Saturday, January 31, 2009

You Are Among Friends

Please sneak You Are Among Friends (written, performed and produced by Lindsey Markel) onto your friends' ipods, add it to your teen sister's playlist, burn it onto mini-cds and leave it in the park and between the covers of appropriate books in the YA section of the library. Listen to it and know you're loved.

Except maybe not at work. It talks about petting the kitty.


this is the free podcast version of my zine you are among friends, my love letter to every girl. very pro-optimism, pro-masturbation, pro-empowerment. please feel free to listen and share. you can get the paper copy on etsy.

advice on high school boyfriends, credit cards, sex, God, brains, bodies, break-ups, stories, conjuring your own brand of brave beauty and brilliance...

(P.S. The music she uses is fab!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a sad and a strange thing, but it's time and I am changing...

The newest Dar Williams video is so beautiful!

The Axolotl: Nature's Pokemon

I love axolotls, and you should too. Reptiles and amphibians have always had a special place in my heart, but the squishy pink alienness of axolotls makes them especially endearing.


This is Spyyk, a very happy and handsome specimen. You can read all about him at his owner's blog.

(But Rie, you say, what does this have to do with Francesca Lia Block?

The world is a weird and wonderful place, I'd reply, and also Witch Baby would have one for a pet. She would name it Annie Liebowitz.)

These neotenic amphibians are pretty special little guys--not only do they make great pets, but they've helped scientists learn a lot about nerve regeneration. Sadly, due to invasive non-native species and the destruction of their native habitat, they are severely endangered. How can you help? Don't eat Mexican tilapia (they're not native, and eat juvenile axolotls), and spread the word.

Quote Dapper Cadaver's eloquent post, "Scientists are rushing to establish Axolotl sanctuaries, most notably around the Isle of Dolls or La Isla de las Muñecas, so called because it inhabited by an eccentric old man who fishes doll from the lake and hangs them from every part of the island to ward off evil spirits. Could he be the axolotls savior?"

Weird and wonderful. Yes.

If you want a bit of their pink alien squishiness to yourself...


You could bake an axolotl cake...


Or give a home to this cuddly life-size amigarumi specimen by Etsy seller KATZ...


Or this itty-bitty phonestrap buddy from Strapya World.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is that a Doctor in your Pocket?


My bud Lou just came out of felt-and-fabric fueled vision quest with these pocket buddies of all ten Doctor Whos in tow. Each costs a mere tenner--and yes, she's up for commissions. Pick up your own little Four or Eight or Ten to love at her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Go ask Alice when she's three martinis tall: A story about New York


(General Disclaimer: This one's long, kids. You might want to bookmark it and come back, later. Photo by Matthew Byrne)

When you're young and starved for adventure, the thrill of sneaking out takes away from the embarrassment of having to do it when you're in your twenties.


"Hey, you with the flower!" called the DJ.

I wasn't wearing one that night. I swear, you get into one heated argument over the superior academic discipline (library science vs. museum studies, natch) the night you've got a rose in your hair and they never let you forget it. I'd be You With The Flower forever, but at least I wasn't Nose Ring Girl or Straight Best Friend.

Oh, wait. Straight Best Friend was my wingman, hobbling around in a curious way on her too-high heels with a too-short skirt with a Coke in hand. Tonight was relatively uncrowded, but the crowd all seemed to know each other--but not us. No matter how well I could do an unintentional cat's-eye in liquid liner, or how tasteful a conversation piece my jewelry was that evening, I always felt like a wallflower. The difference between her and I was that she didn't care.

"You singing tonight? You shouldn't keep ordering those," the DJ told me, "You keep staring off into space with a weird look, like you're blogging this in your head."

"I'll sing," I said, "I just don't know when."

The setup for Karaoke Night was effortlessly casual but had a certain kind of magic to it, the magic that came from being in New York and young and maybe a little tipsy and in love with music and that pretty young thing over there dressed like Claudia Kishi via H&M.

There was no stage, no booths, and no drunken frat boys--they shoved a microphone in your hand and tossed you out onto the dance floor when your chosen song came up. Just a little terrifying, but the locals seemed to join in whether you liked it or not.

If life were truly a music, right now we'd swing the spotlight to the right and give an all caps entrance to Her.

Wingwoman stopped in the middle of an anecdote. "Oh. You've spotted one. You've got that look."

"Do not!"

"Whenever you see a cute girl, you stop paying attention to me and start quirking your right eyebrow." She turned around. "In the Threadless shirt? Brown hair, blue eyes, dinosaur pendant?"

"Ding ding ding. I'll refill your soda." Wingwoman was a dear for coming at all, but after a couple of years of dealing with crappy boys and their crappy drama, she happily accompanied me to the girl bar, enjoying a dance floor where her bottom remained pinch-free. "I like the dinosaur."

Ms. Threadless ignored the bar and strode over to the the DJ booth, paging through one of the well-loved and much-photocopied songbooks.  She nodded, pointed, and leaned against the wall.

"I love it when they lean," I sighed.

"You love it when they breathe and have a pulse," said my friend, before sitting back to enjoy the last bits of the hostess's spirited rendition of something heartwrenching by Joni Mitchell.

Threadless Girl skipped the line. She was up. Wingwoman rolled her eyes and went back to her soda.

I knew those opening chords.

Ah, now I don't hardly know her
But I think I could love her ...

Well, she was no Blackheart, but she'd do. I feigned disinterest while the Wingwoman craned her head around, trying to figure out if the hostess's girlfriend was her ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

Ah when she comes walking over
Now I've been waitin' to show her
Crimson and clover over and over

Somebody was staring at me. Was I being...mocked? I whirled around, and there she was.

Oh, this wasn't over. What happened next? The only explanation I can give you is it's New York.

I took the spare microphone from a blonde dressed like a Bratz doll (in the most endearing way). The ringing chords and deep harpsichord of my favorite tune kicked in...

I am not your senorita. I am not from your tribe.
In the gard- in the garden, I did no crime.
I am not your senorita. I am not from your tribe.
If you want inside her, well, boy you better make her raspberry swirl...

The tune slowed, grew mellow while the piano jangled in the background. I remembered this one, I thought it was obscene when it first came out and still did now, as she smirked and retorted

Would it be my fault if I could turn you on?
Would I be so bad if I could turn you on?
When I kiss your mouth,
I wanna taste it.
Turn you upside down --
don't wanna waste it.

Oh yeah, hon? You got another thing coming. I got close enough to identify the dinosaur around her neck, (Pleisosaur. Awww, Nessie.), but backed off as the tempo went up and the crowd huddled into the bar and couches, whispering about what would happen next...

You're no rock n' roll fun
like a piece of art
that no one can touch
Your head is always up in the clouds
writing your songs
won't you ever come down?

I looked to Wingwoman for backup. She was watching the hostess canoodle with the little brunette. Guess it was her ex's ex after all. There's one for Facebook.

Wait, where'd that synth come from?

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Because we'll never be wrong together

I was temporarily blinded by nostalgia, but not so much that I protested heartily when I heard a certain Eurodance cover band wind its way into the melody.

"Oh no," I said, covering the mike.

Oh yes. Oh well. It was bound to happen, after all.

Look at me now, will I ever learn?
I don't know how but I suddenly lose control
There's a fire within my soul
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh

The dance floor grew tighter as the whole bar joined in, dancing with vigor if not exactly talent. It was a beautiful thing.

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know,
My my, I could never let you go.

I squirmed my way out of the crowd with a wink for Threadless Girl, collecting Wingwoman on the way. I didn't know her name. It was okay, I'd find out another night. We tripped down Hudson, breathless and still a little incredulous about what had just happened.

"That was fun!" she cried. "But next time, Rie?"


"Next time you get three wishes...try to come up with something better than I wish my life was a musical."



If you made it all the way down here, congratulations and Happy Rabbit Hole Day! This is an untrue post based on true facts, and I hope you got a kick out of reading it, cause I sure did writing it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!

Today we celebrate a country where the reptiles are poisonous, the mammals lay eggs, the money is colorful and has pictures of women on it, and some of the best damned fiction you’ve never read makes its happy home. Oh, Australia, land of the quirky and poetic writers who fill my heart and empty my pocketbook.

Here are some of my favorites

If you’re in the mood for dreamy, quiet, literary novels where secrets, magic, and the beauty of nature abounds, you’ll love the work of Joanne Horniman. Secret Scribbled Notebooks is one of my favorite novels of all time, which I reviewed this past summer. I was thrilled to get my hands on the sequel, My Candlelight Novel, which is every bit as beautiful as the first. A Charm of Powerful Trouble is so sensuous, bold, and gorgeously deep that I barely have words for it, but you can read an older review I did for the Cocoa Book Club.

Wistfully sweet but exuberant are the heroines of Brigid Lowry’s novels—she is so much a more lighthearted Australian Francesca Lia Block. Guitar Highway Rose, Follow the Blue (my review here), and Things You Either Hate or Love are available stateside, while Juicy Writing and Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful (reviewed here) can be imported from your friendly UK discount book dealer.

AfterTheParty Jesse Blackadder has only one novel to her name thus far, but it’s a stunner. After the Party brings together whales, radical faeries, aerialists, a Phoenix Game, a runaway girl and a mystical healer brought together by the strange events after a party at Black Dragon’s house. This one’s import-able from the always delightful Gleebooks.

Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell is a fast-paced, intricate story about friendship, art, and feminism that I reviewed here. I can’t wait to read her next book, and I’m lovin’ her series of articles called Paperback Love.

Strawberry Hills Forever, by zinestress Vanessa Berry is best shfweb described by the author: Within its strawberry-patterned covers are tales of op shops, the Olympia milk bar, being a goth girl, suburban adventures, dressing up in a rabbit suit, old ladies sipping cappucinos, custard tarts, missing the Camperdown velodrome, and the illuminated everyday.
What's more, thanks to
Keg de Souza, it includes a rabbit, a turtle, a rooster and a unicorn. You can import it via Gleebooks, or sit back with lots of Vanessa’s writing online at her delightfully retro website

girlosophy girlosophy2

I can never thank Anthea Paul enough for the Girlosophy series, which has gained worldwide acclaim since I picked up that chunky, colorful first edition in the import section of a bookstore years ago. Her work combines inspiring writing with gorgeous photography of girls, sacred spaces, and all things bright and beautiful. I love them deeply. Real Girls Eat is the first of many that I’ve reviewed, and you can preview the entire series on GoogleBooks and purchase at or your local indie bookstore:

5144EPJ84YL._SL500_AA240_ Girlosophy: A Soul Survival Kit

Girlosophy 2: The Love Survival Kit

Girlosophy: The Oracle

Girolosphy: The Breakup Survival Kit

Girlosophy: Real Girls Eat

Girlosophy: Real Girls’ Stories1865089060.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_

My Girlosophy: How to Write Your Own Life

The Girlo Travel Survival Kit

Do you have a favorite writer from the antipodes? Is there a title I’m missing and should read post-haste? Comment away!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"There are as many ways to live as there are people in this world, and each one deserves a closer look"

At about 3:48 into this video is one of my favorite scenes in the history of ever, when Harriet, Sport, and Janie visit a magical art garden. (Click here to see it in high quality!) I wish I could tell you more about the actual venue, but all I know is that it's somewhere in Toronto. where the movie was filmed. Do any of you awesome readers know more about it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Handmade Toy Alliance

You awesome readers may not know that I have three little cousins that I adore to bits and pieces and love to play with and read to and, especially, shop for.

Did you know that on February 10th, some of their favorite things will be contraband?

Like this Cupcake Bug Tea Party by Dream a Little?


And this Superhero Cape by Her Flying Horses?


And these painfully cute pretend canned foods from Magic Cabin?

From the Handmade Toy Alliance website:
The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

This is serious news, awesome readers. This means many small manufacturers and handicrafters will be driven out of business by rising costs--not to mention what will happen to the children's book industry, as stated in this open letter by Random House:

If the CPSIA is applied to paper-based books, as indicated in the advisory opinion of the CPSC General Counsel, children's book publishers, manufacturers and distributors will be confronted with several nightmarish scenarios. All existing paper-based children's books such as The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon and Harry Potter as well as thousands of textbook titles—tens of millions of books—currently on the shelves of our nation's classrooms, public and school libraries, bookstores and in warehouses may simply be removed and destroyed because they cannot feasibly be tested to assure compliance with these unfounded toxicity concerns. All new paper-based books—not plastic toys in the shape of books—will be needlessly subjected to expensive and time-consuming testing that will overwhelm the few laboratories accredited for testing of actual children's toys and other children's products potentially presenting real threats of lead toxicity.

Can you imagine? If this act is carried to its fullest potential, I will have to destroy the entire library--2oo0 well-loved volumes--at the school library where I work. This is madness, awesome readers, and I was all ready to chain myself to the Central Children's Room, before I remembered that it's closed for renovations (another rant for another time).

If you love the vibrant, creative world of handmade children's toys and clothes and want to see these crafters thrive, please spread the word. Save the kids in your life from a childhood of overhyped, overbranded plastic crap!

You can read more at CPSIA Central, National Bankruptcy Day, and Fashion Incubator.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Down the Rabbit Hole Day, January 27th


Photo by Nimir-Ra

January 27th is the birthday of Lewis Carrol, author of ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Alice fell down a rabbit hole into a place where everything had changed and none of the rules could be counted on to apply anymore. I say, let's do the same: January 27th, 2005 should be the First Annual LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day. When you post on that Thursday, instead of the normal daily life and work and news and politics, write about the strange new world you have found yourself in for the day, with its strange new life and work and news and politics. Are your pets talking back at you now? Has your child suddenly grown to full adulthood? Does everyone at work think you're someone else now? Did Bush step down from the White House to become a pro-circuit tap-dancer? Did Zoroastrian missionaries show up on your doorstep with literature in 3-D? Have you been placed under house arrest by bizarre insectoid women wielding clubs made of lunchmeat?
Let's have a day where nobody's life makes sense anymore, where any random LJ you click on will bring you some strange new tale.

Let's all fall down the Rabbit Hole for 24 hours and see what's there. It will be beautiful.

This was written 4 years ago, on the First Annual Livejournal Rabbit Hole Day. Now bloggers on all platforms are invited to join the madness!

So the question remains--will you won't you will you won't you will you won't you join the dance?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cretaceous Midsummer Ball, by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire has honored me by choosing my prompt in a recent round of Iron Poet!

(You may know her better for the list of 100 Surreal Things That Have Happened to Me, but she's also a filker and poet and her novel Rosemary and Rue is coming out this fall. I'm so excited!)

From the prompt "Velociraptor's Midsummer Ball" came "The Cretaceous Midsummer Ball," which is completely hysterical and terribly poignant all at once. Thanks, Seanan!

Well the Pteranodons carried engraved invitations
To the dominant vertebrates of the Cretaceous,
The ones who belonged to the class Sauropsida,
As the continents started to slowly divide-a.

"Come quickly," it said, "for Pangaea is done,
And we're nearing the end of our time in the sun,
So theropods, sauropods, ornithischians all --
Come to the Cretaceous Midsummer Ball."

The Albertosaurus, whose range was quite small,
Was svelte for his type, only nine meters tall,
But he danced with T-Rex and proud Tarbosaurs,
These tyrannosaurids who stalked days of yore.

Read the rest here!

Photo by LesbianBurrito (<3!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Till Human Voices Wake Us: The Novellas of Roxanne M. Carter

For years, Roxanne Carter's novellas have enchanted me. In her worlds, deadly mermaids slink in the sea and your unconscious, little girls float to the sky, statues bleed while women dine on flowers, and childlike empresses don costume jewelry to walk in the rain, and everyone one of them will break your heart, then make it whole again. They can be read in their entirety on her website.


Photo by SixyBeast

The Tea Party

When the dreams come for you, will you be ready?

the dream house is surrounded by a garden overgrown with milkweed and rosemary. it has picture windows that the girls pose in, sipping from their teacups, flirting their eyes heavy with false eyelashes for false butterfly kisses. there is a trampoline in the backyard with a few broken springs and an orange tree, branches weighed down, bowing to the ground. aurora picks oranges and juggles them, the bright orbs spinning like triple suns in a science fiction novel. in the dream they seduce one another, and slowly they are transformed by their love and take on shapes that betray them: aurora an underground stream of blood, veronique a golden fish caught in a bowl, and linette becomes a passionate flower.


Photo by Katie Jane Parker


A novella of love lost and found in the sea

I wait for things unknown, knowing only that she is next to me. That giddy waves lap and lick our skin until we are raw with salt and sunlight. Kneeling in the sand, I close my eyes as the ocean hurdles towards me, engulfing me, the sand sifting through my hair, the sea kissing at my mouth until it is bruised and swollen. Aurelia is laughing and dancing away from the tide, her bright feet flashing along the foam as it slides back out into the Pacific. I push snarled tendrils of hair away from my face and grin at her silhouette. Her eyeliner is leaking down her cheeks, streaking like tears, but oh how she laughs and sings, her voice pushing against the waves. Digging my fingers deep into the sand, I lay with my body pressed to the earth and let the ocean move me to its ancient rhythms.

I go everywhere with Aurelia. Anywhere. We follow each other, hanging on to the threads that drift from our tattered skirts. She slides through the city unseen, like a thief or a virus with strangely seductive beauty. Her fingernails stained black from dying her hair. Her transparent skin. Her pale eyes and her body, sudden like a lightening bolt. While everyone seems to notice her, nobody sees her. We can go anywhere and not be disturbed. Yet, people we don't even recognize know our names. They can call me Cassandra, but they don't know who I am, and they never will. Not like she knows, not like I know her. No one can come between us. I am invisible, with an invisible mystery girl.


I have seen mermaids born like sea kelp, growing up from the sludge of the sea floor, faces turned up towards the unseen sky like flowers. Limbs waving like flags in the current. Pretty maidens all in a row, sing willow, willow, willow. They sway like ballerinas, the esprit de corps, slim necks extended, catching plankton in their crying mouths so screamingly well. Weeping at the embrace of the cold, dark and lonely sea. That is how we learn our songs.

The Mystery of Meteors

minettalanebyianqui Photo by Ianqui

For New York and my country...

The Mystery of Meteors

by Eleanor Lerman

I am out before dawn, marching a small dog through a meager park 
Boulevards angle away, newspapers fly around like blind white birds
Two days in a row I have not seen the meteors
though the radio news says they are overhead
Leonid's brimstones are barred by clouds; I cannot read
the signs in heaven, I cannot see night rendered into fire

And yet I do believe a net of glitter is above me
You would not think I still knew these things:
I get on the train, I buy the food, I sweep, discuss,
consider gloves or boots, and in the summer,
open windows, find beads to string with pearls
You would not think that I had survived
anything but the life you see me living now

In the darkness, the dog stops and sniffs the air
She has been alone, she has known danger,
and so now she watches for it always
and I agree, with the conviction of my mistakes.
But in the second part of my life, slowly, slowly,
I begin to counsel bravery. Slowly, slowly,
I begin to feel the planets turning, and I am turning
toward the crackling shower of their sparks

These are the mysteries I could not approach when I was younger:
the boulevards, the meteors, the deep desires that split the sky
Walking down the paths of the cold park
I remember myself, the one who can wait out anything
So I caution the dog to go silently, to bear with me
the burden of knowing what spins on and on above our heads

For this is our reward:Come Armageddon, come fire or flood,
come love, not love, millennia of portents--
there is a future in which the dog and I are laughing
Born into it, the mystery, I know we will be saved

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And if I die today I'll be the happy phantom...

From Gala Darling:

Post a photo of yourself looking REALLY, deliriously happy...!

Why not?

And who else had braces and still covers their mouth when they laugh?

Me and Camera 014

Me and Camera 025

This is from a convo I'm having with an LJ friend, reminiscing about wisdom from my late mother (such as "I don't care who you like, Rie, just stop whining about it").

Dr. X will build a creature...

Remember the post where I cast the remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Here's a hot cover of "Science Fiction Double Feature" by the Dresden Dolls. Does Amanda have the most swoonworthy voice or what?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Televisionary Oracle by Rob Brezsny

The is possibly the weirdest book you will ever read.televisionary

I mean that in the best of ways.

The Televisionary Oracle is an epic love story between an avatar of the goddess and an aging rock star. It's a how-to manual for saving the world with peace, love, sex, and television. It's a guide to picking up earth-loving magic-seeking chicks, and a meditation on myths, dreamscapes, soulmates, and popsicles.

Rapunzel Blavatsky is the goddess avatar of a secret worldwide feminist society who've been joylessly worshipping the Sacred Blood since the dawn of time. Rockstar just wants another gig to go well when he trips over Rapunzel's lavender Converse, catching her in an act of artistic disobedience. He is instantly smitten, but Rapunzel won't have any of it, telling him he must join her quest to unite the sacred masculine and feminine and kill the apocalypse before he can woo her. His adventures are interspersed with Rapunzel's history as a mystery cult's foundling, child avatar, and rebel runaway, and sacred performance artist. Each narrative is punctuated with dispatches from the Televisionary Oracle itself, tiny bursts of wisdom and funky love notes from the universe.

Rob Brezsny's writing is like tripping into a hallucinogenic Dada wonderland. It's grotesque, provocative, and tenderly passionate, full of surrealist imagery from a deranged but loving goddess's childhood: magical salamanders, holy brassieres, guerilla spiritual carousing and shamanic rock shows.

When my life with Jumbler got underway, I took my apostasy one step further. Beginning on that first night in the Villa Inn in San Rafael, high on pranks and tears and erotic thrills, the two of us, a loving couple, found a way to pull off a feat which as far as I knew no two flesh-and-blood magicians had ever done before: fly away together on a shamanic journey.

As the light from Jumbler's eyes caressed the light from mine, as our hot sweet breaths mingled in each other's lungs, as our almost unbearable pleasure mutated our brain chemistry out of its habitual groove, we disappeared into a gossamer net of shimmering light whose warp was gold and woof was silver. It collapsed gently around us, turning into a soothing, slow-motion tornado that soared and fluttered and finally set us down, many sighs later, in a dreamy landscape that seemed perfectly real. I never once lost sight of Jumbler even though the whole world changed around us.

We found ourselves lying on a grassy hill on a bright day with a very big sun directly overhead. There was an exuberant blend of smells in the air: spearmint, baking cake, varnish, brewing coffee. We were wearing the same clothes we had on back in the tear-stained bed.

"Doesn't this place look like a cemetery to you?" she asked with a matter-of-fact curiosity that made me laugh. How could she be so poised after a wild ride like we just had?

"It's rather festive for a cemetery," I said, trying to match her nonchalance. "Look at the prayer flags hanging from the trees. And the flower-bedecked floats over there. As if there's been a parade. Plus I smell all sorts of delicious aromas."

"Check out the women in their underwear dancing around the maypole," Jumbler said. "That's the wackiest lingerie I've ever seen. My favorite is the two floral shower caps attached to make a poofy bra."

"Do you mind if I ask you a stupid question?" I said.

"They're my favorite kind," she replied.

"Where are we?"

This isn't a story for everyone; The Televisionary Oracle is earthy, frank, and more than a little blasphemous, but with the best intentions. It's a wake-up call, feast for the extrasenses, and community action guide for a more peaceful and playful future.

*Like what you've read so far? The entire text of The Televisionary Oracle is available to read on Brezsny's website

*PopMatters review, alongside the companion album Give Too Much

*Free Will Astrology is the only horoscope I ever read. He's scarily prescient.

pronoia250x324 *Want more of Rob Brezsny's rowdy bliss? Pronoia is the Antidote to Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings is a collection of his best essays on life, metaphysic, truth, beauty, and strange miracles. You can read a generous chunk of it here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

30 Days to Getting Over the Dork You Used to Call Your Boyfriend: A Heartbreak Handbook by Clea Hantman


Is it the season of breakups?

More often than not, I've been counseling friends with broken hearts. No wonder so many made New Year's vows to seek another soulmate.

I'd also like to take a moment, for any friend-of-a-friends who are reading this, to mention that my ex is not a dork. My ex is a sweetheart.

Except when it comes to They Might Be Giants. Then she's a dork. :)

Well, awesome readers, dry your eyes and pick up the ILL form, cause Clea Hantman--aka Super Clea of LSL's much-touted Hey Day!--is here with 30 Days to Getting Over the Dork You Used to Call Your Boyfriend: A Heartbreak Handbook.

This tiny but powerful title promises that the sun will shine again, the pain will end, and you'll be singing a new song , Chiquitita. However, no wallowing is allowed. Each day has a new bit of hard-won advice and mission to get you moving and discovering bits of yourself, topped with a haiku and served with a song . Following the five stages of grieving, Clea starts you off writing the saga of your lost love. After you've committed it to memory, you're instructed to tear it into itty bitty pieces and toss it over your head. It's a slightly messy celebration of new things to come! What fun!

When you hit the anger chapter, you'll be doing yoga and turning that nasty break-up letter into kistchy paper jewelry. Bargaining for her love? Get your mind off the torrid past by learning to flirt, or making your own little "Love is..." posters to stick about. Depressed? Feng Shui your room, remake your wardrobe, and script your life as a movie starring you. Accepted that she's hit the road? Research your passions, chart a world tour-de-force, and then reward yourself for the last 30 days of growth and:

Do something silly and ridiculous and flirtatiously fun with your friends. Like, throw a congratulatory party with lots of meaningless pop songs and yummy snacks...Or mark this day by having you and your friends communicate only through song lyrics!...Or maybe you and your friends can hold an all-girl poker tournament at your house, and instead of money, you play with gummy bears...Or you could gather the girlies together to create a magazine about something or someone you love. And you can do it in one crazy, fun-filled night...Or you and your friends could all plant little flower gardens in your bike baskets and then go on a parade all around the neighborhood and all around town. Yes, it's absurd, and yes, it's silly, but that's the point.

By rewarding yourself with a fun activity, you're rewarding yourself with a rousing good memory, a wonderfully delicious memory. And like I've said before, the good feeling you get from that memory is something you can return to again and again.

This is a fantastically dynamic guide to duct-taping your heart back together, following warm advice with proactive activities to get you back into gear. You may not be totally over that dork, but you'll be well on your way to a happier, well-rounded existence. Fun, portable, cheap and full of good spirit, I totally recommend 30 Days to Getting Over the Dork... to all the newly-singletons who need a kick in the proverbial bottom.

*Clea Hantman blogs at SuperClea and Clea's Corner

*When your month is up, check out Holi-Dazed, a free book about weird holidays in the zine-y style of the much loved Hey, Day! I have the whole thing from the original website and adore it to bits.

*The Getting Over the Dork blog follows up on Clea's love of indie music, posting tracks to sigh to and scores for your moment of revelation that hey, you're just not into her (or him) either


*30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs: A Friendship Field Guide is out on April 14. Sweet!

Life is just more fun with friends. And who doesn’t want a sidekick in case there’s ever a need to fight crime or solve a mystery? Every girl needs at least one wonderful pal, and when you harness the power of friendship, life’s possibilities can be limitless. It might sound like kid’s stuff, but the support of a girlfriend can last a lifetime. Long after the boys have come and gone, a true blue girlfriend will still be by your side.
But like it or not, friendships take work, plain and simple. And that’s where 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs comes in—a field guide to friendship that will help you learn the basics of meeting new friends and keeping the old.

* founder Bonnie Burton's list of things to do to repair a broken heart makes for good extracurriculars during your 30 days.

*Still stuck? Read Ask Nicole for advice about love, life, and everything in between, and if you're brave, submit your own query

The Costume Suitcase


Photo from FairyLove, cause I can't get over how awesome they are and because I've fallen desperately in love with their Rainbow Bustle Tutu

Every girl should have a costume suitcase. "What?" you say. A costume suitcase. It's an old suitcase, maybe from a thrift store, maybe from your parents' basement, maybe from the trash pule, but it's a suitcase and it's old. And then when you see groovy accessories that you must have but, face it, you won't wear everyday, you plop them in your suitcase. The reason this is a fabulous idea (as if it needs explaining) is that say one day you're bored and decide to just put all your most flamboyant, fabulous artifacts on to dazzle the world with your grooviness.

Well, this way, all you have to do is grab your costume suitcase and dive in. Or say you are having a party and it needs some life. Break out the suitcase and make everyone partake of something fabulous. Make Jeff wear the feather boa and Marie [<3!] wear the butterfly wings and Marcel wear all the belts AND the beaded mask.

~from Hey Day! Super-Amazing, Funk-da-Crazing, Ultra-Glazing Things to Do, Make, and Ponder Every Day of the Year by Super Clea and Keva Marie

Seeking sartorial inspiration from your reads? Try these!

freakshow Freak Show by James St. James

Tonight my hair will be pink and my skin will be blue. There will be feathers on my ace and ruby rhinestones on my lips. I will be swathed in a flowing cloak of iridescent sequins. My eyelashes will be so long and heavy that they will obstruct my vision. I will be forced to let a nearly naked slave boy carry me around...



Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan

He takes one look at my thick legs in their fishnets and my skirt I made out of Mylar birthday balloons and my tank top that barely contains my ginormous boobs and finally the eyeliner I cake over my eyes because it makes me look dangerous...



fruits Fruits and Fresh Fruits by Shoichi Aoiki









Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

Amanda was wearing a little shift of off-white the neckline of which she had sewn peacock feathers and beads of black glass. It was a thin textile and she wore no bra. The sun warmed her chest like a Vaporub.



born-confused Born Confused, by Tanuja Desai Hidier

...I had watched her before my dresser mirror as her lips deepened to garnet. Zoomed to the eyes as she used wet violet liner to pull off a perfect imitation of Kavita's Cleopatra look and then, with surgical steadiness, toothpick, and cosmetic glue, applied tiny drugstore gems to the tips of the lashes. Snapped just the strands as she drew the scintillating choker in place, worked the hair-clip earrings from lobes to coruscating cornrows, adjusted rakhis into armlets...

And you, awesome readers? What reads give you sartorial satisfaction?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hex and the City, Part Two

While perusing the racks at my friend's Borders in Florida, I came upon a most interesting tome:


Let's face it: You know what you want, but somehow you're just not getting it. What you may not realize is that you control your life--and Click! shows you how.

Based on the idea that what you give is what you get, Click! explains how to figure out what you really want; how to focus on your goals using positive energy; and, ultimately, how to achieve those goals.

By creating more positive energy every day, you can stop waiting for good things to happen and make them happen. In fact, you're about to click send on a whole new kind of E-vite to the universe--and finally get the mail you've been hoping for!

Yep. It's the Law of Attraction for teens. Except instead of planting a money tree, you E-Mail the universe. For all I would have snarked in the past, the authors appear really well-intentioned, and if there's anything the world needs right now it's positive energy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fairy Love!

My dearest real-life friends have a new chorus, and it's "Oh Rie, your poor butch..."

I'm a happy bachelorette at the moment, but they already sympathize with the strapping young thing who may hold my books, help me over puddles, and warm my heart (and feet) in the future. On the other hand, I know that if I can't bring a lass for brunch at Alice's Tea Cup with a side trip to look at tiny puppies without worrying that her balls will fall off, she's not worth my while.

The answer, by the by, to "How many puppies fit in a tote bag?" is "1 chow chow, 2 french bulldogs, 3 shih tzus and 4 yorkies," or exactly what Heather and I saw in the window.


Last week I was hopping around the Glamourbomb community archives when I spotted an old beloved haunt: FairyLove.


All photos are from the FairyLove website

Long story short, a couple of crazy kids decided to have a go selling wings and rainbow things at music festivals, and soon expanded into a fae-themed B&B in a 15th century country house.

rainbow-four-poster-bed_000 They've got workshops on Freeing Your Fairy and bachelorette parties (check out the photos, they're fantastic!) where you dress up and take photos and scare the villagers and you can have tea and shop for wings and things and oh, it just seems wonderful all around.



I want my honeymoon there. Come on, let's say it all together.

"Oh Rie, your poor butch."

Now, what if you're a postcollegiate like the blogmistress who has to create her own fun instead of chasing it across the Atlantic? No worries--that's what an Leaving Shangri-L.A. and your friendly local library are for!

15260652 Seeking fairy attire? Haunt sales racks and thrift shops for last season's gauzy clubwear and hippie skirts, and then make them over with Just For the Frill of It or the 99 Ways series.  The best wing tutorials are on the web--you can watch Emilie Autumn make her own set, or go with this illustrated step-by-step guide at Instructables.

windowslivewritermermaidcookbook-1365304174-mermaid-cookbook3 Most fae lore says to never eat or drink what they may offer, but your guests will probably want a nosh. The Fairy, Princess, and Mermaid Cookbooks are the cutest things I have seen in ever and I want all three. You could send your snacks down the rabbit hole with Tiny Treats, or go uber-naturale with Ani's Raw Food Kitchen.

C_1416937854 If you're not quite brave enough to face the locals after you're all kitted out, stay in with a movie, crafts, and a sober friend with a digital camera. The Dark Crystal/Labyrinth/Mirrormask trilogy is classic, with the bonus of being progressively odder as the night goes on. The newest Midsummer Night's Dream is visually stunning; even though it's been panned, it's still one of my favorites. Craftwise? Glamourbombers took guerilla art into their own hands to spread wonder and delight, but your tastes may be a bit more profane.  Bead and bake with the jewelry and matching recipes in Beadalicious, or make yourself paper doll curtains or mirror mosaic with The Big-Ass Book of Crafts (I love saying that.)

Once you're suitably sugared up and seeking extra excitement, try the following:

*Make giant bubbles! Preferably at night so the neighbors think you're crazy

*Play 1000 Blank White Cards

*Go all arty-woowoo, pick a SARK poster and do everything on it or pick a goddess, dress up in her guilded clobber and have  a suitably whirly ritual. Think YaYas, without the mind-altering substances.

*Weave yourself a flower wreath and pretend you're in a Sofia Coppola film

*Sneak out to go Bookcrossing or create a Drop Spot

*Raid the kitchen for things to slather on your face, feet, and what have you. I swear by sugar and water on blemishes, but don't be like me--rinse it off before you leave the house.

*Unearth that stash of makeup you never use and make yourself up like your mythical archtype--elfSTRUCK's videos will show you how

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hello! I return from the Kingdom!

While I reorient myself with the chilly NYC climate, please enjoy this ridethrough video of the fantastically surreal It's a Small World, which was the first thing my friends and I visited (which I begged to return to--we ran out of time, but will be going back first thing when we make our next visit).

This ride was designed by Mary Blair, current darling of the retro art fan set.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I'm off to visit a dear friend in Florida for the weekend! I'll be back on Sunday afternoon with a story and a review and whatever else has followed me home from the Sunshine State.

By the by...

Since I've read Vanessa Valencia's post on the subject, I wanted to make it clear that whatever photos and drawings I publish on this blog are Creative Commons-Attribution/NonCommercial Generic 2.5 licensed. You can take them and remix them however you'd like, but I'll ask kindly that you 1. credit me and 2. do not use my art for commercial work.

It's important to always respect the wishes of the individual artists, and I wish Vanessa and her colleagues luck with solving this mess.

Take care! I'll see you on Sunday!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Wonder Book

Happy New Year!

If your friends and relatives are anything like mine, I bet you were gifted with pretty notebooks just like the billions of pretty notebooks you've got hanging around your room. Here's one way to kick-start the one that's climbed to the top of the pile and cried "Write in me! Make something pretty and meaningful!"



Mythologist Joseph Campbell described sacred space as a place where wonder can be revealed. The form sacred space can take is varied: a garden, poem, painting, room, altar, shelf, a circular bench underneath an old apple tree, and of course a book. And that is how I created what I call the Wonder Book.

...While there are many books on personal mythology, the most sensuous way to begin your search is with a picture. Somewhere, in an art book, on a gallery wall, or in a box of old photographs at an antique stall, there's an image that will stop you cold. This is your first clue. To find it, you'll have to take a delightful detour to libraries, museums, or flea markets. By all means seek out places you've never been before, but don't discount what's nearby either...

What I would like you to do is find a large, beautiful blank book that speaks to your senses. (Mine is a peach colored journal with long leather ties that wrap around.) Everything about your Wonder Book should appeal: the size, the cover's texture, the color and weight of the paper. Search until you find one that thrills you with its look.

Books are living presences and reflect on every page and in between their lines the love that has gone into their creation. This should be the same visceral experience you have with your own intimate journal. Feeling magnetically drawn to your own Wonder Book is part of a romantic mystery that will slowly unfold before you eyes.

After you have found both your mythical image and your book, set aside a time when you can be alone. Light some candles, listen to some exquisite music and sip something festive. Glue your image on a page in the beginning of your book. Gaze upon it reflectively. That's all for now. Both you and your image have traveled far to find each other...look at your picture, and ask it to begin to tell you a story. It will, and as it does, write that story in your Wonder Book. As your story progresses, you'll discover (as I have) that you'll want more pictures to illustrate the tale. Keep searching and they will come to you.


“There is for every man and woman, some one scene, some one adventure, some one picture that is the image of our secret life,” W. B. Yeats tells us. “For wisdom first speaks in images and this one image, if we should brood over it our whole life long, would lead our whole life long, would lead our souls disentangled from unmeaning circumstances…into that far household where the undying gods await all whose souls have become as simple as flames.”

There will be many wonderful revelations in the days, weeks, and months ahead as you are drawn deeper into the mystery of your personal myth. But for now, simply be grateful that you are being gently lead into the luminous future, one reflective glance, one heartfelt chapter, at a time, of the one story worth telling. Yours.

9780743218771 Selections from "Mythical Women" and "The One Story Worth Telling," from Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Photos from "Into the Woods: A Fairy-Themed Birthday" from Cookie magazine. Follow the bouncing link for more gorgeous photos!

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