After years of waiting, Shriekback's followup to their debut album Tench is finally available in CD format! Also, a remastered version of the album on vinyl will be available after the first of the year. Click any picture below to be taken to the band's store for information. And please this info on to all your friends and loved ones!
Still attempting, and subsequently failing, to hold my shit together with this flare. It's beyond anything I've experienced since I began suffering the symptoms of fibro. I've put a call in to the doctor to let her know I haven't felt much of an improvement from the shot yet, and it's been well over 24 hours since I got it. Hopefully, she'll call me back before 5 to let me know if there's anything else I can do other than wait it out. I get to start the other medicine tomorrow, so there's that.But, to be honest, I am wishing with all my heart that there will not be a tomorrow. The pain is that bad, and I'm that weak.
It's not like anyone really needs me around.
(to read the Huffington blog post, Atheism Reaffirmed, from whence this quote came, click the lovely picture above.)
I would like to make clear that this is not directed solely at Christians, even though Jesus is mentioned in the sentence that resulted in this post. It is for anyone of any faith to take to heart. With the exception of extremists in any religion, I think that believers are good, well-intentioned, and beautiful people who do what they do out of love. But humans, as is our nature, make mistakes in the name of love. This is a chance to avoid making another one.
This one perfect [portion of a] sentence flawlessly describes the point at where my lifelong spiritual journey has been going since August 2011. When I began studying Witchcraft in the late 80s, I was particularly struck by the notion that praying or working magick for someone who neither asked, nor gave their permission for you to do so can, at the very least, be perceived as unethical when looking at the deed through the Wiccan Rede. As someone who grew up in an area of America where "I'll pray for you" was a phrase that implicated two very different messages (1. I care about you and only want the best for you in these difficult times and 2. Just you wait - you'll get yours!), I began refraining from imposing my spiritual inclinations, if only indirectly through prayer/magick/whatever, without explicit permission to do so.
When Aunt Tudi died, I was bombarded with declarations, all of which were well-intentioned from people who truly care about me, of: "I will pray for you." Her death had already hurtled me into a crisis of faith, so the innocent efforts on the part of friends and family, fell on increasingly resentful ears. Most of the time, I felt violated in a very profound way, by the very people who meant, and still mean, everything to me. That one simple sentence tipped the balance of my Agnostic Paganism onto a burgeoning Agnostic Atheism. The emotional and psychological landscape in which I found myself, and still do to a slightly lesser degree, found no presence of god, goddess, or anything in between. I began politely requesting that people leave me out of their communications with the deity or deities in which they believe. Most everyone understood why I asked this of them. Some were offended, but came to accept and honour my wishes. A minute number were determined to carry on with their activities, feeling that my request was born out of aftershock, immeasurable grief, and misplaced opposition to faith-based efforts on my behalf, their logic being that, once the initial trauma eased, I would be grateful to them for keeping my spiritual back when my own belief system had been shaken to the point of abandoning it altogether.
The reason why I'm posting this quote and link, and adding my opinions regarding its subject, is to add some perspective for anyone who is suffering in some way, or knows someone in crisis of any kind. The issue of spirituality and the countless religions that have sprung from it is probably the most sensitive in human culture. Before you inadvertently have a hand in someone's loss of faith, think as objectively as you can in a wholly subjective situation. Pray on it, if that's how you address the moments in life that leave you unsure of what you could or should do. Listen to your inner voice and, most importantly, listen to the one for whom you want to pray or hold ritual. Just being there for her/him could be the best thing for them, and may eventually restore faith on its own terms.
In the very early morning hours of Monday, around 3 AM, I was jolted awake by PAIN. I immediately knew it was a Fibromyalgia flare-up, but it was the absolute worst one I've ever had. Yesterday was spent "enjoying" a full-body sensation that could only be described as the bastard child of an abscessed tooth and childhood growing pains, magnified a hundredfold. Misery was the word of the day.
Thankfully, today, I had an appointment with the pain management doctor. She checked me out, focusing on typical hot spots on the body that Fibromyalgia just loves to ravage with pain. When she saw tears pooling in my eyes, she ordered me an industrial sized shot of anti-inflammatory steroids. She also called me in a prescription for another kind of anti-inflammatory that I'm not supposed to begin until Thursday, so I'm going to wait to pick that up, considering I can't seem to blink my eyes without excruciating effort.
Since Matt had mentioned he needed to use the car this morning, I took an Orange Cab to and from the docs. The cab driver who brought me back home was a lady who had driven me somewhere once before. On the way, we struck up a conversation about family, work, illness, and grieving. I asked her if she was a native San Diegan. That's when she told me she was Ethiopian. I remarked that I'd always wanted to visit Ethiopia and even wrote an Ethiopian Vampire into my books (the dashing Mephistopheles, Rebekah's immortal mate). When we got to the house, I decided to pay the fare with my debit card, and give her a cash tip that was half of what the fare was. Since cabbies are usually only tipped at 10-20% of the fare, this kind of shocked her, I could tell. Female cabbies have to deal with a lot of potential danger, and probably don't earn as much as male cab drivers, so I wanted to make her bringing me home worth her while. We thanked one another and parted ways.
About twenty minutes later, Matt saw an Orange Cab car pull in front of the house, and asked me if I'd called for another ride. Since I hadn't, I went out to see if something was wrong. It turned out that my phone had slipped out of my purse while I was paying the fare. The lady discovered it when she attempted to call me to give me her direct number for any future transportation needs, and the phone began to ring in her back seat. I was just dumbfounded by her kindness in, in all probability, going out of her way to bring it back to me. I thanked her again and off she went into the uncharacteristic mist. I immediately programmed her number into the phone, but texted her to ask if I could have her name. Even though it has a certain ring to it, "Nice Ethiopian Lady from Orange" isn't very functional in the contacts list. I also thanked her again in the text, and assured her that I would reach out next time I need a ride. Hopefully, she'll text me back, when she has a chance.
In between the above incidences, I inched painfully into my room as I was talking to Matt. When I walked in, I noticed that my lamp, which is on the floor, for lack of having a table that could handle its massive size and weight, had been moved to one side. I asked him if Toby had knocked it down, since that had happened just a couple of days ago. He told me that the Mother Unit must have moved it when she was in my room. I asked him if he knew why, and he suggested I look up. Since I tend to look down when walking because, if I don't, I invariably end up tripping and busting my face, I had not taken notice of the wall. I turned my head in the direction to which Matt was pointing and saw this.
I have never been afraid of Darth Maul. I'm too caught up in a dense fog of lust to be scared. This time, though, I was more than a little startled not because it was Maul, but because it was giant and unexpected. It turns out that The Unit and Matt had ordered the laminate from Fathead, and devised a way they could get me out of the house so they could affix it to my bedroom wall, since the job takes at least two people. Matt needing the car was all a ruse. I thanked them both with as much enthusiasm and glee a person who feels like she's being strip-mined by demons can express. Now, I'm dividing my time between writing this, attempting to eat something for the first time since yesterday morning, and giving an image of Darth Maul that's taller than Ray Park the hairy eyeball.
And there you have it. I'm spending the rest of the day trying not to move very much and waiting for the shot to begin taking effect, ogling my smexxy smexxy Sith, and watching Impractical Jokers reruns online.
A practice most often encouraged by an extremist minority found in any religion, who are not satisfied to be alone in their struggle to fully embrace and encourage fatuous mythology, which eventually result in participating in unsavoury activities of which this list is but a small portion:
- Vote rigging.
- Rewriting history.
- Picketing for the sole purpose of badgering the people around them
- Rewording or omitting passages in their own holy book to better reflect their own dogma.
- Threatening and defaming naysayers, most especially if the targeted individuals are often in the public eye.
- Obstruction of people’s rights with which they disagree
Supporters of and participants in this movement work toward manifesting their primary agenda, which is to remake their nation(s) into a theocratic state that will impose the ruling minority’s dogma on the vast majority who wouldn’t otherwise take notice.
Adherants to Aggressive Stupidity are present in every religion and, unfortunately because they are the most raucous, they get the most attention, and even get their way, if it means they would just shut the fuck up. Other than the title by which they identify, these groups are almost identical with one another, even if groups under the Stupidity umbrella often fight one another, and do so publicly, accusing their enemy du jour of crimes both feuding parties enthusiastically commit. (Tea Party, please meet your brothers from another mother, the Taliban.)
They seek out the weak to use as proof of God’s displeasure with man, to further bills criminalising homelessness and poverty, giving free rein to those keen on dehumanising them, and eventually manipulate some of them, most of whom were suffering from a religious variation of Stockholm Syndrome into becoming agents dedicated to perpetuating propaganda, which serves to justify the totalitarian occupancy of already defeated nations, and increase the crusade budget with the intention instituting a global theocracy. When you're hungry and desperate, you're more prone to accept the tenets of those who give you bread.
Listed below are some of the tools and weapons used by the Aggressively Stupid to aid in the forging of a government based on the idea that the minority has the right to exercise authority over the majority:
Support of and/or participation in discriminatory behaviour, claiming that some actions, opinions, or beliefs are ordained by God. Such discrimination polices and many others instituted by the new government are often brutally enforced by an increasingly militarised policing body.
Monetary contributions to political campaigns that are sympathetic to many, if not all, hot button issues about which the Aggressively Stupid obsess.
Erasing the lines that separate Church and State by passing out voter guides in church and pamphlets sharing the “Good News” at secular events such as concerts and conventions. Another example of these tactics used by extremists is the funding of lobby groups that will help advance the budding theocracy’s influence over the population.
Unabashed recruitment and conversion to assist in either growing the controlling body or encouraging unwavering loyalty alongside compulsive witness bearing, all in the name of God.
Bullying and shaming in the attempt to silence rebellious individuals, omit from history any behaviour or activities deemed deviant by the ruling elite, and making nonconformity illegal.
Attempts, some of which have actually been successful, to reinstate the old pecking order originally blueprinted by God himself, that affirms man's dominance over anything else that is not human or does not have a penis. Of course, this declaration is referring to white men only, according to the extremists. Everyone else is subject to the whims of the future theocracy's officials.
It was Aggressive Stupidity that led to Yeshua’s death, which is, in equal measure, tragic and ironic, considering today’s coteries and megachurches full of Aggressively Stupid acolytes, some of whom use his name to promote their agenda, would doubtlessly be the first to scream for capital punishment of this heretic who dared to challenge the authority established in his name.
This picture, which will take you to the Satanic Temple's website if you click it, may get some people's panties in a bunch, but I'm expecting the ones who take offense also support public land being used to provide citizens with religious messages, statues, displays, and so on, but only as long as the messages are xtian. Because of the high probability that those who frown on my opinions here are the perpetrators, even if expressed passively, of the destruction of American society, and I really couldn't care less if I hurt their tender feelings.
What is so glorious about the Satanic Temple's method of exposing this blatant hypocrisy is that they present logical arguments that can't rationally be refuted without the objectors relinquishing their religious privilege or coming across as the lunatic fringe extremists that they really are. The Temple also provides proof of the double standard theocrats have long enjoyed and employed to their benefit, via public records, laws, amendments, and so on, presenting to the government at the center of whatever religious spat is currently heating up all of the documents that support their claims and requests to take part in true religious liberty. They do this in a methodical, rational, objective way, which sadly seems alien, given the insanity the xtians have inflicted on the US for decades. This ploy is just pure genius, because when the xtians come in direct conflict with the Satanists in any forum that is easily accessible by anyone, they invariably look like the fruit loops they really are, in contrast to the calm, collected, professional demeanor of the "bad guys."
In addition to all this, the Satanic Temple has been able to editorialise our current society, highlighting how truly fucked up America is, mainly because of efforts on the part of our American Taliban to erase the lines that separate Church and State. Also, from what I understand about their ideology and religious observances, they are furthering their own spiritual evolution on the path they have chosen by doing all of this. As I said on someone else's timeline a few hours ago, who better to play Devil's Advocate than an organised group of actual, practicing Devil's Advocates? What's even more hilarious is the fact that the theocrats are directly responsible for disseminating the Satanic Temple's message by making underhanded demands for so-called "religious freedom." When jackholes get their arses handed to them by people employing the very tactics said jackholes have been perfecting for decades, a can of Red Bull gets its wings.
...and I cackle with blissful abandon.
(From a post made on The Vampire Relics' Facebook Page with some extra added mental meandering that happened after the fact.)
One of the themes that threads throughout all three books is that of Absolution (it's important because of the capital A!). I'm not referring to just Christian absolution but the essence of the word itself, sparking the human imagination to entertain the possibility, or feel secure in their faith to believe without question, that forgiveness for anything is possible. One of the sub-hives, the Hive of Redemption, established by Thiyennen, took the idea of absolution to a whole other crazy level with many of its members, including Thiyennen, resorting to behaviour seen in the travelling Flagellants during the Black Death. This twisted version of what may achieve absolution is studied in depth in The Augury of Gideon, when Thiyennen and his allies capture and imprison Cadmus Pariah.
Of course, all of this is only my opinion, and I respect and will aggressively defend your opinions on the matter, because that would be only fair. The nature of true absolution, in my opinion, partially based on personal experiences, is one of being accepted and loved for who you are, faults and all, and being able to return to a possibly simpler (as in uncomplicated) point in your life, when you could embrace wonder with abandon, and be shed of guilt that only serves to break spirits down rather than build them up. Absolution happens when you no longer accept such programming imposed on you from almost the point of birth throughout your life.
A song by Eliza Gilkyson, entitled 'Emmanuel', is very close to what I have believed in the past regarding redemption and absolution, and it still has an effect on my beliefs (or lack thereof in recent years). Superficially, the song would appear to be Christ-centered (this is different from Christianity-centered in my world, so just bear with me), it addresses the longing we all carry, regardless of religious or spiritual persuasions, to return home, or to the past, or to some place or state of being that existed before we think fell to the lies of shame and sin that weigh much of the modern world down. Even that storyline, documenting the spiritual enslavement of humanity, shows up in 'The Blood Crown', the fault of which is clearly placed at the Apostate's door.
The first time I heard the song, at work in 1993 (I was inspecting the CD the song is on), I listened to it from a Christian perspective, although I am not Christian, based on its title alone. Assumptions are easily made, are they not? When the words sunk in, my first interpretation was of a reality where the fallen angel Sammael is welcomed home by Emmanuel after going through incarnations of humans, animals, and even things (a rock, at one point!) before he could bring himself to revisit the music he had made prior to leaving in pursuit of the glories and tragedies on Earth. This interpretation dictated the last picture in the video.
The bigger story the song tells isn't one that heaps guilt, fear, and ultimately spiritual banishment if you don't toe a particular line on the listener; rather, it gives the message that, even after you've experienced and done all you feel you need to, both the good and the bad, the door will be open when you want to walk through it to whatever you believe is there ('What Dreams May Come' is an example of what I'm trying to communicate here). From that perspective, the song does not belong to just one faith. It belongs to all faiths and all levels of spiritual sentience, including Atheism, human and non-human. It is non-judgemental, and can be enjoyed on a purely secular level, particularly from a psychological viewpoint. Liking and agreeing with Carl Jung may help here, too.
I believe that's truly the only way absolution or redemption can be achieved. It's an acceptance and a presence of old knowing that we tend to lose in the physical realms, and many may perceive such acceptance and old knowledge to be an external phenomenon, which is completely acceptable, but I think it also is present within everyone and everything. All that said, even though my history with the song predates all three books, 'Emmanuel' is definitely a strong musical presence in 'The Augury of Gideon', considering both the song and book address the concept of cyclic returning so that healing may follow.
I believe that Eliza Gilkyson achieved something greater than all of us, including herself, when she wrote this song, and I think it's one that should be shared with as many people as possible, not as a means of conversion of any sort, but as a campaign to allow us to not only forgive one another, but to forgive ourselves.
The video is one of my much earlier attempts at movie-making, so please overlook the general sorry mess it is. The song is rare and the album it's on has been out of print for ages, so there's more people than not who have never heard it. My making the video was an attempt to rectify that crime against good music. One thing I did want to draw your attention to, regarding the video, is that the pictures used, with the exception of the last one, are all tapestries or tile mosaics in the Byzantine style, or at least that's what Teh Intarwebz told me when I started collecting images for the vid. Byzantine art was a major influence on the physical appearance of the Tarmi, specifically because of the eyes of the people in the art. If one did not know, one might assume that everyone in Byzantium had gigantic alien eyes and, as a teenager when I started mapping my personal myths, I got all caught up in the what-ifs that arose in my mind from studying the art. (And why hasn't Ancient Aliens addressed such possibilities yet?) Using these images for the video helped me tie in the importance of the song to my own mythologies.
So, if you're still with me after this godawful ramble, I hope you enjoy the song, and I encourage you to share it people who may benefit from the non-demoninational and/or secular message of hope that it is never too late to embrace the absolution sitting around waiting for you to pick it up. It's inside you already, despite what you believe or don't believe. You were born with it, it's still there, and it'll be there until you die, if you're an Atheist, or continue on with you, if you believe in the existence of afterlife and the many flavours in which such beliefs come available. Even if they don't need a message like that, but do appreciate good music (and who doesn't?), I feel the song would be a gift to them, as well.
If you want to learn more about Eliza, she has a website: http://elizagilkyson.com/
I also made second crap video using another song from the same album, this one focusing on any number of pagan histories after encountering invading religions, sung from the viewpoint of a priestess who lived such a history, but the song is specially focused on the Divine Feminine, as it is represented in the song by the catch-all Goddess name, Diana. It's called 'I Become the Moon' and it also had an effect on the writing of the Relics trilogy, especially 'The Blood Crown,' which features the Tale of the Blood Moon, whose narrative focuses on the triumph of the Apostate over the remnants of Tarmian civilisation, and the subsequent tragedy of humanity losing its way in the wilderness of the conquering magus' lies.
And if any of this inspires you enough to want to read the books, here's the link to them, for your continued convenience: THE VAMPIRE RELICS ON AMAZON.
Recently, I have become obsessed with jellyfish in outer space. Granted, this may superficially spawn from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint.” But it’s born more from my last visit to the Birch Aquarium. I’ve always adored aquariums, at least those that allow enough room for the fish to actually live. At our visit in May, I was delighted by the prevalence of a variety of jellies. Their grace and thoroughly alien appearance make them out to be perfect space-farers, if the opportunity arose.
When I was a kid, I hated jellies. They appeared to be slimy, and I was told they would sting, and I’d have to have someone pee on my foot to make it better. That was the deal-breaker for me. I have never really minded slimy creatures, except for sweaty humans, but I will be damned if I ever agree to being peed upon.
A girl’s got her limits, yo.
But, yeah, jellyfish in space. I’ve created a folder where I’m collecting soul-impaling Hubble images along with some of the most ethereally beautiful jellies, with the intention of combining them in unique ways with help from the Intuos.
I’ve already made two, which I shall share here.
( Click to see!Collapse )
Tell me this isn't the perfect combination! Wouldn't it be wondrous if you looked out into the infinite night and beheld a slow procession of space jellies, traveling to their jelly temple beyond the reaches of imagination?
DF: Why write about Vampires?
TAE: I write about Vampires because I was raised on a steady media diet of vampirism, thanks to watching 'Dark Shadows' in my playpen whilst the mother unit toodled about.
While you're at it, explore the blog. Derrick is a fantastic writer and reviewer, so I'm sure his insights will tickle your fancy.
That's the title of a Peter Gabriel song, but I'm certain anyone who may read this knows that speck of trivia. What does a Peter Gabriel song subject line mean, though? What does it reference?
Drumming and weather. That's pretty much it.
Later on this afternoon, we're supposed to go to a drum circle. I'm not sure if we're attending the Rainbow Family event in Balboa Park, or heading up to Carlsbad for their brouhaha by the beach.
Whichever one we're going to, I'll still be wearing short-sleeves and sandals with no socks. This is not post-Thanksgiving weather... I've been messing around with a new theory about Southern California and its inhabitants: The area is deeply influenced by alternate opinions, artistic expression, political leanings, and a general rabid hipster/purebred Hippie world view. Why? People gotta stay busy putting the spice usually provided by interesting weather back into a pretty boring, uneventful meteorological yawn-fest. This is the kind of weather most everyone seems to adore, but it's ever single fucking day! Perfect spring/summer weather can be safely assumed when you open your eyes each day. The only way to mark today as being different from the others, is to shake things up in the sphere of your influence. Going to drum with the 'natives' is a perfect way to overcome meteorological apathy.
A while back, when I mentioned once having and playing a bodhrán a few years ago, Matt grew quite curious about it, so much so, he ended up buying a bodhrán! Using a pretty good intro I found on You Tube on how to play bodhrán and achieve "rolls" or "triplets", I showed him how to start slowly and focus on loosening your grip and your wrist as you increase the rhythm. He feels like he will be unable to play the bodhrán, but I think he did pretty well. We'll be taking that along with the djembes and other percussion when we head out later.
Sometime in December, I think, the Rainbow Family is organising a weekend camping event in the desert. Even though I have zero camping gear, I would still love to go to this, mainly to escape the light pollution and be able to see the cradle of creation that is our Milky Way. I don't care what crawls on me, I want to see the Milky Way!
I've long held the opinion that oral traditions were not entirely dependent on repeatedly telling the tale and memorizing every nuance that the story contained. I am of a mind that there comes a point where spoken and written communication becomes embedded in cultural and racial consciousness. Even if you've never heard a song or a tale before, sometimes you still recognise it. Something within you resonates with an ineffable sense of truth that, to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, "surrounds and binds" you. More often than not, such transcendental familiarity can be associated with a person's ancestry. You are experiencing a kind of sacred sentience that scientists, particularly in the field of genetics, are only now coming to understand.
This expansive consciousness is not limited to humanity. It involves everything we think we know, and emanates far beyond the boundaries we have yet to imagine. Our fellow Earthlings perceive existence in ways so alien to us, we can't even grasp the enormity of such a concept. The more we learn about the world around us, the more obvious it becomes that our knowledge and understanding don't even skim the surface of the mysteries of creation. One thing we have begun to accept, though, is the power of DNA. Within DNA rest infinite spirals of information that can be accessed as needed and enhanced by the epiphanies their current vessels' experience in their lifetime. Looking at it from this perspective gives rise to the idea that sentience doesn't reside within us; rather, we reside in sentience. Everything we know, or think we know, has been discovered countless times before, and will continue to do so as the universe, or multiverse, seeks its own definition.
What does all of this have to do with The Augury of Gideon? Everything.
First, the definition of "augury" as found on Dictionary.com:
A great deal of the books of Daniel and Revelation are auguries in the Abrahamic religions. Many Shamans, from the ancient past to the present, are augers, their knowledge, often acquired by rote, are auguries. Some auguries are so old, their wisdom have become organic, inscribed upon the very atoms that comprise the spirals of DNA. An augury can be quantum graffiti, the wall upon which it is written, creation's tabula rasa, eternally craving the to be filled with poetry, whale song, the repetitive patterns drafted in the path of stars and the whispered constructs of a virus. It is known and understood on innumerable levels and in dimensions that may never be proven by humanity.
That said, an augury can be anything, not just a spoken tale or a series of letters chiseled into stone. Pull away the veils that conceal its stories, and it will be revealed in an infinity of forms. It can be the symphony of what will come, encrypted and replicated in every tiny cell that makes you you.
I first encountered the word "augury" when I watched Earth: Final Conflict in 1997. One of the main characters, played by the brilliant Richard Chevolleau, had the nickname "Augur," which he acquired because of his almost supernatural computer skills, which included hacking and virtual linguistic gymnastics that helped the resistance better understand the true intentions of the alien Taelons. Being a student of the prophecy, omens, and various forms of divination, I instantly loved the word and mentally bookmarked it for possible use in the future. I got my chance two years later while I was writing Cadmus Pariah's biography, Sui Generis, which became one of the chapters in the first Relics book, The Chalice. I started the story out with a strange little phrase that had been looping in my mind for days: "The desert shakes with the footsteps of the Jinn, ascending for the perishing sun, owl and serpent alike." After completing the bio, I attributed what looked to be a prophecy to one of the Original Ten Vampires, a Tarmian wood-worker, who became known as Gideon. The name was based on a bit of confusion on my part, at the age of 9. In 1978, I watched an old Jack Benny movie called The Horn Blows at Midnight. Mr. Benny played an avenging angel whose duty was to sound his trumpet to herald Armageddon. I don't know how or why it happened, but up until I gave the Tarmian-turned-Upyr the name, I had always thought Jack Benny's name in the film was Gideon. Even though I discovered I was mistaken, I still kept the name.
During the time I was writing Sui Generis, I was learning more about Shamanism and the use of hallucinogens in various Shamanic rituals around the world. Ever since I'd learned Syd Barrett's tragic story, I became resolute in the opinion that by way of LSD, Syd became hyper-aware of how vast and incomprehensible reality truly is and, because he apparently had little or no training in Shamanism, he was unable to process that which had manifested, and it drove him mad.
I could easily see that as a possibility, considering the presence of the archetypal mad man or fool making itself known in cultures throughout the world over the span of millennia. Two modern examples of this would be the character of Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles, and Matthew Silver, who is a performance artist in New York. He's the perfect modern example of the archetypal mad shaman. Watch him in action, and you'll see what I mean.
So, taking the components of a Gene Roddenberry sci-fi show, a case of mistaken identity involving an old B&W film from the 40s, the tragic story of Syd Barrett, the theories of cellular and racial memory, combined with cosmic consciousness, I added the Fool archetype, and anchored the character to Dean Haglund in his role as Ringo in The Lone Gunmen to further flesh Gideon out.
Gideon was the mad Vampire shaman, and his prophecies were known to exist by the entire Hive, but no one knew what all of them were. No one could say if they came in the form of scrolls or were passed on in oral traditions. His foretellings were collectively called The Augury, and it is this that became the third Relic, which was actually seen and held by at least two characters in the first Relics book, The Chalice. Even though Gideon is seen only in retrospect throughout the series, he and his message became two of the most important factors in resolving the arc story.
About half of the book was influenced by a song called 'Planet' by Shriekback, a bonus track on the now impossible-to-find "Cormorant" egg. I don't know what the true meaning of the song is; rather, I wrote a large portion of The Augury of Gideon based on my interpretation of the lyrics. It certainly triggered thoughts of martyrdom and sacrifice in my mind, with some unexpected results.
As is expected, the final book of the trilogy brings a few storylines to close, and says goodbye to some of the Vampires at its end. Given that The Augury is firmly based in the cyclic nature of existence, the immortality of genetic memory, and the indestructibility of sentience, I would suggest you compare the last story to one of Cadmus' favourite things: a black hole. Going into a black hole may very well seal your doom, based on what we think we know about how the universe works, but it could also be a tool of cosmic transformation, giving credence to the Pagan concept of the Goddess' womb to tomb aspect. Who knows what may happen when you come out the other side of the black hole?
Perhaps we can find out together. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book and the characters that told the story. If anything in any of the three books inspires you to learn more about some of the concepts, traditions, cultures, music, and philosophies that helped inspire them, then I'd say my work is done. You have the secrets of The Augury now. It's time to pass it on to others.
I've been going through some old paperwork, and came across this, dated 1988. I don't even remember writing it, but there are clues to why I might have written it. I was still caught up in my studies of Greek drama from high school, on through college, and had always been fascinated with the secrets the structures of Egypt keep to this day, so that would explain the title. I guess...
Around 1987, I became enamoured with masks. Not Halloween masks, but ritual masks, tribal masks, masks that held meaning. Those masks that don't come off, but are biologically constructed by their wearers to veil the truth. About this time, I found a mask carved out of wood at a garage sale for $1.00. If I correctly recall, the woman said she bought it in Jamaica. From 1988 'til 2010, it hung facing the front door, guarding us from any unwelcome persons or things.
I remember having nightmares about that time, too, which eventually gave rise to my Vampires. The mention of blood and wine was a definite reference to the Gabriel/Clannad Vampire family that appeared in those nightmares.
Also, during this time, I had discovered Syd Barrett, who is doubtlessly referenced in the term "nightmare trip." "The Bells of Silence" was something I had used to describe the sound preceding the Cenobites arrival in the Hellraiser films.
Other than that, I got nothing on this poem, except that it's kind of...odd?
Written in Blood is a blog written and maintained by a friend and former co-worker of mine. Yes, we shared Pit time. But also shared a love for movies, darker genres in particular. John was the one who got me hooked on Tarantino films. That makes him A-OK by me.
Anyway, since I'm trying to hawk my wares, as they say, I asked John if he'd mention by books in one of his posts. This is what happened. Click the picture for the remainder of the piece.
I’m not going to lie: Tracy Angelina Evans is a good friend of mine. We’ve worked together, drank coffee together and have been to each other’s homes for dinner on a few occasions. So, when she asked me for a little help to promote her Vampire Relics Trilogy I jumped at the chance.
With one little catch.
I told Tracy she had to answer three questions for me that I could include here.
You would be wise to keep up the going's on in John Mountain's world. Sure, he has a soft spot for the darker side of artistic impression, but he's a true maven when it comes to movies from any time or genre. I know this because I've played Trivial Pursuit with him and have lost miserably. Have a handy link to his main page, and don't forget to press the button that will hook you guys up.
Willful blindness was why we didn’t see Cosby as creepy before. It was why many people had never heard of these accusations: because the media forgot about them, too. Nobody wanted to believe this about America’s favorite dad. Powerful people in Hollywood felt it was to their financial benefit to overlook it. Now, suddenly, it is not.
What I'm about to opine is not a defense of Bill Cosby; rather, it's a condemnation of the industry of which he is a part or, for that matter, any place in society that allows a person to presume they are immune from the consequences of their wrongdoing. We've seen it before in the entertainment industry, and we'll see it again, just as we've witnessed horrible accounts come to light in the political, religious, law-enforcement, and military arenas in a neverending slideshow of insanity.
The only way anything will ever change is if society stops glorifying money over ethics, and endeavour to create a reality where those who cannot boast a lofty station can still expect the benefit of the doubt, and those who had previously always enjoyed the luxury of being above the law are held accountable for their crimes. Only then will the next Michael Brown not get gunned down in broad daylight and the next Cosby or Stephen Collins pay for the damage they've done to women, children, and a generation's trust.
If that happened, perhaps those who are trying to feed the homeless would no longer be arrested and tried for the transgression of kindness, while others are celebrated in the media for having litters of children on a planet struggling to sustain the life already here, or still others bask in the knowledge that their activities in human trafficking and child molestation will almost always remain unknown because they are influential/rich enough to maintain a convenient invisibility.
Do I ever see that happening? Will the Pat Robertsons, Mama Junes, and Dr. Ozs carry on, business as usual, as they laugh at our obvious willingness to be duped? Will public acts of affection between Gays continue to be demonised while adoration of all things martial in nature is endlessly encouraged? Will we learn before we end up destroying ourselves and countless other truly innocent Earthlings?
Bill Cosby is not an exception, he's the rule. And most everyone is too stupid or too afraid to acknowledge that, because it would mean we'd have to take a good long look at ourselves in that mirror, and ask ourselves if we would have done the same thing, if we thought we could get away with it.
It may take up to five days for this to show up on my Amazon author's page, so I figured I'd upload it to the Cliffs and the Vampire Relics Facebook page. Hopefully, it makes sense.
When I first began writing The Chalice, I had no plan to carry the story any further. But, one day, I decided to write a little drabble documenting an encounter between Kelat and Cadmus Pariah. I wanted to see where a few hundred words describing Cadmus' invasion of Kelat's sacred space, hidden away in the heart of Jerusalem, would take me.
The result was Cadmus mentioning a mysterious crown I had never thought of before. He called it the Blood Crown and hinted that it was still in the Apostate's possession, somewhere in the twisted tunnels that navigated the Roman catacombs. From there, I was committed to expand the story.
I decided that I wanted to include Orphaeus Cygnus in the narrative, because I enjoyed describing the dynamic between him and Cadmus. That decision threw me way out in the realm of absurdity, when I realised I was conjuring what was essentially a horror/fantasy version of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road Pictures, with Orphaeus and Cadmus taking on the mantle of those classic comedians. As a result, The Blood Crown carries with it a kind of levity in some of the situations Cadmus and Orphaeus find themselves, during their journey from Israel to Vatican City.
The Blood Crown is the book in which I decided to share myths I had conceived years prior to the writing of the Relics trilogy. Some of the tales were written in the 1980s, mapping the history of the Tarmi and their kin, who escaped a dying world in the hope of finding a new home. Other stories, like the ones that explain how the full moons got their names, were written after I became involved in my local Wiccan community, and became a kind of bard, participating as high priestess and sharing these new myths with those in the Caledonii Tradition. These were based on the concept behind Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories. I was always keen on why we believe what do. Why do we, and all beings on this Earth, behave in a certain manner? So it seemed a natural progression in my own spiritual education to ask why each of the full moons had titles attributed to them. As a result, The Moon Myths were born, but they had never been read outside my "circle" of Witch friends and acquaintances. Those stories, along with many others mentioned above, became the backbone of The Blood Crown.
To be frank, of the three books in the Relics series, The Blood Crown is my favourite. The only part of it that distressed me while writing it, and still does upon revisiting, is the story concerning Faust, in a large section of the narrative called "The Sainted Confessor."
Mentioned only in passing in The Chalice, Faust was a Vampire in New York City, who fell victim to Cadmus' charms in the dazzling Disco days of Studio 54. He grew to prominence as The Blood Crown's plot developed in an almost organic fashion. Since the character of Faust became anchored to a talented young actor I know, the horrors that befell him distressed me on a cellular level. During the time I wrote it, on through to present time, I would occasionally apologise to him. That part of the book, however, gives me faith that, sometimes, the story really does write itself. Faust evolved from an incidental mention in The Chalice to an integral part of the story in both The Blood Crown and The Augury of Gideon.
There were some liberties taken in regard to historical events and some geographical descriptions. This was intentional, because I don't perceive these stories as happening in our reality. That said, if you come across something in the book that doesn't quite compute, I invite you to reach out to see if it was a result of alternate reality voodoo, or actually a mistake on my part.
In fact, if you want to contact me about anything, by all means, do. You can do so by posting queries, concerns, or anything in between on my author's page here on Amazon, or you can find me on Facebook, with the username "VampireRelics."
I hope you enjoy reading The Blood Crown as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Even though the full poem did not make it into The Vampire Relics, the prophecy implied was certainly a driving force in Gideon's massive collection of prophecies. It was also one of the guidelines that defined Magnificat and many of the band's songs that shared its arcane mood.
If you find 'The Sanctity of Shame' intriguing, you would probably enjoy the Vampire Relics trilogy. All three books are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. Just click the picture below to be taken to the Amazon page.
At long last, I bit the bullet and updated my profile page here. It had gotten cluttered with years of adding info/pics/videos/etc without thought to format or organise in any logical manner. Please take a gander and let me know if anything needs to be changed, or you find any mistakes. Just clickie on the piccie, and you will be whisked away to something a bit more shiny and streamlined.
Barry Andrews has made a new blog post to the Shriekback Tumblr. If you like the bit I'm posting here, just click the picture to be taken to the full post. It's pretty damned fascinating, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
I find it interesting that these two art moments documenting a terrible existential awakening both happen at the seaside and that it was the Victorians who invented the old school English seaside holiday (with all it’s hearty stoicism insisting on fun in the face of the elements ('brrr -nice out of the wind though'). This, alongside grim philosophical introspection. How does that work? What I unfailingly get from my own marine meditations is a sense of perspective ('too much fucking perspective' as the Spinal Tap boys say). The primal, merciless sea right up against humanity at it’s most lovable, ridiculous and vulnerable (those goosepimpled bodies in summer; off-season, the garish lights and fragile, tinny music from the pier timorously jutting out into the sombre ocean). Who are we kidding that we’re important or serious?
Barry has also uploaded a version of the song on his Soundcloud account. Click the cormorant to access the song, and click Barry if you want to go to his Soundcloud bungalow.
Yesterday, Barry Andrews uploaded a new blog entry on the Shriekback Tumblr. It's a great read, obviously, but I saw a lot of what he wrote could also apply to other musicians, artists, writers, dancers - basically anyone who produces creative content. Over the years, I've come across artists who work in all creative mediums who say they were influenced and/or inspired by Shriek music. I was especially pleased to read two particular statements in the narrative.
Shriekback has long enjoyed a cordial, if intermittent, rapport with the film business. The reason is not hard to discern: we do seem to be good at creating ‘atmosphere’. Evoking feelings; establishing a mood. I’ve no idea why this comes so easily but it does. Music can sidestep the conscious, critical mind and make emotions happen in a way that visual media have to work a lot harder to do.
Later on in the blog entry, he wrote:
It’s always a nice moment when you get an email asking to use a piece of Shriekback music in a film: firstly it means you get paid without doing anything (though you always seem to have to chase the money- doubtless for some film biz related reason). And also there’s an implied compliment in that someone saw something in your work which they felt would enhance their own.
Of course, I had to share the entry to my Vampire Relics Facebook page, adding my own opinion about the nature of creative expression. Here was my take as the writer of The Vampire Relics:
So what do you think? Do you think Shriekback's treatise on the nature film-making and its relationship with music is a valid perspective? Do you believe how what he says could apply to any creative effort? If you have opinions and/or insights regarding this, please share them. Also, if you have drawn, written, painted, filmed, photographed, recorded, built, or made something that came into existence because of Shriekback's influence on your imagination, I'd love to see it. If you do share something with me, be sure to let me know if I can pass it on to Barry because, as quoted above, he considers such activity to be "an implied compliment in that someone saw something in your work which they felt would enhance their own."
When it comes to keeping my Goodreads account current, I am woefully lacking, both in logging the books I've read and sharing information on the things I've written. I'm trying to rectify that. Just click on the picture below to be carried to my wee spot on that fabulicious website.
Tracy Angelina Evans was born on 10 September, 1967, in Asheville, North Carolina, into a small family that had more in common with the Addams Family than the Waltons. Her father was a slightly off-center Jack of all artistic trades (radio DJ, photographer, writer, journalist, singer/songwriter, comic, and Japanese commercial actor - go figure), so it was convenient that his nickname was Jack. Her mother is a first generation Hippie, who adores artistic/crafty endeavours, reading, watching horror movies, and anything to having to do with nature and the animal kingdom. Her grandparents were Big Band Jazz musicians and singers (maternal grandparental units), painters and storytellers (paternal grandmother unit), and CIA operatives (paternal grandfather unit) in what was then West Germany. She was raised by her eccentric aunt, Tudi, and paternal grandmother unit in Asheville and, later, in Duncan, SC. She began artistic pursuits at the age of 4, when her grandmother told her to go draw flies. Too young to get the joke, her first pictures were of flies. The spiders came later to eat the overpopulation of flies. Webs were really fun to draw. She began writing animals stories around the age of 7, but switched to human-centered sci-fi stories at 13, when she heard the Electric Light Orchestra's album, Time.
Language and mythology became an important part of Tracy's education at an early age, and she was fascinated with religion. Early on, she wanted to be a preacher, but was told only men could do that. Then she wanted to be a nun, going around with a towel held to her head with a plastic mixing bowl to signify her cornette, but was told only Catholics could do that. Her mother was Jewish and her father was a non-practicing Southern Baptist, so the natural progression from these lofty origins, along with the dashing of original spiritual aspirations because of denomination and gender, is for the offspring to embrace Pagan and Pantheist philosophies, which became intertwined with her sci-fi sensibilities, the music prevalent in her life, and what little she could grasp of actual science, particularly physics and psychology.
In her junior year of high school, she chose to do a research paper on anti-Utopian societies, or Dystopian worlds, using A Brave New World and 1984 as the frame work for her paper. This turned her into a conspiracy theorist and affected the general tone of her writing from then on. During this time, too, she began building a personal myth around an ancient alien race that came to Earth before the rise of humanity. Part of the process of this creation was the invention of a new language, based loosely on the Indo-European family of languages with a hint of Finno-Ugric. (How, really, did two countries so far apart from one another end up sharing a root language, anyway? Finland? Hungary? What say you?)
At the age of 19, Tracy's genuine love of music, combined with her knowledge of a wide variety of musical genres, gave her the opportunity to work in the music industry starting in 1987. She left Wofford College to pursue this career. For almost a decade, she literally (using the correct definition of the word) got paid to sit and listen to music, during which she was allowed to read, write, draw, or anything else that did not deter from her job in the quality assurance department of what was then BMG/RCA Music Service. Another nine years with the company saw her going into music promotions, which drove her clinically mad.
Her Tarmian mythology got a metaphysical shot in the arm when Tracy began studying ancient Pagan religions and dabbling in the then still fresh New Age philosophies in 1990 and going forward.
Also in 1990, she discovered what would become her favourite music band, Shriekback. They would end up having a profound effect on every aspect of her own artistic endeavours. Thanks to her entering the virtual world of the Internet in 1998, she got to eventually meet some members of the band, and help to promote them and their music since 2000. They were kind enough to allow her to use lyrics from their songs as chapter lead-ins for her books.
After the death of her aunt in 2011, Tracy moved to San Diego to be closer to her mother, taking with her, her non-human friends Smidgen (a giant cat with a partially erect furry penis for a tail) and Toby (an obnoxious deer Chihuahua who had been abandoned at the veterinary hospital for which she briefly worked as a Vet Assistant), her music, book, and DVD collections, a few clothes, and her computer.
She is quite active online, maintaining a 12-year-old blog on Live Journal, called The Cliffs of Insanity, and sharing amusing and/or infuriating bits of info and images on her Facebook page. Besides writing and devouring copious amounts of music, she enjoys drawing badly, and is trying to learn how to use an art tablet. She also loves to read, watch movies (any genre but romance), make videos for You Tube (some vids for Shriekback, some vids to share songs that might not otherwise be available, like the more obscure Celtic folk tunes of Dougie MacLean and Talitha MacKenzie, and some funny bits and bobs, like The Tim Roth Tutorials), going to drum circles on the weekend to work out her djembe and get a contact high, and enthusiastically waiting for the End of the World. Over the past few years, comedy has also become of great import to her mental health. There's a reason why we have the cliché "laughter is the best medicine."
Tracy has a strong affinity for non-human Earthlings (camelids, reptiles, birds, and mantids, in particular) and was involved in cat rescue for some time in Duncan, SC. At one point, she was seeking homes for about thirty cats she had tamed and nursed back to health, earning her the title of Crazy Cat Lady in her neighbourhood. (All the cats were re-homed.) She has worked to rehabilitate many species, including a hypoglycaemic hummingbird, a family of opossums to whom she gave epic Nordic names for no reason whatsoever, and a variety of lizards. She is in love with a planet she sees aching under the yoke of human oppression, and would do anything to see that change. She claims to be a professional misanthrope, which is most often channelled into Cadmus Pariah, but she likes you. To the best of her knowledge, her lineage includes Welsh, Scottish, English, Jewish, Dutch, Hungarian, African, and Cherokee genes, making her a class A mongrel.
After years of change and countless reassessments of her belief system, Tracy is now more comfortable with the concept of Jungian archetypes and how they are recurring themes throughout human history. As it stands at the time of this writing, she's working on a fourth Vampire book, she's still a diehard Star Wars/Star Trek sci-fi/fantasy nerd, an apostle of JRR Tolkien's and Robert Anton Wilson's, an opinionated grouch, and a constant victim of synchronicity, which tends to spread the wealth of weirdness with anyone in close proximity. She has a short list of heroes that include Jeff Lynne, Carl Jung, Barry Andrews, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Starhawk. She is also one of the 14 remaining people on Earth who dislikes Joss Whedon and that for which he stands, and has actually lost friends because of her opinion. If she had her druthers, Tracy would move to Avebury, Wiltshire, and groove on the ley lines' vibrations for the rest of her life.
She's absolutely certain that she is uncertain about everything, and that is most certainly a statement loaded with uncertainty.
At Buckingham Palace in 2006.
For some idiotic reason, I had no clue that such a thing as an author's page existed on Amazon, so I'm playing catch-up now. I've uploaded a blurb about The Chalice, which will be live in 3-5 business days, according to Amazon. My page URL is http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Angelina-Ev
From the Author
Even though I was doing a great deal of research and myth "redefinition", I still struggled to write anything with which I was comfortable. The main female character in the bones of The Chalice, Kelat, did not fit my idea of a proper antagonist, especially after I became involved in Goddess worship. Kelat, for me, was an ideal - a character that accepted herself for what she had become, but never lost her divine identity. She was an archetype of Kali or the Cailleach made manifest. I could not make her evil. So the story languished until 1990, when I discovered Shriekback, whose song 'Deeply Lined Up' gave me my first visions of who would become the primary antagonist in the stories, Cadmus Pariah.
Writer's Block haunted me for years, though, between 1990 and 1999, at which time I began to write Cadmus' biography, which became the chapter in The Chalice entitled 'Sui Generis'. From there, the writing and myth-making began in earnest, and produced the first book of The Vampire Relics, which was completed in 2005.
My hope is that, when someone reads The Chalice, they are inspired to do their own research on the Vampire phenomenon and its apparent presence throughout the world, despite nations and cultures having no contact with one another at the time rumours of Vampires came to the fore, and seek to learn more about cultures like that of the Romani, as well as mystery traditions practiced by Kabbalists, Gnostics, and Cathars. It would be heartening to hear of people leaving the book with more questions than answers, so that they might expand their knowledge and the realm of possibilities in this incomprehensible world. And I would also be very happy to have been instrumental in the broadening of readers' musical tastes by introducing them to artists like Shriekback, Concrete Blonde, ELO, XTC, Oingo Boingo, and composers Antonin Dvořák and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Lastly, I hope that American readers come out of The Chalice with the realisation that America has an incredible treasure of strange tales, and a newfound interest in those legends and mysteries, like that of the Roanoke Colony and Virginia Dare.
Please enjoy The Chalice and The Vampire Relics. Pass the tales on to those you love. Everyone in this book and the others in the series were written to encourage people to never turn away from the Magick contained in this crazy reality we all share because, if you imagine it or believe it, whatever you believe or imagine exists on some level, and may already be imagining you back.
Even monsters like Cadmus Pariah.
Illustration for the first Vampire story I wrote in 1987, called Vasily's Kiss.
SHRIEKBACK: OH POTENT concoction of the boyish Barry Andrews, a sensitive Carl Marsh, and the compassionate Dave Allen. Their collective experience span the likes of XTC, Out on Blue Six, and the Gang of Four. Together they weave the complicated fabric of their music by pulling threads through a variety of sounds and textures, and then utilising and building upon the naked framework of rhythm to create their tapestry.
( CLICK FOR ARTICLE AND IMAGESCollapse )
A few minutes ago, I went out to get something more to drink. For some reason, today, I can't seem to get enough liquid. As usual, Matt policed what I was taking in, commenting that I never drank water, it was always just soda. This is patently untrue. I was actually throwing out my Mountain Dew bottle and going back to the kitchen for my cold bottle of water.
I don't know what led to this point but, for some reason, Matt felt it wise to comment that I should throw the Mother Unit out along with the Mountain Dew bottle, then warned me not to get a hernia. Even though I already knew what he was implying, I played dumb and asked him what he meant. He made some offhand remark about the Unit's weight.
I fucking went cold as ice from there. I told him that we could joke about pretty much anything and, even though we did seriously bicker at times, I was usually cool with our incessant ragging on one another, except for this particular subject.
Flustered, Matt said, "I'm just, I'm just sayin'..."
"You're just saying you're a fucking bully," I responded. "You realise that most people, when fat-shamed, often gain more weight, rather than losing. And, not only that, like everything else in the world, a person's weight is influenced by genetics."
"No," he said. "I'm the reason your mom gained weight." I'm assuming this was a way of saying he is a fabulous cook, and people can't resist eating more than they should because it's so tasty. Right.
I then said: "I'm still trying to figure out which one of your parents is the massive asshole, because that's genetic, too, and you're a major one."
I wasn't kidding. I don't kid about this particular subject. It's been one of my number one rants since my time here on The Cliffs of Insanity.
When I was a kid being tormented by others who grew up to be just like Matt, I would just withdraw, hoping that the "sticks and stones" myth would actually fucking work. It doesn't. It never has, and it never will. The only way to confront a situation like this is to do so aggressively and without hesitation.
I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in regards to myself, but especially when it comes to my mother. This has long been my stance on my tribe and myself. You can diss on me, but expect me to diss right back. But, if you diss on my Tribe, those I love and am grateful for their presence in my life, expect a merciless response over a long period of time, because I fucking hold grudges and am always on the lookout for ways to repay your unkindness threefold.
I notice things about people, and I carry these observations until I might be able to make use of them in some way. My observations have brought me to several conclusions that would probably make for unpleasant conversations if the weight subject is brought up again. I hope it isn't, mainly for the Unit's sake. She doesn't deserve the discord Matt and I generate. But I can't not defend her.
A personal account of the years 1995-2010 - Barry Andrews Part 1: Mercury, Saturn and the Tuning Wre
Each tune had to reinvent rock music, every gig had to redefine live performance. New technologies (particularly the nascent internet) were embraced and forcibly mated with ancient sounds, tunings and atavistic objects like the Harming Tree (a tree root festooned with tiny speakers emitting significant Rat Morse).
rare early picture of the Harming Tree (who went on to a meteoric solo career -we had served our purpose)
CLICK to read the full post.
Tonight debrafortune and her hubby took me to Theatre des Vampires. It's a wonderful show! The best way to describe it succinctly is Cirque du Soleil meets Anne Rice. Truly, it was visually stunning, and the dancers have to be strong enough to pick up cars, because all that climbing and dangling from the heights of the stage has got to require some serious upper body strength, and let's not even get into the power your legs must utilise to do what they do.
Everything seemed perfect for the first fifteen minutes or so, then one of the Vampires came shimmying down one of the chains to the round cage in which dangled the coven's victim. He was small, bald, and blue. I shit you not.
But it gets better. Anyone who's known me for any length of time, knows that the primary song that defines Cadmus Pariah is "Clubbed to Death" by Rob Dougan. That song was featured heavily in The Matrix movies. Later on in the show, this particular Vampire comes out on stage dressed in a long overcoat that could have been an extra outfit in The Matrix.
And this happened on the day I announced the release of the third Cadmus book, The Augury of Gideon.
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
Despite the weirdness overload, though, it was just an amazing experience. And I am grateful to finally be able to say, "This shit's not just in my head. I have witnesses, and they saw the insanity in action without my having to point it out.
Afterward, we walked a ways down through some of the University of Colorado. There was a nice nip in the air. Being able to feel a season is a welcome experience.
Activities in this post will have already happened by the time I get to upload it to the Cliffs of Insanity, just so anyone who reads this knows.
I'm currently on a Frontier Airline airplane, headed for Denver. debrafortune contacted me about a month ago, wanting to know if I would come out to Boulder for the Halloween weekend. I have no idea why she wanted to fly me out to visit, but I think it's incredibly kind of her.
I met Debra in 2002, when I joined Live Journal. She was the first Shriekback fan I met. I can't believe we've actually known one another for 12 years. What is the time/space continuum coming to?
A couple of days ago, I added her phone number to my phone - or thought I did - so I could call her when I landed. Unfortunately, the phone didn't take the contact information. This is the second time that's happened with this phone. On top of that, the wall outlet charger stopped working overnight, when I was trying to charge the phone. This phone is my alarm clock, so it's a miracle that the phone had enough juice to cue my electronic rooster this morning. I found my USB charger, and am currently charging the phone. I put a call in to the Mother Unit, asking her to go into my Facebook account to retrieve Debra's number, and I messaged Debra on FB to let her know my contact dilemma, and tell her I was wearing my Grumpy Cat tee-shirt, so she'd know what to look for. Also, I asked her to text me with her number.
Some days, it just seems that nothing goes exactly to plan...
Anyway, I'm going to be landing in the Denver airport, at which time Debra and I are going to tour the bizarre art work and architectural oddness it boasts. There is a conspiracy theory that the design of the airport indicates that it is a secret headquarters for the Illuminati and/or Reptilians. There's also supposed to be Masonic symbology worked into the sight to so "Those in the Know" will will know they're in the right place, and direct them to the underground base where all the Eyes Wide Shut crowd can have their masques and rituals, Colorado style.
After we eyeball the airport, Debra's taking me to the sauna. We've never met in person, but the second thing we're gonna do when I get there is get naked, because that's what you do with friends. It's only logical. You can say a lot of things about my friends, but you can't deny their free-spiritedness and overall groovy attitudes.
I'm not sure what else we'll be doing, but I'm sure it'll be fun, strange, and super-mega-awesome, because that's just how we Shriekers roll, dig?
I'll be flying back to San Diego on Monday, at which time Smidgen will probably have a total emotional meltdown to see I have returned after probably assuming I've abandoned her in my room with minimal contact with anyone other than Obnoxious Chihuahua Extraordinaire, Toby, to keep her "company". Toby will be fine without me. He's bonded with Matt, who would be an Obnoxious Chihuahua Extraordinaire, if he were a dog. The two of them grok, especially on the manic level.
There's a bit of a scheduling thing I need to do on Halloween. I'll be announcing the official release of The Augury of Gideon, even though it's technically already available for purchase on Amazon. I'm hoping to coordinate with Kristen on this, so we can bomb all the appropriate social media sites at the same time. The key to getting attention in the ever-growing virtual world of Teh Intarwebz is attempting an information Big Bang, then following up with a ridiculous amount of repetition. That said, I would deeply appreciate it, if any of would reblog the announcement and relevant sites you hang out on.
At this moment, I am listening to my Vampire playlist, and attempting to write more on The Harming Tree. I'm contemplating bringing back Rebekah and Mephistopheles, because I've always been quite fond of that ghastly couple, their obvious love for one another entwined with their unbridled lust of blood and death.
Speaking of all these Vampires, I finally got to finish a picture of Cadmus I started four years ago. I'd scanned what I had then, and attempted to enhance it in Photoshop with absolute crap results. But using the Wacom tablet, I was given the luxury to fix the flaws that were already in the original drawing, then complete the rest of it. I'm a little (no... I'm a lot) self-conscious about posting it, but I may break down and make it a Friends Only post.
So there you have it. One part business as usual, one part adventure. I'll post more about my visit with Debra and her family, when I have the opportunity.
In celebration of the The Vampire Relics, Volume 3: The Augury of Gideon being released, Fey Publishing is making The Chalice free for download, but only for the next few days, so don't delay! Just click on the picture below, and let some Vampires bite into your reading habits.
I want my friends dangerous, my fellow Earthlings pissed and with a purpose, my public restrooms to be immaculate, and my grooves to be filthy.
As previously mentioned, Matt and the Mother Unit gave me a Wacom Intuos art tablet for my birthday. For the past month, I've been trying to get acclimated to my new reality of digital art. The hand/eye coordination I learned from a very young age is out the window, as I have to relearn the effects of "pen" to "paper", since neither thing exists in the traditional sense of the words. It's very strange to not look at where I am applying my pen, or stylus, as it's called but, instead, keep my eyes on the computer screen. I imagine artists throughout time, on up to the 1980s or 90s, would look at the Intuos and intone dramatically, "What sorcery is this?" I know I've certainly asked that question more than a few dozen times since 9/10.
I am of a mind that I will be in student mode, probably for the rest of my life. That being said, I have created a few pieces that are really nothing more than doodles, of which I'm kind of proud, considering the first few attempts of drawing on the Intuos resulted in what looked like stick figures having strokes.
So, I am posting the drawings that don't suck like a porn star on overtime. I've arranged them in order of when I drew them, to show my progress (and I use that term very loosely) in hand placement and graphics manipulation. They are all behind the cut after the pic I just finished of Richard Ayoade.
And that brings us to today's graphic treat, Mr. Richard Ayoade. I have to say, I am really proud of this picture, even though I know I have a long way to go before I'll think I'm worthy of this glorious art tablet. If RA ever sees the picture, I hope he likes it.
I drifted off to sleep earlier and actually dreamed, which is a rare occurrence these past few years. This dream was disturbing, though because, although it was not explicit, it was certainly erotic, and I haven't gone there in years.
The evening sky was stretching out, and I was in no shape to travel. He invited me to stay overnight, on the sofa, and I gratefully accepted. It seemed like no time had passed when I opened my eyes to complete darkness. It had to have been the middle of the night by then. I shifted to my other side, when I realised that I wasn't on the sofa alone. Once my sight had adjusted to the lack of light, I could see.
He was there, resting his chin in one hand, looking at me with no small amount of amusement shining in his eyes. He leaned toward me, and I could feel and smell his breath right against my face.
"It has been far too long," was all he said, and I started out of my nap.
Heinous Fuckery Most Foul is afoot, and I don't appreciate it one damned bit.
The people in this JibJab are the Mother Unit, Matt, Me'Shel'le, Pee Wee Herman, and myself. Let the hilarity commence!
Earlier this week, I called Presidio Veterinary Hospital and set up an appointment for Smidgen and Toby to get their shots and establish them with a new doctor. I'm running three months behind on the vaccinations, thanks to health and financial issues. But, I finally was able to get the ball rolling on it today.
Mama carted the asshole (Toby), the stoner (Smidgen), and the sourpuss (me) up to the vet's office. Everyone there was super friendly, and very helpful.
It was a good thing I took them, too, because Toby had started coughing pretty badly a couple of days ago. It turns out he has bordetella! How the hell did that happen? I know I was late with the bordetella vaccine, but he hasn't been around any other animals, except for Smidgen. I got him some medicine for that.
What's really distressing right now, though, is the doc found a tiny cyst or tumour in the corner of Smidgen's eye. It's going to cost out the arse to have it removed, so I'm gonna have to put that off for at least another month, and probably have to go crying to the Mother Unit to help me. If the growth is malignant, I'm going to lose my shit, I swear to Christ. Smidgen is like my child. The only good quality I have is Smidgen. I'm terrified.
Dr. Heather Loveland is a wonderful doctor, from all I witnessed today. Her assistant, Nick, is also fantastic. I could tell that they both deeply love our furred fellow Earthlings. Even though I miss Dr. Patch and his crazy crew like mad, I'm confident that Dr. Loveland can handle my bebbehs. It's just a matter of drudging up the fundage from somewhere, somehow.
I went to see Dr. Harrington earlier today. He asked me what I wanted to talk about, so I took a deep breath...and plunged.
There is an issue that many of my friends know about, but none of them completely understand the gravity of its effect on me. The only one who truly knew the whole story, because she was there from the very beginning, was Aunt Tudi. She was my sounding board, offering up epiphanies that would help keep me balanced and enable me to go beyond any strangeness that was standing in my way of doing what I do ~ write.
It's been three years now, and her absence, combined with a ramping up of the weirdness, has placed me in a situation where I'm internalising all of it, and ruminating on the things that threaten to break my brain. I tend to hone in on things, and keep them in my sight, unable to let go, because each thread connects all the other threads, and it's all important. Since Aunt Tudi's death, I have had no real outlet to release the pressure. I'm like the boiler in the Overlook Hotel. It's been building to the point of explosion.
Since Dr. Harrington is very much into Carl Jung, I asked him what his thoughts were on synchronicity. At first, he gave the textbook explanation of the phenomenon, then offered his opinion that seemingly unrelated things that occur and appear to be connected are connected, if for no other reason than the perception of the person who has witnessed the occurrences. Then he wanted to know why I asked.
Steeling myself for the judgment I was certain would come, I tried to explain to him what has been going on for ages, and how I had more issues with it now than ever before. Why? Because I always had the ability to ascribe paranormal/supernatural/spiritual explanations for the events in my life. But with my turning away from such folly, I've been left without any rational explanation for all the heinous fuckery I've seen and experienced.
At the end of our session, he thanked me for the "intelligent conversation", and assured me that I did not sound like a lunatic. I told him from the beginning that trying to sort out the bizarre happenings of this existence made me feel like I was batshit crazy, and I figured he'd come to the same conclusion by the time I was finished babbling incoherently. But he told me I came across as someone who was looking at the issue as objectively as I could, given the inherent subjectiveness of synchronicity. He said I successfully communicated the turmoil and inspiration, along with the blurred lines between "real life" and "creative artistry." He also made the point that weird shit happens all the time, and that doesn't mean the person it's happening to is a insane.
Just yesterday, I stumbled across an image that almost perfectly mirrored another picture that I've had for longer than the other pic is old. Even though the connection between the two was only really relevant to me, Dr. Harrington admitted that it was strange as fuck, and there may never be a satisfactory explanation for such phenomena.
So, as it stands, I'm probably going to be SOL when seeking a rational explanation. At least, now, I feel like I might have someone to whom I can partially, coherently explain. Only time will tell...
Youth Culture -what a thing it is. Spawned entirely of the consumerist west and still only about 60 years old. Multi-faceted, endlessly sub-dividing and proliferating. Fabulously lucrative. Alternately despised and worshipped* and now -and most germane to our topic- subject to new nostalgias.
There is undoubtedly a point in your life -and we’re back in the realm of the Defining Moment here- when you are as close to Youth Culture, it’s codes and taboos, it’s shibboleths and prohibitions, as you will ever get. At that proximity -or that level of magnification- you can see the minute gradations of Cool/Un-Cool in their full complexity and subtlety. And, thus perceived, they become enormous in the mind.
It's been one of those days.
Everything is irking me right now. Frustration levels are in the plaid zone.
I can't access very old video files with the tools I have at hand, and won't be getting any help via the two PCs in the house. Not without a 4-hour long sermon on everything I'm doing wrong from someone who seems to not know diddly-shit about Mac and how different it can be from the realm of PC-dom. I did find the original VHS tapes, though, so I'm biding my time until I can get them converted to DVD and MPEG. I need to do that to preserve them anyway. There's a place in LA that charges $10 for the conversion, but I'm not certain I want to send the tapes away. I'm gonna hunt for someone local, so the vids will be in my possession at all times, or most of the time.
Yesterday, I read an article about that dick cheese, Pat Robertson. I shared it on Facebook. Earlier, I got a comment from a long-time friend, a lady with whom I worked at BMG, who found me on FB a couple of months ago. She was a titch defensive, not of Pat Robertson, but of the church as a whole, and its tax exempt status. We got into a tiff about it. I don't mind differing opinions or beliefs, but the whole religion thing is one of those hot-button topics that will send me spinning into a fury.
So, yeah, I'm enjoying an emotional repast of Sithly rage today. This might help me write today, though, so I'm just gonna ride the wave, and see what happens.
“Just because the world thinks you’re a monster, doesn’t mean you have to live up to the reputation, you know,” Orphaeus said offhandedly.
“This, coming from someone who collects finger bones...”
Cadmus’ barbed response needled along the peripheries of Orphaeus’ growing exasperation with the Plenipotentiary.
“All I’m saying is, the world is already a shit-hole. Why not try to make it a little better or, at the very least, don’t make it any worse?”
Cadmus cut his eyes to Orphaeus.
“Do you know what the world is to me, Swan?” Cadmus said quietly. “It is a stable, packed with animals waiting for their turn for slaughter. It is a wilderness aching to be bled out. I have no desire to make it anything more than it is.”
“But you don’t have to glorify your hatred of everything around you!” Orphaeus argued.
“I am not glorifying anything, and you are forgetting that I am not in thrall to the trappings of emotion –“
“Yet!" Orphaeus injected. "You can feel, Cadmus. I can see it now more than ever before. The singing of the Augury has changed you, you can’t deny that.”
Cadmus returned to watching the vastness beyond Milky Way’s cradling arms. Orphaeus was right about the change in him, but that did not mean Cadmus had to aggressively seek out experiences that might trigger emotion.
“I see no need to confirm or deny anything for you. Perhaps you are over-emphasizing your importance in relation to me, and anything I do. Think upon that hank of ginger hair I cut from your skull, lo these many years ago, and kindly remember your place.”
For quite some time now, I've been making a conscious effort to keep up with the news - not local news, but international. Because our reality seems to be in utter chaos, with every indication that it's only going to get worse, my curiosity is understandably piqued, given my fascination with End Times scenarios and the dreadful history of our race. All the while, I've been quietly and, admittedly smugly, saying to myself that World War III had already begun, and it only need be officially announced.
Earlier, I came across this news story, and it made me pause. My normal defenses against fearing the inevitability of our destruction and maintaining a stoic response to the coming storm stopped for just a brief few minutes, and I began to think about all that happened before and during World War II.
Uncle Michael, Aunt Tudi, and The Father Unit were all War Babies, some of the very first in what would be called The Baby Boom. A population explosion is typical during times of duress for, in my opinion, two main reasons: 1) It's a biological imperative that kicks in to preserve the species during a perceived extinction threat and 2) People lose their fear of positive emotions because they feel like, if they don't express them now, they will never have the chance, and people who have loved or are loved may die without ever having expressed or known it.
And so it comes to this. I am afraid, not of being killed or watching the human world die. My enthusiasm for that won't fade, and I've often said I'd volunteer to be the first in line, if it meant our demise would ensure the Earth would continue and flourish with better, worthier species inhabiting it. I am afraid because I am in love, and I have been for a very long time. He doesn't know, and I never expected he would, because I certainly had no intention of telling him. I don't do love well.
If the situation in our world gets increasingly dire, though, I feel more inclined to admit myself. I don't think it would change anything between us, at least I hope not. Fear that it would is what has stayed my hand all these long years. But, if we are all going to die anyway, why should I worry about that? Presently, I fear not telling him more than I fear losing him because, at this rate, I'm going to lose him either way.
As any Shriekback fan will tell you, this is a big deal!
Thirty years after it's initial release on Arista Records, who never bothered to issue it on CD, then later discontinued it, making it an extremely rare, difficult album to find, Jam Science is now available through the Shrieks' website store. The album is remastered, with included bonus tracks. It is packaged with the never-before-released recording of the famed Hatfield concert. There are only 500 of them so, if you want one (and, trust me, you do, whether you know it or not), you need to click the picture to buy it.
( He sat in silence for the rest of the night and the following day. The candle died long before Cadmus moved, plunging him into the inky blackness in which he found comfort. The peace he had nested in at The Poison Rose was magnified a hundredfold. Some would call this a holy experience, but Cadmus carried no such misguided notions. There was no god. The closest to a deity anyone could come was encountering a Vampire, him in particular. It was then that they realised that their god was a murderous and bloodthirsty creature, always seeking out a sacrifice to sate his desires.Collapse )
We went to EC Tattoo at the corner of Midway and Rosecrans. This is where the Mother Unit got her wolf, and she had already told Eric they'd be back with her daughter to get a tat for her birthday the next day. He had to shrink my picture down in order for it to fit on my foot, and I also asked him to change the pink hues to green. Yeah. If pink ever ends up being permanently attached to me in any way, shape, or form, I'll just have to steal and army tank and drive into the condom-infested ocean to end it, then and there.
Eric's translation of the image into what he would be putting on my foot was nothing short of spectacular. I even love the placement of it, where the tail seems to be curving around my ankle bone. It took him a little over two hours, but it was well worth the time!
( Reptile!Collapse )
There were a few instances during the tattooing, I thought I was gonna pass out from holding my breath. I had always heard that foot tattoos were exceedingly painful, so I was as prepared as I could be. Eric's music helped a great deal. He had a Spotify mix inhabiting every atom in the shop, serving up an eclectic collection of Rap, Hip Hop, Funk, Pop, R & B, and Soul. Music always makes things better, unless it's Justin Bieber... About halfway through the inking, Eric sprayed something cool on my foot and began to rub it in. Then he began inking again. This time, though, I didn't feel anything. Anything. I figured I'd either achieved a Zen state from the first 45 minutes or so, and was now channeling the Tattoo Buddha, or I had had a stroke. It was neither. That spray Eric had used could probably be used to help women, or Brian Quinn, in labour!
Here's a picture of the tat without my fish-white foot and rotated for a better look.
( skin inkCollapse )
Why did I want a lizard? Not for the reason some might think. My first experience with a wild animal was with a garter snake at the age of five. I was walking in the woods next to our house with the Mother Unit, when we came upon a green garter snake. It was young, around a foot long. Mama picked it up and let me hold it for a few minutes before we placed it back down and carried on. I fell in love with the feel of cool, soft, reptilian skin on that day. That experience was what set me on the road to respecting, honouring, and adoring the natural world around us. As I got older, I began to feel a particular kinship to reptiles, because of their typical relationship with humans. They are unfairly judged as ugly, dangerous, slimy and, in some cases like the story of Genesis, downright demonic. Given my lifetime experience with humans, I've often felt like I was playing the role of the reptile - outcast and misunderstood, based mainly on my appearance. When I decided on getting five tattoos in 2000, I was determined to make the lizard on the foot happen as soon as I could.
Matt didn't get his tat yesterday, because he didn't have the image he was keen on getting. I helped him this morning collect a variety of African Greys in different shades and position for Eric to reference in creating the image Matt wants. He went over to EC Tattoos about an hour ago. As for me, I have to go to the dentist at 3 o'clock, wearing the Mother Unit's pink bedslippers, since I was instructed not to wear shoes for at least five days. It's kind of ironic that the only shoes I can safely wear are the colour to which I strongly objected in the original lizard image.
So yeah, the 47th birthday was full of surprises and an overall atmosphere of camaraderie I would never have expected in a million years. At the end of the day, I hugged both Mama and Matt, and thanked them for the good company, good food, and awesome gifts.
I also spent the rest of my night thanking everyone online who had sent me birthday wishes. Sometimes acknowledgement is the only thing a person needs to feel good. Everyone made me feel like a ridiculously special person yesterday and, for that, I'm grateful beyond my capacity to accurately verbalise.
When I was a kid, when my birthday rolled around, I was usually thrown a party with all adults, 'cos that's kind of what happens when you're an unpopular only child. But I loved them all the same, and was always thrilled and grateful for any presents. I was pretty low maintenance. When the family would ask me what I wanted for my birthday, as I got older, the answer was usually music, first in the forms of 45s and 33.3 RPMs, then later in CD format. But I was never one to really expect anything.
So yesterday happened. It got to a kind of shitty start with a visit to the doctor to find out I have some sort of mystery mass on my liver, and more tests need to be taken to discern if it's a danger. After that, though, the Mother Unit and Matt went into full-on "Let's surprise the flying fuck out of Tin for her birthday!" mode.
We got home from the doctor, and Matt came from upstairs to meet us, carrying a box wrapped in tinfoil. When I opened it, this was inside.
( imagery, and more imagery!Collapse )
So I got a lot of learnin' to do, Lucy!
It wasn't over yet, though. They then took me to D.Z. Akin's so I could wallow around in the best omelette I've ever eaten - a three-egg lox and cream cheese omelette, with extra cream cheese. Holy fuck, that is so good! Of course, I couldn't eat all of it then. I still have about half of it, so it should all be gone by tonight. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to have a lox and cream cheese omelette, don't pass it up. It could be a mortal sin.
A couple of hours later, we got back to the house and I figured the rest of the day would be pretty mellow. I reached out to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, and began to play around with an upcoming scene from the Work In Progress.
I was wrong.
Matt informed me that they were going out again in an hour or so, as he was going to get his tattoo. He and the Mother Unit insisted I go along, because I was going to get a tattoo as well. What? The Mother Unit had gone the day before and gotten a howling wolf tat on her shoulder (pictures will be forthcoming, when she'll let me take one and share it). They knew about my Living Tree idea, and that I wanted a lizard on one foot and an Ankh on the other, for a final total of five tattoos. I decided to go with the lizard on my right foot, and began hunting for pictures to give the artist an idea of what I wanted. This was the lizard I decided on.
( David Icke's worst nightmareCollapse )
Colin Moulding and I -little provincial rock-twinks that we were- got eyed up by predatory drag queens at the notorious Jungle Bar:’who you looking at? You never seen a queen put on her make-up before? Well you never seen one like this.’ This from an aged transexual preparing herself while actually standing on the bar. It was heady stuff for Moulding and I, fresh from sexually unambiguous Swindon, and we quickly averted our eyes lest non-consensual fisting ensue.