17 Sep

From the terrifying, vertiginous heights of a 60 meter waterf


all, to the giddy delight of having scaled it afterward, to the dazed distraction of being in the midst of incomprehensible multinational conversations, and the woozy, weak-in-the-knees sensation of toppling into bed once the day is done…if asked to sum my time in Iceland up in one word, my reply would be: “dizzying”.

A week later after arriving home and having settled back in, the dizziness is just now subsiding and yet I am still feeling rather unsteady and out-of-place.  A new friend summed it up rather eloquently, I think: “Repatriation can be a lot more shocking than expatriation, because we expect to feel comfortable, we expect things to be familiar, but everything is different. Not because everything has changed, but because *we* changed. Our frame of reference for the familiar has changed. “

All of this sounds like a complaint, doesn’t it?  I don’t mean it to be.  I’ve never fancied myself much of a traveler and I am finding that it rather takes some getting used to.  I think when one travels one must learn to let go of schedules and learn to embrace the unexpected and these are usually both difficult lessons for me. This journey proved to be no different in that regard and yet I think, at some point I , just…let go.  Gave up.  Due to the fact I did not speak the language (I know maybe four words of Icelandic) I didn’t know what was going on around me 99% of the time anyway, so why not just let someone else make the plans and I’d just end up where ever I ended up.  And it would be fine. “þetta reddast”, I heard repeated several times during the trip.  “It will be ok. It will work itself out.”  Þetta reddast.


Though I was in Reykjavík primarily for the wedding of my gentleman’s brother – which was a splendid affair at Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland – we did have time, in between visits with family (and there was a lot of family), to explore our own agenda.  Which were chiefly pastries, penis museums, haunted houses, and more waterfalls.

kleina (fried doughnut) and hjónabandssæla ("happy marriage cake")
kleina (fried doughnut) and hjónabandssæla (“happy marriage cake”)
Höfði house. Haunted by a lady ghost, according to local legend.
Höfði house. Haunted by a lady ghost, according to local legend.
2008 Icelandic handball team at the phallological museum
2008 Icelandic handball team at the phallological museum
random waterfall in Þingvellir

Because my guy and his family are originally from Iceland, there were many aunties and cousins still living there who had not seen them in a long time and who wanted to spend time catching up.  There were long coffee hours with trays of hangikjöt (smoked lamb) or salmon sandwiches and delicate pancakes either rolled thin and sprinkled with sugar or stuffed fat and full of cream and jam. There was an evening of at least 40 relatives packed into an apartment for bowls of traditional kjötsúpa – a humble but fragrant and nourishing meat soup, usually made with lamb and earthy winter vegetables.  I’ll scarcely mention the grilled minke whale, for those readers who may face ethical or philosophical dilemmas regarding this…very…delicious issue. And then, there was an afternoon in the town of Akranes where I was invited for a meal of the most delicious fish and chips that I have ever had in my life.

Boat graveyard at Akranes
Boat graveyard at Akranes

Akranes is a charming little fishing town, but there is a wee dodgy strip which could be mistaken for Innsmouth on a gloomy, grey afternoon. Though apparently the ninth most populous town in Iceland, Akranes seemed small and rather isolated to me.  We were taken on a little tour of the town, which included the boat and town history museum, as well as, the lighthouse – which was an unexpected and wonderful surprise for me, as Amiina, a lovely, unique group of musicians whose works I stumbled across recently and who sound like the dreamiest, tinkling music box, had recorded at this lighthouse in the past few years.   I was delighted to see that the lighthouse, though small,  also hosted exhibits of the poetic or artistic variety from time to time. Before leaving I was gifted with a knit version of a traditional hat, hand made by a very generous auntie.

Old Man Houlihan at the Akranes boat museum. He would have gotten away with it – if not for those meddling kids.
Little lighthouse at Akranes (viewed from top of big lighthouse)
Little lighthouse at Akranes (viewed from top of big lighthouse)
By Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir. Exhibit at the Akranes lighthouse.
By Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir. Exhibit at the Akranes lighthouse.
Lovely knit hat based on a traditional costume
Lovely knit hat based on a traditional costume

In addition to the town of Akranes, another one of my favorite places was Árbæjarsafn, which is the historical museum of the city of Reykjavík as well as an open air museum and a regional museum. Unfortunately, we put this visit off until the last minute, on the weekend – during which time it is not open.  Technically.  We were still able to walk around and look at the houses, but we were not able to go into them or explore them.  Nonetheless, we still spent about two hours walking around and marveling at the simple beauty of the structures.

Vestry at Árbæjarsfni
Old House
Old houses at Árbæjarsfni

I was very lucky to experience Iceland from a unique perspective – though I did many of the tourist-y things (I ate hotdogs from every stand in the city for pete’s sake; I took a photo of this guy), I also spent a great deal of time with the people who actually live there and got to see things from a native’s perspective, as well.  Which included many home-made meals, I might add, and in a city as expensive as Reykjavík, that’s really a lovely blessing.

A few tips, if you are thinking of traveling to Iceland:

  • Bring layers!  I traveled during the end of August (which is like a relentless hellscape in Florida) but the weather I encountered in Iceland was in the 40s and 50s and drizzly.  Cold and rainy. Tee shirts and light sweaters and light jackets are best for hopping between coffee houses on a chilly day downtown, I think.
  • A sturdy pair of water proof boots is essential if you are going to be visiting the waterfalls or doing a bit of hiking. I purchased a pair from LL Bean and they are marvelous.  I highly recommend them.
  • Try to check out the happy hours for restaurants.  They are all so very expensive, so take advantage of deals where you can find them.
  • Go to Café Babalú, have a cappucino and check out their Star Wars themed bathroom, visit the The Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden, stop by the Reykjavík Botanical Gardens, people watch at Kringlan, eat Skyr with blueberry jam every morning, marvel at how everywhere, even at the grocery store, you can find yarn.

And be reminded of why we go away.  (says Terry Pratchett) “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 

I am glad I am no longer the same person who would have never left.  Though now I feel I am not actually the same person who did leave, either. It’s all so confusing! Perhaps I’d better start planning another trip and see what happens.







When I was very young I had the opportunity to visit an antique dollhouse exhibit while visiting my grandparents one summer. I was captivated by the minute, gorgeous, meticulously rendered details -intricate lace curtains framing the tiny windows and opulent velvet upholsteries covering the miniature settees and sofas – I longed to sneak my little finger behind the glass casing to touch these beautiful, delicate things, to feel what the little inhabitants of such a place might feel if they were to touch these things as well. The sumptuous fabrics of the gowns gracing the runway at Tadashi Shoji’s show at NYFW remind me somehow of those moments of longing to touch something very fine. Inspired by the Golden Palace of Venice, the various pieces are a glowing palette of roses and periwinkles and golds (not always my favorite thing) but the soft, simple silhouettes present such a dreamy vision that I can forgive the pastels. And capes.  Capes make everything 100 times more elegant and fancy.

See below for a few of my personal favorites. And if nothing else just play the video above for the lovely score/soundtrack (whatever you call music playing in the background during a runway show.)  It’s really very elegant and ethereal, even when it picks up the beat. If anyone can share with me who the musicians are, I would be forever grateful!

32-TS 03-TS 08-TS 11-TS



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10 Sep

the places you go

categories: music

I have been away and come back and somehow I don’t quite feel myself anymore. Whether I left a piece of myself on another continent or I returned with an added bit of something or other, I couldn’t tell you. It’s an unsettling feeling and I haven’t sorted it out yet.

Until such time as I jot down my thoughts, impressions and various ramblings on the experience, please have some music.

the places you go from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Track list: The Bridge, Halla Norðfjörð | Krómantík, Sóley | The backbone, Rökkurró | Trøllabundin, Eivør Pálsdóttir | Near Light, Ólafur Arnalds | Hail thy Mary, myrra ros | Út, Ylja | Yaoi, Ballet School | Until Mourning, Útidúr | There Are More Things, Mikael Lind | Perth, amiina | Fall, Bloodgroup | Burnt, Kiasmos | Toothwheels, Múm | Stofnar Falla (Subminimal Remix), Samaris

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13 Aug

lurking fearnight stalker

Apparently you can customize the embroidery on the back of your shoe on the new balance site – how cool is that?  I kept mine simple as it appears that “Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” just won’t fit in the space allotted. Drat.

Notice too, the all-black-all-the-time design – perfect for midnight cemetery runs and nimbly slipping between dark dimensions undetected!

Wondering how to style these blacker than black and quite frankly otherwise quite boring sneakers? You weren’t? Because black goes with everything? Fair enough. But here’s an idea for you.




Product details*:

POLITE AS FUCK” tee from buymebrunch  // SHOCK ABSORBER Ultimate Run mesh and stretch-jersey sports bra // TEK Gear Elements Hiking Capris // The 7 Wonders American Horror Story tote // Naked Eye Beauty for Sisters of the Black Moon lip balm

*Socks were via amazon and are out of stock and GO GREEN is, I believe, discontinued. Use your imagination re: goofy socks and fresh smelling post-workout body sprays.  You’ll do fine.



Friday night and the gang's all here
Friday night and the gang’s all here

It’s not exactly as if I am some sort of social butterfly, flitting busily from one charming engagement to the next. I’m really not that at all. I’m the anti-social, hermit….whatever the exact opposite of a butterfly is. Maybe sloth.  I am the anti-social sloth.

At most I will head into the next town once or twice a month to visit with friends and family, and to be honest, I am most of the time actually enjoying myself doing these things, spending time with these people. And yet even this is too much and it feels imperative that I shut myself away from the world every once in a while.  I don’t quite know why this is, but I suspect that sometimes even the thought of spending time around other humans is exhausting for me…especially on the weekend when I should be free to spend it however I like.  So even if I haven’t had a friendly lunch or a bookclub date or a party (eeek! ugh.) on the calendar for a while, it’s almost like I need to proactively mentally prepare for the possibility.

To begin, I set aside a weekend during the month, preferably one when I am going to be all alone.  As I live with a significant other, this is a rare occurrence. During this time I make no plans. No anything that involves me walking out my front door. A Fuck Off, World! weekend is all about the comforts of one’s own home. I make sure that the house is well stocked with grocery items because if I don’t even want to visit with my sister, you can be damned sure I don’t want to talk to a cashier for a market transaction as it relates to a dozen eggs or coffee or whatever. 99% of the time I won’t even answer my phone because what part of No Human Interaction and Fuck Off, World don’t you understand, for god’s sake?
This is serious business.

Your perfect FOW!W may vary from mine, of course, but I think there are some key elements that are pretty much the same across the board.

  • It must involve some form of entertainment.  Probably a few movies.  Perhaps there are some films you’ve been waiting to watch on your own as you know you cannot talk your boyfriend into watching another artsy horror film because when he walked in on you watching Possession he was nearly scarred for life.  Although really, what a grown woman and the writhing, pustulous grotesquerie to whom she gave birth do in an abandoned building on a filthy bed is their own business and who are we to judge, right? Anyway, so films.  For this particular weekend I am thinking Livide, Santa Sangre and Next Door.
  • Puttering. Pick up a book, put it down. Start to fold laundry, get distracted. Make half the bed, remember you put the kettle on, pick up that same book again. Finish knitting a sock. Try to take a nap, but become hypnotized by the shadow of the rosebush against the curtain. If you’ve puttered properly, by the end of the day you will have accomplished absolutely nothing.
  • Meals must be the trashiest things you can think of, something you would be utterly motified to have anywhere near your face hole in polite company. In ghost or alien company. In any company at all. It must be a transcendent combination and disgusting and delicious and you must eat it during this sacred time alone.

Actually, that’s about it. Less is more when it comes to a perfect FOW!W.  And with that, I am signing off. And you, you can fuck off.  Until Monday, and then we’re all friends again.


5 Aug

*Channelling Sophia Petrillo*: “Picture it. Orlando. 2011.” I had retreated back to Florida after seven hellish years in New Jersey,  a desperately unhappy experience from which I was only just beginning to recover. Immediately upon my arrival back down south, I moved in with my sister and her new husband, who welcomed me with open arms…. but in retrospect I guess that’s probably not how a married couple wants to spend their first few months of matrimony together? Yikes. I kinda feel badly about it now, but it’s a #sorrynotsorry sort of feeling, because reconnecting with and spending so much time with my sister over those next few months was a ridiculous amount of fun, and, I think, an important part of the healing that I needed to do.

What with the urgent sense of relief for having escaped a nightmarish relationship, and the obligationless existence of living rent-free for a spell, I had a lot of time on my hands for reflection. Examining my choices, the mistakes I made, and the lessons I learned from them, and all of the possibilities going forward. As part of this process of self-reflection, I’d often spend evenings perusing my sister’s bookshelves, selecting titles from motivational authors and self-help gurus such as Louise L. Hay or Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, or sometimes even SARK, and skimming the pages at random, looking for thoughts or phrases that resonated with me, and which I might implement that day. Inspirational bibliomancy, I suppose.

My sister is a mental health professional and while it’s probably not ethical to talk about what she does, I will mention that she works in a rough area of town, in a challenging environment, and with kids who have just about every disadvantage you can imagine. While living with her for that short amount of time and hearing the horror stories and the heartbreak she deals with on a daily basis, I grew to admire her strength and capabilities more than ever. She is an amazing woman, and if educating myself with selections from her small library of positive thinking and self love could help me achieve even half of her resilience and optimism, then perhaps this was an interest worth nurturing.

Five months later I had moved out and was living on my own again, and between the craziness of getting settled back in at work and the budding of a new relationship, I had mostly forgotten the wise words and sage advice of the life coaches and guides from my sister’s shelves. No doubt I could have used the encouragement and support, though, as I was still working through a lot of intensely personal stuff. I was perpetually angry and morbidly dwelling about all the time and energy and youth I had wasted up north. I was legitimately terrified that my past would continue to haunt me in both metaphorical and terrifyingly literal ways. Sometimes these thoughts paralyzed me. I frequently found myself in front of my computer, in the middle of the workday, feverish tears streaming down my face, my throat convulsing with soundless screams. (Thank god I worked from home.)

It was one of these afternoons when I took a deep breath, calmed myself, and decided that I needed a fucking break. On a whim, I navigated to Youtube and for some weird reason, in my recommended viewing queue was the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, in its entirety. I’m still not sure why I even clicked play on the video; although as a child of the eighties, I was of course familiar with He-Man and his crew and had spent many a childhood afternoon watching their adventures on Eternia, I can’t say that I had any great attachment to the show or the characters.

When I first glimpsed Frank Langella as Skeletor, I couldn’t help but think he was a real bummer. He just seemed so profoundly mopey and bitter, and I’m sure I blanched, visibly, wondering if I, too, appeared that way to other people in my current state. I found myself musing ….what if Skeletor had gotten more positive reinforcement and encouragement, or maybe just more hugs and love? Would he have chosen a different path, perhaps become a more compassionate, well-balanced sort of guy? I thought perhaps someone should have let him borrow a book of affirmations, and intervention of sorts, a “hey man, read some Kahlil Gibran and get your head on straight” conversation.

At that point, still caught up in frittering my afternoon away with imaginary therapy for skull-faced alien villains, I had a “eureka!” moment.  I found a few MOTU cartoon episodes online, I saved a handful of screen caps of Skeletor perpetrating various acts of villainy–the more outlandish the better– and opened them up in Photoshop. Carefully choosing some phrases of love and positivity from Louise L. Hay, I matched each image of the evil overlord’s wickedness and moral turpitude with an empowering thought. I knew it was utterly ridiculous even as I was doing it, and in true Sarah fashion, I didn’t even proof-read the first one I created, which still exists to this day with that spelling error, rendering it even more nonsensical. I messaged my sister over facebook with the whole slew of them, hoping to give her a laugh in the middle of what was probably shaping up to be a tough day, as I knew most of them usually were.

Both my sister and her husband, as well as my adorable new beau, thought this was a fantastic concept, and encouraged me to make a few more. Which, it turned out, I had a lot of fun with, and started to get really good at. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m no artist–I was taking art that someone else created and paired it with words that someone else wrote–and so I was under no delusions about my artistic endeavor. But I do think I had a knack for finding the perfect turn of phrase to match with the most perversely appropriate image. Discerning and demonstrating those synergies must be an art form unto itself, right? Maybe? I went with that at the time, and I think I still believe it, to an extent.

I moved from posting these on my own, personal Facebook page, to creating a dedicated Facebook page for it. Why not? I thought.  Surely there are other weirdos on this planet who might get a kick out of this, too? What to call this project, though? Something catchy, simple, powerful. And of course he needed a tagline, something brief and to the point!

Skeletor Is Love, or Heal Yourself, Skeletor.
Skeletor is experiencing the profound emptiness and isolation of human existence. Follow his journey to positive mental health through daily affirmations.

When I mused that there would be other weirdos who would appreciate my silly contribution to the internet, I truly had no idea just how prescient a thought that turned out to be. I mean….ok, to be honest, I usually know when I have a good idea, or when I’m on to something. So I wasn’t entirely surprised that within a few days time the page had several hundred followers. By the end of the week there were several thousand. Within the next few months there were tens of thousands…and if I sound like I am tooting my horn, well, maybe I am a little.

Previously, I had, for years, been trapped in a relationship with a person who wouldn’t “let” me connect with people on the internet. Suspicious, paranoid, and extremely controlling, this man monitored my activities, policed my behavior, read my emails, and dictated to me the sites I could visit, the people I could communicate with, and even how I chose to present myself onIine. But less than a year later, under the auspices of an 80s cartoon bad guy, I was now reaching out to many thousands of people on a daily basis! And I didn’t have to hide it, or feel ashamed or guilty…as a matter of fact, what I was doing made me feel really, really good. “Take that, you miserable fucker!” I often found myself gleefully murmuring, in the very beginning.

It became clear to me that Skeletor wasn’t just making me feel good.

I tried not to look at the comments in response to each day’s offering; for every enthusiastic word of praise there was usually a complaint or criticism, “I don’t get it”, or “…is this supposed to be funny?” and after a while I was just like, “well, I can’t help it if you’re a moron”– but would this kinder, gentler Skeletor reply with that? Probably not. So I just skipped the comment section, for the most part, all together. (Upon reflection, that probably should have been one of the affirmations, too.)

I soon began receiving messages and emails, many of which really blew my mind. These were folks thanking me for making a difference in their day, for putting something good out into the world. Oftentimes the sender would share that Skeletor’s affirmation for the day aligned perfectly with something they were going through or trying to figure out.  Even more affecting than that, were those who shared that Skeletor was helping them with cope with their depression, or their self-harm, or their sobriety/addiction. I realized that what had started out as a lark, a laugh, a bit of light-hearted fun… was actually making a difference in someone’s life, and that there was a community of people in need who were perhaps truly benefiting from these messages of positivity. I began to take Skeletor and his messages to the public a little bit more seriously at this point, and tried my utmost to be responsible and respectful, but still tap into the absurdity and humor that inspired me in the first place.

If it made someone laugh, that’s great. If it helped someone get out of bed in the morning, or to call their sponsor instead of taking that drink, or whatever – that was even better. And I did try to put my money where my mouth is, to to speak! In May of 2014, my sister and I took part in the NAMI Walk (NAMI= National Alliance on Mental Illness), and as part of that, I reached out to the Skeletor is Love audience for assistance and we raised over $1200 for the cause. I think it meant a lot to people that, yes, while I created things to make people laugh on the internet, I was also an actual human being who was trying to do right by the community for which I had become an advocate. I did try to make it clear though, that I’ve got no training in the mental health field other than living in a family full of depressed alcoholics. I joke about it, but that part is true. I am no expert on anything. I was just doing my small, dumb part to make the world a better place.

But really, how seriously can you take something like this? Of course, not too seriously. You know that I had to create a How To Wear Skeletor Is Love ensemble! And sooner or later, I ran out of quotes from inspirational self-help gurus, so I moved on to celebrities, scientists, to saints, philosophers, poets, song lyrics, personal ads (“today we are kittens, tomorrow we are tigers” was a quote from They Call Me Naughty Lola, which is a book that everyone should have on their coffee table.) Sometimes I might read something that got me all riled up, and I’d react via Skeletor (like in a Huffpost article in which men are asked to weigh in on ladies fashion trends. Fuck off, Huffpost.) Sometimes I just made it all up entirely.

In the end though, I promised myself that once it stopped being fun, I was done with it. Life is too short to slog through things that you’re not enjoying, you know? And maybe it’s selfish, but I’d rather leave people wanting more of a thing, than to have them tire of that thing and grow to hate it. And that’s eventually what happened, more or less, but I guess it was more me hating it than the people I was making it for. It was brought to my attention that a certain mall goth shop had begun to sell these tee shirts. I was a little miffed. I mean, I am not saying that I am the only person on Earth who could have paired together Skeletor and the lyrics from Joydrop’s 1998 single “Beautiful”, but come on.  Really? V. rude, Hot Topic.


But what could I do? These weren’t even my characters, and I am not sure how copyright or trademark infringement works, but I wasn’t about to get caught up in all of that. I fumed for a few days, took a week off, and realized I was absolutely dreading even thinking about accompanying Skeletor any further on his journey. I was definitely not having fun any more.

In the end, I worked on Skeletor is Love for about a year and a half, and even when it was over, I left everything as-is for new folks to discover, and so that the people who already loved it would always have access to it. All of the places where one might find my original Skeletor Is Love content still exist to this day.  Of course, not everyone was happy with my decision, and on one hand, I get it. As a fan of things, I am always a bit sad when the thing I love reaches the end, takes its final bow, and exits the stage. But I also think I can recognize when someone continues to do a thing in which they are not fully invested, when their heart’s not in it. I didn’t want to become such a person, endlessly churning out garbage that I was unhappy with, forever–and I do believe that most people understood my decision.

Many fans said, “but it’s so great, why not give the page to someone else to update?” Uh, really? Ok, you create something that was pretty important to you and then gormlessly turn it over to a complete stranger to have their way with. Go right ahead! But yeah, that’s just…asinine. Who in their right mind would do that? Also? Why would you even want to continue cranking out a project that you didn’t start? Get your own thing! Run with your own ideas! I feel like that’s what Skeletor might say, anyway. At least this re-imagined version of him.

On the whole, it was an amazing time, and a weird, wild, experience. I made it to Buzzfeed! And i09! A few kind souls even interviewed me about the experience, and as someone who is usually the one asking the interview questions, that was certainly a strange turnabout. It was an enterprise which connected me with people I never would have met otherwise, and which four years later, people are still just now finding out about. Even to this day when it somehow comes up in conversation, the other person’s response is usually, “…that was YOU?!” Which as a terribly shy person who sometimes secretly loves attention, that’s always kind of exciting.

Friends who have already heard this story a thousand times, thank you for indulging me once more. Friends and readers who were previously unaware– I guess I just wanted to make sure you guys knew, too! In addition to my love of art and fashion, perfume and ghosts and weirdness, and all of the other things and experiences I write about on my blog and in my books– also, at one point in time, I had a funny little undertaking with a blue-skinned megalomaniac, and we embarked on a journey of hope and positivity together.

Find Skeletor Is Love: website // facebook // twitter // instagram

If you enjoyed Skeletor is Love and would like to show support, please consider purchasing one of my books! (non Skeletor-related-sorry!)



you will hear thunder and remember me from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new mix for graves you never meant to dig.

Track list: The Places You Walk, Jex Thoth | Mescaline II, Mount Salem | City of Light, The Atlas Moth | Feverdance, The Devil’s Blood | More Cruel Than Weak, Skeletonwitch | Drown, Royal Thunder | All Must Die, The Oath | Dig Your Fingers In, Esben and the Witch | Ghost Riders, Jess and the Ancient Ones | Let It Come Down, Blood Ceremony | The Usher, Sub Rosa | Raise the Sun, Anciients | Celestial Effigy, Agalloch | From the Zodiacal Light, Earth

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When I was younger, I would tear through a book in a matter of hours.  I would demolish a stack of library books in the span of a few afternoons.  My favorite time of year was grade school summer vacation, during which time I would banish myself to the screened porch; hunched on the sweaty patio furniture, I would gulp glass after glass of my mother’s weak iced tea and slip into the pages of Stephen King, John Saul, Anne Rice, HP Lovecraft, Dean Koontz (I didn’t really discriminate at that age). I thoroughly immersed myself in these lurid, awful tales of monsters and madmen and supernatural goings-on and oftentimes would spend upwards of 8 hours out in the heat, completely lost to the world.

Unfortunately as I’ve gotten older, I am much more easily distracted (or is it that there are more things to become distracted by? Hm.) and it takes me much longer to read through a horrid novel. Where I once left the library with no less than a dozen books, I now exit the building with with two or three of them lumped uneasily at the bottom of a mostly empty tote bag  -I fear they know as well as I that any more than one book at a time now is wishful thinking.

The past few years had been especially bad for this; with upheaval comes a distinct lack of focus, and I am sure that I grew weary of or bored with 50% of the books I’d attempted reading. This year I was determined to begin making up for lost time.  It is almost August now, and I am fairly certain that I have read more in 2014 than I have in the last ten years.

Doctor Sleep  |  The Ocean At The End Of The Lane  | American Vampire, Volume 1 | Garlic and Sapphires | Pretty Little Liars 1 (don’t judge me!) | Comfort Me With Apples | Tender At The Bone | Pretty Little Liars 2: Flawless | The Shining Girls

Angelica | Heart Shaped Box | White Is For Witching | The Imago Sequence and Other Stories | The Asylum | American Vampire, Vol. 2

NOS4A2 | Boneshaker | The Goldfinch

Red Shirts | Wild Fell

The Unseen | The Ghostwriter

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All | Horns | The Tenant | The Small Hand | Sex Criminals Volume 1 | Morning Glories Volume 1

Carrion Comfort | Morning Glories Volume 2-7

The standouts for me so far have been The Goldfinch, Horns, and Sex Criminals, but more than that I have just enjoyed the magic of burying myself in a book again, of being breathlessly caught up in someone else’s story, and yes – even the tinge of regret and disappointment once the tale has been told and the last page has been turned.

Next on the reading list: Penpal by Dathan Auerbach and The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf by Martin Millar.  And I am very much looking forward to The Children of the Old Leech (a Laird Barron tribute!), Burnt Black Suns, and The Lord Came At Twilight.

What is stacked on your bedside table for an evening read?  What stories are you most looking forward to immersing yourself in? Do tell!  There’s so many empty shelves that need filling in my Library of Probable Books…


something beautiful, but annihilating from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new mix to fill the unsettling silences immediately following violent Sunday summer thunderstorms.
Track list: Skin Song, Bat for Lashes | Letter to New York, johanna glaza | ‘Hushabye’ ,Jennifer Left | The Curse (Album Version), Agnes Obel | ‘elemental finding’, tara jane o’neil | The Flow, Melanie De Biasio | Earthrise, Musk Ox | Forgiven, Lizabett Russo | Mirel Wagner, “Oak Tree” | Aether, CN Lester | Northeast Kingdom, Sarah Winchester | Drift, Maggie Rogers | Please Just Stay Dead, Nicole Dollanganger | Defiled Corpse, The Folks Below

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22 Jul

Goths at the Gym. Photography: Matías Uris Rey

I am a woman who likes her ghost stories and her soft core lady vampire movies and her occasional Viking metal or haunted cathedral music. I’ll give up my black clothes when they can find me a darker color. I dislike activities that involve sunlight and the possibility of other humans looking at me.  I can’t muster much enthusiasm for anything that makes me sweat or restricts my indulgences.  I am not peppy.

Diet and fitness blogs don’t seem to exist for people like me.  And yet, I think, people like me are inevitably the sort of black-hearted, lazy folk  who might find themselves in need of such resources.  But not the cheery RAH-RAH-RAH sort of diet/fitness/weight loss blog that seem to be de rigueur in certain circles, filled with clichéd claptrap encouraging you to love moving your bod! and nourish your soul! and blah, blah, baloney forever.  I need my motivation served subtle (you almost have to trick me into it) with a soupçon of snark and a sizeable side of spooky.  I’ve tried googling “goth weight loss blogs/goth fitness blogs” and I know I made mention in a previous post of a BLACK METAL DIET blog – but neither of those adequately describe what I am looking for.  I am not, nor have I ever been all that gothy. I listened to Iron Maiden in high school for pete’s sake, and if I recall there was a distinct rivalry between folks who listened to Iron Maiden and Slayer and those who listened to The Cure and Nine Inch Nails. So 20 years later I feel like calling myself a goth would be some sort of betrayal to Bruce Dickinson.

So I guess I am sort of weird and I don’t quite fit in anywhere. And that’s the direction I’ve decided to take with this.  Every once in a while, when I decide to get chatty about my progress, I’ll be using the “weight loss for weirdos” tag. I would say “you have been warned” but you’re here anyway so you may as well read it.

SO, I am going to share two of my WEIGHT LOSS FOR WEIRDOS tips with you this evening.

1. Bedtime Yoga + MORTIIS

There is nothing, NOTHING so important as bedtime and a sound sleep and 8+ hours of epic dreams.  Before tucking in for the evening, I turn off the lights, turn down the bed and do maybe 5-7 minutes of bed time yoga right on my mattress  (you can find some poses here and here, I personally like the goddess pose and the spinal twist). I am cranky and irritable if I have a difficult time falling asleep, but I have found that since starting this, routine? regimen?  I am usually asleep within 10-15 minutes. Bonus points: Mortiis’ Fodt Til Å Herske album is perfect to have playing in the background while you are stretching and slipping into sleep. Nocturnal dungeon/crypt sounds, when even the tortured spirits are at rest.


2. Something that you look forward to wearing when you are exercising.

I realize that might sound kind of silly and it’s not like I put a lot of thought into my appearance when I am venturing forth to sweat for an hour in 100 degree weather.  But there’s something about looking down at this particular shirt when I am exercising that makes me cackle.  And I love that. It makes the time spent working out seem a tiny bit less dreadful.

Cat magic tee shirt by killercondoapparel on etsy