Thursday, February 28, 2013

Word Verification

I'm sorry to say that when I checked in here this morning, the comments area of my previous post and another were filling up with spam. As a result, I've had to reinstate the word verification program once again. I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from commenting as I always enjoy hearing from you all. Still, it seems that this blog has been targeted by spammers who will not go quietly into the night, and I just cannot abide my creation being polluted by garbage advertising. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause my readers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Night Lacuna Coil Came to Town

There's a  night-club venue in my small city that has featured so many talented musical acts over the years, both local and otherwise, that I can only name off a fraction of the groups and solo artists that have performed there over the years..  George's Majestic Lounge, which has been a staple in our entertainment district since the 1ate 1920's, manages to attract acts that best reflect the predominant musical interests here, which I'm going to describe as a blend of country, an Arkansas-flavored hybrid of southern rock and blues--definitely lots of blues. Of course, there is a vibrant folk music scene here as well but all in all, the folkies, as I like to call them, are more commonly found at other venues. Every establishment that offers live music seems to carve out its own special niche and consequently, there's a unique scene going on at just about every place a person can go to.

For the past year or two, there has been a growing metal scene taking place a couple of Monday's per month at a rather modest-sized venue in the entertainment district known as Rogue Pizza Company. Metal Monday is a part of the niche that Rogue has established for itself and as far as I can tell, the venture is being fairly successful. It has been a rare evening indeed, when anyone else has featured this musical genre live in the recent past. Imagine my surprise then, when I learned last fall that George's was hosting a metal night and featuring, among other artists, a California-based group named In This Moment. Although I certainly wouldn't characterize In This Moment as Gothic in a musical sense, I am nevertheless, impressed with both their music and performance. I was pleased to see that George's had successfully featured them.

I was even more pleased when, back in December, I learned that George's would be hosting a performance on February 12 by Lacuna Coil, a group whose music is often described as Gothic Metal, and which enjoys a great deal of popularity in Europe! Well, let's just say that I didn't wast a great deal of time before I bought a ticket to the show. Also in that night's lineup were Avatar,
a melodic death metal band from Sweden and Sevendust, which hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Although I wasn't familiar with either Avatar or Sevendust, I was more than happy to pay the incredibly low ticket price just to Hear Lacuna Coil for awhile; and if I enjoyed the other groups as well, all the better.
The evening's festivities began with Avatar and I was surprised at how much I liked them. They really had the place hopping; and in my opinion, they put on an impressive performance. Next came Lacuna Coil; and as to be expected, they rocked. I was only familiar with one of the songs they played and therefore, was a bit disappointed that they didn't do When a Dead Man Walks. But hey, I understand; because you can only fit so many songs into a 30 minute performance.

Neither my friends nor myself stayed for Sevendust unfortunately, because by the time Lacuna Coil had finished their set the rain we'd been having earlier in the evening had turned to snow. My friends had a twenty-mile drive home and I, quite frankly, was tired of standing after leaving my vehicle at home on the mountain and instead, walking all the way to the venue. So sadly, I can't comment on how Sevendust sounded.

If I have one negative comment to make about Lacuna Coil's set it is this: It was hard to hear Christina Scappia's vocals. The lady has a very good voice and I thoroughly enjoy listening to her; yet, it seems the sound man totally allowed this talented singer's voice to be drowned out by the guitars. The volume on her mike should have been turned up higher.

I'm willing to forgive however, because this oversight may have come as a result of the formula promoters seem to be employing at these shows during which bands play a 30 minute set and then quickly make room for the next--rapid fire. I'm also aware that I live in a rather small city in a rural part of the country, so I suspect that local promoters are catching big-name groups in transit between much larger venues and asking them to stop and play here for one short set. It's a win/win situation-- a little extra money for the artists with very little fuss and for the rest of us, it's a chance to enjoy more experienced and even internationally known acts at a great price.

In any event, I've been saying for quite a while that the metal scene in my community is continuing to grow in both size and vibrancy. George's Majestic Lounge, which is only just beginning to feature metal, was absolutely packed with patrons that night. More likely than not, this will inspire them to put on similar events in the future. All I can say is hurray for us!     



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

We had a nice snow this morning and there's supposed to be a bit more on the way. It was nice walking in the snow-covered woods and around the cemeteries. The cardinals are singing; and all in all, it's a pretty peaceful scene. In my mind it would make a perfect farewell to winter. I wish it were going to stay this way, but apparently, it's not going to. 

We have another storm on the way that can potentially bring significant accumulations of ice into the area. We're supposed to have freezing rain and wind overnight. That's not good, and the counties a bit to the east of us are under an ICE STORM WARNING! Those are three words that strike fear into the hearts of many Arkansans.

In January, 2009 we got an ice storm that can only be described as devastating. That's what the weather people called it, and I concur. Some of us were without electricity for two weeks or more and the cleanup can be a daunting task indeed. The next day I had to crawl under all the debris in order to reach the tool shed and the chainsaw that was inside of it. Then, I had to cut a path both to my cottage and to the firewood pile. Fortunately, I have a wood stove.

The night that the ice storm hit there never was a heavy rain. It was simply a slow but steady precipation that accumulated on the trees and power lines. In my opinion, nothing will drive you to the point of near madness faster than a slow but steady rain that freezes upon whatever it touches.

First you hear branches falling from some nearby trees--and the rain continues. Then, you begin hearing the snap of heavy limbs and their abrupt crashes to the ground--and the slow but steady rain continues. Entire trees start falling, either snapping at their trunks or falling over in their entirety with roots pulled right out of the ground--and the slow rain continues. Suddenly, a loud hum resonates throughout the neighborhood, followed by a series of explosions--electrical transformers blowing up--and the slow but steady rain continues to come down. Branches crash on the fragile roofs; trees fall thereby yanking power lines right out of household electrical boxes--and the rain just keeps on falling. By this time you're ready to go outside and scream at the storm and the clouds, demanding that it cease at once. It's the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that drive you to that place of irrationality just as surely as the deceivingly gentle but destructive rain.

Ice storms are a frightening thing--and we're supposed to get one tonight. They say that it won't be as bad as the January, 2009 event and they're predicting only modest ice accumulations for my city. I hope they're right--not that I wish anything on our neighbors to the east. But who really knows what will happen? One thing's for sure, I probably won't get much real rest until this one finishes with us tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, there will be no power outages and everyone's home (mine included) will survive intact. One thing's for sure; it's likely, going to be a hellish night.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vampire's Day Soiree

I can't believe that it has already been a year since I participated in my first Vampire Day Soiree but when I visited Holly's Horrorland
yesterday, I spotted Holly's invitation to participate once again. All I'd have to do is sign up on her blog site, place the accompanying badge on my page and post about something vampire related. It's all easy enough to do and something vampire related just happened this week; so that part will be a cinch.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a Bela Lugosi mug from the Insomniac's Attic and it came in on Monday, just two days ago. Since I have a large, covered coffee mug that I've been both using at home and carrying to coffee shops for years, my new container will be strictly for tea drinking and hopefully, will serve me well for many a cold winter afternoon to come. 
I've also come to the realization that during the warmer months of the year, I hardly ever drink tea--at least not at home. For me, a hot Earl Grey, green or English tea is something that I crave during the cool, dark and dreary days of late autumn and winter. This being the case I've decided that Bela will serve quite well as a part of my decor during the long, hot summer. Anyway, let's take a closer look at Bela--or should I say, Count Dracula?


Here's the Count in all his glory. Notice the blood dripping from the left side of his mouth. I sure hope none of it gets into my tea. 

And here he is enjoying himself with friends. I think he'll fit in just fine. 

I really appreciate Ms. Holly's creating of this alternative Valentine's Day tradition, and I enjoy participating in it. It's like she says, this is a day dedicated to people who believe in "love at first bite." 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tu blog Me Inspira

There hasn't been much going on around here in the way of excitement lately, so between that and that fact that I was a bit down with my early spring allergies (cedar pollen to be exact) I'm somewhat at a loss for coming up with new material for this week. That being the case, I feel that I need to mention something that came up two or three weeks ago that I didn't take care of when I should have. 

During the latter part of January Odd Ghoul Out
tagged me for the Tu Blog Me Inspira award.Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm flattered that she visits here and finds my blog inspiring; but on the other, the award is supposed to obligate me to tag fifteen other bloggers, thereby obligating them to do the same thing. The award recipient is also supposed to list five odd habits that he or she has. 
Admittedly, I'm at a bit of a loss for knowing how to comply with either of the mandates. First of all, there are only a very few blogs that I visit on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some that I used to visit have pretty much been devoid of new posts for close to a couple of months now, or have changed in format. As for habits, I know that I have them, but am at a loss for thinking of five. All things considered therefore, I've decided to do a partial list on both counts, but I think I'm going to pass on tagging anyone.There's no offense intended here, it's just not my style. I know, I'm just not any fun.
Anyway, here goes.  

Odd Habits

* While I'm not sure if it's odd or not, whenever I retire for the night I usually listen to classical music, which I keep on low volume. I'm sort of lost if I have to sleep without it.
* Often when I'm listening to any kind of dialogue, I'm mentally typing the words on an imaginary keyboard. I clearly spend too much time in front of a computer.

* Speaking of computers, I have a habit of going to the local public library to use theirs. Sure, they have a faster connection than I do, but the fact of the matter is that I have a phobia about over-using and thus, burning out mine. 

* I brush my hair a lot, probably more than most guys do. 

* I have a habit of editing my short stories repeatedly every time I go to my document to continue work on it. This is a particularly annoying habit because it seriously slows down my creative process. seems that I just managed to list five odd habits after all. This whole award thing is turning out easier than I thought it would. 

Inspiring Blogs 

Sometimes I think that the Insomniac, in the abject darkness of the Gothic Mansion on her most sleepless nights, continuously conjures up decorative ideas that she knows will further inspire her readers. The wonderful ways in which she designs the inner sanctums of the Gothic Mansion, in reality a 1910 Queen Anne Revival Farmhouse, are inspiring indeed. Her blog is choc full of photos, which give ample testimony to her creativity--and she makes a dang good fruit cake too!

I always look forward to the House Cat's new posts. She covers a lot of territory with her blog through the inclusion of wonderful photos from points of interest in Northern Scotland, where she lives, to the  honest discussion about difficulties faced by Goths and those who are different. She covers art and music as well as the occasional outfit post. The House Cat always provides a good, thoughtful read for her followers.

Holly's Horrorland:  When Holly says that her blog contains "a collection of creepy curiosities" she isn't just kidding. Sometimes I'm amazed at the curiosities she manages to find. Would you like to see a life-size skeleton or learn how to find one? No problem, she's got the answer. Would you like to find rolls of toilet paper that have horror stories printed on them? She has photos and information on these too. Additionally, the Horrorland features lots of interesting movie shorts, pertinent music videos and stuff on Edgar Allan Poe as well as the great Vincent Price. A trip to Holly's Horrorland is always an inspiration. 

Amy Asphodel:
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the efforts and contributions of this young lady. I was first introduced to Amy's material when I stumbled upon her blog that was originally called The Ultimate Goth Guide. In my mind, she was just that as she went through great lengths to cover all aspects of Goth and alternative culture. Eventually, she changed the name of her blog to Stripy Tights and Dark Delights, but for awhile at least, kept up the tradition she had started. Eventually, Amy went on to begin another blog called Bohemian Bloomers. This new effort is not as much focused on the Goth subculture as it is on alternative fashion and her new interests. Sadly, Amy hasn't posted on either of her creations since around Christmas. Hopefully, all is well with her. In my mind however, Amy Asphodel stands out as a truly inspirational blogger and human being; this, no matter what future directions her life takes.