Thursday, May 20, 2010

The (Not So) Great Outdoors

The Apology Department here at Chintz of Darkness humbly begs your pardon, dear readers, for our neglectful posting practices this month. Perhaps there have been several mishaps, some minor blood loss and a hectic work schedule or maybe a shirking of responsibilities…NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW. But now that we are back we must clearly state two things in advance: 1) We DO indeed leave the comforts of our Obsidian Halls on occasion and DO NOT (despite the persistent rumors) spend all of our time lounging around on velvet pillows under ornately tented ceilings conferring with our collection of jeweled skulls…well, not all of our time anyway… 2) We DO NOT have anything whatsoever against outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and picnics as long as they are done inside in the comfort of one’s home…HA!

Now the reason for this clarification is simply that we can smell the scent of impending doom in the air (oh, wait, that is just our neighbor’s barbeque…) no, the dreaded smell is the first whiff of summer that will inevitably inspire our friends and relatives to start planning a torturous roster of outdoor activities that we must attempt to dodge like a basketful of rabid kittens. This year we have decided once and for all that if anyone suggests a camping trip they will need to provide an inflatable Victorian style tent complete with stained glass windows, hardwood floors and turret. Not to mention a FREAKING TOILET. As for the camp ground, let’s just say the farthest that we are willing to trek into the wilderness is the back parking lot of our apartment building, thank you very much.

It seems that we are blessed (as in cursed) to live in the part of the county were people revere nature. And we do not mean “revere” as in “respectful admiration” but as in JUST PLAIN EMBARRASSING. Case in point, Pemco Insurance enjoys humiliating our region on a daily basis by airing commercials pointing out that we are “a little bit different” with our rabid recycling ladies, our socks with sandals guys and the dudes that make chainsaw sculptures out in the woods. Thus it follows to reason that people embrace (quite literally) the outdoors. We swear to Darkness that one cannot walk five feet without bumping into someone hugging a tree or tripping over a dreadlock encrusted hippy trying to embody a wolf spirit, and that is right here IN THE CITY LIMITS. Now do not get us wrong, we appreciate nature just as much as anyone else. In fact we find nature rather tasty when chopped up in a delicious salad...


Speaking of salad, the cool cooking shows on TV (that we find ourselves hopelessly addicted to…) make outdoor dining look like a fabulous soiree to be enjoyed by all. These evil shows plant otherworldly visions of a vast outdoor kitchen arranged in graceful tiers with a spatula and a crock of cilantro at every turn (damn you Rick Bayless and your sexy kitchen, too!) They feature laughing guest drifting through the gauzy sun drench yard, gracefully balancing a plate of delectable morsels and a shimming glass of wine. HA! What they do not show you is the dark side of garden parties. Flocks of terradactyl sized wasps, excrement drenched flies and of course the race of demons that live in potato salad. Do not even get us starting on the armies of ants that would use your fishnet stocking as a ladder if given half a chance. Mark our words, dear readers, TV chefs are LIARS AND SCOUNDRELS who retreat to the safety of the indoors as soon as the cameras stop rolling…

Now perhaps we would be more open to the great outdoors if things were a little more like a lovely Gustave Moreau painting where one could lounge around half naked in a mystic courtyard surrounded by hazy shrubbery while an attendant helps one put on a collection of enchanted jewels…hmm…

You got your sugar
You got your spice
You got a kitten
Now isn't that nice
You just can't wait for a picnic in Spring
I just get nauseous
When I think of those things

(“Give It Up” by Alice Cooper)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Junk in Our Trunk

It seems as though the time has come to pass, dear readers, when Seraph + Splendor must pay a visit to a dubious and shifty acquaintance referred to only as “THE UNDERTAKER”. Why such a grim moniker one may ask? Perhaps it is the peculiar odor of his antique shop or the unexplained and untimely death of several of his assistants. It could just be his fondness for Hawaiian shirts or the arsons in the neighborhood. We choose to leave the speculations in the hands of the proper authorities. We also choose not to visit his establishment after dusk and leave a letter to our loved ones in case we were to expectedly disappear without a trace. The reason for the impending appointment? It is quite simple really. The Undertaker will buy a carload of our accumulated crap, NO QUESTIONED ASKED…

We have willfully got ourselves into this predicament by a daily dose of pillaging our local thrift stores and consignment shops. Now, for those of you keeping track at home, this week’s list of things that we DID NOT REALLY NEED TO BUY include: 1) a package of Victorian era metal doilies that will be used to make crowns and party hats for the ghosts. 2) A not so Victorian era velvet painting depicting the Devil in all this grandeur doing some rather unspeakable things 3) A small glass music box with a lid etched in a delicate floral motif. Now this box has already been placed in a drawer with SEVERAL DOZEN other glass boxes and it has chosen to differentiate itself by playing it’s creepy song at random and inappropriate times (again, this greatly amuses the ghosts and gives them a much needed excuse to don their new hats…yikes…)

 The final straw to the realization that we must rid ourselves of some our junk was our collection of antique fireplace accessories including (but not limited to) a rather lovely set of bellows intricately decorated with hand painted ivory (OK, bone) tiles. Now this would be all fine and dandy if we had a fireplace, a wood burning stove or even a crude (yet strangely elegant) fire pit here in the gloomy and frigid halls of Chintz of Darkness. Lacking all of these things we began placing our collection around our houseplants and under the slipper chairs. Some savvy reader will no doubt suggest that we could have placed our fire related ephemera around one of the BLAZING DEMONIC PORTALS that flare up here from time to time. While this might sound good on paper, the last thing we need around here is a gaggle of fire nymphs using our precious bellows to blast puffs of air up each other’s…oh never mind…

In case one was in doubt, there are established rules at the PURCHASING DEPARTMENT here at Chintz of Darkness for the procurement of objects and oddities. The rules state such things as “buy only things that you have a place for” and “only buy objects that are in good condition and relatively tasteful”….blah, blah, blah…whatever. Now anyone who is a packrat worthy of its tail knows that the rules can be stretched to the point of breaking thus allowing one to amass a basket of rusty knives (that was Seraph’s fault) and a stack of framed pictures three deep against a set of chests stacked four high with the whole rickety contraption draped in a paisley shawl (this was Splendor’s evil doing)…damn…make that TWO CARLOADS of accumulated crap…It is going to be a rough week, dear ones, but we simply must thin the herd…

Tell us, what would you sell to the Undertaker, dear readers?

I'm an undertaker
I'm a ghost in the night
I'm a coffin shaker
This graveyard site is mine

("Legend of A Headless Rider" by Mercyful Fate)
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