Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Misha Gordin

You know, sometimes when I’m looking for topics and/or ideas to write about, I draw a complete blank. I just can’t seem to find anything in my brain at the moment worth putting on paper. What does that suggest, I wonder?

At any rate…when that happens, and I’m still determined to write anyway, many times I’ll turn to the internet. Who says it’s just for porn? * wink * Seriously though. I’ll go to Google and type in a word that happens to come to mind and then see what pops up. (That’s how I got the asylum photos and topic). Sometimes I’ll click on the images tab and start looking through them. I do this and I wait for something interesting to hit me. I know it when I see it, just as most anyone would, I think.

Then, when it hits, the ideas follow and I know I have something worth the paper and the effort. Tonight’s post is a prefect example of this. The word was “inspiration” the images are those of one Misha Gordin. I found this work to be absolutely beautiful and I would so recommend checking out the site. I had never heard of Misha before this, but you can bet that I’ll never forget. Plus, I found something to write about. I want to include some pictures off of Misha’s website as a teaser for people. Check it out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

“The Dark Knight”

Let me just say that this movie rocks! I really enjoyed it. R took me, his brother and sister-in-law out for dinner and a movie last night. Yes, the movie was The Dark Knight, the new Batman flick. It was very well done. The special effects were awesome and the story was great as well.

There was actually a spot in the movie where I, like, jumped. It scared me. I think it’s done well enough that even people who aren’t crazy about the whole superhero gig would still appreciate it. Yes, if you’re preferred movie type is a long drawn out romance or drama you would most likely not share my enthusiasm. But…for those people who enjoy even a little action in their lives, then this could be the movie for you.

Alright, I’m beginning to feel like an advertisement but I decided to write about the movie today and that’s what I’m going to do. Christian Bale played a convincing Batman, I think he’s grown into the role. His mouth just isn’t a Val Kilmer mouth in the suit but…his performance soon overtook any prejudice that I may have been holding onto. Michael Caine’s portrayal of Alfred made me feel all warm and cozy. He was like a strong father figure, which, I suppose is what he was going for.

Heath Ledger, well damn, I’m thinking he deserves a paragraph of his own. His performance as the Joker was absolutely (in R’s word) “disturbing”. I was totally consumed by this villainous mind. He played the part hard and put it up wet. It is an extreme shame that he is no longer with us. I got the “creeps” so many times during this movie when it came to the Joker’s actions and Ledger was the phenomenal reason why. He had this part down and his acting ability shone threw like the sun in a mirrored hall.

Aaron Eckhart played the good guy/bad guy scenario impeccably. He had the good guy role down so well that when he turned it really was heartbreaking. Gary Oldman and Morgon Freeman both played their roles with equal professionalism and believability, and let’s face it, even though he’s a bit older, Freeman has that sexy something about him that draws in the fans. Maggie Gyllenhaal as a leading lady was fantastic; personally, I think she should be taking up more of the spotlight in future productions. She seems too strong not to have the lead role in a picture.

So there you have it, my take on The Dark Knight. I would highly recommend that you see this movie in the theatre. Viewing it at home on DVD just wouldn’t be the same. Plan a night out with your favorite honey or your best bud, but go see it. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vampire – The Masquerade

It seems that I’ve been on this sort of “goth” information kick lately so…before I go on let me clarify something here. While many goths do appreciate the vampire, and the vampire image, it does not mean that every goth you meet has some type of unhealthy obsession over them. This post is actually discussing a role playing game and not a goth thing so…

Since R is not going to be able to run our D&D game for a longggg while; N has agreed to run a Vampire game! Yippie! I have been trying to play Vampire-The Masquerade for years now, however, each time I get ready to play we manage to get one, maybe two, games in and then something happens and the game gets canceled. It’s been very frustrating, especially after one spends so much time developing a character and a background for that character.

I have hope for this game, though. We have a stable group that has been playing together for years now and though we have always done D&D in the past, everyone is on board with the Vampire game. I think this will go well. I know N will bring in some awesome ideas, she has the best imagination and she knows the game well. Not too many people in the group have played Vampire before but at least they’re excited about it and they’re wanting to learn it.

I have no idea, yet, what the setting will be. It’s too soon to expect N to have things worked out so it’s impossible to know if we will be coming into the game as Fledglings or maybe as Neonates or Ancillaes, or some type of mixture. Who knows? But, because we don’t know anything about the character requirements yet I can’t really decide what I want to play.

The characters I’ve created in the past, but never really got to play, were always Toreador. I’m drawn to their artistic / writing qualities. I’m toying with the idea of going Brujah this time, however. It seems that Toreador may just be cursed for me or something *wink*. The only thing with Brujah, though, is that I would want to play the character very punk like which could make me be seen as an Anarch which could be problematic for me regarding any power positions within the Camarilla. Of course, N may throw us all for a loop and have us play Sabbot, but I doubt it, but you never know.

At any rate, I’m brushing up on the clans and the traditions and such. I’m looking forward to playing and I’ll keep you posted, now and then, on how the game is going. Until then…Do you remember the Vampire poem I posted in April? No? Gee and I thought you cared *kidding* I hardly remember it myself. Well anyway, I took it to the writer’s workshop and have since done some revising. I think it has come along quite nicely and since there seems to be a running theme going I thought I would post the latest revision. Here we go:


Cradled dark kiss gift
of unlife.
Death’s love waking
to night’s Gothic arch and lace

Shadows of rolling mist, drawn into
the hush of eternity
Captured in gibbous ashen beams

Marbled fa├žade and truth

Broken skin and gasping tremors of
final moments

Pyretic liquor surges
into the paunch of the giver
taking his fill

Still crying whispers;
rapture vibrations,
plead a hallowed testament

Burgeoning beyond the world

Boundaries left searing as
sunlight forgets its lost.
Travailing into darkness

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What is goth?

Finishing his make-up the boy turns his attention to his dyed blue hair, carefully back-combing it into disarray. Last week he'd been beaten up by some skinheads because they didn't like the look of him. He remembers their fury but shrugs: he enjoys his appearance and is proud to look different. In a way he's almost glad that his clothes and attitude had provoked the attack - their mindlessness wrapped in a dull, grey, lazy uniform of bitterness gives him a reason to be their opposite.
He feels bright and optimistic about the future, slipping into a pair of leather trousers, noticing he's only got few quid left in his pocket. It doesn't matter though, the dole gives him time to do things, like his group.
A Brigandage number blares out: 'Hope', it seems to sum things up for him. With its message on his lips the boy half-dances across the room, through the door and out.

Ok, I thought about Charmi’s suggestion to write up an essay on what the goth scene is all about but…it’s way too involved for me to put it into words right now and so….
I found someone who has already done it. At least, in my humble opinion, he has nailed it directly to the wall. If you’re at all interested in learning more I would strongly suggest visiting this site because the author, Pete Scathe, knows what he’s talking about.
For years the goth scene has been drawing more and more attention, unfortunately most of that attention has been negative and based on confusion as to what the scene is really about. Here are a few excerpts from Pete’s A History of Goth site – definitely worth the read.
Oh, BTW the picture is of the Bauhaus.
From here you’re on your own:

In the Beginning there was Punk.

Influences on goth stretch far further back, to Bowie, the Doors and the Velvet Underground, but the punk explosion of the mid/late 70s created the essential background for goth, in both music and fashion.
In the aftermath of punk in the late 70s and early 80s a bewildering variety of new and re-invented musical styles began to crop up, and around 1978-9 a style began to appear which the press had by late 1979 started to call "gothic".
The creators of this musical style (who were themselves influenced by the likes of the Velvet Underground and Bowie) were essentially Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and UK Decay.
The first Banshees album ("The Scream", November 1978) and the first Joy Division album ("Unknown Pleasures", June 1979) laid much of the template for goth, with a notable absence of loud punk guitars and the emphasis on the rhythm section instead, along with a stark, hollow sound.
However, the first band who cannot be comfortably classified as anything other than goth were Bauhaus, who released their first single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", in September 1979. The Banshees could be considered punk, The Cure could be considered New Wave, Joy Division could be considered post-punk, but Bauhaus were unmistakably goth in music, looks, lyrics, art and style right from their first single. In many ways they were the archetypal goth band.
Around the same time as Bauhaus were emerging, UK Decay were discarding their punk roots and developing their own independent "gothic" sound. Although never as popular as Bauhaus, Joy Division or the Banshees, UK Decay were far closer to the second wave of goth bands and were an important influence on them.
By 1980/81 a new wave of goth bands were beginning to emerge- Danse Society, Play Dead, The Sisters of Mercy- and the Cure had abandoned their New Wave sound and created a unique "gothic" sound of their own. In February 1981 Abbo from UK Decay tagged the new musical movement "gothic", but it was to be another year or so before the movement really got going.
The crucial period for the development of goth into a fully-fledged subculture is mid 1982 to mid 1983, with particular emphasis on October 1982 as the month the new movemenet suddenly started receiving major media attention.
In July 1982 the Batcave opened up.
This was at first envisaged as a club for people who were fed up with the commercial direction of New Romantic and wanted something new and darker. At first it played glam and electro music, but several early goth bands also played there and the playlist gradually became more goth.
The Batcave thus became a major rallying-point for the emerging London scene and also attracted a lot of media attention, which in turn spread the idea of a new subculture around the country. In the wake of the Batcave, similar clubs opened around the country, and the Batcave itself went "on tour", giving goths outside London somewhere to gather.
Thus, whilst offering little in the way of music (apart from ASF and Specimen), the Batcave had a major impact on goth fashion and popularity. Essentially, it added a huge dose of "glam" and media attention to the emerging subculture.
Then in October 1982 Bauhaus released "Ziggy Stardust", which became a big hit (#15 in the UK charts) and put them on Top Of The Pops and the front cover of Smash Hits (October 1982).
The new wave of goth bands also began receiving serious media attention, with Southern Death Cult getting a front cover on the NME (October 1982) and Sex Gang Children getting a front cover on Noise! (also October 1982).
Following this, two articles in early 1983 focussed on what was by then unmistakably a separate movement.
In February 1983, Richard North of the NME hailed it as Positive Punk
A month later, Mick Mercer wrote a similar article about the new bands in Melody Maker (though his choice of bands, like Danse Society, was a lot more pertinent).
Meanwhile, the movement was getting a name- the term "gothic" had been floating around for a while, and the name was fixed to the emerging scene by two of the most important bands in it: Andi, the lead singer with Sex Gang Children, was tagged "Count Visigoth" and his followers tagged "goths" by Ian Astbury from Southern Death Cult. Dave Dorrell from the NME then overheard them using the term and it passed into journalistic use.
In October 1983 Tom Vague ws referring to "Hordes of Goths" in Zig Zag magazine, by which time both the term and the subculture were firmly established.

From Pete’s Positive Punk:

"I don't like the word movement, but there's now a large collection of bands and people with the same positive feeling."- Andi, singer with Sex Gang Children, speaking on the opening night of Son of Batcave.

HAIL ERIS, Goddess of Discord, and pass the ammunition: as the heavy drumbeat rolls and the harsh chords crash and sometimes even tingle, it's then that the boys and girls come out to play. Play power!

With wild-coloured spiked hair freezing the eye, and even more vivid clothes to spice the imagination -faces, thoughts and actions - the atmosphere's infused with a charge of excitement, an air of abandon underlined with a sense of purpose.

Something stirs again in this land of fetid, directionless sludgery, this land of pretend optimism and grim reality. Theory and practice are being synthesised under the golden umbrella of a two-hour long ideal.

Welcome to the new positive punk.

Although it's not the purpose of this article to create any kind of movement or cult, any easy or accessible bandwagon to be tumbled onto, it is indisputable that a large number of bands and people involved in the culture called rock, have sprung up at approximately the same time, facing their lifestyles in the same direction. Maybe unconsciously so, It's a huge collective force that we can call the new positive punk- a re-evaluation and rejuvenation of the ideals that made the original outburst so great, an intensification of and expansion of that ethos of individuality, creativity and rebellion. The same buzz that burned our streets in '76/'77 is happening again.
The Industrial Revolution is over, a new movement has begun, and the current mood is an affirmation of that point. The natural energy that for over 200 years has been poured into the physical, the rational and the materialistic, has now all grown crooked.
The mental/magical power has been lost: It was simply not needed - steam engines, radios, electricity were so much easier and they worked. But now the glamour is wearing off. We can see the string and wires, the clockwork squeaks ... the radiation is beginning to corrode the pretty box.
All the darkness and light, all the forces are still there deep underneath, bubbling, steaming, fermenting. The instinct, ritual and ceremony are rising again in everyday life; many people are starting to use the tarot and I-ching. And the new punk groups are a reflection of this feeling; their use of mystical /metaphysical imagery and symbolism is a striking common denominator. Not in the way of dumb-dabbling and superficial posturing of, say, a Black Sabbath with their (gasp) black magic kick.
Nor is it a silly hippy Tolkien fantasy joyride, or even a Killing Joke stench-of-death gloomier-than-thou slice of fanaticism. It is, instead, an intelligent and natural interest in mystery, rather than history, that is a sign of an open mind.
These groups are aware: UK Decay (positive punk forefathers), using the dark to contrast and finally emphasise the light; Sex Gang Children taking us into the sub-world of the Crowleyan abyss; while Blood And Roses are pushing the symbols a whole lot further, their guitarist Bob being a serious student of the Art. The mystical tide we are talking about here refers, if nothing else, to the inner warmth and vital energy that human beings regard as the most favourable state to live in. The new positive punk has tapped into this current.
And if all this sounds a touch heavy, let's consider the humour, style and inherent fun that are essential parts of the movement. Let's look at groups like Specimen, who are more Rocky Horror than Aleister Crowley, preening themselves in glam-soaked traipse among the ruins. Or The Virgin Prunes' cheeky on-stage oral sex send-up. The real humour is intermixed with the sheer sense of joy de vivre present at such gatherings.
Here is a glow of energy and life that overcomes the need for artificial stimulation. Unlike the heroin or barbituate sodden club scene or the glue swamped Oi/punk arena, the emphasis here is not on drugs. Although illicit substances are not unknown, the desperate desire to nullify boredom is not present, and therefore there is no narcotic edge to the scene. Members of several groups (such as Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children and UK Decay) do not even drink.
For perhaps the first time, an active and flourishing disenting body will not go down with its hind legs kicking as the drug takes over.
Money and time are tight: so both of them are being spent on something far from enjoyable and important: style. There's a veritable explosion of multi-coloured aestheticism. So different from the blend, stereotyped Oi/boothby/punk fare of jeans, leather jacket and studs, this is an individualist stance even if it tends towards a common identity. A green-haired spike-topped girl wearing a long black pleated skirt, white parachute top and bootlace tie passes a tasselled, black-haired mohawk in creepers, white socks, red pegs and self-made, neatly printed T-shirt. Something clicks. They smile in acknowledgement.

We are fireworks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Convergence is Coming!

As many of you know, R and I have been involved in the goth scene for some time now. This is a unique sub-culture that is usually misunderstood by those on the outside. I’m not going to go into a rant over this (right now) just suffice to say that we are NOT all a bunch of morally corrupt, devil/vampire worshipping, death mongers. The sub-culture can be seen as rather mellow dramatic and mournful but until you’re on the inside and truly understand what’s happening, please don’t judge or criticize. That would be the same thing as a person who has never been out of their county trying to sell their self as a world traveler. At any rate….

Convergence is, well basically, it is a goth convention. Lots of good music, extreme fashion, dancing, shopping, and conversation; let us not forget the site seeing as well. It’s a huge amount of fun and an absolutely remarkable experience to partake in. It is now in it’s 14th year and going strong. It can be a bit pricey. This is why R and I have not been able to go as often as we would like. In fact, the last one we went to was Convergence 10 in Chicago, so…it’s been a while. I still get excited over the thought of maybe being able to go each year, though. Now that R has this better job next year may actually be a possibility. Yeah!

We have several friends who have been fortunate enough to partake in several Convergences and it never ceases to amaze me when I see the absolutely beautiful pictures they come back with. This year, Convergence 14 (August 8th – 11th) will be held in Ybor City, Tampa Florida, and you thought goth’s hated the sun. Actually, anyone there may very well burst into flames at any given moment but it’s worth the risk * grin *

So, while I wish I could go, really, really wish I could go, alas I cannot (placing the back of my hand against my forehead now). I thought perhaps I would reminisce, and at the same time give you a chance to get a glimpse of what it’s like. So, without further ado I’m posting some pics of Convergence 10. Carpe Noctum.

Me, J & R

J & R

Me & J


Me, M, & B

Me in the corner

And now the Crowd

Some unique attire


And...Into the Daylight

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Of Cucurbitaceous, D&D, Writing, and Sewing: In other words a life update

How many of you knew that squash and cucumbers were in the same family? If you didn’t know, you do now. I’ve been having some particular trouble lately with the squash members of this family. My yellow squash, zucchini, and my pumpkins are all suffering from Blossom End Rot. This sucks. Basically, what happens is that the blossom end of the fruit, opposite the stem end, rots before the fruit is fully developed. The causes vary, but a common one is due to uneven watering methods. I know that this is not the culprit in my case, though. What is causing it? Calcium deficiency. My soil has had this problem before and although I add a good amount of organic material to the soil each year, for some reason, the calcium just seems to be sucked right out. I added a goodly amount of Bone Meal around the plants this morning and gave the rest of the garden a dose of Organic Fertilizer. I’m hoping that will help. I wanted to add some Oyster Shell since it’s a much better source of calcium than bone meal but I couldn’t find any at Lowes, and I didn’t have the time to go running all over checking for it. Anyway, I went with the bone meal, we’ll see what happens. Keep those fingers crossed.

On to the D&D game. It looks like we may have to put the game on hold indefinitely. With R starting this new job and his schedule being very difficult it appears that he may not be able to run it. Not to mention the fact that when he starts classes again this fall he just won’t have any time free at all. This, of course, sucks but I certainly understand, appreciate, and admire the sacrifices he is making in order to provide us with a better life. He’s really quite remarkable. If I haven’t ever mentioned it before, let me just state it now that, I really love this man. So, even though the game may suffer, in the long run it will be for the betterment of the family. Now, there’s a small (and I do mean small) chance that we can talk R’s cousin into running the game for a while. (R’s cousin’s name also begins with an R, so we’ll call him CR, for Cousin R) Anyway, CR has been playing for as long as R has played. We’re talking something like 25 years or so, since D&D first came out in the seventies. CR doesn’t like to run games anymore; he only wants to play so…convincing him to run may be a problem. He’s really dead set against it. The only other option would be N. She could run if she wanted to, but she has never actually run one before. I know she would do great, though. Her imagination is awesome and she’s been playing almost as long as R and CR. Hopefully, one of them will pick it up, otherwise it’s hiatus city.

As for my writing, I’m getting back on the horse if you couldn’t tell by this long-winded post. I feel recovered even though I’m still in mourning. I’ll be ok, and onward I write. I need to write, I can’t live without it. I would go crazy, really, if I didn’t write. I’m sure of it. I’m planning to do some work on a really bad first draft of a poem that I wrote a while back. It’s the vampire one that’s posted on the Blog under April 10th. I took it to the writer’s group the other day and received some good feedback and I’ve decided to make it a pet project. There’s a lot of potential in it, I’m sure. It definitely needs some work, though. We’ll see what becomes of it.

Finally, I began a new sewing project. I’m making aprons for all the girls/women in the house. I love aprons, I think they’re pretty, versatile, and make good common sense. They protect clothing (god knows I need help in that department) and they feel great and look pretty. Anyway…I digress. My first one is finished; I have three others to go. This first batch is all half aprons (tied around the waist with no top), but after I get those done I plan to move on to the more challenging stuff. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now, but one thing or another delays it. But, now I have the material, the patterns, and the time so…onward. After, or possibly in the midst of, aprons I would also like to get busy on some matching linen table covers and napkins. I have a million ideas and it just seems like I’ll never have enough time to complete everything I would like to do. I suppose time will tell.

Well, I guess that’s it for the update. Now that I’m feeling a bit more like my old self I hope to be Blogging more regularly. Then again, now that I’m feeling more like my old self, well…let’s just say; check my previous track record for posting. I have good intentions; we’ll see what happens.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oh…Forgot One

I forgot to post one of the pictures I found the other night. I think it’s worth the re-post. Tacky, yet cleverly humorous and so here it is:

On a different note. We’re taking A to get his Senior pictures today. This will be his last year now. That makes 4 out of the 9 that will be finished with high school. Heck, 1 of the 9 is done with college and another is in her last year. Time flies by whether you’re having fun or not. I’m here to testify. Man, C will be starting middle school this year; it seems like yesterday when he began Kindergarten. I think I’m going to experience a bad case of empty nest syndrome when they’re all grown and gone. I’ve been tending to my children for the last 23 years of my life; I still have another 12 years to go before the youngest is 18. Do the math; that means I’ll have spent 35 years as mom of the house. That’s a lot of time to build up to that empty nest stuff when it’s all said and done.

Of course I realize that the odds are pretty good that I’ll be tending to grandchildren, and I know that the kids will continue to come back home and visit, but it’s certainly not the same as having them all here. The fledglings are slowly, yet so quickly, leaving the nest and flying out into their own worlds. I’m down to only one child now who isn’t allowed to use the toaster alone, yet. * sigh *

Ah well, with any luck I’ll still be in good enough health to enjoy the alone time with R. Maybe we’ll actually be able to go and do stuff. Of course, I’m not sure I can remember how to behave in adult situations. I think I may feel like a fish out of water, but I’d be willing to take the risk. Perhaps it’s a bit early, though, to be planning my retirement years. I suppose, really, what I should be doing is savoring every moment of the time that I do have. So, here I go…off to savor.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Broken Hearted

Well, I'm computerless, bored, and depressed so...I thought I'd try to cheer myself up with some funny pictures. Since, I don't really feel like writing I'm just going to post them. Have fun.

April Fools