this, that, and the other thing (xii)

royalty

The Royal Dress-Maker game by sarriathmoonghost is inspired by old dressup stickers and paperdolls and features influences from historical clothing during the Medieval, Renaissance, Rococo and Victorian era. It is too much addictive fun. My creation (above) is just one of many that I spent an obscene amount of time playing around with.

 

Texts From Your Existentialist is my new favorite Instagram account

 

The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015, by Bess Lovejoy over at the smithsonian.com, featuring haunting hotels, whaling museums, burial grounds and crystal caves seems like the perfect guide for a summer roadtrip.

 

Have you ever wondered what the play poster for Hellraiser would have looked in Victorian times? Ari Pramagioulis certainly has and his vision is really quite wonderful.

 

This Sailor Moon tarot by Deviant Art user sillabub429 is so perfect and spot on.  How I wish it were a real thing!

The Joan of Arc Museum Opens in France

The “incatatory”, “incendiary” poetry of Janaka Stucky, featured over at phantasmaphile

Dario Argento’s Suspiria to be developed into a television show?

Honey from a Dark Hive has the most exquisite screen captures from some beautifully intriguing films.  I basically have my “to watch” list for the next year.

Never enough photos of star trails.

Ethereal, diaphanous….pleats? Strangely, this works for me. Michael Lo Sordo – Runway – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2015

Oof.  Heartbreaking and informative. PTSD: The Wound That Never Heals (h/t theremina)

Jamie Dee over at WolfNWhisky has some fantastic Record Store Day Tips for us!

 

For your ears

A bit of a brain dump; some things that have been buzzing in my ears lately; whether you like satanic folk stylings, soft, warbly crooners, melancholy piano tinklings, pale, skinny melodrama, or doom-drenched dirges – I think there are enough relatively current earsounds listed here for everyone to find something new to love.

Plans

I like plans.

They make me feel less anxious about a situation.  It doesn’t have to be my plan, I don’t have to be the one to execute it, and it certainly doesn’t have to be perfect – but having some kind of plan in place does much to stabilize my comfort levels.

Of course, even the best of plans become fouled up and vexed at times.  Which has happened more times in my life than I care to count.

Last weekend, however, I found myself exactly where I wanted to be, at just the right time in my life and in the company of the very people with whom I would want to share the experience. This was a plan that had taken 12+ years to come together, but I would not have wanted it any other way.

The Decemberists at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, April 10, 2015

 

When I first found out about The Decemberists, I was 27 years old and at a strange place in my life.  I’ve written about it before and there’s no need to go into it again, but it was a state of crisis that would last for nearly ten years.  I think I had always loved music before that point, but it was during this time that I actively began to seek refuge in it.  One of my favorite things to do – and remains to this day – became finding new musicians to love and to share with others.  In 2003ish, through my very favorite webcomic artist John Allison, I stumbled upon The Decemberists.

I believe they make his “best of” lists every year, and lordy, if he doesn’t describe them perfectly:

2004

2004

 

2005

2005

2006

2006

It’s hard for me to articulate just why I became so enamored with their music; I’m not certain if it actually touches me on an emotional level, but I think that what is does do is speak to the dreamer in me. This is the dusty, dreamy band of musicians I would have created in my head: they conjure such an absurd, rag-tag world full of somber fables, melancholy allegories, and bizarre historical dreamscapes. Such snazzy wordplay, too; intricate hyperliterate lyrics, theatrical and clever.

I can’t imagine someone not familiar with The Decemberists, but then again – what do I know of what other people listen to? I still don’t know who Ed Sheeran is, to tell you the truth, and I can barely name one song on the radio right now. I suppose we all have our obsessions and the tunnel-visioned blinders that block out most everything else as part of that. However, if you’ve not listened to them before, peep in at this Tiny Desk Concert over at NPR that they did a few years ago.  It’s a nice, clear sound, and though it’s not exactly the freaky balladry that they are known for, I do think it provides a lovely introduction for the uninitiated.

 

 

But listening to someone go on about their favorite band is not always very interesting (unless they happen to be your favorite band, of course) so I’ll not draw this out unnecessarily.  Suffice it to say that the opportunity to see them live last weekend was not a chance that I could lightly pass on…even though the performance was to take place seven hours north of where I lived.

10 years ago I don’t think I could have imagined myself able to make such a trip, and I certainly didn’t imagine it with these people – but what fun we had!  Even when we were being mean and awful:

My boyfriend and my sister’s husband are talking and laughing with the couple behind us, as if they are all old friends.  She and I look back and then glance at each other in abject horror.

Her: I wish strangers who talk to me would just stop talking to me
Me: I wish they’d just drop dead.

We grasp each other’s hands and cackle like the mad harpies that we are.

At that moment, I had an out of body experience.  It sounds strange, but that’s exactly what happened.  I was myself one moment holding my sister’s hand, and the next I was outside myself.  I stood next to myself and felt a great sense of peace and happiness – a sort of state of being that I imagine you only feel a few times in your life, if at all.

And I realize that for all my plans, all of the plans in the world…well, good luck with that. Even if you think you know where you are going, sometimes you just end up somewhere else.  Sometimes it’s on a different path in a different place and it’s full of hundreds of screaming hipster dads and you’re trancing out like a weirdo, and things could not possibly be more okay.

And I am okay with that.

The Stitch Fix Report: Fix #3

group

After a weekend roadtrip, I arrived home Sunday afternoon to find a familiar package on the doorstep.  You’re probably thinking “…good grief, give it a rest, lady! Enough is enough!”  And you’d be right!  I told myself I would give Stitch Fix  2-3 times to see how I felt about it – and to build up a bit of a work wardrobe – and I think after this box I have hit my threshold. I am probably going to scale it back to every other month, or as needed at this point.

You’ve got to understand, though, that most of my clothing purchases in the past few years have been tee shirts, and I brought practically nothing work related with me when I moved back from NJ to FL.  I didn’t bring much with me at all, actually – only what I could fit in my car. “You even couldn’t find a place in your car for a cherry pitter?”  my boyfriend will incredulously ask me.  Well, no.  I’m a terrible packer.  And I was never any good at Tetris. So I stuffed everything I thought I could fit into my little car and a lot of it had to go – including work clothes…and the aforementioned cherry pitter.  I guess that could have gone into the glove box.

To review, or if you are unfamiliar with Stitch Fix: you pay a $20 a month subscription fee (which can then be applied to the items you purchase); if you don’t like any of it, you can send it back in a prepaid bag, but then you are out $20.  If you purchase all of it, you get a 25% discount off the total. Whew! I think that’s basically the gist of it!  You can read more about my first two fixes here: Fix One & Fix Two.

card

 

I got Macy again as my Stylist and she really did a fantastic job with the items she picked out this time.  A monochrome palette – black and white and grey.  I am starting to think of it as Summer Goth Business Casual. AND was included the very same skirt I had seen someone else receive in their fix a few months ago.  I pinned it to my pinterest board and she managed to track it down for me.

dress

Teren Dot Print Dress

The Teren Dot Print dress by Papermoon, size large ($68) was very similar to the dress I received last month, but this one is infinitely more flattering. I think if I had gotten this one first I might not have kept the other one, but eh, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose. The material up top has more give and it creates more of a waistline, I think.  And the material for the skirt is really interesting.  Keeping this for sure.

 

skirt

Lyla Skirt

The Lyla Skirt, by Gilli, size large ($54) was an item that I’d seen another Stitch Fix subscriber receive and although we have totally different body types, I know that this is the kind of swingy-not-clingy skirt I love and it probably looks good on just about everyone.  It’s a lovely light grey, jersey-ish material, and though on the card it looks pleated, the pleats seem really soft, not stiff or severe.  Super cute with a Danzig tee shirt and a cardigan, right? A keeper!

 

top1

Astrid Spade Print Tie-Neck Blouse

I am a little unsure about the Astrid Spade Print Tie-Neck Blouse by 41Hawthorn, size large ($54). I love the black and white spade print, it reminds me of elegant lattice wall inserts I saw in a movie, maybe a recurring motif in The Fountain? The fit is fine, and I am really starting to love these sleeveless blouses.  Not because I love sleeveless tops or because my arms are attractively toned, but because I am a strong believer in cardigans with everything and in Florida, sleeves on top of sleeves starts to get pretty toasty. It’s nice to forego that extra layer of sleeve.  That tie-neck, though.  If it’s too floppy, it might start to get annoying.  However, with the discount for buying all five pieces, I am thinking it might be worth it to just keep this one.

 

top2

Esten Split Neck Blouse

People who know me well might be surprised that I am keeping the Esten Split Neck Blouse, by Collective Concepts, size large ($58).  Well, that’s assuming that anyone really cares, which I suspect they do not. But I am pretty notorious for never wearing white tops – as a matter of fact, I hate on them pretty openly.  But how cool and unexpected is this tiny lightening bolt print?  I had to have it.  Guess I will need to purchase a nude bra now.  At my age I should probably have more than just black underwear, anyway.  The fit is almost perfect, except where it doesn’t quite sit right along the bottom. it sort of flaps open.  But whatever. There’s going to be a cardigan over it.  Definitely keeping this one. Also, I think this will look pretty snazzy with that grey skirt, above, and this mustard cardigan (which I actually ordered this week).

 

top3

Leticia Lattice Detail Top

The Leticia Lattice Detail top by Fun2Fun (god, I hate the name of that company, ugh) size large, ($44) is probably the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever owned, except for these yoga pants I am wearing right now that are ten years old and the elastic is totally shot. But this blouse is so light and airy, it’s practically like wearing nothing.  The lattice detail gives it a bit of visual interest and I bet you could dress it up a bit with some jewelry.  Keeping this one, too.

Speaking of jewelry, I realized after my last Fix that I didn’t have many baubles that I would feel comfortable wearing around the normies, and I also don’t have much in the way of gold, which even though I don’t wear it much, I know it looks nice with my skin tone and coloring. I picked up a few really pretty gemstone necklaces from this etsy shop.  I thought the prices were reasonable and they have a nice selection.

baubles

Labradorite, aqua chalcedony, green onyx, & chrysoprase

 

So, getting back to what I said at the beginning of this post – I think this will be it for Stitch Fix for the time being. I guess it looks like I am quitting while I am ahead (I’ve been lucky enough to get a few stylists who really figured me out), but truthfully, I just have everything I need right now.  I scheduled my next one for sometime in June/July, as I have a family reunion coming up around that time and I might need a few appropriate summer things to bring.  One of the things I love about this service is that in your notes to your stylist for an upcoming fix, you can indicate things like that.  Or, as I demanded: “Please send me summery dresses but no gross, bright summer colors!”

Money details: my merchandise total was $278, but minus the upfront styling fee of $20, and another $25 credit I had for referring someone, PLUS the 25% discount for buying all five pieces, I paid $168.50. I think that will probably seem more budget friendly once I start doing this every other month, or every three months.

My conclusion with this particular subscription box experiment is that it was absolutely worth it, and if you hate shopping and trying on clothes under florescent lights in unflattering changing rooms – I highly recommend that you try it out, as well. Again, if you do sign up for Stitch Fix, please use my referral link!

Now!  I think I need some new shoes…

Mother issues, volume 1: The smelly edition

Sometimes, when my sisters and I get together and have had a few glasses of wine, one of us will say something like “Hey, do you remember Furry Lewis? And the weird black spots on his nose? We sure had a lot of cats when we were growing up, didn’t we?  Let’s see if we can remember all of their names!” At this point we are not counting or keeping track very well, and it usually goes nowhere and we have forgotten about it five minutes later.

If pressed to do that right now, I could name: Fritz, Leonard, Tibbytabby, Rosemary Kelly Denise, Bub, Chico, Chloe, Larry, Gypsy, Leroy Parnell, Simon Bisely, Dr. Bob, Furry Lewis, Tia Marie, Desdemona, Freddy Mercury, Clyde, Random, Mandy, Omar, Annie, Paddy, Georgie, Oliver, Bill, Ebby, feral garage kitty who later became Jenny Calendar, Ginger, Carrotcake, Abby who later became Hermione (actually I lied, I had to call my sister and ask who she could recall as well)

From the time I was 8 until right up until my mother passed away, she had no less than 5 or 6 cats in her house and for a good many years it was upwards on 20+. As a matter of fact, I believe the cat population was at it’s largest during my high school years.  If I had any friends to speak of, I probably would have been embarrassed and ashamed to bring them into our smoky, cat infested, litter-box odor infused home, but as it stood, my humiliation stemmed more from the fact that when I left the house, I brought all of these horrid smells with me.

I was picked on mercilessly on the school bus for my cat-hair covered clothes and my own hair, which seemed to smell like cigarette smoke and the faint fragrance of feline no matter how often I washed it.  Actually, the entire school bus experience was wretched for me anyhow, but that is a story for a different time, and not even really one I am comfortable telling because, well, racial stuff (I was the only white girl on a non-white bus). Most of these stories make my sister cry, so we’ll just forget about that.

As I grew older, I realized two things: I was never, ever going to start smoking – obviously because it’s bad for you, but mostly because I did not want a closet of clothes or an entire house or even/especially my person to smell like smoke.  And two: AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WAS NEVER GOING TO SMELL BAD AGAIN.

You may have noticed by now that I seem to have a fascination bordering on obsession with perfumes and fragrances.  You would not be wrong.  Now you know why. True, I may have inherited a bit of a hoarding gene from my mother – though I prefer to think of myself as a collector – but mostly I cannot stand the thought that there are anything other than pleasant smells coming from my corner.

My mother also loved perfumes. When I was much younger, my mother’s mirrored vanity tray held a great deal of fascination for me, with its jumble of shimmering glass bottles filled with fragrant fluids. It was a constant and forbidden temptation -as I had been told, more than once, to leave it be. And more than once, caught in a paroxysm of longing and naughtiness from which there was no return, I would spray one scent, then the next, and then perhaps high from the vaporous cloud of aromatics floating round my head, would proceed to spritz myself with the remainder of those illicit essences. When later interrogated, I would have the audacity to assert that I had been playing quietly in some other part of the house the entire time.

And yet, when I survey my  tiny scented kingdom I cannot locate one perfume that I think she would have loved (which were mostly funereal roses and heavy-handed chypres).  It somewhat saddens me to say it, but those she wore the most have always been the scents I like the least.

There you have it.  800+ words on why I blame my problems on my mother*, but it’s al really just a thinly veiled excuse to share and show off photos of my current perfume collection.
Don’t thank me.  Thank my mother.

And getting back to the names of all of those cats…well, I probably wouldn’t be able to name all of my perfumes if you ask me about them, either.

perfume9


perfume8

perfume7

perfume6

perfume5

perfume4

perfume2

perfume10

perfume11

perfume12

perfume13

perfume14

 

*When I think about it, the entire reason I created this little spot here at Unquiet Things is because of my mother.  I originally meant for this to be an offshoot of Death Cafe Orlando, wherein I could post topical tidbits, updates on future events, write-ups of past events, etc. Unfortunately, I came to learn that the folks over at Death Cafe aren’t thrilled with people blogging using their name (which I really do understand, it just honestly hadn’t entered into my perhaps overenthusiastic thought processes at the time.) So, I turned it into a personal blog. I’ve been journaling online in some form or another for the past 15 years, ever since the days of Livejournal, so why not? But the overwhelming reason I think I decided to start hosting Death Cafe in the first place is because of my mother’s death back in 2013.  So I suppose it just makes sense to air all of my grievances here, along with all of my other nonsense and ramblings.

Melancholics on holiday

Ah, so here we are.  Spring break.  Which is a funny and deceptive phrase in the semi-tropics where I live, because truly, by the time the spring months roll around, it is already starting to feel like mid-summer.

I like the idea of being outside and going to the beach and so on, but I try to do it before the sun has risen or just as it’s beginning to set, for as a pale skinned person who hates to sweat,  that evil day star and I are not exactly on the best of terms. Also, I like being outside in the dim and dark hours because I am super weird about people looking at me.

So how does one pack/prepare for a melancholic holiday at the seashore? I have put together an etsy treasury to get us started!

holiday

Black crocheted umbrella // Fiji Mermaid solid perfume // shibori throw // Joy Division flask
Pacific photo // lucid dream caftan // tentacle pendant // lvnea lip balm
sea Witch ring // wide brim hat // jellyfish tee // black leather sandals
sea creature stationery // fern drawstring bag // black culottes // sea anemone iPhone case

For aural inspiration, I cannot recommend “Paper Butterfly” highly enough…

the winning-est winner of all

“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.”

-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

I don’t think I am overstating it when I say that board games changed my life.

Now, I am not saying they saved my life - I wouldn’t go quite that far.

…*Channeling Sofia Petrillo* …

Picture it: Orlando, Florida.  2011. I had just moved back down south to spend a few months with my sister and get my life sorted out after having lived 6 years in somewhat tenuous circumstances in New Jersey. I was not keen on the idea of meeting new people, making new friends, putting myself out there; I’ve never been good at those things, but it’s a particularly twisty road to navigate as it might relate to new romantic interests. Which I was not planning for anyhow, but of course it came up in my thought processes.  I did not want to have to get to know someone all over again, make myself vulnerable to all of that mess.  And I sure didn’t want to have to meet their dumb family and stupid friends. “Dumb family and stupid friends” <– no doubt, that is exactly what I said because sometimes – especially when frightened – I can be terribly close minded and shut off from new people and experiences.

Oddly enough and despite myself, I did end up dating someone a few months after I moved back – a big-hearted, beardy man with an enormous capacity for compassion and a fantastic imagination, and well, that is a romantical story for a different time.  He did, however, have friends and family to meet and I was not looking forward to this at all.

One of the first occasions I had to meet some of these friends was during a board game event he puts together a few times a month at a local comic book shop in Orlando*.  Great, I thought, new people AND new experiences. KILL ME NOW.

I had never been a fan of board games (or card games or dice games or basically any sort of game).  I don’t like learning new things in front of new people – it makes me so intensely uncomfortable and anxious.  I suppose it’s not even the learning of new things in a group of people, because you do that in classes and at work all the time…but rather it comes down to demonstrating that new knowledge in front of people. What if I misunderstood the rules?  What if I am playing my hand wrong? What if it’s my turn and I misunderstood and am doing it wrong in front of five people I have never met before and they all get impatient and angry with me or think I am a moron?  OH GOD,  It’s almost more than I can bear to think about.

Fast forward a year or so, and I’ve interacted with these folks enough times that I am very nearly comfortable (which is maybe as good as it gets for me!) and wonder of wonders – it turns out I might actually like playing board games! They are fun! What? I like to do things that are fun? Who am I?

Allow me to tell you a little bit about the games I like, and why; perhaps if you, like me, were a board game and table top game novice/phobic but wanted to step out of your comfort zone, you may find one listed here that you’d be willing to try out!

Gloom

Product Description: “In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You’ll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents’ characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins.”

I would probably love this little game for the peculiar, melancholic character artwork alone, but in the course of gameplay it’s encouraged to make up wildly embellished stories to go along with the scenarios you are inflicting upon both yours and your opponents characters and I am MUCH better at that than games where you’ve got to rely on strategy or resource management.  Of course, story telling isn’t even essential to the game, you can probably slap your cards down and win without it, but I think that’s what makes it fun and interesting.
Full disclosure: I have only played this game two or three times.  I don’t think it is a favorite in my crowd for some reason. Also, I find the scoring system a little bit elusive, but I think I am in the minority here, as it’s supposed to be pretty easy.  And anyhow, I don’t actually play this to win; I just like to hear the stories that people come up with!

If you’d like to see this game in action, here is Wil Wheaton and friends playing it on his Table Top show.

 

Kittens in a Blender

Product Description: “This fast-paced card game has players working to save all of their own kittens before the unthinkable occurs. But sometimes, the only way to save your precious litter of kittens is to let those curious little cats learn the lesson of why you should never play in a blender! Featuring adorable art and tons of lighthearted, cut-throat player interaction, Kittens in a Blender is quick to learn and easy to play!”

Yes, yes, yes -The name sounds rather horrific, let’s just get that out of the way first.  Kittens belong on your lap and in gifs on the internet, obviously not in a blender.  Game play is more tame than the name would have you think, though it can get a little cut throat, especially if you are the sort to form vendettas against other kittens.  I mean players.  Basically, it works like this.  Everyone chooses their own group of kittens; you try to keep your kittens from going into the blender, while at the same time, sending other players kittens to the blender.  It’s a pretty fast-paced game and it actually is a great deal of fun.  I would also say that there is not a lot of strategy involved in this one, as well, which is probably why I like it.  Also, again the artwork is great.  The kittens are adorable and they have ridiculous names. Ham Sandwich forever!

Ticket To Ride

Product Description:”The Ticket To Ride Board Game is a cross-country train adventure that celebrates Fogg’s impetuous and lucrative gamble to travel “Around the World in 80 Days” by proposing a new wager. The stake is a $1 million prize in this winner-takes-all competition. The objective of this train board game is to see who can travel by rail to the most cities in North America in just seven days.

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

This is a game that I did not think that I was going to like at all, and yet it is one of my absolute favorites, and usually my first choice if someone wants to play a game. Don’t be put off about that million dollar competition in the description; I never even noticed that until I copied and pasted it from Amazon just now, and game play has nothing to do with it. You are dealt several routes, you elect which ones you want to keep, and you spend the rest of the game trying to get the cards/cars  you need to make your routes.  That’s a little simplistic, but that’s basically the gist of it.  I think there’s a sort of tension created in this game (will I make my route? gah! he blocked my route! now I have to go from Miami to Los Angeles by way of Toronto!) that’s good for you, and oddly enough, makes you want more. This is my #1 gateway game, I think, if I wanted to get other people interested in playing table top games.

Speaking of table top, here is Wil Wheaton and friends (Sheriff Carter from Eureka!) playing Ticket to Ride.  This is actually what sold me on giving it a try in the first place.

Elder Sign

Product Description: “It is 1926, and the museum’s exotic curios and occult artifacts are opening up barriers between our world and the elder evils lurking between dimensions. Other Worlds begin to leak through and terrifying creatures of increasing strength steal through them. Animals, the mad, and those of susceptible minds are driven to desperation by the supernatural forces that the portals unleash. A handful of investigators are racing against time to locate the eldritch symbols necessary to seal the portals forever and stop evil Ancient Ones from reducing humanity to cinders.”

Elder Sign is a fast-paced, cooperative dice game of supernatural intrigue for one to eight players by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, the designers of Arkham Horror. Players take the roles of investigators racing against time to stave off the imminent return of the Ancient Ones. Armed with cards for tools, allies, and occult knowledge, investigators must put their sanity and stamina to the test as they adventure to locate Elder Signs, the eldritch symbols used to seal away the Ancient Ones and win the game.

I purchased this game for the aforementioned beau and we learned to play it together, which I think it one reason I like it so much. Neither one of us knew how to play it, and we had to figure it out together…and although it’s a mean game (all those monsters always appearing!) I personally think it’s a lot of fun.  Unfortunately for me, this seems to be everyone else’s last choice, so I never get to play it very often. Aside from my learning experience with it, I think the other reason it’s a favorite is because it is diced based, meaning that there’s more luck involved than strategy.  I’ll say it again, BAH STRATEGY.

As a few listed above, you can see Wil Wheaton (and Felicia Day!) playing it on Tabletop, so you can get an idea of how it is played and make a decision for yourself.

Pandemic

Product description: “Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.
Players must work together, playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures.
A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.”

Speaking of mean games..there are so many ways to die in this one! But the upside is that you are not going at it alone – you are working with a team of players.  You’re never really bored sitting around waiting for your turn because you are contributing/debating on every player’s turn -what the best moves are, what special abilities can be used to achieve the goal efficiently, and what problem areas need to be dealt with. Definitely not a great game for overly competitive folks; you are not competing with each other, but rather trying to defeat the game.  If you prefer games wherein decision making opportunities are shared and it’s not solely up to you, this is a good one to start with.

Also; as seen on Tabletop!

Runners up:

Fluxx: A card game that starts out as “draw one, play one” but the rules are ever changing.  A round could go lightning fast –  or it can be drawn out and torturous. It’s easy to play, you really just have to do what the cards tell you to. Unless you are learning it drunk, on New Years Eve, of course.  Then you have to have your friend play your hand because nothing makes any sense and the room has started spinning. Also, they have many versions of this (Pirates! Cthulhu! Monsters! Cartoon Network!) so it also has a bit of a collectors aspect to it.

Qwirkle: “Qwirkle is as simple as matching colors and shapes, but this game also requires tactical maneuvers and well-planned strategy.” Known in our circles as the “you can’t do that!” game, and despite the military sounding description, “tactical” and “strategy” and whatnot – just look at it! Bright! Colorful! Fun! Don’t pay any attention to the description.

Machi Koro: We just got this the other day and I have only played it once so far, but I liked the concept of it once we got going:  you’ve just been elected Mayor and “armed only with your trusty die and a dream, you must grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region.  You will need to collect income from developments, build public works and steal from your neighbor’s coffers.”  The artwork reminds me the tiniest bit of Katamari Damacy and I think it will be really enjoyable when we get to play it with more than 2 people.

I started out by saying that I think board games changed my life, and I am not exaggerating.  First off, I don’t think I have ever been very good at having fun.  I am just so uptight that expressing myself “having fun” has always seemed a little bit intimidating. I know that sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? Weird, but true.  Couple that with my shyness in meeting new people and I can really start to seem like a drag to be around.  I’ve found, however, that meeting new people while playing board games/table top games is so much easier!  You don’t have to agonize over topics of conversation and awkward silences because you’re already talking about something and doing something!  You’re either working toward a common goal and trying to solve a problem or a puzzle, or you are trying to beat each other out to win at something, but anyway you look at it, the topics of conversation are already there! And even though folks might not be saying much about themselves, you are still learning a lot about them – whether they are aggressive or cautious, open or reserved, generous or stingy…I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they play a game. Then again, they might be a total monster during the game while before and afterward they are amazingly sweet, so maybe those assessments don’t amount to much – but it’s fun to guess!

Myself, I am kind of an “under the radar” player; I don’t like to get anyone riled up or make a target of myself…I sort of like to go unnoticed until I am taking all the winnings because no one saw me coming! Ok, so that really only works, like 5% of the time, but that’s my strategy, such as it is.

What about you guys? Do you play board games? How do you play? Fast and loose? Hyper competitive?  And what are your favorite games to play with a group, or something that you like to introduce non-gaming folks to? As always, I love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.!

*Are you in Orlando? And do you want to meet up to play board games and perhaps have a little tipple?  Booze and Boards is a board gaming group that meets every 2nd and 4th Saturday during the month at the Geek Easy, from about 12-5. Stop by and say hello! I will hide behind my cards and maybe talk to you.

this, that, and the other thing (xi)

21 Dresses, a story of the discovery of an an exquisite cache of dresses from atelier “Callot Soeurs”. Though barely remembered now, the fashion house was one of the great names in Belle Époque fashion. h/t OTB

 

Marina Bychkova, of Enchanted Doll, had a 2015 birthday contest, in which the participants are requested to design a tattoo for an Enchanted Doll!

 

Just look at these gorgeous soaps from Eden Gorgós’ Art of Dying Soaps kickstarter campaign. Shut up and take my money! h/t liquidnight

 

Mysterium is a co-op game of “ghosts, murder and hilarious incompetence”. After reading this review I decide that I MUST have this game, it sounds like an amazing good time.

 


“Somethin creepy goin down at da crib called 124,” indeed! I wish Thug Notes had been around when I was in 11th grade AP English.  I have a sense that Beloved was a book I might have loved…had I understood it better.  Thanks for breaking it down, Thug Notes. h/t Jack

 

For fans of creepy dolls, trulyrealro is the most magnificent instagram account you can hope to find.

 


In Episode 7 of Under The Knife, Dr Lindsey Fitzharris discusses how a pot of pee used to be a crucial diagnostic tool in the past. Learn all about piss prophets and medieval urine wheels!

A Poem Composed Entirely of SXSW Panel Titles

Slutist’s Feminist Festival Is Going To Be Amazing

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

I still love the Ghostly App for listening to mood-based music

5 Graves That Were Lost, Then Found

Sara Taylor (from The Birthday Massacre) has written a book!

A harpsichord likened to “two skeletons copulating on a tin roof” and other weird descriptions of sound h/t BGF

 

Workout music for monsters

Exercise music for the cold of heart and the sluggish of blood.*
Image: Image: Oltretomba Colore #73

Track List:
Zombie ,Natalia Kills | Shallow Grave, The Birthday Massacre | Phantasmo, Asmodeus | Run For Your Life, The Creepshow | Coffin Rocket, Dead Vampires | Tonight, There Will Be No Survivors, Zombina and the Skeletones | Maneater, The Koffin Kats | Tomb Of The Zombie Queen, Sasha & The Shamrocks | Blind, DANCE WITH THE DEAD

I am having a difficult time putting together a workout playlist because I pretty much can’t stand the artists and lyrical content of most music that’s good for making the blood pump faster. Ideally I want music that *sounds* (beatwise, I guess?) like Ke$ha, or Lady Gaga or Rhianna, but they should be singing about hexes and mummies and changelings and poison gardens and grave robbing.  Why does this not exist? Not everybody wants to hear songs about being all up in the club, or whatever.

SO this is what I have got so far, but it’s not even close to what I want, and I would love suggestions. Also, I’m sure people are going to mention bands like The Cramps, and they’re great, but I mostly try to keep my playlists current to artists within the last 10 years or so.
You’ll notice that I have included a fair amount of psychobilly/horror punk (I guess you could call it), but I am not overly attached to that genre; it’s just that these folks are the only ones singing about the things I want to hear.

Criteria: must be fairly recent (last 10 years or so), must have a driving beat that would make someone want to propel themselves forward, must have a macabre/monstrous/witchy vibe.

Let me know what you’ve got!

The Giveaway winner is….!

…and the winner of my Weirdo giveaway*  is…#28, and that is Rachael! Thanks to everyone for playing along and taking a moment to comment and share something about yourselves. It was wonderful to learn a little about about you and hear all of your fantastic stories! I think we are all in good company.

I am trying to post a video of random dice rolling to choose the winner, but the embed code does not appear to be working. You can see it, (and hear me squeak out the number “28!”) here: https://instagram.com/p/0kjxbdgeLF/

*Please note: the items included in this giveaway are things that I have purchased myself.  This is not being sponsored by any of the brands or artists whose pieces are enclosed.
However! If you would like to send me something to use in a giveaway, I am certainly open to hearing about that.

1 2 3 9