Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bengal dreams

Atwater-Rhodes was 13 years old when she wrote In the Forests of the Night.


Let us sit and contemplate for a moment.

hobble hobble
scrabble scrabble search ..... "Now just where did I put my quadrifocals?"

It's not that In the Forests of the Night is a masterpiece - but 13!! *sigh* Ok. I'm over it.

The tiger was born. It snarled. It split. It emerged too tightly knit. It has gone the journey of rebirth and its crystal is now clear (I hope). In the meanwhile I consoled myself with thoughts of other creatures from the rainforest. But then:

Tiger Tiger Burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Sisters of Mercy play Portland in March. I am so there - tiger footed or no***CV

Monday, January 30, 2006

Br'er Rabbit

I and the beings who share my working hours are caretakers for a mini menagerie. It consists of one gecko, one fish, several snails with said fish, one rabbit and six finches.

Today Jack the rabbit went to the vet.

Jack is an angora rabbit, part english and part french, who has a good sense of humour and normally likes to play "catch me if you can" while circling round and round your feet. But ever since last Thursday this is not the case. He wouldn't eat or drink. I brought him inside with me on Sunday, when I went in to work for a couple of hours, and he seemed to perk up but not today.

The vet is not sure but Jack may have pnemonia - we sincerely hope not, and is keeping Jack overnight. Apparently rabbits can carry such viruses around for quite some time without becoming ill and then some event will occur which sets the illness into motion.

The beings have named Jack "bunbun". There seems to be a strong penchant for imbuing all the commonly held everday objects and creatures with names: the embroidery scissors, the pencil sharpeners, the thimble, the balls; I am amazed if the scooters don't have names yet.

At first this naming appeared silly but I realized, when I looked at what did and did not receive a name, it is only those things which they all share as a community, what has shared experiential and emotional value for them, which are named .

I have already mentioned in previous postings how rabbits are special to me. I am now realizing how special bunbun is to my fellow beings as well. ***CV

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In the temple of love

There is a fabulouly funny online comic called Nice Hair-which doesn't update nearly enough in my book but I don't mind as the wait is always worth it.

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All the warnings re Johnny the Homicidal Maniac apply plus a few others regarding cannibalism and blue humour.

Ms. Mauchline you are wonderful. It is thanks to you I now know that this man lives to tour again :) ***CV

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Gush forth my tears

I remembered in time that museum guards look askance at pointy objects moving rapidly near priceless paintings and artefacts. Therefore we did not venture to the museum today. (*tsk* their loss).

Instead I made a much overdue trip to the dance disc emporium and picked up some new cds. The tiger is pleased as one is a remix version of Miranda Sex Garden. I love this group. I saw them open for Neubauten many years ago and they were fabulous. Unfortunately the audience was in no mind to appreciate acapella voices (or perhaps it was a mindless audience?) and fiery fiddling. Oh no! they wanted musical drillbits and angsty pounding upon faux generators. Not to say I don't indulge in the occaisional angsty pounding upon uncooperative machinery; just not in the midst of a paid for performance. Besides, there was a bar on the next level with muting plexiglass if the band was truly so unbearable.

Also acquired were a Cranes EP and 2 Decemberists albums. One of the latter is called The Tain. I am hoping it is somehat similar to the Cranes take on Orestes.

Then the tiger and I prowled through the rain to Powell's and I found a new copy of Circle of Blood by David Mack. My original edition - which was a first edition btw, fell apart not long after I purchased it. Literally. I would read, say, three pages and as I turned to the fourth the first three would slowly peel themselves from the spine and take a header into whatever bowl of beverage I had with me at the time.

Most disconcerting.

The binding appears better this time around.

Also found an edition of The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury (yes!) and In the Forests of the Night, the only Atwater-Rhodes vampire book I don't have yet. Mindless reading here I come ;)***CV

Friday, January 27, 2006

Cuts you up

I find you in the morning
After dreams of distant signs
You pour yourself over me
Like the sun through the blinds....
Peter Murphy, Deep, 1989

The tiger and I shall go hunting tomorrow.

Perhaps we shall prowl the art museum or be found curled among the stacks within Powell's. I haven't decided yet. We may invite the flamingo and the ladybug to accompany us. However, Lady is known for her arsonistic tendencies (there was that nasty incident with some unattended children) so perhaps she should best remain behind.

I am craving the voice of Mr. Murphy and my anglosaxonizing player won't read the CD. Grrrr... ***CV

Thursday, January 26, 2006


In tribute to the hallmark holiday soon coming up (no not Chimese New Year as Kirsten will undoubtedly do a fabulous post for that and it hasn't been hallmarked, yet). The "holiday" of chocolates, champagne, outrageously priced bouquets, and highly commercialized expectations. Also for the twisted romantic goth in me: I present lyrics from a band I like which weaves Shakespeare, a TV show based on a film, fairytales and mythology into a catchy little dance tune.

I've tried and tried, to capture you;
what more can one mere mortal do?
My love potion Boils and Bubbles.
Poison darts; Red poison apples.
Kafe kasita non kafela,
Gutrune takes Siegfried from Brunhilde.
Enula campana on St. James Eve;
A dash of orange and ambergris.
Incantate: Miss Mary Mack,
Mack, Mack all dressed in black
My love philtere will entrance you.
It will pomp and circumstance you.
Anusia, atelia, amulet;
Angelique takes Barnabas from Josette.
With spiders ten frae lockens blue:
Eye of newt will stew and brew.
Incantate this magic spell:
Miss Lucy's in heaven and the steamboats in ****
My love potion Boils and Bubbles,
Poof! go all my toil and troubles.
Blueberry wine and Gladiola;
Circe takes Glaucus away from Scylla.
Coriander, vervain, and ginger root;
Damiana, henbane and badgers foot.
Incantation with magic black;
And silver buttons all down her back.
*chorus: Enchantra, Endora, Tabitha, Esmerelda, Clara, Hagatha
Witchcraft by Book of Love, Lullaby, 1988
Oh and I picked up Demons of Chitrakut, Ramayana III, today :) ***CV

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Champagne Wishes

"In Paris and in Rome, and in places far from home;
Lanterns to the sea,
to wherever love may be..."
Cranes, Live in Italy

I am such a bad tag player. When I am it I change the rules; so....this will be a multiple of 4 meme, kinda :)

4 Jobs I have had
a) Cartoon store asst. manager
b) Purchase/Merchant Teller
c) Men's Clothier
d) Ship Yard receiving clerk

4 Movies I could watch over and over and over....
a) clever: Sunset Boulevard, The Lion in Winter, The Thin Man
b) action: Swashbuckler, The Three Musketeers (1975 NOT Disneys...now I feel ill), Diamonds are Forever
c) foreign: Amelie, Wings of Desire, The Road Warrior/ Year of Living Dangerously (I know. But Australia IS another continent)
d) scary: Nosferatu I & II, Draughtman's Contract, Hammer Studio Films

4 Places I have lived
a) Chicago
b) San Francisco
c) Columbia, MD
d) Portland, OR

4 TV shows I can watch (and enjoy consistently)
a) The Avengers
b) Perry Mason
c) The Prisoner
d) Mary Tyler Moore / Bob Newhart

4 Places I have vacationed
a) Disneyland
b) Maui
c) Ottawa
d) New Mexico

4 Sites I visit every day
a) Creating Textiles (and her links)
b) Knit the Classics (and its related links)
c) Daily Art
d) Neil Gaiman

4 Favorite foods
a) sushi
b) chai lattes
c) endangered species chocolate (tiger espresso)
d) chocolate martinis / hard cider/ Tej
(what caffiend problem??)

4 Places I would rather be right now
a) cities: London, San Francisco, Ottawa
b) bookstores: Powell's, the Booksmith, Fields
c) concerts: Cranes, Oingo Boingo, Ranking Roger
d) other: curled up with a really good book next to Con or Edward or the Man in Black

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In the Night

Feeling somewhat manic. A fifteen hour day: the last two and half being the main representative on display. eeek! So anyway:

I shall make like the raksha Suphnaka and soon have tiger feet as I have found the opal tigerstriping yarn and my itty bitty very pointed metal dps.

And anyone who can transform themselves into a meat eating golden deer which climbs trees is not to be messed with ;} ***CV

Monday, January 23, 2006

Strange Love

Lately I have been "regressing" shall we say? I have been having fond memories of certain graphic novels and comic books I used to read years ago. One of which was called Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. I must warn any curious readers that if boogie men - the kind that don't disco, the discoing ones are frightening enough in their own right; terrorizing little children, less than polite language (a great deal less) or morosely psychotic maniacs are in the least offensive: please do not click Johnny--for your own sanity. No. Really. Or at least check the bottom of this post first for a preview, 'k? You have been warned.


I enjoy Johnny much the same way I enjoy Monty Python meets Black Adder meets Peter Greeneway (think Draughtsman's Contract or The Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover), any twisted, dark humoured, macabre jokester. Would I want to live in the same state or country as Johnny? Are you kidding?!? No way! On the other hand.....

Kabuki is just....beautiful. David Mack is an amazing artist who uses his medium to tell a story that is both a homage to his mother and to his passion for martial arts and Japan. With a little bit of the Prisoner thrown in for good measure:


And if you haven't met the Sandman by Neil Gaiman - you're in for a treat:


You're Nny! You're psychotic and kind of evil, but
somewhere in there is an emotion. Good luck
finding it.

What Johnny the Homicidal Maniac character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
curently listening to : Depeche Mode 101

Sunday, January 22, 2006


My sinuses have decided to take over so I am going to share a story that is somewhat related to the previous posts, then agonise over my lesson plan for the coming week and finally retire with the Ramayana book 2.

During WWII Maria Montessori was required to stay in India, as she was an Italian citizen, until the conclusion of hostilities. She spent a great deal of time in the Aurobindo ashram and learned much about Indias culture and history. There was and is much to admire; however, there was a certain amount of shall we say arrogance in the locals attitude regarding the ancientness of their culture.

So Montessori designed a timeline placing everything within its proper scope regarding time. This material consisted of a 400 meter black strip which began with the creation of the universe, of our solar system, the coming o life, the rise and fall of lifes various forms and proceeded to the coming of human beings on earth. It required two people on bicycles to unfurl it and it went for a looooong distance.

All the black represented the time before people, including dwellers of the subcontinent, and a thin red strip at the very end of the 400 metres represented the first appearance of humans. It is quite a visual statement and is used in a shorter format in Montessori elementary classes today.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

A god in an alcove

There is a book that has been out for some time written by Roberto Calosso called Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India. I reccommend it to any one who is interested in an evolutionary perspective of India's pantheon. From Prajapati to Buddha there is a reference and it follows a sequential order. It is stories not encyclopedic entries which makes it accessible.

Calosso has also written a book called Cadmus and Harmony which follows the development of the Greek deities. I am still working my way through that. For me it is not as appealing as Ka. It might have been during my greek mythology phase when I was 10 or so. Hmmm... that reminds me of a friend ... maybe I should lend it to his family .....

Anyway I realised that I have not given an image of Ravana - other than he's a great villain. Rama, Lakshman, and Sita are Mortals resembling us though beautifully perfect, Hanuman is a vanar (resembling simians) but Ravana is an asura.

The asuras are divided into various clans; rakshas, uragas, pisacas, daityas, boar, nagas, cat etc. Ravana belongs to the raksha clan. Most rakshas have 12 to 14 fingers and / or toes which are clawed, resemble humans, are extreme in their loves and hates and subject to multiple anatomical features. However other asuras can have multiple limbs too. For example, Triseras had three heads each of which had the features of the asura clan he belonged to: boar.

One interesting raksha has a cinemascope tattoo depicting various ongoing historic battles live all over her body. (Ray Bradbury anyone?)

Ravana has ten heads and six arms the rest of his figure being what we would consider normal and very attractive. Each head is unique as is the mind it contains. Several heads speak languages only Ravana understands, one head (at least) is ruled completely by violence, one by political mastery, another military accumen.

As many characters (both asura and mortal) have wondered: does each head control Ravana seperately or is there one over riding unifying mind? This is a reasonable question as several heads can have conversations with each other seperate from the head talking to another person.

Ravana has a brother (Vibhisena) who is a priest of Shiva; one wife (Mandodhari) and two sons (Akshay Kumar and Indrajit).

For those interested in over the top Hindu deity meets japanese robot craziness I reccommend Shiva 2000. It's so much fun :) ***CV

Friday, January 20, 2006


Grant me the serentiy to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
Wisdom to know the difference.

I think I may have been a tad flip the other day when I made the comment about yoga not being as peaceful as we in North America are led to believe. (What would you have said if I shared the story of Iyengar's teacher telling him to do a pose Iyengar knew he was unprepared for and he consequently seriously injured himself? I would hope it would lead to the conclusion that is always true: don't push into what you're not ready for no matter who tells you to.)

In Armies of Hanuman it is not all martial conflict. There are periods of reflection, digressions into the who and what, the precedents leading to the current situation and the possible consequences of acting or not acting in a given moment.

In a true (IMO) yoga class this is what should be happening as one moves through the various postures. Knowing the origin of names for given asanas helps me to focus on the possible purpose for each particular pose. Why one angles the arms parallel to the ground or perpendicular to it. Why one twists to the left or the right first. The intention behind placing certain sequences together one day and not on another.

Yoga, simplisticly, means union. Union is not a single unalterable, rigidly focused concept. Union is adaptive within its intent. Union is the bringing together of different strands so that they are focused not fused. Union is a working together to achieve a common purpose.

When I practice Virabhadrasana part of me recalls the story of the warrior created by Shiva to avenge Parvati; not out of malice but to rebalance an act perpetrated by a priest who was acting for his ego not his dharma. Another part of me is focused on the physical movements required to best perform the asana as this day will allow, and yet another part is remembering to breathe. These parts all are working to come together, to unite.

So in a way it is violent. I am working to gather my scattered thoughts into unity (they would much rather play and think of Johnny Depp, the cute person on the mat near by, what I'm doing after class....), I am also asking my physical body to perform movements my muscles consider foreign (hey cv this hurts!), and I am asking my self to be here in this moment, appreciating it for the moment it is and will not be again (when will this pose be over?!).

I was born and raised in the United States. If that process is not a "violence" to my cultural upbringing nothing is.

Yoga is so worth it. ;)***CV

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bring on the Dancing Horses

I am so enjoying Armies of Hanuman. Of course I'm one of those yoga practitioners who has to know all the stories behind the samskrit names of asanas. Blame it on starting with Iyengar and then moving on to Jivamukti, or, on my fascination for any mythological story I hear about.

You mean vasithasana is about a contest between two philosophers, one an ascetic and the other a king involving the Saraswati river? Cool! And Virabhadrasana is about Siva coming to the defense of his bride against her father? Wow! And you thought yoga was peaceful ;)

When I was in HS I had to read - not because it was required mind you: Beowulf, L'Morte de Arthur, the Nieblinglied, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Roland, the Mabinogion, Pilgrim's Progress, the Way of a Pilgrim, anything that was referenced consistantly in other books. It's probably why I'm still trying to find a decent edition of a Goncourt book and the Alexiad.

So, after 7 chapters Hanuman is about to aquire a mortal soul. Should we pity or celebrate the noble vanar?***CV

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Great Spangled Fritillary

Started Poison last night. Much less cluttered then Alaizabel Cray. I stopped at the point where Poison's baby sister had disappeared from her crib. And I have also started Armies of Hanuman. Rama has just set up a wonderfully effective ambush of Triseras' rakasha horde but he had to insult the three headed demon (who actually is the smartest of all the demons so far) to actually get him to attack.

I am learning new insults as I read this book. Instead of dastard I can call a person chirra. Or be very offensive and call them horla chirra. The terms really speak to a masculine sense of what is offensive according to macho sensibilities (oh look an oxymoron :) so I won't say what the terms really mean 'cause then they wouldn't be effective...unleeessss...the person speaks samskrit then you are on your own.

I'm beginning to think that this particular volume will not have the face off at Lanka but will involve Subali and Sugriwa, the Monkey King brothers. I saw a wonderful performance of a Khatak dance involving this story. It was choreagraphed by the Khatak Master, Chittra Das. What made it even more special was that they had a professional group of Monkey Chanters as accompaniment in addition to the traditional sitar, tabla and harmonium.

Monkey chant is amazing and if you have ever seen the anime film Akira part of the soundtrack includes this chanting technique. It involves call and response and there is usually two groupings and one leader. The groups respond to eye movements as well as tone variations of the leader telling them when to come in, fade out, stop, resume and combine or break apart into even smaller combos. And there is not neccessarily a set pattern. The leader can improvise at any moment. It's organized Jungle Jazz :) ***CV

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The High Monkey-Monk

There was a film series that came out quite a few years ago called, Chinese Ghost Story, by Tsui Hark. There were, I believe, two or three in the series but I only saw the first two. If you have seen any of these films then you know how over the top hilarious they are; great special effects, costumes and makeup; a story involving a transvestite demon witch with a really long tongue, a magical monk who raves about "The Way" (perhaps this is Lao Tzu on speed), a nonsdescript tax collector and a beautiful flying demoness/ghost. It's a martial arts fantasy horror love story.

Which is somehow connected in my mind to The Journey West. I didn't realise what a classic this story is until I was sitting in a coffeeshop one day chatting with a friend of mine who translates chinese classics in his spare time. Of course there are other classics but this one-about Monkey- is apparently the story all children who go to school in China know best.

Having read Arthur Waley's translation I can completely understand why. Monkey is just.....Monkey! He is brave, strong, impulsive, boastful, egotistical, charming, intensely curious, inquisitive, tenacious and greedy; which is how he gets in trouble with the Emperor of Heaven and has to be rescued by Kuan Yin.

In order to make up for all the trouble he has caused - one simply does not raid heaven's gardens or steal from a dragon king, Monkey must become the servant of a monk called Tritipaka and aid him in any way he can. On their travels they are joined by two others, Pigsy, and Sandy who is a water demon, in rather dramatic fashion. All Tritipaka wants to do is journey west* and collect some sacred scrolls for his temple in as easy and quick a manner as possible. *tsk* with Monkey along?

It ain't gonna happen.

See Monkey challenge a demon to a fight 'cause he wants the demons clothes. Be Amazed as Monkey tries to rig Tritipaka's meditation duel to the death. Thrill as Monkey learns the million secret techniques of the shao lin masters' masters. Shake your head in disbelief as Monkey gate crashes the Emperor of Heavens tea party.

Monkey's super powers include a magical needle tucked behind his ear that can extend into an inestimable length, the ability to transform one of his hairs into a million Monkeys, the knowledge of increasing and decreasing his own size, physical agility, a cudgel and smarts. The whole book reads like a slapstick kung fu movie.

Deep down Monkey is truly good hearted, he's just a little too human***CV

*it has been suggested that either Monkey inspired Hanuman or vice versa

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tangerine Temple

Had to go into work today to reset up as the carpet man was finished. So as I'm bopping around resequencing the tone bars along with Robert Smith I made myself a promise: out by three the bookstore you shall see.

I love keeping promises :) My swap partner was first done and then I started wandering. Picked up Poison by Chris Wooding. Another wander into the realm of phaerie. Finvarr seems awfully popular as a darksome hero. I was intrigued by Minimus but not enough to actually get it.

Hmmm..... I'll go see if Ms. Snyder or Mr. Beagle has anything....nah......wait.......what's this!?

Rama! Oh my goodness someone has actually taken the Ramayana and rewritten it into 1, 2, 3, .....4 books! Squeeee!!!!

I've already read William Buck's version and it is quite fun. I gave it away several years ago 'cause I wanted to spread the love. Anyway, I love the scene where Ravana (the super raksha demon king) is hurrying to do battle with Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) who has come to reclaim his beautiful wife Sita whom Ravana decided would be much better as His wife, and so kidnapped her when who should Ravana run into but Kala (the personification of time). So there's Ravana ready willing and eager to go do super battle and this scrawny thing is in his way.

Well what's a super demon to do when he meets the grim reaper?

Kala starts muttering in a menacing tone threatening Ravana that his time, his Time, has come and he better start getting ready: And Ravana.......laughs at him. I love it! Here we all are so concerned in our world with not enough time, or too much time or time is moving too fast, it's creeping, it's being wasted.... and Ravana has such the right attitude:

"Kala man, whatever. I'm going to battle Rama. Why don't you just bother someone else you irritating being you." And off Ravana goes merrily chuckling.

High five Ravana! :)

So, anyway, I like Rama. He's a fantastic archer, super virtuous but with a sense of humor, and he's green. And Ravana is cool as a villain 'cause you know he's King of the Rakshasi so he's just doing his thing. And Sita and Laksmana are wonderful companions. But, I absolutely love Hanuman.

So of course I didn't get volumes 1, 2, or 3. Nope I got me volume 4: Armies of Hanuman. Monkey king rules :) ***CV

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Francis Yates wrote two wonderful books about Giordano Bruno, the Hermetic tradition and the use of mnemonic memory tools.* I must admit that neither is a book I can pick up and devour in a sitting . In fact I have had the volumes for almost ten years and am still working my way through them. However there are so many intriguing morsels in each that one tidbit can last a year and still produce aha! moments.

For example - and this is at the time when rhetoric and debate were spectator sports with no teleprompts, cue cards or prompt boxes, one way to remember all the details of an argument; which would not only prove your point but ensure that your opponents point would be so beyond the scope of relevancy and germaneness he ('tis always a he, it is HIS tory) would cease to exist along with whatever paltry excuse for an argument he had premised; was to imagine you are walking through a building in which each room and its particular ornaments was a symbol for a point in your thesis. Thus to be successful all you had to do was mentally stroll through your home and then articulate each symbol's meaning point by point.

She goes on to discuss how theaters and other public buildings were also structured along similar lines. That is, for the initiated, one could read a buildings "argument" as easily as we today would read a book blurb. (I wonder if Christopher Wren utilised this technique in his plans or Wright's mentor.)

So this raises an interesting question: which ,if either, society is the more literate and more mentally capable? Prebook or post?

Today we are surrounded by symbols of what we term literacy such as newspapers, magazines, bookstores, billboards, emails, and yet are we truly any more informed and aware of our world then those of Bruno's time? (Come on over to my home some time and knock yourself out tripping over the volumes of literacy decorating my floor).

Can we read the arguments of the architecture which surrounds us today? Is literacy exclusive to the sound symbol medium?

Perhaps that is an unfair and unbalanced question. Perhaps a better, more pertinent question would be: do we of this 21st century era make more, less or the same use of our mental abilities to interpret, evaluate and organize our ideas of our world then did those personages of Bruno's time?

And in framing this question how does one go about presenting the case for both sides? For our understanding of the world and how it is is different from that of Giordano and his contemporaries.

Perhaps what we need is an informed audience (heavens can such be found anymore?) to audit the debate. Then, having considered the premise, the facts presented, the cases demonstrated, as well as their own thoughtful experiences pronounce their verdict: which we as thoughful persons may choose to accept or reject in our turn remarking upon the cleverness of a point made and riposeted, in turn again proposing our own premises and their basis. For another debate will be held tomorrow and we too can add ourselves to the lists if we so choose.

Just make sure your house is in order first :)****CV

*Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964
*The Art of Memory, 1966

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Glass Candle Grenades

Or gothic, gothic lite and the romance.

In my previous post I had referred to the Haunting of Allaizabel Cray as gothic lite. At the time I typed that term I didn't really think too deeply about it. It was just the right term to use. Later, however, I began to consider what I meant by "lite".

So that afternoon I was reading Blood and Roses, which is a collection of vampire literature beginning in the late 18th c. thru the late 19th c. And then, early this morning, I began rereading Twilight.

Here is my theory: gothic literature is a psychological style. It is meant to create a mood within the reader or auditor of increasing menace, claustrophobia, gloom, morbidity and yet with the conscious knowledge that this is unreal; for the reader is ensconced in a comfy chair by the fireside holding an object whose "voice" can be silenced quite easily.

Consider that gothic literature was created in a period when it was just as easy to have the story spoken as silently perused. Thus a vocabulary rich in meaning, allusion and sensation both tactile and imagined, was all important. Such details as:

"she clutched the knife in her left hand, " would be secondary to:

" clinging to the shadows flung upon walls once wholesome and comforting to generations long since lost, never to be found again within this decaying and diseased environ; whose once gladsome soul lovingly sheltered her ancestors but had long since become filled with the melancholic and morbid vapors of one whose hope of happiness had been torn bit by bit mercilessly, remorselessly, by the clawed hands of uncaring time, she slipped into the hall, its cloaking gloom more reassuring then the heartless fire which continued its mocking dance behind her."

You get the idea.

In gothic writing everything is alive if not wholly sentient. There is a sense that everything has an accumalative ability. All things done, felt, thought, leave behind a bit of themselves. and these leavings begin to accrue until the very air is filled with them. Consequently the writer does not need to do anymore. The action is simple, as is the plot.

Allaizabel Cray has a rich vocabulary. It has the shadowed chambers and the mist filled streets, the sinister asylum, the creatures from the deep, the serial killer, the Holmes like detection, the evil cult, The Dickensian begger brigade.....It's a busy noun and verb book. It is what I would term gothic lite.

Not much really happens in a 300+ page gothic novel. Really. At least 2/3 of the book is description about setting, history, background stuff. It's all mood. It's Hitchcock. Gothic lite is, for want of a better comparison, Pulp Fiction.

Twilight's vocabuary is simple. It is repetitive. The structure is journalistic: short sentences with just the facts. And yet it is moody. The plot is simple with hints of other things. But the hints are not so broad or captivating that they in any way take the readers attention from the central characters. It is not gothic in the classic sense nor would I term it gothic lite. Perhaps the middle ground is Romance***CV

Friday, January 13, 2006

Dance of the Furies

I sooo need a decent CD player. And not one of the discmans. I need something that can surround sound my home. I have been using the laptop player and can I just say: the moment I have to put the Cranes, the CRANES on an OPERA setting -what the (insert quaint anglo saxonism), just to have it sound decent, well that is when I finally decide its time to shell out some money.

Seriously. I have a Cranes remix version with one mix by Robert Smith, two by JG Thirlwell and one by Ivo-Watts. Smith has to be set at opera and the Thirlwells have to be set at *choke* swing!?!

The last time I went box shopping I had a really hard time finding one with graphic equalizers. I am not hopeful it will be any better this time *sigh*.

Surprisingly, Mssrs. Manufacturer, not everyone agrees that rock settings should only be the way you say. What is up with this preset jazz, bass, rock (insert other quaint anglo saxonism)!?

Anyway *whine, moan, gripe* I finished Breath by Joanna Napoli today. It's a retake on the Piper of Hameln and the theory of ergot poisoning in 13th century Germany. The story is told as a first person account which some might consider dry, I didn't. I loved looking through the eyes of an adolescent who is outside his society and yet intrinsically bound to it. (The fact that I would love to be able to do handstands like Salz has nothing to do with it at all ;)

In fact this book has made me reconsider picking up her story, Beast, which is a retelling of beauty and the beast but from the beast's perspective. Apparently it is set in ancient Persia. The cover depicts the divided face of a lightly bearded man and a lion. The man holds a stemmed rose in his teeth. Yes it is the cover that has made me put the book back *shrug* I'll either get over it or find another edition :)

Meanwhile I have begun Blood and Roses. Oh those gothic writers. Better than Calgon***CV

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I finished the Haunting of Allaizabel Cray this afternoon.

It's about wych hunters in London. A bombed out London which uses zeppelins and carriages for transport, had underground trains, has telephones, and ghouls, ghasts, wites, cradle-jacks, night mares, and draugs in the ghetto--oh sorry, Old Quarter. Its gothic lite. I did enjoy the authors language and spellings. It's chock full of details and references to occult rites, rituals and Cuthuluisms- and it has a really nasty wych who's crankiness is hilarious.

The story reminded me of a shop I used to go to twice a month called Candles and Curios. It was near the lower Haight. One entered through a recessed doorway off Divisidero street into a high ceilinged room with white walls, an unpolished wood floor and an incense atmosphere. Pachouli, amber, myrrh, bergamot, sandlewood, musk you name it they burned it--all day long.

Along the right side was a waist high glass display case holding, skulls, bat wings, jewelry, mortars and pestles, feathers, tarot decks, and oddments. Behind the case along the wall were shelves of glass jars filled with powders, resins, leaves, dried herbs and medicinals as well as blessing candles. The store was shaped like a capital l with the base angled to ones left and in the corner were all the books, and accessories as well as a small curtained alcove where readings were done.

It was a ritual tool and supply shoppe in the best sense.

The building might once have served as a neighborhood mission. It is now empty.***CV

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wild Mood Swings

How each of us decides
I've never been sure
The part we play
The way we are
How each of us denies any other way in the world
I've never understood.....
R. Smith , This is a Lie

I finished Skellig last night - sweet story. Read further in Mrs. Dalloway, I think I like Elizabeth of all the characters so far; and am tossing between the Haunting of Allaizabel Cray and Breath.

Work on the Dalloway project continues. Because it's Manos I only have 4 skeins to work with. So I am doing my standard coachman's muffler. However, I am doing multiples of 3 and 7. So after casting on 35 stitches, I did 7 garter rows with an edging of 7 garter, *(14 rows of stockinette, 21 rows of 3x3 squares, and then repeat at the 14 -only now it's reversed)*, until I reach the end which will be a 7 rows of garter stitch. It's appropriately dizzying to look at :)

Going through my music collection is bringing back all my clubbing memories so I may be venturing there for the next few posts. ***CV

Shaken but not stirred

As a rule I don't drink. It's not that I have anything against fermented beverages, only, I like to have some control over my situation. Hence I will drink Tej with a full Ethiopian meal but not solo.

This was something of a problem when I went to clubs and the escort was somewhat offended when he couldn't shell out the proper amount for a beverage. Somehow, "Make mine sparkling but straight", didn't cut it. So I learned a trick: "Make mine Mexican hold the cream."

What, you might be thinking, there's nothin' special about a mexican coffee. Well maybe you like coffee - I don't. Maybe you like drinkable coffee: the stuff they called coffee at Bondage a Go Go tasted like it was made from the reheated dregs of burnt popcorn kernals (and if it wasn't I don't want to know what they used). Combine that in a pint glass 1/4 full of tequila and 1/8 full of kahlua and you got a mighty fine.....umm...drink?...that will last aaallll night.

Just think: first the taste is terrible so one only sips, second it's caf-fiend and alcohol so we have two contenders vying for control over the same nervous system thus cancelling each other out (unless you get a generous bartender) and, third, if you foolishly drink more than two the acid in the coffee sure stops you quick.***CV

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Like tears in rain....

Rutger Hauer. Remember him? Bladerunner, Ladyhawke .... where did he go to? Reading Silver Kiss reminded me of him-not that Simon was RH. Only the silvery hair and dark slightly dangerous sensitivity was there. However, Silver Kiss is young YA all the way. If you want to read a similar themed book (moodwise) I would read Tithe or Valient by Holly Black.

Same for Shattered Mirror - being a young YA. Though it shows maturing on Atwater-Rhodes part. It was published when she would have been 17.

Started Skellig and I can so see a certain friend of mine reading it as it reminds me of the Ffolke Keeper by Frannie Billingsley. It's disturbing and thoughtful at the same time.

I can hardly wait for Widdershins in the spring:)***CV

Monday, January 09, 2006

Feathers - Oar - Blades*

Soooo tired. I don't know what to...hey where did Lennon come from, or was that Paul?? I'd much prefer George and his accoustic if I have a choice please.

Ever since winter break I cannot get back into a decent sleep cycle. Or, at least one that coexists with earning a living. Perhaps all those years of working fulltime while earning three college degrees has caught up with me at last.

Finished Finder by Emma Bull last night.

My copy of The Perilous Guard arrived today and, in addition, I picked up: Breath by Napoli; Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, Shattered Mirror (yet another Atwater-Rhodes), and Skellig by David Almond. Non fiction wise I found a collection of 19th century vampiric literature (can we say obssessed?) subtly titled Blood and Roses. Think I'll take that beauty to the next goth night here and find a shadowed nook to slink into and brood over it in a sultry manner.

I was seriously contemplating The Historian by Kostova but I think I'll wait for the paperback***CV

*Lullabies, Cocteau Twins

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Butterfly Girl

When I moved to the other coast I downsized everything: clothes, books, music, art. It was then I realized exactly how much one could contain inside a 500 sq. ft. apartment and not even notice. I made quite a bit selling my music collection, enough to pay bills. And I still had well over a hundred CDs I couldn't part with.

Consequently the music has travelled 'cross the continent twice with me. Recently I've been going through the collection and discovered......well, it's a little like going through an old trunk in an attic and discovering a beribboned packet of letters.

I had a friend who was, and is, very knowlegeable about a certain music genre and for a few months he was helping me learn more about it. In the process he made several mixed tapes which were wonderfully varied and really taught me a lot. Including the fact that love letters are not restricted to written missives.

Listening to these after so many years I can chart the progress of that relationship and pinpoint each moment changes occurred. I do not think it would be as clear in writing. Music is so sensorial and visceral whereas words are literal, interpreted in one's mind and not one's whole self. Music incorporates not only auditory but temporal sesnations; the venue it is heard in, the scents, mood, time of day, season; all conspire to make a song more than a set of instrument enhanced phrases.

The choice of a word in a letter versus the choice of a song on a mixed tape is not the same at all. Butterfly Girl (tape 1)and Butterfly on a Wheel (tape 4) have very different messages both lyrically, instrumentally and emotionally. I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to catch on. It may have been that I simply could not imagine someone taking the time and thought to create several tapes of 40+ different songs for me for that reason.

We each limit ourselves to what is understandable, what is deemed acceptable, and permissable in how we see ourselves. In Twilight both Edward and Bella tell the other, at different times, that each really doesn't see themself as others do. In Mrs. Dalloway each character I have come across is so thoroughly wrapped in their own perspectives, feelings and interpretaions of events I fear that none of these characters will communicate half so clearly as Edward and Bella.

I am halfway through Mrs. Dalloway. Perhaps there will be a turn for the better.****CV

hymns and mist*

I do love a good manos: #113.

pale green pink blue orange yellow: a snowy mountain meadow of flowers walled in by distant trees

I have my material for Dalloway****CV

* Eden, Earthbound

Friday, January 06, 2006

in the flat field

After meeting coyote, crow, Finvarr and the Morgain; crossed a river of blood and been nearly crushed within the clutches of Cuchalin's serpent nemesis, swallowed by the aztec hatchet god, competed in a deadly game of chess all I can say is: My goodness Michael McBride that is quite a 6 months you had there. Why don't you just sit a spell?

Demon in my View was....well.....written by a sixteen year old. It is full of that innocent invincibility we didn't know we were full of at that age. And after rolling my eyes I don't know how many times I'm surprised I haven't given myself a permanent case of vertigo.

A 5,000 year old vampire whom all the vampires have a healthy respect on account of he's so fierce and strong lets a 17 year old human slap him?! Sistuh please!

Anyway. I got tagged the other day. It's in the preceding post. (Teach me to post comments that will.)

It's Friday: I'm going to go burn some incense, light candles, and listen to all my BauHaus CDs now. ***CV

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I don't want to start any "blasphemous rumours"*....

I think some people have an odd sense of humour.

Come with me into the trees......*
1. I used to walk through Golden Gate park alone at night listening to the Cocteau Twins or Dead Can Dance and did not think it risky merely beautiful

A Question of time....*
2. I once read half a book before realising it was in Italian; and no I don't speak the language and yes I finished it.

Strange love....*
3. I enjoy JK Huysmans

4. I must have african violets wherever I live

Your optimistic eyes seem like paradise.....*
5. If Oingo Boingo reunites, wherever they perform, I will go

If you feel like it, and can't shake the disease* post 5 of your eccentricities and be one of the in crowd****CV

*Depeche Mode 101

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

..all that we see or seem.....

When I was in HS a friend looked over at me during lunch while I was reading and said:

Y'know. You're weird.

I looked up smiling and asked what brought up the comment. She shook her head and said, I dunno you just are.

So I took it as a compliment

Weird: of an odd or inexplicable character....Hmm. Well, I did knit in drama and English class and was teaching all the boys to knit too; I preferred listening to my friends conversations in school but then went to as many local concerts (Wolfgangs, the Stone, the Civic) as I could; I always called from a club if it was midnight so my mom wouldn't worry. For Forensics I did an expository report on Jack the Ripper in the backwater towns and performed scenes from Oscar Wilde in a Jesuit University (I should have done the Medea, oh well, I'm sure they loved it in Rancho Cotate); and I gave Tarot readings on the bleachers most lunch hours.

Weird? Nah. Typical HS stuff.

Celebrated the New Year today. Everyone should do it my way, at least once.

In class we have a daily calendar. The kind you tear off each day as it passes. We collect the months and save them in a special basket. Then, early in January we unroll and connect all the months together so that it's a year long loop. Everyone chooses a place to stand and lifts up their section: Now this is all of 2005. Think of all the things that happened in 2005. Some were good, some not, and some downright awful. 2005 is over. It's gone. Goodbye 2005, hello 2006! Then shred 2005 into itty bitty pieces...It is So Much Fun.

Of course we put all the pieces into recycling ;)

Yesterday I placed an order for Midnight Predator and Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Yes, it's vampires. I admit it. *tsk*) and the Perilous Guard (a Tam Lin variation. Better?)***CV

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Interview with the.....


I was asked today, by a ten year old, what Interview with the Vampire was about.

I stared at him:wha-a-?

He went on to ask if it was about a bunch of guys who found a vampire and killed him?

me: Umm...no. It's about a person who discovers there is a vampire living today and so he sets out to learn more about the vampire by talking with him

Why would he do that?

(Good question. Care to answer Ms. Rice?): Because he wanted to learn about this persons life. About someone who had lived so long.

Him: Oh. So why is the movie rated R? I mean if it's just an interview.....

(Movie? What inspired this conversation?!) :Well it's based on a book that has a lot of vampires doing what vampires do.

Him: Oh

Me: And the movie is really strange.

Him: You mean it's really violent?

Me: Hmmmm. Strange. They left out a lot of the book so it doesn't make sense

Instant understanding. He's a devoted Tolkien fan (I swear the omnibus edition is like a bible to him. He never leaves home without it), and has seen all the LOTR movies. He knows about incomplete and inaccurate book to screen transitions.

I still couldn't help wondering where this conversation came from though.

Him: Aren't vampires evil?

Me: Are vampires real?

Him: No.

Me: So how can something not real be evil?

He thought a bit: true

Me: But this is hypothetical right?

Him: Yeah....

Me: Why would you think vampires are evil?

Him: Well 'cause they kill people

Me: So if there was a vampire who didn't kill people, would that vampire be evil?

Thinking: well...

Then it was time to go inside.

I like to think Edward and Bella would be proud of me. Don't know about Ms. Rice though****CV

Monday, January 02, 2006

end of vacation

I remember you! You used to come in all the time! The usual?

Pleasant, if only it didn't reveal how truly addicted one is to chai lattes ('scuse me while I go hide in the merchandise section). Even more revealing are the giftcards I received this year for solstice:...umm bookstores...and...umm....a mythical purveyer of chai lattes. Oh and a subscription to Piecework.

So, Michael McBride. Gotta admire a New York tenderfoot who signs up to a Texas ranch and wrangles a stallion by telling it phaerie stories. Yup! My kinda guy.

I also began a book called Firebringer by Clement-Davies a few days ago. It's similar to Watership Down in that the characters are all animals and that there is a quest. In this case the story revolves around a prophecy and its unfoldment. The lead characters are red deer in Scotia. Interestingly one of their heros -who stole the antlers of Herne and thus enabled all stags to be horned, is called Starbuck.

I stopped at the point where Brechin (the buff deer captain) had been insolent to the lame, bitter, aging, and "I got the bully boys to back me up so don't mess with me", manipulative leader. I kinda felt like I was back in HS watching the jocks one up each other:

What?! Whaju say?! Wha'd he call me? Hold me back! Don't make me come over there! Uh huh. S'wat I thought. Yeah. We cool... f'r now. "


new aquisitions: Finder by Emma Bull, Strandloper by Alan Garner, and Cobwebs by Karen Romano Young****CV

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"....malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognizable chromaticism."*

Wow. What a great title huh?

Mr. Lovecraft you are wonderful. You and Poe will be next door neighbors on my book shelf. Nevermind the tintinabulating that may occaisionally arise from your neighbors domicile. The flittering and fluttering and tap-tap-tapping on your chambers walls. You can always send a few rats over to remind him of proper courtesy. I'm sure he would be more than happy to spend time sharing a cask of Amontillado with you.

All this rereading of Twilight (three so far but who's counting?) has reminded me of other similar works I've read: Poe, Huysmans, Radcliffe, and The Sargasso Manuscript. I recently browsed through my copy of Matthew Lewis' , The Monk. I just may have to read that soon. It's only been three or four years since I purchased it.

I still have, the House of Seven Gables, to read also....oh. If you are a Nathaniel Hawthorne fan, The Marble Faun, is the most adjectivially hilarious book, my, my. I think someone had recently gifted Hawthorne with a thesaurus or something. Talk about flowery or was that fleureie?

*The line quoted as my title comes from the short story "The Colour From Outer Space" and is contained in, the Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, by S. T. Joshi.

Meanwhile I picked up a copy of Connie Willis' book, Doomsday,and another Midori Snyder, The Flight of Michael McBride (phaerie enters the wild, wild west) yesterday. That should distract me from Bella and Edward, right? :)***CV