Merrie Marjories (or, Thumper Redux)

There was this momentary trend on Facebook where everyone was making adorable avatars of themselves, which was nifty or whatever, except my FB account wouldn’t let me create one. Maybe it’s just because my phone is crap, but I still felt left out, like I was the only live-action character in a movie where everyone else got to be a cartoon.

Fortunately for my emotional well-being, I can count both artists and clairvoyants amongst my online tribe. From 1200 miles away in Toledo, OH, my friend Kenji sensed my alienation and swooped in to repair my psyche:

Thumper Avatar 1

And before I could even finish gushing, he was like, “Hold, please,” and took it over the damn rainbow:

Thumper Avatar 2

Avatars that can bend air aren’t as fantabulous as this is, and I made it my FB profile pic first thing this morning, so that people would be confronted with it as soon they woke up. I don’t really have a better way to express my mind-blown gratitude for these portraits, but let me just add how happy I am that the assymetrical glasses remain on-brand.

Dancing Macabre On My Own

Happy World Goth Day! In observance of this, the darkest of holidays, I’d like to share some traditional dances taught to me by my friend Martin (a fellow Forgeling and most elegant goth himself), all of which are fairly self-explanatory:

Making a Spider Web

Picking Strange Fruit

Displaying the Scars on My Wrists While Walking Slowly Backwards

My Hands Are Bound Behind My Back and I Am Okay with That

You can click here for other lessons, or here to experience what it’s like in my head a lot of the time. And once you’re done cutting the rug shroud, you can slip on your sunglasses, glide somberly out into the world, and befriend a crow. Bonus points if you get the crow to dance with you.

Located in Chicago but Serving the Earth’s Gravitational Pull

This month’s Facets of Leather was mostly comprised of interviews with leatherpeople of cultural import, including Sir John (President of NLA-International and Living In Leather LLC), Tim “ASH!” Hotchkin (International Leather Boy 2015), and Gary Wasdin (Executive Director of the Leather Archives & Museum). And hey, we’ve gotten so much better at staying on topic, that our Superfan‘s latest meme only cites two tangents, which is definitely a new record.

Facets 5.10.20
The Zoom frame is a very nice touch.

Out of all the guests we’ve had on the show, Gary is my new favorite, because before we started recording, he was like, “Is there anything I’m not allowed to say? Because I have a potty mouth.” In response, Robert and I went over the seven words you can’t say on TV, along with FCC guidelines as they apply to late-night radio, and everything went swimmingly — Gary was knowledgable and professional and said insightful, educational things. So at the end of the interview, I was like, “You did a really good job of not cursing! Would you like to let fly with some expletives?”

I expected everyone to laugh and move on, but instead, Gary took a deep breath and bellowed a veritable Pandora’s box of obscenities: Like, I’m pretty sure there are now at least 32 words you can’t say on TV. Since we pre-recorded the segment, our producers were able to excise all the invective, but as far as I’m concerned, anyone who can scorch ears that intensely on cue is an icon in his own right.

This month’s musical selections were all over the place, but we played a song awhile back that continues to reverberate with me, that being Australia’s entry to Eurovision 2019. The note she hits at 2:02 is a mood unto itself. Plus, y’know, who doesn’t want to ride a giant wedding cake topper while an evil shadow witch flails about in the background?

Nobody. That’s who. The defense rests.

Mountains so lofty, treetops so tall. Both of these are euphemisms.

Today is the 100th birthday of Touko Valio Laaksonen, better known to the world as Tom of Finland. You can celebrate the life of this visionary erotic artist however you see fit, but personally, I’m going with emulation:

MarjorieOfFinland

PS: Have you watched the movie? If not, OH, YE GODS OF NORTHERN EUROPE, WATCH THE DAMN MOVIE ALREADY. Douglas and I saw it in the theatre and gave it two hypermasculine, blatantly phallic thumbs up. Douglas also may or may not have cried like a little leatherbaby. I don’t rightly recall, being too busy weeping myself to pay close attention to his emotional state.

PPS: Click here to turn the title of this post into a complimentary earworm. You’re welcome.

Ripcord Wide Shut

[A gaggle of terribly fabulous preppies breeze in and cast their eyes about the store.]

Preppy 1: “Let’s buy something fun!”

Preppy 2: “Yes! Let’s.” [to me] “Do you have any masques?”

Me: “Sorry, but we don’t carry… masks, other than the pup hoods.”

Preppy 2: “Really? No masques?”

Me: “None at all, I’m afraid.”

Preppy 2: “No glow-in-the-dark masques we could wear?”

Me: “No glow-in-the-dark anything.”

I was kind of hoping he’d keep upping the ante (“Really? No glow-in-the-dark, sequined and feathered masques that bring ancient, undying curses down upon those who dare possess them? Not even a floor model?”), but instead he just wandered away. Although later, a straight couple came in, and the guy immediately went, “Oh. This is one of those bars,” and they turned around and left. I don’t know if he meant a gay bar, or a leather bar, or a gay leather bar or what, but in my mind, he was like, “Damnit. I was specifically told that all the queers would be wearing masques.”

Sorry to disappoint, my good breeder. But here we only hide our identities behind clever nicknames.

I’ll quote Professor X at him next time, just to play devil’s advocate.

My Dad: “I called my favorite restaurant earlier, and they’re open for limited seating. Want to go get a burger?”

Me:

in-chess-we-let-the-pawns-go-first-2000-x-39827222

My Dad: “Touché.”

As an alternative, we’re eating pizza and watching Ozark (an attack by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants being about the only thing that hasn’t happened to the Byrdes yet). It’d be good for my dad to get out of the house, but he’s about as panicky as I am, and the chances of him macing someone with Lysol for clearing their throat suspiciously are still fair to middling.

So, y’know, probably best to give it another week.

I can’t wait to watch him enjoy that burger, though.

I Am Nothing Without My Public

Customer in line behind me at Fiesta: [pointing at my purchases] “What’s in that bottle?”

Me: “What, this? That’s Florida Water.”

Customer: “Wow.”

There was a brief, delicious tingle of gratification — like I had just been recognized as a Conjureperson of Great Power by a True Believer — except I hadn’t showered, and my hair was all patchy on account of I haven’t gotten around to shaving my head in a couple of weeks, and also I was buying a pile of frozen dinners. So it’s far more likely that his “Wow” meant, “I thought only Conjurepeople of Great Power needed Florida Water, but I guess so do slovenly homosexuals who don’t eat right.”

Unless by “Wow,” he was saying, “This Conjureperson of Great Power sure scored an excellent deal on frozen dinners!” In which case, yes. Yes, I did, mortal. Thank you for noticing.

Back to My Root(work)s

Other than (obviously) not getting much writing done, quarantine has not been a bad experience. The company I work for is considered an “essential” business, but most of the admin team has been working from home, and the majority of our client meetings have moved to web platforms, so I pretty much have the office to myself. The Forge made the jump to online sales and curbside pickup and seems to be doing fine — I haven’t clocked in there since all of this started, but I will luckily have a place to go back to once the restrictions ease up. And although we don’t have access to the studio, Robert and I have been recording segments for the radio show via Zoom, so we will be on the air well into the forseeable future.

Without retail or bartending nights, my evenings and weekends have been blessedly free of obligation, and after spending a couple of weeks stretched out on the couch watching every horror movie I could think to stream, I branched out into light housework, eventually getting around to dusting my altar.

Altar
Putting the Her in Heretic since 1995.

Turns out, a simple cleaning spree was all that was needed to get my Witchcraft juices flowing again, and within a day or so, my apartment was reeking of seven-day candles and incense matches. [Ed. note: If you have limited ritual space and/or fundamentalist smoke detectors, incense matches are the freakin’ bees’ knees.] There was spellwork I wanted to do, but it required specific herbs, so I started digging through my kitchen like, “Let’s see, what will coordinate with bergamot and licorice? Calamus? Perfect! Too bad I don’t have a good anointing oil, though. Wait, don’t I have a recipe for that?” And then I was all, “But if I’m going to make an oil, I might as well find a use for this lemon verbena. And this angelica root. And these rowan berries. And whatever this malevolent-looking seed pod thing is.” So now…

I’ve got Special Oil #20 steeping and a Van Van concentrate blended together, the remnants of which will be made into Chinese Wash. Up next is a batch of Hot Foot Powder and a big bottle of edible Four Thieves Vinegar, and then I’ll be pulverizing a couple of red bricks, by which time the ingredients for Cast Off Evil oil should have arrived. And since I already have graveyard dirt, I may get ambitious and whip up some Goofer Dust too, except I found a lodestone under a bunch of stuff while I was reorganizing my supply cabinet last night, so I’ll probably just bang out some Attraction potions instead, since I’m more likely to need fast cash or quick favors than for my enemies’ legs to mysteriously swell.

I don’t know how long this obsessive interest in Hoodoo is going to last — thanks to ADHD, my fixations tend to be cyclical, and at any moment I could suddenly switch focus and get lost in a labyrinth of geomancy or notary law or the proper care and feeding of domestic fancy rats. But while I’m right in the thick of it, I’ll tell you this:

Roughly thirteen years ago, I signed up for the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo and Rootwork Correspondence Course. The class itself is only supposed to last twelve months, but my studies got derailed by alcoholism and neurodiversity, and I drunkenly drifted away before finishing. However, I am delighted to say that despite how long it took me to get back on track, I’ll be dropping my last two homework assignments in the mail next week. I don’t know if I’ll get a certificate of completion or anything at this point, but just the fact that I’ll actually be completing it is enough to make me burn a candle or two in my own honor.

Assuming that my anointing oil is ready.

Look! Fancy rats!

ETA: Anyone who uses a mortar and pestle to hand-grind the components of Four Thieves Vinegar without wearing a protective face mask gains automatic immunity to COVID-19. Ask me how I know. Just let me shove a cork in my sinuses first.