Saturday, April 27, 2013

9 Quick Ways to Make Your Life More Goth-y

I can't be the only one who has days when I just don't feel Goth at all. It's not that I don't want to be a Goth, it's just that everything I do seems so mundane and un-spooky. So, to combat that I made a list of nine extremely quick, and fun ways to add some Goth to your life. Some of these you may have already done, but I hope you find some you never thought to do before.

  1. Change your phone's ring tone to something more Goth-appropriate, either by using a Goth song or crows cawing or thunder rolling or a bell tolling or the Addam's family theme or anything else suitably spooky. Whatever works for you.
  2. Decorate your school or office or supplies. I've been meaning to do a post on this, and trust me I will get to it, but honestly most people use these supplies so often that you will come to appreciate having them personalized. 
  3. If you spend a lot of time online, or even a little, change the themes of your internet browser. I use Google Chrome and use the Marlies Dekkers theme, which is black/gray damask. It's certainly a lot more dark and romantic than just a plain white one.
  4. Buy a new album or add some more spooky music to your collection. I'm always surprised at the depth of Goth music there is out there and every time I find more music I feel really spooky. If you need ideas, try websites like What The Fuck Should I listen to Now? or Youtube for suggestions.
  5. Swap out your multi-colored pens for plain black ones. I didn't think this was at all necessary until I realized I couldn't take myself seriously when I was drafting a penpal letter to another Goth in pink sparkly gel-pen borrowed from my sister.
  6. Try having a Goth upkeep day or do little things that make your appearance spookier. Everything feels more gothy when your nails are black or your bangs have been freshly touched up.
  7. Consume more Goth media! I find that when I'm in a rut with my spookiness, looking for more Goth media helps. My favorite way to do this is search for new Goth blogs and read their backlogs of posts, which is also fantastic for generating post ideas for my blog.
  8. Decorate some of your electronic cases. Cellphones, music players, flashdrives, external harddrives, and even personal computers can have cases and those cases are just begging to be personalized. You can do some Gothic deco-den, decoupage with spooky magazine illustrations, cover with stickers, stick on decorative tape, wrap with lace, stick on some decals, stud to your hearts content, or anything else you can imagine. 
  9. Buy or make toiletries with Goth-y scents. Popular spooky smells might be anything from absinthe/anise to cloves to roses to coffee. My personal favorite scent is my bodywash, which smells like black orchid and juniper (from Target, and cheap) and definitely makes me feel like a lady of the night. If you don't know how to go about making toiletries, trust me, the internet provides tons upon tons of DIY options for soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, chapstick, body wash, bath bombs, or anything else you can imagine.
How do you make your life more spooky when you need a boost?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Green is the New Black

Goths celebrating Earth Day? That's for hippies, right? Not for us brazen post-punk mourners, right? WRONG! Well, in my opinion, anyway. So, in typically belated blogger fashion, I thought I'd make a little post of a few Goth-appropriate ways to be kind to the planet:

The first thing that immediately comes to mind is to reduce the effect purchasing our clothes have on our environment. Buying at smaller, local retainers reduces the carbon footprint caused by transportation and cuts down on large-scale factory production's pollutants. Home sewing is also a method you can employ to avoid polluting the environment by buying from big box stores. If you've got some cash to throw around, you can also make an investment in sewing off the grid, or buying a sewing machine that doesn't run on electrical power.

If you can't sew and smaller stores are too expensive, thrifting is pretty fantasticaly eco-friendly. Reducing the consumption of raw materials by reusing and recycling old garments is relatively cheap, super Goth-appropriate, and fun. And you can thrift more than clothes! Furniture and home decor are huge areas of thrift stores and there's so much you can do with a little bit of paint.

(Bonus tip: When washing clothes that you bring back from thrift stores, wash them in cold water. The cold water will preserve the color of the clothes better and when the water isn't heated up you save energy--and money!)

Reducing pollutants isn't the only way to help the Earth, you can also reduce the impact you have on the creatures that share the planet with us. Researching which cosmetic and hygiene products test on animals and then consciously avoiding those brands is a great place to start. I was disappointed to hear that Urban Decay, a long-standing vegan and cruelty-free brand of makeup, was being bought by a company which tests on animals, but they aren't the only option! Check Etsy for great options!

(Bonus tip: Avoiding aerosol hairsprays or only using a little bit ill definitely improve your teasing skills and the atmosphere.)

I'm sure you're sick of hearing RECYCLE but let me tell you that RECYCLING is still pretty important. Unfortunately, the recycling business isn't perfect, but there is more you can do at home. Saving fabric and paper scraps from larger projects for other ones is a fantastic way to keep them from ending up in a land fill.

(Bonus tip: If you want to make pillows or something similar, instead of buying the filler from a big-box store, visit a thrift store and buy a bunch of t-shirts to shred up instead. Therapeutic and eco-friendly!)

What are your guys tips for living an eco-friendly but spooky life?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Goth Upkeep Days

It's no secret that the Goth look requires a lot of upkeep. While some Goths make it look effortless, there's little doubt that it takes a smidgen more effort to put on a whole Goth ensemble than to put on a pair of shorts, flip flops, and a t-shirt. Today's post will be a little bit about Goth upkeep, what to expect, and how to manage it without losing your mind.

First, I suppose, you have to figure out exactly what you're upkeeping. Not everyone dresses the same, nor do we all care about the same aspects of our appearance. For example, I try to keep my hair color consistent and neat, but I really could care less for the color of my nails. Others might take care of their piercings and keep their body hair. It's all fine! Your body is your body. But, in general, what do Goths upkeep? From what I've seen, the most common things that Goths upkeep are:

  • Hair color
  • Hair style (especially curls and bangs)
  • Cuticle health
  • Nail color
  • Nail length and shape
  • Skin health (esp. acne treatments)
  • Teeth whiteness 
  • Eyebrow shape or presence
  • Body hair
  • Piercing health (esp. when you have stretched piercings)
  • Clothing maintenance 

While it might seem like a short list, the amount of time that goes into each of these can be pretty overwhelming. It takes me about one and a half hours start-to-finish to dye my hair, and don't even ask me how long for manicures especially after I have to repair the inevitable smudges.)

Thus, the concept of the Goth Upkeep Day is born. Every once in a while, some Goths relegate a day to catch up on all the grooming we have to do so that we're not impatiently waiting for our nails to dry five minutes before we go to the club. Depending on one's schedule, style, and body type, these can be from every two weeks to very three months.

Since it's a whole day largely spent on nothing (because you're sitting around waiting for things to dry or set or whatever), it can be a bit of a drag. Here are some tips to make sure your Goth upkeep day is as pleasant as possible:

  • Try to get all of your commitments taken care of beforehand. Work, chores, homework, blog posts, etc. should be taken care of before you begin your Goth Upkeep Day so you're not stressed about them while you're trying to do other things.
  • Take this time to recognize if some of the products you use are running low or need to be replaced. Someone remind me to pick up new tweezers.
  • Stock up on things to watch. While you're doing various treatments, movies are great background noise. Usually it's best to pick an old favorite so that you're not raptly paying attention and getting distracted while your black hair dye drips onto the rug.
  • Get the kettle boiling or crack open the take out menus, food is the best cure for boredom. Clearly. 
  • Get everything together before you start so you're not running out to the CVS looking for nail polish remover.
  • Try more typical spa treatments! I like Lush bath bombs, personally, but there are tons of options out there. 
  • Save any handicraft projects until you're done with your nail polish. Trust me. Bad things happen. 
  • Don't be afraid to spoil yourself a bit if it's an option for you. Vanity is not a sin in the Goth world.

So, do you all have Goth Upkeep Days? What do you do you them? If not, how do you schedule the upkeep for your look?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Screamers


Let's talk about Screamers. No, not people who get especially vocal during coitus. That's for another post entirely. (Promise. But not actually.) Anyway, due to certain events in my favored corner of the internet, I thought it best to write a more in-depth post about the subject of Screamers and why they make me grind my teeth.

So, what is a Screamer? 

A Screamer is, by popular definition, a jumpscare hidden in an innocuous context so as to surprise and horrify the viewer and, presumably, amuse the ~*~*~troll~*~*~ who created them and gets to watch everyone fall for it. They can take a couple of different forms, including but not limited to:
  • A link which is described as leading to an innocent website which then leads to the "screamer" page
  • A video which starts out as being pretty normal but then abruptly changes to loud, horrifying material.
  • A "hidden" .gif that stays as a still image for most of the frames and then switches to a horrifying one
And there are other forms. Usually the horrifying content is gorey, bloody, and loud. Popular images include mutilated faces or animals commonly associated with phobias, like sharks or spiders. 

They've been around the internet for a while now. I remember in elementary school my friend showing me a video of a car winding down the hill but then it abruptly changed into a man in a realistic zombie mask screaming at the camera. Another one that went around on the website Funnyjunk (when it was all orange) which was a hidden .gif which had a fake optical illusion but when you stared at it for too long the frame changed and the image was then a shark. I think a loud noise might have played as well, but that could have just been me screaming and falling out of my chair. (I really hated sharks, okay?)

So, screamers. Innocent trolling fun?


Screamers are problematic because they can be extremely triggering for people with anxiety who are prone to panic attacks or people with certain kinds of epilepsy who can have seizures when exposed to that kind of quick scare. Before you start assuming that I mean that it will mildly upset people, both seizures and serious anxiety attacks (which can lead to heart attacks) have been known to kill people.

While most people can avoid their triggers, and especially gore and horror related ones on the internet by not frequenting certain websites and by using browser applications like Tumblr Savior, the nature of the Screamer as being a hidden scare means that they are nearly impossible to avoid. 

Let me put this in plainer words:

For the sake of a joke, the creator or distributor of the Screamer is endangering the safety and mental well-being of others. 

I really wish I didn't have to explain that this is not okay. 

However, I felt compelled to write the blog post because some Goths (though this is certainly not the rule) are fond of posting gorey horror images to their blogs. There is nothing, in my opinion, inherently wrong with this. The kinder of these bloggers will tag them with "gore," "blood," and "horror," or put a disclaimer on the top of their blog explaining that they post these kinds of images so that people are not caught unawares. These same bloggers might, with relatively innocent intent, be tempted to reblog a screamer as well. What's the difference between that and a gorey or horrifying picture? they might ask.

Well, posting a screamer directly endangers people. It doesn't fall under the category of "this is my blog, I post what I want" because this kind of content specifically targets people to upset or trigger them. If it weren't specifically targeting people to take them by surprise, it wouldn't be hidden. It's the nature of the beast that makes it such a problem. 

So, please, I implore you, do not post screamers. They endanger your community and the health and safety of others, and that is absolutely abhorrent behavior. 

Do you guys have any experience with screamers? What was your reaction?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring-cleaning your Wardrobe

I love the notion of spring cleaning, mostly because it means that I get to put off cleaning for the other three seasons of the year. And let me tell you, the less time I spend on cleaning and the more time I spend playing Solitaire, the happier I am. Still, it's a monumental task when you don't keep up with it year round, and can be overwhelming. For you all I've decided to make a step-by-step list of how to spring clean your wardrobe (from painful experience.)

First, get thee some containers. Cardboard boxes or sturdy trash bags will do, but make sure you have a few of them. To make things easier, label them. My preferred categories are KEEP, GET RID OF, and REPAIR. Next, you're going to need to empty out your closet, bureau, drawers, clothing rack, or whatever you store your clothes in. I put everything in a big pile on my bed just to make things easy to access.

Alright, so what to do with that mountain of clothes I just made you put all over your bed? Strip down to your undies, ladies and gents, because now you're going to try everything on. Everything. Make sure it fits, see if it needs fixing or repairs, look in a mirror to see if it's flattering, think about if you like it and if it fits with what you want your wardrobe to be. If it doesn't fit or you don't like it, toss it in the GET RID OF bin. If the zipper is busted or there's a tear or a stain, relegate it to the REPAIR bin. If everything is fine and dandy, put it in the KEEP bin.

If anything in your KEEP pile needs to be washed, go toss them in the washer. You might have to run a few loads. Then, clean your wardrobe storage. I always forget to do this and it's a bit of a pain. Wipe your hangers with a damp cloth, vacuum your closet, dust your drawers. Make sure everything is clean before you put your clothes away. Once you've got everything cleaned out, assess your storage. How many drawers do you have, or how many hangers? Does everything have a designated space? If not, it's time to give them one. Make sure you're organizing scheme makes sense. If you have more t-shirts than shorts, put the shorts in a smaller drawer. If you reach for skirts before dresses, hang your skirts front and center.

Your repair pile is going to be a little complicated to get through and, I'll be honest, some of the items you put in there probably will make their way to the GET RID OF bin. Even if not, this box will probably stick around the longest. If there are items there that you can repair yourself (i.e. a button fell off, there's a small stain, one of the pockets has a hole in it, etc.) set those aside. If they need professional attendance (i.e. shoes that need new treads or a jacket you LOVE but is big on you) take those to a tailor and let them handle it. The others will probably trickle back into your wardrobe as you complete the projects.

Now, let's look at the GET RID OF bin. With these you have a few options. If you have any Goth-y inclined friends, you can let them paw through and see if anything appeals to them. If not, you might be able to sell them on eBay. So get yourself an account and snap some pictures. Keep the prices reasonable and you might find yourself with some pocket money for further shopping excursions. If the items don't seem to be worth selling, find yourself a nice nearby thrift store and donate them.

(Pro-tip: Get this done ASAP. Keeping items around your home that you know you don't want but haven't had a chance to get rid of yet is a huge pain!)

Once you've purged your closet, you have an opportunity to see what your closet is really missing. What aspects of your ideal wardrobe aren't represented, or are too few for your tastes? Once I'd purged my closet I saw that I really didn't have enough cardigans for my liking, so those are next up on my shopping list. Then, guilt-free shopping! (Okay, maybe not guilt free. Skim-guilt?)

Don't forget to spring clean your accessories and cosmetics! I recently cleaned out my makeup drawer and it was almost appalling how much I had accumulated but never used.

Have you all spring-cleaned your wardrobes yet? What did you toss out!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Babybat Evolution

About a week ago I recieved a message from self-proclaimed Babybat Craig, who was wondering how one goes about evolving from a Babybat into a Goth. After all, coming into the subculture in the beginning can be a little like diving into the deep end of a very dark poor filled with snarky eldergoths grumbling about the good old days and defensive gate keepers handing out decrees of "NAWT GAWFICK." So, I hope to hoist a little blacklight lantern in the dark and provide a more comprehensive guide for babybats who are unsure of how to proceed and claim the label of Goth as their own.

Goth Shoes

First, we ought to separate what makes someone a babybat and what makes someone a "full-fledged" Goth (and even what separates Babybats from people with Goth interests.) A babybat is someone, for our intents and purposes, who is new to the subculture. They might have discovered it a while ago, but they're just starting to really delve into it and express interest in claiming the subculture of their own. This is what separates them from people with Goth interests: They have a desire to be aligned with the subculture. Someone who really likes The Cure or wearing somber colors or Tim Burton movies but who doesn't want to be a Goth isn't a babybat. From the babybats that I've talked to, here are the types that I've come across:

  1. A babybat who likes Goth in general but doesn't specifically know how to begin exploring it specifically.
  2. A babybat who likes SOME aspects of Goth but not others and doesn't feel comfortable accepting the label until they like ALL Goth things. 
  3. A babybat who likes Goth but doesn't want to accept the label until they pass the Goth Cabal Test and get proclaimed one. 
  4. A babybat who has another, more personal reason. 

I don't pretend to cover everyone with this, there are certainly people who have other reasons and maybe some who have some sort of crossover of the four, but these are the ones I've mostly found. Throughout the rest of this article I'll do a bit of dissecting of these people's reasons and then offer a bit of guidance.

However, before I begin, I want to talk about Labels. Labels are a thing that we need to get over despising. They are a kind of social shorthand used to differentiate groups and create mental organization of people that we may or may not want  to associate ourselves with. Like using the tagging system on Tumblr, or putting a label on a file, or referring to a chartreuse crayon as "Green" for ease of memory, it's not trying to erase anyone's special snowflake identity.


Got that off my chest.

Let's start with reason number one, shall we? Let's talk about the babybat who is interested in Goth but just doesn't know where to begin. This is, possibly, one of the easiest to remedy. The first thing you want to do is identify just a few things that really drew you to the subculture. For me, it was horror literature, pretty Victorian clothes, Tim Burton, and a few of the popular Goth bands (particularly The Cure and Bauhaus.) Just because yours don't fit some of the aforementioned gatekeeper's ideas of what a Goth is doesn't mean that they can't spark an interest in the subculture. For you, it might be cemeteries, dramatic eyeliner, Victoriana, EBM music, black dog collars, Magic: The Gathering vampire decks, or black and white stripy tights.

Whatever it is, start looking for related content in the subculture based on just one of those at a time. If you were drawn to it through punk music, go chronologically and look into some early post punk music and then later stuff. If you came in via a love of classic horror flicks, check out some well-loved Goth movies like Bram Stoker's Dracula and then work your way into Goth-loved movies. If you fell in love with the clothes, do a bit of exploration in all of the styles. If you need a list, check out this link of the different "types" of Goths and then google more images of those styles. You probably have a lot of resources at your disposal for this, from libraries to Youtube to Wikipedia. Then, as you meet more enthusiasts you'll see their interests, and you can go from there. If you ever get, for lack of a better word, stuck again and unsure of where to proceed, try out another interest of yours. You'll become familiar with the subculture in no time.

Or, another option, is to join a blogging or social networking community that is frequented by Goths and just dive right in. I recommend Tumblr, personally, but Blogger is great and there are some nice forums out there that are more specific to your interests. As you converse with other people, read their bios or blogs, and look at some of the older posts, you're sure to be bombarded with new things for you to check out and an overwhelming amount of interesting stuff. Don't be afraid to be new. We were all new once, and most people won't bite your head off for it.

Secondly, there are some people who are under the impression that there is a checklist of things you need to like to be in the Goth subculture or you have to meet someone's minimum requirement to be in Goth. That's all a load of nonsense, if you ask me. Sure, liking one Joy Division song without any other interest in the subculture probably does not a Goth make, but accepting the label of Goth is a personal thing and you shouldn't measure yourself up to others (or allow them to do it) so that you can get the Goth label. There are plenty of aspects to the Goth subculture I'm not a huge fan of or that just don't interest me, but don't let those get in your way. And, yes, you can retain other non-Goth interests as well, they don't make you any less of a Goth. You're reading the blog of the girl who's preferred music for baking is old Canadian folk artists like James Keelaghan and Stan Rogers. And I sing along. Loudly. And that doesn't make me any less of a Goth. Just enjoy what you like under the Gothic umbrella and try not to be too bothered with other people who are going to gripe no matter what you do.

Thirdly, we have a babybat who is interested in Goth but doesn't want to call themselves Goth until they pass the Goth Cabal Test and get proclaimed one. This ties into the above comment I made in that you really should not allow other people to pass judgments on your Gothness. Really, there's even in-fighting among the Eldergoths who were there when the scene started about who is a real Goth and what Goth really is, so there's no authority of that kind (and the Goth Cabal doesn't actually exist, sorry.) When you feel that you match up with your own idea of what a Goth is, shaped hopefully by other Goths so that it's not entirely off the wall and wrought with unfortunate stereotypes, you're the only one who can label you reasonably.

Then, we're left with the ever-ominous category of "other." This can encompass a lot of things, some of them being things like bad experiences with people in the subculture or being unsure that your "coming out" as a Goth will have a positive reaction (or indeed being sure that it will not) or a natural resistance to having a label or having gone for so long denying that you were a Goth to others who tried to give you the label that you are reluctant to try and assume it now. One of my main reasons was because I'm one of those people who goes through "phases" of really really liking things (be it websites, clothing styles, music tastes, hobbies, whatever) and I was worried that Goth would be one of those. I didn't want to go into it at full force and slink out later after the phase had ended, especially since Goths already have to deal with the general public calling their subculture a phase. However, most of these can be solved by answering one simple question: are you going to let these things keep you from something that would make you happy? I recommend you don't, but you know your situation better than anyone else. (My "phase" is now five years old and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.)

So, Craig, I hope this answers your question about the evolution of babybats into "full-fledged" Goths and I hope everyone else has found this article informative and interesting. Please feel free to keep e-mailing me at or commenting below so that I can answer your questions and keep writing interesting, relevant pieces. Here's to another year!

Thoughts On: Hot Topic

Goths have a complicated relationship with Hot Topic. Or, rather, mixed anger and betrayal alleviated by the occasional awesome find. Many Goths old enough to have shopped there "back in the day" feel betrayed by the changing trends in Hot Topic and how mainstream much of the content of the store is. Or terrible the price to quality ratio which (though I might be biased as someone who prefers thrifting) is pretty much par for the course in most alternative shops and I've given up expecting any less.


Today as I was filling out summer job applications, I went to the Hot Topic career page (don't judge me, alright?) and found this little gem, their self-description:

Ah, yes, what could possibly be more edgy and rebellious than pop-culture? 

I remember, once upon an internet, a rumor being spread around that the CEO of Hot Topic had issued a statement that they would like to return Hot Topic to it's former spooky glory. I was initially skeptical of this sentiment, and even more so when  couldn't find a source to uphold it. Why? It doesn't make any sense in the slightest.

I'm not an economist (my senior year AP Economics teacher would probably attest to this), but even I'm aware that the basis for any business is to make money. So, Hot Topic has to do what would make it money. Returning to its roots as the angst-filled proto-Goth store would be bad for business because it narrows the possible appeal, especially when a recession has drastically lessened the spending power of teens and young adults. 

So the store is filled with edgy and rebellious Adventure Time shirts and My Little Pony nail polishes, but not much for spooksters. Or, is there? I tend to avoid Hot Topic's jewelry and regular clothing items, but one thing that Hot Topic is and has always been good at are t-shirts. Slightly on the expensive side, but in a wide variety of styles, some of them very gothy. Here are some that are available right now:

Dracula, Frankenstein, The Lost Boys, and The Crow? I'm on board with that.

So basically, what this tiny, rambling post is saying is that Hot Topic is doing its best to stay afloat as a business and there's no use crying into a tub of Ben&Jerrys about how Hot Topic dumped us. There's still stuff there that would work for Goths. How about a ouija board sticker, or a pair of jeans wth corset lacing up the front, Demonia boots, or a bird skull necklace? It's just that they've expanded their horizons to ensure that they exist at all. And I say that's their right as a business. 

Besides, it's not like most Goth's complaints about Hot Topic aren't without the caveat that you shouldn't shop there anyway, though, because you need to thrift EVERY THING THAT YOU OWN AND DIY THE REST OR SO HELP ME I WILL STUD YOUR FACE. There's some truth to this, but not a lot. If you want to avoid looking like everyone else and cultivate some rocking DIY skills, avoid Hot Topic if you can. But if you go into Hot Topic and see something you like and want to buy it, don't avoid it because Hot Topic isn't Goth enough. That's just silly. And you're going to miss out on t-shirts with Bela Lugosi's face on them. 

What do you all think about Hot Topic?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goth Pets You Will Love

What comes to mind when you think of Goth pets? The first thing that comes to mind for me are adorable bats, but let's face it, bats are illegal to own as pets in the United States. But what other options are there? I decided to make a quick list of some cute Goth-appropriate pets that I think we'd all love to have. (And for my arachnophobes, no tarantulas here. Feel free to read away.)

Disclaimer: Pets are a long term commitment and can require years of care. Please take your own skill level, economic resources, home situation, and schedule into account before adopting a new friend. 

I wouldn't feel right starting this list with anything other than a Cat. Black, if you want maximum Goth points. Above is a picture of my cat Zoot! (Yes, with exclamation point included) who I love dearly. Healthy indoor cats can expect to live up to sixteen years and there are a variety of fun goth-appropriate cat toys available  especially around Halloween time. And why not pick up a black coffin-shaped cat bed from Etsy while you're at it?

Pygmy Goats are an extremely cute option if you're ready for a high-energy, very friendly pet that looks a little bit like Satan when it grows up. They are very sociable but might not necessarily need a herd if there are plenty of people around for them to love in. Expect pygmy goats to live up to a decade or more. Unlike many of the other animals on this list, Pygmy Goats are prey animals so be careful with any predator animals you might also be keeping. Like a leopard. Or something.

Gypsy Vanner horses are next on my list because, while they're not exactly practical for everybody, nothing screams gawthick romance novel like a big black horse (preferably ridden by a handsome rake whose shirt is perpetually unbuttoned.) Horses require huge amounts of exercise, expensive food, and stable lodgings with other horses as they are social animals. Horses can live for many years and are definitely not for the faint of heart. But hey, you can ride them sidesaddle in your Victorian finery.

Did you know that there is a fish called a Black Ghost Knife? I didn't until about a week ago, and I thought it was the funniest thing. Black Ghost Knives (I assume that is the plural....) are nocturnal, carnivorous fish that usually grow up to be twenty inches long. They prefer large tanks, preferably over fifty gallons, and need plenty of hiding places. They can live with other fish, and you can teach them to eat out of your hand if that catches your fancy.

Rats, more specifically Fancy Rats, can make for great pets if you know how to treat them right. Some of them can be extremely cuddly and are known for riding around on their caretakers shoulders. Rats are social animals and it is best to have multiple at a time, but it can be difficult to find a quality breeder. They live for a few years, certainly less than other animals, but with proper care can make for wonderful companions.

African Pied Crows are actually legal to own as pets in the United States, as are other species of crow and raven that are not indigenous to the USA. While these birds are not the famed all-black ravens and crows you may be used to, they're still extremely beautiful. However, they live for many years, require a specialized carnivorous diet, and lots of space to spread their wings.

Lop-eared Rabbits are almost every five year olds dream animal and they're still so precious to this day. While they are not naturally the most cuddly of animals (and aren't too fond of small children), they can form bonds with their caretakers. They are herbivores and if you're awesome you will name your rabbit Bunnicula because come on how could you not.

If you want something a little less leg-y, how about a Mexican Black King Snake? These non-venemous snakes live over a decade, prefer not to live with other animals, and primarily eat rodents. They are mostly nocturnal, but don't particularly mind being held (unless they are shedding) and make wonderful companions.

Again, I'm not trying to suggest that my readers should go out and buy a pet just because it is Goth-y without looking into the pet's care and making an educated decision about whether the pet is right for them. I am suggesting that it's worth expanding your horizons, and some pets are spookier than you might expect!

What pets do you all have, and do you think they speak to the Gothier side of you?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

5 Things I wish I'd Known as a Babybat

The babybat phase is pretty commonly discussed among Goths. Older Goths sometimes use the term affectionately, but a lot of the time young adults look back on it with a sense of embarrassment. It's hard to think about our younger selves and wonder why, oh why, did I do or like X. Whether it's tastes in music and clothing or attitudes that we now regret, we can be pretty hard on ourselves. While I'm certainly not out of the babybat stage by some Goths' standards, I find myself looking back on my younger years with a mix of resigned fondness and mute terror. So, to show my early teen-self some love, I decided to make a list of five things I wish I'd known as a Babybat. Enjoy!

1. Non-Goth music is nothing to be ashamed of liking. 

I feel like I mention this every other post, but I grew up with Goth music as a part of my mother's amazing CD collection. When I realized it was actually Goth music, and not just my mother's weird tastes, and I started wanting to explore the subculture, I cut out a lot of non-Goth music from my life. I don't need it as a part of life, obviously, because I'm going to be a real Goth now.


Today, my two favorite bands are The Sisters of Mercy and The Mountain Goats. One of them? Goth on top of Goth on top of Goth. The other? Folk rock. I love them for different reasons, and it doesn't make me any less Goth. And think about how formative angsty folk rock lyrics would have been to my tender pre-teen years?

Actually, I'd rather not. Moving on.

Going to Georgia by The Mountain Goats

2. You're cultivating a style, not just a garment.

Thrifting misadventures. They happen. They happen a lot.

It's really easy to get carried away by steals in terms of garment pricing, especially when Goths are used to outrageously priced garments as a matter of course, but those $3 impulse buys add up. If I could, I would gently remind my Babybat self that, yes, thrifting is Goth. As. Fuck., but it's only effective as a wardrobe building strategy if done correctly.

Part of my current wardrobe overhaul problem is that I bought too much stuff without imagining it into a cohesive wardrobe that I would wear daily. I'm getting much better at it now, and can resist the sweet siren call of black sleeveless turtlenecks.

3. DIY or Die

Now, I don't take this phrase to heart all the time, of course. I don't need to DIY everything, capitalism has ensured that. However, I wish I'd learned the skills to DIY things earlier in life, so I'd have them when I need them now.

What skills? Sewing, painting, knitting, and embroidery are the big ones. Partly because of the aforementioned (and often mentioned) wardrobe overhaul, but also because I want something to do with my life that's non-academic but also productive besides my blogs. So, babybat self, stop putting down projects when you're not immediately good at them and actually develop some skills besides writing. You'll thank me later.

(My picture-taking skills fit into this category nicely, and I think they're doing well.)

While I'm perfectly capable of picking up these abilities now (except painting, I think the ship has sailed on that particular skill), if I'd started to learn them earlier I would be much further along now.

4. You're lovely just how you are.

You might have noticed from my (now startlingly popular, according to my statistics) Fatphobia in Goth post, but I've developed an extremely body-positive attitude toward myself and other people. All bodies are good bodies. We live in the good body. If someone tells you otherwise, punch them in the goddamn throat.

I was not always this way. Without going into the gorey details of my low self esteem (which involved many angsty diary entries, let me tell you), I'll just say I would have been a happier person because of it. Especially because becoming a Goth at that point of self-consciousness that is late middle school and early high school doesn't do you many social favors.

5. Surrounding yourself with creative, inspirational people is the best thing you can do. Start a Blog.

There's no secret here: I love the blogosphere. It is a completely customizable experience, not just in your blog but in the blogs you read or follow. If someone is giving you bad vibes, unfollow them. It's as simple as that to make your experience better. Once you've cultivated a group of blogs you read regularly, and maybe are posting yourself, you experience the community.

The community is a good thing.

I could, and probably will, write more posts about how good the net.Goth phenomenon is for Goths. I feel that if I'd joined the blogosphere earlier, and made the connections I have now sooner, I could only be the happier for it. Being a Goth and being lonely are not synonymous, there's a community waiting with open arms if you know where to look.

So, this these are what I would tell my babybat self if I had the chance, and a time machine. We should work on getting me a time machine. Until I figure that out, don't forget to write to me with your post ideas. Or, until then, post a comment! What would you tell your babybat self if you could?