Monday, August 10, 2015

The Road to Providence - The Horror Begins!

So I'm sitting here, listening to the fall of rain and the crash of thunder outside of my window, drinking a Red Hook Brewing Out of your Gourd Pumpkin Porter, thinking of another Red Hook. The Red Hook, NY neighborhood where H.P. Lovecraft spent two years of his life - two long miserable years - married to Sonia Greene. It was the only time in his too short life he lived anywhere but in his beloved Providence, and he hated it. He returned to Providence in 1925 and wrote The Horror at Red Hook in the same year -- the story very much an allegory for his own turmoil at living in such a non-New England environment.

And, it is on that note, that I'm excited to say that plans are starting to come together for my own trip to Providence. I'm presenting at the Henry Armitage Symposium on Saturday, 8/22, at around 9:30.

And, HOLY SHIT, I just realized I'm a little over a week from leaving! Wow. It's coming up quick! I need to put my presentation together!

So far, I've signed up for just a few things that I need to attend for the conference, but there's also a lot of free and/or down time to explore.

I'm doing two sponsored tours of Lovecraft's Providence; one by foot and the other by bus. I've been assured by the Con organizers that they are different and both exciting. I'll also be partaking in a new card game taht's being play tested called "Feed the Shoggoth". I've recently learned that Sandy Petersen, the designer and creator of Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu will be there as well! I'm really hoping he will be available to sign a copy of my original CoC rule book, or perhaps my original copy of his Peterson's Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters!

I've also signed up to see a live theater production of The Shadow over Innsmouth, as well as a big Party honoring HPL's 125th  Birthday on 8/20. How cool is that, I'll be in Providence, on HPL's birthday, and partying with live music and plenty of Narragansett Innsmouth Ale and Lovecraft Honey Ale!

My Convention experience will end on Sunday morning with a special Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast, and then I'll begin the long trip home -- with a stop in a special old town north of New York City, on the banks of the Hudson River. A town that Washington Irving described as, "In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of Saint Nicholas, there lies a small market town." Indeed, I will venture, at the early cusp of Autumn, to the haunts of the late, mourned Ichabod Crane and his haunting, goblin pursuer... the Headless Hessian of lore!

I'll probably be updating as the week goes on, doing a combination of vlogs and blog article on shit that happens.

Stay tuned, this is going to be Doctor Zombie's biggest Horrific Road Trip to date!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What?! MORE Lovecraft? Really?!?

Exciting news! I've just received final word... I've been asked to participate in the Dr. Henry Armitage Scholarship Symposium at this year's NecronomiCon in Providence, RI. I'll be presenting my article on Lovecraft's development of a unique mythos.

So, I'll be making the pilgrimage to H.P. Lovecraft's beloved Providence in August to attend the conference and convention!

In other words, I'll be hobnobbing with various other weird fiction weirdos like myself for 4 days!

It's also a momentous time to be in Providence. Why? The conference runs from August 20th through August 23rd. The 20th is HPL's 125th birthday!

This is a great honor and I'm sooooo excited to make the trip to Providence. In addition to visiting Providence, and walking in HPL's footsteps, I plan to visit some of the surrounding locales as well.

Things I plan to do  MUST DO while I'm there include:

  • Meet S.T. Joshi and Ramsay Campbell, who will BOTH be there! 
  • Visit Brown University - the basis for Miskatonic University
  • Visit Salem. I was there once back in college, but it was night and I didn't get the opportunity to explore
  • Visit Marblehead and/or Newburyport, the coastal towns that formed the basis for Kingsport and decrepit, dark Innsmouth.
  • On the way home, swing through Sleepy Hollow NY. Just because. 
  • Spend three and a half days immersed in gaming, lectures, and all manner of Lovecraftian shenanigans
  • Find and consume Narragansett Brewing's Lovecraft-themed frothy adult beverages (only available in Rhode Island!) 

This is going to be AWESOME!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy Half-Yeard!

Here it is... Operation Dwarven Beard 2.0 has reached a critical milestone. I'm halfway to my full yeard. That's right, I hit six months on my year beard (yeard!).

It's my half-yeard!

There are some things I want to let you know about my half-yeard. There's a need to clear some shit up around here.

First and foremost, this is no goddamned hipster beard. I am, and will always be an old Goth dinosaur. No indie rock for this boy. Besides, I am  too gray, my pants are too baggy, and I wear way too much black to be considered anything remotely hipster.

I do realize I have a love for beard products. Beard balm, beard oil, natural moisturizing soap, and mustache wax have become part of my morning ritual. The shit works, and works well.

I'd recommend the Grave Before Shave line of beard products. They smell amazing (especially the Bay Rum scent and the Gentleman's Blend scent!) and do wonders to tame the wild 'trapper-who's-spent-too-long-in-the-woods' look of the beard.  I'll provide a review in an upcoming article.

In addition to the beard oil and balm, I've been using soaps by Dr. Squatch. They smell delicious and are super moisturizing. They're perfect for the old soup catcher on my face. Dr. Squatch soap works so well and is so slippy, I now use it when I shave the old zombie dome.

I've also been using the Fisticuffs mustache wax. Truthfully, the old lip cover has given me the most trouble (besides the fact that I've had to stop wearing collared shirts because they mess up the beard from rubbing). I needed something to hold it's unruliness at bay -- and mustache wax is like mana from heaven.

Another thing you need to know -- I will straight up falcon punch any motherfucker who makes a Duck Dynasty comment. Seriously. I shouldn't need to explain how inappropriate and insulting that is. It's like calling a pretty girl a Kardashian. In my case, though, it could be deadly...

Anyway, Check the half-yeard out!

It is a manly beard. It is a good beard. It is a beard with great potential.

Fear the beard!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Primal Ooze: The Origins of Lovecraft's Weird Fiction in Arthur Machen

      The burst of weird fiction popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s gave rise to modern horror and science fiction.  Coming into its heyday in the early 20th century, this unique brand of literature’s influences can be traced to an even earlier date. Modern horror can find its roots in the gothic horror and ghost stories of the Victorian Age and, more specifically, in the period at the end of the 19th century, from 1890 through 1900, in what is referred to as the fin de siècle. It is at that time that the true roots of weird fiction manifested itself in the works of British weird horror writer Arthur Machen. A Welsh writer, Machen first began writing short stories that would become an early influence on the pulp writers of the 20th century. Machen’s works would go on to establish ideas and motifs that have become essential parts of weird fiction and influenced generations of writers.
       That being said, no discussion of weird fiction would be complete without including the master of weird fiction, H.P. Lovecraft. His ideas of cosmic horror and development of a unique mythos, as well as his influence on a large group of fellow writers, shaped the course of early twentieth century weird fiction. And yet, despite his vast influence and unique style, Lovecraft owed a significant debt to the earlier works of Arthur Machen. This paper will examine Machen’s influence on Lovecraft, as well as his influence on horror and science fiction on a broader scale.
        Born in 1863 in Carleon-On-Usk, in Gwent, Wales, Arthur Machen’s rustic upbringing proved immeasurably influential on the tone and imagery of his writing. Although he moved to London and became a member of the Decadence movement, his writing invariably recalled the ancient myths and unique landscape of his boyhood home. As Machen himself wrote in his autobiography, Far Off Things, his early home in the wilds of Wales was filled with:

…deep silence, deep stillness everywhere; hills and dark wintry woods growing dim in the twilight, the mountain to the west a vague, huge mass against a faint afterlight of the dead day, grey and heavy clouds massing over the skies… Carleon-On-Usk, the little silent, deserted village that was once the golden Isca of the Roman legions, that is golden forever and immortal in the romances of King Arthur and the Graal and the Round Table(Far Off Things, 9).

       It was against this backdrop, and tinted with the earthy pagan myths and fables of Carleon-On-Usk’s ancient Celtic and Roman influence, that Machen comingled the cosmopolitan urban settings of his stories with the wilderness of the more untamed parts of England. His stories comprise a counterpoint of wild and urban, modern and ancient, and sacred and profane. This seemingly incongruity worked extremely well, and would help in the transition of the literature of the time. From the Gothic romance of Shelley’s Frankenstein, to the Victorian prudery and xenophobia of Stoker’s Dracula, or the allegorical conflict of Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—  Machen’s works represented a shift in horror fiction, a shift towards the more modern and realistic horror of the 20th century.
This idea of modernity is what most signifies the impact of Machen’s works. In 1894, he wrote The Great God Pan. Widely believed to be the best and most exemplary of his works, The Great God Pan is a masterpiece that combines elements of horror that would later become indispensible tropes of weird fiction. The story opens with a Dr. Raymond and his colleague, a man named Clarke. They are in the midst of a medical experiment on a young girl— the ward of Dr. Raymond, Mary. Dr. Raymond has taken her in and raised her from childhood, although his intentions are not honorable. He has done so specifically to conduct this very experiment when she is old enough. Through surgery, he manipulates Mary’s brain in such a way that it levels, “utterly the solid wall of sense, and probably, for the first time man was made, a spirit will gaze on a spirit world…Mary will see the god Pan! (Arthur Machen Collected Works, 2)”
The surgery is successful, but only briefly. When Mary awakes, she has a moment of seeing something, but what she sees proves too awful for her mind to handle. The experiment leaves her hopelessly catatonic. The story moves forward several years later, and a beautiful but sinister girl named Helen Vaughn plagues the local town. Helen leads two of her playmates into the local woods, where they encounter strange creatures who rape both of the children.
       Again, the story moves forward several years, and we find that Helen has grown up and moved to London, where she has married a man named Herbert. Herbert is found some years after his marriage to Helen alone and destitute. Herbert’s former school chum, a man named Villiers takes him in, and hears from Herbert a horrifying tale about Helen.
According to Herbert, Helen dragged him into unnatural acts of perversion and vice. As Herbert exclaims: “I have seen the incredible, such horrors that even I myself sometimes stop in the middle of the street and ask whether it is possible for a man to behold such things and live. In a year, Villiers, I was a ruined man, in body and soul – in body and soul” (Arthur Machen Collected Works, 10).
At this point, Helen has left England. She has fled to South America, but not after leaving a string of dead men and hinted at sexual deviance. She returns later, and we find that Villiers has made the acquaintance of Clarke, from the early part of the story. Upon hearing of Helen’s return, they confront her and she goes through a horrific transformation. As Machen describes it:

Though horror and revolting nausea rose up within me, and an odour of corruption choked my breath, I remained firm. I was then privileged or accursed, I dare not say which, to see that which was on the bed, lying there black like ink, transformed before my eyes. The skin, and the flesh, and the muscles, and the bones, and the firm structure of the human body that I had thought to be unchangeable, and permanent as adamant, began to melt and dissolve… I saw the form waver from sex to sex, dividing itself from itself, and then again reunited. Then I saw the body descend to the beasts whence it ascended, and that which was on the heights go down to the depths, even to the abyss of all being. The principle of life, which makes organism, always remained, while the outward form changed… I watched, and at last I saw nothing but a substance as jelly (Arthur Machen Collected Works, 30).

It is revealed at the end that Helen is the offspring of a union between Mary and the pagan god, Pan. Her lascivious behavior and illicit sexuality are manifestations of her father, and the ill conceived experiment of Dr. Raymond.
It is in this narrative that Machen creates the overarching thematic elements that make The Great God Pan what Stephen King called, in the end notes to Just After Sunset, “…one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language” and led H.P. Lovecraft to say of Machen, “Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen, author of some dozen tales long and short, in which the elements of hidden horror and brooding fright attain an almost incomparable substance and realistic acuteness”(88). The Great God Pan along with his other works (like The Novel of the Black Seal, The Hill of Dreams, and The Novel of the White Powder) has an acute sense of the blending of modernity and antiquity. In Machen’s case, his horrors are ancient: the horrors that stalked his Celtic ancestors. The monsters he writes of wear the faces of fairies, satyrs, strange creatures, and magic-imbued people whom evolution has left behind. At odds with this are his protagonists. Taking the form of scholars, philosophers, and modern, urban men, his protagonists walk the border between the old world and the burgeoning, technological era of the late 19th/early 20th century.  Or, as Jones wrote, “Throughout his writings, the ancient Celtic and Romano-British legacies of spiritualism and the occult, and the permeable borderland between the two worlds of spirit and matter, are all imaged forth in geographical terms on the Welsh border in Caerleon, and in the occult investigations of seedy men of letters, theosophists and scientists, working in exile, obscurity and poverty in the secret labyrinths of the shabby outer suburbs of West London” (36).
To support this supposition, and show the influence of this theme on later fiction, one need only look to the acknowledged father of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft.  This melding of the mythical and the scientific was a common component in the stories of Lovecraft. Often, his protagonists were— like Machen’s— erudite men of education who found themselves at odds with ancient evils. Although, Lovecraft’s monsters and horrors were much older and more cosmic, there are echoes of Machen’s The Great God Pan throughout Lovecraft’s work. In The Dunwich Horror, for example, there are undeniable traces of Machen’s Clarke in Lovecraft’s Dr. Henry Armitage. To further compare, there is a considerable parity between Helen Vaughn and Wilbur Whateley, his monstrous twin brother, and both Helen and Wilbur’s awful, inhuman fathers. In fact, Lovecraft actually mentions Machen’s Great God Pan in a conversation between characters in The Dunwich Horror. A further influence on Lovecraft can be seen in the surgery Dr. Raymond performs to open up Mary’s mind to other realities. Here, we see a striking resemblance and similarity to the resonator experiments of Crawford Tillinghast in “From Beyond”. As Joshi writes, “Machen’s influence stands behind only Poe’s and Dunsany’s in Lovecraft’s work”(75).
While Lovecraft was a rational, scientific atheist, Machen remained a lifelong Catholic. His Catholicism and faith did not prevent him, however, from dabbling as a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, along with his friends and contemporaries: W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde. Keeping with his standing as a fin de siècle Decadent, he also mixed faith with the controversial scientific theory of evolution. In The Novel of the Black Seal, Machen tells the story of Professor Gregg who spends the latter part of his career searching for a devolved race living in the wilds of Wales. He finds an artifact that leads him to Monmouthshire. There he finds a mentally disabled boy who has traces of the ancient race in his blood. Using him as a compass-like tool, the professor ventures into the forest and disappears, taken by the monstrous elder race. Professor Gregg’s housekeeper, Mrs. Lally, tells the story.  As previously mentioned, this idea of the modern world butting up against the ancient remains a theme that Machen used to great effect.
That science can exist in a world of the supernatural is a tenet of modern horror and science fiction. There is a philosophical element to this idea of science and the supernatural coexisting. As Camara observed, weird fiction “presents nature as preeminently unnatural, as rival with ‘supernatural’ phenomena such that the occult and the scientific not only exist in a continuum, but inquiries undertaken in one field can lead directly into the precincts of the other” (100). In the case of The Novel of the Black Seal, Professor Gregg, and Machen by extension, argue that the myths and fairy tales we know may be window dressing. The scientific improbability of a race of throwbacks in the Welsh mountains is perhaps explained by myth, although time and storytelling have prettied up the reality. As Kandola explains, “…Machen’s fictional scientist contends that both folktales and literature are guilty of ‘dressing up’ these ‘dreaded beings … in charming forms, knowing the truth to be the very reverse’”(501).
This scientific view of evolution, or atavism, as it were, is an interesting approach by Machen. As Forlini observed, in The Novel of the Black Seal:

… [With]A professor’s investigation of strange races that have fallen out of the grand march of evolution… we need not read such tales as evidence of the text’s ‘Darwinian anxieties’ about devolution or the instability of matter… Instead, we can see how Machen flags his engagement with contemporary science and plays with object-driven narrative of evolutionary anthropology to destabilize the hierarchical relation between the ‘primitive’ and the ‘modern’ (487).

It is specifically a desire on Machen’s part to meld 19th and 20th century ideas around science and faith, much like H.G. Wells did in The Time Machine. This concept of devolution has become standard fare for modern science fiction and horror and the idea of an atavistic fall reverberates as very modern fear. Lovecraft, however, expanded on this idea, but gave it his own uniquely cosmic twist
  The Novel of the Black Seal, from Lovecraft’s standpoint, supported many of his own beliefs. His stories are rife with examples of this idea of devolution and primitive humans. Notwithstanding his racism and sense of patrician superiority, one of the best examples of Machen’s influence can be seen in Lovecraft’s “The Rats in the Walls”. Lovecraft’s wealthy American protagonist, Delapore, moves into his ancestral home in England, the Exham Priory. The sound of rats in the walls leads to an expedition into the ancient tunnels beneath the Priory— tunnels that predate the Romans and Celts of antiquity. The story ends with Delapore driven mad by the call of his ancestors and the cosmic horror of the eons of civilization found in those dark passages. Delapore is found at the end of the story screaming in ever devolving language and madly eating the corpse of one of his fellow explorers. Additionally, other stories of his speak of strange, subhuman creatures living in the wilds of the New England countryside. The motif occurs again and again in Lovecraft’s stories and can be seen in, for example, The Whisperer in the Darkness, “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and his Family”, and Lovecraft’s most famous work, The Call of Cthulhu.
Defining weird fiction, and modern horror is difficult. Weird fiction in and of itself mixes elements of the supernatural with science fiction, and is distinctly different from the Gothic and Victorian ghost stories of the 18th and 19th century. As Camara observed:

Machen’s urban horror questions modernity, its notions of progress, and its technological breakthroughs with the specter of a metaphysical force from the remote past that invades civilization from its wild outside…  Moreover, despite the fact that Machen’s fiction is steeped in an antique world, it is also at the same time thoroughly modern in terms of its settings, formal experimentations, and engagement with the sciences (72).   

At the time that Machen was writing, in the 1890’s, literature was undergoing a change. His unique approach to horror led to the advent of weird fiction, which morphed into modern science fiction, horror, and— to a smaller extent – fantasy literature. H.P. Lovecraft extolled, and in some cases emulated, Machen’s style and freely acknowledged Machen’s exceptional mastery of early horror.  Machen’s reach, however, went far beyond Lovecraft and the other weird fiction writers of the time. Traces of the dark, comingled urban and rural horror of Machen still resonate in the works of authors like Stephen King, Brian Keene, Ramsay Campbell, and T.E.D Klein.

Sources Cited

Camara, Anthony Christopher. Dark Matter: British Weird Fiction and the Substance of Horror, 1880-1927. UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2013. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.

Forlini, Stefania. “Modern Narratives and Decadent Things in Arthur Machen’s The Three Imposters”. English Literature in Translation 1880 – 1920. 2012. 3 Dec 2014. Web.

Jackson, Kimberly. “Non-Evolutionary Degeneration in Arthur Machen’s Supernatural Tales”. Victorian Literature and Culture. 41 (2013): 125-133. Web 3 Dec. 2014.

Jones, Darryl. “Borderlands: spiritualism and the occult in fin de siècle and Edwardian Welsh and Irish horror”. Irish Studies Review. 17.1 (2009): 31-44. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.

Joshi, S.T. H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries. New York. Metro Books. 2012.

Kandola, Sandeep. “Celtic Occultism and the Symbolist Mode in the Fin-de-Siècle Writings of Arthur Machen and W. B. Yeats”. English Literature in Translation 1880 – 1920. 2009. 3. Dec. 2014.

Lovecraft, H.P. Great Tales of Horror. New York. Fall River Press. 2012. Print.

--- Supernatural Horror in Literature. New York. Dover Publications. 1973. Print.

Machen, Arthur. Collected Works: 23 Tales of Horror & Other Fiction Short Stories. USA. 2012. Print.

--- Far Off Things. Aegypan Press. USA. 1922. Print.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Horror Block Unboxing - January 2015!

Join me and my daughter, Wolf-Girl, as we do an unboxing video for the January 2015 Horror Block! 

Still the best deal on horror-themed mystery boxes out there! 

Also, make sure you check out the Introduction Video I did a few weeks back. Doctor Zombie says so! 

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Arcane and The Rational: Lovecraft’s Development of a Unique Mythos

My academic article on HP Lovecraft's development of his unique mythology was recently published in the Case Western Reserve University Discussions undergraduate research journal. You can check it out by clicking here...  Ia Ia Cthulhu Ph'tagn!  (It begins on page 22.)

Like the insipid, formless colour out of space, the article is already starting to spread through the internet world. It's been linked to on Tentaclii, an online research for all things academically Lovecraftian. That's kind of cool, because Tentaclii is one of the first places I went when was beginning my own research for the article. They have a much better copy of the article, where you don't need to page through it. Tentaclii's version can be found by clicking here.

I should warn you you can lose yourself for hours in Tentaclii's archive looking at all manner of Lovecraftian academia. It's a great site,  seriously.

I also found a link to the article on a Facebook page called the Swiss Lovecraft Society. Not sure how many people read that page, but it was kind of cool that someone across the pond found and posted it.

Finally, I've been told that the Lovecraft eZine would like to publish it as well. I was told so several months ago, but it has yet to happen. I'm eagerly awaiting publication over there as it is a bit more mainstream than the more cerebral academic research journal at CWRU. Fingers crossed.

Here's the abstract for the article:
The Arcane and The Rational: Lovecraft’s Development of a Unique Mythos 
The early 20th century saw the rise of a unique subgenre of science fiction and horror literature known as weird fiction. H.P Lovecraft, one of its more prolific and lasting contributors, is rightly considered one of the fathers of the genre. Like the rapidly modernizing world around him, Lovecraft developed his own universe and mythos that was itself a unique mix of old and new. He created monsters that would have been at home in fairy tales or the ancient mists of folklore. At the same time, these ancient, mythic evils were at odds with Lovecraft’s 20th century protagonists – men of education, breeding, and science. The inevitable result of their clash was death and madness on the part of the protagonist. 
Prior to Lovecraft, literature portrayed ancient religions and gods as benevolent protectors of mankind and the devout. Lovecraft subverted this and instead argued that the cosmos, and the god like beings that reside there, are indifferent to the plight of man. Tempered by his own rationality and atheism, he created a world that was unique only in its insignificance. An avid reader, Lovecraft understood the prior works of writers like Milton and Dante, and the concept of higher and lower worlds that bookend our own place in the universe. Heaven, hell, and the earthly world were places of equal size and influence. However, Lovecraft’s writing rejected this and instead minimized the human realm to a sliver, sandwiched between the pitiless depths of an indifferent underworld below and an infinite, cold, and remorseless cosmos above.  
This paper studies how, through stories like “The Call of Cthulhu,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and others, Lovecraft redefined both weird and traditional fiction. While perhaps unintentional, he nevertheless established new perspectives on science fiction and horror.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Operation Dwarven Beard 2.0: The Yeard!

So, not necessarily horror related, but I thought I've give an update on my most recent project. You see, it's now the first week of February. Way back in November, there's this little thing called "No-Shave November". Basically, men don't shave.

For Cancer or some other shit... but that's not important. 

What's important is that I stopped shaving, and it's kind of snowballed. 

Last year, I did the same thing, and made it until the 2nd week of December until I finally gave up and cut it back to a goatee. It was cool, and I liked it, but I think I had a family thing and I got tired of listening to the wife bitch about it. Hence the ignoble end of Operation Dwarven Beard. 

This year though, I made the commitment to a yeard.

What's a yeard, you ask? A yeard is a beard that has grown, unmolested in any way, for a year. 

It's a manly beard. A lumberjack's beard. An outdoorsy beard. A beard any viking or dwarven warrior would be proud of. And I'm going all in. 

I'll be updating now and again with the progress of said yeard, but I figured I'd get you up to speed as to where I started, and where I am today. 

We started here. I last shaved on Halloween, 10/31/2014.

I also dyed it to match my Halloween costume. I went as the Dude from The Big Lebowski. 

I pulled it off I think, although my daughter, WolfGirl, spent the evening calling me 'Fat Jesus'. She has been disowned and banished to the dungeon as a result. 

Here we are at 1 month. The growth is not good. I also still have beard dye in it. It is all bad. 

I trimmed the dye out in December. It is beginning to fill in a little better now. By the end of December, it looked like this.  

I hit my 3 month mark, the first 90 day mark, just last week. It's starting to fill in nicely and I'm starting to get some nice coloration. That said, i wish I wasn't so damned gray. I'm only 44 years old, and have been going gray since I was about 16... but I still wish it didn't make me look so damned old. 

So, some thought on what I'm going for. 

As I've said, I've dubbed this whole fiasco Operation Dwarven Beard 2.0., so it goes without saying that I'd like to look as glorious as -- say -- Gimli, son of Gloin! 

Of course, it's pretty scraggly... so I feel lie it's more like that of Trevor Slattery (Aka: The Mandarin). Here's a side by side... what do you think? 

And, in keeping with the geeky, horror theme of my blog: There's always the kick ass awesomeness of the MacReady beard from John Carpenter's The Thing! 

Although, again, with the gray, I'm sure I'll more likely fall into the vicinity of, say, Otis Driftwood from Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects. 

I can probably live with that. 

Watch for more updates!