Thursday, October 20, 2011

How About a Little Respect for the Dead?

Hanging out in cemeteries is a very popular pastime among those in the goth community, often because us folks have darker aesthetics than most people and hold an appreciation for beauty in unlikely places. Goths are very likely to be seen in graveyards, either taking a leisurely stroll or sitting down somewhere enjoying the quiet atmosphere. They are perhaps the least likely of people to get in trouble for vandalizing such places, often because of the respect and admiration for the architecture, landscaping, and lives of those who are buried there. However, this said, sometimes people visiting burial grounds for our dead can be pretty disrespectful, and goths are no exception. It is one reason why photography "on or near graves" is now being prohibited in Whitby's famous graveyard, known for being the stomping ground for many a goth during "Whitby Gothic Weekend." A quick search on and other image hosting sites can provide a good look into why; Women in corsets laying on table stones and men with platform boots and neon dreads climbing cross-shaped headstones don't seem all that respectful... especially to the families of those buried there!

How then, might you ask, can you enjoy a graveyard while making positively sure you are respectful of the dead and their families?

1. Do NOT sit or lay on table stones or climb on top of graves!

As if this needs to be said! Taking photos with neat headstones is fun and can be very artistic... if one does it right. But while laying on a table stone may look artistic and lovely, it's disrespectful to the person buried there and the family probably wouldn't be happy about it either. Also, what happens if you knock over or break the grave? Wouldn't you feel really bad about that and the family that now has to pay to fix it? Therefore, if you decide to take a photo with a headstone, a tomb, or other monument to the deceased, sit or stand next to it, rather than all over and on top of it. Some very creative photographs of a statue or headstone can also be taken without a person in the photo.

2. If you decide to picnic, choose a place that isn't on top of a burial site!
Would you want someone non-consensually laying a blanket over you, sitting on you, and then enjoying a meal? Most people wouldn't. Give the dead a little space, huh? Most cemeteries have designated places to sit, like benches, or even places to picnic if the cemetery is big enough and set up like a park.

3. Clean up after yourself.
This should go without saying, but if you are enjoying an afternoon in a graveyard, be sure to throw away your garbage in a proper container and bring everything back with you that you came in with (unless, of course, you brought flowers or other tokens of affection to be left on graves).

4. Help the maintainer.
Sometimes when I'm in a cemetery, I come across a grave that's fallen down or someone placed a knickknack or a vase on a grave that got upturned. If this happens, try to fix it and make it look nice. Not only will the grave look better maintained, you'll probably feel like you've done something really nice for somebody you don't even know.

5. Bring something along to place on a grave.
This isn't necessary, but sometimes one flower left on an otherwise undecorated grave can mean something extra special to the person who left it or to a family member who has decided to visit on a whim. Plus, who doesn't like random gifts?

6. Grave Rubbings
Some cemeteries do not allow rubbings to be taken from graves, but it is an easy and effective way to remember your visit and take with you a keepsake of a tombstone that you found special or pretty. Grave rubbings are done with a large piece of paper (not too thick!) and a crayon (remove the wrapper first). Apply the paper over the grave, and then rub the side of the crayon against the paper. Don't press too hard! With much practice, you'll end up with a very pretty (and colorful) representation of the gravestone on your paper!

These are just a few tips of how to enjoy a cemetery while still giving the proper amount of respect to it. On your next lovely day, go take a ride out to your local burial ground and take a book to read with you if you're so inclined! I guarantee it will be one of the most relaxing and quiet times to yourself you've ever had.

Love and Headstones,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Things That Influenced Me: Horror Hearses

"How did I become who I am today?"

We've all thought about it before, I'm sure. We all probably have our own answers to that question as well...
"I was around my gothic Aunt Sally often and I loved everything about her."
"I saw a photo of a boy in a magazine with spiked hair/a lip ring/a leather jacket/[insert  something here] and I was instantly drawn to the style."
"I listened to nothing but The Cure and Bauhaus for a month when I was 7."

"I was born Gay, but my first crush really cemented it for me / this celebrity set the standard for all men I've ever dated."
"I've kept all my baby teeth ever since they first started coming out."

Like many of you, I've often thought about this, to the point where I've started actively writing down everything I felt had some sort of effect on me when I was younger. The list is continually growing as I find more and more "leads" to things that I used to do, play with, or watch as a little kid! I would love to share with you some of these things that influenced me (TTIM). I also fully hope to hear what you think influenced you to be who you are!

The first installment of this is Horror Hearses, toys my brother and I used to play with when we were consecutively 3 and 5. I had forgotten about these completely until I was looking for some Halloween things to put out and stumbled upon them inside a bag with other toys.

I made this one into a video since they're so visual it was just easier. Enjoy!
As a note, I have read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and am aware that he's the "Frankenstein Monster." I do not know why I made such a stupid mistake, honestly, especially since I often hang my head in shame when someone does the same thing! So I apologize profusely and shall punish myself for my insolence.

I'm also fully serious in that my father has a bunch of these mint in their packaging and has failed to sell them at flea markets and such. If you'd love to own your own, get in touch! They are really cool, really macabre, and deserve a better home than a plastic tub in my basement, quite honestly.

Love and the Bloodmobile,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Challenge: What to do with all this CANDY?!?

Day 8 - What do you use to hold your candy while trick or treating? 

 I think this is a great question. I think I need to mention a few different "trick or treat" baskets, offer up my opinions, and then admit my favorite type of container for all those tasty and teeth-rotting little morsels! I think the best types of containers are those that fit a lot the perfect amount of candy while being easy to carry.

Okay, so when I started Trick or Treating, I had one of those typical plastic jack-o-lanterns. I think we all know the kind I'm talking about, even if you've never used one.

Look at it smiling; It's like it knows your secrets! (source)
Now, these were perfect when we were kids. They were easy to carry, the small opening was great for our little grubby hands, and the circular shape provided room space for our goodies while minimizing spillage if dropped (if it didn't crack in the fall!). They were also happy and yet just the right degree of creepy at the same time. There was only one problem with these containers, which we quickly realized: They were way too small for the amount of candy we would require.

What to do? Like most kids, my brother and I soon learned to use the next best thing. It was around the house, cheap, and BIG. What was it? The PILLOW CASE! Pillow cases are seemingly the ultimate candy holding receptacle. They are huge, hold tons of the sweet sugary goodness, and made of soft materials so they are comfortably slung over the back or toted in hand with little to no spillage.

Now, pillows are still probably the best and cheapest to use for maximum candy storage, but there was always a problem with them for me: carrying the damn things. I mean, seriously... Grabbing it at the top with one hand is fine when there's not much candy in them, but you still get the "sweaty palm" effect. Then when your case is heavier, it's too much of a pain to keep holding it with one hand and a two hand carry looks ridiculous and is massively uncomfortable! This leads to the one-armed sling-over-the-shoulder. Debating on how intricate your costume is, this could get pretty ugly pretty fast. If you aren't crushing your costume with your candy, you're making the back of it sweaty, not to mention making yourself look silly if you're costumed as anyone other than Santa Claus, a sailor returning to port, or a college student heading over to do the laundry.

My personal preference for carrying candy by far is the handy Tote Bag. What's great about these is that they are soft, have a large candy capacity, and they have a handle! So much easier than a pillow case, in my opinion! It's also nice because now stores sell a lot of Halloween tote bags around this time of year, and if you're anything like me, you'll find a great one and use it all year long. For me, I've been using this lovely black, red, and gold Edgar Allan Poe tote bag from Barnes and Noble, which cost about $12 if I recall correctly and was worth every dollar. Look at this beauty!

Ravens, Trees, and Premature Burials, oh my!
You can bet that I'll be taking this baby around all year and hopefully trick or treating with it if I end up going! If you want one of these, they're for sale now at your local B&N and online (except they don't have a picture of it on their website, to warn you).

What do you like to keep your candy in?

Love and Tote Bags,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haircuts: The Power of Release

Have you ever realized after you have a haircut, you feel so much better? Like a weight has been lifted of your shoulders? (And, yeah, okay, some literal weight has been lifted off your shoulders, but still...)

This may sound strange, but I believe that our hair is capable of holding us back sometimes. This belief started when I was in junior high and taking choir lessons along with the other sopranos with Mr. D, whom I had found out much later is actually a very spiritual man and used to be a swami of some sort. I forget how we originally got onto the topic (it's been over eight years ago!), but we started talking about how haircuts make us feel so much better and how weird that was, because it's really just protein and dead ends. However, I'll never forget Mr. D conversing with us and imparting us with this interesting theory that every little thing that happens to us grows into our hair and is carried with us. When we cut our hair, we are partaking in the literal act of symbolically cutting off those moments in the past that haunt us and hold us back from being the best we can be.

I know that sounds like a bunch of hullabaloo, but every time I go for a haircut I feel just the teensiest bit better about myself. I feel more confident. Yes, I know this is also because I just got a haircut so I'm looking neat and cleaned up, but I do actually still feel like cutting my hair helps me cleanse myself of negative things I don't need in my life. I feel like all the the things that have been bothering me and building up over time instantly leave me or become easier to shed and shrug off. I feel renewed. I'm constantly under stress or bottling my emotions up. Could this be why my hair grows so fast?!?

Lately my hair has grown so long and unruly, I feel like it's just begging for a haircut. I mean, I really am due for one, and I can't exactly pull off this year's Halloween costume without shorter hair than I have now. I've also been so depressed and emotional in the past few months, that I honestly wonder if it's because I haven't been able to cut those ties to stupid little bygones. I foresee a haircut in my near future!

Here's to haircuts and making a symbolic detachment from all those things that pissed you off or made you sad!
Love and Sharp Scissors,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween Challenge: Fictional Horror Characters

Day 7: Favorite fictional horror movie character.

Does... Does Betelgeuse from Beetlejuice count as a horror movie character?!? Can he? Can he please?!?

How can you say no to that face?
*Sighs* I guess not, huh?

If you count "Comedy Horror" as Horror, then he most definitely would be my favorite. But... Since I know a lot of people wouldn't consider Beetlejuice to be a legitimate horror movie, I guess I'm going to have to consider somebody else, and I'm not sure who I'd choose. You see, while I've found that I do love horror movies to death (ouch, mind your puns, woman!), I'm still building on my "horror movie street cred," so I still haven't seen many of them! A shame, I know.

I want to pick a character that I think is a badass and that I wouldn't mess with. That's suitable, right? And there are three that fit with the mold.

First off, Freddy Krueger. I, admittedly have yet to see this movie in full. Shame on me, shame shame, I know! But from what I have seen, he's a badass and a murderer with the same sick sense of humor as Betelgeuse, and I appreciate that. I also like how Nightmare on Elm Street has Nancy as its main character, who is an admirable and strong female heroine who needs way more appreciation and love than she gets, in my opinion. Okay, yeah: This is a movie I need to make sure I watch this month!

The other two characters I think fit this "BAMF horror character" mold are in the same movie, and I think I actually prefer them together. They would be Chucky and Tiffany from Bride of Chucky. I caught this movie on TV one October a few years ago and I thought it was so horrific and yet so funny that it immediately became a favorite horror flick for me. I also believe this movie helped ease me into loving horror films, as I know there was some period of time where I didn't like scary or gory movies. (Hard to imagine now, to be honest! Though I still can't watch "torture" films, like Saw or Hostel).

Tiffany mourns her ex-boyfriend, Chucky's, death... Or does she?

I thought Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany) made an excellent addition to Chucky's side. The two of them were maniacal, dangerous, and yet pretty adorable and sexy as a couple, if I may say that about two psychopathic dolls.

Chucky and his bride! (source)
I must say, though, that after seeing this movie, I can't help but feel like my Living Dead Dolls are watching me and making sure I'm nice to them. Or else. I can't have Lydia and Betelgeuse dolls running rampant now, can I?

Love and "Barbie, Eat your heart out,"

Halloween Challenge: Ghost Stories

Day 6: Favorite ghost story...

Almost caught up, everyone! And then I can relax with these posts and include some better ones! I'm sure a bunch of you are sitting there thinking, "WE GET IT. YOU REALLY LIKE HALLOWEEN." I do... But that's not to mean I don't want to make more... meaningful? posts. Now that I'm pretty much caught up, I'll be able to dedicate more time to other kinds of blog posts.

I'm not exactly sure what to put for this one since I've never really heard a good ghost story that was so memorable or scary that it stuck in my mind.

I guess I would have to go with Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because it's always been my favorite story about ghosts, and a violent ghost at that. It had a decent plot, characters that stand out, and a headless hessian that gives Ichabod a run for his life. Tarrytown, New York (also known as "Sleepy Hollow") is about a half hour away from where I live too, so it's also the proximity that really drills it into me as a favorite.

Love and "Head to the bridge!"

Halloween Challenge: Candy! ♥

Day 3: Favorite candy & Day 4: Least favorite candy

This is a short post, so I'm lumping these two together so I can catch up!

My favorite candy is most definitely Sour Patch Kids, but that's not to say I've never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like, let's put it that way. Oh yes, dear readers; Lilith's pudgy tummy can attest to this fact. I'm also extremely partial to candy corn and mellocreme pumpkins in the fall!

Least favorite is a hard notion to ponder, indeed! I don't really like anything with coconut or too much peanuts, like Mounds or Pay Day bars; I've never been one for Tootsie Rolls, KitKat bars, or Jolly Ranchers, but that's not to say I wouldn't eat them! I'm a fussy eater, so this title has to go to a candy I find so noxious, so utterly atrocious, that I can't even stand to eat it... But what wouldn't I...

Oh no. Oh.... Oh no. Shield thine eyes! Hide the children!

The enemy. (source)
No. I absolutely will not eat these.. these things. I like licorice! I really do. I especially like red licorice. But these things? They are just disgusting to me and I refuse to eat them. Blehhhhhhhh--- Get thee away from my trick or treat basket! Be gone with thee!

I think second prize also goes to "Bit-o-Honey." I was never sure why anyone in their right minds would even buy these, let alone give them to random children...

Love and Midnight Milky Way bars,