Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 31st of December!

"Do you remember the 21st night of September?"

Three months and ten days "late," some might say, but this is one of my favorite songs of all time, so I do not even care. Besides, the lyrics are "...now December found the love that we shared in September..." So, really, it's a perfect (and timeless) song for the last month of every year.

September, Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Well, a Doll and a Heart Murmur.

I finally found it! A story that has haunted me for decades. I remembered it being some kind of TV movie. It was about twins, one of whom had died in childhood. I had a vague memory of one twin pushing the other into a well. All I remembered was the well, a doll and also the fact that one twin had a heart murmur. I've tried to remember more about it so that I could find it, but nothing ever came of my efforts. Now, during an Incredible Hulk marathon, I have found it. Season Two, Episode 14, and appropriately titled "Haunted."

Turns out that it wasn't a well, it was the water wheel in a mill. I can't believe that I didn't remember some of the other chilling aspects of this story. Like the score, which has lots of pipe organ, spooky music box sounds and a creepy lullaby sung by the dead twin. Also, it is so strange that I had no memory whatsoever of the fact that this was an episode of The Incredible Hulk. How does a big, green hulk of a guy not stick in your mind?

You can watch the entire series on Netflix.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Clearing My Clawspace

Help me make room!

My psyche is completely overwhelmed by all the material objects that I have accumulated over the years. I don't even know how this happened. Flea markets here, thrift stores there, an antique shop or two...

I loved these things deeply when I acquired them, and I still do, but now it is time to let go. There is Decorator Crab blood in my veins, so I will never be rid of all the beautiful clutter, but I really do need to minimize. After all, how many little barnacles, seaweed clusters and anemones can you have and still manage to crawl around and get places and do things? I need to lighten the load and increase my clawspace, ya dig?

So, I'm having an online garage sale! The objective is to create some breathing room in my life so that I can focus on my next music project, and if I can make a little coin in the process it will help with some modest studio upgrades that I'm hoping to do. But most importantly, I'd like to find a good home for these beloved possessions. I'd be so happy to know that someone else is appreciating them.

I'll be adding other things as I have time to photograph them, so if you don't see something you like now, please check back later.

My garage sale Etsy shop is called "Attic of Antoinette."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Of Nowhere -- Captive Ghost Specimens

In hopes of raising some funds for a few small studio upgrades, I've just opened an Etsy shop where I'm selling ghost specimens that I have captured.

Don't worry! They are completely content in their bottles. I have done extensive research on the subject, and they very much prefer this environment to the chaos outside the glass. Inside the safety of their bottles, they can cuddle up and dream of otherworldly landscapes and communicate telepathically with loved ones.

Because a great deal of psychic dissonance is created when having too many ghosts in the house, I have had to limit the number that I can care for. I tried keeping them all for a while, but it just isn't possible.

My shop is called "Of Nowhere," and you can go there now.

Here are a few ghosts from the first expedition.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cosmic Strangeness

Well this is just plain weird... This week my horrorscope contains a reference to something that I incorporated into a song nearly 20 years ago. The song (which is unreleased) is called "Alexandra's Revenge" and the lyrics mention a girl who thought she had swallowed a glass piano. This was something that I had read in a very obscure book called The Mad Monarch, about King Ludwig II of Bavaria. In the book, the part about Princess Alexandria (whose name I purposely misspelled because I thought it sounded better when it was sung) was just one line of text -- almost an afterthought -- and it wasn't elaborated on at all. But still, it really struck me on a lot of different levels, and, in an indirect way, it inspired the entire song. Fast-forward two decades later, and the planets are now aligned to bring this picturesque and enigmatic detail back to me in the form of sage advice. I'm not saying that the universe revolves around me or anything, but I do think it's odd that of all 12 horrorscopes, this arcane fact was chosen to be put into mine. I mean, really... what are the chances?

"U.S. Confederate General Richard S. Ewell (1817-1872) sometimes experienced episodes in which he truly thought he was a bird. Princess Alexandria of Bavaria (1826-1875) believed that when she was young, she had eaten a glass piano. Then there was the Prussian military officer Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher (1742-1819), who imagined he was pregnant with an elephant. Sad and funny and crazy, right? And yet it's my understanding that all of us have fixed delusions. They are less bizarre than those I cited, but they can still be debilitating. What are yours, Taurus? Do you secretly believe that a certain turning point in your past scarred you forever? Are you incorrectly wracked with anger or guilt because of some event that may not have actually happened the way you remember it? Here's the good news: Now is an excellent time to shed your fixed delusions."

Free Will Astrology

And now... off to ponder this business about fixed delusions...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Space Aliens

They say that everything on Earth is made of stardust. Here's proof:

Sea Angels:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Horrorscope - October 10-16, 2013

My friend reads me my horrorscopes whenever he feels they contain something helpful or interesting. I really like this one, and it fits as a life philosophy regardless of the date.

"Jugaad is a Hindi-Urdu word that can be translated as 'frugal innovation.' People in India and Pakistan use it a lot. It's the art of coming up with a creative workaround to a problem despite having to deal with logistical and financial barriers. Masters of jugaad call on ingenuity and improvisation to make up for sparse resources. I see this as your specialty right now, Taurus. Although you may not have abundant access to VIPs and filthy riches, you've nevertheless got the resourcefulness necessary to come up with novel solutions. What you produce may even turn out better than if you'd had more assets to draw on."

Free Will Astrology

Oh, the Sweetness...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hall Closet, Staircase and Landing

Back when I had my studio room done, I also had my hall closet made taller!

Also, a few weeks ago, I had my staircase railings replaced. Of course I wanted it to look like driftwood, so I gave the guys the same steel wool & vinegar recipe that I used on my rescued table. The handrail that goes down the length of the staircase is galvanized steel pipe that is set into the masonry wall. It is so sturdy. I could do pull-ups on it if I was shorter.

I painted the walls, ceiling, trim, floor and steps.

Here are before and after photos of everything...

Hall closet, BEFORE:

Hall closet, AFTER:

Staircase & handrail, BEFORE:

Staircase & handrail, AFTER:

Landing and railing, BEFORE:

Landing and railing, AFTER:

Another view, BEFORE:

Another view, AFTER:

This was my last big renovation project. Now that it's finally done, I can concentrate on getting everything organized and arranged in my studio.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spirit Animal

Whenever the subject of spirit animals comes up, discussions often turn grand, typically ending with us humans aligning ourselves with some glorious creature from the untamed wild. 

Me, I just know I'm something really majestic, like a lion or a wolf.

On second thought, I'm a dolphin swimming through eternal oceans accompanied by my constant tribe.

No, no, a cat. That's me for sure. Sleek and intelligent.

Or maybe I'm one of those strong, hoofed beasts like a caribou or a gazelle -- graceful, with a crown of antlers.

What am I thinking? Clearly, I'm a shapeshifting octopus. A stealthy, iridescent genius.

No, wait! I'm a delicate butterfly, carrying upon my wings the illustrious multiple metaphors of transformation, renewal, ripple effects and hope.

No, okay, I know! I know! I'm a powerful hawk or a mysterious raven. Yes, that's it -- a solitary winged creature, soaring above the clouds, answering to no one.

Maybe I should aim even higher. I'm sure I'm something really epic! Maybe a unicorn or a phoenix. Something with a transdimensional history, mythology and magical properties, something that exists against all probability.

Well, that would be nice, and now I've exhausted most of the animal kingdom. But the truth is, I am none of those.

I am a sea urchin.

There, I said it.

Spiky and monochromatic. I dig into the soft sand, put my thorns out, and spend most of my time preventing attacks. Yup -- harm shadows me constantly, so self-protection is the name of the game. Wanna know what I did yesterday? That's right, I just sat here, making sure nothing bad happened to me. Wanna know what I'm going to do tomorrow? You know what I'm going to do. Why are you even asking?

My needles are totally in your face. I don't even really have to do anything. I rarely have my guard up because I don't need to make the effort. I am made for defense; it's as natural to me as breathing, and most enemies know to stay away. Once in a while someone tries something stupid or mean, and then I give a little angry shake. That usually takes care of the problem.

There might have been a time, long ago, when the spikes weren't so sharp, but I don't remember it. Was there a time when I didn't need armor? Naturally, I doubt it. Like every self-respecting sea urchin, I evolved my prickly exterior out of necessity to ensure that the very sensitive interior stays safe. 'Cause that's where all the good stuff is, suckahs!

image source

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jon Blund Speldosa (music box)

I am seeking this vintage Jon Blund speldosa (music box). I had one when I was little and used to fall asleep listening to it every night. I loved it so much. If you have one that you'd like to sell, or if you notice one for sale somewhere, please let me know. There are other things with the character's image (dolls, fabrics, etc), but I don't care about any of those. Only this particular music box.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

He Comes From the Water

Tonight one of the darkest souls on the planet lit up a small stage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Vaden Todd Lewis, songwriter, singer and guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Toadies, did a solo acoustic set of songs from his catalog (including songs from his other band, the Burden Brothers). The whole evening was great, but highlights for me were the songs from the Toadies' 1994 album Rubberneck, which easily ranks alongside Hunky Dory, Doolittle and Aquemini (just to name a few) as one of the best albums of all time. Swampy, gritty, beautiful and soulful-- just like music is supposed to be. I saw many Toadies shows when I lived in Texas, but it was so great to hear these songs in such an intimate venue. I am so lucky to have been there. As if the great music wasn't enough, my friend and I shared a chocolate & cream cocktail, and I even got a T-shirt, too.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is It Wrong?

Is it wrong to watch a TV series over and over and over again just because you like the music?

Well, if it's wrong, then I don't want to be right...

Rosemary & Thyme

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Studio Remodel

I have been working so hard and waiting so long to be able to do this. Every "extra" penny from the day job has gone into savings, and now my studio room is finally remodeled.

When I moved in, most of the house was in good, vintage condition and just needed a little patching, paint and minor freshening up. But this room was a different story. It's the larger of the two bedrooms, and it had been "updated" at some point in its history. It had dingy, dark carpet, some very unfortunate faux-wood paneling, and a completely intolerable drop ceiling. It's an old house, and I knew there would be trouble lurking under all that grim decor. So when my friend and I removed everything, we weren't at all surprised to find large cracks in the plaster, damage from a former roof leak, and split floorboards. Sadly, all the good "before" pictures were lost when my computer crashed a couple of years ago, so this is all the proof I have:


It was pretty bad, and even though I really like doing physical home-improvement work, this job was way out of my league. Experts had to be called in. I was a nervous wreck the first week, but then I began to trust.

Day 1: Demolition.
Whoa. They tore it up! When I got home at the end of the day, I knew that I would never have been able to do this myself. At least not without causing myself a great deal of distress. I was so happy, because they uncovered almost two feet of additional space in the ceiling.


When I went over to the windowsill, I could tell that this nail had been being such a jerk all day long. Just look at him. What a menace! He needs to be defenestrated.

Day 2: Removal.
After the demolition, a mystic portal opened and delivered an additional crew of guys who hauled all the debris away. I almost wish I could've left it this way, but there were several reasons why that wasn't possible.

Day 3 - 4: Rebuilding.

The core crew came back and framed in the walls and ceiling, attached nailers to the brick, installed insulation, and ran all new electrics.

Day 5 - 8: Surfaces.

Sheetrock was installed on all the walls and the ceiling, then mudded and primed. Also, 3/4" plywood was installed to create a totally solid, squeak-free floor. There is nothing worse than a squeaky floor when you're trying to record vocals.

Day 8 - 10: Finishing.
Trims, outlets and light switches were installed, and the floor was filled and sanded.

And then... I painted!

Since my house is small, this room might need to serve a few other purposes besides just recording, but I won't know until I have everything organized. I have to admit, though: part of me wants to leave it completely empty. Sigh...

But that's crazytalk! So I've told that part of myself to shut the hell up and start moving things in!

Friday, July 5, 2013

We Said 'Yeah!'

And then we said "Hell, yeah!!!"

Kings of the Mic Tour, July 2, 2013, at Stubb's in Austin, Texas.

It was a quadruple bill consisting of De La Soul, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and LL Cool J. Can you believe it!? It was so completely great. Every single second was crazy! A few of my favorite moments were when Ice Cube surprised us with his verse from NWA's "Straight Outta Compton," and when LL Cool J did "Loungin (Who Do Ya Luv)." And before the show, Chuck D was out amidst the crowd, sweetly posing for pictures with people. It was one of the few times in my life that I really wished I had brought a camera.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Creature in My Garden, Part II

It is nearly seven hours later, and he is still there...

The Creature in My Garden

This very odd creature was in my garden today. First he was in my lavender plant, completely camouflaged. I thought he was a small twig, but then he flew off and landed on the fence and spent the next hour hangin' out by my neighbor's water hose. What a weirdo.

Here are some close-ups:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wine and Wu

A very stressful day still ends well, with a glass of wine and the words of Wu.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some Songs I Love

Walk on the Ocean - Toad the Wet Sprocket (Fear, 1992)
She Divines Water - Camper Van Beethoven (Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, 1988)
Hole in the River - Crowded House (Crowded House, 1986)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teeny Tiny Garden

For the past two weekends I have been working very hard in my garden.

Well, "garden" is probably a bit of an exaggeration. It's really more like a small patio, but it's so nice to have a little bit of outdoor space even though I live in a very dense city. I dream of living in the country someday, but until then I am determined to make this little spot as cheerful as it can be. It's actually really nice out there. For some reason we get a lot of breezes in my neighborhood, so even though the climate is generally pretty humid, it's very pleasant on most days in the spring, early summer and fall. And on summer evenings, too.

I found some really great pots and planters, wrought iron ornaments and garden statues at a discount store. I usually buy vintage or thrift store stuff, but I ran across these and couldn't pass them up. They were so colorful and interesting (and inexpensive, too). I also bought some Ikea hanging planters, garden chairs, a metal shelf, and a small metal table. It took a while to get everything home since I don't drive. I made several trips a day and carted everything home on the bus. I probably looked a little alarming, what with all the bags and things tied onto my cart and strapped to myself with bits of rope. Probably not unlike a decorator crab.

Here are the results of my labors:

View from back steps.

A variety of plants: lantana, geranium, sweet potato vine, dusty miller, rosemary, mint, etc...

A silver rabbit in my blueberry tree.

Another view.

Hanging planters and my neighbor's lantern.



A little magenta celosia with creeping jenny.