Friday, December 27, 2002

Darkthreads Designs: Year in Review

I apparantly had a good year. I was just sorting through my ebay records and I estimate that I had at least 130 customers/transactions from all over the US, several from Canada, and even a few customers from the UK, France, and Australia!!! Oh, and I finally listed a new pattern in my eBay store--check the link at left, for my Plus Size Stretch Choli Pattern Package. This package includes patterns for 3 different top styles in sizes 1X-3X.

Recommended: Excalibur on DVD

Received this as a gift and it's a good one. Special features include director's commentary by John Boorman, in which he reveals lots of interesting tidbits about making the film.

Magnetic Poetry

Also got one of these kits--always wanted one but for some reason never had one before--now my fridge has broken out in a rash of magnetic tiles. I'm not much of a poet. I think that my attempts at any creative writing are...what's the word...see that's why I'm not good at creative writing. I'm only good at technical or journalistic-style writing (that's what I do for a paycheck, pretty much). Anyway, my SO has a very special gift for writing sick, twisted, disgusting, hilarious verse that touches my heart, and he does so seemingly effortlessly, so the magpo kit is more for him as a means of entertaining me. BTW, the link above takes you to the official magpo site, which has a wonderful collection of poetry.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Post-Xmas Reflections

Enjoyed two days off and I am back in the office today. The day already has an eerie feel to it--I was THE ONLY person on the bus this morning. I got some good presents, including this very thoughtful one from my SO: America the Beautiful, by Moon Unit Zappa, uncensored version, that he purchased from Apparantly the version you get here in the US is censored. It has a different cover, anyway. This is not a book I asked for, or I would think to buy for myself, but my SO read about it and thought that I would like it. I am impressed because, afterall he is a guy, and he is a cretin when it comes to books.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002


I deliberately arranged my busy holiday schedule so that I could just chill out today and watch the Farscape marathon on the most-loathed-for-cancelling-farscape scifi channel, and I had just settled all snuggly in my easy chair when my SO announce that he had no gift to give his father tomorrow and we must go out and get one. So I had not yet escaped the evil clutches of xmas shopping. It actually wasn't so bad afterall. I'm thinking that it's the depressed economy. Anyway, we got some stuff and now I think we are all done. Enjoy Farscape while you can.

Monday, December 23, 2002


I'm having mixed feelings about this. I was okay with the changes that were made to the story in the first movie to adapt it to a screenplay. They made sense. But I don't like what happened to Twin Towers. For those of you who didn't read the book, let me set the record straight (what should have happened):

  • Aragorn did NOT break up with Arwen before he left Rivendell. He stayed true to her. Arwen did not leave to go into the West. Maybe they thought there needed to be more sexual tension between Aragorn and Eowen.
  • The elves must have had it in their contract that they HAD to appear in the second movie because they weren't supposed to be there at all. No, the elves did not arrive at Helm's deep to save the day.
  • The Ents actually saved the day at Helm's Deep. One morning, the besieged awoke to find a forest standing in the battlefield where the enemy was. The Ents had done away with them, as well as taken over Saruman's tower. Maybe they thought this was a little far-fetched.
  • Faramir REFUSED the ring! He was not a dickhead like his bro---he let Frodo go on his way and did NOT take him and Samwise and Golem to Osgiliath! I have a big problem with this one because this really changes his (Faramir's) character.

However, there were some good things. Golem is well-rendered. Maybe a little too well. I could have done with fewer close-ups. There were a lot of gratuitous close-ups. I'm glad to see that Galadriel is keeping up with her skin-care regimen--she has good pores. I'm glad to see that the Ents weren't completely written out of the script. Aragorn is hot. Legolas is still the prettiest. ;-)

Star Trek: Nemesis

Another 2-hour episode of trek. However, I really really really liked the villain: a young punkass version of Picard.

Recommended: Lacuna Coil

Happened upon the site of this band and listened to their samples, and then promptly ran out to media play and bought their latest, Comalie. I love it. It's romantic, haunting, melodic goth metal. Very easy for me to listen to.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

My Mom Graduated!

Just got back from her graduation ceremony. My mom has a Master of Arts in liberal studies now, and no, I'm not feeling pressured to catch up. I pretty much spent the time thinking about what major I would choose if I went back, and I couldn't. I just couldn't do it right now, unless, of course a big pile of money magically fell upon me. In that case, I totally would not study something related to my current day job. It would have to be music or art related, definitely.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Khafif Happenings...

The gig at the Carnegie Library in Braddock was cool. The building has wonderful acoustics, and it was an appreciative audience. I'll post the pictures when I eventually get them scanned. I have to be proud of us because we did a full, solid 30 minute set that included a variety of pieces, and we could've done more. We don't have any public performances scheduled in the immediate near future, but we have some other projects brewing, and big things planned for Spirit of the Tribes in March. Stay tuned--check the link at left for updates.

Home Improvements, Preparing for NYE...

Spent the weekend reorganizing our kitchen. Made some modest purchases at Ikea for a new island/countertop unit and some shelves and it is making a really big difference in the functionality and practicality of the space...I know, I know, BORING, but this is all done in preparation for our dreaded annual NYE party. I swore I wasn't going to have another one, but I was overruled by the SO and his cousins who twisted my arm and promised me that I would not lift a finger. Sitting back and watching them cook and clean for the party might just be worse torture for me than doing all that work myself (as I have done in past years.)

DVD Recommendation: Duellists

And in continuation of my exploration of Ridley Scott's past work, we rented and watched The Duellists with some friends. This movie surprised me in many ways. For having been made in the 1970s, the costuming was amazing. But, guys, don't let the fact that it's a costume flick put you off--the story is about two men who engage in a succession of duals over a period of 15-20 years--there's plenty of action and blood. The extra features include an interview with Ridley Scott and director's commentary, which is worth watching.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

This Weekend...

Nothing special happening. Khafif is playing at a private holiday party this Friday. Saturday is busy day, as usual, with lots of errands to run and then, friends are invited over to our house for movie night. So, I'm staying in AGAIN. Sunday is mom's b-day so I think we are doing brunch and then a movie. Maybe I can sneak in some sewing time or music practice time...

Monday, December 09, 2002

Preparing for Solstice...

Okay, so it's been a slow news day and in an effort to promote religious diversity, peace, and harmony, I give you the following:

Oh, and I almost forgot, yesterday was Bodhi Day (Rohatsu), the birthday of Buddhism, when the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

What is Light without Dark?

Movie night last Friday, we watched the Legend: Ultimate Edition DVD--highly recommended. This is one of those films that was somewhat ill-fated, did not do well in it's theatrical run, but it ranks as one of my favorite fantasy films of all time. Ridley Scott directed this following The Dualist, Alien, and Bladerunner (all of which are also on my list "to buy"). The DVD includes the director's cut or European version, which has a completely different soundtrack and is about 8 minutes longer. I can't decide which version I like more, because I love the Tangerine Dream soundtrack of the US theatrical release, but the European version has extended scenes with the fairies, Meg Mucklebones, and the "Make Her One of Us" dance scene.

New Patterns Soon to be Published

I know I've been saying it for a while now, but I mean it this time. I worked on a Plus Size version of my stretch choli pattern this past weekend, soon to hit the presses and then onto eBay.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Holiday Season in Da'burgh

Shopping Purgatory...

I made it a point NOT to do any xmas shopping this past weekend because I knew it would be a nightmare. Reports from my mom and brother from the field confirmed this. The word they used to describe Walmart was PURGATORY. The aisles were clogged with carts, people were bumping into one another so aggressively that some were injured to the point where ambulances had to be called. This is the "Christmas spirit" I suppose. No wonder I am a Buddhist humbug. My bro is lucky that he got that job at Kmart. You can pick on Kmart all you want, but at least you have a significantly lower risk of personal injury while shopping there.

'Burgh Holiday Landmarks...

Okay so maybe I'm not a total humbug, because for some odd reason, I felt compelled to take pictures of all the familiar holiday landmarks that sprout up here every year...

Here is our version of Rockefellar Center. Last year was the first year for this temporary ice rink at PPG Plaza and it's back this year.

Here is the "Hornes department store tree," (left) although Hornes has long since left the building and it is now occupied by other shops.

And, I think this one is new (right)...I saw them hauling this into town on a flatbed on my way to work on morning.

Persian Hennaed Hands

And finally, a picture of some henna that I did recently, based on a pattern in the Hennaria book. These are supposed to be "lovers knots."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

My Adventures with Henna, Mehndi, Mehandi...

I have to recommend this elegant and amazing book of henna patterns: Hennaria: Traditional Iranian Henna Art, from TapDancing Lizard. It was written by a 16-year old boy of Iranian decent, who copied patterns from his grandmother's notebooks and from family documents. The patterns are intricate and beautiful, and documentable as Medieval patterns. I've already tried a few of them out and it has deepened my appreciation for the art. I guess I've been going through a "henna phase" lately. I've been reading "The Reverend Bunny's Secret Henna Diaries"--some very good stories in there. I also have to recommend my favorite suppliers of henna and henna acoutrements:

Happy henna-ing!

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Uneventful Weekend

I am enjoying the quiet time. For a while, I was feeling like life was running me into the ground. Anyway, I am just getting over a cold. Went to Borders on Friday just to listen to the CDs they have on the kiosks--lots of stuff I wanted to buy but only purchased one as a possible xmas gift for friend. Then, went with the SO to The Park Classic Diner restaurant for a chocolate shake. Saturday, celebrated another friend's birthday with dinner at The Fishmarket restaurant and then saw the new Harry Potter movie. It was good. I liked it better than the first one. I thought there was more of a story, but I am not a big Harry Potter fan anyway. Sunday--planned Thanksgiving dinner and shopped with the mom. I am cooking at my house this year. It's only going to be four of us eating, so we are going to have tons of leftovers.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Help Save Farscape--the fight continues!

This is soooo kewl! A TV commercial was made to save Farscape and it is airing on cable channels in 16 cities! Check it out here.

My Observations from North Carolina

I had a blessedly short and uneventful trip to the Raleigh-Durham area. Don't get me wrong--there are some lovely aspects to the place, but not being a local, I am hard-pressed to find them. However, I did manage to find one of THE most wonderful barbecue places on Earth: Bullocks, near downtown Durham (which is also home to a remarkable small-town baseball team, the Durham Bulls).

Friday, November 15, 2002

In RTP Next Week

Travelling for work next week and I'm going to one of the two places where I am typically sent for work, Raleigh-Durham or Research Triangle Park, NC, the other place being Rochester, MN. They are just about tied for the most boring place on Earth. Apologies if you live there, but I have yet to find anything interesting in the RTP area. If I had friends who lived there it would be different, but as it is, it is a scary place. Last time I was there, when looking for a bookstore in the phone book, I realized I was in trouble when the list of "christian bookstores" outnumbered the "normal" ones. I also had trouble finding a Starbucks (or even a good independent coffeehouse)--a real clue that you are far from civilization. My only consolation is that I know a good sushi place there, and a good Mexican resstaurant too, and if I can find the Barbecue place again, I think I'll survive.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Hafla this Weekend

There is a hafla this weekend at the Schoolhouse Yoga Studio in the Strip. Khafif will be performing along with several other groups. We will probably be doing a reprise of the performace we did in Kitchener.

Satin Rouge...

...was a lovely heart-warming film, highly recommended to bellydancers or anyone who ever thought of being a dancer, but thought they were too old. However, it was definitely a chick-flick in a foreign language with subtitles, so leave the boyfriend at home--take your mom instead.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Moview Review: Jackass

Laughed so hard through the whole thing that it was kind-of like exercise. Almost threw up a couple of times too. This movie contained some of the most disgusting and disturbing real-life things that I've ever seen on film, I think. They obviously put a lot of thought and creativity into it. My favorite stunt was called "Roller Disco Truck," where they dressed in 70s attire and roller skates and decorated the back of a moving truck with disco mirror ball & etc., then one of the guys drove the truck around recklessly until no one remained standing. The 70s clothing and disco decor was a nice touch--its the small details that make things so special.

I really wanted to go see Satin Rouge, and I might still be able to catch it this weekend. It opened last Friday at a small local theatre, and a group of my friends and I went to go see it on Wednesday, but it was gone already. It moved to another small theatre, more out of our way, and we might have to go chase it down this weekend. Another movie that I'd like to see, but I'm having a hard time tracking it down is Bollywood/Hollywood. I think its only running in Canada.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

More Reflections on Toronto...

I will definitely be making another trip to Toronto when I get the chance. It is one of those big cities that everyone should see once in their life. It is big and crowded and diverse, like NYC, but maybe has more art & culture in places you wouldn't expect. There is art everywhere. And the people are so fashionably dressed. We went first to China town, which reminded me a little bit of the China town in NYC, but seemed more homey somehow. The streets were packed with sellers of fresh produce and dim sum restaurants. We randomly picked one restaurant to eat at and the connaisseurs in our group thought it was okay, but it was a real treat for me because I never had dim sum before, and there is supposedly no good dim sum Pittsburgh. We had some fabulous dim sum later that weekend in Kitchener, at the "King Tin" restaurant.

Close by, is Queens Street, which was lined with vintage and funky clothing stores, nothing like what we have in da'Burgh. My theory is that buyers for these types of stores regularly scour the Goodwill and thrift shops of other towns for the good stuff, and that is why it's hard to find anything in those types of places--you have to go to the vintage clothing mecca in Toronto (or NYC for that matter) and pay top dollar to get the good stuff. Anyway, we moved on to Little India, where I was overwhelmed by the variety and selection of saris in the shops. I could not choose one--there were just too many to choose from. The one sari that truly stood out and spoke to me was drippingly gorgeous shot silk wine color with gold embroidery and elaborate pallu encrusted with rhinestones, for only $450 Canadian--a wedding sari. But considering that I didn't have that much money on me AND I don't often go to Indian weddings, I passed on it.

We then shot over to the Royal Ontario Musem, which was open late on Fridays, and we had our daily allowance of antiquities. Then we had a marvelous good time at "The Sultan's Tent" Morroccan restaurant where we were treated to some awesome cuisine and entertainment, but sadly the place is closing for good at the end of the month.

Oh, and here are some more pictures from the Belly Button Ball, taken by one of the other performers, Kizmet.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Belly Button Ball

Had a great time this weekend! Khafif went on tour deep within the heart of Ontario, Canada to perform at the Button Factory in Kitchener. This was one of the best-organized events of this kind that I ever attended. It featured a surprising array of talent from the area in a series of whimsical and very imaginative bellydance performances that were part of a "Halloween" theme. We (aka, "The Vampirelles") did a special spooky performance to Santana's "Black Magic Woman." Here is a good pic of all of us:

We also did a more typical performance to a melody of Turkish tunes, but I just played on my fiddle for that. Here is a pretty good pose by Safa and Neefa:

Earlier that day, there was also an Egyptian bellydance workshop, taught by Roula, who was awesome. There isn't much tribal bellydance in that area. It is almost exclusively cabaret-oriented, but there was a lot of interest in our act and we probably made an impression.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Roadtrip this Weekend

I am going to miss all the Halloween festivities in da'Burgh this weekend because I am travelling up to Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario, Canada for another hafla. Here is a cool poster for the event.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Hafla Pix

Here are a couple of pix from the hafla, which happened at the Quiet Storm coffeehouse, where we did the "guedra."

Here are some pix from the "Ren Wedding" that I did some sewing for, specifically the bridesmaid's gowns and the grooms doublet in the photos. I also did the outfits that the SO and I are wearing...

So I took this test to see what kind of cartoon dog I am and I am....

cartoon dog are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at

But when my SO answers the questions for me, I get Scooby Doo. He is Snoopy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

This Weekend...

There are too many cool things going on and I can't do all of them this weekend. There is an Indian Classical dance performance @ The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, among other things going on this Saturday, but I am already committed to go to the American Music Cafe where my brother's band, Stasis is playing with some other punk/metal bands. I also found this cool new site listing arts/cultural events in Pittsburgh, Element5. It appears to be tuned into other arts/events orgs like Bridgespotters and GroundZero. Speaking of which, there is another FLUX this Saturday, on the North Side, so there is no lack of things to do in the 'Burgh this weekend.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Adventures in TV shopping

So we are now thralls of the mammoth 43" widescreen TV that dominates our living room. I spent WAY much more money than I wanted to, and I wasn't pressured!!!! I just realized after going to several different stores that we were not going to get our money's worth unless we went all the way. So I'm considering it an investment and I expect this appliance to last us into the HDTV era. Needless to say, "movie night" is at our house this Friday.

In other news...

Went to a friend's birthday party yesterday, at her home in the "country," which was a very pleasant experience. She lives in a 120-year old farmhouse, with built-in dead people (there are 3 grave markers on the property, so old that most of the inscription has worn off). Cool. Had some mulled cider by the fire ring in her yard and marvelled at the good weather and fall colors just beginning to bloom around here.

Oh, and I nearly forgot--the hafla last Saturday was fun, very good turnout. We performed our "Guedra" piece in full North African tribal costume and I nearly lost my voice chanting. I must not have done too bad, though, because I received a few compliments--the FIRST EVER compliments on my singing that I have ever received in my life (let's just say that I have never been known for my singing). I think it has to do with what was in my heart. The Guedra is a very spiritual thing. The other performers were wonderful as well. There was a wide diversity of styles represented and it was a perfect forum for such a thing. It was a bit crowded, though, and I would wish for a bigger dance space AND amplification for my instrument--I unfortunately couldn't play my violin and be heard in the venue. It was much too loud and overpowering. So I went home early. There is supposed to be another hafla in November, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Had lots of fun this weekend. "Pirates" was good. Also checked out Fester's Freak Show at the Rex, and ended up at Dee's later on (note that the link points to the review of Dee's on is one of my SO's pet projects. He can indeed use his powers for good.) And, I already have a full weekend planned ahead. I'm probably going to see the new movie Secretary (playing at small and indie theaters), and there is also the "hafla" on Saturday at the Quiet Storm Coffehouse, hosted by Zafira Dance Co. Of course, Khafif and several other local troupes and performers will be there. Now I just have to survive the rest of this week. I finally finished "Return of the King" and exchanged it for a biography of the Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a remarkable lady of the 18th c. who lived for a time in Turkey and wrote about her travels there. Hopefully that, and a new crochet project that I started will distract me from the deadly silence in the living room--our TV finally died. Our furnace is broken too, so it's a nice toasty 60 degrees in our house.

Friday, October 11, 2002

What to do this weekend...

I am going to see the "Pirates of Penzance" at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Carnegie, this Saturday. It will be the first Pittsburgh Savoyards production in years that I was not actually playing in the show. It will be nice to just sit in the audience again. If you live in the area, you should check out this group. They are one of the best community-theater type organizations around. There is also a show at the Rex Theater on the South Side that sounds cool, "Fester's Freak Show," involving punk bands, tattoos, and a talented fire-dancing chick. I might stop by after "Pirates."

Sunday, October 06, 2002

So the "Ren" wedding I attended this weekend was fun, lots of good costumes. It is interesting to see what people-who-aren't-in-the-SCA come up with for such occasions. I had the regular film camera so it will be a while before I get pix up. It took place at Shakespeare's Restaurant & Pub at Olde Stonewall Golf Club. The place looks like a castle and is lavishly decorated inside with Medieval-esque tapestries, suits of armor, etc. I would recommend it if you were looking for someplace special/fancy to take a date or rekindle romance. That, and I got some more things straightened out with my car this weekend. Apparently, the state of PA doesn't approve of my Euro-style tail lights, but after I got that sorted out, I took it for a much needed wash...and got some sewing done, of course--all those little mending jobs that had to go on hold are now turning into stuff I can wear again. That was my weekend. Oh yeah, and I also played my new favorite game--watching ONLY just my favorite scenes from all the movies I have on DVD. I like this technology. It's an immediate gratification thing--I don't ever have to sit through the parts I don't like again. I just watch the parts I do like, over and over as much as I want. Wait a second, that sounds kinda sick. OH well.
Upcoming events...
In other news, my bro's band, Stasis (yes, I don't like the name either but whattya gonna do?), is playing at the American Music Cafe, October 26. I heard them practice, and they are really good and worth seeing, if you like Iron-Maiden-esque progressive metal. They borrowed my digital camera the other day:

Saturday, September 28, 2002


Free at last...Free at last...Lawd Gawdamighty I'm FREE AT LAST! I finished the bridesmaids gowns for the Ren wedding. Lookie here:

They are going to look so cute! I made a total of seven costumes for the wedding party and I will be attending the wedding myself in costume next Sat., so stay tuned for more pix. Tonite, I'm going to another themed party. The theme is "Heaven and Hell." Still trying to figure out what to wear...

Friday, September 27, 2002

Oh, and I almost forgot, my book recommendation du jour: "The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts," by Sian Rees.

Wow, I've been so busy that I've neglected my blog. I keep thinking that I'll have all the bridesmaids gowns done soon, but I'm still working on them!!! They all have to be done by this weekend, and then maybe I can start talking about some other sewing projects. I've been busy with my REAL job, too. The project that I'm working on right now is particularly frustrating. The software takes days to install and configure, and then everything I attempt to do after that breaks, so I have to start all over again. But let me tell you about some fun things that I've done recently....

Another Wedding...

...Luckily I didn't have to do any sewing for this one. It was definitely one of the most unique and charming weddings I ever witnessed. It was between two of my SCA friends, Maria & Angus and took place at an artist's house, tucked away in the woods around Zelienople. This house was FAB, and so were the grounds. Check it out:






Elephant's Birthday

Oh, yeah, and I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo that weekend, too. It was the baby boy elephant's birthday.


Thursday, September 19, 2002

Okay, got the monstrous megalithic software installed at work and life goes on. Here ar work, time seems to just crawl by, just as it whizzes through the weekends. Still working on costumes for a Ren wedding--can't wait for that to be done. Looking forward to some gigs we've got upcoming. You can see a schedule by going here.

Monday, September 16, 2002

ARGH! Another mind-numbing Monday. For the past two weeks at work I have had the worst time trying to get a new software product installed for the project I am working on. I feel sorry for our customers. This little gem comes on about 20 or so CDs. I can't get the CDs myself because I am an internal employee and meant to suffer, so I had to download the CD images from an antiquated server that took DAYS to transfer the files. I never thought that watching progress bars for hours on end would drive one INSANE but I am losing it!!! I just want to get some frilling work done already!

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Will Farscape Continue?

So, I wrote some letters to the key contact people at The Scifi Channel, and if you ever watched Farscape, YOU SHOULD TOO!!! Here is the contact info. I can't believe that they would end such a good series like that prematurely, but such has happened before, I guess. I used to love Michael Moore's TV Nation, but that show was cancelled for political reasons, despite the outcry from fans.

Khafif @ The Waterfront, WPU

Chances are good that Khafif will be busking once again at the Waterfront, probably in front of the Starbucks, but later in the afternoon this time when there is more foot traffic. It's all part of the Sidewalk Art Project. We also may be appearing at the William Pitt Union, lower level, University of Pittsburgh, on Wed. Sept. 25, 8-10 pm for a Middle-Eastern dance party.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Dream Theater is Cool

The Kings X/Joe Satriani/Dream Theater show was a nerd-fest, nerd-o-rama. Not that that's such a bad thing, it's just that I've never SAT through a show like that before (I'm used to balancing precariously on the arm rests or seat back or something like that, but at my age, SITTING is a good thing!) All three acts put on a very good show. Much guitar acrobatics for one evening. The guitarist for Kings X did quite a bit of soloing. Joe Satriani, of course, did amazing guitary things and so did James Petrucci. I was bummed that Mike Portnoy did not do a drum solo. I was pleased that James Labrie still had long hair and still sounded as good as the first time I saw him--I was very impressed with the vocals. The bass player and keyboardist for Dream Theater--the whole ensemble really--were fabulous. I think that The AJ Palumbo Center was the largest venue and audience where I've ever seen them play.

Latcho Drom is Cool

However, I walked away thinking that they were a bit too happy/uplifting and polished for my taste (that evening, anyway). I think I am being spoiled by the folk music right now. I got a copy of the movie/documentary "Latcho Drom" and I am LOVING it. If you are into "gypsy" music, costume, life, whatever--you will love this film. It is serious eye and ear candy.

Farscape RULES--Scifi net is making a big mistake...

In other news...I heard that FARSCAPE WAS DROPPED BY THE SCFI NETWORK!!!! There won't be a season 5!!!!This could possibly be the STUPIDEST THING THAT A TV NETWORK EVER DID!!! If you are even a mildly interested fan of Farscape, you should write (not email) an actual physical letter to the scifi network and tell them how much they suck for doing such a thing--for dropping their best show--possibly THE best show on television! And while you're at it, tell them how lame and weak the Stargate SG series is.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

So, plans for this weekend: I'm going to see Dream Theater w/ Joe Satriani/Kings X, purchase tickets here. I've seen Dream Theater a few times already--I have always been a fan of progressive metal music, but my bro had to twist my arm to go. He has Mike Portnoy's Liquid Drum Theater DVD and we watched it this past weekend and that convinced me--it was awesome.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Bellydance Classes in the Pittsburgh Area

Now that we are all back and recovered from Pennsic, it's time for dance classes to start up again. There is a comprehensive list of classes in the Pittsburgh area here: A lot of different styles are represented here, so if you don't like one class you can always try another. (We're so lucky here to have such diversity.) I have not yet decided what my plan is to vend my wares at classes this season. I am currently in the process of revising my item listings and prices in my eBay store, and I've got ideas for new products bouncing around in my head so wait and see.

Monday, September 02, 2002

What can I say...made an appearance at the fetish ball but pooped out kind-of early, then went to eat. Sunday, went to my FAVE art store again, Artist & Craftsman Supplies. They carry a lot of things I like, such as Jacquard fabric paints and dyes.

Friday, August 30, 2002

No, Khafif won't be at the Waterfront this Saturday, but we might be back on Sept. 14. The whole deal is part of the Sidewalk Art Project. It's going to be a long weekend with Labor Day but I have nothing fantastic planned, except maybe the fetish ball.

Monday, August 26, 2002

So, the Waterfront gig went pretty well until it started pouring down rain. There was not as much foot traffic in front of the Starbucks as we would have hoped, but it was fun and good experience. People seemed interested and appreciative. I don't know yet if we are doing it again next Saturday.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Okay so I got tired of fat kitties and went back to sandbox at night. I tend to re-arrange my furniture a lot, too.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

It's on for this Saturday...Khafif (see pic below) are busking at the Waterfront in Homestead, PA from noon-6 pm, probably in front of Starbucks!!! Stop by and say hello. If all goes well, we may be doing this on a regular basis.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

And Finally, Some Pix from Pennsic:

Here's a nice shot of the whole troupe after our performance at the ME Dance Expo.

Here's everyone from the "Tunisian Tea."

Closeup: 3 Tunisians

Friday, August 16, 2002

Back from Pennsic, prematurely. Had to cut it short because of some domestic problems. I was really really really having a good time too, but that is the way things work for me. It can't possibly last if I was enjoying it, but I really don't want to go into details here. This year, Pennsic was very different for me because I brought my violin. My group, Khafif, was invited to play at various camps each night and we became quite popular. So many people came up to me to express their appreciation--it was a wonderful feeling. My choli class went well too--it was my first time teaching at Pennsic. I had many more students than what I was prepared for, and ended up with a notebook full of addresses--a "mailing list"--of people who still need a copy of my handout--and I will follow through on that ASAP. Suffice it to say, I was not planning on being back home this soon. When I have the energy, I will post some pictures.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002


Woohoo! I'm blogging from Pennsic, but paying by the minute so this will be brief. Having a good time. Did lots of stuff, ate lots of food, been hot as heck, did great at the Middle Eastern Dance Expo, played out at haflas almost every night to very appreciative audiences. Can't wait to upload the pix, so stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

So, grandma finally passed away last night, and this sounds awful, but it is a relief to us. It was a difficult thing for my mom and I to watch her go through this, and the last two years have been very hard on my mom. However, I think we were blessed because we thought we would lose granny suddenly to her aneurysm, but instead, we had a chance to say goodbye. I am going up to Pennsic tomorrow as planned, but I will be home Thursday/Friday for the funeral.

Monday, August 05, 2002

So I am going to return _What the Buddha Taught_ by Walpola Rahula before I've completely finished it--but I think I got the gist anyway (I don't want to keep it out while at Pennsic). It is a "Cliff Notes" explanation of Theravada Buddhism, a sampling of sutras and the dhammapada. It was a great read--the Buddha said the most profound and beautiful things, but I am not quite ready to enter the monastery(convent) just yet;-)

My whole body is just one giant nerve. I'm thinking about Pennsic, I'm thinking about having to perform at the ME Dance Expo there, I'm thinking about all the garb I have yet to sew for myself, and of packing that garb...we set up our pavilion on Saturday and just have to get through a couple more days of work before going up there for the duration.

...and I'm thinking of my poor granny who is working on her last hours of breath in the ICU. I went in to see her twice this weekend, each time thinking it was going to be the last and saying goodbye. We are playing the waiting game. Wow, this is becoming harder by the minute, especially with everything else I have going on.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

So, my patterns are getting good reviews from the eBay customers. Here is what one customer said:

"Dear Megan, I don't know if you invented this pattern on your own, or not...but it's the FIRST choli pattern I've used that fits so well. I've tried several. I am just absolutely thrilled with it. I've made 3 since I recieved Thursday. I just wanted to say thanks a lot!!! You did a great job with it."--mistresstherion

See what others are saying on my eBay feedback page. Needless to say, I am definitely moving forward with developing more patterns when I get back from Pennsic.

On another note, one of my friends just got back from Balkan music camp--I am so envious. I am glad she had a good time. Maybe next year. Or, maybe we will go to the Middle Eastern music camp, or Klezmer camp...

Monday, July 29, 2002

Hmmm....considering I have so much to do, I'm writing to my blog a lot, aren't I. Well, it's a therapeutic thing. Earlier this year, I told myself that I was not going to be frantically sewing garb on the eve of Pennsic, but alas, here I am in my workshop. Taking a break from my labors right now--my eyes get bleary from the close-up work. It's also literally like a sweatshop in here--it was 90 degrees today. I've got the big fan going and the jams on shoutcast pumpin' (the hard trance channels keep me moving). I thought I had all of my sewing obligations to other people done, but checked my todo list and realized that I still had a couple more things to do before I could resume sewing for the SO and myself. One would think that I would have plenty of garb for myself, but this is not the case. Even though I have been playing this game for six years now, I have yet to make a complete outfit that I am truly happy with. My problem has been lack of focus. I like too many different things, and so I have some Italien ren garb, some Elizabethan, started a Japanese Heian period outfit (but haven't gotten past the underwear yet), and of course, I'm building quite the collection of North African, Turkish, Middle-Eastern, Central Asian, and Indian garb....

Argh, this is going to be the longest week I've ever had at work this week--4 days until land grab. Just getting through this afternoon is going to be a challenge. I distracted myself by cleaning--now I can almost see the top of my desk. There are four copy-paper boxes full of trash outside my office now. I still had stuff from my day one at Transarc...oh, about 8 years ago. Every moment I spend here is one less moment I get to sew garb/pack for Pennsic. Rumor has it that there will be a cyber cafe at Pennsic this year. This is preposterous!!! Evenso, I will probably make use of it, so you might check back here in a week or so to find some Pennsic blogs!

Sunday, July 28, 2002 the 'puter fixed, got my car fixed, now I'm out of money, but had nothing to do this weekend except BE the machine that sews garb for Pennsic anyway. Visted granny in the ICU--no, she's not doing real well, but it's been like that the last couple of years, so I haven't bothered to say much about it. I think my mom is very gradually starting to accept the situation. She is graduating and getting her masters, but now has more time on her hands suddenly. I should put her to work for me;-) I' going to be busy busy busy this week.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Started reading the Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama, but it's really deep. I might put it aside until I read some of the Dalai Lama's other more introductory works...I have always been interested in Zen and Buddhism, ever since my teen years, but never practiced. I always had difficulty with some of the concepts and especially with "sitting still," but I am seriously going to try "sitting still" again.

Monday, July 22, 2002

So, having a dead 'puter at home sucks. And, just to add insult to injury, I've got more car problems. I wrecked my exhaust/muffler going over a bump, got it fixed at Monroe after arguing with them--they wanted to replace my whole exhaust system, but now the check engine light is on--fun, fun, fun. So I was driving the Other vehicle this weekend--the Bronco. Not my preferred ride. Anyway, did I mention that Ozzfest was rescheduled for this Wednesday, and I'm NOT going. I returned my tickets. It just wasn't meant to be. So, I owed my bro another birthday present and bought him the "Ozzy Live at Budokan" DVD--it's got some cool additional features on it. It's also really neat to see the performance in front of the Japanese audience--they are serious metalheads.

This has been a turbulent summer. I long for the summers of my childhood, when time had no meaning, I had no job, no projects to work on, no appointments...just the backyard pool and freezer pops to live on...12 days until landgrab.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Okay, so I almost totally forgot to mention that I picked up this really neat book at the airport--The Accidental Buddhist, by Dinty Moore. It is a humorous examination of Buddhism in America. I have read other "starter" books on Buddhism and Zen, but this one is the most realistic and practical one so far.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Okay, so more blog problems...the template I was using didn't like the last blog system upgrade so I changed it to the pink kitties one...
HOME--only to find that my desktop PC was DOA. Looks like I will be blogging from work only until I get it fixed.

Had a decent weekend, but really felt drained from teaching the previous week. Had a friendly, party-type get together at my house to celebrate my b-day and it was fun. Not as rowdy as the NYE party--and that was a good thing.

Still ticking the days to Pennsic and there are so few at this point--19. My choli class outline is far from complete, the "troupe" is really sweating over our dance number, and of course I'm still sewing sewing sewing...

Friday, July 12, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 3)

More cultural observations: Dunkin donuts is really big here...Jeeps/Trackers are popular among the young locals...everyone dresses casual...even at the height of tourist season, this place is very laid back. Even the people who work here look like they are on vacation. However, for being a "small touristy town" this place has a lot going on. Last night, I went on a walking Ghost Tour of historic downtown Newport. The narration was a little corny, but it was a great way to see lots of drippingly gorgeous buildings dating back to 1700. Walked through several cemetaries where the stones were so old most of the letters were worn away--very cool. I needed the walk because I had stuffed myself with sushi at the Seashai again. If I was staying until Saturday, I would visit the Newport Artillery Co.--the oldest military organization in the country, chartered back in 1741 by George II. It is a museum now run by re-enactors. I also regret having stayed in a large hotel chain, when I could have stayed in one of the many lovely historic B&Bs on Clarke St. On my way to the ghost tour, there was a "Shakespeare in the park" performance going on in Queen Anne's Square, put on by the Trinity Repertory Co. They were doing the Comedy of Errors in a very unconventional manner--everyone was dressed in very casual modern clothing, shorts and t-shirts, some actors had various hats hanging from utility belts that they used to play multiple characters...there was no set, other than the green grass of the park and the locals in their lawn chairs.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 2.1)

Some cultural observations about this region: despite the plethora of seafood, there aren't many sushi restaurants here...had to hunt this one down: Seashai...
a submarine sandwich is called a "grinduh"..."oystuhs" and "lobstuhs" are quite popular...something called "coffee milk" is beloved by gradeschool kids...and I would have to take out a second mortgage on my house to go shopping here.

Not the best b-day I could ask for...

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 2)

Last night, ate big pile of fried bivalves at Flo's Clam Shack--a Rhode Island institution. Today is my b-day and I'm still contemplating what to do, as my students are struggling through their lab exercises.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 1)

Greetings from a beach town! I'm on a business trip this week, teaching a course on Linux, and I forgot my digital camera!!!!! otherwise I would be providing visuals...anyway, I ate seafood last night at Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club and put my toes in the sand. There's lots of history here (that I probably won't have time to explore), but it is quite beautiful.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Shanny is amazing...her and her dad installed the new tail lights on my integra. One of the taillights was cracked and broken for months and the replacements I had found were sitting in the box almost as long. It is doubly amazing because it was not a straight-forward job. I stOOpidly ordered "euro-style" lights--they are mostly clear rather than red like most American cars--and we did not notice at first that when I put on the brake it looked like I was backing up! DOH! That's where Shanny's dad came in for the re-wiring job. Now, lights come on in the right color, but still looks odd. I guess I just need to get the wide racing stripe and the neon "alien" landing lights, and the big rear air foil (and already got the "fatty" tail pipe)...

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Trying to get some stuff done before a business trip out of town and just not finding the motivation...spent the fourth at a party in McKees Rocks--house up on a high hill with an absolute, drop-dead, perfect view of downtown and the fireworks. Evenso, I am not that much into fireworks. "Cousin" Shanny is in town to keep me company and we are just kind-of lazing around the house and occasionally going out shopping, once to Artist & Craftsmen Supply in East Liberty--awesome art store and the only one I know of that sells Jacquard Products fabric paints and dyes.

Gee, that's not really exciting news, but maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

A long holiday weekend approaches and I regret that I cannot go down to DC to see the Folk Life Festival. The theme this year is the Silk Road and there will be artisans and performances with a central Asian theme. I really am going to miss it. The Central Asian Dance Camp is happening there too this week. One of these days, I will have the time and funds to go to camps like this, but alas, I have a lot of work to do and errands to run this week.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I need to exorcise an old demon here. I recently realized that I'm still very angry about something that happened years ago at my first Pennsic (about six years ago). I made the mistake of camping with the group known as the Tuchux . They are a fringe group, not really part of the SCA. At the time, I really wanted to get involved in the SCA but I only knew people in the Tuchux. They are not an historical reenactment group. They are loosely based on one of the Gor novels--The Nomads of Gor, I think, but they pretty much just make up the rules as they go along anyway. They have, let's say, a very "Taliban-like" attitude towards women. During events like Pennsic, women (or "wenches," as they are called) are not allowed to leave camp without an escort. Wenches are expected to wait on the men (or "dogs"). New members are subjected to hazing. People can be "bought" and "sold" as slaves. Needless to say, my first Pennsic was a NIGHTMARE.

  • Firstly, being new, I did not have the right clothes. One of my more benevolent clanmates, bless her, lent me some garb to wear, but I still got picked on a lot, and unlike people in the SCA, who would offer help to someone in less-than-acceptable garb, some of these people were cruel along the lines of high-school mentality.
  • Most of the dogs and even some of the older, established wenches expected me to act as a subordinate to them, follow orders and perform the more menial tasks around camp, such as cooking and cleaning. Wait, this is supposed to be my vacation, right?
  • Because he was new, my SO was put on guard duty most of the time. And even if he did have some time to spend with me, he did not qualify as a suitable escort, also because he was new. And because I didn't know that many other people, I was stuck in camp most of the time. There I was, at Pennsic, with a campground seething with nearly 10,000 people, merchants, and activities, and I was not at liberty to discover it.
  • And, just to make matters worse, I got severely sunburned.

So, why didn't we leave immediately? Well, we had no place else to go, and even if we did know anyone outside of Tuchux camp, it was too late to uproot our tent and move it elsewhere. This was our vacation--what else could we do? I literally BEGGED the chieftan, with tears in my eyes, to let us go out and have some time to ourselves, but he was completely insensitive to our problem. His answer was "these are the rules and if you don't like it, tough." However, let me just qualify it by saying that these were his rules. I spent the week watching these "rules" be violated by others with impunity. There were double standards, subject to the whims of those in power. I saw exceptions being made, but he was not going to make one in my case. We packed up in the rain and left before the week was over. I was angry at myself for being taken in like that, and I will never forgive the Tuchux for ruining my vacation. The let-down feeling we had lasted for a long time--even to this day.

If you ever talk to a Tuchux about their little "game," they'll tell you it's all in fun. It's fun for the "established" members at the expense of their underlings, submissives, and any new people they manage to rope into it. I admit that not all of them were a**holes--some of these people were really nice and would've made good friends, and it really hurt to have to break things off with them. But there were some who went too far. This is not just a game for them--this is the way they are all the time--mysogynist, chauvenist, cruel. The Tuchux give them an outlet.

Recently, I was confronted by a couple in the Tuchux who are good friends to the SO and I, but I could not deal with their passive acceptance of the Tuchux order, especially from another woman. Whenever she said, "oh, it's all just a game, it's all just for fun..." it invalidates me. It's as if my painful experience never happened and it was all in my imagination. I do not think that it is right or healthy for a group to exist with rules like that, even if it is just a game. Even pretending to have attitudes like that towards women--I think it's wrong.

There, I've said it. Now, maybe I can move on. It's amazing that we did make it back to Pennsic after all that. We found another household to camp with the next year, and actually had a good expierence. Now this will be my sixth Pennsic. Only 32 days until land grab...

Monday, July 01, 2002

It was refreshing to see GOOD art at FLUX. I was impressed with all of it and I think they put on a really good show. Most of the work appeared to come from the local community and African American subject matter was prevalent--a lot creativity, spirit, inspiration and heart. This was a breath of fresh air after the tepidness of the Pittsburgh Arts Festival. I didn't stay long enough to hear all the bands, but what I heard was very good. And, they had good beer--apparently a donation from the Church Brew Works.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Trying to figure out what to do with myself this weekend...there is FLUX going on this Saturday. I have gone to a few of these and they were alright. It varies with the venue, which changes each time one of these events is hosted. There's usually something for everyone--art, music, performances, etc. I also heard about an interesting thing happening tonite, althought I don't think I have the stamina for it. Local producer Five Cent Productions needs extras for an independent
film with the working title of Shenanigans. It is a Kevin Smith style comedy. Filming of the scenes with big crowds will occur from June 28th at 11 p.m. overnight until around 11 a.m. the next morning.

WHERE: Penn Avenue Theatre in Bloomfield (4809 Penn Avenue)

WHEN: Interested parties should show up at the Penn Avenue Theatre
anytime after 11 p.m. on Friday, June 28th (We will work people into
the scenes as they arrive.)
I have something else to do tonite anyway, and besides, Farscape is on;-)

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

End of an Era!...

My employer is going to start charging for pop (that's Pittsburghese for "soda" or carbonated beverages). Ever since I started working here in 1994, it has been free and a major part of our culture, which has been systematically dismantled over the years, due to our acquisition by another company. It saddens me to see this one last bastion of coolness about my workplace go away.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Had a nice weekend despite the scorching temperatures. Spent quality time with family, attended a back-yard party with friends and played "the bean game," saw Star Wars Episode II again!!! and I am soooo close to giving the world its first Rajasthani choli pattern for the home sewer!!! I deconstructed one this weekend and got all the pieces figured out and I will be scaling it into different sizes and testing it out on friends very soon. This is what it looks like:

Friday, June 21, 2002

My world continues to fall apart...just when I thought I had things under control. The SO is bleeding me dry of money, patience, emotions, and I just don't know what to do with him. Have I given him enough chances, or am I just being a martyr? DON'T answer that---

On a lighter note, looks like my choli class that I am teaching at Pennsic will become part of the "Indian Track." There will be a lot interesting courses offered in that track. Unfortunately, I have not seen a course schedule posted at the Pennsic Web site yet, but one should be forthcoming, because teachers have received their confirmations already.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Okay this picture is just too much--one of my Khafif-mates caught me looking soooo tribal!!! LOL

Started reading: Veiled Courage: Inside the Afghan Womens Resistance. A remarkable story about RAWA and how women can find the courage to stand up for what they believe despite horrible oppression.

Also, been working on the "class" that I am teaching at Pennsic this year: Choli Challenges: How to Make One that Fits. I figured that I've spent so much time and effort on this topic that I should share my knowledge with others. It is scheduled for Sunday, 8/11, noon, at Orluk Oasis.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Okay, so I just can't watch the news anymore, if I ever want to get on with my life and find happiness in it. Ignorance is bliss. Anyway, work continues on the Ren wedding costumes. I am getting things done about half as fast as I would like to, which just means that the time I have to sew for myself before Pennsic (46 days 'til land grab) is disappearing. I might actually have to buy garb (gasp!). The eBay orders keep trickling in, too--not to mention that I am busy with my REAL job. I'll be business travelling for the first time since 911, to Newport, CT, next month, during my b-day. Sucks. I envisioned myself gorging on sushi with my friends, but instead I'll be gorging on sushi by myself in an unfamiliar town. I bet I won't even be able to take my knitting implements on the airplane. Okay, this may sound cold and selfish, but if there is ONE regret I have about 911, it's that you can't take a bleepin' crochet hook onto an airplane!!! However, I am glad to finally be travelling again, and Newport is a touristy-resort type of place, so maybe I will find some opportunities for self-indulgence and pampering.

Friday, June 14, 2002

A few miscellaneous ramblings du jour...

The violence occurring in various parts of the world is really getting on my nerves. Although not religious, I am a devout believer in "that which is hateful to you, do not unto others..." It is inspiring for me to read books like Ultimate Journey. You know, not every religion advocates payback, revenge, or retribution...some are actually geared toward the end of human suffering.

In other news, I recently obtained the first installment of The Prisoner, on DVD. Probably going to screen it at "movie night" with friends this weekend.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Arrgh! I did not want to use this space to rant about political issues, but some of my colleagues here at work are proving to me that Reader's Digest is poisoning the minds of America with their campaign of misinformation and half-truths. This is why I can't have a conversation with most of these people. They believe just about EVERYTHING they read or see on TV or the Internet, unless, of course, it's backed up by scientific research and solid facts. They're all SHEEP!!! And, no, I won't give you the satisfaction of describing what the debate was all about!

Monday, June 10, 2002

I've had my fill of mediocre art in the past few during lunch I walked around the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Okay so I was somewhat disappointed with the show at the Blue Ruin. I think I like my erotic art to be a bit more erotic than that. And the crowd--"Lord, deliver us from Abercrombie & Fitch!" I was so over (or was it under?) -dressed in my leather corset. But I guess that's what you get for an art scene in Pittsburgh. Some of the art (from past shows, I guess) for sale in bins was interesting, and there was at least one photo I would have purchased for myself if I had that kind of money to spend--actually if you are looking to decorate your walls with something risque, the prices are quite reasonable but I'm on a tight budget right now-- and there was a titilating array of books and postcards on the shelves. I liked the one band I saw and the DJ who was on afterwards, but didn't catch their names. I don't know what the space looked like when the gallery was in the strip district, but the new space is, well, spacious. I am also bummed that I could not talk my friend into helping me make use of the bathroom cam. Oh well. Afterwards, we went to Ceremony, where the DJ was taking some liberties with the format and stumped me with one really crunchy metal tune--I would've liked to know who the band was but was too lazy to get up and ask, and I guess it was fun. Why don't I sound sure? Well, I'm still in a funky mood.

Saturday, June 08, 2002

More pix from events past! Here's one from War Practice. I'm wearing North African tribal garb on a day when the weather was very "Scottish."

And here are more pix from the Casablanca Percussion store opening:


Friday, June 07, 2002

So I have revised the original, first pattern that I was selling on eBay so it looks more professional and slick like the new one I just put out. Pretty soon I will have a whole line of patterns to choose from...

If perchance you actually own a copy of the old pattern, my "Simple Wrap Top" instructions, I would be happy to upgrade you for free. Just contact me. If not, I have it listed right now as a dutch auction. We'll see how that goes.

Well, I'm going to be left to my own ends this weekend and haven't yet a clue as to what I am going to do with myself. I hear that there is an interesting show going on at the Blue Ruin gallery. They recently moved to a larger venue on the South Side. I may check it out, but I will be glued to the tube tonite because I think there is a new episode of Farscape on...

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Firstly, I had a hellish day yesterday with the exception of music practice. I had domestic issues to take care of and didn't go to work. Even though it was somewhat sauna-like in the studio, did some sewing and made some progress on the wedding clothes. Then, went to music practice where we made significant progress on the piece for the dance expo at Pennsic. Oh, and it rained and rained and rained, and it's still raining. Got soaked trying to get into work this morning. My only consolation has been this travelog that I've been reading: Ultimate Journey by Richard Bernstein. The author attempted to retrace the path of a Buddhist monk who travelled across China to India in the 7th c.

I've done it! My new belly dance top pattern is listed on eBay now. Click here to see all my current listings. It might take a day for the new listings to show up in my eBay store. I am really excited about this. I put a lot of effort into this new pattern to make it look really good and professional. I think it's packaged nicely too. Now am looking for other places to sell it...if interested, please contact me. Here is the front page of the pattern with all the details.

I also have several fancy beaded/embroidered Indian salwar/kameez sets that I am selling on behalf of a friend, so check them out. I'm going to start working on the next pattern, squeezing it into my busy schedule. It will be another bellydance top, different style.

Monday, June 03, 2002

There are more pictures from the Casablanca drum shop opening here--good shots of the dancers. Those of you tuning in from the PGHGoth site might notice a few familiar faces. Yes, there is some crossover between the Goth--Tribal Bellydance scene here. Afterall, it is a small town. Also take note that the Web site hosting these pictures is owned by the household I camp with at Pennsic. Obviously, they are a mercenary group with a sick sense of humor and a large complement of M.E. music and dance-oriented people. As a result, we have some pretty kick-ass parties.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

The Casablanca Drum Shop opening was fun! Lots of people stopped by. There's lots of cool stuff in the shop, not just drums. Baskets, ouds, other ethnic instruments. Lots of Arabic, Latin, African CDs that you won't find at Sam Goody...any way, our group performed along with a few others. We were wingin' it the entire time, improvving, etc. The shop is right next door to Aladdin's eatery. Here is a pic of us in front of it (minus Safa): .

Afterwards, a few of us went to a dance performance at the S.V. Temple--one of Pittsburgh's best kept secrets. It was a beautiful performance of classical Indian dance called Bharata Natyam, and it was free! I think that it's weird that we have such a large community of Indian people here, and lots of culture, but no "little India" like other cities.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Woohoo! I'm making progress on the new pattern designs! I just had to shout it out--I have to keep up the momentum because I am so overloaded right now, I'm really concerned that I'm not going to reach all my sewing project deadlines. I have deadlines because I am trying desperately to get certain things done before Pennsic. Yes, it's just 64 days until land grab and I don't have much time for having any kind of LIFE until then.

In other news, my blog is now linked from the journals page. Why am I associated with these people? I'm not sure. I'm listed on the PGHGoth Personality index, and I lurk on the, but you might not guess me a goth if you saw me on the street. I have been a corporate drone for many years and my wardrobe has suffered as a result. Also, I am what you call a geriatric goth. I am about 5-10 years older than the more active prominant people on the scene, and somewhat out-of-touch--but I am trying to catch up these days. Coloring my hair red was probably the most drastic thing I've done in a good long while. With recent layoffs in my workplace, I've decided as a silent protest that I will WEAR WHAT I WANT--but I usually don't dress too weird anyway. Gothness is something you never really outgrow, although you may internalize it.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

My feedback rating on eBay finally hit the big 50 mark!!! Now I can list "dutch" auctions (not that I actually have anything to list for dutch auctions right now, but if I wanted to, I could). I do have a few auctions going on right now, if you want to check them out--mostly summer stuff left over from last year: some light-weight cotton voile choli/salwar sets, a pair of embroidered rajasthani sandals that don't fit me, some silk scarves. Unless I do any further closet cleaning, I won't have many more auctions for pre-made stuff in the near future. I want to spend more time designing new patterns, and I will be publishing those and selling them on eBay as soon as I can. I am working on costumes for a wedding and trying to get as much done on that this month as I can.

In other news...members of Khafif will be playing this Saturday at the Casablanca drum shop grand opening in Squirrel Hill. If you are in the neighborhood, please drop by.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Ahhh, finally saw Attack of the Clones--it was awesome. The critics are full of crap. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I am now deeply in love with Hayden Christensen. I couldn't have asked for a more convincing performance, or better action sequences. I can die now. No, wait, I have to wait until Episode III comes out in two agonizing years.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Well, this past week was really really rough. I've been living on the change I found in my couch and the generosity of friends. There have been many layoffs at my workplace and many long faces as a result. Luckily, I survived the cut. Today was a payday, so my relief-impulse purchase this morning was the latest Starbucks Hear Music compilation: Ambient Luxe. very groovy. I just bought it with my coffee this morning, along with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Journeys--sounds a lot like the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack. Looking forward to a long weekend...

Monday, May 20, 2002 loading...

Some pix from past events, for your enjoyment

Blackstone Raids:

Sor and I.

Men in my pants;-)

They look menacing, don't they?

My Cousin's Wedding Reception on the Gateway Clipper:

My brother, cousins and I.

So, War Practice was COLD! I mean really really REALLY COLD. And it rained rained rained. It was awful. Usually, the weather, no matter how bad, does not hamper our fun that much, etc. but the mood was definitely not as festive as usual. I have camped in worse, but I just wasn't prepared for this. Friday night, the rain came down and never let up and we stood around the fires quietly trying to survive. Whiskey was much appreciated for its warming qualities, but seemed to have no other effect, being quickly metabolized with all the shivering and trying to stay warm. I slept tightly clenched in a fetal position, waking up the next day with muscle aches. The rain stopped, but it never got warmer. I walked around the merchants area, watched some of the fighting, but my spirits never lifted. By evening, a lot of other people were packing up and leaving, not willing to spend another night like the previous one. So, I packed up too and came home Saturday night. What a bummer. It might have been worth if for the fighters--they like it when it is cold, but it was a total waste of time for me. Even if I did see anything in the merchants area of interest, I did not have any money to buy it. I don't think I'm going to any other events for a while.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

So depressed....the granny situation is not good, money is tight, and I have such a backlog of sewing work to do that I had to plan out all my weekends from now until Pennsic! Dont' worry--anyone who has already commissioned me to do something--it will get done. I can even give you a delivery date. But I can just forget about doing any sewing for myself for a while. On top of that, my SO did something very stupid, and is sorry about it, but nevertheless, my emotional state is quite dull.

I am looking forward to War Practice and Pennsic and there is another new event that I am considering, Sylvan Crusade, and I will sneak in the personal sewing time somewhere, but it will not be easy. I have lots of yummy fabric in my personal stash thanks to recent sales at JoAnn and Pheonix Textiles. And EBay has been good to me, too.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Still will be an ongoing struggle to keep this color throughout the summer but I'm going to do it!!! My granny's back in the hospital AGAIN so it was not a very pleasant weekend. The prognosis is not good, and I lost my other grandma around this time last year. I am fast running out of grandmas and I don't like it much, but I'm just going to take each day as it comes. I went to a "hafla" (that means party) at a friends house and it was fun. We (Khafif) played well together. We have been practicing together for almost a year and we are starting to sound like group. Attempted to dance but didn't feel quite up to it. All I could do was coax some sad sounds from my instrument. Looking forward to this weekend and another SCA event Aethelmearc War Practice. This one's always a blast and our camp is party central. My group might be playing in the marketplace.

Friday, May 10, 2002

I HATE HealthAmerica...I HATE HealthAmerica...I HATE HealthAmerica...they are ruining my life right now but I don't really want to go into that here. I used to have better insurance, but my employer switched the HMO option to HealthAmerica and now it seems I can just forget about trying to get decent healthcare without hassle these days. I spent more time on the phone yesterday trying to resolve my "issues" than I actually did work, so if my employer thinks they saved money by downgrading the benefits, they sacrificed my productivity. was a productive week on other fronts: dance class, music practice, sewing, EBay, etc. Someone sent me this funny rendition of Hamlet. Enjoy.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Ah...good weekend. Did lots of self-indulgent things while the SO was away at magician's convention. Friday, went to the salon, Puccini in Oakland, and changed from blonde to extreme RED. LOVE IT. I was always too cynical for blonde anyway. I even feel smarter. After that, got stuffed at Sushi Two--BEST sushi place in Da'Burgh. Then my rampage took me to The Lava Lounge. Very good mix of retro/80s there on Friday nights. Saturday, did the usual Middle Eastern dance class at Yoga Sadhana Studio, then saw The Scorpion King that evening. I was slightly disappointed. They could have done a lot more with this film, but they really aimed low with the dialogue, character development was weak, and action sequences were not original or impressive enough to make up for it. Should've gone to Spiderman, but maybe I'll do that next week. Back to the salt mines...

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Back again. As I figure out how to to this blogging thing, I will add more interesting stuff. Firstly, how about some links related to the costuming stuff I the main Web page I set up. Unfortunately, it is being held hostage by my procrastinating SO, who is my Web developer. I usually have to ask about 578 times before he will make updates to it, and of course, I don't have the passwords or anything to do it myself. Oops, that sounded like a hateful rant. Anyway, I also have a storefront on EBay: DarkThreads Designs. This is kind-of a new thing, and people are just starting to get tuned into it. I can list fixed-price (non-auction) items there for longer periods of time, but these items don't show up in the regular auction listings. You have to specifically search the stores to find items in there. So I occasionally list an item as a regular auction and a pointer to my storefront. The business trickles in slowly, but it is all I can handle right now anyway. And, I am getting rave reviews from my customers. EBay has enabled me to broaden my audience--I have customers in England, Germany, France...but the thing I don't like is that it takes such a bite out of my profits. Anyway....

What am I working on this week? Well, I have four gypsy/Ghawazee/Ghawazi vests on the cutting table for a local dance troupe. And I got a custom order that came through via EBay: matching belly dance top and skirt, and I am working on a Rennaissance wedding--a total of 11 outfits for the wedding party (I'm doing all but the bridal gown, which, thank (insert deity of choice here), is being done by another vendor.

Oh... and as if I don't have enough to do, I also play in a Middle-Eastern music and dance ensemble, Khafif. We are working on some new pieces of music and I have been having fun learning how to use Noteworthy music notation software.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

So, here I am. I do a lot of sewing and clothing design. Specifically, corsets and bellydance gear--an odd combo, I know. I also do a lot of garb for playing in the SCA, the occasional "Rennaissance" wedding party, and I help out my friends who do the 18th c./Rev War/French&Indian/Blackpowder stuff. Oh, and did I mention corsets? I love making corsets in all shapes and sizes. I do this outside of my REAL job, which has nothing to do with costuming, but does fund the fabric habit.
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