside the house, which feeds off their fear, anxiety and ultimately death, Tony had to think fast. This also meant he had to reveal his secret as a wizard. Could everyone survive the horror until sunrise, or would the house consume them all for eternity?

I thought this was an excellent opportunity to review this book out for Halloween. Although I was somewhat reluctant since I was very disappointed with the Shadows novel, I really enjoyed Mirrors! It had the typical haunted house plot, but this gave me a chance to learn all the major and minor characters and their personalities. Some major Blood fans will be disappointed that Henry basically only has 20 lines throughout the entire book, but he was not needed. The story felt real, some scenes scared me, and I felt sympathetic with the ghosts and people who died in the haunted house. Huff managed to keep the wizardry to a layman's level so I never questioned her intentions with the story. Tony came out as a hero and progressing wizard. In addition, he might have a new boyfriend that he never would have expected in the next novel. I want to read the next novel, which was clearly lacking in the previous Huff book in this series.

In sum, I highly recommend Smoke and Mirrors because Tanya Huff redeems herself from her disappointing first novel in the series. Filled with humor, suspense, and horror, Mirrors recognizes why Huff fans love her books so much. Please read the first book of the series because Huff makes many references to it, and you will enjoy the second book better. Plus, Halloween is approaching soon, so get it before it's too late!

Stay tuned to the next book in the Tony Foster series, Smoke and Ashes.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Documentary: A Haunting in Connecticut (Discovery Channel)

The Discovery Channel did a special documentary about a real-life haunting. It will definitely frighten you (not recommended for young children). Here is the story: A family moved into an old Connecticut home to live near the hospital where their teenaged son receives cancer treatment. What they did not learn was the residence used to be a funeral home. The family begin to see paranormal activity, such as ghosts, shadows and demons. Their teenaged son's health and behavior worsens so much that they commit him to a mental hospital. Paranormal investigators arrive to help rescue the family from these dark forces.

Haunted house. Dark entities. Did that scare you? This event is based on a true story. You can watch the entire documentary (9 parts) online here (make sure you click on the link below to view the entire post).

There will also be a full-feature film based on this documentary called "The Haunting in Connecticut" scheduled for theaters in 2009. You can view the trailer by clicking here. I am looking forward to the movie. Enjoy the show.

UPDATE (April 3, 2009): Don't even bother watching the 2009 film, The Haunting in Connecticut, that has been recently released in theaters. The ratings are so bad, and the plot uses too many familiar cliches and plot elements from other previous thrillers. Stick with the documentary.



And here is the rest of it.



Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


Part 7


Part 8


Part 9


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review: Witch Fire (Elemental Witches #1)

Mira Hoskins doesn't know she's a natural-born witch who possesses the rare--and powerful--element of air. And she never expects to find herself tied to a mahogany bed frame, captive of a man who aches to fulfill her every desire and let loose the magick that dwells inside her...

Witch Fire, by Anya Bast, is the first book in the Elemental Witches series. Mira Hoskins is just another ordinary woman who is recently divorced and trying to make ends meet as a cafe waitress in the Minneapolis area. Orphaned at birth, her aunt raised and introduced her to the Wiccan way of life. Mira does not seriously believe in magick, but she has no idea there is something very special and magikcal inside her. She is a rare and powerful air witch who inherited her powers from her parents. Although Mira is unaware of her powers, others know about her true gifts and want to use them for evil reasons.

She meets a mysterious, drop-dead-gorgeous and muscular hunk who leaves a handsome tip for just a cup of coffee in the cafe. She wonders who is he and why she feels so sexually attracted to this man. Jack McAllister is a fire witch who was sent to monitor and protect Mira from the Duskoff, a group of rogue witches who summon demons, led by his wealthy and wicked father, William A. Crane. Things don't go as planned when the Duskoff try to kidnap Mira from her apartment. Jack rescues and takes her to his penthouse apartment under magickal security wards until he receives a message from Thomas Monahan, leader of the Coven, a governing authority of witches.

When Mira learns the real truth about her parents' death, everything begins to make sense to her. Crane wants to use her magick to heal his life-threatening cancer, and will summon the demons to do so. At age 10, Jack ran away from his father, who forced Jack to witness the death of Mira's mother. While Jack trains her how to use her magick properly, he warns her that fire and air are sexually compatible elements. The two find themselves almost irresistibly hot and attracted to each other! He knows not to seduce her, but the eroticism is too much. Furthermore, Jack does not want Mira to learn his true identity. It could break her heart. As Mira learns more about her family origins with the Coven, she must decide if her heart truly belongs with Jack.

One of my friends recommended I check this series out. I am starting to read more novels about witches, since I often cover and review vampire fiction. I believe we live in a very spiritual world, and there are people who possess gifts and encounter the supernatural. You could say these paranormal authors provide an excellent introduction to the elements and powers around us. In this series, Elemental Witches, we encounter young women with hidden spiritual powers who must face danger and self-realization in their own paths.

I really enjoyed this novel. It is very erotic (if you love sexual imagery) and there were times I had to control myself! The story centers around Mira Hoskins, an air witch who is unaware of her powers. I grew attached to her personality, growing up as an orphaned only child with her aunt by her side. Suddenly, she meets extended family she has never envisioned she had all this time. Jack, who loves Mira deep down, cannot imagine hurting her with his dark secrets -- his own past and his biological link to his wicked father. How these two overcome these obstacles and true feelings is the final test in this novel.

There is adventure, mystery, suspense, and sex packed in this series. I enjoyed watching Mira grow as a young woman over time with her inherited powers and independent ideas. Bast does an excellent job with the character development and story pacing. I highly recommend this new series to paranormal fiction readers.

Stay tuned for the next book in the Elemental Witches series, Witch Blood
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Supernatural: Dean Lip-Synching "Eye of the Tiger"

If anyone saw last night's episode of Supernatural, Dean (Jensen Ackles) is lip-synching to the song, "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor after the ending credits. It is truly classic and hilarious. Check out the video below.

Supernatural Presents: Jensen Ackles

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Review: Pure Moods Vol. 3 (Audio CD)

This is Volume 3, another excellent edition, of the Pure Moods collection. It has various artists that comprise the new age and world music genres. You may hear New Age music if you take yoga classes, visit massage parlors, or listen to instrumentals that soothe the body and mind. World music is usually traditional and indigenous rhythms such as Celtic, Native American, Asian and other regions.

This album has some popular songs from famous singers and original motion picture soundtracks. I enjoyed Enya, Sarah Brightman, Yanni, Enigma and others. The cover art of the album reminds me of modern art by painters such as Rothko and Walinksky with the emphasis on horizontal forms and simple color design. I highly recommend anyone to purchase and listen to the entire Pure Moods collection. It is available to buy on Amazon.

Here is a sample video, "Theme from the Silk Road" by Kitaro. It has an Far Eastern folk instrumental tune. I particularly love the changing of the seasons and beauty of nature in this video. For the discography, click on the link below. Enjoy the song!





DISCOGRAPHY

  1. "Only If..." – Enya
  2. "Porcelain" – Moby
  3. "Life in Mono" – Mono
  4. "Games Without Frontiers" (Massive Attack / David Bottrill remix) – Peter Gabriel
  5. "Cristofori's Dream" – David Lanz
  6. "Land of Anaka" – Geoffrey Oryema and Brian Eno
  7. "Dela Dela" – Sacred Spirit
  8. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" – Ryuichi Sakamoto
  9. "The Velocity of Love" – Suzanne Ciani
  10. "Ever So Lonely / Eyes / Ocean" – Sheila Chandra
  11. "Virtue" – Jesse Cook
  12. "Theme from Silk Road" – Kitaro
  13. "Synaesthetic" – Blue Man Group
  14. "On Sacred Ground" – Yanni
  15. "Gravity of Love" – Enigma
  16. "Deliver Me" – Sarah Brightman



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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)

When love and jealousy collide on the slopes, winter break turns deadly...

Frostbite, by Richelle Mead, is the second novel in the Vampire Academy series. Lissa has a new boyfriend, Christian, whom she spends more time with at St. Vladimir's Academy, a boarding school located in isolated Montana away from human civilization. She finds herself in an intriguing love triangle with Dimitri and Mason. She loves sexy Dimitri, but he has his eyes set for Tasha, a royal Moroi (mortal vampire) who may need a guardian in the near future. Mason has a huge crush and would die to be with Rose, but she doesn't share the same feelings for him. If things could get more difficult, Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head when she makes love to Christian! She is next in line to become Lissa's guardian. (Lissa is a royal vampire from the Dragomir line.)

It is winter break at the Academy, but Rose feels neither festive or exhilarated. A massive Strigoi (rogue, evil vampires) attack has put the school campus on high alert. Senior dhampir guardians, including Rose's legendary mother, Janine Hathaway, have arrived to strategically plan their next move. The royal families and school officials are not taking any risks as the Strigoi have human accomplices to carry out their work. The school has its annual holiday ski trip in Idaho, and attendance is mandatory. The resort is posh, luxurious and radiant but it only creates the illusion of safety. When three of Rose's friends run away to chase after the Strigoi, Christian joins her to rescue them before it's ultimately too late. In the end, even her heroism as a future guardian has a deadly price.

I really loved the second novel. When I finished the book, I witnessed a new Rose Hathaway who overcome grief and death become more mature and controlled with herself. She killed two Strigoi and earned her first tattoos, which is rare for a student still in training. I watched Rose transform from an emotional popular troublemaker to a serious sword-swinging guardian! The pacing and plot development was excellent with the many twists and surprises. Rose is a funny and brave character that I have grown to love. I loved the scene where she finally opens up to her mother in the end after the Strigoi attack. Rose blamed her mother for so many things that went wrong in her life and finally got the mother-daughter comfort she always desired. More importantly, Rose finally learns her mother loves her dearly and wanted what was best for her -- a stable school environment around mentors and a quality education in preparation for royal guardianship. (Some dhampir women choose to give up guardianship to raise dhampir children.)

The question for now is what lies ahead for Rose Hathaway as she completes her senior year at the Academy. She has witnessed so many things that her peers typically don't even imagine. Readers will learn that Lissa is not the only Moroi vampire who did not specialize in an element. The novel will continue to explore the origins and abilities of "spirit" users. Mead does such an excellent job of portraying the complexities of vampire society and identifying Rose's struggles with her upbringing and those in her circle of companions. I highly recommend this series for teens and young adults.

Stay tuned for the third book in the Vampire Academy series, Shadow Kiss.

(Note: The third book is due out in November 2008.)
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Friday, October 3, 2008

"Uruwashiki Kamen no Shotaijo" by Malice Mizer

This is "Uruwashiki Kamen no Shotaijo" by Malice Mizer, one of the greatest 1990s visual gothic rock bands in Japan. This was their first single in 1995 under the lead vocalist, Gackt. He introduced a sweeter, romantic French melody to the band's goth direction. You will find many of their songs in the Gackt-era with French classical-inspired titles and melodies. The band members even dressed in classical 18th-century European-styled attire with a modern punk edge. This is personally one of my favorite songs. It reminds me of someone walking into a haunted house. The sound effects are excellent (glass breaking, doors opening, ghosts singing, the violins are my favorite part!) with a sinister yet techno/trance edge. The instrumental version is even better because you can hear the background vocals and special effects carry out the gothic and haunted house theme.

After Kami's death in 1999, Gackt departed Malice Mizer to start his own successful solo artist career in Japanese pop music. I have nothing against Klaha, the band's successor, but Gackt will always be remembered for the inspiration he bought to uplift and propel Malice Mizer to legendary status. His mark on the band is timeless. I have written previous reviews about the band (including the Klaha era) on this site. Please check them out at your convenience. If you happen to enjoy the music, downloading the album torrents online is the better opportunity because Malice Mizer has disbanded for years now (R.I.P.). I believe official sales have also discontinued.

Since Halloween is around the corner (less than 30 days!), I will have more posts about the concepts and origins of Ol' Hallow's Eve! Enjoy the video!

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