Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Revenge of the Skull

Who likes horror stories? Well, I have a real doozy for ya! It's all true and it happened to me.
I've had copies of these X-rays since October 2010, but haven't had the guts to look at them until today.

My own personal skull!
Actually, I've avoided writing about my - ghastly - episode for over a year, but now I think I'm ready to let this particular skeleton out of the closet. Last fall, I decided to completely redesign the method I use for my chocolate skulls. This required investing in new materials and seting aside several weeks to remake the molds. Because I had to work with materials containing organic solvents, I diligently wore my respirator and my rubber gloves. I also kept the windows open, used a fan, and even wore safety goggles to prevent fumes from reaching my eyes!
I could hardly have been more protected as I fashioned the best mold I could. "Casting skulls is going to be a breeze with this new mold", I bragged to my boyfriend. I took each step with care and precision, but when I added the plaster, I used too much. I figured that it was better to have much than too little, but the darn thing weighted a ton!
So, I tried to saw off some of the excess. This was definitely the right thing to do, but it was very hard work - much too much to accomplish in one day, or even three. After a while, I got tired and impatient. I realised that I could saw through the stuff more quickly if I poked holes into it at about one inch intervals. At this point, I would like to remind my dear readers: Do not work with sharp objects when you are overtired, or in a hurry, and please ALWAYS wear your safety gear!
Another very intimate view of me!
I, foolishly did not adhere to any of this advice. I was rushing, I was tired, and my old safetly goggles had gotten too cloudy to wear. So there I was, on the floor, squatting in front of my hunk of plaster, driving a small sharp file into it at one inch intervals - and pulling them out - towards my face - with all my strength! Gawd, I feel sqweamish again just imagining what happened next. I also feel pretty stupid as well, because now I have to tell the blogsphere that I gave the metal rod one great yank (toward my face) and STABBED MYSELF IN THE LEFT EYE!!!

Lazy-eye is all well and good if you're a world famous musical genius, but...
"No!...That didn't happen! No way! What a fool! Oh God, Ok, I can still see...'. All these thoughts passed through my assaulted brain, as I dashed to the bathroom to havev a look - at what I didn't want to see. I covered my eyes with my hands and played a terrified round of peek-a-boo with my reflection. "Hideously deformed!", said the voice of self recrimination. "You're gonna look like Thom Yorke, if you're lucky!" I knew I had to exqamine it, so I took a closer look. It was already beginning to swell and turn purple. My actual eye, thank God was still intact, but there was a huge flap about the size of a dime in the inner top corner that was swelling irregularly and no longer joining up properly. And the blood! It was all over the bathroom counter, and the sink and the floor and it dripped a little red trail back to my studio. Back to the place where my life just changed. All this happened between about 17:15 and 17:30 on a tuesday evening in mid October. I had to call my boyfriend. As I pushed the buttons on my BlackBerry, I started getting dizzy and I realised my hands were barely controlable. Öh thank goodness you picked up the phone, I said. Please come home right away, I've injured my eye. That was all I could manage and I passed out, sort of. I mean, I laid down and freaked and shook and went into a weird mental zone. When Damian saw it, he cringed and said I would definitely need stitches. The Thom Yorke image appeared again. (Why couldn't it have been David Bowie?)

 We went straight to the emergency at the nearest hospital, signed in and waited. I held a piece of ice to my eye and we all watched the dramatic rescue of the trapped Chilean miners, who had spent the last 69 days trapped under 2050 feet of rock. I remember using a simple hand gesture to joke that the rescue capsule was spring loaded and that they were goimg to shoot them out one by one. Such silliness is a clear sign that I was beginning to crack and would start laughing hysterically any moment. Fortunately, the nurse called us into the examination room thus averting my descent into gibbering lunacy. Soon the doctor was there, asking me questions, putting goop in my eye, turning the lights out and shining a blacklight tube on the injury. Then I had to read an eye chart, which was hard to do with the bleariness. He said that would improve. His focus was appropriately on the more potentially serious concerns. When he seemed to be finishing up, I asked him about stitches. I was amazed and so relieved when he said I didn't need them. He said, I could go to a cosmetic surgeon and have it fixed up after, if I wanted but the scar would be very small anyway. Then I got a tetanus shot, and a requisition to see an opthamologist, and went home.

Now I know I have uneven upper sinus frontalis - maybe I should have taken off my nosering, too.
That's when the PTSD started. Every time I closed my eyes, I returned to the moment when that file connected with the edge of my occipital cavity and glanced off. The shock, the tiny explosion of phosphene at the moment of impact and most of all the fear and the horror of the other probabilities so narrowly escaped! It was so bad, I would suddenly jump in my seat, squirm, yelp and shake my hands like they were covered in battery acid. I couldn't seem to stop hitting the replay button. How could I be so careless? How can I ever trust myself with sharp objects? I fretted incessantly for the first 48 hours. Eventually, I searched the web for some advice on dealing with PTSD, and found some good stuff on youtube. It basically reinforced what I had instinctively begun, which was to stop the film in my head and say, "It's not happening now. It's over. It's not happening." This was immensely helpful because it brought the amygdalian brain function down to a calmer state and back in synch with the rest of my mental processes. My logical side was soothed later on, once I had bought myself a new pair of safety glasses.
So now, over a year later, I still have the ocaisional gut wrenching flashback. I still have to repeat my mantra to stabilize my psyche.
Whenever I contemplate the theory of infinite probabilities/universes, I get stressed about the concept that there could be one in which I lost an eye! Oh god, I hate  to even write that!
Well, the main thing here and now is, safety first, kids. I bought a new pair of protective goggles, and I will adhere to my own advice!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farewell to Bill Jamieson

It's been a while, but I'm finally able to write a little about the grandfather of chocolate skulls, Mr. William (Billy) Jamieson, who passed away last June the third. Notably, it was his birthday.

Bill loaned me the original human skull, from which all my chocolate skulls are cast. It wasn't the only one in his collection. In fact, Bill had a huge apartment full of amazing oddities, artifacts, and ethnographic objects, which made his lavish parties a feast for the senses.

He was also a very warm and spritual man, who sat with shamans and had, himself, 'climbed the vine of souls'.
Bill had an adventurous life, that's for sure! He was instrumental in returning the mummy of Ramses I to Egypt, and became a millionaire in the process.
I had the honour of building his website: http://egyptianmuseum.com/

Your passing was a sad surprise to us Bill, but we take some comfort in knowing how bravely and joyfully you lived.

``This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.'' - Liber Al Vel Legis


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 10 (Socially Accepted) Reasons to Eat Your Fellow Humans!

IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT of Cannibal Confections, I'll blatantly avoid mention of those despicable, but fascinating, modern cannibals who do it for perverse, illegal and therefore immoral reasons. Although an intriguing subject, it is perhaps a touch too serious for the moment.
So let's get culturally relative, and take a gander at some festive flesh-eaters: the kind who'd go all out with your head on a platter - for real!

Reason #1 POWER:
The word cannibal comes from the Spanish word 'Caníbales'. It refered to the people of the Carib tribe, and yes, they did eat human flesh - or at least chewed on it. After a battle, warriors would bring home the limbs of vanquished foes. To ingest the power of that person, they'd take a bite, chew it up and spit it onto the ground . They sought to satisfy an intangible rather than a physical hunger.


Still with the Carib Nation, where Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano was killed and eaten in 1528. He may well have been viewed as an enemy, or maybe just really really 'rico'! Unfortunately, this backfired, as Queen Isabella forthwith decreed that all slaves must be taken from tribes who practiced cannibalism.

Reason #3 IT'S ALL THE "RAGE":
Elites of 16th century Europe partook of what has to be the most ghoulish form
of cannibalism this side of a zombie's breakfast. Some of them actually consumed ground up Egyptian mummies which were sold as medicine. The cadavers were supposedly those of Pharohs and such, but the fad faded when it was discovered that most of it was made from recently killed slaves - how repulsive!

A favourite of mine. 16th century Chinese pharmacologist Li Shizhen wrote about steeping a human cadaver in honey - once again for medicinal purposes. Passed down from Arabian legend, this act of sweet sacrifice was voluntarily undertaken (pardon the pun) by old men. Knowing he wasn't long for this world, the donor would begin consuming only honey. He would bathe in it too, and not surprisingly, in time, he'd defecate sweet golden turds. Upon death, he was placed in a sarcophagus full of the same, syrupy goo. After about a hundred years of marinating, the corpse would be harvested as a pricey confection with purportedly miraculous powers.

Anyotos or 'Human Leopards' of West Africa, require members of their society to eat their victims and to provide one such meal every four years. Since the 18th century, their success has been relatively high, despite recurring crackdowns from colonial lawmakers.

Reason #6 IT'S GENETIC:
An article in 'Science', published in 2003, suggested that the practice of eating our own
species was once widespread. Ergo, most of us carry a sequence of genes which could protect us from spongiform encephalitis.

Kronos knew his children would one day murder him and take over. After all, that's exactly what he'd done to Uranus, his own father. But he had a simple solution to this usurpation by the fruit of his loins. He treated them like actual fruit!

It basically 'boils down' to eliminating the competition. Like Kronos, if you swallow your opponents, logically, you will have less of them. If you're seen doing it, even fewer.

Reason #9 REASEARCH:
Without it, we wouldn't have the 'veal consensus'.
William Buehler Seabrook, a New York Times reporter in the early 1930's obtained some cuts of healthy human flesh from a hospital intern at the Sorbonne. He took it home, cooked, and ate it. "It was like good, fully-developed veal [...] not like any other meat I had ever tasted [...] I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal."
-William Bueller Seabrook. Jungle Ways London, Bombay, Sydney: George G. Harrap and Company, 1931
Allegedly, a nearly identical tale is recounted of French author, Guy De Maupassant. After witnessing a freak accident, he begged the doctors in charge of the autopsy to allow him a steak of the victim's flesh for 'luncheon'. Monsieur De Maupassant concluded that anthropophagy has little appeal since the meat was 'insipid', and like 'overdone veal'.

Especially if you live in Papua New Guinea, were people used to bequeath their bodies to friends and family. If you ate Grampa's brain, it wouldn't give you his sense of humour, but you'd still be a riot!: Many residents who practiced the tradition contracted a disease called 'kuru', otherwise known as the laughing sickness.
The downside; it is fatal, but at least you'll die laughing!

So there you have it, friends. Sometimes, I guess it's okay to be a cannibal. There are many more examples of "civilized people" doing it, so drop by again and we'll share some stories. If you have any tales or discoveries of your own to share, leave a scrap or two in the comments section, but please stick to the light fare!

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Links

I recently added two more pages to the Chocolate Skulls universe:

My wordpress site

My drupalgardens site

I'll try to keep the news, stories and other fun stuff as fresh as a newly embalmed mummy for all you cannibalistic candy lovers!
Adieu :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Just a little reminder: CHOCOLATESKULLS.COM is the only place to get your very own, delicious cast of an actual human skull is solid chocolate! Check out the GALLERY here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Night in Paris!

I was recently contacted by Le Manoir de Paris at 18 Rue Paradis, Paris, France. They will be exhibiting one of my special, 'Bone Chocolate' skulls for their opening night this Friday, May 6th.  So, if you happen to be in Paris, and near the public metro stations: Poissonniere, Bonne Nouvelle, Gare de l'Est, Gare du Nord, pay them a visit and maybe they'll let you have a taste!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Busy Business

I definitely have to expand the whole world of Chocolate Skulls. Someone wanted to know if she could have 50 of them in 4 weeks! Unfortunately, I can only cast about 3 to 4 per week, for now. But who's to say she would have ordered them, even if I could. She was just asking. The thing is though, I do need to be ready for some big orders, and multiple orders. YaY!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Site Launch!

Hey everyone, you simply MUST visit my new website.
Same addy: chocolateskulls.com
It looks FANTASTIC! The images were taken by Claudia Ficca. I've mentionned her here before, and for good reason. She is a very talented photographer and an artist in her own right. Along with her husband and collaborator, Davide Luciano, they have a beautiful series of pothole images, which you can find here.
Well, I have to go work on music now. I have a show in Toronto in just over a week and there's so much to do. I intend to start updating my music blog this year as well. 2011 is the year I get organized!
Remember, go to the new Chocolate Skulls site!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Skulls Video

Hi again.
I finally found and converted a dvd that my friend Anthony shot a few years ago. I had been contacted by a television show in Hollywood where a panel tries to guess what kind of weird job you have. I was really close to getting on, but there was only one more episode for the season, and they went in another direction. So, they never actually saw this video. In fact, you're seeing it for the first time here!
Good Morning! I think it's about time I say a bit about how the whole Chocolate Skulls project began.

In 1993, just after receiving my diploma from The Ontario College of Art and Design, I was asked to participate in the Toronto art collective known as 'Symbiosis'. Founded by Michael Alstad, Steve Topping, and a core group of multi-disciplinary artists, Symbiosis mounted site specific exhibitions in non traditional spaces like the basement of an old office building, a 19th century church, a vacated bank, and a cosmetic surgery clinic. We called our exhibits 'Art Interventions', and we received our share of attention from both the avante guarde and mainstream press.

It was for THE BANK OF SYMBIOSIS, Ontario Hydro Building, Oct.2 - 25th, 1997 exhibit, that I began casting skulls. I mounted an installation entitled, 'A Candle for the Sinners'. It was a money tree, constructed from industrial grade copper wires, unravelled at each end to form the roots and branches. I attached 'counterfeit' bills where the leaves would be, and for the 'rocks', I made casts of a human skull in pristine white plaster.

I had to trek out to an industrial area to find the quantity of materials required to make the skull mold. When I got there, I saw products made especially for casting food. I'd never thought about casting anything edible, yet for some reason, the idea of chocolate skulls suddenly dawned on me. It seemed like a great idea - and very surreal. After a few attempts making the molds, I perfected my own, copyrighted method. I think there's a bright future in confectionary canibalism!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Well today I just previewed the new shots of my skulls by Claudia Ficca.
I think they'll look incredible on my upcoming redesigned website.
In the meantime, here's a pic I took of them with my mobile phone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Introducing Chocolate Skulls

Today is a good day to begin my blog on Chocolate Skulls. It's the coldest day of the winter so far in Montreal, and my skulls have their first article of 2011 appearing here: http://www.zombieinfo.com/?cat=11.

I really should have started this blog ages ago, because my skulls have had an astounding amount of press ever since I began casting them from a real human skull. I must thank Miss Cakehead for her wonderful website and for urging me to get blogging.

2011 is set to be a big year for Chocolate Skulls. In late January, I will have them digitally immortalised by the talented food photographer, Claudia Ficca. I'm very excited about the shoot and about redesigning the website, chocolateskulls.com.

I'll keep posting here on a regular basis, whenever there's something of interest. I hope to expand my repetoire of anatomically correct confections. For now here's a list of just some of the articles posted on my delicious dead heads.