And now a tiger salamander:

salamander in hand

I’ve been on a change-everything-in-my-life kick lately.

It’s been good. I went in for a long over-due check-up and got a clean bill of health. I took a look at my priorities and goals and made some real changes. I’m writing more and taking better care of myself. Pages are piling up. I’ve lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks.

I quit my job at the Paranormal Hotel. Okay, I sorta-kinda quit. I tried to make a clean break of it, but ended up agreeing to fill in for vacations and sick days and stuff … when I can. I suffer from some sort of twisted addiction to the place, I think. (I’m already scheduled for a long weekend in early May.)

I also started volunteering at our local nature center.

That chubby little guy up there is my new friend, Right-Side Salamander, aka The Fat One. (These are my names for him. The rest of the feeder-people don’t seem to make much of a distinction between the two.) Please forgive my filthy fingers … the salamanders need to have their soil loosened and moistened thoroughly, and the trowel is just unnecessarily awkward. I promise I wash very well after tending to my new buddies. (There are others critters I take care of as well. You’ll probably get pictures of them at some point in the future.)

I have been working on the blog too … you just can’t see any of that yet. I’ll give you a sneak peek of one upcoming feature though:

paranormal hotel block

Yep. It’s going to get its own section. (That link doesn’t lead to a public page yet, btw.)

… And that’s the end of tonight’s out-of-the-blue post. I just wanted to let you all know I haven’t died or anything, and that I’ll be back soon.


Live tweeting from the paranormal hotel.

I know I owe you guys a proper follow-up for my recent post, The #paranormalhotel: what it looks like, who stays there, and how we make it work. (Part 1.) Tonight, though, I’m looking forward to sleeping in the dark after four graveyard shifts, so I thought I’d share the address for the #paranormalhotel hashtag on twitter to tide you over.

The cranky vending machine.

 

The first two nights were pretty uneventful but Tuesday took a strange turn, and last night was kind of interesting too.

[Note: Technically, because I start at midnight, what I refer to as Tuesday night is actually Wednesday morning. I get confused by that when interesting astronomical events happen too. But I digress.]

You can read the live tweets here:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/paranormalhotel

I’ve actually started writing a sort of character profile or mini-story that elaborates on one of the folks you meet briefly in the live tweeting string, but I hear a bird singing. Even if he is crazy early, he’s reminding me that I want to be awake during the day tomorrow, so I’ll bid you a good night.


Paranormal investigation video #1, part 1 – Room 217

I’ve been stricken with the flu since Saturday, but I’m feeling much better. Tonight, I return to work at the paranormal hotel. I’ll work tomorrow too, and maybe venture back to the gym for a nice gentle treadmill walk.

If you follow @RRudeParanormal, you already know that my first trip to our brand new health club on Friday evening delayed my realization that I had the flu. The confusion was compounded by my decision to spend all of Friday night writing … and consuming far too much coffee and too many cigarettes. When I woke Saturday morning, feeling awful, I thought I knew what was going on. I “cleverly” tweeted: Gave myself pseudo-flu. First made body aches @ gym. Then stayed up all night smoking. Voila: fatigue, burning eyes, sore throat & cough. 

Having thus appropriately mocked myself, I went about my day.

Halfway through my regular shift at the hotel that night, I found myself sprawled on the floor in the office annex, out of sight of any cameras or guests. It was a long, surreal night. (I don’t do fevers well.) And it’s been a long week. Somewhere in that time, there was a trip to a nice doctor who gave me a miraculous slip of paper that said I shouldn’t go to work, or be near anyone. Mostly I’ve been sleeping (and aching and coughing and sneezing and taking dangerously hot baths) but I did put the finishing touches on the following video.

Back in January, my husband and I spent a few hours practicing our paranormal investigation skills in room 217 at the old hotel. We made many mistakes, forgot to do half of what we intended, and had a great time together.

.

Right now, I’m working on the EVP session that begins just as this video ends. I’ve been shocked to see that no one is posting the kind of EVP video that I want to see – the kind that shows the waveform / sonograph of the suspected EVP right in the video. Turns out, that isn’t as easy to do as I assumed it would be. I’ll figure it out, but it’s going to take a little time and tech. Though it would be easy to spend more hours tweaking part one, It’s time to move on. Before I become immersed in part two, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned so far:

  • Practice using your intended investigation tools more than you think you need to – they will be uncooperative when it’s dark, and there’s a camera recording your every hesitation.
  • Don’t think you can ad-lib your way through missing props or non-functional tools. Have a backup plan.
  • Don’t forget the tripod.
  • Wear contacts if you have to. Glasses are distracting in night vision.
  • If you’re over 40, try to avoid profile shots.
  • Wear dark, matte clothing. The glowing shirt I’m wearing is just a pastel, cotton, button-up.
  • Expect that EVERYTHING you record could end up in the final cut – “orbs” don’t wait for you to be ready.
Palmer House- Sauk Centre, MN by Francisco Daumhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/franciscodaum/

Palmer House- Sauk Centre, MN by Francisco Daum
http://www.flickr.com/photos/franciscodaum/

We’re planning a trip to the infamous Palmer House this April. Maybe, by then, I’ll be ready.