The Hellhole

Thursday, September 05, 2013

It's been a busy few weeks at The Hellhole.  Alan and I often comment upon the fact that, for people as boring as we are, we sure stay busy.  Mid-August, we were to have Nancy's family up for a pool party, but the weather for several days before had been colder than normal and overcast, and I knew the water would be too cold to be comfortable.  We changed plans and went to our favorite pub for lunch, meeting two of our favorite people (see below).

The two sets of friends had not met previously, but hit it off instantly and it was a great dynamic.  I love it when that happens.

Afterward, we went back to our house for some hanging out, snacks and conversation.  I'm genetically incapable of not serving snacks even if we just came from lunch.  Among other things, I made Tammy's chili-cheese dip which was a hit with everyone.  Anthony braved the pool, but didn't last long, as predicted.  Even 4 or 5 degrees can make the difference between lovely relaxing and oh bloody hell.

Matt and Tammy detoured to pick up daughter Brooke before coming over, and she and Nancy's son Anthony got along fabulously despite the gender difference and a 5-year age gap (a big deal when you're 10 and 5).  Anthony was really great with her and seemed to enjoy her company.  I think they'd get along even better if they spent more time together.  I have some great pictures of Anthony wearing my autographed Uncle Jimmie Van Zant cowboy hat (er, Tammy's uncle, not mine) but I'm hesitant to post pictures of other people's children without permission, so just take it from me that they are wonderful.

The following weekend, we went to Augusta to visit Alan's family, and lots of fun and good meals were enjoyed.  We stayed at our favorite hotel and in addition to meals out with the whole family, got in some relaxing evening time in the lounge having ahi tuna and dirty martinis (me) and wings and Pelligrino (Alan).  We met Alan's sister's new boyfriend who was extremely nice and friendly; we both like him a lot.

I took a few days off at the end of August, during which I refused to do anything which involved leaving the house, or even changing out of loungewear unless it was to don a swimsuit.  I finally got to spend some time in the pool; it's rained so much that has been nearly impossible this year.  Then when the weekend came, it was time to suit up in some of my new steampunk finery and hit DragonCon, because my brother and his wife (see Valentine Wolfe link, right) were performing.

They stayed at the Sheraton, and I want to spend a night or weekend there as well, sometime soon.  It's lovely - there is an indoor pool (well, covered by a dome which can open) surrounded by lush landscaping, exposed brickwork and wrought iron balconies, evocative of New Orleans and utterly captivating.

My sibling, staffing his merchandise table and waiting for their showtime.  Their performance was great and I really like their latest release, an album with accompanying graphic novel, inspired by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.  It's one of those works that, the more I listen to it, the better I like it.

Before their show, standing in the drinks line, I got my wine, Bo and Alan's club sodas and turned to go back to their table, when the guy in line behind me (shaved head with grey horns, looked awesome) saw me, his eyes widened, he pointed and said, "Hey!"  I made eye contact and smiled, and he continued to point, looking toward my chest.  I happened to be wearing this extremely cool steampunk necklace of pewter, brass, and a tiny pearl, which looks like an astrolabe.

"Did you buy that from Alchemy Carta?!?" he asked excitedly.

"No," I replied.  "I got it from [third-party vendor]."

"I MADE that necklace!" he exclaimed.  He reached out gently, turned my necklace over and we both saw the Alchemy Carta/Gothic mark stamped into the back and the copyright date.  He chuckled, "Whoa, I made that necklace!!!"  How cool is that, that in a convention of about 57,000 people, I was in the drinks line with the dude that made my necklace?!?  I was thrilled by this.

After their show, we hung out with Bo, Sarah and some cool friends of theirs and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, involving exotic cheeses and wine, great conversation and some laughs.

There is even more great news from DragonCon.  For several weeks now, we've known we were going to Upstate Steampunk to hear Bo and Sarah perform and to help staff their merchandise table. But Bo had this idea that on opening night, he wanted some spiritual/spooky elements going along with the steampunk to complement the Edgar Allan Poe theme, and one of the elements he wanted was a Tarot card reader.  He had suggested someone before, but it had to be approved by Upstate Steampunk organizers Gypsey and Marla.

Can I digress a moment and write how incredibly nice, friendly, cool and interesting those two are?!?  When in the armed forces (I think Army but I may be wrong) and stationed in Germany, Gypsey took a crossbow bolt to the chest and lived to tell about it.  Get more steampunk than THAT, I dare you.  Seriously, I dare you.  They were so compelling and charismatic!  I love them already after less than three hours' acquaintance.

Anyway, it is now official.  I am not only attending Upstate Steampunk, but I am the official opening night Tarot card reader and one of the several official card readers planned throughout the con.  Yeah, I read Tarot cards:  Rider-Waite, Renaissance, Golden Dawn and my own personal specialty, the Thoth deck painted by Lady Frieda Harris under the instruction of Aleister Crowley.  I have a Salvador Dali deck too, hand-painted (not by him) and gilt-edged, but that's more of a conversation piece than an instrument.  It's pretty effing cool though.

Interestingly, did you know that most people mispronounce Aleister Crowley's name?  Including Ozzy in "Mister Crowley" - it doesn't rhyme with 'foully', it rhymes with 'holy'.  It's "crow" like the bird and a -ly.  But I digress.

Right now, I'm trying to decide between very basic 3-card spreads or the more in-depth Celtic cross spread for opening night.  The Thoth spread is a lot more involved and he specifies a whole lot more going on with the relationships between the cards than just "oh here, this means X".  I quite like his prescribed spread but I want to be able to do more than three or four on opening night, so I think I'll scale it back and offer the more intricate readings later in the weekend.  I'm also cramming like crazy because though I've read cards for years, I somehow got away from it (life getting in the way) and it's been years since I've done a reading.  Alan's been quizzing me, though, and it seems that it is like the proverbial riding a bicycle:  once you learn it, you can't un-learn it.  I'm still studying though, every day.  I don't want to let anyone down.

I am excited about the opportunity and the con.


  • Have you ever read The Magician by Somerset Maugham? The magician character is a parody of Aleister Crowley who Maugham knew in real life. Very interesting read plus spooky supernatural tale.

    That's a really cool story about the necklace. :-)

    I'm sure you will be an awesome tarot card reader.

    By Blogger Nancy H, at 8:57 PM  

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