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,

Halloween Challenge: Songs

Day 3: Your favorite Halloween song

October 31st contains two holidays for me so I feel like I absolutely must mention a song pertaining to both. We all know about Halloween, but not all of us know about Samhain, a Pagan holiday on which most Halloween traditions are based. I'm not going to go into the gory details on Samhain in this post (perhaps I'll work on a post very soon!), but I felt it needed to be mentioned because one of my favorite songs for all year this month is a Samhain song.

My two favorite songs for this season are most definitely "Anything Can Happen on Halloween" by Tim Curry (from The Worst Witch movie I babbled on about earlier) and "Souling Song (Samhain Version)" by Kristen Lawrence.

And for your listening pleasure...

"Anything Can Happen on Halloween"

"Souling Song"

Love and Soul Cakes,

Halloween Challenge: Haunted Houses

Day 2: Would you spend a night in a haunted house?

Well, if you consider the possibility that my house is already haunted (I'm not sure as of yet, but I have my suspicions...), then I already have!

Now, the biggest wonder of mine as to this question is would I be doing it in a strange or abandoned house? Alone? With friends? I think that makes all the difference in the world!

Alone in an unfamiliar house with no people in it what-so-ever, I don't think I could do it. If it was alone in a haunted bed or hotel room knowing people were in the house with me, albeit somewhere, I might be able to muster the courage to stay the night alone. With friends I most definitely could do it. It's all in the wording! But considering that I have been inside haunted houses or locations, I have already experienced this and enough weird activity for a lifetime already! Those stories are for another time though...

Love and "It was just the house settling..."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 5 Halloween Movies

 Day 1 of the Halloween Challenge: Favorite Halloween Movie(s)

My favorite Halloween movies... How can you possibly ask me to choose?!? A bunch of movies I grew up with as a child are my favorites and continue to be to this very day. Some I even sit and watch all year. I did sit down and think of my Top 5 for this season.

Now, I feel I have to add that Halloween season for me does include excessive watching of horror movies and way too much giddiness on my part. But when I think of "Halloween movies," I think of movies I watched as a child that I still enjoy watching today. For me, this is what makes it Halloween.

1. Beetlejuice (1988)
And, no. I didn't just pick this one because I obsess over it! (Oh yes, readers, be prepared!)

A screenshot of this smokin' poltergeist, captured by Amanda Cook
Even before Michael Keaton stole my little blackish-purple heart with his very much dead "bio-exorcist" routine, it had always been a movie I absolutely had to watch before or on Halloween. I remember watching the cartoon incarnation of it when I was very young in the early 90's, but I do vividly recall having seen the movie early on as well. Matter of fact, I had a Betelgeuse doll when I was probably around one or two years old. The only parts that scared me in this entire movie when I was little were when Barbara tears her face off near the beginning and when Delia's statues came to life. I was afraid of the statues and not the creepy perverted centuries-old dead man. This explains so much. And Lydia? One of my role models growing up (along with Wednesday Addams). ...Also explains a lot, actually.

2. The Worst Witch (1986)

This campy 80's film (which was actually straight-to-TV) is based on the books by Jillian Murphy, which also spawned a British and American TV series of the same name. It starred Fairuza Balk as the seemingly-incompetent Mildred Hubble, Charlotte Rae as the Head Witch Miss Cackle, Diana Rigg as the stern and oft-compared-to-Severues-Snape Miss Hardbroom, and a very young and handsome post-Rocky Horror Tim Curry as the "Grand Wizard." People tend to mock it for its silly green screen visuals and silly sound effects, but I think that's honestly what makes it so enjoyable. I personally think it's very well acted and I love love LOVE the songs in it. How much, you ask? Enough to put them on my iPod. If you love Harry Potter, you'll probably get a kick out of it. Some fans of the book and/or TV series have often wondered if it inspired J.K. Rowling's magical journey... Comparisons can definitely be made, but I still love both The Worst Witch and Harry Potter, so I live in peace, knowing that I grew up immersed in these magical worlds!

3. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Sarah, Winifred, and Mary-- The Sanderson Sisters!

Oh, what a movie! It had three hilariously evil witches, a zombie, a talking black cat, and typical Disney hijinks! What's not to love? This movie follows three kids, Max, Allison, and Max's little sister, Dani, as they try to destroy the three witches they brought back to life one Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts. The witches are fantastic, by the way. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy play, respectively, Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson, and the three of them together are memorable and are a riot to watch. As a young girl, I often wished that I could be a Sanderson sister, regardless of how evil they were. I hear this often from fans of the show, and it strikes me as being pretty funny. Even actual Pagans and Witches often love the movie, even though they are very much aware that the movie portrays witches as evil and devil-worshipers. Anyway, it's a fun movie and worth a watch if you've never seen it.

4. Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

The Headless Horseman cuts off Ichabod's escape.

Disney originally packaged this short movie along with a just-as-short Wind in the Willows movie and titled it The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Later on in 1958 they released The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as its own movie. Bing Crosby beautifully narrates and serenades us throughout the entire film, and I really do feel like it is extremely underrated in the Disney collection. The art is resounding with its fall colors and spooky atomosphere, and the animation is pretty spectacular for such a short film. I'm also not gonna lie, I had a huge crush on Ichabod when I was younger, which was probably not helped by Bing's amazing voice being lent to him (as well as Brom). I'm also convinced that this is what subconsciously attracts me to most tall skinny men. (I swear one of my ex's could play Ichabod in a live-action movie, he is that tall and that skinny... And if you're reading this, hon, I mean that in the best way possible!)

5. Casper (1995)

I haven't seen this movie in a few years, but it has always stuck with me as a movie to see during this time of year. This movie can be pretty campy at times, but I always felt there was something about Christina Ricci as Kat and her interactions with her father (Bill Pullman) and Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson) that made up for much of it. In a similar vein to Hocus Pocus, the movie has three mean ghosts that are Casper's uncles and they try their damnedest to drive Kat and her father out of the house. I loved that house, by the way! It wasn't as amazing as, say, the Addams Family house, but it was still striking at the time, with it's swirling black and orange-red floor. I think what makes this such a Halloween movie for me is the ending. I won't give it away, but it did involve a huge Halloween party thrown by Kat and I was always jealous because I wanted to be there!

This is it for my top five movies, but I do have to mention that Ghostbusters, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, and Young Frankenstein are all worth a mention too! So many movies, so little time to watch all of them!

Love and Headless Hessians,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Day Halloween Challenge

I would like to start off nice and easy with this challenge, and slowly slip into lengthier and deeper posts. Sound like a good idea to you all?

I've already missed a few days out of the 31 so I'm going to be playing a short game of catch-up in order to get through them all. I'll be trying to post other things in-between them so that MTAN doesn't end up looking like it's congested with candy corn and glittery bats. (Well, okay. Maybe it still will. This is me we're talking about...)

Here is the list in full:

Day 1- Favorite Halloween movie(s).
Day 2 - Would you spend a night in a haunted house?
Day 3 - Favorite Halloween song.
Day 4 - Favorite candy.
Day 5 - Least favorite candy.
Day 6 - Favorite ghost Story.
Day 7 - Favorite fictional horror movie character.
Day 8 - What do you use to hold your candy while trick or treating?
Day 9 - A personal supernatural experience.
Day 10 - Favorite Halloween attraction.
Day 11 - Favorite Tim Burton movie.
Day 12 - A TV show or movie that freaks you out.
Day 13 - Favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show song.
Day 14 - Ideal Halloween costume.
Day 15 - Your biggest fear.
Day 16 - Zombies or vampires?
Day 17 - Scariest fictional character.
Day 18 - Favorite Nightmare Before Christmas character.
Day 19 - A Halloween tradition.
Day 20 - Best Halloween prank you know.
Day 21 - Best Halloween decorations or tips.
Day 22 - A scary picture.
Day 23 - Favorite fall food.
Day 24 - Your favorite pumpkin carving.
Day 25 - Do you believe in spirits?
Day 26 - Plans for Halloween this year.
Day 27 - First person you want to meet when you die?
Day 28 - Favorite family Halloween movie.
Day 29 - Favorite zombie movie.
Day 30 - Best costume you’ve worn so far.
Day 31 - Your costume this year.

Welcome to "Much Taboo About Nothing!"

What to say?

I don't exactly want to restate my "About" page in this post, but something about this blog deserves to be said in its first official post!

First of all, this blog is definitely going to be a bit everywhere at times. It's going to include articles on many of the "weird" and not-so-weird things I'm into, so you can expect it to be fun, interesting, and very random. I should also mention that this blog will be kept fairly professional, so you need not worry about angsty posts or boring posts, though I wouldn't doubt that I'll insert little quips about my day as necessary. I also would like to attempt some of these "theme" posts I see around or "challenges." I think I'm going to kick this off with some October/Halloween challenge posts (my favorite holiday!) and hope you will get into the spirit with me!

I do have to say though, that this blog may be written and managed by me, but you are what makes it run and keeps me going. If you want to see more of a topic or if you really enjoy a post, please comment or contact me! Your recommendations, suggestions, and ideas are going to be what keeps the steam going in the long run.

I want to welcome you all to my blog and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I will enjoy writing it for you.

Love and Pomegranate Seeds,