Monthly Archives: August 2006

upcoming canadian cultural holidays

Because Canadian Thanksgiving is over a month before US Thanksgiving, I don’t get the days off. Then this year, I got smart. I told HR that it was a cultural holiday and that I was entitled to use personal days and/or floating holidays, which are earmarked for holidays “not on the company holiday schedule.” To make me eat into my actual paid vacation days would be disrespecting my proud Canadian heritage!

So I have a four day Thanksgiving weekend now. And I booked plane tickets to go home. Tickets, plural because, that’s right kids, it’s time for my boyfriend to meet my parents. And, more importantly, I need Paul to see my corner of the world. My father asked if he’d ever been to BC before, and when I told him “no,” Dad said, “well, it’ll be a bit of a treat for him, won’t it?” I hope so. I hope it doesn’t, y’know, rain, and that British Columbia is in full Crayola-box fall when I bring him to the Island.

Now. For those of you I love, those of you I miss, those of you reading this from Vancouver, you are all going to get your chance to sit down and grill the guy that myschadenfreude refers to as “Gothy McNerd”. You’ll likely get the standard “people. bar. now.” email about meeting at Lou’s or the Wolf and Hound or something on Sunday, October 8th. I’m just warning you now. I’m also expecting that there will be a Lotus Long Weekend party to hit that night as well, plus we’ll be in Vancouver until Monday evening, so there’s lots of time for you all to see me. And also – my boyfriend may be an American, but trust me – you won’t notice. He doesn’t have a hilarious accent or anything.

harbour at sunset (farewell to the island)Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to getting home. I just uploaded a lot of photos from my last trip home at my Flickr page. Go check them out. Then envy my boyfriend for having the luck to pick out a girlfriend from a really beautiful city that she wants to take him to. (Photo at right of Victoria Harbour, taken a few weeks ago as I looked back from the Clipper, heading back to the States)

urban village, re-created

This is the dinner table from Bats Day last week. Left to right: my roomate Andrew, my cousin Anton, Paul’s friend Paula, Paul, me, and my good friend Amanda. Wendy is, unfortunately, not in the photo, so it isn’t QUITE complete, but you can see how much fun we’re having anyways.

I’m at the point now with my friends here in California that I was in Vancouver when I left two years ago. It’s started to feel more like being part of a tribe, or being part of a created extended family, than it is like the casual associations I started the relationships with. I know that these things shouldn’t be revelations, but I’ve been a nomad for so long, and have been so detached from the rest of humanity for so much of my life, that I’d only just learned in BC what it was like to be part of a group of awesome people.

So there it is – a photo taken at a dinner table, at which I was surrounded by people I dearly, dearly love. Of course it was an awesome day in the park, and we rode the rides and sang the songs and acted like idiots as much as possible. I’m a lucky girl to have had that day, with those people. I’m lucky that I get time with my friends all the time. In a country where so many people are lonely, where I myself have gone through terrible loneliness, to have this kind of people in one’s life is an extremely good fortune.

mix cds

My friend Talya is going with us to Bar Sinister this weekend, and hasn’t been before. So she asked, “what sort of music do they play?” How do you explain goth/industrial/EBM to someone who has never heard anything from those genres?

I explain it in the mix CDs I burn for my friends every month, which are usually a mix of what I’m listening to, plus a sampling off the Bar Sinister playlists. Here’s the last two CDs I’ve created. I try to get some modicum of flow going, so transitions aren’t too jarring.

And yes, I will send out copies upon request.

Continue reading

another goth prom photo

That’s me and Paul, all gothed out on Saturday. Don’t we look scary?

One of the wonderful things about this weekend was that it gave Paul and I our first vacation together. It wasn’t very long, and it wasn’t very far, but the sheer concept of getting away, together, made the weekend more romantic. Part of that was just being on our own, and not having our friends around to worry about nauseating. Part of it was that we were doing something more grown-up for once, rather than acting like we’re both just out of university. But most of it was the out-of-the-ordinary experience, and that we were sharing it.

Anyways. There’s the photo I took on auto-timer on Saturday. I love that I have this boyfriend who enjoys weekends like this past one as much as I do. I love that I have a boyfriend who is happy to encourage my love of the goth subculture. I love that I have a boyfriend who makes me laugh, and who laughs at my jokes. I think this is what a relationship is probably suppose to look like…just for us, that happens to be goth prom.

bats in a theme park weekend

On Saturday, there was a raffle as part of the Bats Day festivities. Paul won a bag of random stuff. I immediately claimed a stack of these items, including the devil horns you see me wearing at right. Which I proceeded to wear all day Sunday in Disneyland. Paul said they suited me, somehow. To which I pointed out, such observations shouldn’t surprise him.

Let me just run through the highlights of the Nightmare Before Bats Day events. Friday, I was too busy primping to make it down to Stolen Babies. Paul, however, specifically wanted to see them, and described them as “Oingo Boingo with a demented demon on accordion.” I did, however, manage to fix my hair and makeup and lace myself into my favorite PVC dress in time to get downstairs and see Seattle’s own Abney Park, who were WAY better live than they were on CD. I liked the sound on CD – goth rock with a heavy layer of Celtic folk and neo-Victoriana – and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Somehow, I knew all the songs, too – probably because I’ve had the albums on repeat on Rhapsody for months. Also, electric violins ROCK.

Ayria took the stage after Abney Park, and that was when I found out that she was Canadian. Ayria is sort of the girl version of Assemblage 23 – an industrial/EBM solo artist, with a heavy leaning towards what I refer to as “the goth techno side of the spectrum” Because I like dance music, I happily bounced around for a while, and cheered when Ayria mentioned Toronto and/or Canada and/or the US Customs guys being jerks. But by the time HMB came on, I’d stopped moving, and even though I like Haujobb a lot, and I like Claire Voyant when I’m in a slower mood, I didn’t have the energy to stay awake any longer.

Saturday, we sat down for the sit-down dinner, and while waiting for our salads, watched the slideshow from Bats Day 2005, and listened to the instrumental Disneyana being piped into the ballroom, the same instrumentals that are piped into the park. Finally though, dinner was over, and after an hour long raffle (for which Voltaire teased the event host/organizer, Noah K), the evening’s music began. DJ Lurch spun some tunes (he was eight feet tall with stage makeup and a suit on), and Mr Uncertain took the stage. I skipped most of their set – I’m not so much on the macabaret unless it’s totally retro – but came back in for Cylab. I like Cylab, quite a bit. They’re an EBM band, but a bit dreamier, with a sweet-voiced singer who had a lot of stage presence.

But the headliner for the night was Voltaire. Let me explain something about this Voltaire: he has, somehow, become something of a spokeman and educator for goth culture. He has two books out on the subject: What is Goth and Paint It Black: A Guide to Gothic Homemaking. He started his career as a goth comic writer creating zine-style comics to promote his shows in the New York scene, and since then, has created a half-dozen comic series – some with merchandising. He has five albums out, including one of Star Trek parody songs. He’s got an entire mini-empire of goth.

Voltaire’s set was just him and his guitar, on stage for an hour. He started off playing a version of “Du Hast” with parody lyrics. He ramped through one of his own songs, “Ex Lover’s Lover” with drinking game suggestions. He did two or three minutes of patter and monologues between every song, interacting with the audience, hawking his products, talking about getting really fucked up. He demonstrated the goth dances that he outlined in his book, which, while satirical, are really true. I catch myself doing the Pulling the Evil Taffy dance a lot, or the Who Spilled Coke On The Floor dance when dancing to industrial. But Voltaire is an entertainer from the goth culture – not a band – and that was what set him apart from the other seven acts we saw over the weekend.

I’m running out of writing steam, and have to get back to reality for a bit, but meanwhile, you can check out my post on Sunday at Disneyland at Next entry: more about Disneyland!

My birthday today has been awesome.

This is because:

a) my boyfriend is possibly the best boyfriend ever, and brought me a DOZEN LONG STEM ROSES this morning. He snuck out under a clever ruse of getting a paper, and came in with a box of roses he’d pre-arranged with a flower store a block from the hotel.

b) my friends have called to wish me a happy birthday (nafspeak, cracksmurf and jentwo, among others)

c) I’m at BATS DAY and having a wonderful time. Partly because I’ve been drinking espresso vodka for the last couple hours.

d) Tomorrow is DISNEYLAND!

my birthday weekend begins today!

My birthday weekend begins tonight! My much-loved good friend Wendy, who is one of my Best Friends In Los Angeles, organized my birthday dinner, and invited ten of my closest friends to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Venice tonight. This is the kickoff to my birthday weekend, which somehow, manages to run four days every year. Last year, my birthday started on the Thursday when we went to Brennan’s for turtle racing and shots, and then ran through Friday (birthday dinner) and Saturday (birthday house party -slash- birthday celebration at Bar Sinister) and Sunday (recovery). In 2004, the weekend started with drinking on the Thursday (actual birthday), ran through the company party the next day, and continued through Saturday’s house party and crashing someone else’s beach house party in Hermosa on Sunday. I’m hoping to keep up this pattern, because I like having the occasion of my birth something that needs to be celebrated for an extended period of time.

This year though, most of my birthday will be spent at Bats Day weekend. There’s bands and DJ’s Friday and Saturday night, which is why Paul and I are staying down in Anaheim at the hosting hotel for the weekend. Saturday is my actual birthday, and since the daytime is free of Bats Day activities, Paul’s going with me on my history nerd expedition to San Juan Capistrano. Basically, I’m spending the weekend shacked up with my boyfriend in a nice hotel, seeing goth bands, and going on a historical field trip. Much less potential to drink to the point of falling over like I usually do.

The centerpiece to my birthday is on Sunday: the Big Trip to Disneyland. That’s the official Bats Day in the Fun Park – the actual day that the hundreds of goths descend on Disneyland – but I’ve modified it to be my birthday trip. Ten of my friends are going along for the ride(s). This is going to be a ridiculous day. I’m pretty sure the Flickr set will be hilarious.

Meanwhile, I am going through all the Bats Day bands this week in anticipation of the weekend of music. Yesterday, it was Cylab’s new album, which I pulled down off Today, it will be the Abney Park back catalog. Also, I have found MP3s of many Disney songs, including the Tiki Room song, “Yo Ho, A Pirates Life for Me” and…IT’S A SMALL WORLD, in MP3. I feel almost adequately prepared for the weekend now.


I put my cat up on Catster the other day:

(Yes, we changed his name, because “Buddy” sounds much more adoptable than “Evil”)

What disturbs me is that so many people are friending my cat. And they’re all people with, like, six cats! “The guardian of Sam, Bob, Misty, Felix, and in loving memory of Smoky would like to make Buddy their friend!” I can’t believe people are social networking on behalf of their cats!

The killer was when my cat was invited to join a discussion group on how awesome it is to be orange.

My cat, of course, is napping on the foot of my boyfriend’s bed in Pasadena, and has no idea that any of this is happening.

Anyone want a fat orange cat with a wide Catster social network?

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a visit to my former stomping grounds

I just came home from a whirlwind trip through Seattle. By which I mean, “about forty eight hours.” The purpose? To visit my mommy for our shared birthday weekend. Mom’s birthday is the 23rd, and mine is the 19th, so we decided to celebrate a couple weeks early and take advantage of the Canadian long weekend.

I have a fairly full writeup to get to – which, let’s face it, with the way my life’s run lately, I probably won’t make time for – but here’s the Cliff Notes on my former stomping grounds:

  • I *heart* Seattle and forgot how much until I actually got there
  • Hotel Max is way cool.
  • Belltown is like all of Silver Lake squashed into a few blocks
  • Punk and grunge looks are still pretty lively down at Shorty’s on 2nd.
  • Many restaurants in the Northwest now feature “organic, locally harvested, sustainable food”, which is right in line with my views and beliefs, especially because it involves a lot of fresh fish and fresh berries.
  • Watching news clips of B.U.I’s (boating under the influence arrests) on NWCN (Northwest Cable News) is AWESOME.
  • The Royal Argosy dinner cruise is about 90 minutes too long (three hours on Lake Washington is two too many)
  • Did I mention that Seattle is really insanely gorgeous in August?

    I also did get a chance to get dressed up and sneak out to the Mercury – the members only goth club in Seattle – for a while on Saturday. This caused my mother to refer to me as looking like Cinderella – “in some sort of alternate bondage universe”. I pointed out that I got my love of dress-up and costumes from her, and she settled down. I’d picked a perfectly appropriate Los Angeles outfit: a complicated pleather top (it has buckles and laces and ribbons on it to adjust the fit) and a long triple-layer skirt, with elbow length fingerless spiderweb gloves, and knee high flat black buckled boots. Sorry, Mom. Didn’t mean to scare you. However, when I got to the Mercury, I realized – I actually looked L.A. goth. When I got to L.A., I was shocked that even the goths were perfectly outfitted and coordinated and made-up and styled. Now, I’m one of them.

    The music at the Mercury was also different than it is in L.A. Here, there’s much more industrial and synthpop, with some classic goth and 80s rolled in, depending on which club and which DJ and which night it is. But the newer classic goth – the Projekt label bands, for example – are not played much. So when I walked into the Mercury to a Cruxshadows track, I was shocked. I adore the Cruxshadows, and they’re a staple of 90s goth music – but I never hear those sort of mediaeval influenced bands in the clubs here. The Mercury still played Sisters of Mercy (albeit a different single than the two or three in frequent rotation in L.A.) and the new Zombie Girl single, but overall, it just seemed to be a bit more organic music than in L.A. Much like the people themselves, who all seemed less shiny than in L.A. I can’t describe it any better than that.

    Actually, I can. Paul refers to goth music as either “swirly dreamy” or “stompy angry”. The L.A. clubs fall more on the bouncy to stompy spectrum; the Mercury fell on the swirly side of the fence. The dancers on the floor were mostly whirling rather than stomping. And the only people who came close to consistent stomping were the two (count ’em, TWO!) cybergoths. I tend to fall somewhere in between the two camps, as I love swirly dancing as much as I adore stomping to industrial. It fits, since I also dress that way when I’m in goth, in a sort of cyber-Victoriana, long skirts with punk accessories, velvet chokers and PVC.

    I finished the evening by dancing to a Covenant track – one of the new ones off Skyshaper, which I do not have memorized, and then headed home early, so Mommy didn’t have to wait up too late for me. And that was Seattle.

    OK, time to shower and get some sleep. G’night everybody!