Friday, May 25, 2012

Randomness

Lately I've really been into watching vlogs on YouTube. I still love reading blogs, but now I've added watching gothy vlogs to my ways of killing extra time. I'm thinking of starting one myself, as it's been inspiring watching so many great ladies talk about the subculture. The first person I started following on youtube was Adora Batbrat's vlog. She updates rather randomly and infrequently, which makes for a nice surprise when she does add a new one. I like the tutorials where she does her goth crafts, and the little insights into her daily life.
Watch her latest video

Also in the theme of dark videos. On May 22, World Goth day, a CBC national news program called The Hour ran a segment on it, and in the segment appeared an image of Ms. Kitty, author of the Sophistique
Noir blog.
Watch here.

Finally in more randomness, I planted some flowers this week. It's my first foray into gardening, so I kept it simple with these awesome black pansies.






Ahh.... nothing says spring like black flowers.



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Friday, May 18, 2012

Fight Like A Girl -18th and 19th Century Style

During the 18th and 19th centuries (and a good part of the 20th) women were viewed as "the fairer sex", delicate, sensitive and weak. It was thought that women needed protection from the rougher side of life and were less passionate and more restrained then men.
Flying in the face of these stereotypes were the fighting women of the Georgian and early Victorian eras. During the 18th century fighting was very popular as entertainment and for settling scores. While the majority were men taking on each other, there were female combatants or pugilists.



The most famous was Elizabeth Stokes (pictured above). She was being advertised in London papers in 1722, as Lady Bare-knuckles, fighting a woman named Hannah Hyfield for a prize of 3 guineas.
"I, Elizabeth Wilkinson (her maiden name) of Clerkenwell, having had some words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring satisfaction, do invite her to meet me upon the stage, and box me for three guineas; each woman holding half-a-crown in her hand, and the first woman that drops the money to lose the battle." She beat her soundly apparently.
Six years later they had a rematch and Elizabeth triumphed again.



The majority of female fighters were not as celebrated. Most were working class women or prostutes looking to make a little extra money, or ladies looking to settle a score. Some fought for money, while others for clothing, men or gin. Irish women in particular were promoted as being especially tough.
Women's fighting included scratching and hair-pulling along with the usual punching. The combatants, would often strip to the waist and tie their hair up on their head for the fight.
In a society where women were encouraged to be modest and restrained, the sight of two half naked (auto correct wrote "baked" here) ladies scrapping would of been titillating for the mostly male audience. The fights could get very bloody and vicious with all the clawing and punching.



It wasn't only lower class women that fought, as there were some reports of upper class women getting involved in boxing. In particular, Lady Barrymore, the wife of the 7th Earl Barrymore, boxed for fitness and to amuse her husband.



In 1867 the Marquis of Queensberry rules for boxing began to be adopted. This brought in boxing gloves, rules for hitting and regulations for the size of the ring. This also promoted boxing as a gentleman's sport. With this the era of the prize fist fight began to wain as did the fist fighting girls.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fight Light A Girl

So as usual I'm the late to the game when it comes to music. I am eagerly awaiting the new Emilie Autumn album Fight Like A Girl, only to find out that the single for the title song was released a month ago. Sigh. Always the last to know.



I of course downloaded it. I'm enjoying the song itself, but am unsure how I feel about the B side track Time For Tea. Maybe it will grow on me with a few more listens.
Listen here.

I heard a rumor the full length album will be released in June or July. Hopefully with her touring for it already, it will come out soon.
What are your thoughts on the new material?
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Victorain Bicycling

It's almost the May long weekend here in Canada, which some consider to be the start of the summer. The weather is getting so nice, I actually went outside without a jacket today! So my thoughts are turning to outdoor activities for the season. The BF suggested getting a bike so we could enjoy the nearby parks and trails. This got me thinking about the history of a contraption we tend to take for granted.




The forerunner of the bicycle was the draisine or velocipede. Patented in 1818 by a German, Baron Karl Von Drais, it was the first commercial two wheeled self propelled machine. One would straddle it while walking along. Nicknamed the "hobby horse" or the "dandy horse" it was a fad for upper class gentleman. Its popularity faded due to some cities restricting their use because of increasing accidents involving these new contraptions.



(This pic is so inexplicable. Why is there a UFO and a cow in the upper left corner?)

From the 1820s through to the 1850s three wheeled and four wheeled machines became popular on the market. These tricycles and quadracycles were more stable and were propelled by pedals or hand cranks. They were heavy though, and could be difficult to move due to friction.



In 1863 a French design for a two wheel bicycle with pedals connected to the front wheel came out. It became popular in the late 1860's. First made out of wood, it later was built out of metal, including the wheel. This made it lighter and easier to mass produce. It did earn the name "boneshaker" though, as the metal wheels on cobblestone did not make for a comfortable ride.



This lead to the development of the penny-farthing. The larger front wheel design made riding more comfortable, but it was fairly dangerous. If one got going at a good speed, and hit a rock or bump in the road, riders would topple forward, head first, often getting their legs caught in the handle bars. It was from these accidents that the phrase "taking a header" comes from. The most common injury was broken wrists, though it also lead to some . deaths. The penny-farthing was most often rode by young men due to their dangerousness. Women and older men tended to stick to the tri and quadracycle models.



A breakthrough came in the 1880s with the invention of the safety bicycle. This new model had a chain connected from the pedals, to the rear wheel of the bicycle, making cycling safer by limiting it's speed. The addition of rubber tires also made the ride more comfortable. These new bicycles became extremely popular, and were mass produced making them an affordable mode of transportation for the masses.



A woman in a bicycling outfit.

These affordable and safe bicycles had an impact on the women's movement. They could now travel about by themselves cheaply and easily. It also lead to a movement for more "rational" women's wear, and the decline of full skirts and tight corsetry. Women cycling was seen as a political statement and became synonymous with the suffragette movement. Susan B Anthony praised the bicycle for it's emancipating effect.
Not everyone liked this new breed of bicycling woman. In 1897 some Cambridge University male students burned an effigy of a bicycling woman, to protest their admission as full members. Others were shocked by the bloomers these women wore. How dare women show they actually had legs!



Oh my! Scandalous! Ankles and calves!

So whenever I get my bicycle this summer, I will cycle with pride, enjoying my freedom to wear what I like while propelling my university degreed self on two wheels.

What are your thoughts on cycling?
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Heart of Faerie Oracle

This week I treated myself to a new deck of cards, something I haven't done in a while. I love collecting tarot and various oracle decks, and am always on the look out for ones that are new and unique.



On Tuesday I went for a dentist appointment, and afterwards I rewarded myself by going to the nearby bookstore. It was there that I saw this deck. I love Brian Froud's other Faerie books and also have his original Faerie Deck. I thought I would check this one out as well.
The deck has 68 cards in all and is decided into several groupings.
- Faerie Queens
- Queen's Consorts
- Archetypes
- Sprites
- Ladies
- the Journey
There are also three cards that are unnamed and are unmentioned in the book. Very mysterious!










I have only just started using it for readings. I actually took it to my friend's for our Beltane celebrations and we read for each other. It seemed appropriate reading faerie cards for the spring season. So far it's been accurate and I'm enjoying using the beautiful cards.


The back of the card design




What are your thoughts on oracle decks?

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