Sunday, October 27, 2013

Procession of the Ghouls

So, last year we came across a random website detailing how awesome St. John the Divine is. By that I mean some "Vigilant Citizen" ranting about how the Episcopalian church is actually a satanic church with satanic rituals. (It's a good read:  )

So this year we MADE SURE to go to one of the satanic rituals: The Procession of the Ghouls. AND it was awesome! My camera died, so I managed to get some shitty cell phone shots, but here's some photos from the internet. The costumes were super elaborate, and some of them were these half-puppet, half-costume costumes. Before the procession, they played The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which I wasn't a fan of. Guess not every silent film could be as good as Metropolis. But it was awesome. If you're ever in NYC you should check this out..

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

expensive shit

stupid shit

stupid expensive shit that's been sitting in  my polyvore stash for some time. enjoy. I don't think I need to elaborate.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tarot Advice

tarot at the cloisters, one of my favorite places for readings

So, my husband and I had a mutual New Year's Resolution: learn how to do tarot readings. He's got some ways to go, but I think I've got the hang of it. I can pretty much work with any deck and know most of the card meanings by heart. Most of my friends are getting into it too. So, another thing: I'm only doing this for fun and entertainment and not for spiritual reasons/actual divination.

The worst readings are the ones that go this way: Draw a card. Look up the meaning. Say what the card means. "There are unequal relationships." Next card. Look up the meaning. Say what the card means. "Nostalgia." At the end of it, you just get a bunch of abstract, confusing images. What the hell?! You wanted to know how your vacation was going to go!

My advice:

Tell a story: Personally, I think this may be the only advice to being a good tarot card reader. The cards already have everything you need to tell a story: a cast of characters (suits), conflicts and action (the pip cards), and events/themes (major arcana). I've heard of writers turning to the cards to combat writer's block. As you go through the cards, make the person the star of their own drama and walk them through their story. This is way more exciting than just "Five of pentacles: Poverty. Next card is The Fool: a new journey. Next is Strength: means 'strength'" Instead read: "You're about to start a new journey you're not prepared for: poverty. But don't worry, because you possess inner strength, you'll overcome it just fine. In fact it'll make you stronger. Let's see how...[turns next card over slowly, building suspense]" It's like telling a story with some props and showmanship.

A good way to practice this with your friends is with completely bogus, made up situations. For the Steampunk tarot deck, we did a bunch of readings like the following: "How will I manage my airship?" and "Tell me about my life in Steampunk Town--what will I do, who will I date? will I be wealthy?" When we did my reading, I was going to start a travel business (we just said airship..of course) with someone, then I was going to be betrayed, then then I'd spend my days in poverty. Sigh. We also pretended to be gang members for another set of readings....those were interesting cop-thrillers. I think this was excellent practice for storytelling with the cards and a great way to build confidence when telling.

Always relate it to the original question: Don't get caught up in the meanings of the individual cards and miss the big picture. Relate the meanings of the cards to each other and to the original question. Remember, people want an answer. Sure, there's times when the cards do reveal something that's more important than the question. Or maybe you just can't think of a way to relate it to the original question. Try harder.

How about you? do you have tarot advice for readings?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Etsy Review: Little Sister Designs

So, way back in June I did a post on moonstones. Most of the rings and necklaces were from this etsy seller based out of New Zealand, Little Sister Designs. lol I broke down and got this moonstone necklace with raven claws (not actual raven claws) in the shape of a moon (come on! how awesome) despite the $200+ price tag. The seller was nice enough to accommodate a payment plan and was really responsive. The piece itself is really well made. It's probably my favorite necklace right now. And now... picture dump...more after the jump:
cool box! and chocolate?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On storytelling...

 So, I've taken more of a leadership role in our tabletop gaming community. One of our members reached out and asked me for storytelling/GM/DM advice...and I wrote the long long email below. I know some of you guys game, so it might be useful to you. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree!
It's cool that you haven't STed before in a tabletop setting. Everyone's got to start somewhere. 
First off, run a game YOU want to run. You said you already have a game/story in mind. That's great. Write a good description and boldly state "new players welcome!" For some reason, people will only join a new game if those magic words are uttered. I don't know why. Also include any parameters/restrictions you have for the game: no Tremere, no Moros mages, 70 freebie points for all, etc. In case anyone wants to fill out their sheets ahead of time. 
I recommend that you have some kind of system in place that explains why the characters would be adventuring together. Players want to play whatever characters they have in mind and won't fit neatly into whatever story you're writing. So you'll have a gunslinger, a rabbi pacifist, a workaholic banker, and a sexy cat boy as your PCs with contradictory goals. As an ST, their constant bickering will burn you and your story from both ends. I recommend you lay down some ground rules. The longest-running, successful games had some kind of unifying code or pact built into the story: a team of detectives, an elite group of mercenaries, one side of a war, a cult...whatever.  
One more thing about inter-character relationships. The Dresden Files game I ran, imo, had a great solution to "why would these random PCs be adventuring together?" by forcing other characters into each other's backstory AT CHARACTER CREATION (the first session). We used this for Shadowrun with great success. It unifies the group and fleshes out people's backstories. One player wants to play Princess Cashmere, a steampunk heiress. Another player wants to pay a ninja assassin who is hiding a Dark Secret. The ST made these two create a backstory...story... together during character creation. The players came up with the Ninja social-engineering his way to stay with her parents while he was on the run. Her parents liked this charming man and now try to set her up with him at every chance. Setting up these kinds of relationships between characters allows the players to interact with each other, in addition to interacting with the ST. The best sessions are when "the game runs itself" and oftentimes it's because the players interact with one another. It's easiest to set this up from the get-go. 
All this would be done during the first session, which has basically been half character creation and a short, simple adventure. While some players will come with their sheet filled out, you'll need to, at the very least, learn character creation. If you don't feel like reading the entire rule book, that's fine...but you DO need to read about character creation. 
All that advice was for setting up the game. As for actually running, well, everyone's got their own ST style and there isn't a right or wrong way. Some STs (me included) run anything-goes free-for-alls while other STs highly-structured, rules-heavy, complicated dramas. The former STs say yes to everything and don't have linear plots,  which infuriates structured/rules-heavy players who are then left unsure what to do. The latter STs make you roll dice more, police your stats more, (and like battles more, for some reason) which infuriates players who want to roam free and raise hell. Maybe you already know what kind of ST you are.  
Biggest ST problems: 
  1. Overplanning: I can think of a certain game where an ST had everything detailed out, spent hours and hours planning, and was very disappointed when he had to throw out everything in the first 5 minutes. One of the STs in the group has a saying to combat these inevitable derailments: "All roads lead to Rome." Just start steering the story back to where you want to go. Be VERY careful this isn't too heavy-handed. 
  2. Somewhat related...a paralyzed ST: I don't know what causes it, but sometimes the ST gets too possessive of a NPC or plot point, or there's a PC who's driving you insane and you just freeze up. Fights over rules. These are worst case scenarios that you fear. The best solution is "say yes or roll dice." An overpowered mage who always ruins your story wants to cast a fireball that blows up the mansion you spent hours stating out? Say yes to the player or make them roll dice. Put a difficulty. Justify it. If you don't agree with the rules in the book or want to make this a "special case" it's perfectly ok to make up your own roles. You'll see how your table reacts to this...It's ok to poll the table and ask, "does this sound fair?" most PCs side with the ST in the interest of moving the story along.
  3. Running out of ideas: probably your other biggest fear, right? when everything's derailed in the first 5 minutes and all your planning is out. It's perfectly fine to stop the game and go off alone and collect your thoughts. I one time did the worst thing ever. I said "well, you killed my boss in the first hour. that's all I got. see you next week." Uh oh. People weren't happy. I ended up stepping aside and reworking stuff that wasn't used that session and added some antagonists. 
  4. Not knowing ALL of the rules: Don't worry about this. Your players will help you. My experience is that the best STs don't necessarily have eidetic memory of the rule books. We've run games new out of the box and learned along with the ST. 
haha, didn't plan on writing you a novel here. Hope I covered what you wanted me to! If not, feel free to ask me to elaborate on anything!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Goth-ing things in my everyday life

Read more about the challenge here.

I'm interpreting this as physically "gothing" things putting bat stickers on your phone or something (a goth decora phone WOULD be awesome, btw).  But I don't actually do this, or haven't done since high school. I decorated a few journals and put a NIN patch on my backpack and that was it. Reason for this: my DIY skills kinda suck.

But if YOUR diy skills don't suck, NOW is the time to hit the magazine racks and check out Halloween crafts from the Queen of Darkness herself, Martha Stewart. You know, crafts for Halloween...aka ALL YEAR ROUND.

btw, Martha Stewart is awesome

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ootd, and photo fails

Well, it's one of the busiest times of the year for work, so I've been work home...working on the train... staying late... sigh. Everyone in our department has the thousand-yard stare. The temperature dropped significantly, so I was like, why not wear my new suit jacket I bought over the summer? and then satanic t-shirt. you know: work friendly. lol yeah I'm bold during these busy times, when I generally don't see anyone except my manager. sorry for the shitty photos, point-and-shoot cameras are really finicky.
ugh why does my new camera get blurry ONLY when I'm taking selfies

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Purses that I love

Read more about the challenge here.

I REALLY don't understand purses. This is an area where I never, ever splurge. My mother and sister love purses and they spend hundreds of dollars for something that...just looks like a purse. It has some purse-y hardware like knobs and clips and buckles and studs. Some pockets. Straps, some useful, some not. But it just looks like a purse. BORING. Whenever they ask if I like their new purse, I have a hard time not saying "it looks like ALL of your other purses"

So, these are the purses I like, arranged loosely by price.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Best Places to Wear Goth/Dark Fashions

Read more about the challenge here.

All dressed up and nowhere to go? lol leave the web cam and head out to the real world. There's plenty of places to wear your dark fashions.

1. club nights and concerts. this is obvious. All goth styles are welcome...and a perfect time for peacocking.

2. but you don't like loud music, expensive drinks, or being out till 5am. you like to start your nights at 6pm-10pm, quiet, and FREE drinks. Small art galleries are your best bet. If you have a gallery district in your city, there's usually a day of the month when the galleries have an open walk. In NYC, there's 2nd Friday in Williamsburg and 1st Thursday in DUMBO. There's also special exhibits that attracts more goths: I went to a Lovecraft exhibition a few years back. The gallery crowd--especially the "regulars"--tends to wear shapeless black things. plenty of dark art and dark types. No corsets/corset tops.