in a voice rusty and ragged

Inspired by Laird Barron’s short story “The Carrion Gods in Their Heavens” in the collection The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All.

Tracklist:
Strange Moon Rising, Smoke Fairies | Locksång På Orgel, Daniel Olsén |   Nocturnal, Orion Rigel Dommisse | A Retinue Of Moons/ The Infidel Is Me, Rasputina | Feral Love, CHELSEA WOLFE | Heavenly Creatures, Wolf Alice | Well Of Tuhala, Fursaxa | The Heart Full Of Eyes I Am, Current 93 | No Dog, Esben And The Witch | Black Eyed Dog, Swans | How The Gods, Kill Owl Service | I Am The Wolf, Mark Lanegan | Umingmak, Tanya Tagaq | Werewolf The Path Ost, | White Fanged Foreverness, Mariee Sioux |

Death Cafe Orlando, take two

On a grey, rainy afternoon in late February, eleven strangers sought each other out to discuss the topic of death and all things related at Orlando’s second Death Cafe. Despite the weather, our participant’s spirits were not dampened over the course of our two hour event – if anything, a merrier group was never seen in the face of what can often be a difficult, challenging conversation.

Gathered in a loose circle — on sofas, in chairs, on the floor, attendees took part in a group discussion on matters of life and death that ranged from one’s first awareness of death, to last wishes and everything in between: the wishes for our remains, the legacies that we leave behind and our digital footprint that remains long after our physical presence has passed. And of course, delectable cakes and cookies and treats  -brought in and shared by one and all – were offered to nourish and fortify the body beforehand (and, of course, lots of positive energy in the room to nourish the spirit!) A reporter and photographer from the Orlando Sentinel held a quiet, unobtrusive presence, as well, and conducted several brief interviews after the event wrapped up.

Attendees described the afternoon as “enlightening”, and “validating” and remarked on the warm, pleasant atmosphere. Suggestions and friendly, thoughtful critiques were offered as well, and will certainly be taken into account for our next event!

Thank you so much for attending Orlando’s second Death Cafe – it was an honor to have spent the afternoon with all of you who attended and I look forward to doing it again, and perhaps seeing some of you there the next time!

For those of you wondering about my shirt, you can purchase it through the Death Salon site.  Additionally, here are the recipes for the Irish Wake Cake and the Funeral Biscuits.

10706746_835150486555868_1497464271_n

 

this, that, and the other thing (ix)

Vintage skull art in the pun-ishingly titled Popular Skullture: The Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics.  This neat little book contains copious reproductions of cadaverous crania; “… a wide and weird range, from stunningly stimulating creativity to ghastly, schlocky hackwork…”, making it a true picture of the era.”

 

Over the span of a month, Adam Savage designed and built an accurate replica of the hedge maze architectural model from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. (h/t Yvan)

 

MA textile student Zsanett Szirmay’s project “Soundweaving” combines the borderlands of folk art, design and music by way of Hungarian and Transylvanian embroidery designs set to music. (h/t Lisa)

 

 


To Catch A Dream from The NEST Collective on Vimeo.

Ajuma – a grieving widow – is desperate to stop her recurring nightmares. In an effort to end them once and for all, she explores a forgotten fairytale remedy that leads her to unexpected discoveries. To Catch A Dream is The NEST Collective’s second fashion film project in collaboration with Chico Leco.

giles copy

pugh

Fashion Week Fall 2015!  Giles Deacon (top row) and dramatic dark lord Gareth Pugh (bottom row) are my current favorites.  I am pretending Gareth Pugh was inspired by Garth Ennis’ CROSSED series.  Heh.

Time for a trip to Tokyo!  First on the agenda: the Tokyo Ghost Bar.  Then we shall stay the night at the Godzilla hotel.  Good times! すごい!

Sex Criminals to be adapted to series! Have you read Sex Criminals?  I’ve never read anything quite like it.  SO GOOD.

And the meek shall inherit Pawnee. I’ve not watched Parks and Rec for a while, but this article made me a little teary.  I’m going to make it a point to binge on the last two seasons sometime soon.  The meek and the farty, indeed.

50 Shades of Socialist Feminism by Laurie Penny. I think it is safe to say I have never laughed so hard at anything in my life.  Well done.

“My desires are…unconventional,” he admits

“So are mine,” I say. “I want to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”

How to wear a tee shirt

Now I imagine most people reading this blog are of an age where they can dress themselves and their wardrobe choices are no longer monitored closely or chosen for them.  You’re all probably folks who know what you like and have a snazzy sense of style and you don’t need someone – especially someone whose idea of formal attire is a polyester turtleneck with psychedelic mushrooms dancing all over it – giving you fashion advice. Fair enough.

So don’t consider this a “how to wear” column.  Even though that’s what I titled it.  I don’t mean to be confusing!  I’m simply sharing a few really cool tee shirts here and how I might style them, for folks like me, whose wardrobe is somehow 140% tee shirts and who can appreciate a fantastic, casually cut cotton top with killer graphics on it.

Please note that not everything here is budget friendly.  Actually, there is not a single item listed that is budget friendly…except maybe the tee shirts themselves.  I will not apologize for my exquisitely expensive tastes! Clicking on each ensemble will take you to a polyvore page with a listing of each of the items featured.  And of course there is a perfume paired with each!  I mean why bother even getting dressed, otherwise.

Dracula tee shirt at bookriot.com

 

Windom’s Queens tee at skreened.com 

twinpeaks

 

 

Spider Baby tee at The Great Tee Shirt Store

spiderbaby

 

Weird But Nice tee at Buy Me Brunch

weird

 

 

Electric Wizard tee at Rockabilia ( sold out, apparently, but probably found elsewhere)

wizard

 

 

Zombie Rave tee at Phantasma Disques

zombie

 

 

London Sorcery tee at The Orphan’s Arms

sorcery

 

 

Looks That Kill tee at We Love Fine

misfits

a madness seized them

a madness seized them from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

For your weekend listening: A new playlist partially inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s Novelette ‘The Birds’. Also, because I have somehow collected a lot of songs about birds.

Track list:

Red Bird, Arborea | A Common Bird, Jess Hill | Bird in the Snow, Haruko | Blue Bird, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions | Bird of Prey, Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys | The Birds They Circle, Karen Elson | Bird in My Window, Roadkill Ghost Choir | sparrow falls, Woven Hand | Mockingbirds, Mark Lanegan | Flightless Bird, American Mouth Iron and Wine | Two Birds, Regina Spektor | The Arctic Tern, John Zainea and the Mania

A stitch of a different sort {Stitch Fix Review}

unboxed

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of these monthly subscription boxes that seem to becoming more and more popular. For a time I was even receiving one; flicker box, which is basically a monthly box of candles, but after a year I was horrified to see that I paid $350 for an insane number of candles which I more or less gave away (they were mostly too sweet or fruity and I don’t want a home space that smells like a candy factory or a punch bowl or a produce stand).  It was a nice thought, because sure, I like candles, but I really like the ones that smell more like incense and with that being the case I mostly just burn incense and light unscented candles. So I canceled that subscription.  You can bet I always had a hostess gift or a surprise birthday present that year though.

There’s Birchbox and others like it, which I believe are focused on beauty products, but I’ve pretty much embraced my inner hag and don’t need too much of that sort of thing.  There’s also one for perfume, Olfactif, and you are probably wondering why I have not signed up for that one yet and the answer to that is because I don’t want to die homeless and penniless which is exactly what will happen if I’m offered perfume selections like clockwork every month.

I recently came across Stitchfix while doing a search for a service that provides monthly clothes subscription boxes, which – I know, it sounds like a gamble, doesn’t it?  Personal style is really tough to pin down, especially through a medium like the internet, when you don’t even know the person for whom you are choosing the apparel.  And why would I even need something like that?  I work from home, I prefer to entertain at home or…someone else’s home, but basically I am a homebody.  I don’t go out to see and be seen.  I’d prefer to be invisible and ignored for the most part. And despite all my waxing poetic about runway couture and all the time I spend over on polyvore curating delightful ensembles, it might surprise you to learn that I actually sort of dress like a hobo in real life. And in looking down at my pizza stained yoga pants and oversized band tee shirts with holes around the shoulder seams where I’ve stretched out the neck to accommodate my enormous head, I realize that is an insult to the actual hobos.

I am, however, expected to show up in video conferences, or attend out of state functions for work every once in a while, and I do get invited to the occasional party or dinner date – and in surveying my wardrobe it is plain to see that it does need a bit of an update regarding such outings.  90% of what I wear is some variation of the disgusting combination described above and the other 10% are peculiar vintage items that appealed to me for some reason or another at the time of purchase and 0% of that is appropriate to wear in front of coworkers or friends who want to be seen with me in public.

In reading the following, I will admit, I was awfully intrigued.  Fill out a profile?  I love filling out profiles!  That’s part of the reason I was always so tempted to join online dating sites – just so I can fill out a profile and tick off boxes about my personality and interests, etc.  Is that odd? I can’t be the only one.  I’m not doing that now, of course – that is, filling out online dating profiles. Not recently.

“Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!”

And you know, much like filling out profiles for online dating sites, there’s always that thrilling thought that maybe! finally! someone will finally “get” you. I always used to put the weirdest things about me in those things (my title on AOL Personals a million years ago was “Wark! Wark!), just to see what sort of people would respond.  You don’t always get a winner, of course, but I thought it was fun to try.

So, I went through Stitchfix’s questionnaire and gave them my sizes and the colors I preferred and selected a few outfits that I liked the looks of {“preppy“, “romantic“, “casual“, “edgy“, “bohemian“, “glamorous” and…one that looked really colorful but I don’t know what you would call it} I think I am a combination of casual with a soupçon of edgy, for what it’s worth.   In the “notes to the stylist” section I offered the following:

“I wear a lot of black and a lot of jeans& tee shirts (I work from home). I’d like to slowly start incorporating more (darker, muted, earthy) colors into my wardrobe and graduate beyond band tee shirts.  Nothing cutesy or twee. Think reformed goth for someone who never actually was a goth.  Someone who enjoys horror movies and ghost stories and Dead Can Dance and still has a tiny crush on Glen Danzig.” 

Ha!  Try to figure that out, stylists!

So how it works is once a month, or however frequently you prefer, your Stylist at Stitchfix puts together a box of five items according to the sorts of things you indicate on your profile and then they send it out to you! You pay a $20 Stylist fee per box, which is deducted from the cost of whatever you end up keeping.  Whatever doesn’t work for you, you just send it back in the postage paid envelope that they provide for you.  I think I am describing this all accurately, but there’s tons of blogs out there where ladies are reviewing their boxes and talking about how it all works.

Speaking of all these other women who use Stitchfix, I will honestly admit that in doing some research and poking around I grew a little concerned when I saw that most of them are Mommy Bloggers. Which hey, there’s room in this world for every interest out there and that’s great, but 100% across the board, Mommy Blogger style is without a doubt, absolutely, not my style.

I’m fairly certain it was only two weeks ago that I started looking into this and yet my first box arrived today.  Inside was the inventory list with prices on each item (you can choose your budget – the most expensive thing in my box was $88), a card for each item with some styling options, the return envelope, and a personalized note from my stylist, “Emily”.

card

And here are the pieces…

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Even though I liked the look of this, with the gold embroidery against the black crepe, the fit  was off.  I could barely get it over my head and though the width was okay, it was a little short. Also, I am not overly fond of sleeveless clothing. Still, I thought it was a nice pick for me.

2

Ava Floral Silk Print Henley Blouse

Another sleeveless number.  But…I loved the print and the the aquamarine against the navy is so pretty and the fit was perfect.  I don’t have anything like this, and I can always wear a little cardigan over it.  A keeper!

3

Humphrey Streak Print Dress

Though I actually love the colors (such as they are) and the print reminds me of creepy late night teevee static, it just hung like a potato sack on me and wasn’t exactly flattering.  I also don’t like the arms, something about the cut of the top half reminds me of a baseball jersey.

4

Bianca Fringe Cardigan and Milena Moto Legging

This cardigan was so soft and cozy, and had the long, drapey shape that I like, but wearing it I felt like the Muppet version of Dolly Parton.  Wearing a Fraggle sweater.  Nope.
The leggings were really cool looking, and I loved the ribbing at the knee, but again, there was a weird fit issue. And leggings should be comfortable if not anything else, so these were also put on the return list.

SO! Despite the fact I am returning four out of five items, I am actually fairly happy with the pieces my stylist chose for me.  There was not a single thing in there that I pulled out of the box and thought “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” and the one thing I loved and decided to keep was probably the one I never would have chosen for myself.  Which is one of the reasons why people have stylists, right?  I think this was an interesting experiment and I am pleased enough with the results that I am going to keep my subscription for a few more months to see what they come up with for me.

A few tips:

1.Stitchfix is not really plus sized gal friendly.  I am between 12-14; all of the pieces sent to me were marked “large” and mostly fit quite comfortably, except for a few weird issues.  For the time being though, anyone larger than a 14 is out of luck.

2. They encourage you to keep and update a pinterest board which you can link to in your Stitchfix profile (here’s mine, please note I put my banana suit on one leg at a time, just like everyone else), and it looks like they even pay attention to the stuff you collect there.My stylist mentioned in my note that she included that dress because my pinterest board is liberally peppered with those types of dresses. Just goes to show you that I have no idea what looks good on me.

3. Checking out is super easy.  Log in, go to the check out page, select the item you want to keep, and that’s pretty much it since they already have your card on file.  The other thing about the checking out process is that they encourage feedback on the things that didn’t work, so they can do better next time.  I informed them of all the same observations I recorded here, so now they have it on record that my flabby upper arms prefer sleeves and I don’t like floppy, froofy fringe because it makes me feel like a fraggle. Also, you can include notes as to the type of thing you might like to see next time!  I had no advice in this regard, I really want to make them work at it. Heh.

Of course I managed to choose the most expensive item in the box, but with my $20 credit, it came to $68, which I guess isn’t too bad?  I don’t know.  It’s cute.  We’ll see if I get any compliments on it. Also, speaking of money, they have some sort of referral program, where you get $25 credit for each friend who signs up and orders.  Now, I am not telling you what to do or anything – because I am certainly not the boss of you – but if you are someone who has to have their clothes picked out for them, or if you are too busy to shop for yourself, or, if like me, you have an imp of the perverse sitting on your shoulder constantly encouraging you to fill out online profiles and make people work at figuring out who you truly are, then use this link to sign up.

I’d like to think that this is not typically the thing I talk about over here, but I did want to share my experiences with other ladies who are looking into this sort of subscription box.  It’s one thing to read customer testimonials, and it’s another to read un-boxing and haul posts from mommy bloggers, but it’s something else entirely and infinitely more valuable to read about it from the perspective of your yoga pants wearing, meat-lovers pizza-munching, Glen Danzig-crushing trusted friend, right?  I hope that’s how you’ll think of this.  Just some advice from one gross, barely clothed friend to another.

Do you have any experience with subscription boxes?  Are there any I should check out?  Let me know!

 

 

ephemeral, dangerous and unfair

A willy-nilly hodgepodge of current ear noises.
{title courtesy our favorite mean girl, Karl Lagerfeld}

Track list: 

What Kind Of Man, Florence + The Machine | Peregrine, Leah Mason | Leaf Off The Cave, Jose Gonzalez | Mount The Air, The Unthanks | The Bird, Kathryn Joseph | Black Sun, Death Cab For Cutie | Natalie Prass, Bird of Prey | Make You Better, The Decemberists | Blackbirds (featuring Gretchen Peters), Ben Glover | “Back, Baby”, Jessica Pratt | Hide From The Sun, GOAT | Bowline, Snow Ghosts

Post cards from the Abyss

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.

Earlier this year I wrapped up my most ambitious knitting project to date.  Unfortunately, since that time everything I have touched has been an absolute disaster.  I have scrapped not just one or two, but three projects because I either could not understand the pattern (which I find incredibly humiliating) or because I have stalled due to some mistake and no matter how many times I rework it, something is still wrong.  It’s all been very disheartening and discouraging.  I am not someone who has to deal with depression issues (though my counselor sister would tell me I’ve had some sort of low-grade depression my entire life), but this situation has really thrown me for a loop and it’s about as close to depression as I get.  I sort of feel like that  shawl was the best I was capable of and it is all downhill from there. What’s the point? &Etc.

I can almost hear people rolling their eyes about this “problem”, but knitting is the one thing I am good at.  And I feel good, knowing that I am good at it.  And lately, well, I’ve not been good at it at all, which makes me feel like a giant loser and kind of like I’ve got nothing to offer the world and I might as well give up on everything, lock myself in my house, crawl into bed and do nothing but eat honey mustard & onion pretzels and sleep for the rest of my life.

Is that the most pathetic thing you’ve ever heard?  I bet it’s close.

I’m not sure what other folks do when they feel as though they are failing at everything they attempt, but I’ve found that going back to the beginning, starting over with the simplest steps – that’s a good place to be when you are feeling you are the lousiest at things.  And even if you don’t wind up with ground breaking results, you’ve gotten yourself back into the rhythm of an activity you enjoy and you remember all of the reasons you love it in the first place.

I know it might sound a little silly, but those tiny stitches combined with that intricate pattern really takes a toll on a body – both physical and mental. After finishing it, I had been looking for more and more complex patterns to tackle, and maybe what I should have done after completing such a challenging venture was uncramp my knotted fingers, unhunch my twisted back, and relax into the mindless slide and slip of stitches between the needles – something simple, and quick, and that hardly requires a pattern.

In taking my own advice (for once) and doing just that, I bound off the last stitch on the Boneyard shawl yesterday.  Just a simple triangle shawl with some ridges for visual interest, knit up in a lovely rustic yarn that a dear friend brought back from Finland a few years ago – and it’s flawed, don’t get me wrong…  I was three-quarters of the way through before I realized I missed a crucial bit of the instructions and had to start all over again, and then on top of that I didn’t have very much of the yarn left to begin with, so it’s made a rather dainty sized shawl.

But honestly, I don’t care about any of that.  I finally finished something again. I didn’t stop.  I didn’t give up.  Well, I guess I did give up on those other three patterns but I imagine I will revisit them in time. But I didn’t give up on the concept of knitting as a whole, as something I fill my time with, and something that I enjoy immensely. And it’s made me realize the reason that I love knitting so much, and why I might just actually be good at it.  It is the one thing I always go back to, that for whatever reason, I have found that even if I fail over and over and over again, I don’t want to give it up.  I can’t.

I love it because it is something that I can’t not do.  (And coming from one of the most apathetic people on the planet, there is a great deal of importance in that statement.)  I deeply treasure this ability which I cultivated – on my own with no help at all – and it has become so much a part of who I am that it’s little wonder I was so upset a few weeks ago when I was failing endlessly.  I wasn’t just screwing up a knitting pattern, I was having an identity crisis!

This is all very rambling, and probably not at all interesting to people who don’t knit (and barely, I’m sure, to even those who do).  I suppose I was feeling down and wanted to write about it and share and ask for feedback.  What do you do to get back on track with your crafty endeavors when you have a setback?  How do you keep yourself motivated when your results are less than you’d hoped for?  And what are you all working on right now, anyhow?  Talk to me about your successes and failures and how you move forward to do more.

 

Death Has A Voice

‘Death has a voice’….a haunting soundtrack for your weekend, curated by yours truly for Death and the Maiden.

Death has a voice.

From end of life celebrations, to fatalistic revelations, to mournful lamentations, there are myriad ways in which music gives death, and the dead, a voice.  Songs of the sighs of a sorrowful widow, the heartfelt  promises to a friend on their deathbed, the haunting whispers of a ghost to it’s murderer  – music is one of the most profound ways we can express or respond to the end of life experience.

The following playlist is comprised of women who have constructed and composed aural memento mori in this regard. As humans, we occupy a unique place in the saga of mortality, and these women in particular offer illuminating perspectives on the subject as it relates to the afterlife, funerals & wakes, ancestral memories, etc.

There are, of course, songs not included here which you might have on your own personal “Death and the Maiden” playlist – there is so much fantastically beautiful, heartbreaking, music to choose from that taps into our experiences with death and dying, and so your results may vary! Music is intensely personal and so, this list reflects the author’s own experiences.  Be sure to comment on the Death and the Maiden blog with your own suggestions or post a link to your personal playlist as well!

(…and don’t forget about their launch giveaway for a copy of The Undertaker’s Daughter, by Kate Upton!)

 

Track List:
O Death Jen Titus // Waiting Around to Die The Be Good Tanyas // Born To Die Lana Del Rey // Harmonica Anna von Hausswolff // Cross Bones Style Cat Power // Wakes Nina Nastasia // Sleeping Dead Emily Jane White // Caleb Meyer Gillian Welch // Fancy Funeral Lucinda Williams // Long Ride Home Patty Griffin //Family Dar Williams // Buried in Teeth Mariee Sioux // The Dirt Mirel Wagner // Into Dust Mazzy Star // Herb Girls Of Birkenau Rasputina // Eulogy La Vampires & Zola Jesus // Gallows Cocorosie // A Lily For The Spectre Stephanie Dosen // White Fire Angel Olsen // Graveyard Feist // Suzanne & I Anna Calvi // Many Funerals Eisley // Happy Phantom Tori Amos

this, that, and the other thing (viii)

Showgirls from the 1926 film Hell’s 400

Look at these sassy beelzebroads! Though the imagery might lead you to believe this is a film about Hell’s Elite “cackling diabolically over the latest batch of the damned”, it is but a story of common gold diggers and larceny. (h/t Cabinet of Curiosities)

 

Speaking of Sarah Troop over at Cabinet of Curiosities, do be sure to take a peek at her new project, Death and the Maiden, a blog exploring the relationship between women and death. The site launches today and there is a giveaway for Kate Mayfield’s The Undertaker’s Daughter!

 

One of my favorite instagram accounts lately is creepycomics, which is brimming with cheesy, pulpy horror goodness from yesteryear.

 


Oh my goodness. I cannot wait. Crimson Peak is going to be marvelous.

 

Osmo, A beginners guide to constructing the cosmos from Loop.pH on Vimeo.

OSMO is an experiment in totally transforming the experience of an awkward public space into something of wonder and tranquility.

 

VIDEO LUST: moments of romantic obsession for video memories of the past. “…a plethora of horror, fantasy and sci-fi soundtracks that work magically together. This mix arrives right on time for Valentine’s Day and should be used to guide you in whatever direction your night takes on the 14th.” (via)

 

Adult Wednesday Adams vs. Catcallers. I love you, Adult Wednesday Adams. (via Jon)

 

“What Kind Of Man” the first video from Florence + The Machine’s new album, ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’.  It is a heavy one; frighteningly intense and strangely cathartic, and brimming with that strange, dazzling energy unique to this lady.  I think I love it.

John Allison revisits university life in Giant Days. There are very few webcomics I read anymore, but I have been peeking in at John Allison’s work for over a decadeI even had the opportunity to interview him a few years ago! Most recently he has been collaborating on a short run print version featuring some much beloved characters.

Horror’s scariest trend is the nonexistent black film maker.

Explore the world’s most morbid tourist attractions.

The ANGRY MORON is back!

John Coulthart’s psychedelic playlists

Seven cocktails based on L’Atelier Givenchy fragrances

Comics and the Gothic (h/t David!)

Cathy CK: Cathy comics replaced with Louis C.K. quotes

 

 

 

 

 

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