World Goth Day: Half-assing it Again

theaterIt’s World Goth Day again and I didn’t even wear makeup. My son’s class was doing a “living wax museum” project and I had to rush off and listen to 25 kids talk about famous inventors. Then I rushed off to my local theater to see Deadpool 2. It was great, and I loved Domino. It wasn’t as tight as the first movie but it was a lot of fun.

You may notice my hair is no longer fire engine red. It’s too hard to keep up over the summer, with sun and swimming pools and kids home all the time. It’s easier to just throw on some permanent black dye and let the roots grow for a few months. This time I used Feria “violet soft black,” which pretty much looks black on camera but in real life has a nice violet tint to it.

I noticed Septicemia made a list of goth cliches she embraces. That seems like a good way to celebrate World Goth Day so here are a few of my own cliches:

The Nightmare Before Christmas: I’m not much of a cutesy goth but I love this movie. It’s adorable and easy to share with my kids.

My style icons were (and sort of still are) Fairuza Balk (Nancy from The Craft) and Winona Ryder (from pretty much everything in the ’80s and ’90s, but Heathers was actually my favorite).

Death: yes, I read a lot about death and have fairly fleshed out plans for my own funeral. I find cemeteries peaceful and interesting.

The occult: I’ve read quite extensively about Satanism, paganism, and other occult ideas like chaos magic and demon summoning. I don’t exactly believe in hexes and curses, but I’m fascinated by all of it. I have also considered becoming an official Satanist for political reasons but decided against it, opting for a sort of minimalist paganism instead.

Halloween: it’s my favorite holiday. I love the costumes, the decorations, dressing like a witch and handing out candy, watching Halloween movies. Last year I showed my kids Hocus Pocus for the first time and they loved it.

I wouldn’t mind being a vampire. Though I’d prefer to be the kind that can eat food even though they aren’t nourished by it. Food is delicious.

I watch and read a ton of horror and supernatural stuff. Buffy, Supernatural, Edgar Allan Poe, the Interview with a Vampire series, Frankenstein, Being Human (UK version–loved every second), Reaper, Dracula, anything with John Constantine or Lucifer in it . . . I could go on forever, but I probably shouldn’t.

I love the nighttime. I force myself to act like a morning person for practical reasons (kids), but I much prefer the night. My favorite thing about winter is the longer nights.

And here are a few goth stereotypes I don’t fit at all:

I don’t wear all black. I also wear red, purple, and gray. And every once in a while I wear dark green.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I really admire other people’s makeup and always make plans to do my own more, and then I get lazy.

I don’t mind summer. I usually wear sunscreen and sunglasses and I certainly don’t lay around baking in the sun like a pancake, but I like doing summery things like swimming and hiking and grilling dinner in the backyard.

I rarely argue about what’s goth or not, or who’s goth enough. I suppose I have some limits–if you hate horror and can’t stand goth music and don’t like black clothing and are scared by my interest in death and the occult then you’re probably not goth enough for me–but I’m all for being relaxed and inclusive.

What about you? What cliches do you love to live? Which ones aren’t you at all? I’d love to hear about them.

goth cats.jpg






Semi-Goth Confessions

hobbits togetherFor reasons way too complex to explain here, I went to a very conservative university. In many ways, it was a Jesus college. I wore a lot of black, for a year I had a shaved head, I had way more piercings than my school approved of, and the only club I bothered joining was the extremely controversial campus feminist organization, but I still did a lot to placate the conservative powers at my school. I toned it down, pulled my punches, and I still sort of regret that.

The feminist club, by the way, were just as disturbed by my black nailpolish as everyone else in town. It was a real disappointment. The coolest, most liberal people I knew were still weirded out by my gothy tendencies. Which only encouraged me to give in and tone down more.

I never gave it up entirely, but I spent years at various points between mainstream and goth. I spent years in the shadowy realm of the semi-goth.

If I could have worked “semi-goth” into a good blog title, I would have. Or I could have gone with the more acceptable “Darkly Inclined Grotesquerie,” but there’s no alliteration there AT ALL!

Oh gods, I’m rambling. Perhaps I should write down some Ungoth/Semi-goth confessions to salvage this post.

Confession 1: I don’t make much distinction between Goth and “Not Goth Enough.” Maybe there should be a line, like owning 9 skulls isn’t goth enough, but buy that 10th skull and BOOM! You’re GOTH now. But I don’t know the exact number of skulls I need to own, so I just keep buying them and hoping they’re enough, you know?

Confession 2: I’m really obsessed with cooking and food history. Not just gruesome stuff like butchery or spooky cocktails, but all of it, from Australian wallaby steaks to the origins of Punjabi cuisine. I’m a great home cook, too, and when I’m not watching Stranger Things and Stan Against Evil I’m watching shows about cooking and food culture.  Whatever. I’m a food nerd.

Confession 3: I do love coffee and some red wines (I’m currently in love with Argentinian Malbec) but I have no idea why those things are supposed to be goth. None at all.

Confession 4: I love Christmas. I put up lights all over my house. I own the entire Lego Winter Village collection. I put up my tree on Thanksgiving weekend and cover it in Christmas ornaments from almost everywhere I’ve been.

Confession 5: I no longer wear corsets. I have irritable bowels that just don’t like to be squished. I love the way they look, but I don’t own even one anymore. Which leads to . . .

Oops, my kids are just about home and they’ll need my help with their math. I’ll have to do my next 5 confessions next time. 🙂








Rosebud Book Bag

bud bag 1I actually finished a project! I’m so proud of me! Just in time, too, because I have two other projects waiting to get started.

I’ve been obsessed with interlocking crochet for maybe a year and a half, when I took a chance and bought a book on it. Probably the book on it, considering the title. The book is worth it if you like this style at all. It has pretty clear instructions for getting started and some nice project patterns in the back, but what I like best is picking a stitch pattern I like and then inventing something to do with it. Which is how I semi-invented the Rosebud Book Bag.

If you’re not familiar with interlocking crochet, you’re basically making two blocks of filet crochet (little open boxes) at the same time, one behind the other, and weaving them into a pattern row by row as you go. It makes a thick, reversible double layer that looks fancy as hell even though it’s pretty simple.

ic book
this is the book

I don’t have a specific pattern, but I can run through the basic process. I used Sweet Georgia superwash worsted wool (in cherry and peashoot, I think?) and a D hook.

  1. Make a nice, big rectangle of your favorite interlocking pattern. I eyeballed mine against a large-ish paperback novel. With this yarn and hook, mine was 26 boxes across and about 46 rows high.
  2. For the handle I made one long row of red filet boxes and threaded a nice, tight chain of the green through it. I made it long enough to run down the body of the bag, creating skinny little sides for it.
  3. I used slip stitch crochet to join strap and bag. I just like the structured effect it produces. I counted about 18 squares up the strap and started attaching from there, stitching those 18 squares to the front side of the bag. when I reached the strap end, I made three stitches across that, being sure to stitch through that green chain as well, then stitched up the other side until I reached that 18th square. At that point my skinny bag side was done.

    bud bag side
    Sorry I didn’t take process photos. Next time.
  4. Instead of cutting and doing the other side separately, I continued my slip stitches around just the top of my interlocking rectangle (how the top flap of the bag. This created a nice, continuous slip stitch line while also joining the red and green interlocking layers neatly.
  5. Once I got across to the other side, I carefully counted the joining stitches from step 3 to make sure I started joining at the same place on the second side. Making sure not to twist the strap in the process, I counted 18 squares from the free end and started joining.
  6. Once that was all joined up I continued the slip stitches across the front edge of the bag (joining the red and green layers again), ending in the corner where I started.
bud bag reverse
reverse pattern
bud bag 2
rosebud vines

The Darkling Tag

Ooh, this one looks so fun! I read it on Septicemia’s blog and the Mad Magpie  and just had to copy them join in. I’ve been a bit down today and this (plus the lovely clouds outside) ought to cheer me right up.

  1. What is your favorite candle scent? Scented candles give my husband migraines, so officially my favorite is unscented. Unofficially, I like evergreen.
  2. Do you have a favorite book? Not just one, no. Don’t be silly. But I love Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits a whole lot. I tend to go through phases with authors, so I guess this is my David Wong phase. I had a Kurt Vonnegut phase in high school, a Haruki Murakami phase in and after college, a Roddy Doyle phase around the same time. I had a brief Shirley Jackson phase a few years ago. I never really grew out of my Neil Gaiman phase . . . I could go on, but there are a lot more questions to be answered.
  3. Are you a tea or coffee person? Coffee with real half-and-half and NO SUGAR! Or peppermint tea if I’m sad or sick.
  4. What is your favorite brand and color of lipstick? Currently, Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid in Red Punch. Kind of a scabby brick red that stays on well.
  5. What is your favorite perfume or cologne? Same problem as scented candles, so none. My conditioner smells like rosemary and mint, but that’s as good as I can smell without getting divorced. 😦
  6. Do you have a celebrity crush? Nope. Not really.
  7. If you had to give up the color black, what color would you choose instead? To decorate my house I’d choose red. Red, red, red. To wear I’d probably choose gray. Does gray count? If gray doesn’t count I’d probably choose red to wear, too.
  8. If you could change your name to a stereotypical 1990s/2000s goth name, what would it be? The gothic name generator gave me Entropy Striker, which is better than anything I ever came up with. I’m embarrassed to admit that I really had a cheesy goth name in the late ’90s, online at least. Once upon a time I was Shards of Glass. So dark!
  9. What are your top three tips for surviving hot weather while black clad? Billowy dresses, thin fabrics, and air conditioning. It gets to 100 degrees F (38 C) here pretty regularly, so I try to just stay in during the day and early evening.
  10. What song will always make you happy (doesn’t have to be a goth band)? Shreikback’s Nemesis does a pretty good job. I also secretly love the B-52s when I’m down.
  11. Are you active in the arts (ex. play and instrument, paint, write, etc.)? Not particularly. I write decently when I get around to it. I crochet and knit and I can sew a tiny bit.
  12. If you had a teacup/mug inscribed just for you, what would it say? It would say “We’re all mad here,” like the Cheshire Cat.
  13. What is your number one non-gothy hobby? I’m a really good cook. I love to look at cooking magazines and try new recipes.
  14. If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be and why? This is a tough one, they’re all so cool. A sexy-but-deadly succubus. Or a cruel but beautiful fairy queen.
  15. What horror monster-based power would you have? I’d like to hypnotize people with my eyes the way Dracula does. That would be cool.
  16. Do you feel confident or comfortable interacting with other goths/gothy people? I have the same problems with everyone. I think there are goths like, an hour away from me but I’ve never bothered to find out for sure.
  17. Which is more important for a look: great hair or great makeup? I’m not great with either, but I admire people with great hair.
  18. Is there something you wish there was more of in your subculture? Book clubs. 🙂 That would make me finish rereading Wuthering Heights. But seriously, goths should take a cue from regular geeks–just relax and be more open.
  19. Care to share an embarrassing story relating to your “darkliness”? Isn’t it enough that I told you my ’90’s “goth name”? I’m almost sorry now that my website of dark poems no longer exists–I was such a goth cliche for a while.
  20. How are you at DIY? Not good. That’s why I save money and pay people on Etsy to DIY for me.
  21. Quickly describe your ideal wedding: If we could do it all over again we’d probably do the actual marriage as simply as possible, then throw a casual party afterward. Preferably a Halloween party.

True or False:

  • I love watching cheesy romance films: No I do not. Unless there are vampires involved.
  • I ALWAYS remember to wash off my makeup at night: Yes, I really do.
  • I sleep with plushies: Technically true. I have a Darth Vader tsum tsum I use as an arm pillow.
  • I wear non-black pjs most nights: False
  • I still listen to a boy band that had disbanded years ago: False. I’ll bite anyone who suggests differently.
  • I think Andrew Eldritch is overrated: False. Andrew Eldritch is correctly rated as pretty awesome.
  • I don’t like vampires: False
  • I don’t like clubs: True. Too old, don’t care.
  • I’m dating a goth/darkly-inclined person: False. I’m married to a total nerd.
  • I don’t enjoy graveyards: False. Graveyards are nice.
  • Blood makes me queasy: Mostly false
  • I’d sooner faint than pet a spider: True. I love looking but don’t want to touch.
  • I don’t like haunted houses: Like, actually haunted or commercial? We have a ton of Spook Alleys here and I just don’t care about them anymore. But actual historical haunted houses, those are cool.
  • I still browse Hot Topic’s clearance racks: Haven’t set foot in a Hot Topic for at least 10 years.
  • I’ve never read Dracula:  False. I’m up on my gothic classics.
  • I think “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is a long & boring song: True. Sorry. It’s fun to dance to, but I wouldn’t just sit and listen to it.