Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goth in the Public Eye: A Witch Hunt and A Quest for Peace

 Part I

"Goth." Just say it. Let it build up in your throat and meander along your palate out of your mouth, only to return with a swift kick to the teeth with the tongue. Goth. For some it brings about grins and perked ears, for others it brings about an awkward silence, discomfort, and judgment. Think for a moment of the negative connotations of the word- childish, violent, satanic, attention-seeking, silly, irresponsible, mental, dangerous, scary. Of course, more than likely, if you're reading this blog, your thought process is perhaps different and you may think of other words- moonlight and graveyards, Tim Burton, The Cure, mystery, quirkiness, fishnets and hairdye, black lace and elegant black and silver jewelry, body art, Halloween, The Crow, hearses, and classic black fashion, just to name a few. The former group, the group that keeps their distance due to their preconceived (and typically unsound) prejudices, may not even realize that they make us feel just as uneasy and wary as they are, perhaps even more so.

Personally speaking, I try not to watch basic cable. I get my news from various online websites and try to focus on local events. I indulge only in Netflix, where I decide what I want to watch with minimal exposure to sexualized toddler beauty pageants, degrading music videos, glorified bad behavior of bratty teenagers who have entered motherhood all too prematurely, and of course, reruns of the ever so mentally stimulating Jersey Shore. Whenever I do watch good ol' network television, which is never in my own home, I catch myself mumbling "I don't want to live on this planet anymore," which is a great quote from a TV show I do like, ironically enough. Aside from not wanting it to bring me down, I try not to watch TV because it also tends to just make me mad, not because someone has a different view on life than I do, but because someone with a completely backwards mentality is allowed a platform to spread twisted ideals that self-destruction and a lack or self-respect, selfishness, entitlement, shallowness, disregard for one's fellow man, misogyny, stupidity, sheep mentality, ignorance, and disrespect for all others around one's self  are desirable traits to have.

Brilliant work by my dear friend and brilliant Greek artist, JNK

 I could of course, write paragraph upon paragraph of examples, but before I start to sound *too* self-righteous and uppity, I just want to zoom in on a few of those characteristics of popular entertainment- mostly ignorance, sheep mentality, and disrespect for others. Fear-mongering and sensationalism are the two greatest weapons of manipulation that the media possesses. We all remember the tragedy of the Columbine incident. Two boys, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, fully armed and clad in black trench coats came to school in 1999 and mercilessly slayed 12 students, one teacher, and finally themselves, along with wounding 21 others. Rather than focusing on the bullying these boys faced leading up to this massacre, or the lack of accessible mental health facilities for young people, or even further investigating those who gave two teenage boys such an arsenal to start with, everyone instantly analyzed what music the boys listened to (Marilyn Manson, who many argue, is not a musician of the gothic genre) and how they dressed- which later resulted in many schools banning students from wearing black trench coats. Flash forward to the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, with a death toll of 32- over twice as many as Columbine. There was never any investigation about the type of clothes Seung-Hui Cho wore or the music he listened to; in fact, the shooter likened himself to Jesus Christ in his personal manifesto, though it would be outright wrong to link the entire Christian population with the actions of one individual. The very same goes for Anders Behring Breivik, a man who identified himself as "100% Christian," who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Voltaire made a pretty decent defense of the Gothic subculture to 
Fox News in the midst of the Scott Dyleski murder trial
Note how many times he ends up rolling his eyes at some 
of the preposterous questions that are heavily laced 
with negative gothic stereotypes. 

However, the media tends to breeze over acts of violence towards goths. Not many people have heard of the brutal and fatal assault of gothic teen Sophie Lancaster .In August of 2007, Sophie and her boyfriend Robert were walking through a park when they were heckled then viciously attacked by a group of teenagers. Robert was beaten to the point of unconsciousness while the mob focused their rage on Sophie, kicking and hitting her in the head while she cradled and protected her partner. By the time help had arrived, both were so badly beaten that their genders were indiscernible. 

Sophie Lancaster and boyfriend Robert Maltby
Although Robert survived, Sophie slipped into a coma and passed away 13 days after the attack. There is no question of whether or not their appearance provoked the attack. One of the assailants returned to his friends and began bragging to his friends about the assault; the couple's mosher/gothic look being the sole reason for his attack. The S.O.P.H.I.E. foundation-- their slogan, "Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred, and Intolerance Everywhere"-- works to promote tolerance and educate the masses on how quickly hatred can turn into malicious actions.

Ronan Harris of VNV Nation dedicated this song to Sophie and contacted the family to offer his condolences.

After doing some research, I've found that attacks on goths and other people who dress outside of the norm happen more often than one would assume, though they are rarely publicized.

A few years ago, back while I was still in college, I was in the lobby of one of the dorms, waiting on a friend. There was a television tuned to Fox News and I couldn't help but glance at it, but as I watched I became more and more enraged. A story was running about a young teenage girl who ran away from home to meet a grown man she had met online. The girl also happened to have a profile on VampireFreaks, a networking website aimed towards members and fans of gothic and industrial culture. Despite the fact that this young lady had blonde hair and bright clothes, as well as having profiles on a few other networking sites, the media chose to zoom in on VampireFreaks and the Satanic and vampiric lifestyles of all those involved in the cult of goth. Fox News, as we know, is always a reputable and unbiased source for accurate coverage on current events in the world around us. As the newscast continued, I noticed others in the lobby started to direct their attention to the wall mounted television, then I began to notice some of those spectators to distance themselves from me. It was almost hard for me to grasp- people were moving away from me after what they saw on TV; they felt uneasy around me-- short, plump, wide-eyed and combat boot clad me. They didn't care about the hours I'd volunteered at a nursing home a few months prior, nor the money I gave to the animal shelter, nor the countless petitions I signed and shared from change.org; they cared about my coffin backpack and what sort of heinous things I was capable of doing while wearing fishnets and a NIN tee shirt.

I came across this very clever comic in Gothic Beauty Magazine a number of years ago.

 ..to be continued

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's that time of year again

Greetings and the warmest of holiday wishes to all of you!

I've finally gotten into the Christmas spirit despite the great lack of snow in my Mid-Western home state. The tree is up and decorated, and it seems some presents have sprouted 'neath it.

I went to great lengths to find black and purple garland and ornaments as well as purple lights.
I also went through great lengths to find black and purple wrapping paper and bags-- why stop the color scheme with the tree??
Everyone gets festive in my home-- OR ELSE!
Also, for the first time ever, I've sent out a bit over a dozen of Christmas cards to my online friends who have shown me so much love and support over the years. It feels good to be able to do something to show my appreciation.

I also customized my stockings with ribbon, charms, and iron-on patches. I also had some help from Mr. Lit Incense Stick in making holes in the fabric.

I also re-purposed an old wind chime and made new ornaments- it gives the tree a very mystical, magical feel and pays homage to the pagan roots of the holiday season. It seems that I did much more crafting this year than I ever have in the past.

I've also developed a new appreciation for classic Christmas music thanks to AOL Radio's "Christmas Oldies" station. Nothing beat's good ol' Johnny Cash's "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"- for that matter, I've yet to meet a goth who doesn't have a special place in their heart for the original "Man in Black."  These old songs put me in a happy mood, but at the same time, it makes me sad that  no one croons or swings anymore. Society, what happened???

Back in the days when "Class" outweighed "SWAG"
However, all hope is not lost when it comes to modern music. I'm quite thrilled to say that I was able to see one of my all-time favorite bands perform for the second year in a row last time. I had the time of my life at the almost spiritual experience. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is nearly flawless and every year they put on a spectacular show-- I already can't wait for next year's show.

We were about 20 rows from the stage, but it was still spectacular on the floor level. 

I've no idea why, but I've been feeling particularly festive this year. Perhaps because it could be our last (but probably not) or perhaps this is just the one time of year we can forget about our day to day problems, our petty quarrels and grudges, and our over-all adult stresses, even if just for a few days. Despite your personal religious preferences, or your holiday of choice, there is no denying that there's something very ethereal and holy about this time of year, something that brings out the kinder side of folks and pushes us to strive for peace on earth, and good will towards our fellow men, women, and children, despite our different colors or creeds, opinions or pay brackets, or even the clothes in which we choose to adorn ourselves. 

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas my friends- may you all be very blessed this season.

Love, hugs, 'n plenty of glasses of holiday cheer,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November: Featured Goth in Glasses

Welcome, welcome, welcome, ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages and refractive error, to The Gothic Optician's second Featured Goth in Glasses.

This month spectacled-darkling hails from New York. Standing at a statuesque 6'3, may I present to you, Mr. Pierce Maloney!

Pierce and I have been friends for quite some time now after meeting through VampireFreaks.com; he's a very cool guy and it has been my absolute pleasure and honor to have interviewed him.

The Basics

Sea:  How long have you been wearing glasses?
Pierce: For about 3 years, but I've needed them longer than that. I'm a bad procrastinator. lol

S: How long have you considered yourself a goth?
P: Since I was 16. That's when I wore all the black and the Tripp NYC pants and jackets, fishnets, black nails, etc. But before then, I actually started out as a punk.

S: What's your favorite music?
P: Melodic Death Metal. Dark epic sounds. I love it! That's my favorite genre. My favorite band is actually Rammstein.

S: What's your favorite accessory?
P: Boots. I don't know if thats an accessory, but I love badass boots. LOL

S: Favorite goth cliche?
P: The dark tones.

S: Most disliked goth cliche?
P: Suicidal stereotypes.

S: Favorite style of glasses?
P: Thin frame and square lenses

S: Favorite famous goth?
P: Vincent Valantine from Final Fantasy VII. I'm a gamer, too.

S: Favorite person who wears glasses?
P: Gary Oldman. He's my favorite actor.

S:Got any stories involving your glasses? ie, losing them and causing a fiasco, unknowingly wearing someone else's for a while, anything?
P:Don't dance with your glasses on. Not unless you have a spare at the ready. lol

S: How would you describe yourself, in a nutshell?
P: Nowadays I see myself as a strong, brutal metalhead. But that doesn't mean I don't stop wearing my black gothic fashion and abandon my dark tones. I just also like to be big and strong..

S: Now, to continue the interview on a more personal level. Let's talk about your hobbies, shall we?
P: Hmmm...gaming is my favorite past time. I'm also a big movie buff. I love coming up with ideas and stories for movies I'd like to hopefully make some day. And I like to draw my ideas. It's a way I can physically manifest my ideas.

S: Very cool. Now I understand you also cosplay?
P: Yes, it's a brand new hobby for me. I love going to conventions dressed up. It's a great feeling being admired for who you are there.

S: So what got you into cosplaying?
P: Well, I've always been into costumes since before I could remember. Halloween was my second favorite holiday (first was Christmas-- presents and all. lol) But dressing up has always been a joy for me. I first got into cosplay when I first saw people I know doing it and saying how fun it is. So when comic con came around in 2011, I took the opportunity to try it out for the first time, as my favorite super villain, Bane.

P: In 2011, my costume, although cheaply thrown together, was a big hit. So after that I devoted myself a whole year of perfecting my Bane costume. And not just pieces for the costume. I trained myself to be more muscular. So my devotion to cosplay is more than just perfecting the attire. But my entire image.

Practically twins.
S: Along with dressing up, you're also into acting. Would you consider yourself a bit of a thespian?
P: I love the dramatic arts quite a bit. I love reenacting movie scenes that I like.  I wanted to be an actor since I was a kid. When I first saw The Little Rascals movie, I wanted to be on the screen as a kid. I was in several stage plays in elementary school and I took acting lessons, but I haven't done much stage acting, because I'm usually cast as an extra role, so I don't really do stage much anymore, since nobody cares for the extras. If I were to make it big as an actor, I should find a way to do it on my own. Hopefully by one day making indie films. I wanna make a movie that would be a cult classic to the Goth community, kind of like how "Repo! The Genetic Opera" is.

S: Well, it was a great joy and honor getting to interview you, Pierce. I have one last question, however. Since the other day was Black Friday here in the United States, I must ask, what is your opinion on the retail tradition?
P: My answer to your query is this: That the zombie apocalypse isn't going to be caused by some kind of virus.

I was determined to use a Walking Dead reference!

Well said, my friend, well said. It's no wonder why I selected Pierce as November's Featured Goth in Glasses- he's deeply intelligent, creative, and spookily bizarre- and let's admit it, the gent doesn't look to bad in black either. Keep your peepers peeled for my next Featured Goth in Glasses, and as always, if you or someone you know is indeed a goth in glasses, leave a comment or an email- I'd love to interview you!

Until we meet again, fellow lovers of the macabre (and seeing the macabre in 20/20 vision),
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Workspace of a madman, erm, madwoman

Greetings all,

I hope everyone has had a great week, and I hope my fellow Americans have had a great Thanksgiving.

For today's post, I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of my every day work life and how I've customized it.

Customized Keyboard:

White wax pencil doodles- they come off easily with lighter fluid. Also, I have the best pen ever, courtesy of my coworker J.

 I have since added a few more bats and swirls. Wax pencils, which are like giant white crayons used in opthalmic settings, both for marking lenses in the lab and for marking work trays in the clinic, absolutely rock. I've learned since working at this clinic, there is virtually nothing that cannot be removed by lighter fluid- permanent marker, sticky substance left behind by tape/stickers, hard-to-remove stains, and of course, wax pencil markings are nothing for a tissue and a few dabs of lighter fluid.

For those of you wondering, these are 'work trays.' We put the frame you pick out and your order information in these and put your last name on the outside. At my clinic we use mostly blue, however, low vision orders are placed in either green or yellow trays.

Motivational e-Cards and Insurance Cheat Sheets:

E-cards are a fantastic way to customize any workspace. I added a few doodles to "My flamboyant attire picks up where my parents left off," though I think "I'm glad you recognize how terrible your life would be without me" was perfect just as it was. I also keep cheat sheets all over the wall around my computer. At our clinic we deal with several insurances and helping hand programs- it's hard to keep them straight, especially because each changes so frequently. It's nice to have little reminders. You'll also notice a list of V-Codes. These are important because if items are not properly labeled when we submit the claim to a patient's insurance, we will not get paid. Yikes!

I also really like kitties, so I added a few glasses-related Cheezburger cats.

Recently I added another meme to my wall, just to keep my spirits up when the day is dragging along.

I catch myself glancing at this about 5 times a day.

My other awesome pen, courtesy of one of our larger insurance affiliates.

Oh yes- and here is me, at work, wearing my lovely eyeball hair bows from Th1rte3n's Closet. =)

This is all I have of my personal work setting.. for now. I wonder if anyone would perhaps be interested if I made videos of how each of the machines that I use work? Sure, I could link you to some youtube videos, but where's the fun in that?

Until next time, my near and far-sighted (and inbetween) lovelies,

Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

I just had to show off my first Thanksgiving setting. Isn't it marvelously spooky? ^.^

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Theme: Hosiery

Greetings all!

For a long time I've been a follower/admirer of the blog Sophistique Noir. 

This blog has completely reshaped my thinking about dressing professionally without giving up any of my own personal style. Every few weeks I check her page to see the latest lovely ensembles.

Finally, for the first time ever, I'm going to participate in her Monthly Theme..........*drum roll*

(though you probably would've guessed that by glancing at the title)

As of late, I've been absolutely IN LOVE with black lace. To me, it's very funeral chic, if you will- very classy, yet very somber. I love the warm feel of tights, and the look of them under dresses, however, being a woman of size, it's a bit more difficult to find tights that properly fit my fuller gams. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find these on eBay of all places! I liked doing those post, unfortunately, I totally didn't realize I missed the deadline. Perhaps next month I'll be on time. -_____-

I ended up buying these in basic solid black and solid grape, but this pattern is by far the most eye-catching!

I know this post was relatively short, but fret not, I'll be posting about a brand new topic (with lots of pictures!) this weekend. Also, coming very soon, is my next "Featured Goth in Glasses" post. If you have not already, please be sure to check out my last one with the fantastically spooky Ms. Kaira.

Until we meet again,
Stay fabulous and spooky,

Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goth in the Workplace

Greetings, greetings, greetings, my lovelies!

I must apologize for my long hiatus- I've been away enjoying the season's festivities of Halloween parties and Renaissance Faires and autumnal weddings!

This week's post is over a topic I've been just itching to blog about for quite some time now, and it just so happens to be the recent status report for This is CorpGoth (unfortunately, I'm running behind- though I swear it will not happen again!)

 Subject: What's your work "uniform" or go-to outfit?

 Although ((I'd like to think that)) I pull off a dressy, work appropriate, yet gothic look, I have found myself slightly limited on just how creative I can be- which is great, since I love a challenge! I work at an eye clinic that requires all staff to wear scrubs; moreso, in my department, the dress code is solid scrubs only (except on the 25th of each month when we wear Christmas print scrubs). Of course, I could've gone the obvious route and stocked up on only black scrubs- and don't get me wrong, I have 4 sets of black scrubs, including my favorite black scrub top with red trim.

I decided to stick with "gawth-appropriate" colors that compliment my complexion- wine, dark purple, hunter green, grey, and navy. For some variety (and because I get cold easily) I typically either don a simple black sweater with ruffle trim or I layer with a long-sleeved black shirt  with a high collar to hide my tattoo.

Horrible lighting, but this is one of my favorite work outfits.

Now, I'm fortunate enough to be in a workplace that is actually quite okay with a bit of ink showing, but it's my personal preference to keep mine concealed. Let's just say the very first day I decided to show a peep of my tattoo, a patient told me that I "shouldn't get no more" and that her daughter has one "just like it," which was followed by a rambling of how her daughter had one "right above her butt crack" and "why in the world would she put one on top of her butt crack" and it was just an awkward situation, hence, the concealment. Sometimes, however, I have mixed things up and worn henna designs on my hands- it's a fun way to try something new and it's a great conversation starter.

As far as jewelry is concerned, I do keep it minimum, but still a little something gothic. I stay away from spikes obviously, and skulls, but I do have a variety of fancy (yet professional looking) crosses, a few ankhs, and sometimes just some basic black stones.

Disney bracelet from Wal-mart. It did have a gigantic pearl that I replaced with a charm of my own. I don't recommend wearing visible pentagrams when you work with the public; however, because I wear long sleeves, it remains pretty well hidden.

Okay, some days, typically Fridays, I do go a bit all out. It must've been a payday because I'm wearing green.
Good example of minimal. One small ring, one small necklace, just a little eye shadow. 

 Most days, I wear a slight amount of makeup. Foundation is a must for me, and I usually fill in my eyebrows a little. Some days I will forgo any other makeup, but most of the time I do just a minimal eye makeup- a dab of shadow, and a faint lining of my upper lid with liquid liner, usually resulting in a cat eye. For the most part, I leave my bottom lashes unlined.

This shade of purple is one of my favorites- I always get compliments when I wear it. I got it a few years ago at Hot Topic for just $3. 

As with my jewelry, some days I do just go all out, and wear my dark red lipstick, fully line my eyes, and sport my black eye shadow. Of course, I like to have balance, so if I do maximum makeup, I do minimum jewelry, and vice versa.

I complete my ensemble with a pair of Chucks (a staple in many wardrobes) that have been customized with purple shoe strings. ^.^

Group shot of my babies. The Chucks really do stand out.

I know there are a plethora of other goths and darkly inclined individuals who work in a medical profession where scrubs are the standard, so I hope I've given someone some inspiration on how to maintain their ghastly look without going out of your dress code boundaries.

Love 'n Hugs,
 Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.